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Everything posted by Smithie

  1. That's a perfect choice for my son! Thanks, blondeviolin!
  2. Over the years, I have tried several methods of record keeping with my four children. This year, we maintained four separate copies of "The Complete Homeschool Planner and Journal" by Larry Zafran. We keep records for the sole purpose of documenting that we are meeting our state's legal requirements in the (extremely unlikely) event of an audit. I don't use the books for writing out lesson plans, meal plans, co-ops plans, devotions, etc. I just need them to prove that my kids logged 180 days and covered X material on Y day. While Mr. Zafran's book was admirably stripped-down, having 4 separate copies of it made me a little crazy. I want ONE spiral-bound book (it can be a bit bulky, as it usually does not leave the house) in which to record the daily activities of all four children on ONE page or two-page spread. I would be extremely grateful for suggestions. :wub:
  3. My 5th graders are using it this year. The HO novels are probably 75% of the total novels they'll be assigned this year, I just count them as "Literature" when they've got one going. I like it all right - but I don't think I'll use it next year. There's nothing wrong with it, but the aspects we are getting the most value from (outlining from KF, reading classic novels and The Story of Mankind) are not aspects that require a curriculum guide.
  4. Update: CPO Life Science is working out well for us. Thanks for the suggestion!
  5. My 10-year-olds are almost through with Math Mammoth 5A, and they aren't loving the program. They like it better than Rod and Staff 4, they find it less confusing than Beast Academy... but what they really want is to do math online. Since we are enrolling them in an online charter school for middle school next year, I think it makes sense to let them to the second half of 5th grade math at their computers. So, what to do? We started this year trying to use Khan Academy for math, but there wasn't enough structure or repetition. We used Teaching Textbooks 3 in second grade, which was OK, but I've seen a lot of complaints about it not being a good program for kids who are going to transition to public school in the higher grades. A friend of mind loves IXL math for her son, but I've never tried it. Online math mommas (and daddies), which programs do you love? Which ones should I back slowly away from?
  6. We're going to give CPO Life Science a try. Thanks so much for your suggestions and support!
  7. Thanks for the suggestions! Keep 'em coming! It really is a bit old for them, that's one of the problems. But even in a year or two I don't think it would be a good fit for us - it's just not set up for the way we think :tongue_smilie: The boys will be doing K12 next year, and they so Earth Science for sixth grade - but other than not wanting to do Earth Science to avoid repeating next year, I am flexible on the content of the curriculum. Even a "standard" science book that combines the branches would be fine, if it was a good textbook.
  8. I have been using Pandia Press Biology Level 2 so far this year. I have to switch - the kids can't succeed with it. They can understand the concepts, but the multiple-choice questions and difference in wording between the lessons and the tests are messing them up. They are the kind of students who enjoy tests and grades, so just skipping the tests is not an option - but a curriculum that didn't have tests, only built-in chapter reviews, would be fine. Just so I have something to correct and they have something to compete on ;-) The kids are 10 and 8. We HATE labs, projects, lesson plans that require you to cobble together a unit with books from the library, etc. We just want a self-contained consumable science textbook that teaches actual science, not mythology. Anybody have any suggestions? Please help, we're so discouraged.
  9. We are reading through the 11-volume set and really liking it. My thought is that once we've finished with Hakim (which will take 2 more years at the pace we do it), my kids will be ready for high school texts. Ideologically, I really like how she consistently points out that most people are neither all bad nor all good, most cultures are neither all bad nor all good, our job now is to move forward justly with the situation we've inherited, etc. That's the mindset I want my children to have about their ancestors (and the peoples their ancestors displaced). A little rah-rah America in the grammar stage is no bad thing IMO.
  10. "I personally do NOT believe, never have believed, that the Bible is meant to be taken literally, beyond the historical facts that have been verified. I also do not believe the Bible is a science book or was meant to be a science book. There is no basis in the Bible for YEC or evolution. I can also think of quite a few passages that pretty much tell the believer that they should not lean on their own understanding, and that the ways of G-d are unknowable and so on...I do not feel it's my place, spiritually, to confine the Creator into the tight, limited parameters that the YEC movement has done. IMHO YEC has tied up the ways and means and even the dates of Creation into a nice little package with a bow on it and have presented it as Truth. Such hubris. The Creator I believe in is not as limiting as that." This has been a huge topic of discussion at my house lately. My religion has a saying: "the Torah is neither a history book not a science book. It is a handbook on how to be Jewish." We have been watching Cosmos, and my kids, living in the Bible Belt and having spent a couple of years in public school, are aware of the YEC viewpoint and how strongly some people hold it. The question they ask over and over again, when Dr. Tyson is discussing the grand scale of the universe, is "why don't people think this is something God could have done?" I have no answer. It seems to me EXACTLY the kind of blow-your-tiny-mind thing that an omniscient Creator would have done.
  11. For those of you waiting with bated breath for my decision :p, I decided to get Biology 2 from Pandia Press. They are having a big ol' sale right now, and I've liked their materials for the younger grades.
  12. That's so weird, MiMi, that Rainbow Science would make such an extreme "we are crazycakes" statement on their own website, yet their Chemistry and Physics books were neutral in tone. Oh well, Biology is sometimes a real fall-down area for religious publishers whose other materials are usable by families outside their particular sect.
  13. We are reading our way through The Story of Us (an awesome American history series) as a separate strand from SOTW. It's fun, quick, and is having the desired effect of making my children culturally literate at the level of public-schooled kids. I also assign literature like Johnny Tremain and Little House in the Big Woods in addition to literature set in far-distant past.
