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Everything posted by CatholicMom

  1. Wow, thank you for all the responses! Just want to let you all know I REALLY appreciate it, and will respond as soon as I have a chance to read all of these more thoroughly! Here's hoping that all the kids stay in their beds tonight, lol.
  2. I have no idea how to fit this into one day, but I don't see anything that can go... What do you think? Anything I should or could condense? 1. Math - Algebra I 2. Science - Apologia Physical Science 3. English - Seton English? 4. Reading - Just reading good literature 5. Social Studies - Eastern Hemisphere study 6. Foreign Language - Spanish program of some sort 7. Philosophy - I'm thinking Memoria Press Traditional Logic 8. Religion - Faith & Life Series 9. Typing - (why oh why didn't we already do this?) 10. P.E./Art/Music - Probably have to do at least one of these most days Will he have time or energy for an elective after all of this? I was hoping that each year of high school he could take an elective that really interests him which, for my son, might be film-making, British literature, photography, etc. But, wow... Thoughts? FYI, we have been homeschooling from the beginning and now my oldest is going into 9th next year. So after feeling like I finally have things pretty down-pat, I now have that old familiar feeling of "not knowing where to start" and groping my way through this high school thing. I've planned on homeschooling high school all along, but now that it's really here, I must admit it's overwhelming. TIA! Tara
  3. I've never heard Saxon recommended for kids who are struggling. I think what program is best depends on what the trouble is, but MUS is much more "painless" than a lot or Math programs. Teaching Textbooks is good for kids who hate writing, or who like the computer, or who would respond well to the interactive lectures, etc. Math U See is very visual, can get monotonous, but is fairly quick to get done on a daily basis.
  4. Math U See makes for much shorter lessons. We were doing Teaching Textbooks, which was going fine overall, but even for my son who has a relatively easy time *learning* Math, was spending an hour or more doing the problems because there were several practice problems, plus 20-22 problems per lesson, plus the lecture took a few minutes. I didn't switch to MUS this year because of the time issue, BUT I'm amazed at how much faster math gets done with Math U See. On the first day of school this year my 8th grader sat down to do his math and couldn't understand the concept of one "lesson" taking a week to complete, and one day's worth of work being done in... 20 minutes?... so he proceeded to do three days' worth of math in one day until I stopped him and told him, "Hunny, you were done with math for today after you did the first page!" LOL :lol:
  5. She is in the Top 10 at the moment, and if she stays there until Thursday, I believe, she will have a chance at $30,000! This would mean a lot for her family of 9. You can vote once per day until the contest is over (2 more days). :hurray: And, of course, her daughter Saoirsa (Seer-shuh) is adorable. http://woobox.com/hpzocp/gallery/rj5PZyTex2g Thanks! Btw, you can see that I've posted on TWTM many times, for years, so you can rest assured I'm not just a spammer or something. :laugh:
  6. Sure sounds dyslexic to me... I wouldn't equate her refusal to test with a diagnosis of "not dyslexic." My son is.
  7. My son struggled with spelling big-time (he just turned 13) for yeeears after doing all the same programs you have! I was so incredibly frustrated and disheartened I almost just quit doing spelling with him for a while because I was beside myself. Anyway, what I ended up doing was quitting everything we had been doing, and I had him do a dolch sight word workbook. I wish I could remember the name of it. It had a red cover, and I wanna think a bullseye on the front. Very "little kid-ish" and possibly a 2nd grade level. This was when he was 12. It was sooo many years behind and opposite of everything you're told about teaching phonics, the rules, etc. And it was really easy for him. BUT it was the first time he seemed to retain spellings!!!! He made a little progress. Not a lot, but a little. A little was more than before! So then I found Evan Moor's Building Spelling Skills. I had him start in 2nd or 3rd grade level; I can't remember now. But again, he was actually progressing for the first time in - I kid you not - like 5 YEARS. I'm now seeing him spell words in his writing that I had started to think he would never spell without help! I'm seeing spelling "click" with him like never before. It seems super counter-intuitive but if nothing else is working - why not? I say if you are desperate, give it a try. I think kids learn in different ways and more rules and more break-downs of details sometimes is the exact opposite of what kids need. My son was SUCH a phonetic speller (to a fault) that more phonics didn't help him get all the nuances. AAS got him *nowhere* even though he was great at memorizing all the letter sounds, etc. But letting his own brain get the "feel" of spelling with a MUCH simpler approach actually helped so much. Everyone is different, but just a thought!
