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  1. Progressive Phonics is working for my similar-sounding boy. We had been slogging through OPGTR and, before that, tried Dancing Bears. Progressive Phonics has made him cheerful and pleasant about reading again. www.progressivephonics.com - it's free, so that's nice, too.
  2. Hi Roadrunner (sorry, never got a notification that you were curious!) & Mimicoto, Okay, what we are using right now for Amis 2 is this: Livre de l'élève. Cahier d'activités Guide Pédagogique Classroom 3 CD Set (comme ça: http://www.amazon.fr/gp/product/209032774X?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00) It's probably about $120 for the whole set, and it will likely last the whole year. The CDs are the most expensive part, but while my accent is pretty good for a non-native, hearing the native speakers at normal speaking pace has been vitally helpful all these years. I ordered the components from Amazon.fr, as they had all the pieces I needed, and it was just as simple as could be. It does take forever to arrive, but I ordered at the beginning of the summer and we had them in hand with plenty of time to spare. I would have to say it's pretty difficult to suggest a placement. And actually, I'm not sure at all what we'll do when/if my dd decides to take an outsourced French class. So far, the books are reading/writing/speaking intensive, but not in the traditional grammar-first way that textbook language learning often is. For example, this year dd has covered passé composé, futur proche, and beginning phonetic orthographie fundamentals. It's a cool mix of usable language and deep language learning. BUT, she's not practicing conjugations at the level that I remember at her age. Anyway, I've talked plenty, so let me know if there are more questions and I'll do my best.
  3. We got one when my (very motivated and probably a future engineer) ds was 5. He needs help with the reading side of things, so it's usually a mama and kid project. Once we downloaded the Kano OS instead of Raspbian, it did become something he could delve into a bit more independently. I highly recommend the Kano experience, especially for younger kids. You can either buy their full Kano kit, or a regular Raspberry Pi and download their OS from their website. We haven't done much with the hardware abilities yet, but during winter break, I think we might work on making it into a Gameboy-type console.
  4. I don't have any experience with the Elenco set, but Make:Electronics has been a great experience for me and my ds. Electronics are his passion (says he), so the book's guidance from licking a battery on up through switches, capacitors, etc. has been a phenomenal grounding in the basics he'll need as he gets more experienced. At 12, your ds will likely get more out of the written content than my ds currently does. Bonus points towards independence and ease of use: if you get the components packs from the Maker Shed, you won't even have to drive around to electronics stores for all the parts.
  5. *IF* you are fluent-ish (not necessarily native-speaker level, but pretty knowledgeable), we love two different publishers' programs: The CLÉ materials (French publisher) Alex et Zoe and Amis et Compagnie form the path my daughter has taken. This year, in 7th Grade, she is practice testing for the DELF A1 and is doing really well. I feel like the CLÉ materials have given her a solid, working fluency. The CD recordings are fantastically well-implemented, and there's a good scaffolding from learning to speak/listen to beginning to study the underlying grammar. Alex et Zoe is their mid-elementary curric, while Amis is their middle school level. We're in Amis level 2, after 3 years with Alex et Zoe, starting in 4th grade. For my 1st grader, though, we switched publishers to Didier, because their early elementary level was way more appealing to my probably-future-engineer son than the CLÉ Les Petites Grenouilles. Didier's early elem level is called Ludo et Ses Amis and so far, it's pretty much perfect. Ludo is a robot, which was the big draw. ;)
  6. My DD11 is in Book B of A&P, and it seems like there is a bit more usage instruction than I was expecting. It's teeny-tiny bites of teaching, and it's done in the same "over learning" way that the spelling is done, but hey, punctuation is a parallel weakness for her, so I guess it's a good approach. So far, I haven't seen true grammar teaching, but we're relatively early in the book. As far as the spelling instruction goes, I'm thoroughly happy with A&P. My DD is not magically "cured" of spelling problems, but she's SO MUCH more legible these days. She's a fantastic writer, but geez it was hard to read her work until just recently. Now I don't have to work so hard at decoding her spelling inventions, so we're getting somewhere.
