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Posts posted by weederberries

  1. She sounds like a troll, only she's real! LOL


    Honestly, if the state gave her curriculum, then she was part of a charter.


    These parents totally feel like they are homeschooling (even though that's not really my definition) and so she may have no idea that people homeschool privately and buy and do everything on their own. 


    CA has more hoops than TX and it's certainly not super homeschool friendly, but it's not like what she describes.

    That's exactly what I though when I got the second email from her...it's a real life troll!


    Did I mention her oldest is in preschool?  She's not got any real experience homeschooling in any state...just came to Texas to stir the pot and complain about what we don't offer.  ;-)


    That's kinda what I was too polite to tell her today...it doesn't sound like she wants to homeschool (by my definition), but wants to send her kid to public school at home.  

  2. One more possibility is homeschooling through a school district. I'm not sure every district offers this, but our school district hands you everything (books, lesson plans, etc) the child would do in class that week and then you meet with a teacher at the end of the week to turn everything in. They also allow the child to participate in school events and even take one class at school once they hit middle school. This is not the route I chose, but I did consider it when I was first starting out.


    Eta - oops, I see PP beat me to it. Now you all know how slow and distracted I am when typing out a response.


    This must be what she is referring to.  This is completely foreign to me in Texas except in extreme circumstances for emotional or health reasons.  I know K12 exists and there are a few private schools who will act as an umbrella in Texas, but of the hundreds of homeschooling families I know, I've never known anyone to do anything but purchase a curriculum and go at it.  


    I was just taken aback by her tone.  She asked me for information about schooling here and then jumped from, "what information can you give me about homeschooling in Texas" to "Texas hates children and doesn't care about educating their youth." in the course of one email.  She was the one that told me that California is "highly regulated" and therefore cares about her children.  


    I'm not gonna worry about one lady who is so up in arms about a simple matter of having to choose her own curriculum instead of the state handing it to her.  I asked our mutual friend about the reaction I got and she said that this woman is a bit of a basket case with a lot going on in her life and everything seems to be a personal affront to her...including her new state's homeschooling laws.  


    I'm just gonna let it lie and hope I don't run into this lady at the grocery store.  

  3. I had a friend refer her friend to me to answer questions about homeschooling in Texas and I was taken aback by the difference in philosophy and politics.  I'm from red-state Texas with very free requirements for homeschoolers.  She's from blue-state California with regulations and hoops to jump through.  

    She asked me where to get curriculum for her upcoming Kindergartner.  I referred her to a dozen different sources and how to get started in Texas.  I was ambushed by a rant about how Texas doesn't care about her children, blah blah. 


    She's expecting the state to hand her a free curriculum to use so they can ensure her child is educated and so the state can get federal funding.  (?)  "I think I will find a curriculum from a state that perpetuates education."  To my knowledge, no states offer homeschooling curricula, but I admit I've never looked into it.    

    Does anyone have any insight into whether California provides a state-curriculum for homeschoolers or if they get federal funding for homeschooled students?  I guess I just live in a little bubble of homeschoolers who all do it to avoid the one-size-fits-all state curriculum.  It never crossed my mind that someone would homeschool, but not want to choose what and how to teach.  


  4. I print bookmarks with numbers 1-20 around the edge.  They can read 10 chapter books and I will buy them a "new" book at Half Price Books.  When they read 11-20, I will buy them an ice cream cone.  The alternating prize seems to grab their attention and encourage them to continue on.  Edit:  I use a hole punch to "stamp" their bookmark as they complete books.  They have to tell me about the book and then I will stamp it.  


    I chose the numbers of books, because my children are still in short novels that they easily finish in a day or two.  If they were reading longer works, I would lessen the number required.  


  5. Our German friends just celebrated their son's first day of Kindergarten.  She ordered a handmade cone and filled it with pencils, small school supplies and CANDY!  The cone was about as big as his torso and his smile was ear-to-ear.  He was so thrilled.  


    It makes me want to begin this tradition with my kids, who, sadly, miss out on the first day of school excitement.  

  6. I'm back to only buying Ticonderoga pencils.  After rewarding my children and celebrating this and that with cute pencils, I decided just to go back to the standby.  They sharpen beautifully with little waste, write well and stay sharp longer.   We have a wall mounted sharpener that doesn't sharpen anything straight except for Ticonderoga.  We also have an electric sharpener that does a beautiful job on them.  The erasers are sturdy and don't leave marks.  I also only buy Pink Pearl erasers for my kids and treat my self to the Magic Gum art erasers for when the pencil eraser wears down.  


    My Target has them on sale this week and also has a Cartwheel electronic coupon good this week.  I purchase them year round at Costco for a good price.  I sharpen 30 or so at a time and keep them in a pencil drawer.  We don't argue over which pencil belongs to whom because they are all exactly the same. 



