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Everything posted by Tarreymere

  1. My older kids attended public school in the elementary years. Really, they were always told to "be quiet" and not socialize all day long! They were able to talk to other kids on the bus ride to and from, but that was about it. From the moment they hit the school doors they were expected to stand in line quietly, file into classrooms and sit quietly, not allowed to talk at lunch, and recess when they had it at all was fifteen minutes either before or after lunch. When they got home they had a lot of homework but I did try to let them run around outside for an hour or so first, though they were nearly always the only kids in our area who were allowed to do that. The other kids got home and had to get started right away on homework or went to after school daycare programs. What social activity took place in elementary school wasn't encouraging either. It was mostly name calling, teasing, or the like. The kids struck me as stressed, irritable, and competitive. I guess that the last few years in our district the schools have been a bit different. They have classrooms that have something called 'learning stations' and the kids get broken down into groups to cycle through four or more of these stations during the day. So, I guess that now the kids do get to talk to each other a lot more but I have some serious reservations about how they can possibly be learning math, for example, when six or eight kids go together to a 'math station' with one paper and have three or four math problems to work out 'together'. I tend to think kids do just fine in much smaller groups and with much fewer activities that are pretty closely supervised by adults. I'm not trying to raise socialites, I'm not trying to encourage my kids to think 'socializing' or playing with other kids is a priority, and I think any kid's 'social needs' can be met by interaction with other humans that may or may not be the same age or gender in situations that may or may not involve playing, so I'm not about to make my entire family crazy trying to ferry the kids to age and gender segregated play activities every night of the week. You have several children and honestly, if you try to go down that road you are just going to make yourself more stressed for no good reason. Kids play just fine by themselves and with any other kids they happen to come across. "Best friends" type of relationships don't usually start to happen until around age nine or so, and they are still fairly fluid and superficial until the teen years. Even so, I think learning some self discipline, appreciation, and patience by not seeing the 'best friend' or group of friends on a frequent basis are much better traits to foster than encouraging kids of any age to think that frivolity and parties with age mates are their due.
  2. LOL! You know, what I'm really afraid of is that the legislature really DID mean that they want us to write down exactly what we do every minute of the day. All nicely labeled with the day, the date, and the hour and minute it occurred, all 180 days worth, because it's quite clear they don't trust us to actually educate our own kids. They would probably love to micromanage the whole thing. There have been some legal interpretations of the whole daily log thing in court and I think Ask Pauline has some information on that as well as some information from families in various school districts. http://home.comcast.net/~askpauline/hs/homeschoollogproject.html I'm not a big HSLDA fan but they have an opinion on the topic too. http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/pa/200309080.asp http://www.hslda.org/courtreport/v21n5/V21N5PA.asp The HSLDA is of the opinion that we should actually write up a list every single day of every single book we used that day. I think that is an unfair and unrealistic burden. Personally, if backed to a wall on that one I'd print out my "Ongoing" list 180 times and write a different date on the top of each page. I'm not going to sit down and write the same list over and over every day. That's more a form of punishment for homeschooling than a valid way to track anything. (My "Ongoing" list is a list of the main books we use on a regular basis, with a start date and an end date for each one, if you are tuning in late and missed my earlier post). What I get from actually reading the law is that the log isn't required to be written that way. The actual law does not state that the log has to be a daily log. The actual law doesn't say that you have to log each book every day you use it or that you have write a list of books you use each day. What the law actually says is 'contemporaneously with instruction', which in my own interpretation means 'during the school year'. The legislature declined to define 'contemporaneous' for us, so it is that particular word which is open to interpretation and the source of the controversy. Merriam Webster defines "contemporaneous" as meaning "existing, occurring, or originating during the same time". It doesn't mean 'daily'. So if I write up a log in the form of one list listing each book once, at some point during the school year, it is therefore 'contemporaneous' with that school year, as the school year is the unit of time that is being evaluated. There is no requirement in the law for homeschools to be evaluated on a daily basis, only on an annual basis. I'm actually exceeding the law by adding in starting and ending dates for each book. :thumbup: I'd butt heads with a school district that wanted more. They can't force you to stop homeschooling as long as there is evidence that an adequate education is occurring, and my kids tend to score entire grade levels ahead on standardized testing so it would be very difficult for a district to get away with trying to prove in court that my kids aren't receiving an adequate education. But, I'm very lucky that way and I know it. I also have a belligerent disposition when I feel something is unfair, along with a tendency to use big words and weaponized sarcasm to get my point across. I could probably take over the world if I exploited those traits, but happily I'm pretty well occupied with educating my kids and working on my website.......(Just be glad you aren't married to me!)
