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Everything posted by violingirl

  1. We have 3 small groups of tasks (2-3 things for each person) and do them right after meals. Dividing it up like that means that no one ends up feeling like we've had to work on the house for an hour every day, even though that's what it usually adds up to.
  2. I know what you mean about boys and being still! We start our morning with Bible reading right after breakfast, so that quiet time helps us stay quieter to start the day. We then move on to study latin for a short lesson, then on to morning time. Morning time here includes: 1. Memory work from all content areas, so this takes about 40 minutes between the week's new material and review material. Content areas include geography, Scripture memory, poetry memory, grammar, math facts, and sometimes material from history and science. 2. We take turns reading a poem or two from the book we are reading through at that time. 3. I read from a biography to them. 4. We have a mini-meeting about what that day will look like since each of our school days works differently due to my work schedule. We do NOT have a 2 hour morning time- ours is about 1 hour, and I heavily encourage movement during memory review and learning. They toss a ball back and forth while reciting math facts together, they jump in place, do jumping jacks while waiting their turn, etc. I do ask them to sit quietly as we read poetry and I read the biography and we have our mini-meeting. It takes about 20 minutes, and I think it's important to also learn to control their desire to move constantly for that one period of time. edited to add: I want to add Shakespeare and artist study to our morning time this coming year, but I'm still thinking about how that will look, as that would be adding even more "quiet sitting time" to that period.
  3. I was homeschooled on and off throughout my education for a total of 7 years. I went to a few different private schools for a total of 5 years, and public school 1 year. We moved around a lot. My husband went through a small town public school system for his entire education.
  4. We frequently use audio books in the car. We are fortunate to have an excellent library system with generous time on each item checked out, so most of our audio comes from the library. We do purchase some as well (usually through amazon) but most of our listening is from the library. As far as listening to longer books, we kind of just did it one day. I checked out an audio book that was a little longer, we tried it and it went over well. One particularly excellent audio book we listened to earlier in the year was Tales from the Odyssey by Mary Pope Osborne. I didn't know if my boys would like it or not, but they were begging to listen more.
  5. We school year round, but take more scheduled breaks/lighter days during the summer so we can do camp and swim lessons and other opportunities. Math and daily reading are the two non-negotiables.
  6. Can someone talk to me about a few writing programs? My oldest will officially start 3rd grade in July. He is an older kid for his grade with an October birthday. By end of May we will have finished FLL3, R&S English 2 (and started R&S English 3), R&S Spelling 2, and we've been working on writing using the WWE suggestions for narration, dictation and copywork through WWE 3. He has flown through all of this material this year without complication. Next year I plan to continue with R&S English 3 and start 4 when we get there, R&S Spelling 3, and FLL4 if there isn't much diagramming in R&S English 3 and 4 (I haven't gotten these books yet so I'm just not sure- if there is a good amount of diagramming we'll not do FLL4). I feel like we need a writing program next year as a guide as I teach him to write. I know how to write well as an adult, I'm just looking for a tool to use as I teach my son during the grammar and logic stages. 1. IEW- I'm having a hard time with the price tag on the DVDs to teach me how to teach my kid to write. Is it totally worth the price tag (especially since I have 2 more kids who would go through it?) 2. CAP's Writing and Rhetoric. I wish I could put my hands on a copy of this to see exactly how it would work in practice day to day. What I can see online looks really good. Anyone with personal experience that can talk to me about how exactly you use it in your daily work? 3. Continue with WWE 4 for 3rd grade and then move into a writing program 4. Other suggestions? I'm going to our local homeschool conference this weekend and hoping to talk with the IEW rep and hopefully put my hands on Writing and Rhetoric. Thank you in advance!
