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Everything posted by OnACloudyDay

  1. This is pretty much how we've managed to use SL with 3 kids who are each 3 grades apart. The two years that were the easiest were the world history years. My oldest did Core G while we used Core B with the younger kids. My middle son did some of the readers from G but not all of them like his older brother did. My daughter did none of the harder readers. We did the same things with Core H/Core C. Also, for those two years, I read SOTW to all 3 kids and skipped the Core B/C history spine. The supplemental history books for those cores (Usborne, etc) were done separately so the kids got info on their own level. I think combining multi-age kids in a core is pretty easy when they are in elementary. Once they get a bit older (past core G/H) it is harder. But at that point they're much more independent so it works out fairly well to have the oldest working on their own. I think one of the strengths of SL is that you're able to adapt it to your needs. Don't feel you have to do every single activity or book. Try using all the books with your oldest and pick just some for the youngest. Give the youngest more time to work through a book while the older reads a couple. Generally, there are at least 2 books that cover each general topic/era of history so it isn't too hard to eliminate one of them. We don't use SL science or LA so I can't really speak to adapting those.
  2. I wouldn't say that we focus on working independently but it has just fallen into a pattern where all of mine do about 60% of their work independently. More on some days and less on others. :) My 12yo (7th grade) does math, spelling, literature, geography, and vocabulary on his own. We are doing Analytical Grammar this year so I go over the lesson with him and the previous day's work then he does the new assignment on his own. He's taking a science class this year so I'm not as involved in that. And we do Sonlight for history so I am heavily involved in the reading. I'm always nearby to help with questions from all the kids. I don't think it's that important to focus on working alone but I think it gradually begins to happen that way. Also, teaching 3 is impossible if I have to do actual lessons with all of them daily. And I've found that gradually getting them a bit more indpendent made the shift to high school work easier.
  3. Ditto! I can't imagine my life without Prime. I do wish I could share the Prime Kindle benefits with my family, though. Both my sons have Kindles now and I'd love for them to be able to get a free book each month. That would be a big improvement to prime, IMO.
  4. I did SL F with my boys when the older was in 6th (11yo) and the younger in 3rd (8yo). We were using the older version that had Eastern Hemisphere Explorer and I haven't used the revised version. We actually really enjoyed this core but there are definitely some books that have content that isn't appropriate for a younger child. I had them both do the work in the EHE but I allowed my younger son to abbreviate works and not use complete sentences. He just was unable to keep up with the volume of work. I carefully reviewed the read alouds and chose a few to skip because I thought the younger one wasn't ready for them. And there were some of the readers that I only had my older son read. I tried to find other books (some of them unrelated to the topic) for my younger son to read at the same time. It turned out to be a really good year but it did take a bit of modification. I would certainly say the amount of modifications I did were a small effort compared to doing 2 cores at once! The only time I've done 2 cores at the same time, I modified them as well. For instance, I didn't do all the read alouds but chose the ones I thought worked best for everyone and read them. The ones we didn't do, I gave to my older son to read on his own.
  5. We use Smart Start paper from Frog Street Press. I got it at our local school supply store but it's about the same price on Amazon. Occasionally my dd will draw on blank paper because she feels the drawing space won't be big enough for the picture. She doesn't really need the large writing lines anymore but we're still using up the pack of paper I bought. :)
  6. I can sympathize but can't offer a lot of help. Sorry. We're in the same situation. And it doesn't help that my oldest is easily distracted and s-l-o-w. The other two get done so much faster. The only thing I will say is that as my ds has gotten older, he's come to accept that he has more work and doesn't complain that much. But the youngers are whiny that they can't play games or watch tv until everyone is done. So they pester, "How much longer?" Ugh.
  7. Oops! Got that wrong! You can see how much I play with the ipad around here. :tongue_smilie:
  8. I agree, I think the younger kids (maybe 1st-5th?) do better with abridged versions. In elementary school, both my boys read abridged versions of books like Gulliver's Travels and Around the World in 80 Days. Now that they're older, their experience with those books is positive and they are excited about reading the "real" versions. I sometimes think that slogging through a lengthy unabridged version as a youngster can permanently turn kids off the classics.
  9. I don't think that mp3 files can be uploaded to an ipad. You have to get your music into the itunes format. So if you're specifically looking to use mp3 format, an ipad isn't the device you need. The Kindle Fire definitely does use the mp3 format. I haven't uploaded any music to mine but both my sons have them and quickly learned how to upload mp3 songs that were made from cds we ripped to the computer. BTW, my husband told me that Amazon is about to put a limit on the number of songs they'll let you have in your cloud without paying. He said he thinks it's either 250 or 350 songs.
