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Posts posted by myfantasticfour

  1. My DD12 is heading to public junior high for 8th grade. Not because homeschooling didn't work well for her, or because of anything negative. She shadowed a student for a day and that went reasonably well, and if she ends up hating school after a fair trial next year, she can always come back to homeschooling, though finding her a social life will be very hard because her best friend from homeschooling is going to public school also and definitely to public high school, and her other best friend is moving away, and local homeschooling groups seem no longer to exist.


    Any advice on how best to prepare, from others who have sent always-homeschooled kids to public school around 8th grade? Any pointers on making sure she's covered all the scope-and-sequence so it will be a smooth transition?


    She already knows how to put her name and date on papers, how to do math homework neatly and show all steps, etc. but I was warned by the guidance counselor that they do most everything online on their laptops so that textbook work was not likely to be something she'd encounter.


    Would love to hear from those who have done this, any do's and dont's, and also from those who have taught or are teaching junior high.



  2. If you haven't yet checked it out, there are at least two websites for support for gifted and twice-exceptional kids (2E) who are often mislabeled because most people have a certain image of what giftedness looks like, that is not at all what the reality is particularly the farther the person gets from the norm.


    Think Hermione Granger versus Luna Lovegood. Most people would assume Hermione to be the poster child for giftedness, and dismiss Luna as just plain weird. At any rate, hoagies and gifted homeschoolers forum are two search terms that can help you see whether you might want to look further into something, that often co-occurs with many of the problems you listed. 

    • Like 1
  3. I have an oldest DD and 3 younger boys (DD12, DS9, DS6, and DS2) and could almost say your DD and mine were twins, and DH has had to be reminded when growling that DS9 needs medication, that DD12, at that age, was also distracted to the point of lunacy, and such a space cadet that he was sure something was wrong with her. She is now competing prominently in martial arts, and doing amazing things in academics, though she still has "ditzy" spells now and then that flabbergast me (can't put a hairbrush down in the bathroom, but has to carry it to another room and then lay it down randomly, for instance, and also cannot seem to stop dropping clothing on the floor).


    When DS9 followed in her footsteps a bit earlier than she did (he was an early bloomer, hormonally) we didn't freak out quite so much when he became a basket-case right about the time he started getting armpit odor.


    Not saying your child doesn't have a problem, but hoping to reveal what I went through, in searching about the issue, which was that everyone I consulted in homeschooling circles and out, confirmed that their child on the threshold of adolescence (age range 8 to 13!) was so sloppy, careless, inattentive, irresponsible, and spacey, that they all thought at the time there must be something wrong with them. Some quoted Maria Montessori (I think it was) that the peri-adolescent period was wasted time, and that they should even cease academics and focus on handicrafts instead, until it passed. hehe. Being perimenopausal now myself, I can believe it. If this is going through puberty in reverse, it stinks. I sat there waiting at 3 green lights yesterday. Seriously.


    The rowdy little brothers are definitely a problem for my DD. I have offered to have her go to the library for some peace and quiet, or to her room (which is the only room in the house from which household noise can't be heard) but she doesn't like that much quiet, so I still don't have a solution.


    For my DD12, martial arts competitions are an outlet, plus knowing that she's on the waiting list for an arts-based charter high school year after next. If the local school weren't such a dismal social environment (among the worst in our state) I would have sent her to school for her own sanity, by now.


    On the other side of the coin, one of mine might actually be what you'd call dysgraphic. DS9 has always been very gross-motor oriented, was talented at kicking a ball, running, balancing on one leg at a young age, but fine motor really lags for him, and at 7, his handwriting was really poor, more like toddler scrawl. I also haven't been the most consistent teacher, with a toddler and a preschooler meanwhile, but finally at 9.5, he is learning cursive, in large form, using Peterson Directed Handwriting's Rhythmic Motion Method, with chants, and not going small until large-form gross motor patterns are internalized. It's finally working. He may actually be writing in large, but legible, form, by 10.


    I just couldn't prioritize that as a hill to die on, at any point in the last few years, and since his keyboarding was good, and his speaking/reading/typewriting ability were great, I let it go, even though I think handwriting is important at some point. For him, it had to be later rather than sooner. Practice makes progress, and perfection isn't required.


