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Posts posted by threedogfarm

  1. We're almost through Jacob's Algebra and here's what I assign:


    Set I is review.  I always assign set I (all problems).


    Set II and Set III go over the same material.  I assign Set III (all problems) because the answers are in the teacher's manual.  Set II answers are in the back of the student book.  Since my son does the work independently, I'd rather him do set III.


    I always assign Set IV which is the challenge exercise.  Sometimes my son gets it on his own, sometimes we have to do it together.


    I use Set II when my son needs additional review before a test.  I use the Master tests made for this series. 


    My son really, really likes Jacobs Algebra and I'm glad we're using it.  We'll finish this and move on to Mathematics:  A Human Endeavor.  It's even fun to talk about how things have changed since it was written.  Sometimes I have to explain to my son why the comics are funny. 


  2. I liked using Elementary School first.  That's what we did with my son last year in 7th grade.  Another reluctant writer ;)  We then went on to the Middle School level at the end of the year.  I think that worked out great. 


    I don't use it as a stand alone program.  We alternated WWS with Sentence Composing and that was a good mix for us. 


    I am looking forward to starting the nonfiction writing book as well this year.  It's mostly on biographies so it's not quite what I expected but I do think it will still be worth using.


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  3. I would love some advice on our current house situation.  I'm sure someone will be able to suggest some ideas that I haven't thought of yet.


    We've had our house on the market for three weeks with only two showings. We lived in our home for 8 years and did so many updates to our home:  new windows, standing seam roof, all new floors except for the kitchen (which had gorgeous antique brick), painted throughout, upgraded insulation, put in a heating system (it had electric), new kitchen, three renovated bathrooms, so there really isn't anything left to do but paint the exterior (which will need to be done in  couple of years. We're NOT doing it!).  Our updates were quality updates:  hardwood floors, porcelain tile, 6 burner stove with custom hood, etc.  Our market is supposed to be a hot seller's market and I do see a lot of houses (mostly in town) going under contract within a week in all the different price ranges.


    So now our agent is saying that we priced the house too high and that to show "good value" we should lower the price 10%.  I feel that she is trying to say that we need to make sure that the buyer feels like they're getting a good deal.  We did interview three agents and the comps were over  100K apart and so we chose a price right in the middle because I didn't want to be too high. Interestingly, the agent did admit that the other houses in our immediate area are also not getting any showings lately either.  Maybe everyone is waiting for either a great deal or to buy in town (no inventory in town right now)?  There are houses a lot lower than our price and there are houses a lot higher than our price and all of us haven't had a lot of showings.


    Could anyone suggest some options to consider?


    Part of me wants to say, yes, we'll lower the price, but I want to change our contract to a 30-day contract.  Can I do that?  If it doesn't sell in 30 days, then we have the ability to reconsider our options (and even consider a new agent--you would not believe the awful photos she had put with the listing initially--I finally retook photos and sent them to her and her write-up was about 2 sentences.  Talk about killing the initial buzz of a new listing!).   She really wants us to lower it within the next couple of days because a whole bunch of agents are going to tour the agency's houses in our area on Thursday and she said that if we lower the price that will get those agents to bring people in.


    Another option would be to leave the price as is and see what happens.  We're not in a rush to move.  We're only moving to lower our general living expenses which we can afford easily now but we'd rather not ;) We don't need to remain in this expensive town because we don't use the school system and my husband's work commute is now over 45 minutes each way but we're not in a rush.  The town we want to move into has a buyer's market right now and lots of inventory so I'm not worried about selling and then having to find housing. 


    It's crazy, but after all the prep and breaking the news to the kids (they really don't want to leave--it's an amazing property for kids--huge field to explore, stream to wander down, pond to swim in. . .), we just ready to be done with this.  But 10% is a lot of money and I just wonder if it's to access a larger buyer population rather than waiting to sell the house for what it's worth.


    Any other thoughts? 

  4. I can't believe that no has mentioned the ice cream maker attachment.  Using that you can make the absolute best ice cream in the world, easily and quickly.  Of course you'll need room in your freezer to store that attachment so that might be an issue.  That is what we used our KA the most for.  Now that we're dairy free and egg free, it is sadly stored in our basement.  But I should take it out to make sorbet.  Other than that, I use it to make frosting and anything else for baking that requires a mixer.



