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Everything posted by threedogfarm

  1. After I wrote this post I realized that you were asking about online classes. I don't have any advice to offer in regards to that but I do agree with the others that writing down work is essential. I would carefully review each of the offerings to see if any of the classes require it. I know a lot of people are moving on to online math classes starting in middle school. Do people feel that is important? Is it worth it? I often thought that I would do the same with Algebra 1 but I am so pleased with how this year is going that I'm thinking we'll just keep plugging away at it. Here is my original post: We started PreAlg here this year (my son is in 6th) with the intent of taking it slowly and backing up when we needed review of concepts. We are using AoPS and my prime focus with using this text is to get my son to write out what is going on in his head. This has made the whole process of math much more difficult for him but I believe that it is essential. There have been several times where he has said, "OK, now I understand why you want me to write out the process." Though, this hasn't been necessarily easy for him to accept, especially in the beginning. All of his work is done in a composition book with graph lined pages. My son is good at math but I didn't feel like he was mastering the topics so I did have him start writing out index cards and I would quiz him on the topics which helped out tremendously. I recently picked up a copy of Lial's prealgebra so that I could have some additional practice, when necessary. A traditional text is soooooo different. The best way I can explain it is that AoPS is conceptual and Lial's (and I'm sure other traditional textbooks) are practical. With Lial, a lot of the processing can be done in the student's head because it starts out as just a one or two step process. AoPS is more theoretical and demands a stepwise approach and putting the steps down on paper for most of the answers. In the end I feel that this two-prong approach will work very well for us. I strongly feel that writing out the problems and the work is essential to further math work and will be important in the science as well. I look at his math comp book like a math lab notebook. It needs to be set up in a way that it's easy to refer back to the work done in the past and it needs to make sense. If my son forgets how to do a problem when he's at the back of the chapter, I tell him to look at his previous work. This is starting to make sense to him. I am viewing this year of math as setting the foundation for how to organize his future work in math and the sciences. So, in my mind, he's not just learnign preAlg but learning a study skill as well. Some students might not need the hybrid approach but I am very happy that I picked up Lial's text and student solution manual. We'll continue to work our way through both.
  2. My daughter works on this daily. She likes to spend about 45 minutes/day on it. I have very little involvement. She mainly comes to me with questions when she can't find the answer on her own. This program has been great because answers aren't found in the passage above the questions like in a workbook. She has to do the assigned reading for find the answer and the answer is often implied in the reading, so it requires reasoning and comprehension. Now she intersperses doing some Pony Club assignments with the Equine Science work so she's not doing it every day. I really like the history timeline and she's going to present it sometime this spring to her Pony Club. The printed version isn't in color but the horse pictures at the back are in color. She didn't say anything about it either way. I was disappointed to find out that WP charged so much for the print version and then didn't print it all in color but they did use heavy paper so that was nice (that can be expensive!). But if I did it again, I probably would have just purchased the ebook versions and printed it out myself, doing black and white for most of it and doing color for the back pages. They charge a lot for shipping and it is soooooooooo slow. If you can get the Sam Savitt book on drawing horses, I highly recommend it. He is an amazing illustrator and his book is excellent. You can probably find it cheaper than the used amazon prices, you just have to look. I used that link so you would know which book it is. I found it for under $10 so it doesn't have to be too expensive. He also has done some beautiful posters too. PM me if you have any more questions. It was a really, really good match for my daughter and I am so happy I chose it for her this year.
  3. I love the term "accidental homeschoolers". I'm going to be using that term from now on. It describes our family to a T. As for the OP, you need to do what's best for you and your family. You might find some ways to evaluate your different options by listening to SWB's lecture on Burnout from PHP. The audio lecture doesn't focus on burnout, although she does discuss it in detail and how to deal with it. But she is not preaching that one should homeschool at any cost and how to get over burnout so you can go back to homeschooling effectively. I found the lecture to be very thought provoking and helpful, even though I wasn't in the depths of burnout.
