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Everything posted by black_midori

  1. I'm in AAS level 2 with my 2nd grader and he's doing great with it. Even at his fairly young age, though, we pretty much only use the tiles when I'm demonstrating something and I want the visual red on blue effect. He practically never uses them to spell words himself - he either uses dry-erase or just writes it straight into his notebook. We also pretty much never use the word cards - I didn't even bother to punch out the green level 2 cards, since we hadn't used the level 1 cards since 1/2 way through that level. Generally, he doesn't even do a pre-spell on the cards - he just goes straight to writing them correctly in his notebook. He really gets this stuff!! The only one who uses the cards is my 4yo - when he wants to come "play school", I'll throw out 10-20 cards so that he can write the words on a piece of paper and have everyone admire his work :) That said, however, I absolutely LOVE AAS and will definitely continue on with all the levels and start again with my younger son when he is ready. Even though it turns out he really doesn't need the multiple sensory levels of learning, the idea is terrific - and the book lessons are totally worth it whether you have the tiles & cards or not!
  2. All the RS B stuff that we'll be using is in a big plastic drawer. I don't do any prep - just grab the book & flip it open to the lesson and off we go! Since you generally use the same items for several lessons in a row, those are usually up top and easy to snatch. When needed, I'll have my son do the review "extra LOUD" while I swoop over to the printer to copy necessary pages. In fact, sometimes I'll have him do the review stuff while I'm cooking bacon or making tea for us to enjoy :) Only rarely do I find that I need to take a moment in the middle of a lesson to actually read & re-read what they are asking us to do - usually I can figure it out as I begin!
  3. As with many here, we plan to have 2-3 hours a day (4-5 days a week for us, depending on the week) for my 2nd grader. For 1st grade, we did 1.5-2; I'm just getting into science and history, though, so I expect that to add on close to an hour each day. Knowing my son, I'll be lucky if I can keep it down to an hour extra - once we get involved in a science project, he's likely to try and make me do it all afternoon long! He does love those projects (way more than me, I'm afraid!).
  4. I really like the All About Spelling method of teaching. I'm actually using it for my 6yo right now, but I really think it is absolutely NOT too "young" for older kids. The lessons are well-designed and thorough, and they give even me as the teacher a better understanding of what the rules for the English language are. I've always been a very good speller & reader, myself, but I'm honestly learning a LOT about the "whys" of what sounds each letter makes in each different situation. This book gets extremely specific on learning the actual general rules of use so that you can employ those rules in reading more and more convoluted words. I actually don't have my 6yo do any copywork - he does straight writing of sentences, deciding on his own how to spell the words. When he's done, I just pick which words need help and ask him to tell me what the appropriate rule is for that sound. Once he's recited the rule, he is immediately able to correct his own work. For example - he is having problems on when to use "k" vs "ck", so I ask him to tell me what the rule for using "ck" is (to use it after a short vowel). I then have him point out the vowel and tell him if it is long or short. His response might then be "oooooh, yeah, it's a short vowel so I use ck". We also have spent a lot of time working on the silent "e" - how it makes the word "open", and an open word generally has a long vowel sound (no is open, not is closed). I like that it then ties multiple previous lessons together as you go along - my 6yo can work out that in a "vowel-consonant-e" word that has a hard "k" sound, you HAVE to use "k" rather than "c" or "ck" (like). After all, we learned "ck" is only used after a short vowel (which you don't have in an open word) and we learned "c" says sssss before e,i&y (so that wouldn't work). The joy, though, is that HE actually truly knows these rules & I just have to remind him to think of them and to pick which ones apply! Sorry to go on - I just wanted to make it clear that while the All About Spelling books can be used for younger kids, I believe it can totally provide a good foundation for older kids as well. As I recall, the website indicates it is used for beginning spellers through older (and even adult) spellers needing remedial work.