    Hope you don't think I am belittling your situation with your daughter, because I don't pretend to know the intimate details. Just sharing some baseline similarities, saying I feel your pain in certain areas, and giving some perspective. I now fully expect DS6 to go spacey in 2 to 3 years, and stay that way for a few. Other moms assure me that it passes, and that our kids aren't crazy, and that a glass of wine in time, saves nine lives or something to that effect. hehe.



    • Like 1
  4. For awhile when we were dealing with mice. I would CLOSE the kitchen at a certain time. 


    As in no one was allowed to dirty a single dish. Because at that time the kitchen would be cleaned, every dish washed, the counters wiped down, the dry dishes put away (we have no dishwasher) and the dish drying rack put away....


    Mice are the worst! You have my sympathy! We had a mouse problem a couple of years ago, and I never knew I would be the kind of woman up on a chair shrieking for my husband (he's smaller than I am) until the darned things invaded, then started chasing us around!


    I was wishing for a carver's knife.


    Mice seemed cute to me, before that event, but never again.


    Growing mint around the foundation helps. They hate it, and it can deter them from entering, but it won't do a thing if they are already inside. Having cats helps also, but I'm too allergic. If you can stand them as pets, pet rats will keep mice away, as rats are predators who mice wisely fear. Likewise snakes (if you can stand them, again).

  5. There have been times over the past 8 homeschooling years in which we had "family closing procedure" and DH would take certain kid(s) in one direction and I take certain other(s) in another, and one of us would herd them in helping (at their level) to pick up and sweep the living rm/dng/rm/study and the other team would do the kitchen. Then we could enjoy a happy evening together, somehow, between kid bedtimes and late-night Star Trek or something.


    But that was only those rare "sweet spot" years when we didn't happen to be going through the toddler years of one of our more difficult children. Of which we have a 50% success rate at having.


    Currently, Difficult Child #2 is in the toddler phase, and my oldest is 12, and I clean my kitchen when it stinks and the floor is crunchy, or when DH has the day off and I can muster the will.



    But I know that this too shall pass and one of these days our home will be more like a home again and less like a hovel. For now we have 4 kids, two of whom are in the throes of early adolescence, and the other two are Littles. And 3 are boys.

    Right now I am having a hard time, with perimenopausal midcycle mood swings and hot flashes into the mix. My kitchen is pretty gross, but on weekends I blare the classic rock in the kitchen, settle the kids with popcorn and a cartoon movie, and finally see clean surfaces and get laundry put away, and if I'm lucky, I pour a boiling kettle over the worst spots and get it all mopped. It stays clean for 12 hours or so.


    Hope that helps.

  6. Thank you all! I will look into Math Mamoth, but I'm also considering all the opinions to just stick with what working. For those doing MM, do you supplement or is it good all by itself?


    Since we have used Math Mammoth as well as other things, thought I would share our mileage:


    Math Mammoth is something I am now looking into again, after doing it for 5th grade and 2nd grade. My daughter benefited the most from the incremental nature of it, and the detailed explanations of the conceptual. My son, who was quicker to intuit arithmetic abstracts, found it tedious.


    We have also used Khan Academy for years now, and my daughter went through several stages of love/hate with it...specifically, in order to learn long division, she really did need to do it at a chalkboard. Something about doing it large, with her whole arm, going in that triangle shape, cemented the algorithm for her in ways a computer screen could not. She also sometimes listens to Salman Khan's friendly digital blackboard-style lectures and goes glaze-eyed, if the concept isn't easy for her. His words turn to gobbledegook. My son actually prefers listening to Khan lecture, than to me explain, even when it's something I am itching to explain to him in far fewer words than Khan's video.


    My daughter now, at 12, enjoys Khan Academy, but found out it wasn't enough, when she was over halfway through Khan's pre-algebra, but fell on her face trying to do the Bridge activities in Life of Fred: Fractions. She was appalled and embarrassed, but has embraced Life of Fred as a supplement to Khan. On Khan, all her progress is saved, and she can do Mastery Challenges. Life of Fred is helping her fill in conceptual holes she didn't know she had until she attempted Life of Fred. She was too used to just performing the calculations, and not enough used to flexing her mental muscle to use math as a tool when presented with outside-the-box challenges such as Life of Fred presents.


