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Everything posted by ChandlerMom

  1. I agree, but there are a lot of different ways people approach teaching math, and what I think we are seeing from this discussion is that depending on how math was taught throughout the elementary years will determine whether pre-A is necessary or not. If a child has a solid *conceptual* understanding of arithmetic, you can teach any bits and pieces like exponents as they come up, or over a couple week mini-course at the start of the year. You can also see them covered in places like Khan Academy if you find gaps. OTOH, if your child has a more skills and drills and less depth/why approach to arithmetic and math, a pre-algebra course would probably be a good bridge. In my mind, teaching my kids to count their blocks was pre-algebra and pouring milk into batter was pre-calculus, so they have been getting the WHY and depth (and their brains are naturally wired for abstraction like mine) from Day 1. :D
  2. I'd concur with SI being a "not to be missed" -- it is just such an amazing book. It covers (albeit quickly) all the grammar concepts of grammar island in the first chapter. My kids loved grammar Island, but they absolutely are IN LOVE with Sentence Island. We should have finished it a week ago, but they are making me read it one page at a time to stretch it out because they don't want it to end. We have 2 pages left. Sniff sniff. How I've been doing the program is a little bit daily. We cuddle on the couch (4th and 2nd grader) and read it together. I stop BEFORE they are being too taxed -- always leave them wanting more. ;) MCT has a comment in there about how we read faster than we can think about things, so I like to only cover a couple a few pages a day anyways. Let it sink in. Let them play with the ideas. In Sentence Island, when they discuss the importance of word order, my 7yo spent an hour playing with writing silly sentences by changing word order in her journal. SO if you do 5min of "instruction" and they spend 15min thinking about it, that's great. Another thing we do is I put the sentences they are to analyze on our chalkboard, rather than use a student book). After they analyze it, they will take turns replacing the words one by one with new words that are the same parts of speech and serve the same roles in the sentence to create a completely new sentence. Kind of like a Mad lib. So: Two blue Schooners sailed by the island. becomes Three wild children jumped on the couch. So they can see how the same analysis fits two sentences with completely different meanings. ;) Enjoy!
  3. I think there are 2 separate things going on WRT spelling in the early grades, simply put there is a difference between not correcting a child's misspelling in the early grades (not penalizing them for guessing and experimenting) and refusing to help them when asked! Put another way, if my k-2 child misspells a word that is significantly above what she's been formally taught to spell, I don't point it out. Usually it is a matter of using the wrong phonetic rules or "hearing" the word wrong. Correcting excessively IMO just encourages them to limit their writing to the words they know they can spell correctly. "Enormous" becomes "Big". OTOH, if my child ASKS me how to spell a word, I ALWAYS show them, even if I know it won't "stick". If your ds is really interested in spelling and writing, I would see no harm in introducing him to short word lists. In K I had my dd come up with groups of 10 words she WANTED to learn to spell and posted them on the fridge. You might also try "word families" (cat/hat/mat etc) or high frequency lists. Give him his own notebook and when he asks you how to spell words, write them in there. Maybe he can draw pictures of the words if he wants. Good luck!
  4. If you want to add in a few women (aside from Mm. Curie, who should be on any list!), check out: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/Ten-Historic-Female-Scientists-You-Should-Know.html A fun pair of books to read are "Mathematicians are People, too!" (both volumes) which gives an engaging introduction to men and women who made great contributions to our knowledge of math and science as real people. Hakim's History of Science delves much deeper into the lives of various scientists as well, but is not as light of a read. ETA: I love the idea of exposing them to many (maybe within an era) and then letting them choose one or two to study more in depth.
