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Everything posted by Steven

  1. I'd say, start Spanish, but don't wait too long for Latin, and when you do Latin, skip SSL for a program that actually teaches Latin rather than random vocabulary. Here is my rationale: Although the Spanish noun system has been extremely simplified from its underlying Latin, the Spanish verb system has many similarities with Latin, and learning Spanish will pave the way for Latin. Even in the noun system, having to match the endings on adjectives and nouns by gender is good practice for Latin. Rather than SSL, I would recommend I Speak Latin, which approaches Latin as a spoken language with an emphasis on understanding and using grammatical patterns, not memorizing tables of endings. I Speak Latin covers first and second declensions (in the nominative, accusative, and ablative cases), adjectives, and present tense verbs in all four verb conjugations. These are many of the features that are most similar to Spanish. Started at a young age, I Speak Latin is an excellent base that will enable you to select from a wide range approaches. We moved on to Latin per se illustrata: Familia Romana, even though my daughter is only in the fourth grade this year. I Speak Latin is highly scripted and very easy to use, even for a parent who is learning along with the child (like me). Just for the record, we did SSL, Minimus, and I Speak Latin. SSL was a waste of time, Minimus was fun, but not very comprehensive. My wife and I taught our daughter German from an early age (even though neither of us are native German speakers). I began to introduce her to Spanish by age 4 or 5 (I forget). The most useful tool was the Salsa videos. Where we live, it was hard to make contact with other Spanish-speaking children. Last spring (end of third grade), I took her to a Spanish immersion program in Mexico for 3 weeks, since my accent is poor and I wanted to make sure she did not pick it up. We never used any textbook until this year, when I bought a used copy of Spanish for Children for us to go through so I could see where her gaps were. I think we started Latin in late first grade. We used I Speak Latin in late 2nd grade and 3rd grade, and began transitioning into Familia Romana at the end of 3rd grade. We began Familia Romana over again at the start of 4th grade, and have completed 9 chapters (about the equivalent of one year of high school Latin). Another thing that helped us was KISS Grammar, which I think we started in 3rd grade. KISS's very practical approach rapidly taught her to recognize subjects, direct objects, indirect objects, and adjectives. This has been extremely helpful as we moved through the Latin cases.
  2. We are also using KISS grammar. I have been very pleased with my daughter's progress and ability to analyze very complicated sentences.
  3. I wish there a choice between "the best thing since sliced bread" and "they're OK". I like using them when I work with my daughter, and I try to get her to draw them. She dislikes drawing them and resists when I tell her to do so. On the other hand, she once used a bar diagram to solve a very difficult problem with no prompting from me.
  4. We are wrapping up CAP Fables and use KISS Grammar. DD is already at Level 3.1 of KISS Grammar, so the small amount of grammar that is included in Fables (i.e. identifying nouns and adjectives in a sentence) is very easy for DD.
  5. My DD (age 9; fourth grade) just completed the write your own fable assignment for chapter 8: Too Much Stuff! One night, Dad had had it. He shouted, “It's too messy here! @#%*! Give some of your toys to charity! You don't even play with half of them!†“No way José!†I said, “I won't give up even one little toy car!†So Dad sent me to bed early. “What a meanie!†I thought. The next day, I went to the mall and bought more stuff. The day after was my birthday, and I was turning 12. I had a humongous party and got 36 presents. Grandma couldn't make it to the party, so she came the next day with even more toys for me. All this time, Mom was pregnant and at the baby shower I got some big-sister gifts. Then it was Christmas! By January, my room was so full of stuff that I couldn't move around. When I went to my dresser to get dressed the next morning, there was so many things piled on it that when I tried to open it an avalanche fell on top of me! I tried to scream, but a teddy bear's plush bottom was in my mouth! Suddenly, I couldn't breathe! And then I woke up. I was lying in my bed. Dad had come into my room and was cleaning up, throwing things into bins and bags and boxes. He had accidentally thrown my teddy bear onto my pillow. When I went down to breakfast, I told Dad, “You know, maybe I do have a little too much stuff. I could give some of it to charity. Like maybe those dolls I never play with.†Dad smiled and said, “Good idea. I have some things that I could give away, too.†Later that day, we donated three big bags of old toys and clothes to charity. Moral: It is foolish to be greedy. I find I have to provide quite a bit of hand holding to get her through these assignments. At first she refused to try this assignment on the grounds that she had never been greedy, and so could not write a story from her own life about being greedy. So without directly saying it, I guided her to the concept of using a dream format. I spent one session helping her brain storm, and another session getting her to put those ideas into an outline. Then it took her two sessions to compose the story using the computer (with all auto-correct features turned off). Then two more sessions to revise it.
