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Posts posted by Ecclecticmum

  1. I love my pro-click (and I abhor spiral & comb binding. Comb Binding always rips or the comb flicks out and falls apart. Spiral, the ends of it rub against the corners of the paper leaving it looking ragged, its not stable, put it on a shelf and its likely to flop/curve.)


    I tore up my Konos volume and pro-clicked it into books by trait. I take the lot out of the binding to photocopy it, and pro-click the copy. This is the only time i take it out of the binding (becuase i mark up my pages big-tme, so by the time i finish the trait, it will be a big mess, but i still have the original unmarked in case i want to come back to that unit or need to read it. With the other spines, i only open them if i have forgotten a page or need to add an extra page.


    If i needed to constantly open and close them, i would stick to binders or manilla folders (which i do for some subjects)

  2. That looks awesome. I'm bookmarking this, I might come back in a few years when I have more of a schedule down and use this :)


    What is an anti-colouring book?


    They were a bunch of books originally printed a while ago as an alternative to all of the colouring books out there. Everything seems to assume your children will love to colour in all day long, every day.


    The basic concept of the AC Books is Creative Drawing Prompts. They give starter ideas and pictures for the child to finish or prompts for the child to think about.


    There is the basic series (Book one, two etc) and then there are others like Red Letter Days, Nature's Wonders, etc, which are different from the original series, so to get an idea on those its best to look at the individual samples.


    They are available digitally on currclick.com


    Joyce Heroz? I think her name is, on currclick, also does another "series" (just two books for now) I plan to use later on, called something like Draw & Write 1, which is a bit of a step up from the AC Books, but does seem to be a little repetitive.


    In case you can't tell, I collect these things, lol. My daughter loves them (she hates colouring in and prefers to draw stuff herself, she'll do the occasional Dover Stained Glass colouring book & similar though).

  3. Here's our year so far.


    Hits (so far):

    Beechick -3R's

    LLATL Blue


    Math on the Level

    Dancing Bears/Bearing Away

    Core Knowledge Preschool Activity Books

    My Student Log Books

    Mary Ann Kohl Books

    Trish Kuffner Books

    Graham Braddock Art Course Part 1 (4 DVDs)

    TV Teacher


    Project-Based Learning

    The Writer's Jungle

    Math Supplements (Mathstart Books, Kitchen Table Math, Family Math, Dreambox)





    Oak Meadow (close but no cigar)

    Waldorf Math


    SOTW (kids love the activities, but they didn't like the book)

    Hideaways in History (Same, loved activities, didn't like the spine, we are planning to use pieces of it)

    Christian Penmanship


    Drawing with Children

    Singapore Math

    + a whole lot more (lol)


    So a lot of hits & a lot of misses. I'm happy with where we have ended up though. I have a more waldorf pedagogical view, but tend to "teach" my children in a more project, games, art & movement based way. I've finally found what "style" works, so that, in itself, is the biggest *hit* this year. ;)

  4. We'll be using Math on the Level with all mine.


    I was hesitant to use it with DS (was planning to use Rightstart for him) but now that I have it, it is definitely what we'll be using for all the children, its an amazing program and exactly what I was after, and after going over concepts with the kids, I am seeing concepts they "should" know but don't thanks to our previous math curricula, so I'll be staying with MOTL, it allows me to teach each individual child how they need to be, but combine them, and keep on top of things (plus fast-track or slow down or skip concepts if need be).

  5. We've been using what those said above (Out of Synch Child has fun, Kumon etc). We also use:


    -Abeka Art Projects

    -Developing the Early Learner Series

    -Knitting (Finger knitting, Knitting Nancys, Bambo Knitting Needles)

    -Block Crayons & Form Drawing

    -Maryann Kohl's Mudworks book

    -Montessori Trays (Tweezing, Squeezing etc)

    -TV Teacher (available from Rainbow Resource. This is good for us as DS will happily do a "workbook" with miss marnie for handwriting ;)

    - Core Knowledge Preschool Activity Books


    Plus we have an art room that always has supplies ready (crayons, pencils, glue, scissors etc) so if his sisters are in there, sometimes he will come and join in of his own free will too.



