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Everything posted by 4KookieKids

  1. I agree with most of what has already been said. I'll just add that we started teaching my oldest to read in German first, thinking that it's so much more phonetic and would be much easier. His English was just so much stronger than his German (even though I suspect he's been "fluent" for a year or two already), that it was really hard. Not only was it difficult, in general, but we ran across two other barriers that I didn't foresee: (1) He *wanted* to learn to read English first, because all his friends were, and (2) German doesn't have the equivalent of our "first readers." Because Germans are usually taught to read in school, and because it's really phonetic and easy, their "first readers" are simple chapter books, which was way daunting to my then 4-year old. I wonder if French is the same way? If so, I'd definitely reconsider. As it is, I think reading for kids should be more about understanding "which" word is on the page (ie, the should already know the word and its meaning in most cases) than about reading a new word and figuring out what it means as well.
  2. Thanks, all. I decided not to get a touchscreen laptop for now, but hubby is borrowing a kindle from someone and seeing what sort of fun he can have with the kids on it too.
  3. I need to buy a new computer and am looking for something cheap. I'm also mindful that there may be apps or programs that my kids may like and may be educational (letters, reading, strokes, etc.) but don't know much (or anything) about them, given that I haven't bought a new computer in... 8 years... and I definitely don't have a smart phone. What are your recommendations? Is a touchscreen worth it? I don't care about my own use of it -- only the little ones (age 5, 3, and 1 but the babe doesn't get to touch squat on the computer! :D)
  4. If they were at our library, I wouldn't buy them either. Unfortunately, the Life of Fred books don't qualify for the 20% discount at Mardel's. They're not allowed to discount them, according to customer service. :(
  5. I've been waiting for the elementary life of fred books to go on sale so I could pick up the first few to do with my boy. I kicked myself after I let the sale last fall on educents go, because we couldn't afford it at the time. I've looked all over trying to find the best deals, used books, etc, but it seems to me that these books just tend to be $16 each (even more on ebay), regardless of used or new. Mardel is offering 20% off all homeschool materials this Thursday, so I'm thinking that might be the time to pick some up, but I just wanted to see if anybody else has any other/better ideas first. Thanks!
  6. It's in a different language, but maybe you'd like to check out the three cursive options (VA, LA, and SAS) at the bottom of the page http://www.unkonzentrierte-schueler.de/Pages/GratisDownload.aspx We're doing the LA script, and they have an entire set of workbook pages for it online http://www.unkonzentrierte-schueler.de/Pages/SchreibschriftbuchstabenLA.aspx (the other two have similar pages elsewhere). There's an interesting thread about cursive over on the bilingual board http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/517300-cursive-in-different-languages/ that might help if you're considering moving away from the traditional American cursive.
  7. I think I was more concerned that they wouldn't know what others are writing, because that's an issue I had. I think most of the letters are similar or look "more" like their print in the one that I learned, whereas there are quite a few letters in American cursive (G, I, Q, Z, z, r) that I couldn't recognize on sight when I encountered them. Of course, it seems obvious to me (NOW! :) ) that I can just teach him to recognize those American cursive letters, even if he doesn't write them that way. This is one of the reasons I was really stoked to find that website I linked to. They have printable worksheets for a nice variety of (German) cursives. So I printed out the sheets here http://www.unkonzentrierte-schueler.de/Pages/SchreibschriftbuchstabenLA.aspx since they match my script, and my son really likes them so far. He especially likes the first page of each letter, where each letter (uppercase and lowercase) takes up half the page and they trace the letter in various colors (first yellow, then orange, then red, etc.) because he's really artistic and loves coloring the rainbow. :) It is hard to get him to loosen his grip on the pencil/pen, but I suppose that's not really a language specific issue! He's been working so hard on grip strength at his preschool while tracing out ball and stick letters that I'm not really sure how to get him to relax. Right now, we're just experimenting with different pens and pencils trying to see if one is "smoother" for him.
  8. This was actually an issue I had with some of the American capital letters. I had to flat out ask in grad school when someone used a cursive G in a math class, and there was no "rest of the word" or anything to tell me what the letter should be. :) I find that annoying too, and may just close my p's anyway! :D I'm not sure yet...
  9. Ack! I spent some more time looking around, and now I'm even more confused! From looking at this site http://www.unkonzentrierte-schueler.de/Pages/GratisDownload.aspx it looks like I learned Lateinische Ausgangsschrift -- but is that not actually what's taught in German schools? If I teach my kids this, will it be completely irrelevant, or does anybody else actually use it?
