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Julie in Monterey

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Everything posted by Julie in Monterey

  1. I am always so impressed and touched at the generosity of this community! Thank you for taking time to answer my query. My kids are 7 and 10. We've been to several of the sites but hadn't thought of so, so many of the recommendations. Geez, 3 months doesn't seem like it's enough time. We'll be living in Boston and venturing out as much as we can while getting some seat work done. Keep those ideas coming! Thank you! Thank you! Julie in Monterey
  2. We have the awesome opportunity to live in Boston, MA for three months this fall (mid Sept-mid Dec). We currently live in Monterey, CA. Over the years we've spent a considerable time in Boston and Washington, DC. We were also able to make it to Colonial Williamsburg/ Yorktown for home school week one year. Other than those locations, I would love, love, love any recommendations. I think the girls and I would be able to venture as far south as Norfolk, VA as we have friends to stay with there. We are open to camping, museums, farms....really anything. This community has always provided such great information and suggestions, I thought why not ask the hive?!? Thanks in advance for any advice! Also, it would be fun to hook up with other homeschool folks along the way if anyone was open to that. Julie in Monterey
  3. Our neighbors used to have a trampoline that my kids were invited anytime they were home (or not). They since have gotten rid of theirs (it was rusted and not safe any longer). Now we have the trampoline and their kids have the same deal at our house. All kids are respectful of the others yard and property. I think it is a great way to build a safe and healthy community.
  4. The great thing is you have many resources to pull from. The not so great thing is you *could* get bogged down in curriculum and end up frustrated by not getting through it all. I used Phonics Pathways for my oldest dd and it was dry but effective. My 2nd dd used and still uses Explode the Code. I love this series. It's silly and includes reading, writing, comprehension and phonics. It is important to note that I used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 lessons before beginning with ETC. TYCR in 100 EL looks difficult and strange but was well worth the read on my part and got dd 2 off and ready quickly and painlessly. You could very well use ETC with your 3rd grader to solidify her phonics and they higher level books (ETC 7, 8 and Beyond the Code) include reading comprehension. Writing with Ease has valuable exercises and is well worth your time each day. If you keep up with it daily it can be valuable. I would ditch FLL for your 3rd grader and go with Easy Grammar. It only works on Grammar and is easy. Again, keep up with it daily or just pull from it as you find your dd's weaknesses during Writing With Ease. We are about to begin our 5th year using Story of the World (ready to begin our 2nd cycle of starting at the Ancients again). If you use this properly (additional reading and activity guide) you don't really need an additional Geography curriculum. They include mapwork and geography within Story of the World. FWIW, I don't do many activities in the activity guide, mostly the cooking and mapwork but we do all of the additional reading that our library carries. Everyone approaches the activity guide differently. You have to decide what feels right for you and your kids. We've never done formal spelling. ETC covers spelling rules and I do have Spelling Power that I pull from every so often to assess their spelling levels (they increase every year without a formal spelling program). I do watch for spelling pattern errors and keep these words in a notebook and have dd's work on those words if they come up time and time again in their writing. I like FIAR for the kids when they were younger. I used this as more of a guide than following step by step. In terms of literature. If you will use SOTW all the way through, you'll find that it touches on major classic literature in their reading lists. Over the past 4 years, my daughter has read an impressive amount of what you would consider classic literature through her history study. I love this. It doesn't feel like another subject and it gives those stories a time period to link them to. I don't have any experience with the vocabulary programs you mentioned but we do add in Wordly Wise in 3rd grade. My oldest dd loves it and uses the vocab all the time in her everyday conversation. Again, easy to pull out every day. My upcoming 5th grader has been independent in using it since the 2nd half of 3rd grade. I can't speak for the other math programs. We've uses Singapore for 5 years now and love it. I would try to use the same for each of your girls as it's easier for the instructor. Draw Write Now is fun and easy for your child to pull out. Your oldest could even "teach" your youngest a few drawings using the book as her guide. Have fun and try not to pack too much in. I'm saying this from experience. There are so many incredible resources out there for home schoolers. It is just so darn hard to choose. Whenever we start to struggle in our studies, I take a step back and see if I'm trying to cover too much. Often that is the case and the kids are picking up on my frustration. Enjoy! I hope something here helps. Julie in Monterey
