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Posts posted by Dolphin

  1. It sounds like you can adapt this, but maybe adapt it at a slower pace. We use a timer and we only do 15 minutes. I would not add words in if she is already struggling. 


    I understand the visual thing. I can not take in information unless I am looking at it. 


    Don't worry about a lesson a week. Maybe try something like:


    Day 1 of new lesson give her the spelling cards and set the timer for 15 minutes. Let her look, write, do whatever she needs to absorb the information.


    Day 2-whenever, set the timer and do 15 minutes a day of the lesson. If she hates the tiles use a dry erase pen or something. If she likes the tiles, one option is to use a baking tray and change the location of spelling. I found that when my daughter is struggling with something, she learns it better if we go crawl into my bed together and cuddle during the lesson.


    Last day, test on just the words and don't add the sentences back in until she is feeling more positive about spelling.

  2. We are going along pretty smoothly now, it only took 4 years!  :glare:


    I was going to do Mapping the world by heart, and I just never seem to have the time. 


    Is there an independent Geography that my 6th grader could do on his own? Just something easy that I could throw in so that he is getting something? I still want to do mapping, but I am finding that teaching 1st grade for the 1st time is kicking my tush! (we started with ds in 3rd).


    Thanks in advance.


    ETA: Update on post 18. Thanks again!

  3. I saw those on the Horrible books website.  (Horrible Ray sells a lot of my favorite books and curriculums!)  I wondered if that would be too young for my child.  It's definitely something to keep in mind for the next child in line though.  She likely will need a different approach than my first child anyway. 


    My son is in 6th grade and doing Latin Prep. I do not think it is too young for a 7th grader. It is a meaty program, he might move through level 1 in a little under a year if he is really confident, but the nice thing with homeschool is that you can start level 2 as soon as he is ready.


    It is secular and my son appreciates the humor in the book. To me, it is very middle school boy humor. Take a good look at it. We tried a few other programs before finding this one. My son LOVES it.


    ETA: We also love Horrible Ray and order from him whenever possible. :)

  4. Silver, 

      I think you can see that there are lots of us on here who homeschool with Depression.  You said in your second post that you need help. Please get it. I know it is expensive, time consuming, a right pain the the tush, but it is so worth it. You are worth it!  I had to kiss a lot of frogs (counselors) before I found the one that I have stuck with. It is a pain going through the history again, but even if they are not the perfect fit, they are part of the path toward healing. 


      If you are going the medical route, try a psychiatric nurse practitioner. They are up to date on all the medications, and are really good at that transition. In our area they sometimes have better hours as well.


      As for having a good life, wonderful walk with the Lord as a reason to not to be a victim of depression, I call BS. That does not stop, cancer, heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, etc...and it does not stop depression either. You did not choose to suffer with mental illness anymore than someone chooses to have breast cancer. 


  5. Like you said it is a different path for everyone. 


    I have anxiety and depression and this is our 4th year homeschooling. 


    For me, it is all about whether or not it is debilitating and creating an unhealthy environment. Rather than tell you what to do as there are no black and white answers with this, I will share my path and hopefully if nothing else you know there are other moms out there successfully homeschooling with mental illness.


    I have struggled with depression and anxiety ever since I was 14. I had ppd/ppa after both children. I have taken a variety of medication and been in a variety of therapies. 


    I have now been working with the same counselor for 10 years. Sometimes I see her once a week and when things are good I see her once every 2 weeks. I have tried going without when things are good, but I have found that I do not always realize when it is coming back. I have finally accepted that every 2 weeks is maintenance for me.


    I haven't been on medication for about 5 years now. I started again last week. At the moment I am struggling with feeling like a failure for needing the medical intervention again, and the logical part of my brain. Logically, I know I did the right thing. I have put many things in place to keep my in check and away from the really low spots. I was able to recognize the difference between a little winter blues, and the depression coming back in. For me this time it was like standing on the edge looking down into the swirling black cloud of nothingness and saying no, I am not going all the way down there again. When I am there, I know that behavior mod and therapy just isn't going to cut it. This time, I am not going as low, I am increasing my help now.


    I don't know how old your kiddos are. My daughter is 7, and I am still getting her to her activities, and she has not noticed. My son is almost 12, so we have told him this time. We have been seeing little bits of anxiety and such in him. It can be hereditary. I talk to him at an age appropriate level as I am hopeful that if he ever struggles with this, he will know his mother has struggled with it as well. I hope he will feel he can talk to me, if I talk to him. He is also at an age, where for the next couple of weeks he can help out a little until the medication kicks in. I am not talking about him becoming the parent, but he has offered to make lunch this week for the three of us. The boy makes a mean sandwich! He is also helping his sister with her math workbook. I am teaching the lesson, and then he is sitting with her and helping her with any hard reading words etc...


