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Everything posted by ShutterBug

  1. Thanks so much for the input everyone! :001_smile: As I mentioned...I still do adhere to TWTM's philosophy on elementary writing..hence the written/oral narrations and dictations. We have used WWE in the past...I guess what I didn't like about it was that it seemed disjointed from the rest of our curriculum. I went back to my copy of TWTM (I think its the 2nd edition) and went with what SWB has outlined for writing in 4th grade. She actually recommends that by 4th grade narrations should be written and should be in the form of longer paragraphs/short compositions. Once again..I know I shouldn't let what ps kids are doing sit in the back of my head and bother me, but I really wanted to give ds at least some fundamental instruction on the basics of writing beyond narration and dictation and Winning With Writing has filled that gap nicely :). I love homeschooling. Ideally I'd like to homeschool through high school, but you just never know what life has in store and I'd feel terrible having to send ds to school at some point without having prepared him for what will be expected. I think the biggest change I've noticed is that since we've started this, ds's confidence in his ability to write has improved. Before, when I'd tell him to write a narrative about what we'd read, he'd immediately melt. Now that he has been given some basic instruction in writing and has a structure in mind that he can follow, there is less freaking out and more "okay, I have a plan that I can follow step by step to get this done". Thanks again everyone!!!! Jenn
  2. I'm not sure why this isn't showing up when I hit "new posts"...maybe a bump will help :).
  3. Hi all :) Let me preface this by saying that I made a decision while planning our 4th grade curriculum to put some extra focus on writing this year. Up until this year we've stuck pretty much to TWTM method for elementary writing. Some years we've used WWE and some years we've done narrations, copywork and dictations from across the curriculum. I've listened to Susan's lecture on writing in the elementary years and I wholeheartedly agree with the philosophy behind the approach. Ds (9) writes easily and beautifully when it's a self motivated creative writing (stories, journalling, etc..) but tends to completely freeze and go into panic mode when it comes to narrative summaries and expository type writing. Also, (and I know I should be able to) I couldn't shake that voice in the back of my head that kept nagging me in regards to what the kids in ps are doing writing wise. Soooo, I made the decision to continue using TWTM method in combination with a more traditional writing program (ended up deciding upon Winning With Writing Level 4) so he could learn a bit more about paragraph construction, forming ideas, topic, detail and ending sentences along with practicing the different kinds of writing....narrative, descriptive, persuasive, etc.. Right now we're doing about 1 1/2 hours per day of writing. Our total school day takes anywhere from 4 to 5 hours. The work doesn't seem to be too much, and I'm slowly seeing some improvement....I just can't help but worry it's tooooo much. Here is what our current schedule looks like.... Monday - Ds reads a chapter in CHOW out loud and then we sit down and do a rough outline of important details from the chapter. Next he takes the details and writes a rough narrative summary of the chapter (generally one to three pages of writing). Then, we sit down and edit the rough copy together. I'm hoping this process will begin to come quicker, but for now it takes an hour to an hour and a half. Tuesday - Dictation - a paragraph taken from whatever literature he's currently reading. This year he's been reading through the unabridged children's classics. Sometimes I'll choose from his assigned reading for history..we're doing a brief overview of World History and he has daily reading from a booklist of Sonlight, TWTM recommendations, Beautiful Feet books, etc.. - Ds writes a final copy in cursive from Monday's edited rough draft and draws a picture to go along with the narrative summary. These then go into his history notebook. Wednesday - Lessons 1 - 3 from that week's Winning With Writing Assignment - Ds reads a chapter from CHOW out loud and gives an oral narration Thursday - Lessons 4 - 5 from that week's Winning With Writing Assignment - Dictation Friday - Ds reads a chapter from CHOW out loud and gives an oral narration - I assign some sort of themed writing assignment that correlates with our current literature, history or science studies. For example, last week I assigned him to write a paragraph describing the differences between Earth and Mercury. Sometimes it's a paragraph, sometimes it's a book report, sometimes it's a letter to a friend. Is this too much? How much writing are you expecting out of your 4th graders? Thanks so much in advance for any input you may have to offer! Jenn
  4. For ds (9) I have.... - a secret message writing kit (pad with two pens, one that writes and one that reveals) - Magnetic putty...I picked it up at the science museum...it looks like fun :) - a Nanoblox set - a couple of lego mini-fig guys (the ones that come individually and you don't know what they are until you open them) - a couple of Playmobil guys (same idea as the lego guys) - a wind-up alien spaceship toy - candy canes - a chocolate orange I really wanted to get him a wristwatch too, but couldn't find just a simple, child's analog watch anywhere. Everything for boys is either digital or has corny decorations on them.
