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4KookieKids

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  1. From reading threads here and other websites about dysgraphia for the last two years, it seems that there are really only three options that people consistently bring up: 1) HWT and/or cursive 2) OT 3) Teach them to type and throw in the towel on handwriting anything. I have several kiddos who are both dyslexic and dysgraphic. 11 yo has barely legible handwriting but is a fluent typer (not quick, but can turn out a page of double spaced, 12 pt font, writing in an hour), so we are mostly on #3 with him. 7 yo has even worse handwriting and more emotional struggles with writing. She will spend an hour crying over one sentence of copy work that takes her only 5-10 minutes to do. We've done some OT, but moved last year to a location where it's not realistic to continue OT for dysgraphia at this point. We've done / are doing some HWT and cursive. We spend a lot of time practicing with different mediums (air writing, kinetic sand, cloud dough, chalk, wet/dry/try, etc.) I've read a LOT (and was coached by the last OT) regarding proper posture, positioning, grip, strength, etc. I cue her on letter formation on virtually every letter she writes when printing (e.g., she's about to write an 'o' or 'a' or 'd', so I quickly remind her to start at the 2 o'clock before she writes it). Any other ideas for what we can be doing at home to address this? I just want to make sure that I'm not missing options that I haven't considered yet. I'd really like to do all I can to remediate this while she's still young enough to have it actually have an effect. I don't feel like one short sentence a day should be cause for quite as much tears as it usually elicits. ETA: We have already started the 7 yo on both typing and voice typing, and she gets around with that pretty well (given that she's 7, lol).
  2. We use this series for first: https://www.cornelsen.de/reihen/meine-fibel-360001430000 After that, we use these https://www.cornelsen.de/reihen/sprachfreunde-lesefreunde-360002110000 https://www.cornelsen.de/reihen/umweltfreunde-360001680000 I don't think you need native proficiency to teach it, but I'm not sure how well it would work for someone who didn't speak German relatively fluently. My German is a bit iffy -- I grew up there and spoke more German than English until age 12, but then left and didn't pick it up again I took a few classes in college. Then I dropped it again until I had kids and decided I wanted to teach them German. My German is such that I can converse relatively well at home and with native German speakers, though my German definitely does not come naturally /natively any more. I can listen to or read most anything I want to, and on a recent trip to Germany, we had no problems communicating with people. Even so, I found the first grade (reading) easy enough to teach, but am much more challenged to take my children through the older elem age levels. I actually revert to touching bases with a native German speaker I know who is willing to double check my son's compositions/writing when I'm not sure I will catch all his errors.
  3. I don't know what you mean by "engaging," per se, since that seems super dependent on personality, but my 5th grader is LOVING the Great Courses audio lectures. He sits and draws while listening or plays legos. He got started on Hoopla, but hoopla ones don't come with the supplemental PDFs that the audible ones come with, and those are helpful for me and him to be able to talk about what he's learning. I don't require a ton of output - just some basic conversation - but I feel like you could require as much output/rigor as you wanted, if you had the Lecture note PDFs to base assignments on. He got started with the Greek and Persion Wars, then moved on to War and World History, and was hooked after that. I don't even know which ones he's listening to now, but he loves them. 🙂
  4. I just did an experiment, and it turns out that 0/10 is the same star as 7/10 (when 8/10 is a pass), so it doesn't grade the stars even worse.) Silver and Gold stars must be for passing scores. And in case anyone else wants to see the angry star without signing up for a free trial, here it is:
  5. Definitely reading and spelling. You get a mad star anytime you don't pass, but I *think* they get angrier the worse you do (so angrier on 2/10 than on 7/10, though both are unhappy). I think I will email them. I had to laugh reading all the posts on here about angry stars now, but it makes me feel better to know that other kids may have had similarly negative reactions to the angry stars, so it's not just my kiddo who is weird. lol
  6. I just wanted to thank you all for your ideas and wrap this part up, so I don't derail the entire planning thread. 🙂 I have been looking at Jacobs, and I've also considered just letting him do Algebra through something simple like Khan or Aleks for a year. (I like that it's pretty hands-off for me, since I have a lot on my plate with my youngers at the moment, am not in a rush since he'll only be turning 11, and figure that if it doesn't go deep enough, we can always go through it more deeply later.) I'll keep poking around and spend some more time looking at Foerster, since I've not looked at that one recently (kinda just fell off my radar!). Thank you all again!