    For us, I think it works. The kids are still getting out, they are still getting educated, and my son is showing what a wonderful, compassionate child he is. He is helping out the family during a rough time. I think of that as a positive. We do also homeschool year round as that takes a lot of pressure off.


    You mentioned safe guards for the kids education. Do you have safe guards for yourself? Are you getting the help you need? Are you in therapy? I would say if you are wondering about whether it is time to let go of homeschool because of depression, that might be a sign you need help. Not everyday is skipping through flowers, but for the most part you should be enjoying it. If you aren't it doesn't mean you need to abandon homeschool yet. However, it might be time to increase your support and reach out and get some extra help. You can do it, and things can and will get better.

  6. Just saw this and it cracked me up.


    First off, organization. 


    We have one of the IKEA 5 x 5 shelves for all our current or soon to be current school books. I am able to use each cube for a subject as well as 2 shelves for teachers manuals and teachers aids.


    Behind the ikea shelf (it is being used as a room divider) we have 2 small 3 shelf bookshelves. I have all reading instruction, The easier version of classics like Gulliver's travels, our horrible histories, landmark history, Max Axiom books etc.....


    I then have an extra long bookcase, the width of 2 regular ones in my dining room. That is where I put curriculum that might get used for dd (bottom 2 shelves) and all the books I am not sure where to put. 


    With series (like the magic treehouse) when ds was done, we put those in tubs and have labeled them. We have just gotten the Magic Treehouse back out for DD, but we have a lot of "fun" books in tubs labeled by reading level. 


    I keep buying Paddington Helps Out and Black Beauty. I have three copies of each. (What's that about?) I have taken to scribbling down lists of what I own, or what I want, and taking it to book sales. I have a Library Thing account but I have trouble keeping it updated.


    This is only our 4th year, so I only have 2 copies of Black Beauty.

  7. We use a token system. Each token is worth 15 minutes. The kids can earn up to 3 tokens (45 minutes a day) By drinking their water bottles (both kids are really bad about fluid intake, so I tied it to screen time! :) )


    They can save up for a movie or whatever. Tokens can be used after school is done if it doesn't conflict with family time. All tokens are reset on Sunday.


    A little complicated at the get go, but it seems to work. The kids also have to plan and save together if they want to watch a movie together.

  8. Thanks, Dolphin. I started this program with my struggling speller - she's about half way thorough level A right now. We've tried just about everything out there as far as spelling is concerned and nothing seemed to stick. We were working through AAS, and it just wasn't a good fit for her. I found your review here, and I did some research on the program. We did a sample lesson - she really liked, I ordered it, and it's been perfect for her. It's the first program that's help her retain word spellings and rules, and it reflects in her writing. We use the personal list levels. I go back through her lessons and pick out any words she really seemed to struggle with and we use the personal lists for extra review.


    Thank you for sharing with me. I had so many people and reviews on here help me when I was starting out, it is nice to know I am contributing. 

  9. To an extent. Trial and error is the way to go. We had a small room, smallest in our house as a school room for the first 2 years and it just ended up as the black hole, although it did have a door that shut. It was small and we didn't want to be shut up all day in the smallest room. 


    DH and I had an Ah Ha moment. We are a homeschool family. The kids and I are the ones who spend most of our time in our house, so it should be set up in a way that works best for us most of the time. We converted the "formal living room" into our living room and the family room off of our kitchen became our school room. It is bright and airy and central to the whole house and we use it all the time. I can't shut it away, and anyone who stops by for a cup of coffee can see that we homeschool. At this stage in life it works really well. We still end up everywhere (reading aloud always ends up in my bedroom), but we put our things back, the house is tidier, and our space is central.

  10. We take our biggest break from Thanksgiving-New year. It is just a blah time of year. We put away the school books and try to find fun stuff to do. We take a couple of 1 week holidays in the summer, but it gets hot here in the afternoon. The kids like to be inside in the ac from 1-4, so that is when we have lunch and do some school work. Once it cools down they are back out playing. Most kids go inside during that time, I bet some are watching TV or playing video games. We just are doing something different. Once the neighborhood kids are outside, mine go back too.

  11. Dolphin, I have Phonetic Zoo A that I got for my 8 year old to start when he finished AAS3. We finished AAS3 around Christmas and popped in Phonetic Zoo after that and did one lesson. I had AAS4 already on hand also. So we tried one lesson and he kind of gave me this look like "please don't make me do this." Normally spelling is "easy" for him.  So we are doing AAS 4. Do you think I could try it after AAS4? He would probably be 9 by then. TIA!


