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  1. Well, I have the HP LaserJet Pro 200 color MFP M276nw. http://www.amazon.com/Hewlett-Packard-HP-LaserJet-Multifunction/dp/B00E68EXJ6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403750406&sr=8-1&keywords=HP+LaserJet+Pro+200+color+MFP+M276nw+support It has a document feeder; worst thing I've found about those is that you can only scan one SIDE of the paper at a time. So it's a document with all even numbered pages and another document of all odd numbered pages. You may find it just as much of a pain as scanning them one at a time.
  2. Right there with ya! My DS12 has pretty severe dysgraphia as well as dyslexia. He has never been in the school system, and has been homeschooled from the start. >> Every day it is a fight just to get her to do a little written work. Yup, and is saps their energy and takes away from even their spelling or wording, because of what it takes to physically create those letters. >> We do allow her to use the computer to type things, but, of course, she isn't very fast at that either. Not without practice. To be completely honest, things like texting and playing Minecraft have worked to raise DS' typing rate. I also have a typing program called Nessy Fingers that I like pretty well. Absolutely everything is done on the computer. For math, I type in the equations for him; I also have a sheet that's filled with "blank" problems; just skeletal setups for things like double- or triple-digit multiplication, long division, fractions. He copies the "skeleton" he needs and fills in the numbers and works the problem. Right now we're doing RSO (Real Science Odyssey) Biology, which is a middle school level course. For every week you have to read a chapter, do a lab, a microscope lab, a small research project, and take a test. I drag the PDFs of the labs into the word processing document and he uses textboxes to fill them in. The research is new this year. He can fill it out in any way he can for now. Right now I'm most interested in him finding information and putting it on paper. He frequently copies things directly off of Wikipedia. After this year I will stop accepting this plagiarism, but for now I want him to get well-versed in looking something up and deciding what's relevant to convey to his audience. He can also use the built-in speech-to-text abilities of the Mac. He also has the computer read his writing back to him, which makes it easier for him to spot his own errors. He frequently has to narrate things for History, which I don't have a problem with. Narrating requires you to order your thoughts and put together coherent sentences...which is the first step in writing. Once you're fluent with narrating concepts, you can narrate them to your pen/keyboard, not just orally. (And hey, if you have text-to-speech, so much the better!) This is a pretty easy path for DS to walk, so I'm happy to figure out how he can use it to his advantage. Language Arts / Communication Arts. Last year we were doing grammar and diagramming sentences, and I would pull in those worksheets and put in text boxes and he typed in the blanks. This year was going to be our big year to finally get him writing decently. It hasn't necessarily worked out very well, because he has some issues with the finer points of reading and understanding...inferences of text, for instance, and unspoken themes pretty much don't even touch his radar. Too subtle. So that becomes pretty difficult for him. >> Do you think it is too late to do occupational therapy? Meh. We did OT and PT, paid for it privately out-of-pocket, and from what i could see, it really didn't do much of anything for him. This stuff runs through our family, and I am quite certain that age matters. There was something fairly magical about the age of 12/13. I couldn't ride a bike or tie my shoes until that age...it was just too difficult. I have a feeling there's something neurological that happens at the onset of puberty, but that's just speculation from this side of the fence. (Yes, I can read and write just fine, but go ahead and try my math skills. I don't dial phones correctly, enter credit card numbers correctly, file anything numerically in order. I flip numbers around to a ridiculous degree.) Also, most people (including me) have found that voice recognition software generally does poorly for most kids until they're at least about 13 years old. Those programs are *notoriously* bad at understanding young voices!
