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Everything posted by ChandlerMom

  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.
  16. Well, For Newton at the Center for example, the TM of the Quest Guide is over 500 pp (spiral bound) and is full of info on what the big picture is, activities and questions to direct the student -- it is a teacher's manual. The student's guide is 238 pp and basically a workbook. So, the TM is a heck of a lot more than just the student book with the answers filled in. ;) FWI: in the past the publisher allowed homeschoolers to buy like schools, meaning 50% off list price. Search the forum.
  17. I'll second Schoolhouse rock videos -- you can find them on youtube. I'd preview them first -- they are rather dated and some make me cringe a bit, the grammar ones less so, but definitely fit the sensibilities of the '70s. Good little memory hooks. Madlibs are a fun way to practice the basic parts of speech as well as vocab.
  18. For fun, I don't think you can beat MCTLA. Grammar Island, Sentence Island, and Practice Island. Grammar has been our fav subject this year, by far, with the kids begging to do more -- and that's just somehow WRONG. :lol:
  19. I'm a strong believer in mastery, but I organize topics in threads, so you don't leave a topic for months. I also agree with the pp that although most will be fine with either, those who seem to struggle most need the focus of master with plenty of retention review vrs spiral. That said, the real reason I like mastery is that you can always take a mastery based program and turn it into a spiral. Or do like I do and work it into "threads" (work in different chapters simultaneously on different days, so for example you are doing arithmetic MWF and geometry TTH, instead of doing a month of geometry in the spring). If you look at the TOC you can see which topics need to build on each other and which are independent. OTOH, you really cannot take a spiral program and unspiral it, so if your dc struggles with spiral, you are kinda stuck. So ultimately, what I like about mastery-based programs is that they offer me what I ultimately like about homeschooling in general -- the freedom to adapt them to best suit my child, and because they are set up linearly I can adapt them without much effort. ;) If you are someone who does not like to tinker with things and you start with a mastery program and your child seems to have trouble retaining information, I would either try my threads approach (working more slowly through unrelated topics, but giving more time for things to soak in and review), or switch the following year to a spiral approach. But that's me. YMMV.
  20. We liked GI, but we loved SI. Our only annoyance with Sentence Island was the chapter reviewing Grammar Island because the girls really *got it* from GI. Similarly, we really took our time going through SI, did it every day, and have been doing 1-2 sentences from PI every day, 7 days a week. My kids are just not fans of reviewing concepts they already know. For the same reason "four year history cycles" are a complete FAIL here. :p I know GT will be expanding on GI, but my question is whether GT is really necessary or not-to-be-missed-fun, or whether we should just move on to Paragraph Town and take our time in the grammar section. Any thoughts?
  21. I love MCT, BUT no curriculum is going to be a perfect fit for every child. Some kids might not like the whimsy, for example. Or if you want a program that you can hand to your child and send them off and have them do independently. This is not it. I will say that I found Building Language (the Island vocab book) not as interesting and skippable, but then we're studying latin. I do plan to do CE1. I found GI pretty well repeated in content in the first part of SI, which was a bit urksome if your kid really didn't need the review. I think there was a hater thread a while back, so I'd try to search on it. Try MCTLA since searching on MCT doesn't show up anything anymore ??? I will say that I see the comment about mechanics and punctuation being insufficient and I disagree with that. I find the way mechanics are introduced *when they are needed* is perfect. The trick is to realize when punctuation is introduced and to continue to point it out (draw attention to its use, which MCT does in the TM) the next few times. You say something 3 or 4 times, it sticks, you never have to mention or correct it again. Awesome. OTOH, it isn't going to teach how to punctuate dates or book titles, at least not in the Island level. That's ok with me. To me those things are really style sheet issues anyways, and things I can teach easily next time they want to send a letter or postcard to grandma. I mean, the point is instead of teaching punctuation as this entity unto itself, and assigning piles of worksheets, it is woven into the lessons as an integral relevant part of grammar. But you do have to be aware of it and make sure your students pick up on it and utilize it. I also can't say if the basic punctuation taught in the Island and Town level are reviewed in later levels or not.
