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Everything posted by Alice

  1. So many podcasts....so little time. In addition to a lot of the ones here, I like the Bravewriter ones. I think it’s A Bravewriter’s Life in Brief. The first one this season was with Susan Wise Bauer and was very fun. My husband likes How I Built This. I just heard a new one advertised on NPR yesterday by Dana Temple Raston, something about how teenagers minds work when they make dumb decisions...What Were You Thinking. That sounded interesting.
  2. I teach A&P at our co-op and we do three dissections. I was a Bio major and did a bunch in high school and college. I think they have value. But..I also think it’s fine to opt out. I think most public and private high schools have opt-out options these days. At least the ones around here do. So I don’t know that I would make 7th graders do dissections that they aren’t that interested in just for the potential of doing them one day in high school. It’s also fine to do them for the first time in high school. If they were interested in the class I’d say go for it. But I don’t it’s necessary to prep for high school bio.
  3. My kids have never asked but I would tell them if they did. I haven’t intentionally not told them, it’s just not something that has come up. We talk about finances and budgeting but not using specific numbers.
  4. Yes, in an age appropriate way. I would also take the kid’s personality in consideration and how much of an impact it would have on the family. I think there are so many factors it’s hard to say “yes†I tell everything or “no†I keep it secret. In general, I tend to think more information is better. I think adults should share with kids but work to not make it the kid’s emotional burden...if that makes sense. For example, I had a small scare at a mammogram back when my boys were 5 and 2. I didn’t tell them about that then. It turned out to be nothing. If it had been cancer I would have told them, but in a way that tried to inform them but not overly scare or burden them. If I had the same issue now on a mammogram I might tell them. I probably wouldn’t sit them down and make a big deal of it but I wouldn’t deliberately not tell them. I have one kid who worries a lot more than the others and I’m probably more careful with how I share info with him. We have a lot of mental health issues in my extended family. Not me, but multiple relatives struggle with addiction and depression. I have told them about that. I explained it’s why I don’t drink alcohol at all. I also explained that depression is genetic. I don’t want them to worry about it but I also want them to be aware. I have a few patients who have serious medical issues whose parents have not told them. I can’t tell details here about the specific diagnoses but I passionately disagree with this approach. I understand that the parents all want to spare their kids worry but in all these situations I’m fairly sure the kids know something is wrong. I think the kids probably feel more weird about it knowing that something is wrong and that it’s so bad that their parents won’t tell them. Similarly, my Dad’s mother died of cancer (probably ovarian) when he was 18. She never told him she had cancer or that she was dying. There was just this attitude that you didn’t talk about stuff like that. I think it’s something that still affects him today.
  5. I would check with insurance before you go to the dentist. I’ve had a lot of patients who had the procedure denied by insurance when done by a dentist but it’s sometimes covered if done by ENT. I think the reason is that it’s classified as a “medical procedure†and then neither dental insurance or medical insurance will cover it when done by the dentist. I’m not saying that dentists aren’t capable, it’s a pretty simple procedure...just that you might get stuck with a big bill.
  6. I think you’re overthinking it. If your brother really likes the bourbon pie, seems like it would be kind to get that pie for your brother even if the friend can’t eat it. I’ve been a guest where it was obvious the hostess really wanted everyone to like everything and it’s almost uncomfortable. As a picky eater, I have felt like I was disappointing the hostess. It’s one thing to make sure there is something for everyone...it’s another thing to try to make everything for everyone.
  7. Mine did this for awhile until I figured out that there was a nearby bluetooth enabled keyboard that it was picking up. The keyboard was in a drawer and occasionally it would get turned on when someone would put something else in the drawer. Then the phone would pick up the keyboard and randomly open things and I’d see typing appear. It freaked me out until I figured it out. :) Maybe it’s somehow picking up or interacting with another device?
