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Everything posted by Alice

  1. :grouphug: Couple of thoughts... As someone who also has had a lot of education and who has a dh with a good education, I have definitely felt the "Gosh, I have a MD, surely I can figure out middle school Subject X or I'm a failure as a homeschooler." I do think it's absolutely fine and even a good thing to have subjects that you tell your kids you don't know as much about. I see part of the benefit of homeschooling as modeling life-long learning. A lot of subjects we learn together. This can be done badly, where a teacher is just unprepared and uses "go look it up yourself" as an excuse for their unpreparedness. Or it can be done well. "Hey, I don't know much about the causes of WWI. Let's find some books in the library and read about it." Then you show them how to research if they don't already know. I pre-read and prepare as much as possible but I find all the time that the kids have questions I don't know the answer to or that they learn more than me about something. As they have gotten older our homeschool has become a place where there is more discussion and less one-way teaching. They learn about a topic, I learn about a topic. I teach them. They teach me. They teach each other. Obviously, the 13 year old does more discussing and teaching than the 7year old but we all try to learn together. It's not unusual at our house for us to have a conversation at breakfast or dinner about something we've been learning and then someone get up and go look up more information in a book or online because none of know the answer. Done well, I think this makes a rich environment. I don't always do it well, but that's sort of the ideal homeschool I work towards. I look at middle school as a transition period for the student and also for me. I thought about what skills I wanted my students to have when they went into high school rather than what content I wanted them to have. My oldest is now a rising 9th grader and the difference between where he is as far as independent learning is leaps and bounds from where he was as a rising 6th grader. But it happened slowly. I am also much better at figuring out how to teach things that I know less about and how to be more of a facilitator than direct teacher. But it also happened slowly for me.
  2. I guess we have a no smoking rule, but we don't know anyone who smokes so it's not an issue. We don't have any family members who visit who would bring pets so that hasn't been an issue either. We have a dog so I guess if someone asked, we would consider the idea but I wouldn't be thrilled about it. Ds is allergic to cats so we would have to say no on that. I agree in general that the rules of the house should be respected. Someone who is visiting is a guest, even if it's family. In an ideal situation both host and guest should do what they can to compromise but it seems unreasonable to expect people to completely change a house rule (like no dogs) for someone who is visiting and who has other options (hotel, kennel the dog, get a dog sitter, etc) We have had the unmarried couples issue come up in our extended family. SIL is single and lives in a very large house. She is strongly opposed to unmarried couples staying together in bedrooms in her house. We have several nieces and nephews who are living with their partners. SIL has made a stand that they cannot stay with her. One niece is getting married this fall to her long time boyfriend (who she lives with). He has relatives (including his Mom and her long time boyfriend) coming to the wedding who are in unmarried relationships and they asked SIL if they could stay at her house since it's very large. (As an aside she bought the house from her siblings when their father died, primarily in order for it to remain a "family house" where big events could be held and where she could host guests. She routinely hosts people from out-of-town, including people who are acquaintances or families of friends. So asking her if someone could stay there was not in itself an issue.) She said they could only stay at her house in separate bedrooms. We share SIL's personal beliefs about sex being something that should be in a married relationship. So she asked us what our thoughts were. Both dh and I agreed that we would be fine with them staying here, and would be fine with our other family members in unmarried relationships. We felt like we would prefer to offer hospitality than to be strict about our own personal morals. And I felt like it was easy to explain that to our kids. To me it is easier to compromise on something like a personal belief or moral than on something like smoking. If an unmarried couple is having sex in our house it doesn't personally impact me but if I'm breathing in smoke or my house now has dog hair all over it, that does impact me directly.
  3. Longreads is a subscription email newsletter that sends a selection of great long-form articles. They also have a website. https://longreads.com The subscription used to be free, and I think is still just "donation" based. They ask for $5 a month but I think you can give less if you want and still get the emails.