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  5. A question I would ask the real estate agent would be whether someone could get a loan on the house as is.  If they don't think the bank will give out a loan, then ask what absolutely needs to be finished to make sure they a loan will be issued.


    And I feel for you.  We bought our house as a fixer-upper and it has been a very long haul.  Good luck!




  6. I will chime in to say that it might not matter as long as you teach her to think critically and to study.



    I think that this is the most important thing to consider.  The material itself doesn't matter much at this point, but she needs to learn good study skills, be able to digest material rapidly, and take tests (especially multiple choice tests).  Thinking critically, however, will be more important when working in medicine than when going through medical/nursing school.

  7. Here's an off-the-wall suggestion:  Toyota Prius or the Toyota Prius V.  Based on your original post it sounds like you want more leg room in both front and back, but not necessarily tons of cargo space.  I haven't had preteens complain about sitting three in a row in the back seat and even my son who is tall has plenty of space.  We just got a used Prius (not the V) (10 years old, with only 35,000 miles on it) and I love driving around in it.  It is surprisingly spacious and with the hatchback you have lots of room for cargo.  My model has seats that fold down flat and so if you don't need the backseat all the time, you will have even more room.   I'm used to our Volvo XC90 (which we still have) and for stuff around town, grocery shopping, bringing stuff to the barn back and forth, I don't feel like I'm tight on space at all in the Prius, even with both kids in the back seat.  And I wasn't concerned about buying an older one because I knew so many people who have racked up the miles with very little maintenance issues.  And you can't beat it for MPG.  The Prius V will be even bigger.

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  8. Ironically, we're switching from Analytical Grammar to R&S this year.  My kids did not like Analytical Grammar at all and I'll admit, I had a hard time forcing it upon them as well.  The sentences felt so contrived and, well, forced.  My kids couldn't get past that.  I know that grammar isn't necessarily fun and exciting but AG wasn't well received here.  We really liked Sentence Grammar, etc. in the Killgallon series, though I don't think that the series is a good stand alone for grammar.  I like that R&S can be done aloud easier and I think I can make it flow more like Jessie Wise's series which we liked.  We'll be continue with the Killgallon series, which we love and adding in R&S this year.


    So, this may not be what you wanted to hear, but that was our experience. 

  9. I really enjoyed Simplicity Parenting and Getting Things Done by David Allen.


    I'm going to suggest another nonhomeschooling book:  How Good Riders Get Good:  Daily Choices that Lead to Success in Any Equestrian Sport by Denny Emerson (world class equestrian who is still riding, competing and teaching/coaching in his 70's).


    While he uses examples that involves working with horses, his premise can be applied to any interest or life in general.  I use his examples with my kids frequently.  His writing style is approachable and the book is really more about how to succeed rather than how to train a horse or ride well.  I think that his subtitle could read "Daily Choices that Lead to Success in Anything."

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  10. I voted for 75-100%.  I didn't vote for 100% or over, because, well, I have very reasonable expectations for our homeschool.  I have a minimum that needs to get done in the core subjects.  I make sure it's an achievable goal.  Then we add on extra stuff as I feel it's needed.  I'm very flexible at this stage (logic stage).  I know that I'll be more rigid when it comes to high school and giving credit, grades, etc. 


    I hate feeling like we're behind and that's how I felt the first two years.  It was always a race to catch up.  Really, the trick is to UNDER plan for the year.  It doesn't mean that you are necessarily gong to do less but you give yourself extra room at the end in case some things take longer than expected.  For example, when we were doing FLL and WWE, we simply did the lessons daily which gave us plenty of extra room.  If I did anywhere from 2-4 lessons per week as suggested we would get behind as soon as we spent more time on one lesson than planned.  This way we always finished and I never feel like we were behind.  In other words, I changed my perspective and that took away the stress of being behind.


    With math, I just plan to have math done every day.  Some things we spend less time on and some things we spend more time on so by the end of the year, we get through the curriculum.  But if we don't, I am still satisfied because we did math daily.


    Oh, and here's another secret:  I don't count days or weeks any more.  There is no formal requirement in our state but I felt a sense of duty to do this initially.  Instead, I we always start on the Monday of the first full week of August and we go until sometime in May. There is no set end date in May.  I purposefully leave it open ended.  We work diligently throughout our year, taking a few days here and there as necessary, sometimes a week even.  I found that when I was beholden to some arbitrary number, I felt stressed.  So now when we're done with our "plan" for the year, I call it quits, unless it's before May and then we just go on to the next thing.  It works for us in the logic stage.  In one year, when my son enters 8th grade, we will take one or two courses that need to have all the boxes checked off by an end date at the end of the year so we're ready for high school, but I don't feel that's necessary at this point.