  7. I have been searching the forums and reading thread after thread over the last several days and I think I just need help with narrowing options for writing programs. My oldest will officially start 3rd grade in July and he is an older third grader (October birthday). He understands new concepts easily- we have not run into any serious problems with any new materials in anysubject, but he definitely has a step-by-step, engineering/math type mindset as he learns. He LOVES Saxon math if that helps you know what kind of learner he is. Since Kindergarten we have followed the WWE recommendations for narration, copywork and dictation using our science, history and literature readings as subject matter. At this point he easily "passes" the requirements for the end of level 3 WWE for these skills. He will also complete FLL 3 by May or so and we are orally working through the remainder of Rod and Staff English 2. We are using Rod and Staff Spelling 2 if that matters. For this year I want to focus on learning to write as we continue grammar and spelling, but this is where I'm stuck. What I'm looking for: 1. Something that lays out each writing tool or step one at a time. I don't feel like I need this as the teacher, but my son feels safe with materials like this. 2. Something that teaches style at some point in the series. Slow and/or incremental is totally fine as long as we get to style at some point. 3. Not creative writing. I'm not concerned with creative writing at all at this point. 4. I would prefer not to curriculum hop- so whatever we go with is what we are going with from now on unless it is vastly obvious that it is not working. 5. Something I can hopefully use with my 2 younger kids in the future, but this is not a sticking point unless the curriculum is particularly pricey. 6. Writing, reading and math are the three most important things in our homeschool for K-3rd grade. It is extremely important to me that my kids write well, but I also want to keep our learning sequence developmentally appropriate. Programs I'm looking at: IEW CAP's Writing and Rhetoric Introduction to composition - Memoria Press I've looked at MCT, but there are a lot of components to it and I don't really want to switch to their grammar and others when what we are already doing is working. I plan to finish R&S English 3 and then do at least part of 4 next year if not all of it, R&S spelling 3, and maybe FLL4 if R&S doesn't do very much diagramming- I'm able to look at copies of R&S English 3 and 4 this weekend to decide. Questions: 1. Is there a curriculum I'm missing that I should consider? 2. Will R&S English 3 and 4 provide enough writing and I'm going into overkill by adding an official writing program? We mostly work though R&S orally- he writes answers usually 1x per week and he writes the tests, and we'll still stay with oral work 2-3 days per week next year. 3. About IEW- I'm having a hard time with the price tag attached to the DVDs that will teach me to teach my son. I know how to write well as an adult, I'm just looking for a tool to use as I teach my son in grammar stage. Is the program really worth it especially if I'm going to have 3 kids going through it eventually? 4. Writing and Rhetoric looks really good- I just wish I could put my hands on a copy. Everyone local to me uses IEW. I'm hoping there is a copy in one of the booths at the homeschool conference this weekend. Thank you for your help!
  8. My income isn't "extra" but in addition to covering a few household payments, it is what pays for homeschooling related fees, sports fees, field trips, etc. That being said, we don't spend nearly the amount some do on curriculum and a consideration I make in purchasing materials is whether or not I can use them also with my younger children. I try to buy what can be passed on and also to buy used when I can to make our homeschooling dollars go farther. I buy our year's worth of school supplies when they are on huge sale in late July/early August.
  9. We do the rubbermaid tote thing too- each of my boys has their own box and they know that they have all month to make and keep every little scrap of paper they'd like. The last weekend of the month we go through their box and throw almost all of it away. I let them pick 5 to keep and if anything is special or representative of their art for that month I hole punch it and put it in that child's art binder. I take pictures of a few things, but we're in the phase of drawing the exact same thing 100 times in a row (I like to keep one of the early versions, one from the middle and one of the last) so throwing away 96 drawings of Superman once a month is pretty much the norm around here. Loose school papers are pretty much immediately hole punched and put in the correct binder. I really dislike feeling buried by paper so I make time to stay on top of this.
