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Everything posted by 4KookieKids

  1. Yes and REU's are really great for figuring out what field you actually find interesting in terms of research. For example, my favorite classes were modern algebra classes in undergrad and grad school. Hands down, they were my favorite classes! But it turns out that I didn't really like the research in that field because it was so far removed from what I actually learned about in my classes. The nice thing about an REU is that they don't expect much specialized knowledge coming in; they teach you everything they want you to know at the beginning, and then they teach you *how* to learn the other stuff that crops up that you also need to learn. So it's really self-contained, in a sense. You can often get one or more publishable papers out of it, as well, which grad schools absolutely *love.*
  2. My ds9 has autism, but I've never though to look to see if he does this. It's interesting you bring this up, because my DH actually brought up today the question of if we should consider autism evals for dd3. I don't know. In the video I referenced above, she does look me clearly in the eye for a full 5ish seconds. And her verbal communication skills are excellent. And yet... Occasional things stand out to me as odd. Nothing that I can point to and clearly say, "Yes, that's it," like I could with ds. But lots of little things. Things that could easily be brushed off as her being young, but also things that I wonder may just be different in girls with autism. But lots of fits/meltdowns, a certain amount of rigidity, and increasing isolation/withdrawal in any group activities (e.g., refusing to participate in her ballet class, standing in a corner by herself in Sunday school while others are doing the lesson/game, etc.). She flat out tells me (at just over 3.5?) that she just doesn't like other kids, and she doesn't like when people in dance class touch her or when she has to hold hands with other kids, and I heard her tell her sunday school teacher today that she just didn't want to play with anyone, and she'd rather stand in a corner by herself and she'll find herself a toy when she wants to play. After going through ASD evals with my ds, though, I'm not sure I trust anyone locally to recognize autism in a girl, though. As it was, folks had a really hard time recognizing it in ds because he was "so smart" and "just quirky"-- surely smart people don't have autism, right? .... I think I trust them even less to evaluation dd at this point. I read once that girls with autism often don't have the same obvious social thinking deficits that boys have, but that girls with autism usually have social thinking of same-age boys -- which means behind typically developing girls, but not the kind of obvious social deficits that were noticeable with ds. Oy, this is a rabbit trail, I guess. I just have so many thoughts swimming in my head. I already have two kids with developmental vision issues, so this also wouldn't surprise me.
  3. I'm posting on the LC board as well, but wasn't sure exactly where to post this: I shared a cute video of my 3.5-4 yo coloring, because I thought it was funny how she switched the crayon from hand to hand every 5-10 seconds. Several people pointed out that she's switching every time she colors on the other half of the paper, so she's not crossing the midline, and that this is concerning. She does it with scissors too -- instead of turning her paper so she can cut with the same hand the whole line, she cuts half way in on the right with her right hand, switches hand, and then cuts halfway in from the left side with her left hand. She does it while eating too (right hand to eat food on right side of her plate, left hand for left side). So now I'm left with wondering why it's a problem? Is it not normal developmentally? Granted, I didn't notice it in my other three kiddos, but why won't she just grow out of it? Are kids supposed to have a handedness by this age? Do I really need to get her set up with an OT? We just got two other kids *out* of OT, and I really don't want to have to add more appointments back into our schedule. Someone said to talk with my Ped about it - would a normal ped really know about something so small? I'm in the process of googling, but I need some feedback that doesn't gloss over it if it's a real problem but also not alarmist and telling me she's ruined for life if I can't fix this immediately, kwim?
