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Everything posted by ChandlerMom

  1. An engineer's musings....(subtitled: if "that thread" didn't speak to you, you're not alone nor are you somehow classically inept) This poll made me go skim thru it, and then I came back and read this thread. Got a big chuckle at all the engineer head scratching, 'cause when I perused "the thread" I kept thinking, "this is *so* nonsensical to an engineer!" :lol: Mind you, I don't mean that in a derogatory way (really), but in the sense of being unintelligible, that with an engineer's training we can not make full sense of the discussion. I can't totally pin it down, but I think it is partly because the conversation gets into this pseudo-logical rationalization of FEELING which makes any engineer uncomfortable, PLUS I think engineers are trained to start by considering the design criteria (Why am I doing this? What do I hope to achieve?) and ALWAYS using that as a touchstone in your design and execution. Yearly, monthly, daily I am asking myself whether what I am doing aligns with my objective criteria for homeschooling. If it doesn't, I adapt. But this process or constant evaluation is devoid of emotion -- it's a logical thing and all those fuzzy emotional words that fill that thread just makes my head hurt! :lol: It's like trying to drive through a snowstorm! [Here I'm mocking myself.] However, what for me obscures for others may enlighten or inspire, and that has great value. It's value for me is to clarify why I don't need to read that thread and why I don' feel the need to worry. Maybe there should be a special warning against engineers reading it (or advice to first locate a translator). ;) :lol:
  2. I agree with a lot said here. I would add that there are different kinds of acceleration and different reasons for it. As to kinds: you can trip practice problems and cover multiple grades in a year, you can go deeper, and/or you can supplement with more challenging problems. As to reasons: some kids are enthralled with math and find it "fun". For others it comes easily, but isn't their idea of "fun". (I could have written the pp about the kid who'd rather read than do math for fun -- that's my dd! :lol:). Usually kids who accelerate in early math seem to be natural abstract thinkers. Most curric assumes kids don't develop abstract thought until mid-elementary. For an abstract thinker, K-3 math is painfully repetitive and boring (to them it's *obvious* that if 2+3=5 that 3+2=5 and 5-2=3, etc). If your kid naturally thinks abstractly, I think it is fine to speed thru the first couple years. My dd worked in several subtopics at once (like arithmetic, shapes, and probability form different chapters). I erred in thinking that was enough for her, but she moved so quickly it became dry for her. I added in Zaccaro's challenge math books and Math Olympiad problems. She hated LoF, but we're giving Pemrose Cat a try. I let her acceleration exceed her interest and had to change to a deeper/wider approach to bring the fun back. She loves algebra, but I want her to master her current "toolbox" before progressing too much down that road. There is sooooooo much different kinds of "math", don't think that accelerating now means dc will have to be doing calculus at 10yo. ;) My advice (like others) is just to try to go where they lead. DC may level out and start going at a closer to 1 grade per year progression. Or there may be topics you have to put off until they are older. Or they may just keep accelerating. Just try to make sure it stays fun for them. There is a "sweet spot" where kids are challenged but not *too* challenged/frustrated. The point is different for each kid (perfectionists don't always tolerate much frustration, LOL). You just have to feel it out and adapt. Good luck!