  5. Ditto on eating the peel if organic. No peel if not organic.
  6. Take the time off and let him enjoy and explore math. He is certainly on the right track. He is a good 2 years ahead in math so he won't fall behind. At this point, you want to foster that love of math. That needs to be more important than rapid acceleration. You need to decide if you want to keep going further or go into more depth. Sounds like currently you are taking the depth route. Going in depth can be very stimulating for a gifted child. Trust your instincts. Julie in Monterey
  7. How about spending some time playing math games with her to solidify some math skills, take the pressure off and to have fun. We love Games for Math by Peggy Kaye for great ideas for homemade math games. Julie in Monterey
  8. I would wait. Your time spent each day working on the mechanics of handwriting is time well spent. Pick a handwriting program and stick with it. This work will pay off for years and years. It isn't fair to do copy work if you also must work on handwriting at the same time. Also, unless your child is a strong independent reader, he/she won't benefit as much as waiting until 1st grade to begin. Phonics, phonics, phonics and read, read, read to your child. There will be plenty of time to work on curriculum in the upcoming years. If you have extra time, your little one will enjoy more art and hands on activities/outings. Julie in Monterey
  9. We've downloaded all four year's of the CD's to our IPOD's. They are a perfect compliment to the spines. I wouldn't just use the CD but as a compliment. All members of our family enjoy them (grown-ups included) Julie in Monterey
  10. We are in our fifth year of homeschooling and we still take it child by child, year by year. I'm not saying we don't think about the future but we do really try to focus on the present. Your time will be well spent researching what philosophy you like. The first couple of years homeschooling, I spent a lot of time reading general education type books. In fact, I'm currently reading Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire. I've cut and pasted part of an email I recently posted on a local homeschool board; """" My feeling is that Kinder is better spent investigating all those great places and people in our community..visit the local bakery, florist, grocery, fire station, the SPCA. Go to farms, the beach and learn more about what grandparents and great-grandparents lived like. Visit old school houses, the airport and take lots and lots of walks into nature. Read, read, read to your child. Read nature stories, fables, fairy tales and books about math and science concepts. If you do a search on Stuart Murphy you'll find all kinds of math based picture books.You can introduce so many topics through beautiful picture books. This web page has awesome reading lists that coincide with math concepts; http://sci.tamucc.edu/~eyoung/literature.html . For a reading list on the topic of Water Conservation and Water science; http://www.ci.phoenix.az.us/WATER/books.html For children's literature with Environmental Themes; http://teachers.net/archive/envirobks.html I'm sure this is way more than you wanted, but hey it's nice to share the research...makes it more worth it. I have really enjoyed my copy of Earth 2000: Earth Science for Young Children. It is filled with wonderful ideas to use for many years with incredible reading lists on all topics related to Earth Science. You can find it on Amazon; http://www.amazon.com/Earth-Child-2000-Teachers-Guide/dp/1571780548/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1271922136&sr=1-2 If you haven't read, Don't Move the Muffin Tins; A Hands Off Guide for the Young Child by Bev Bos, it's worth a read. . Also, a great resource is Storytelling with Children by Nancy Mellon. I've enjoyed the storytelling book as a parent and used many concepts time and time again over the years. Lastly, the book Awakening Your Child's Natural Genius; Enhancing Curiosity, Creativity, and Learning Ability by Thomas Armstrong is a great book to read and reference as a teacher. The New Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trealease is good to have in your home library."""" For our family, homeschooling has become more of a way of life rather than just curriculum. Vacations have become wonderful hands on learning experiences...for ALL of us! Someone wise here, once said, "work backwards" meaning figure out your desired end result and then break it down how you will get there. For us, my husband and I sat down (and still do a couple times a year) and brainstorm about what we wanted for our family. We want inquisitive, fun, confident, risk taking, thoughtful, caring, athletic, and hard working kids. We want them to not be afraid to say they don't know or don't understand but to also be resourceful as how to ask for help and where to find it. We want them to be able to make connections, be meaningful members of our community and to be lifelong learners. I guess I'm saying, don't forget to look at the big picture. Are you homeschooling to have your kids do traditional school at home or will you teach fundamentals while getting out and experiencing their community, state, country, world? It of course evolves over time. Just food for thought. Enjoy the journey! Julie in Monterey
