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Everything posted by Tarreymere

  1. I refuse to even deal with attendance. My kids live with me, and their idea of a fun summer day is being curled up indoors on the couch, reading. No day passes without reading. They read at the breakfast table. They read over lunch. They sometimes read over dinner. Yes, I realize that's a parenting issue, but I'm usually reading too. I had an actual, "highly qualified" state-certified teacher once tell me "Kids hate to read", so I guess that reading must be considered educational, if public school kids hate it so much. I made a pdf with 180 boxes. I put a check mark in each box. I used that weird little function that allows you to put your initials on a pdf file and put my initials in each of the 180 boxes. Each year, before our evaluation, I print out one of those sheets for each child. I've been doing this for three years now.
  2. Not that it matters, but that is the school that kicked me out of their parent's group on the grounds that I was a 'danger' to the other parents. I applied to get into the group after our enrollment was approved and our paperwork completed, was accepted into the group by the admin, and posted about how nervous I was to be leaving traditional homeschooling to enroll in a cyber school. I got a few supportive replies, then I was booted. I asked why, and the admin of the group jumped all over me about how I should not have been in the group until after our orientation, which was supposed to happen the following week. Um, YOU approved me, lady. I didn't hack my way in, LOL! She told me I represented a "danger to all the other parents" and made me feel that I should apologize or something. I felt that the climate of 'blame the parent, even when we clearly screwed up', was not conducive to a happy school experience IMHO. So, I canceled the orientation and told them to go screw themselves. "Danger", indeed! I can't recommend any cyber charter school in PA, unfortunately. It would definitely be a last resort.
  3. I simply must inform the dental association in my area that they are singlehandedly responsible for the epidemic of truancy in the schools because of their joint refusal to offer appointments after 4 pm or on weekends during the school year, and that they simply must stop closing their offices for Christmas break. And, oh yes, I almost forgot. It is also a necessity that they must somehow squeeze all children in for one dental check up and cleaning in the summer months. No more long vacations out of state at that time. I'm not sure when that second cleaning is supposed to take place...Perhaps families can troop out to the dental clinic on snow days and hope a passing hygienist will take pity on them... Yes, clearly it's irresponsible parents doggedly pursuing preventative care for their children that has led us to this terrible predicament of rapidly escalating truancy, teen pregnancy, drug use, and the rise of insecticide-resistant lice. A truly responsible parent would study Youtube videos of dental cleaning techniques and have her own set of instruments for times like these when non-school time appointments are not available. I made appointments for my two kids in February, and the first available date was in October. I'm lucky if I'm actually able to get two appointments in eighteen months, let alone two in twelve or thirteen months. Clearly more of us need to urge our children to consider dental school, and an after hours practice after that.
  4. Puree some white beans or garbanzo beans and add a little mayo and some dill relish for a sandwich spread. It's good on wedges of green pepper or celery sticks too. We also like to fry some onion, add in some cooked lentils and stir them around a bit with the onions, and serve over rice. There are different seasonings you can add to this but it's good plain. The kids like to eat this on homemade flat bread. Bean nuggets are good too. I use canned white beans and puree them into a paste, then add some leftover white rice and some garlic. Roll that in some panko bread crumbs and either bake or fry. My son loves these dipped in barbeque sauce.
