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Everything posted by reesecoli

  1. Hey all! My son (11yo) will be entering a new phase of learning in the fall and while I have been able to piece things together (with local help) to meet our needs for elementary school, I feel the need to connect to the larger hive mind for more specific help for the pre-teen/junior high years. I will do a search on the topics that interest me but also wanted to post a few of the things that are really on my mind right now: 1. Is there anything I just shouldn't miss - something that saved your pre-teen homeschooling experience? A book, a weekly ritual, a rite of passage ceremony, an essential curriculum or field trip experience, a hobby or sport? 2. Has anyone used Inspire Charter School for junior high or high school? If so which "path" did you choose and what was your experience? We have never used a charter and I am not inclined to do so, however several people have mentioned to me that Inspire is quite flexible and I like that they offer different "paths" for learning especially for high school. I would like to know more. 3. My son is very interested in learning more about public speaking. Any class, curriculum, youtube video that you would recommend to help him? We visited our local Speaker's League but found it too formal for our needs right now. He isn't currently interested in something with strict rules about what you can and cannot do for the sake of competition. He is more interested in learning how to communicate his ideas more clearly. I could do this at home with him if I had the right resources or I am happy to find a small class or short course that would get him started. Something along the lines of Charlotte Mason's oral narration only secular. 4. We are hoping to do 2 years of Latin for junior high. Several friends recommend Lively Latin. I think this might be nice if done in a small class setting. Is there one being offered in Los Angeles? I would love to hear about other people's experiences with Latin. 5. Lastly, my son is very interested in social justice and has inspired me to start getting more educated and involved myself. We would like to start using Howard Zinn's A People's History of the US. Has anyone used that? Do you recommend the graphic novel version, the kid's version, or the adult version? Is there curriculum to go along with it? Anything else? I welcome all advice. Be as specific as you like - what did you do day in and day out that worked for your child and you? Thanks! Reese
  2. I have decided to start with Grammar Island, then Practice Island. Then we will take a short break. I will start again with either Sentence Island or Building Language. I know I want to use Building Language and think it will pair nicely with our Ancient History studies next fall/winter/spring. Ds will also start an IEW writing class in the fall. Depending on how we feel at that point I will decide whether or not to skip SI. Does ds need some extra support in writing/implementing what he learned? Then SI followed by Killgallon. I can start Building Language later in the year while he does Killgallon I think. If he doesn't seem to need any additional writing support (or if that would be too much in addition to a writing class - or maybe the class won't be a good fit and we will figure something else out) then we will dive into Building Language right away in the fall. I really like the idea of doing one at a time that TriciaT suggested. That feels manageable for us right now. And I will definitely wait until next year for CE. That's Grammar/Vocab Thursday. I may just purchase SI and MOTH (Student books) for him to read on his own (after Practice Island) - I have to remember he is a sponge and does most of his best learning through independent reading - i.e. without me breathing down his neck to make sure he is "getting it." Hahahaha! ...... *sigh* So I have purchased GI teacher manual, PI (one teacher manual, one student book), and BL teacher manual. I will wait to purchase SI, MOTH, and Killgallon - and will purchase whatever feels right in the fall after we have had some time to find our way forward a bit. Still brainstorming Poetry Tea Tuesday. It is shifting in my mind - into an Emotional Intelligence Tea Tuesday. Some poetry (silly and sacred), some stories about my own life growing up (funny and hard), some sex ed, some what makes a good friend, some Lead with a Story-type "What would you do in this situation?" personal ethics, some social action, some just tell me what's up. As he gets older I need to build this time in intentionally. Finding time to talk about feelings - and the power of words to help us articulate and understand them - is not something I had growing up so I literally have to remember to schedule it or I forget to check in with my kids. I am so grateful. Thank you for letting me brainstorm out loud, and for sharing your expertise, wisdom, and support.
  3. sbgrace - YES! I am totally signing him up for an IEW class in the fall. There are a couple about 30 minutes from me that are taught by registered instructors. So I will be checking those out next week. I have already spoken with one of them and she recommends Level B to start. I think having a group of friends to present to will be fun for ds - he loves public speaking. :) I got both the TM and SB for Practice Island (I like having the answers and I can just photo copy the student pages for my second child). I see you are using Grammar Fix It - is that from IEW? How do you like it? Can it stand alone? I see you are using it with Grammar Made Easy - I am not familiar with that.
  4. Poetry Tuesdays and Grammar Thursdays - HERE WE COME!!! :thumbup1:
  5. *Jessica*: Thanks for the input on Sentence Island - I think I will start without it and if it seems like we need more reinforcement I can always pick it up later. domestic_engineer: Thanks for your thoughts on Building Language and the reminder that gentle is a good place to start (for me as well as the kids). I am feeling inspired to start this summer so keeping it light will be nice. Thanks also for mentioning Killgallon's sentence composing. Tell me more! How old were your kids when you used it? What did you love about it? Jackie: I LOVE the white board idea and look forward to the day when my confidence is such that I can use a whiteboard for writing (and math too!). Right now I still need proof that I am doing a good job as a homeschooling parent in these subjects. ;P But I. will. get. there. I also like the idea of reading MOTH and just trusting that it will change how my kids see poetry (without having to use our time together to do formal analysis). That is a step I am ready for right now! Gosh. This is exactly what I needed guys. You are amazing! Seriously, thank you for taking the time to help me out - it is such a gift.