    Sorry, I just saw these. My son was 9 when he started. Did you watch the video about the lesson, do the headset etc.... My son really liked the independence and not having to mess with all the extras (word scrambles, fill in the sentence etc...) that comes with a lot of spelling programs. I can't say for sure, but I know it was right around my son's 9th birthday that the big wave of independence hit. However, no program is right for every kid. It can't hurt to try again after AAS4.


    I just stumbled across this thread as I have been considering what to do with my 7th grader who really struggles with spelling. We have done Spelling Power, but he still struggles. He also didn't like the pressure of the testing in Spelling Power (maybe b/c I was testing him?) He is a perfectionist and hates to get anything wrong. Maybe this would work better since he could do it independently? WDYT?


    I appreciate you continuing to update your review. It is helpful to see how/if something still works well for someone over time.


    My son does like that there is no test. He just keeps doing the lesson until he gets 100% twice in a row. It is basically just spelling test after spelling test, but he does not see it that way. He loves the fact that I am not teaching him, or checking the lesson. I think it is worth a try. Double check that their return policy is still as awesome as it was. If you don't like it, you can return it. Just make sure that you watch the DVD's that come with it so you understand what is going on, and to set up the lesson the way it is meant to be set up. I think the method is part of why it works so well.

    • Like 1

    Essentially her writing at this point is just stream of consciousness - whatever she thinks comes out with little thought to organization or using complex vocabulary.  


    So, I have a 6th grade boy at the opposite of this. I would start with IEW's Student writing Intensive. In the first lesson he talks about the stream of consciousness and the complete shut down of writing as the 2 poles. His course is good for both. In a clear way he explains about organizing thoughts and not rambling. You watch the DVD lesson together, and she should have her writing material with her. My son uses a tv table. Then there are 2 more lessons that you give, to reinforce what was just taught.


    This is pretty easy for mom. You watch the DVD, give her the forms and edit her papers. I would start that way, as if you jump straight into a more intense course you could really put her off and just have a lot of arguing on your hands. If she does well with that for the rest of 6th grade, you could look at Writing With Skill for 7th grade. I think jumping straight into WWS with her writing background would overwhelm her, but I also think the IEW course this year could be a nice transition. 


    A lot of people here have positive things to say about Brave writer, but I have not used that.


    Now, for literature.


    I would download this audio lecture from SWB. Here are the lecture notes for while you are listening to the audio.


    If she has not had much grammar, you could do First Language Lessons 3 and the 4. FLL 3 is an entry point book. Another option would be MCT Grammar Island. We use Rod and Staff (It does not preach, but many sentences are about God.) Hake Grammar is another I know a lot of people on here respect.


    If you are also looking at spelling as a part of Language arts. I love Phonetic Zoo. Here is a review I write about it. Apple and Pears and Spalding also seem to be very popular choices.


    Hope that helps.

  13. Thanks for the update Laura. Isn't it nice when things get done that make sense.


    I understand the pull over thing. I lived in Cornwall for 5 years. The road we took out of our village you would have the hedges brushing both sides of the car, and it was a 2 way street. Countryside, so you would back up to a farm entrance when you meet an oncoming car. You had to watch out for cars coming at you forwards and backwards :). My american friends would be having kittens in the next seat when the realized it was a 2 way road we were on. :)

  14. We just started level 1 with my first grader, and we love it. We cuddle up together on the bed and do the readings. Then she takes her copywork sentence and does that at the table. So far it has just talked about Capital letters and punctuation. I have the book and downloaded the free picture study pdf. We have done the first picture study, and we both really enjoyed it. I have flipped ahead and level 2 looks to have a lot more in it, but level 1 is perfect for first grade in this house.


    ...now saying that, my 6th grader has started taking his break during LLTL and coming and listening to the read aloud part of the lesson. :)

  15. I have a ds11. We were struggling with WWS. What we are now doing is 2 weeks on IEW and 1 week of WWS. He is much happier. He loves IEW and will do one week of WWS to get back to IEW. IEW is about content at this point, but the main thing is that he LOVES it. He is happy doing it, he laughs at Andrew Pudewa's jokes etc....


    One other thing, double check. IEW has a fantastic return policy. We have gotten a lot to try from them because of this policy. Get it, try it for a month and if it does not work for your family, return it. (Do make sure that is still the policy). At the time of our last order, that is all the reason you need, it did not work for us. I do have to say, so far we have not returned anything as it works well in our family. We do Phonetic Zoo, Poetry, and the Writing course.

  16. So funny reading about Arbor School and Jousting Armadillos. From my door to their door is a 3 minute drive! I am that close, and yet still homeschooling :)


    I am trying not to have a wish list as I am heading off to a convention in less than 2 months and I already fear I will buy too much, but....


