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Everything posted by skueppers

  1. I did a Schultüte for my daughter last year and will do one for my son next year. Hers had maze books, her favorite popcorn, a couple of fiddle toys, fruit leather, stickers... I don't think I put much in the way of actual school supplies in it. :)
  2. I know this isn't exactly what you mean, but since I don't know of anything inexpensive (the learning box is about $50 a month and I've heard good things about it), I've had good success with the books "I Can Cut" and "I Can Paste". I Can Paste requires someone to help with cutting out, but my six-year-old likes doing that part for her brother. The paper is high quality and the projects are fun. The same series also has other books like "I Can Trace."
  3. While I can certainly see your point, if we all pursued every one of our talents to their fullest extent, we would be busy beyond belief! Everyone makes choices about which of their talents to emphasize.
  4. Incidentally, whether or not she is "a natural" and has "great form" do not seem like good reasons for her to study dance. Similarly, whether the class itself is a good class and the teacher a good teacher don't seem like good reasons. Being good at something doesn't obligate a person to pursue that thing. I knew a family once who had two children, one who was passionate about the piano, and one who was an extremely talented pianist (eventually attended an elite music academy before giving up the instrument). The one who was passionate got much more joy from the study of piano, even though the other was better at it in every way. In my own life, any love of playing music I ever had was completely obliterated by being required to study an instrument of someone else's choice for a decade. I was eventually permitted to choose a different instrument -- but not to give up the original instrument. That situation was even worse. There is nothing about dance that makes it inherently more beneficial for kids than other physical activities, like martial arts, tumbling, or swimming. This is why I argued in favor of letting her choose between dance and something else. If she really does love dance, then she will either choose it from the outset or return to it after a short time away. If she doesn't love it, why not give her a chance to find out what she does love?
  5. My kids have very limited patience for listening to read-alouds, so for the most part, we aren't reading chapter books out loud right now. My daughter prefers to read chapter books for herself. Anyway, I read history and stories for 10-15 minutes during our morning circle time; my daughter is usually OK with it and my son is bored out of his mind. I read entries from a German children's encyclopedia over dinner. She likes it, he is bored. At bedtime, she usually reads to herself and an adult reads to him. As far as I can tell, he is far more interested in the pictures than in listening to the words. No matter how passionately interested in the topic he is, his eyes glaze over if there are too many words to listen to. Obviously, these kids are not auditory learners. I would gladly read for long periods of time, but that just doesn't work here.
  6. My daughter is almost 7 and in first grade. She can do it, but the sentence would not necessarily be about the main topic and would contain spelling and other errors. I read her two paragraphs about grasshoppers, and here was her sentence: ther are two kind's of grashopers. :) Well, it's the beginning of first grade, what can I say?
  7. MEP is fine on its own. My daughter was really frustrated with it after a while, so I pulled out Math Mammoth. She did Math Mammoth for most of last year, Singapore over the summer, and now I'm sneaking MEP in around the edges. :)
  8. I think I would look for an alternative class offered at the Y that was about equivalent in cost and convenience, and let her pick. If she really wanted to try something else (Judo, for example), then let her try it -- she can always resume dance next semester if she changes her mind. She also might well pick dance if given a choice between it and something else right now.
  9. This is actually a situation where I might let the kid help make the decision. I'm a big believer in being fair to my kids, and try really hard not to promise anything I can't deliver or go back on my promises. For me, the main issue here is that you promised her the preschool experience. If she wants to stay home and take a gymnastics class, great! But if she wants to go to preschool, it seems unfair to go back on the promise to send her if you can afford it, even if it's inconvenient.
  10. MM may not require any specific manipulatives, but there are a few places in the first grade material where manipulatives are needed. I remember the following being called for: * Some kind of stones or markers for a game involving identifying what has been taken away; I can't remember exactly when this came up. * An abacus when studying place value * A clock with gears when studying time Miquon, on the other hand, really cannot be done without Cuisenaire rods. I agree that they are very different programs. Math Mammoth works best for my daughter because of the step-by-step approach and lack of manipulatives. Maria Miller builds things up slowly, without requiring any big conceptual leaps. Miquon is less systematic in its presentation and much more focused on figuring things out. I've recently started playing Cuisenaire rod games with my younger child; perhaps he will click with Miquon in a way she didn't.
  11. Where's the guarantee that he'll be friends with the kids in his Kindergarten class, as compared to the kids in his other activities? Being in the same class doesn't guarantee friendship, either! If you want him to have a playground and sack lunches, go to a playground and bring lunch! Do you see any indication that he is jealous of the kids who go to public school? My kids sure aren't. They understand that going to school means you have to stay in your seat quietly even if you've finished the work, or have to stop before you're done because the time is up. That you always have to rush around in the morning getting ready. That you can't go to a playground in the middle of the day, visit a museum, or make an impromptu visit to Grandma's. They don't want to compete with 20 other kids for the teacher's attention -- one other kid is plenty!
