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  1. Red Right 88, The Drive, The Fumble, The Shot, The Decision, the 95 World Series, the 97 World Series ... 52 years of heartbreak ... So happy that the curse is finally broken! I watched the 7th game through my fingers and have been partying vicariously through my family in Cleveland ever since. :party: I thought it was going to live in Cleveland infamy as "The Fall" or the "The Break" (if he would have broken his wrist). The 30 for 30 documentary was already running through my mind. Now if only the Browns can get it together!
  2. I was planning a section on Geek mythology in the fall. So far, I was going to have ds do the Classical Mythology class by Dr. Vandiver at Great Courses (http://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/classical-mythology.html) along with the book, "Heros, Gods, and Monsters of Greek Myths" (http://www.amazon.com/Heroes-Gods-Monsters-Greek-Myths/dp/0553259202).
  3. I call my son's feet "stuffed pork chop feet," because aren't just wide, they are thick! When he was little, I bought him Stride Rite XXW shoes in whatever style would accommodate his foot. At the time, they told me that he would eventually grow out of it and not need such a wide shoe. That's why they didn't carry XXW shoes in bigger sizes. Well, he didn't outgrow it! Then, I bought all sorts of adjustable fisherman sandals, which sort of worked (Keen was one of the brands). He also went through a long Croc phase. Now, as a teenager, all he can wear are New Balance in 4E width. He tried the 6E, and while they were more comfortable in the toe box, the heel was also wide, so his foot kept slipping. Only certain styles will work even in New Balance 4E. Shopping is an absolute nightmare. Anything that is made for his type of foot looks like it belongs on a man 80 years old!
  4. We have tried so many videos to go along with Saxon Algebra 2 this year. There is instruction and example problems to varying degrees in all of them. I'll give you DS's opinion of them (very subjective): 1) DIVE - Hated it immediately. Didn't like the format, didn't like the religious overtones, and didn't like the teaching approach (DS felt like the instructor wouldn't get to the point and it wasn't engaging so ds just couldn't focus on the instruction). Stopped using this completely. I wish I could be more specific about the issues, but it was like he took a bite of rotten food and reflexively spit it out. This was just a bad fit for him. 2) Saxon Teacher - Again, hated it immediately. The instructor sounds so depressed that it just makes listening to the video so ... well, depressing. There is some instruction for each lesson, but it is mostly walking through the example problems in the book. Having access to someone working out all the problems in every lesson is useful when you are totally stuck and the solutions manual isn't helping. We do use it for this purpose, but not very often. Also, she doesn't usually draw out the problems if there are shapes or graphs involved and that can make the explanations less clear. 3) Art Reed - Loved this one. It's like being in a regular math class. He's standing at a podium/chalkboard and talking to you just like you were sitting in front of him. In other words, he's much more engaging. He also gives good explanations of the concept and typical issues you are likely to run into. Sometimes he likes a different approach than the book, which is both good and bad. It has caused some confusion when we looked to the book/solutions manual for help and the problem wasn't done the way that Art Reed showed him, but this has only happened a couple of times. DS uses these videos for every lesson. 4) Virtual Homeschool Group (at your own pace class) - These videos are short and to the point. I use them to refresh my memory so that I'm able to help DS. Although he liked them, they weren't quite enough instruction for DS though. He does use them if he needs to review/refresh something. 5) YouTube - I have discovered that you can put in the book and lesson number and come up with many videos. Some are very good. Obviously, your results will vary on YouTube! In general, Saxon is less concept focused and more method focused. This is what I was looking for since ds learns best this way. If you want more conceptual understanding, you might want a different algebra program or supplement with something else.
  5. We have been using "History of the United States" and "How to Listen to and Understand Great Music" this year. DS loves and highly recommends them--especially the music class. I'm looking into some mythology, literature, and economics classes for next year.
