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    hanging out w/friends, reading, cooking, walking, pilates, volunteering, playing the piano
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  1. The best way to teach the mental math concepts in Singapore Math, IMO, is to do the suggested games and activities in the mental math sections of the Home Instructor Guides. Have you already tried any of those? We played a variety of mental math games using a couple of 10-sided dice.
  2. We did dd's 3rd grade grammar using FLL3 side by side on her bed, each with our book. It took 10-15 per day, 2-3 days per week. She said she loved grammar, but I always thought she really just liked the one-on-one time with mommy. :)
  3. Son Baylor Univ. - Honors College: University Scholars Program; President's Gold Scholarship Univ. of Richmond - Presidential Scholarship Texas A&M - Honors College
  4. Not sure if it counts here, because ds is graduating from a private school, not homeschool.... But he was homeschooled from preK through 7th grade!! I know it made a huge difference! Anyway, he got into 3 of 4 schools: Baylor Univ - University Scholars program Texas A&M - Honors Univ of Richmond [not: Davidson College] He's headed to Baylor in the fall. :)
  5. When we used SM, we used the following: - PM Textbook (US Ed.) - PM Workbook (US Ed.) - Home Instructor Guide - this was indispensible, as I needed to learn the SM math approach, esp. with word problems; also, I loved having various activities/games to go with each topic. - Intensive Practice - completed 80-90% of this - Challenging Word Problems - completed about 50% of this I owned but only intermittently used the Extra Practice book. You should have plenty of problem sets with the Intensive Practice. Before purchasing, you'll want to give your child the placement test at singaporemath.com. Their numbering system doesn't quite line up with U.S. grade levels, as their birthday cut-off dates are different than ours. The Textbook and Workbook are at a medium level of difficulty, not too different than regular American-style math programs. However, in the Intensive Practice and Challenging Word Problems series, about half of the problems are similar in difficulty to the Textbook/Workbook, and the other half are more like gifted/talented puzzle-y complex math problems. These are what make SM unique and fun, IMO! HTH!
  6. WWE 2 is rather advanced for a 2nd grader, especially the dictation selections, IMO. It sounds like your 2nd grader is in good shape for his grade, since he generally writes well. If you took a month or two break from WWE, perhaps when you pick it back up again, the dication will go more smoothly. If not, you might consider skipping some of the dictation lessons, doing them just once a week to avoid burnout. Shortening the dictation passage may be another way to continue working on that skill without making him feel overwhelmed. I think that dictation is an important skill, especially for taking notes. However, it does not need to be mastered right away. You have years ahead of you to work on it. HTH!
  7. Since your oldest actually likes the grammar program you're using, could you continue to use it and just skip over the repetitive parts? Like if you know that they can recite all the helping verbs, don't have them do it again. If there is an exercise which reviews direct objects that they don't need, skip that, too, and so on. It's really a bonus if your child likes a grammar program, especially one that is so thorough and comprehensive in its content. I wouldn't recommend switching to something else, if you can tweak things a bit to make FLL work. HTH!
  8. We've used the MP (the D'Aulaires Greek Myths), VP (Narnia, Hobbit, several others) and Progeny Press (Bowditch and a few others) lit guides over the years. Generally, if I have to choose one brand, it would be VP. There is no separate teacher's guide to buy, as with MP, and there isn't as much work to do for each chapter, as with PP. The VP questions are pretty straight-forward, whereas the PP guides include a large number of thought-provoking, more open-ended questions, which can be frustrating for some students. If these are used in discussion instead of as writing assignments, that might help. IMO, PP tends to beat the book to death with too many questions and writing assignments, but you can easily have your kids skip some questions to make it a reasonable work load. The one MP guide I used with both kids --D'Aulaires' Greek Myths-- I did like. It had map work in addition to the usual vocabulary and reading comprehension questions. Plus the teacher's guide includes tests to give. This was fine for 5th/6th grades, but I wouldn't love using this with a 3rd grader. Also, MP has recently come out with guides to go with much more advanced lit, like The Divine Comedy and The City of God, which the other brands don't have. :)
  9. Horizons Pre-algebra and Algebra 1 are definitely both more robust than the LifePac ones. A homeschool dad I know had used Horizons 1-6 and then Saxon Algebra 1/2 & up with his first 6 kids, and is now using Horizons Algebra 1 with one of the younger kids (currently in 8th). It seems they are pretty comparable...both are honors-level, challenging courses with good explanations of math concepts, and both are spiral in their organization. The one thing Saxon has over Horizons (re. prealgebra & up) is the option to get video lectures on CD-ROM. But if your student is comfortable learning from the book's explanations, then either should be fine. Horizons is more colorful, too. So, no, you won't get the gappy LifePac product with the Horizons math series. :) HTH!
