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  1. I used The Modern Speller or Dictation day by day. Since you are using Scrabble you might also like to try the game Boggle or even find as many words as you can within a much longer word that you pick.
  2. I would find out what the problem is with writing - does it hurt his hand? How is his letter formation? Does he hold the pencil properly, does he prefer writing lists of words rather than sentences? Could you get him to draw or write a proper letter to someone who would reply - getting letters is still fun and meaningful. Would he wrote invitations to a party so he can see a result of his effort? Would he wrote questions for you to write responses to? Writing is about communicating so many bright children need to get a response in some way. Work up the amount he writes even if just by one word a day. But definitely continue with grade 4 or above work in the other subjects.
  3. Since mine learnt to read we do the following: Read some poetry and song lyrics Read novels Read non fiction in different forms including the Bible, journals, news, articles, biographies and auto biographies Read other types of reading materials: signs, advertisements, menus, instruction manuals, bilingual readings, number plates etc. Read short stories Read and do some comprehensions. Read and write on technological devices in each different format and discuss since the language usage is different for each Read letters - casual and friendly, business, other purposes Basically we just make sure we read everything and that some discussion takes place about presentation, vocabulary, sentence length and purpose etc. None of this requires a curriculum.
  4. I started these with my DD in third grade using a school LA workbook. We did alliteration and similies and metaphors that year. This year in 4th grade we have discussed puns and spoonerisms. Onomatopoeia gets discussed as it comes up. Idioms we will do at another stage but probably through a novel that uses a large number of them. This is my child though who takes it all in just by having literature discussed. My younger child will need something more directly focused on it.
  5. We use LOF as a second curriculum - not entirely supplementary, but not a stand alone either - we use Singapore also. My eldest child started LOF the alphabetical series at age 6 and is in Fractions now - she does struggle some with the bridges - it is not intended that they pass them on the first try. I think because your child has already learnt Fractions he is using it as a review and it should be fine for this purpose. I have used a lot of manipulatives and other teaching methods for fractions as my child is quite young to be dealing with the abstract concepts involved and she is kinaesthetic and learns best with manipulatives. My youngest is 5 years old and starting LOF dogs alongside Singapore. Personally I would not like to use the elementary series without supplementation, but have heard that many have used the pre high-school and high school level (and beyond) books successfully without supplementation. Like any curriculum I think you have to take your own child into account - what will work best for him. What works for the majority will not help you if it is not what works for your own child.
  6. The 100-year-old secret (Tracy Barrett) - this is a series of 4 books 300 minutes of danger (My daughter likes high action - might recommend more for boys) The Magician's Nephew or The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe Any of the Roald Dahl Books My daughter devoured Diary of a Wimpy Kid in 2nd grade - not usually something I would recommend, but it kept her reading through a more resistant phase and helped her move on to other more typical chapter books, so she would recommend them Any of Alexander McCall Smith's children's books The shorter Michael Morpurgo books which pave the way for the longer ones Any Dick King Smith
  7. I don't know how to test vocabulary, but increasing vocabulary is best done through reading of both fiction and non-fiction books because this teaches vocabulary in context. I give vocabulary instruction during spelling - root word and meanings of suffixes and prefixes as well as word origin, but my own children's vocabulary increases best when I read aloud to them from good quality books or non-fiction books, newspaper articles or even journal articles. I have always made a point of showing them google images of nouns that they might not know including animal species and plants, geographical terms and historical items that they may not have come into contact with. Very often as I am looking them up they will tell me where they have heard the word before and so relate it to other familiar things. I was amazed to find that they knew what lapis lazuli was the other day when it came up in a book we were reading... if I hadn't bothered to try to show them a picture of it I would never have known it was already in their vocabulary though they had not been aware exactly what it could be used for.
  8. I am doing dictation with my child who knows most of her letters though still makes mistakes with some (particularly F and B) - I use spelling as handwriting practice and do handwriting patterns as well as concentrating on one specific letter either before or after the dictation. I keep a very close eye on her while she writes the dictation and if there are errors then I correct them in a brief handwriting lesson rather than during the dictation. This child though can handle more handwriting than her elder sister could - I made sure handwriting was far more advanced with her before starting dictation.
  9. My DD is about to enter 4th grade (Jan-Dec) and she had a rough time with spelling last year. I am now using the Modern Speller Year 4 with her and am surprised how well she is doing with it - like your child she has always been extremely active. She is a kinaesthetic learner and I believe now that her spelling is being learnt by muscle memory more than anything else - so writing words til they become automatic which is why dictation seems to work best with her as she needs to learn to spell the word correctly amongst a whole lot of other words. I do still have to remind her how to break up words. I still help her to say the word as it is spelled and remind her occassionally to tell me the root word before she tries to spell a related word and when she chooses the wrong phonogram I still have to verbally ask her what other options she has. Recently though I have started getting her to circle where the problem could be - this can be taught as most problems are with the vowels, doubling of consonants, using s or j instead of c or g, or needing to use a different phonographic spelling (eg ph instead of f, or ur instead or er etc.) - finding out where she thinks the problem might be also tells me something about what she needs work on. It would depend what errors are most obvious - my daughter improved mostly by learning the most common words first while practicing the rules, suffixes, prefixes, consonant doubling, syllabification etc as a separate exercise only after the basic words had been mastered. And those common words probably need to be known so that they are automatic both verbally as well as in writing depending on your child's learning strengths. Then again, having heard others say things improved after 9 years of age - that is how old my daughter is now and things are improving rapidly now.