  4. This is kind of what I thought. In our house, dh tends to be more pragmatic. I could see him offering the peanuts or other treat and thinking it was brilliant because he got the three year old to bed and avoided a tantrum if one was brewing. I tend to be the one who thinks more about the long-term. So I would be thinking "Now they think they will always get a treat. They need to learn to just do it because we asked them to. What about inner motivation...blah, blah, blah". Dh used to always use distraction when we had a kid who was really upset about something. It often worked but I would feel like we needed to address the bigger issue rather than just distract. What I've learned is that a balance of the two isn't always bad. An occasional bribe or distraction from Dad hasn't meant that we have kids who are incapable of doing what's asked or of doing things without a bribe. And on the no nuts thing...years ago my sister-in-law was babysitting. When we came home she said "Hey, know what H. really loves?" We asked what. The answer "Peanuts!" He was 9 months old. I just looked at her and said "Well, that's probably he's not supposed to have them!" SIL is an ER doctor but has no kids of her own and doesn't usually do pediatric medicine. I laughed and said "Well, at least if he'd choked or had anaphylaxis, you could have taken care of it." I certainly didn't think she wasn't capable of caring for kids again...in fact the same kid just returned from a 10 day vacation to Alaska with her. She did get a lot of grief though for a long time from the ER nurses when she told them the story.
  5. If you don't already know it, Budget Bytes is a great site. She has a lot of recipes for meals with beans and lentils. A lot of what she does is add beans or lentils or a grain to stretch meat. So she might make chili but add half the normal amount of beef and then beans to make it more hearty.https://www.budgetbytes.com/category/recipes/beansandgrains/ My middle son is vegetarian so we eat a lot of beans for that reason. Favorites: Lentil tacos (in the crockpot) Lentil sloppy joes Black bean and spinach quesadillas Black bean, spinach enchiladas Soups of all kinds Chili Coconut Curry Lentils from Budget Bytes
  6. My oldest is crew chief for a backpacking trip this week. It's kind of a transition between summer camp and the more intense high-adventure trips like Philmont. They backpack for 5 days and do cool stuff and kind of learn the skills they will need for the bigger trips. I was proud of him for running for crew chief and for being elected. He's a complete introvert but Scouting has definitely brought out the leader in him. The trip is also a big deal for him because it's the first summer swim meet he's missed in 5 years. Second son just joined in the spring and will go to Scout camp in about a week. He's a totally different personality that my oldest and not as much of a joiner. I think he will really enjoy Scouts and get a lot out of it but in different ways than his brother.
  7. There are virtual dissections that are pretty good. I'm a physician so have done lots of dissections. I teach Anatomy at out co-op and we do three dissections in the class. I also have a son who I am sure will be ethically opposed to them and I'm fine with that. If I had a student who was opposed to the dissections in our class, I would allow them to sit out. I don't make it part of the grade anyway. I think there is a purpose to them and I have felt like the ones I've done were valuable to my studies. But I don't think they are essential to understanding biology for someone who isn't going to go on to be a vet or physician or some other career where it's more directly related.
  8. Slightly OT...I went to a pediatric conference last year and the keynote address was on poverty and kids. It was a shocking and eye-opening lecture in general. But the single most shocking slide to me was one where he showed a study that looked at the likelihood that a kid would go to college based on two factors: parental income and academic/intelligence testing done in the elementary years. The kids who had very low income parents and were in the very high level of testing had a markedly LESS chance of going to college than kids who were in the very low level of testing but the very high parental income. I think we like to believe in this country that it's all about ability and how hard people work and that if you just apply yourself and try hard you can get out of poverty. I think we like to believe that because it makes us feel better about what we have and about how we got here. But the reality is, that if you start out poor it's already so much harder to even get a foot in the door. I worked hard in high school and college and med school. I'm proud of that and of being a doctor. But I also know that I had a LOT of help along the way. Saying that students should just go to the library and look at books on how to get in to college assumes a lot. Are there such books in the libraries in their communities? Do they have a way to get there? If they do, do they have the time or are they working to help support their family? How do they even know things like that exist? If you look at all the posts here from highly involved and educated parents trying to navigate college admission and financial aid forms, isn't it hard to imagine how much harder it would be for a teenager to do that on his own. Or for a parent who wants their kid to succeed but didn't go to college themself and really doesn't know anything about the process.
