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Everything posted by Tatt2mama

  1. So I'm sure some variation of this thread exists on here, but I couldn't find it. So I'll ask- what books do you consider "not to be missed" for 4th/5th grades? I'm thinking of putting together a structured lit program for next year, and I'd love to hear what books you all think are the best of the best for that age group. Thanks!
  2. Thanks so much for all the responses! Thanks especially Crimson Wife, for the links. I knew there had to be threads on this exact topic, but was having a hard time finding them. I do understand some of the limitations of the program: 1. Not 100% complete. 2. Heavy on teacher involvement. 3. Very unstructured. But as a former English teacher, I really like the depth of the instruction of how language works, and works together. I already have FLL 3 & 4, and Exercises in English, but I am sorely tempted by MCT... Flo
  3. I've been reading some MCT reviews here, and other places, and I haven't found too many people saying they didn't like it. I'm considering Level 1, and I'm just wondering if there's anyone out there who didn't like it, and why (just trying to do my due diligence, rather than rushing into buying it, like i usually do with curricula...). Thanks in advance, Flo Mama to ds 9 and dd 8.
  4. for all the suggestions! That one list for boys who like to make forts is awesome! I want to make a master book list to keep in the library bag-whenever I get there, I always feel like I'm wandering around trying to remember what it was I wanted to take out for the kids.
  5. we are secular homeschoolers, and prefer to use secular materials. Thanks!
  6. I know this is a popular topic on these boards, and I did try a few searches before posting-I know I saw a thread on this a loooong time ago (like, last year), but I was hoping some of you could point me in the right direction on this. DS is going into 2nd grade, with a 3rd/4th grade reading level (in my estimation). Up until this point we've used "all in one" language arts programs-LLATL and McRuffy-but I'm trying to move away from that because I felt like they weren't really "complete" enough-always weak in some area. Because ds is a strong reader, but is on grade level for writing, it's also hard to find a complete program that challenges the reading without being way too hard in terms of writing/grammar. So the plan is to do FLL/WWE, spelling workout, maybe wordly wise, and then pull together a lit list of "worthwhile" (i.e. not the Captain Underpants he's currently enjoying reading) books for him to read and do some activities from. I'd like to give him some sort of choice, because I'd like him to enjoy this reading, rather than just feeling like he has to do it. I'd also like to try to choose books that he's going to be interested in-which is why the emphasis on books for boys. Ds is also fairly visual-he loves graphic novels and comics-so anything with lots of pictures is a big plus. So what is your 2nd grade boy reading this year? What are some "good" books that are popular with 2nd grade boys? Where do you look for your lit lists? Thanks so much,
  7. I'm thinking of trying out Wordly Wise 3000 2nd edition, and I just wanted to know, from those who have used it-do you really need the teacher materials, or could you just use the student workbook? I'm thinking of trying out Book1/Grade 1 (which looks more involved, and more like you DO need the teacher materials, which are expensive for gr 1) and Book 2/Grade 2. TIA for any help,
  8. I've read some reviews where the kids and parents loved it-but is it rigorous enough? I'm looking at McRuffy 2nd Grade Language Arts, for my son 6 (7 in November)-to start in the fall. We're currently doing LLATL Red (2nd grade but feels more like 1st to me). Specifically, for those who've used McRuffy LA, I'd like to know if you think there's enough grammar/writing/spelling for a 2nd grader to get a firm grounding. They don't show any real writing/grammar in the samples (it's all compound word work)-I may email them and see if they're willing to send me more samples. If I did use this next year, I would probably add my own lit list, and possibly a supplemental writing program. What are some other good writing programs for 2nd grade level (non-copywork-we tried WWE and it didn't work for us)? I've heard a lot of people like Writing Strands, I'd love to hear about that one, and others people have liked. Just doing my research, exploring for next year... Thanks in advance, Flo
  9. for the info so far-very useful! I like the way the writing is broken down into steps, and doesn't look too intimidating (although I suppose we'll see if we try it). We tried WWE and it wasn't for us, so maybe this approach will work better for us-the only way to tell is to try it. Thanks, Flo
  10. I'm thinking of using the 2nd grade level for my son next year. Anyone use it? Pros? Cons? Do you think it's a good program for grammar and developing early writing skills? I know it's Jesuit-published, but how much religious content is there? I didn't see any in the samples, and would prefer secular content, but can navigate around a little religious content. Also, what would you add to this-I'm thinking spelling and literature, but anything else? TIA, Flo
  11. Is is possible to use only the secular parts of it (no missionary stories or Bible) and still have a full social studies experience? Is it worth using if you're dropping out all the religious material? Is there anything out there, similar to GTG that IS secular? Just curious,
  12. I'm looking for a true literature-based language arts for my son who's in K/1 but reading on a 1/2 level. I'd love to find something that's completely based around real books-where the student reads the books and then completes LA activities related to those books he's read. Really, I'd mostly like him to have opportunities to practice and build on his reading skills, with some other LA stuff thrown in here and there. Even a reading list with suggestions would work-I don't mind coming up with some of the activities myself. We tried LLATL 2nd grade and found that it jumped around too much, and any literature seemed added in, rather than being integral to the program. We also really didn't jibe with WWE/FLL, so anything like that (PLL and etc.) will probably be a no-go. We've also done Sonlight, but found the books in SL K to be too advanced (and we'd really prefer secular). Currently he's doing Oak Meadow 1, and we like it, so I'm really just looking for something to add to this. I've considered some of the VP lit and guides, and I know there were some threads on here about 1st grade reading lists, but I can't seem to find them. So anyway, if anyone knows of a program like this, or can point me in the direction of a good 1st grade reading list (I will also go look on the 1000 books site-can't remember the exact name just now, but that's what google's for!), it would be much appreciated!
