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LaxMom

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  1. that you should look into a fine motor or other cause before deciding it's a disciplinary issue. There is different muscle coordination in writing than other arm/hand/finger activities; I have very legible handwriting, but had to practice typing a great deal to learn to hit the keys properly, and coordinating my fingers on a piano keyboard is a whole different discussion. So, yes, there may be a processing disconnect or simply that, because it is difficult, he has been resistant and because he has written as little as possible, the muscle coordination memory is simply not there, as it is with those of us who have written in long hand for most of our lives. Maybe approaching the exercise in the same way as piano warm-ups would be helpful? Yes, you are writing (playing) something, but it is the process and form that matter in the warm-up exercises. He is, after all, only 11, and may lack the maturity to come to the idea on his own that it is the process, rather than finishing, that is the point. Most of us are well into adulthood before we learn to enjoy the journey as much as the destination. ;)
  2. Mine started at 6 and, while she is not terribly shy, she developed some sort of performance anxiety before her first lesson. Fortunately, we have a very easy-going piano teacher, who is silly and fun. Once Bailey actually understood that none of us expected her to already know how to play, she loosened up and was fine. I would look for a teacher who really just wants the kids to learn the joy of playing, rather than one who is highly accomplished in their own right. Not that our teacher isn't an entirely competent pianist... we drive 20 miles each way to go to her, rather than walk the two blocks to the scary, compulsive concert pianist who also teaches, though.
  3. I would agree with what Lori listed for elementary grammar. However, I think diagramming is excellent (yes, there is a copy of Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog in my car to amuse me on rides). As a very visual learner, the diagrams made it much easier for me to understand the relationships between words, particularly with descriptors that aren't in the "regular" (Article adjective noun verb noun) sequence. We started the 4-year history cycle at year one, in first grade. My daughter would have been 5 at that point.
  4. Here's the breakdown: I bought the pdf version and downloaded the audio to my laptop. Our color printer was on the fritz and in my husband's car from multiple trips to Circuit City to be fixed (which is a rant that possibly contains vocabulary not fit for these boards or polite society) so I decided to upload it to FedEx-Kinkos and have it printed. (It doesn't work in black and white because of the artwork and some of the shading in the lessons) About 12 lessons into the upload, I was at $140, discounted. And that was straight two-sided printing. Ideally, you would want to futz with the printing so you can divide the lessons into their various notebook sections, so straight double-sided doesn't exactly work out. If you have a color printer and printing the like pages in groups will not drive you insane (or you're ok with single sided printing, or you just decide to dispense with keeping them in different notebook sections), the pdf files are very cost effective. All told, we're probably looking at a $65 investment, including printing and burning an audio disk. If you have to have it printed and Kinkos or Staples is your only option, it's probably more cost effective to get the bound version. In my opinion, the CD package isn't worth the $24 difference. Disks are cheap (you can burn a backup disk and audio disk from the downloads) and you still have to print the book. Does that help at all?
  5. Probably no more so than French teachers using the delightful song "Alouette", about plucking a lark bit by bit. (I learned it as a child - my family is French - but never even noticed the translation until recently.) Have you considered using the downloadable font "Ecolier Ligne" from this site? http://ressources.ecole.free.fr/outils/polices.htm#graphisme It appears to supply the lines, and I wonder if you could just use underscores to create blanks. Edited to add: duh, I just looked at our Spencerian Penmanship practice books - Copybook 3 would probably work for you. It's a similar style penmanship (particularly the formation of the lowercase p), though italicized.
  6. We're using Spencerian Penmanship for cursive this year. There's nothing fluffy, just stroke and letter formation practice, originally intended for professional men. This is simplified Spencerian - no fountain pen or flourishes. I am not a fan of the giant, fat, loopy method we were taught in school and was looking for something that approximates my handwriting for my 7 year old. You can also find the now out-of-print Palmer workbooks all over the place online and Evan-Moor's Daily Penmanship (Traditional) is fairly Palmer-esque. It's funny how often I see huge, contentious debates on whether handwriting should be taught - when I was looking for a handwriting program for script, most of what I found was pleas from teens and adults who wanted to improve their awful handwriting.