  10. Mine are 7.5, 6 and 1, so we're pretty close to your age range. I also work so we absolutely have to get our schooling done in the mornings 3 days a week before I start work. A few key things for us: 1. We school in an area the baby can also be in so that she doesn't feel separate from us all morning. I set up our school area with a small area for her to play in so that she can be right there with us. I sometimes put her at the table with us in her booster and she'll color with colored pencils or eat her snack or whatever. 2. I taught my boys (we just finished K and 1st) how to do a few things independently and that is what they work on when I can't help them individually. So while I'm working with my 6yo on phonics, my 7yo can be working on his handwriting/memory work/etc. While I'm working with my 7yo on a math lesson my 6yo can be working on Explode the Code/Daily Phonics/etc. If I need to absolutely be with the baby (or taking a work phone call or something) they know to continue checking items off of their "independent" list and if they run out of things to do they need to read until I'm able to get back with them. They mostly do well with this, but some days not so much. 3. The advantage to me working in the afternoons/evenings is that my boys also know that whatever we don't get done in the morning has to be done in the evening with their dad, which means that they don't get to wrestle/play outside/play xbox/all the other fun boy stuff they do when he cares for them while I work. They really don't want to have to give that time to school work and I can remind them of that in the mornings to help keep them motivated. 4. I purposely set up the play area for the baby to make it super easy to pick up even if she totally dumps everything- there's no real organization except that everything just goes in a basket and the baskets go back on the shelf. So if she makes a giant mess it's nothing I can't pick up in under 5 minutes. Nothing has to be sorted or put back in a special way. Easiness is essential for me because our school area is an area that my clients walk through to get to my studio so the whole school area has to be totally picked up before I work every day. So, our day usually starts with a morning meeting pretty promptly after breakfast since that is the time the baby is most cooperative about playing on her own. My boys and I do a "morning meeting" for about 15-20 minutes- we look over their school plan for the day, they ask questions, I give them any special instructions, we run through our memory work together and if the baby is being especially cooperative I go ahead and do 1 subject with my 6yo. At that point the baby usually needs me so I sit with her on the floor. I'm right there if the boys need me during their independent work and they take turns sitting on the floor with me and the baby to have their individual lessons (math and LA) then go back to their table to do their work. I play with the baby some, work with one of the boys, play with baby, work with one of the boys. We do history and our read aloud while the baby has her snack and in the 20 minutes or so after that (since she will usually play on her own again after she's full) and we do science and other "together" work (like art) during her naps on the 2 days a week that I don't work until 4.
  11. DH and I went to see it last night and won't be taking our 7yo and almost 6yo. Just for reference, we did take them to the Avengers movie after we'd seen it and we were comfortable with that level of superhero violence. I promise no spoilers here- The bad guys in Iron Man 3 would be too intense for my kids. If my 7yo was a few years older we'd let him go because he has a really firm grasp on reality vs. fantasy. Our younger one has a much harder time with that. We might let our older one see it when it comes out on DVD and he can watch it on the smaller screen, but we'll decide that when it's actually out.
  12. We also have a "no electronics" rule in the mornings. Like others noted, it's really hard to recover from that down time. If your son needs a little time to get himself moving in the morning, I would have him read or do quiet play (maybe legos?). T.v. is one of those things that we've tried to make the exception rather than the rule- we ask "have you finished school, is your room clean, have you read for 30 minutes, have you been outside, have you been creative?" If all of those things have been done in a day maybe we have time for some t.v., but usually at that point we find it's the end of the day. :) We have a "morning routine" that involves breakfast, getting dressed, making the bed and brushing teeth. That must all be done by 8:00 (we have to start school by 8:30 if we're going to finish by lunch so that I can work in the afternoons). If they get done early they are allowed to play quietly, read or get started on school early. I'm not a great morning person myself and I need our mornings to be peaceful and quiet early on if I'm going to be successful in the day. We school all morning, and part of what makes that easier is that my boys know they will have the afternoons free for projects and play and time outside. I had to be really strict about the new routine when we made this change in our family and stick to a "to-the-minute" timeline for about a month. After that we were able to relax, the kids know just what to do and what to expect, and it really has transformed our mornings into a more peaceful time for everyone.
  13. I start planning for handmade Christmas gifts around August and try to get started in September. My general rule is to plan twice as much time as it would usually take to make a particular item. That way I'm not often rushing around. :) I also don't want to start too early since a lot of my knitting is for my kids and nephews and I like the new knits to actually fit them when they're gifted. This year my handmades were all knitted: 3 hats, 2 pairs of kid-sized mittens, a cowl, 1 pair of Norwegian mittens, and a baby cardigan. Other years I've done other crafty things, but knitting is my go-to gift.
  14. On non- school days we often have outside things to do depending on the season- spring/summer/fall we have at least 1 soccer or baseball game to get to on Saturdays and church on Sundays. But a day like today- no school and nothing outside to get to, my day is structured around the baby. We do have a set lunch time, dinner time, and bedtime as a family, but otherwise the boys are essentially left to their own devises once they take care of their daily chores in the morning. DS2 paints and draws a lot, so he spends a lot of his free time in the studio. DS1 spends a bunch of time with legos on days like today. Depending on how much house stuff I have to catch up on I usually join DS2 in the studio while baby naps. Today is a little weird- DS2 has a sprained ankle so he's been playing xbox for way longer than we usually allow around here, but it's kept him off his ankle (which is ridiculously hard to do with a 5-year-old boy!).