  5. There are websites where people have collected lists of free curriculum that are available online. You can scroll through the pages and check out the links to any curriculum that interests you. http://trickycatsfreek12.weebly.com http://www.onlypassionatecuriosity.com/the-free-list-our-newest-free-homeschooling-finds/ http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/109114-free-curriculum-list/ http://thegoodgoatmomma.com/page/2/
  6. It's funny to see what some folks consider to be cheap meals, LOL! A little about us: We can't do gluten free because gluten is cheap but we do try not to eat a lot of it. We don't eat meat. We don't eat oatmeal because it causes DH to have a gout flare up. Soup is a meal for us, even if it doesn't have a lot of 'stuff' in it. DH rides a bicycle eight miles one way to work for about three quarters of the year, but we don't do heavy outdoor work. I make my own bread. Please don't cast stones, it's cheap and filling and I use the batter bread recipe from Red Star Yeast so there is no kneading and it is really easy. I do not wear denim jumpers or grind my own grain. At least, I haven't in a long time. I also do sometimes buy a loaf because it's easier but the prices make me irritable. I make our own pasta and tortillas (but not all the time because it is time consuming though the results are worth it). I buy pintos and can make my own refried beans but I prefer to buy canned refried beans and canned other beans for convenience when we can afford them. It is also unpleasant to cook beans in the summer in the house and we do not have air conditioning. Typical breakfasts here are eggs and toast (a whole different meal with homemade bread) or rice with a touch of milk and some cinnamon and sugar (rice pudding is a completely different animal here). We also sometimes have grits. On weekends I make eggs with biscuits and gravy with either tvp that I flavor like sausage or lentils that I flavor like sausage. My son likes pancakes and waffles, so some days I make those. From scratch, which really takes like thirty extra seconds than making them from a box. Lunch is usually leftovers. Other possibilities include peanut butter sandwiches (gut busters with thick cut homemade bread), rice with some greens, sprouts (yeah, I grow them), or veggies, baked potato with whatever is available for topping. Typical dinner meals include bean soups or lentil soups with cornbread or homemade bread or homemade garlic toasts, lentil loaf made with lentils and stale cornbread and seasonings, homemade bean burgers (depends on the beans and whatever else is available), vegetarian style pork and beans topped with cornbread, homemade pasta and something (I have a list of like 20 things to add to pasta to make a meal), burritos with homemade tortillas stuffed with refried beans, rice, and whatever is around or available, spaghetti made with lentils subbing for hamburger in the sauce, homemade pizza with lentils or tvp and whatever is available for toppings, rice and whatever for stir fries, also tacos, lasagna, shepard's pie or sloppy joes with lentils subbing for hamburger meat. You can mash up beans with garlic and sage and rice and roll in bread crumbs to make a beaner nugget to have with oven baked fries (kid pleaser here). You can mash up beans with garlic and whatever you like to make a spread for sandwiches and have that with your soup. I just read over all that and I guess we're flexible, LOL, My main staples are beans, lentils, rice, cornmeal, oil, and flour. After that I buy garlic, veggies, eggs, canned tomato sauce, potatoes, peanut butter, and cheese. We don't drink milk but I do like a little in my breakfast rice so sometimes I pick up a quart and it lasts a week. Jarred salsa is a nice to have item, and so is popcorn and fruit either fresh or frozen. We don't buy juice or other drinks but we do buy bottled water. We have well water but if you saw the residue from the water on my dish drainer and in my pots you would understand why I don't especially want to drink it if I don't absolutely have to. We are always full, but the meals sure aren't fancy. I don't feel I 'have' to spend a lot on food. That said, there is usually a little wiggle room to buy what we think of as little luxuries.
  7. I've always been adopted by Catholics. They don't evangelize like the Baptists and those groups, and their version of 'social justice' doesn't seem to involve advocating for laws to force people to subsidize their charitable ventures like the UUs. Catholics just donate or raise money and do it. I've been scooped up and carried along by Catholic groups before and I have mostly been agnostic or atheist my whole life with occasional attempts to believe in something 'up there'. Most of the time in Catholic groups I've been absorbed into, actual religion never comes up.
  8. It can be done. We did it recently. It was not fun and I would not do it voluntarily. It helps that we are vegetarians who are not expecting meat and who are comfortable with beans, that we don't have food intolerances except to dairy, and that we live in an area where we could get some things in bulk. Mainly the menu was rice, rice and beans, and more rice. Yes, I know about how there is arsenic in rice. Rice is cheap in our area, so rice it was. Most days we managed a little vegetables. I grow sprouts. I baked bread, tortillas, cornbread and flatbread. No drinks, no cereal, no snacks except of course rice. Lots of soup with beans and rice. You would be surprised what you can do with lentils. Lentils and leftover bread make a great not-meatloaf, and lentils fill in very nicely in most things for ground beef. We don't coupon. We don't buy actual brands of anything so no point. Baking soda serves for toothpaste and shampoo. The dollar store or the store that sells damaged groceries are still cheaper than any coupon deals around here. As soon as we had the chance we were at the store for fresh produce. And fruit. Like immediately.