  7. Ditto. We have an 1898 concert upright that is "normally" tuned (meaning it sounds like any other piano I know). It plays beautifully. I know there can be significant structural issues with antique pianos that make it imperative to have one professionally evaluated before you purchase, but if yours is in good working order, I can't imagine why the tuner is taking exception. Did he then offer to sell you a new one? Or buy yours? And I also agree, pianos have soul. I have trouble "connecting" to shiny black ones. We bought ours from the grand daughter of the original owner (well, more precisely, the child for whom it was purchased). It has lived all over the country and has been played by four generations before coming to live with us. Good energy. :thumbup1:
  8. I use Homeschool Tracker to do something like you described. I created a "lesson plan schedule" reflecting our general week at a glance, added lesson plans for each subject, then submitted the lesson plans (using the schedule) to the assignment grid for each child. There's a nice preview feature that lets you look at the assignments it has generated before you commit, which can help alert you to any issues (like the realization that, at 5 days/week, we would finish third grade grammar in January) and make adjustments to the schedule. Then, I'll just print out the daily assignments for the next month or so, and stick it in a notebook. I'm not sure if the lesson plan feature is available in the free "Basic" version.
  9. And have since first grade (our 4th math program). There is plenty of material; I don't think we have ever done every page of a book. We don't test, just get to the place where my 7 year old has mastered the topic, then we move on to the next topic or book. We're getting ready to start third grade and are halfway through Multiplication 1. (mainly because we've been dragging our feet through memorizing the tables) I can't imagine that there is that much meat in the shapes department - how many basic shapes could there be that kids haven't picked up well before first grade? :confused:
  10. Oh, good. I was actually returning to edit - first, GWG also has diagramming, which I've always found helpful (it starts in 3rd grade and is part of the natural flow, not a unit in itself). Also, I don't want to imply that I don't think writing is valuable; my 7 year old writes in the course of her studies. I just don't think critical analysis of a 7 year old's writing (picking apart passive/active voice, demanding conventions be followed, etc) serves a great purpose in the context of grammar, other than causing anxiety and possibly overshadowing the learning of the mechanics.
  11. I haven't used SF, but we do use GWG and it's the first grammar program we've actually completed, let alone ordered for the next year. Looking at the 2nd grade SF samples online, I'd say they are fairly similar in style and, in general what they cover. SF covers more style related writing topics, particularly writing for tests, whereas GWG covers homonyms, synonyms, antonyms, dictionary use and writing a friendly letter. GWG has two pages per lesson, three lessons per topic. In the 2nd grade there are 95 lessons, plus three review lessons at the end of each topic (i.e. verbs). There is no test prep, presumably because the Tamela Davis, the author, was writing for a homeschool audience. I really have no idea who would expect a second grader to write the pieces SF has, or be cognizant of active/passive voice, or using a scoring rubric to determine whether an author's writing is good. Frankly, those exercises (minus the scoring rubric) were the focus of English 101 in college, and can certainly be addressed much further down the educational career than early elementary school, with kids at an age where holding the pencil and putting something legible and fairly accurately spelled is a challenge. (we will ignore for the moment the rest of the rant about how the grammar stage is for soaking up the rules, not honing self-expression :D) I would say that GWG is the gentler approach, and I think it covers more. Aside from my jumping up and down, did that help at all? Peace, Angela
  12. Thanks! I was wondering if I should do 20-30 minutes a few times a week or a shorter period 5 days a week. (and for the life of me, I can't remember if I had Latin every day when I took it in high school... my mind, like Swiss cheese!) It seems like the few times a week will drag it out to the place where I'm belaboring the point. My plan is to do one lesson over two weeks, since there is a lot of content. That should take us out to 32 weeks. On a completely unrelated topic, Alane, can I ask how you like 100 Easy Lessons? I ordered it to use with my 4-year-olds, but it hasn't arrived yet. Their pre-K schedule is next on my to-do list.
  13. Try Googling "lighting gel". They're available from a whole slew of places, in rolls or sheets. :)
  14. We do, using Homeschool Tracker +. You can populate the book information with their ISBN lookup feature, which makes it really easy, either as a resource (part of your curriculum) or under the student reading log. At the end of the year, we just print out the list to include it in our year-end review.
  15. Hi! I've lurked here on the boards for a while, and have found great resources and tips. Thanks, everyone! I had to actually register, though, because I am polishing my lesson plan schedule for our school year and the one item I have left is Latin. We will be using Lively Latin (found right here and exactly what I was looking for) and I'm just not sure how to incorporate it into our schedule; three days / week? Five? Right now, our week looks something like: Grammar: Growing With Grammar, 4 days Handwriting: Spencerian, 5 days Spelling: ??, 4 days Math: Mammoth Math Mult/Div, 4 days History: SOTW 3, 4 days French: First Start French, 5 days Science: Living Learning Books Chemistry, 2 days Reading: ad hoc (we read books, what we're doing and how we schedule it depends on the book itself) We also have piano lessons on Tuesday mornings and our homeschool co-op will begin meeting on Friday mornings in September. There are also a monthly book club and art classes to be scheduled in at some point. So, I'm wondering... for those who use Lively Latin, how do YOU schedule it? Thanks!
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