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  1. Oh, wow... IrishMum, that Irish Baby Names site may make things very nice and simple, plus it's Frank McCourt. I didn't even realize it was him until he was pronouncing a name and I thought, "that sounds just like Angela's Ashes!" It doesn't have all the names, but does give a good idea of how to pronounce tricky consonants, like that "m". :-) Thanks!
  2. Trying to introduce some Celtic (or Celtic-style) read-alouds to go along with our SOTW Middle Ages history readings, but I keep getting stuck on the awful unpronounceable consonant and vowel patterns in the names! Are there any guidelines anywhere for pronouncing some of the more common names? Any websites with audio so I can get a good listen? Also, since I'm curious... why am I finding these so hard when I have dealt with all manner of strange pronunciations before now, including German, French, Arabic, Chinese and more...? Does anyone else have this problem?
  3. I'll be honest; I don't love the idea of homeschooling to get kids "ready to go back to school." HSing is so much more than that! Even parents who pull kids out of school because of problems usually find so many unanticipated benefits of homeschooling. Assuming you have the support of your dh, I'd suggest keeping at it, not because you're ignoring what your kids say (you don't mention how old the kids are), but because you are the mommy and you are very capable of a) assessing where they are at, educationally, and B) continuing to teach and guide them as you all explore your new home. You could find other homeschoolers to do more structured programs with if that's the sort of thing they need. There are also, I assume, more opportunities to find like-minded youth groups and extracurricular (structured) activities in the NYC area, so they will not have to do without if that's what they want, while at the same time, continuing to reap the benefits of individualized instruction according to their own needs.
  4. Simple: Pencils (if you use them) Pens (for you and as a "treat" - buy lots, they will walk away) Gluesticks (many more than you think you'll need) Good crayons (I bought these ones from Rainbow and they have convinced this lifelong crayon-hater!) Doodle pads - just knock down a forest and pulp the whole thing now to save time. Whiteboards - a couple of small ones and a big one for you... with markers, of course
  5. We have used "Mug Readers" since we left BOB Books behind. :-) Ds5 just finished Book 1, and Dd8 is in Book 3. I like the moral tone of the reading selections, and the language is a bit tricky, which means they have to really pay attention. I try to have dd8 stand up straight and read as clearly as possible. (doesn't always happen) The reading selections are a bit old-fashioned, but in some ways, kids led more exciting lives in those days - like being allowed to play on frozen rivers and ponds without adult supervision! So in a way, this helps hold the kids' interest. I also like the fact that there are poetry selections, which give them practice reading rhythmically. These are available in the public domain, but I haven't yet found a really "useable" digital version, so I have bought them so far. They're not expensive, and you get a lot of reading practice for your money. Of course, you could just have your kids practice reading aloud from anything, and some folks like to use Great Literature or the Bible, but I'm happy with these books so far. p.s. we have the blue and brown ones as well. I bought them from Rainbow.
  6. I don't regret it, though we've only done one year of SSL. I just wanted to suggest that it doesn't have to be a huge time committment, at any stage, if that doesn't work for your family. As with other subjects, there are curricula for Latin which are "light" (relatively quick, oral) and those which are "heavy" (lots of writing, memorization, etc). Understanding that any family can take it on at any level that works for them, I think it is very worth touching on Latin and understanding the Latin roots of English (linguistically and gramatically), and I regret that this was dropped from the public school curriculum before I came along... p.s. It doesn't even need to cost money... I just took out GSWL from our local public library a couple of weeks ago, and you could probably find public-domain texts for free on Project Gutenberg. :-)
  7. Well, in fairness, the idea isn't to teach kids that "things get big" but to have them be comfortable working with (manipulating!) them as concrete reinforcement. (I'd rather use BOOKS to teach about things getting big, like Steven Kellogg's How Much is a Million, The Cat in Numberland and Anno's Mysterious Multiplying Jar.) I do realize that concrete reinforcement is downplayed in Singapore more than in other programs we've used, but still... if you're just TELLING them it's a lot of cubes, I don't think that's the same, sensorily, as holding them. And as others have pointed out, base-10 materials, rods, etc., get really unwieldy after 1000s. Whereas chips are chips, and the value is just whatever you say it is. So they are stronger in one area (abstraction of place value) but weaker in another (concretization of place value). We have big plastic 100s, and I stack all ten up to show 1000, but showing and knowing isn't enough if can't actually work with the materials. I suspect I will have to improvise something chip-like once we head into 3A, where the numbers do get bigger.
