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About bakpak

  • Birthday February 12

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Blacksburg, VA, USA
  • Interests
    Birding, learning languages (Spanish, Portuguese, French), playing music, reading, and enjoying my daughter!

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  • Biography
    Learning to balance a full professional life with my family life
  • Location
    Blacksburg, VA, USA
  • Interests
    Birding, languages, music, reading, & enjoying my daughter!
  • Occupation
    Avian ecologist & conservationist
  1. You're looking for lists of frequent used words, not sight words. Sight words are usually words that are hard to sound out because they don't fit the most common rules. As decoding doesn't seem to be the issue I would just work on vocab instead :) pick a topic and have fun with it (colors, animals, fruit, calendar, family, numbers). Read simple, repetitive books together. She will pick up more vocab that way - the most frequently used words tend to be less interesting (lo, que, para, en, de, y) and she will learn those better in context down the road.
  2. In one of my zoology courses in undergrad this book was assigned reading: https://www.amazon.com/HOLLOWS-PEEPERS-HIGHLANDERS-APPALACHIAN-MOUNTAIN/dp/0937058866 . It's more geeky popular literature, but it was great as we had to write a similarly styled piece for our 'research' paper that year. It was very helpful as a scientist to write for a non-academic audience! Food for thought for a class for slightly older kids at some point :)
  3. Thank you so much Quark for keeping this up to date. It is a wonderful resource! <3 Congrats to your son on his acceptance to uni!
  4. I signed DD7 up for Astronaut Camp at the VA Beach/Langley Air & Space Museum (know nothing about it but it's bound to be awesome, right?). Still waiting to see if she gets in, then will figure out where we're staying (camping?). She's been wanting to check out Jamestown/Williamsburg so we'll probably combine the trip. I've never been to the Great Dismal Swamp, so I'll have fun exploring every day she's in camp. We live in VA, but it's on the other side of the state. Intensive Ballet Camp Spanish Camp Youth Strings Camp - her violin teacher invited her last year, but she was intimidated at hanging with all the older students. Funny she's not intimidated in dance classes where most kids are 2-5 years older than her, just for violin. I hope the group playing makes it more fun for her...she's in a bit of a slump with violin at the moment (she's code-named it 'sewer water' - haha!). I want to travel somewhere fun this summer....still to be determined. Canada? Arizona/Utah? Europe? So many choices :) I won free tickets to the Charlotte, NC White Water Rafting Center so that's on our plate too! Plus friends want to join us for rafting in the New River Gorge area of WV. Hopefully we can squeeze in lots of camping and smaller trips. It's so hard to do all the fun things when you're sharing custody :(
  5. My DD7 has loved the friends sets, but this set of fairy tale and historic figurines have been most awesome (mermaids, wizards, knights, etc) supplement for open-ended play: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0085Y3GCW/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 We have both a blue 'boy' and the pink 'girl' junior suitcase sets of legos (both gifts) and those have also been a little more open ended compared to building one single thing type of set, especially as they got mixed in together fairly quickly. We just keep adding more pieces to the suitcase as they're good for holding more pieces. We got those when she was 5 I think. She's attracted to the impressive and visually appealing Elves sets right now.
  6. My DD keeps ending up in the nurse's office lately. She loves the nurse and I suspect she is mostly just wanting some individual adult attention. She even took a nap in the nurse's office the other day, surprisingly. Her art teacher had sent her to the nurse when she complained about her face and head hurting badly (sinuses I think); her regular teacher had just blown her off earlier, much to DD's irritation. And no, they never called or emailed me about it - I certainly would have picked her up! Yeah, I don't see my daughter being too independent with school work right now. She is fairly independent with entertaining herself however. I finally spoke to my ex at length this week and he's on board with the HS'ing if we can sort out the details. Maybe that will motivate him in his local job search. To be continued....