  7. Gosh, this made me laugh and gives some much needed levity to the situation (that's hard to say when you have a kid so furious with a program!) lol. We've been encouraging her to tell those dumb stars that she's still learning, and how else are you going to learn except to make mistakes? She does it (tells every mad star that she's still learning, so back off! lol), but I don't think it's helping!
  8. It's a good idea, but they're huge and sit right in the center of the screen!
  9. Not sure she'd buy it. She spent a full five minutes today telling my DS how mean the stars are when she gets something wrong, but it's worth a try! 😄
  10. What would you suggest for an easier program? That worked well for us for elem (BA along side Singapore), but we just haven't really found something else that I feel was a good alternate yet. I think part of the problem may also have been that he was cheating at PreAlgebra. lol. He just did Alcumus problems, got them wrong, read the solutions to learn material, and then ended up passing the sections, he told me once he was mostly done, rather than reading the book and attempting the problems in the reading first. I didn't necessarily mind at the time, since my hands were kind of full with other kids and he's "ahead" anyway, but I think that maybe if he'd actually read the book, he probably wouldn't have gotten nearly so many alcumus problems wrong on the first try, and that would've greatly impacted his perception of his own work. This summer, my girls are doing a summer school online, so I've had more time to work with ds and review some of his preA. He's able to do *most* of the problems in the book, including challenge and star ones, but he can't write up his work or justify it at all, so my focus for the summer has just been learning how to write down a decent solution. So he comes up with the answer, and then I sit down with him and help him actually write things up. While I feel like it's not a huge challenge, given that he's already solved the problems, he gets bogged down way more easily than I would've expected.
  11. We just started a Nessy subscriptions, and my youngest child (Kinder) gets really stressed out by the “mad stars” she gets whenever she does not pass an activity or game. She doesn’t mind not passing, itself, but she starts crying every time she sees the “mad star looking at [her] mean.” Any ideas on how to help her? We’ve talked about growth mindset and how she's young and still learning, even how the star isn't really mad and is just giving her a confused look, but it does not help. I would really like her to continue doing Nessy at least a few times a week, but we need to figure out how to deal with the mad stars. She is autistic and very sensitive.
  12. I hear ya here! I just went back and looked at my post in this thread from just 2.5 months ago, and I feel like I'm out of control already! lol. Uzinggo said they're not continuing their services but to "keep a look out" for something new they're going to be putting out (still not out, as far as I can tell), so there goes my high-input/low-output science option for ds11. Also, despite having gone through AoPS PreA independently, he now thinks he's "bad at math," because it has actually gotten kinda hard. I told him that that is my expressed goal in finding him academic material- to get him to a point where he can do it, but only with hard work and perseverance. But he is actually really stressed out about it (has spent several days in the last three weeks crying about how hard it is and how he can't do it, and this kiddo already struggles some with anxiety) and wants to back off of math. So I'm not really sure he'll continue to AoPS Algebra and Geometry this next year, but I have no idea what to do instead, or if I should just slow the pace way, way down, somehow. DD7 has officially caught up with DD9 in both math and dyslexia remediation, and has far exceeded DD9 in actual reading, and I expect the gap will just continue to grow. DD9 is very upset about this and feels "stupid," regardless of what I say. So while I intended to keep them doing much of the same programs, I may have to diverge to make the differences less noticeable/palpable. After some extra testing, it appears dd5 may actually have more LDs/challenges than we anticipated, so I have to rearrange schedules to make more space for her to get appropriate help/remediation as early as possible. And my older two kids want to spend a year studying Islamic & Middle Eastern culture, so we're kind of back to the drawing board on history/social studies. lol.
  13. Ha ha. Yeah, I think that when I first posted, I thought that maybe there was just an over-reliance manipulatives, in which case, it does seem ok to continue forward, while we wean from the dependence on manipulatives. Through this conversation and upon further thought, it's now become clear that what we're actually talking about it a lack of understanding of some basic concepts, which merit figuring out before going any further. In hindsight, it was a dumb question initially, and of course moving forward when foundational pieces are missing is a bad idea. lol. But I've really appreciated the conversation and feel like it gives me some ideas for how to teach the missing pieces, because I don't expect that just "staying in place" and continuing to review/cover things in the same way as I had been would have been the right answer, either.
