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About duckens

  • Birthday 06/23/1970

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    Partner to Loverboy, Mother to dd6, dd2
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    Chief cook and bottle washer

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  1. My daughters devoured Dragonbox a couple of months ago. DD10 has asked to do Algebra this summer. I wonder if she will need to think of the dragons, too.....:D
  2. --I would, and do, choose Spanish, because it is a living language. Also, if your children live in the U.S., IMO, Spanish is the language to know. --If my children want to learn Latin as they get older, we will attain the resources for them at that time. --As for learning languages, IME, be prepared to use more than one resource. No ONE curriculum will cover everything. Disclaimer:dd10 just finished 4th grade. She has been dabbling in Chinese for a few years, and she has voluntarily added Spanish on her own since Christmas. :ohmy: :thumbup: --Since dd10 has started to study Spanish, she has drawn several correlations between Spanish and Italian (which I am studying), and Spanish and English. She can identify their shared roots, just as if she had taken Latin.
  3. dd5 (Kindergarten/1st) Love: 10 Terrific Weeks: Apple Tree Farm (Usborne Books) Like: topical readers from Usborne; LOVE the Quicklinks. dd9 (~4th Grade): Dislike: Analytical Grammar: not enough practice for what is covered. Looking at Easy Grammar. Like: Chemistry: A mishmash of Chemistry Odyssey (Pandia Press), Elements (Theodore Gray), Cartoon Chemistry, C550 and C1000 Lab sets, other books, websites, and some stuff I have designed myself. It should take us two years to conquer.
  4. We try to stagger, and we take turns. We have two children, so one is the Even Day and one is the Odd Day. On Even Day, Even Child gets to choose if she would rather be first or second to do piano (or other work). Because she is older and has more/longer work, I encourage her to work independently or get some breakfast. On Odd Day, Odd Child chooses whether she would rather be first or second. This is not a hard-and-fast rule. Sometimes it just depends upon who is awake and who is sleeping late. The one who wakes up and works hard gets bragging rights of being done first. The one who sleeps late...well, they get to sleep late. And remember: Fair is not always equal.
  5. A little young for Logic Stage, but a good "jumping off place": Usborne has Don Quixote in their Illustrated Adventure Stories tome. It is probably 5-6 chapters and has lots of pictures. Dd9 is starting 4th grade and has read it at least twice on her own.
  6. Things I would take into account if it was my kid: 1) How hard does SHE want to work? If she doesn't want to work hard, you would be banging your head against a wall to put her higher than recommended. Some kids thrive on challenge. Some do not. 2) Does math generally come easy for her? When I was a child, I was offered Algebra 1 in 8th grade. We were warned that it would be ~1hour of homework every night. Since I loved math, and it had always come easily to me, I was all in. Not all children are like that. 3) What are her career plans? If she wants to enter a science field, I would push harder. Math is the language of science. Knowing math at a higher level will help her. Likewise, if she wants to go to grad school, there are usually a lot of math (statistics) involved, even if it is not a science major (psychology, business, anthropology, education...) 4) What are her strengths? For example: I could EASILY see my older daughter being a field biologist, geologist, chemist, or astronomer. My younger daughter will either work in computers or be opening for Saturday Night Live (if you only knew!!!!) So, yeah, math is on the menu at our house. However, your child has her own strengths, and you know them as her mother. If working like crazy on a goal, or having a natural penchant towards the sciences is what you see in her, I would push. 5) Is it necessary for her to achieve a certain level of math before high school graduation to qualify for a grant or scholarship? Example: Iowa State University offers an automatic grant of several thousand dollars if the high school student achieves all of the following: GPA, SAT/ACT scores, 3+ years of foreign language, 3+ years of lab science, and math THROUGH Calculus. (There may be a few extra requirements). I would be surprised if other state schools do not offer similar grants. We are working towards those requirements.