  6. We started OPGTR the year before kindergarten (it was our test to see if homeschooling was feasible for us). I wife handled the first 30 or so lessons (the poem about the vowel sounds), and I have no idea how long she was at that or when she actually started. But once we started the actual reading lessons (i.e., the lessons after the poem) it took us just over a year to complete. We finished in in November of her kindergarten year.
  7. I echo this. I used Sequential Spelling early since my daughter was a strong reader by the start of first grade. But her writing was painfully slow. We did ten words a day, rather than 25.
  8. I have been using LL Part 1 (Familia Romana) successfully with my 4th grade daughter. We are going slowly (we are finishing up chapter 8), but it came after we had already done Song School Latin, Minimus, and I Speak Latin. IMO Song School was a waste of time, Minimus was fun, but not comprehensive, and I Speak Latin was a great success. Also, my daughter has a good sense of grammar thanks to KISS Grammar, and is has near native language fluency in German, which has some parallel grammatical features with Latin. There are a lot of resources for it on the Internet (links are available on the publisher's website). I am learning Latin along with my daughter (but have a high degree of ability in German and Spanish), so I am not approaching Latin from the view point of someone with no or little foreign language experience). I have found the on-line discussion group very friendly and accepting towards us as homeschoolers. For the right child, I think LL can work at a younger age. But you might want to consider starting with I Speak Latin and then moving to LL. I Speak Latin prepared us for most of the grammar in the first 6 or 7 chapters. Most of the material on LL I have seen suggests using it at the junior high and above level (and moving very slowly in the junior high years, if you start it then).
  9. If you wanted to teach them together, I Speak Latin, which teaches Latin as if it were a modern language, would work for both of them.
  10. I will offer you an unusual choice: Lingua Latina per se illustrata: Pars I: Familia Romana by Hans H. Ørberg. (http://focusbookstore.com/LLfullcolorpb.aspx) It is not a traditional Latin grammar book. The student learns the meaning and grammar by reading the texts, which are designed to be self-explanatory. The book does not stress translation, but direct understanding of the Latin. Nor does it stress memorizing charts of verb forms or noun declensions, but rather understanding and using the grammar in context. He would be at the younger range for the book, and so should take it relatively slowly (maybe 2 or 3 years for the first book), but the book is used in schools at the junior high level. Familia Romana is the first in the series, and is the story of a family in ancient Rome. The books are published by Focus Publishing, so check out all the material on their web site: http://focusbookstore.com There is a on-line computer course, an active discussion group (which is very supportive of self-taught students), and a wide variety of supporting material. See this link: http://focusbookstore.com/lingualatinainfo.aspx I recommend it because you indicated that he logical but does not have a good memory unless something has meaning. He might really enjoy puzzling out the meaning of the text and being able to read Latin from day one.
  11. We use Singapore Math, and during the summer we quickly go through the Singapore Math Intensive Practice Books corresponding to the books we used during the school year.
  12. As I recall when we did this (we are now is 4B), I made the manipulative suggested in the Home Instructor's Guide: Multiple egg carton cut down to 10 eggs, and some sort of counting items. We used little glass jewels (they don't roll away like marbles). So 13 was a tray of ten plus a tray of 3. Then in another tray, we would move over nine counters from the tray of ten, and finally consolidate the two partial trays.
  13. I have wondered about this, too. We only do one dictation, the second one, since I perceive it as the more difficult one. My daughter does not like to write, but is capable of doing the harder exercise. So as a compromise, I skip the easy one and make her do the harder one.
  14. When you get to the mummification project, buy a Cornish Game Hen instead of a regular chicken! :lol: It will fit in a large zip lock back and mummify much sooner! Plus, (at least the one we bought at Whole Foods) Cornish Game Hens do not come with any innards, so you eliminate any need for canonic jars.
  15. After Song School Latin and Minimus we moved on to I Speak Latin. My daughter really loved it, and I loved it because unlike the other two books, we actually learned Latin in a systematic but fun way. It does not focus on memorizing grammar rules and tables of endings, but on actually using the language. For vocabulary, the students are to make flash cards drawing pictures of the item or action, and writing the Latin word on the reverse. We opted to take pictures and had them printed cheaply at Costco. After I Speak Latin, we moved on to a more ambitious course, Lingua Latina per se Illustrata, pars 1: Familia Romana. The author of I speak Latin recommends this book as a follow on for older children, but I decided my daughter was ready for it. He does recommend some of the other books that are often discussed here as follow ons for younger students. I wish the author had a part 2 to his own book. The only draw back to I Speak Latin is that it would have been more fun with more than one child. So we recruited about a dozen of my daughter's stuff animals, gave them Latin names, and "taught" them Latin along with my daughter.