  11. Singapore! We've been using it for 5 years. Both girls have thrived using it.
  12. We've used REAL science for kids-Chemistry and now Physics this year. I've liked them both and so have my kids. Julie in Montery
  13. We love Games for Math, by Peggy Kaye. I'm always recommending it on these boards, especially for younger kids. I loan my copy out to my ps friends as well. Don't worry about multi-digit math this year, this is first grade. Games for memorizing math facts will go a long way. Often when my kids say, "NO MORE MATH!", I say, "okay fine, how about some math games?", kids, "YEAH!" Enjoy your first grader and toss the workbooks for now or at least tuck them away into a cupboard! Julie in Monterey
  14. Lovely to read about all these kids who are enjoying writing. Thanks for sharing! Julie in Monterey
  15. How exciting. It sounds like your little one is loving learning right now. You'll want to keep that up. I always recommend this author; Peggy Kaye. She has written a great series of books for this age child; Games for Reading Games for Writing Games for Math Each book has great ideas to facilitate and carryover reading, writing and math skills through playing games. They are easy to create yourself and a great way to "do school" and have it not feel like school. The target age group is about pre-K to 3rd grade so they cover a variety of skill sets. If you little one can read already, a fun series to start with is Explode the Code. They are silly and fun but include reading, writing, recall, matching. We started with book 1 and my 1st grader is currently on book 7. I know when we finish this series (book 8), she'll have a firm grasp on spelling rules and has good reading comprehension. One of the mistakes I made with my older child (now 4th), is that I didn't focus enough on writing skills as in handwriting and because she picked up reading so easily, I stopped teaching phonics at a certain level (it seemed silly). I didn't do that with my second and it's payed off. They have so many years ahead of them to do schoolwork, just try to keep it light and fun. My biggest goal with each of my girls was to have them to proficient readers by the start of first grade (a Well Trained Mind goal). This has paid off, they both were/are able to read for content beginning in first grade. You can find all kinds of literature based picture books (even though they might be able to read chapter books..picture books are lovely and important) on all kinds of topics. Stuart Murphy has a series of books called Math Start that covers all kinds of math topics. There are all kinds of literature based books on for example; what it is like to be a certain animal or the cycle of the sun. Lots and lots of library books to be enjoyed together was the meat of our kinder year which went along with lots and lots of snuggle time. Don't forget having all kinds of art supplies on hand and accessible as well as all kinds of music in the background. At that age, for history/geography we had a world and United States map on the wall and the same as a placemat for meals as well as puzzles. You'll be amazing what a US puzzle can teach (especially if they are reading). Keep up the awesome work mom! Julie in Monterey
  16. Any advice for my girlfriend? She has recently brought her 3 kiddos home from school. They are in 4th, 2nd, and K. She is still a bit overwhelmed and could use some sound advice from the hive...especially from those that have "been there, done that." Some background...she was happy with the school, teachers but missed her kids. No bad public school experience. Any input would be appreciated. I'm hard pressed in providing any usable tips as I've always homeschooled mine and I'm guessing some of her issues stem from pulling them out of school and the major adjustments stemming from that. Thank you in advance! Julie in Monterey
  17. Thank you everyone. I appreciate all of your responses. I think whomever brought up the point about the difficulties when pulling kids out of school and the transition time that requires hit it dead on. I think I'll do some research on those threads. You all are treasures! Julie in Monterey
