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Everything posted by KinderSafari

  1. Don't be afraid to ask if people are willing to take less! Especially if you take a few of their items. I know when I sell, the more items people are willing to buy from me, the more I'm willing to lower the price! Saves me time and effort packaging things individually! I love to shop at the homeschool convention used curriculum sales too. We don't have one close to where I live, but I'm able to get to one every few years. You need to be "the first" one there, bring lots of small bills, and make quick decisions to get the best bargains. Also towards the end of the day, there will be more and more free stuff as vendors decide they don't want to bring stuff home, so I keep checking back in the free pile. The online sites (here and the FB site) have varying prices and the best deals are snatched up quickly. But if I was going to buy it new anyway (and I also recommend Rainbow Resource), then it's still a good deal to save even a few $$.
  2. Another plus to buying the Life of Fred series, is that even though it might not work for you - it does work for many people so the re-sale value is very good. :)
  3. Ideally, you could browse through some copies at a conference or store (we live in a small town, so that's not usually possible) - or from another homeschool family? I have invited a lot of families to our house to browse through materials. I find it so helpful to actually see the books in person because when you research every curriculum online they all talk about how wonderful they are. Well, for SOME people they are - but is it for ME? If people are still considering buying it, and I trust them to keep my books in good condition ( :) ), then I'll loan it to them for awhile to try out.
  4. Right now we're using it as a review and will probably use it as an introduction to other concepts. Once I feel they need a little more practice in some areas, it will move to a supplement and we'll probably pull out our other math curriculum (through 4th grade, I like Mathematical Reasoning books through Critical Thinking Company or Rainbow Resource). But I'm pretty sure my younger ones will be reading the whole series now! They're hooked!
  5. We started a few years ago with the older kids, and *I* loved them, but for the older stuff after doing our regular math for so long, it's just what they were used to so we went back to them. I thought we'd try again once I saw the elementary series, and am really glad we did!
  6. My kids are LOVING the elementary Life of Fred series! We started with the first book, which is a little younger than they'd need, but I thought we could work through it a little faster then. I'm afraid of missing something. My kids keep asking if they can PLEASE read another chapter! We are on page 80 of the first book after just 4 days. Not sure if this will keep up or not, but for now, we're just enjoying it! :) Love hearing their giggles while reading math!
  7. If you haven't researched "vision tracking" I strongly encourage it - it can't hurt! We were thinking one of our kids was dyslexic as well for years. Even though we enrolled that child in the school part-time to get help, they said they wouldn't test or help children until at least 3rd grade if they were really behind by then, because most children get caught up by then. We kept trying and researching until we found out he had vision tracking problems. He could track things fine enough, but he could not SUSTAIN his tracking and his eyes would quickly jump around if he was trying to focus on something and his words would get all mixed up. After a few months of us working with him with some exercises we found online, he was doing much better. A year and a half later, he was all caught up to grade level for reading.