  8. The programs are meant to be used together and complement each other very nicely. Right now, we are using FLL2 and WWE2 and they sort of cover the same parts of speech, punctuation, etc, but not in a way that's too redundant or heavy. They are easily the most happy part of our schoolweek - each is practically guaranteed to be quick and easy and fun. :-)
  9. I printed some on cardstock but we both hate them. Too thin and flat to pick up easily and they're crazy hard to sort out. So I'm very interested in what others do. What I have done, in the meantime, is use Cuisenaire rods - separating out the ones into a baggie so we don't have to hunt for them every time. It goes against the philosophy of Singapore, however, which uses the discs intentionally because they are identical in every respect except colour / denomination. This parallels what's known in Montessori circles as "isolation of difficulty" - you control for everything else that could be the same so the child focuses on learning what is different. (edited to clarify: this is because a "3" looks exactly the same whether it means "3" or "30" or "300" or "3,000,000" - the only difference is in its "denomination" ie what place it's in... with rods and coins, you have many tactile differences: size, weight, material (our 100s are plastic!) confusing the issue and destroying the purity of the lesson - if you were to ask a Singapore purist, which I'm not :-)) Still - I was looking at prices on discs the other day and even though it's <$15 at Rainbow (I think), there's still shipping costs etc that would make it rather expensive for something we use for 3 minutes at the start of a lesson. Following to see what others have done!
  10. We love our "Mug readers" and have hard copies of 1-3, but I'd love to go digital for Book 4, especially since we're moving where shipping will be very expensive. I don't mind paying for a good-quality digital copy. I have been looking for a long time for a good PDF version that is essentially just a high-quality scan of the original. The free versions available on Amazon.com lack the illustrations and are missing the look / feel of the books. Any suggestions?
  11. I was just about to say the same thing. It's a $4 investment that will pay for itself as you listen to it over and over. My only beef with the Peace Hill Press store is that it's not an instant download. So don't put off buying it until you're ready to listen - buy it first, then you can listen whenever you have a chance.
  12. When we were doing Apologia, I created a very simple printable which is available free here.
  13. I like the idea of rule-based spelling, so here's how I did things with my dd as we moved through the ETC books - http://ronypony.blogspot.ca/2011/11/spelling-lessons-with-explode-code.html This system kind of fell apart in ETC8, and I haven't started it yet with my ds in ETC3, but I do plan to, once his writing is a bit better. Now that dd8 is finished ETC8, we just moved into Rod & Staff, and so far, I love it. It is list-based and rule-based, affordable with no pointless busywork, but the lists will have to be very heavily modified, because we're not Christian and it most definitely is (Word and Son are taught with capital letters, for instance!). :-o
  14. :hurray: See, FLL keeps surprising me like that. We're partway through 2 and I've said repeatedly on here that I hated FLL1 for the first 20 lessons... and then, suddenly, saw exactly what was going on, and we have loved it ever since.
  15. @JenniferLynn, I'm wondering... is there anything you get in the download that you don't have access to with the hard copy? I really dislike printing stuff off at home - to me, it's not "open and go" if I have to sit down and fiddle with the computer. Anyone else want to weigh in? I think what's turning me off is that the art looks so bad in the Nallenart (ironic name, given the poor art quality) books... Also, this authentically French-sounding person found a few egregious-sounding typos / errors in the "ecrire" level, which I found disturbing.
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