  8. We’ve had joint parties for our boys, it’s always been fun. As someone who had pie instead of cake at her wedding, I fully support non-traditional desserts. I hate the “no gift†thing. I think it’s fine in theory and would never say anything to someone about it. The problem I have with it is that we always honor the request but multiple times have been the only ones who did (or maybe one of two guests who did). Then my kids feel embarrassed to be the only one without a gift. This just happened to my daughter in September. Invitation said no gifts. My daughter really wanted to take a gift because the girl came to her party just the day before. I said no, we would honor their request because that was the kind and respectful thing to do. We show up and there are like 10 other girls there all with huge beautifully wrapped gifts. My daughter gave me the evil eye. They opened presents during the party and she felt terrible to not have one for her friend. Afterward, we talked about it but I still felt bad for her. That same scenario has happened to us at least two or three other times (with different families). Anyway, I like it in concept....it’s just the way it plays out in reality for us that is a problem. So the next "no gift" party I think I will buy a gift and keep it in the car. Then if I drop her off and there is a pile of gifts we can run back to the car. :)
  9. Thank you for this thread! My current high schooler is kind of a classic perfect homeschooler, very good at independent learning, great at test-taking, visual learner, relatively organized, self motivated. The next one up is so not those things. He is awesome in so many ways but he is quirky, unorganized, and a complete out of the box thinker. I’ve been musing over how we will do jr. high and high school and I love these threads.
  10. I sometimes let my kids pick their own copywork, which we then use for dictation also. They pick from whatever book they are currently reading.
  11. I have a swimmer, he’s 14. He swims with a USA club and a summer rec team. He’s a good swimmer (some AAA times, some AA). I’m not an expert but these are my basic principles... *I only know his times vaguely. Some of them I know because he is working on a particular goal and he talks about it. Incessantly. :) Otherwise, I try not to focus on the time other than on how he feels about it. Before a meet I say “Have fun.†After a meet I say “Did you have fun?†And “How many books did you read?†(He likes swimming because the meets are so long and he can read while he waits.) *I never comment on anything related to his swimming technique. Ever. I trust his coaches and figure they and he know way more than me about swimming. *Everything related to swimming has to be his goals and driven by him. I don’t make him swim anything. I leave that to the coaches ; they will encourage swimmers to swim out of their comfort zone. I also let him decide how much he wants to swim. He “should†swim more than he does. He’s been pushed by his coaches to swim more, but his response was “I swim enough.†(Not to them, to me when I asked him what he thought. He was more polite to them.) That’s good enough for me. We have talked about how if he has certain goals (swimming in college, certain times or meets to qualify for) than he would need to change what he is doing. Those aren’t his goals. At the same time, he has a goal to break a record at our summer pool and so signed up for extra dryland training this year to get stronger. He’s loving that and I think more so because it was totally his choice. Every swimmer is different but I will add that my son was an average swimmer until about 11. That was the year that he started to go through puberty and something just clicked for him. He was not the kid in the 9-10 age group that seemed like a star. Then he had a growth spurt which I think made a big difference (one of those things you can’t control though) and also it seemed like it all just started to come together.
  12. I think if your’e loving it, it’s worth continuing. If you want to do just vocabulary there are lots of programs out there. We don’t use them so I don’t have specific recommendations. We have used Lively Latin and really loved it. My oldest has continued with Latin as a high schooler with Lukeion and LL prepared him well. At the same time, I felt like it was easy to take slowly. FWIW, he is now doing Spanish I in addition to Latin II. He’s doing the Spanish really because he has an opportunity to go to Chile this spring and we thought it would be good to do a little Spanish before. Then a native speaker offered to teach it at our co-op so that was just a good opportunity. Spanish is his 7th credit this year so I told him going in that if it was too much we could just not count it as a credit but instead just do it for the trip prep and exposure. But he’s finding it fairly easy after having the Latin background. The grammar is really easy for him so far and the vocab is fairly familiar. I’m not saying that will be true as he continues with higher levels of Spanish but right now it’s not equivalent to doing two languages. For my son, Latin is his main language as he really enjoys it. He may end up dropping Spanish, especially if we don’t have the nice situation of having a convenient teacher. But I could see a situation where a similar student might do Latin through Latin II and then continue with the Spanish only.
  13. Thanks, Creekland. I may still do that. I’ve realized I tend to have these periodic moments of worry where I sort of mini-freak out. “Ah! We’re not doing enough!†Then when I really look at it I think “Oh, it’s actually ok.†Just realizing that I have the option of counting the work we do for Speech is reassuring even if in the end I decide we have enough for an English credit without it. Yes, this is what I meant. I wouldn’t feel comfortable just having him participate in the club and then calling that a class. I was more thinking that I could count the time spent as part of his English credit, not as a class itself.