  8. Just stumbled upon this, and have to leave in a minute, so just want to post quickly so I can find this again! We finished: Mathematical Reasoning Language Smarts Both from Critical Thinking Company. We use these for K - 3rd grades and it has worked VERY WELL for all my kids no matter what their learning style has been. Pricier than I'd pay for a "workbook" - but it's more like a whole curriculum in one book. Independent learning style. The kids rarely needed me to sit with them, they could figure it out without me hovering over them. Worth it. Nearly Finished Apologia Astronomy with Notebook. Worth it. My kids LOVE science and I fall asleep on the first sentence of every science book I've read until this one. The kids RETAIN the knowledge and are EAGER to do it. This is the first thing they ask for every day. We could have done more this year, but I was working 40 hours a week until March, so this was the first thing we set aside since it is more teacher directed. Older kids: Saxon math WITH SAXON TEACHER CDs. I wouldn't do it any other way! 3 of my kids are awesome at math, and 2 of them struggle. The CDs work for all of them. They can go back and "rewind" and "replay" the day's concept. They REVIEW past concepts every day by adding a few random problems from past chapters. The CDs have the answers for EVERY SINGLE PROBLEM in the book - explained to them - if they are struggling with an answer. Pricier than I'd normally pay, but to be used by 5 kids - definitely worth it, and actually it was so successful for us, I'd have probably paid that much every year for each child, because before this math was a HUGE time consumer in our house with explanations, backtracking, repeating concepts, etc. Also big spontaneous purchase this year for the older kids were the APOLOGIA science Red Wagon Tutorials. My older kids were bored out of their minds with science, and having a less-than-enthusiastic teacher like me did not help. I just required it of them and we all dragged. The Red Wagon Tutorials are from a teacher who taught the Apologia science classes online and then gave the rights to re-sell his broadcasts. He is 1. Enthusiastic and 2. Organized and 3. Interesting. He adds a lot of interesting side notes and connects more things than are even in the book. The hardest part was figuring out how their schedule/dates/assignments would correlate to our school year. That took us a little while, but since then has been easy and even my student who dislikes science as much as I do has retained a LOT more than previous years. Anyway, I kind of went off like writing a review or something! But these were the things I was very hesitant about mostly because of price, but ended up being very happy about! Things I was disappointed in: Mathtacular - cute and fun, but I can't put it together with a curriculum, so just watching math concepts can grow old quickly. It would be nice if it correlated to a curriculum. Drive Thru History - interesting and fun, but again, hard to tie in with other things we are doing. If you have the extra money to spend - those are nice extras, but they won't stand alone as any sort of curriculum (at least they didn't for us.) More to come!
  9. In WI there are virtual school programs available to anyone in the state, or individual districts might offer their own students a virtual option - each district being different. In our district we can currently either choose one of their pre-packaged curriculums, or submit a wish list of curriculum and they will choose what curriculum they approve. They do NOT approve Christian materials. So, for example, they will not buy our Apologia textbook or workbooks, but they WILL buy the Apologia science kit. We are also required to take the reading and math tests that all WI students take in November starting in 3rd grade and up. Other than that, we are pretty much left on our own. Neighboring districts approve more than our district, but open enrollment is not allowed except to the specific state-approved virtual schools. The state ones I checked into require a lot of regular checks, using their curriculum, and sticking to a strict curriculum/assignment schedule. Not for us at this time anyway!
  10. Question was too general - I'll try again later and break things up into more specifics. :)
  11. I like the books listed above, but most of them did not work for US. My number one suggestion to new homeschool families is to find someone who is even a year ahead of you, preferably someone who's been homeschooling awhile, and set up an hour to sit and browse and talk books and curriculum. Browsing vendors at a homeschool fair is fun too, but everyone will tell you their stuff is the best! :) For younger ages we love: Mathematical Reasoning (k - 3rd grade) through Critical Thinking Co. Language Smarts (k - 3rd grade) through Critical Thinking Co. Apologia Elementary series for science (my two boys FAVORITE topic, and my least favorite, but THIS series I find interesting) Explode the Code series for handwriting/spelling Then we add a lot of reading books that they are interested in. I am not a fan of books that require a lot of teacher intensive preparation or reading to understand the concepts that program is trying to teach. Maybe because we have 5 kids right now and I need each one to be as independent as possible. Not that I don't LIKE teacher-directed curriculum, I just found I was skipping too much and feeling too guilty with a lot of that type of curriculum. Good luck!
  12. :tongue_smilie: I still don't know how to use this quote thing!! I'll try again.
  13. For me, I guess it definitely is boiling down to personality. And we've told her this whole year our decision will be based MOSTLY on her behavior (personality) and how we can only GUESS that would play into a decision like that. And we told her WE will be making the decision, not her. If we could switch mid-year, I'd be making the decision much quicker. The problem is once she starts playing for a high school team, she has to play for that team the rest of her high school years, or sit out a year to switch (Wisconsin high school rules). WHICH we have told her WOULD happen if we sent her, and we made a decision to bring her back home because of any poor behavior on her part. She "plays down" to a different level because in the past her coaches have told her she needs to slow down her passes because the other kids can't catch them. They also told her she needs to slow down her skating for the same reason, and she needs to pass and share with the other kids and not be a puck hog. Okay, all good things - work as a team - but then, how is my daughter supposed to improve when they're telling her to play down? I also DON'T like the idea of her being the superstar, that's not right either. Last year the high school game was played like this: pass to the 2 kids who can score and let them take it. I don't like seeing that in any sport, or any activity. Feed the superstars? :tongue_smilie: Our problem with her staying here would be to keep her humble!! :) (Also a good learning lesson). Good lessons everywhere! My pros and cons list is getting bigger! Grateful to have some black and white idea, this will NOT just be an emotional decision!
