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Everything posted by Eagle

  1. I was torn between a laid back and strong academic homeschool too. I balance this by doing both, just not at the same time. This year we chose several focus areas together. For example, botany. We then did 4-6 weeks of fairly intense learning focused on that one topic, but spanning different subjects. When we decided we were done, we switched to relaxed mode for a few weeks. "Relaxed" still involved schoolwork, but it was more organic. Ds chose what to do for math, we temporarily dropped spelling, he decided to spend more time on typing and computer science, and had much more free time to putter around building "inventions", making stop-motion movies, and reading. After a few weeks we chose another focus area and dove in to more vigorous schoolwork again. Summer for us is more of the relaxed mode. Ds still does math daily (he chose Prodigy for the summer), does some practice of typing and piano, and decided to learn cursive. He helped build garden boxes and plant a veggie garden that he tends, he does weekly nature science, music theory and math groups, and is on a sports team. We are plenty busy, but he still has lots of unstructured time, and the freedom to choose his areas of interest.
  2. Wall maps of the world in two different rooms? That's a giveaway right there. :) And the desks facing one of the maps.
  3. It looks like his team received a silver, a bronze, and two honourable mentions. I hope your Ds is among those! His team did great and they must all be so proud!! Congratulations to your Ds and his team. :)
  4. Building the sensory/light table has been a challenge, but a nice bonding experience with my Dad. We now have a few new tools we had never used before (the pocket jig is neat). The whole process really makes me appreciate how much effort it takes to properly build a piece of furniture. Also, I discovered Canadian lumber is slightly different than US lumber, for which we have needed to make a few adjustments. We have all the wood cut and sanded, most of the holes drilled, and the stain selected (I colour matched it to our kitchen cupboards). Most importantly, we have the hole cut out for the bin, and the bin fits! My Dad took the top home and routered the edges so they are rounded. I spent quite a bit of time sanding the top so no one will get splinters. I just hope that when we are done I am willing to let the kids make a mess of sensory things in the family room.
  5. I bought the basic and ended up getting the box with my next order. It is nice to have a box that fits the cards perfectly. My improvised solution wasted a lot of time because the cards would shift around and get mixed up. The box was worth it. My Ds was also an excellent reader when we started. Level 1 was definitely useful though and I can't imagine skipping it.
  6. The Canadian deals are different. I got a $5 rebate for a $30 gift card, a vegetable spiralizer, a digital scale, sharpie felt pens, and two k'nex sets (a roller coaster and fair swing). Christmas shopping. :) ETA: if any Canadians are shopping Amazon deals today, the Instant Pot and the Scotch Laminator are on sale. ETA(again): and Elephant and Piggie books! and Amazon rechargeable batteries
  7. Yay! He must be so pleased with how he did. I'm hoping it turns into a medal. :)
  8. I have previously used the HomeRoutines iPad app to keep track of cleaning and maintenance tasks. I stopped using it when I had ds#2, but this thread prompted me to open it up again. All my tasks were still there! I just needed to jump in and do them. My house is nicely tidy today and a few deep cleaning tasks that haven't been done in awhile are now checked off. If you go with an app, get something you can completely customize. I deleted everything in the app and started fresh. I have a morning routine and evening routine as well as a list of things that need to be done any time during the day (things like spend 15 minutes on cleaning the zone of the week, and doing 15 minutes of weekly tasks -- other lists that stay active for a whole week). I had set up my house as 7 zones and the app cycles through them. I only really have 6 zones but put kitchen in twice so I get to deep clean it every 3-4 weeks instead of every 7. Daily/weekly cleaning tasks aren't on the zone lists, those are just for deep cleaning. So for instance, cleaning the toilet is on a weekly list, not the bathroom list. Cleaning that baseboard behind the toilet is on the zone list, along with things like dusting the light fixture, wiping down the door, and washing the trash bin. I realized yesterday that I could also install the app on Ds8's iPad and give him his own routines. He works well with lists rather then just being told tasks to do. Dinner prep and bedtime went great thanks to having tasks he could check off. Now I'm wondering if I should put school tasks in the app for him as well. I could easily add piano, typing, handwriting to the daily lists, but I could also create a school category of things I would like accomplished within a week. I'm going to give it some thought.
  9. *sheepishly raises hand* I admit to having 12 pillows on my bed, 10 of which are decorative. But it is not my fault! Growing up, my Mum always grumbled about my bed not being made and insisted I go make it. I thought it was a waste of time. I moved out over twenty years ago and she is still passive-agressively determined that I make my bed. For Christmas she bought me a bedding set that is completely decorative. The quilt is not usable, but is just for looks. Ten decorative pillows and a throw blanket complete the set. It takes me forever to make the bed and I think about how much of a waste of time it is every time I make it. I also only make it about half the time. The other days I have a decorative cover, throw blanket, and ten pillows covering the floor of my room.
  10. Peak Tower: http://www.thepeak.com.hk/en/1_2_1.asp Best of luck to your son! It sounds like an amazing experience. I hope he is pleased with his performance on the exam. When will he write it? Is it over two days?
