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Everything posted by Shifra

  1. I am taking a course from Lynda. I get a free subscription to Lynda from my local library. I can just log in from home using my library card. The course I am taking is Adobe Illustrator for Fashion Design, which is a fantasy dream for me, but with a free course, I figured, why not. The course is very good. I already had the book that the instructor of this course wrote, so I was familiar with the background information of this course. However, it is helpful to see what the instructor is referring to. Anyway, my point is that you should check with your local library to see if you can use courses from Lynda for free.
  2. I found the book What High Schools Don't Tell You by Elizabeth Wissner-Gross enlightening. She claimed that every child has an interest, it's just a matter of finding that interest and using it to motivate him/her to go on and do other things. If you can find this book and in particular look at page 9, it might help. This book also has lists of ideas for summer programs to get your child's interests moving in a productive manner. Now this book can be irritating in it's "Ivy League or bust" attitude, but if you can get beyond that, it can be helpful.
  3. Well, Faber Piano Adventures has a series of supplemental songbooks that are based on levels: Pretime, Playtime, Showtime, Chordtime, Funtime, and Bigtime. These are available in different genres such as Classical Music, Popular, Favorites, Rock 'n Roll, Jazz & Blues, Hymns, Kids Songs, Ragtime & Marches, Christmas, Jewish Favorites, and Halloween. Teaching Little Fingers to Play also has supplements available in various genres. Alfred has supplements called "Fun Book," "Popular Hits," "Patriotic Solos," "Top Hits," "Merry Christmas," "Praise Hits," "Classic Themes," and "Hymn Book" for their Basic Piano Library. Music for Little Mozarts has supplements for beginning piano such as "Christmas Fun," "Little Mozarts Go to Church," "Little Mozarts Go to Hollywood," "Little Mozarts Perform the Nutcracker," "Halloween Fun," "Beethoven Bear," and "Mozart Mouse." I would pick up a supplemental book in a genre your son really enjoys close to the level that he left on in piano. Have him work through the songs in the book, Keep an eye on his technique. Work on his sight reading.
  4. I figured I'd chime in with some memories of the school trips I took in kindergarten and first grade. I went to school in the mid-1970's, when "social studies" still had a "progressive education" bent. I read a book geared towards teachers highlighting how important field trips are to science and social studies, Out of the Classroom and into the World by Salvatore Vascellaro. This book is a continuation of the progressive education movement and tradition. Among the suggestions that he had for first-grade teachers were trips to the shoemaker and trips to a tailor. When I was in kindergarten, we mailed letters to ourselves (mailed to our home address) and read books of how letters were processed by the post office. A trip to the post office would probably be a great activity to help fill in the gaps. We went to a dairy, where they processed milk. There was a fake cow there, and they showed us how to milk the cow; mostly, though we saw how they bottled the milk. If you have any factories in your area, particularly food processing plants, that would be a great field trip. Ask if they allow children; not all factories do. Some factories allow no visitors at all. Over the years, my parents took either me or my siblings (or both) to a pretzel making factory, a corn chip factory, a Coca-Cola bottling plant, a brewery, the Harley Davidson plant, the Hershey simulated plant, and a GMC truck plant. I took my own children to some of those places and the Budweiser plant in St. Louis, which is a fascinating historic brewery. While we did not go to a farm as a school field trip, it is a great idea. I have taken my children to various farms over the years--sometimes to pick your own farms, which they love (just don't stay too long so they get bored) or dairy farms (a little harder, as some dairy farms do not want visitors during milking times). In our current town of West Hartford, there is a city run farm that we love to visit. When we lived in Dallas, we were members of the Dallas Museum of Art, mainly because members got free, underground parking. When it's 100 degrees outside, underground parking cools off your car to a "cool" 80 degrees! Totally worth the $75 a year. However, that got us to go to the museum often. They had a great children's area with programming that we often went to, but I also bought the children and myself sketchbooks and colored pencils and we would stop at a piece of artwork that we liked and sketched it. My son (who had a primate obsession) would just draw monkeys (and I never censored him or made him draw the artwork), but it bought us time to actually look at the art as that son has ADHD and without the sketchbook, we wouldn't have been able to look at any art at all! My daughter has played the guitar since first grade, so for a while, we went to a lot of concerts at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Some of them were children's concerts, which are great introductions to classical music and the orchestra (some of those concerts had instrument petting zoos, where you could touch orchestral instruments). We went to "adult" matinee concerts (so as not to infer with bedtime), too, even with my son who has ADHD. The only disadvantage, according to my daughter, of the matinee concerts, was that the musicians are not dressed in black tie, but rather in suits. She missed the formality of it! :laugh: We would get seats right by an exit so if my son would get noisy, we could leave easily, but we never had to leave early. He was fascinated with the music (it helped that we sat where he could see the musicians relatively closely). Now that we live in New England, we often go to living history museums and other historical sites. Some have great activities for children showing what life was like either during the colonial area or during the early years of our country. I second the zoo or aquarium. I used to read to my children My Visit to the Zoo by Aliki. She also wrote My Visit to the Aquarium. In the preschool that I work in (with a Reggio Emilia approach) one class just went to Subway to learn how they make bread, make sandwiches, etc. They got lunch there, too.