  8. I don't think it's that horrific for a 6 year old, but I would definitely give her smaller ruled paper. You can tell she is "reaching" with her tiny hand to make those lines, the way the long vertical ones curve. Honestly, I bet if you yourself tried writing on that paper, you would find it more difficult to write neatly than you'd think without slowing down. Then imagine the rule is even bigger since her hand is smaller than yours... yikes! That's what she feels like when trying to write. :o) A child should be able to hold their hand in one place and easily bring the pencil from the top to the bottom of the rule without "stretching" or feeling a temptation to move the entire hand up and down, or make wrist movements. So I bet you will see vast improvement, IMHO, just from switching paper. Other than that, I'd just praise her and point out the "best" letters and words she makes so she knows what you're looking for and to help with motivation. Stickers, etc, always help. If you get desperate, I've tried a "nickel program" before which worked wonders with my boys, Lol. I gave them a nickel for each handwriting paper that looked great (or something like that). They thought they were rich, and they were suddenly turning out much neater papers.
  9. I'm looking for a medium-light Spanish curriculum to start with for my kids, preferably that I could use for at least 4 of my kids. They will be ages 8, 9, 12, and 13. Does such a program exist? I would like to keep it fairly fun for this first year of foreign language, rather than "rigorous," but of course I also want them to learn. Ideas?
  10. I can definitely identify with having an "ideal" schedule and then having it drag on and on. Here is what I did!! I just figured this out recently and I hope it will help you, too! It involves watching the clock more. You aim to spend certain amounts of TIME on the tasks you have on your list. And nix any that you don't really need to be doing. Be honest. Does it really matter if they learn typing this year? Maybe that one can wait until the summer, or next year. Figure out how much time your tasks *should* take, and allow a little buffer time because even if they are working diligently, it will always take a little longer than you think. Make sure you CAN get it done in the time slot you give it. Then announce how much time you have to do it. For example, "It's 8:30 and we have a half hour to get spelling done. At 9:00 if you don't have it done, you'l have to work on this later 'after school'." Personally I think I was having this SAME problem you are (the day dragging on) because the kids have no concept of how much time they are using (wasting!) by putting around. They don't have a concept of how long it should take and aren't *trying* to get it done in that amount of time. But if you give reminders like "we have 10 more minutes, so finish this up" they will realize.. wait, if I don't get this done in the next 10 minutes I will have to do it later! NOOOOooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is how it worked for my kids. Also, this keeps you moving through your schedule. So if spelling wasn't finished, too bad. Set it to the side and move on to math (or whatever). I give myself / my kids 1 hour and 45 minutes for math. This allows for the usual interruptions by my 2 yr old, and also I'm accomplishing a math lesson, plus the math "homework" all in one shot. In public schools they spend an hour on math lessons IN school, and then, 45 minutes or so of math homework at home. So it made sense to me when I realized it took us so long to accomplish all that at home. Again, if they don't get it all done, then they have to stick around "after school" to finish all the unfinished stuff. This is a motivator for you AND them. Keep watching that clock. I also combine the kids for whatever I can, and we all are working on about the same subject at the same time. So from 8 - 8:30 it is "writing/grammar" time. All 4 'students' are at the table with me and everyone gets out their writing books. I take time at the beginning to get my two youngers (7 & 8) working in their respective workbooks. I require one page a day, and read the instructions to them and explain if necessary. Then while they get working I can focus on the two older kids. I give a short lesson and they are working in their books until 8:30. I sit and help with any questions. I remind them of how much time is left a couple times. This also really helps my stress-level all day because I used to have 4 kids doing 2-4 different subjects at the same time and so they were asking me questions about math, grammar, spelling, and what have you ALL at the same time. :willy_nilly: I felt like I was losing my mind because I couldn't focus on one subject