  9. We are on a really tight budget, but the one thing I do have is a subscription to the local newspaper. It isn't much of a paper, on most days it's about ten pages total if that but it does run daily. I find all kinds of free things to do that are of course particular to my area. For example, I found a local fish hatchery that has a free community education day (believe it or not there were other people with kids there), a nature center that offers free classes pretty much every week, and lots of stuff like that. I found out that there is a local arts council that had a showing for photos taken by area photographers and we went on a whim just to check it out one weekend and ran into some kids there. We volunteered for clean up on the local bike trail and there were kids there. Check out if you have a local theater group and see if your kids can participate. Maybe they can be in the chorus or maybe they can work backstage. We found a local children's theater group in our rural area that I had no idea existed. Scouts and 4H aren't free but they do offer scholarships and financial assistance if you need it. I found that out when I called up and asked. Even the local YMCA offered us a scholarship so that we could afford a membership. For elementary age kids it's pretty easy to find the favorite park or playground in the area and just show up after school or on Saturdays. We are secular and avoid church related stuff so we don't even go to those types of events but if you are okay with religion you don't have to be limited to the events at the church you attend. Most churches that are having youth related events will advertise that in the paper. Is there a local swimming place that people go to in the summer? I know not all areas have local lakes or swimming holes but it can't hurt to ask around and see if there is one in your area. We have a couple lakes that have free swimming areas and those are packed with kids in the summer. Our tiny local library now has a teen book club, some kind of pokemon club, and offers kid's crafts in the summer. During the school year you'll still find other kids there on a Saturday, so maybe instead of visiting during school hours you could stop by on the weekend and see if there are kids there. Mostly though I scour the newspaper and make note of any free community activities or events that could possibly have kids there or be of some kind of educational interest for the kids and I have usually found I'm not the only parent that has dragged out her kids to whatever event it is. I'm still waiting to run into another homeschooler but hey, at least we are out of the house and meeting other kids.
  10. I'm in NW PA. My advice to your teens is to look outside of homeschooling groups for friends. There are plenty of perfectly nice people who don't homeschool who would make great friends! My now adult kids actually never met another homeschooler the entire time they were homeschooled through high school. It's only now with the youngest kids that we've actually made contact with other people who homeschool, LOL! And that group is about an hour's drive away from our home......maybe in a decade or so we'll have actual other homeschoolers in our own zip code!
  11. I'm thinking about moving on to Jeggings. Yoga pants are so yesterday. I apologize in advance for anyone who has the misfortune to view me from behind.......
  12. In the United States, this issue was addressed by the United States Supreme Court in 1972 in Wisconsin vs. Yoder. From Wikipedia " Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972), is the case in which the United States Supreme Court found that Amish children could not be placed under compulsory education past 8th grade. The parents' fundamental right to freedom of religion outweighed the state's interest in educating its children." I feel sorry for those 'homeschool survivors' that are behind that Coalition, but nearly all of them are the children of religious extremists and as such their education was, according to SCOTUS, well within the scope of the law. Why are these people so concerned with regulating homeschooling when the real problem is this interpretation of 'religious freedom' being more compelling than the 'state's interest in educating its children'? As far as I am concerned it is a moot point to argue about what constitutes an appropriate education and whether or not homeschool parents are denying their kids a basic education if they don't teach subjects like algebra or physics when the law of the land has already established that parents don't have to educate their kids beyond a very basic middle school level. In fact, I'm surprised that compulsory education laws are not being challenged. In my state kids finish eighth grade around fourteen and the law requires non Amish kids to stay in school until seventeen. The Amish get around this by claiming their kids are doing 'work study' from fourteen to seventeen, but its very obvious that those kids are just working. Rather than trying to regulate or ban homeschooling, those people need to come to terms with the fact that in most cases it was religious extremism that caused their educational issues. Next, maybe if there really is a concern that kids need some sort of 'basic education' we can work on figuring out exactly what that means. Finally, once we get that far, we can try to work out how to ensure that all kids get that kind of education. As for the abuse thing, is there a model of some kind in the literature that has shown some kind of promise in identifying and preventing abuse? Because I am not aware of one. Public school with daily observation by supposedly trained staff hasn't exactly been all that effective. Physical abuse is a whole different topic and lumping it into a discussion on regulating homeschooling and what constitutes educational neglect is not helpful.