  3. Well I feel like a total light-weight, but what about Comma Chameleon? (*sings* comma comma comma comma comma chameleon....) http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/grammar/punctuation.htm Bad on outlining rules, good for practice. I hope there's not a limit on how many links you can post. I have this in a document on my computer. Punctuation Pyramid: http://www.primaryresources.co.uk/english/flash/Punctuation%20Pyramid.html Alien punctuation http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/ks1bitesize/literacy/punctuation/fs.shtml Ship Adventure: http://www.tvokids.com/games/bigescape3 Comma Chameleon: http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/grammar/punctuation.htm Dragon game, find the questions: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/magickey/adventures/dragon_game.shtml Comma IQ: http://www.savethecomma.com/game/ Comma Confusion: http://www.compasslearningodyssey.com/sample_act/34lang_confusion.html Wordville Comma Game (Mosquitoes) http://wordville.com/rw/commas.html Classroom Jeopardy: (use big screen and light-up egg buzzers) http://www.superteachertools.com/jeopardy/usergames/Feb201106/game1297120685.php Semi-Colon Wars: http://www.mrnussbaum.com/semicolonwars/index.html Build a Clubhouse: http://www.harcourtschool.com/activity/clubhouse/index.html Skillswise Games homepage: http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/games/ Making Sentences: http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/words/grammar/sentencebasics/whatisasentence/game.shtml Magical Capitals http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/grammar/capitalization.htm Floppy books adventures: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/magickey/adventures/index.shtml Oxford Reading Tree materials: http://www.oup.com/oxed/primary/oxfordreadingtree/ Nouns and verbs cleanup: http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/adventure/grammar1.htm# Types of sentences: Fox http://www.harcourtschool.com/activity/sensort/index.html
  4. I get it. Mine is there, too. I tend to put more effort into compensating technology, personally. "How do you spell 'criminal'?" "How would you start to spell 'criminal'?" (I have no idea how many times I've used this phrase, but it's right up there.) "C. R." "/kr/. Now you need /im/." "A. M? No, that's 'craminal.' I?" "I what?" "I. M. I-N. A-L-L?" "Does the computer recognize it?" "No. *click, click* One L." If his spelling is SO off that even spell check doesn't have a clue (my kid often spells like the Chick-Fil-A cows, so that's pretty common), the program Ghotit (.com) does a pretty good job. I bought the software for DS, but I have to say it doesn't perform nearly as well as I'd like it to. It often skips things that need help, which I absolutely don't understand. If you enter: i don no whut too tipe im not grat at speling. It says 'don' and 'too' are fine. It doesn't offer the right words for 'whut' and 'tipe.' If you correct the rest of it per the suggestions and run another check, it has enough context to correct 'whut' and 'tipe.' Finally after those corrections, it begins to question 'too' for you. Dictation software isn't very helpful for younger students because they aren't designed to understand little kid voices. DS turns 13 this year and Apple's built-in speech-to-text is just starting to really kick in for him. Sigh.
  5. In our experience, none of the voice apps started working until this year for DS. (He turns 13 in August.) I let him use my older MacBook Pro, and when he uses Apple's built-in voice-to-text with a gaming headset w/ microphone, things REALLY started to come together.
  6. In the immortal words of my 8th grade English teacher: "A preposition is anything a squirrel can do to a tree." Our hormone-charged middle school class never got over that, me included. A squirrel can go UP a tree, he can go DOWN a tree, he can go THROUGH a tree, AROUND the tree, etc. That take care of MOST prepositions, leaving you to just remember some of the odd ones, like "aboard," "except," "without," etc.
  7. I must have defective children. The eldest is in 6th grade and we have been working on times tables since 3rd grade. I have tried every trick known to mankind, from Times Tales (book) to Multiplication.com to TimezAttack(.com, free game), to flashcards to board game to oral drills to one-page timed practice sheets... Finally last year I practically frog-marched him through a Kumon workbook on times facts. It worked fairly well. Tried the same thing on his fourth-grade sister... (how come everyone else's kids are doing times tables at the same time as potty-training? Really, are mine the only ones?) ...and it was painful. In a post-test after several months of work, she had retained 18 percent of her math facts. *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk* These days I'm having DD10 work for 20 minutes daily (any longer and her temper flares up and gets in the way of actual learning) on TimezAttack. She's at a 72 percent retention rate right now. DS12 (dyslexic) is also at the 72 percent mark with TimezAttack and I have him do 10 minutes of work on it twice a week. He goes through Life of Fred otherwise.
  8. Really? OK, I'm totally mathematically inept, so I make Khan Academy come up with "problems" for DS to solve. So my kids are working on times tables (oh, please shoot me) and fractions. I got the pretty cool book "Math Doesn't Suck" by Danica McKellar, because Life of Fred leaps into adding and subtracting fractions first thing and makes the assumption that you know things you actually don't. Totally clear as mud? Great! So McKellar's book talks about GCF and LCM. I need practice problems for those concepts. Enter Khan. If you go right to the home page, all I get is a giant, screaming purple page that urges me to sign in with Facebook (which I personally don't have and don't want) or my Google Account, which I have, but have totally lost the password to. Hmmm. I can do one of two things: 1. Go to Learn >> Knowledge Map This throws you into a visual map of the whole site, starting with addition at the top and interconnecting concepts working their way down the page. Fractions and down one level and kind of over to the right. I might look at something and realize we haven't done that, and have DS view it and try out some problems. Or ... 2. If I know what concept I specifically want him to look at, I can go to the search box at the top of the Khan Academy site, and type in "Least Common Multiple" When you do that, it subdivides your hits into Topic, Exercise, or Video, and you can jump right to it. In the lefthand column, anything with a little triangle like a "play" button is a video. Anything with a star is practice problems. When I need extra problems, I pull this up and copy what it asks me onto a blank template I have in my word processing program. The downside is that I have to do the problems myself to get the answers. The upside is at least K.A. checks my answers for me. (So make sure you're putting answers somewhere as you're copying.) As I'm working my way through LCM, a little box appears on the left that says "Next Section: Greatest Common Factor." If what you're doing is too easy, I'd think jumping into the Next Section would be the next logical step. If you're not sure where to start, I think the Knowledge Map would help. It goes up through "Geometric Series of Constants," which is so beyond anything I know. Was that helpful? At all?