  6. DS uses Saxon Algebra II. He checks every answer as he goes. If it's wrong we figure out exactly where the error was made before moving on. There are too many problems to complete in a reasonable amount of time for most people (and my ds has OCD/ADHD, so he is super slow!). I've attempted all different methods for cutting back since I'm really not a fan of tjust doing the odd/even problems. 1) If there are multiple problems for the same concept, I'll have him do one of them, and, if he gets it right, we skip the rest. 2) We will do many of the problems orally (he can use scratch paper/calculator if he wants). It's sort of like math dictation. He practices using math terminology and holding numbers and equations in his head. Even though it's faster, I think it builds a different sort of math skill in the process. 3) Sometimes we will do the practice problems plus 1/2 the problem set on day 1, and then the other half of the problem set plus practice problems from the next lesson on day 2. The problem set from the next lesson is skipped. For example, do lesson 80 practice problems and problem set # 1-15 on Monday. Do lesson 81 practice problems and problem set # 16-30 from lesson 80 on Tuesday. On Wednesday, we move on to lesson 82. 4) Time. Sometimes after 2-3 hours of working (which is pretty normal for us--like I said, he's slow!), you hit a point of diminishing returns, and you just need to stop. 5) I have also used Virtual Homeschool Group. They have a method that shortens the number of problems completed in a week. 6) Slowing down and speeding up. Sometimes all the stars are aligned and ds totally understands all the old and new problems. We will speed things up and skip more than usual. Other times, nothing is clicking, and we slow way down. We might spend three days on one lesson. I hope it balances out in the end. Regardless, his understanding is the gauge. We do Saxon because it is so methodical. DS loves that! He prefers to learn the process and understand the concept later. Also, he loves the constant review. I can totally see how this program wouldn't work for some people (it would probably drive me nuts!), but it works very well for DS if I find a way to reduce the number of problems. I think for Advanced Math I'm going to buy the MFW schedule and try that.
  7. My ds has severe OCD that we have dealt with for most of his life. We have "been there done that" for just about every sort of treatment/medicine/supplement/therapy out there. Unfortunately, there is no one right answer for everyone. What you are describing about the need for reassurance is definitely an indicator. And your instincts to "not feed the loop" are spot on. You can also try to space out the reassurance ("If you're still worried about this in 5 minutes, I'll answer your question."). This will cause an initial spike in anxiety, but is helpful to get out of the loop in the longer term. This method is also used to break out of the compulsive behaviors. If you have any questions, please feel free to PM me. I would be happy to help!
  8. I can, and I do! :001_smile: Due to my ds's issues with reading (OCD--reading takes FOREVER and is utterly exhausting for him), books are much more of a "garnish." For English, he watches the Lost Tools of Writing videos (yes, I know that they are actually made for the teacher). Also, he listens to an LOTR audiobook instead of reading it for Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings. He watches two different Great Courses classes for U.S. history. For chemistry, he watches the Virtual Homeschool Group lessons, videos from Conceptual Academy, Bozeman Science videos, and Crash Course videos. For algebra, he watches the Virtual Homeschool Group lessons, and--if needed--he can also watch the DIVE videos or the Saxon Teacher videos. DS still reads every day, but I limit the amount due to how long it takes him. We wouldn't be able to cover much of anything if I required that he read everything from a book instead of listening/watching the same information.
