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Everything posted by KAR120C

  1. What I would do is buy the pinata, skip the party bags, and make the cake. Just because making the pinata is messy (and I find them irritating to make, although I don't doubt that there's a chance you'll really enjoy it) and takes more time than making the cake, and at least around here a bought pinata will be cheaper than a bought cake. And you wouldn't believe how much difference a homemade cake makes! Not even a fancy one, just one with actual butter in it -- Mmmm! Mmmm! Mmmm! ;)
  2. I think all of Duke's summer programs are for 7th and up though.... We're close to Duke here, and I still go through Northwestern for DS because it's easier and because there aren't any particular Duke programs that he's missing out on yet. I'm sure we'll switch at some point -- and definitely before 7th!
  3. We're using the older version (Interactive Science) that was just discontinued, but assuming it's similar.... NEM 2 math would match up with Interactive 2 (ISfIM B) as both are for 8th grade, although there's nothing wrong with starting with Interactive 1 (A) -- they don't match so closely that you have to do the math and science together or anything... I think you could go either way. We bought the practical books and most of the experiments were actually fine. A couple were going to be expensive, or were too much for whatever reason and we either skipped them or replaced them. There are two places I've grabbed replacement experiments from -- Le Boom du Jour (out of print, but available used -- good chemistry experiments and mostly home-friendly) and TOPS Science task card books. The TOPS Solutions book came in handy, and I think Oxidation was another... Also there were a couple places in Interactive 1 that called for equipment or chemicals that were (IMO) not really necessary... like data loggers instead of regular thermometers, or hydrochloric acid just to turn litmus paper red (when vinegar does fine for that). We just did them the old fashioned and/or easy way and there wasn't any problem. Everything else it has called for has been reasonable... some of the physics apparatus in the second year book might be a bit much if you didn't think you'd use it again, but it's put to good use. I think I'll be getting it when we're at that point. Hope this helps!
  4. The professional we found for our "quirky" DS at about that age was an educational psychologist. He actually specialized in LDs much more than G/T issues, but he knew his stuff in any case and was spot on about all kinds of things. He did do an IQ test and an assessment of his visual-motor abilities, and he just chatted with him for a while too, played with Legos, etc. Some of his recommendation came from the testing and some from the chatting and all of them were very helpful. In our case it turned out that the quirks were more personality than anything, some of them transient, and only one of them requiring intervention (speech therapy), but I think it would have been a good starting place in any case (and not as expensive as I would have thought!) If you call a psychologist of some kind (I'd go with a recommendation from someone local if you can get one), and explain your concerns, they should be able to tell you whether they can help and how.
  5. This one goes to eleven! ROTFLOL!!!!! What... that doesn't count?? :p
  6. I don't know a ton about it, but they let you take the Explore (out of level -- it's an 8th grade test) after you've been in the program a year, and I think there's a newsletter and maybe some independent study materials you can buy from them. As of 7th or 8th grade there are a bunch of weekend and summer courses that look really neat! I hope someone else has more experience to share.... :)
  7. For DS it pretty much boils down to his being really hard to challenge. He just seems to rise to any occasion, which while it's great and all, makes my job more difficult! LOL We do a ridiculous amount of work, at a ridiculously high level, and still there are days when he doesn't even seem to bat an eye. Of course there are days when he can't find his own nose, but I think that's the age... LOL
  8. We've been very happy with the Orion Dobsonian-mount reflectors. Ours is a six-inch, which is medium in price and size (4.5 inch is probably fine too, and cheaper... bigger is much more expensive but shows a lot more things, too). We got ours "plain" which means no computer, no motor, etc. Kind of old fashioned, but it's not hard to aim yourself with a little practice. The best things about the Dobsonian mount are that it is really REALLY stable. No jiggling at all. It's also very kid-friendly because it's so low to the ground you don't have to worry too much about it being knocked over. (I mean you don't want to test that too thoroughly, but it's much less nervewracking to have kids around it than around a tall teetering tripod!) It's very easy to move smoothly, and easy to focus. And because it's in two big pieces it's easy to put in the car (we have a padded bag) and easy to put back together, even in the dark. :) The six inch is sufficient to see some of the double stars clearly and to see the moons of Jupiter (very VERY impressive by the way, especially if you just read about Galileo!). I've seen much more with the ten-inch telescopes that they use at the local university's astronomy viewing nights, but there's no way I could afford one myself and I've been quite happy with what we can see with the six inch. Hope this helps!!!