    We have Life of Fred: Decimals on its way through interlibrary loan, and I am looking again into Math Mammoth for its very thorough 7th Grade/Prealgebra curriculum, because once a kid masters that, they are fully ready for high school algebra, no need to do an 8th grade intermediary step such as "basic algebra" or "8th grade prealgebra".  I think we will always use Khan along with whatever else, but she needs more practice and review than Khan alone supplies.


    Khan has improved dramatically since we started, and there is now the choice to view a grade level of math curriculum as a series of instructional/tutorial videos, with sets of practice exercises to follow, more like being in a virtual classroom or attending distance learning. That is helping my son, because it presents 3rd grade math with a sensible flow of topics made up of lectures, followed by "try it" exercises.


    I don't think I ever found anything to beat Khan Academy for times when I needed to put homeschooling "on life support" while I was having a complicated pregnancy, or during the newborn phase, or during several weeks of round-and-round winter colds and flu.


    Even if nothing else gets done and the laundry is piled up and dishes are in wash-in-order-to-eat mode, my older two (9 and 12) can get on Khan, fulfill my minimum requirement of any and all mastery challenges plus 3-5 new topics to practice (or else in the more classroom model, watch the instructional videos and practice the problems for 2 new things), and make positive forward progress that adds up, with reports available for Daddy to see, without my doing a thing.


    To add to the benefit, Khan now has added a lot of history, science, and last I heard, also adding Grammar offerings in the forms of videos, and that progress is also listed in each kid's record, for us to see or show to Daddy.


    So if I needed to, I could assign my older daughter to use Khan as fully automated educational life support, and she'd still come out better than her public-schooled counterparts. it's not the best I could do under good circumstances, but it is good enough, if it needs to be.


    I have a child who just turned 6, and a toddler as well, and my mother is in seriously failiing health and we are trying to get the renovation done for a bed/bath for her to move into by the end of the month, so I am now just doing handwriting with DS9 and DS6, doing read-aloud/snuggle with DS2 and DS6, and setting my daughter her choice of LoF or Khan for math, and finishing out her LA textbook because she can open-and-go without my help, and overseeing DS9 on Khan for math, and the rest is Curiosity Stream documentaries on the sofa, and audiobooks.


    Curiosity Stream has so much for science, history, the arts, and even math appreciation, that it has been a major benefit to us, and it's only $3 a month.


    Sorry for rambling reply, but hope any of this helps.

    • Like 3
  7. This reminded me that I taught myself to write my name backwards (and in cursive!) with my right hand when I was bored in high school. I'll have to see if I can still do it and see if it helps me to better understand what my lefty is trying to do... Thanks for the idea.


    You and I have that in common. I learned to write cursive backwards, mirror-script, in high school as well, and for me it was partly boredom, and partly being tired of always having my hand resting on the spiral, or the rings of a notebook, and feeling irritated, wishing I could just write the way others do, in the same position and direction.


    I quit after a while because no one else could read it, and because reading my own mirror writing started messing with my head once I did it enough to get comfortable with it. I started forgetting which way was left and which was right, and even my gait started to be affected, like if I started thinking about left vs. right while walking, I could stumble. Really bizarre, isn't it? ;)

    • Like 1
  8. You really need to visit the classroom. Fifth grade has plenty of down time, and you will see advanced students using it wisely, especially when they finish before the time allotted, or are waiting for the class to settle.


    Students that want to study their spelling words usually write them in their planner. It goes home nightly..and they use their own choice of methods to study. Many students choose not to bother.


    Study guides from memory are fine, but using notes are helpful too. Is your child not taking notes at all? I didn't see what country you are in, but here note taking is taught in fourth grade and its up to the student to continue using this method or remembering what was taught, although in fully included classes the teacher will insist that her notes be copied.


    Visiting the classroom, if the teacher/school will permit it, sounds like a good idea in any case.


    As for fifth grade having a lot of downtime, that is absolutely not true in our area. Recess in 5th grade is 20 minutes (as is lunch) and stops being offered after 5th grade.