  15. It's hard, but doable. It depends on a few factors I think- the hours you and your husband keep for work, his willingness to help with both housekeeping and homeschooling, etc. It works for us because my husband and I both work non-traditional hours and are willing to school on the weekends when I'm not working. My husband contributes just as much to housework as I do, and he helps with schooling as necessary. We have to keep a strict schedule to make it all work but it can be done. :)
  16. When I told my boys at the beginning of the school year that we would be learning some french this year my 5yo said, "Well, that will be easy." I asked him why he thought that and he said, "We already know french." As I questioned further I found out he had put together a rather elaborate story in his mind: 1. His aunt and uncle live in Nebraska, which in his mind is "far away". 2. "Far away" places speak other languages. French came to mind. (Why french specifically I don't know.) 3. Since we can understand what his aunt and uncle say to us, we must know how to speak french. You know- cause they speak french in Nebraska. And my 7 year old is learning how to use a dictionary this term- "It's so you don't have to always google everything," he said. I'm a music teacher and a few years ago I had a student who was a very bright home-schooled 8-year-old. The day I first introduced her to the concept of each note having a letter name she looked very confused. I told her "It's like you have a first name that you are called. Each note has it's own name also." She looked even more confused and her mom said, "Sweetie, what's your first name?" in an attempt to help her draw a connection and the poor girl stared at us for a full minute before she finally said, "What do you mean by first name?"
  17. For my boys: Zsa Zsa Hats, striped mittens and one of the monsters for each of them out of Rebecca Danger's Knitted Monsters book. I'm mostly done with the monsters and one of the Zsa Zsa hats. For the baby I've already finished a stranded hat for her as well as the Helena cardigan. I'm going to knit her some little thumbless mitts too, and I may knit her another cardigan too. For my husband, a very plain stocking cap as requested. I'm saving that one for last since it's easy to muscle through rows and rows of 2x2 rib. I tried to get him to choose something a little more exotic, but he's a plain sort of guy when it comes to his clothing. For my mother some stranded mittens at her request. I'm down to the thumbs on both, so nearly done thank goodness! And for myself I'm hoping to finally finish up my Citron Shawl. :)
  18. Yep that's where we are now. It's going to be just over a year and that's only because DH told him that our family wouldn't come if it was before that. DH just can't handle it emotionally. He was really really close to his mom and she mediated for him and his dad to have a semi-decent relationship. Now that she's gone their relationship has crashed and burned.
  19. I am so sorry for your loss. :grouphug: We are dealing with that as well- my MIL passed away after a short battle with a rare cancer and FIL decided Christmas Eve was the right time to tell us that he had been dating "the woman I'm going to marry." That was only 3 months after MIL died. DH's only sibling died 10 years ago. He feels like he lost his entire family the day his mom died and it has ripped him apart. It isn't so much that FIL started dating again he's just been very inconsiderate to those around him who are also grieving.
  20. The keys for us are a schedule that we adhere to pretty strictly, routines that are firmly in place and set times of the year to purge excess. I work fulltime also, so cleaning and homeschooling really have to be done at certain times if everything is going to be accomplished. We always spend the mornings in the family room for school, there are set times for cleaning/chores and we don't do a lot of extracurricular stuff. We work hard not to have clutter so I rarely have to spend time organizing (which takes me way longer than cleaning)- everything truly has a place to go so it's easier to just put it there. I also spend time about once a month getting rid of stuff somewhere- I just culled a bunch of the boys' toys that they haven't used in ages. It makes it so much easier for them to keep their stuff picked up on their own. It helps so much that no one family member is responsible for the house. We all work together to make sure the house is reasonably maintained. I'm so very grateful for a husband who pitches in just as much as I do- and often more!
  21. On a daily basis my almost 7yo is responsible to pick up after himself (toys, keeping his room clean, dirty laundry, dishes) and fold and put away his laundry. As far as other things, our boys do what we ask- no one has assigned chores. We do tend to do chores together with each person having a role to play- like when we empty the dishwasher I put away the dishes in the upper cabinets, one boy puts the silverware away and the other puts away anything that goes in the lower cabinets. When we do the bathrooms I start on the tub/shower, 6.5yo does the toilet and 5yo wipes down the counters and the baseboards. I go back over their work in the bathrooms to make sure it's really clean, but they do a pretty good job. My almost 7 year old is also able to run an entire load of laundry from start to finish (I still watch while he does the detergent though since this is a pretty new job for him), vacuum, any quick dust mopping we do, baseboards, helping with organizing. As far as other things- he can also get breakfast and lunch for himself and his brother if I need him to including using the microwave and toaster. He helps me cook a lot and is getting pretty good with a knife to help me chop veggies and stuff.
