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  1. Ed Zaccaro's Challenge Math books would be an excellent (and fairly fun) way to encourage conceptual learning. I highly recommend them, esp for the younger accelerated mathy kid.
  2. I am holding off Island of the Blue Dolphin with my 4th grader. SHe probably won't read it for a few more years. She's read far more difficult books and handles some types of "mature content" and has read a lot of books in the 5th-8th grade range. However I don't think she would handle the death of the 7yo brother AT ALL well, and I don't feel the need to push her to do so. SHe's the oldest and tends to feel responsible for her younger siblings and I think it might resonate too much. There is plenty of time in life to experience loss and I don't want her to feel she has to be too guarded when she reads. OTOH Eragon and LOTR and the Roman Mysteries were all fine with her. ;) Appropriateness is a personal thing.
  3. ADORE MCT -- You can do it with just the TM of Grammar Island, Sentence Island (which is the BEST!) and Practice Island. I did NOT get the student book for the practice book -- I copied the sentence onto our chalkboard, but you could also use the sentence for dictation. Grammar Island is done first (6-10 weeks) then you do a few sentences a week from the practice book (which has 100 sentences). The practice book has continuing instruction in it. Sentence Island explores what makes a good sentences through the adventures of Mud the fish. Both GI and SI I did with my 9 and 7yo together on the couch. We did it every other day, just 3-5 min a day. We would just read 1-3 pages. It is deep and profound, so you want to cover just a little and let is sink in. Always leave them wanting more. And they did. Want more. They drew pictures of Sentence Island. They talked about the characters. They tried to write the different types of "wrong" sentences. They played with words. They asked to analyze more sentences. The other day my 9yo asked if we could do more grammar in our lessons. How weird is THAT?!?
  4. Traditionally grammar is taught in a "here is the topic, apply it to 25 sentences" and repeat it year after year" approach. MCT does cover those topics, but it is a different way of teaching grammar. Punctuation is covered in a progressive "as needed" manner, which IMO is more effective, because kids see it only when they are going to actually be using it and seeing it. A great example is the comma between independent clauses. There are tons of other examples, often in the footnotes of the TM in Practice Island. If something is mentioned there, POINT IT OUT and continue to point it out in the following sentences day after day. DIscuss it. Ask why. Teach it to the point of understanding ONCE and they are unlikely to forget. ever. What I would say is that your child WAS taught these things in GWG 2/3 in the traditional way twice but clearly didn't retain it. You can go ahead and teach it the traditional way again over the next couple years. Eventually they probably will retain it. Or wait until they NEED to use possessives and cover it then (and the why). Of course, not one way will work with any one kid. Not one philosophy will work for every family. Some kids need the repetition and some kids need to see things from different directions. One of the benefits of homeschooling is you don't have to buy into any given approach 100% to find the value in a curriculum. I just see a lot of posts about how MCTLA doesn't cover grammar concepts and I haven't found that to be true -- I just think you have to stop looking at it through the lens of a traditional program where you spend days on "commas in dates" followed by days on "commas in lists" to see that it really IS in there, just so integrated it can be hard to see. The downside is that if you need to remediate "use of X" it would be hard, though he usually covers the rules as they are needed (for review).
  5. No expert here, but I think the shape of the face as well as the cut of the hair plays a role, but perhaps the biggest thing may be how think and full your hair is. People with thick, full hair tend to look good with long hair because the weight of the hair doesn't overpower it. I think that's why you have to have really thick hair to pull off super STRAIGHT long hair (a little wave or curl adds movement, body and fullness to the hair). Maybe a cut that is more layered near the face to add the body of shorter hair while preserving length overall?
  6. I did the Island level with my 9 and 7yo and both did fine. My 9yo had previously completed K12s 4th grade LA program, so most of the grammar was review, but it was the first exposure for my 7yo. Would I have chosen to do Island with my 7yo (end of 1st grade/start of 2nd) if not for her sister? No. But as long as you meet them where they are it is fine. We did it in a cuddle on the couch sort of way, just a page or two a day. Always leave them wanting more of Mud. :D Grammar became their favorite subject, my 9yo was jealous that her sister got to learn grammar this way, and by the end both were enjoying diagraming (4 levels) and writing assignments really exploring word play. They way MCT introduces the ideas -- such as how a sentence's heart is BROKEN when the verb and subject number do not agree, is so vivid. We would read the little stories and just sit their quietly, soaking it in. Awesome. Just the other day my 9yo asked if we could do more grammar. I guess it is time to order Town level. I will say that I loved all parts of Island EXCEPT Building Language. Nice in concept, it just didn't seem to fall flat compared to the rest of the program. I think I would have rather waited until the Caesar's English components in the higher levels.
  7. He recently published a set of 3 lit books all about the adventures of Mud.
  8. I'm considering doing the same thing -- how necessary is the TM for CE1? I've rarely felt the need to use the teacher's sections of the books (although I'll reference the sticky note parts). I just don't know that I'm convinced it would be worth the extra cost since we do MCTLA cuddled on the couch together anyways.
