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Everything posted by JennyD

  1. I agree. The competition with his brother isn't doing him any favors, but there are circumstances in which it can be better to hold out for a more in-field position.
  2. That IS a good idea. An excellent idea, actually! I think MIL would be delighted to do something 'educational' with them, now that I think about it. I suspect that part of the issue is that she's a bit insecure about her own tones/accuracy, despite being one of those amazing language people -- her native language is actually Fukienese, but she also knows Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalog, and her English is remarkably unaccented for someone who immigrated as an adult. But giving her some sort of concrete program to do with the children would likely ameliorate part of her worry that she is teaching them incorrectly. I'd still have to amplify this somehow, but the idea of having a native speaker (whether MIL or someone else) implement a program I choose is really an inspired idea. Thanks!
  3. Nope, nary a word. I can read some characters, thanks to all those years of Japanese, but beyond that I got nothing. As I mentioned in passing above, I can read French, but not really speak it. I am not at all averse to outsourcing this, and we can afford to do that a bit, but it's so difficult to figure out which classes or lessons are actually worth the $$$ without trying them first.
  4. After years of nudging my American-born Chinese DH, not to mention my Chinese-born ILs, to speak to the children in Cantonese, I have finally come to the conclusion that if my children are going to learn a foreign language, I am going to have to teach them myself. MIL tries but constantly slips into English, FIL won't even try, and DH feels it's too constraining, too tiring, and in the final analysis he just doesn't think it's worth it. He is a devoted father and teaches them so many other things, but Cantonese just isn't going to be one of them. So, onward! My DS5 has been asking to learn a foreign language so he "can speak to people who don't speak English," which seems like a perfectly reasonable request, and presumably this is something we should be doing anyway. Alas, I am not much help here -- I used to live in Japan and speak Japanese reasonably well (or at least I used to) and I read French, but I am definitely not truly fluent in either of these languages. I am also not especially keen on Japanese as a first language choice, as it's both (1) really hard; and (2) not all that useful, IME. Mandarin Chinese is probably the best choice, since at least MIL can speak it, FIL can read it (Cantonese and Mandarin share a written language), and it's not at all implausible that we'll at least visit China some day. But how to proceed? A tutor? A class? A purchased curriculum? How do I sort through the hype and figure out what's really worthwhile? If I want to outsource this, there are literally dozens of classes and schools here (NYC) that offer children's language classes, all of them claiming to offer the One True Path to fluency, and nearly all of them costing an arm and a leg. Home study programs are much cheaper, of course, but how best to choose between them? Is tutoring useful at this age or is that more appropriate for an older child? Any suggestions more than appreciated!
  5. We have window units in our apartment and they seem to be getting the job done, although our electricity bill this month is going to be horrific. I've been taking the kids to the sprinkler park and they seem perfectly comfortable in the heat. Me, at 35 weeks pregnant, not so much.
  6. That's great to hear! I got a copy of the book and have been comparing it to a few other curricula -- I think we're going to give BFSU a try.
  7. We've got a week left for this year still. New baby due mid-August so we'll start again either mid- or late-September.
  8. >For instance, if someone wanted to visit a mosque or a synagogue or a... what do they call the meeting places of Buddhists? Temples? I don't know about mosques, but anyone can generally just show up for services at a synagogue (with the exception of a couple of major holidays like Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, when many synagogues require tickets). That said, the services of the different Jewish denominations are very different. A Reform or Reconstructionist service will be the most accessible to a non-Jew; a Conservative service will be a lot of Hebrew but you should be able to follow what's going on to some extent, and an Orthodox service will be quite different (men and women sit separately, for one thing). I also don't know what the rules are for carrying things into an Orthodox synagogue on the Sabbath (when observant Jews don't carry things, drive, turn on lights, etc.) -- that would be something to check into first.
  9. I have two very energetic boys (2.5 and 5), and we have always lived in small NYC apts. Yelling and/or running around the apartment is out, not only for space reasons, but also because it disturbs the neighbors (as I remind them only about a thousand times a day). IME, there is just no substitute for getting outside and running around. We go to the playground just about every day, unless it is pouring or someone is sick. In the winter I bundle them (and myself) up and they run around on the deserted playground while I sip hot coffee out of a thermos, and in the summer I lather them up with sunblock, take them to the sprinkler park, and jostle the other parents/nannies for a coveted spot in the shade. I can't say that I enjoy doing this in the cold or the heat, but it's still better then trying to deal with the kids in the apartment all day. It's a real shame that your local park isn't usable, but if you can drive to a decent park I would prioritize doing that as often as possible. With my kids, at least, it makes all the difference in the world in their behavior. Since you also have some outside space, I'd say try to run them around that as much as you can. Kick a ball and have them chase it, have them sprint from one end to the other, see if their older sister is willing to play keep-away. A sandbox is nice and my kids love playing in them, but it's a little too sedentary for getting out the ya-yas, I think.
