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  1. Math Seeds (from the people that created Reading Eggs) I haven't tried it yet. Also, I believe that it might not go past 3rd grade math - I keep meaning to check it out because I received a free trial in the mail, but *shrugs* my oldest it fairly beyond it and my youngest doesn't like to play on the computer. My oldest likes to play : http://www.fun4thebrain.com/ - but they're just for fun, not for learning. PS - Timezattack (which is free) is awesome too, but can be frustrating if your child isn't fast using a keyboard (or uses a non-standard laptop keyboard without a number pad)
  2. I thought that my eldest might have been able to start STOW last year at 5.75, but my youngest would have only been 4.25 (yay decimals!). After looking at all of the fun activities and stuff, I'm glad that I waited. Kit definitely wouldn't have gotten as much out of it last Sept and Mim wouldn't have gotten anything out of it at all (beyond perhaps an everlasting hatred of history). We wound up doing little mini units on prehistoric times, Rome/Greece (mostly gods/goddesses/culture) and Egypt just because they came up in every day life (because of MEP's roman numerals and the statues & mummies @ the Met museum & listening to the SOTW audio books in the car). I feel like it gave them both a taste, without overwhelming them. If you're anxious to get started, why not play the audio CDs on car trips and then if your child gets curious about something specifically then you can get a few books from the library, watch a few documentaries, get some coloring pages from the internet or pick up some toys or activity books relating to the topic from amazon (or the local library again - but mine is sort of sparse on activity books). Good luck! edited for clarity :D
  3. I think that it's just expensive for what you actually get. Every time I go to buy it I look at what's included and just decide that I could just throw something together myself.... but then I never do ;) I remember reading this thread two years ago about it, I take long breaks from the forums though, so perhaps it's been discussed in depth since then : http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/245063-which-one-little-passports-or-top-secret/
  4. Oh my goodness!! You weren't kidding, I just wasted the last hour and a half doing a set of 5 challenges :D That was so fun.
  5. Definitely the library. But barring that, perhaps Barnes and Nobles if you're a member and you happen to have a 20% off coupon handy. That's how I bought mine.
  6. Ah, I love reading those Saxon math threads, but the history threads are my absolute favorites for hyper-hyperbole and simply blatant off-topicism (yes, I totally made that word up ;)). Seriously though, don't take it personally, this is just one of THOSE topics. It's not you.
  7. Hunter brings up a very good point - I fall on the explicit end of the spectrum, but lefties DO need accommodations to make handwriting (and scissor use, can opening, etc) easier. We can do it the 'hard' way, but why should we have to? I teach both of my (right handed) children explicit handwriting instruction. I also received explicit instruction as a child. Proper letter formation truly does make writing easier (as well as the transition into cursive imho, although I use a demi-script in my every day writing). However, outside of how to hold a pencil and the initial formation of the letters I would do whatever is the most comfortable for your child. As a side note, I actually hold my paper horizontally with the top of the page facing my right arm to write. I can then hold the pencil and write comfortably with my arm in an L without smearing my pencil marks or holding my hand in that crab form that is so common with lefties. It seems so odd to people who watch me write, but I *hated* having my ink or pencil smearing all over the place (and actually, it's far easier -- for me -- than holding the page vertically or at a minor slant like most righties do). Lefties do weird things with their paper and sometimes with how they hold their hands when writing - it's okay. It won't make their handwriting poor nor should it adversely affect them in the future. I respect Mrs. Spalding, but the only time that I've ever produced dyslexic letters or have trouble with left to right reading processing is when I write with my right hand.
  8. Everyone has put it so nicely, I'll just chime in to say that I've really enjoyed doing BFSU with the girls. I had to reformat it into something a bit more useful for me, but other than that (relatively minor) nitpick I think that it's been great for us. I definitely haven't found anything that I like better. It really does seem to build a solid foundation. We take about 3 weeks per unit for a few months and then I drop it for about 4mos to do nature study/gardening, sometimes we drop it longer than we should (I think that it might take us longer than 3 years, but we started super early) and happily they both seem to retain the info through the breaks :). Once you get over the wall of text style presentation I'm sure that you'll like it too. Don't be afraid of it - it hasn't taken me more than an hour of prep every couple of weeks or so (assuming that you don't accelerate through it). If you'd like to see how we handled the first few segments I put up what we did on my blog. It's not very organized, but maybe it'll be helpful to you: http://lovelearnplay.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/bfsu-ab-1/
  9. The materials that they use in school to teach in Mexico are available online: http://basica.sep.gob.mx/reformaintegral/sitio/index.php?act=buscadorlibros An explanation of how to access them in English: http://www.mommymaestra.com/2013/04/free-pdfs-of-spanish-textbooks-for.html They're pretty wonderful imho, although we're no where near being able to use them ourselves yet ;)
  10. I'm a little late -- but WELCOME!! :) There are so many helpful, wonderful people on these boards who are happy to share their knowledge. I don't know what I'd do without them.
  11. I'm a lefty and I cross them right to left. It's much easier for us to do it this way, and it hasn't affected my cursive.
  12. I'd second listening to the audio book in the car wherever you go and perhaps you could also pick the most fun activity out of the three chapters that you hope to finish each week and doing it so that they're not feeling like it's work, but something fun. It'll be work for you over break, but if your kids like projects it'll just feel like you've got this awesome treat for them each week over the summer.
  13. Writing fan fiction about My Little Ponies (the original TV series) is actually how Lauren Faust got her position on the MLP: Friendship is Magic team. So, if she's looking to potentially be a screenwriter or something like that it might be a wonderful idea to treat it as schoolwork as long as she is open as people have said to having it graded and/or assessed.
  14. I've got the planning down, my love of spreadsheets notwithstanding I wound up sticking it all into MSWord for history ;) I wish that I could figure out a better format for it all, but the plan is to choose some online activities, a hands-on activity or two, lapbooking & some coloring pages, and 2-3 books each week to read from the library -- I've set it all up together in files for each week. I'm still a bit nervous about how exactly it's going to work, but at least I've got a plan right... Right?!!?! ;) It should be a ton of fun. Here's a link to the start of them - I've got 35 of the 45 weeks that we're going to be doing up so far: http://lovelearnplay.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/week-1-the-earliest-people/ I just wish that I could have come up with more lapbook ideas, I got to about Sargon and my mind just went totally blank - but I've still got two months, so maybe I'll be able to whip up a couple more :D.
  15. That article is very cool Kathryn. For better or worse, my opinion about the Harding family changed when their children being unremarkable/normal became a product claim rather than a self-effacement. Going to college (even a bad one) at age 12 is an accomplishment. One that I genuinely believe that most 12 year olds are developmentally incapable of achieving regardless of any advantage given to them by their parents. To claim otherwise does in fact diminish the Harding's claims about their future product and send up warning signs for me. I think that using their claims as a basis to discuss efficiencies in education are going to keep returning to a debate about the Hardings themselves. However, I would really love to read a discussion about the benefits of efficiency and acceleration. That would be an amazing thread.
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