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  1. How does this relate to the Barton pre-screening? It's not supposed to screen for dyslexia, but instead is supposed to screen for whether you have the phonemic awareness skills to be able to learn from phonics instruction. But from what you write here - dyslexics struggling with phonetic awareness and blending - that sounds like the same thing the Barton pre-screening is looking for. And the "brain routing the ability to read through a different and not as efficient pathway" sounds *exactly* like what happened with my oldest dd. Which in her case happened *because* she didn't have the phonemic awareness needed to learn phonics, yet somehow learned to read (from pure phonics teaching, even) without it. She failed the Barton pre-screening as an apparently fluent reader. However she was reading, it wasn't phonetically. (And her spelling and decoding of unfamiliar words showed it.) And those phonemic awareness deficits definitely run in my family. My mom learned pure whole word, and she insists to this day that she couldn't have learned to read via phonics. And, really, given the point of the Barton pre-screening - do you have the skills to learn to read via phonics? - she's 100% right. She *doesn't* have the underlying skills needed to learn to read with phonics, and so without those underlying deficits being remediated, she *couldn't* have learned via phonics. But the skills she doesn't have are the same thing that dyslexics struggle with - lack of phonetic awareness (she can't connect the dictionary phonetic pronunciation to how a word sounds), inability to blend - and she definitely reads through a different, non-phonetic pathway. But no comprehension issues. Ditto for my sister and me. We learned with whole word before school, but did have some phonics in school, after we could read. Except since our reading was better than our phonemic awareness, we used our stronger reading skills to work backwards to figure out the answer, bypassing our weak phonemic awareness. (I watched my dd do the same thing. To add or delete sounds, she'd visualize the spelling of the word, think which letter was associated with which sound, add or delete the letter, and read the resulting word.) And it would have been ditto for my kids, except that I read for years on the importance of phonics-only instruction, and persisted with pure phonics despite how hard it was for my oldest. (Even though she was the poster child for balanced literacy, naturally using grammar clues and picture clues and context clues to bolster her weak decoding.) And even then it *still* would have been ditto for my oldest - using a different pathway *despite* all the phonics because she still lacked phonemic awareness and blending skills. (My oldest somehow learned to read from pure phonics teaching *without having the ability to learn from phonics teaching*.) Since then I've taught my kids as if they were dyslexic (including remediating my oldest), because dyslexics have serious problems with phonemic awareness and blending, and my kids have serious problems with phonemic awareness and blending. And it's been both necessary and successful. And family history demonstrates that if those problems go unremediated, we learn to read, but not phonetically - rather like we are using a different, non-phonetic pathway. But does that imply dyslexia? Or, no, you can have serious phonemic awareness problems that interfere with your ability to learn to read phonically (and thus push you to learn to read non-phonetically) for other reasons?
  2. My top extra room would be a library (instead having bookshelves on every available wall in every room and hallway, plus a place to read in peace and quiet that's not a bedroom). Second would be a storeroom (instead of putting things in the non-climate controlled garage/attic). Third would be an exercise room (instead of putting the exercise equipment in the non climate-controlled garage). Fourth would be a hobby room (a place for dh's trains and such that's not the non-climate-controlled garage, and a place for kid creations that's not the dinner table or the floor of their bedrooms). Really, except for the library, what I want is a basement. Our previous house had a finished basement with a storeroom and plenty of room for exercise equipment and kid/adult hobbies. But there's no basements here, and the size of house to match having a full basement is ridiculously huge and expensive.
  3. In general I've found aloe vera gel (the clear stuff, with just aloe, no added "medicated for sunburn relief" stuff) to work well for preventing flyaways when hair is pulled back. I appreciate it both because aloe is good for hair and because I don't have to shampoo it out - I can just comb or brush my hair out and let it absorb. So there's no build-up, no worries about having to clarify occasionally to get it all out.
  4. FWIW, at 8yo I wouldn't worry about teaching or facilitating creative writing beyond giving him plenty of time and materials to do his own thing and being an appreciative audience whenever he shares something with you (all of which you probably do already). I'd just keep working on the mechanics like you are doing, and I would personally do WWE with him as well. It's lit-centric, gentle, and quick, and ime the results give a lot of bang for your buck. Since he likes creative writing, he'd probably like the stories, and ime it's gentle and quick enough it shouldn't suck the life out of him and should leave him with plenty of time and energy for his own creative writing. One thing you could do to encourage his self-expression and creativity is to let him talk your ear off about his writing and really kind of engage with him as he does: ask questions to clarify his thinking, ask questions that encourage elaboration, brainstorm with him. I mean, kind of a joyful, engaged interest: like how people who are into a fandom engage with it. Paying really close attention and really thinking through all the logic and the implications and such, but in a "because I love it so much" way, along with just squeeing over the good bits because you enjoy them. Just kind of entering into his creative writing world with him and giving him the gift of an engaged, thoughtful audience to interact and brainstorm with (if/when he wants it). Not just being an appreciative audience, but a thoughtful, interacting one as well.