  3. Oh heck no! I don't want the law to be any clearer! I have no doubt the idiots would want so much detail it would mean I'd need to hire an administrative staff! As it is the legislature couldn't decide between an evaluation, a portfolio, or standardized test scores and decided to insist on all three instead of just choosing one! The idea of those morons trying to specify in detail how I should keep records gives me nightmares! My first rule is.....No spending more time planning/recording than actual teaching. My kids kick butt on standardized testing, Last year one dd took the PSSA just for fun and kicked butt there too. How much more proof of 'academic progress' does any school superintendent need anyway? I think with the average PSSA scores in my district they need to hire ME as a consultant to get THEM straightened out. I'm certainly not going to bend over backwards to 'prove' anything to them.
  4. I keep a log in google documents for each kid also, but I do it differently and in the interests of offering a different perspective I thought I'd add it to this thread. My document has two sections: Ongoing and Intermittent. Ongoing stuff means the books we use on a fairly regular basis like math books or the like. Intermittent stuff means the books we got from the library one time, and that kind of thing. Under the 'Ongoing' section I have the following headers: Title, Date Started, Date Completed. So, assuming I'm using Saxon 54 for math I just list the title, the date we began using the book, like 9/3/13, and the date we finish the book. It has been suggested to me that I could add in a third column that lists the days of the week that we use a particular book, like MTWRF for math for example, but I have not done so. I may or may not, but there is no way I'm ever going to go to the trouble of writing down actual dates or something so annoying as writing little codes on the blocks in a calendar. The school district gets the title of the book, the date started and the date ended. Period. This means that for those books we use pretty much daily or at least weekly I only have to write them down once. I just add the end date when we stop using them. I don't get too crazy over keeping track of the intermittent books. Sometimes I add them and other times I just get too busy and don't bother. I also keep my attendance calendar 'backwards' too. I don't check off the days we have school because that is too much of a pain, instead I check off the days we take off of school. Much easier and much less paperwork. If the day isn't checked off as a sick day or a vacation day then we had school. As for taking hours and hours to make up detailed lists for the kids for the whole year ahead of time, I could NEVER do that! My kids just won't cooperate and learn at a regular reasonable pace. I take an hour or so on a Sunday evening to make five day's worth of daily instructions for each child, just enough for that week. Even so, inevitably one child will breeze through a week's worth of grammar or something in one day, or take two or three days to trudge through a writing assignment that I had figured would only take one day. By planning only one week at a time I get to adjust my plans to take into account how the child is doing with the subject, and when the inevitable kid finishes what I had estimated to be five days worth of work in just one day, the following week I can give that child a bit more of a challenge in that subject. Conversely, if a child runs into a problem grasping an idea or completing a written assignment in the time I had originally planned for it to be done I can adjust next week's task list accordingly instead of trying to rush my child through the concept or nagging them to hurry up and get the assignment done (I do make sure the child is actually working on the written assignment, I just don't stress over getting it done by a certain date just because I've already got the next assignment scheduled to start). Anyway, I don't consider any of that sort of planning to be my daily log and the school district never gets to see any of those lists. If you have to keep detailed records like that for a high school diploma program then presumably your kid is in high school, so why not let your student maintain a daily school diary of what he or she actually did, to the specifications of your diploma program? Then you don't have to worry about it, you can just review it on a daily basis and remind your child to add in anything he or she forgot or overlooked, and voila! You have a detailed daily record. I don't know of any diploma program that requires you to PLAN on that level of detail and so far ahead of time. Diploma programs are more interested in records, which means recording what was actually done, not what you planned. It sounds like you are stressing yourself out over something that you really don't need to worry about. I mean really, if you plan to count hours how exactly can you manage to count hours that haven't even happened yet? Or is the idea that lesson X will take Y hours, no matter how long your child actually spends on Lesson X? That isn't how homeschool is supposed to work.