  14. You guys are great! I knew I'd get some valuable feedback here! I do not want to keep her home just because of what could POSSIBLY happen. I need to evaluate HER. Her personality. Have I (we) raised her right to be able to withstand the pressure of high school? Of any of our kids, she's the most level-headed and grounded of all our kids. Now my son, on the other hand who's 17, I don't think he'll be ready to leave the house until he's 25! Also, does Leaving parents before 18 guarantee a falling away from God and faith? Maybe I'm being naive. I went to a public high school, and stayed grounded. Not because of my parents, but because of who I already was. I believe my daughter is already smarter and wiser than I was at her age. Of course, no one can predict every situation - good or bad. That's the purpose of this question - to see if there is something I hadn't considered. Some new feedback. I can tell in my responses, I'm looking to send her. :) I think because I do feel like it's similar to my approach to homeschooling has been. If my kids are good at something, or even just interested in something - I seek out the best possibility for them to learn within our community, or even outside our community if it works. If her opportunity were in another state, and she wouldn't be with ANYONE she knew (think: similar to college), I would have a MUCH harder time. Her grandfather is incredibly academically intelligent and enjoys having her (any of our kids) around. He has lots of wonderful characteristics. She has spent many summers, weekends, weeks there and knows the town inside and out and already made several friends there over the years who are excited to possibly have her go over to be part of the school and team. I think I WOULD need to make the commitment, no matter what the cost of gas is, to drive over and pick her up Friday afternoon, and bring her back Sunday night. That's too much free time in a loosely supervised place for a teenager. It's only an hour away. We also have complete access to her email and facebook accounts and we told her that would continue (told all our kids) until they're 18. Yes, kids should be able to excel in any environment - whether with a good team or bad. But personality wise they don't always do that. She DOES do a little more at home than her peers, but when she is challenged by her peers she does A LOT more because she's always motivated to be the best on any team she plays for. I'm sure I will be re-reading this thread several times before we make our final decision - thanks again!! So many good statements in here I'm sure I'll be stealing to explain our decision either way! :)
  15. NOW, let's re-word this. Instead of say, sending her away because of a SPORT, what if I sent her away because of a fantastic scholastic/academic opportunity? Say,they have a fabulous academic program and kids in those classes score phenomonally on the ACT/SAT whatever, and she is an ace math student and we have horrible math teachers here. I don't know, I'm making this up. It seems to me a lot of response I'm getting (from friends) is - you'd do this for a SPORT?! I'd do this because THIS is the thing my child is passionate about, and does very well in, and I'm researching the different options available. I don't want someone to call us a "traitor". I don't want someone to say we're ridiculous for considering a change for "just a sport". I want someone to ask us the REAL questions. (Of course, this is my thread so I get to decide what's real. :) ) Like the questions you've been asking. :) WEIGH the influences. HOW MUCH do you trust her? HOW responsible is she? WHAT is GOD putting on your heart? COULD IT BE that God IS calling her to go there? COULD IT BE that God is calling us to let her go? Or would the only thing God would want is for her to be here? 24/7? Until she is 18? That magic age of wisdom for the era we're currently living in? :)
  16. We have until the end of June to confirm open enrollment. I definitely see really valid points both ways and we change our mind from day to day (but we don't tell our daughter!) We tell her we are taking all the time we are allowed before we make our decision. Hopefully God will make it clearer to us before our deadline! Influence is huge. Especially in the teenage years. Influence of a grandparent. Influence away from home where I can't control it as much. Predicting the future just doesn't come naturally to me. :) At some point I need to let the kids be more independent. Should it be 18 years old - just black and white like that? If any of my kids would be fine, it would be her. I'm pretty sure. :)
  17. I guess what bothers me too about the feedback we HAVE received, is that people in town would consider her (us) a traitor for leaving town to play somewhere else. :glare: They ask her "Don't you want to be a star?" (REALLY?? Is THAT supposed to be a goal??) At the end of the season, one of her coaches found out what we were considering and told her in the locker room in front of all the other kids "I am NOT coaching a kid that is going to go play somewhere else. You need to play for OUR team next year." In other words, we need to consider the TEAM first. Not what is best for our child. These attitudes are the same type of things I got when we first told people we were homeschooling. Very defensive. The homeschool questions were: "What? Our schools are not good enough for you?" "If you don't like the school, then YOU need to do something to change it - not leave it." How rare has someone said: What would be the best for YOUR CHILD? In fact, TODAY, one year after we have quietly been talking about the possibility with some of our friends - was the FIRST time anyone ever told us "You need to have her go play somewhere else. Our team will do nothing for her. She could really make it." I about dropped over in shock.