  6. If you have to cover health or other curriculums that seem rather redundant, I usually print out one "worksheet" (colouring page, information page etc) for each topic. I.e. Handwashing colouring in, get the child to colour it, stick it in folder, and you have covered it. Since I don't have to report anything, mine usually consists of oral versions "you know how to wash your hands properly? Scrub them together, thats right" *tick off box, move to next topic* rofl.


    Mine looks really busy, but is actually pretty simple (although I am still fine-tuning the LA, as its made from a lot of bits & pieces from various programs, I mostly use Dancing Bears & LLATL as the base, and pull ideas from the others).


    LA: Mixture of bits from Bravewriter, IEW/PAL, McGuffey Readers, Dancing Bears, Fitzroy, TV Teacher (Handwriting), Startwrite, LLATL Blue, More Starfall & Click N Kids. This is probably my busiest list, but I use bits & pieces of everything for different purposes. Our main base programs are Dancing Bears (Phonics) & LLATL for LA.. I use the others for stuff like sight words, readers, online supplements (good for when I need to do stuff with the younger kids or am having a sick day), TV Teacher all three kids do together allowing me to housework or have a break. Startwrite I write out Atlas' stories and she llustrates and uses the sheets for handwriting practice. LA is our main goal for Atlas for this year (she's finally blending, so I want to work on that area, and get her reading so she can join Scholastic Bookclub). Goal for DS is Speech, Vocbulary & Fine Motor, Goal for DD4 is Fine Motor & Math (she's showing signs of racing ahead like her sister, so I want to keep up with that).


    Math: MOTL (Base Program), Verbal Math (Mental Math Lessons, I've been looking into the possibility of getting Ray's to use the same way, but I keep jumping backwards and forwards on that, I don't want too much going on, then again I would just drop Verbal Math to one short lesson a week rather than two, and do one lesson of Ray's instead) & Dreambox (Online Supplement). My daughter moves too fast for workbooks and hates the pages of problems, she naturally picks up/knows math, at the same time, she hasn't mastered some basics and has some bad habits (she can do some algebraic equations, do long addition, but hasn't yet mastered basic subtraction or counting to 100, or counting on properly. So I found its better to have a guide rather than a program, then I can work things her way).


    Art: She is artistic. Very arts/crafts person, so she has a lot of stuff to play around with. We do group art on Fridays using Maryann Kohl books, other than that she has things like Abeka Art Projects, Developing Motor Skills, Art Pac 1, plus a Drawing DVD I found that is brilliant, and takes you from basics to advanced of working with a pencil.


    Other bits and pieces: Lollipop Logic, Hands-on Math (her request, she does it when she wants), Social Studies Workbook (to cover Australian Social Studies, we do 2 pages a week), Lessons in Responsibility - Pearables. And as a group the kids do stuff like Let's Read and Find Out Science books, Busy Book (Fun, Interesting busywork, good for "I'm bored" moments, Wiggle & Giggle Book (to cover Phys Ed, and just plain get them moving).


    To cover the "rest" we use KONOS, which I love. This pretty much covers everything except phonics, spelling, grammar & formal math anyway lol. So stuff other than those bits, are just supplements we use because my kids like them.


    The LA on my list does look crazy hectic, I need to write down my plans of how its incorporated in the next few days, so I have a written form somewhere. I'm still fine-tuning everything whilst doing everything, lol. We kind of had a set-back this year (huge setback) and I've had to start from scratch, which has been no fun, let me tell you.


    Perhaps for Life Skills if you need something to "organze" it a bit in your head, two things I love are the Lessons in Responsibility by Pearables (they have a boy version as well), and the Clean N Flips. I finally found a cool little sewing curriculum too (its going to be teaching me at the same time as my daughter.....sewing machines try to eat me...rofl. But I will probably be starting that some time towards the end of the year.

  7. What about the Student Logbook?


    I'll quote my post from another thread (I'm feeling a bit lazy right now, rofl).


    I just wanted to say I ordered these, and the lady is wonderful.


    She is willing to customize to your needs. I've heard of people just wanting them sent looseleaf so they can add extra pages, and I myself asked for a few custom details.


    I had the dates & days removed from the weekly pages. I have found we don't go we'll when something is pre-dated, there ends up being a lot of blank space from holidays and me just plain getting annoyed at the planners (How dare you presume I will be schooling on Tuesday but not on Sat......LOL!)