  5. I keep our paperwork and documents on Google Drive, since I've managed to murder two laptops in two years. I pick through and scan in some paper-based stuff to upload to our files and that's about it for the portfolio. The last couple years the school district got a cd with a pdf file on it from me for each kid, this year they are getting the url and a temporary password to each child's portfolio portion of their individual website. Each kid has a password protected website with a blog and a slew of pages with written work, scanned in stuff, and more, some of the pages will be made available to the school district for the portfolio. I have a section on each kid's website for the daily log, attendance, ect. that I use to track progress and link lessons to online resources. This spring I'll just have to decide what to give them access to. Though I do admit I'm curious how the website portfolio thing will go over.......:)
  6. I have to smile....I found potty training the kids more challenging than teaching them to read. Of course, in our house it's almost always been a matter of 'duck, meet water' when it comes to reading. It's doable. Read a few books beforehand to get a feel for how you want to go about it, or trust the reviews you read and pick some curriculum that promises to hold your hand. You can figure this out. Heck, have you checked out the required courses for an elementary ed major? No heavy lifting there! I must say though, that I see myself more as a 'facilitator' than anything. That means I find the best way to educate one particular child one subject at a time. Usually in the K-6 years that has been me, but not all of the time with all of the subjects and for all of my kids. More than anything, home education means that you can customize your child's education to suit your child, not that all instruction must come from mom or dad. It's okay to be open to more options. Start looking around at the resources in your area. Sometimes you might find some great cooperative learning groups, or maybe some nearby museums might offer something cool for home educators. You'll find more and more online classes with varying degrees of interaction as well. The nontraditional education market is growing rapidly. My homeschool group is pretty small, but in the last month we've gotten solicitations from two reading tutors, an art professor, and a community music cooperative, all experienced educators, looking for private students or asking if we would be interested in small group classes. As a home educator, you get to choose what would work best for your child, and you get to change it around if it isn't working.
  7. I think you already answered your question when you said you wouldn't "give up" your "little luxuries" or "deprive" yourself. FWIW, I don't spend "hours in the kitchen" but I bake my own bread, make my own yogurt, make every single treat and snack we eat, heck I even make my own pasta and pizza dough. We don't buy cereal. We drink water we filter ourselves or make tea. We spend less on groceries because we are willing to do this. The kids eat oatmeal because they don't GET a choice to lobby for cereal, etc. It's totally up to you and what you are willing to do. You may choose to live your present choices, but know that you ARE making a choice. It would be great if there was some secret to buying what you like and spending less, but truth is there are just trade-offs. Just like being home with the kids and not bringing in my former income was a trade-off for us, making our own snacks and things is a trade-off too. What one person can tolerate in a trade-off might make someone else stark raving crazy. You are the only one who knows what you are willing to change and if the potential gain will be worth it to you.
  8. We do that, sometimes with cream of mushroom soup instead of the gravy. We also do chicken or chickpeas in either gravy or cream of chicken soup over rice too. If we're out of rice, then over mashed potatoes. We also like it with flavored soy bits too. Another favorite is sausage or soy sausage with pasta and garlic, basil, and oregano (faux pesto sauce). Or stir fry with whatever's on hand....some days that's been just onions and an egg. Soup of whatever you have is great too...think egg drop soup from chicken bullion and egg. Homemade pizza with plain tomato sauce and a bit of oregano and basil. Where I grew up we had pizza dough with mashed potatoes mixed with canned tuna or salmon in between the layers of dough. Very popular during Lent....it was called something that sounded like "pagatch". I make it and sometimes add a little shredded cheese...it's great. Also potato pancakes from grated potatoes are good and make tomato soup more filling.
  9. You might try wearing them two at a time, at least until you get some better quality ones. That's what I do. But I have it on good authority that I'm crazy.....:-)
  10. Hi! Nice to see another homeschooler from Pa! We're in Northwestern Pa and we like CM as well as classical homeschooling in our little school.Welcome to the forum, you'll like it here.
  11. Way to heavy to read with in your hand. Better for homeschooling in which one looks at worksheets, books,etc while the thing is in a holder with a stand. If you will be actually planning to read on it don't get a big one. Just my two cents. I borrowed a big fire from a friend to try out, and if I could afford one just for school I would, but not for a dual purpose.....
  12. I'm just not a fan of rice, which is sad because it is so versatile and inexpensive. We do have it now and then, but it isn't a favorite. Cost is also a concern for us. I tend to stretch meats with beans or omit meat in favor of beans depending on finances. If we eat out it is usually from a 'dollar menu', but once a month or so we do manage to get out to either a local chinese buffet or a local chain restaurant where kids eat free on certain days. We don't have much choice in restaurants in our area as it is a smaller town in a rural part of the state. We usually have the following: Pasta (sometimes homemade if I have time) with homemade pesto sauce and crumbled pork sausage. Cream of chicken soup (sometimes with actual chicken or chickpeas) over homemade waffles Various kinds of homemade soups with various kinds of homemade breads Homemade pizza, both thick and thin crust with toppings of whatever is on hand Chicken and dumplings or chicken fricasee in the crockpot Oven roasted mixed veggies drizzled in olive oil and seasoned with potatoes or sweet potatoes, meat optional. Brussel sprouts are amazing this way. Various 'gravies' over mashed potatoes, like cream of chicken with either chicken or chickpeas, hamburger gravy, sausage gravy (like the sausage breakfast gravy) ect. Tuna casserole with cream of mushroom soup, pasta, and tuna. We like to top this with crushed potato chips if we can. Seafood pasta with imitation crabmeat and butter sauce and seasonings or salmon, and some veggies of opportunity :) Scalloped potatoes with ham or salmon Our favorite meal for when we have some 'extra' cash is breaded pork chops with mashed potatoes and a veg.
