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Everything posted by birchbark

  1. I like the DK Illustrated Family Bible for kids. It uses the NIV text but is divided like a story Bible and heavily illustrated.
  2. I like the detailed explanations in Learn Math Fast. Sample pages can be found here.
  3. We used ACE science for 9th and 10th grade with my oldest, and after some thought and researching, am going to do the same with my next high-schooler. I am generally a CM/Classical/Robinson sort of homeschooler and never would have considered ACE except for a recommendation (for the biology) from a CM-leaning source. What I liked about it: Good coverage but not overwhelming (biology also included anatomy, phys. included some math) Open and go Very linear, uncluttered presentation Video labs (and other videos at the time but they are getting updated) It would be easy to get lab kits and follow along. Vocab Colorful diagrams Mini-bios Easy to self-execute Easy to grade (big deal when you're pulling that transcript together!) Super affordable Easy to supplement - I added some living books, some Novare text, and the Wes Olson 101 videos, and it felt like a really good year. I think I may add Mapping the Body with Art this time around... My son moved on to outsourced classes for 11th and 12th grade science and did great. I think a lot of it is staying on the stick with math. I don't know that I'd do ACE for all four years of high school, but if you're looking for affordable, complete, and git'er-done so you can put more resources into other subjects for a bit, it's worth a look.
  4. This. We are in our 8th month of a custom build. I remember reading before the project that you should consider having a home built like a part-time job. And like PWM says here, you have to be ready to jump up and run somewhere at a moment's notice. I am SO glad we aren't trying to do this with little kids. Also the whole project takes longer in general when it's custom. The style and size of the plan, and the finishes chosen, will have more of an impact on the final cost than whether the house is custom or tract.
  5. Definitely late to the party. I finally reset my password. Math: Good ol' Systemath Algebra 2 LA: Probably LA 2 through Excelsior Classes. Maybe an additional lit class, not sure. History: Notgrass World Science: ACE biology supplemented by videos and books Thinking health and geography as possible electives. This is my hands-on guy. I wouldn't be surprised if he goes into the trades.
  6. There wasn't a specific event that prompted me to, just more a feeling that it wasn't as much my tribe as I'd hoped. I still love Cindy's writings, and maybe I thought the group would be full of mini-Cindys. There's a good chance I may be leaving FB permanently anyway. Can anyone recommend a good group on MeWe? I really crave hearing from older moms, older than me if possible. About education, influencing a child's soul, what really constitutes truth, goodness, beauty. Practical ideas for running a home with Christian culture, even if they are not popular. I am tired of threads about what food littles should be eating and how to get them to stay in bed iykwim. A bit too much drama too. I guess this has been a long year and I'm feeling lonely.
  7. Moka pot. Super simple and fabulous coffee. You can get inexpensive ones at TJMaxx or Amazon.
  8. 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.
  9. I was going to recommend Strayer-Upton. Here's my review: http://unembellishedliving.com/?p=1297
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Free online Charlotte Mason-ish lessons up to 5th grade: https://underthehome.org/
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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 literature. The Circe thread (more the ladies who posted than Circe) inspired me to drop the history base, and it was very freeing. My homeschool is more Robinson-style than anything. I schedule in math and English, then everything else gets thrown into a big reading list (once the kids are working independently). Along with plenty of literature I include some science reading and at least one history survey. (I have a post on my blog about why we don't do history cycles that explains my thinking on this.) We also do a "Morning Time" and a bedtime read-aloud. WoolC, you may be interested in Bonnie Landry's booklet on making literature into the curriculum. I enjoyed reading it although I haven't tried doing it like she does.
  16. 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?
  17. 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 Charlotte-Mason-type homeschooler, and I initially pictured our high school being more relaxed and home-brewed. But the potential was definitely not being reached. I was astounded at how DS stepped up to the plate with a little outside pressure. I do understand what you are saying, though. I myself learn and perform much better without pressure.
  18. 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 responsible for, the fewer battles being fought-- in that scenario. We live rurally, so the best option for us was online classes. You're also right about getting the driver's license promptly. It opened up a lot of opportunities for us. So it's good to budget for both of these!
  19. 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.
  20. 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 we should let our kids experience the consequences of their own decisions. One wise poster said that, while they are minors, they did not let them make decisions in areas that had the potential of majorly affecting the rest of their lives. They considered education one of these. So see if your DH can be the main overseer/enforcer. If not, outsource differently so that there are not open days that you feel you have to manage. You're right, your younger kids will suffer if you use all your emotional capital on your high-schooler.
  21. Melissa from Reflections from Drywood Creek is putting on a day-long homeschool retreat in western Wisconsin. Terri Woods will be speaking along with some other experienced homeschool moms. There will be special sessions on high school. Lunch provided. Used books for sale. More info and registration here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/journey-an-education-for-life-tickets-67936121769?aff=utm_source%3Deb_email%26utm_medium%3Demail%26utm_campaign%3Dnew_event_email&utm_term=eventurl_text
  22. Not online, but Learn Math Fast would work well for this.
  23. I successfully remediated my oldest's handwriting with Smithhand.
  24. I would look at Learn Math Fast. They have two levels of geometry and according to reviews, have success with dyscalculia/dyslexic students.
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