  7. I sent my 6 year old down the street at 1pm to his piano lesson, which is 6 houses down, no street crossing, etc.  


    He was 2 houses away when a patrolman (they tour our neighborhood hourly because there is nothing else to do in the town) stopped him, asked him where he lived and returned him to my house.  :-/  He condescendingly questioned me about letting my 6 year old walk down the sidewalk by himself.  I was a little miffed.  I have trained my children well to be responsible and trustworthy. We live in a tiny, safe town in an enclosed neighborhood.  He worried me and the piano teacher more by not arriving on time.  


    To resolve the issue, I have my 8 year old escort him the six houses, which means he is missing productive school work on this little errand.  


    The lesson I learned was to make friends with the police officers (4 in our town) and let them get to know my kids and their responsibility level, so they know them by name when they see them in my neighborhood (too young to go any further) as they pass through hourly.  If you live in a small town, making friends with the authorities is the best bet.  

  8. I, too, find her voice and sunny disposition annoying.  I find most aerobics videos annoying.  


    My pet peeve is deceptive counting and she does it.  "Ok, just 4 more. 10-9-8-7..."  I "fired" a trainer at the gym for counting like that.  I need the right kind of motivation. Pretending this brutality is "so fun!" and not calling it like it is are two ways to really tick me off.  


    I need somebody who will say, "hey, I'm glad you showed up.  I'm gonna kill you for a little bit, but then it's over."  When I sweat, I get angry, so I don't need anybody pretending this is anything more than what it is...a means to an end.  ;-)


    I have a couple of Jillian Michaels' videos.  She's straight forward, not overly "cute" and  says "this is hard, but you won't regret it." I much prefer her style.  

  9. Boston was my first thought.  I don't know about the weather at that time of year, but between historical value, a first-class science museum, (skip the children's museum for that age), new Boston Tea Party museum, parks, etc.  It's a beautiful destination.  


    Texas weather is hit and miss that time of year.  In February, we might have frost, but we never get significant snow.  March will be mostly beautiful, but may have significant thunderstorms.    Galveston offers a beach, but it's the gulf, not the the beautiful sea and will be crazy busy in March for spring break.  Houston offers NASA and a host of other opportunities, San Antonio has Sea World (in Feb??), romantic river walk, and the Alamo.  Dallas has a new science museum and lots of kid activities (I can send info if you want).  Bear in mind that a rental car is necessary in TX, driving between cities takes hours/a whole day.  In March the roadsides have beautiful bluebonnet flowers.  


    Feb and March would be a good time to go to the southwest.  White Sand Dunes in New Mexico, Skiiing and art in northern NM, Grand Canyon in AZ.  Colorado is always beautiful.  Native American cultural attractions abound, beautiful desert scape.  Also a LOT of driving.  

  10. Beginning in January, we turned off all movies (we don't have television service) and video games during the week. We use software and apps for learning, but those are closely monitored and brief. We have a family movie night on Friday night. The children are allowed to watch movies and play Wii freely on Saturday as our schedule allows. Typically they'll get 2-3 hours on a lazy Saturday morning and maybe again in the evening, but we usually have plenty planned on a Saturday to keep them busy. They are not allowed electronics before church on Sundays (because it puts them in a foul mood), but can watch and play in the afternoon as our schedule allows. This ensures I get a 2-3 hour Sunday-afternoon nap. :)


    It has made all the difference in their attitudes and cooperation during the week. We visit the library so frequently now. In cooler weather, they spend 3-4 hours outside playing. I've taught them more cooking and crafts. Occasionally, I find an appropriate video for school lessons and I save it for Friday as an incentive for quick school and chores that day. Now that it's too hot to leave the house past noon, we run errands and play outside in the morning, return home to school work and indoor crafts and fun. Since we've been studying the American Revolution, I've allowed them an episode of Liberty kids in the heat of the afternoon as a reward, but I sometimes regret it. We simply have better attitudes when the option to vegetate is not there.


    The best times are when we are able to maintain an electronic entertainment free week.

  11. I just signed up for GoodReads.com (free by barnes and noble). It's a website and has an free app. You can scan to search for a book and add it to a list of your choice. Standard lists are: want to read, read (past tense), currently reading (with the ability to track progress by page number), and on my shelf (I own it). You can make custom lists, perhaps by subject, by school or pleasure, perhaps by time period, etc. Books can be filed in multiple lists. For instance, I can mark a book as "on my shelf," currently reading, and by dated list.


    You, as teacher/parent, can start a "group" to assign books with a start date and due date for your students, as well as upcoming books.


    Readers can rate books and write reviews, share lists with friends, make and/or receive recommendations,


    So far, I've liked it. Some out of print books are harder to find, even after scanning, but by entering the ISBN, they can be recorded.