  4. We purchased the pre-printed version from WP. I just measured it for you and it measures 1 1/2" thick. WP, however, printed it on a heavy paper, not the typical copy paper that we use in our printer. So if you use the lighter, normal copy paper, it will not be as thick, but I'm not sure the exact difference. I compared it with our binders, and I thought it would work well in a 2 1/2" or 3" binder. FWIW, I found the best price for binders to be at Walmart during back-to-school. The best selections are in July which coincides well with our start date at the beginning of August :) My daughter loves this program!
  5. That's a great idea! You can do all the subjects in one book (that can expand to two or three books. . . ) and then just sort it out at the end of the year. I never thought of that! I love composition books here for that very same idea only we keep one per subject with graph paper comp book for math. We have gone to using loose leaf paper for a lot of our writing which means using the dreaded three ring binder.
  6. We're not at week 6 yet but I have found the instructor's guide to be very helpful. Did you look at Week 6 Rubric? Did he summarize the narrative, list the main events chronologically, use the time words, etc? In my opinion, this assignment would look very different from from his free writing. I would congratulate him if he achieved what was outlined in the rubric and probably not say anything about the choppiness. I am NOT a writing teacher but that's how I would handle it. After using SWB's programs/books (WWE, starting WWS, SoTW, HoTW) I have learned to trust the process that she lays out because they work for my children so my advice, FWIW, is to not run away from this program but to see how things evolve over time. Also consider listening to SWB's lecture on middle school writing. I found that her audio lectures are a great overview of her programs and "the big picture". I try to listen to the pertinent ones again when I get lost or unsure of our direction. The are lectures very informative, and she has a wonderful way of speaking that makes me feel like she's talking to me about my child rather than a lecture she has probably done many, many times.
  7. I learned a lot from listening to SWB's lecture on Literary Analysis. That might be a really good place to start. Ondreeuh--Thanks for the links to penguin guides and others. I like being able to have some background on books when we informally discuss them. Lori D.--that was a great list you put together!
  8. Dd 10 is using WP Equine Science this year. She is really enjoying it. I thought using different books for resources was a good experience for her. I liked how the year did not follow a spine page by page. Using the resources in different ways kept it interesting. She will use different resources for one subject in the future, when writing a term paper for example. Equine Science was just a first step in that direction but I can see how it can be too much as well. I do agree that it was expensive and that it takes a looonnnngggg time to get the materials from Winter Promise. I can't compare it with Heart of Dakota though since I've never used their materials. FWIW I will be looking into their other curriculum for the coming year to see if there is another good one for my daughter and one for my son. I like that the curriculum is student driven and therefore is used completely independently in our house, aside from any questions that crop up.
  9. I'll second SparklyUnicorn's suggestion of LibreOffice. I like it and I can save documents in .doc format as well as in the openoffice format of LibreOffice. It can export documents as PDF's too. It's not just a word processor. It also has spreadsheet capabilities, drawing, etc. And best of all: it's FREE. So when you wipe your computer clean again next year, you don't have to worry about hanging on to the code. And a word about codes for things like computer programs: I keep them in my address book under the appropriate company. So if I used Microsoft Office, it would be under Microsoft with the code in the address section along with the date it was purchased and the name it was purchased under along with the phone number used to register it. Sometimes you need that additional info when re-installing. My address book is kept near my computer so it's very convenient to add that addn'l info in. To safeguard yourself further, keep a folder in your email account labeled "Product Codes" so that you will always have the email that was sent with the product code. If for some reason there wasn't an email sent, send yourself one and put it in that folder too. Now you have two places for the codes that are independent of each other. I know this is frustrating but, really, LibreOffice is a great option. I took an online course that used Canvas and I had no problem with uploading my work from LibreOffice. I, of course, had to save the file in the correct format (.doc or .pdf or .rtf rather than the openoffice format) but that only took a second.