  10. I'm also Jewish and find religious proselytizing to be a profoundly foreign notion, but as I have learned more about Christian theology I take it little less personally. I think it really does go to core differences between the religions, particularly with respect to the role of faith. That said, although I do understand that people mean well, I find it so strange to be urged to consider conversion. It's like someone urging me to consider having a sex-change operation.
  11. I'm an agnostic Jew, DH is agnostic and unaffiliated, we're raising the kids as Jewish. We're at the beginning of our homeschool journey (oldest is 5) but emphatically secular. However, we are moving next year from NYC to the Bible Belt and I am wondering and worrying about how this is all going to shake out. Oh, and I so wish I believed in homeopathy! It would be so much more convenient.
  12. We're moving to Nashville (from NYC) next May.
  13. Jennifer, thanks for your very clear explanation upthread about why that 'statement of faith' wouldn't work for a Catholic. I'm Jewish so all of this is a bit alien to me, but very interesting. I wouldn't join a homeschool group with a heavily Christian bent in the first place, so the statement of faith business seems rather beside the point for me personally, but I can see why it might be controversial among Christians.
  14. This is such a great idea. If we had a yard I would SO do this! I have yet to figure out a decent way to keep my 2.5 yo occupied. He wants to do what the older one is doing, but of course he can't quite manage that and gets frustrated, but then if I give him something else to do -- a puzzle, stickers, etc. -- the 5yo gets completely distracted and wants to do that, too. Half the time we wind up doing our school stuff at 6:30 am before DH leaves the house, so he can keep the little one occupied as he gets ready. Not an ideal long-term solution, I must say.
  15. We're in NYC, so although our local branch library only has a handful, I can put anything in the entire city system on hold through the library website. The library system here is a truly amazing resource, for sure.
  16. My 5yo has almost finished reading the entire Boxcar Children series (all 120+ of them) and it has been like his own personal unit study curriculum. He has gone down innumerable rabbit trails with this series, constantly asking for more library books about this or that subject, all related to whichever Boxcar Children book he happens to be reading at the moment. Those books have been a terrific educational experience for him; I'm only sad that it's coming to an end!
  17. Looking at the website -- are all of these groups explicitly Christian?
  18. I have nothing useful to add, but I wanted to say that this has been an incredibly helpful thread for me, too. Thanks for starting it!
  19. This is not directly responsive to your question, so if it's unhelpful I apologize, but my son learned all the Presidents in order amazingly quickly from a placemat. I think I got it from Rainbow Resources.
  20. Thanks! Paige, what sort of access to the outdoors would you say is necessary to do your program? Also, the link to sample pages on the website doesn't seem to be working.
  21. Thanks so much for all of the suggestions! I am definitely going to investigate BFSU and some of the others mentioned here. Someone on another thread suggested Elemental Science (http://elementalscience.com/) -- anyone familiar with this?
  22. No, I hadn't seen that -- thanks very much for the link! We live in a no-pets apartment in the middle of New York City, so I'm looking for something that's hands-on but doesn't emphasize, say, digging up worms in the back yard.
  23. >*every single Magic Schoolbus science kit (and lots of supplementary picture books) for a "science sampler" How did this work out? I am looking for a low-key but reasonably organized science curriculum for my K'er next year.
  24. I've gotten such great suggestions from this board -- could anyone possibly recommend a good secular science curriculum for kindergarten? I'm looking for something low-key but relatively structured, feasible to do with my 5yo for a short while 2-3 times a week with a toddler underfoot and a newborn hanging off of me. Also, we live in a no-pets apartment on the 16th floor in the middle of the concrete jungle, so all of those charming science activity books that begin, "Go dig up worms in your backyard" tend not to be so great for us. Thanks so much!
  25. My older son trained shortly before he turned three -- and about two weeks after his younger brother was born. Once he saw the baby wearing diapers he was ready to be done. At 5yo, though, he is still not night trained. He stays dry because we take him to the bathroom while asleep in the middle of the night, but he never, ever wakes up on his own. My younger son, now 2.5, trained immediately after he turned two. I did almost nothing; it was all about wanting to be like his big brother. He also stays dry at night and regularly wakes up when he has to go. (I keep him in pullups, though, because his older brother has to wear them and I just can't open that can of worms.) FWIW, I know lots of folks have great success with the run-around-pantless thing, but it completely freaked my older son out. He did MUCH better with the security of pullups. #2, OTOH, was happy as a clam to run around sans pants.
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