  12. We've been using and loving Picture Smart Bible. We'll go through it now over two years and then do it again when we're older in more depth, perhaps reading the bible cover to cover in the process. It covers all major events in the Bible and relates them to their significance overall. It will easily transform into an in depth study later, when my kids are older.


    I posted about it in another thread recently. Here's that post quoted below.


    We are really, really enjoying the Picture Smart Bible curriculum right now. It is appropriate for all ages (6 and up). We are not reading the Bible cover to cover, but only major stories and verses because of the age of my students. This is a survey course that helps solidify the theme of each book through pictures and symbols that you draw/trace as you study (no drawing skills necessary - trust me). It could create the framework for your own study. It gives good explanations of events and goes to great lengths to illustrate (literally and figuratively) the theme of each book and demonstrate the reference to Christ found in each book of the Bible. It encourages you to read the books entirely, memorize key verses and complete the picture survey, but you might need a supplement to delve deeper within each book. There is no reason this couldn't be used along side a deeper study curriculum if the offerings here aren't what you're looking for.


    I'd suggest that you download a sample lesson to see if it is aiming for what you would like. Students (and teacher) create an illustrated page for each book of the Bible that compile into a nice visual summary of the Book. With my young children, they are getting the grand picture both of each book as well as the over-arching story of the Bible. You can study as deeply or superficially as you'd like. Drawing the pictures makes it stick in my mind.


    Attached are two pictures of my 6 year old's work. He drew/traced those pictures and can tell you the major events and the significant verses from that book by examining the elements he drew to represent each one. For instance, regarding the top right corner of the Exodus page, he'd probably say something like: Moses ran to the desert (arrow), married Zipporah (ring with a backwards Z ;) ), Moses is a shepherd for 40 years and learns about the desert so he can lead the people later (staff, "40 years" and "God's School of the Desert"), God speaks to him from the burning bush (Bush, white cloud represents God), Moses argues with God 4 times ("but 4x"), So God sends Aaron with him ("Aaron 4:16")." He's very proud of his work and we store each sheet in a binder with page protectors. We'll do this course again in Middle School and study the Word in more depth.





  13. We had a local teen come help when my youngest was 3. I planned little activities (lacing cards, counting games, books to read, etc) so he felt like he was doing school while I gave my full attention to the other two kids in the school room.


    I definitely think a teen who could come entertain the baby would be money well-spent. Perhaps 2 days a week just with the baby and 3 year old and one day a week all of the children so you get a nap.


    Over the summer, we have a teen coming to play with the kids two days a week. She even helps me during school hours, but I have the rest of the day to myself to run errands or accomplish some of the tasks on my endless home-project list.

  14. I did the exact same thing in 1st grade, including MFW Adventures. We used FLL and completed levels 1 and 2 within the one year. It was easy to combine lessons and my children were eager/willing. I wouldn't skip it because the poem memorization is fun, it has fundamentals for narrations, etc. I think it is easy enough to just progress through it quickly. Don't let the repetition scare you off.


    I did not start WWE with my first graders, we waited until 2nd grade. We really hated it. All of us did. We were already doing so much writing with with the SotW narrations and there is copy work and dictation in the FLL. It was far too much for my students to tolerate and they didn't like writing from the same passage each day. We gave that up after a month.


    When my third student came along, I followed the FLL as written and it worked beautifully too. He has a different style of learning than the first two and we slowed our overall progress as a family down to keep us sane.

  15. I don't label or level the books, but I label the shelves with a label maker. We have two bookshelves, one for the books my kids can freely read, another for the books that I don't want them messing with, are sorted by year of study, or are in reserve for upcoming lessons.


    On the general shelves, I have labels, such as picture books, Dr. Seuss and Henkes books (we have a shelf full of them), travel books, reference books, non-fiction/biography, novels, series, poetry, family life, Coloring books (in a basket on the shelf), board books (in a basket for our young visitors), and so on. It took about a month of reminders for them to be able to determine the category of book to re-shelve it.


    On our other bookshelf, I store my resources and materials in reserve. I keep them in Magazine racks with labels. I have one for each of the subjects. I have boxes for other years of study (ancients, medieval, etc). I know where to go if I need a book from a different time period, but I don't have to keep them all displayed and organized all the time.


    When I taught in public school, I had a leveling system and I hated it.

  16. May I ask why not? :confused1:



    Yes, like swellmomma, my kids would be far too distracted. More than wanting to show everything they've accomplished, which they might do after several visits, my children would be too shy to say anything at all. They would be nervous about not knowing/giving a wrong answer in front of a stranger. So I would ask questions and get blinking stares with side glances to the observer. If I corrected a mistake on an assignment, I would be met with tears of embarrassment. All of them struggle with perfectionism and are even embarrassed to make a mistake with me, though I am always gentle and reassuring. They would not want to open up to a stranger.