  9. This is what I do too... I find it easier to use the higher level materials and then just deal with tweaking the output myself rather than trying to aim for the middle.
  10. I've not actually looked into it very far, but the little I've heard hasn't been tempting. It probably varies from group to group, but what I've heard about the ones around here sounds like a social club with a bit of intellectual snobbishness... which wouldn't be my cup of tea at all! The way I understand it, my entire high school (gifted magnet) would qualify, and while it was an excellent thing in high school to be surrounded by kids who mostly took their studies seriously, especially compared to the situation I would have been in at the regular neighborhood school, I'm actually more impressed with the serious attitude of the kids in our very diverse homeschool group... so I don't feel like we need to seek out another bunch to hang out with iykwim.
  11. I think this is exactly what would happen with DS, which is why I've not hurried to get past the American Revolution (as tired as I am of it! LOL) -- I do think we'll be stuck in the 1700s for another year! I'm not sure how we'll approach modern tragedy when we get there... Maybe he'll be old enough by then that it won't be too bad but then again it still affects ME and I'm 35... and really it's not that I want him to be dulled to it either... *sigh* One thought I had was that it might be an interesting take on it all to approach some of it through satire. There's a whole bunch of British humor that addresses the two world wars in a really angry, sarcastic, but also hysterically funny way. I know for me at least it's a way to face the real horror of it all without completely breaking down. I don't think you can avoid the serious history forever of course, but it could be one way of dipping your toes in without drowning.
  12. I think I'm usually the dissenting voice on these threads... lol We did start DS early (not super super early, but depending on the school he would probably have missed the cutoff), AND he was doing kindergarten work before that year anyway... And we've skipped him another year since then. I think what I'd generally suggest is that if you can get away with it, don't bother calling it kindergarten even if it's kindergarten work. If it gets completely ridiculous to keep pretending that she's working at any one grade level, then feel free to change. I think you have to take each year as it comes -- you may find that it's easier to explain to your kids that they work on different levels at different times and that because you can plan for just exactly what they each need, you don't have to follow a grade level that changes every September like public schools. That means that if they're done early they can keep going and if they need extra time they can have it. The other thing is that I don't really stick with a single grade level for everything. He tests as a 4th grader, he participates in the science fair as a 4th grader, but he attends Sunday school as a 3rd grader and the public library book group as a "homeschooler" (with no grade designation) in the 1st-3rd grade group. That book group is ridiculously easy reading, but it's fun and his friends are in it and who cares if he's reading Amelia Bedelia there and Macbeth at home? And then when one of his friends at dance class asked me what grade he was in I just said we didn't do grade levels quite the same way as public schools did, because I didn't think she really wanted to know academic levels, just whether he was about her age or not. So anyway short answer is I wouldn't call it kindergarten if you don't have to, but I'm not opposed to grade skipping on principle -- I'd just wait a bit to see how it's going to fall out first.
  13. I don't think we're subscribed to any particular definition -- just "ahead". So if you have a 7 year old who would normally be working on 1st or 2nd grade materials, but is working on materials that are harder than that (reading at a higher level, doing more complicated math), then that would be accelerated. I think you'll find on this board that a) we're not too hung up on the technicalities ;) and b) our kids may be a little ahead, a lot ahead, or all-over-the-place-level-wise. And of course a kid who is ahead in one thing could easily still be average or behind in another. If you want the technicalities, there's an excellent website at www.hoagiesgifted.com with more discussion than one person could read in a year LOL But that's "giftedness" (in an "IQ" sense) rather than "acceleration" (in a "what are you working on" sense)
  14. You know... one thing that really helped DS with math facts was using an abacus. There are curricula for learning on a Japanese abacus (soroban) but we just jumped in headfirst with a couple online resources. I made an abacus for grocery shopping with pipe cleaners for rods, and from then on out, DS's job was to keep track of the bill as we shopped. He started out counting up everything (EVERYTHING! ugh!!) but quickly learned some of the straightforward stuff like +9 is +10-1 and +8 is +10-2.... and that soon translated back into written math too. I'm sure he still counts up sometimes, but he's quiet about it and his speed is such that it doesn't interfere with his work or frustrate him excessively. For that matter - I still count up sometimes, so it doesn't worry me too much as long as he's efficient about it. Another thing you could look for is Fingermath, which is basically an abacus of your hands. Again it doesn't necessarily prevent counting up, but it makes it very efficient. :)
  15. How old is the DD reading Father Brown? I was considering that for DS but someone had said it was extremely dense reading and better to wait.... and I've not had a chance to see for myself yet, although I'm 90% sure I read it when I was a teenager... millions of years ago.... :cool:
  16. Every year we go to a local Chinese restaurant that has a celebration with lion dancers. It's a TON of fun, and really extra-memorable for the kids. You could ask around or call some local restaurants to see if anyone around you had something similar going on...
