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Everything posted by 4KookieKids

  1. How do you decide what is good, in reference to this? Amazon.de just has a lot of options, and it's hard to pick one without looking at them. I've tried to contact a handful of German schools/teachers/directors and see what they use, specifically, but I've not had much luck so far on that front. I was just looking for any and all subject materials though, not necessarily just grammar and composition. I'd been hoping that, similar to schools here in the US, they might be required to purchase new books/materials every few years, and they might get rid of the old ones for free or reduced prices. There are several schools in my city who do that, and I thought it'd be a great way to get some quality German materials for fairly inexpensive (before shipping, of course). I've also tried contacting the German schools that operate in the US, but that was almost a year ago, and noone even replied to my emails. So I feel a little stumped. I have a few years before this needs to happen, since my youngest is only 4 this summer, but I wanted to get started looking early so that if they get new materials every 5 years, I have some time to wait (and I don't get an answer like "It's so unfortunate you're writing us now, because we got everything new just this past year, so now you have to wait four more years until next time!").
  2. When I was looking around for some sort of combinations babysitter/tutor who could work with my 3 yo son in Spanish (not tutoring, necc, but just talking with him), I did not have a lot of luck finding someone willing to do it for "babysitting rate plus a little extra," unfortunately. The best that I could do for that kind of money was hispanic teenagers, who I thought would be perfect, but who couldn't understand what I was aiming for (though I was clear that I wanted them to just try to speak with him in Spanish most of the time, but not frustrate him) and ended up speaking English the whole time with just trying to teach him to count to three in Spanish. :p I would expect to pay at least $10-15 an hour if the tutor is inexperienced AND the tutoring requires no preparation on the tutor's part. If you're using the tutor more as a "teacher" and there will be planning/preparation on the tutor's part, I would expect to pay at least $20-25/hr. If they have any experience teaching (even if not tutoring), I would expect to add an extra $5 or $10 to the above estimates. These are just estimates based on my own experience looking for tutors and also tutoring myself (13 years of math tutoring, though I know math is a different ball game), but I do not this can vary a lot in different locations and depending on your supply of good tutors.
  3. I've also visited this site: http://www.grundschulmaterial.de/ They have some free stuff, but more paid than free. I haven't done a subscription yet, because my kids are still too young, but it looked promising. They're currently having a special: 1500 downloads for 49 Euros.
  4. I totally agree with this. I was older when we moved to the US (14) and spoke only English in response to my Father continuing to speak German with me. I don't remember exactly what my reasons were -- probably a mix of embarrassment/ease (because I'd become unsure of myself in German), self-consciousness (my friends didn't speak other languages at home) and not wanting to stick out, and some other reasons. I severely regretted it by college, and regret it even more now that I'm trying to pass it on to my kids. It's so much easier to maintain a language than to try to "get back into" it. With my own experience as a guide, I find myself pretty much willing to do anything to get my kids to learn it, and I just hope that they'll thank me in the future, even if we have some bumps on the road before then.
  5. We've been speaking German with my son (currently 3.5 yo) since just after his 2nd birthday. I feel confident he can say most things that he wants to say (excluding new or technical vocabulary) in German. But I'm also sure it's just easier for him to say things in English, still. A few months ago, I was really sick for 2-3 months, and I noticed that he started speaking German to me a ton more. I'm guessing (though I've no idea!) that he was trying to connect with me more while he wasn't seeing me as much on a daily basis. I'd estimate his German/English with me was close to 80/20 at the time. Now that I'm better, however, he seems to be reverting back to his previous 40/60 mix, and will up it to 70/30 if I just request things "Auf Deutsch?" all day long. I doubt he's doing it on purpose, and I think part of the equation is that his 80/20 mix while I was sick was still significantly less total hours per day of spoken German than 40/60 with me healthy and caring for him all day long. But I'm wondering if there's something I can do to keep him more in "German mode" when he's with me, so that he's not always flipping back and forth between languages and saying everything twice: once in English, and then again when I request it in German. I think he's just too impatient to say what he wants to say (this happens to him in English A LOT, where there's so much he wants to say that he just can't seem to get any words at all out), and his German's just not as strong as his English. But I also think he just needs to *speak* it, if his German isn't going to get even further behind.