    In fact, just this last week, we had a friend (recent high school graduate) in our house and she joined us in the school room. Even though she was familiar and friendly, they weren't comfortable reciting their memory work, or answering questions aloud. They only opened up after an hour when she offered to help them with an assignment.


    The only way an observer would get a true sense of my children's behavior would be by watching a video they didn't know was being filmed.

  17. I'll say that we school more, but I've never counted.


    We begin our year in January and school as often as we can. We take random days off when life gets in the way. I don't fret about planning a vacation in the middle of February. We also travel overseas for about a month in the fall and I do not consider that "out of school," since we spend our days deliberately learning language, culture, art, history, music, and even bring a few workbooks along to keep up in subjects like math. Some days, our school consists of one subject and we move on. Sometimes I'm able to complete 3 grammar lessons in a day and we get ahead or catch up. Today (Friday) we took our spelling test, read from our literature selection and called it a day due to a medical procedure. Those are the two things that not finishing this week would really throw a kink in my plans.


    I basically judge our school year by the calendar month and about where I find myself in the book. It's June, so with our January start, we should be about half way in most books, though some we are well ahead and yes, we have 1 that we have fallen far behind. I don't fret over shifts from the target because I have always been able to pick up the pace, double up lessons as necessary. I typically don't slow down unless the content is just fun to linger over (American revolution, Isaac Newton/physics) and just allow us to finish a curriculum before the end of the year and either take a break, pick a random topic to explore further or plow ahead into the next curriculum, assuming there may be a time next year when we might fall behind.


    We do school through the 100 degree summer days and we forget about school completely on beautiful fall and spring days. I like the flexibility. I need it for my sanity. I must push myself to school sometimes because it's easy to just want one more day off.

  18. I glue a ribbon marker in the back of the kid's books, like Story of the World. Just hot glue a long ribbon to the inside of the back cover and it serves as a bookmark that can't be lost. They use sticky tabs for workbooks.



    I should mention that I also use the glued in ribbon in composition books. It just makes finding the next page faster, but isn't truly necessary.

  19. Each of my children has a magazine box with their books/workbooks and a folder to contain work in progress. I also have a magazine rack for my manuals.


    I mark my manuals with a sticky tab. I glue a ribbon marker in the back of the kid's books, like Story of the World. Just hot glue a long ribbon to the inside of the back cover and it serves as a bookmark that can't be lost. They use sticky tabs for workbooks.


    I print an Independent Work Contract for each student for the week. That goes in their folder. It tells them all the assignments I expect for them to complete without me. Workbook stuff, spelling practice, assigned reading, etc are on that list with check boxes.


    When I print a map, worksheet, activity for a week I drop it, by subject, into an accordion file folder until I assign it. I sometimes print/copy a month's worth of papers that I just keep stored in the file until I'm ready for them. Once the lesson is assigned, they either complete and turn it in or it is incomplete and it goes in their folder to complete as independent work. We work in Composition Books frequently too.


    Completed, loose leaf work (maps, worksheets, Spelling tests) gets filed about once a week in a binder by subject. Until I'm ready to file, it sits in a tray on my shelf. Honestly, sometimes the filing piles up for a month. Woops. Workbooks stay in tact until the end of the year. We go through and pull a beginning, middle and end sheet plus 2 more they are proud of and file those in the binder by subject. My kids are old enough that they should be able to file their own work, but I haven't implemented that. I have one scatter-brained, sloppy kid. I don't think the collection of work would resemble the neat portfolio I'm going for. ;)

  20. I would not let this concern you yet. This is perfectly natural as students adjust to taking their thoughts to paper. If there are numerous reversals well into 2nd grade, you'll need to address it more systematically (like teaching and writing only in cursive, which can not be reversed) and consider an evaluation. I wouldn't worry about larger numbers. Computations occur from right to left, one digit at a time and that will preclude the problem. The teens are especially common to flip because they begin with the ones place sound. FOURteen. It's natural to want to write it first.


    At this stage, I would just point it out every time you see it. "Oops. You made a B instead of D." "Uh-oh, you wrote 4 tens and 1 unit, but fourteen is 1 ten and 4 units." Don't let it go uncorrected, but don't make a big deal.


    By just pointing it out and correcting, you'll find it become less and less frequent, but not non-existant even into 2nd grade. Pretty soon, your student will notice it himself, even if he can't pinpoint the exact problem. My son will say, "wait...is that 41 or 14?" and then I just prompt him to think about it mathematically. Even with the letters, he'll cock his head and then say, "whoops. that's bab instead of dad."


    It will also help to teach him how to check his work for correctness and really reinforce place value principles.

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