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  11. I prefer to wash dishes by hand.  Last September our dishwasher died.  It was going to be more expensive to fix it than to replace it (motherboard cost over $500 :eek: ).  So against my husband's better judgement I decided to start washing the dishes by hand.


    And the most miraculous thing happened.  The whole family participates in the clean up after every meal.  Before they would just stack the dishes on the counter after the meal b/c if they put the dishes in the dishwasher I would end up with chipped plates.  Now, one brings them from the table and wipes down all the counters, the stove and the table and the other one dries and puts the dishes away. My husband puts all the left overs in containers.  If I wash breakfast dishes or lunch dishes a little late, one of the kids will notice that there are dishes stacked by the sink and will dry them and put them away.   At first, of course, there were grumbles, but it's actually a very pleasant part of the evening now for everyone.  There's lots of talking and joking and we extend our evening together a little longer.  In fact, we're more apt to sit together afterwards and play a game when the kitchen is clean than we were before.  I'm not going to say that it doesn't take any time and I agree, it is work.  But everyone is helping, no one thinks twice about it and my kids are learning a very good habit.  There's no guarantee that they'll have an apartment in college or after college with a dishwasher. 


    So, even though we can afford to buy a new dishwasher, I'm sticking with the hand washing.  And, my electric bill did go up--we have an electric hot water tank and our old dishwasher was one of those ultra efficient german ones that heated it's own water.

  12. I love having a set of encyclopedias.  We have the World Book set.  If you can't get a set from your library, look on ebay.  There are used sets right now for under $200 with free shipping.  While I would have loved to have gotten a set for $20, I ended up spending a lot more than that buying used on Ebay and I definitely think it was money well spent.  We use the encyclopedia regularly both when homeschooling and when just talking around the dinner table.  They don't take up as much space on the book shelf as you think and I actually think I buy fewer books because we have them.  It makes using open ended curriculum so much easier.  If we don't have a book on a specific topic at hand, it's easy to start with the encyclopedia to address the immediate question and then go to the library to get more books if needed.

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  13. I pulled out my copy of Paragraphs for Elementary School to see if it would be good for a second grader.  We're going through the Killgallon Elementary School series right now and I think the book would have been overwhelming for my kids to work through in 2nd or 3rd grade. 


    That said, check the book and the program out for yourself.  I think you might really enjoy reading the paragraph book and the  pointing out  some of the ideas in your lessons now when you want to talk about paragraphs.  We started using it this year and I really like the program as an adjunct to our grammar and writing programs.  I think the Heinemann site has some lengthy excerpts on their website.  The order that we are using the books is as follows:  Sentence Composing, Story Grammar, and we'll use Paragraphs last.  We will definitely continue on with the Middle School series. 


    I agree with ScoutTN about listening to SWB's lectures on writing.  Of course the one about writing in the elementary years would be a great place to start, but "Writing without Fear" and "Great Books as History" are really good too. 

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  14. My daughter loved the Beatrix Potter mini books! She took them out of the library so much that I bought her the set.  They are still loved by her and I don't think she will ever part with them. 


    We also have The Fur Family as a mini book.  I believe this is the one that we have--ours is cover with fur and was smaller than the Beatrix Potter books.  Make sure you check the dimensions to make sure I liked to the right one.  I loved reading that book with her.

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  15. Rose, I am definitely agreeing with you too.  Student-led is definitely not the same as student-independent.  Your post was an "aha!" moment for me and that's why I quoted it.  I should have bolded one of the sentences that you wrote:  It takes a lot of hand holding to teach a young kid to actually read, understand, and follow the instructions.  This sentence really resonated with me, only I didn't indicate that well (or at all!) in my post.  Somehow everything I think doesn't automatically appear on the computer screen.  Hmmmm... Anyways, your words crystalized for me the reason why I like WWS so much. I like it because WWS not only teach the basic skills for expository writing, but it's also a great way for students to begin to learn on their own.  And there's even a script for me to help them do that in that very thick instructor's book. 