  5. I just wanted to mention that I started first grade in 1975 in a parochial school with a very traditional phonics based curriculum (unusual at that time). However, we really did not do either history or science. Social studies was pretty much covered by learning about people working, with field trips to milk bottling plants and visits from parents who talked about their lines of work. Around such holidays such as Thanksgiving and Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays, we learned about the history of those days. Science was only added to elementary school curriculums after Sputnik in the 1950s. Before that, only nature study was really covered.
  6. I have not tried this book in the series, but there is a series of ethnic cooking books for children that many libraries have and there is a French one: Cooking the French Way by Lynne Marie Waldee.
  7. Knit, Hook, and Spin: A Kid's Activity Guide to Fiber Arts and Crafts by Laurie Carlson
  8. Summertime from Porgy and Bess is an illustrated book of the song (illustrated by Mike Wimmer).
  9. Years ago, in the first edition of In Their Own Way: Discovering and Encouraging Your Child's Multiple Intelligences by Thomas Armstrong, he recommended a social studies curriculum that is long out of print: (Hu)mans: A Course of Study. I even wrote Dr. Armstrong to ask where to obtain this curriculum! Anyway, it is now available for free on the web at http://www.macosonline.org/
  10. I agree with Lori that you should probably expand on what you already have and get a full credit in theater. Can your daughter participate in a community theater production and learn/participate more? You could add in a textbook to give more "book learning" to the course or to make sure that you cover all the bases, if you like. I have some theater books: Acting and Theatre: An Usborne Introduction is only about 60 or 70 pages, but it is packed with information. Exploring Theatre by Nancy Price and Jeanie Jackson is a middle school/high school textbook. Theatre Art in Action is another textbook, but is more geared towards high school students. This book includes both techniques about acting as well as technical theater techniques. Both Exploring Theatre and Theatre Art in Action include the history of theater.
  11. Yes, the primary colors are red, yellow and blue. You use these colors combined (along with neutral colors of white and black) to make all of the other colors. However, I have this book, Web Colors, which shows how to mix colors for computer graphics programs. The coding in computer graphic programs is by mixing this much red, this much green and this much blue. As this book states: "Screen pixels are so small that we see different colors on the screen due to optical blending. RGB (red, green, blue) is an additive color model. Different wavelengths of light are emitted by your screen's pixels."
  12. There are pencils made out of recycled newspaper like Treesmart.
  13. Faber Piano Adventures has supplementary books that will not instruct you on how to use your left hand; rather, they are good practice for learning to read notes with popular and fun songs. Another set of supplementary books are from the series Teaching Little Fingers to Play which includes Teaching Little Fingers to Play Disney Tunes, Teaching Little Fingers to Play Christmas Carols, Teaching Little Fingers to Play Classics, Teaching Little Fingers to Play Hymns, and Teaching Little Fingers to Play American Tunes.
  14. I took a class in special education last year, and I learned that children with developmental delays do not always pick up concepts from the environment casually like a developmentally typical child might; a child with developmental delays often needs direct instruction. So you are wise in taking a proactive approach. When you introduce a concept, I would introduce just one concept at a time. For instance, if you want your child to learn the color red, I would just focus on red for about a week. Paint red, color with red crayons, make red jello, etc. Then, when you are sure that she could identify the color red easily, go on to the next color. I would do the same with letters and numbers. Only introduce one letter and/or number a week and keep reviewing it until she knows it without any prompting from you.
  15. I have been working in preschools for the last couple of years, and I have been influenced by Waldorf school philosophy. Along those lines, I emphasize traditional "fairy tales" including Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Three Pigs, the Three Billy Goats Gruff, and the Little Red Hen. I tell a new story each week and use either puppets or flannel board characters to act out the story. I then let the children play with the pieces as a free play choice. You can use the stories to emphasize different letters (and numbers), if you wish. Waldorf schools also emphasize nursery rhymes too. I also enjoy doing Waldorf inspired crafts, including watercolor painting using liquid watercolors (available in craft stores such as Michael's and Joann) in primary colors. Introduce a new color each week, to give your child an immersion in that particular color. I have also made with my own children beeswax candles (using kits), which have been a big hit. I particularly like the Waldorf craft book called Earthways, which has other suggestions. I second visiting farms, and my children have all enjoyed going to pick your own farms throughout the growing season for various fruits and vegetables. Cooking and baking with your child is great too. Many children also enjoy sweeping with a child size broom and some will vacuum. My son adored mopping the floor, and while it flooded our home, the floor never looked better! Washing dishes could also be fun.
  16. While this is dated, I used My Food Pyramid to explain nutritional choices to my (then) young children.
  17. I would also suggest books by Jack London. Very boy-friendly and exciting. I also liked Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling. The Song of Hiawatha was also a epic poem my brothers read in school.