  16. My DD, fourth grade, absolutely loves KISS Grammar. It is very straight forward. We started Level one in third grade, and just started Level two this semester. Very quickly after starting, she became very adept at identifying subjects, finite verbs, and the different types of complements (predicate adjectives, predicate nouns, direct objects, and indirect objects), as well as adjectives and adverbs. Level Two is getting into many much more sophisticated topics that I know I never learned in grade school, e.g. subjunctive mood.
  17. There is no Home Instructor's Guide for Singapore US Edition--there is a teacher's manual geared to the teacher with a classroom full of kids and (I understand) it has a high price. The Standards Edition has a reasonably priced HIG for home schoolers, which I highly recommend. It is reason enough to prefer the Standards Edition--just order it directly from the publisher. If you like the U.S. edition that you have seen locally, the Standards Edition is not significantly different--the topics are just in a different order (and in some cases, in different years).
  18. I have also heard the 4th grade level claim. We finished the book in November of DD's kindergarten year. While in theory she may have been able to sound out 4th grade vocabulary words, she was by no means ready to read fourth grade-level books. She did not have the endurance, even though she was by any standards an excellent reader for her age and had a large vocabulary. We focused on text heavy picture books, which were probably meant to be read-alouds. These books often have words that are harder to read, but are still comprehensible to young children, without expecting them to read chapter books. Even when DD started the Magic Tree House books in first grade, she only read one chapter at a sitting. She is now in fourth grade and has all of the Harry Potter books behind her (she finished the last one over the summer after 3rd grade).
  19. Yes, we do both Spanish and Latin. We actually started with German when DD was 18 months, since both my wife and I speak German. She is quite fluent in German, and we have traveled there with her several times. At some point, Kindergarten or first grade, I had her start watching the Salsa videos but did no formal instruction. On an irregular basis I would speak a little Spanish with her. Last spring, at the end of third grade, she and I went to a language immersion school in Mexico for 3 weeks. Her accent is great, she has a small but reasonable vocabulary for the amount of instruction we have done, and good listening skills. Since early November have been working through Spanish for Children Primer A from Classical Academic Press, trying to figure out where the her gaps are (she seems to have mastered present tense and some past tense. I don't think she knows subjunctive). When she was in first grade I tried Song School Latin (which I did not like--it just seemed like random vocabulary) and Minimus (which was fun, but not comprehensive). Finally in second grade we tried I Speak Latin, which we loved. It treats Latin like a modern language and emphasizes speaking. When we finished I Speak Latin, we moved on to a more demanding book, Lingua Latina per se Illustrata, Pars 1, Familia Romana. It emphasizes reading over translating skills, and meshes well with I Speak Latin. We are on chapter 8 now, so we are not moving super fast, but we make steady progress. One reason I took her to Mexico for Spanish was to help her general speaking skills with Spanish and Latin (we are using ecclesiastical pronunciation), and I was hoping that she would make a bit more progress on the Spanish verb system, which parallels the Latin verbs. Unfortunately, we did not stay in Mexico long enough to get beyond present tense and a little simple past tense. We have not had a problem with mixing. I am more likely to mix than she is, since I am learning Latin with her. I should also note that we are using KISS Grammar, which has worked great for us. She can confidently identify subjects, finite verbs, direct objects, indirect objects, etc. This helps with Latin, since both I Speak Latin and Lingua Latina teach more by example than grammatical explanation.
  20. We use KISS Grammar at our house, and we have just finished a lesson in KISS Grammar Level 2 that deals with exactly this topic. It appears that when the instructions ask the student to circle the verb, they mean the "finite" verb, i.e., the verb that is conjugated, this would included verb phrases such as "is talking" or "has seen" or "can see." Not to be underlined are verbals, that is, verbs in a variety of forms do not function as the conjugated verb/verb phrase in the sentence. Verbals can function as nouns in a sentence, and so can be the subject of the sentence, the object of the verb, or the object of a preposition. Verbals can also have a subject and/or an object. So in the sentence "The horses are also waiting in the barn for you to see": Horses is the subject are waiting is the finite verb in the barn is a prepositional phrase indicating location for you to see is a propositional phrase indicating purpose. The object of the preposition "for" is the verbal phrase "you to see" So the verbal phrase is functioning as a noun. The word "see" is not a finite verb, which is apparent because the verbal "you to see" is not a grammatically correct sentence on its own. But "You" is the subject of the verbal. In the sentence Mary loved to visit her cousins at the farm: Mary is the subject loved is the finite verb to visit her cousins is the direct object (what did Mary love? To visit her cousins at the farm. This infinitive phrase is a verbal that functions as a noun and fills the role of direct object. Within this verbal phrases, her cousins is the direct object of the verbal infinitive to visit. at the farm is a prepositional phrase indicating location. I really like the whole approach of KISS Grammar with its emphasis on what function a word plays in the sentence.