  17. On his own he's re-reading the 3rd Harry Potter book and contemplating reading the 4th (he put it down as "too scary" last time he tried it). With book group he's reading Macbeth, with plenty of acting it out and discussing and whatnot... and he just finished Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate, which was excellent but very sad in parts, since it's about a Sudanese refugee. And he's about to start Alice in Wonderland.
  18. This is what we've ended up doing too! In fact I had to check your location to make sure you weren't someone I knew (LOL) -- I did a chemistry camp last summer! The way we've arranged it so far is that one mom will host, one will teach, one will supply some materials, one will bring snacks, etc. So it all kind of evens out. I usually volunteer to teach because I enjoy it and because it always ends up being something I wouldn't have done on my own because I wouldn't want to spend all that on materials... but shared with another mom (or volunteered by someone who would rather supply than take on the teaching!) we all feel like we're getting more than we're giving. ;) I'm plotting a partly-overnight camp actually... I hadn't really thought about it before, but DS is a tiny bit too young for a regular sleepaway camp without us, but would probably love to go camping with his friends and a few of their parents. And I signed myself up for a workshop for teachers to learn about marine biology which would be super SUPER cool as a beach camping weekend! We could spend four days preparing and then the weekend camping at the beach and using what we learned!
  19. Hello hello! I was "erica" on the old boards but KAR1200 in various other places so for continuity's sake I switched! (and since we have to be logged in here, the only hope for my remembering all my logins is to have some duplication! :p ) I homeschool my one darling 8 year old boy and have since the start whenever that was. He's working at an almost-solid 7th grade level in most things, although his writing is slow (good, but slow) and his spelling is only just barely age appropriate. And we're not planning to finish all the 7th grade work this year, so we might just be camped out at this level for a while! We use a TON of different things, enjoying the variety and taking full advantage of there being no hurry to get through any one of them... I'll just list: Science: Singapore Interactive 1 New Scientist magazine First Lego League (fall) Science Fair (winter) Dissection/ Biology club Cooking club Physics class Math: NEM 1 Gelfand Algebra Zome Geometry Euclid (with a study guide by Benno Artmann - extremely helpful!!) Martin Gardner puzzle books History/ Geography: Story of the World 3 History of US (3 I think... can't remember... whichever has the American Revolution) Oxford Teaching Guides to the History of US for discussion questions and essay prompts History Pockets American Revolution Behemoth geography project that will almost certainly take us until graduation to finish (lots of writing, lots of maps, continent by continent and region by region within each. We've been on Africa for a year now.) Literature/Language Arts: Lightning Lit & Comp 7 Local book group of 8-12 year olds Megawords Spelling Turbo-twist Spelling (anything for extra practice!) Sentence diagramming (McGraw Hill workbook) Evan Moor Daily Paragraph Editing workbook Language: Minimus Secundus (co-op) Lingua Latina (home) Spanish with a reader, Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur Russian cursive handwriting (in preparation for adding Russian language in a bit) I mentioned our menu system on another thread -- these are all our choices, but they don't get done all at once. Basically we do an hour of each (science, math, history, lit/comp, language) and DS chooses what is done in each hour from the list. Although I should admit that when the science fair deadline is only two days away and it's not quite done yet and book group is meeting this afternoon, sometimes it works out to four hours of science and one hour of lit/comp and everything else can wait for next week! LOL
  20. Yep! That's almost precisely what I do with DS, and that's exactly what I call it!! LOL
  21. We're trying Lingua Latina too, and DS is doing Minimus Secundus with our co-op.
  22. Sounds great!! I don't remember now if I posted this before, but we've been doing something a little similar. I give DS the framework of how much time he needs to spend on everything, and a menu of options. He gets to pick anything on that menu. So for math he has a good half dozen choices and whichever he's in the mood for is fine with me, but it's got to be an hour's worth. He likes having the choice and I like knowing that he got a solid block done! :)
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