  9. Two here as well. (10 and 12) I don't want more, he doesn't want more. When my mom asked, he told her "If she wants another kid, she can find another husband to take care of it." "Oh, so you'd give up YOUR two?" "No. Didn't say THAT. He can just take care of his." "So she can start marrying a whole harem?" "Heck, if anyone wants to start throwing more paychecks into the bank, I'm good with that! It'd be nice if he was good with home repairs, too!" I always did like his sense of humor. :-)
  10. I used this for some things. http://www.handwritingworksheets.com
  11. Yeah, if your kid likes working out puzzles, Life of Fred is pretty good for that. My spouse is an engineer with a math degree, and he has the most annoying habit of critiquing the math programs I have picked AFTER the fact. "That's wrong. That's flat-out wrong, no...no, the way this question has been phrased...who *published* this?" And the only -- ONLY! -- program I've seen him actually approve of is LoF. "It teaches mathematical thinking," he says. There may be only five questions at the end of the chapter. But they are HARD questions, and they ask you to apply concepts and stretch them further and sometimes take a guess at the next step. They are ALL word problems and puzzles. Usually pretty serious ones. The downside of LoF is there's no drill. Seriously, you're supposed to internalize and memorize things with only a few problems. So most people supplement to some degree. My DD7 was dragged through Everyday Mathematics at her school, and it taught her to hate math. She cried every time the workbook came out. (Goodbye school, goodbye EM!) The early grades of Fred were just coming out at about that time, and Fred is what made her stop being scared of math. Turns out she's actually pretty good at it. And fwiw....multiplication is the bane of my existence. The Kumon workbook finally worked to teach DS his tables. Tried it with DD. She retained 18 percent of her facts. That's all. After four months!! (*headdesk* *headdesk*) TimezAttack now has her up to 72 percent of her facts.
  12. *Waves hand wildly* Ooooh, I cook! And when I left home I was lucky if I could boil water. Today, I host all the family's Thanksgiving dinners. :-) Practically everything I learned came through the Cooks Illustrated (America's Test Kitchen) site and YEARS OF PRACTICE. Cooks is awesome because it's like the Consumer Reports of cooking. If they're going to post a recipe for apple pie, they've cooked 150 pies and they have a scientific reason why the recommend doing the things they recommend. Cooking is science....specifically, it's chemistry. You're taking different elements and applying heat to them, thereby causing chemical reactions to occur. (And those reactions turn out to be tasty! Who knew!) They've also recently launched what they're calling Cooking School. http://www.onlinecookingschool.com/courses Try poking around through their intro videos and see what you think. FWIW, this is bar-none the BEST way to cook a rib-eye roast I've ever encountered: A basic six pounds of meat will cost around $20-$30 (cheaper at Costco) and lasts our family of four for three nights plus roast beef sandwiches. We always have roast the first night, then French dip sandwiches, then stuffed potatoes (with the meat + cheese, broccoli, butter, sour cream, whatever you can come up with). The rest goes into lunch sandwiches or with a cheese and cracker tray.
  13. Been homeschooling since 2006. My ten-year-old whines about school ::constantly.:: She moans and whines, squeals and flops, alternately despondent or angry about it. It doesn't matter what I try to get her to do, the point for her is that I'm asking her to DO something other than exactly what Her Majesty wants to do at this particular moment. Her greatest desire seems to be to lounge around in bed with a laptop and play Minecraft for hours, or watch horrible Disney sitcoms on YouTube. (There's a reason I don't get cable. I don't want it in my house from YouTube, either.) If she showed any interest in ANYTHING else....reading? Painting? Drawing? Building? Growing? Producing and Involving and Creating?...rather then passively CONSUMING in bovine-like fashion, I might not have such a problem with it. As it stands, however, we continue to bash heads. She also doesn't want to attend school, either public or private, as she realizes that would put even more demands on her time. So we're both treading water here. My 12 year-old is more mature and is beginning to understand time management. He rarely complains, and would be happiest being given a list of tasks to accomplish for the week and being set loose on his tasks. In his (engineering) mind, the sooner you get it all done, the sooner you move on to what you want. So he wants to get up early, plow through the list, and then relax. Neither of them could be accused of "loving school."
  14. I'm on the PDF bandwagon, too. At least I can always FIND my darned PDFs!! I print out the worksheets that I want them to do. I hand them the iPad to read when necessary. I have copies on the computer so I can line the up side by side and plan for the week. I have copied directions and pasted them into our portfolio to show what the kids are up to. Printed books are lovely. I really DO love the feel of paper, and I love how books smell. I don't love how often they're dropped behind the sofa, left in the car, lost at park day, or how they hide out in a box somewhere, nor how much shelf space they take up. That said, I'm much happier having a PDF *file* that's unmanaged by the publisher and unchanging. I wouldn't be very happy with an ebook that could be changed or revoked at a publisher's whim.
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