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nature girl

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  1. So my 11 year old daughter loves to write. I'd brought her back home this year, after some public schooling, and her teachers never said much about her writing ability...But she started writing novels at 7, using her free time to write after finishing regular classwork, and since coming home her writing seems to have blossomed and matured. I don't have anything to compare her with, though, so I'm not sure if this is unusual, and I'd love input. (In general, she's reasonably bright, and scored high on Cogat, but I wouldn't call her gifted.) Feel free to tell me this is nothing special, though! It really won't hurt my feelings. 🙂 Regardless, how can I nurture this? Should I just let her write unimpeded? (I'm a published author myself, but that doesn't help much in teaching writing.) We’ve used IEW, WriteShop and now Cover Story, but she doesn’t enjoy them, and I don’t want to destroy her enjoyment of writing by pushing the curricula.
  2. We've been using HQ this year with my 5th grader, and will have gone through both Ancient and Early Modern within the year. It's perfect for her age, I don't think kids under 10 would get as much from it, but the language isn't complex so they'd at least understand it. I like the curriculum quite a bit, especially Early Modern--Ancient didn't have as many interesting stories, IMO, and battle after battle seemed to run together--my daughter is just so-so about it all, but she's not a history fan in general. We're not using the study guide, I just do separate map work with her and find the corresponding pages and links in the Usborne Encyclopedia. Much of the guide seemed like busy work to me (coloring pages, cooking, crafts) which is great if you like that stuff, I just don't think we'd ever do it here. The History Hops are really the highlight for us, and the Hygge weeks have been much enjoyed, and really add texture to the curriculum.
  3. Thank you! That was so helpful, and I loved seeing the flip-through! I think I'll go for it, although I'll probably choose ferrets instead, since my kiddo is more into science (and animals) than history, and the plague may hit too close to home right now.
  4. Have any of you used anything in RFP's PBL series? I'm looking at the Ferret Ecology and Black Plague units, I'd love to hear how they work with one child, and whether your kids had fun with them! They look so interesting, but I haven't been able to find any reviews.
  5. AoPS offers self-paced online learning, as well as their regular classes. There's also Alcumus, which is free, although I'm not sure how much is teaching vs. presenting problems to solve.
  6. Oh wow, thank you SO MUCH! Saving all these links, and then I'm off to order. Thanks again, Lori. You've been so kind to take the time to respond!
  7. Hi Lori, sorry one more question. Do you think the teacher guide is helpful for Jump In? It looks like it's mainly for scheduling and rubric, but are the tips for teaching, and the "Writing Plunges" helpful?
  8. Thanks so much, Lori, that's been very helpful! I've done some more reading on Cover Story, I was on the verge of purchasing, but while the format looks fantastic, I read several reviews saying that it contains some violent content that I just don't want my daughter exposed to...Really a shame, because I think otherwise she'd love it. I'm now reading more reviews for Jump In, and it does look like it might work well for us (although I've seen some say it didn't actually improve their children's writing. That may be a "Your mileage might vary" thing, though!)
  9. Well she wasn't much further along in 3rd grade either! A lot of development happened in a year and a half, especially this year since I've brought her back home. Thanks so much for directing me to the Usborne books, I hadn't seen those before, so thank you. They look like so much fun! I just bought her the Fantasy and SciFi book, which I think will be right up her alley. Thanks so much, Lori. I'd looked at Jump In at the beginning of the year, and I absolutely love the conversational style, and that it's so self-directed with concrete steps to follow, which I think she'd like. The samples look great. But I'm worried it may have too much Christian content. I don't have an issue with some (I realize Cover Story also has a little) but, for example, I've read that it mentions abortion more than once, and I'm just not ready to discuss that with my 10 year old. How closely incorporated is that content? I know W&R is excellent, and probably covers everything I'm looking for, but I'm worried might be too dry for her...I'd like writing to be as fun as possible, which is why I was looking at the more creative options. In looking at reviews here, I see you've used Cover Story. Do you think it would work with a 5th grader? I'd extend it into next year, but don't want to discourage her at this point. The samples (a chapter on show vs. tell (concept writing vs. "movie" writing) looked fine for her age/level, and the humor interspersed in the videos is perfect for her, but it's hard to tell if further lessons might go over her head, or how customizable it is. I also am curious about how much actual writing there is, if we didn't do the free writing (which I think she'd balk at after the first month or two.) I'd love her to have more experience in research and essay creation, and it's hard to tell if this program would give that to her.
