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Everything posted by 4KookieKids

  1. Ok, so this may be an embarrassingly painful questions, but... how do you find "alternative" cartridges that fit a particular printer? I've looked online, and the only one "recommended" is the one I've been looking at. I have an HP printer PSC 1410, and when I look online, it just recommends the HP 21 for bw and the HP 22 for color. Would a store like cartridge world be able to hook me up with alternatives?
  2. Hmmm... I was mainly looking at b/w stuff, and was amazed that the cartridges say that you should expect 180 sheets. At $17 per cartridge, and all the extra time involved, this didn't seem like such a great deal compared to 9c b/w printing at office max (and ours here, you just walk in and pick it up after emailing it, so there's no time wasted with little kids under foot). On big projects/workbooks at least -- I definitely see the value in printing the everyday stuff at home! But from the sound of it, the 180 sheets per cartridge may be a gross underestimate on their behalf, so we'll have to look into this more!
  3. I am wondering what people find most economical and practical: printing at home with your own printer, or using a printing service (office max, staples, something online?). It seems to me that based on "expected" number of pages per print cartridge and our current printer, we're likely to break even printing stuff ourselves. I've looked at some online options, but what we save in printing, we spend in shipping! What have you all found that works? ETA: separate answers for bw and color would be great if you do things differently for each of those cases!
  4. I read this recently, and really liked most of what it had. I especially found some of the research on reading and reading aloud interesting (e.g. children's books have roughly 3 times more "rare" words per 100,000 than a conversation between an adult and a 3 year old).
  5. Thanks!! Ah! I totally forgot about these. Doh! I even have your website bookmarked in my browser... Oh well -- I'll just blame it on baby brain. I wonder how old the baby has to be before you can no longer use that excuse... She's currently 2 months, so I think I'm still good... :D And I am interested in books for older kids -- maybe the YA category (because I think that's close to where my own reading level is) or slightly higher (since the YA is pretty easy for me to read). Thanks!
  6. I'm looking for reading lists in German for kids/youth. Something that has all the "classics" (things most kids read and/or should read in Germany :D). So far, we've just read mostly Der kleine Drache Kokosnuss, Jim Knopf, Tintenwelt, Unendliche Geschichte, Prinzessin Lillifee, lots of Pixi books, Rauber Hotzenplotz, and a little Conni, Nina Naseweis, and Der kleine Rabe Socke. We have a lot of Grimm fairy tails on CD, as well, and I've also had Kleine Hexe, HuiBuh, Momo, Emil und die Detektive and Pumuckl recommended to me for the young kid age. I'd really like to get some for Christmas to last us the next year, and it'd just be nice to have a list of them (maybe even categorized by reading level / age?) We need them for a variety of ages (youngest is 2 months old and I'd really like some more adult / young adult literature for my own practice), and I'd rather not have books that are just English books that have been translated. I'm ok with books that were originally in another language and got translated into German, e.g. Ilias, but would like a solid group of books originally in German first, please.
  7. I also liked some of the suggestions on the following links: http://www.nfsmi.org/documentlibraryfiles/PDF/20120501081030.pdf http://voices.yahoo.com/5-indoor-preschool-movement-games-10736613.html?cat=25 http://www.pinterest.com/vherle/creative-movement-active-games/ http://www.education.com/activity/article/overandout_preschool/
  8. Wow! Thanks for all those great suggestions! I'm really excited to go look at these now, and I'd been so doubtful I could find something like this (since everything else was so above his level). And I agree -- those pictures are amazing! He'll be so excited! Thank you all so much!
  9. My son just turned 4 and really loves to draw. He especially loves to draw things out of those "how to draw ...." books (like planes, trains, boats, helicopters, etc.), but most of them are just too advanced for him (shapes are difficult, instructions involve erasing, etc.). I'd say most of the ones that we've run across at our library are geared more toward 6-8 year olds (or older). Luckily, he's got a lot of imagination and doesn't appear bothered by the fact that his pictures don't have a lot in common with the ones in the book. :D (I've heard of kids getting frustrated that there pictures weren't "right.") Does anyone have good suggestions for a 4 year old? I think it'd be a great way for him to practice his fine motor skills (which aren't very hot right now), and -- well -- he just loves it and asks for it daily!