    Then in 6th grade, a friend of my daughter's, came to an extracurricular activity they both attend, starving, one evening, because she had not eaten any lunch. Why? Because the school had cut lunch down to 13 minutes, most of which got used up in getting to the lunchroom and through the line, so the poor girl had no chance to eat lest she be late getting back to class. Maybe she could have crammed some food in her mouth if she hadn't also had to use the restroom before heading to the lunchline...but 13 minutes is not enough to go to the bathroom (first chance since leaving home that morning), get to through the lunchline, and eat.


    Happily, enough parents seem to have complained, that the school increased the lunch period to either 18 or 20 minutes. But that's certainly not enough to both eat, and have a conversation, and it's not enough downtime in a day.


    So practices vary widely, apparently.

  9. I sympathize with your sense of wrongness about who owns your son's work. The school may own the textbooks and therefore be in their rights to keep them at school, but what about his original work? I think the last person, who mentioned that parents really don't often realize the extent of what happens when you send them to school, explained it best.


    Someone I know was outraged when she found out that her daughter had been traumatized by bullying from other girls in 4th grade, and the school had been involved, and had numerous meetings between the girls and had even sent the affected girl to counseling...and no one felt it was necessary to inform the parents. The mother only found out far too late to become involved, once her daughter was safely past the events enough, to confide it all to her mother. After the fact.


    There really is this embedded idea that school is not the parent's business, even though they all say they want parental involvement. I suppose parental involvement is for fundraisers and volunteering in specific ways, and that is it.


    But I homeschool, and so my first reaction to your description of the situation, other than sympathy with the cause of your outrage (it's the principle of the thing! It's like a doctor's office keeping your own medical records from you!), is to think that if you want ownership of his education for him, as proctored by you, you need to consider homeschooling, because that is about the only way to accomplish that.

    • Like 2
  10. Thank you for the updated recommendations!


    What progression might be recommended for a 12-year-old (grade 7) who has never done narration, copywork, or dictation before? Should I start her with WWS, or should I go back to Level One of WWE and hope to hurry through all that, first?


    Start with Level 2 of WWE?


    I tried her on the Level 4 dictation work in WWE and could see that that is a skill that must be built up more slowly, but I don't have time to take her through several years of narration, dictation, and copywork.


    How does one get a student this age ready for WWS, when they have never done any WWE?


    Thanks for any pointers.

  11. I am a lefty, and trying to write with my arm and paper positioned as a mirror-image to a right-hander never worked well for me, because the strokes are all pushed instead of pulled, in that position, and it was awkward. Using tripod grip, my writing would always seem to be trying to lean backwards. If right-handers could experience writing backwards (from right to left) while holding their pencil and paper in the exact same position they normally use to write forwards, they would know how it feels for lefties to do the same.


    However, the grip I developed as a way to use the pencil or pen to pivot in my hand, so as to form cursive and handwriting that looked like normal, was this elaborate grip whereby the point of the pencil came out at the bottom of my hand, and instead of using my arm, I used the muscles of my hand to pivot the pencil in the proper direction (forward and to the right, or down/back and to the left) like this: /


    But in my forties, I find this grip makes writing by hand painful. I wish I had been taught the "downstroke" mentioned in Peterson Directed Handwriting as the optimal way to teach a lefty, so that ink never gets smeared, the cursive is pretty, and the hand doesn't wear out...but it involves writing vertically, downward toward one's body, with the paper turned a full 90 degrees, such that the long edge of the paper is parallel with the desk, and the top of the paper is nearest the right hand.


    I'm hoping to teach that to my lefty son, who is now 6, but maybe HWT is better for lefties? I don't like the look of HWT, but looks are secondary to efficacy and ergonomics, and it that makes more sense than the complicated "downstroke" method, I'm open to it.


    As for stroke order, I learned just how important that is, when learning Japanese. Trying to "draw" representations of characters any old way, makes them look bizarre to anyone else, and the same tends to be true in English once the writer goes more quickly.

  12. My daughter is 12, and I am having a hard time figuring out where to start with her in SWB's methods described in TWTM 4th edition, as well as Write With Ease that I got for our younger sons. I can see that the ability to do dictation is not something to jump into at the fourth grade level, for someone who has never done it before, even if she is 12.