  18. Thanks so much for all the feedback! It is SOOOO appreciated! A lot of the statements really stood out to me! I think I could tell by reading them what my answer is going to be. :) There were some where I just said: YES! That's exactly what I was thinking! And others where I thought: Oh, well, maybe I should think more about this! It's so nice to have a third "person" to bounce these things off of!! A few answers to questions people brought up: To clarify state sports rules here - yes it would be illegal to go live somewhere else and play for the team unless you are open enrolled, which is what we would do. And to prevent those sort of problems from hopping around to play sports, is why WI has the rule that if you switch schools (without your whole family moving) you would have to sit out of all sports and activities for a year before playing. Also - we have watched some of the girls college teams play and I was very surprised to see that there would be a real chance for her to play in a Division 1 school. Her goal is to go to the Olympics. Any of my husband's faith, comes from his mom and her influence. She has had MS for the last 10 years, so since his dad does all her care, they no longer go to church. Hockey games for youth take up weekends, but for high school, they typically play during the week. She would turn 16 in a year, and be able to drive herself to church, youth group activities, home on weekends, etc. So I think it's really this next year I'm having a hard time with AND being away from my daily influence! It's not "TIME" for any of my kids to leave yet!! :) (I think I will always think that!)
  19. Oh wise parents of the homeschool world! To those who are willing to change and alter and keep their children's best interests in mind- any feedback for me on this? My will-be 10th grader is "gifted"! (Don't we all know that about our kids? :) ) She is gifted in hockey. :tongue_smilie: So my question is would you send your kids to live somewhere else so they could be more challenged in a sport (in this case to the grandparents)? Here's a little credibility on her giftedness: In 8th grade she was already told by an opposing team's coach if she ever wanted to play hockey in college, she should contact him. She is also contacted every year to play "elite" girls summer hockey in the state. Usually this is something the kids contact teams about and ask to tryout for. They have told her she doesn't even need to try out. The schools we are comparing (grandparents and ours) are academically equal, but she would be challenged with their hockey program, and she would be bored out of her mind here. Our kids records typically are 1 or 2 wins a season. Also, my daughter has never done well when she is the best one in anything. She plays down to the level of the other kids. So the concept of "being a star" or "being a leader" I don't really see as helping her other than being selfish. If it were MY strong Christian parents, I'd send her in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, my parents' city hockey program is just as "fine" as ours. My father-in-law and I have not gotten along so well, and he is an atheist. THAT is my biggest roadblock. It's not like he'll try to convert her to atheism, and I've already told her that's why I'm hesitating. He also knows where I stand on Christianity. And we agree to never talk about the issue. She would be going to school, going home to do schoolwork, participating in sports, and coming home on the weekends/vacations/summer. Last point to mention: She is not allowed to change her mind, by WI state rules for sports. If she practices even ONE time with any team, she "commits" to that team for one year from that date. If she wants to switch teams, she has to sit out of any sports or activities for one full year from the last time she played with a team. So basically, our decision is for the remainder of her high school years. FEEDBACK???