  5. I would toss the history in a heartbeat. SO much time, nothing gained by tears. I'd take a break from history, then work it in sideways with science. Try books like Ancient Science (experimental, too). There are good books like, "Mathematicians are people, too" which are rather entertaining biographies. When she is older ((MS level), if she's still not enthusiastic about history, Hakim wrote the "Story of Science" published by Smithsonian and JHU Talent put together lab books to go with it -- explores science moving thru history. Just saying there are ways that don't require tears. I also agree a lot of history is simply too heavy or too irrelevant for some kids to take in. A little maturity can make the world of difference, but not if they set their minds against it. ;)
  6. Nothing in MCT feels like it is written to a younger child. It isn't dumbed down or over-simplified, but exposes students to great depth even at the earliest levels. That said, your ds probably would want to start at the 3rd level, even without prior exposure to grammar. Just take it slowly. My advice would be to go the official website and look at the PDF sample pages as well as the descriptions of what is covered at different levels. I find MCT complete -- he introduces rules of punctuation as appropriate instead of as stray thoughts. I draw attention to them and point it out for the next few assignments. For my kids, that's enough said. For others, you might want to repeat the rules as needed. To me that is a strength of the program -- no endless worksheets of commas between independent clauses when lots of kids won't need that kind of repetition. It's all there, just not 10 formal lessons on how to use a semi-colon. ;)
  7. WRT eating and lefties: if you have one or more lefties you might consider converting to continental style with your utensils. It is more efficient for everyone and a whole lot easier for the lefties in particular. I felt right at home when we visited our relatives in Europe and had great fun teasing my mom about how funny she ate and how her elbow was in the way. :) Once I found out about it as a teen, I polished my "nearly continental" lefty ways of eating to proper continental. My DH is right-handed, but his parents are from Europe, so he was raised eating continental, and we are teaching all our kids to eat that way as well. The main difference is you never have to awkwardly switch utensils between hands and the fork faces down. I'm sure you can find an easy primer on youtube if you are interested. ;) Here is the descriptions from Wikipedia (you can see why the European is simpiler): "The European style, also called the continental style, is to hold the fork in the left hand and the knife in the right. Once a bite-sized piece of food has been cut, it is conducted straight to the mouth by the left hand. The tines remain pointing down. The knife and fork are both held with the handle running along the palm and extending out to be held by thumb and forefinger. This style is sometimes called "hidden handle" because the palm conceals the handle. In the American style, also called the zig-zag method, the knife is initially held in the right hand and the fork in the left. Holding food to the plate with the fork tines-down, a single bite-sized piece is cut with the knife. The knife is then set down on the plate, the fork transferred from the left hand to the right hand, and the food is brought to the mouth for consumption. The fork is then transferred back to the left hand and the knife is picked up with the right. In contrast to the European hidden handle grip, in the American style the fork is held much like a spoon or pen once it is transferred to the right hand to convey food to the mouth."
  8. Like most Lefties, I'm pretty ambidextrous, and always used RH scissors. First day of K, we're doing a craft and the teacher comes and takes my RH scissors away from me (right out of my hands) and hands me a pair of LH scissors. I out them in my right hand and try to cut, but they won't work. When I complained, she told me to put them in my left hand and learn how to use them because there were only so many pair of right handed scissors. My mom bought me my own pair of RH scissors and had a little chat with the teacher. IMO, let kids use left or right handed scissors, whatever is easiest for them, but don't ASSUME they need LH because they are LH when writing! I'd probably first see if they CAN use scissors in their right hand. If not, or they keep trying to use their left hand, get some left-handed scissors. For kids with strong left-dominance, it's easier to learn to use scissors with the left hand -- so what? As they get older and have better coordination it is NO BIG DEAL to learn to use the other hand. I can use scissors with either hand (left or right style scissors in either hand, so yes, I can use right hand scissors in my left hand and vice versa with little thought). I've never met an adult who uses left-handed scissors. ETA: only real trouble I had in LEARNING writing (aside from battle over paper slant with my teachers) was in cursive the teacher described motion as up/down and pull/push, so the up/down was the same but the pull/push was backwards for lefties, so I really struggled with that. Once I got past 3rd grade, I think the neatness issue was just because I couldn't see my work, and the "extreme slant" (like that term) fixed that.