    TaraTheliberator, your comment about WWS falling short of the mark is why I'm posting that WWS is working for us.  I've heard this over and over again from posters and these comments made me very reluctant to give it a shot.  I'm glad I did because it works for us.  When I take on the role of helping ds to understand SWB's instructions  rather than helping him to learn to write, I am able to hand back to him his own reluctance to write.  It becomes his struggle at that point  because how to begin and how to proceed is laid out for him in all its wordiness. In turn, he completes his assignment and hands it to me to review according to the rubric.  This is how WWS gets done on a daily basis at our house.  I hope you didn't take my post to mean that anyone who tries WWS and finds it lacking isn't trying hard enough or isn't doing something right.  I just wanted to offer a different perspective to other people who might be considering the program.

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  16. By "student led" do you mean independent?   If so, I don't really know of anything that is entirely independent for 5th and 6th graders.  Writing is our most teacher-intensive subject.  My dd could go off and do the actual writing by herself in 5th and 6th grades, but she needed a lot of help understanding the assignment, setting it up and organizing it, and revising and editing.  Can you clarify what you are looking for in terms of a student led curriculum?  That way we can make better suggestions for you.


    FWIW, WWS is not at all independent for a 5th or 6th grader.  It is very student led in the sense that the book is written to the student, but the vast majority of students need a lot of help reading and understanding the instructions.  Way more than most moms thought when we first looked at the program - there was a lot of active discussion about this when it first came out.  It takes a lot of hand holding to teach a young kid to actually read, understand, and follow the instructions.  My sense from reading posts is that it is much more independent with an older student.  I think that would be true for my student too - in 5th grade she needed me sitting right by her.  This year, in 7th, I think she'd be mostly independent with it.  So it's a maturity issue as well as a curriculum issue.


    I actually like the fact that WWS is student led and that it can be hard for ds11 to read a lot of instructions and process them to produce the work.  It's preparing him to be a more independent learner.  I don't look at is as a fault in the program and I am very pleased with this design.  Perhaps this was intentional on SWB's part?  It's not only teaching writing but prepares the logic stage student to learn on his/her own.  Yes, that does make it more work for the parent at first because it's not as open-and-go and easy to hand off but I am seeing results, both in ds's writing and in his ability to learn on his own and to follow directions.  I think that this program gets a bad rap and I wonder if it's because as educators we don't really understand our role.  I was very hesitant to use it because of threads about it and I'm happy that I decided to take the plunge anyways.


    In fact, I like how this program is working so much that I'm on the fence about having my son take WWS2 online through WTMA next fall.  I think it would be a great experience for him and I want him to take an online class but I also like how he's doing well on his own with this program.  I wonder if it might be more beneficial for him to continue on his own like this because he's learning a lot more than just expository writing.

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    So, how can I simplify WWS1 to make it work? I don't won't to give up on it. Or should I try something else? Ironically WWE is working well for my 1st grader and 4th grader (dyslexic kid), both boys, but of course it is more simple to follow. I have basically shelved it for now, telling myself I will do a crash course with her when all her work is done for the year. But that doesn't sound reasonable or fun either!! :)


    I am by no means an expert on WWS1 since we are working our way through it now.  One thing that might be helpful is that when a new topic is introduced, you work right beside her while she's doing it the first few time.  Model it after WWE.  Ask the leading questions listed in the Instructor's book.  Give her the prompts and lead her through it.  While I do feel that WWS is independent, whenever something new is introduced I have to slog through it with my son the first couple of times and then he's able to work independently for the most part on that particular skill from that point on.  Then my role is to evaluate his work based on the rubric which helps me to concentrate on what is important. 


    The only other suggestion I have is to to WWS1 first thing in the morning.  If it's your least favorite subject and your daughter's least favorite, then get it over with so you don't dread it all day.


    Also, consider working ahead of her in the book.  It won't take you long to do and it might make it easier to help her.


    You do sound like you have A  LOT on your plate!  I only have two children to homeschool and that's enough for me!



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  18. How about:  Classical Home Educators Summer Sessions (or Seminars)?  I like its acronym: CHESS.  It works with what appears to be the theme of the sessions such as preparing for high school, tackling writing and science, etc. and it's a good analogy to homeschooling in general.  You need to have an overall plan or strategy but you also need to be responsive to the other player's moves, both on a daily basis and long term.  The game can be very long, sometimes frustrating, sometimes rewarding but overall it's satisfying to play. 