  5. My mom died 5 years ago next month after an illness (ms) that she developed as a new mother around 30 years old. It was not significantly noticeable to me through my younger years, but started to get progressively worse around when I was a teenager. Therefore, most of my teenage and young adult life mom was always the one that we took care of, rather than the other way around. We were careful to try not to upset her and we were very gentle and supportive with her physically (when I was in high-school, she was only able to walk with the support of two canes). As a grown-up, I can now officially say I have NO IDEA how she did it!! She was the age I am now, caring for 3 little kids while her husband was overseas with the military, diagnosed with an illness that made her temporarily blind... can you imagine? Here I think it's bad enough with 2 kids & a hubby away a fair amount - but I'm strong, healthy, and have absolutely no excuse for being such a grump!! Well... pms.... so one tiny excuse :) Yet I always remember her as the most caring, giving, optimistic person I knew. I love her very much and miss her dearly - I am just glad she was able to meet her grandson (now 6yo) before she died, and to know that I was expecting another! She always did love kids, and teaching. I bet she would have been overjoyed to help me with homeschooling. On a happier note, we live with my husbands parents (mother and father) - and they are both 80 years old and doing terrific!! They are also both wonderful people and easy to get along with.
  6. We just (JUST) started Rightstart A with my 3yo & 5yo last week and so far we are liking it! My 5yo is the reason I finally switched to RS - he was having a huge comprehension problem with "just winging it" math teaching and also Singapore... he'd do the problems and get them mostly correct but I'd ask him something like "what is 5 plus 1" or "what is anything plus 1" and he'd give me a blank stare and things would quickly go downhill from there :( I tried doing tally marks and having him do it with coins but nothing got through. I started RS at level A rather than the level B that he really "should" be at for two reasons. The main one is that he was having SO MUCH trouble with the basics that I wanted to start basics all over again (and pretend like we hadn't even tried before!). The secondary one is that he has a younger brother and I figured for awhile I could just do BOTH of them at the same time and get 2 for the time of 1 :). That way the younger wouldn't have the same math issues in a couple of years! I'm finding that so far they enjoy it. Level A is definitely way too low for the 5yo - but he is putting his own "twist" onto things and I am encouraging it, so he's still having fun. For instance, when they ask you to point out two of something in the room he'll point out 3 and tell me that if you take 1 away it would have been 2... which of course leads his brother to try the same thing (except he one-upped it by taking 2 away and leaving 1 - when I reminded him that we were looking for 2 of something he grinned and put another back, calmly advising me that all we had to do was add another). They seem to really enjoy doing it together. When we did sorting today as a capper I let them sort colored M&Ms (throwing in "extra" things for the older - like put them in groups of 3) and eat them after, which of course went over great. I've heard many times from many places that levels 1&2 of Saxon are not very good and should be skipped over, so we actually deliberately avoided them. In fact, I have level 3? Saxon and up (my FIL bought them when he homeschooled my nephew for awhile) and will likely use them in a few years, after we've finished at least RS B and maybe C. I'm liking the thought that the kids will learn to do better math, more mental and less memory, than I did! Laura
  7. LovedtoDeath - I know this is coming very late, but I couldn't help but see that you are having problems with pencil grip. How is that going nowadays? I only ask because I have always had a very odd pencil grip that everyone finds disturbing - several times in school I was forced to attempt to correct it. I never was able to write very well the "right way", but I remember getting extremely frustrated in school with teachers who felt it was their given duty to change me for the better... when my way was "the better" - for ME! Anyhow, I just wanted to point out that if she is having major issues because you are trying to change her grip and she was doing just fine before, you may want to consider just letting her do it the "wrong" way. :) My caveat - I do still insist that my kids learn to hold it the "right" way and they are doing well at it, so I do believe an early age is the best time for a forced switch! At 6, she's still young enough that I'd probably try to change it as well. However, by 8 or so if she is still having problems I personally would definitely just let well enough alone if she's writing well (I have the best handwriting in my family, probably, and absolutely LOVED writing growing up!). I honestly can't remember when I "went wrong" in my pencil holding, age wise, but I know I was fairly young when I was having teacher issues and it almost ruined my joy in writing (I can't even TELL you how frustrating it was to constantly have that dratted teacher hop over and grab my pencil and change it around - I'm over 30 and STILL bitter about it!!). As I grew a bit older, the teachers didn't care as much (I was a teachers pet sort, anyway) and if someone commented I was wise enough to just tell them "it works well enough for me".
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