  5. I think that, even though the actions themselves are similar, the intent and the goals are quite different. Punitive silent treatment is aimed at hurting the other person, while withdrawing to calm down and recover is aimed at helping oneself. Let's say the other person doesn't notice the withdrawal and silence, or doesn't care: does that make your withdrawal/silence ineffective or not? If you were trying to hurt them with the silent treatment, then their not noticing or caring ruins it; if you were trying to heal yourself, then their not noticing or caring is basically irrelevant (might even be a plus). I get that it might look similar to the other person, especially if the other person is primed to watch out for silent treatment in general. It's probably worth examining yourself to make sure that punitive motives aren't creeping in, because you can certainly withdraw to nurse your wounds *and* hope that your withdrawal makes the other person feel badly for hurting you. And reassure the person at neutral times that your withdrawing is about you coping and not about you punishing them. And possibly watch out for how long the withdrawal lasts. Otherwise, if they persist in taking it badly despite you genuinely not meaning it badly *and* you letting them know that you don't mean it badly, then <shrug>. Out of love for them you could try to check in on them here and there during your withdrawal, to let them know the relationship isn't broken over this hurt. Otherwise the best you can do might be to just not take offense at *their* taking offense - to know that they will take it badly and to not take it personally.
  6. By "sin" I just mean "something morally wrong", not specifically a wrong against God (although my tradition does hold that all wrongs against fellow humans, against creation, against ourselves, etc., are also wrongs against God). The point I was trying to make was that forgiveness is for wrongdoing; if there was no wrong, then there is nothing to forgive. (And in fact people often are offended at the idea of either offering an apology or receiving forgiveness for that very reason: they don't believe what they did was wrong, and therefore they have no obligation to apologize and no need to receive forgiveness - because you only need to be forgiven if you did *wrong*. No wrong, no forgiveness needed - or wanted.) I completely agree that human forgiveness has tremendous power. "Forgive others as you have been forgiven." Forgiveness is central to human relationships. And so it can be very hard on people who feel they have done wrong, but the people they wronged, instead of forgiving, instead insist there is nothing to forgive in the first place. It's well-meant - would it not be offensively wrong to forgive them when they did nothing wrong, did nothing that needs forgiveness? But it denies them that tremendous power of human forgiveness.
  7. FWIW, there's a dark side to insisting that her mistakes aren't moral failings - it denies her grace and forgiveness. Forgiveness is for sins, and if her mistakes aren't sins, then they can't be forgiven. So how is she to deal with them, if there is no forgiveness for them? As well, there's such a thing as sins against conscience, things that aren't inherently sinful, but if a person who mistakenly believes they *are* sinful does them despite believing they are sins, then that person *does* genuinely sin, even though the action itself is fine. It sounds like that's where she is: regardless of whether her mistakes are inherently sinful, she believes that she *has* sinned. But no one will offer her forgiveness, but instead, with the best of motives, everyone just tells her it doesn't matter, it doesn't make her any less of a good person. But rightly or wrongly, she's convinced that what she's done *is* morally wrong, and *does* make her less of a person - aka she's sinned against her own conscience. My tradition, Lutheran, is very big on grace and forgiveness, and with sins against conscience, we tend to forgive first and educate the conscience second. Learning that what you thought was wrong is actually good doesn't erase the guilt from having done something you genuinely believed to wrong at the time, and in fact the guilt can prevent you from moving on. Only forgiveness can remove the guilt - and that's why we don't deny forgiveness to anyone who is repentant. Even if the action itself isn't something that needs to be repented of, their guilt for doing something they (erroneously) *thought* was wrong still needs to be dealt with - and only forgiveness can do it.