  9. I'm a lefty with 2 lefty kids (out of 3) -- another vote for just letting your son be! As a right hander you just are not going to understand how frustrating it is to have your hand immediately cover what you just wrote. You try to write neatly when you can't see what you wrote! And yes, you smudge. Mechanical pencils worked best for me. Most important thing is that he isn't hooking his wrist too much (bad for his wrist) -- as far as letter formation or slant -- ignore it. Most writing is done on computers these days (where left-handed is a benefit, since common letters are on the left side). In my case, the more my teachers tried to "help" me with my handwriting, the more frustrated I got -- but my handwriting didn't improve. Then, I went to college, had to deal with tiny desks in lecture halls, and radically changed my writing angle -- I turned my notebook completely sideways and started writing top-to-bottom -- it would have horrified my teachers! Guess what? No more smudges, I can read what I just wrote, my notebook fit on the desk, and my arm wasn't fatigued. AND my handwriting became immaculate, probably because I could see what I was writing. My point is, your ds is frustrated enough. If you leave him alone he will either find his own solution or realize he lives in a society where handwriting is rarely needed. I know a lot of adult left-handers who speak bitterly of the adults who hounded them to write better, but I don't know a single one IRL who says, "Boy, I'm glad they kept after me to write better, because the frustration was so worth it to have such nicely formed letters now!" Don't make it THE Hill, because IMO he's NOT likely to thank you for it.
  10. I had base-10 cubes/blocks and cuisanaire type and to be honest prefer to just use the duplo size square legos. Just make stacks of 10 of each color and work out addition problems (starting with single digit) using the cubes. Symbolic math developed from the concrete and I think it is more natural to show it that way. Math isn't just arithmetic! Try this: show them 2 balls and give then 1 more ball. Ask them how many balls they have. Now give them 2 stuffed bunnies and give them one more. How many stuffed bunnies do they have now? Understand that in counting objects, it doesn't matter if you are counting balls or bunnies. Similarly, if you are ADDING, it doesn't matter if you are adding the number of balls or bunnies, 2+1=3. This is a fundamental and very powerful aspect of math -- the very fact we CAN generalize it and move from the concrete to the abstract. Many great civilizations never got this one simple idea, so don't discount it as trivial! It is also why it is worthwhile to both to memorize that 1+2=3. I mean, if the answer was different for balls and bunnies, why would I bother? Sometimes we forget to tell kids WHY we ask them to memorize their math facts, but the reason is it saves effort. Now, to place value, watch the old Schoolhouse Rock video "My Hero Zero" and talk about how we can write any number from 10 digits by being careful of the order (place value). You can talk about OTHER ways you might do this, like use different colors or put the number of tens inside circles or underline, etc. The point is that it is just a convention we follow. Now do those problems using the cubes with the rule that you can't have more than 10 cubes in a tower and you put the number of tens in one column and the number of ones in another. IOW, if I add 12 cubes to 21 cubes, show that if I group the cubes into 10s FIRST, that I can just count the number of tens I had and the number of ones I had separately. Now, I can just count them up, but again I can save EFFORT if I use the fact that I already know that 1+2=3 to solve 12+21=33. Because 1+2=3 whether I am adding balls, bunnies, ones, or tens. By seeing that no matter how they add, the result is the same they should start developing a sense for place value. Make it a playful activity. The whole point is to internalize the conventions to their own natural ways of thinking "math", rather than learning some subject called "math". Let then do probelms hands on until they develop a sense for them. HTHs.
  11. You can check out the presentation slides from the publisher's website: http://www.rfwp.com/pages/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/LA-ELEM1.pdf I agree with the PP EXCEPT I don't believe that MCT means to delay MOH (poetics) until after SI -- he says to weave it in as convenient, and learning to be aware of sounds makes a stronger writer. MOH is a deep, and enjoyable part of the program, and I wouldn't hold it off until the end of the year. Of course, that means juggling 4 books. ;)
  12. This spring I put a high school psych course together for my niece and used the Oak Meadow Psych as the base, and added the books "Brain Rules" by John Medina (I consider a MUST read for anyone) and "Gifts Differing" by Isabel Briggs Myers. Before reading "Gifts Differing" you should take at least a variant of the MBTI test. You can get a good (and free) estimate of your MBTI type from taking Kersey's Type sorter in the front of his book (though I think his book is more pop-psych). The MBTI is still used by a lot of psychologists, especially favored by HR in the corporate world. Note that Maslow's pyramid was recently redone and an interesting exercise can be to debate the merits of the new versus the old pyramid (personally, I think they fubar'd the new one up by putting parenting on the top, since that would make it the first thing to be expendable when things got tough. I don't think human history supports that notion, as too many parents have sacrificed their wellbeing and even their lives for their offspring).