  13. I loved Homeschool Planet, but I can do so much more with OneNote that there is really no comparison. OneNote is so versatile. I don't understand what a previous poster mentioned about having to 'switch back and forth' between children with OneNote. It is all in how you decide to set things up. I am currently homeschooling two with OneNote and I made a table for planning and recording that includes both of them. I just cut and paste it into a new page for a new day. I have a new tab for each month, and tabs for subjects and also tabs for stuff like our state required paperwork and that kind of thing. When I need to put together a portfolio for the end of the year (required here) I just copy the pages I need into a new notebook. I especially love how I can put all kind of stuff into OneNote like pictures, video and audio recordings, as well as entire clipped web pages. I tend to find so many things while I am wandering around the web and OneNote gives me a way to keep those things organized and actually incorporate them into our homeschooling. OneNote helps me keep track of homeschool related stuff like passwords to websites and stuff I am thinking about for the future. I even made a bulletin board tab for my family with upcoming events and reminders on a calendar, and even a place for stuff to be picked up at the store. I've got my husband trained to check that bulletin board before he comes home from work. I have all ten million homeschool resources organized in there too, with links. I can't live without OneNote. I mean, Homeschool Planet is nice and does a lot but I can't see paying for something that can't match OneNote when I have OneNote on the software that came with my computer. Maybe we could have a thread on how people have their OneNote set up, so we can share ideas?
  14. Since I am not at all artsy I of course am tasked with raising and educating an artsy child. This particular artsy child is obsessed with clay and Sculpey and similar substances. I've been in denial for years but clearly this is not a child who is going to suddenly put down the clay and develop an obsession with something I am better equipped to facilitate. Aside from buying her a lot of that sort of thing and one of everything of related to clay in the local Joann's, I appeal to the Hive to share any wisdom or suggestions for furthering my child's education in the art of clay-stuff. Any great books I should look into, video series, great artists not to be missed, or suggestions of any kind? We live in the boonies and have no local resources (not even a Starbucks). Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
  15. I vote for OneNote over Evernote. OneNote is a lot more flexible and easier to use than Evernote. I just spent a great deal of time over the last few days playing with Evernote to see if I could beat OneNote at organizing my entire life (family, homeschool, work, interests) and Evernote did not even come close. LOVE OneNote!
  16. Yoga pants look sloppy? Apparently you don't live where folks feel free to wander around in public in sweat pants and pajama pants like they do in my area. Yoga pants are positively upscale. We yoga pants moms will never return to wearing inflexible pants with zippers or buttons or rigid waistbands. We revel in our ability to move and breathe and bend over while wearing our slimming sleek dark uniform of freedom and possibility. Never again, we vow, never again the tyranny of inflexible pants!
  17. My middle school daughter enjoys online interactive discussions with other kids. I'm starting to think about next year already (yeah, I know) and I would like to find a really great online class that encourages a lot of discussion among the students. Ideally this course would be secular or at least heathen-friendly! What are some of the courses your kids have taken that seemed to encourage a lot of interesting and lively discussion or debate among the students? My daughter will be twelve and is mildly gifted in language but has not formally studied logic yet.
