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Everything posted by 4KookieKids

  1. Thanks for all the extra ideas! We have a xylophone, but it's just a cheap-o from the store and the intervals make me cringe! Maybe I'll look into something a little higher quality. :) We do sing a lot! But how do you teach a child to sing in tune? I'm trying to teach them to keep a beat by both modeling and also helping by actually holding their hands sometimes to "feel" it. But I've no idea how to teach them to match pitch/sing in tune. My 2 yo has been putting her ear right up to (and even touching!) my mouth when we sing sometimes, and she is then sometimes able to match my pitch, but not very frequently.
  2. Hmmm. Thanks for the ideas. We are Christian, but I tend to fall in the camp of "we don't really know exactly what happened" / Amish way of dealing with it that Hunter mentioned. In a way, I think that's one of the things that makes me most nervous about this topic, because I feel like I "should" have answers for my kids when they ask. I don't think I realized I felt that before thinking about the responses to this thread, but I think now that I realize it, I'm also more at peace with sharing with my children that I just don't know.
  3. So I know there are lots of different theories relating to the beginning of the world and pre-history (big bang, evolution, intelligent design, young earth, etc.) *Without* getting into an argument about which ones are correct, please, how do you address a book with a young child (K through 2nd or 3rd maybe) that assumes a position you don't take, while still taking away the majority of the book content? Ex: Say a child wants to read about dinosaurs and you're a young earth person -- how do you read books about it? Or say you do believe in the old earth, but don't believe that everything (including humans) developed from a puddle of primordial ooze, how do you approach books that assume this sort of evolutionary stance? Or, if you do believe in evolution, and your child picks out a book that assumes creationism, what do you do? I feel like a kid at this age doesn't want to hear a bunch of different theories and technicalities and corrections; they just want to learn and absorb everything. And my kids, in particular, like to just pick library books about topics that interest them, so carefully choosing books isn't really the answer either. I'm inclined to to let them read anything they want, and just wait until they're older to discuss/compare/contrast theories, but I'm interested in hearing from others.
  4. Have you read the Read Aloud Handbook? They have some tips for dealing with this sort of behavior. The author talks about his kids when they were teens and how to draw them in so that it still grabs their attention.
  5. Not knowing math facts really well is actually the single biggest issue I think younger students struggle with. I'm amazed at the students who struggle at trig or even calculus in college because they continually forget distributive rules, can't manipulate fractions, can't add/subtract/multiply simple numbers without a calculator, or some other such thing that they should've learned earlier. (Yes, I have seen far too many "advanced" students reach for a calculator to compute something like "16+9".) I would definitely "drill" whatever math facts she's weak on, but only in five minute increments (or something that feels "very short" to her) and in anyway you can think of to lift the monotony. If she does well at reading problems, she's ahead of two thirds of the college students I taught. :) I know that I hated having to do a long list of problems (unless it was a competition with other students, because I was just really competitive like that, unfortunately). When I'm tutoring, I usually encourage students to do 2-3 problems from each different "kind" of problem we talked about on a particular day. If they struggle with one "kind" or feel they need more practice, then review the material and do a few more problems of that "kind" and repeat this until they're comfortable with the material.
  6. My experience, after teaching math at a uni for many years and tutoring even more, is that for *most* people, math brain shuts down right around 45-60 minutes. That's my experience with adults, however, and I'd expect it to be more than what kids can generally do. I flat out refuse to tutor students (adults) for longer than 60 minute sessions because I feel the extra time is so completely counterproductive. Once you get frustrated and feel like you're not getting it (even if you are) or are bored, far less learning takes place. I'd even venture to say that it can hurt the learning that's already taken place... Note that I am not referring to kids who love math and really want to spend more tim on it. I'm referring to the "average" person who's on the fence with math: doesn't hate it but doesn't love it. I have very limited experience tutoring elementary and middle school aged students, but my gut (and experience with older students) says that 60 minutes a day is too much if she doesn't like doing it for that long. I'd see if she can get the content done with less reading, less practice, less review, or all of the above. If not, then I'd just split lessons up among days and go through the material at a slower pace.
  7. We don't have an ereader. The nearest Saturday school is about an hour away, which sounds close, but just doesn't work for us right now (not with a 2 year old and an infant as well as my 4 year old), and last time I went there were very few kids who were actually bilingual (most of them were just learning German). I somehow had forgotten about ABC Kinderladen and gotten in the habit of ordering from bookdepository, so thanks for the reminder! Our "extras" budget is pretty limited right now, even so. It's hard for me to be patient when we can only buy one or two books a month! I think some times I'm worse than the kids... lol. I just love having such a variety of books from the library, and wish we could get that variety in German too. :) But I suppose I'm digressing from the original issue of reading in the "wrong" language.