  9. I live near the area and used to work for a cabin rental company years ago so here's my two cents! I included Pigeon Forge and Sevierville with Gatlinburg since it's all in the same area, but you could certainly just stay in Gatlinburg. We are headed into the peak season, which is October when the leaves change so the prices will be higher for any accommodations. Renting a cabin is probably your best bet, but there are also some great hotels with fun activities for kids (Wilderness at the Smokies (Sevierville), Dollywood's Dreammore (Pigeon Forge), The Inn at Christmas Place (Pigeon Forge)). Some cabins have pool tables, hot tubs, jacuzzi tubs, video game rooms, foosball tables, dart boards, etc. I've even seen cabins with indoor pools! Usually, the more amenities, the higher the price. Because the industry is so big, many cabins are in what look like regular old houses in a subdivisions with no particularly great views to speak of. If you actually want a traditional cabin in the mountains with a view, be sure to tell the rental company. Always ask the cabin rental company what specials they have. This time of year they probably aren't great, but still worth asking. As far as stuff to do, there are many cheesy tourist traps, but also some really fun things too. I would recommend the Ripley's Aquarium, Dollywood, Dixie Stampede, and the Titanic Museum. Obviously, you have to do something in the Smoky Mountains--go on a hike, visit Clingmans Dome, have a picnic, zipline, etc. If you drink, check out the Sugarlands Distilling Company or Ole Smoky Distillery for some moonshine (although this probably wouldn't work out with five kids!). There are many comedy, magic, and musical shows that really depend on your personal taste. I love eating at the Applewood Farmhouse (Sevierville). It has great apple dumplings, country food, and cute shops. Also, wherever you stay will probably offer some sort of reduced cost tickets for something so ask about that too. Traffic is usually TERRIBLE. Always leave plenty of time to drive. Walk whenever you can. There are also trollies, which are also a great option. I hope that helps. Have fun!
  10. This is true! Even within the state there are differences from year to year so the practice tests (which are usually tests from previous years) are only so helpful. Some of the concepts that were heavily emphasized in the practice tests were barely covered on the actual test. In our experience, it was a matter of getting used to how the test asks questions. The Algebra EOC didn't have as many "trick" questions as the English and Biology EOC's, but it wasn't totally straightforward either.
  11. What state are you in? If you Google the state and Algebra 1 EOC practice test, you should be able to find several tests. If it is written by Pearson and based on Common Core, it should be similar to EOC tests in other states. Here are links to a Tennessee teacher going through every problem on the EOC practice tests: practice test 1: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDF769F5309739E58 practice test 2: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqGfvjuRO_HgG_DXxpTXpCswsyi65tuIT practice test 3: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqGfvjuRO_HipYCLlUi_iyvmohRoaKoms My son just took the Tennessee Algebra 1 EOC test a few weeks ago and used these to study. He scored very well! :-)
  12. I *should* be doing American Lit since we'll be doing American History, but it just isn't going to work out that way! DS also isn't a fan of American History. I was afraid that if all his literature was just more US History that he'd be really miserable. I do understand temptation! I spend endless hours falling down the curricula rabbit hole of doom ... tab after tab after tab ... publisher's website, WTM reviews, blog reviews, samples, possible tweaks, possible combinations with yet another curriculum, pros and cons of various editions ...
  13. I found the LAoW at a local used bookstore and really like it. There just wasn't enough of the pre-writing structure for my ds. He likes very clear and specific procedures for everything. I'm hoping LToW with the ANI charts and outlines will be specific enough for him! I was thinking WttW would be great after a year of LToW. I know ds will appreciate the short stories, but I'm worried about the annotation. I can just see him freezing up and telling me that he doesn't have any thoughts to note. Because of his OCD, there is a limited amount that he can read and write (he's sooooooo slow!). I have to be judicious in what I require.
  14. I approached the order based on the greatest need for my ds. For him, generating ideas and organizing them is by far his biggest challenge (ADHD/OCD executive function issues). If your dds are already producing novels, they might not have the same problem! :001_smile: I am planning on using LToW with Literary Lessons from Lord of the Rings so hopefully intro literary analysis will be covered along with the persuasive essay. I decided to hold off on the research paper this year. In the horrible online public school he did this year, he was rushed through a research paper and learned absolutely nothing about the process. I want to take some time with it after he has the skills to organize his thoughts properly. Maybe you could have your dds do the One Year Adventure Novel for fun or for an elective and use English class to just focus on academic writing? Also, depending on what you are using for science and history, you could start doing research papers in those classes. I know some of the theme IEW courses such as history have research papers included. I could never, ever do that much writing with my ds, but your dds might like it!
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