  7. I could possibly afford some help occasionally, but I would need to figure that out. I would rather the money go towards additional music or dance lessons, taking a class, or a trip somewhere awesome. I never use babysitters now, but I realize that might have to change a bit if I'm homeschooling. I wish I could convince my mom to move closer. She wants to move, but to be near my brother :p
  8. Yes, thanks. I know I will need some dedicated work days every week without child in tow. And I'm not too worried about the schooling part either, as she's ahead a few years in everything, learns quickly, fills her own head with content without any prompting from me, and I already have tons of resources and she's used to afterschooling some with me. I'm not necessarily thinking 'homeschool until college' either. Right now I'm just taking her where she is (ok, and where she's been for years) and wanting to do what's best for her right now. I'm still waiting to see if things improve a bit this spring at school, but I am not holding my breath. I could probably try to schedule some play dates with her classmates too...that might help her relationship with her classmates. So much will depend on my ex and what his work schedule will look like. His schedule is the biggest unknown...he would be supportive of homeschooling if we can make it work. It's hard....I have so many fun, wonderful ideas of how I'd love to school my child, and I have always assumed 'I can't make it happen' as it's not how everyone else does it and RL gets in the way. I'm trying to think differently than usual, push past my fears and follow my dreams in this regard. I am too logical to just jump right in to HSing and working full time without careful evaluation of the facts and steps I'd need to take, but I also recognize that I've been partially impaired by societal expectations in the past, and if it's something that I want this badly I should make a concerted effort to try to make it happen instead of just mooning over it. I've now been in my job for 4 years, and assuming nothing dastardly happens from Congress and my funding source remains steady (pretty good chance given strong bipartisan support for 30 years), I know what to expect from the work side of things, my work load, my commitments, and no big surprises there. It's an amazingly flexible job and I'm well respected by my boss, our management board, and my colleagues across North America, so if feels like a good time to try something like this that might be a bit risky. If it doesn't work out, it is easy enough to put her back in public school at any time and return to status quo. I really appreciate the feedback I've gotten from folks. I don't shy away from challenges and I recognize that this could be a big challenge for me to pull off, but hopefully if I do my homework ahead of time and improve my own efficiencies, I have a shot at making it work. To me, it is better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all... Cheers!
  9. Thanks everyone. It was good to hear some more perspectives and some ideas for making it work from the trenches. She was home for 3 days last week with a fever and I thought 'ack!' as she was pretty needy and it was harder for me to work. I knew it wasn't a good picture though as she was ill. Today we were home for a snow day and she has self-entertained all day with some focused one-on-one time from me. I did bring it up with my ex and we agreed we'd need to think about it some more and much will depend on his job situation. I'm not planning on yanking her just yet - I'm still planning to see how things go this summer. She can read hours by herself when reading novels or a topic of interest and as an only child she does pretty well self-entertaining with play and crafts.
  10. And yes, DD's papa does enjoy spending more time with her when he can. They do lots of outdoor activities together and he involves her in cooking and building and providing her with lots of positive opportunities (just not extremely social with other folks). He often takes her to see live music and gets her in to see live shows at the local Arts center frequently. And he's been letting her have some screen time lately, so she's getting her math fix through Prodigy occasionally at his house. He supports her practicing violin at his house as well.
  11. I could reduce travel some, but actually love most of my meetings as I work with an amazing group of dedicated ornithologists across the hemisphere and they're my tribe :) But I was brainstorming that having some teenage help at times might prove useful; especially a responsible HS teen who wouldn't mind traveling with us occasionally. I do go to some awesome places and we usually pick fun natural areas to meet. Yeah, I wish I could convince my mom to move closer. Maybe I'll work on that :) If she felt needed she just might!
