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  1. I saw one the other day called Short Lessons in Art History that I really liked. I hate to list that title...sounds like we're doing subpar to seek out short lessons, but I thought it was just the right amount of information paired with relevant art projects on a high school level.
  2. I did the 7 day trial. I loved the idea of it...it looked really, really wonderful in many educationally sound ways. I wonder whether I missed an introductory teacher video somewhere. though, because no matter how I searched the help area, I really struggled to find an efficient way of implementing it. As best as I could tell, I would have needed to assign every single assignment one at a time, even using the suggested lesson plan exactly as written. That can't be right. There has to be a way to auto-schedule the default. I *almost* went ahead and bought it with the commitment to just making time to set it up weekly, but a large part of why I was looking at it in the first place was prioritizing ease of implementation...I need something fairly independent and open-and-go this year for science. If you can figure out how to make it that way during your free trial, it looks amazing. Oh, one other issue was that I was looking for Earth Science, and it spent a LOT of time on the age of the earth. I want to cover the basics of evolutionary and creationist theories, but I'd really rather focus more on modern day observable phenomena...the rest of geology, meteorology, oceanography, astronomy, etc., etc. There was a ton of dense information packed into the evolutionary chapters, way too much to just skip or come back to, and it was scheduled right near the front of the book. I'd much rather start with a solid understanding of Earth Science in general before getting into the historical aspects, and I wasn't going to have time to prepare supplementary materials to do the debate justice. I ended up deciding to do CK-12's interactive Flexbook. It's completely customizable, so I can pull in some extra links where I want to, and the main emphasis for the Earth Science wasn't historical geology. It still has videos, and the Plix part of the site consists of interactive games on the same concepts as the Flexbook. The labs are links to stuff around the web, so that part is going to involve a bit more previewing than I'd like, to make sure links are still valid and we have all the supplies, etc., but it's very good for being free. It was still prepared by a committee of certified teachers, has tests and workbook pages available, some online practice questions besides the games, some teacher advice though not as much as Discovery. And then at the last moment we decided to postpone Earth Science one more year in favor of doing Physical Science with Conceptual Academy, but we have been using CK-12 for supplementing a few concepts. So far so good. Hope you get a review from a more experienced user, but based on what we've done in August, I'd recommend it. Not sure whether I'd rank it higher than Discovery, but it is more user-friendly to set up and fairly close. FTR, Conceptual Academy is based on a printed textbook, but has some interactive features such as videos and online quizzes. There's a thread here about it. We're enjoying it. Next year, we'll probably do CK-12 Earth Science, but might do the Discovery Techbook for Chemistry.
  3. Have you seen www.ConceptualAcademy.com? We were leaning toward that over Apologia because of the videos and such to go along with the textbook. It's a self-paced course for $65, run by the textbook authors of the Conceptual series.
  4. museum displays...that's taxidermy I read the other day in Dyslexic Advantage about someone getting a graduate degree in scientific illustration, so that is out there. Scientific photography? Writing illustrated field guides? Or children's scientific books, like the One Small Square series.
  5. Well, not the kind of calligraphy you see with our letters....their calligraphy is how to write Chinese characters. That's what they have instead of an alphabet, so I would expect it to start in 1st grade, with a brush not a pen. This demo is for American middle school students, but I could see it for 1st grade handwriting. Not the complicated words, but just learning the basic strokes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wM4BuhTFxho
  6. The Fire does disrupt our sleep rhythms if read in bed. It gave me insomnia even on the dimmest setting....just made it hard to fall asleep at a normal hour after staring into the light for long. However, the Paperwhite doesn't run any of the educational apps available for the Fire, nor does it play audiobooks or music. If you and the kids are big readers, go for the Paperwhite. If you want games and things to listen to, go for the Fire. Getting the Fire as a Kids' Bundle is worth while, because they do drop devices. If you don't get the Kids' version, do buy an Otterbox or such to protect it from falls.