  9. Can he read? For me the biggest focus in K was to learn to read. I'm not advocating pushing a kid to learn, but my kids were ready at that age. I focused primarily on that as our formal schoolwork. We used Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading. It is dry and not very flashy. At the beginning, I often typed out the lessons on the computer using fancy fonts or used a white board. Explode the Code is a nice option if you have a kid who likes workbooks. My boys did not so we stopped them fairly quickly. There are lots of great readers that you can use very early when you only know a few sounds...Bob Books, Nora Gaydos readers. We used Handwriting without Tears for my boys, it worked fine. I use Zaner-Bloser for my daughter. She has much prettier handwriting but I think that has more to do with the child than the curriculum. We use Singapore Math. I just started with the 1st grade book but we went slowly and added in lots of games. I really like Peggy Kaye's Games for Math. She also has a Games for Reading. I made a bunch of those; they are very simple to make. It's a fun way to learn. Right Start Games are also great. My favorite thing we did for Preschool and K was Five in a Row. I never really used it like recommended but it was a way to help me plan/organize. I'm a planner and even though I knew we didn't "have" to do formal schoolwork, I wanted to, especially with my oldest. Five in a Row was a nice way for me to plan themes and then I would get lots of library books around that theme. We added in art, some simple science experiments, fun field trips and it was a K year.
  10. It's a lot of work. We got a dog about three years ago. It was the first dog for me and dh. When she was a puppy we walked her at least 1 long (45-60 min) walks a day, plus 2 shorter walks, each about 20-40 min. We have a fairly large yard where she can run and play so she also got a lot of exercise out there and can go in the yard for short bathroom breaks. If we walked her less than 2 long walks or 3 medium walks a day we would find that she would not sleep well or would "misbehave" from boredom. Now that she is older (3 1/2) we walk her one long walk a day in the morning. In nicer weather we go on a medium walk in the evening as a family. If we haven't been home much and she hasn't had as much outdoor time I will walk her again at night. Otherwise, she gets enough exercise in our yard. We don't bathe her that often. It depends on the weather and how dirty she gets. It's also much easier to bathe her outdoors so we do it more often in the summer than in the winter. I'd still say no more than once a month. I think most people do it more often. Our house is definitely MUCH dirtier than before. I sweep or vacuum daily. She is a shedder so that is part of it but it's also just dirt brought in from being outside. We take our shoes off in the house so we were used to fairly clean floors. Now she brings in stuff every day. It's not a huge deal but I think I wasn't prepared for how much hair and dirt there would be. We have been lucky and only taken her yearly for vet visits. She really hates having her nails clipped so I take her to the vet also for that but I think other dogs could go to a groomer or be done at home. Even that is not very often as she seems to wear her nails down naturally being walked on sidewalks and digging. I used to take her and have the vet say she doesn't need it so I've started going less often. Expensive. Vet bills for us have been about $500-600 a year just for preventative stuff (vaccines, heartworm meds, flea/tick prevention, etc). Food is probably about $500 a year and we don't buy the super expensive kind. I would not get a dog unless you are ready and willing to do most/all of the care yourself. You think the kids can help but even as they get older the reality is that it falls on the parent. My 13 year old is much more helpful but he's also a normal busy kid. I'm not going to make him wake up at 5:45 every day to walk her, which is when she gets up. If he's busy with schoolwork or Scouts or swimming or whatever the reality is that I'm the one who will care for her. It has gotten easier as she's gotten older. The kids can bathe her alone and I put them on "letting Roxy in and out of the house" duty all day. They feed her. For walking her, I only became comfortable in the past year or so in letting my oldest walk her without us. She's a good dog but we live in an area with a lot of dogs, bikers, walkers, etc. I didn't want him to be in a situation where something happened and he was alone. And even when they help ultimately, she is still something we are responsible for. Even extra things like arranging for care if we are out of the house longer for a day becomes an extra task. I think the two things I didn't anticipate about having a dog were training and the impact on lifestyle. I knew about both but didn't fully get it. We did not do a great job with training her but we lucked out by getting a pretty laid-back and easy dog. We knew her ahead of time (she was a rescue dog that friends were the foster family for). I just did not have the time to add intense training to everything else I was doing. Or to be honest, the inclination. We did one puppy training class and she knows a few commands. I read a tiny bit online (including threads here) and use She definitely obeys me the best. But I think it's like having a naturally obedient or easy kid....I know it's not really because of what we did and that we could have done more. If we had a dog with a different personality I think we could have had a problem. Lifestyle: When we first got her we couldn't leave the house for more than 4 hours at a time and that was pushing it. That was a HUGE change in lifestyle for us. I think I thought "hey, we're homeschoolers and kind of homebodies, it will be fine." And most of the time that is true but I forgot about things like, wanting to go out to lunch after church or going on a field trip to a museum. It was a new thing to have to run home to let the dog out or to plan our day around the dog. And we also felt like we had made a commitment to her so we didn't want to often leave her as we knew it wasn't fair to her, so we found ourselves making choices based on the dog. We also travel a fair amount and finding care when we are gone has been another issue that I didn't really think about. It's been ok but it's just another thing to factor in. All that said, I'm glad we have her. The kids love her and I see in many ways how it's good for them. I like her too, although I'm more of a cat person deep down (shh....don't tell Roxy). Our son is allergic to cats so we couldn't have them. She has made our family more active as we have taken some kind of walk every day for the past 3 years and that's not something we would have said before. She's sweet and is now a member of our family.