  6. One of the things that I've been thinking about lately is how much easier things would be (when it comes to homeschooling bilingually) if we had a decent selection of German books in our local libraries. Unfortunately, we're limited to a handful of things like "First 1000 words in German", "First 100 words in German", and then four or five actual reading books like "Pu der Bär". Oh, how wonderful it'd be to have access to five or ten new German books each week, I thought! In the midst of my thinking though, my almost 4 year old provided some much needed perspective. Here's what happened: we'd gone to the library and gotten a new (English) book that he was really into about dinosaurs and fossils and we'd been reading it almost daily. And then in the car one day, we were chatting (in German) about business as usual, when he randomly starts talking about his dinosaur book... in German. I realized then that I really don't need a ton of German books (though I really want them, I confess!) Although my German is far from "native" right now, I realized that having just ONE source for each subject is probably good enough, because when I read them, my brain recognizes and remembers the vocabulary from my younger years. And once I "remember" that vocabulary, I can translate a whole slew of English library books into German when reading (even if my impromptu translations aren't always as great as an actual German book would be). But instead of looking for a book in each possible subject, I thought it'd be really useful to have something like was recommended in the WTM, like a basic kid's encyclopedia, as well as basic history and science encyclopedias (maybe even something chronological, like the Usborne encyclopedia of world history, and I could use it as a school supplement through grade school) -- you know, like "everything you need to know about the entire universe in 400 pages of pictures." :D (ok, that was a joke...) I was browsing around Amazon.de and found that a lot of people just recommend getting a whole series (like the Was ist Was), and I have a few of those that I'm slowly adding to my collection, but it'd be really helpful to just have something that's more all-inclusive that I can go to when my kids show an interest in a new subject/field at the library. I can certainly go online to find more "in-depth" information about a topic, but it'd be nice to have a starting point. :) I certainly found a few that I thought look like they could work, but I thought I'd get advice here (since the whole ordering online thing often means you don't actually get to see or browse through the book) first. Thanks for any ideas!
  7. Thanks for these. I just have an old ipod nano from 6 or 7 years ago, so it's not really compatible with a lot of stuff. However, I did find the following podcasts, too! Lotto ist 3 Locomo | Spannende Hörücher und Podcast für Kinder und Familien NUK Gute-Nacht-Geschichten NUK Traumreisen Kinderradio im WDR 5 - Radio zum mitnehmen Figarino Flinte, Floß und Abenteuer We haven't listened to a sampling from all of them (so it's possible they're no good), but they look promising, even if not "classic". :)
  8. Have you tried the Leserabe for first grade? I know that I was just perusing for "early readers" a while back (not that my son is anywhere close, but...) and I found that there are "early readers" in German, but they're nothing like "early readers" are here, where we have two to four words on a page, and they don't make full sentences most of the time. My guess (I've no idea if this is actually true) was that it was because most Germans do learn to read in school (as opposed to earlier), and the language is just so phonetic, that once they know the basics of reading, they can jump right into text that's much more advanced than our early readers. Just a guess, though. :)
  9. Dangit! I was really excited by this post, at first... mainly because I mistakenly read "ipod" instead of "ipad", and I was hoping these were podcasts. (Since I don't actually have an ipad or android.) But it makes me wonder: are there any good German podcasts for preschoolers that you can recommend?