  10. We're on the verge of completing WriteShop Level F (their last elementary level), and I'm torn on what to look at next. My 5th grade daughter liked the gamification of WriteShop, and I thought it did a good job of strengthening her style, so I'm looking for something similar. I don't know that she's ready to sit through the next WriteShop level, it feels too dry to me...So I've looked for something more creative (her own creativity is through the roof) including Cover Story (hard for me to quite wrap my head around) and Faltering Ownership (I'm not sure it'll give her what I'm looking for.) I'd ideally like her to get better at taking notes, and improve her voice/stylistic techniques. But most of all, I want her to have fun...Before this year she HATED writing, and to improve report writing skills I did IEW with her this summer, which made her hate writing even more. But now she's actually writing a novel in her free time, and has improved tremendously from where we'd started. I want to nurture that enjoyment as much as possible! Here are short samples of her writing: the first is the beginning of a 10 page short story, and the second is the first chapter of a sort of field guide she wrote about ocean creatures. (I realize there are minor errors...She's very sensitive to editing, so at this point to keep her enthusiastic I try not to correct her.) I'm pretty sure her writing is on track for her age, but would love feedback on whether she might be ready to move on to middle school level curricula (pared down if necessary), or if we should spend more time on the basics. And I'd love suggestions on a curriculum she might find engaging. Thanks so much!
  11. We're on the verge of completing WriteShop Level F (their last elementary level), and I'm torn on what to look at next. My 5th grade daughter liked the gamification of WriteShop, and I thought it did a good job of strengthening her style, so I'm looking for something similar. I don't know that she's ready to sit through the next WriteShop level, it feels too dry to me...So I've looked for something more creative (her own creativity is through the roof) including CoverStory (hard for me to quite wrap my head around) and Faltering Ownership (I'm not sure it'll give her what I'm looking for.) I'd ideally like her to get better at taking notes, and improve her voice/stylistic techniques. But most of all, I want her to have fun...Before this year she HATED writing, and to improve report writing skills I did IEW with her this summer, which made her hate writing even more. But now she's actually writing a novel in her free time, and has improved tremendously from where we'd started. I want to nurture that enjoyment as much as possible! Here are short samples of her writing: the first is the beginning of a 10 page short story, and the second is the first chapter of a book she wrote about ocean creatures. (I realize there are minor errors...She's very sensitive to editing, so at this point to keep her enthusiastic I try not to correct her.) I'm pretty sure her writing is on track for her age, but would love feedback on whether she might be ready to move on to middle school level curricula (pared down if necessary), or if we should spend more time on the basics. And I'd love suggestions on a curriculum she might find engaging. Thanks so much!
  12. Thank you, that makes a lot of sense, I'll try it! 🙂
  13. Those seem like fantastic resources, thank you so much! I'm digging through your links now.
  14. Ha. I mean yes of course, I worded my OP really badly. But comparing her writing to samples I've found online, I think by 5th grade writing should be a bit more complex.
  15. So we've been using IEW, and it's a fantastic program, has definitely improved my daughter's ability to take notes and summarize without plagiarizing, but she absolutely hates it, it's a struggle for her to finish every day because she finds the selections she needs to write on so dry. So now that we're done with the first level of Structure & Style, I'm ready to move on to something new. My biggest issue is that her sentence structure is still very amateur. For example, when writing for Peace Day yesterday she wrote: "Peace is good because nobody likes war. War can lead to death. Nobody likes death. This is why we all want peace." I realize she was probably uninspired by the topic 😂 but all her writing is like this. She just doesn't seem to have an ear that notices disjointedness and repeated words, and never tries to write compound sentences. So I'm looking for a program to help her finesse her writing, but it needs to be at least somewhat fun and engaging. I love the Bravewriter playfulness and think she would too, but I don't think it'll give us what we need in improving her actual style. So I'm looking now at WWE Level 4 (I like that it doesn't include grammar...Her grammar is pretty solid, and I think learning more would bore her and make her protest, but the program seems pretty dry, with no creative writing), at WordSmith Apprentice (mainly because it looks fun, but it probably has too much grammar), and WriteShop Level F (which I like because it seems to help with brainstorming and organizing ideas, which she definitely needs.) Will any of these give us what we need to advance her writing skills? Is there anything else I haven't looked at that's engaging enough to keep her from rebelling? Also, we've never done dictation, but I'm wondering if dictation of complex sentences might eventually help her absorb complex structure.