    But what then? Start at second level dictation and hope to go through it all a lot faster? Skip dictation and get Writing With Skill?


    I think copywork would even do her some good at this point, as her mechanics and grammar leave much to be desired. Apparently the Houghton-Mifflin Spelling and Vocabulary books weren't as useful as they seemed, for learning and retention of their content, because they also contain a writing component with punctuation, light grammar, etc, but in attempting dictation, I see she has no intuitive grasp of mechanics, and even her spelling is weak.


    How can I get her up to speed for 8th grade, in such a short time? Is there a way to "fast-track" dictation and copywork in the remaining months til 8th grade, so that we can start diagramming and formal grammar?


    Also, when doing dictation, I still don't get how it is to be done: Does one read entire sentences at a time, but slowly, pausing to let the student's writing speed catch up, or is the student expected not to write anything until the reading is done, and then write the entire dictation from memory?



    Hoping anyone can help me sort all this out.


  13. We use LOF as a second curriculum - not entirely supplementary, but not a stand alone either - we use Singapore also. My eldest child started LOF the alphabetical series at age 6 and is in Fractions now - she does struggle some with the bridges - it is not intended that they pass them on the first try. I think because your child has already learnt Fractions he is using it as a review and it should be fine for this purpose. I have used a lot of manipulatives and other teaching methods for fractions as my child is quite young to be dealing with the abstract concepts involved and she is kinaesthetic and learns best with manipulatives. My youngest is 5 years old and starting LOF dogs alongside Singapore.


    Personally I would not like to use the elementary series without supplementation, but have heard that many have used the pre high-school and high school level (and beyond) books successfully without supplementation. Like any curriculum I think you have to take your own child into account - what will work best for him. What works for the majority will not help you if it is not what works for your own child.


    Tanikit, I am looking for Singapore math and I see that there is more than one "singapore math" out there...there is MIF (Houghton Mifflin) which tempts me because I have always liked Houghton Mifflin's math texts and spelling and vocabulary for their clear organization and open-and-go ease, as well as thoroughness.. but when you say you use Singapore, do you use MIF, the Singapore math from the singapore math website, or something else? Thanks for your help!


  14. Not to evoke an old Eminem song, but I am looking for Singapore math, and am puzzled. It seems to be on a lot of different publishers' materials. I also found a singapore math dot com website. Can anything call itself Singapore Math that claims to teach by that method, and if so, how do I select one? Which do the members of TWTM community use and trust?


    Thanks for any help in sifting through all this!

  15. With my kids' food allergies, I have to pack up a DIY kitchen every time we travel, unless we book a full-kitchen suite, but when we've had to stay in a motel room with 4 kids and just a coffee pot and minifridge and microwave, granted it was only for a couple of days, but I got some experience.


    In your shoes, and if I didn't have kids with food allergies restraining my choices, I would want most, aside from microwave and minifridge and coffeemaker:


    -Dual-burner portable range (also called a hotplate, but a good one with solid burners, one large and one small) so I could use a regular skillet and saucepan, tea kettle, etc.


    -Rice cooker (so I could, depending on toppings and accoutrements, make Indian, Mexican, Korean, Japanese including smoked salmon sushi!, Southern with sausage and cream gravy, or even rice pudding with raisins, milk, and eggs)


    -One of those sandwich irons that makes hot toasted sandwiches cut into triangles with melty insides, great for homemade pizza pockets or reubens, and if you use butter and sprinkle the bread with cinnamon sugar, and fill with frozen fruit, make hot fruit pies.


    - Japanese Benri-Na Mandoline, for making quick work of veggie snack trays, cole slaw, thin-sliced salad bar or sandwich toppings, etc. and just a rinse-off, to clean


    And I would have no shame in serving canned soup to go along with a Build-your-own Salad and Sandwich Bar.

    I would also eat a lot of smoked salmon with cream cheese on toasted bagels, cold-cut and cheese sandwiches, and super nachos (canned refried beans, shredded cheese, salsa, and prepared guacamole on tortilla chips)!