  20. As someone else posted - if I'm bored, it rubs off on the kids. I keep looking to find a BETTER replacement before I switch, otherwise I'll stick with what I have. It's taken me 10 years, but I feel like I have the curriculum I like now! I am an eclectic curriculum junkie - we don't use one program, but a big variety of things. And I totally understand that not every thing works for every person! Teacher or kid! It's been worth my time and research. I would make recommendations, but it's hard, because what we have fits US! If someone asks me for feedback on something (again we've tried a lot), I usually will start with saying something like: THIS is why WE like it (or don't like it). And I will also usually find something positive to say about almost any curriculum. I'm grateful there are a lot of choices! I still have a few younger ones, so if we hit a brick wall with some of the things we've "finalized" and have on hand for the older ones, I am willing to look around again. And I love checking out new things! I want my kids to be ENTHUSIASTIC learners. Not just learning because it's "required" or "good for them". At times, I'll resort to that. But if I can find something that will get them excited, they will learn that much better and faster. :)
  21. Here's a sample of the typical books I throw away: Old magazines (guess those aren't books, but they're in there) Fashionable knitting design books copyright 1970s Books with corners chewed by dogs Children's book with the front cover all colored on Books with the covers ripped off or taped back together NEW Book of History from 1980 Chilton car manual from 1963 car covered in oil and missing the cover A dozen Harlequin romance books that are so cheap the pages are falling out, or they have way too promiscous pictures on the front to be setting out in sight of the kids Old yellowed Bible, with tattered pages (I kept this one out for two months, because I hate throwing a Bible away... :( ) College textbook of Economics from 15 years ago Safety tips for driving from 50 years ago More knitting books from 40 years ago (oh the hairstyles on the covers of these books!) First Aid book from 20 years ago Our prices are between a quarter and a dollar, so figure over a month most things should sell, unless there's something wrong with them. It's more the old, hardcover, novels I have a hard time with. Maybe I should just ask to take them home? Is there a good site to check out vintage books and if they're worth anything?
  22. How much do your kids like brain/thinking puzzles? As a kid, I would have sat for hours and figured them out. My kids are way too impatient for a lot of these like the Red Herring series. I find the age ranges are dependent on your child. My kids always start with a slightly younger age range in these series and then keep progressing. Two of my kids are pretty good at them, but they only do them because I require them to - one page a day. I keep hoping they would want to do more on their own, but so far they haven't. I really think they help their thinking processes. I'm curious to see the Logic Safari books someone else mentioned. I know there are other similar books out there, and these are pricy and do what you want them to do, but I'm pretty frugal. I would not buy the CDs again. I bought those years ago for my older kids, and as with most computer cd's, they get outdated pretty quickly. I had hoped to use them with all my kids and save $$ by not buying workbooks, but it became more difficult to use them on our computers as we updated the computers. We DO use their (still pricy) Mathematical Reasoning and Language Smarts books for our younger kids (K through 3rd grade). I think they are the best math and language arts programs for those ages. Bright, colorful, fun pages with logically sequential problems. With the other math and language arts programs we tried we always had to supplement and backtrack and explain other things to them. I also really like MindBenders - grid logic puzzles. Those are probably my favorite of the logic puzzles.
  23. I wish I knew more about vintage books! So many people THINK they have treasures, and I just have no idea about them! I'd like to be knowledgeable in this area, but am at a loss as to where to start! My family also volunteers at the thrift shop once a week and I am known as the "book lady" because I always organize and stock all the bookshelves. When a book is sitting there for a month, we recycle it. And I always feel bad, because a lot of these are "older" books and I wonder if they might have some value to them. Where would be a good place to check that kind of thing out? I wonder if I could bring a box of them home and just check that sort of thing out? The stuff that sells is usually the books in nicer condition and are up to 20 years old. Once they start yellowing, they just sit there. We get enough donations that we sell shelves full, re-stock, and I still pull and recycle an average of 3 boxes a week. The majority of stuff I pull was put out by kind 80 year old ladies with poor eyesight that don't notice the corner was chewed off by a dog or the pages are full of dead ladybugs. :tongue_smilie:
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