  13. I do know that there is a curriculum used by the Unitarian Universalists that deals with world religions-but I was unable to find too much evidence of it. Maybe looking around on http://www.uua.org ? Sorry I'm not more help. We are also secular homeschoolers, but I would like my children to know something about the different world religions-so I'm curious to follow this thread and see what else is out there....
  14. And I've also realized that I rejected Saxon out of hand as "not for us" just based on things I've heard about it. But Katherine, I think I need to take another look at it (really, a first look, because I never even considered it before), because it kind of sounds like what I might be looking for-less hands-on than MUS or RS but more hands-on than Horizons.... Thanks!
  15. Funny Jessica, I was just at that site! It was very helpful in giving me ideas. I do know that what someone else likes I might not-last year we really liked Horizons-but I think now some of my problem with it is the lack of teaching suggestions with Horizons-and that the amount of work has begun to feel onerous to us. What I'm looking for is something that doesn't "kill with drill". I'm not exactly looking for something "fun", but I would like something that has varied kinds of activites, and incorporates some fun. But at the same time, I want something with content, something somewhat rigorous. Rigorous but gentle. Does that make sense? I think that's why I just want to hear about people's experiences with the math programs they liked-I'd love to hear the pros and cons of different programs. Thanks,
  16. I'm considering a change in math. We're currently using Horizons 1 and Singapore 1A with my 6 yo K/1-er-we used Horizons K last year. The pace of Horizons has become a little overwhelming for ds (and I don't feel like he's truly learning the concepts), so I think we're going to focus on Singapore for a little while-but I feel like Singapore by itself might not be "enough". I'm looking at MUS, and while I like it, I'm not totally convinced-it seems kind of expensive, and (after watching portions of the primer video that someone lent me-although I'd be doing alpha with ds) some of the memorization tricks seem forced. So I'm curious what else is out there that people have really, really liked. I'd love to hear what people have found effective in really helping their kids learn math. What is the best math you have used? Thanks in advance,
  17. I guess I mean having a reader for literature. I used to teach English, and never liked the idea of relying solely on a reading book to teach literature. However, Linda, your answer to this has been very helpful to me! It looked to me like they pull from a lot of "real" books-so even if they use a reader as well, I feel like my kids get the experience of both. Thanks so much for the thoughtful answers so far! I am processing...