  22. Having just done a 7yo and a 9yo side by side (we shortly after their b'days), I would say that the 7yo "got it", esp the grammar, but the 9yo certainly understood the deeper messages MCT layers in there. MCT is a very gentle program, but it is also extremely deep. Even at the Island level there were many things I learned about grammar that I didn't even know I didn't know, and I got 4.0s in both my (required) college english writing classes! :lol: So, you can use them earlier and it will be wonderful, but I have the suspicious I'll be pulling at least Sentence Island out again in 6mo with my younger, not because she doesn't have retention, but because there is another level she can get from it that was readily apparent to my older child. The technical part (what is what) was trivially easy for my older child, who although having had grammar, the order of content is different than in a traditional program, so she has studied stuff that hasn't come up yet in MCT like verb tenses but hadn't covered roles of words in a sentence, like direct/indirect objects of prep phrases. I think just being older and having read and written more made that easier for her whereas my 7yo still struggles a bit with identifying "then" as an adverb when it starts a sentence and is far away from the verb it is modifying. The SI writing was easy for both, the poetics my younger daughter is more naturally suited for, so kept up, although the terminology was more of a strain at her age. So, just more reason for why I recommend holding off until they are older, watching for when they show signs that they are truly ready. Or start early if you just absolutely cannot stand to wait any longer. LOL My younger dd would have been best off waiting until she turned 8yo (start of 3rd) but in our situation, she did gain so much from working with her sister, and she did love it so. It has been wonderful, even so. Now what to do with Town is another story.
  23. I would start with Island level in 3rd grade, or 2nd semester of 2nd. I did Island with my 2nd and 4th grader this year. My 4th had completed thru a comprehensive 4th grade LA curric by the end of her 2nd grade year (accelerated) and her sis had never even covered what a noun was. I wanted to do them together and chose to start because: (1) I didn't want to wait any longer with my eldest, and (2) my 7yo dd was a strong reader and starting to write/journal substantially, so it seemed like the appropriate time for her. You really, really, really do NOT have to do ANY grammar before MCT. Really. I mean, if you want to do madlibs for fun, but the whole point is that MCT is such a lovely introduction and so different -- once you spoil it with the usual drone, it's just sad. All the way through Grammar Island (the first book), every. single. day. my older dd would say that she wish SHE had gotten to learn grammar that way, or on a few occasions that it wasn't fair her sister hadn't had to suffer through the traditional "a noun is" and "underline the subject and circle the verb in the next 25 sentences" like she had. So again, I think that timing is key. IMO, kids really don't need to know the names of things to learn to write. I learned the hard way with my first who could write beautifully but hated it (and I spent a year undoing the damage of a "good thorough writing program"): at first reading and writing is just about mastering reading and handwriting, then as they become prolific free-readers, I have them do some light writing (write a sentence for a story I read and draw a picture sort of thing), then journal daily. Once they start coming to me sharing their 1-2 pages of creative writing/stories (usually with terrible spelling and grammatical errors), it's time to start formal spelling and grammar (MCT). IOW, I have come to believe that kids learn what and when things become relevant. The MCT books are completely different from other grammar programs. The Island level books (except Practice Island) are discussion books -- there are no "assignments". THey are sit on the couch and read together and talk books. We did them ever day for 5min and they were the highlight of our day. I found it worked best when I only read 1-2 pages and stopped, leaving them wanting more. It also gave them time to think about what we had read. Afterwards my dds would go and *on their own initiative* write in their journals and play with words or sentences, especially from Sentence Island. They would sit at the dinner table and see who could come up with the funniest broken sentence, by putting the prep phrase in the wrong place, for example. Once you finish Grammar Island, as you work thru the other books (poetics, writing, vocab) you start doing sentences out of the Practice Island book. I just do 1-2 a day (I copy it onto our chalkboard) for them to analyze. THis keeps their grammar skills up. Worth mentioning that there is little writing assignments in Island, much more in Town (that I can see, will be starting that soon). But then, how many book reports do you need to write in elementary school? How many do you want to read? I like that MCT takes the time to really teach what makes a good sentence FIRST. You really only need the Teaching Manuals. I find it works best for us to sit together on the couch and I read it, or they read next to me, so they don't need their own book. It also helps slow down the reading rate and encourage discussion. MCT mentions that we read faster than we can think, so I think it helps with that, too. As always, YMMV. :)
  24. Honestly, you'll find what works for your family. Here, we're like Farrar -- any sort of "break" just messes us up. We school year round, 7-days a week and just take time as needed. OTOH we do take time to free-wheel a bit in place of breaks -- still "schooling" but in a more relaxed fashion, just doing free reading, journaling, and maybe a unit study/discussion type thing. So, you might do X weeks for your "regular" schedule and then take 2-4 week to do a project or unit study where the kids have more freedom. That could give you extra time for the younger kids?
  25. Math facts are nice in that they are concrete things we can test and measure and see progress and know our kids are learning. Unfortunately, math facts are trivial (and stored in every calculator), math CONCEPTS are important (and you have to understand them to set up a problem). Focus on the concepts, let your child play with math. There is plenty of time to memorize, and in fact they may start to realize that the REASON we memorize math facts is because we get tired of counting. What better way to learn 2+2=4 than to count it with objects so many times that you just don't have to look any more (or in some Waldorf schools, use your fingers and muscle memory). The more common and tougher to fix problem is the kid who is such a prodigy, knows all their math facts at such a young age...and totally stumbles at word problems. Why? Because they know the facts but didn't ever really learn how to use them, what they really mean.
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