  11. When I was planning for the light table I did some searches online and found several preschool light table activities. Here are some of the things we plan to do: Letter formation: https://www.amazon.com/Learning-Resources-Letter-Construction-Activity/dp/B00HT5H9SK/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8 Geometric shapes/pattern blocks: https://www.amazon.com/Learning-Resources-Translucent-Geometric-Shapes/dp/B00ISKWF6G/ref=pd_sim_229_2?ie=UTF8&dpID=41R6FgKy1YL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&psc=1&refRID=1DCZ51M2S8N6BGM2J9KZ Cello sheets. I plan to laminate these to make them sturdier and Ds can use them for colour mixing: https://www.amazon.com/Hygloss-Cello-Sheets-11-Inch-48-Pack/dp/B000K78HUI/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8 We already own something similar to these magnetic transparent chips. I think we will use these for math: https://www.amazon.com/Ajax-Scientific-Magnetic-Counting-Chip/dp/B00EPQLY1Y/ref=pd_sim_229_27?ie=UTF8&dpID=41Sv95VB7YL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&psc=1&refRID=EKRSABHYNJEFY2V079ZA Transparent cuisenaire rods!: http://www.hand2mind.com/item/transparent-cuisenaire-rods-set-of-60/4524 There are many neat math manipulatives available for overhead projectors that would work well on a light table: transparent tangrams, geoboards, angle sets, geometric solids, etc. And just for fun, ds's grandparents are planning to get him a transparent marble maze for Christmas: https://www.amazon.com/Q-BA-MAZE-2-0-Spectrum-Color-Set/dp/B00OP9CGS6/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8
  12. I found it! https://farmhouseschoolhouse.com/2015/09/19/the-wonder-of-child-led-play/ Her blog posts are what convinced me to buy the book!
  13. Little Ds will be doing k4 this year and we will be doing many of the activities from the Homegrown Preschooler. I wanted to know who else is using this book or a Year of Playing Skillfully. Maybe we can use this thread for discussing how it is going, the prep work, highlights, etc. I am trying to do a lot of prep this summer to make it more open and go during the year. Today I was at the lumber store buying the wood for the light and sensory table. I am looking forward to the light table the most. Has anyone else built the table yet? I have never built something like this, so for me it is really complicated. However, I am looking forward to the challenge. I am still not sure if I need A Year of Playing Skillfully or if I can just piece together the activities in the HP book. If you decided to buy YPS, what attracted you to the curriculum rather than just using the book? To me the curriculum looks like the activities from the book (plus some new ones) grouped by theme with a few picture books added in. Maybe I am missing something?
  14. We successfully used The Reading Lesson. It is available on Book Depository, but can also be purchased from their website as an ebook.
  15. Ds and I planted our first ever vegetable garden two weeks ago. I don't know if we are too late in the season to be successful, but we are both very excited to see things sprouting now! We made two 3x3 square foot raised beds by following instructions in the Square Foot Gardening with Kids book. We have a lot of large trees on our property so we never thought that we received enough sun for vegetables, but we realized a couple months ago the 5-ft area beside our house on the south side actually gets full sun all day. It was already an established decorative garden, but we moved all the plants, levelled the area, built the boxes, made the growing mix, and now we have a little garden patch! Ds had lots of fun helping, using the tools, mixing the growing mix, and getting to plant. One of the first things I did after planting was to come inside and read this garden thread. I then saw the post about the safe drinking hoses and realized our ancient hose was probably contaminated. So now we have a new hose. On day 2 an animal dug in the garden, fortunately only wrecking two squares. I built chicken wire cages to cover the squares. Now it looks like a bug or snails or slugs or something is eating the radish leaves. Here is what we planted: beans peas beets radishes lettuce chard carrots broccoli cilantro arugula nasturtiums strawberries
  16. We had a little family party for when our youngest turned 3 1/2. We made a few favourite foods, let him feel like it was a special day, and told him he was a big kid now. What did he think he got to do now that he was a big kid? He wanted to help unload EVERYTHING in the dishwasher, including the veg peeler and glasses (things he wasn't allowed to do at the time). We said "sure, you are now a big boy!" There were a couple of other things he thought he should get to do when he was big (I don't remember what they were -- they were not very exciting to us, but obviously a big deal to him). We agreed he could do those things because he was big. "Oh, now that you are a big kid you get to use the potty too. Let's go do that." We had one day of lots of accidents (and he wanted to go straight to underwear because he was a big kid), only one accident the next day, then we were done. In our case we knew he was ready and it was a control issue. He would even tell us every time he was about to go in his diaper but didn't want to even try sitting on the potty. Once we got him on it with this "big kid party" plan, we rewarded with lots of chocolate.
  17. I expected unit 1 (what is life?) to be boring since we covered that already in another curriculum. To jazz it up a bit we did that unit while on a field trip to a tropical botanical garden. Ds ended up liking it because he treated it more like a habitat study.
  18. We used the little slate for practicing capital letters in K. The teacher's manual was not worth the money and I didn't buy it past the K level. If you have an iPad there is an app called Letter School where children can trace letters and numbers. One of the available fonts is HWT. My dc LOVE the app and in just a few days my 3yo is getting quite proficient at writing the letters with his finger. I won't be starting him in the HWT books quite yet, but he will be very familiar with the steps to write each letter by the time we start. (and for anyone with an iPad Pro, yes the Apple Pencil does work for tracing the letters).
  19. Cell jello was a hit, and the seeds lab where you wear an old sock on your hand and collect travelling seeds in grasses/weeds was fun too. The kids planted their socks and they sprouted!
  20. This thread was expensive! I bought Letter School (both cursive and French), the Bugs and Buttons app bundle, Teach Your Monster to Read, and a subscription to Endless Learning Academy. I bought Reading Raven a couple of weeks ago after seeing it in Epicurean's siggy. Thanks everyone for the suggestions! Little ds is loving the apps.
  21. We used to get the Go See Cal commercials here in BC. Is he in Washington state? It was the same channel with ads for Do the Puyallup.
  22. Everybody loves Marineland! I lived in Ontario for two years and this ad played constantly. I've never been to Marineland, don't like the concept of marine mammal zoos, and haven't lived in Ontario for almost 20 years, but I can sing the whole song. And now it is stuck in my head. ETA:
  23. I would get what you already planned on and then do Quark as a fun read-aloud. I agree with PP not to stretch it out over a year. Just read it like any other novel.
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