  3. I'm really Mathy (scientist) and my more serious oldest zoomed thru standard math curricula (skipped K math altogether). Result is she's very good at math (several grades ahead), but doesn't especially LIKE it (any more than one might like a hammer). With my just-as-sharp but more flower-child second dd, I'm opting for a more gentle, interactive approach, and I think it is working wonderfully. SHe's in first grade and enjoys math immensely, but we don't stick to a curriculum. Honestly, for K I would recommend NO math curriculum at ALL...just DO math. If K you just work on counting to 20, shapes, and the ideas of addition/subtraction you'll be ahead of the game. If you try to force a "dingy" kid into dry math, they'll just end up hating math. Use her currency -- does she like unicorns? Then do "unicorn math" and sit WITH her and tell stories about unicorns and solve problems like, "3 unicorns invited their 5 unicorn friends over for a party. Each unicorn needed a flower wreath. How many flower wreaths did the fairies need to make for the party?" Honestly, given how much angst you hear about "story problems" in later grades, why not start by teaching her how to think and solve the problems and teach her symbolic math later when she can read and write? Games, hands-on activities...math is supposed to be creative and fun -- so why do most curricula teach it like dry facts? THere was a great NOVA special about how preschoolers inherently LOVE math (sorting, counting, etc) and my 2nd grade most kids HATE it. The theory is because math is taught as a logical exercise and ignores the creative part. Don't ignore the creative part. Here is Math Mammoth's recommendations for K math: http://www.mathmammoth.com/complete/kindergarten.php ETA: I'd second Waldorf-style, Kitchen Table Math or the like if you want a "program". :D
  4. How much time a day are they spending on math? What I'm hearing is that it's working well for math, but you want to change because of your outside activities and other subjects. Although I think you CAN cover math with one curric (not that I would ever try, :lol:), I would look at your reasons and see if they are justified and if there is some other way (like cutting back a little on each program). Ultimately, what actions best serve your hs goals?
  5. IMO, telling time is a fairly advanced skill (uses spatial reasoning, multiples of 5 and 15 and is base-60), then you add in an analog clock which takes something linear (time) and puts it in a circular depiction (esp the part where the hour hand is always moving...except for our clock in the living room with an hour hand that "jumps" :001_huh:) -- clearly a 3rd/4th grade skill. The only reason I think they teach it so early is tradition -- before digital clocks and in the school setting kids need to be able to read a clock. That's just not true anymore, and there is little need when you homeschool...but there it is in K curric. :lol: So, I agree -- TIME. My very accelerated 3rd grader just "got it" one day at 8yo long after they'd stopped even covering it in her math curric. Now she insists on wearing her analog watch when we go out and can tell me time and elapsed time with no effort. Honestly, I would say if they get to 12yo and still don't get it, THEN maybe you need to worry about making a concerted effort to teach it. Until then, exposure (have an analog clock up) and motivation ("How long until your fav tv show?") and above all, patience.
  6. Gee, got something stuck in your craw there? <snicker> Just spit it out! :D I know which end they come from, and trust me a pellet is MUCH worse to have dumped on your car than the bird stuff from other end, but I don't know the technical term for difficult to regurgitate pellets. Anyone know? :lol: TO be *slightly* less juvenile for a moment: OP can always call RR and ask them what the ETA is. If they don't know or it is going to take too long, you should be able to cancel the order and get it somewhere else. It's not nice when websites don't tell you something is backordered. :p
  7. Now, now, constipated owls are nothing to laugh at. <giggle giggle> :lol:
  8. I don't know about SOS, but how good K12 is depends a lot on how the VA operates. I'd suggest joining the Yahoo groups for TXVA to find out how flexible the VA is. FWIW, K12will normally do placement testing (simple testing) before you start. It depends on the VA, so you want to know their rules and if they have any "won't reveal for 30 days" sort of thing if one person is telling you "start here and we'll adjust later" that may not be the case. K12 is all about teaching to the objective, so it is say to accelerate, even complete full grades of LA/math in a few months. History and science are often pegged to grade though, not a big deal since you can go deeper. So yes, look seriously at the hoops and requirements, but don't forget you can withdraw your child at any time. If you do it, don't feel like you need to do every problem if you kid gets it -- just teach to the objective and move on.
