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Posts posted by desertmum

  1. I think Laura make a good point. I think also, though, that Christians tend (in my limited experience so far) to wish to 'teach' their children, rather than just leave them to explore on their own terms. There is a lot in the Bible about 'instructing' children, so although there are unschooling Christian families maybe it is more common for Christians to go down a more traditional route.


    Sorry if that doesn't make much sense! I spent the afternoon at a children's party at one of those (very loud) indoor play centres and consumed rather a lot of caffeine in an attempt to 'enjoy' the situation more. :D


    Emma x


    Hello. First: sorry to hear about your loss. :grouphug:

    Second: good to see more classical UK HSers here. We are a UK family living in the UAE. There is a large hs community here but they are mostly Americans, Canadians, and Australians (and a mix of misc nationalities


    We are still new to home ed. This is our first year and we are still working hard on the 3 R's. I would say we are Christian 'light'. In any case we are going for a secular classical education (with a sprinkling of Waldorf). I find most materials come from the US and have a strong Christian slant. I would love to see more UK suppliers, especially when it comes to History, social studies and English. Galore park I am told is good but it doesn't seem to cater to younger ages :glare:.

  2. I have used both with dd.


    Donald Potter's descriptions of the programs are quite accurate. Blend Phonics is the easiest program to implement. I used this first because I was never taught phonics and was very intimidated by it all.


    We finished Blend Phonics (BP) in about 3 months when dd was 4.75yo. It took dd from knowing only the sounds of the letters to reading at a 2nd grade level. BP covers all the sounds in the English language and I would say it can rival many of the better commercial phonics programs.


    We have started Webster's Speller (WS) early this year. It took me several days to read the initial lessons AND read and re-read all of Elizabeth B's posts on this board (related to the WS) and I still couldnt get a grip on how to teach it. I think I have got it now and would agree that BP was way easier.


    WS is much (much) more comprehensive, than BP, though. It is for teaching reading and spelling. So if you start with WS, you will not need any other phonics or spelling program.


    BP only goes upto 2-syllable words. WS has upto 5 syllable words nicely divided into categories based on which syllable is stressed.


    While BP can, and has, been used for spelling, it is only meant for the first grade and is to be taught over a period of 3-4 months. WS is meant to be used upto the 12th grade.


    BP teaches the child to blend. So 'cat' is taught as 'kuh' + 'a' = 'ka', then 'ka' + 't' = 'kat'. WS teaches through syllables, so the sound of c (kuh) is taught first, then the syllable 'at' is taught next, and finally the word 'cat' is taught as 'kuh' + 'at'. I hope you can see the difference.


    In this sense, the program 'Word Mastery', also available from Donald Potter's site, is similar to WS.


    Currently we are doing Word Mastery for reading (sort of re-emphasizing the phonics sounds) and the Speller for reading+spelling.


    I used Blend Phonics first because it was the easiest to teach, but, as Donald Potter describes it, Word Mastery is indeed the finest phonics program available. imho it is comparable to the best, most popular, most expensive commercial phonics programs available today.


    Another benefit is that Word Mastery is typed in a large font, so your dc can read directly from the printout, rather than having you write the words on a white board, like we have to do with Blend Phonics.


    It does have the same directional guidance built it, because it initially separates the initial consonant from the phonogram, like:

    c at

    (and later)c ake

    and then includes a review of phonograms in which the spaces are removed.


    To those that are considering Blend Phonics, I would suggest you print out and start Word Mastery instead and then follow it up with the Speller.


    As regards whether it helps with dyslexia, I cannot say, but Donald Potter's experience and recommendation on that point should be enough to convince you, I hope :-) All of the phonics programs he has taken the trouble to type up and make available on his site are ones that he has personally used for remedial reading and correcting whole-word dyslexia.



    ~ Nandini


    I was about to post a question about Don Potter's phonics programme and you answered all my questions. Brilliant! Thank you ever so much. :auto:

  3. Not precocius but I thought it was cute what my 5yo said to avoid having his throat examined by the GP.


    GP: Open you mouth.

    DS( through clenched teeth): NO.

    GP: I want to see if you have any germs in your throat.

    DS: You can't see germs. They are too small. You need a micro...microscope.

    GP: OK. I'll take a sample and put it under the microscope then.

    DS (eyeing the tongue depressor): THAT is not a swab!


    DS=1 - GP= Nil.



    • Like 4
  4. From my 4.5 yo:


    We finally got ds a "junior" chair so he can sit with us at the "grown-up" table instead of eating at the "kiddie" table. He sat on his new junior chair and announced: "WOW. I love the chair on the outside and I love the chair on the inside." "You love the inside of the chair?" I asked. "Yes. I love the atoms inside the chair."

    "The atoms inside your chair?" I asked again. Ds rolled his eyes and replied "Well, mummy, everything is made of atoms..."

    • Like 3
  5. I was referring to the fully-joined cursive I learnt in school; it is similar to this (except the capital A). I am teaching my dd GDI handwriting (via StartWrite).


    I agree that the join-only-when-necessary method results in faster & neater writing. As a general guideline for anyone writing Italics cursive, letters that curve back to the left (b, g, j, p, s, y) should not be joined to the succeeding letter.


    When dd starts writing Italics cursive skillfully, I plan to teach her the join-in-the-air tactic as well.


    Why are you switching your children from italic handwriting?


    Whatever I teach my ds I know it is "set in stone" (that is just the way he is) so if I start with italic or cursive it better stay that way or risk endless battles later on. My own handwriting suffered from switching handwriting curriculums back and forth.