  10. Does your son do better reading silently v. reading aloud? Sometimes, I'll be reading aloud and not even remember what I've been reading, too. And as others have said, since he's enjoying reading on his own, that's a good indication he's understanding what he's reading and is engaging with it. Plus, what Merry said.... So, if the issue is more about the articulation of his thoughts, you might try asking him questions about things besides books, like movies or shows or plays. E.g., who was the movie about? What was he/she trying to do? What was your favorite part? Did you like how it ended? HTH!
  11. Have you looked into Horizons Math? It now goes up through Algebra 1. It's colorful, and the lessons are written to the student. Also, it's probably something like honors-level math. And whichever one you decide on, I'd recommend using Singapore Math's Intensive Practice series (maybe starting with 5A) as a resource for extra enrichment problems. It contains a large variety of problems that I'd consider to be gifted/talented level, more like puzzle-y math problems that don't require additional math skills but do require higher-level problem-solving skills. And if you wanted even more, try their Challenging Word Problems series, maybe starting with level 4. HTH!
  12. For place value cards, you could make them from index cards. I think I made 4 sizes: (1) smallest size: each card is numbered 0-9 (2) next size up: each card is numbered 10, 20, 30,...90 (3) next size up: each card is numbered 100, 200, 300,...900 (4) largest size: each card is numbered 1000, 2000, 3000,...9000 See the link for a picture: http://www.singaporemath.com/Place_Value_Strips_4_Digit_1_3_p/mnpvs-4d.htm For the scale, I recommend a balance scale in addition to your kitchen scale. I know some levels of Singapore had you use a balance scale to measure weights of objects by making it balance and also comparing the weight of things in the baskets. Here's the one we used... http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Resources-Baby-Bear-Balance/dp/B000P7MALK We also learned about different units of measure by doing activities like this: place a hotwheels car on one side of the balance and see how many paper clips it weighs, then see how many counting bears it weighs. I don't remember using "number cubes" at all though we did use the mathlink cubes occasionally. HTH!
  13. I believe the IP will be pretty easy to use with the Standards edition. Each IP has a table of contents with topics that should line up closely with the Standards of the same volume (PM-4A and IP-4A). I've done both...we did the IP topic as we worked on the same topic in the workbook. But I usually didn't try to complete the entire topic in IP that corresponded to the topic we were completing in the workbook. I'd save some for review, maybe a few weeks or months later. Having used Singapore Math since 2002, I feel that a huge chunk of its strength is in the unique and more complex problems found in the IP series and CWP series. HTH!
  14. For blending, I liked Phonics Pathways. I used a sticky-note to mark our place and move it along each day; we spent about 3-5 minutes per day, 5 days/week, sitting on the couch together. I also had Sonlight's LA-K, but didn't end up finishing it. It seemed easier and more efficient to use Phonics Pathways and then have the kids read aloud maybe a few lines or a page from an early reader (Hop on Pop, etc.). Still love the SL read-alouds, though. :)
  15. ...but it's not every single day, as in Horizons and Saxon (unless you add in the BJU Review Math workbook). BJU has a table of contents, with one topic per chapter. So if you want to flip to the chapter on fractions, you can do that. At the end of each chapter, there is a chapter review and then a cumulative review. Plus, if a student needs to work even more problems than the ones in the worktext, there's a Review book available (black & white); but many students don't need that much review. Saxon and Horizons won't have any fractions section, as the fraction problems will be sprinkled out throughout the entire book. So you can't flip to the section on fractions or whatever topic you need. A new concept is introduced in each daily lesson, with a small amount of problems on that new concept. The remainder of the daily lesson consists of review problems, usually 3 to 4 different topics of review per day. I haven't done a detailed side-by-side comparison of the 3 programs, but I'm pretty sure you'll end up covering the same stuff with any of them. I like how the BJU math comes with the colorful cardstock manipulatives, a cheaper alternative to the plastic ones. I'd be interested in knowing which one does a better job at introducing/explaining the base-ten system. HTH!
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