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Everything posted by alicai

  1. My nearly 8yo is a reluctant writer but loves to write to her friends. She is very interested in the idea of a pen pal. Any takers?
  2. Thanks for the input, ladies. It's a comfort to know that others have survived this torture :)
  3. Thanks, Ethel. Yes, she has been eating solid food for quite a while now.
  4. My 9 month old is killing me. Last night I was up with her every hour progressing to every 20 minutes. This has just been getting worse and worse. We are still nursing. Every day for months now we have had a completely consistent nap and bed routine in her crib. We nurse and rock to almost all the way asleep and she goes in the crib with a white noise machine to help filter out the other kids. In the morning she sleeps for 40 minutes to an hour and in the afternoon she will often only sleep for 20 minutes. We used to co-sleep in the hopes of getting more sleep but I didn't get more sleep and I injured my shoulder from sleeping with it in a weird position so she could nurse. It still hasn't healed. So co-sleeping is out unless I could get her to sleep next to me without wanting to be latched on, which I have never managed to do. She seems to take 1 step forward and then about 5 steps back every week or so. I will work really hard on trying to get her enough sleep during the day and then she will sleep (pretty) well for 1 night, less well the next night, even less well the next night, etc. I am not getting enough homeschool done because she doesn't sleep, and more importantly I'm about at the end of my rope. This is different for us because I wasn't able to nurse my other kids and I really feel the nursing is a huge contributing factor but I don't want to wean her yet. I know there are lots of very experienced moms here so I'm wondering if anyone else has had a sleeper like this who can offer advice. I have considered just cutting off the night weaning but I was told that would be disastrous and not to do it. Thoughts? I have been sending Dad in after the 2am feeding and he is able to get her back down but she only stays asleep a short time. That's also exhausting him and he has to go to work. I've also been told that we should just not respond during the night and I find the thought of that really hard and I don't know if I could actually do it. However, we have reached the point where I am a complete mess and genuinely feel like I'm approaching a breakdown so something major has to happen. Naps for me are not an option and I have no family nearby to help. Thanks for any input.
  5. Certainly. I make cold process soap, which is a little more laborious and a lengthy wait time for the cured product, but worth it IMO. This is my favorite recipe and the one I use for all of our family soap. It produces a very luxurious, moisturizing bar. I have successfully scented it many ways with many additives and it always comes out great. I had my dh make a simple soap mold but you can buy them fairly inexpensively online as well. Cold process soap isn't hard to make but requires meticulous instruction following. And a stick blender :)
  6. I have been making our soap for a few years now. We use coconut oil for moisturizer. I tried my hand at toothpaste and thought it was ok, but the rest of the family revolted. I've also made my own dishwasher detergent and that type of thing. Soap has definitely been the greatest success - everyone gets very annoyed with me if I let us run out :) I don't make my own shampoo but have a natural shampoo I adore and have been loyal to for a long time now, which is saying something for me.
  7. Same thing here. In 1st grade, we did Real Science Odyssey: Life and she loved it. Lessons are short but solid and always involve a hands-on project/experiment. We're using RSO again this year.
  8. We were laughing like loons yesterday at our first Bad Kitty book. My 7yo especially loved it and has been devouring the drawings and subtext ever since. Also, not a chapter book, but my 7yo recreationally reads and loves A Pizza The Size of the Sun, hilarious poetry by Jack Prelutsky. My 5yo also loves it as a read-aloud.
  9. My eldest DD is 2nd grade. We did GWG last year and FLL the year before and it was fine, but I've found myself at a place where I question the purpose of formal grammar study at this age. I went to a small private school as a child and never learned grammar that I can recall, but I was a hugely avid reader and knew the form grammar should take by the time I got to high school, leading me to become the grader for the English honors classes at our high school. I could diagram the heck out of a sentence at that point, but what was the real purpose? To me the only point is to be able to write well and correctly, and certainly I did that without grammar study. Just looking for input. Thanks!
  10. My oldest dd was an early reader who hit the wall and I used All About Spelling to break down that wall (prevent a major reading problem) and teach her reading from that point. My younger DD is a completely different learner who has nowhere near the retention for spelling rules of my older dd and I am also using AAS with her to teach her reading now that she's beyond the point of basic phonics. She is progressing amazingly. Spelling and reading skills can progress at very different rates but what you can spell, you can read, and you know why. I consider AAS an extremely thorough phonics program if you can hang with adapting it.
  11. We're only in WWE2 so take this fwiw, but I go through each of the provided summary examples with my dd every time. I let her try first and then I stop her as soon as she gets too wordy or whatever and read her the first example. Then we try again. And so forth. I also have her close her eyes while I read the passage and visualize it as closely as possible. Not only does this help with recall and focus, but then when I say, "Tell me in 2 sentences what this story is about and pretend I didn't just watch the movie in your head with you and know nothing about it," it helps her to see what she needs to focus on to paint the picture of the story for me without a lot of detail.