at a time. So when ALL kids are doing the same thing, it helped me help them better because I was in "math mode" or "spelling mode"... even if they weren't all doing the same exact book, they were at least all asking me math questions! I read a long time ago that Sarita Holzmann (co-founder of Sonlight) said that she had her kids all finish by around noon, but whoever wasn't finished had to stay and finish it before they could play, and this was incentive to get it done in the time period allotted. I never understood how she did this because, like you, if someone was way behind, we were ALL way behind schedule. I'm not sure if she practiced something like I explained here, but it's the only way I have personally figured out how to not let school drag on. I despised being done with school at noon on some days and at 4 pm on other days. How long does school take? I didn't even know. It depended on the day! But with my new "time period" method (a lot like in school - Duhhhh - It took me 7 years to try this!), I can say that our day ends between 2 and 3 every day. I leave the things for last that can be let go if we have to get somewhere or if I am running out of steam. This schedule also allowed me to schedule "independent reading time" in the block right before lunch time so that I could have some quiet time after our task-oriented morning to make lunch without all the kids running around, AND without everyone needing help from me. If you have a child who still really needs you to sit with them while they read, they could do something else on their own during this time. When you start thinking about consolidating the school work into these blocks of time where you are focusing on ONE general subject area at a time, it starts to come together like a puzzle. Once you put the new time schedule into practice you may have to tweak it a few times as you realize obvious mistakes or ways you could make your life easier. I tweaked mine every day for a few days until I got it right. For instance, I only allowed 1 hour at first to do math and then I realized that even when we were diligent, it just takes way longer to get through math for us (allowing for the lesson AND the work). OH, also, I realized that although I was afraid there would be a ton of leftover work everyday (which would not settle well with me being task-oriented), there really isn't because a) the kids hate when the time is up and they didn't get it done because they know they have to do it later, and b) when the kids and you get used to looking at the clock it really helps everyone budget time wisely instead of putting around, and c) *this is the important one* whenever someone gets done with a subject a little early... say they have 10 minutes to spare... well that is a perfect time for them to finish the other subject that they didn't have time for earlier! And they are motivated to use these little chunks of time to get the "leftovers" done because they don't want them hanging out until "after school time" when they will otherwise get to play and be free! Anyhoo, if anyone tries this, let me know what you think! I don't hear this suggested much at ALL (I don't know if I've ever heard it) which amazes me. But it really saved my rear this year when I felt like I couldn't take it anymore. :tongue_smilie:
  11. Anyone want to play guidance counselor? My oldest son will be in 8th grade next year and I'm just mulling over what "fields" might be a possibility for him in terms of career. He really loves literature (he listens to audio books like Treasure Island and the Chronicles of Narnia literally every night when he goes to bed for years). He is an avid reader. He also loves to draw, paint, build with legos, etc. He does fine in math but I can see that is more of an "arts" type of kid. He is also dyslexic, so spelling is really hard for him, but ironically I can see that he is a good "writer" in terms of the thought process and content. But he loooooves stories. Is it impossible to be an English or Literature major (is that a thing? lol) while struggling with spelling? Thoughts?
  12. My kids definitely learn to read earlier than they learn to write and the two skills don't seem to match up at all until maybe 4th grade.
  13. Thanks!!! Anyone know if they are discounted more or less in the Spring?
  14. Continual review. No sitting too long on one concept without reading and working on the old sounds, too.
  15. Looking for a workbook-based phonics program that is colorful, cute, with a little variation (like some cutting and pasting?). I prefer a spiral program. Anything come to mind? I've been using ETC for years but I feel like I need to branch out. Would like something more complete, but still pretty simple to accomplish every day. TIA!
