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Lori D.

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Everything posted by Lori D.

  1. For your request about writing assignments for the subjects of History, Geography, Ecology, Chemistry, it seems to me that you either need a specific program (for each subject) that *includes* specific writing assignment ideas so that the student *can* write from the curriculum (i.e., learned from the program what is needed to answer the thought questions) -- OR, go with much more general Socratic questions or Bloom's Taxonomy, and you and DS can find ways to specifically answer those questions from whatever curricula or books or resources you're using to make your own writing assignments. Or, if you're looking for different *kinds* of writing assignments, here is a list of "78 Ideas for Writing Across the Curriculum" from the makers of WriteShop. Not that it will probably help you, but here's our experience writing across the curriculum: - we tended to focus on writing for just 1-2 subjects at a time (sometimes for a semester or a year at a time) - some writing was more of a summary paragraph of what was learned, or was key facts - sometimes DS would research a topic of interest in a subject area and write up something based on their research - sometimes we used the writing assignment ideas already included in a program with writing ideas embedded - sometimes DSs would do a "follow-up" or "extension" paragraph from a discussion we had on a subject (this was mostly for our high school Literature)
  2. As long as the required credits are completed, I would guess that it is very possible to graduate at a younger-than-average age in PA -- by doing 8-10 credits per year or completing credits during the summer, so that grades 9-12 are completed in just 3 years. Or being academically advanced and doing all-high school work starting at age 12, for example.
  3. Yes it does make complete sense. I feel that, too. (((hugs))) and hope that you will soon find that purpose and meaning.
  4. Happy-sad, isn't it HollyDay. Good for you for doing such an excellent job, and congratulations to DDs for moving in to the next stages where they are thriving. But it also hurts like heck to have that giant void, so hoping you will very soon find what brings joy and purpose and meaning for you in your next stage. Hugs, Lori D.
  5. Yes, when it's a complete core, or a nearly-complete core, I can see doing that, so people don't rummage through your box and keep asking you "can't you just sell me this one book?" I just rubber-banded together the 6-10 books that all went with the same Sonlight core, so people could unbundle and look at the books. And of course, they kept asking if I'd sell any books separately. Usually I'd say: "Yes, I can sell individual books for half the cover price. But I prefer to sell the books together at a deep discount box lot price." Since a lot of paperbacks run $8-15 a book, quite often that bundle of multiple books ended up being almost the same price as the 1 book they wanted! (:D I know. Around here, since it was in new condition, you might have been able to sell that for $15-20. Frustrating, isn't it.
  6. Yea! I feel like I hit the jackpot, too. I've been digging out the weeds and Bermuda grass in our front and back yards for 5 years, and just this spring *finally* had it cleared enough to actually do some planting -- and everything is doing *great* with this extended cooler/wetter spring! (:D It's so fun to know I'm "sharing" the same plants (the iceberg roses) with a fellow gardener even if it's long distance. 😉 I have a number of plants that came to me from friends who garden, and there's something so special about the generosity of sharing living plants with a fellow plant lover. So enjoying this thread!
  7. Unless the day trip is on a river or small, calm lake, those smaller boats on open water are far more apt to make people queasy from motion than doing the inside passage cruise (calm waters) in a cruise ship that is so big, it's like being in a floating hotel, which also works to minimize any sensation of motion. 🙂 May 2020 -- that makes MUCH more sense! (:D And it gives you lots of time to research and plan -- and save! -- to make it a fantastic big trip. Whatever you end up doing in Alaska, hope it's a wonderful trip. Cheers!
  8. If you are in CA, then I am a state or two away... 😉 Glad you are having a great spring too! Isn't it amazing having an actual spring this year, to see plants grow, bloom, fruit, take off! (:D
  9. DH gets motion sick VERY easily -- he MUST either drive the car or be in the front passenger seat to have enough view to prevent getting queasy. He got a motion sickness patch from the doctor (and a second one to replace it halfway through the trip), and never felt the least bit queasy. The inside passage is very very smooth water. The only time we felt like we were on the water was when crossing a little bit of open sea on the last day to get to Seward, and we felt a bit of choppiness. And one night, about 2am, when the ship was turning to back in to the narrow inlet port at one of our stops -- I actually got very queasy, as we had an "inside" cabin with no windows. I very nearly grabbed my coat to go up on deck for fresh air and a VIEW to prevent puking, but then the boat docked and the motion stopped, and my head and stomach settled. That's coming up like, NOW, so you might be able to find a super "last minute" deal where either a land package or a cruise is trying to fill space. Whatever you decide, hope you all have a fantastic trip! Warmest regards, Lori D.