  7. Well, we took back the glitchy floor model laptop and paid the difference to get one new-in-box from another brand. :/ Not sure if it was the refurbished status, the brand, or Windows 10 to blame, but this one is running more smoothly. I want to figure out how to make a restore disk to get it back to factory settings in case anything goes wrong before I start installing extra software, but I went ahead and bought Dragon after all ***see below***, with their cheapest USB microphone....but directly from them, so hopefully more accurate than our former attempts with a painfully junky mic and free speech-to-text on older Windows. My goal is to get that done over the next few days so we can practice before co-op comes around again, but it's been crazy busy this month just keeping up with other stuff. As far as the class...it's been a lot of good info so far but no actual writing. Mostly lecture, some class participation activities such as evaluating samples of what they're discussing...but they haven't actually started their first essay yet. Dd did type a few lecture notes...I helped her add some more while her memory was fresh, so it's not an efficient process yet for her, but I'm proud to see the initiative. I found a typing-spelling program called Read, Write, and Type for younger kids that was cheaper than Touch-Type Read and Spell, even taking into consideration the Homeschool Buyer's Co-op discount. It does have some mention of learning disabilities and describes spelling development in a way that is consistent with what I've read for research. So, I'm wondering whether it's good enough, versus TTRS being very much for dyslexia specifically and geared toward older children or at least less juvenile-looking. I need to buckle down and have the kids try the demos this week. I'm thinking that ideally, TTRS for the oldest, RWT for the next oldest with similar issues, and a nice cheap subscription to HWOT's Keyboarding Without Tears for my natural speller and youngest, because they don't really need the spelling aspect but I need to include them to be "fair.". But, there's a multi-student discount for both of the typing-spelling programs, and oldest has the right personality to possibly enjoy a more fun program even if it is for younger kids, and next oldest has enough dyslexia symptoms to make me wonder whether he might better have the stronger program if TTRS is more heavy-duty, so...decisions, decisions. ****The Dragon software we bought...they rolled out a new version, Professional Individual, and sent out a coupon to newsletter subscribers to get it for pretty much what we'd have paid for a lower version....67% off during that first week or two. So, gulp...we're really doing this. It's got all the bells and whistles, transfers easily between platforms, etc. So, as long as it isn't too glitchy from being too new...I'm getting excited and praying it works smoothly for dd. I will definitely update in a week or two once we get started using it on actual assignments. If her essay class doesn't assign one soon, I'm going to give her something to write from Bravewriter, history, or science.
  8. I would consider asking your evaluator for a letter, if you've used the same one for all four years...otherwise, I'd submit your copies of the actual evals with a cover letter explaining THAT is the record of compliance which demonstrates that your high schooler has received an equivalent education in your state. From what I understand from friends in NY with children this age, they have to request a letter of equivalence from the superintendent. All it really says is that they've handed in the required paperwork every year...basically a plan of intent, quarterly report cards, and standardized testing. That annual plan is required to cover the mandatory subjects for graduation (which are to be "substantially equivalent to the education received in public school," hence the odd phrasing), and all the paperwork goes through the superintendent or designee. So, translating that to another state, I would suggest just proving that you have submitted intent and done the evaluations, using whatever entity can testify to that (namely the evaluator or standardized test company). If they get into asking whether or not your child completed graduation requirements in the sense of what credits he received, I would think they could verify that by looking at your transcript, so I'd point that out if they mention it. If you need to see what graduation or homeschool requirements are for NY, try looking on their largest homeschool association's website, www.LEAH.org for their regulations manual, or on www.nysed.gov, section 100 is the part of the law that pertains to homeschooling. LEAH may have something on there regarding advice to in-state members as far as obtaining their letter and what it should say...it's not something the superintendents send out automatically, and I get the impression that some of them are just as hesitant as yours to issue it.
  9. The Saturdays (and the rest of the Melendy Quartet) Geronimo Stilton (but only up until the narrator changes...maybe book 9 or so?) Boxcar Children...gave up on reading these in order, enjoyed number #70 or #80 recently. For my older one, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, etc., and for school, A Single Shard, Amos Freedman, The Golden Gobblet, Across Five Aprils (one narrator was better than the other, listen to samples). I forget all the things she's listened to for school, but those are some of the favorites I remember listening to with her. I typically go through the lists for Sonlight each year, and gather up any that are available on audiobook.
  10. You might be able to get some answers from calling Amazon. Our Kindle is a bit older, so I don't know if it's still true, but it was nearly impossible to load it with more than a couple PDFs. It had virtually no memory, and the files had to be emailed to get on there, and I do not recall a print option. We tried using a school PDF on the Kindle once, and after that always did it on the laptop. That said, I think the newer ones come with a slot for a memory card, so maybe...but I still don't know if you can browse the web and open/save PDFs directly, or whether you still have to do that on a regular computer then email to the Kindle. Certain things just aren't compatible with mobile devices and won't open...I want to say even youtube videos. But again, mine is 2nd gen, I think, so maybe they've improved on that. I think printed materials are going to be easier...something like math that can be written in a notebook or a consumable workbook, Writing With Ease workbooks perhaps, and perhaps using the library to check out some of the classics that are used in WWE to read them in entirety for literature, and Story of the World with Activity Guide for additional book suggestions to try to get from the library (or not...or just SOTW as a laid-back approach for getting started the first year), and some kind of science. Years that we have pieced together from online freebies have always been harder, and that's with internet and with a large library system that does a great job allowing interlibrary holds.
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