  5. Crap..just thinking about them is making me have one....right....now.....can't....breathe....okay, better now :).
  6. This is my second pregnancy. I'm currently 33 weeks and have been having them since the first trimester. I agree with the sentiments that if they get too regular, or too close together to drink lots of water and rest a bit :) .
  7. My nephew (9) is a 4th grader in PS here and they're just beginning to touch on semi-long division.
  8. Love the name Molly. Molly Jane was our girl choice for this baby (set to make its debut mid January). However, after a couple of ultrasounds we're 99.9% sure that Molly is indeed an Oliver.
  9. We did for the most part :). We had the meal plan that allowed us one sit down meal per day so we scheduled those for the parks...for the most part we ate our "quick service meals" at the market in our hotel (on site). Our first day we spent our time in Magic Kingdom and ate at Tony's Town Tavern (located right in the heart of Main St., great Italian food with a Lady and the Tramp old timey feel). Our second day we spent the earlier part of the day at Animal Kingdom and had a late lunch at Yak and Yeti (really good Asian cuisine here...LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the food). The day we spent in Epcot we ate in Canada..I know..WHY CANANDA?! We had heard they had some of the best food in the different countries and we weren't disappointed. The pretzel rolls, awesome steaks and maple creme' brulee were to die for. On one of the evenings we splurged and used two of our sit down meals to eat at the California Grill which is a fancier place located at the top of the Contemporary hotel. The food was excellent..but the best part was that if you go when they are doing the fireworks at Magic Kingdom there is a viewing balcony where you can go outside and see them from the roof of The Contemporary...they even pipe the sound and music up there from the show, very cool and most definitely worth it!
  10. No, you can't :( . We can try our best, but ultimately you can't force kids like each other, enjoy each other's company or want to spend time together. You just can't. The best you can do is attempt to facilitate play, but in the end, it's just not something you can force. For whatever reason these kids just don't want to spend time with your son. It's heartbreaking, especially since he seems to have such admiration for them. Unfortunately, there are going to be times, such as family get gatherings where they'll need to be in the same place at the same time. I'd suggest putting together a bag of things your ds enjoys playing with on his own. Toys, games, movies..even an electronic device such as an iPad or DS with stuff to keep him entertained. Bring a couple of games that you and he can play together if he's getting itchy to play with someone else. How old are the cousins? Can you sit them down and try and pinpoint with them what the problem is? If you can do this, try and keep an open mind about what they are saying instead of dismissing it as exaggerations, over reactions or lies. Knowing and understanding what the problems are might help you work with your son in resolving some of the issues. I'm not saying this is the case with your son...but in our family we have a cousin that the other kids don't particularly enjoy spending time with. He's aggressive, can't keep his hands to himself, is disrespectful and rough with their toys and belongings (to a point where EVERY SINGLE TIME he visits something gets broken or ruined), can't follow rules to games, won't stop a behavior after being asked repeatedly to please stop doing "so and so", etc.. The kids don't say anything to his mom because she just dismisses his behavior due to him being younger (he's 7, the other kids are 8 or 9) or somehow manages to blame the other kids for his behavior. The end result is they don't like to play with him, don't bother saying anything to his mom, and even though I do my best to encourage and facilitate play, I can't say I blame them for feeling that way. Once again, I'm not saying in the least that this is the case with your son...I'm just giving an example from my own personal experience.
  11. Ummm....my body has been supplying it during the past 8 months of this pregnancy and I haven't lost a single pound :001_huh: . I think I'm being scammed.
  12. Favorites here include... - Chess - Settlers of Catan - Set - Tangoes - Cathedral - Quoridor - Quixo - Pentago - Sequence - Mastermind - Othello
  13. I'm not a Black Friday-er....but I did venture out to Barnes and Noble at around 5pm because I couldn't resist their 50% off all educational games and toys deal. If there are Legos and Playmobil for 50% off, you can bet I'll be there, lol. Going out a little later was fine..traffic was good, the store wasn't terribly crowded and there was no wait at the check-out :).
  14. Okay...so I have to know...for those who mentioned keeping a smaller budget ($10, $15, $20 or $25 per child) could you give some examples of what this looks like in regards to what types of things you buy? I think it's great you can keep your budget this low and am just trying to get a handle on an example of what this looks like :). Thanks!