  6. Oh gosh! I forgot! I wanted to ask do I need teacher's manuals or student books for every subject. Their website says The teacher manuals in the series always include the student book plus special boxes that provide tips and further questions for the teacher Does this mean that a separate student book is included or simply that the INFORMATION in the student book is included in the teacher manual? Here is my plan so far: Grammar Island - Teacher Manual only - I will type and print the sentences they need to label, unless a separate student book is included. Practice Island - 1 Teacher Manual and 1 Student book only (I will make copies for my second child) Sentence Island - If it is similar in format to Grammar Island then I will just purchase the Teacher Manual - I can have them do their work on separate paper Building Language - If it is similar in format to Grammar Island then I will just purchase the Teacher Manual - I can have them do their work on separate paper Music of the Hemispheres - If it is similar in format to Grammar Island then I will just purchase the Teacher Manual - I can have them do their work on separate paper. Thanks!
  7. Grammar island gives you a good start in looking at someone else's writing. Sentence Island gives you things to think about in your own writing. As far as time goes, we just work through one book at a time. (Except practice island, which we keep doing a few sentences from each week). I found each one takes about 6-8 weeks to get through. TriciaT: These comments were very helpful. And it is nice to know that learning to write poetry could be just the ticket for igniting a child's passion for writing. You sound like a conscientious parent, trust your instincts! LMD: This actually made me cry! Thank you for the encouraging words at a time when I clearly needed to hear some! We are using Caesar's English this year and its much more comprehensive. SanDiegoMom in VA: It looks like you are using Caesar's English with your 9 year old twins. Could I use that instead of Building Language with my 10 year old while we do Grammar Island or should I wait until we do Grammar Town before introducing Caesar's English? Wow, Mamas thank you so much for your feedback. It is very helpful! I welcome other thoughts as well. I so value the wisdom and perspective of others who have gone before me!
  8. Hello all! I am researching MCT Grammar Island. It looks right up our alley. I plan to purchase it and Practice Island. It seems like a beautiful way to introduce the basic grammar concepts. I will also purchase Building Language as I love the emphasis on Latin and it dovetails nicely with the fact that we are studying ancient history next year. But I am undecided about Sentence Island and Music of the Hemispheres. I welcome your thoughts. Here are mine: Sentence Island Sentence Island seems to focus on subject/predicate stuff, which is covered nicely in Grammar Island. So I am not sure what the value of it is. I am looking for something simple and straightforward and don't want to beat a dead horse. My time with the kids is limited, or more accurately my energy for doing formal curriculum with them is limited. Grammar Island seems like more than enough. If Sentence Island is just there to reinforce the concept of subject/predicate I think I will pass. Am I missing something? Music of the Hemispheres I love poetry. I read it daily and if feeds my soul. I recited poetry for Speech Team in high school and did very well. I know almost nothing about proper form in poetry. I learned some in school but have since forgotten most of it. I have read poetry to the children periodically and really enjoyed that. I have decided to add in a Poetry Tea (inspired by Brave Writer) once a week. I think it might be "nice" to do a formal poetry curriculum like Music of the Hemispheres with the kids, but time is precious. I want to focus on using formal curriculum for things like math and writing. That frees us up to do fun things like SOTW and A Child's History of the World for history, BBC documentaries or Sassafras for science, swimming, hiking, Spanish, Art, and whatever else catches their fancy like....Chemistry. Would Music of the Hemispheres fit perfectly in our weekly Poetry Tea - taking only a few minutes to cover - or would it make an otherwise pleasant experience seem like work? Wow! Writing this has really helped me get a handle on my "homeschooling style" in a way I never have before. One friend does Waldorf in the morning and unschooling in the afternoon. Or formal education at home in the fall, and general classes outside the home in the winter and spring. I have read that some are Classical in the fall, Charlotte Mason in the winter, and unschooling in the spring. Now I can say with confidence that I like more formal/structured approaches for math and writing, but enjoy more Charlotte Mason/lit-based learning for history and science, and I love unschooling for art and physical education. It isn't exactly like that but mostly. It feels good to be able to articulate it!!! I still want your input on this specific curriculum. ;P Should I reinforce subject/predicate stuff because it is just that essential or confusing? Should I consider understanding/writing poetry (as opposed to just enjoying it) an important skill? Should I at least give my kids a chance to see if it is an artistic gift/passion for them? And one more question: Is this curriculum religious in any way. I would like to use for the next 4 years at least and I can work around specific religious bias but would love it if that wasn't necessary! Our Writing Background (in case it helps)... My son is 10. We have used AAS as our spelling curriculum for the past couple years. I love it (though I have modified it to better suit our needs over the years). My son is an avid reader but doesn't enjoy writing - I think it is largely about the fine motor skill required, and maybe sitting down and focusing. I have never done any formal writing curriculum with my son (outside of AAS). I have rarely asked him to write a story (only to remind the request when he was reduced to tears), label his pictures, make a list, make a birthday card or thank you note, etc. And he has occasionally done these things on his own. He even wrote a story once, at another teacher's prompting. He is diligent when it comes to writing well, however, and has beautiful penmanship. His spelling has improved greatly, but it doesn't click easily for him like learning to read did. He still cannot spell words he has read a zillion times. I know this isn't shocking to anyone who has ever taught children before, but he is my first and I was surprised to realize that reading and writing can be two totally different skill sets. My dd is 7 and the two seem to go together for her much more than they do for my son. Any thoughts, advice, perspective on that topic is also welcome. Thank you in advance for your thoughtful comments! Reese
  9. Are the Teacher Guide and Student Guide necessary, helpful, needed for all three Story of Science Books? Trying to decide if I should get them for the Aristotle Leads the Way book. Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks! Reese
  10. Has anyone used this science curriculum (chemistry and physical science for k-8) or heard anything about it? Inquiry in Action: http://www.inquiryinaction.org/ Thanks! Reese
  11. I have heard that the instructor (what is his name btw?) refers to 11-19 as "tenty-one," "tenty-two," "tenty-threes," etc. I was considering purchasing the cd with the songs for skip counting and addition. Can someone tell me if they use this method of referring to the teens or if they use the regular method? Also I did find some free skip counting videos/songs on you tube - anyone know of any good addition songs on youtube?