  10. Agree with all the above answers! How to write in cursive and diagram sentences. ;)
  11. I've used them both (at different times) and generally, I'd say I prefer GWG. Even though my dd was quite young when we used FLL, she quickly found it to be too repetitive. We ended up skipping lessons because she'd give me the "again?!" face when we'd start the next lesson. :) She hates writing just like your son and I often didn't force the issue with GWG. I'd have her write the answers to part of the sheet and let her dictate the rest of the answers to me. I feel like she learned a good bit with GWG but I'm not sure how well it stuck. I guess we'll see when we begin grammar again in the next week or so. BTW, I don't think you'd call anything in AAS a "chant". It's more like just repeating a few phrases..."Every word has at least one vowel", "A vowel's first sound is short", etc. Once you feel they've learned those concepts, you move on and don't continue repeating them daily. Occasionally the lesson tells you to review previously learned key points but that's about it. I've used AAS with all 3 kids and none of them seemed annoyed by the key point memorization aspect.
  12. We are Christian and I feel that my kids get a lot of character building lessons from the things we do at church. In particular they get the desire to help those who are less fortunate than we are. I think developing that one core value is really a building block to many others. So I suggest trying to get your kids involved in some sort of project or mission that helps them learn that helping others is an important part of life. For really young kids, this could be as simple as collecting can tabs for the Ronald McDonald House. And I have another totally oddball suggestion but here it is: Choose some of the old tv shows and watch episodes with them. The one that springs to mind immediately for the elementary set is The Andy Griffith Show. I know this isn't a curriculum at all but I swear that watching it with my kids (all of us as a family) has been a great way to teach them so many values. There are lessons in telling the truth, being kind to others, not being judgmental, and so on. For middle school kids, I've found that The Waltons is a great show that teaches a lot of character lessons (plus Depression and WWII history! :) ). I know this suggestion is completely outside of the realm of character curriculum but it's a fun way to study character and values as a family. :)
  13. I just realized that my 9yo doesn't know how to spell our last name! Granted, it isn't the easiest name because it has both a silent 'h' and a silent 'e' but still! LOL! I guess not having to put her name on papers in school has created that gap. I can't say that she's terrific with our phone # and address too. I do know that it all works out over time, though. My oldest is in high school and he knows all the things my youngest seems to be failing to pick up...the patriotic stuff, telling time, etc.
  14. This was going to be my biggest advice! If you already understand that, you're halfway there. :) My first year of homeschooling, I bought the Lifepacs for History and Science. I was only homeschooling my oldest at the time and he was coming out of public school. I was overwhelmed and desperate just to have *something*. We both hated the Lifepacs with a passion (I know they have their place but they just weren't for us). The frugal side of me wanted to just stick with them since we had already started them. But my son was quickly starting to think homeschooling was no better than sitting in a classroom all day. So I started looking again and settled on Sonlight. It was the best decision I made that year. We are still using (and loving) Sonlight more than 5 years later. I agree with the others that if your son has mastered phonics, you don't need a reading program. Just keep him with a great book in his hands and he'll continue to progress. Also, IMO you don't necessarily need a science program for a 4th grader. Ask him what he's interested in learning...does he want to learn about the planets? does he wish he knew more about bugs? or plants? or weather? Take his passions and find great library books that you can read together. If you can find a few experiments to do or keep a nature journal or another hands-on activity, all the better! Have fun with science! The hardcore stuff will come soon enough.
  15. How funny...I'm hating the new format! :) We typically get behind, reschedule books, do them slower or faster than the schedule, etc. So having the notes integrated into the weekly schedule is pretty inconvenient. As far as I know, for all recent versions prior to 2012, the weekly schedule is a page or two with very few notes. But you go to the history, readers, and read aloud sections and pull the notes for each specific book you're reading. I usually keep the current week's schedule, and the notes for all the history books, reader, and read aloud in a smaller separate binder for easy use during the week. I change them out on Monday morning to the new week. I'm not sure about colored pages. I don't have any pages that aren't white.
  16. We didn't mount ours at all. We used to lay it on the table or floor (flat) but eventually found that it works better if it is standing up. Now we lean it against the front of the couch and sit on the floor. To be perfectly honest, though, we didn't mount it because we didn't have the wall space! If we did, I'd probably mount it at kid reachable height.