  13. OM is secular and especially at the upper grades is well aligned with what your ds would be getting in content in ps. By High school it moves towards strong mainstream textbook publishers for science and math, uses their own course manuals with it. It keeps the more creative writing, arts, and crafts you'd expect from something rooted in a Waldorf tradition. They have lesson samples online and I have heard they will send you larger samples of lessons if you ask. This time of year, the used market is tight, but if you keep an eye out, you can usually get what you need at about half of the cost of buying new. I will say that OM, like any curriculum, isn't for everyone. The 8th grade level is written directly to your child so they are expected to choose from a list of assignment choices, plan their times, carry out experiments, etc. You will be more helping your ds manage their time and assisting them rather than being responsible for teaching, but you will be evaluating their work, etc. If ds is used to school, it might be a nice way to do it "together" and use the mentor/socratic method to discuss things instead of mom suddenly going all authoritarian-teacher on her son, kwim? ;) So, depending on your personal style and situation, that could be a plus or a minus to using the program.
  14. I'd definitely find a good buyers agent -- it's no cost to you (paid out of the seller's commissions). Cash offers do usually get preference, but that's only when you provide proof of funds (same as providing proof of ability to get a loan) -- you can't just say "I'll come up with it" and expect them to be happy. You can also strengthen your offer by putting a good amount down as earnest money, but not excessive. You need to have money left over to pay for incidentals and repairs, so don't stretch yourself too far. As to 10K less...it's more a %age thing, so if you are looking at houses for $50K, that's asking for a 20% reduction which may not be reasonable. You need to know what the comparable sales for those homes are since that's what the bank is going to be looking at when deciding if it will accept the offer. Good luck!
  15. I wouldn't assume there IS a problem, I would go to the regular SS teacher and ASK. Tell her the SUB made a comment and ask if it is a problem and if it is, if there is anything she might want you to do to help. The teacher might not see it as a problem or feel she has it in hand. Anyone taking on a SS class should be able to handle some energetic 7 yos (sounds like the SUB might be overly tightly wound). IF there even is an issue, I would not assume it was because of hs-ing or even because of them being siblings. I thing 3 friends in a SS class can be a lot worse and I think career ps kids are more adept at working the system/teacher, so I wouldn't assume anything. In essence, if there is a problem, the reason isn't so important as supporting the teacher. That may include offering to serve as a classroom aide, or teaching your kids a breathing exercise to calm themselves when they feel the sillies about to erupt. ;) I'd focus on giving your kids tools on what TO do instead of just lecturing them on what NOT to do.
  16. Since Lydia is an uncommon name with few diminutives, how about a more flexible/classic/common middle name with more options? Katherine Alexandra Cassandra Elizabeth Each of which has about 7 variants they could choose from as nicknames, etc, when they go thru that "I hate my name" phase or just want that special name with close friends. :D
  17. We homeschool year round, 7-days a week, but the first day of school for the ps students in our district is an official home school holiday in our home! And today is that day!! Do you acknowledge or celebrate the first day of ps school? Do you follow the ps schedule? I may send the kids out to decorate the driveway with a chalk greeting of "Hope your first day of school was great!" for when the school buses return. What do you think? :lol: Or maybe we'll just make cookies. :D
  18. Most around Phoenix get out just before Memorial Day. Summer break is shorter, our district is only 7 weeks. Some schools don't start until the first week in August. Keep in mind it's unpleasantly hot here now. They get a "Fall Break" at the beginning of Oct when the weather is actually nice. So, they all get their 180 days in the end, right? Actually nice that they take more breaks when the weather is good. We take a lot of family vacation in Sep when the weather is hot here, great elsewhere, and family destinations are empty. :auto:
  19. Today is the official first day of school in our local school district. I think it's time for your kids to saddle up. :lol: (Hmmm, means it's time to run out and get a few supplies!!)