  9. Add me to the list of dissuaders. I would love to do BA with my 8yo, but she's just way too far beyond it. Looking at the placement thing, a couple puzzle/spatial parts that I thought would be hard for her she solved quickly. The little bits of greater depth just aren't worth it and we can cover other ways (such as Zacarro's books). IMO, if your dd is doing well with Saxon, stick with it. Don't get sucked in to the shiniest most exciting "new thing". If it doesn't fit level-wise, it just doesn't fit and I agree it would be a step back. There's tons of AOPS for her down the road, if it proves a good fit. Honestly, if Saxon works, why go all comic book with her? My younger 2 might really enjoy the visual candy, but I've got a year or two before they'd need BA and I'm looking forward to seeing what people who really use it have to say by then. NOT that I expect it to be bad, but I think there will be more info on for whom it'd be a best fit. Using multiple curric's can provide different views, but switching main curries too much just leaves holes and is highly inefficient. I have to side with dh on this one. Sorry, I know I'm not saying what you want to hear. Of course, that's just my 2cents. You know your child and situation best. Heck, I'd love an excuse to order it for myself! LOL
  10. I agree with PP that you should start by deciding what you want to accomplish and which ages of kids. Do you want your kids translating Ovid by 12yo, are you prepping for other foreign language down the line or latin roots, or is it more about exposure and fun at this point? If your kids like musci and/or coloring, I'd start with Sing Song Latin as a gentle intro. It's inexpensive ($20 which includes a CD), has both classical/eccl pronunciations, and you can download free 100+ page coloring books to go with it (a page for every vocab word or phrase). If your kids hate silly songs and coloring, or listening to stories like "the 3 little pigs" partially translated into latin, skip it! If you want something straight-forward, easy, yet still fun, I'd try Getting Started with Latin (also $20, with free downloadable mp3s of lessons and pronunciations on the website). It also has both types of pronunciations to choose from, lessons are simple and quick (one page with plenty of white space, basically a rule/idea and 5-10 slightly-silly latin sentences to translate like, "We are not able to conquer the islands without many boats." You can also do GSWL after SSL (that's what we did). Neither SSL and GSWL require you to have any prior latin knowledge and are very easy to teach. Both are nice, gentle, inexpensive ways to add latin to your lessons, and will help set you up for more serious latin studies.
  11. When my kids were yours' age: NO extracurriculars. No regrets. Now that they are a little older (8,6,3): the older two do 1 hr/wk of MA. I'm not going to count our weekly "park day" because honestly the kids just play in parallel and that's more about ME having an extracurricular (chat time with other hs moms). I didn't start going for that, but I think a pp was very insightful when she said the activities were more about the mom getting out of the house. I think that is generally true, and since *I* don't need more breaks from the kids, they don't seem to need more extracurriculars. I've asked if they want to switch to the 2x a week MA class, but although they really like the class they rather just do it 1x a week and have more time to play at home. It has definitely helped them build a strong healthy sibling relationship! They are well liked by their peers in their class and are comfortable in new situations, so obviously they're getting enough for THEIR needs. IMO, if you and the kids are happy right now stick with it. I mean your oldest is barely school aged now, so how many EXTRAcurriculars should there be?? :D Their focus should be on unstructured playtime, not skill development. As they get older, try adding ONE and see how it goes. I think it is better to have fewer more meaningful experiences than to be so busy running between activities they don't get down time to explore and create. Each family will have their own level, and I'm not knocking those who choose to have more activities. Some moms (and likely some kids) really need to get out of the house more. For me, I can't see having outside activities more than 3x a week. I didn't homeschool to play chauffeur or social coordinator, and no, I don't feel the need to do any extra because we homeschool, it's more likely the opposite -- because we homeschool, I am confident enough to just say NO to more extracurriculars.
