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Everything posted by ArizonaGirl

  1. The page states that it is a flat 60% off regular prices. You could look at their regular prices and do the math, but I do agree that it would be nice to see a list of which books are available and the actual asking price. :)
  2. I simply obtained a list of graduation requirements from our local school district and matched her work to those names, along with grades. We got creative for additional work, but listing English 10 for tenth grade was perfectly acceptable, along with American Literature as a separate class, since we thought the amount of work done was sufficient. We also attached a book list of all the books she read in 9th and 10th grade, and that got the principal's attention for the Early College High School she attended for 11th and 12th. Based on her transcript, test scores, and reading list, they were able to award "Principal awarded credit" so that she still gets a high school diploma this spring. Otherwise, she would have only received recognition for her work at that high school, but no diploma because our homeschool wasn't accredited. It made a big difference in scholarship qualifications. Keeping accurate records as you go and assigning all work a class category helps a lot.
  3. I actually did take the homeschooling parent online course, first half. I still haven't seen the upper elementary level available. For background, I was taught Spalding as a child, and occasionally, Mrs. Spalding would come and visit our classrooms and observe. My children attended a Spalding school, where I volunteered as a parent in the classroom for several years, until we moved away. I found the online class informative and helpful, but as I was already familiar with the method and Spalding classrooms, it wasn't a lot of new material for me. I do think the videos of actual Spalding classrooms are helpful. They showed my children how to respond to phonogram flashcards and Spalding procedures. I also felt frustrated asking questions, since most answers were pretty canned and straight from the 5th edition, which was current at the time. I own and use the 5th edition with my children. I borrowed my mother's copy of the 2nd edition, from when I was a child, and I found a lot of helpful insights that have been removed from more recent editions. I would love to be able to look through a fourth edition. From my understanding, the current sixth edition expands more examples of how to teach more complicated material to the upper elementary students, though I have not seen it in person. I have the original Teacher's manuals from Spalding Education, International that go with the 5th edition. I know most of those have been revised to match the new sixth edition and incorporate the newer Spalding readers. I prefer the actual decodable books, using good literature, listed in the originals. They are more enjoyable for the children to read. At this point, I just use the guides as a list of concepts to cover. I supplement heavily with other things for practice because of time constraints. I just can't spend 2+ hours per grade level on language arts one-on-one with five kids every day. Spelling is about the only thing I keep as mostly Spalding, though I do incorporate some Orton-Gillingham from a class I took. The earlier Spalding editions are much gentler and less complicated for the student. My grandmother described the current Spalding as very "Oppressive." Although the goal of Spalding Education, International, was to preserve Romalda Spalding's original method, I feel they have changed too much and made it much more rigid. It is easier for the teacher to teach this way, but it is less flexible and diagnostic as well. Originally, you constantly evaluated the students' learning and adapted teaching to focus on what the children (individually or as a class) needed. Now, everything is rigidly grouped with the attitiude that all must be mastered in the specified time, and then we move on, ready or not. I'm rambling. Forgive me. The classes are helpful if you can use them to figure out how to write your own custom plans to suit your own children.
  4. As others have said, I'd see what the school expects of him. That said, I'd probably get Essentials in Writing, grade 3 (or 4 if you think he can do it), and jump past the grammar to the last half of the school year where the lessons walk the student through writing various types of compositions. I struggle with teaching writing, too, and this has at least introduced my children to the whole writing process of prewriting, drafting/composing, revising, editing, and publishing. They like the fact that it consists of very short video lessons, and the assignment wasn't created by Mom. :) The program was a big lifesaver for my struggling seventh grader who attends 8th grade at a charter school this year. Best wishes with the transition.
  5. I learned to read with the Spalding method in my elementary school. My children did as well, until we moved to an area where it was not available to us. Now we homeschool, and I have used TWRTR, as well as materials from Spalding Education, International. Most of my children have excelled, but I had one son who just struggled. Even in sixth grade, he couldn't get past a second grade spelling level, although he could read well. Someone pointed me to a book: Overcoming Dyslexia, by Sally Shaywitz (spelling?). I realized he had many of the symptoms. (He has never been diagnosed with dyslexia). Because of my frustration and the array of very different programs, all claiming to be Orton-Gillingham based, I decided to go to the source. I took an Orton-Gillngham class from a Master teacher/ Fellows. (or something like that). I learned that Spalding is adapted for a classroom approach. She condenses all the spelling rules to just 29 rules. Most children thrive, but it moves too quickly for some kids. Instead of introducing three sounds at a time for one phonogram, Orton-Gillingham introduces one sound. Then the kids practice reading and spelling lots of words that use just that one sound of the phonogram. Later, after mastery is achieved, additional sounds are introduced. The rules are also clarified and practiced in much the same way. There is a lot more to it than that, but what I learned was a huge advantage in helping my son. I have used both Spalding and pure Orton-Gillingham since then, as my children need it. I would strongly recommend learning about the different methods by taking a class if at all possible, especially if you have a child who struggles with one method or another. Simply trying a different approach to the same methods makes a big difference.