  14. Thanks. I think it's partially just being nervous because he's my first high-schooler. 😀
  15. Thanks, this is helpful. I’m not generally worried about replicating the public schools. Our state has very little in the way of requirements and doesn’t even say we have to have any specific classes. Out of interest after starting this thread I looked at the high school he would go to if we were doing public school. They do not offer Speech as a class but the description of their English classes includes “oral communication skills and presentationsâ€. Sounds like Speech to me. :)
  16. I'm an only child. 😀 I don't like sharing rooms and will always choose to be alone if I can. It's worth the extra money to me.
  17. I'm an only child. 😀 I don't like sharing rooms and will always choose to be alone if I can. It's worth the extra money to me.
  18. Thanks. (and to everyone else). Yes, this is what I’d be doing. He is primarily a Math guy and is doing AOPS math. He’s also doing Lukeion Latin which he loves. Those two classes take up a large amount of time. He has a full load otherwise and everything else is on track to be a a full credit (Chemistry, History, Computer Science, Spanish). English is slightly on the light side. He reads a ton but doesn’t like to do literary analysis. We’re reading a fair amount together (in addition to his own fun reading) and discussing. He did one short writing class at Bravewriter and will do a second this spring, I hope. We’re working through a couple of Great Courses lectures. So overall it might be ok, but it feels a bit light to me. Speech is mostly watching rather than analyzing at this point. He will have to participate in one tournament and for that he will have to prep a few speeches. He hates to write (although isn’t really a bad writer) so I thought I’d have that be part of our English work instead of also giving him other writing to do. I like the idea of adding in some famous speeches to listen to and analyze together...he’s also really interested in leadership and likes history so I think he might enjoy that.
  19. My oldest is in 9th grade this year. He’s juggling a lot of work and handling it well for the most part and I feel like we’ve mostly hitten a sweet spot of doing the right amount work. The one area that I’m feeling is a little light is English. I am wondering about counting Speech as part of his English class vs. as an extra-curricular. I’ve always heard not to count things as credits that stand out more as extra-curriculars. So for example, he is a very good swimmer so I will list that as an extra-curricular rather than a PE credit. He’s doing Speech Club primarily because it’s offered at our co-op and a lot of his friends do it so it’s a good social opportunity for him. And public-speaking and writing are two of his weak areas so I told him I wanted him to do at least one year of it. But I don’t think speech is ever going to be his “thingâ€. Any thing I’m missing ? A reason not to count the time as part of the English credit?
  20. We didn’t have a set plan. We had a “kids phone†for a few years that was an old smart phone. It was for whoever needed it when getting dropped off somewhere. In reality only the oldest used it. This summer, it died and we decided to get dh a new phone. His old phone then became the phone for oldest. Since he (oldest son) was going into high school and the reality was he was the one who needed it we decided to call it his rather than the kids’ phone. It’s a smart phone, specifically a iPhone. We pay but we use Tracfone as a service and it’s relatively cheap. We told him that above a certain amount of usage (text or data) he would have to pay for it. At this point he doesn’t use it much so it isn’t an issue. I have Parental Restrictions on it so he can’t download apps without permission. The restrictions also means that he can’t erase history on the phone. He knows we will check it sporadically to make sure there isn’t in appropriate stuff on it. We don’t have other specific restrictions about use because he doesn’t really use it much. He takes it when he’s going somewhere where he is being dropped off and primarily uses it to call or text us for a ride. Sometimes when he’s waiting for us he’ll watch Studio C or email or play games. But at home he uses the computer (in the main living room) instead of the phone. We don’t allow it in the bedroom, but he also doesn’t try and use it there anyway. We wanted him to have it so that he could start learning how to manage a phone when he is younger rather than older. I think a lot of adults can have the tendency to get addicted to phones (me included at times) and I want to help him learn how to use it as a tool rather than something that is causing problems. One thing we’ve been open about with the kids is that the rules might change. Not arbitrarily but as we learn and as situations change. For example, our oldest doesn’t have any close friends with phones. That makes his usage very different than if all his friends had phones. If all his friends got phones and he was spending large portions of the day texting then we might need to restrict it to certain hours. Or if he was running up huge bills, we would need to talk about that.