  16. That sounds like a fantastic way to approach the text! I looked through Curiosity Chronicles, and...I have to admit I didn't love the format. It seemed like a kind of weird choppy way to present information. Unique, for sure, and maybe it's more interesting for a child laid out in dialogue? I guess role playing it could be fun, I just don't know how well it would stick in my daughter's brain that way. But you think it worked for your kids? Maybe the issue is that all this time I've been looking forward to doing SOtW with her (in which case I guess I should probably be looking at a different curriculum! But the rest of the books used look so good...)
  17. Have any of you used Torchlight? I was thinking of using BYL for 5th grade, but I don't think the books they cover will be engaging for my 10yo. I was looking for something similar, and the Torchlight books (I'm looking at level 3, but would use level 4 when comes out next month) are more modern, and seem like they'd interest her more. But I don't have a good feel for what the curriculum gives you. From the sample, it just seems like a list of what to read each day, without associated discussion points and activities. What am I missing?
  18. First year home schooling since my daughter was in 1st grade! We did remote learning with her school last spring, and it was awful. They have full-time remote schooling this year, but I decided we should just go off on our own. It's great to be back...although we wouldn't have done this if circumstances were different. She loves our PS so much. But I've seen real issues in her foundational writing and literature analysis skills, so along with the danger factor I know this is the right move for us, at least for this year. Anyway...I only firmed up my decision last weekend, and now I'm looking at all the possibilities she wasn't old enough for last time I was curriculum shopping! She has a hard time focusing unless she's fully engaged, so I think as the year goes on I'm going to have to give her a lot more freedom in planning, and we may move away from formal curriculum for writing and history most days. Tentative plans are: Writing: IEW S&S (This is where she needs the most help, so I want her to have a solid curriculum that builds slowly. Math: BA Online 5 (She's finishing 4 online now.) Reading: Interest driven, but with a lot of discussion, hopefully project based learning stemming from her reading, if I can swing it. Science: I'm debating between Mr. Q and RSO History: I have no idea...She has no interest in it, so I'll need to find something that's actually fun and engaging or she'll balk. I may end up just doing videos and discussions. She does crafts/building etc. almost daily, so that will count for art. So hard not having our community, she's an only, and misses other kids so much. That will be the most difficult part of this, I know.
  19. Thanks! They actually assigned the kids Khan sections for tomorrow and Friday. What I remember from looking at Khan a while ago is that it's very well done, but also as boring as watching a teacher write equations on a board, so I was looking for something a bit different. I'll try it tomorrow, though, and see how engaged she is. At least I can be pretty sure they'd teach in the same way I would.
  20. Thanks so much, Ellie. I think my fear is that she's missing 3.5 months of school (they've been out since mid-March and their school continues through June 25.) So the other kids (not all, I realize) will be progressing, while by the time she returns after Labor Day she'll have been out of school for 6 months. I don't think we can let math go that long, and expect her to recover the time next year...I just don't want her to go through the frustration in Sept. of feeling like she's behind, hating math even more. (So yes, deschooling was the wrong term. But I obviously don't want her doing pages of rote problems...I just don't know what to do that will help her to enjoy math again.) She's incredibly creative and I want to take advantage of that, something she doesn't get to express in PS. She's artistic and she loves to invent, but she's NOT a self-starter, so I have to find ways to jumpstart that creativity, but I'm at a loss. I think I mentioned MCT because I was drooling over it years ago, looking forward to her being old enough...Maybe it doesn't make sense, but I do want her to learn how to research and write effectively on topics she likes. That's why I was considering unit studies, or project based learning, but I have no real idea how to put a unit study together for a child this age.