  6. Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic are every day. If you want me to be more specific: Daily Grams (five minute worksheet) Grammar lesson--Different curriculum for different kids. Spelling/Phonics Copywork or dictation Read aloud together. They read the McGuffy readers to me as part of their bedtime routine. Funny story: A few years ago I lost my voice for a week, so they thought they should read bedtime stories to me. I never let them stop. :) Math lesson. Flash cards for math facts. Read alouds: For us, that includes History, Literature, and Science. I read to them. Sometimes we do an activity, or narrate back, or some type of assignment. We try to read aloud together every day, but not all subjects are covered each day. History may be 3 days, Science 2-3 days, Literature 3-4 days plus bedtime stories so we can read more without it feeling like school. Some type of exercise or P.E. is necessary several days a week. As long as Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic are covered daily, and we try to do a little of something else, we have had a good day.
  7. Thank you so much for these new recommendations! I've been using Essentials in Writing just because my kids like it and I feel it covers the "Essentials." I am rather heavy on supplementing it (especially for grammar), so I feel better knowing it is recommended here. I love the first couple books of Writing With Ease, and they have been a lifesaver for some of my kids who just hate writing. Again, thank you for the new suggestions!
  8. Check out the book Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz. Then find a dyslexia organization in your area and see what they recommend. Best wishes!
  9. I would suggest Daily Grams by Wanda Phillips. It is intended to go along with Easy Grammar, but I use it along with Rod and Staff. It provides just enough review so that my children don't forget things. As you work your way through the daily worksheets, each time a new concept is presented, it is briefly taught, and after that, it is rotated through all the review concepts. I've even been able to skip a few Rod and Staff lessons, such as combining sentences, because daily practice is given on the worksheets. They only take 5-10 minutes each day. I would suggest that you have your child memorize a list of 30-50 prepositions, though, as the worksheets often have you cross out prepositional phrases to simplify identifying subjects, verbs, etc. Good Luck!
  10. We have used The Curious Case of the Misplaced Modifier. It has at least one chapter on active vs. passive voice, and it makes the subject kind of fun. http://www.amazon.com/Curious-Case-Misplaced-Modifier-Mysteries/dp/158297389X I'm not sure if it is still in print--I bought it on clearance a few years ago. I know there are other sources as well, but I am drawing a blank right now. Best wishes.
  11. I suggest that you read Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz. I'm not saying your son has dyslexia, but dyslexic kids are brilliant. They are slow readers with slow fluency, and it doesn't go away. Dyslexia often co-exists with ADD. These kids can be helped with simple accommodations like extra time on tests. The book has more information. A good summary of it can be found here. http://knol.google.com/k/dyslexia# Best wishes!
  12. I haven't used Noeo, but I did combine Real Science 4 Kids Biology Pre-Level 1 and Level 1 so that I could teach all my kids at once. We had a great year. I drew up a reading schedule and lab schedule over the course of one semester, and lined everything up so that we stayed together through the books. Since both programs follow the same outline, this was easy to do. My older kids loved the simplified explanations the younger kids had. We used this for K-5th grades. Noeo does look good, and to combine them, I would look at the topics already scheduled for Noeo and then just line up RS4K to match up the reading. You could decide which labs to use or not use. Best wishes.
  13. We are using Prentice Hall's Biology by Miller and Levine. My daughter simply reads the chapter and then does the Study Workbook A that coordinates with the book. I still need to find a separate lab program for her. I suppose I should have her do the tests as well, but she already spends about an hour and a half on biology each day. Sometimes we pull up coordinating lectures or videos from Khan Academy to help clarify concepts she just doesn't quite get. Does that help?