    • Like 1
  16. Goodwill has been a huge source of homeschooling materials for me, so please don't be shy about donating to thrift stores and Goodwill!  Believe me, they don't just toss it, as one of you worried! I have found a few pieces of Abeka there (everything from 3rd Grade Arithmetic Speed Drills to high-quality flashcard sets to high school English Literature), Lifepac (saw that and put it back) lots of 1990's and early 2000s school textbooks (Houghton-Mifflin Mathematics, Spelling and Vocabulary, and some Scott Foresman Science), some TOPS science idea books, DK Eyewitness books and Visual Dictionaries, and loads of geography materials, puzzles, manipulatives, Reproducible resource books, language arts workbooks, phonics materials, you name it, we've found it there over the years.


    And since I was able to buy and try for such a low price, when I am done with something I just re-donate it back to Goodwill, knowing someone else will benefit.


    So I do hope people keep donating homeschooling supplies to Goodwill!

    • Like 4
  17. Sorry I have so many questions, but I'm trying to break them up by topic so as not to ask everything on one page.


    My DD12 has worked through several years of Houghton-Mifflin Spelling and Vocabulary textbooks. I like them: they are sensible, have built-in thesaurus and dictionary, plan out a year in weeks very easily, and are open-and-go; no teacher prep needed, and are pretty much self-teaching.


    They also include bits and pieces of word study (affixes and word roots), a chance to proofread and improve dictionary/thesaurus skills, and some creative writing, in each weekly unit, as well as have a larger writing assignment every 6 weeks.


    So why am I even switching at all? Two reasons: one, they only go as high as Grade 7, so once my DD12 finishes this one (IF I decide to have her finish it) that will be the end of that, and two, even though they go over and over the "writing process"  we were taught in school, I never met anyone who became an excellent writer due to that method, but only in spite of it. Even if we ignore the writing component, the grammar component is pretty weak.


    What can a person start with who has not had formal grammar and is likely to need to catch up on basic Grammar stage dictation and summary skills, who is 12/ 7th grade/ logic stage?


  18. Hello, newly learning about and transitioning to classical methods with TWTM4.


    I have a hardcover small copy (same one I used in school) of Ecce Romani! I and II combined, which is a whole-to-parts method book. I happen to have loved it, but I was also a person who absorbed languages effortlessly, and was able to jump into the latter half of 2nd-year Latin in high school, without any prior Latin, without any trouble...in fact, won some awards in academic competitions.


    But my DD12 HATES the book, finds it hard to use. After reading TWTM4, and reading about whole-to-parts versus parts-to-whole, I can see that if my daughter is like most people (which she is; we already know that the weirdness in this family is all on my side, and she takes strongly after my husband) she might do far better with parts-to-whole, which I always found too boring, whereas whole-to-parts was fun, challenging, and stimulating, for me.


    People are different.


    So: looking at Susan Wise Bauer's suggestions for Latin curriculum, I was shocked at the prices! A quick check of the Minerva search of all interconnected libraries in my area confirmed that I was not going to be able to borrow any Latin curriculum, for free.


    Therefore I need to find a good introductory parts-to-whole Latin curriculum, affordably, whether used or new, somehow, and I have no idea what to look for out there.


    Can anyone recommend something sensible, affordable, and classic in approach (rather than 'immersion' or whole-to-parts)?


    A bonus would be a recommendation for something I can use with younger children. If it's something with an audio component, I would rather avoid ecclesiastical pronunciation if possible.

  19. Hi everyone,


    I'm finally trying to take the plunge into classical methods in earnest, but we've used Khan Academy as our math spine for years now, along with Math Mammoth (just couldn't slog through it for some reason even though it's really thorough and good) and intermittent use of old Houghton-Mifflin Mathematics school texts.


    DD12 is roughly 2/3 of the way through Khan Academy's Pre-algebra mission, but when I gave her a few tests recently, I saw to my dismay that she didn't apparently understand fractions, decimals, and percents deeply enough not to get caught or bewildered when given problems "off the hip" that didn't follow her familiar format.


    Though I expected the Fractions book to be too easy, she stumbled on the Bridge Activities, and now I am considering having her go through it, as well as the Life of Fred Decimals book, before letting her move on, either to Life of Fred Pre-algebra, or else something else.


    We'll keep the Khan (it has been useful for years, and helps me keep track of progress) but I am now looking at Life of Fred for my younger ones, too.