  18. I really prefer long stretchy skirts but DH doesn't like those and truth be told, I am short and dumpy so it wasn't a good look for me. I've been wearing yoga pants with longer shirts, because my rear is epic and no one needs to see that without a second layer blocking the view. I've never found comfortable jeans. I know what you mean because I've seen those catalogs with women in yoga pants who look put together but that kind of thing never seems to translate well to my actual real life body. But I do wear them out of the house and I don't hang on to clothes that are so ratty that I would not want to wear them to Walmart lest I get photographed by an alert bystander.
  19. Having expectations about what a grandparent "should" do or how often they "should" do it is the first mistake. Arguing with a grandparent because they don't meet your expectations just compounds that mistake. Trying to bully someone into meeting your expectations and provoking an argument over it is just completely wrong. It really doesn't matter how often other grandparents see their grandchildren or how often other people who aren't grandparents think they might see their potential grandchildren in the future. What matters is that this particular relationship isn't going to get anything positive out of comparisons with other families. A more positive focus is to be grateful for what time your parent and your child do spend together.
  20. We downsized into a used single wide mobile home a few years ago. The neighborhood in our park is nicer than the middle class 'family' neighborhood we used to live in plus the mobile home park is actually pleasantly situated on a small private lake. Another plus is that our mobile home will be paid off this year and our monthly lot rent is less than the property taxes we would have had to pay assuming we ever managed to pay off our house. I guess you could say we are 'laughing all the way to the bank'. And I get to buy MORE curriculum now than I would have been able to afford if we had kept the house......lol.
  21. LOL! I'm a bad person to reply to this. I think your plan is fine. I have kids that seem pretty similar to yours, avid readers who perform well on standardized testing. My current homeschoolers are six and ten. I have some older kids who are in public high school (not by my choice and I am less than impressed with the whole thing), and I have two homeschool graduates. You might think I'm a bit of a slacker.....but I'll share what we do so you can compare. I don't assign reading anymore. I make suggestions, I point out books that look interesting to me, but other than that I just take 'em to the library or enter the parental control password on the kindle and stay out of the way. Of course, I have kids who would rather read than go out for ice cream because it seems they are always at a 'good part'. I don't assign reading and I don't grade anything related to what they read. I have the six year old read aloud to me daily and I go over phonics with him. The ten year old tests at a high school level for reading and comprehension so I don't worry about that with her. I used to worry about spelling and handwriting and that sort of thing, but honestly they will never have neat handwriting (no one in the entire family has neat handwriting) and spelling is easy for them. Vocabulary doesn't seem to be an issue either. I think it has to do with all of the reading they do. So we ditched spelling, vocabulary, and handwriting. I was concerned about developing their writing skills and it took me a while to find a good fit for that. I settled on Brave Writer. The Wand and the Arrow products are great for my purposes. Grammar, usage, and mechanics are covered, literary elements are discussed, books are read, and the kids aren't complaining about the interesting writing projects or groaning that they don't know what to write in their journals. We even do the poetry tea time and it's become a highlight of our week. It also doesn't take up a lot of my time and they retain what we go over. Win-win. We do math daily. No getting around that one. Mine don't like Liberty's Kids, but they generally love documentaries and movies. I think that between their reading habits and my gently herding them toward interesting documentaries they are getting a decent education in history. I do history read alouds for the whole group twice a week also using, of course, The Story of the World. I should break down and just buy the darn cds and save my voice. I feel it gives them something of an understanding of the flow of history. The ten year old has read ahead on her own initiative and likes to tease her brother about the 'good parts' coming up. They tend to tinker with legos or knex while I read aloud. Sometimes they draw or sketch. I just ask that they be quiet and pay attention. Science has been an issue off and on. Mine are interested in science and gravitate toward shows like Popular Mechanics for Kids, but library books were apparently too dull for them. I really liked the approach of Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding, but it does require more prep time from me than I like. We splurged and tried Supercharged Science and my kids love Aurora