  10. This is what we do around everyone who's not their dad, because it does feel really rude to exclude other people. But I also hear so much about OPOL being the gold standard, that's it's been tricky figuring out what to do around the hubby. I honestly have no idea how anyone can be OPOL unless both parents understand the other language - it's so hard otherwise! We'd sort of settled for a mix of languages, which had the effect of being neither OPOL nor inclusive of hubby and was just generally an unhappy medium. I think you all are right, and the only thing to do is this. I think I'm just worried they're going to lose the German they do have right now, because minority languages always feel like an uphill fight. But we can do this! (chanting it will make it true, right? ;) ) They speak to each other in English, but I'm constantly reminding them to speak to each other in German! :)
  11. I've been considering starting to teach my son (almost 5) cursive, because he has a lot of issues with reversals/orientation (d,b, p, and q always throw him, but so do u/n and several others). However, as I started to look at cursive sheets, I was struck by the fact that a few letters are markedly different than what I learned! I thought maybe it was just a style issue, and found this link http://www.cep.pdx.edu/samples/compare.pdf comparing different kinds of cursive, but it still didn't address my concern. So then I realized that it might be language/country dependent, and lo and behold, I find "my" cursive here http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schreibschrift . Makes sense, since I did grade school in Germany. But this raises the question -- what cursive should I teach my kids? I'm far more comfortable with "my" cursive, naturally, but I'm concerned that he should learn "American" cursive, since we do live in the US (and mostly likely will live here permanently). Only a few of the lowercase ones are radically different (those American z's are crazy and took me a long time to figure out!!) but lots of uppercase letters are significantly different. I feel like the American cursive will probably suit his needs better, just in terms of usefulness, but I also feel like my own cursive writing is pretty set and I would accidentally write things "my" way and confuse him a whole bunch if I tried to go solo-American cursive. Help! :)
  12. This works especially well if you speak multiple related languages. If I teach my 2 year old that H makes "hhh", then she can get it when she sees it in either languages (where H makes "h"). For the letters that make different sounds depending on language, we just make whatever sound they usually make in the language we're currently speaking.
  13. We've always encouraged the kids to speak English with their dad, even if they're speaking German to me in the same conversation. It's just that they still talk to me an awful lot, and the hubby invariably gets left out. The irony is that English is by far their stronger language, so it's not like they speak German with me most of the time because it comes easier to them.
  14. We're not strictly OPOL, but it's our general aim. I speak almost exclusively German with the kids (4, 2, and 8 months) and my husband speaks English (his only language, with exception of a few smatterings of German he's picked up and some extremely rusty Spanish from high school). My husband is really starting to feel left out of the conversation though when the kids and I speak German while he's home. He feels disengaged and like he wants to be connecting more as a family in that time, and I certainly want to support that. But I'm confused as to the logistics, because, up until now, I've *always* encouraged/required the kids to speak German with me. How do I do this with a minimum amount of confusion, mixing, and frustration? It's already somewhat challenging for me to get the German output from my kids, and I'm really concerned that this (switch to all English during family time) might be the beginning of the end for their German. If it is, then it is, since their relationship with their dad is more important than their bilingualism, of course. But I'd really like to figure out how to bolster that relational time without sacrificing their bilingualism. Any thoughts? PS. As my husband works two jobs, he really does not feel able to put in the time to learn German right now, but we've visited that idea half a dozen times in the last year or two.
  15. Huh. That's really interesting, and definitely some things I've never thought about. Thanks! :)
  16. This is interesting to me. I'm inclined to have the opposite opinion, because it seems to me that once a child has some level of mastery over a language, that language can be used to aid in acquiring another language. E.g., If we're at the table, and my kid doesn't know German,"Hört damit auf und esst, bitte" (when they're playing around) might seem random to them (is she talking about food? drink? activities? something we're doing after dinner?), but if I say it once in German, and then once in English, then it seems to me they can make a better connection. But I'm just speaking out of what "makes sense" to me (and hence why I did things the way that I did with full immersion as babies, but not when kids were already older), and I'd be really interested to hear why you think the the flip side is true! :)
  17. I like the advice that you know your kids and ignore the rest. I have to really fight to not get too involved in these boards, actually. These boards have so much great information and so many people are SO helpful, but I find that when I read them on a daily basis, my thinking becomes clouded. I start to feel condescending toward those whose kids are doing things later than mine (Isn't my kid so smart?) and judgmental toward those whose kids are doing things earlier than mine (what pushy parents!) -- as if I was the only one who got it "right." I think it's such an easy pitfall to fall into. I *know* it's not actually the truth, but I still find myself feeling that way.
  18. Was it this one? I didn't actually download it so I haven't looked at it. Download Exploring My World Preschool Workbook (Fisher ...