    I also want JA

    I have a huge Memoria Press and Classic Academic press wish list. Too much to list!

    Then Timberdoodle, I want all the fun sets for the sciences. 

  17. We are just in level 2, but with the skills she is learning, I figure we are going to go until it runs out and then just keep going with AAS and the McGuffey's readers that we are using along AAR. McGuffey's are nice as they have the old symbols for word pronunciation.  At level 2 she is also working on magic treehouse. My dh does that with her at night. She reads him the first page of each chapter, and then he reads the page back to her and finishes the chapter. So she is working on the words and seeing how it tells a story.

  18. Just to update, we are still doing well with this program. DS is now in 6th grade and in level B. It has become even more independent this year. We are skipping the personal word lists, and we are not going over the cards again. The cards we got in level A are good for all three levels. We did the jingles, and went over them together for Level A. 


    Once we started level B, ds announced that he can do it on his own. He just does it every day and once he gets 100% twice in a row he shows me and then moves on to the next lesson. Having spelling be totally independent has given me more time to work on writing. :)

    • Like 2
  19. I am a right handed mom with a left handed dd. I also agree, look at Handwriting without tears. One big thing is the letter placement in workbooks. The correct letter is normally on the left side of the page so a right handed child can look at it as they are writing. In HWT the examples are everywhere. Left right and above. It has a section in the teacher book about pencil grip, paper angling, all sorts. Seeing as I knew nothing, we are doing really well as dd is in her third HWT book. 


    They have so many fun pre k activities. My daughter loves Mat Man and the flip crayons. Also she plays the CD all the time. As she is interested so early, there are a lot of fun multi sensory things you can do with HWT. Have fun.

  20. The thing about All About Spelling is that you are supposed to do 15 minutes a day, and work at the child's pace. It is not broken into individual days as every child learns at a different rate. Could you use the program and just put a timer on to give you a stop point each day? 


    If it really isn't working, there are some simple workbooks. Spectrum, Evan Moor are 2 of them. They give you a weekly spelling list. Activities with the words and then test on them Friday. More of a traditional spelling program, all broken up into the days, and fairly inexpensive. If you have teacher file box the evan moor one would be free.

  21. First off, don't worry. Your children are young and it sounds like you are ding a lot with them. This first year is all about finding what works and what doesn't. When looking at next year I would start off by listing all the curriculum that you have used this year in three columns. 


    Love and want to keep                         Okay                   Hate and need to replace


    Just change the hate column first. I found that when I pulled my son from traditional school he had a 100% change of curriculum over night. I tried to change slowly after that.


    It sounds like spelling is a big issue. For your older I would look at Phonetic Zoo. Here is a review I wrote about it. There is no busy work in it, and if she is above a third grade level she should do fine with it. With your younger you could try all about spelling, or if she also doesn't like busy work look at the natural speller. I have never used apples and pears (I think), but there are a lot of people on here who love that. Spalding spelling is also one I hear good things about. I don't thing you would go wrong with any of those programs.


    I tend to shy away from things that try to teach to many things at once. We have always kept spelling and vocabulary separate. There are some great vocab programs out there, but I like the Evan Moor daily academic vocabulary and it is part of the teacher file box.


    For Math, have you looked at Life of Fred? Some use it as a main program. We use it as a supplement. It is fun math, and the treat subject my ds finishes his day with. My children are both in different math programs as they both learn math in a different way. However, they both love Fred and the way things are explained in LOF Fred help both kids. 


    Now, onto reading. At the top and bottom of the page you probably see a link to SWB;s MP3 lectures. I would pay the $3.99 and get the Literary analysis one. That is your reading program. If you are doing history and asking questions and discussing, you are fine.


    Honestly when it comes to science. At this age, you can get kits and have fun. Go to your local children's museum. My dh is an incredibly well respected research chemist. He is very relaxed about the science that we taught during elementary school. He had me but away the books and play. He says that in elementary school they need to learn that science is fun, to ask questions and to experiment. I got the big bag of science and had fun. My older son is taking science classes now that he is in middle school (at our local science museum) and he is doing great.


    Enjoy the elementary years. Have fun. I hope this helps.

  22. As you have a second child I would strongly encourage you getting the pdf of the activity book. It has all the students pages in the back. When we were doing history the first time around I would print 2 of the maps, or the coloring pages whatever. Little sis would sit at the table and "do history" with us. She had the same sheet as big brother. She just colored and put stickers on it while I was walking through the map work with elder, or reading. We have the text, the pdf file, and the audio on SOTW1. We got the encyclopedia as well, but honestly did not add that in until 3rd grade. 


    I look ahead in the activity book and will sometimes put some books that are recommended and look interesting on hold at the library.

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