  20. Actually, I pull up the Schoolhouse Rock video on youtube after we covered a part of speech. It was a fun reinforcement, and when my kids are at the board uncertain of their analysis, I start humming one of the songs. LOL Interjection is my favorite! :D To OP question...I'm doing MCT with my 9yo and 7yo together. The grammar concepts are old hat for my 9yo, but she has plenty of "ahhh" moments as MCT brings some idea greater depth or connection. She says all the time she wishes she'd learned grammar this way and is "jealous" her sister gets to do Grammar Island instead of "those worksheets" from K12s LA. By contrast, dd7 hasn't had a lick of grammar. It's all new. She loves MCT LA, but I pace it to her, usually only a couple minutes a day, but every day. I reinforce the new content with little games (naming nouns, adverbs, Madlibs, etc). In some ways, she's at the perfect age for the little stories. She's learning it deeply, but I have to give her more soaking in time than if I was just throwing worksheets at her for years on end. ;)
  21. My kids go to bed at 7p (8p latest in the summer) and are up by 6a. They fall asleep in minutes on their own, stay down all night, and get up perky on their own. (I'm the one dragging my tail, esp if I've stayed up too late like tonight, :lol:). Sleeping until 10a sounds excessive. When is your kids' bedtime? How many hours a night are they sleeping? Some kids are morning larks and other night owls, but I'd do what I could to encourage a normal sleep rhythm. Do they watch tv or play with electronics or rough house right before bed? Do they play in their bedrooms? Changes to develop a healthy sleep pattern and sleep associations might help. Make sure dc is getting cues to gear down for bedtime, associated their bedroom with sleep instead of play, falls asleep quickly, and hopefully wakes within a couple hours of sunrise. Sleep is really important, to mood and learning. I um, better go to bed myself. :D
  22. WOW. It's bad enough to sit grandma down over a few shrink sinks and coloring books, but to have the audacity to tell her how she SHOULD have spent her money instead??? And to tell her she should help buy them tickets??? That is just unforgivably rude. It is her money and if she wants to fill her suitcase with coloring books for the grandkids, they should suck it up. It's not like she's buying them candy or pointy sticks. I'm sorry, but it sounds like your brother needs a quick slap upside the head. My MIL is a serious piece of work, but I would never treat her like that. Again, WOW.
  23. Algebra is just another toolbox, and I wouldn't open that toolbox until a child has mastered arithmetic. I'd add the concepts of exponents, negative numbers, and least common factors to the standard list (4 operations, decimals, fractions) -- pre-algebra usually includes these and a few extras to grease the skids for algebra. It's the same logic that you don't introduce calculus (yet another toolbox) until a child has mastered every possible thing they can do with the tools they already have with algebra. ;) Instead of algebra, I'd move into more challenging problem solving such as Zacarro's Challenge math. That will encourage a deeper understanding.
  24. There are a lot of pre-reader and step-into-reading books focussed on science topics. Those might be a nice way to introduce science to him Use those as read-alouds (they are probably 1st grade reading level, so when he gets to that he can read them himself). Tons of topics, mainly nature related. There are also a lot of K-3 science project ebooks put out by Scholastic that are part of their frequent dollar deals. They are usually a mix of coloring, cutting-pasting, discussing seasons or animals, etc. There are some cool habitat dioramas, etc. They are easy and don't require a lot of gathering of materials. Beyond that, K science is usually stuff like playing with sand, what floats/sinks, and lots of nature crafts/seasons, etc.
  25. Reading isn't a simple skill and it doesn't progress linearly. Exposure to books, be available. It sounds like she's very aware of words, sounds, books, and the idea that symbols represents sounds which represents words. Try not to make your expectation drive her learning on this. How advanced she is in math and other things has nothing to do with her readiness to read. At this point she may just need maturity and stamina and you just can't force those. When she's ready, she'll likely zoom through easily. Sooner or later her drive to learn more without depending on you to read to her will motivate her, if nothing else. Similarly, there are jumps in reading ability associated with reading silently and reading for comprehension (need to be able to read fast enough to keep several words in their working memory), and again at chapter books. Some kids zoom straight through and others seem to plateau for months before making sudden advances. Toss the expectations and enjoy the ride. You are getting a glimpse into how your child's mind works and learns. How cool is that!?!? Reading. It's a lot like potty training. :lol:
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