  11. Me too. I hate having anything around my wrists. 3/4 sleeves are perfect for me. Even in winter if I wear long sleeves or a sweater they end up pushed up.
  12. Alice


    My Mom does this. I'm not sure of the why. I think she sees her FB page as a place for her to post things she likes and she finds it offensive when someone uses her FB page to argue with her. I've tried to explain that if you post something that other people disagree and that is political that people are going to naturally discuss/argue/talk about it. And that if she doesn't like those arguments she should either only post to a select group or she should stop doing it. She also hates argument and takes it very personally. She's a very black and white person. So if someone disagrees with her she takes it personally as opposed to "we just feel differently about this". It's been hard since the recent election because she and I have very different opinions. She's still my Mom so I try and not talk about politics at all with her. But she will bring it up and push and push me to give an opinion. Then I do and she gets offended. I don't think it's that she sees me as less intelligent or educated. I think she just cannot grasp how we can disagree about something fundamental and yet still have a relationship.
  13. Sadly, lately it's been too many nights of eating some kind of quick meal/fast food as we rush from swimming to some other activity. When I get my act together it's usually salad plus something grilled. Other favorites when I'm even more together: Hummus and rice Fritters Zucchini fritters (grate zucchini, add some kind of binder and make into cakes, gently fry in pan)
  14. Our piano teacher of 6 years just retired at the end of this year. She gave us a list of recommendations. I also wrote messages to all our various groups (co-op, church) to get recommendations from people. Then I wrote those people to see about prices and to get an idea of their style/philosophy. It was hard though as we found most people were way more expensive or were not accepting new students. In the end, we found someone who one of other students from our old teacher had found. We were all talking about getting a gift for the old teacher and sharing what we were going to do next year and this guy's name came up and he sounded like a good fit. We've only had one lesson so far but I think he's going to work great.
  15. I look at supporting a missionary as providing the salary of the worker. What the worker does with that salary is then their business. If I am looking to support an organization in other ways I would give directly to the organization and not to the missionary.
  16. Yes, I know this. But even with my non-adopted daughter the conversation went like this... Z: "Why is Rapunzel's Mommy being so mean to her?" Me: "Oh, because she's not really her Mommy. She's a mean witch who kidnapped her." Z: "Then why does Rapunzel say that she's her mother?" Me: "Because the witch told her she's her real mother and Rapunzel thinks she is." Z: "How do you know someone is your real Mommy?" Me: "Well your real Mommy is the person who loves you and takes care of you." Z: ....after a quiet worried pause...."What about Sarah?" (a friend of her that is adopted) Me: "Oh, that's different. Sarah is adopted but her Mommy is still her real Mommy.....[longer explanation about adoption and how what the witch did isn't adoption]" We watch a little more...Rapunzel escapes from the tower and the witch is following her. Z: "I don't like this movie. Why is her Mommy being so mean?" We turn it off. It totally freaked her out and I could see her thinking "How do I know I wasn't kidnapped and my Mommy is just saying she is my real Mommy?" She could probably watch it now at age 7 1/2 and be fine with it but this was at about age 5. My boys had watched it about that age and were totally fine. And I could see how adoptive parents might feel more sensitive about those issues and how their kids felt about the movie. Anyway, my point was that every kid is different and sometimes what is a perfectly fine movie for one kid is scary for another. My oldest was petrified of Veggie Tales as a kid. That was fun as a Christian since every single gathering that offered "a kids movie" showed Veggie Tales. He thought the talking veggies were really freaky. On the other hand he would watch very realistic nature documentaries of sharks and have no problem. You just have to know your kid.