  10. Thanks for all the ideas! It's been eight or ten years since I read the English version Inkheart, that I didn't remember anything of violence. I just remembered him reading a story to life, and then an adventure ensuing. Whoops. And the music in between chapters really is annoying. :)
  11. Do you have any additional ideas for the younger kids? I went ahead and got the audible membership, only to get Tintenherz and find out it's WAY too far above my 3 year old right now. I'd been hoping to challenge him, but this was so far above him that I don't even know that he registered *anything*. :(
  12. What do you mean by this? If the letters are the same, why teach penmanship separately?
  13. Are you all still having this problem? Did it resolve on its own, or did you have to do something "tricky" to get around it? I'm thinking about audible.de but am not sure if we might have issues downloading...
  14. This is a great thread, and I'm definitely interested in the titles mentioned so far! I'm wondering if anyone has any more suggestions? I've been considering a subscription to audible.de, but wonder if it's worth it if I'd only be buying a small number of books. I'd really like books that aren't translated from English -- so originally German is great, but I'd also be happy with good books / classics that weren't originally in German or English (I'm thinking of things like 1001 nights, Homer's stuff, etc.). At their current age, I think my kids would be most interested (and get the most out of) in books that are like... Oh, I don't even know what to call them... Classic children's literature? If it were English, I'd say comparable to stuff like Just-so stories, Charlotte's web, the Chronicles of Narnia, etc. A little under that level would be fine (though preferably not *too* far), but over that level is probably a little out of reach for now. I'd still welcome the suggestions, so long as you tell me what level they are, and I'll just start a list for things to download in a year or two! :D The books that I'd planned on getting first were the Tintenherz set, but that's mainly because they were one of the few that I knew was originally German! There's a lot of other downloads that look somewhat interesting, but I'm also trying to get the most bang for my buck by not getting too many really short ones (18 hours for 10 Euros seems like a much more/better exposure than 30 minutes for 5 Euros, you know?) My son (almost 4) just loves listening to stuff while looking at books and playing with toys. So far, I've not done much but rip the audio from all of our German movies, but he's pretty much bored with them, since he listens to it at least 2 hours, most days, plus in the car...
  15. I think I agree with what you said, regarding counting being a terrible *habit* to start, but I don't think I agree that beans and other items like this are manipulatives to be avoided, because I think they really can help communicate the concept of addition, subtraction, etc. I see a lot of value in what you said about lengths, and understanding the relationship between different numbers based on that (like 9 is less than 10), and I think that's a great benefit to the suggestions you gave! But I've known plenty of brilliant math people (or at least, I think they're brilliant :D) who started off by counting. They didn't have to break a bad habit, because it never actually became *habit*; but it was a good way to help them understand what was going on in the very early stages. Yes, counting to 18,000 would be rough, but so would laying out that many rods, dots, or tick-marks... :D)
  16. So my boy is not in K yet, so it's *conceivable* I'll change my thoughts by then, but I've absolutely no intention of doing formal math with him when he is in K. My main reason is just that I don't think it's necessary. I can teach him to add and subtract, recognize patterns and shapes, dabble his feet in fractions while cooking, money, etc. on my own. And if he's not interested, I see no problems waiting until 1st grade to "start again". But that's probably my own background/philosophy coming out, in that I really don't see any "need" to do formal academics before 1st grade. (Not saying there are no "reasons", just no "need".) I believe that they can pick up whatever they're "behind" in whenever they start 1st grade (though I'm not sure I think a 1st grader can really be "behind" academically). Disclaimer: My own experience was without any formal academics before grade school. When I did start academics, I think my brain was just "ready", so things that I might've slaved over for a month or two at a younger age only took me a week or two, and I was advanced in most subjects (especially math) by 3rd or 4th grade.