  10. When homeschooling them I provided different types of reading material for them - so novels, short stories, basic non-fiction, articles written to children or even scientific ones that were not totally above their vocabulary, letters, menus, instruction manuals for games, emails, newspaper articles suitable for children or that showed some area/aspect we had been discussing, books that discussed how to do something (like juggling - something that they could actually do), joke books, journals, diaries, magazine articles, advertisements, cartoons - I guess any form of reading material. Each type of writing differs and I want them to understand why different pieces use different language styles. I also want to boost comprehension - although most vocabulary is now coming from jargon in non-fiction books and the classic read alouds. I am also teaching more spelling now (this even though they are now in school). I still ask my 9 year old to read to me occasionally - sometimes just for enjoyment and also to practice voice expression and help her project her voice when reading and to help her realise that reading to someone else is different from silent reading and that the listener must be taken into account - that the reason for this form of reading is not just entertainment but serves the listener in some way. I am ever hopeful that she might come to realise that having someone squirm around and appear to ignore a reader can appear disrespectful to the reader too :)
  11. My now 9 year old grew greatly in independence over the last year and a bit (she has just finished 3rd grade). I started being able to leave her to do some math by herself, she types some now - mostly to family though so usually only short pieces. She started school and the homework they gave she completed by herself, but anything that required any teaching she did with me. I still have to remind her of certain things that need to go in bags when going out for activities though she has got a lot better. She reads more now independently than she used to and sadly seems to be playing with toys less frequently - only joining her younger sister to do that though she will build more complicated Lego sets alone. Some days she wants to try adult things - getting into fancy dress or experimenting with make up and other days she wants to ride bikes or swim or try new sports or dance to music and still other days she just wants to curl up and watch a movie. She will get her own breakfast now, but still wants a lot of help with the bedtime routine. I miss homeschooling terribly and my daughter is unsure from day to day which she would prefer - she really likes some of the activities at school but feels she learns very little there especially considering how long they are there. She misses spending long time periods with friends and the free play she had when homeschooling - in school they only really have break time to play together and eat - but at the same time she does like having more people around. She finds it easier to concentrate at home, but likes the competition of school... I find the whole thing very awkward. She has told some people she wants to go back to homeschooling and yet she is looking forward to going back to school too... she has certainly enjoyed having me and her sister around this holiday. As for me - my house is cleaner when they are at school, I have more down time, I can make some money (I work part time) and the weight of responsibility that was homeschooling can go to the school some... except that I do not believe they care as much as I do about my children and their education. My eldest's self esteem was better with homeschooling I believe and its hard to know if her independence has grown because she went to school or just because she got older - maybe a bit of both. I guess everything has its pros and cons and every child and family is different.
  12. SOTW is great for most grade 1s. I used BFSU with my girls using many read-alouds and videos with it - gave me a way to explain scientific concepts in a sequence which has resulted in a good understanding in my eldest child. It can take a while to get into though and to figure out how to use it to suit your own family. Any penmanship - you do not need a curriculum for this as long as you teach letter formation, pencil grip and how to sit. HWT if you do need one. I would concentrate on getting him reading mostly, see History and Science as fun and as a break from reading instruction, and add in a large amount of read alouds - books that interest him, both fiction and non fiction. For me reading is first, then start math and get them writing with math usually running far ahead of writing instruction because of the fine motor control needed firstly to write and then all the language and spelling and original thoughts required to write which take much longer to put together.
  13. This sounds very like a phonics debate. I wrote out every letter or letter combination that can be used to spell a particular sound to see if I could help my daughter - this is opposite to teaching phonics for reading. And only three sounds (b, p and l) had only one choice and even they could be single or double consonants - though those have more specific rules. So to say that auditory learners spell better seems confusing - just because I hear a sound does not mean I will be sure how to spell it. Also almost every single letter the alphabet can be a silent letter in a certain word/s. Some spelling instruction however is helpful - my elder daughter does best by dividing words into syllables, using root words to spell and learning words with similar spelling together as well as concentrating on dictation. She is my kinaesthetic child and probably learns through repeated hand patterns from writing the same word over and over but I also teach her to say difficult words the way they are spelled... my younger child is a far more natural speller, but she also reads more independently than my elder child. I actually think that perhaps mathematical kids could be good spellers since really it is just seeing a pattern and repeating it in many words - except for all the exceptions... who knows? If you can only link the word to the correct pattern...
  14. I used Leading Little Ones to God for both my girls around age 5 and the eldest listened in again at age 8. At first and second grade level I used The Bible made Easy for Kids. I also use devotionals with both of them reading from the Bible. My eldest is now 9 and is reading the NIV Bible alone sometimes with a devotional. My nearly 6 year old will start the NIV Early Reader Bible (with my help as she finds the amount of small print a bit overwhelming) once we finish The Bible made Easy for Kids.
  15. I found the best thing for this was just to blend for my child - firstly in real life where no letters/words are around, just by blending nouns in particular while talking to the child and then later pausing after saying the letters and hoping the child will say the blended word. (It took my kids about a month at age 2.5 when I did this for them to start saying the words consistently when I blended them for them) Then I would get my kids to read the letter sounds of cvc words and I would then say them a bit faster for them til they said the word. Finally I would stop the faster blending and see if they could figure it out at their own pace of saying the letter sounds/combinations and only help if they got stuck. Some children do better with covering the whole word with a piece of paper and blending each time a letter is shown: so c - ca -cat for cat rather than c-a-t cat. It really is ok to give as MUCH help as the child needs - make it impossible for them to fail at this stage. Some children who find the letter blending hard get the idea when you get them to blend compounds words: I want some ICE...... CREAM. What do I want - ice-cream! I want to watch BASE........... BALL (Baseball!) This gives the idea that blending is really just saying things rapidly.
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