  12. Thanks everyone. All good feedback and good questions. I am not 100% sure HSing will work, but I feel like she's lost in the system and it's never been a great fit for her. She's been asking to HS for a couple of years. She often works best by jumping ahead to a more challenging topic and then filling in the blanks, a style no school has never let her do. Spiral drives her crazy. I have after-schooled her a bit off and on for years, so I'm somewhat familiar with her personality regarding distractability and work ethic. I think those 2 things would require more supervision than some for sure. I don't imagine I would be off working nonstop without lots of checking on her and possibly even working beside her a lot. She's been present for many conference calls and that is no problem for her - she's off reading or entertaining herself. As an only child she does need lots of close snuggle time, but also self-entertains really well for long periods of time. Actually I love conference calls at home, because I can often be sweeping or doing laundry or something mindless while I'm focusing on the conversation (busy hands). I do have flexibility and often am up working a few hours before she wakes up, or I can put in some time on weekends. I really have a ton of flexibility in my job. I don't imagine my boss would say no we couldn't try it, especially if I give it a shot this summer and let him know how it works out. He might be cautious about it, but really doesn't meddle in my work AT ALL. He trusts me to get my work done and make good decisions. You're right....figuring out child care while her papa is working would probably fall on my shoulders more. I'd have to think about how much I could afford - it surely wouldn't cost as much as Montessori school! He's actually not always working during the week when she's at school....so it's hard to predict where he'd be in the fall. I'll discuss with him the next time I see him. You're also right about the number of hours she's with me...it could be a bit of a drain on my energy levels. In general I love spending more time with her; I suspect I I would likely be more open to some child care for personal things than I currently am, as I am often trying to maximize the amount of time she is with me (given custody issues) and don't want to miss out on an evening with her because I want to go to a meditation group or join a choir or .... In some ways I think it would FREE me up so I'm not always rushing around wasting time heading to/from school, packing lunches for school, getting her/us ready in the mornings. It sounds like more quality time for work/family/school compared to the current scenario. I could take her in to work for awhile when I need to. Plenty of space and I can close my door. Traveling with me is a bit dicier for many meetings....we tend to be full throttle the entire day for multiple days, talking shop through meals as well. But as I said, I log tons of hours on those few work days, freeing up lots of other time in other weeks.
  13. Hi folks, In general when I've seen this topic mentioned I have only heard nay-saying. Can't be done. Can't imagine it happening. I'm wondering if this is still valid or if I am remembering incorrectly. I have 1 DD, 7.5 who is trying out PS for the first time (2nd grade). I knew it was a long shot to be a good fit, and I know so much depends on an individual teacher, but neither I nor my DD are happy with the situation so far. She had been in a Montessori school for years before that, and in general the Montessori approach was a great fit but again it comes down to the individual teachers and practices at a given school, and I decided I needed to save for retirement instead of paying for more private school that I wasn't entirely happy with anyway. DD7 has always loved learning (and still does) and has always been an accelerated learner, but has grown to hate school over the past year. She is so disheartened about being heard, being challenged, and learning ANYTHING new. In general, while she doesn't enjoy it, she seems to have learned to deal with school noise and chaos. She is making friends okay at school, but nothing to write home about. They are scheduled to assess her for the GT program in late Feb (I turned in forms last MAY!!), so I can't comment on that yet. It may prove slightly better to have an extra advocate and the weekly pullout, plus more differentiation in class. She's already sort of grouped with the GT kids (all boisterous boys) so that has helped some, but not a great fit due to personalities. She doesn't even like music class, as it's so basic and they only do percussion instruments and rhythms that it drives her nuts. Anyway, I've been mulling over homeschooling for years and years, but because I was in grad school, and then got my dream job, and now I am divorced so need to work full-time, I haven't taken the plunge. Before I was worried about getting my work done sufficiently while simultaneously watching and educating her. I am still feeling cautious, but she has seemed to have matured so much in the last 2 months with the recent growth spurt, that I am thinking about HSing again. I am not 100% my boss will go for it, but he's aware of her struggles & my desire to HS, I already work from home a lot and have an extremely flexible schedule. I also only have to work 35 hrs/week. I do travel for work quite a bit, but my ex always watches her then anyway, and we have shared custody. There are issues there to work out with his job(s), but he is