  22. Our services are about an hour and 20 minutes with 50-60 minute sermons. We also have sunday school classes during all the services that are the same length. We usually serve in the nursery or kids wing for first service, go to the middle service and then sunday school during the third service.
  23. I own a music studio and teach full time there during the school year and half time in the summers. I work for a lot of reasons, but the main one is that neither DH or I want to just barely scrape by while praying that an emergency doesn't pop up. Technically we could live off his income alone, but it would take some seriously creative budgeting. I also don't think it's right to put all of the income burden on DH if it would mean him getting a second job so that we never see him. I'm not more valuable to our kids as their mother than he is as their father, you know? They need to spend time with him also. I also really like my job, I'm my own boss and I built the business from scratch before I had kids and can't imagine bailing on it. I technically work from home since the studio is in our home, but have to treat it as an outside job since someone else has to be with our kids while I work. DH is with them most of the time because he also has a creative work schedule, but my mom helps us out when our schedules cross over each other. As another plus my clientele base is mostly homeschoolers.
  24. Our mantra- if you can't keep it clean you have too much stuff. - Everything has a specific place to go. - I've taught them how to clean up and put everything back in it's appropriate place. - We clean up by the end of every day. We very rarely let it go more than a day unless kids are sick or something. - I inspect after they clean up and anything left out becomes my toy and goes in a box in my closet to be brought back out whenever I feel like they've been doing a good job of keeping things picked up. Every 3 months or so we go through and re-sort toys, get rid of broken things, and get rid of papers. The papers are still the hardest since my kids like to draw a lot. But we have perimeters the kids and I agree on for what to throw away- anything that is "scribbles" or quick drawing that they didn't finish, any scraps that they cut out and were saving for some reason, and anytime there are 20 drawings of the same thing I can get them to pick the best 2-3 and keep those. It was really hard (and there were lots of tears) the first few times we had to toss papers, but we just can't keep every little thing they draw. They can easily draw 15 superheroes in a day so their art box is out of control by the end of the week if they keep it all. My boys also have 7 younger male cousins to pass toys on to, and that has made it easier for them to give things away when they know it will go to cousin X or cousin Y.
  25. I've been there before with DS1- it's definitely a personality thing for him. DS2 has always been quite imaginative and eager to play on his own if no one will play with him, but DS1 has always been more analytical and wanting 1-on-1 with adults as much as possible. I too am an introvert and need some time alone to function well. It is frustrating because it does take a long time to train this, but it is so worth it to have a kid who can be content on their own for periods of time. My first question- why are you concerned that she needs to play while you have quiet time or work in the kitchen or whatever? So what if she chooses to do nothing for 30 minutes while you work on something else? Maybe she needs to be EXTREMELY bored before she'll choose to do something on her own- that was true for DS1 at that age. About the perfectionist part- DON'T do things for her. DS1 always wanted me to draw for him because he "couldn't do it right" but I knew that if he didn't try it on his own he wouldn't get any better. I told him he could draw or he could not draw but that he would be the one to do it. Yes, there were lots of tears, but after a LONG while of him just choosing not to draw he started to draw on his own. I'd make verbal suggestions but never made him do anything. If he chose to just sit there for 30 minutes and be bored that was fine with me. I welcome my kids to help with some things or to play near me. Quite often I'll be cooking and they'll sit at the breakfast bar and we'll all chat or they'll be playing together with their legos or something. They learned pretty quickly that I would give my full attention to them when I was done with my work, but while I'm working on something I'm not going to stop until I'm done with it. DS1 has had a really hard time with that at different points, but we've worked through it. Yes- sometimes it meant that he cried in his room the whole time I worked on something, but that was fine with me. I knew he wasn't hurt - he was just mad. Over time we've worked on the whole "We don't cry just because we're mad" thing and he's a truly pleasant 6yo today.
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