  9. Thanks! I've got it on hold at our library. I really appreciate the recommendations.
  10. If structured writing leaves your son cold and he continues to balk, don't be afraid to leave him to free write and focus instead on analyzing writing (read and discuss how and why poetry works, the use of words, grammar, structure, etc). Instead of writing to a topic of your choice you might see if he's more willing to periodically choose one of the stories he has written and rewrite it to make it better. IMO getting him to want to write is the more important part and you already have that!
  11. I'm especially interested on books that address the emotional needs, esp if they put extra demands on themselves or perfectionism... My youngest (barely 4) is also precocious (reading by 2, math facts, etc by osmosis) and usually a in-the-moment sunny disposition guy with the occasional passionate outburst typical of a highly sensitive child (a common trait to all three of my kids, and I've read Elaine Aron's book several times). I know this is not unique to being gifted, but I think it is more common with the perfectionism (I hadn't seen in him yet) associated with giftedness. When he is upset with himself, his language and complexity of thought behind his outbursts are asynchronous with his age and (I think) beyond his emotional maturity to really deal with as well. In any case, I feel I will need more guidance with how to help him navigate his acceleration/giftedness than his siblings who are gifted, but were not quite as sensitive or precocious (so they were a little more mature). Suggestions?
  12. We school year round and every day (7 days a week, but at least 2 of those days are very light). Learning is just part of our daily lifelong activity and it makes for: 1) no Monday morning angst, 2) shorter days, and 3) no stress over having time to complete things. That said, we don't do the same grid every day and I'm not teaching a full load every day which helps with burn out. For example, my 9yo's math consists of 3-4 days of instruction in "new" math topics (algebra and challenge math), 1-2 days of "fun math" with her siblings (mobius strips one day, yesterday we drew out math facts on a printed out clock face), and beyond that she's responsible for completing 3 pages a week in a 5th grade level workbook to keep up her skills in fractions/decimals/etc. We take breaks as needed, but usually not for more than a few days. I just find it takes too much effort to get momentum going again. Or I should say, I find if WE take a break from schooling then *I* don't really get a break (since the kids get antsy and require more from me), so if *I* need a break or am burning out, I give them more self-directed work for a couple days or find some science videos for them to watch or new books so that *I* actually can sit and sip some coffee or relax for an hour. I do NOT get that if THEY are on break! :rolleyes:
  13. The original post was from 2 yrs ago, so I'll address the more recent questions as well as I can. ;) OM5 and on are written to the student. You can see samples on their website for each grade, for example: http://www.oakmeadow...rade-lesson.pdf The OM materials are non-consumables (syllabuses, reading books, and such). As such, they are both reusable AND resell-able. In fact, if you opt to buy a used set of materials, if you take reasonable care of them you could use them for your kids and turn around and resell them and only be out the cost of shipping to the next family. That makes for a very economical curriculum! If you want to buy used, subscribe to the OM Yahoo groups and either watch the pricing for the items that interest you for a bit or look at the history from old posts. ;) Of course, if something sound way too good... You can also check here, ebay, Amazon, and OM seconds (call OM and see of they have any with cosmetic misprints for sale at a discount). As to the question of Christian versus New Age and Waldorf -- I wouldn't get so hung up on labels as they are usually wrong. Waldorf began shortly after the turn of the 20th century and "New Age" was a movement during the 2nd half of the 20th century, so Waldorf is no "new age". For that matter, Oak Meadow was started by Waldorf teachers, but is not truly Waldorf. To me one of its strengths is that it is Waldorfy in its early years but progresses to a more rigorous, but still creative and engaging program as you move on. Christian also gets thrown around a lot as short hand for, "believing in the flavor of christianity *I* believe in" rather than what it actually means, that "I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior". Oak Meadow IS secular, but in no way does it promote any weird stuff that would conflict with any Christian beliefs. It leaves it up to the parent to provide the moral and spiritual guidance for their child.
  14. I would recommend starting with the Island level, maybe skip Grammar Island and start with Sentence Island (the first part reviews the grammar covered in GI) and do Practice Island. My older DD had completed K12s LA4 and she STILL loved the Island level and learned lots. MCT covers things much more deeply. Also be aware that a lot of the grammar instruction is in the practice books (Practice Island) so don't ignore the comments in the TM for each sentence. ;) FWIW, she commented at least once a week that it wasn't fair that her sister was getting to learn grammar via MCT instead of the way she'd learned it. You could start PI once you'd covered the grammar chapter of SI and explain the 4-level analysis method (pretty straight-forward) The tale of Mudd the fish in Sentence Island is just too precious to miss, and few programs really take the time to talk about what makes a good sentence. I think people underestimate the power of MCTs writing component. My girls really love to think and talk about what makes a good sentence, and I've really seen my older dd take the concepts and appy them to her free writing and work. Personally, I wouldn't do any other writing program while you are doing SI (it has some writing assignments and a lot of just letting stuff sink in). Once they move into the other books, you can add in other writing programs if you desire. If your dd's done LA3, you might skip Building Language (the Island vocab part, and IMO the weakest part of the curric). I love Music of the Hemispheres (poetics) -- not childish at all (understatement, haha). HTHs
  15. I agree as far as when to start the new curric? when your dc is ready.What to report? keep grade level promotions progressing in Sept "as normal" with the state/grandparents/extracurriculars/neighbors.
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