  10. I agree with this! I resisted my father's attempts to speak German with me once I reached middle school. He spoke German, and I always just responded in English. Once I got some sense, like mom2bee says, I regretted this HORRIBLY. I decided to teach my own children (currently 4, 2, and 6 weeks) German right after my 2nd was born, and it was so hard for me! Much harder than I would've expected, given that I spoke better German than English until 5th grade. I'm sticking to it, and am really committed to raising bilingual kids, but there are so many days when I just want to kick myself for "quitting" German for almost 15 years. So my own experience gives me the perspective to try to make things fun (I certainly don't want it to be ALL drudgery ALL the time), but I also refuse to negotiate on them learning it. I continue to speak it to them and require the 4 year old to say things over in German quite often (he's been speaking less and less German with me since playing with a group of English speaking children twice a week, but that's a whole other story...) He gets frustrated with me at times, to be sure, but he really responds to my consistency. When I respond to English, or am inconsistent in telling him to speak in German, he's all English all the time, but when I'm really consistent to require German output from him, he complains a bit and gets frustrated, but usually starts giving me a lot more German within a few days.
  11. My son wanted to read around that age. I stuck with one language (German) first when starting reading lessons, and figured that I'd just add in English later. He lost interest for a while, and then decided he'd rather learn to read in the English first, since his best friend can read in English (three years older than him, but he's oblivious), and started learning to read again. I thought the transition might be bumpy, but he had absolutely no issues switching languages. When we play sound games, we often just point out the differences in languages. Occasionally he'll say a german letter sound when we're doing English, and I just say something like "that's right, in German, O says oh, but in English, it says..." And when he asks about certain words in German books, I do it the opposite way around. He seems completely nonplussed by the switching, even though I thought it would be really confusing for him. I'd say to just jump in and don't make it a big deal. He'll sort things out, and probably do it alot easier than you expect.
  12. It's hard to tell from the original post whether the child is more or less fluent/bilingual in the 2nd language, or whether it's being learned as a foreign language, and I think this would make a big difference in how you would plan things. I have young kids too (though definitely older than mathmarm :) ), and one of our languages is definitely "weaker", I would still say that my children could be reasonably considered bilingual. That being the case, our yearly goals in both languages are fairly similar, with the weaker language somewhat lagging. So for example, oldest is learning to read English right now (his request, since one of his best friends can read and write English after attending public school last year), and we'll postpone reading in German until after he can read reasonably well in English. He knows the different sounds of letters depending on what language we're using, but I find it easier to just teach reading in one language at a time, even though we speak mostly German during the day (when dad's not around!). Our read-aloud list includes a good mix of books from both languages, but the German books are slightly (only very) at a lower level than the English ones, because I do feel like his German is a little weaker. (I'm working to compensate as much as possible to get his German up to the level of his English, but I suppose it's only to be expected while living in the US and having me as his only German input...) We talk about numbers and math in both languages, and try to keep a good variety of topical books / children's encyclopedias in German, and we use those in conjunction with library books (in English) so that we can have conversations in both languages about any topics we want to learn about. As he gets older, I expect that I won't have "goals" so much as "plans", the same way as we'll have "plans" for his English in terms of learning appropriate grammar, spelling, etc. I also expect them to follow much the same path as his English learning, mainly allowing for a possible lag in his German skills relative to his English skills (though I hope this won't be the case). Re-reading what I've written, I'm not sure any of it will be of help to anyone... but oh well! If I had to say what our "goal" is right now, it's probably just speaking German all day long, and encouraging the kids to as well. I've noticed a definite decrease in the oldest's German output since he started spending a few mornings a week away from me and around English speaking kids (had another baby in Sept, and need a little break sometimes!), and it's difficult to counter that influence.
  13. Yeah! My 4 year old now knows that he speaks German, but doesn't yet acknowledge that sometimes his German needs... correction. He thinks (and tells me!) he knows everything there is to know about German. On the other hand, he's convinced that Daddy's don't speak German because my husband doesn't. :)
  14. All of this makes me wonder: Can anyone here recommend a good German Grammar book that I can use (for myself -- so someone who spoke it as their primary language until 5th grade, but then didn't speak it for almost 20 years)? I find that some of my usage is shaky, since I don't remember learning any formal grammar and haven't lived in Germany for nearly 20 years now. I'd like a good, concise book, but all I keep finding are these books geared toward a learning it as a second language, and they have way too many examples and way too long of explanations to make studying work in my life right now. Then it occurred to me that I should ask here, because maybe what I really need is not all this "German grammar for English speakers" books that I've been going through, but instead, just a simple German grammar book intended for German speakers. I find that, once I see/study/learn the rules, I'm confident I've been *mostly* doing it right (just based on what sounds right), but it helps me notice the times when I'm not doing it right and correct them. I've found random websites that have been helpful (ex: listing out prepositions by case, and also including all the adjective endings, etc.), but it'd be nice to have something complete that's systematic and thorough, but not too long-winded.