  17. While I think there are a variety of good reasons to hs a kindergartner (and you've mentioned a few), I think my two biggest reasons are: (1) I just hate the idea of institutionalizing my kids 8 hours a day at the age of 5. Hardly any time to play, run, jump through puddles, climb trees, chase bugs, etc. that I feel like 5 year olds should really spend more time on. :) And then when you get them home (a good friend's experience this year...), you get the worst of them, it seems: they're tired, hungry, cranky, clingy, and frustrated at missing out on all the "fun" things you did that day (zoo, park, museum, play-dates, etc.). My grade school didn't last more than 4-5 hours a day (and that was all the way through 4th grade), and we learned enormous amounts during that time anyway. (2) Shaping their heart. For us, that definitely has a religious/spiritual side, but even if it didn't, I feel like they're still so open and innocent, and I see so much of that being lost in early elementary years. Maybe it's selfish, but I want our family members to be the most important people in each other's lives, and I want to teach my kids the values that my husband and I share and find important, and I don't want to miss those moments of opportunity where my child needs encouragement, support, love, etc. and I can be there for them.
  18. This made me laugh (in a "too true" sort of way), just because, even after teaching for years, I'm still generally disappointed when my "numbers" on my evals aren't super high. I get really great comments about my teaching, but my numbers always run lower than I'd like, and I know that that's what's being "tracked" (because you can't really "track" comments, of course).
  19. I should clarify, because I realize it may sound like I'm coming down really hard on universities: I really love my uni. I feel like the faculty do genuinely care about students, rather than just their research, and that the department genuinely encourages and supports excellent teaching by their graduate students too. I've just seen a lot of schools where this was very much not the case, as well.
  20. I don't know much about it, so I'll check it out. Thanks! I'm pretty new to the board/forum, and my kids are still young. So, while I've been doing math for a while, I confess I don't even know most of the abbreviations used here without googling them. :)
  21. That's unfortunate to hear. I knew the earlier classes were full of repetition and poor passing rates, but it always seemed comparable to me to what I've seen at uni (for the same level of course, that is). I guess I've just been lucky with my CC experiences and what I've heard in my circle of acquaintances. Or maybe I've just been lucky to be around fairly quality CCs. :)
  22. Can I ask what sort of classes you had this experience with? From what I've seen, the repetition is pretty standard in most of the entry level courses -- so in math, that would be stuff like algebra, trig, pre-calc, and even calc 1 and 2, to a degree, but I would guess the first 5 or 6 classes (depending on where you start, of course) -- are like this. Unfortunately, that's been true whether they were CC or 4 year or uni's, though it was much less true of the calculus courses at some of the larger uni's. It's just an unfortunate part of the current system, where the post secondary education system is getting students who, quite frankly, are not prepared for it. I know I found it especially painful as an undergrad, and I usually just brought other homework to work on quietly in the back of class during those classes because I could never quite bring myself to ditch. :) So they have my sympathy! I found my CC to be better at this, and not quite so repetitive, but I'd guess that's only because I took Calc 3 there (rather than something earlier), and I also took it as a condensed summer course (so there just wasn't time to repeat as much). On the other side of this, I've been super frustrated teaching classes like trig and pre-calc at my uni, because the students want (and some of them need) so much repetition! Often, the core problem is that they can't learn the material I'm presenting because their previous foundation (in algebra, for instance) is just too weak. But I always feel bad for the few students in my class who "get it" and are bored, because I've been there, and it stinks.