  18. I used to read to my children from the series "Poetry for Young People." We read and memorized some poetry of Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Shakespeare, Robert Louis Stevenson, and more. (Since I am originally from Maryland, I also particularly enjoyed Barbara Frietchie, which was also made into a children's book). Robert Frost is not in the public domain yet, but the other poets are, and you can probably find some selections online. If you love the poem, chances are that your children will pick up on your enthusiasm. You could probably find on archive.org or gutenburg.org some reading textbooks with good poetry choices.
  19. I think these may be out of print, but Scott Foresman has textbooks on art that are for grades kindergarten through eighth; you can probably find a copy second hand. These are as good or better than Artistic Pursuits, in my opinion, and are cheaper if bought second hand. For high school, there's Art in Focus, which is both a studio art course and an art history course. You can probably find a used copy of Art in Focus as well. ETA: I found a copy of this book online at http://www.mrsbott.com/Mittler%20-%20Art%20in%20Focus%20%5Bcomprehensive%20textbook%20-%20theory,history%5D%20(Glencoe,%202006).pdf
  20. Composition for Young Musicians by Jennifer Wilson was partially published by the National Guitar Workshop, so it may be best for a guitar player. A similar series is Music by Me, but it is meant for piano players. Schools that teach music composition use: A Young Musician's Guide to Composing by Charles W. Lauterbach & Cathy Blair, Outside the Lines by Mark Burrows, and Kids Can Compose by Nicole Legrand. All of these books may be better in a classroom situation.
  21. I'm more of a vegetable and fruit gardener than a flower gardener, but I really enjoyed The Children's Kitchen Garden by Georgeanne and Ethel Brennan. They are writing about a garden in the San Francisco area, which is a very mild climate, so I would not take all of their advice if you live in a different climate, but it is a very inspirational book.
  22. I was thinking of a few more ideas for careers for your daughter. One is that she could work in daycare (but I'm sure you know that many daycare workers do not make a living wage). Another thing is that she could think about working as an activity director, particularly since she has nursing home experience. Similarly, there is a chance that she could use her college coursework to work in child life. These last two professions require quite a bit of psychology coursework in their certification programs. However, I do sympathize with your daughter. I dropped out of nursing school in 1991, when I failed my last course to graduate. I didn't seem to have the (fine motor) skills to be a good nurse, and I didn't want to be a bad nurse. I sometimes regret it, but let's face it, if you're not suited to a profession, there is no need to make a round peg fit in a square hole. Good luck to both of you!
  23. I just found out last week that my local library offers this (and I don't live in New York). Find out if your library offers this.
  24. If your son is interested in science and engineering, why don't you just read aloud to him Engineering the City: How Infrastructure Works by Mathys Levy and possibly do the activities suggested. Admittedly this might be a lot of work on your part, but if you have the energy, time and resources, why not focus on your son's interests?
  25. When my two youngest children were toddlers and preschoolers, I was in a Waldorf education kick. I had read You Are Your Child's First Teacher by Rahima Baldwin Dancy. Some of her ideas really struck me, and while I had moved on to other philosophies of early childhood education (I worked the last couple of year in a preschool), I still go back to some of the Waldorf ideas. According to You Are Your Child's First Teacher, one way of keeping small children out of your hair is to do at least one creative (art) project a day. I would do wet-on-wet watercolor painting with my children at least once a week, and when I was teaching preschool we would rotate doing painting (with tempera paint), using play dough, watercolor painting, and pasting. If you are at home, you could add baking with your child (forming bread loaves out of bread dough for lunch could be one option, another option is to bake cookies that need to be rolled out or shaped, such as thumbprint cookies or gingerbread men). I know it is a mess, but having your child satisfied later and willing to play by himself/herself can be worth the mess. Another Waldorf idea (also picked up from You Are Your Chld's First Teacher) is to tell your preschool age child one fairy tale a week. Every day you repeat the same story. If you have some dolls or plastic/wood figurines to act out the story, that's even better (for preschool, I made my own flannel board pieces using flannel I had bought in Walmart, some Sharpies, and copied some pictures from Draw Write Now Book 1). This page has some flannel board patterns, if you like. Some ideas to get you started are Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the Gingerbread Man, the Little Red Hen, and the Three Billy Goats Gruff. To add music to the stories, for the Little Red Hen I used some songs from this book and from page 76 of Making Music Grade 1 (ISBN 0382366441). For music for the Three Billy Goats Gruff, I got it from an old music textbook in the 1930's, but there's a of this song. The songs are lovely and memorable but not 100% necessary. However, just telling the stories to your child keeps his/her imagination going, helps with language, etc. but most importantly, in your instance, keeps your child out of your hair when you need to focus on your older children's needs. I would also go with Angie's idea of putting away some of the toys and having only a bit out at a time. When your child gets bored with what he/she has out, take out something else and put away what isn't being used at the moment. Your playmobile toys (when you have a chance to pull them out) may be good for acting out stories as I mentioned above.
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