    I plan to use it as follows:


    - Write down on the page the date started, and once all checked, day completed

    - Possibly write down lesson numbers in boxes so I know where I am upto with that child.

    - They have the responsibility of checking the box off (I will have a simple picture/symbol in the moving list to let them know what it is, and if not putting down lesson numbers, I will tell them how many boxes of that one to check off (sometimes we'll do a couple or all the lessons for that subject that week in one day, it depends on whats going on)

    - Opposite page is blank (half gets covered if you move a new checklist to the following week).Two of my kids have diabetes, and one has SN, so I use my filofax to hold all that jargon. The blank filofax papers will be paperclipped to that blank page for the week, and for the diabetes children, they, themselves, can right/copy down their levels, insulin, plus note down their day (smiley for fine, neutral for so-so, sad face for sick day). My sons paper will help me note down achievements, delays, emotions, tantrums, etc. All the little bits I need to collect on him for the week. At the end of the week, these get removed, any odd readings (or things I have to talk about with doctors) post-it-noted, and filed into my filofax (which goes everywhere with me).

    -Once notes filed, this half-blank page will be used to write notes regarding curriculum & child (i.e. if a particular "week" took so long, why. Or notes about curricula I am thinking of changing and why. So a history of what was going on with the child & curricula/resource at that time). Notes will be written at the end of the "week" as I look stuff over.


    I plan using spiral notebooks and plain paper. Konos activities & life learning stuff are recorded in my daily pages in my filofax. The filofax also has my index card setup in the front pocket (it holds index cards reminding me of certain things, plus DS's speech cards etc. Right now there's just my supplies list for stuff needed for Konos). It also holds a page that shows me the "if then what" page. Basically we have some small concept of how we get things done, but no real schedule (hence the need for a checklist), so this page says stuff like "If Atlas is doing Math, C&E can be doing Preschool Art". Well actually looks something like:


    A. Spunky Math = C&E Preschool Art

    C. Speech = A does craft with E.

    A. LLATL = C&E R&S Workbooks

    A. ClickNRead = C&E Bright Beginnings


    etc. Plus another page that tells me "the absolutely perfect, never happens, dream day plan" which is a really long name for how our day should go if we were in Fantasy Land. But helps me keep an eye on how off track we are getting, or if that "goal" is too idealistic and something needs to be dropped, or just to remind me how I like to start the day :p


    So I am REALLY EXCITED to receive the logbooks, and can't wait. It allows me to retain flexibility (in case I need to drop or add a resource) and gets the kids to start being responsible for their own work (baby steps ;) )


    She was wonderful to deal with, and I will definitely be looking her way next year! (I might even get one for myself in the not too distant future to remind me of daily chores that need doing. lol)

  8. Math Mammoth and Math on the Level are my two favourite programs now. Math on the Level is not leaving this house (except if I buy a new copy, I purchased mine secondhand), even if I go to any math program or ditch curricula all together MOTL is going to be my one constant. Same with Bravewriter, but thats a whole other story.


    If you are worried about getting to it, the best program you can give your child is one that is going to get done. Period.


    What about bringing a rightstart "flavour" to a program you are more likely to actually do, or not supplementing and then you;ll have the time to do RS?


    Rightstart was made from the original program of "Activities for the AL Abacus" which is now available in the tutoring section of their website. Worksheets for this book is also available. This is basically what she wrote before she graded everything, so something like the Activities Book & Worksheets + Card Games Kit would be better to add on to a more "will be done" program. This adds the Rightstart feel to a program, allows you to review without drill and kill, and if you are starting at the very beginning, you could start with learning how to use the AL Abacus, making staircases, counting grouping, before opening your text. That way they have the "rightstart" way in their head before they begin.


    I have the whole level A 2nd edition here, and just purchased the Tutoring Book + Worksheets now that I know I won't be using RS as our main curricula (although I still may be using it for DS as other programs won't fit him, but from what I have looked at in Math Mammoth, it could be an alternative possibility). So I will be keeping all the RS stuff I have, just using it with our other programs, and picking bits and pieces out of it. It would be nice to teach all 3 of my kids with RS, and if they were statues, it might be possible (lol) but I have very "on the move" children, so something like RS is just too much for them (its even a bit too much for DS right now, so I'm leaving it a few weeks, and will probably come back to it, and begin it really slowly).