  8. We do often mention the language of the book... He just doesn't seem to remember it! :) I may try this! Since "the" is normally taught as a sight word, he'd hopefully find it rather quickly. This is really interesting! I'd never considered this, but I definitely will! It's just hard because we have access to so many more English books than German (e.g., library, where you don't have to *buy* every single one!) that I'm not sure we'd have much variety in our reading if I only read German books. I did try this -- and it worked until the kids were old enough to put their own books away... But they don't separate them when they put them away (they all just end up in a stack), and with three little ones, I just don't have it in me to go through and sort books every day when they're already put away! :)
  9. Hmmm... I didn't want to label *all* of our books, was my thought, but he tries to read certain words from all his books. He doesn't limit himself to books that he can read through, and just randomly picks pages to try to read. I do have a separate place for the books that he can read completely independently, but he rarely chooses to read those, save for before naptime.
  10. Thanks for the recommendations. I'll mark those two programs to look into more down the road, but we'll probably have to wait on anything that would require a purchase, unfortunately, and need to go with free methods for now. I hadn't thought to try to expose her to classics with lots of harmonies, so I'll definitely do that! Any other free ideas?
  11. So my son is 4.5 and is beginning to start reading. Mostly it's just a word here or there that he tries to sound out (most recently reading the "Frontier" logo as it flashed in front of us on the mini TV's for an entire plane ride... :) ) At any rate, he doesn't yet know which books are English and which are German, because I tend to read them all in German during the day - even if it means translating on the fly. Daddy reads English ones in the evening (no translating involved, since he doesn't speak German). Well lately my son has been trying to read books on his own and is getting frustrated, because he doesn't know which language he should be trying to read in. He knows letter sounds in both languages, but is more comfortable trying to sound out and read English, but he often picks up a German book to sound out, and the result is just frustrating for him, and I worry that it's going to make wrong associations or teach him things incorrectly. Or worse, I worry that it'll just turn him off to reading! If I were helping him do this, I would just clarify at the beginning which language the book is in, but he's more interested in doing it when he's playing independently or I'm busy with something else, and then I just happen to find him frustrated afterwards. (When I'm around, he'd rather do things that are more active!) Short of labeling all our books with "E" and "G" or something similar (the only idea I've been able to come up with!), what else can I do to help him? Or is it something he'll sort out on his own, given enough frustration? For what it's worth, he has no interest in reading in German right now so it's currently only a one-way problem/challenge.
  12. My 2.5 yo seems to connect with music and associated motions/movements in a special way. She loves (understatement!) to hear it, sing it, and dance to it, and would choose that over any other activity hands-down if given the choice. On Sunday mornings, she'd rather be in the sanctuary dancing to the worship team practice than in the play rooms with all the other little kids who are playing. I enjoy singing, but have no idea how to teach my kids to sing -- even though we do it regularly, my 4.5 yo still can't carry a tune to save his life! I don't want anything hard-core or formal at this point (I generally prefer to postpone most things rigorous or academic until later), but would like to get some ideas about how to feed and foster such a natural inclination towards music. I know that singing with her is special, but I feel like there's something more there that I'm just not tapping-- like I'm missing out on connecting with her on some deep level because I don't really know what to do other than sing with her. I hope that doesn't sound silly, but I really feel like we're *both* missing out on something special because of my ignorance. We have a music instrument set from Melissa and Doug (recorder, triangle, tamborine, etc.), a nice harmonica, and several electric toys like keyboards, guitars, etc. that she plays with a lot. I don't know much about Kindermusic classes, but I do know that we're really strapped for money right now, so I'd like to avoid outsourcing.
  13. Hmmm... I started taking this survey, but a lot of the questions and available answers are worded in such a way so that I'm having a really hard time answering them. In particular, I think I'd consider English my "mother tongue", even though my German was much stronger while I lived there (ages 1-14), but German is the minority language I'm teaching our children (since my husband only speaks English and it's the main language in Nebraska. :D) I don't mind answering as if "mother tongue" means "minority language I'm teaching my children", but I didn't know if this distinction is relevant for your research, so I thought I'd include it. ETA: Several questions also don't cover all bases, and would be best served with an "other" box (or the question needs clarification). For example: To what extend do you talk to your partner when your child is present? not at all my partner understands my mother tongue a bit or knows a few words my partner understands my mother tongue but is not able to speak so well my partner speaks and understands my mother tongue my partner and I have the same mother tongue I talk to my partner all the time when my child is present; I just speak to him in his language, while continuing to address my child in the minority language (most of the time). But my partner doesn't understand squat of the minority language. :)
  14. So I'm less familiar with what the different curriculums are, so I can't speak to what you should use. But can you get her into some non-standard math subjects, like graph theory, combinatorics, number theory, voting methods, etc. ? I taught a terminal math class at a uni for several years (a class that is intended to be the final math class for all the people not in a math/science related field), and it covered a real variety of topics that are not commonly seen (like the above topics). And I was amazed at the students who started off the semester with a warning to me that they hate math, they're terrible at math, they have verifiable math learning disorders, etc. They didn't want me to take it personally when they failed my class, because they've always failed math; it's just who they are, and math is not their strength. (Or so they said.) By the end of the term, many of them were not only passing, but acing the course. Why? They believed it was because we weren't doing "real" math, and just couldn't believe me when I said that we were doing was closer to "real" math than anything else they'd done. It was certainly much closer to what I did in grad school and for my dissertation that those pesky classes taught in middle and high school, so I certainly didn't appreciate them saying it wasn't real math! (I always said this with a smile.) I find that with some enthusiasm and encouragement on the part of the teacher, these other fields and topics can really turn a math-phobe into a confident (though surprised) and effective math student (even if they do decide to not pursue math professionally or as a career), and I would encourage you to look in that direction for now.