  4. Of course! We started with NILD tutoring, and she did that for about 4-6 months, but our lives got hectic and we felt like she needed a bit of a break. So we took a break. This was also when we started the IM-like app that we use (where she has to tap to a certain beat and it tells her if she's too fast or too slow). She also does ball bounces to the beat and other stuff like that. When we started back, it was with LiPS. She was really interested in feeling and naming the sounds, despite it being hard for her. She spent a lot of time feeling her mouth and shaping her mouth and thinking about what her mouth was doing. At the same time, we played a lot of the nonsense word game from the Phonics Page. Your kid may be way past this stage, but I'll just throw out there that I thought mine was too. I was certain she didn't need to review basic letter sounds and figure out what her mouth was doing. But she really did and I had no idea! I was shocked at the things she couldn't tell me about how her body moved to make sounds! (T is obviously your tongue tapping up against the gum above your top front teeth, right? Why are you telling me it's your lips moving??) After that, we started going through Equipped for Reading success, the Syllables spell success program, and several other programs Elizabeth has developed, like a long vowels first program and a consonant blends program (dd struggles the most with consonant blends). I've spent a lot of time reading the free online OG materials here: And have been incorporating a number of those ideas into our daily conversations about words/reading/sounds. But we haven't actually been going through the program the way the lesson plans are laid out. At the same time as all this, we applied to NLS's talking book program, and dd received a talking book machine and more access to independent audiobooks (keyword being independent -- she hated having to ask us every time she wanted to listen to a book) than she could've ever imagine. We let her just take it in and get as many books as she wanted (so long as they were appropriate). We wanted her to love books again. When I started asking her to read to me, she chose books that she had practically memorized on her talking book machine. I didn't care. We may read a paragraph a day or a page. What I focus on is making sure she reads *every single word.* I have to really work with her to go slowly, because she just wants to fly through it, filling in gaps by looking for the big idea words. I still point at the words for her most of the time, or we use one of those little ruler things to underline the line that we're on. It forces her to look a little more closely, and helps her not get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of visual information. (Sometimes we even make a cut out in a cereal box so that the *only* line she can read is the one she's on -- none below and none above.) I enlarge everything I can for her. Any resource we print from the web gets enlarged. Obviously this doesn't help with actual books, but it makes practice an awfully lot easier for her. Something else I hope to incorporate soon (more re: a vision perspective than a language one, but she has so many issues with both that it seems worth it to me) is to find tangram type games, but that only use 2-3 pieces. I was always surprised by how she hated those kinds of visual games when she was younger, despite my older ds loving them, but it all makes sense now in light of her visual processing issues. They're just really hard for her! With her NILD therapist, she sometimes got a picture of TWO pieces put together, and they even *showed* her which two pieces they were, and she still struggled to figure out how those two pieces could fit together to make the given shape. It was positively mind-blowing for me to realize exactly *how* much of a challenge this posed for her.
  5. I shared a cute video of my 3.5-4 yo coloring, because I thought it was funny how she switched the crayon from hand to hand every 5-10 seconds. Several people pointed out that she's switching every time she colors on the other half of the paper, so she's not crossing the midline, and that this is concerning. She does it with scissors too -- instead of turning her paper so she can cut with the same hand the whole line, she cuts half way in on the right with her right hand, switches hand, and then cuts halfway in from the left side with her left hand. She does it while eating too (right hand to eat food on right side of her plate, left hand for left side). So now I'm left with wondering why it's a problem? Is it not normal developmentally? Granted, I didn't notice it in my other three kiddos, but why won't she just grow out of it? Are kids supposed to have a handedness by this age? Do I really need to get her set up with an OT? We just got two other kids *out* of OT, and I really don't want to have to add more appointments back into our schedule.
  6. I can tell you what we've been doing if you want, but it might be boring and/or unhelpful if your dd is more advanced than mine?