  14. We're not bunker-builders or preppers either, but as I was making my list, it occurred to me that everything on it was something I considered essential to living a good life and being a responsible citizen in a depleted world. To wit: 1. Practical mathematics, including the ability to design and follow construction schematics 2. College-professor-level literacy and language skills - for low-tech enjoyment, as a tool for further self-education and the education of my grandchildren, and as a means of participating effectively in a democracy under any conditions 3. History and geopolitics - again, with an eye to being a competent citizen no matter how much the world changes during their lifetimes 4. Music - for personal and group recreation
  15. OP here. I'm totally grateful for all recommendations, and regret my sarcasm earlier, but yes, a science text ordered by the days of creation is probably a "dud" recommendation, since it conflates religious mythology with scientific reality. Learning math and grammar from Christian books? Totally different IMHO. That body of knowledge is not affected by theology, and if my children gain a little understanding of the Mennonite worldview along with long division and sentence diagramming, that's nothing but a bonus for them.
  16. Again, my thanks to all. And I'm sorry I was so snarky about Rainbow Science - there is no point laughing at somebody who is only trying to help you. As another poster has pointed out, when you are wanting a great science program for your kids, and time after time you click on something that seems wonderful only to find out that it is yet another Christian apologetics program pretending to be a science course, it really wears on you. *lifeoftheparty* - most Jews, both in America and in Israel, are secular to one degree or another. For some of us, it just means not being Biblical literalists. For others, it means not believing in a personal God. I made the distinction because "religious Jews" would have very different curricular needs. Those would be the people who wear funny hats and think the Earth is 6,000 years old - ultra-Orthodox and Hasidic Jews. They are a small minority of Jews but they are very visible to most people, whereas secular Jews look like everybody else. "Fundamentalist Jews" would be a better term for those Jewish sects who read Torah literally, but that's not the term in common usage. They call themselves "religious." Some of the things the rest of us call them are best not put into print ;-) Since Judaism is a religion of "doing" rather than "believing," secular and religious Jews often find themselves engaging in a lot of the same activities - charity work, social justice activism, etc. We also have approximately one zillion holidays with their own particular rituals, so a secular Jew may be "doing Jewish" far more often than a religious Christian is visibly engaging in Christian ritual. Are there secular Christians and secular Muslims? I would say yes. If you don't think Mohammed spoke directly to God and was bodily removed into Heaven, but you fast on Ramadan and get married by an imam, you would be a secular Muslim. And people who don't think Jesus was the Son of God, but continue to have weddings and baby namings and funerals using the Christian liturgy? That, to me, is a secular expression of Christian cultural heritage.
  17. From the Rainbow Science homepage: Navigate theories on the age of the earth, the dinosaurs, and human evolution with ease and without compromising your children's developing faith. The Rainbow teaches the Truth while exposing the fantasies of humanistic theories. A brief Parent Fortification is provided to give you the confidence you need in guiding your children. :rofl: I wouldn't mind this curriculum being $$, but the fact that it conflates science with mythology is somewhat problematic for me. Very strange suggestion for "a secular Jewish family who value scientific literacy."
  18. Thank you all for the excellent suggestions! I'm not a new poster or a new homeschooler, but I've never had fifth graders before and I live in a state with NO meaningful quality control for homeschoolers (no standardized testing, no curriculum review, no portfolio submission, NOTHING), and I don't want them to decide to go to school at some point and struggle with lab sciences because Mommy hated messes :laugh:
  19. Science Fusion does look like something we could use very successfully - but $140 per kid for 3 kids is a lot. Galore Park has a book that they recommend for for "6th year," but it certainly looks like something my boys could handle, and I'm continually surprised at the lengths their little sister will go to in the name of "keeping up." Thanks so much - those are two great options.
  20. Not the most positive mindset, I know. :sad: I have rising 3rd and 5th graders. Science has been pretty much a bust for us this year - they've learned stuff, but it was a wretched chore for all of us. The only enjoyable thing we've done is to watch Cosmos as a family - though that's been extremely enjoyable and very educational as well IMHO. I hate experiments. HATE them. Hate the mess, hate the assembling of "common" household items that are certainly not common in MY household, hate the kids shoving each other around the kitchen island (and generating more mess). Hate hate hate. I will not do them on a regular basis; they ruin our homeschooling day. Strangely, Chemistry for the Grammar Stage did not mesh well with my teaching style. Here's what I WILL do - read books, do worksheets, show videos, talk about scientific concepts, go on field trips to the science center, the science museum, the planetarium, the zoo, etc. We are a secular Jewish family who value scientific literacy. When my children are a bit older, they will have my full support in taking lab sciences through a co-op or in public school if they ever choose to attend. I would even be willing to do some "kit" experiments at home, provided that EVERY SINGLE ITEM NEEDED is included in the kit and I'm not out in the garage looking for rubber tubing and rock salt. :smilielol5: Given my limitations as a teacher, does anybody have a suggestion for an open-and-go science textbook or online course with few experiments ? My kids do not like scripted materials such as FLL, but they are tolerant of low-visual-stimulation materials such as Rod and Staff. They loathed the fact that the Chemistry for the Grammar Stage student text made no sense without the teacher text being used alongside - they like to have their information printed in their own books. Thanks in advance!
  21. Thank, all! I had a merchandise credit for Memoria, so we've ordered Rod and Staff.
  22. Ladies (and gentlemen), I am failing my children in the area of math. So far this year, we have tried Khan Academy (not enough drill or structure) and Beast Academy (endless brain-teasing torture). I want a solid, classical mathematics program that is open-and-go and requires my kids to memorize their facts and become proficient at computation. What have you non-math-loving folks used and loved?
  23. Updating to say: I forged ahead with the BBOLL, and my boys love it. Thank you for encouraging me to try it!!!
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