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Everything posted by duckens

  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.
  16. A Tale Dark and Grimm. I strongly recommend the audioversion. It is read so deliciously. See if your library has a CD copy.
  17. Another vote for My First Piano Adventures! We started with the My First Piano Adventures (Book A, B, C), and now dd (almost 9) is in 2A. She says piano is her favorite subject. The books (Lesson and Theory) dovetail nicely together to reinforce concepts. There are a ton of supplemental books at each level that you can use: Performance, Gold Star Performance, Popular Repertoire, Technique and Artistry, Sight Reading, Christmas; and the sister books: PreTime to Big Time: Popular, Favorites, Classics, Jazz & Blues, Rock 'n Roll, Kids' Songs, Hymns, other Christmas. We use (level 2A): Lesson, Theory, Popular Repertoire, and the Showtime Popular. The popular songs give dd relevance of what she is playing. We find versions of it on YouTube and talk about who may have performed it or what movie it is from. We use the Christmas books, too, but dd is happiest if we use one level below her current piano book level. **There is a musical advent calendar in the back of some of the Christmas books.** -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Other books we supplement with: a) When dd began Level 1, I added "Dozen a Day." I like this series because: --Dd learns many technical skills in a 4-measure exercise that show up later in her regular songs. She is already comfortable with putting the skill into the song since she has seen and practiced it in the Dozen a Day exercise. --Good for exposure to the metronome. b)This year we added duets so dd can practice listening to others while playing and keeping a stable count. Famous and Fun Pop Duets has songs from pop music that are appropriate for a beginner. Both Primo and Secondo parts are similar in their level of challenge, so dd is learning them both. Edited: because I am very long winded on this subject.
  18. For pencils, etc, we use a pencil case to keep a collection of supplies handy. Could you set a 5-minute timer between subjects with a short list: 1) Put away your old book. 2) Get your new subject ready. 3) Put away any unnecessary objects from the last subject that you will not need for the next one and put it in the pencil box. 4) Get a drink or go to the bathroom if you need to.
  19. Disclaimer: These are suggestions. This is what worked for us. You do not need to do any of them that you are uncomfortable with. 1) Try putting her on the potty first thing in the morning (if she can wake with a dry diaper) and again after nap (if she wakes with a dry diaper. 2) Consider letting her go pantless and underwearless around the house. We always had the discussion that if company comes, we put clothes on. If you go with this choice, be prepared that your dc may have a few accidents on the floor. Sometimes kids ned to see the poop and pee coming OUT of their body to say, "So THAT'S how that works!" One dd of mine was pee-trained months before she was poop-trained. 3) Buy a second little potty and put it in the living room (or closer to where she plays). You want it to be as convenient as possible for her. Will there be accidents? You betcha. When she is potty trained, shampoo the carpet. In the meantime, I had good experience using baking soda to absorb pee accidents, absorb smell, sweep up (after dry), then vaccuum up. 4) Set her on the potty at bedtime. She sits through ONE story of her choice. Either she will go or not before bed. No stress either way. It just gives her one more opportunity before bedtime.
  20. For kids' penmanship: I've found that it helps to "circle" or "circle with a star on the circle" their best letter(s) or word(s) of the bunch. This has made the children I work with (whether my own or babysat) to work hard on every letter and to self-identify what makes a good letter.