  16. I don't have advice, as I'm planning 8th grade for next year, but with high school approaching and always in the back of my mind these days, I will say that you are not alone in these concerns!! I could have written it myself. I am struggling with my philosophy of education, as it seems you are, and I hope I have a better handle on it before I start homeschooling high school in a couple years! I have thought to myself that one of the things that characterizes America and maybe even western culture (?) in the history of the entire world is our absolute OBSESSION with education. And this is a pretty new thing for America. Not terribly long ago most people were illiterate and the goal was just to feed your family and live your life. Then even only a couple generations ago it was normal for kids to drop out of school (without shame, am I correct?) after they had learned all the basics, maybe around 8th grade, to help on the farm or get a job to help the family out, then get married at 18 or 19 and raise your kids. That was OK. Only one generation ago, most of our parents graduated high school and then only a minority went on to college. Usually these were the kids who were more academically bent and had a fairly specific career in mind. The rest got married, got jobs, and raised their kids, and that was OK. Now our generation almost every kid went to college (even if they had no idea why), and half of them got out not having any idea how to get a job, but eventually would get married, get a job (possibly having nothing to do with their college education), and raise their kids... while paying college loans for decades, of course. Even moreso OUR children are pressed to go to college. Most of the time it's not asked "whether" they are going to college, but "where" and for what! And high school is not so much preparing them for life (forget home ec, shop, and whatever that course was that used to teach farming. I can't remember the name of it, lol), but preparing them for college. We need high school to prepare for college, middle school to prepare for high school, grade school to prepare for middle school, kindergarten to prepare for grade school, pre-K to prepare for K, and preschool to prepare for pre-K! And if you're lucky, you can use a daycare to prepare for preschool! Why? And then we need baby einstein videos to teach the babies, and the toys that teach the alphabet, and nursing bras with patterns on them to stimulate nursing baby's brains! LOL It's as if we LIVE to be educated instead of getting an education to live. I think an education is very important, and more kids would benefit from college now than ever, but not EVERYONE needs to go to college. It's not right for every kid. I would go so far as to say that rigorous high school education is probably not what is best for *most* kids. I actually almost put my kids in the local Catholic elementary-middle school for next year (met with the principal and admissions lady and everything) and I started realizing how little time I would be able to spend with my kids NOT doing school work. They would get home from school around 3pm and then I was told they would have 2-3 hours of homework every night. Every night! Potentially 9 hours of school work (or more for a kid who works slowly, I presume) daily? Who would have the time or energy to, ya know... LIVE at that point? To go outside and play? To play basketball? And if they DO participate in clubs or sports, they can easily end up having no free time ALL day! No time for quiet... for reflection... for talking to parents! Geez, and we wonder why kids develop bad or nonexistent relationships with their parents in adolescence. Where is the time? How can you have quality time if there IS no time? This is not healthy for kids, nor healthy for families. And that is why I'm going to continue with homeschooling and try to give my kids a reasonable education, but also let them live their lives and find out who they are, and what things they love, and give them time to think, to play, to be together with their family and friends. That is LIFE. I start getting sucked into the education obsession sometimes but then I think... how much more important is it for my kids to be good people than it is for them to worry about impressing colleges or friends with their high school "resume"? How much more important is it for my kids to learn to be a loving spouse and parent (if that is an aspiration) than it is for them to master calculus? How much more important to learn how to cook and manage finances than it is to master Chemistry? Seriously. This day and age you sound like a back-woods nut to say these things, but seriously. *Not* that these things are always mutually exclusive. - You can be a great doctor and a great husband and father, but I feel that there is so much more *emphasis* on and pressure to prepare our children academically than there is to prepare our children for life, or letting your teenagers enjoy their last years at home with their parents and siblings without the pressure of resumes, and squeezing in extracurriculars to impress admissions, etc. That said, if you can see that your children gravitate toward a certain field, say the medical field, then by all means equip them with biology and the like so they are prepared. So I say follow your heart and try to step back and look at what is important to your family. Give your children an education that makes sense for what their aspirations are and for your goals for the kind of people you want them to become, and reject the pressure to do anything different!
  17. Good!! That is encouraging. I think it really depends on the grade because my oldest did fine, while his brother did terrible on the math portion (part of it was silly mistakes, and part was the discrepancies).
  18. Yes, it matters because I live in NY where my children have to take standardized tests and turn results into the school district. One of my kids bombed the math portion last year because of discrepancies between the test questions and what he learned in math that year (mostly an issue of not learning much about fractions yet), and it drug down his composite test score so much, I couldn't turn the results into the district (they can put your homeschool on probation for 2 years), so he had to take it all over again in a big hurry after I gave him a crash course in a couple topics. Not fun! If there is such a list, I would love to see it! That's the type of thing I need. Let me know if anyone knows of such a thing. I order my tests from Seton and they only state very basics of what is covered on the test.