  7. Though I only know Skoldo from a sample, we've used Alex et Zoe through levels 1 & 2 and are 1/3 of the way through level 3. From what I just saw in Skoldo, it looks very kid-friendly. At first, my gut reaction was that it might be more appropriate for a really little kid. But the further I went, the more it *seemed* that workbook work was very integral to the learning. Here's a summary of the things I like about Alex et Zoe. • Alex et Zoe is focused on language acquisition through a natural language avenue • Alex et Zoe can be used without the workbook easily for the first year, and probably most of the second year. • Alex et Zoe is written and published in France, and their CDs feature multiple representative accents (e.g. Croquetout, the ogre, speaks with a Northern accent, I'm reasonably sure), which has really worked my daughter's ability to understand the language from more than just my accent (non-native, but pretty good). • It's a French as a second language curriculum, so it also has a *LOT* of side lessons about what it is to be French. For example, it is the reason we now celebrate the French Epiphany, with a Galette Des Rois with fêve inside. The tradition was explained thoroughly and not really for vocabulary's sake, and my daughter really took it on as something we should do, for the sake of learning Frenchness. Do note, though, that you will need to be reasonably fluent to use A&Z, as the Guide Pedagogique is necessary to get the most out of the materials and it's entirely French. We've liked it so well that we'll continue with the next series after this one - Amis et Compagnie.
  8. It's all a careful balancing act for us. Twice a week, my kids spend 4 hours at a public school parent partnership program. This has definitely meant that I must must must be strategic, yet realistic, about what we do at home. That loss of 8 hours a week is great for my sanity, in some ways, but not in others. It means that our homeschool must be whittled down to what is most important to our family. Two foreign languages? Yes. Home-driven science? No, even though we LOVE science and engineering here. (they do science at the school program) Anything other than math or languages that need 5 days a week to 'finish?' Nope. On the (big) up side, this compromise has forced me to become more dynamic and creative as a teacher, and a better planner. My (introvert) kids enjoy the program and I am valuing the time to myself (yay, avoiding burnout for me!), otherwise we'd be happy to be all-home homeschoolers. I do reevaluate every semester whether it's still working. So far, after 5 years, it is.
  9. We had a similar scenario play out at our house. My ds agreed to go the first lesson, but was brought to me about 2/3 of the way through the lesson since he wasn't willing to do any of the activities. He would just say "no, I am not doing that" in a pleasant, but firm, way. The second lesson we didn't even make it out of the locker room and he said he wasn't going to do it. Knowing when I'm beat, I just withdrew him from lessons. I was frustrated, but ultimately, we have family history on his side: *I* refused to swim until I was about 6.25, my brother did the same, and my 10yoDD ALSO didn't actually get anything out of lessons until then. Where we live, there are all these little three year olds who can full-on swim, so there's a lot of pressure that I work hard to get over...but I didn't want this to be a hill to die on, for either of us. So, in short, what does it matter if he won't go? He's afraid now, but he won't be forever, probably. Try it and see. And good luck to both of you! Whatever happens, I'm sure you'll both be fine. :)
  10. We're doing both Latin and French, having added Latin in February after 1.5 years of French, and my dd is actually getting better at French since adding Latin. In short, I agree with MiMi - Latin reinforces French.
  11. They're definitely not too young for a 15yo. The beauty is that they are basically building blocks - they do individual actions, but what they do together depends on the person 'doing.' So my son might be happy making an LED light up, but my daughter would take the LED and the pressure sensor and turn it into some sort of light up doorbell that's activated by a minifig standing on the doormat for a Lego house.
  12. They're great - my creative 10yo likes them (they're actually hers), and my mechanical/engineering-minded 4yo LOVES them. Because of the magnetic attachments, they are easy to do the "right way," which means the creative idea is the focus, not the "how do I get these to connect correctly" part being the focus. Lots of neat components, and the website has great suggestions and project plans.
  13. Well, heck. And there I thought I was so clever! Sorry you're not having any luck. Maybe my reply/bump will help you get someone who does have them.
  14. Try this: http://web.archive.org/web/20130720030135/http://thatresourcesite.com/ The Internet archive/wayback machine appears to have what you need! Good luck.
  15. I just downloaded the trial myself, for pretty much the same reasons (not MCT, but other writing assignments). Kidspiration ought to be a good solution, I'm thinking, as I know from experience working for the company (so take this with a grain of salt) that it's used very successfully by lots of kids for organizing thoughts visually and then working from the generated outline. I'm going to start my very own test case with my (dysgraphic, ADHD, gifted) 9yo this week, so I guess I'll see for myself. Short answer - download the 30 day free trial and try it. If it doesn't work, no money spent. If it does work, yippee! And PM me if you have questions about getting started; I did work as their tech support person for a long time, so I still have a bunch of the answers in my head still.
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