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Monica_in_Switzerland

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Monica_in_Switzerland last won the day on March 31 2014

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  1. Unfortauntely, with a second language, there may be no end to intermediate hell. LOL. I feel like I'm still in it, and I've been fluent in French and living in French speaking Switzerland for... 15 years. I learned this tip from the book Fluent Forever (interesting raed, but I think you're beyond it)- Read books, especially engaging series, as authors tend to have their own limited vocabulary, and by constant exposure, the vocab is acquired easily through context. This has definitely been my case. I love reading in French on my kindle because of the word-touch-dictionary thing. It takes a lot of pain and frustration out of reading in my second language, and so therefore reading volume increases. Can't dig around for a source right now, but bear in mind the following: In your native language, a well-read person will establish a vocabulary of 20-25k words. In a second language, even with LIFELONG study, it is hard to pass 10k words. Luckily, most people only need about 5-8k words for what we call fluency. With good study, you can work your way to technical fluency in about 5 years of study, faster with immersion. But after that, every year of study provides diminishing returns unless you are trying really, really hard. I don't say that to discourage you, but rather to show that getting to that 8-10k words is really great and "enough" in almost all senses of the word. Add in things like kindle dictionary (or a dead tree dictionary) and pretty much all doors are opened to you. A thesaurus in the target language is also a really great tool. Often times we have passive acquisition of many near-synonyms, but struggle to put them into use in our speaking/writing. A thesaurus can help eliminate weak/imprecise language in writing by reminding us of similar words we already know passively. Ex. Moving from choosing "big" to choosing "huge", "gigantic", "enormous", "collosal" is often times not about not knowing those words on sight, but about not having them be the fastest word that pops up in our mental dicitonary. A thesaurus can help build the reflex to keep hunting until we have exactly the right word. I prefer digital thesauruses to eliminate frustration, and we do "paper dicitonary work" as an entirely different skill that they need to have in order to succeed in an artifical testing environment. A fun exercise is "How crazy can you make it?", changing mundane senences into monstrous ones through thesaurus work. i.e. The small rat whispered "Now!" ----> The miniscule rodent breathed, "Forthwith!" It's not about making every single word better- sometimes simpler IS better- but about thinking about nuance in meaning.
  2. A few things: - if the antibiotics are not helping, he may need others. I got an abx resistant something-or-other with my last bad sinus infection and after the ENT did a culture, we saw that I needed a different family of abx. - prednisone I have only sympathy. I'm having my deviated septum repaired Tuesday in the hopes of preventing my constant recurrent sinus issues.
  3. Honestly, for us it's just read, read, read, write, write, write. The kids are naturally verbally bilingual, so I just insist on the bilingual reading both for school and pleasure. I have not done any actual vocab work in either native language, they seem to have no issues absorbing from reading. But there are some nice thematic dictionaries out there with words grouped by topic, and we have one of them that we use for specific writing assigments form time to time.
  4. Fun thread to read through, glad your evaluations went well! We run four languages in our homeschool, and the time suck is just ENORMOUS. We have two native languages that I expect literary fluency in (i.e., be able to read the classics of these languages in the original)- English and French. The kids have spoken fluency like native speakers (because they are) and learn both languages using resources for native speakers. I teach comparative grammar rather than two separate grammars, I use resources from both languages 50/50 for science, history, literature, geography... I just got done compiling my literature plans for US 7th grade, and we'll be moving back and forth between English and French while staying within a genre, then doing some compare/contrast. For example, we'll do Hound of the Baskervilles, then follow with an Arsene Lupin mystery. Then an essay doing a Holmes vs. Lupin character comparison. The kids then do German and will need high proficiency, but are learning it as a first foreign language. This represents 45-60 minutes a day, and will soon involve some short exchange stays. We are using the local system's physics book this year, and it has about 1 in 10 exercises written in German, in an attempt to integrate the two subjects. I'm also adding in easy readers this year, which are not part of the curriculum. Then we do Latin 30 minutes a day, and I see this as a discipline more than as a language. I have no expectations for progression, we simply all sit down at the table, open our Latin books, study and do exercises, until the timer beeps. I hope you are continuing to enjoy your forays into Japanese!
  5. When my kids ask me if something is healthy, I can almost always say, yes, in reasonable amounts- just like butter or anything else. The only thing I state clearly is unhealthy is sugar, and we still eat sugar, but we are aware it is not good for us, and so we need to tightly restrict it and acknowledge that it's a treat.