  23. Wow! There's so much content on this thread!! :) I won't try to respond to everything, but I'll give my experience as a mathy person (not in a braggy way, but I was just always gifted in the area) and also as an instructor who has taught math at a variety of levels (including graduate level courses, and courses for math teachers). As far as the "how it's done", I strongly agree with other people that you shouldn't just skip large chunks. Instead, just let them go at their own pace, however quick that is. If they feel like they get it after just a few practice problems (choose the later/harder ones to make sure it's not just the easy ones they can do with ease), certainly let them move on without all the drill (because that'll just kill them!). Just take periodic quizzes or tests to make sure you really are getting it and not missing things. I know that I was able to teach myself the concepts just by doing a few of the problems. I would review the section as I did the problems, and it was usually easy enough for me to do each lesson in just a fraction of the time that it was supposed to take. On some of the other things that have been discussed: I'm not sure I agree that this is true. Our uni gets to proofs and theories pretty quick, but doesn't require them of students until later years (closer to Junior). However, if you test out of calculus, you can jump right into the theory classes. At the uni I attended as an undergrad (fairly small state school, truth be told, and it probably worked in my favor), I was able to get "special permission" to jump into the theory classes as soon as I'd tested out of calculus, and was taking graduate level classes by my second year. My guess is that a school like Stanford/MIT wouldn't make these sort of "allowances". Now, maybe they're not necessary at those schools, but I just thought I'd throw out there that there may be pros to some of the non-super-technical schools, too. I think this just depends on what level the kid is at. I've seen people become mathematicians without being the super talented/gifted student that we're talking about, and in that case, I think a CC can be a great option for getting the basics (Calculus, diff Eq, etc.) done. Those are courses that you'd be taking under a grad student (who may or may not have any experience teaching) or with a faculty phd but in a class of 100-200 (and see the grad student for half the week anyway) at a uni, whereas at a CC you get a someone with at least a masters, if not a phd, who definitely wants to teach (as opposed to the possibility of having someone teaching when what they really want to be doing is research...), and you have smaller classes. Now, I don't think all big uni's are bad, but I figured I'd paint a picture of it that may not generally be considered. Just so you know, later math is almost always typed. :) I was doing it in half my classes halfway through undergrad, and in all my classes in grad school. There's actually a pretty cool program called LaTeX that you can look into. It's pretty easy to learn and really helps later in math, when you realize you forgot one line in a proof but you don't want to re-write the entire proof... You just open the document, insert the missing line, and typeset it again. I agree with this. We were doing algebra in grade school, but not calling it algebra. It was in the form of word problems that you had to set up with variables and then solve. I moved a lot in middle school, and kept getting put pre-alg or alg at that point, and it was terribly boring for me because I'd done it already. :p I don't know of any research concerning this particular comment, but I can say that I know that there is research showing that really complex abstraction doesn't usually start until the early 20's, which is beyond when we usually push the really abstract stuff. So it'd make sense to me if, in general, we are asking students for too much abstraction at earlier ages as well. On the other hand, I wonder if the research is skewed, because we don't start teaching kids to abstract well-enough and early enough. Most of the high school math I've seen (not just my own, but from teaching hs math teachers) is very procedure oriented, rather than focusing on concepts, so I also wonder if people would learn to abstract earlier than 20's if they were taught how to do it well earlier. I don't know which way I lean, but it's an interesting topic to consider, especially when you consider other cultures where more abstract topics are usually taught earlier. I really agree with this. There's actually a ton of interesting math that's accessible to kids that's not on the standard "calculus track". This is actually a big beef of mine in normal schools, especially for kids who are *not* math-inclined, actually. Get into combinatorics and other discrete math, like graph theory, coding theory, number theory, probability, or higher level algebra like group/ring theory, etc. and the *majority* of these (with the exception of the higher level algebra, which relies on some of the earlier fields mentioned) require no special or technical knowledge beyond solid algebra and the willingness to think about things in new ways. Moreover, they're really INTERESTING (but maybe this is my own bias towards non analytical type math :D), to math people like me, but even (and maybe especially) to people who think they don't like math because all they've ever known of math is algebra/pre-calc based. (Aside: I had a student in a graph theory class like this who had failed every math class she'd ever taken and had been diagnosed with some catch-all disorder claiming she just couldn't do math. Turned out she aced my course, because it was just completely different and allowed her to use her abstracting skills in a way that didn't rely so heavily on pre-calc type math. She was *elated* and I felt great to be able to offer her that experience.)
  24. Thanks! I confess that I don't read as much as I'd like on here (something about staying home full-time with a 3 year old and 1 year old, a baby on the way, and working nights and naptime when they're sleeping... :D), so I miss a lot of math conversations amidst all of the other conversations that happen here. If there's ever anything you (or anyone else) see that relates to math (not specific curriculum, though, since I've no experience with that yet), feel free to message me a link. I'm always happy to throw out my 2 cents! :)
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