  21. I can't compare to RS, since we have only used Singapore (we are now on 4A). We do two math sessions a day: several pages from the text book, and then later in the day several pages from the workbook. We closely follow the weekly schedule laid out in the Home Instructor's Guide (HIG). I look to see how many pages we need to cover for the week, and then divide them over the 5 days. (This year, however, my daughter has been breezing through the material and we have mostly been working on a 4-day a week schedule). We have never had serious problems keeping up with the weekly schedule, but neither do we race ahead. Ideally, I would like to see my daughter spend about 15 minutes on each math session, but in reality, it is longer because I can not keep her focused, especially on the workbook, which I would like her to do more independently. In the earliest years we used a lot of the suggested manipulatives, especially counting trays that I made from egg cartons and counting beads. For me, it was pretty much open and go, except the first day of the week when I would read the material from the HIG to see how I should present the material and map out the daily schedule for the week. But that is not particularly time consuming. I also buy the Intensive Practice books, but we use those as review over the summer and do not try to do them when we are first introducing material.
  22. As wehave8 noted, the ecclesiastical pronunciation was common in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and for that reason most Latin words that came into English tend towards the ecclesiastical pronunciation. If one objective of learning Latin is to recognize the Latin roots of English words, one is more likely to hear them when the Latin word is spoken with the ecclesiastical pronunciation than with the restored classical. Actually,this whole discussion really only seems to take place in the United States and England. From my experience, most European countries have a national pronunciation of Latin that derives from how Latin was spoken in that country in the Renaissance. Once when visiting Germany we met a family whose son was learning Latin in school. I asked what pronunciation they were using, classical or ecclesiastical. They had no idea what I was talking about. Ecclesiastical pronunciation is really the Italianate accent, since that is what Pope Pius X recommended as the standard for usage in the Catholic Church in 1912.
  23. I have this problem with my daughter, too. Flash cards do not work for us because she falls apart as soon as she knows that I am timing her. But following Tanikit's suggestion, I looked up www.sumdog.com. My daughter loves it--she has spent the last two days playing the games. The only problem was that I only just now figured out how to set the program to give her specific kinds of problems (after logging in, click on the green box labeled "Math" on the left handside of the screen, and you can specify topics). We tried Xtramath, too, but she complained that it was just like electronic flash cards and refused to play it. At least for now, SumDog is the big hit at our house.
  24. I recommend them. We get a lot of history done in the car. That being said, I am really, really tired of Jim Weiss (we are on volume 3). I wish that each volume had a different reader.
  25. I will be a dissenting voice here. My daughter enjoyed SSL, but aside from some vocabulary and a few phrases, it really does not teach anything. Since you are dealing with two children who are not strong readers yet, I would highly recommend I Speak Latin by Andrew Campbell. We started it in 2nd grade and finished it this year. It gave us a great foundation for Lingua Latina: Familia Romana. You don't need to do any reading or writing with I Speak Latin. There is script for the teacher. A good selection of useful vocabulary is introduced (family terms, food terms, house rooms and furniture, and clothing). The students learn to speak simple sentences for first, second, and third person singular and plural in present tense, and how to give commands. They also learn nominative, vocative, accusative, and ablative cases. They learn how to match noun and adjective endings to each other. There is no translating, but lots of fun activity. For example, playing restaurant with a Latin menu. Vocabulary is drilled by drawing a picture (or in our case, taking a photograph of the item or action) and writing the Latin word on the reverse side. We had lots of fun with this course. And it would have been better if I had had more than one student. To make it more fun, my daughter always dressed in a tunic for the class, and she dressed about a dozen stuffed animals in old tee-shirts so that we had a full class to interact with. Like SSL, you will have fun, but unlike SSL, your children will actually learn Latin grammar and vocabulary that will prepare them for their next Latin book. I am learning Latin with my daughter, so my lack of Latin was no handicap. Indeed, my daughter likes to correct me when I make a mistake. Also there are online audio lessons you can download. (We did not use these because we are using ecclesiastical pronunciation rather than classical).
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