  10. We had just 24 hours in Philly, and really enjoyed: morning = history focus These are all close together, within about 3-4 blocks. We went in October, during off-tourist season, and got through most of these in a half day (3-ish hours), as there is walking between sites. For this day, we parked at some meters about 1/2 mile away and fed them enough coins for 4 hours, and then walked, with a lunch bag, and ate in the park area around Independence Hall. We did NOT do the Betsy Ross house -- it is NOT free -- AND you need to get TIMED ADVANCE tickets. - Liberty Bell -- FREE - Independence Hall -- FREE - Arch Street Meeting House -- FREE -- we just spent 10-15 minutes walking around it while waiting for the rest of the family to do the Mint - Ben Franklin's grave (NOT free) -- we just spent 5 minutes walking to it and looked at his grave through the fence and tossed a penny on it - Philadelphia Mint (where they make our money!) -- FREE NOTE: NO bags or cameras allowed in the Philadelphia Mint, so half your group goes through with one parent, while the other parent hangs onto everyone's stufff and takes the rest of the group through sites nearby, and then after 45-60 minutes, meet out front and switch. afternoon = science focus Franklin Institute -- plan to have at least 4 hours here if you enjoy science museums; this is a good one When we went (back about 10 years ago), they accepted my homeschool group card and gave me 1/2 off as an educator! So you might check and see if you can get a discount, as well as student discounts for your kids, as a homeschool field trip. (:D You might also check and see if you have a membership to some other museum local to you, the Franklin Institute might offer free or reciprocal discount entrance fees, as many museums do that courtesy swap with one another. dinner authentic Philly Cheesesteak
  11. Not trying to "rain on your JAWM rant" (LOL!), but I'm scratching my head over why you didn't just move to a seat several rows away, instead of staying in a row of people and feeling uncomfortable for the duration of the film, esp. once the film started and no one else was coming in and claiming seats....???
  12. We've had such an unusually mild spring here (it's usually 100˚ by this time every May), that plants are bustin' out all over! 1. Tomatoes -- the biggest yellow pear variety cherry tomatoes we've ever grown -- and tasty! 2. Blackberries -- only about the size of my pinkie fingernail, but at least I *got* some finally! 3. Cilantro -- from just 2 seedlings, the plants grew to be over 3 feet high, and now are a sea of blossoms that will turn in to coriander seeds. 4. Roses -- my iceberg climbing roses died last year, so I bought 2 bare-root replacements; they arrived in mid-March, and here they are 2 months later -- covered in green leaves, pushing out lots of buds -- and blooming! What are your gardens doing now?
  13. At our homeschool group's annual curriculum sale, individual books don't sell unless they are priced at about 25-50 cents. I have sometimes managed to get $1 a book if I package 6-12 books as a "box lot" that all go with a specific Sonlight core (or other program). Just as a general trend, over the years, I've seen homeschoolers who buy used expect to pay next to nothing for curriculum that is still the current edition and that you kept in new condition -- and act offended if you won't sell for just 10-20% of the new cost. When I first started homeschooling, I could re-sell at 1/2 to 2/3 the original price -- no longer! I so hate people trying to talk me down from my already bargain prices that I just prefer to give away to new homeschoolers or those on very tight budgets. Hopefully, your group/area will be more generous and appreciative of getting a good deal! Warmest regards, Lori D.