  14. Maybe that's why it has thrown me that two of my kiddos don't just absorb math; I think my other two kiddos are more similar to your dd, as am I. I'm still learning to process what is "normal"! Even my 4th grader who still uses c-rods, definitely understood counting on at age 4, as did my other two kiddos, so it honestly never even occurred to me that my youngest wouldn't have it figured out by shortly thereafter, and that that is actually ok/normal. I'm definitely going to try it as "counting really fast!" the next time we sit down. I can't recall if I said that exactly last time we tried (I know I *thought* it!), but I know that she looked at me like I had three heads when I said, "Hey! Since you just counted 8 beans out, you already know there are 8 here! Why don't we say we counted these 8, and then keep counting with this little pile of 3!" And, after looking at me silently for several moments, she very calmly and deliberately just started at "1....2...." and counted all 11 beans. 😂 Yes, this is why we've traditionally done more than one program (education unboxed + Singapore + base 10 blocks + counters/dice games, adding in LoF and then BA later, etc.) because my kids tend to hit a little wall, and then want to do something else for a while while those things "marinated" a bit. 🙂 We have so many manipulative at this point that I think I actually vary the manipulatives less now than earlier. Isn't that odd? I think I just forget about some of them. Maybe I should just make a plan like Monday: Counter chips (different colored sides so fun to play parts/whole games), Tuesday: Base 10 blocks, Wednesday: dominoes, Thursday: 10-frame, Friday: dice games.... Uh oh, I'm out of days and not out of manipulative yet... May have to go in 2-week intervals or double some of them up!
  15. I don't take offense - no worries. I feel like I'm pretty good at teaching ideas/understanding in higher level math, primarily because I've always loathed formulas and algorithms. So I just started taking my oldest kiddo through AoPS algebra, and we are having a wonderful time and he wrote out a great proof that sqrt(2) is irrational and it's SO MUCH fun! lol. BUT, I have a lot more practice teaching some of that sort of stuff than elementary age stuff, and I just never struggled with understanding any part of arithmetic, personally. So I think I *thought* I was a pretty good teacher, but it turns out, I'm just a good teacher when my kids actually think just like me, and I need definite help when my kids don't process things the same way as I do! I think that my first and third kiddos went through these stages so seamlessly that I'm not even sure I *realized* that there was conceptual learning going on, if that makes any sense. Somehow, I just assumed it was all common sense and would happen naturally as we played with math and did life together. I've taught college courses, and even taught college courses for in-service middle and high school teachers, but the two kiddos I wrote this post about definitely have made me realize that I actually have NO real understanding of what actually happens (in their brains) when young children learn math. 😂
  16. Ah, I hadn't thought of that. I have so much to learn! lol. I'll ask about it. I thought they were magical for a while, because it got these two kiddos *doing* math, when they were stuck (my other two kiddos have never really gotten stuck on something in math). I think they just didn't actually make the leaps I thought they had, and instead, they only learned to use the manipulative correctly. lol.
  17. Hmmm, so we talked about "why" we count on when she is just counting everything together (for 8 + 3, we'd get 8 beans out in one pile, put 3 in another pile, and she'd count them to get 11), by talking about how we don't have to count the first 8 because we already know they're in the 8 pile, so we just have to start at 8 and keep counting up the extra 3 in the other pile. And then we practiced this a lot. Is that what you mean, or something else regarding the "why"? She knows addition means "put together," and she can do it with dice just by counting all the dots on both dice combined. As I consider what happens when we sit down, I think that, when we do addition exclusively, and I give the example of how to use today's manipulative (counters, dice, 10-frames pictures, and c-rods are the main ones), she can repeat the process independently with whatever numbers I give her to get correct answers. And she can do the same with subtraction. But it's clear that she's not really "getting it," because the moment I introduce mixed practice (either mixing up the manipulative between problems, or mixing up addition and subtraction problems) she reverts to shouting out of random numbers rather than doing anything logical. And they're not even showing a concept of more/less, so she'll get 4+3 and shout out "9! 2! 5?..." (without even processing that adding 4 and 3 should certainly not give you 2, even in random guessing! lol)
  18. Bigger problems become problematic because she usually doesn't think to actually do division; she guesses a random number and then multiplies by 5 to see if it's right. She is dyslexic and has a difficult time with fact memorization (which is why I let her rely on C-rods for so long), so by the time she actually gets a number divided by 5, she has usually forgotten why she even did it. lol. I have explained "counting on" by using C-rods by making our staircase and pointing to one and asking her to start there and keep counting (easy for her), counting up/bigger, one more each time, or going to the "next" (whole) number. We played games of what comes before and what comes after before trying to learn counting on. I really appreciate all of the thoughts all of you have shared with me on this thread. It's helpful to be able to talk these things out. Math was the one field I really thought I wouldn't need help teaching (as it's what I have my degree in)! lol Just goes to show!
