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Everything posted by skueppers

  1. My philosophy is that it's fine for young kids to be engaged in academic activities, but I prefer not to require any type of academic work until they are official K age. So I would certainly have academic activities available for the interested child, but I would not say, "OK, it's time for a reading lesson!" I would wait for the child to come and ask me for a reading lesson. I basically don't require a child to learn anything academic as preschoolers, not even letters and numbers (though mine both did learn these things anyway). Once they are official K age, I believe in required schoolwork, at a level that meets the child where they are.
  2. I agree with Rainefox, it sounds from your post as if you never go anywhere! Playdates, homeschool groups, swimming, library visits, museums, the zoo, scouts... there are tons of ways to get out of the house! Personally, I think most kids benefit from getting out of the house every day.
  3. I have the same problem with my 4 1/2 year old. Here are the solutions I've implemented: * Computer time. He's obsessed with Reading Eggs right now (available cheap from the homeschool buyers co-op). His sister got a lot out of this site when she was his age. * Mazes * Workbooks, particularly "I Can Cut" * Mighty Mind * Mini LüK * Pattern blocks * Play-doh I have set up a "school space" for him in a room across the hall from the room where I work with his sister. There are two doors in between that I leave open most of the time, but can close if she is having trouble concentrating.
  4. This question really threw me for a loop. I'm not that familiar with the Handwriting Without Tears method, but when I took a look at some samples, I can see why this is confusing. I think the problem is that the join is completely vertical, which makes the "hump" before the letter actually begins look just like the humps in the actual letter. That probably makes it hard to see the difference between the join and the letter. In most cursive hands, the join before an m or n is a diagonal line, with a fairly sharp angle when the m or n begins. I jotted down a couple of words (see attached image) in the style of cursive my daughter has been studying, and you'll notice that the joins between the u and the m or n don't really resemble the "humps" that make up the m or n. The words, by the way, are: stomp stumble on run I realize some of the other letters may be difficult to decipher, since they're not typical of the cursive hands normally seen in this country. But I think the joins between other letters and the m and n are fairly standard.
  5. Saxon has a few problems related to the current lesson before the mixed practice sets, and the explanations seem clear to me. You might have her take a look.
  6. I would teach math, history, and science. I would teach writing, literature, etc. In the context of those subjects.
  7. I have used a cursive curriculum/workbook this summer with my daughter for two main reasons: 1) The curriculum is in German and follows onto the German curriculum we used during the school year. Therefore, it contains useful exercises relating to the German language, a subject I do feel the need to use curriculum materials for. 2) The style of cursive she wanted to learn is one I never learned as a child. I spent the school year learning it myself, but I would not have wanted my rendition of it to be the model she initially learned from. We have been making it a point to do it together, so I get more practice with all of the details. I do feel confident writing her copywork out in this script by now, though. Oh, and she also likes workbooks. :)
  8. We focused on reading, handwriting, math, and German. We certainly did a lot of other things (and have a generally educational lifestyle -- our family spends a lot of time playing board games, visiting museums, going on nature hikes, gardening, discussing current events, etc.), but we made it a point to spend time on these core subjects every school day.
  9. My 4 1/2 year old son really likes MiniLüK: http://www.timberdoodle.com/Beyond_123_s/409.htm Note that you need a controller and books for it, for example the "Critical Thinking Pack" or the "Concentration Pack". He also likes the "I Can Cut" workbook: http://www.amazon.com/Can-Cut-Skills-Little-Hands/dp/0769653626/ He thinks Kumon maze workbooks are too easy, so I print out mazes for him from: http://www.worksheetworks.com/ You might also take a look at Mighty Mind: http://mightymind.com/
  10. I posted our Kindergarten schedule on another recent thread: http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?t=301585 I don't think it's unusual for a 5-year-old to need a lot of breaks!
  11. Glad you got it working! I'm not left-handed, but I would think that in the Pelikano Junior, a left-handed person would need a left-handed pen. The grip on the pen is specific to the needed finger positions. I don't think it matters for other fountain pens, like the regular Pelikano. I have never seen a specific left-handed fountain pen after the beginner level.
  12. Before you do anything else, try dipping the nib in water and see if that fixes it. If it works for a while and then stops working, send it back -- Pelikanos are known for their reliable ink flow, so while it's occasionally necessary to have to do something to get it going initially, it should just keep working after that. My daughter's Pelikano Junior writes perfectly even if it hasn't been used in a couple of weeks.
  13. I can see how you read it this way, and I apologize for being insufficiently clear. I really wasn't trying to suggest that women who choose to spend time on their appearance don't do these things -- I was trying to give examples of the kinds of things that I, personally, would rather spend my time doing, instead of shopping, putting on makeup, blow-drying my hair, getting my hair cut, shaving my legs, etc. All I meant when I said that my values were obviously different from the original poster's is that she clearly does value putting time and energy into her appearance, and I don't. There was no judgment attached to this statement in my mind, but I can certainly see why it came across that way in what I wrote. In the second section of my post, I was not speaking about the choices individual women make, but rather about societal pressure and its negative effect on women collectively. I don't think that the time any individual woman spends on her appearance is particularly significant in the grand scheme of things. However, when you add it all up -- yes, it's a big deal. If women spend, on average, 15 more minutes per day on their appearance than men, that adds up to over 90 hours per year per woman -- it only takes 22 women's 90 annual hours of "appearance time" to make an entire work year for one person. Of course I'm not suggesting that if women weren't spending their time on their appearance, they would necessarily be spending their time on anything in particular. But I think it's worth considering that, in the absence of pressure to look a certain way, some women probably would spend some of that time doing things that would have positive effects on our society as a whole.