  12. I don't use Singapore, but I will say that when it comes to mental math you can show a child different ways to think about it (approaches), but ultimately there isn't a right way -- we each have preferred ways our brain works and the trick is discovering your native language (since math is a native language of the brain) and go with it. I hope this isn't some sort of Singapore heresy, but although I would show my kids different ways of doing it and expect them to work with it enough to understand why it works, I would then let them go back to whatever is already working for them. It sounds like your dc is already quick and efficient at mental math, so work with that and use Singapore's methods to enrich it, but don't be a slave to "the Singapore Way to do this in grade X" and try to force your kids to use it -- I really don't think that is the intent of Singapore math at all. IMO, the reason so many kids start off loving math and end up hating it is when they are forced to think lock-step with a prescribed method and extinguish any creativity or individuality. Again, I don't think that is what SM wants, and why they explore topics from so many directions. Re: MM -- yes it teaches mental math and does a lot of mental math. I think SM and MM are very similar, except SM is spiral and MM is more mastery based and SM uses more books. I will add that IMO some kids love estimation early and for others it is a major annoyance. In particular, I think the more Mathy kids tend to be so fast at computations that they would rather find the exact answer than estimate. With my eldest, abstract came first and I held off on estimation until she had enough experience to drawn on. Again, depending on how their brain works, some things will come more easily and some will need time and/or maturation. Don't stress it. Math is like a dozen different subjects and kids will be at different levels in each one. I'm very math-oriented and that was a bit of a surprise to me. LOL
  13. A couple friends of mine are TSOs (correct term for TSA "agents" - the "O" stands for Officer, since they are technically federal officers), so as to your concerns: 1. As to how easy it is to get hired -- (the number I've heard was) less than 5% of applicants pass the initial employee screening (which is extensive), and they have a very hire washout rate in the first 6 months. 2. They have a straightforward chain of command and you are free to file your complaints. 3. TSOs are the highest tested and lowest paid of any federal employee. They go through ongoing training and have to pass rigorous annual certification testing for each and every procedure and piece of equipment ...or they lose their job. 4. Which "experts"? There will always be debate if this is the best way to do things. This is your only point (though an important one) that is even up for interpretation or debate! 5. There is nothing "unknown" about the safety of the machines, they use low energy, non-penetrating parts of the spectrum and you get more radiation walking to your mailbox on a cloudy day, and far less than the dose of cosmic radiation you'll get while actually on your flight (which is about 0.2 to 0.5 mrem per hour of flight, a chest x-ray about 10 mrem). There are all sorts of valid concerns with how our post-9/11 security is handled, but your list is just not accurate and imo reduces something worth discussing to fear-mongering. You're also using very charged language, which suggests any discussion here that doesn't end up as TSA bashing won't be acceptable to you. ETA: As to them making a big deal about NOT letting you change your mind: here you are correct. Once you start the screening process (at the doc checker) you can not rescind it. Let's say you were a bad guy with some sinister intent and the TSO is about to search your bag and discover something dangerous. Would you WANT the TSA to let the guy stop the search at any time and leave, maybe have the TSO tell the guy, "hey, no problem, better luck next time!" I also agree with the PP that you should try traveling in Europe sometime.
  14. Those are two very different programs. ALGF seems to be more hardcore Waldorf and aimed as more a life philosophy (parenting, etc), while OM is more Waldorf-inspired, anthroposophy-less, and just a curriculum. I think it just depends on what you want. So, no help here, but a bit of a bump. :)
  15. I'd wait for something more your ideal, but of the 2 I'd go with #2. Although I LOVE acreage, 2ac in FLORIDA is a whole other matter. Lot more dangerous critters to contend with. :lol: The wood structure is another huge negative for me, plus I LOVE a nice kitchen -- you spend so much time in there and it sucks to work in a small kitchen. That said, your priorities may not be the same as mine. ;)