    Anyway, just some thoughts :)

  9. If you are wanting to "combine" subjects, perhaps looking at stuff like Visual Mannas "Art through .... (Science, Math, etc)" VM is on currclick and they also have their own website.


    I also printed out math worksheets, and interspersed them ever few pages with Logic, Anti-Coloring & Hands-On Math book pages (chopped up the books). So now all of those "bits" are evenly mixed with the math. It gives a break from that math, and gets the "little bits" done that tend to be overlooked. I'm just plopping 1-2 weeks worth in a smaller binder, and tell A. to complete it in order.


    We're using KONOS, which I love. Konos combines pretty much everything except formal LA & Math (it does have applied/real-life math, and LA projects).


    I have stuff like Abekas Art Porjects, Artpacs, Online "Supplements" (like More Starfall, Click N Kids, Dreambox), and DVD stuff (TV Teacher, Art for Eldest etc). I use these as boredom busters (when one of the kids is annoying me whilst I am trying to do something) and also as independant stuff that seems fun, but is ticking off various boxes, that they can do when I need to concentrate more on one child (like doings C's Speech Therapy).


    Literature books I read at bedtime, or I use individual students literature as a chance for one-on-one time with that child (which I try to do everyday). Also no matter what program each child is using, I use the gift of having multiple children to review each of their skills, so one child can help me out by teaching or explaining to another child, which counts as review, and also allows me to see that they understood the concept properly.


    I very much prefer activities/lessons that tick as many boxes as possible, these boxes may not all be academic, but may also relate to character and such. I've been known (when a child is stuck on a subject) to keep bringing up say a math concept or problem in all the different subjects, just applying the concept to whatever we are doing in that area.


    Anything that would "normally" happen no matter what during the week, I try to incorporate it into educational learning. So if htey are going to watch a video anyway, they may as well watch MSB for the topic we'll be studying next week, if they are going to want books at bedtime, then I may as well read the lit I need to get done then (this also allows them to sleep on it, and re-visit the topic the next day), if they want to go to the pet store, I use that time to either pick up supplies I need (like shells) or manoeuvre a unit around so that after or before their trip, they do the amphibian unit I have.


    When I have 3 littlies, its important to combine content wherever possible, especially since each child is so very different.



  10. You're very kind - I'd love that. I don't see how it would be unethical - the company only cares that it is bought by someone in N. America (so they get their payment) and that it's only used by one person.


    I've PMed you my email address. I'm going to bed now, but I'll check back in the morning.


    Thank you again





    Laura, most of Carson Dellosa's stuff is on Currclick. I searched and found the "Diagraming Sentences" book here on CC for $1.99. CC allows paypal payment (I don't think I have tried their credit card, but I use CC all the time)

  11. I like that idea! Sounds fun. It wouldn't work here in case something changed, I would have to either start over or go through the rigamarole of uncoiling, fixing & re-coiling.


    I just finished math though. DD has *finally* decided upon the math she likes (and it wasn't spunky math *cries*), Math Mammoth, which is one of the download sets I have had practically *forever*, sigh.


    I printed it out, and got some other stuff we do for school that we always forget about. So now for every 2 pages of math she has one "reward" page (one is another math book that has anime type characters she chose that is hands-on, and gives a fun break, but still working on math skills, another is her next anti-coloring book, and the final piece is Lollipop Logic). I just printed all of those, put math mammoth in order, and plonked one of those pages behind every two pages, then punched it all, and plonked it into a big binder.


    I have a mini version of the same coloured binder that is for her "weekly" stuff. she only has to do 10 pages a week of that binder (5 pages double-sided) but I put around double that in there, as I know she flies through math things fast. This way, she doesn't see the "giant" pile of paper, she gets "rewarded" with stuff we do anyway (when I remember to do it rofl), and she's all happy. Completed work at the end of the week will just be plonked into the back of the big binder, and a new stack plonked into the smaller binder.