  15. Well, I did find these reviews, which seem to be very positive: http://www.rund-ums-baby.de/forenarchiv/kigakids/Was-haltet-Ihr-von-Tiptoi_17599.htm http://www.alphabet-garten.com/wordpress/?p=541 I did see one or two suggesting that it was too baby-ish, and that some kids just don't like it, but the overwhelming majority of reviews recommend it.
  16. Has anyone used this? How'd you like it? My kids love their Tag Readers (2.5 and 4.5 years old) and this seems comparable, so I'm really interested!
  17. I can't recommend a book, so all I can say is what is working for my 4 year old, and that is to teach him the right things to say. For example, when we first started when he was just 3, he would come running to me: "Mama! Amara [his younger sister] keeps hitting me!" Whereas my natural inclination was to immediately call Amara over and deal with this, I started just giving him ideas for what he could say to her to deal with this himself, e.g., "Why don't you ask her to stop hurting you" (she's younger, so it wasn't always clear she knew she was hurting him :P), "Then go and tell her that she shouldn't hit you because hitting is mean", "Then tell her you're not going to play with her because you don't like being hit", etc. Now that he's four, when he comes to me, I usually start by asking him what he thinks he should do about the situation, and 9 times out of 10, his response is appropriate, so I just encourage him to do that. He still comes to me a lot, but is learning how to deal with things on his own. Sometimes, when the situation is new, he still needs helping formulating an appropriate response. I should also add that, when I see a situation where someone (like the little sister!) is clearly in the wrong, and the 4 yo handles it correctly, I am quick to force compliance on the other side of things, because I want to reward and encourage the 4 yo for handling things correctly, and I don't ever want him feeling like he has to use inappropriate techniques because that's all the only thing that works. So in the above example, if the little sis doesn't stop hitting him after he goes back to her and tells her to stop and that she's hurting him, or if he goes somewhere else to play and she follows him while continuing to harass him, I do intervene -- for her sake as much as his. I don't want her to think she can get away with this sort of behavior! While I firmly believe that kids need to learn to work things out on their own, I feel like this age is still very much a "learning" time, and if they are left to work things out on their own too much, it's going to result in methods that I find unacceptable (like him turning on his little sister and beating her right back).
  18. Yeah! Where I grew up, it was considered strange to do "academics" with this age. So we play, sing, dance, and generally run a lot, with a fair bit of reading and housework thrown into the mix. My 4yo is really into math and reading right now, but I find that he's more than happy with short answers, without much expansion on my part. (E.g., He just wants me to reassure him 1 + 2 is 3, like he got in his head; he really doesn't want to work it out with objects.) :iagree: It's amazing what they can learn to do around the house!
  19. I would've loved you as a math teacher! :D I'm definitely a math-y person (got my phd in math!), but I feel like I became a math person IN SPITE of the first 14 years of my math education (the first two of undergrad included), rather than BECAUSE of them... I cannot describe how frustrated I was at the hours of my life that I felt like were completely wasted with extra problems. While I know that this works for some people, and some really do need lots of practice, it drove me batty.
  20. If you PM me with what kind of DVD player you have, I can try to help you figure out if you can change the settings to play movies from other regions. If you'd like, I can also share with you the specifics of how we get the movie audio from the movie onto a CD for listening in the car and other other places.
  21. My personal philosophy, especially from teaching math for many years (though I believe the concept probably caries across all fields), is: Never teach something that's incorrect. Teach it incomplete, if you need to; but never teach it incorrect.
  22. We did this too, but we started with movies that the children were already somewhat familiar with (e.g., Disney's cars, Thomas, Chuggington). Granted, they were not even passively fluent at the time. After they got into the movies, I ripped the soundtrack to an mp3 and burned it to a disc to play in the car. Once they got used to hearing German movies in the car, I transitioned them to German audiobooks, and it went relatively smoothly. The whole process took a while, but now they really enjoy listening to their audiobooks in the car, and they pick up a ton.
  23. Thanks for all the great ideas! I'm with you here... But at least for now (the babe is 2 months old right now and nurses constantly and is up several times a night still), I've just given up on this. It'll be a challenge to reign in their screen time more as the baby gets older, but I just don't know what else to do some mornings! Also good advice. Thanks for the perspective. :)
  24. I finished grad school just three years ago, and it was rare for people to type notes in class. With some regularity, we'd have one person in class typing their notes, and occasionally two, but never more than that. It sounds like this might be dependent on the field, however. I can imagine that in law, as some people mentioned, most of the notes were words, whereas in my field (math), a large portion of the notes were symbols and diagrams and things that are too complex to type into a computer quickly. However, when time was not an issue, as on homework assignments, almost *everyone* typed their assignments.
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