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About birchbark

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    Hive Mind Queen Bee

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  • Biography
    Mom of three boys and a girl
  • Interests
    Travel, canoeing, home design. My homeschool is a mix of Classical, CM, and Waldorf.
  • Occupation
    Wife, mother, and home-educator

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  1. Moka pot. Super simple and fabulous coffee. You can get inexpensive ones at TJMaxx or Amazon.
  2. Yes, with the caveat that there is no review. I have found when I use it with a younger student that I need to back up a bit at the beginning of the schoolyear to refresh their memory.
  3. I was going to recommend Strayer-Upton. Here's my review: http://unembellishedliving.com/?p=1297
  4. Does anyone have a middle-school, online, language arts course they can recommend? I'm considering Excelsior Classes, but it's been six years since my last middle-schooler and I don't have a handle on what's out there! Live classes preferred.
  5. I WISH I had the guts to wait until 6th grade for math. 🙂 There are actually quite a few benefits to waiting a bit. Strayer-Upton is good, and cheap, as long as you know not to do every practice problem. The practice banks are huge. Learn Math Fast is perfect for start-to-finish, accelerated, thorough math for older students who want a complete math education in just a couple years. Strayer-Upton has more story-problems and review; Learn Math Fast has the best explanations.
  6. Free online Charlotte Mason-ish lessons up to 5th grade: https://underthehome.org/
  7. My three youngest have all learned to write (printing first, Smithhand) with fountain pens. It quickly trains them to use the correct pressure and keeps them from getting fatigued quickly. We use the disposable Pilot Varsity pens.
  8. Thanks! I think I got the idea from another poster here. Mrs. Twain maybe? Also, it looks like Circe may have pulled Cindy's handbook (the publication in question) from their site.
  9. My homeschool was profoundly impacted by those old Circe threads. It felt like they had a couple glory years back then. I loved their blog, went to a conference... then the well kind of dried up for me. The final straw was Cindy's departure. I wasn't gleaning much from them anymore, and I just figured it was me; that they met the need I had at that particular stage of my journey. But I've been getting a fuller picture as I hear from others' perspective. As far as the OP, I don't think I would call my curriculum literature-based. I've tried to make it 3R-based, and that certainly includes
  10. Our son is heading down to the Orlando, FL area for flight school after the new year. He enjoys choral singing, handbells, and ballroom dance. Does anyone know of local opportunities there he could get involved in?
  11. Well, I am going to have to disagree about outsourcing. I have found that outsourcing has led to much more stress and busyness in our homeschool, and has been the opposite of minimalism. Outsourcing means assessment, and assessment means being *prepared* on a certain day to be *judged* on your *performance.* Those three words -- prepared, judged, and performance -- are key. Actually, those three words are what truly propelled my son into learning. Perhaps this is where you need to know your student, but for my type-A, extroverted son, he thrived on accountability. I am generally a
  12. Yes, you're right, there is more going on in high school. When you outsource, there is much less for you, the mom, to worry about. You can focus on what you need to focus on without worrying that other balls are being dropped. Maybe that's a particular subject or an extracurricular you want to do together, or maybe you just need to focus on your relationship (which is a lot bigger deal in high school). For me, I also had younger children I was schooling. Motivation, or the lack of it, can be a big factor in high school as well (I think more with boys). The fewer subjects you are responsib
  13. The three R's, with content subjects like science and history grouped under the reading R, such as in the Robinson Curriculum. For spatial minimalism, get books from the library, use electronic copies, or buy and sell again when completed. Although I'm a minimalist that has no problem owning a decent library of hardcopy books. So basically a math program, a LA program, and some selected books. Use composition books instead of binders. Smaller, less messy. Liberally outsource in high school. Art is tough. We've had the most "minimalistic success" with watercolor.
  14. Just want to say, this sounds very familiar! It was extremely frustrating to me to have a smart kid who was just so unmotivated! Just this past year (and we're almost 19 here, folks), I have seen a spurt of maturity and motivation regarding his future. Yay. So there is hope. I feel for you. Sometimes you just have to settle for the least of all evils and make it work. High school goes really fast. We had to bring Dad in as the heavyweight because, yes, not good for mom-and-son relationship. I know it can be really tempting to let him have his way. Once, a mom on here asked about how much
  15. Auntie Leila's Rules for Mothering a 13yo Boy were a lifesaver for me that I came back to over and over again throughout my oldest's teen years. I also think it's good to outsource some things to an adult male (Dad, tutor, online teacher) if possible. Civil Air Patrol provided some out-of-the-house reinforcement of our values as well as skills and character development.
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