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Jen Becker

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    Central Florida
  1. We just got back test results for my (9.5yo, 4th grade) daughter that show that she's far more gifted than we had thought. She's not the type who pushes herself -- she's bright and quick, and it's clicking now that all of elementary school (except math) has really been a review of things she already knew. But she never asked for more, she was happy to just get her (easy) work done quickly and go off to play. Well, now that I'm realizing how advanced she actually is under there, I'm thinking of effectively skipping 5th grade (except for math) and moving into middle-school, logic-stage work. But this is all new to me -- I hadn't even started thinking about 6th grade. We school heavily over the summer (because we live in Florida and it's too hot to be outside), so I need to start doing some heavy research. What would you suggest I look at? Some of the topics I'm considering are formal logic; word roots; Greek, Roman, or American history; anatomy; and economics.
  2. Yes, we're having him tested for ASD soon (he would likely be high-functioning Asperger's), so it's not unlikely that he might have some underlying struggle. But we're having a very hard time fighting with insurance, so I'm hoping to find things to do at home. I've effectively dropped formal handwriting (I ask him to draw for a couple of minutes some days), because he was just so bad, I could tell he needed something earlier than HWoT.
  3. I'm looking for recommendations for something to help a kindergarten boy who struggles with writing. His fine-motor is fine (he's great with Lego and model-building), but pencil control is very hard for him (he never draws or colors by choice, and cannot stay within lines). I'd like to back off of formal handwriting (we've been using Handwriting Without Tears pre-K and K) and retreat to something with basic pencil skills.
  4. I'd like recommendations for a writing curriculum for 3rd/4th grade. We used Writing Strands level 3 this year, which I thought was ok but not fabulous. I would like less emphasis on creative writing and more on nonfiction writing, reports, etc. Writing is not something she enjoys, so something with more engagement or broken into smaller pieces would be good. Thank you!
  5. Forgive me, I'm not quite sure where to put this topic. If it would be better suited elsewhere, I'm happy to move it. I am homeschooling my two children, DD8 and DS5. They're both bright and ahead, but not off-the-charts academically "gifted". My son has always had quirks. We shrugged them off for years, said things like "If he didn't [make eye contact, display emotional empathy, etc], we'd totally think he was on the spectrum." As he's getting older, his "quirks" are separating him more and more from his peers. I'm trying to decide whether to have him testing for ASD/Asperger's or Gifted, to have an idea of how to approach things with him and possibly to have access to more resources (our state provides financial help if they have an ASD diagnosis). But I'm kind of lost. My husband and I both went through gifted testing in school (and were pulled out for the program), but I don't know how things work these days. Do I have to choose one and have him formally "tested"? Can I see someone and have them evaluate him for both? Or maybe this is not outside the realm of "normalcy"? My daughter is the typical high-achieving good girl, so maybe it's just compared to her that I'm seeing his difficulties as abnormal? His quirks: - Obsessions/perseverances (As a toddler and preschooler, this was space, to the point where he would give friends tours around Kennedy Space Center at the age of 3 and 4. Parents in the homeschool co-op not-so-jokingly suggested he teach a space class. Now it's Minecraft, and he seemingly CAN'T talk about anything else. Seriously 90%+ of the sentences he utters in a day are about Minecraft.) - Can't play with peers because he's too rigid (Trying to play x-wing/tie fighter with another boy, and my son was in tears because the boy wanted his tie fighter to have shields, but my son has read in books that they aren't equipped with shields.) - Fixation on justice/following rules (He dislikes magicians because he sees them as "lying" to the audience.) - This has gotten better in the last 6 months, but he can get "stuck" at the end of a word or sentence and repeat it over and over ("I built this Lego star fighter-fighter-fighter-fighter.......") - Can't handle time stress (countdowns, timers) - Difficulty transitioning away when he's involved in something - Some noise sensitivity - Some anxiety - Lots of wiggling/movement (can't even sit down through dinner) - Well below average in writing - But he's friendly and engaged with older kids and adults, learns quickly, reads well above grade level, make connections, and asks interesting questions
  6. We're on our second year with it (we did level C in second grade, we've just started level D). It works very well with my daughter's style. She pretty much taught herself to read, we never did any deep phonics or sound studies, so this helps her be cognizant of those things within words. She definitely uses her chunks when writing words outside of the spelling program. I like that it emphasizes speling by what "looks right" -- it's how I think, and seems to be how my daughter thinks. The repetitive nature of the week's work hasn't been a problem for us, as the sentences vary slightly each day (as you move through the passage). She does like level D a bit less than C, though, because the content isn't as engaging (last year was animals, this year is American history).