  8. My youngest is similar - strong-willed with phonemic awareness weaknesses - so teaching him to read has been like pulling teeth. I actually red-shirted him (he's a summer b-day); we sent him to the church's pre-K during what would have been his K year, and then hs'ed K the next year. He's finishing up 1st grade now, as a 7.5yo. We're still on CVC words, actually, though he's finally overcome most of his phonemic awareness issues; I ended up restarting the phonics primer from the beginning at least three times, if not four, as he hit walls. Based on his older siblings, there's only one more major hurdle to go, blending consonants (both my girls needed a *ton* of focused work to learn to hear the separate sounds in blends and to actually blend the separate sounds together). I've had success incorporating sound tiles and phonogram tiles (AAS has phonogram tiles, I think AAR does as well) - they both help with the weaknesses plus ds likes them. In your shoes, I think I'd either start AAR back from the beginning, doing it as written; or else follow EKS's advice and start with a dyslexia program. (I ended up using our phonics primer as a base ("Let's Read: A Linguistic Approach")- it has a really excellent word list, very thorough and incremental and logically arranged by phonics pattern, along with a ton of phonetically-controlled connected text - while heavily modifying how I teach it, incorporating ideas and techniques and such from other programs.) If you have an iPad, you could try Dekodiphukan (Decode-if-you-can). It's a really neat approach to phonics that starts with 44 sound pictures that visually represent the sound (such as a hissing snake for /s/ and a buzzing bee for /z/). It teaches the sounds through a neat rhyming story; most are very intuitive, and the rest make perfect sense within the story. We all had them memorized within a few times through. All the sound picture work helps prevent and remediate reading-by-sight, and also really emphasizes reading and spelling by sound. It's a lot of fun, and it's free for the iPad. (If you don't have an iPad, all the print materials are also free to download.) I use the apps as a supplement, but I've incorporated the sound pictures into the core of my reading/spelling approach.
  9. Two of my kids are lefties. It was pretty apparent by the time they were four or so - they defaulted to their left hands for most things. (And ds also defaulted to doing cartwheels and such left-handed.) But so far they haven't had a problem using the mouse right-handed - my oldest even games that way. I thought about left-handed scissors and teaching them to write left-handed (I can write with my left, which was a big help in figuring out how to teach them), and the pros and cons of knitting/crocheting left-handed (you have to transpose the patterns mirror image), but mouse positioning didn't occur to me for years and years. And by that point both of my lefties had been using the mouse right-handed for years without issue.
  10. 2500-3000mi/month for dh and me combined. Dh's work commute is 180mi/wk, church is 60mi/wk (2 round trips), and kid activities are 270mi/wk, so a little over 500mi/wk of regularly scheduled activities. Then dh has fluctuating additional work-related driving, and we go into town once a month (~140mi), plus other one-off trips, so I'm guesstimating 2500-3000mi/mo. We live rurally, so it's a long way to everywhere.
  11. And, see, to me the SM workbooks *have* gone up in price. It used to be $25 for the wb and IP together on RR, but the past few years each book has gone up a dollar or two each year - with three kids in SM, it's probably $30/yr more than it was when I started. That was an increase of 20-25%, and I kind of grumbled each year to see the new higher price. But that's still nothing like the 200-300% increase you're talking about <jawdrop>.
  12. He is risen indeed! Alleluia! "Jesus lives! The vict'ry's won! Death no longer can appall me; Jesus lives! Death's reign is done! From the grave Christ will recall me. Brighter scenes will then commence; This shall be my confidence."
  13. I did not. Probably because I read them fast, but also, I think, because the absence of religion seems to be the dominant feature of most "set in real life" movies, books, and stories (not to say that HG is set in real life). I'm surprised by the *presence* of actual religious influence, not its absence. Growing up, all the twaddle series I read had the same absence of religion as HG: all the Sweet Valley series, Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, the Baby-sitters' Club, Thoroughbreds, plus a dozen others - all religion-free. The twaddle-y TV shows likewise had no mention of religion: Full House, Home Improvement, Step by Step. For more contemporary examples: the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Arrow TV show, Psych, Monk, Chuck, Leverage, Sherlock, White Collar. Shows willing to be controversial or shows that tried to explore important topics would have occasional episodes that involved religion, but your fluffy, feel-good books and shows? As starkly religion-free as HG. I only tend to see plot-relevant religion in speculative fiction and fantasy; and even then, I'd say more sci-fi than not is religion-free, and in more fantasy than not the religion is window dressing - there to add atmosphere, but it doesn't impact how characters actually live or the direction of the plot. (Even Harry Potter, which has so many Christian themes, still doesn't have any overt religion - no overt religious beliefs or practices appear anywhere, no character is a devout believer in anything religious). And even stories where religion is pertinently present - a real force in the world and in the characters' lives - too often the religion is either the enemy or something to overcome.
  14. It doesn't really surprise me, because there's a lot of Christian themes in HP. There's even a Bible verse on the Potters' graves - "the last enemy to be overcome is death," which is from 1 Corinthians 15:26. So I always pictured the British wizarding world as having a similar proportion of Christians as Muggle Britain.
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