    My vote: whatever you choose, stick with it.

  6. I download the font and joiner from briem.net. I have to say that the joiner hasn't worked for me yet -did it work for you? did you really learn using briem.net? wow I'm impressed.


    I will have to ask a techie for help (my husband) to get the joiner going. Also there is a super mac expert at my hubby's place of work (he runs windows operating system on his mac, can you believe?). But the font itself is fine. Italics is something you can add your personality to it later on. At the end of the day I can print a few things and add the joiners by hand. The Victorian modern cursive worked a treat.


    Thanks again. You are a gem :001_smile:

  7. I have seen your links to italic fonts before but they always said "pc". I will try the new link and hopefully it will work. I guess I should be doing my own worksheets but my handwriting is too loopy and has suffered too many years of typing to be reliable. Anyway, I will try this site and report back! :D


    And, of course, many thanks for taking the time to help!!!

  8. I was looking at Penny Gardner's book for teaching italic handwriting and I saw she has some copy work already made. I want to buy the book, but I need to get lots more copy work than the book offers.


    Does anyone here know where or how I can get hold of a free italic font that I can download to a Mac computer? Pretty please? :D :bigear: I say free or inexpensive as my hs budget is already overstretched!

  9. Here is where you remind yourself that the traits that are the hardest to live with in children are often their greatest strengths as adults. I've seen this come to fruition in my oldest children. Dig into the biography of anyone who is exceptionally talented and/or successful and you'll uncover stories of childhood terrors.


    Edison anyone?



    Hmmm...no mention of beans or Goodwill anywhere. And I think old Thomas did all right for himself in the end.




    This description of Edison made me smile. Except for the burning of the barn this is almost exactly what my son is like. He is so strong willed it makes my hair curl but he is also very clever and kind when he sees someone in trouble. I still have to find a way to correct him as I don't believe in smacking and if I give him "time-out" in his room he starts playing! :confused: right now I am reading the tomato-stalking thread.

  10. I am actually thinking of coming up with a dual response. Right now we are stuck in the Gulf where homeschooling is not allowed for nationals. However, expat children are not looked into as they are not the responsibility of the country's ministry of education... So, to another expat I can happily say "We homeschool" and to the locals we'll say "private school xyz" just to be on the safe side. :tongue_smilie:

  11. I would love to hear about this too. Just when I was reading to start cursive my husband intervenes and says little boys should start to print (like italic) and then make a transition to cursive italic because it is easier for them. :confused:



  12. What do you say when people ask you "What school do you children go to"?


    Do you say something like: "They go to Chesterfield Academy" (the name you came up for you home school) and hope they go away? Or do you actually start explaining about home schooling?


    Why do I ask? Well, someone asked me that question and I cheerfully said "Oh, he'll be going to XYZ school!", and the lady proceeded to ask "Oh, where is that?" I then stammered "Err, my house". I know I sound like a wimp but I would like to hear others how the handle questions from near-strangers. Thank you! :D :bigear:

  13. I also think it was meant to be used for 3 years. However, I just want to warn that there are only about 40 lessons. They are very deep, meaty lessons, so we will not have any trouble spreading it out over 3 years. However, I can see a very science-oriented child finishing in less than 3 years, depending also on the age and aptitude.



    Ther is a BFSU yahho support group where you can ask Dr. Nebel any questions you might have and interact with other users. I think there are also some files with proposed lesson plans. Dr. Nebel is coming out with another book to follow the first for higher grades. I hope this helps.

  14. :lurk5: I'm curious to know as well. Is the main recommendation for grammar stage history to just do it yourself (spine + additional books + narrations)? Is there an alternate grammar stage history curriculum listed at all?


    What are the grade 2 - 4 language arts recommendations?


    I don't know if these questions can be answered w/o violating copyright - anyone know the answer to that one?



    Yes, please! Also, I can't see why is wrong with publishing schedules. Most of us need all the help we can get! :grouphug:

  15. ...but the company is in the US and the shipping is far more than the cost of the materials.


    If shipping from Australia is cheaper, you may consider purchasing books from there. Each Oz state has its own handwriting style (all of which are based on Italics) and two of them (Victoria & Queensland) offer free fonts for creating your own handwriting practice pages and copywork. See my earlier post for the info. As for workbooks, I found the Modern Cursive Writing Series very cute. They are created for the various Oz font styles, so be sure to choose the font style you like best.


    Thank you for the link. I will follow it up!

  16. The website doesn't supply enough samples of the font. You have to google the Nelson handwriting books to see more. Also a tad on the expensive side. After you buy the teacher's guide and workbooks you won't have a lot of money left for ice cream.


    The font looks very much like italics -pretty but not so fluid and no slant. My hand would get very tired in about 15 min. because of the vertical approach. If you go for italic there are plenty of books out there though.


    So many options!

    (I think I need some caffeine at this point and a :chillpill: )


    p.s. I was taught the Palmer method but some letter like the old fashioned Q and F can be confusing for both children and adults IMHO

  17. I haven't heard of Nelson handwriting but I will look it up (or google it if you prefer).


    I have to say I learn cursive first and I don't remember having problems with reading, but each child is different. I wouldn't teach something complicated like copperplate, just something legible that makes dictation and note taking in class easier. I've actually looked at Peterson Directed Handwriting and looks easy. I also liked Cursive First but the company is in the US and the shipping is far more than the cost of the materials :confused:


    I also notice most people start when the child is 5, but mine is 4 and he wants to do it NOW (he wants to read and write, and drive daddy's car, too :auto: ).

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