  7. We use a combination of phonics and sight words to jump start reading. Then we ease into a formal phonics curriculum. 1) Phonics: We used these word family slides. (and other pages that went along with the slide to reinforce them). There is also a book of word slides for long vowels. 2) Sight words: We used this book for sight word stories. --I typed out all the sentences of the stories in large print. I printed them twice, and cut them apart: one of just sentences, one of words. I would give dd two sentences and the accompanying words, and she would have to match them like a puzzle, then read them to me. I would do the same and ask if she would "beat me" in this task. --I made bingo games for each unit with the words. We played with cheerios. --One can print out four 1/4 sheet stories with the unit's words. We glued the sheets into construction paper books. I affixed a post-it inside the back cover of each "book" and the list 1.Mom 2.Dad 3. Sister 4.Pet 5.Friend (grandpa, aunt, babysitter, etc). Each day, dd reads the story to a different person. The family pet and a little sister probably don't care if he doesn't get every word right, so this is good practice for him. You can only read the book to one person each day to be crossed off. By the time dd has read it five time to five different people on five different days, she probably has mastered those words. The little book goes under her bed in a shoebox so she can read to herself before bedtime (and stay up later if she is reading in bed). You can do this with BobBooks, too. She earns 25 cents for each book completed. ***My dd has just outgrown this book. i want to keep the book, but if you decide to go this route and want the sentence strips and bingo set, pm me, and I will try to send them to you.
  8. 1) Another vote for Extra Math. --dd9 does 20min/day --The default is for 3 seconds/fact, which is considered "mastery." I STRONGLY SUGGEST that you (as the parent) go into the controls and reset them for the 6-seconds/fact setting. Dd completed all the math facts at 6 second, and is now up to subtraction at 3 seconds. --Your child will cycle through 6-10 miscellaneous math facts at a time. If he doesn't know any of them, this can be overwhelming. I tell dd to just pick two of the highlighted facts and try to remember them when they come up to pass out of them. --Be aware (and warn your child) that when they get near the end of passing out of all 100 facts in a section, the program will run them through the facts one. more. time. --We go out for ice cream whenever dd passes out of another level. 2) We also use your standard set of discount store flash cards for daily 3 minute practice. It is part of math lesson for us instead of fact worksheets. --It is only 3 minutes. --If dd is stuck on a problem, I can help her count up to it. --I record how many dd does in a session so she can see her progress. This encourages her. --There are many high-fives on the first day that she can do the whole stack (~50 cards) in the 3 minute time period. I have done this with MANY kids, and it is always a thrill! ETA: After a few days, demonstrate to your son that it CAN be done in 3 minutes. Set the timer; YOU hold the cards; and solve the facts as fast as you can. Whenever I do this for kids the first time, their eyes get wide that it can be done in a minute or less. It makes an impact.
  9. We've used selected parts of the art history section (to cover specific painters we are studying). It was very rewarding for us.
  10. For my 3rd grader, if the word was RIGHT THERE and she spelled it wrong, I count it as wrong. This is true for ALL subjects. I do not tolerate laziness/sloppiness/carelessness, and I reward "resourcefulness" (seeing the word nearby and copying it so she doesn't have to look it up). If she spelled it wrong, but the word was not RIGHT THERE, we fix it together or look it up together. I imagine that by the time my child is in 6th grade, I would count it as wrong, but restore full points if she can fix it by herself (looking words up in the dictionary or online). IMO, fixing things/looking things up is a valuable skill, too. Misspelled words may be tacked onto this week's spelling list.
  11. Welcome to Homeschooling!!!! Be unafraid of starting small. Many homeschoolers start every autumn with just a couple of subjects (Math and Reading/Language Arts). Once those are launched, other stuff is added, one subject at a time. **This may or may not be an option, depending on how much pressure the laws in your state put on you.** FTR, we don't do every.single.thing. in TWTM. And many things we do in a different way. We do what works for us.