  12. THANK YOU!!! I had been stalking them for a sale in July and August and given up on it. Just what I needed :)
  13. This is an interesting thread for me. We are new to RS this year (K) and I have found that we are never using the games. Not to be a hater! I think it's probably that they are just not as relevant at this stage. I'm hopeful that they will become more interesting as we go along. Also - what in the heck are the bead cards?! I ordered the complete starter kit and for the life of me don't see any bead cards.
  14. We have always aimed for 2 pages a day and that ends up with us mostly covering the material over the year after allowing for doldrums, etc. I do review and tests on their own days. I started my dd with the 1st grade series in K and have just progressed with her ability ever since. Last year we worked a little more slowly and so didn't quite finish the curriculum for the year. That was fine and we picked it up again when we were ready to start back and now she's tearing along. At the rate she's going, we will also complete the 3rd grade series this year. Point being - scheduling is fine but don't stress it too much. It shakes out in the end.
  15. This, plus math. I had a horrible math phobia going into college, and felt that I was horrible in science also. I ended up getting a math minor and nearly majored in neurobiology. Math and science are at the top of my list in teaching the kids now because I know that if I had good instruction coming up, I would have known I could do it and do it well, and I might have taken a different path. I concur with others that there is no best. I look for programs without flash, that don't jump around, and instead offer extremely thorough scaffolding instruction, as hands-on as possible.
  16. When I was young my mom began dropping me off at the public library every Saturday while she did her shopping. There I would spend a long time carefully choosing my books for the week up to the maximum allowed. We did this every week for how I don't know how long. She never audited my books at all. I became an avid reader and read whatever I liked. The most scarring books I recall in the teen years were Stephen King, in that they scared the everliving out of me. Movies affected me more negatively than any book.
  17. My kids are on the young side for it but I've been eyeing this for years and at this price it's too good to pass up. With my luck, it will be out of print by the time we're ready for it ;)
  18. I have a lot of teacher friends and family in districts across the state and I cannot believe the discrepancies in class sizes. Also my dh works at the state data collection agency and sees the data for all districts. I really think that although there are "rules" about it, they do what they do and they get away with it.
  19. As an addendum to my earlier post, I thought I would share something that I have found telling about the evolution of our homeschool motives. A major reason that we began considering homeschooling was that my younger daughter has Type 1 Diabetes. At the time, she was only about 3yo but my older dd was starting Kinder. We vetted schools and chose the one with a full-time nurse … and quickly came to realize how meaningless that was. Not only are our care goals very aggressive and our technology advanced (requiring high training), but California's nurse-to-student ratio was 1:2400 at the last count. While we sat and watched our older dd's light dim to a flicker in that environment, we also knew with certainty that our health care goals for our younger dd could not be met there. All of that to say that this year is our younger dd's Kinder year and we did not enroll her in school not because we felt we couldn't find a way to manage her diabetes there, but because we now believe in homeschooling that strongly. There are aspects of homeschooling that I don't think any amount of research in advance can reveal. You have to live it to realize it.
  20. Our reasons for homeschooling are many, but none religious. The other HS families I have encountered locally also have diverse non-religious reasons; however, I belong to the only inclusive HS group in the region that I know of. I also echo what others have said - that the reasons I began homeschooling are quite different, or at least much more narrow, than the reasons I would cite today.
  21. A few years ago I lost my only sister suddenly in a car accident. At the time I had 2 young children. I know this is different from your situation in significant ways, but, fwiw, it was a relief to me and to them for them to have school/care outside the home for a season. I was lost in my grief and needed less stress and responsibility. They benefitted from being away from my grief and having cheerful non-sad people be a presence in their day. Looking back, I see more clearly that grief was like a pea soup fog that resided in our home for a long time. No matter what we did or how we acted, it permeated everything. Having ways to get away from that all-encompassing weight is really important. I'm sure he's looking for some relief there and also seeking distraction. And there's A LOT to be said for distraction during grief. However you and he accomplish it, finding ways to get relief and connect with others is huge. And I echo the others who have said maybe you do something different for a season and that's ok. I'm so sorry for your loss and for the pain you are feeling.
  22. DH and I both have a BS in Computer Engineering. I worked in the field for several years before quitting to be with the kids. I wouldn't go back in the same field but have been contemplating whether another degree would be worth it at my advanced age ;)
  23. We use my old Ikea Malm desk as our joint surface. It is a little lower than a standard desk or table.
  24. My girls are similar ages. In my cart now is this Mindware Planks set I just recently heard about. Also, a bunch of Let's Read and Find Out Science books, which I think are totally worth owning but don't justify buying since we can usually get them at the library. I would also really like to buy a microscope and a telescope. A recent purchase that has been AWESOME for my 5yo (and I'd like to get the add-ons for my older DD) has been the Miniluk. Can't believe I'd never seen it before. If I could afford it, I'd get one of the big sets.
  25. I have a copy of the 1st edition which I have skimmed and deeply read selected sections. I read it well after discovering this forum and doing large amounts of internet research on homeschooling, curriculum, etc. In the beginning, I thought we would go largely classical, but 3 years later we are not very classical at all and I'm ok with that.
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