  15. Thanks! I think you or someone else might've recommended those when I was asking for audiobook rec's a few months ago, now that I think about it, but it slipped my mind in the meantime. :)
  16. I'm not sure how I missed this post, but thanks for the suggestions! Both of those look a little old for my kids (4, 2, and 0 next month) for right now, but are great resources for ME now. :) I did go ahead and buy the Duden Kindergarten Lexikon, and we're currently just going through it slowly getting any new vocab nice and familiar so that I can supplement with books from the library and then translate them on the fly. On a related note, and maybe I should just start a new thread about this (let me know if so!), I've been starting to research (I know I have plenty of time, but I'm an anal over-planner :D) books to helps us do the classical WTM method of homeschooling but in German. So I've been doing stuff like going through the reading lists they suggest (just for 1st grade for now), and trying to find German books on stuff like Greek mythology, Egyptian mythology, etc, (and rather in one volume, rather than a different book for each fable/god/etc.) as well as the "nuts and bolts" books on Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, etc that are more fact/history than fable. A few basic animal/human/plant books (maybe was ist was, or maybe something else, not sure yet) seem like they'd do it for science. Sometimes, it feels like there are a million options on Amazon.de, and other times, it feels like there are none (appropriate for the 6-8 year old, at least, since that's when we'll be starting). Sometimes there's a "look inside" option, which is really great, but never really enough to make me feel confident this is the right choice. I'm certainly going to keep plugging along at it (and I admit, it's actually kinda fun for me...), but I wondered if anyone has done this sort of thing before and can share what you did, what worked, what didn't work, or why you never went this path (since I know that there are quite a number of families that do school -- at least partially -- in German). Note: I know several good Fibels have been recommended, so I'm not focusing on the reading/writing so much right now, and I feel fairly confident that I can handle the bulk of math on my own (being that that's my degree and I've taught a lot of math) and just supplement with some worksheets (maybe from a place like http://www.grundschulmaterial.de/). So I think that really does leave mostly history and science for now (though eventually we'll also need some actual grammar instruction, but maybe not until 2nd or 3rd grade).
  17. A trick that I often use (for whatever level I'm looking at!) is to pick a book that I know inside out and upside down (in English), and then read that in a different language. If you know the general structure of the language and some basic vocabulary, and you know what the English sentence should say anyway, it's pretty easy to deduce the parts of the foreign-language sentence you don't know. Are there any children's books that you've read a million times and could recite in your sleep, but still get some sort of pleasure from?
  18. I have a few thoughts, but I know that every situation is different. As to "how old" you should be, I think that kids can learn well by being immersed pretty late. I have some friends who moved here from Austria two years ago, when their oldest was 8. She had a rough time the first little bit, especially at school (all English speaking school and she had no prior English exposure), but by 6 weeks in, she could understand the majority of what was spoken, her mother said. If 6 weeks of 7 hours a day was enough for an 8 year old, I'm inclined to think that the 11 year old could do it as well, though it'd take longer. I'm not sure after that for the 13 yo, since I've heard (though maybe it was just a folk tale) that there are fundamental language connections in your brain that you can't make after the age of 11 or 12 that make language acquisition much more difficult. All that to say that I believe that for *most* of your children, this is certainly do-able. However, I would caution you against frustrating them, because I think that they are old enough that if you frustrate them too much, they will just turn off, tune out, and abandon any attempt. I was wary of starting German with my older son after my daughter was born for these very reasons, so I eased into it. For the first several months of the transition, I said everything three times. Yes, three times. And it got old. The first time, I'd say things in German. The second, I'd say it in English. And then I'd repeat it again in German. My son would respond in English, and I'd repeat his response back to him, but this time in German. After several months of this, I started omitting my 3 step German-English-German, and found that he was understanding most of what I said to him. So from then on, I only did the 3 steps when I felt like he just wasn't understanding me, or I was introducing new vocabulary. He still prefers English, and it's an uphill climb to get him speaking German with me. While I refuse to let him off the hook, I try to be careful to not turn him against the language. And I've seen tremendous progress the last year and a half. I would encourage you to aim high and not let them off lightly, but also try to be as sensitive as possible and not do something drastic that ends up causing them to rebel by refusing the language altogether. Good Luck! :)
  19. I don't have any experience learning two non-native languages at the same time, but I can see a lot of value in doing both of them together. I recall that when I first moved to the states after being raised bilingually in German (English speaking mother and siblings, German speaking father and school) that I got this question a lot: "What language do you think in?" For several years, I was completely baffled, and didn't even understand the question, honestly. I responded that I didn't think in a language... I just thought! Of course, when I'd recall a German conversation, my thoughts would be those German words, and likewise when I was recalling an English conversation. But when I was just thinking? After several years of being "English only", I the question finally made sense to me. I don't know if it was because I'd lost a degree of my true bilingual-ness, or if it was something else. And now, I can recognize that I certainly think in English. So how does this story have anything to do with the question you asked? :) As best as I can figure out, I didn't think "in" a language when I was really bilingual, because my mind separated the "thing" from its name, I think. So it seems to me that teaching multiple names (i.e., in different languages) for the same things would help create this distinction between the object itself and what it's called, which could be really useful. In particular, I'm thinking of a lot of people I knew in high school and beyond who had to "translate" by going *through* English whenever they wanted to say something in a foreign language, and having this distinction between objects and names might help you go directly to what you want to say instead of going through your primary and/or dominant language. Caveat: I've done absolutely no reading on bilingualism or language learning, so these are just some rough ideas I have, and I'd welcome correction on any particular point! :)