  16. I'll dissent and say: time. Just read to dc and do letter puzzles. ETA: I'm posting not to suggest it's wrong to do programs early, as I know that's a huge debate, but just BECAUSE when my first dd started letter/sound recognition at 3 I thought, "Ok, time to start to learn to read" and I was wrong. She wasn't really ready to learn to read for 2 more years. I tried this and that and we dabbled at it, but we made very little progress until she turned 5yo and she was REALLY ready to learn to read. Her sister was exactly the same. But once they were truly ready, teaching them to read was enjoyable and easy and within a year they were reading chapter books fluently. I wish I'd understood that maybe she'd take off or maybe she'd stick in a holding pattern for years, and that's ok. IME, knowing letters and sounds is a necessary but insufficient step to reading. There are developmental things that need to happen in between. One of the signs of real reading readiness seems to be fine motor coordination (something about it uses the same parts of the developing brain). You certainly CAN push a child to read sooner, but it uses a different part of their brain than if you wait until they are really ready. My 3rd child is different. He taught HIMSELF his letters and sounds before his 2nd birthday (by listening to his sisters) and by his 3rd would hear a word and tell you what letter it started with and ended with as well as making real words with the fridge magnets by sounding them out (without being asked). That's when I started doing phonics with him, gently and at his pace and interest level. I will say that it is a LOT easier to teach a 5yo to read than a 3yo, even when they are more than ready and motivated, the maturity and focus is just so much better at 5yo. Unless your dc is really chomping at the bit to learn to read and clearly more than ready, I'd wait until they were (with could be months or years). If you really want to keep working on it, my suggestion is to do it gently and keep it fun. If it gets frustrating to you or your dc, take a break. The biggest gift isn't so much teaching a child to read, but teaching them to love it. :)
  17. I would register him as 2nd grade, but keep him in the 3rd grade SS class. As you mentioned, he's NOT doing 3rd grade level work, so you're going to make state testing stressful for yourself. Also, the CW is that BOYS do best redshirted (being the oldest rather than youngest in a class). This is especially true if you think he might be interested in sports at some time. As to graduating with your grandson -- I think you're worrying WAY too far ahead of yourself. Is it worth 9 years of stress trying to "keep up" being the youngest in a group because *maybe* the kids will care then? You don't know what will happen between now and then. Someone could move. They may grow apart. Your ds might be ready to graduate at 16. WOuld you hold him back so he'd be in the same class as your grandson? You see, it's a slippery slope. I think it is easier to go with where he'd be if he was in ps. Again, if you were saying he was big for his age and doing 4th grade level work, maybe... And as PP mentioned, it's easier/better to skip ahead later than to hold back a grade later. Mind you, they'd probably only let you skip ahead if you do it in a way that doesn't "miss" a required testing. :p Anyway, what you report to the state and what you use for extra-curric placement doesn't have to be the same.
  18. :iagree: The neuroscience here is pretty clear. Yes, a rare few will naturally learn blending on their own before 4yo. And YES you can teach a neurotypical child to read and blend that early, BUT (and this is a big but) it forces the child to reassign part of the brain to do this that wasn't supposed to. That comes at a cost. I think of it like you're planning to build a guest room next year but your guests insist on arriving NOW, so you have to clear out the office and put them there. SO just because you CAN push a child to learn blending does't mean you SHOULD. Now, my older 2 I taught letters and sounds when they were 2, we played with 100EL but blending was a sticking point as was the maturity to stick with it. So I shelved it, and just lightly revisited over time. Around her 5th b'day (over 2 yrs later, and I'm not going to lie and say it didn't at times drive me crazy that she just wasn't ready) my oldest just got blending and over the course of 4 months went from not reading to chapter books. Her younger sister was closer to 5.5. Both are strong readers now, several grade levels ahead -- which is only important in that it means their learning is not limited by their ability to read. Now their brother taught himself his letters and sounds by 22 mo. [ETA: and by "taught himself" I mean that I had pulled out a letter puzzle for his then 5yo sister to practice with and he just started picking up the letters, saying their names and sounds. Clearly he'd been listening while I taught his sister, even though he was playing several feet away from us.] He's now a little over 3yo and reads CVC with smooth blending. I had no intention of teaching him to read this early and to be honest it's more of a PITA than the girls since I never know from day to day whether he's going to pester me to do lessons all day or be completely disinterested. I just try to go along. I'm using 4 different phonics programs to try to slow him down and keep it fun. If tomorrow he decides he doesn't want to do any more for a year, so be it. I just want to provide the opportunity to meet him where he is. Remember, it's not about you or your boredom. Your dc might be ready for blending in a month or in 3 years. You just don't know. YES, you can push him to force his learning on your time table. But why?
  19. I think it is a nice mind bender for depth. In the OPs example: If I have 50 blocks and want to divide them into 10 piles, every time I put one in each of the piles I subtract 10 from 50. I repeat that until I run out of blocks. So yes, 50 / 10 = 5 is the same as saying 50 minus 10 five times = 0 and notice I do not need to know how many times I can subtract 10 before hand (I could subtract repeatedly and count how many times I subtracted). This is actually used whenever doing long division -- and is visible if you guess a quotient less than the real one (such as multi-digit divisor), you can correct it by subtracting more multiples of the divisor.