    Spiral-ing my own curriculum sounds grand, and I previously did something similar with my BABS binder system, but now I mainly use different "curriculas" for each child for math (using MOTL as a guide to keep an eye on everything), our LA is all over the place (not disorganized, just many different pieces), and for the rest we use KONOS which I copied, marked up and pro-clicked (I suppose thats my bound curric! lol). Plus a whole bunch of art stuff, and free range learning projects. I think I am now too far (bits & piecey, relaxed) from my BABS days to make a pretty all-in-one curric :( Sad Panda.

  12. Speaking along similar lines, I would say basic grammar for reasons people said above, but to concentrate on vocabulary and the expansion of.


    Having a wide vocabulary, IMO is quite important, and is the one thing I am known to constantly be "teaching" (and for that matter, will probably be the one thing later on my kids start going "mooooommmmmmm" and rolling their eyes over).


    Whether you are trying to describe something on a forum, or listening to a lecture on your life-long process of self-education, having the ability to choose between a number of word to fit the certain feel you want when communicating, or being able to understand the lecture when the professor starts dropping medical, scientific, educationese or plain jargon, will help in your or your child being able to experience the world in its absolute fullness......... or something. Caffeine, I need to go get some more caffeine. Anyway hopefully that was understandable, I have to go replace the glue my daughters requesting.

  13. I agree with caffeine. I need *time* to wake up as well (and that's usually when I'm writing here, all bleary eyed and pyjama tailed...hence why some of my posts don't make sense, rofl. ) If I am rushed after I get up, then I just tend to be like an idiotic robot. I bang my head into doorways, trip over my own foot, stand there on a stuck programming loop for ages trying to figure out if I already brushed my teeth or not....basically, I'm useless.


    I've been thinking I could probably wake up earlier and be raring to go if I programmed a caffeine IV overnight....elsewise nothing but gulping back a cup in the morning works. Even showers just put me into automatic mode, I can respond, but have no idea what I am saying, and my responses/reactions are very delayed rofl.


    The kids usually get to have their TV time, eat breakfast, and generally play and work with their current projects (project-based learning), check their science experiments & note down, get dressed, and generally they are usually ready for more structure & want school by the time I am ready to teach it. LOL. But I don't know how long the "loving school" will continue on for, so sometime in the future I may have to get up earlier, and figure out a way to actually *wake up* quickly! I was hoping by then they would be at the teenager stage (that I never seem to have left, although lately most of the time I seem to be getting up earlier than I used to) and will appreciate the morning lie-ins ;) rofl.


    When you find out a way of getting up and waking up quickly, that won't give me a migraine for the rest of the day, let me know, and I'll buy the secret off you :p

  14. Okay. Other than the simple pieces (nouns, verbs etc), the answer to your question is:


    Not to be me.


    Then everything should be okay :lol: Grammar is one area I really need to start from the beginning (well just past the nouns, verbs, adjectives anyway).


    Specifically, things that may be very useful later on is how to use this ; properly. When and how to indent. The specifics of detailed paragraphing (the basics is when a new topic approaches, but what if you have a "bridge" mini sentence, whole seperate paragraph for that? or what if your writing naturally flows from one topic to the next without a clear divider, what then?)


    Actually there is a lot of useful ideas for grammar/writing when just looking at the keyboard rofl. ~ ^ * <> are interesting examples. When to use ' instead of " is another. (What to do in this situation where you are within brackets? (then you decide to add another bracket within the bracket and the ending becomes )) do you just do the one bracket? do you add one of these lovely things instead {this} or [this] when doing the second lot of bracketing, and what are those lovely things in the first place?


    Hard to believe I used to be a writer :lol: then again I had a brilliant, probably very overworked, proofreader & editor :laugh:


    I'm just lucky I can type fast enough to get my thoughts down on paper, before they disappear out of my head and off into the wind. I tend to average 55-65 words a minute (sometimes more if I'm on a roll) and even then, I lose some thoughts before I can write them down here. :huh:


    So, in other words, I know nothing about Grammar, according to signatures round here I have killed many kittens, and had the grammar police correct me on a number of threads (seriously, if I slow down for a second to think about the particular your you're ya'll your's or yours I need, BOOM thats the end of my thought, and I forget what I was going to write (I have done this a number of times, yes) and it's just best for your kids to be able to write a letter, novel or write on a forum, basically "be out" in the big world, and no-one coming back and pointing them to the dictionary or GrammarWiki. :mellow:



  15. What is the BCP site? Also, does it really matter which edition What Your X Grader Needs to Know? I've seen some discussion here, and I'm curious. Thank you!