  7. My dd has some similarities, but not completely. 1) She dislikes reading, but I have to caveat here: She always acted like she disliked reading, but in a moment of vulnerability during our evening quiet time (everyone looks at books in their bedrooms, even pre-readers, who just look at pictures), I was laying next to her reading, and about 10 minutes in she just threw her book across the room and burst into tears, saying, "This stinks! I'm never going to be able to read the things that I want to read! I try and I try and I try and I never get any better!!" Now, this isn't true, because she's progressing pretty solidly "average" or slightly above (maybe 1/2 a year ahead, though how they measure that so exactly is a bit beyond me - I just know this from having her evaluated). But she's very, very bright, and I think she feels a real struggle between the audiobooks that she's into (Castle Glower, Harry Potter, Septimus Heap, etc.) and the books that she's actually able to read (Cat in the Hat, Elephant and Piggie, Ten apples up on top, etc.). And unfortunately, the gap is only increasing as her language skills and interests accelerate even more quickly than her reading abilities are growing. 2) & 3) Also very nice handwriting, very poor content and spelling when free writing. Surprisingly good spelling when focused on spelling though and using Spalding, though. Dd also had vision therapy, but was not really clicking with the therapist or the exercises, so we're taking a break. We'll probably try to hit it hard again this summer when she turns 8. She also has reading glasses that she doesn't like to wear. 😉 Good thing I didn't spend too much on them!! Unlike your dd, though, my dd cannot read aloud fluently. It might *sound* relatively fluid when you hear her -- until you realize that she's using the words on the page as a rough guideline and mostly filling in her own sentences just using the keywords in the book... Also, my dd can express herself verbally just fine, so I'm not sure I'd classify her issues as expressive language issues. When we had her evaluated privately, she tested in the 9th percentile for phonemic awareness and phonological processing, despite a processing speed above the 99.7th percentile. No wonder the poor kid was frustrated!! Her reading has improved since we started interventions, but still not as much as she'd like. It's gone up about one grade level in the last six months, I'd say? Possibly a little more.
  8. Is there a way in Anki to use dictation, so instead of typing the spelling, you spell it aloud and it writes out the spelling for you?
  9. After attending a spelling bee yesterday, my kids decided that they want to study for a spelling bee. I already have the word list, but I want them to do this on their own, if at all, because I'm not up for adding something else into what I need to do. I'm not convinced that just writing them or normal spelling apps where you *write* the word are going to give them the best practice. I think that what I really want is something like an app where you can record/input your words, then the app will say it for the kid, then *record* the kid spelling it, and then replay what the kid just spelled while showing them the spelling so that they can check themselves. I don't suppose something like this exists, does it? OR even an app that would record your spelling and turn it into letters (like a speech recognition thing) and check it for you and show you your errors and then say it correctly for you. (We have a similar app for speech therapy, where it says a word, records you while you say it, and then plays the recording for you while you evaluate how well you said the word.) My brother is an app developer and would happily would make one for me IF nothing like this exists and there were actually a good market for it. But I'm not convinced that something doesn't already exist, and I'm really not convinced there's a market for it. It's just that *I* want this app. lol. Any ideas? I'm really not interested in games that just have you type out the word.
  10. I hear you. My poor 3 yo watches more TV than I'd like...
  11. Unfortunately, talking with some grad schools and grad students it the same. I visited grad schools where the grad culture really was, "Well, life stinks, we're dirt poor, we work a ton, faculty don't value us, I'm not publishing as fast as anyone wants me to be, but - that's grad school, right? At least we're old enough to go out drinking now to temporarily forget how much my life stinks." (followed by feeble chuckles.) Needless to say, I did not pursue those programs. So make sure whatever mentors you find don't have those same feelings or expectations! 🙂 You want him being assured that grad school is really great! Super fun to work on hard math with others who *also* find it fun! Research is super fun because who doesn't like coming up with new math that no one has ever figured out?! You get to do math for ALL your classes and don't have to take dumb gen-ed's (though you may still have to take math classes that aren't your favorite, of course...)! And you get paid to do it, to boot. 🙂 Grad school really is great!
  12. I was not a contest kid, so hopefully we can present a well-rounded picture. 🙂 Seriously, though - my transcripts were rarely requested if I happened to mention my putnam ranking. I did a total of two putnams and that was my *only* experience with any sort of math contest.