    My question is, has anyone else found LoF to be good for remediating conceptual lack? And what do you use for procedural mastery, alongside it?


    Everywhere I look for reviews on LoF, I see almost nothing but glowing testimonials, but what I want to know is, is it rigorous enough on its own? It doesn't include repetition or "practice" so what do those who need more than a bit of conceptual "aha" moment, do for that?


    Does anyone have success or failure stories to share, with their use of LoF? Has anyone else transitioned into it after using other things, and how did that go? What has it been like for those who started off with Fred?


    Thanks for any help.

  20. Embarking on this journey as a newbie, just bought TWTM 4th ed. and WWE, and am looking at getting WWS for my DD12. Since I don't have that book yet, forgive my asking what may be spelled out plainly in it:


    When giving dictation, is the student supposed to start writing as we are reading, or listen intently and try to remember the whole paragraph (or more?) before then putting it on paper entirely from memory?


    Thank you for any help.

  21. Boy, are we ever!

    Despite finding a lot of wisdom here over time, my initial leanings were more unschooly, which alternated with fits of fearfully attempting to emulate schoolish methods and materials. I also realized over time, that my kids differ greatly, and my oldest is not like me or my secondborn; we both enjoy and benefit from "whole-to-parts" learning in many areas, and she (my oldest) is like her father, and perhaps most people, in that "parts-to-whole" works best for her.


    This winter, I had an epiphany about cultural literacy. I had been sent a set of the H.D. Hirsch books "what your X-grader needs to know" by a well-meaning relative, once, and after looking at them, dismissed them as an arbitrarily chosen "bucket of facts" and got rid of them.


    But then I read his original book on cultural literacy, and had to rethink my premises and conclusions. Though I had initially reacted to his "what your x-grader needs to know" series as exactly the kind of legalism he warns against in his earlier work, I couldn't get around the argument that meaningful scholarship cannot be pursued without background knowledge, and that attempting to remove all bias, also removes all that is interesting, pertinent, or memorable, about anything.


    Examples of this can easily be seen in Common Core Reading Comprehension passages and questions, from standardized test prep workbooks.


    At any rate, realizing that my earlier denunciation of Hirsch may have been hasty, led to other questions about what I was doing, and why, with homeschooling.

    The worksheets and the language arts textbooks I used, produced the same result in my daughter that they generally produce in school kids: they kept her busy, producing a pile of paperwork to prove she had done the material, but she couldn't speak intelligently on what she had studied, nor could she write well.


    In other words, not much of it actually stuck, and she wasn't making connections or synthesizing the information at all, so it was an exercise in timewasting on both our parts.


    This led me eventually back to buying the new 4th-edition TWTM book, and then to purchase Writing With Ease.

    I'm right now wrestling with a course of study for the coming semester, and whether I ought to replace my beloved Ecce Romani (whole-to-parts, and I love it, but my daughter hates it) with one of Susan Bauer's recommendations, pricey as they are.


    At any rate, my shake-up is in deciding rather suddenly to learn more about TWTM's classical approach, including plans to purchase SOTW: Ancients, and Writing With Skill, for starters, and going from there.


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  22. My DS9 never liked leveled readers much, though he loved "Wagon Wheels" by Barbara Brenner, because it is based on a true story of boys who had to travel alone over many miles in the frontier days, to find and reunite with their father. But my son has never cared much for modern fiction...he even turns his nose up at Henry Huggins from Beverly Cleary.


    He still prefers to hear good fiction read aloud, and some examples of note have been


    Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Latham

    Five Children and It by Edith Nesbit

    Pippi Longstocking (Astrid whose last name I forget)

    Peter Pan by JM Barrie (unabridged)

    Little Lord Fauntleroy (parts of which we all found tiresome due to the over-the-top angelic depiction of him but still worth reading)


    He likes family read-alouds, likes audiobooks (but prefers my reading if the audiobook is a Librivox recording as those aren't generally the best), and he reads nicely and expressively when he takes a turn, at the books above, but somewhere between two lengthy paragraphs and a page, he wears out and wants me to read more.


    As for the fiction books aimed at kids his age, he mostly hates them. He says they are boring, and I quite agree.

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