  14. Very fun class idea! Hopefully your church location will let you guys plant a small garden patch! Or, maybe you can container garden, and bring 4-6 good-sized resin pots back and forth to class all semester. When our DSs were in kindergarten, I came in and did a few plant activities with the class: - I cut up a seed catalog, sketched a generic plant (roots, stem, leaves, flower, fruit) and had the kids match up what vegetables they eat that are the different parts of the plant and glued them beside the sketched picture - set up a sandwich-sized ziplock bag with a piece of paper towel or construction paper cut to fit, moisten with a spray bottle of water, put a bean seed in, and kids take it home and hang on their refrigerator and watch roots sprout. - planted marigold seeds in plastic disposable cups (have them poke a hole in the bottom for drainage, and moisten soil before filling the cup with soil and a few seeds) Book ideas: plant cycle From Seed to Plant (Gibbons) How Plants Grow (Herweck Rice) -- simplistic text, but nice photos of each stage Because of an Acorn (Schaefer) -- includes plant within nature/ecosystem Cactus Hotel (Guiberson) -- includes plant within nature/ecosystem The Great Kapok Tree (Cherry) -- includes plant within nature/ecosystem plant parts series: Seeds; Stems; Roots; Leaves; Flowers (Khisty Bodach) How a Seed Grows (Jordan) Oh Say Can You Seed (Worth) -- also covers pollination and photosynthesis Parts of a Flower (Ransom) -- also covers pollination gardens/garden produce Farming (Gibbons) Zinnia's Flower Garden (Wellington) Flower Garden (Bunting) -- urban window box garden We Are the Gardeners (Gaines) The Vegetables We Eat (Gibbons) The Fruits We Eat (Gibbons) soil Up in the Garden Down in the Dirt (Messner) Soil Basics (Schuh) Dirt: The Scoop on Soil (Rosinsky) worms Wiggling Worms at Work (Pfeffer) Yucky Worms (French) An Earthworm's Life (Himmelman) specific plants Corn (Gibbons) Pumpkin Circle (Levenson) From Seed to Pumpkin (Pfeffer) Apples for Everyone (Esbaum) Sunflower House (Bunting) activities Roots Shoots Buckets and Boots (Lovejoy) Gardening Lab for Kids (Brown)
  15. Our DSs did not *like* to do anything school-related, LOL. But below are some things they were *able* to do independently in the late-elementary and middle school grades. I didn't list Logic/Critical Thinking activities since you already had that covered, Mostly, the ideas below are supplements to flesh out a "spine" resource. Multiple Subjects (esp. History & Science) - 30-min. turn for an educational computer game or educational TV show - online educational short videos (current events, science, math, history, geography, foreign language, etc.) Reading *solo reading / assigned reading * listen to audiobooks Writing * solo projects of personal interest (our DSs did NOT like writing; this is a list for students who like writing) - blog article, journal entry, comic strip/comic book, invented story, family newspaper, book or movie reviews, etc. * programs that are largely independent (we used the first 2; the others are ideas from other threads): - Wordsmith Apprentice (gr. 4-6) - Jump In (gr. 6-9) - Cover Story (gr. 6-8) - Adventures in Fantasy + The Imaginary World of (gr. 6-9) - Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly (Levine) (gr. 5-8) - NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program materials Math SUPPLEMENTS * enjoyable books about math/mathematicians such as Penrose, Number Devil, etc. * do Art of Problemsolving Beast Academy as a supplement * multi-link cubes + Mathlink Cube Activity Book (gr. 3-6) -- or other book * geoboards + Working with Geoboards (gr. 5-8) -- or other book * Jousting Armadilloes * Zacarro math books * TOPS units (gr. 5-8) -- Probability; Metric Measuring; Graphing Grammar SUPPLEMENTS - Take 5 Minutes: A History Fact A Day for Editing - Comicstrip Grammar - Grammar Gorillas (online grammar games) - Schoolhouse Rock: Grammar -- videos and the computer game Geography SUPPLEMENTS - Complete Book of Maps and Geography (gr. 3-6) - Mark Twain Media: Discovering the World of Geography -- the grade 6-7 and grade 7-8 books - geography games online at Sheppard Software (they also have games for other subjects as well) Other - Art: Mark Kistler's Draw Squad - Music: Nine-Note Recorder Method by Penny Gardner - Typing What about hand-crafts?  - Learn to Solder kit -- DSs did this one and really enjoyed it; I needed to get them started, and do have them wear eye protection - basic learning to sew projects - knitting or crocheting projects - Calligraphy - whittling or wood-burning kit - duct tape crafts & projects - leather kits/crafts - baking
  16. Professor Rant... Doesn't he share a classroom with Professor Rave? Oxford Latin - is located between Oxford cloth and Oxford shoes, with an Oxford comma between each.
