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Everything posted by karensk

  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!
  16. ...and I work at a store that sells used curricula, which includes all three (plus, I have friends who have enjoyed using both MFW and SL for a number of years). Based on the stated grade levels, SL generally has the most challenging, higher level books for your kids' ages. Plus, SL will most likely have your kids (elementary-aged) reading a larger quantity than either MFW or TOG. At the high school level, TOG and SL might be more even in terms of challenging reading, perhaps with SL containing more modern works of lit and TOG more ancient/medieval works (but both at a high level). At the high school level, TOG will be more of a classical approach compared to SL, which follows a more standard scope and sequence. Another thing for your kids' grade levels: MFW and SL will both be pretty ready to use; TOG will require more prep time, where you'll need to decide which books and activities to use/not use, whereas you'll do pretty much all of what MFW and SL tell you to do. MFW v. SL (for your grade levels): - MFW will have more hands-on activities to go with the history; SL's history will be done primarily through read-alouds, discussion, and independent reading. - Both will have hands-on stuff for science. - SL will have considerably more read-alouds and a lot more scheduled independent reading. MFW has supplementary books listed in the curriculum that go in the book basket, but I don't believe these are scheduled out for you, day-by-day, as is the case with Sonlight. Looking at the lit in the SL kit v. the lit in the MFW kit, it seems that SL has greater quantity and higher level literature selections. If you opted for MFW, you may want to add in some lit selections from the SL catalog. HTH!
  17. I generally prefer the VP guides over the Progeny Press lit guides. The questions in the VP guides seem more straightforward, more about reading comprehension, whereas the PP guides contain many open-ended questions plus looking up Bible verses/passages. So it's a matter of preference, really. I used the the VP Narnia guide for several of the Narnia books. I didn't assign every single question as written work, though. We skipped some questions or did some orally. The VP guides have some activities and games, too. So, if you're looking for some basic recall and reading comprehension questions (with answers in the back) and some activities, the VP guide will probably be a good option for that age group. If you want more thought-provoking questions, you may want to take a look at the Narnia guides by Christian Novel Studies. Or, even better, use a list of socratic-style questions to create your own discussion! I actually like doing a little of both -- the VP format for written work and the socratic format for discussion. Back when we did the Narnia books, I didn't know how to come up with my own discussion questions, so the CNS guides were helpful. HTH!
  18. For pre-algebra, which ds did in 7th grade: PM-6A & 6B, first half of NEM-1, Chalkdust PreAlgebra (skipping stuff that was review)
  19. If the stress level is causing things like headaches and stomach aches to a kindergartner, I would most likely withdraw the child from that situation. You do have power, but if the teacher ends up reluctantly/unwillingly accomodating your child, it still may not be a better atmosphere for your daughter. Can you get a read on how receptive the teacher is to you and to changing the way she does things? Two years ago, I started working at a local homeschool store and have loved every minute of it. But I've been astounded at the number of parents who have had to withdraw their children from school and start homeschooling them due to issues like yours. I meet new homeschoolers with these situations nearly every week these days. Hope things get better for your daughter quickly.
  20. I used R&S-5 for ds, who had had a light grammar background and is generally strong in academics, at the beginning of his 5th grade year. We worked slowly through it, but the first several weeks' worth of lessons were quite challenging for him...finding the subject, the predicate, the sentence skeleton, etc. I felt that those sections were more for students who had already learned those things in R&S-4; it felt a bit confusing to him for the first month or two, I think. But it got better. Plus, I learned to do most of the lessons orally. He finished the book near the end of his 6th grade year, which was totally fine with me. FLL-3 and FLL-4 are accelerated IMO, delivering a lot of content in a more kid-friendly way. The grammar lessons in FLL-3 are usually 5-15 min. per lesson, 2-3 lessons per week (we skipped all the poetry and narration lessons, doing only the grammar and a bit of copywork). The ones on FLL-4 are a bit longer...10-25 min. per lesson, 2-3 lessons per week. The entire lesson is done with the parent, so you won't need to grade any papers later and he won't have to correct anything later. You simply correct him as needed while he writes during the lesson time. I felt that FLL-3 did an excellent job of explaining the linking verb, predicate adjective, predicate nominative thing, which I had never understood before. Since FLL is scripted, it tells you in a very step-by-step manner how to guide the student in finding the verb, the subject, etc. FLL-3 & 4 didn't come out until ds was too old for them, unfortunately. But I'm very glad my daughter used these programs! The numbers 3 and 4 on the books might be a problem for some older students who don't want to use something that looks like it's for 3rd/4th graders. But really, the content in FLL-3 & 4 is well beyond what most schools are teaching in the middle school grades. I haven't heard of any school where the 3rd graders memorize definitions such as "a noun is the name of a person, place, thing or idea" and "a verb is a word that does an action, shows a state of being, links two words together, or helps another verb," all the be verbs, all the helping verbs, pronouns, forty prepositions in alphabetical order, and plenty more. Since your ds is in a phase where some things aren't clicking as smoothly as usual, you may want to opt for the easier levels of programs so he can have a sense of accomplishment/success at the front end. HTH!
  21. Sites I've ordered from over the years: timberdoodle sonlight peacehill press singaporemath.com adoremus books hewitt homeschooling tapestry of grace christianbooks.com amazon
  22. ...maybe as part of 3rd grade language arts. We skipped the spelling lessons and most of the grammar instruction, since we were using Spelling Workout and FLL. I liked the lit and poetry units in LLATL-Orange, and we did do all the copywork/dictation lessons. It worked fine for us, but then the sentences in the grammar lessons of FLL weren't coordinated with the lit units. If you were to use FLL with LLATL, you might opt to skip the narrations and poetry in FLL, using it only for grammar, and then create your own narration lessons based on the LLATL lit unit. Also, I believe LLATL-Red and Blue are set up differently than subsequent levels because of the phonics instruction and so might not be adjusted as easily as Orange. In summary... lit/poetry units: LLATL-Orange copywork/dictation: LLATL-Orange vocabulary: LLATL-Orange grammar: FLL-3 spelling: Spelling Workout HTH!
  23. I haven't looked closely at the Essential Math books. I believe they could be used instead of the Textbook/Activity Book combination, as a cheaper alternative. The pages are black-and-white instead of color, making the price much lower. I haven't done a side-by-side comparison of the Essential Math and Earlybird, to see how their exercises compared. My guess is that they're pretty similar as far as concepts and teaching approaches.
  24. Have you looked at Learning Language Arts Through Literature? The grammar and spelling instruction is correlated with the literature assignments, which includes several whole books. However, the grammar and spelling content are quite light, IMO. From the ones I've seen, the grammar instruction in integrated language arts programs is lighter and less thorough than that in separate grammar programs. I haven't seen any integrated programs at the elementary levels that have the students memorize the definitions of the parts of speech, the list of be verbs, the list of helping verbs, the list of pronouns, and more.
  25. The Textbook is softcover non-consumable, and the Activity Book is a workbook for the student to write in and includes cut-&-paste activities. I believe the two books were designed to go together, where you do a lesson together in the Textbook and then do a corresponding exercise in the Activity Book. HTH!
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