  20. I'm sure there's a more recent thread on this topic, but this is the one I happened to find while searching. This is posted partially for a friend, and partially because I see myself being in the same boat in a few years (right now my oldest is only 3, but we have two younger ones...) And I am working on getting a copy of the book mentioned above, because it does look good! So here's my thinking: I can sort of see how this gets done once you have one or more children who are old enough to help, whether it's just playing with a younger child, or actually doing chores, or something else (like just being able to send them to their room to read quietly for a little!). And I can also see how you can homeschool once your child can read and more or less do independent work if you're using a workbook or some sort of pre-packaged curriculum. But I'm wondering if anyone could chime in on how you do the WTM method of homeschooling (which seems fairly intensive on parent-child interaction with the read aloud, narrations, etc.) with *lots* of young kids in the house. Say, for example, you have a 1st grader, but also an infant, 22 month old, 3 year old, and 4 year old. If the older "young ones", i.e., the 3 and 4 yo's want to "do school", then it still seems like you could the nap-time school crunch thing (just try to fit all the schooling in during nap time, which is the most common technique I've read), while the babies nap. But, even so, infant doesn't nap at the same time as 1 year old, so you never really have both of them down at once. Littles still need a lot of attention (especially if teething...) and love to read, but have NO patience for books above their level (even though I've tried a LOT). And what if they *don't* want to do school? The older ones can help with a few chores (some basics like cleaning their toys and books up, unloading the dishwasher, sweeping -- with help, putting away laundry, and a few others), but not terribly much, which means you're also taking care of all the house-work and cooking on your own, and you can't afford to hire outside help. I don't mean this to sound like a lose-lose situation, or like I'm whining. I'm trying to explain the situation clearly, because I WANT to make this work, I'm DETERMINED to make it work, and I'm EXCITED about homeschooling. But it also feels completely out of reach to me right now -- or even if I re-imagine the scenario in a year. I don't want to feel like I'm always neglecting half my children in order to give the other half what they need, nor do I want to meet my husband with a home that's full of messes and/or a completely frazzled family when he walks through the door (clutter/messes really stress out his type-A inner personality).
  21. Thanks for pointing me towards these again. Somehow, I missed this post, so I'll go have a look now!
  22. Thanks for the tips. My oldest is only 4, so I have plenty of time to figure this out. But part of the reason I'd like to get it figured out earlier rather than later is because I feel like it would be all too easy to fall into teaching everything in English, and then just stay there and lose the drive for German. I know some people do the schooling in English, but discuss things in German (or whatever their native language is), but I feel like we really need the support of German textbooks/encyclopedias/etc. , because my brain "remembers" its German when it reads it, but often can't come up with the vocabulary based on just an English book. So, for instance, we'd have to read about Volcanoes and Space in German before I'd be able to discuss them in German, just because my "native" German is buried under 20 years of English-only (from before I started speaking German with my kiddos a little less than two years ago). Being surrounded by English everything, having no one outside the home to speak German with, and having access to so many libraries with English resources, I feel like my *ideal* situation would be to homeschool *every* content area in German (or a German/English mix every other day in areas like math), and then add in supplemental materials and discussion in English (history, science, etc). I just don't know how to make this vision a reality, when I can't seem to get a good foundation/base of German materials to start with! :)
  23. I have been there, and I emailed the office back in January (I emailed all the German schools in the US listed on the AATG website), but have not heard back yet. I've read through their curricula, but find that it's more of a "scope and sequence" sort of thing than actual materials that I could use. I emailed 8 different German / German-American schools, and all I got back was a single reply from one school listing their curricula -- which was, again, more of a scope and sequence, and didn't address my question about books/materials at all, unfortunately.
  24. I've come to the conclusion that he's not actually regressing at all. What I think happened was simply that, when I was sick, we spent less time together and our conversations were simpler (topics like what'd you do today, how'd you sleep, etc.) and posed no challenge to him, linguistically. He's still perfectly comfortable talking with me in German about all of those topics, but now that I'm well again and we're together all day long, we just want to talk about a lot of other things (details of dinosaur types, pirate gear, etc.), and those "other things" pose more of a challenge to him linguistically. It makes me feel better to realize that it's always been a topic-by-topic thing, and that we're not actually losing ground. :)
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