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Mrs Twain

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About Mrs Twain

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    Aspiring Master Gardener
  • Birthday July 4

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    Horizons Math
    Dolciani Pre-Algebra 1988
    Rod and Staff English
    Daily Editing (Evan Moor)
    Rod and Staff Spelling
    Maxwell's School Composition for Use in Higher Grammar Classes
    Maxwell's Writing in English
    IEW SWI and SICC DVD programs
    Mystery Science online
    BJU Science video courses 6-8th grades
    A Child's History of the World (Hillyer)
    A Child's History of Art (Hillyer)
    A Child's Geography of the World (Hillyer)
    History books by Edward Eggleston
    U.S. History Detective workbooks (CTC)
    Lapbooks from Hands of a Child
    Uncle Eric books
    Mind Benders
    Balance Benders
    Fallacy Detective
    HWOT Cursive workbook
    Evan-Moor Daily Reading Comprehension
    Maps, Charts, and Graphs workbooks
    Map the Whole World e-books
    Sadlier Oxford Vocabulary Workshop
    Word Wealth Junior
    Audio books for the car
    Classical Conversations memory work
    Khan Academy free SAT practice

Recent Profile Visitors

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  1. I disagree on the points that IEW plateaus after a couple of years and doesn’t encourage original thought. It is after the first couple of years of IEW that the student’s writing starts to noticeably improve and skill development begins to accelerate. They transition from using the checklist as the focus of their writing to using the checklist principles naturally. If you get into the higher levels of IEW, you will observe this development in your student.
  2. For the last three years, I have been using this program to teach my kids to draw all the countries of the world ( see link below). I bought the PDF and printed it out to keep in a notebook. Then we learn to draw one continent at a time. In your case, you could do this and then add more by having your student look in an atlas and add features to the maps—river, mountains, capitals, etc.
  3. Another option (if you don’t mind spending a lot of money) is Johns Hopkins CTY program. You child has to test into it to be able to enroll in classes, but the ones my daughter has taken from them in middle school have been excellent. They are secular, of course.
  4. We use BJU distance learning online for grades 6-8. These are the best science programs I have seen for middle school. This year our third child started the earth science program. (If a program makes it to my third kid, then I know it is definitely good.) These courses are in-depth and thorough, and they make my life so much easier.
  5. For K-2 writing, I mostly had my kids do journal writing. I bought paper or journals from Miller Pads and Paper—the paper that has a blank top half and a lined lower half. Each day I had my kids write one or more sentences and draw a picture to go with it. I helped them correct the grammar so that the sentences started with a capital letter, ended with proper punctuation, and were a complete thought. I also had my kids correct all the spelling mistakes. If they wanted to know how to spell a word for their sentence(s), they brought me a white board or piece of paper. Then I wrote the word down, and they copied it into their journal writing. In addition, I had them complete handwriting workbooks to practice their penmanship. This was good writing practice for k-1. Of note, the journal writing makes an excellent keepsake. We still enjoy looking back at their old journals! In second grade, my kids started Rod and Staff English as our grammar program and wrote longer journals (on journal paper that had more lines/narrower lines than the K-1 paper). After this my kids started IEW SWI-A in third grade.
  6. The Complete Book of Maps and Geography is my favorite workbook for that age even though it is labeled grades 3-6.
  7. Agreeing with macmacmoo. I didn’t see benefit after using Fix It for several years, so I dropped it. My main program for grammar has been Rod and Staff English. I use it for grades 2-8, and it is the best grammar program I have seen. A couple times per week, I also add in E-M’s Daily Paragraph Editing as a supplement. I think this workbook has accomplished what I was trying to get out of Fix It.
  8. Teaching children to read is hard work, and it is not the fault of any of the programs! 100EZ worked for all of my kids, even my 3-year old who was anxious to learn so that she could be like her older siblings. Teach the letters and basic letter sounds before starting 100 EZ. Don’t do the writing. Take multiple days to do a lesson if needed. After 100EZ, use Dr. Seuss books, and then use whatever easy readers you like.
  9. One of my kids did Pre-A in 7th, and the other did it in 6th. Personally we think 7th is preferable because kids’ abstract understanding is better developed at that age. Most kids will learn and retain more if they take algebra in 8th (or 9th). Algebra is extremely important as a foundation for most subsequent math courses as well as for many science courses. If kids take Algebra too early and don’t really understand and remember it, then their future science and math education as well as their confidence in their STEM abilities may be irreparably damaged. However, one of my kids did Pre-A in 6th and Algebra in 7th because she needed to in order to have a strong application for a magnet high school she would like to attend in the future. She has always learned math and science concepts very easily and quickly, and she is is doing well. So we think she will be fine. If your children are advanced in math and the concepts come very easily to them, it is okay to do Pre-A in 6th. Otherwise, I would recommend waiting until 7th.
  10. We have used Dolciani Pre-A with two kids so far. Dh and I love it. It is a tough program but very thorough and good. We use the TE, but you could do without it. I like the TE because it has different schedules depending on what level you would like to teach the course at, and because it has answers for all the problems. After Dolciani pre-A, both my kids took Algebra in a school program, and they have been A+ students with solid understanding of the material.
  11. Another vote for Mystery Science. It is an excellent program and much like BFSU except that it is open and go.
  12. BJU has excellent middle school science courses. I know what you mean about awful faith-based science materials, and I agree with you. My husband and I both have science backgrounds, and we have found BJU’s science programs to be excellent. The BJU distance learning online (DLO) programs are challenging and good preparation for formal science classes in high school. They include reading and note taking from a textbook as well as studying detailed information for the tests. The 6th grade course is general science, 7th is biology, and 8th is earth science. Other options we have enjoyed are online courses through Excelsior classes online. Two of my kids took the aerospace/air power course by Lt. Col. Doremus. He is a favorite instructor at our house! They also have other science courses that look good.
  13. I have a few non-flaky homeschooler friends, but the rest drive me crazy. I am required to plan one field trip per year for our co-op. This year I decided to plan a free field trip that I would have been happy to do with my own kids by ourselves. If no one showed up, it wouldn’t matter because I would just do it with my own kids. That plan helped me a lot because I didn’t care too much when many of the committed families flaked out. My kids and I had a great day and a useful, educational outing despite what the rest of our “friends†did. Honestly I prefer to spend time with the families of our travel club teams. We all have to pay $800-$1200 per season just for fees. No question everyone shows up for everything, and they arrive early!
  14. Burning Cargo. From the website— What is Burning Cargo? Burning Cargo is a different, non-boring way to improve your keyboarding skills. Burning Cargo is first and foremost a game, but it features a full-fledged touch typing course. Enjoy playing Burning Cargo and reap the benefits of being able to type really fast! Is it absolutely free? Yes. We want you to have an alternative to boring online typing classes. If we begin charging, it will only be for new accounts, so type away! More questions? Read the FAQ.
  15. I used McGuffey Readers with all my children. They are difficult but excellent. I think they are excellent because they are difficult. You probably won’t find the same level of difficulty if you pick just any book.
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