  14. I took the class this last fall, and even though I attended a Spalding school as a child and helped in class while my children were enrolled at the same school, I still found the class helpful in learning how to teach the Spalding method. When I took the class, each session was recorded so we could watch it later, and others were allowed to enroll late and view the recorded sessions. I found it much easier to simply attend the class "live" online. The recordings didn't allow for the interaction that live attendance allowed. The class was an example of how Spalding is taught. The instructor explained the purpose and what she would teach, and then you became the student in her classroom and she modeled how to teach. It went a little more in depth that the book TWRTW went. The class was geared for grades K-3, with which I am already very comfortable. I look forward to the future class for upper elementary. I feel it would benefit me more. The class did not teach how to teach different grades at the same time. I just have to combine my children for phonics review, adapting so the youngest can keep up and the oldest not be bored (I have a 1st, 3rd, 5th, and remedial 7th grades in my home). My third and fifth graders are well-matched in skills, so I pair them together. After phonics, I take turns teaching the various spelling levels, then writing, and then reading. When it is not their turn, each child has either independent work or silent reading. Sometimes they are dismissed temporarily to take a recess and keep younger siblings out of the way. Often, I can combine all the reading lessons and just require more of the older children. I have probably given more information that you wanted, but I think the class is well worth taking. My husband's opinion is that the class is a bargain. Comparable Professional training classes online for him are often cost thousands of dollars. Spalding charges very little to teach you how to have literate, well-educated children.
  15. Since your kids are little, I'd start with the Nursery Manual. I also use the Scripture Readers put out by the church--Just scripture stories with about six pictures on a page--this familiarizes the kids with the stories from the scriptures. We rotate our way through Book of Mormon Stories, Church History Stories, Old Testament, and New Testament. Reading something each day from The Friend helps, too. It seems we can't finish one before the next one arrives. They love to color the pictures and try the activities there. For older kids, use the New Era or even the Ensign. Preach My Gospel is an excellent resource. My teenagers read their way through various biographies of the prophets. My little ones actually loved Boys Who Became Prophets. The old Shining Moments, Vol. 1 and 2, by Lucille C. Reading are a favorite here, as well. As your kids grow, work through the Faith in God books for 8-11 year olds, then of course Personal Progress and Duty to God. If you want to add an LDS perspective through literature to your history studies, try On Wings of Faith by Bruce Babbit (I think). This is the aftermath of WWII in Europe as Ezra Taft Benson toured to offer help to those in need. In the Eye of the Storm (or The Other Side of Heaven) by John Groberg offers a look into the culture of the Polynesian Islands through the eyes of a young missionary. Some people really like historical fiction by Gerald Lund. N.C. Allen wrote a similar series on the Civil War, and Dean Hughes wrote some about WWI and WWII. Other similar series exist on the Revolutionary War, though I don't remember the titles, now. The Family Home Evening Resource Manual is an excellent place to find doctrine with helps for teaching young children. Gospel Picture kits offers an opportunity to just use the pictures and scriptures to tell stories. The list goes on and on. Honestly, though extra curriculum is nice, I think the church puts out more resources than we can possibly cover adequately. I haven't even mentioned that teaching straight from the Proclamation on the Family or doctrines found in The Living Christ (is that what is is called? From the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve--similar to the Proclamation on the Family). Conference Reports are great sources, as well. I know a lot of this is for older kids, but little ones still benefit from you teaching the materials in words they can understand. Best Wishes!
  16. We use Singapore here. That said, you may want to look at Ray's Arithmetic. Every problem is a story problem, or so I've read.
  17. I have switched math curriculum several times. Yes, sometimes that means there are a few holes, but when we encounter them, we slow down, back up a little, and cover the missing information. We have also found that we come across material presented as new that we have already covered. In that case, treat it as review to be sure your child has grasped the concept, and move on. I have not used Rod and Staff or Right Start, but if you feel it is time for a change, feel free to change. As for 7th and 8th grade math, at the end of sixth grade material, test for readiness for pre-algebra and Algebra I. I would use several different tests from several different publishers. Most home school math curriculum will offer free placement tests online or by request. The tests will help you know your child's weaknesses and strengths and areas you may need to practice more. If the student is ready for high school math, move on. If not, consider another course such as Saxon 8/7, or Singapore Level 6, or whatever level your child tests into in the curriculum you choose.. I have a child who tested into Saxon 7/6 in fourth grade. He is now 7th grade and was using Saxon 8/7. His progress seemed to stop. I gave him several tests over a couple of weeks, and we are now zooming through Singapore 5A, filling in gaps and strengthening weak areas. Hopefully, we can fill all those gaps so that he will soon be ready for Algebra I, or at least Pre-Algebra. He is brilliant, but struggles when he must show his work and explain how he got his answer, skills I believe he needs to be successful in Algebra and other upper level math. Best Wishes to you!