  21. Welcome to homeschooling! Sounds like you're doing great! Disclaimer: I have not use FLL or WWE, although they are great curriculum! 1) He is 5, AND he's a boy. Little boys (speaking in vast generalities) take a little longer to develop those fine motor skills. No worries. They catch up with the girls pretty quickly! 2) We have ramped up VERY gradually. Even now, my oldest dd is 8 (almost 9) and in 3rd grade. For some subjects, I will have her write the first 8 words, and I will write the rest because I don't want her to limit her ideas based on the number of words she has to write. We still do a lot of narration. This is the first year that I am expecting answers written in full sentences. We are also transitioning to cursive. She can write the letters, but is not fluent it in. (She has finished one cursive workbook). For spelling in Sept/Oct, I required her to write all the words 5-letters and under in cursive. The rest she can print. Now that we are in November, she must write all 6-letter and under words in cursive. Some kids prefer to type. When the time is right for your son to learn how to type, look into DanceMat typing online. 3) Just-My-Opinion: Writing and math journals in the public school are a way for teachers to gauge what and whether their students have learned. They don't have time to sit down with every single one of their pupils, one-on-one, and ask: "How and why did you get this answer?" It gives the teacher something to show the parents (or administration) to show strengths, weaknesses, and improvement in writing. It also keeps most of the class quiet in their seats while the teacher puts out fires of who needs the most attention/help right now. You have one child you are teaching, and you are probably pretty well tuned in to which letters he is writing backwards, which letters are in the wrong level of the paper, and where he would eat green eggs and ham (as a writing assignment). I would eat them on the bus. I would eat them with no fuss! I would eat them with a book! Come and see, oh, look, oh, look! I would eat them with a pet! Green eggs are what I'd like to get! Duckens is now finished channeling her inner Dr. Seuss. 4) Is it important that he learns to write? Yes. If he doesn't learn to write 2-3 sentences daily by the end of the year, does that mean that Harvard is off our college list? Probably not. 5) There is a HUGE difference between a young 5yo (learning his letters) and an almost 6yo (who can write 2 sentences). Also, these are probably not complex sentences. "I see it. I see the cat." Even if your son cannot independently write these sentences by May 31, you will probably see a huge jump in his abilities over the summer (as long as you continue to read to/with him). 6) I wouldn't rule out being inspired by what the public school system is doing, but I also wouldn't be tethered to them. Yes, they are doing math and writing journals in public school. That's great for them! What great things does your son get to do because he is in YOUR classroom and not tied to a public school classroom? I also would be careful to not say, "This K classroom is doing writing journals," and extrapolate it to,"ALL K classrooms do writing journals," or even, "It is good for ALL K students to write journals in Kindergarten." Disclaimer: I am not saying that you do this, but it can be easy for those around us (partners, relatives, society, other homeschoolers) to reinforce these ideas. Keep in mind that the school does not require spelling, punctuation, grammar, or spacing at this level: "I see it. I see the cat." becomes "Isee et Ise e t h ekt" Can some 5yos write the first two (blue) sentences as I did (with proper spelling, spacing, and punctuation)? Sure, they can. Can most? Probably not. Be careful when you hear others talk about what is happening in the public schools. Results not guaranteed.
  22. Our local county conservation organization has an organized hunt in the autumn for people who want to learn to hunt and those who are willing to mentor the one hunt. This may open doors for future hunting opportunities. I just did a google search for: how to find a hunting mentor
  23. If she is mature enough to write for a college level class, she is mature enough to manage her assignments. I would wonder if she was writing about something she felt I would disapprove of, and that is the reason that she didn't want to share it with me. BUT She is growing into an adult, and it is HER JOB as an individual to develop her own values and thought patterns. She will not be a carbon copy of me, and it would be ridiculous (and unfair) of me to not want her to follow her own conscience. Even if this is a perfectly harmless, perfectly normal choice of my daughter's, sooner or later she will develop her own opinions; and it would be unhealthy if they perfectly mirrored my own. Disclaimer: This post is not meant to imply that the OP would be intolerant of her daughter's writing or developing opinions. I only know that I am a pretty extreme person when it comes to politics, and it is unlikely and unreasonable that my daughters would be exactly the same politically as myself.
  24. You need to move to Iowa. :coolgleamA: Iowa has the Wilbur system, linking e-resources for all Iowa libraries. Here's how it works (as I understand it): Our library purchases e-resources (e-books and audiobooks). They are shared with the greater population of Iowa (like an e-interlibrary loan), but our community gets first dibs, because we bought them. Our library may also purchase extra copies of an e-book that they know will be more popular than usual. Maybe they will purchase 8 extra e-copies of an expected best seller. These are only for use by our library. When we download, we get two weeks to finish reading. No extensions. No renewals. No late fees. It disappears off the Nook. And the tech guy at the library holds monthly sessions to teach anyone how it works. I can only think that someone, somewhere in government, voted to fund this system to get it off the ground.
  25. I am suspicious of ANY teacher that tells me I am not welcome at my child's lesson. 1) There's this: Does she NOT want him as prepared as possible for the lesson? 2) I have seen too many adults be anything from lackadaisical to outright abusive when the other adults are gone. I see it a lot with younger children. Who will you believe: the respected adult or the wiggly child? Does the younger child even know that the situation is unacceptable? 3) I am sick and tired of this idea that we should help our kids less. I've seen kids that get helped a lot by their parents, and I've seen kids that get no help from their parents. I have live in several households (as a live-in nanny for years) and very closely with people as I care for their children daily (but live separately) in daycare or babysitting situations. Yes, my data is only anecdotal, but it ALL points to: Children who are helped and supported do MUCH better than kids who are not.
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