  12. For both of my children, English is the stronger language. My daughter learned to read English first, and my son is on the same path. I started teaching my daughter to read German when she could read reasonably well in English, shortly before she turned six. I don't think it matters that much which she learns first, though it is probably easier for it to be her stronger language, unless she is being taught to read in school. No one ever taught me to read German; I just picked it up from being read to after I'd learned to read English.
  13. I essentially don't do chores during school time; school requires all of my attention. I'm sure when my kids are older, it will be a different story! Anyway, we have an area upstairs in amongst everyone's bedrooms that is set aside for school. We also do some reading and things in the living room, and some science in the kitchen/dining room.
  14. My husband is away from home about 47 hours a week. The other 121 hours a week, we are both "on duty" with the kids whenever they are awake, and jointly responsible for the household chores. I also work part-time from home when he is at home. We view doing things with the kids during the daytime as my primary responsibility; any housework that gets done is a bonus. He doesn't help much with homeschooling, because he's not generally home for it. If he takes the day off from work so I can go to an appointment or meeting, I leave a list of things to be done and he supervises the work. He does teach piano lessons, and participates fully in everything we do in the evening and on weekends (board games, soccer, museums, etc.)
  15. I'm not familiar with Happy Phonics, but I wouldn't get rid of it just yet. You may find it to be just the thing in a month or three. My daughter used three or four different approaches on her road to reading, and each was exactly the right thing for her at the time we were doing it. If money is a major concern, start with the free program/method. Once you have used it for a while, you will have a better idea what you want to do differently. For example, you could use MEP as your math curriculum, see how that went, and then make a change if needed. You can put together your own geography or history study using books from the library, and buy a planned-out program if you find that's not working for you.
  16. I'm not familiar with Rainbow Fairies, but my daughter wasn't ready for Magic Tree House until she could read books like Nate the Great at a sustained rate of 50 or 60 words per minute. Series she read before MTH included: Amelia Bedelia Nate the Great Young Cam Jansen Good luck!
  17. I spent about: 2 hours/week on math 2 hours per week on reading and writing German, which also incorporated penmanship 2 hours per week on reading English 30 minutes per week on writing English 2 hours per week on science and social studies, combined 30 minutes per week on music 1 hour per week on art At least 5 hours per week on PE Which adds up to less than an hour and a half of seatwork per day, since the other stuff didn't require sitting at a table/desk, or 2 hours a day if you include everything except PE. My daughter was an older Kindergartner; when she was younger we did not do required schoolwork.
  18. It seems to me that you're dealing with a maturity problem. She wants to do it her way, her way doesn't work, and then she melts down and won't do it your way. It's a good thing in the long run that she is working on figuring out what's right for her, as distinct from what people tell her she should do, even if it is frustrating! Personally, I would try I See Sam readers with her. This approach worked for a friend of mine whose daughter exhibited the same kind of behavior. It allows her to get more practice with reading decodable text, while also giving her a chance to mature a bit.
  19. I have not had trouble figuring out how to use the Blue Series as a core math curriculum. I originally planned to use it as a supplement, but my daughter really liked it, so we wound up using it all last year and plan to use it again this year. There is a table on the web site showing when to use which books. You can also look at the table of contents of the light blue books and match up the section names with the same sections in the blue books. I know that sounds like a pain, but it only took me 15 minutes to do it for the entire school year.
  20. When I was having trouble getting Erika to write the equations for word problems, I gave her word problems that required computations she didn't know how to do, and told her the assignment was to figure out the equation, not to get the answer. She became more willing to write out the equations after that, though I still can't get her to do certain problems the way I want her to do them. Not that I care how she does them if she has a reliable method that works, but she currently uses a method for these problems that is both harder and more error-prone than the method I want her to try. Argh.
  21. I'm really not sure what the benefit would be of using AAS with children who are in the place your kids are at with handwriting and reading. It's perfectly fine not to do everything at once! If I were in your shoes, I would focus on reading and handwriting. Spelling can be studied via AAS once you are finished with OPGTR and your kids have mastered letter formation and are able to do copywork.
  22. My husband and I both work in the IT field (very part time, in my case, since I mainly stay home with the kids these days), so we're generally positively disposed toward computers. Our kids have used computers since they were quite young -- sometime when they were two, I think. Of course they only use specific web sites and programs that I've made available to them, and only for an amount of time my husband and I specify.
  23. Miquon (all of it), Math Mammoth blue (all of it), MEP (I mostly just have electronic files of Reception and Year 1, and it's free, so I'm not sure if it counts), and the Singapore Intensive Practice 1b book.
  24. Ah! Well in that case, have you considered having them work on skill subjects separately? Maybe one could play an educational computer game while you work with the other? My four-year-old has been enjoying Reading Eggs lately (available through the Homeschool Buyers Co-op at a deep discount). I know some parents in this situation use entirely different curricular approaches with the two children, if they are worried that the kids will make negative comparisons.
  25. If you're doing reading at night, do you have a partner who could work with one child while you worked with the other? Perhaps you could alternate each night who worked with which kid? My husband and I split our kids up at bedtime, and it works well for everyone involved.
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