    OP, thanks for starting this thread! I am also very interested in keeping our costs down as something always comes up in the year, and it's nice that I haven't already exhausted our budget! Thankfully, we haven't gone crazy (yet) and utilize our library a great deal. :)



    I wrote what it was above. Its the Lesson Plans for Core Knowledge. BCP = (I think) Baltimore Curriculum Project.


    What your X Grader needs to know is a personal choice. As Hunter would say, the Original Series (Hardcover, DOubleday, Sponge-look cover) is more complete with it having 8th grade done I believe. The newer version has only upto 6th grade and some sketchy plans/ideas for 7th & 8th grade online on their website. Also I think the first edition did not have preschool?


    I actually have the newer version of preschool, and first grade, the "1st" print of the second edition of Kindergarten, and the 1st editions of second and third. ROFL. Its a mess of editions. I actually haven't sat down and looked to see if the 1st editions are easier to make lesson plans from. The second editions are just random information (like an encyclopedia, open one page, info about elephants, flip a few pages, info about the human body). Its like having two "books" in one that is age appropriate for your kids. The front of the book is a mix of childrens favourite songs, and stories (which if you have books, you most likely have most of those stories), and the second one is something like an Usborne First Enyclopedia. Random snippets of information. Perhaps thats why I don't like it....we don't tend to like the childrens encyclopedias much either (I much prefer actually getting childcraft or worldbook than Usborne/Kingfisher). Perhaps the first editions are better? And less of an "educational random snippet magazine" feel?


    We use Core Knowledge Preschool, but thats only because of the activity books that you can get that go with them (they are BRILLIANT, 50x better than any other preschool "workbook"). And I use the rest of the CK as a reference guide, plus about once a week, I'll sit down and bombard my eldest with one of those "random snippets" to cover gaps. ROFL! I'm more likely to use Baltimore without CK :lol:

  16. Yep. We most probably will in the future too. My daughter (DD7) likes to get to the point with Math, playing games is a fun extra. So doing an independant workbook for her works out, then she can do "Extra" games and things (and this helps review concepts etc) on the computer (independant, allows me to focus on other kids) and with her siblings (thus reviewing all their skills). (So right now she uses Spunky/School Aid Math + plus various bits & pieces to cover gaps (Schoolaid is mostly arithmetic) + Dreambox)


    DS works better with little to no workbooks, music & games. He doesn't have the attention span for bigger stories yet (I am tentatively going to try mathstart books with him, but I basically got them for my youngest). So he works best with something like Rightstart, which is what I am currently using for him.


    DD4 likes stories and discovery math. I may end up using something like miquon for a bit with her later on. She's going to be using Mathstart & MOTL (although I will be using MOTL in various ways with all my children).


    LA is pretty much the opposite. DS works well with the IPAD, songs, and one on one, I am hoping later on that a marathon of leapfrog will help him with phonics, as for the rest of LA, a TV teacher would work, or when his fine motor skills work better, something on the computer like Time4Learning. He loves the TV Teacher for handwriting, and will use a workbook for that, but does not like workbooks elsewise.


    DD7 requires lots of flash,band,boom,sparkle to keep her interested in LA. Math she's fine with black and white, simple old schoolhouse style, LA she requires games, not much worksheets and lots of interesting bits and pieces. So I have her on a big mixture of stuff right now. She *just* tolerates Dancing Bears (Bearing Away), as long as I allow her to do stupid things to the pictures on the page after we have finished that page (like moustaches on cats, hats and dresses on the pigs etc), but it works so I am keeping with it. So she is going to be using a huge mixture for LA (like llatl, mcguffey's IEW, and my own bits and pieces for using silly short stories for stuff like grammar, letting her make her own stories up for handwriting, plus a combination of stuff I collected & made up so she can do something like Language Arts through Art (she's an arts gal).


    DD4 likes pictures & workbooks for LA. So something like Abeka, lots of colour, shiny, pictures and workbook based.


    For everything apart from 3R's they are combined, and I use stuff they all would like, like KONOS, Lentil Science, Maryann Kohl etc.