  19. We started German with my son just after he turned 2. We made the transition by saying everything three times: once in German, once in English, and then again in German. I didn't wait to see if he understood the German first in the beginning; I just said things once in each language right off the bat, and then emphasized it with German again. I wanted him to know exactly what I was saying (I wanted NO frustration at the beginning -- he was talking up a storm already and it just seemed mean and also wasteful to ignore all of his work learning English already), but start hearing it in German. I wanted to capitalize on the fact that he already knew all of this in English, but I confess that it was tedious saying everything three times. Within 3 months, I was able to drop the English middle step, with rare exceptions. Within 9 months, he was beginning to speak it spontaneously. Two years later, he's reasonably fluent, but quickly reverts to English if I don't require him to respond in German. My endings are a little (or lot...) rusty as well. I'm studying up and practicing them a lot, but I also compensate by playing a LOT of audiobooks (now that he's reasonably fluent), especially in the car. And I've noticed marked improvement in his grammar and vocabulary since getting lots of interesting audiobooks for him.
  20. Thanks! These two threads may also be useful: http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/474223-fyi-math-worksheets-in-german/?hl=%2Bgrundschulmaterial&do=findComment&comment=4981301 http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/508503-german-math/?hl=%2Bgerman+%2Bmath&do=findComment&comment=5632365 (I know you've already posted on at least one of the threads so you're aware of them, but I figured it helps to have things "grouped" for anyone new... or just for me, if I forget somewhere down the road. :) )
  21. Has anyone experience to compare or comment on the different audiobooks in the series Ich Weiß Was (Albert E erklärt ....) and Was hör ich da? We've been getting audible books from Audible.de for my 4.5 yo, and have pretty much exhausted the Kokosnuss books (and by exhausted, I mean that he's pretty much memorized them...). We have many others that have been recommended here, but a lot of them don't hold his interest very well yet; language is either too advanced, recording quality is low, or there are strong dialects/accents that he had a difficult time understanding right now (so Hotzenplotz was a major fail over here) -- probably one of the pit falls of such limited exposure is that he doesn't hear much in the way of different dialects. I looked for the Was ist Was and Wieso, Weshalb, Warum books, but they're not available through Audible.de to people with a US credit card. :P
  22. Ok... So I'm not dutch, and I'll bite -- you have me very curious! What does Je Kan Me Wat actually mean?
  23. Someone on the K-8 board linked to this http://mathematik-olympiaden.de/archiv.html and I thought people here may be interested? I'm always looking for more German stuff, since German hs'ing materials are nonexistent.
  24. Thought this was interesting: http://www.responsiblehomeschooling.org/homeschooling-101/homeschool-demographics/ Also, according to this, it seems 2-3 kids isn't really so odd "on average". "In 2007, homeschool family size was as follows: one child (7%); two children (25%); three children (26%); four to six children (36%); seven or more children (6%)." Along the same lines: http://www.mlive.com/education/index.ssf/2012/01/homeschooling_by_the_census_nu.html
  25. My son (4.5) can't make several letter sounds either. He's deficient enough of them that we do qualify for services, but I'm not sure that that has much bearing on the situation. I would encourage you to continue working with him, but in a very low-key way, and definitely not to the point of frustration. For instance, we've been focusing on f and v sounds, because, with proper coaching about lip and teeth placement, he *can* actually produce those -- though it takes concentrated effort each time. So throughout the day, I try to just get him to re-say words with f's and v's when he says them incorrectly, but I'll only correct him once or twice in a five minute span usually. On the other hand, he cannot for the life of him say anything resembling k or g, and no amount of coaching on our part can get anything even close, and it's frustrating for him when we try. So we revisit those sounds every few months, playing around with making "coughing noises" to try to get him to find those sounds in the back by the throat, but if he can't get it, we let it drop again. There are several other sounds that are somewhere in the middle (sometimes he can get them by luck, it seems, but he can't seem to reproduce them at will) that I think we'll work on down the road as well. I've noticed that after making an effort of f and v for the last 6 weeks, he's starting to take the initiative and correct himself some, which I find really encouraging. PS. As an aside, you weren't clear if you've had his hearing evaluated, but that should definitely be the very first thing you do if you're unsure. We knew that wasn't an issue with my son, because when we would teasingly talk to him about his "Dusty Top-topper" (we thought it was cute the way he said Crophopper), he would get very upset with us and respond with "No, Dad! His name isn't Dusty Top-topper! His name is Dusty Top-topper!!" This had us laughing pretty hard, but it was absolutely clear to him that *we* were saying top-topper, but *he* was saying "crophopper".
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