  17. We loved Core 5! My boys did it when they were in 6th & 3rd grades (11 & 8 years old). I made some adaptations for my younger since the writing was really quite intense for him but otherwise, we pretty much used it as written. Eastern Hemisphere Explorer is a real gem, IMO. It requires a lot of writing but I allowed my boys to do it in "note taking" fashion. In fact, I used it as a tool to teach them how to abbreviate, use bullet points, etc. We really loved almost all the books and enjoyed using the encyclopedia. In fact, that year their ITBS scores in maps and diagrams, and reference materials jumped considerably, and I contribute that to all the research and map work they did in the EHE. Fortunately that seemed to stick with them because they had similarly high scores in those areas again this year. :)
  18. I'm looking for some advice about having my son tested for dysgraphia and other motor control issues. I'd love any advice that y'all can give! I'm almost certain my 8yo son has dysgraphia. He attended a public school that was a computer magnet school until last year, when we pulled him out in mid-2nd grade. He actually was very academically successful there, made straight A's, and attended the gifted ed program beginning in kindergarten. Our reasons for pulling him out of PS were unrelated to the academics for the most part. I'd noticed over the years that much of his letter formation was incorrect and tried to correct him but he resisted it strongly. His handwriting was pretty bad but never bad enough to keep him from making good grades and it was obviously not the focus of attention at the school. As a computer magnet, there was a big focus on keyboarding and it was taught as part of daily lessons beginning in kindergarten. When he began homeschooling after Christmas last year, we decided together that he'd go ahead and learn cursive writing and I purchased HWT cursive for him. I noticed immediately that his pencil grip was horrible and that he gripped way too hard and pressed very hard on the paper. I worked with him to correct those things some and he has learned cursive fairly easily. He works slowly and methodically through the book but never writes in cursive otherwise and his printing has not improved. This year I have him and my 11 yo ds doing some history work together that requires some writing (SL Core 5). When they work together, the contrast in their writing abilities has really become so glaringly obvious. Even though I planned all along to allow ds8 to do less writing due to his age and the level of the material, my older ds can write 4 sentences in the time my younger ds can write 3 words. Both ds11 and I have noticed that ds8 starts 75% of his letters at odd places (particularly the bottom) and that slows him down considerably. He struggles particularly at copying words either from the paper or a book or even a computer screen. He looks up and down, up and down, and makes repeated mistakes in the copying. If I spell the word out loud to him, he generally does much better. Also, throughout kindergarten, first, and second grade, he always did very well in spelling. He had weekly spelling tests in school and we never did much to study the words but he always made 100 on the tests. I do think he often struggles to carry the words learned into practice and use them later. Since he began homeschooling, we've been inconsistent in doing spelling practice and this year he seems to be really struggling. He is constantly asking me how to spell words that I know he has been spelling for years or that he learned the phonics rules for spelling long ago and should be able to at least make a reasonable guess. He draws okay and does like to draw sometimes but I wouldn't say it's a hobby. He has always hated to color, even as a preschooler. We have long been aware that he has some motor "issues" but he is very large for his age...the same height as his older brother, who is normal sized, and weighs even more. We've thought his brain just wasn't quite "caught up" to his body. But in the last 6 months or so we've decided that maybe there is something else going on that we should have evaluated. His movements seem to lack the smoothness that a child his age should have. When he throws or catches a ball, it is labored and jerky rather than fluid. He is my "bull in a china shop" and always seems unaware of his strength and where his extremities are. I was already planning to get one of the lower grade HWT books to begin working with him on that and try to correct his letter formation issues in helps of speeding up his handwriting. Then at park day this week, someone else was discussing dysgraphia and I realized that it sounded exactly like what ds has. What a revelation! I spoke to my SIL who is an OT and she said it sounds like he may also have some sensory issues. I'm not sure where to go from here. I can see a neuropsych (according to my insurance), or I could see our pediatrician. I don't think going through our school system would offer much help because the delays and red tape would be frustrating and we might end up without a lot of help in the end since I'm sure he will test IQ, reading level, etc, well above grade level. If you've made it through all of this, bless you. :001_smile: If you have any advice, I would love to hear it. I'm new to navigating all of this and I'm befuddled about where to begin. I do think I can help him with the dysgraphia to some extent and maybe get other assistance for it but I'm really unsure about the other motor issues and who would diagnose them and help us with them. :confused: ~Denise mama to ds11, ds8, and dd5
  19. Thank you so much! That's perfect! :) I might try it with my kindergartener, too. :D She already knows the most Spanish of all of us from watching Dora and Diego on tv. :lol: ~Denise
  20. I have a question for those of you who've used the Elementary Spanish Program on Discovery Streaming. I'd like to use this program with my 8yo and 11yo sons this year as an introductory Spanish program. After we use it for a bit, we might move to something a bit more in depth or structured but I already have access to Discovery Streaming so this is a great way to get free Spanish to see how they like it! My question is since they haven't had any Spanish before at all, should we start with the Grade 1-2 program and quickly progress to the higher grades? Or do we begin with the programs for the grades that match their current levels? Does the program assume that they already have basic Spanish knowledge in grade 3 or 6? Thanks for any help! :001_smile: ~Denise
  21. My 6th grader loved the Narnia books, too. He has also loved the Guardians of Ga'hoole series by Kathryn Lasky. They certainly aren't the same quality of literature but are quick reads and entertaining. Another great series is the Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins (first book is Gregor the Overlander). If he likes fantasy, there is a Christian series by Bill Myers called The Imager Chronicles. The first book is The Portal. My son really liked these but they are quite short, quick reads, unlike the Narnia books. ~Denise
  22. Just wanted to say that I am going to be doing Core 5 with my 3rd and 6th graders this year, too. :001_smile: I'm really excited about getting started but also apprehensive about keeping things simple enough for my younger to keep up. We should keep in touch during the year to see how things are going! ~Denise
  23. I keep all the weeks and the guides in the big binder. Then I have a smaller 1" binder for our current work. In that binder, I have numbered tabs (but any dividers would work). I put the weekly schedule for the current week behind tab 1, the guide pages for each history book used that week behind the next tabs, and then the guides for the readers and read alouds used that week behind their own tabs. This way, the guides stay put until those books are completed and I change out the weekly schedule each week. My kids are still young enough, though, that it is mostly me that is using the guides. I don't know how this changes with older kids. ~Denise
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