    However, if you decide to host some winter sessions, the acronym would  become CHEWS.  :glare:


    Maybe someone could think of a different word that starts with S to replace "summer".  I keep coming back to Classical Home Educators Strategy Sessions but there might be a better word choice for the first S in the acronym. 


    BTW, I am looking forward to these seminars.  Thank you for working so hard to pull it together!

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  19. I listened to SWB's "How to Get Ready for High School" audio over the weekend. Fast reading was one of the goals and she suggested an hour daily of reading easy books. She said to find the point where the child can read fast - Dr. Seuss if needed - and build from there.

    I also listened to that lecture recently!  She also mentioned that an incomplete understanding of phonics would slow a reader down as well.  I'm not sure if was in the "HOw to Get Ready for HIgh School" lecture or not because I listened to several lectures recently.  


    SWB explained that prior to 4th or 5th grade the reader could easily skip words they didn't know how to decipher and still understand the story.  But once the reading level goes up it becomes harder and more frustrating for the reader.  A good way to see if this is the case is to have the reader read aloud and note if they have trouble pronouncing the words or if they don't read the passage word for word.  If this is the case then the student might need to do phonics again.  Obviously you don't want to do it like you would with a 5 year old but she made the suggestion of going through the phonics rules such as "ea" says the long e sound and then say "I want you to write the following words that have the long e sound. . . ."


    I hope I explained that well enough!  Of course, the best ting to do would be to actually listen to the lecture because it would be better to hear it in her words than mine.  If I remember correctly, she spent a good deal of time on this in the lecture and explained the process in more detail than I did.  I just wish I could remember which lecture that was in. . .maybe it was "The Great Books as History" or maybe "Writing without Fear"?  She has a lot to good points to make in all her lectures so you might not mind listening to a few anyways.



    ETA:  SWB spoke about using a phonic program with older students in the "Great Books Lecture". 

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    Are we losing the adaptability to make the most of what we've got access too and make it work in spite of challenges the way the earlier homeschoolers did? Is it a rigidity problem? Is my experience something other veterans are seeing too, or am I just happening to bump into people like that more than others? Is there something that can be done to better prepare people if they have this mindset for the realities of homeschooling if this is problem?




    The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz identifies this phenomenon.  One example he used was sharing a movie with friends when he got it from the "village" video store and how everyone could laugh at the bad choice because the choices were limited.  When he lived in the city and could choose from an overwhelming amount of movies, the whole experience was a lot less satisfying, especially when there movie that was chosen was awful.  He has a TED talk on this topic as well. 


    And to answer the question posted, I have been homeschooling for four years and I would say overall this has been a very good experience. 

  21. I've never ordered from him, but FWIW they took a long time to get here when I ordered them from Amazon.  I've ordered three different sets.  Each time they ship from GB, but they arrive in a bag that is from the Swedish postal service.  So for some odd reason they ship them from GB to Sweden and then here.  


    That's so funny b/c I ordered a used book that was supposed to be shipped from the UK that came in a bag from the Swedish postal service too.  I couldn't figure it out!  And it took FOREVER to arrive (almost four weeks). 

  22. My kids learned to type on manual  typewriters (oh the horrors!) with a typing book.   I knew my daughter would want to use it to type up her stories and letting her carry around and ipad or a laptop just wasn't going to happen.  We have two olivetti typewriters which are beautiful machines AND very sturdy.  They're easy to carry to different parts of the house and I know in the end she'll never give hers up.  BUT, there isn't a "1" on the typewriter--you have to type a lower case L.  An exclamation point done by an apostrophe/backspace/period.  So, it's time to have some keyboarding skills so this thread caught my attention.  


    I looked at UltraKey but there wasn't a demo :confused1: .  A video overview just doesn't cut it for me. I found  Type Master Pro on Amazon and it has a demo where you can try out the first two lessons and games as well with a "high score" scoreboard which will be great for dd and ds.  Nothing like capitalizing on their competitive natures to improve their skills.   I tried it out and I really liked it.  It will give you statistics and the demo will let you try the games.  The games were very simple like typing the letter that's in the bubble before it gets to the top of the screen.  AND it's cheaper (just under $20).  So this program that I'm buying.  It's no frills and there's no voice but it seems to be a solid program.   Just thought I'd throw out one more option.

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