  13. Yes, those basics you mentioned are pretty foundational to most undergrad degrees, though not all are four year long classes. Depending on where you go to grad school, though, many expect more (and not just big name schools). Some schools are more willing to work with students from lower end UG programs, so long as they show potential (e.g., excellent GRE subject scores and fabulous recommendations can sometimes off-set having had only a semester of abstract algebra and a semester of linear algebra, for example). I found that GRE subject test and Putnam scores were more of a "thing" than I expected them to be when applying to grad school. I guess I didn't expect them to carry the weight that they did. I went to a relatively small UG school, and the teachers bent over backwards to help me get into the classes I wanted in to. So after I did a year of UG algebra, they let me take the grad level algebra course there. But it was a small enough school, that their grad level algebra course was only slightly more extensive than the UG algebra course at the grad school I ended up at. So I came out with an impressive looking resume, especially since I graduated in three years, but it wasn't nearly as impressive as it looked! lol. As for money -- you just have to make it through UG, and (at least where I live) state schools have very generous financial aid / merit scholarships (some of the more generous in the country, I think, since an ACT of 32 gets you completely free tuition, I think?). But, I think the rule of thumb with math is that grad school shouldn't cost you money: most offer you a "standard" package where you teach a course or two each semester in exchange for them covering all tuition, health insurance, and a monthly stipend. Here's where some grad school culture comes in again: I have a friend who went to school in Cali where the stipend was barely enough to cover renting a room with 8 other guys in a house, and he was pumped about it. Where I ended up going, the stipend was enough to live comfortably in a nice 2 BR apartment with just one other roommate (and a number of my classmates had their own apt without a roommate). With his interest in geometry, I wonder if he's ever pursued algebraic geometry and/or algebraic topology? He's need to have a good foundation in algebra first (the kind commonly called modern or abstract), but there are some really cool topic there that have pretty cool applications that young folks might like (like algebraic curves being used as a public key system in cryptography that is an alternative to the ubiquitous RSA system). Also, DEFINITELY don't underestimate getting him involved in research young! There are some pretty awesome research programs out there, even for undergrads just getting started (e.g., the Director's summer program at the NSA), and I feel like THE biggest thing that grad schools want to see is that students understand what research actually is and are interested in doing it. I don't know how the age thing would work with summer programs, but I definitely think a local UG dept would be able to work with you on coming up with a research plan and mentor, even if he's not an UG student, yet.
  14. I have a PhD in pure mathematics and I'm always happy to answer anything I can, but I have never heard of a book about what grad school is like. In particular, the grad schools I visited before deciding where to attend were SO vastly different in their expectations of students (much more so than undergrad programs), that I'm not sure how helpful a book would be. It was eye opening to visit prospective schools and go out to eat with grad students and just listen as they talked - you could tell a lot about the departmental culture based on a single meal. :) I finished grad school in 2010, so I may quickly be becoming dated, though! lol.
  15. My kids really love the Castle Glower audiobooks.
  16. Oh that's awful! Just awful! *I* like writing with these (seriously - I was just glowing to my dd's violin teacher this afternoon when dd pulled one out because I love that the lead never breaks and the teacher was like WHAT! THAT'S AMAZING! I BREAK SO MUCH LEAD!! We had a real moment there... lol). But I'm not sure even *I* would really enjoy using these new ones that looks so ridiculous. 😞 I'm glad we bought 20 packs last year when the price dipped (to add to the 5 packs we already had previously...) I believe we have close to 200 of them, but maybe I should go buy more anyway!!