  21. This thread reminded me of one of my favorite stories from med school. I was doing my surgery rotation and we had a patient who spoke only a relatively uncommon language. ( It was a long time ago so I don’t remember what it was but not Spanish or any other Romance language or any Asian language. It might have been something like a regional dialect.) This was before translator phone services were easily accessible. As we were checking everything for surgery it became obvious that she couldn’t have truly consented as she didn’t understand any English. So we had to stop and postpone the surgery searching for a translator. In the end, the person they brought up was a tiny old woman who worked in the cafeteria who happened to speak the same language. The surgeon was about to blow a gasket at the delay and it just made me laugh that the person that saved the day was at the other end of the power spectrum in the hospital.
  22. I said other. It’s a lot but I think it’s only too much if you or the kids are feeling the stress and not happy with it. All three of my kids have different tolerance levels for scheduled activities. One needs a lot. I think in order to homeschool her I will need to have her in a lot of stuff as she gets older....she needs the social aspect. One hates anything formal and does very very little in the way of scheduled activities. And the third is kind of in the middle. If your kids all like being really busy and doing a lot and it suits you and your family and your getting schoolwork done...it’s not too much.
  23. For preschool and Kindergarten, reading books was my main “curriculumâ€. The one academic goal we work on at that age is learning to read. I spent about 15 minutes a day on phonics in K. We did math some days as well, but probably no more than 10-15 minutes at a time and not necessarily every day. It was a lot of playing games. I didn’t have any other formal subjects. For the reading aloud I did a Letter of the Week plan for preschool and then used a modified version of Five in a Row with all my kids. You could easily just pick random books and be fine, but I like to plan and was more comfortable having some kind of structure. I never read the Five in a Row book every day, just used it to plan the week. For a given week I would have a theme (it might be a letter with Letter of the Week or it might be a book from Five in a Row or it might have to do with the calendar). Then using that book I’d get a ton of other books out from the library. So if it was A week we’d read books on Apples, Ants, Acrobats, etc. If it was How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World (from FIAR) we’d read books about apples and pies and travel and some of the places the girl goes. It it was President’s Day we’d read books about the presidents. In addition to the reading we’d do some activities related to the books. Like one or two a week. The activities depended on the kid. My oldest hated art so we did it less often. My second and third kids loved art so we did it more. So for A week we might do apple painting (using the apples as stamps) and go outside and watch ants in our yard. For the Apple Pie week we might bake an apple pie together and using a world map color the places the girl went. Or something like that. At that age we went on a LOT of field trips and did a lot of art and natural science. And we’ve always had a chapter book going at the same time as the other books, unrelated to whatever else we are reading. And we listen to audiobooks in the car always. I remember posting here when my oldest was preschool or Kindergarten age and getting a lot of advice to slow down and enjoy it. And I hated that advice because I was really ready to homeschool and I’m a bit of a control freak kind of personality and in order to enjoy it I felt like I needed more structure. Looking back, I’m glad I listened to it and wish I had maybe even listened more. Now that my oldest is in high school I realize what everyone has been saying all along...it goes fast. You don’t have to do it all in K. Or 1st grade. Or 2nd grade. Or 3rd grade.... Writing this post has made me somewhat nostalgic for those fun years. :) Enjoy this time! It’s fun.
  24. We use the extra large L.L. Bean totes. They hold a ton (like 50+ picture books). It was not atypical for us to have it completely stuffed back when the kids were little. Now that we get less picture books it is full but not as stuffed. We have one for each kid (we use them for other stuff also) and have had the oldest one for 14 years. It is just as sturdy as it was when we first got it. A little more dingy and scuffed but still sturdy. :) ETA: We have a dog and I haven’t noticed a huge amount of hair on the bags. We do keep them in a closet in a bedroom where the dog doesn’t hang out much. (Not on purpose, it’s just where they are stored).
  25. We just did the skeleton hand mystery. It was fun and the hands turned out super cool.
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