  17. Well, I always vote for saving a box of favorite books for when you have grandkids, and to keep a 3-ring binder of samples of work from elementary/middle school just in case it is ever needed, must mostly to hand to your DSs or their children for them to enjoy what "daddy did when he was a kid". (:D
  18. First, a quick side note: there are actually 3 very separate activities that go into writing: 1. thinking of what to say 2. the physical act of getting it from the head down the arm and through the pencil onto the paper 3. and then managing the spelling and grammar usage/mechanics (punctuation, capitalization, etc.) Each of those 3 activities is processed in a separate area of the brain -- and not all 3 areas mature/develop at the same rate -- so simultaneously juggling all 3 activities into fluid, well-thought-out, and largely proof-edited writing is just not something that most children can manage before about age 10 -- and for some it is not until much later. There are adults who never manage to simultaneously juggle all 3 activities. That's where teaching that writing is a multi-step *process* right from the beginning can be very helpful. Because trying to manage all of those activities simultaneously is such work, there is a tendency for kids to feel their writing is "sacred" (LOL), or to have extreme reluctance to go back and revise and then go back again and proof-edit. If you can start that process early on, and break each stage of writing into a separate "bite" done at a different time, it is less overwhelming, AND it allows time for the child to mentally shift gears to better engage the different part of the brain needed for spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. Just my bonus thought for the day. 😉 ______________________ Treasured Conversations might be a good fit -- it incorporates grammar basics with intro to writing, and is for grades 3-5. Another plus: it is a downloadable pdf, so no worries about shipping to Canada. You can see several samples at that link. You could do TC with DS daily, and then encourage him to pursue his own creative writing projects by providing him the time to do so, helping him "publish" by scanning and printing his works, possible set up a blog for him with limited access (only family members and close friends who have the password for access) -- etc. Wordsmith Apprentice is another option. It is more independent and more about creative writing -- but it is also less formal than WWE et.al. It teaches some basic grammar along with the writing in all 4 areas (Descriptive, Narrative, Expository, Persuasive), through a goofy fun cub-reporter theme, where the student writes for the different newspaper departments. There is a suggested schedule, but the program is quite flexible and can be broken into as big or small of daily "bites" as your student needs or wants to do. Another idea is to do something a bit more formal, but alternate regularly with supplements that encourage creative writing with prompts and project ideas. Some creative writing supplement ideas: - Draw and Write Journal - Write Your Own Book - Story Starters (gr. 1-3) or Cliffhanger Writing Prompts (gr. 3-6) - Complete Writing Lessons, primary (gr. 1-3) or intermediate (gr. 4-6) -- both available used through Amazon, etc. Or just do internet searches for creative writing ideas or prompts -- things like: - making a poster about a book just read - writing a review of a movie or book, and assigning how many "stars" he thought it was worth - creating his own comic strip - giving an oral presentation or making a slideshow presentation on the current history or science topic - lots of cool ideas in this article - Scholastic Parents: "Writing Activities for Ages 8-10" - writing prompt ideas from Journal Buddies BEST of luck in finding what works best for this DS! Warmest regards, Lori D.