  6. It doesn't have to be 100% healthy for it to matter. Put in the effort you can, and that will be enough. We do an unprocessed breakfast. This can mean eggs or apple with peanut butter or nuts and fruit or oatmeal with some maple syrup. I try to make sure everyone gets a serving of fruit. Lunch is all over the place- leftovers or sandwiches are what we eat 99% of the time. Regardless of the main item, this is served with veggie sticks (several varieties per meal, I chop 2-3 days worth at a time of: carrots, bell pepper, cole rabe, grape tomatoes, cucumbers... whatever we have on hand) and dip, either hummus or herb cheese spread. A couple times a week, I add a lentil salad or potato salad to round things out. My kids love veggie sticks, so that's about 2 servings per kid for lunch. Snack involves a piece of Easter candy (still trying to whittle down the crazy pile!) and fruit, or a few cookies and fruit. So, another serving of fruit. Dinner is whatever is on the menu plus cooked vegetables- often times one starchy and one nonstarchy. So another 2 servings there. At least twice a week, we have a bean or lentil based meal, and I consider that as a vegetable in terms of health benefits, and once a week or so we have salmon. The other nights, just typical meat dishes and typical grain sides like rice or bread in addition to the veggies. I do not worry about organic, I do not worry about sugars in things like ketchup and bbq sauce, but I dont' give my kids any liquid sugar- soda or juice or similar. I only use olive oil, coconut oil or butter when I cook, but I buy store-bought mayo which contains those dreaded processed oils. Meh. In a full month, I probably only cook 10-12 different recipes. Many of our meals repeat every single week. Figure out how much effort you can put in long-term. I can do a whole30, but I can't do a whole365. I know that about myself. So I aim to do the best I can considering my energy, priorities, and motivation.
  7. I would not outsource a 2nd grader's skill subjects. However, one way to save yourself some time is to outsource your read-aloud books to audible. We looooove audiobooks. And I can get a lot done while still listening so that I can talk to the kids about it later.
  8. I can't believe I have a kid going into 7th. 😱 This feels like "real school" to me, as locally, kids have elementary from K-6, then middle school is 7-9, then "gymnase" is 10-12. Doing poorly in middle school means you can't go to college-prep gymnase. So... time to start cracking the whip. 😄 In the Swiss system, middle schooler choose an Option, which is a specific subject they want to study in more depth. My son wants to do the Physics and Applied Math option, as well as the Latin option. The advantage of homeschooling is we can go ahead and do both. (For the curious, the other options are Philosophy and Psychology, Economics, or Italien) Math: AOPS- we'll continue in Algebra and move on to Geometry if he finishes the book during the year. Once a week, I will add in Applied Math from the local school's AM book. Language Arts: This is such a huge thing in our house. Trying to keep them academically current in both French and English is a huge time suck. I'm using the writing type studies that correspond to the school curriculum, but doing my own thing. So this year, we'll cover the novel of several genres, one piece of theater (Moliere, as we did Shakespeare this year), what they call Foundational Texts (Bible, myths, Illiad/Oddysey/Aeneid), and poetry. I plan on having kiddo keep a reading journal and we'll go over the elements of plot and literary devices as they come up. The texts will be about half-half French and English. We'll do a standard grammar book for French grammar/conjugation/dictation. Writing: homemade because reasons. Across curriculum type stuff. Science: General Science from local book, plus Physics from IGCSE physics and local textbook. History: SOTW 3 plus Drama of American History series by Collier, plus booklist. If anyone wants to see the plans for these two spines and how I've lined them up, I'd be happy to share that. Geo: Europe map drawing plus geo as related to history studies. Foreign Language: German with dad, thank goodness Latin: GSWL, then move on to Henle. We've almost completed GSWL Logic: Fallacy Detective Art: Drawing 101 TGC Misc: typing practice, then Word practice with typing up writing projects --- I realize this is insane. Many things are only 1x a week though. We'll just start and see how it goes.
  9. I'm not an alarmist, but this would be enough for me to go to ER. Better safe than sorry.
  10. So, he's driving to pick up mom at the airport and never gets there. She gets someone else to drive her home, and isn't curious enough (24 hours) about her two missing children and husband to contact the police? Fishy indeed.
  11. My kids love them and eat them raw off the trees in the neighborhood. In Sept-Oct, all the neighborhood kids are out all afternoon shaking trees and cracking nuts with rocks. It's sort of a sweet throwback to the good ol' days, actually. 🙂 I don't like them. My DH is allergic to them. They are in practically EVERYTHING here. Ugh. I buy separate nuts that I like, then mix them myself. lol.
  12. It's too hard to say without knowing what sorts of things you consider essential. For example, in my small kitchen, I have no microwave, no stand mixer, no slow cooker (I used to and it died, so it did earn it's place when I had one), no food processor. The only electric gizmos I have are an immersion blender, hand mixer, and toaster, all of which are stored away, not out. Oh wait, I also have an electric kettle, it's stored on the counter. I have three large drawers (silverware, cookware, and foil/ziplocs/etc), two small drawers (spices, "junk" drawer). I have one large frying pan, that's it. It lives on the stovetop.
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