  17. We did content for some things, but I chose content that they kid could reasonably finish in 10-15 minutes, and only took longer if they were goofing off. But we always did time for stuff like reading or instruments, because I'd rather they do those slowly but well than rush through. We don't bother trying to make things up if we miss a day. They're little. We aim for 4 days/week of "school", but usually end up with about two "normal" school days and two more "half days" (where we end up only having the afternoon to do school and we're already tired, so we do a very light version of school -- mostly instruments and some reading). It's worked out for us so far, but I realize we'll probably have to be more rigorous eventually. My oldest is only 9.5 right now. 🙂
  18. We're visiting out-of-town family for Christmas and it turns out that they have an autism/sensory community store here, so we went and checked it out yesterday. One of my kids with high anxiety/emotional/sensory issues (ironically, not my asd kiddo) tried on a weighted compression vest, and very visibly relaxed, and just kept telling me over and over again that it felt like a really calming, tight hug and it just felt so good. She already has a weighted blanket that has helped her sleep and I know she uses weights around her shoulders during OT and vision therapy because the therapists say she is way calmer and more focused with a weight on, but I'm wondering how one would use a vest like this, if we were to invest in one? On the one hand, it's a bit pricey to buy just because it "feels nice," and yet I don't want to underestimate that "feels nice" might be all she can articulate, even if there's something more going on. She's very fashion-forward, so I doubt that she'd actually wear it out in public. Do people use them only for certain activities? Only when the kid gets worked up? Whenever the kid wants to? I guess I just don't know much about these vests, and all I've ever heard about are weight blankets, so I'm looking for any information/pros/cons/etc.
  19. Wow. This has all been so relevant for our day, because my kids are very much showing the effects of being "on vacation", and my poor dh about lost it with my kids tonight. They're so off after being with my in-laws the last week and having no structure at all. I know this is off my initial topic, but thank you guys so much. You've given me a lot to consider going into January.
  20. Oh geez. I just stared at the screen for a full minute before I could figure out what to write. That really does make sense. My kids with the worst EF skills are the ones who melt down the worst when I give them more freedom/play time and the ones who do best with a strict schedule. (Unfortunately, they're also the ones most likely to cause hiccups by staying in the bathroom an extra hour or something silly like that...) Maybe I'll revisit my smart but scattered book as I think about how to structure our 2019...
  21. Hmmm... I'll need to think about this more. This might be more of what my kids needs. He's also in 3rd. He has about 2.5 hours of academics a day (including reading), 3 hrs if you include piano. He can do all but 45 minutes independently, except that he has a difficult time writing, so I often end up scribing for him during math even though he doesn't need my help for the actual math (when he writes non-math, he's learning to use google voice-typing to help with writing and we're addressing the writing separately).
  22. This is something I identify with, but struggle to articulate, I guess. I'm more of a relaxed, go-with-the-flow person usually, but my kids have really turned that upside down for me. It's really annoying that they get so irritable and quarrelsome when I give them more space/time/freedom to do their own thing (particularly my older kids). It goes against everything I *want* to be true. 😛
  23. I'd like to hear pros and cons of having a daily schedule (tied to the clock), having a routine (same daily structure, but not necc tied to a clock), and being more flexible. In particular, if you do best with one of these methods, but your kids maybe do best with a different one? Does a daily schedule necessarily mean you only do subjects for a certain amount of time, but you need more of a routine if they have to do a certain task/amount of work each day (e.g., 10 min math/day vs. 2 pages math/day)? How do you deal with every day hiccups (e.g., "You spent the last hour on the toilet?!" or "You just spent your entire half hour of piano practice time finding your piano book?" --> Aside: we keep all the music books on the same shelf!!) when it's always something different, so you can't predict what it is? I'm struggling to find my groove these days (my kids are 9, 7, 5, and almost 4, and at least three of them are 2E). I lean towards being flexible, my kids *want* to be flexible but do *best* when structured rigidly (attitude-wise: they're just happier and more content when on a schedule), but the daily hiccups always throw off a more rigid schedule.
  24. Yeah, I knew it was an older thread, but my question didn't really seem like a "new" one when this thread was still pretty high up on the list - I'm never really sure when to start a new thread and when to piggyback off of a related one. 🙂 I'd agree that a babysitter for 1-2 hours a day for my littles would be ideal. But that's not a possibility for us right now, so I just need to make due filling that 1-2 hrs with some quiet time, some busy bag time, and some screen time. Thanks for the feedback on starfall! 🙂
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