  19. Ouch, that is a hard situation. And SO sad about him being mistreated at school. 😞 For the mild autism spectrum: Does he have struggles with social cues and understanding how to interact with others? A friend of mine with a DS who was high functioning, but struggled with social cues was able to find a free program (it was a community-based program, not through the school system) where her son would go 1-2 times a week for several hours to help him learn how to interact with others and develop social awareness. Perhaps there is something like that for your friend to take advantage of? And being on a fixed income might open doors to other special helps that would be free for her. For the homeschooling: To make this a possibility, could you and/or other homeschoolers be able to rally around and commit to take the boy for several hours a few times a week, to help oversee schoolwork and give him some positive peer interactions? Or a "retired" homeschool mom who could volunteer to come and help a few times a week? That way there would be direct help/instruction for learning, and no leaving the child alone during the day. Or would an extended family member or family friend be able to come in and help with DS's schooling? Or would DS's LDs make him eligible for home tutoring assistance through doing a public school charter (so, the school's materials done at home, with some assistance provided by the school)? I do strongly recommend getting thorough testing so the mom can understand exactly what the needs are, and from there, that would best help her learn what materials (or therapies) would best help her son catch up, or move forward with his schooling. From my own experience with a son with mild LDs, but no autism, it took me SOOOO much time to get his LDSs figured out, and then to research, research, research, to figure out what materials and ways of teaching might best help him catch up. Everything having to do with his weak/behind areas (math, reading, spelling, and writing) took so much extra time to teach, and it all had to be done with me at his elbow, up into high school. There was very little he could successfully do independently, and he would have been completely unable to complete any work on his own if left alone at home for several hours. Of course, your friend's DS and his LDs and temperament are different from my DS's -- just providing the perspective of personal experience with LDs, in case it helps. For being behind/made fun of at school: Can these issues be addressed with the public school and the situations improved by mom heavily advocating for DS? Some schools are beginning to implement zero-tolerance policies towards bullying, or are working on teaching positive/encouragement skills to students -- could the mom push for the school to get on board and get some of these programs going? Are there other schools that could be a better option? Is there the possibility of a parochial or private school, or a charter or hybrid school, that can "scholarship" a family with high needs -- both financial and the DS's LDs? Again, getting testing would help with finding resources within the school system or community to help DS. Also, Susan Wise-Bauer's most recent book, Rethinking School, has some helpful ideas for how to advocate for a child with special needs who is in a public/private/charter school. For the fixed income: Might it work better to remedy the overall situation by coming at it from the money side? Is it possible for the mom to advance at work, or find a better job with better pay and fewer hours, or get the needed training/education to move to a better job, or something that would allow her to work from home? From there, it might be more feasible to have the time and resources that homeschooling a child with special needs would require. Or have more financial means to move DS into a better school situation. BEST of luck to your friend in finding the best way to help address her DS's special needs. Warmest regards, Lori D.
  20. Gently, with the child having special needs (being on the autism spectrum and "behind"), and the parent working more than full-time (50+ hours/week), and the family having limited funds (fixed income), I am very doubtful that homeschooling is the best fit for this situation. Special needs children usually require much MORE time for teaching than the average child; they need more supervision for longer, until they are older (rather than being able to stay home alone at age 9); and they often require specialized (expensive!) materials to help remediate their specific learning issues. JMO, but unless there will be a spouse, grandparent, aunt/uncle, or some other involved and caring adult at home full-time to oversee both the boy's schoolwork and everyday "living", perhaps she could instead look in to what special helps the public school system has to offer?
  21. Not formal scholarly papers/research, but here are some past threads with ideas for course resources. Perhaps some of the ideas in the threads for texts/books/films might also be of use? "College Intro Psychology for a 12yo" -- what topics might be inappropriate or too mature for this age? "Psychology starting in 9th grade?" "Need interesting material for Psychology class - books, videos" "I'm looking for Psychology recommendations" -- online classes and textbook ideas, some from Christian perspective "Semester Psychology course (0.5 credit)?" "AP Psychology" "Psychology movie" -- ideas for feature films about different Psychology/mental health topics to go along with a high school Psychology course "Has anyone used Sonlight Psychology?" Science Daily: Psychology News -- short articles on what's new in the field Accessible Science -- links to blog articles and videos on psychology topics
  22. Don't know about anyone else, but I'm just brainstorming ideas -- sometimes an extreme idea can help open up realistic possibilities one hadn't thought of before. 😉 And -- no, I wouldn't move either unless their were a *number* of *other* factors/reasons/circumstances that made moving a good idea. Like you, my personal leaning would be to homeschool and work to add in a lot of opportunities to support the child's artistic interests and social needs. 😉
  23. Oh my goodness, having a child who is looking FORWARD to homeschooling is getting you more than halfway there to having an enjoyable and successful transition. Remember to just take it slow as you get started, and don't try to "reproduce school at home". Be sure to regularly include fun field trips and activities in your schedule as part of your learning, read some great books together, and do some hands-on activities (in art, science, history, geography, or whatever), and you're going to have a fantastic year! Welcome to homeschooling! Warmest regards, Lori D.