  18. Hi there, I have a friend who recently decided to pull her 3 children out of school after the holiday break. She is struggling with the adjustment of having them home together full-time, figuring out their academic styles and needs and generally finding time for herself. I've told her about the boards here and how I've found so much strength and wisdom here. Frankly, she's too overwhelmed to spend the time to get on and go through old posts. So...I'm wondering if you could share when, where and what provides you will joy and and enjoyment of homeschooling your children. I'm not pretending it isn't hard, but I thought a bit of inspiration could go a long way. I'll start,....I love our mornings. A slow start to the day with snuggles in bed. No rushing out of the house with a hectic start of the day. I also love learning along with my kids..witnessing those "ah-ha" moments they have. Field trips and hand-on experiences like visiting that old schoolhouse instead of reading about it are at the top of my list. Allowing them time and space to go at their own rate if that means progressing rapidly or slowly. I love, love, love being with them (most of the time). This time is so short in all of our lives and they are fun kids. How about you? I'll be printing the responses to share with her. Thank you in advance! Julie in Monterey
  19. You might consider picking a camp that feels right for your family/ children and go to their family camp this year. Often campers end their camp experience with a week that their family joins them. This may be a perfect way for you to become comfortable with the camp and your dc may be able to make a few connections to the next year. Enjoy the camp experience, it can be life changing. If you have boys and want an only boys overnight camp experience that will impact your child into adulthood, check out; http://www.campnebagamon.com The owner of the camp went there as a child and now owns and runs the camp. It is a magical place. Many of the kids that went there get together for family camp up to 50 years later. Let us know what you decide...for the curious minds. Julie in Monterey
  20. My goal is to have everything figured out by the end of February. I order the next years curriculum before the end of the current school year so we can slowly ease into over the summer. So far, I'm sticking with SOTW, Singapore, R.E.A.L. Science for Kids, Rosetta Stone Spanish, Wordly Wise, Artistic Pursuits and D'Nealian handwriting workbooks. I'll be adding in Megawords for both kids and really need to ponder and figure out Grammar (we currently use Easy Grammar and First Language Lessons). I do get all scrambled up doing school this year but thinking ahead for next year. Julie in Monterey
  21. I know you are asking for advice but it does seem that you already know what to do and somehow need permission to do that....cuddle, read, read, cuddle, play games, cook, take walks. I get the pressure that you are putting on yourself. I understand it. I feel it myself at times...even when I know it is best to drop the pen and paper stuff and get back to WHY we homeschool. We do it for many reasons but one of them is to treasure our family time. We get to be together and enjoy one another's company. So.. I say, trust yourself and give your family some breathing room. One poster had a great idea about enriching the environment and having educational items/tasks available. Stage a reading corner and stock it with a stack of new books each morning, set up some board games, cook with your kids. Pull out sketch or art books and have them out and available for the kids. You are sure to find the joy again. To me, it is the most important. Enjoy those kiddos and give yourself a HUGE break! Perhaps do a "soft start" in a couple of weeks with just the basics..math, language and slooooooooowly work in more as all of you can handle. Hugs to you and your family! Julie in Monterey
  22. M.A. in Communication Disorders. Although, I haven't worked full time for pay since my muchkins were born, I do feel I put the knowledge to good use each and every day with my kids. I think I'm a much better teacher because of my education and training. Also, I believe I'm a much more engaged citizen as well. When I do return to the workforce, I believe I'll be heading in another direction...my past career as a Speech-Language Pathologist is too heavy in the care taking category, I'm hoping for something along the lines of public policy. Great thread! Julie in Monterey
  23. If you eat whole foods and not packaged foods, your grocery bill will significantly reduce. No chips, soda, lemonade, granola bars, boxed cereal, etc. Stick to soups, a crockpot of beans, rice, pasta with veggies, salad, baked potatoes. Try checking out a whole foods cookbook at the library. Good luck! Julie in Monterey
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