  12. :iagree: I cannot speak for Japanese, but Chinese has some quirks that have only made sense to me with the explanation of an in-person teacher. Chinese resources online (in no particular order): 1) PetraLingua offers video lessons with dorky little songs and follow-up (online) quizzes. We have listened to them over the lunch hour. It is NOT like Duolingo, but it is good for little kids. Warning: the quiz for the first lesson is difficult to understand. DO NOT let it stop you. Breeze through it an move on to the next lesson. 2) LearnYu is a startup that is trying to create a DuoLingo-like Chinese program. There is not a speaking element in it. You pay ~$20 through paypal if you want to access more than the first lesson. dd9 says this program is the most helpful to her. 3) Memrise has Chinese vocabulary lessons. I have not used them much, but I see there is also a Japanese course. 4) Digital Dialects -- We have used these in the past. They are good for basic vocabulary. In-person options: 5) We are lucky enough to live in a college town with a big enough Chinese population that there is a local Chinese language school (for the children of the grad students in-town). I emailed them a few years ago to ask about options. This is now our third year of taking the Parent/Child classes there. It is ~$160/semester, but that covers both dd and me (and all supplies) for a two-hour lesson once a week. 6) The local Chinese community have let me practice on them. They are very kind and very patient as I accost them at parks, stores, and in the street. I have two acquaintances that have offered lessons to me (and my children), and countless others (friends and strangers) have edited stories I wrote, dictionary lists, and general homework assignments. I am humbled by the open and willing help they give to me. 7) My Language Exchange will find you a language partner to practice with. IT IS NOT A DATING SITE, BUT THE ALGORITHMS ARE VERY SIMILAR. --You can make a profile for free, but you must pay to make contact with others. --Once you find a match, you do not pay any more, but you communicate with your partner through Skype. --You can pick a partner who is male or female, what language they speak, and which age range (if you prefer). You can pick what country they are located in. For example, one of my partners was in China, and the other was in Australia. Disclaimer: Do not leave a minor unattended with ANY stranger online. Advantages: affordable, convenient for me, it worked. For me, it was a very positive experience. Disadvantages: your partner may live on the other side of the world: the "jetlag effect." For me to practice, I had to get up at 5-6am to practice. My guys were just finishing their classes (at university) and coming home. This worked for me, because I could practice Chinese while the kids were still in bed, but it may not work for everyone. See if you can find a partner within the U.S. (or the Western Hemisphere) if your flexibility is less than mine.
  13. If he's just going to "play around with it"....... When we started dd in piano lesson, I sent Loverboy down to Target to buy a keyboard. He spent ~$100. --It is a basic Casio. --The keys are not weighted. --It has 5 octaves. --There are 99 different sounds that it can program, from french horn to organ to an alien-blaster sound. --It came with a really boring DVD to teach me about it, but I couldn't make it through the second lesson. --It came with a stand. We like it because: --It fit our budget for a beginner instrument. --We would upgrade if this one ever died, but it is 4.5 years old (with almost daily use) and still going strong. --It doesn't take up a lot of room; less than even an electric piano. --It is easily portable/movable; I could move it myself if we needed extra room in the main area of our house. --A year ago, we purchased an electric pedal that dd can use for her songs. --Headphones can be used. The model we use is probably not available at Target any longer because they always want to sell you the "new" model. Things I would look for: --earphone jack, and get earphones right away. You may need an adapter for the earphones. --option of a pedal at a future date. You could take your son shopping with a pre-determined price range. If he wants something more exciting, he could pay the balance of the cost.
  14. I have not read the other entries. The first two sites we use for fun reading. The third is for "Reading/Lit" this year. Simon and Schuster's In the Middle website. Scholastic's Branches website. Battle of the Books website (Choose the lower grades)
  15. That all sounds great! One thing I do whenever we get to a new level: I write a master list of the order of the songs we would like to learn. Then I put them in a 3-day chart, rotating the songs. Example of one column (out of 3): Date: 1,4,7,10,13,16,19,22,25,28 When the Saints Go Marching In (Lesson p.8) Famous People (Lesson p. 11) Gypsy Tunes (Theory p.9) The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Duet p.7) etc. We use this chart to: 1) Check off songs dd has passed out of 2) Know which song is next 3) Know where to find it So, if today was December 7th, dd would play this column (through the ones checked off) as warm-ups. Then she will start moving horizontally through the chart for what is next (until her practice time runs out). In this way: 1) She is familiar with her warm-ups. 2) She remains competent on all the songs she has passed out of in this level.* Currently she can play 49 songs; many from memory. 3) She doesn't have to play them perfectly to pass out of a song because she will play it a gazillion times and polish it then. *By playing the songs repeatedly and revisiting them, dd becomes comfortable enough with them to improvise and add extras to them. When dd gets too many songs to play in a sitting, I adjust the chart to a 6-day rotation. If this chart system is still confusing to anyone, please PM me with a private email address, and I will send you a copy of what we are using now.
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