    Its a real PITA, its a lot easier to combine them and just teach the one thing, but you do what you have to do :p

  17. I actually found BFSU quite simple after reading through it. I read through NEE (Nebel's Elementary Education) first, and found I pretty much agreed with him, and was already doing most of the things he mentioned, so maybe thats why. I already do our "extra" science pretty much the same, so I'm guessing thats why it wasn't a stretch for me. I also tend to "fly" better by the seat of my pants, than by planning.


    I am planning to start using it next year (we already have KONOS plus Science Lit) for extra. I don't agree 100% with the way the child is supposed to respond to the situation, as its seperating them from their one-ness too early (but thats coming from my waldorf views) and making them step back from themselves to view the situation. So I am going to skew it a little to go more along the lines of Project Based Learning + Discussions (which is what we do here) so it "sounds" similar to what BFSU does, but isn't exactly the same. Meaning they will discover the "concept" and work through how to demonstrate it themselves .i.e. make their own experiment (from beginning to finish, me facilitating but not "teaching") to mimic or show their unerstanding of the concept.


    Hopefully I'm making enough sense, my mind is only running on half-charge, lol.


    I really think (of course depending upon your background with science, and how things "get done" in your house) that BFSU can be as complicated or as simple as you make it. I could open up that book tommorrow, read/scan over the first "lesson", put the book away, and just discuss it for a few minutes whilst getting items out of cupboard in the kitchen, then after my explanation, plopping the "ingrediants" down in front of the children and either showing an experiment the book & then letting them play with the experiment & concept whilst I do housework, or just letting them figure out by trial and error from the ingrediants. Even simpler is just to discuss the concept, and be done. Making it complicated is making flow charts, lesson plans for the whole year, pulling extras from the web, pinning different experiments for each thread and concept, grabbing 5 library books & 2 videos on each subject, and spending a week to a month on one concept because you have packed so much in.


    As for using BFSU as a base....it really wouldn't work. I have seen people again and again think they can use BFSU as their framwork, then grab another program (ES, RSO, RS4K, Apologia, whatever) and start ripping apart the "supplement" and trying to match it up with BFSU's concepts. I would suggest either using RSO as your base, and using BFSU as a teaching guide to giv e *YOU* a bit more background on the specific RSO concept, or just having the programs completely seperate and not trying to incorporate them. Also doing two different science programs (esp with one being BFSU (of course depending upon how you use BFSU)) is going to be a lot of hard work. Most people doing similar things either burn out before they start, drop one program, or start out all bushy-tailed, photographing their pretty experiments, adding online lesson plans and goodies, and showing the world how wonderful they are going with juggling all of these fabulous things, only to disappear from the internet a while because they hit major burnout, and quietly come back without said science programs, leaving their plans and links mostly unfinished. Its a planning and burnout rut you can easily get stuck in. (Its very easy to get stuck in a *fab*-u-lous planning loop, making all these exciting things, then you are nearly sick of the program by the time you start, and trying to get all those things done, just leads you to either collapsing or getting frustrated/angry during schooltime, making school not a pleasant place to be.)


    What about...do you school year round? Perhaps doing something like RSO during "schooltime" and then during summer or extended breaks, meandering around with BFSU, this gives you more time to slowly discover and have fun with a concept from BFSU. Just a thought.


    :grouphug: Sometimes there are just too many good programs out there, making it impossible to choose just one. :svengo:

  18. Three very helpful books are: Home Learning Year by Year (Rebecca Rupp), How to build a low-cost/no-cost curriculum, and the Home Learning Sourcebook. If I had to pick one, I would choose Home Learning Year by Year. That plus a library card should do it. Simple. One book, and your done.


    I've never really gotten into the Core Knowledge Books, but if I had little money, I suppose those books, plus the Baltimore Lesson Plans for it would be an alternative.


    Another one might be the 1st edition of the Well Trained Mind. I haven't recommended it, because I have not as yet got a hold of one to look at. Hunter might know more about whether or not that would be suitable.


    If It were upto me, and I was using such short funds, I would probably concentrate on using those funds for paper and ink. Then I could just have a customised curriculum, based off of the amount of time I have spare to customise a "workbook" by printing off different sheets from the internet.


    If I was playing it forum-style though here's my "forum answer" rofl.


    Math: Math Mammoth for workbook, plus Ray's for Oral/Mental.