  10. I read this thread with interest because I'm a check-user and I don't have a FB account. It's interesting to hear what people think! My daughter's Pony Club has a private FB site for announcing meetings, etc. I won't be creating an account just for this. While I may not be up-to-date on last minute changes or opportunities, I do feel that it is up to the leader to have meetings, clinics, etc. set up in advance. Hand out the schedule at the first meeting. I don't need email reminders, I don't need group texts. What I do need is for the year to be laid out for me and to be informed of changes at our regular meetings. If I'm worried that there's a last minute change because of weather or something like that, I will call our leader or someone else. The meetings and get-togethers are where most of the things happen. You need to go to the meetings to be informed. Meetings should be planned in advance. It's up to the organizer to be, well, organized, and it's up to the participants to, well, particpate. There is no technological platform that can do this for us. As for handouts, etc. I think dropbox is a very appropriate medium for that. It's easy and it's free and the handouts on how to identify horse breeds or markings doesn't really need to be in a secure environment.
  11. Years ago I purchased two HABA staplers--they were so cute and colorful that I couldn't resist. And to this day, what sits on my desk because it is so reliable (as in--doesn't jam AND takes normal staples AND can staple through a stack of papers)? Yes, it's one of the HABA staplers. The other one is used daily by both children.
  12. I like to use Garlic Ear Oil that is made by Gaia Herbs. It was specifically formulated for children. Whole Foods should definitely have it. The naturopath who formulated it is Mary Bove, ND and she has a great book called The Encyclopedia of Natural Healing for Infants and Children that you might find useful as well.
  13. There is no better de-stresser than my horse. He is always, always happy to see me and is more loyal than a dog, if that's possible. Even though he's still a youngster, he's steady, even tempered, and never, ever has a bad math day.
  14. I'm not sure how horsey your daughter is but my daughter loves the Winter Promise Equine Science. I wouldn't call it a hard core science course but there's lots to keep a student occupied (independently). My daughter loves it when I work with her but she pulls this out on her own and works away! It's easy to add independent reading books as well. I don't know about any of their other programs and I wasn't thrilled dealing with WP but we're a horsey family and I give this program two thumbs up. I think it has all the components you're looking for. Michelle P.S. All the books can be found easily used inexpensively. Also, we prefer Sam Savitt's book on drawing horses. P.P.S. An interest in horses is all that is required, access to one is nice but not necessary.
  15. First of all, good luck to you--you've definitely made a step in the right direction. Look through this blog for some inspiration: http://smallnotebook.org/category/simplifying/ This blog isn't active any more but there is plenty to keep you busy. Rachel doesn't emphasize organizing simply to have everything organized nor does she promote stripping down to to the bare necessities. If you incorporate her suggestions slowly over time I think you will find that decluttering is more about being open to possibilities as opposed to getting rid of everything in your life.
  16. The audio lectures are here at Peace Hill Press. I should have included this in my original post.
  17. I'll put in another vote on How To Teach Spelling. And use the workbooks--the teacher's edition would seem overwhelming without it. I love the fact that spelling rules AND syllabication is taught.
  18. I like the idea of a gift card to a golf store. Another thought would be to see if there is a golf simulator somewhere near her (a great thing to do in the winter!). It's like going to the golf course without leaving the building. The player picks a course and then hits the ball into a screen and sees where the golf lands, etc. and s/he plays all 18 holes. My husband plays golf and I wouldn't buy him golf balls, etc. because he has his preferences. If it helps at all, golfers actually sell new balls among themselves because someone is always getting golf balls as a gift that they personally don't like to use. . . All golf balls look the same to me but they actually have a lot of differences. Some have a different type of core, others have softer covers, etc. etc. If you want something more personal but useful, how about having the kids pick a funny golf club cover at the store (for a driver or another club). You can always place a gift card inside the cover if you wanted to spend more money on the gift.
  19. I'd like to suggest listening to SWB's new lecture on burnout. It might help you to make peace with your situation (And please note: I'm not saying you're burnt out on homeschooling already. I think this lecture was very well done and I think you might enjoy the part about reconciling what your idea of homeschooling should be and what it is in reality). Also, if you're worried about writing programs, etc. consider listening to her lectures "A Plan for Writing" (elementary years, middle years, and high school) as well as her lecture on Literary Analysis. I try to listen to her lectures when I'm feeling overwhelmed. Her lectures offer more useful and realistic advice in the area of homeschooling than any of my friends or family.