  14. Because it's all about your values. I do not value spending time on my appearance. I think it is more important and valuable for me to spend my time reading a book, playing a board game, spending time with my husband and children, etc. Obviously, your values are different. My mother was a hard-core feminist who emphasized cleanliness and neatness, but not "attractiveness." She viewed the pressure to be "attractive" as degrading to women. I tend to agree with her -- the amount of time and energy women spend on hair, makeup, shopping for clothes, worrying about their weight, and other aspects of "attractiveness" is staggering. Imagine what women could collectively accomplish if all that energy were used for other things! Oh, and I don't wear sweats or dirty clothes with holes in them. I brush my hair (which my husband cuts for me about once a year) every day. I use soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, and sunscreen. But I never wear makeup, and I buy very basic clothes.
  15. The per pupil spending in my school district is almost $15,000. For that amount of money, I really do think the schools should be providing the teachers with everything they need to run their classrooms. I remember when I was in elementary school, the supplies needed were very basic. Pencils, crayons, maybe a protractor and a compass as time went on. The school certainly supplied things like tissues, soap, and chalk! It seems to me that asking parents to pay for these things is a way of correcting for dysfunction in the administration of the school system. If the school system genuinely cannot afford to buy teachers the supplies needed, then perhaps the school system needs to find ways to reduce costs. Either that, or we need higher taxes. Part of the point of public education is that we all pay for it, not just those parents who have kids currently attending the school.
  16. I just looked up what my first grader would be expected to bring if she were going to public school: 1 pocket portfolio 4 composition notebooks Glue: liquid or glue sticks That's it! I can't imagine it would cost me more than $10, even if I didn't shop the sales. They also request a donation of one box of tissues and one bottle of hand sanitizer, but it's clearly optional. The second graders are expected to bring pencils -- I wonder what the first graders write with?
  17. Oh, right! I forgot to mention the annoying ads! This is making me nostalgic for the World magazine of my youth.
  18. Last year for K, our core school time was: Math - 30 minutes German/handwriting - 30 minutes Break - 30 minutes (snack and part of a nature documentary) Memory work - 5 minutes Reading - 15-30 minutes (got longer as the year went on) Social Studies, writing, art, music, or science - 30 minutes She also read at bedtime, and we did a lot of things outside these hours that were educational in nature.
  19. Just a word of caution: if you've never seen a copy of this magazine, you might want to find one before subscribing. My daughter got a gift subscription this year, and I'm really not a fan. There's very little text and a lot of seemingly random content. My daughter likes it okay, but she's not jumping up and down with enthusiasm, either. It definitely seems like it's geared to compete with cartoons as an entertainment medium, rather than being meant for kids who might actually like to learn something in more depth.
  20. What did you do to help her memorize the math facts in the first place, and what did you do over summer break to keep it from getting forgotten? I think knowing what you've already tried will help generate ideas of where to go next. To tell you what I have done, I had my daughter do math drills (flashcard type, but on the iPod touch) for six months or more to help with addition/subtraction fact memorization. Once she seemed to have it solidly down, I made sure she had opportunities to use the facts in math problems several times a week, plus we played lots of games that required arithmetic. This summer, the longest break we have taken from formal math work was one week. This seems to be working for us.
  21. I'm not familiar with ETC specifically, but I would be more inclined to continue a phonics/reading program rather than starting grammar, spelling, handwriting, etc. Reading is the most fundamental language arts skill, so that is where I would put my time and energy until fluency is achieved. If she's already a strong reader (reads books like Magic Tree House independently, as an example), then moving on to some other skill for your afterschooling endeavors seems reasonable.
  22. It seems to me that knowing what your goals are is the most important issue. What do you want your child to learn this year? My personal priorities are fluent reading and fluent handwriting, so I would pick materials and methods that further those goals. But your goals may be different!
  23. It's not really "dumbing him [or any other child] down" to emphasize skills and activities other than reading, writing, and math in the preschool years. There are lots of other worthwhile things for young kids to do, which will help them succeed academically and in life. For example: Improving fine motor skills with cutting and pasting, coloring, mazes, dot-to-dots and play-doh Listening to stories read aloud Learning songs Learning another language Learning to swim, ride a bike, or other physical skills Doing puzzles Playing board and card games Experiencing the natural world Gardening Baking I tend to think these are the most appropriate kinds of things for most preschoolers to be doing anyway.
  24. I agree, if he's going to public school for Kindergarten, check out the VPK curriculum standards, and don't offer formal instruction that goes too far beyond that. Of course it's great to follow his interests, etc. -- you just don't want him entering school too far ahead unless it's coming from inside of him. This appears to be a draft of the new version of the standards: http://www.fldoe.org/earlylearning/pdf/StandardsSurvey.pdf
  25. It's because of the e-ink technology. The whole screen goes black to "reset" the screen; otherwise you would start seeing shadows of previous text. I have a e-reader that lets you choose how often it does a full-page refresh (the Pocketbook 360 -- this one or others from the same company may be a good choice if you plan to read mainly public-domain ebooks). The iPad, Nook Color, and other tablet PC's don't do this, but the backlight may cause other kinds of problems, like eyestrain.
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