  19. Sidenote, but I'm wondering how exactly you accomplish all this?! I'll just fancy myself that it may be the difference between having one child at home and... well, 7. And don't you tell me any different! :laugh: I'm just starting to seriously consider what we will do next year; Hence I'm back poking around the forums. :) Here is what I have so far, which is only a vague idea. Lots of decisions still to make! 8th grader: Math - Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra Science - Apologia... something. We are using a co-op for Sci this year so not sure if I should skip past the General Science and go right for Physical Science, or not. Language Arts - Evan Moor Spelling (He's dyslexic, so he will be way behind grade level wise, so the goal is just progress). Grammar ... not sure. Evan Moor Daily Language Review, or Daily Grams? Writing ... not sure about that either. lol Possibly an informal "write one essay a week" type of system. Foreign Language - Spanish ... no idea. Need suggestions for a first year spanish. Religion - Faith & Life by Ignatius Press Logic - Thinking Toolbox or The Art of Argument ?? History / Geography / Reading - Sonlight Core E; The Eastern Hemisphere 7th Grader - He will be doing the same as above except Teaching Textbooks 7, and he will use a spelling program that is on grade level since he's not dyslexic. If anyone has any suggestions for me, please pm me!
  20. A few ideas... The Art of Argument by Classical Academic Press http://www.christianbook.com/argument-introduction-informal-fallacies-student-revised/aaron-larsen/9781600510182/pd/510183?event=Homeschool The Fallacy Detective http://www.christianbook.com/detective-lessons-recognize-reasoning-2009-edition/nathaniel-bluedorn/9780974531533/pd/531533?event=CFCER1 The Thinking Toolbox http://www.christianbook.com/thinking-toolbox-thirty-lessons-reasoning-skills/nathaniel-bluedorn/9780974531519/pd/531510?event=CFCER1 Anyone used any of these???
  21. No idea, but I would love to know as well!! My two sons will be in 7th and 8th next year and as a philosophy major myself, I would love to introduce them to logic... hopefully something fun and lighthearted, but effective at teaching basic concepts.
  22. Does anyone know what gaps there are, if any, in Teaching Textbooks 7 that I may need to fill in for my son to do well on the 7th grade CAT in the Spring? TIA! Tara
  23. Love her, but I don't know how she remains composed while MY blood pressure is rising and sometimes I even feel like crying (yes, sad but true). She reads every. word. so. slow-ly. And. dis-jointed. from. the. rest. of. the. story. Combine that with a super slow pace and a million mistakes and sometimes I wonder if there is any point to making her practice. It's one of those days. I do think she is probably dyslexic. Sigh. But dyslexic or not, she needs to learn to read. My son was slow in 1st and 2nd grade as well, even though I worked with him a ton, and then sometime in 3rd grade began to finally "get it". His dyslexia is more apparent in his abysmal spelling nowadays; not as much with the reading. I'm hoping it will turn out the same with my daughter, but it's so incredibly frustrating. She will sound out a word and then it will reappear in the same very short story 4 times and each of the 3 subsequent times she sees it, she will sit there and stare at it or say a nonsense word that makes no sense. She cannot tell the difference between a b and a d while reading, so it's just trial and error (is that abnormal at age 8? She'll be 9 in Feb). Anyone care to hit me over the head with just how behind she actually is? I'm thinking at least one year behind the "norm". Right now she is reading stories with sentences like "Pat and Nan made a card for Mrs. May. She is sick. Pat and Nan put blue ribbon on the card. It is not hard." We are using Catholic Heritage Curricula's Little Stories for Little Folks and I think the program is fine. (I doubt switching is going to help anything, but FYI.) Just so frustrated. I wanted to get her caught up (or at least make some headway) this summer, before we start school again full-time in the fall, but that dream was fading before my bulging eyes as I listened to half a story and couldn't take it anymore. Thanks for "listening".
  24. Any "big ones" or favorites I should look at? I never realized how useful these could be! I think I want to go the "customizable lesson plan template" route and there are a TON of options on pinterest, but I would like to fine one that is created FOR homeschoolers. I would like a pretty, modern looking one that I can stand to look at every day that meets my needs (the basics like yearly calendar, monthly calendar, 2 page view for looking at a week and plugging in lessons, etc. "Goals" sheet and meal planner would be bonus.) Suggestions?
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