  20. I'm so sorry to hear about your cat. It's so hard to let go of an animal that has been with you since before you had children. There's so much history there. I will pass on what our large animal vet said when I made the decision to put my daughter's beloved pony down last fall in the hopes that it will offer you some comfort, "I never hear owners say that they wish they had waited a little longer before deciding to put down their animal, but I often hear people regret that they had not done it sooner."
  21. We have the book "How to Build Your Own Country" which is a lot of fun. It's not based on world geography (because it can be anywhere and it's made up) but it might help to solidify the concept of political borders and what being a country means. My kids have made up their own countries quite a few times and it's always fun to see what they come up with. You could either do the "exercises" at the end of the course as a "final project" or do a bit each week. I put "exercises" in quotes because the book isn't set up like that at all. It's written in a conversational way directly to the kids and I think that it could be easily taken in sections, week by week. I also like the idea of a geography fair too.
  22. I like the Childcraft Dictionary for the young ones. We used it until about third grade. If the word isn't in there I would help them look it up in the adult dictionary. I like having resources the child (even the young ones) can learn to use on their own. It gives you a jump start on teaching them how to look up the things they don't know. I think it's a skill that needs to be learned. Also, children's dictionaries are so cheap to pick up used that I don't think it really matters if they outgrow it quickly.
  23. Ah, Ramona! Such a wonderful series. I would suggest that you listen to the audio version in about 6 months. . .Stockard Channing is AMAZING as Ramona (and all the adults--oh how she made me think twice about my tone of voice--it's not what you say but how you say it. . .especially when you're exasperated!). I think I've listened to them all several times. My daughter loved the Anne of Green Gables series but we listened to it on audio. That might be the way to go. We also did that with Little Women and the sequels (which we both loved!). The Penderwicks series is a lot of fun. My kids cannot wait until the next book is out (their first experience with a series where they have to wait for the author to finish writing the next one!). Thanks for bringing back such great memories. And FWIW, my kids never enjoyed the rest of Beverly Cleary's books after the Ramona series as much either. . . Beverly Cleary did write two autobiographies which your older daughter might be interested in. . . Little Britches is a fun series to follow too.
  24. Yes! Definitely get her to check her work. Also, how is she writing out her work? My 6th grader is doing AoPS after years of Singapore Math and I'm having him do all his work in a composition book with graph paper In the early chapters I'm working side by side with him and not so much teaching the math but how to approach the math and how to organize his work. Each problem has to be written out with the question (or equation) followed by his work in a neat, sequential fashion. This way it is easy to see where he has gone wrong. I have even pointed out, "Haven't we done a problem similar to this?" and have him go back and find it to see how he did it before, more so he can see that organizing his work and writing out each step has multiple purposes. Each step of the problem is written out even if it's obvious. I use the explanations in the book as an example. I remind him that anyone should be able to pick up his comp book and be able to follow his reasoning. By doing this he has found that sometimes it's his own handwriting that messes up the problem. Sometimes it is indeed carelessness and best of all, by having to do each step he can easily find the point where he's confused. And for him, he has found that doing each problem in an organized, thorough manner, he is able to find where he made the mistake(s) without having to redo the problem and possibly make other mistakes! And I would not only have her check her answers but also have her correct each wrong answer step-by-step (not just say, "Oh, I understand where I made my mistake" and then move on). With my children, this makes them more careful because they DON'T want to redo problems with careless mistakes because it takes longer in the end. . .
  25. I agree with all the other posters that suggested Killgallon (in spite of your request for other suggestions!). You said right in your original post what you wanted and Killgallon will deliver. . .and it's not a full blown program. You might also consider reading Notes Toward a New Rhetoric: 9 Essays for Teachers by Frances Christensen. Killgallon based his program on Christensen's work. I like to understand how and why a curriculum came about, whether it is math, science, writing, etc. Reading books/essays about the theory behind a curriculum really helps me embrace the curriculum and help my children get the most from it (or in some cases, reject the curriculum).
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