  19. I will have to think about this, some to see if I can gauge their actual understanding. The short answer is that they cannot articulate what they are doing, and the older will even flat out tell me that she has no idea what's going on. But they are also both autistic, so articulation of thought processes is a special challenge for them in general, and not just with regards to mathematics.. ETA: the 4th grader can say 3/5 means to break into five equal pieces and take three of them, and she can draw a matching bar diagram or pizza picture where she correctly shades 3/5. But she's not able to articulate exactly how she's using it or what it means in a particular problem, if that makes sense?
  20. Yeah, we've tried counting on a *lot,* and it still doesn't seem to gel, even with just +2. And, despite being able to count up to 100 orally quite easily, and go backwards as well, she still can't do subtracting by counting down at all (not even -1 -- we tried today! lol) And we've drawn little number lines and talking about hopping up and down the number line, but no dice with that either. And we count beans and add and take away there. I feel like if I *tell her* to either put more beans in or take beans out, she'll do it, and get the answer, but she never seems to add/take the beans out correctly on her own. But if I say "You have 6 cookies, and I eat 1 (or 2, or 3), how many do you have?" She can usually think about it and answer 5 correctly (or 4, or 3). But, if I'm reading you right, you would definitely suggest "staying here" for a while until some of these other ideas gel, correct? ETA: Ok, now that I wrote all that out, it's obvious she shouldn't be moving forward.... I should face palm myself.
  21. Two of my kiddos still rely heavily on C-rods for math: 1) My youngest (K/1st) can look at a page with single-digit addition & subtraction problems, set up the C-rods, solve, and write the answer down completely independently, if she has C-rods in front of her. But without the C-rods, she seems to still lack enough understanding to even use her fingers to add or subtract (despite having used other manipulative and talked about and explained addition/subtraction concepts in a WIDE variety of ways). 2) My 4th grader still uses C-rods all the time, particularly to help with fractions work (3/5 of 40, etc.) and it's really starting to hamper her in bigger examples (3/5 of 160, for example, is much more difficult to "see" with C-rods, because they don't make rods that are 32 units long... lol). My other two kiddos (6th and 2nd grades) just naturally transitioned from using C-rods to doing things in their heads. With the 4th grader, I assumed that it would "click" eventually, and she'd stop using them, so I continued to move forward because she did seem to be "getting things" easily enough with the C-rods. Now I'm wondering if I've done her wrong, and I'm particularly concerned about making the same mistake with the youngest (if it was, indeed, a mistake). Somebody please tell me if letting them continue to use C-rods to move forward is ok, or if I really need to put the brakes on and spend more time practicing/solidifying until they can also do the problems without C-rods? I feel like I'm totally out of my element here!!! lol.
  22. Interesting ideas here. Thank you! We have an Arduino set and a huge tray of spare computer parts from some laptops my son took apart when he was younger (they were dead and I didn't care). We don't know which parts of the computer are dead and which are still good, but I wonder if he could figure out a way to try to actually make something out of it....
  23. Thanks! I'll check all those out! 🙂
  24. I have some kiddos who fall asleep really well (relatively speaking: it only takes 20-40 min to fall asleep vs 2-3 hrs without) to guided meditation / breathing podcasts for going to sleep, but I'm having a hard time finding one I really like. I don't need it to be Christian, per se, but I would like it to be compatible with Christianity (i.e. steers clear of things that are rooted in new age philosophies / eastern mysticism / etc). Anyone have suggestions?
  25. My kids LOVE Der kleine Eisbär audiobooks (even my 10 yo -- shhh, don't tell!). They have fun voices and animal sounds and music and all. Honestly, most German audiobooks we've found are more like radio shows/dramas for kids than just a plain audiobook. They also love the Felix CDs - such fun music! When younger, my kids also loved this series: https://www.amazon.de/Die-besten-Spiel-Bewegungslieder-Mitmachen/dp/B0058MQZA4/ref=pd_lpo_74_t_0/258-4173569-8652734?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B0058MQZA4&pd_rd_r=5cea528d-8564-4d66-8bbe-58a3a43c17eb&pd_rd_w=06RgC&pd_rd_wg=WwCtq&pf_rd_p=d5c9797d-0238-4119-b220-af4cc3420918&pf_rd_r=NCPCX1A6JAVGE7AMET0V&psc=1&refRID=NCPCX1A6JAVGE7AMET0V We watched and listened to them so much that my non-German speaking husband could sing along (without a clue as to what he was singing! lol)
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