  18. I have five in full time school at home, plus a four-year-old and two-year-old. We start around 8 or 9 am and I usually declare myself done around 3 or 4 pm, but they usually don't all finish by then. I've learned that although I'd like to work with everyone on everything everyday, I often only get an average of three times a week with each child on the subjects that consume my time the most. On the busiest days, sometimes math is just flashcards and a review worksheet--at least they are doing something. We focus heavily on Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. History and Science are read aloud together for the younger ones and alone for the older ones. We often read school books aloud at bedtime, and I often have to grade high school work after bedtime. We drew a generic checklist chart on a whiteboard on the wall, and for the past month that has helped considerably. Can you check off your math, science, history, silent reading, phonics, spelling, writing, grammar, piano practice, etc.? I can look at the chart and at a glance see who has been on task and who hasn't. We erase it each night, and start new each day. I put an "x" on anything I choose to excuse them from each day because my time is limited. When all subjects are checked off, you are free to choose what you want to do. School does seem to take all day. Sometimes I wish I could just have one or two to educate, or that I had started homeschooling one at a time instead of jumping straight in all at once a couple years ago. That first year was rough, but I am glad to have them all. We have adjusted, but constantly change things. Sufficient sleep for Mom is a must. I also have to plan breaks and time for myself, even if it is on a Saturday night or date night with my husband.
  19. I posted a couple of times about this over at this thread: http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?t=218096&highlight=SOTW+Sonlight My posts are a comparison of the two programs. I have not used them at the same time, but used Sonlight Core 1, then, a few years later, I am using SOTW book 1 with the activity guide for my first grader. I just didn't have time to add in a whole core for him, and his older brother is doing Core 6, which uses SOTW book 1 as part of its spine. Perhaps my comparisons will help you in your decision. Best wishes!
  20. No one has mentioned Timberdoodle. They offer boxed curriculum, but it is easy to pick and choose just what you want. Many of their subjects are simply workbooks. Their science and history are the more religious subjects they offer. You could just look elsewhere for those if you prefer. That said, we piece together our curriculum. Spalding (The Writing Road to Reading) is our Language arts program. We use Real Science 4 Kids for science. Sonlight is history and literature (since Spalding has you choose your own lit. selections, this is a good combination for us). Singapore math is not religious at all and works well for our family. We've used Easy Grammar and Growing With Grammar for extra grammar practice when needed. Writing With Ease is a favorite for kids that really struggle with the Spalding writing assignments. It takes the pressure off a bit. With so many kids to school, our day is fairly open and go without a completely boxed curriculum. Good luck!
  21. My children have big binders with tabs for each subject. Finished work must be filed in their binder, newest assignment on top. With seven children, we can't have loose papers everywhere. When binders get full, I use bull nose office clips (or paper clips if the stack is small) for each subject and drop the papers into a banker's box filing box. Sometimes, the whole binder goes into the box, especially if it is just time for a new binder. Each child has their own box. All finished workbooks also go in the box. It is a bit messy, but at least I will be able to find their work if I ever need to prove they did it. I'm not very organized, but my kids are learning to file their papers. If they can't find a finished assignment when I ask for it, they get to do it over, same as for a teacher in school. This helps them remember to put papers in the right place in their notebooks, and not on their desks, or the floor, or their bin of books, etc. A few things do just get thrown away, but I try to make sure that what we keep shows progress over time.
  22. Mine don't do their work while I am gone, either (except my very enthusiastic eight-year-old who can't get enough of school). Sometimes I take them with me if at all possible. They bring their assignments. Sometimes, they will work if I leave a strong enough motivation: Either have this assignment done before I return at noon, or add an extra assignment, or extra chore, or loss of privilege, or whatever it is that works. If the work is done, perhaps they earn a reward or privilege (invite a friend over, or a family outing, picnic, movie night at home, etc.--it doesn't need to be expensive). Sometimes, the threat of homework while everyone else has fun, or fear of Daddy's discipline and wrath, is enough. Making Daddy the bad guy (school principal and disciplinarian) works well here. I have to be sure one is assigned to little ones, or a rotation outlined, or all will use the toddler as their excuse for not working. The best solution, though, is to plan my errands and necessary outings outside of school time. Perhaps we have a Saturday school day or evening school time to make up for a vacation day when Mom is not available to supervise. Good luck with your own solutions!