  15. I WISH I could have eaten more. Gestational Diabetes and Thanksgiving don't make a cute couple :glare: . I had a lot of turkey, a small helping of stuffing (I soooooooo wanted more because it was so good and stuffing is my very favorite), a teeny-tiny bit of sweet potato (about a tablespoons worth) and a weensy itsy bitsy amount of cranberry sauce (maybe a couple of teaspoons worth). I skipped out on the delicious rolls, buttery mashed potatoes and drank as much water as I could to try and dilute the meal. A couple of hours after dinner I did treat myself to a small piece of pumpkin pie. My blood glucose levels stayed okay..I was originally going to just eat what I wanted for the day but I'm fighting a bit of a cold and that has my numbers elevated already..not to mention I feel like poop when my numbers spike up. BOOOOOOOOOO.
  16. I learned to play only because ds learned...but I don't like to play and don't play often so I stink. Ds learned when he was 5 from a computer game called "Fritz and Chesster Learn to Play Chess". After he had the basics down he would play games on the computer or we'd go to chess clubs. At around 6 he started playing in tournaments and quickly improved from there. We have Chessmaster and he plays at chess.com or does tactical puzzles at chesstempo.com. We get him out to play when we can..we have a homeschool chess group, he plays at the local University chess club, with some guys down at the coffee shop, on a team in our local high school chess league and in tournaments. He'll read the occasional chess book, but prefers to just play games. For having non-chess playing parents he's not doing too shabby. At 9 he's graduated from scholastic tournaments and plays mostly in adult sections. He's also rated among the top 100 in the country for his age group with the United States Chess Federation. My suggestion would be to get them a book, computer program or game that teaches the basics of the game and then just encourage them to play :). When they're ready, check out your local area to see if any clubs or groups meet where you can take them to play games with other folks :).
  17. Ds (9) has enjoyed.... The Chronicles of Prydain series - The Book of Three - The Black Cauldron - The Castle of Llyr - Taran the Wanderer - The High King The Lord of the Rings trilogy - The Fellowship of the Ring - The Two Towers - The Return of the King The Hobbit The Edge Chronicles series - Beyond the Deepwoods - Stormchaser - Midnight Over Sanctaphrax - The Curse of the Gloamglozer - The Last of the Sky Pirates - Vox - Freeglader - The Winter Knights - Clash of the Sky Galleons - The Immortals The Chronicles of Narnia Peter and the Starcatchers Peter and the Shadow Thieves Peter and the Secrets of Rundoon The Harry Potter Series
  18. Well...at least Hugh Jackman made the list :) . Now he's seexxxxxyyyyyyy.
  19. I haven't read all of the responses, so I apologize if I'm restating something already said :). At a certain point (approximately 1st grade) with ds (9), I had to make a concerted effort to guide him towards forming friendships with the children he had met at different activities. Making sure you get to lots of activities, classes, co-ops, etc.. is a fantastic way to meet new friends...but it won't help your dd to create lasting, deeper relationships with those friends. What I needed to do was to see which kids ds had hit it off with and got along well with and then invite them over for playdates or out on a one on one basis to just hang out and play in a non-structured situation. So, my advice before school would be to pick a couple of kids she has met and gets along well with, connect with the parents and then set something up so they can get to know eachother better. :).
  20. MIL just bought ds (9) a "used" Nook from a friend of mine who had only used it twice and it only contained one book. I think it's the original, black and white, 3G Wifi Nook and it came with a nice case and book light. It was $70.00 for the whole thing but I think he's going to enjoy it :).
  21. :iagree: I could post to FB that ds 9 is goofing around instead of doing math without mentioning that it's 7th grade math, kwim?
  22. Genuinely curious about this phenomenon of non Christians celebrating Christian holidays..do non-Christians who celebrate Christmas also celebrate the Jewish holidays too..ya' know, in a secular way? Just wondering why this trend only seems to happen with Christian holidays. Is there just more respect for the holidays/sacred days of other religions? I wonder if my Jewish friends would be offended if I decided to celebrate Hanukkah this year, you know..just cuz'...don't worry...I'm going to cut out all of the religious-y stuff of the holiday and just put up lots of blue and white lights..maybe I'll keep the candles cuz' they're pretty and then we're going to start a new tradition of eating different kinds of fondue each night for eight nights.
  23. Absolutely! Check out their website and portfolio before you book ;). WOW, none of the photographers around my area charge $250 per hour! I have heard of higher prices in other cities with different demographics than here, but that's really high! My session fee is $100 for the session and the editing and then prints are ordered a la carte (although I have started offering some packages). An average session ends up bringing in around $300 - $500 dollars, which after taking away for my costs to order product and run my business works out to be maybe $25 - $35 per hour.
  24. I wasn't saying it wasnt ;). I inititally missed that this was 13 years ago, which does make a difference. Most photographers were still using film so there wasn't really any editing and they most likely had the capability to print right from their business, which keeps costs down.
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