Lipper. We signed up for her escience course and we get readings, videos, experiments that really do use fairly common household stuff, and lots of cool ideas. When I wake up on a Saturday morning and they are watching Aurora on the computer monitor on their own initiative I guess I found a good fit. I make time for them to do science together twice a week. They tend to work together for part of the time, we talk about whatever the topic is together, and they also spontaneously go off and do stuff related to whatever the topic is independently. I don't grade any of it. I'm right there and we all talk together about what's going on so I feel I have a good idea of how well they have understood the things we have gone over. I save their written work and their math work. I live in a highly regulated state (PA) but I've never turned in any tests or grades to the school district. I understand that in New York one has to turn in grades. I guess if I had to do that I would have to base them on something other than a numerical score. We do electives. I don't assign them. The kids choose what they want to do and I just record it. I give them ideas or make suggestions, but I don't drag them along to get that sort of thing done. They both decided to take a break from Latin this spring and to give Spanish a try. They have been watching the Salsa videos on Youtube and goofing around with Duolingo. They both like logic puzzles so I got them some puzzle books from the Critical Thinking Company. They insist t on watching CNN Student News during breakfast. I introduced it, but being the curious, active kids that they are I've learned that herding them is a lot easier than dragging them along. I introduce things but I let it up to them to decide after that if they want to continue. We have a rule that whatever one chooses to do between breakfast and dinner must be educational in some way and I get to decide if something meets the criteria or not, so they are the ones who can either choose to be bored (which gets them a chore assignment) or find something they are interested in to do, not me. It took me a while to figure out the whole 'herding' thing and to be comfortable putting the responsibility on them to find things that interest them. I think it works well for us and I don't feel pulled in so many different directions (I have grandchildren I watch who need attention too). It seems like this is pretty similar to the direction you are heading in, so at least you know you aren't alone. I feel pretty positive about how it's working out. When pulled my oldest two kids from eighth and ninth grades I pretty much did the same thing. They both read incessantly without my urging them and adored historical fiction. I insisted on daily math and hired a tutor to make sure they were on track (didn't have much confidence in myself then). I had been a science major and tried to share with them my love of science through discussion, reading, and of course documentaries. They also pursued whatever hobbies interested them. One wrote short stories and they both wrote poetry. They were both interested in writing and won a few essay contests here and there locally. One is now a veteran of the US Army and a college graduate, the other, who had a rocky time with peer issues, jail time, and addiction, has taken college courses and manages a club. Neither of them has ever had any trouble with college level material or with getting a good score on the various tests or college admission tests they took. I did go through a more structured approach for a while with the younger children, but I've gone back to and refined the whole child-led approach so you could say we've come full circle. guess this approach can be successful, lol.
  22. Sativa, with various spellings, is a popular one I've encountered while working in OB. It's meant to commemorate the mother's love for Cannibis Sativa. All I can say about that is okay, she has an education. Heaven or Nevaeh, which is Heaven spelled backwards, is popular locally. My favorites are Gethsemane and Maranatha, the daughters of a lady at the local UU church. They have a sister named Ariel. I guess she got into Disney films later on in life.
  23. I think we found a good groove here. Not Memoria Press, but it all seems to be working for us. We did make one change. DD loves Saxon math. I can't stand it. I begged her to reconsider Singapore and try it again and she agreed. Well, we are on our first week with Singapore and she LIKES IT. Yay! I like it sooo much better than Saxon.
  24. They only work with students from that one charter. The teachers are hired by the charter and the charter makes the decisions how to implement the curriculum and sets the policies that apply to the students who enroll with the charter.
  25. Almost couldn't get out the door today, because the front door lock had frozen shut. DH managed to intimidate the back door into opening, so he was able to get out. I was hoping the car wouldn't start so he could stay home, but he persuaded it to run and went on his way. I guess I'm glad he got the back door open, because it would totally suck if we couldn't let the dogs out to pee.
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