supposed to have 50% custody; obviously I need to chat with him more about logistics. I suspect in general he's probably not going to spend too much time directly HS'ing academic subjects (maybe some math & science), but would be pretty good with RL learning experiences to supplement. So, my question is, can you see this happening while I work full time? She can be needy, but that's been lessening. Our relationship had been a bit rocky, but that too has improved by leaps and bounds recently. She asks me daily to learn new things, but is simultaneously wiped out from being at school all day and needs lots of down time to recover, so I've avoided too much after-schooling in recent years. After about 10 days of free time over the winter holiday she was pulling out MCT, math, history and science on her own and asking for homeschooling. My Current Plan: Right now I'm thinking about trying out homeschooling again this summer (while working) and see how it goes. If nothing else we could work harder to get a teacher who is a better fit in 3rd at PS and then reassess after a month or two. I know I can pull her out any time. I need to find out what my ex's work situation will be (he rarely knows - sigh). And then finally if I'm serious about it, I need to figure out a solid plan for keeping up with my work. I'm also not on top of knowing about secular co-ops in my areas, so that's another thing I could work on in the meantime - I've poked around a bit and haven't come up with too much. Or maybe I could trade piano lessons for some child care by someone with a similar-aged child. FYI I mostly have an office job. I am on conference calls a lot, some of which I run. Otherwise I'm on the computer much of the time reviewing documents, data, writing, corresponding, organizing, coordinating. And then I end up traveling out-of-state about once a month for 2-7 days, when I actually rack up a lot of work hours for the month. And in May/June I log in at least 2 weeks of outdoor field work where I could take her with me. So given some of this info, does this sound doable? Any thing else I'm obviously missing? I am imagining spending about 3 hrs a day with a 3rd grader homeschooling. Is this a good estimate? Sorry if you think this should have been an another board, but I know you guys really get the intensity of ALs. She's not as extreme as some, but it is much higher than an average child. Thanks!
  14. My very sensitive 7 y.o. just enjoyed Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke. Fun fantasy/magic/knights; graded 5.7 level reading but without excessive violence or angst. It was nice to have a spunky female character who is kind and brave, but quirky compared to a 'typical female' character. Probably a great read-a-loud for multiple ages and genders.
  15. Good luck with the eval results....I hope those help. I have to KEEP reminding myself that emotionally DD7 is often about 2 years behind emotionally and with most executive function skills. It's so hard to see these academically advanced kids act emotionally mature sometimes because we then expect them to keep it up all the time. My DD7 recently asked to go back to counseling (she had gone during our separation) and has even asked to go see the school counselor as well. She knows she struggles with effectively managing her emotions and is starting to self-advocate, which is good, but it also makes me sad that she's feeling a bit lost already. Often I find that my sensitive child is more overwhelmed by life when I am. It can be very subtle, and the self-reflection is hard, but often when I find a more grounded peaceful place for myself my daughter's behavior miraculously improves. Then as life slowly gets more hectic and chaotic, I spiral down, and that's when my daughter struggles the most (and I struggle the most with her!). So, offering this gently, but how are you doing these days? Hopefully this isn't too off-topic, but as I'm heading full throttle into (early) perimenopause, having crazy hormonal swings, and reflecting on the depression I suffered from starting by 4th grade at least, and probably earlier (2nd I'm guessing - hmmmmm), I'm wondering how much of my daughter's emotional swings are hormonal. I recently read 'The Female Brain' (awesome!) and hadn't realized so much is going on hormonally with all children, but especially girls, before puberty. I think of how sensitive I am to drugs, how sensitive I am to my body's own drugs (hormones, pregnancy), and wondering if my daughter is caught in this chemical-sensitivity trap already. I recently started taking some mild peri-menopausal herbal supplements and WOW they are awesome. I went off of them for a few days to make sure they weren't the source of my headaches (nope) and I spiraled down emotionally so fast it gave me whiplash. Anyway, I'm guessing you see my point, that maybe we are turning a blind eye to a potential physiological sensitivity that our children have to their own hormonal fluctuations, which are compounded by their emotional sensitivities. If my DD were 3-5 years older hormones would be my first thought, but with my 5-, 6-, 7-yr old, they hadn't really crossed my mind before I read that book and was reminded by my body how much more complicated they can make everyday life. I haven't done it yet, but will probably start researching mild herbal supplements for preteens and see if that's something that helps my DD7 feel more stable. Any suggestions are welcome (PM if you'd rather)!
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