  20. What I did to start was make a list of subjects in order of importance to me (math and phonics/reading should probably be on top for a 7yo). Then I started with the top subject, made a list of viable (based on style and secular/religious preference) and started looking at samples. For example, in math I knew I wanted mastery over spiral. I also knew that I liked the idea of singapore, but not the book juggling. :D Then in a notebook (and eventually a spreadsheet), I put my first choice (and why) and my 2nd and 3rd choice (and notes on why I eliminated some -- you'll spend hours pouring over samples and start forgetting why you didn't pick X, lol). THEN I moved on to the next subject in importance. As I made my choice for each subject, I would look back and see if that choice affected any previous ones. For example, some phonics and grammar or writing programs overlap. So, I'd resolve any of those issues (maybe use a 2nd choice for one). And move down the list. Some programs, like Math Mammoth and stuff from Pandia Press have pretty extensive samples, you can actually use this examples for a week and see what you think. Check if they have those books in the library (FFL, WWE, PP, RP, etc). Once you get your list set, I'd order just the 3Rs first (math, phonics/reading, handwriting). Use those for a couple weeks. You can add in crafts or games, do unit studies by getting books on a topic form the library, or there are several FREE life science programs to add some fun. After a couple weeks, re-evaluate those choices and see how your hs is going. If all is well, order your next subject or two and start working it in. If not, reevaluate your choices and consider if you want to change or stick it out longer. Once you get your rhythm with what you've got, repeat until you have everything going. It may seem more exciting to start everything at once, but easing in will be easier on you and dc in the long run, and you'll have less curriculum angst. A juggler doesn't start by having someone throw 6 balls at them simultaneously, they add one at a time. IMO, the same goes for juggling subjects in homeschooling. ;) Spreading out the startup energy will make life less stressful.
  21. :iagree: If you read thru OM looking through the lens if hunting for anthroposophy, you'll find it. But I think if you look at it without the expectation of baggage, you won't. Mind you, I find the whole teeth thing as a measure odd, and it's still in OM. :D Dichotomies are a mainstay of most faiths and stories -- good/evil, yin/yang binary numbers (lol) -- that's all OM's saying. If they mention triads, would that mean they're promoting the trinity?
  22. Ha! And here I was admiring how much more succinctly you stated what I was trying to say! :lol:
  23. See, this is why I LIKE Oak Meadow and would not like "pure" Waldorf. I just don't agree that things crumble because the WHY of some guy's inspiration 100 years ago doesn't ring true for me. Much like one of his near contemporaries, Frued. Frued got a lot of stuff RIGHT despite being fundamentally wrong about the why most of the time. Even though later psychologists refined and adapted his original work, his greatest contribution was getting people to think differently about the mind rather than the details. To *me* Steiner is much the same, and it's no coincidence that he, Freud, Piaget were contemporaries -- they were cooking in the same psycho-analytical soup of the time. ;) If you want to embrace pure Waldorf, you probably have to embrace (at some level) anthroposphy. But I think there are plenty of "Waldorf inspired" programs that modernize the best aspects of Waldorf education but don't require you subscribe to that philosophy. That works well with me, since I apply Waldorf principles as I see fit. I am not bound by it.
  24. I agree that direct selling, no matter how good the product, is a quick way to churn and burn thru your friends. You say you've tried direct sales repeatedly over the years and it didn't work for you -- that is the best predictor of how it would go this time, no matter how well your acquaintance seems to be doing, no matter how wonderful the product. You'll pour in tons of time and money, annoy your friends, and *maybe* make a wage equivalent to working in an asian sweatshop. Do you think maybe you are infatuated with the idea because of your ADD? Honestly, I don't see a huge market for skin care in this economy, and I question how well your "acquaintance" is doing, is she really selling os much product in repeat sales, or did she just have a good term because she sold thru her friends once and has gotten a lot of new associates for the company? Don't walk away, RUN.
  25. Thank you for the info -- I think a flavor of Waldorf will be about right for me. :) The OM 2 Syllabus just arrived, and I think it will be a good fit for dd2 -- she's extremely bright, but our creative little flower child who marches to the beat of her own drummer. I think she will flourish with the extra creative and craftiness, and it looks like just the sort of thing I need to push me to do more of the kiddie and crafty stuff. I can supplement her academics easily enough, but she's the kid that needs the silliness I find painful :lol: and to be honest, her older sister may be fine with a more serious academic approach will still likely enjoy and benefit from tagging along with OM. Do you know what were the knitting projects in OM 1?
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