  17. This is so true. We had an issue one summer with our swim team because we showed a movie that depicted adoption badly in the eyes of some parents who had adopted. I think the movie was Tangled, but I can't remember. I know my own daughter was really freaked out by Tangled with the idea that the witch was supposed to be Rapunzel's Mom but not her real Mom but an evil Mom. I could understand why they didn't want their kids to see it but I wouldn't have thought about it being a problem myself (it was before my daughter had seen it). I like Common Sense Media reviews. They are very thorough but I like that. Often, it's stuff that I'm ok with but it's helpful to know if there is something that might be a problem for one of my kids. The thoroughness makes it easy to figure out if it's a problem for your family rather than just a generic "PG".
  18. My son (the 10 year old) has been a vegetarian for ethical reasons for about 4 years. This is pretty much exactly what we eat. It's probably harder for an adult as people are used to kids being picky and maybe don't ask as many questions or bug a kid about choices but ds can almost always find something to eat. Usually he makes a meal from sides. So at a picnic he would have coleslaw, salad, fruit salad, and chips. If it's a cookout he'll take a bun and put cheese on it (he's not vegan) and then add whatever toppings are available. When we go out we find that there is almost always a vegetarian section on the menu, sometimes it's limited but there is usually something. Fast food is the biggest hurdle which really is only an issue when on a road trip. We usually try to find a Subway so he can do a veggie sub. But I've even had burger joints do the burger without a patty thing so he just has a bun and cheese and toppings.
  19. Thanks! I have the Utopia Great Couse on my list of ones to consider. I was going to let Ds help choose which ones he was inteeested in. Thanks for the input!
  20. I've read through the many (helpful) threads about 20th Century high school history options. I plan on doing some Great Courses, documentaries and other books but I'd like to have a textbook or other overview kind of book as a spine. This is for a 9th grader who is a very strong reader and who enjoys history but who probably is more of a math/science kid than a humanities kid. He loves to read and finds history interesting but isn't much of a writer. I've narrowed down my choices to: A Concise History of the Twentieth Century by Martin Gilbert Modern Times by Paul Johnson The History of the Modern Wold by Terry Burrows Any thoughts on any of the above? Hated them? Liked them? Thanks!
  21. Make your own bowls with lots of leftovers. I think I'm going to use cauliflower rice as the base and then put out lots of toppings.
  22. Our version of this is "You cannot get thirds before you ask if anyone else wants seconds." Other than that our main rule is just be polite. No saying "yuck" or talking about other people's food choices. I have one kid who eats pretty much anything, one who is a vegetarian by choice and somewhat picky and one who is pretty normal (eats most things but has some dislikes). Dh will eat anything. I was a very picky kid and have become less so as an adult but am probably still the pickiest in the family. Or as I prefer to think of myself "a Supertaster". We do mostly modular meals also. The kids are all able to cook themselves something they will eat so on the rare occasions that someone won't eat anything we are having, they can make themselves something or I will do it if there is time. The way this works in reality is that I will realize that my meal plan is chicken, grilled red potatoes and asparagus. The vegetarian doesn't like potatoes and isn't going to eat just asparagus as a meal. So if I have time I'll look for something for him or if I am busy I'll call him into the kitchen and ask him to make himself something. He can make eggs, a quesadilla, or "cheesy delight" (his concoction which is basically beans and rice with various toppings...cheese, spinach, guacamole, etc) all fairly quickly. I try to encourage them to try what I've made since none of them are the kind of picky kids who have texture issues. If they really don't want to, they don't have to. Anyone can get themselves something else to eat if they are still hungry or don't like the options but they have to choose something healthy. Fruit, veggies, cheese, yogurt, nuts, etc.
  23. We don't have set rules. We swim in the summer so are at the pool for at least 2-3 hours a day. Dd also does dive team and boys are trying water polo this year. We do some light school work during the summer. We have various projects and other things we are working on or that they are doing individually. Other than that they are pretty much free to do what they want. Screen time varies. Sometimes they watch or do more, sometimes less.
  24. We have a family of five. We haven't yet gone to more than one room. When the kids were little we'd sleep three kids to a bed and dh and I in one bed. Now the oldest kid either sleeps in a cot if they have one available or on the floor with extra pillows and blankets. He's a Scout and used to sleeping on the ground when camping so he's ok with it. He won't share with anyone so he prefers that. We don't ever lie or try to sneak in an extra person. I've never had a hotel have a problem with it, even with older kids. If they have a cot they usually charge a little extra (like $20-30) and I'm happy to pay that.
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