  24. And, totally just my opinion, but grades 3-6 seems quite young to start with literary devices (figurative language, etc.) and story elements in a full-on, formal literature study. For the average student, grades K-2 are spent in learning to read and becoming fluent with actual reading, while grades 3-6 are spent in developing reading stamina, exposure to vocabulary, and increasing ability to read complex works -- as well as enjoyment of reading through exposure to loads of good and great books. Typically, that move into a beginning more formal literature study that you are describing is not started until somewhere along in the grade 6-8 range, as analysis requires logic stage development skills, and abstract reasoning that doesn't even begin to start developing in the brain until along about age 12-14. Of course, if your students are advanced reader/thinker, or they are *wanting* to dig deeper, then that's a different matter and YMMV! And, with all ages of children, you can do very informal discussion of literature of all types (non-fiction, fiction, novels, short stories, poetry, essays, plays) and genres (realistic, fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, western, horror, etc.), just by stopping occasionally to point out what you like and why -- like, beautiful language or images. Or have fun having everyone predict what might happen next. Or discuss character choices/consequences... etc. Consider having a weekly "poetry and tea" time to just read classic poems (or other pieces of classic literature) for *appreciation* and enjoyment, without formal analysis -- just discussion of enjoyment. The reason I caution about starting formal literary analysis so early is that many children at those younger ages still have very black-and-white/fact-based thinking, and there is a risk of turning Literature into a sort of checklist mentality and students stop there -- permanently: "I've found the setting, plot elements, symbolism, and a simile, check, check, check, check! My work here is done!" -- instead of continuing to mature and go deeper in their reading and understanding of a work in the high school and adult years, and ultimately finding personal meaning and application, and being able to engage in "The Great Conversation" of the classics that authors and readers have engaged in for centuries. These two resources can be helpful for keeping a balance: - Circe Institute, "On Teaching Literature Without Killing It" -- podcast -- linked directly here - SWB: "What is Literary Analysis (and When to Teach It)" -- article, and audio workshop I would also add that those elementary grades -- esp. grades 3-6 -- are such a sweet spot and "window of opportunity" for encouraging children to explore books and reading, to nurture a developing enjoyment of reading through discovering great books and books that 'speak' to the child, and to make some wonderful reading memories together. There will be lots of time in just a few years (middle school) to do more formal literature studies. That said, I'm sure you are already doing those things, and you know you children best! And if they are ready and wanting to start learning some literary devices and discussion story elements/do beginning analysis, then go for it, and wishing you all the BEST! Enjoy your Literature journey, whatever path that takes. Warmest regards, Lori D.
  25. That sounds like a great plan! As previous posters mentioned uptrend, *many, many* children really aren't read for WWS1 until 7th/8th grades, so that is wise of you to hold off on WWS. Even if WWE2 is a little young/easy for him, that will give him a ton of confidence about Writing. And it will be nice to have something that is gentle and that he's having a lot of success with as you transition into homeschooling. That would allow you to do WW3 in 7th, and skip WW4 (which was designed with that option in mind -- skippable for students flying through the program, or as extra review/extra time for students not clicking as quickly with writing), and then start WWS1 in 8th grade. (Of course, all that is provided that the WWE/WWS series ends up being a good fit for your DS... (:D ) Also, if you find that DS is moving quickly through WWE2, you might consider supplementing or alternating with Wordsmith Apprentice, which is a very fun little program designed for the student to do mostly solo, with a goofy "cub reporter" theme, and the student writes for the different departments of a newspaper. I had 2 writing-phobic DSs, and both really enjoyed this little program. Actually, the levels of WWE are not so much about grade level, but to show increasing level of advancing concepts -- just like you would take Spanish 1 before going on to Spanish 2, and then Spanish 3 and Spanish 4. Children develop at very different rates, and some would not be ready for WWE1 until grade 3 or even grade 4. No big deal; start where the student's brain maturity level is, and move forward from there. BEST of luck with whatever you go with for Writing -- and especially: welcome to homeschooling! Warmest regards, Lori D.
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