  23. It sounds to me like you just described Spalding. Look up Spalding Education International. The only thing missing would be diagramming sentences and Latin, although word roots are covered. To do the program as you describe, I would purchase the full homeschooling kit, especially the grade level Teacher's Manual. In reality, if you understand the program, you can use just Writing Road to Reading, the phonogram cards, and the pronunciation CD, but if you need help teaching specific things and knowing when, the teacher's manual is a huge help. Samples are on their website. We add in Growing with Grammar for diagramming practice, unless you are comfortable teaching that on your own. ( I never learned diagramming, so I need the help). Spalding will teach writing poetry, but you need to locate poems yourself and assign memorization. A very flexible literature list is included. You may want to ask for a placement spelling test to determine which teacher's guide is the best placing for your student. Ask about the recorded copies of the Home Educator's Online class that just ended last month. This will greatly help you implement the program. I hope you can find exactly what you are looking for. We use Spalding and a math program, and I feel the education of basics is complete. History and science reading suggestions are given in Spalding, but we do add more for those subjects. Best wishes in your search.
  24. I am in a similar situation. Let me share my plan. We are currently doing four cores at our house, and it is just too much for me. I read P 4/5 as bedtime stories for the little ones. My 3rd and 5th grader are doing core 2 (Almost finished--we'll move into core 3 in a few weeks). My 7th grader is doing core 6, and he shares Story of the World with my 1st grader, since I didn't think I could add in core 1 at the same time. My 1st grader listens in to older and younger siblings' read-alouds quite a bit, anyway. My 10th grader does just the history from Core 7, and the literature from core 200. I know that sounds confusing, and I want to get my kids into less cores together. My high schooler will continue on her own, but as soon as we finish 3 and 4 with my current 3rd and 5th graders, and my 7th grader works through cores 6 and 7, we hope to do core 5 all together. By then, they will be about the middle of grades 3, 5, 7, and 9. A younger one in 1st grade will probably be on his own at that point, in either Core 1 (maybe with my future 3rd-grader) or just Story of the World, depending on how life goes and what I can handle. I may add or subtract things for the oldest and youngest at that point. I love the idea above about having the child keep a journal of countries instead of doing Eastern Hemisphere Explorer. EHE and its complaints are why we have skipped Core 5 so far. In my opinion, most of the literature from Core 5 is perfect for 5th and 6th grade. It is only the unknown of EHE that has scared us away. Thanks for listening to our craziness. I don't know if it helps, but I would suggest combining as much as you can until the high school years. My kids all like to sneak in (away from things like math and grammar) and listen to each other's read alouds, so combining them would help solve problems at our house. Best wishes.
  25. We have loved Real Science 4 Kids. I just schedule out the reading and the labs, splitting the chapter reading into 3-4 days. I've also had kids do the lab one day and then answer the review questions another day. Doing it all as fast as recommended was just too much for my kids, but spreading one book over a full semester (about 16-18 weeks) works well for us. I've also had the kids look for library books that relate to whatever we are studying. I don't formally use them for school, but the kids love to dig them out of the library basket and browse through them in their free time. In this way, they learn a little more in depth without feeling like it is school. If you want to spread a book over a full school year, you may want to look at the samples of Sonlight science 3--It uses the RS4K Biology book over a full year with a few added books. It might inspire you as to how to add to the Chemistry or Physics. By the way, my kids range from Preschool through high school, so we use both Pre-Level and Level 1 at the same time for K-6 grades, though I don't always use a lab book for the youngest, depending on their writing abilities. RS4K requires a lot of writing. Sometimes we just do some of that out loud. If it interests you, Real Science 4 Kids now has a schedule posted on their official website (Gravitas) to use their Chemistry program over a year. It includes their Kogs for Chemistry in the schedule, and in my opinion can be a pretty heavy load for elementary school. Of course, if you have a child who absolutely loves science and doesn't mind all the writing, it may be a perfect fit. I understand your challenge with little ones. I also have a very busy two-year-old into everything. Little ones can add a big challenge to school. We utilize nap time a lot around here. I haven't used Real Science Odyssey, so I can't comment on that one. Best wishes!
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