  7. If so, what do you do to fundraise? We're a really informal group currently, mostly park playdates, but I'd love for the kids to have experience in working to raise money, set goals, etc. Thanks! - jen
  8. I have a 7 yo DD who is moving into second grade. We've spent about a year doing BFSU vol 1 and are coming up to the end of it. We're a very science/techy family, so we cover a lot of science in daily life as well. I don't want to move into BFSU vol 2 until 3rd, so I'm trying to decide what to do with this "gap year". I currently own both Intellego Astronomy and RSO Life Science, so either of those is an option. I'm also considering just doing random experiments/life observations and relating them back to BFSU's topics to solidify that foundation. What are your recommendations?
  9. We're about to finish RightStart A, and I'm thinking of taking a break before RightStart B but working in some playful math. I was thinking of ordering the RightStart math card games book and using a logic puzzles book we have. But I'm looking for more suggestions. I've heard of Anno's Math Games; has anyone used that? Or Family Math? Any others? Thanks!
  10. Hello! I have a nearly-kindergarten daughter who has made leaps and bounds in her reading abilities, and I'm having a hard time finding good books for her. She's reading around a grade 2 level if I look at the level of books that she does easily. For instance, she loves but blows through Frog and Toad. When she read Flat Stanley (rated at grade 4), she needed an adult nearby for the more difficult words. Little House chapter books she can manage only with someone sitting next to her giving her lots of help. I'm having trouble finding readers that fall in between there -- manageable enough that she isn't constantly calling an adult for word help, but LONG enough to keep her going for a while! Thanks in advance!
  11. I just finished a session of Algorithms though this site (taught by a Stanford prof). If anyone has any questions, I'd be happy to answer them! The basics, though -- Although it took a while for our class to start, we rolled along well during it. Until the 5th (last) week.... then some of the lectures were a couple days delayed, and so was the final exam. Assignment deadlines got pushed back by a week. The format for this class was 2-3 hours of required video lectures a week, with occasional (non-graded) quizes interspersed so you could check that you understood as the lecture progressed. There were some optional videos as well -- either to bring you up to speed in a sub-area if needed or to add additional content beyond the typical scope of the class. Each week there was a multiple-choice problem set (worth 8 points) and a programming assignment (worth 6 points). These were quite challenging. But you had multiple chances to attempt each (between 2 and 5, depending), and the best score was what counted. The final exam was 30 multiple choice questions. This makes a total of 100 points; 70 or more earns a certificate of completion. There were forums that you could go to to ask questions of fellow students, and the professor and TAs would occasionally chime in as well. I was able to keep up with the class, but it definitely required effort on my part. I dedicated a couple hours most evenings to it for 5 weeks. But I did earn the certificate at the end!!! :D I was very pleased with the whole experience and definitely recommend the class that I took.
  12. We bought the teacher's manual, workbook, and slate. I used the template in the TM to make craft foam pieces to build the letters, but we didn't use them very much. I really did like the slate, though.
  13. We do "PJ homeschool". My 2 year old doesn't nap anymore, so we couldn't find any homeschool time during the day. My kids used to go to bed at the same time, but I knew my 4 year old laid in bed for a while waiting to fall asleep. So I started doing their bath/night stuff, putting my 2 year old to bed, and then doing 30-40 minutes of homeschool with my older. She gets a kick out of it!
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