  12. I am pulling together my Elementary Science Curriculum and I am looking for any "oh my! you have to check out this!!!!" or "don't forget this" or "big picture things to keep in mind" kind of stuff. 1. I am looking into RealScience-4-Kids. What is the philosophy or general perspective of this curriculum? How does it differ from other programs? Are their other science options out there like this one? Are their good supplemental activities? 2. If you are not using this what science programs are you using PreK-2, 3, 4, 5, and beyond? pros? cons? 3. Does anyone know of any free resources for teaching science to the littlest ones - online sites with hands on experiments? 4. any other great resources.....What about The Story of Science? I already have Building Foundations of Understanding Science..... 5. I am prepping to do some prehistory with my soon to be 5 year old too....already have Born with a Bang, the cartoon with Einstein (can't remember the name), Ubiquitous....any other recommendations? 6. Any great fiction - along the lines of the burgess bird book or the secret of nimh - fiction about space or animals or scientists or experiments that conveys facts in the process of telling stories? I would especially love to hear from those with backgrounds and/or careers in science....but any advice is welcome! I am looking for "oh my you have to check out this!!!!" kind of stuff. Thank you!
  13. you, my friend, are a ROCK STAR!!! Thank you soooo much for taking the time to do this!
  14. ohelizabeth~ That was super helpful! He has trouble telling dad what he did too so I have just recently started going through the entire day with him (from end to start) at dinner time. I think my modeling it will help. And of course I let him fill in any blanks or go off on a tangent if he wants to. And it is nice to know that my instinct to gently rephrase was a good one. You are so right, I am learning tons about myself on this parenting/homeschooling journey. I really want to help my son improve his memory and storytelling ability, and I want to do it in a way that respects where he is right now. Your advice and encouragement have meant a lot and inspire me to try try again. Thank you! Reese
  15. SneguochkaL ~ Thanks for the info! Very helpful! When did you start adding Primary Mathematics (textbooks and intensive practice books)? Thanks again! Reese
  16. this thread is sooo helpful! more great info just keeps coming! I have a list of must read material now that I will get from the library asap! thanks!
  17. I was very gentle and immediately scaled back when I saw that my expectations were higher than where he was at. I stopped asking direct questions with "right" or "wrong" answers OR if I did ask these questions in an effort to prompt him I never corrected his answer but I mainly asked him to tell me what he remembered about the story. It was painful for both of us. I think I will try again because I do think it is important but I will just continue to go super super slow.
  18. misidawnrn - are you saying that you use the WWE instructor text and not the workbook?
  19. Thanks everyone! I think I know what I am going to do now - super super helpful! xo
  20. ohelizabeth you have given me some great things to think about - I didn't know that about WTM...I guess I need to do some more reading...I had thought creative writing might be less harmful than narration - he really seemed to shut down with that.....thanks so much for the food for thought.....very helpful!
  21. OH MY WORD! I love these! I hate coloring books and have never used one. I wish there was something like this for writing. I think my son just needs a gentle push to get him started. Like a book with a picture in it and then he can tell a story about the picture....is there anything like that? Maybe I can just make something up? I have started making up my own stories and that does help....
  22. Has anyone used Write Source or Write Shop for encouraging original writing for their little ones PK-3?
  23. I do plan to purchase the Spalding phonogram cards, but if I was going to use a curriculum it would probably be SWR, and I plan to get the SWR spelling rule cards....
  24. I am not planning to use either program. I intend to use a eclectic mix of materials. What is the difference between the SWR and Spalding CDs? Perhaps that would help me decide....thanks!
  25. thanks everyone (and thanks shinyhappypeople for letting me piggyback on your thread!!!).... I am curious about the Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading.....I will have to check it out.... any more advice would be appreciated...
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