  18. So, I must be a true curriculum addict, because I'm happy with what we're using this year, and yet I still feel compelled to ask... Can K12 users tell me more about it? I searched and read some of the older threads on here about it, and that was helpful. I have been over the K12 site, looked at some of the sample lessons, printed the scope and sequence and materials to look at, looked at the prices (yikes!). I haven't done the demo thing yet-I will do that when/if I feel like I'm seriously thinking about switching for next year (I wouldn't switch before next year-so I'd be looking at K and 1st or 2nd). Anyway, I guess what I want to know is: 1. Is it boring? We briefly dabbled in Calvert, and found it boring and too schooly-is this like that? The samples don't strike me that way (in fact, they look a lot like what we're currently doing), but it's hard to tell. 2. How much computer time is there? Who is doing the computer time? I know the computer thing would be a plus for my son-definitely a schoolwork incentive for him to be able to do some on the computer-but I don't want him to be doing everything on the computer. 3. What's the difference between doing it independently and doing the VA program? From what I understand-I know some states/school systems will pay for it if you do it through them, and that's not an option for me (nor would I choose it if it were). I would plan on choosing the independent, work-at-your-own pace program-is this the only big difference? 4. If you like K12-what, specifically, do you like about it? Do your kids like it as much as you do? What do THEY seem to like about it? 5. If you don't/didn't like it-what, specifically, don't/didn't you like about it? How did your kids feel about it? 6. Do the various subjects (esp. history and science) seem to jump around (like ps textbook-y learning) or do they seem to follow a path that makes sense? 7. Is the literature/reading portion of the LA quality and worthwhile, or is it that compilation-y overview kind of literature? I'd like to avoid that. (For such an expensive program, I'd hate to have to tweak the reading sections extensively). I think that's all my questions. Lol. If you could all write your answers in the Blue Books provided by the end of test time...kidding, kidding. The idea of having everything planned out for me, of not having to do ANY planning at all, is very seductive to me-and it might even be worth the K12 price tag, if K12 is good. I definitely wouldn't switch before next year, but I like to have time to think-and since looking at the K12 site, these questions about it have been sticking in the back of my mind. Thanks so much in advance!
  19. Last year, my son did LLATL Blue (1st grade, but more on a K level I thought), and while there were a few things about it I didn't like, I really liked it overall for the way it pretty much effortlessly taught my son to read. So I'm now doing LLATL Red this year-I'm only in the 2nd week, but I don't really like it nearly as much as the I liked the Blue. I know it's mostly reviewing right now, but it feels like it jumps around a lot-complete three sentences here, now read these sight words, now let's talk about pronouns-it just feels very haphazard and erratic. We are also doing WWE and FLL, which don't take up too much time. I'm going to stick with the LLATL for a few more weeks probably, and see how it goes. But I was wondering what other options were out there for 1st grade language arts (I'd like to be prepared if I do decide to switch). My son can read short and long vowel words, simple sentences and paragraphs, and I'm trying to reinforce this by letting him pick books from the library that he can read. But I'd ideally like a program that would continue to support these developing reading skills, with maybe some beginning spelling/writing skills. I'm not concerned about the grammar aspect because I am doing FLL. Also, it would be great if the lessons were short-that was another thing I liked about LLATL Blue. I do have ETC 1-3, but they don't feel comprehensive enough-I'd like something that involved reading actual books/stories/passages. I was looking at WP's LA programs, that use ETC and wondering about those-so any feedback would be appreciated. Basically, if you have a 1st grade/beginning reader LA curriculum that you really liked, I'd love to hear about it! Thanks,
  20. Anytime I fall, I have to resist the urge to jump up with my hands in the air and yell "Super-STAR!" AND the cheerleaders-HEE-larious. Does anyone remember the sisters-they were singers-Nora Dunn and whats-her-name?
  21. In high school we used to love the Billy Crystal/Christopher Guest skits "I hate it when that happens." "doncha just hate when you're hammering a nail into your head with a ballpeen hammer?" "Yeah, I hate it when that happens. That really stings." Another one I still will do with my friends was the 60 Minutes spoof with Martin Short as the cigarette-holding lawyer "is it him? It's me, right? It's me." or the male synchronized swimmers "I'm not a strong swimmer" "dig..a hole, dig...a hole". Also the Palin-Clinton skit-I love the whole "I didn't want a woman to be president-I wanted to be president!" Lol,
  22. I like to think of myself as a liberal-leaning independent-I've been a longtime Obama supporter because of his desire to end partisanship and make politics work again. This is definitely some food for thought.
  23. At ds's 5 year visit last year, the vast majority of the questions were directed at him. Not really a problem because he likes to talk (and talk...and talk...), but I was kind of surprised because it was the first well visit where she really talked to him instead of me, mostly. Most of the questions were fairly routine, but there were two I found...interesting. She asked if he "felt safe at school and at home"-and then she corrected herself because she knows we're homeschooling. She also asked if he "felt happy most of the time". I understand why they feel they need to ask these questions, and I certainly wasn't worried about the answers. It was just kind of weird for me, since he's only 5. But I pretty much shrugged it off, because we don't really go to the ped often, and it didn't seem like it was a big deal. I guess my perspective is that those questions really don't have anything to do with my family, they more stem from other societal issues that we don't have any contact with. (But then again, it does make me a little sad that 1. my ped feels the need to ask 5 year olds if they feel safe in places where it should be ASSUMED that they should feel-and BE-safe and 2. that we need to start screening our kids for depression at the age of 5. There's a little part of me that goes "what is the world coming to?")
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