    LA: McGuffeys + Mott Media Workbooks.

    Science: Library books + Pinterest Experiments

    History: Story of the world CD + Activity Book

    Geography: Evan Moor Workbook

    Art: Drawing with Children + lesson Plans from Internet


    If we were talking about "myself", it would look something like:


    Phonics: Dancing Bears (Kids use notepad instead of writing in book

    LA: McGuffeys + Workbooks (covers everything, Reading & Writing. Later on I would be doing Spencerian Penmanship as part of cursive plus then trying it as an art course for Calligraphy)

    Math: Spunky/School-Aid/Studytime + either MOTL, or fill gaps (geometry etc,) with freebies from net

    Basic Social Studies: Succeeding in Social Studies ($10 a workbook a year), builds upon itself for Australian History, Geography & Government. We do about 2 pages a week. Simple fill in the blank, draw this picture. But covers Social Studies for our country, fills that gap (esp. considering there is not much available in the Aus area)

    Science/History/Everything Else: Konos Original Volumes

    Art: Maryann Kohl.

    I would also be trying to save up for things like Dreambox, Creativity Express, and MOTL. And be using two "reference" guides, mine would probably be Home Learning Year by Year (or my online State Standards) + something like Core Knowledge. This is all my personal view for our family though, hence why I wrote some more mainstream options (although even those are bias, since they are coming from me & my thoughts). If I got the above in bits & spurts hopefully it wouldn't go over the $200 a year (obviously MOTL would, but I would be trying to save up for that outside of the yearly monies). Konos Volume I would have to wait around for a used one.


    So take your pick or mixture :p

  19. I like the Zaner Bloser workbooks. I don't buy them due to the fact they are only available from them.


    I've had and been through many handwriting programs. If I could get the actual ZB workbooks without too much problems, I may think about it, I don't like HWOT either.


    Instead we "sort of" don't use a handwriting program. I will start using a handwriting program for cursive. Either I will use my cursive hand as the base (which is pretty similar to the Smithman link above), or I will use the Spencerian Set.


    Right now, I just use the "closest" version of ZB on Startwrite (I think its NSW print). My daughter dictates a story to me, which I type down, and save (we do this every now and again, sometime with prompts, mostly without). Then, I use Startwrite, and do up a "book" for that story (front cover/title, "copright" page, a line or two of the story with blank space above). She then gets assigned those pages once a week (Friday-Art Day). She traces the words, and illustrates pictures for that page of the story in the blank space. In the end, it goes into a box, and after she does a couple of stories, they get proclicked and turned into book collection No 1 (or whatever number). She thinks its fun, she also gets to draw, it helps out with her reading, grammar etc, and its a nice way to display her handwriting without it being meaningless books. She works extra hard on it, because its "her story" and not something I chose, and I get to choose a style and layout that I like.


    I only do it once a week, as she loves to do those pages, and will sit there all day doing that ;) Rest of the week she gets enough writing practice in her workbooks. PLUS, a couple of times a week, we use TV Teacher (for all 3 kids), you can find this at RR. I just plop on the DVD, give them their pages, and they go ahead doing their "handwriting". The kids love her, they don't think its school (although they all love school anyway ;) they all get to do together doing it, and I get a break for a few minutes, lol.


    Most of the handwriting programs I have seen just annoyed me. "Let's do a whole page of J's" ....um...yes...let's....not. My daughter abhors that since ETC, and her Spunky Math likes to do that sort of thing a bit, so if I came in with another HW program that does that, I think she would just be at the end of her rope. I purchased something from R&S I think, called something like "Penmanship for Christian Handwriting". Received it, and it was gourgeous, opened it up....and gasped. It was pages and pages and pages of "repeat this letter 50 trillion times". I quickly re-routed it to the "to sell" shelf before my daughter thought I was going to torture her. Pentime (grade 1) seems like a similar thing (honestly why can't they work on maybe simple word families (helps with handwriting and spelling at same time) instead of a page of J that makes the child wither fall asleep midway through the page, or trying to rush to finish it, why not have little pictures of simple cvc word families down the page (dog-log-frog. mat-sat-cat-hat). Anyway I gave up, lol. Startwrite just makes it easier to choose the style I want and add what I want. We use imitation, and informal tracing for now.

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