  13. This has been my experience in this kind of situation. I've seen the mothers sit and watch and be perfectly aware of what was going on, yet get upset with me if I brought the issue up and asked if they would speak to their child. DD9 ran into this at girl scouts all the time, and the worst offender was my granddaughter (7)! My stepdaughter and daughter-in-law are co-leaders and sat by quietly numerous times while DGD led the other girls in being verbally abusive to one girl after another. DD9 is no longer in Girl Scouts, and I am the 'bad guy' :glare: I wouldn't allow my child to interact with those 'mean girls' at all, and I would tell him very honestly it was because they didn't know their manners. You could try talking to the mothers, but I would be surprised if that went anywhere.
  14. Excellent ideas for using OneNote! We are into a Kindle Fire/whiteboard loop here at my house. Our books are on the Kindle and a lot of the work is done on a whiteboard. DD9 does have a slim three ring binder for some things but I'm encouraging her to use a netbook as well. Our one laptop with OneNote perished in a deluge over a year ago, but I do plan to upgrade to that again some day. I must confess I do wander around the school supplies sections of the various stores I visit and stare longingly at the nice stacks of paper and notebooks......
  15. My Jack Russell/Fox Terrier puppy, Maggie, was snapped at by an older dog and sustained a small tear to her lower eyelid. Her lacrimal gland is intact but prolapsed. Our local vet referred us to another vet who does microsurgery but that vet hasn't reviewed her case yet and hasn't gotten back to us. We live in Timbuktu, so there isn't another vet available who can do that kind of surgery. I have Maggie in a cone and she is pretty annoyed with me. Are there any other solutions to this dilemma other than waiting for the second vet to get around to us?
  16. I make kool-aid wine, which I understand is the lowest form of wine-making EVER, according to the local wine-making supply shop. I get my yeast from them. I make it in a five gallon bucket and pour it off into quart mason jars. Let it age a month or so and it tastes just fine, plus you can't beat the price!
  17. I like it. I've tried other systems but I do like this one. It really is easy to use once you get the hang of it, and if you have to have transcripts and reports to turn in this program does a nice job of making that easier. If you can afford the price, It's worth it.
  18. I've used boxed when it was a time in my life that I needed to. Now that I don't 'need' that kind of thing I don't regret moving on to a different approach. My kids did the box work, but they are more enthusiastic and seem to learn more from a more individualized program. I agree with the previous posters that said that things get a lot easier once a child can read, so in your shoes I would really just focus on that right now, along with some read alouds and a little math. You can read aloud some science and history stories if you want to add in that kind of thing but with the ages of your children I wouldn't get worried about that for a few years yet.
  19. Just a reminder, there are plenty of free curriculum threads here......if that helps.
  20. Our only desktop is an old clunker attached to the only tv in the house so we can watch Netflix and Amazon Prime. I've got two students at home and we have two laptops and three kindles between us. We have a wireless inkjet printer and a wired laserjet that handles most of our printing, which is minimal. We don't have a dedicated school space, and we have an alarming tendency to throw everything into one bag and head out to 'do school' pretty much everywhere. All but a few of our books are in the form of pdf files.
  21. My son loved ABC Mouse and we had a subscription to it for a couple years. He liked Reading Eggs when he was five, but not as much as ABC Mouse. We never had any problems with it crashing or taking a long time to load. The pictures are beautiful and one of the reasons why he loved it so much. You might be interested in using Easy Peasy homeschool ( http://allinonehomeschool.com/ ) as a supplement or Progressive Phonics ( progressivephonics.com/ ), both are free.
  22. We've recently given up a small girl scout troop for this reason. The kids are pretty rude to each other and while the leader will correct the behavior now and then she is easily overwhelmed and then tends to ignore it. The other adult leader doesn't say a word. The leader is a relative and has been really pushing me to allow dd to attend some camps and overnight events during the summer and I've had to say no. She feels that I am not allowing dd to 'learn how to deal with other girls her age', but I'm not at all in favor of dd learning that kind of behavior let alone considering it normal. I don't hang out with people who are routinely rude to me so I'm not going to ask dd to do that either.
  23. We used Little Lincoln and Lincoln Interactive, and words do not begin to express my utter disgust with these curricula, especially Lincoln Interactive. One would think the least they could do would be to hire an editor, but even that was apparently beyond their budget. What a waste of time!
  24. My granddaughter had this issue around ages four and five. Her mother was also at wit's end and totally on top of the girl about it. Strangely enough, when she came to my house and I did not ask her what went on in the bathroom or tell her not to flush until I 'checked', the kid had no problems pooping in my house. She did still have 'issues' at home despite the Miralax and other things. Her mom would joke that she was going to bring her over every day so she could go regularly. Quite frankly, all I did was leave the kid alone and quit bugging her about it. It seemed to me to be more of a power struggle between her and her mom than a medical issue. If you have ruled out medical issues, if the child is eating properly, growing well, and not in pain, why the heck are you 'asking her' to poop and getting upset when she won't poop on command? Let the child alone! Quit making poop a power struggle! It is clearly not healthy for her to have you so far 'up her butt', so to speak, and frankly you need something else to focus on other than when your five year old poops. Try backing off and not mentioning pooping to her for a few days. She may be still holding back to see if you are really not going to make it an issue anymore, but once she feels that you aren't hounding her about it she may very well regularize herself.
  25. I've turned in portfolios in the form of a powerpoint presentation on cd, but that was a bit too much work. It's easier to turn in a pdf on cd. Cds are less expensive than flash drives, but I do dream of turning at least ONE portfolio in on something like a SpongeBob flashdrive. My ten year old is really into making powerpoints right now and I am thinking of maybe letting her do that next year with her own portfolio if she wants to. What works for me is to get a big binder, like three or four inches, for each child. At the beginning of the school year I put in each binder a copy of the notarized affidavit and the response letter from the school district, the attendance calendar for that kid (with the statement that if the child did not attend school on a given day, then that day is crossed off with an X, which saves me from marking them present each day), a copy of the objectives for that child, and various other forms I've found useful or necessary like a book list for recreational reading, the 'log of instructional materials' (which is for us just a list of books that we have used over the year). All this stuff is in the front section. In the next section I put in a pocket folder that I three hole punched. I print out daily assignment lists for each kid, and they get all marked up and check marked, and crossed out in the process of being used. I put these into the pocket folder and eventually three hole punch them in chronological order and put them in that section grouped by month. I like to see what we have done over time to get an idea of progress made, bumps in the road, that kind of thing. These will never get anywhere near the school district as they are strictly for my own use. I can however, use them to compile a summary for each subject and I do throw that into the portfolio. The next sections are for each subject area and I have pocket folders and page protectors there to stick completed work in, if we complete work that is written on paper. I take pictures of projects, art stuff, drawings, and that kind of thing and at some point I will print out the pictures onto a page and stick that page in the section for that subject. Lately I have had to have a page to list the file names of powerpoint projects, longer papers, and other things in the appropriate subject section because they are just too big or not in a form that easily lends itself to being stuck in a binder, I've found that not only is this a nice 'yearbook' for the child, it gives me more than enough material to pick from for the 'samples' in the portfolio. It also gives me a place to stick all those various papers that I used to throw in a box. At the end of the year I have a nice record for each kid. I can pull out from the binder what I want to put in the portfolio. I can put the portfolio stuff in another, smaller three ring binder or, my preference is to scan in what I want to send to the school district and make a neat pdf file and then put that on a cd. They only need 'samples' so I just pick like three or four examples for each subject and call it good. My school district has never complained or wanted more. I keep the big binder as my own record or give it to the child, but I do admit that a couple times I have tossed everything at the end of the year and re-used the same darn binders...... I take the bigger binder with me to the evaluator usually, but I have taken the smaller, school district version with me also. I had a great distance evaluator last year and I uploaded the pdf file to Skydrive and she looked at it online. When I got her evaluation letter I scanned it in and added it to the pdf and THEN put the pdf on cd and dropped it off over at the school district. They did look at me funny the first time I gave them a cd, but I smiled and told the (true) story of how the cat had peed in the box I was using to collect my kid's work samples...........so I scanned in what I could to spare them the stink. They haven't complained at all. :laugh: I do not trust them, however, to simply email the pdf to them but I suppose that if I could trust the receipt function on my email program it should, theoretically at least, work just as well. Edited to add: I do NOT give the school district any medical information on my kids. I do not give them any physical forms or immunization records. Nada. I include a paragraph in my affidavit that states that because of HIPPA and privacy concerns my kid's medical information is maintained at their doctor's office. In my opinion, a doctor trumps a school nurse when it comes to reviewing what my kids might need medically. The school district has chosen not to argue the point with me.
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