  21. I'm sure there are several in this position now! I had my daughter home till she was seven, then made the difficult decision to try PS on a trial basis. Well she enjoyed school, for the most part, so we kept her there. Now she's now newly 10, in 4th grade, and will probably be home till the end of the year. I was actually thinking that, if this works well for us, we might transition completely and finish out her elementary years at home. Well, she told me today that she hates home schooling. 😑 I've been trying to make it as fun as possible, outside whenever possible, a lot of play and silliness, discussions and read-alouds and Tinman Press books. But at the same time, the school is asking a lot of the kids...Math especially is ridiculous, iXL math facts, long division, multi-digit multiplication, it's incredibly boring. They're also supposed to be reading these dry articles about the American Revolution (it was while reading that she said she hates hs), and ELA really looks like hamster wheel work. So I'm done with their busywork, it's not giving her what she needs and I want to be able to find something good about this awful time in history. I want to enrich her, get her away from that darned Chromebook, find things that will deepen her life and are FUN for both of us. At the same time, I don't want her to lose skills. This is my dilemma. So here we are...I'll have lots of time with her outside, taking walks, collecting, studying nature. We'll read a lot, of course. That's all good. For math I'd like to deschool a bit, through games. We have Prime Climb, but she's somewhat beyond that...I'm not sure what else might work well. For LA, I've always loved the look of MCT, but can you just start in the middle at a 4th grade level, or should I start at the beginning? Would that be enough? Any fun ideas for writing? Or unit studies? Project-based learning that would work for a 10 year old? Just sweet, enriching activities we can do together? This seemed so much easier when she was younger, she wanted to swallow the world and was open to everything. I want to bring that girl back...
  22. Thanks, Lecka, that makes a LOT of sense. She doesn't have typical anxiety, not scared of things or events, but I do think anxiety is behind the times she just flips. I'm not sure the best way to help her through that...But I'll definitely look into the book, thanks for the recommendation. (I'm considering trying a super-low dose of lithium, to see if it helps at all with the emotionality. It's also supposed to help with anxiety.)
  23. Hmmm...I know you've mentioned this before. But she seems like she knows when she's feeling off. She definitely knows when she's feeling regular physical sensations (hot/cold/tired/itchy), she knows when she's been able to tell me when she's feeling nervous or angry, and we've talked about how it feels inside when she's frustrated. It's just she doesn't seem to want to change those feelings, she'd rather throw something across the room (or hit) than do deep breathing or take a walk, because she gets that release of tension from throwing or hitting. And she sometimes will purposely provoke because she gets that dopamine burst...We've learned not to react at all, because it's giving her what she feels her body needs, but she sometimes escalates her actions just in an attempt to get that excitement. So I'm worried there won't be any benefit in her mind to calming herself.
  24. I think at least a couple of you here have used Mightier for emotional regulation. I'm strongly considering it, since emotionality is probably my ADHD daughter's biggest issue at this point. But I feel like even if she does learn how to calm herself within the games, that might not carry through to real life. She isn't willing to use the tools I've taught her when I see her escalating into frustration, I can suggest it, or say, "I see you're getting frustrated," and that brings her into a full-force explosion. She's extremely averse to discussing feelings, she says it hurts in her belly to talk about them (maybe because she's realized on her own that it's a weakness.) (This made Zones a total failure.) It's like she almost likes those huge feelings in a way, maybe because of the increase in dopamine. So is a program showing her how to come down from the edge going to do any good if she's not motivated to use what she's learned in real life?
  25. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences, Exercise Guru! We eat very cleanly, few processed foods, but I have DD on a pretty high protein diet, since it's recommended for ADHD, so I'm not sure how much meat I'd be able to cut out. (We don't eat any red meat, only chicken/turkey and fish, as well as eggs and cheese.) Do you get protein primarily from grains/nuts? I kept DD dairy (and gluten) free for 2 years, and didn't see any changes, but she was eating meat and eggs at that time. And I'd love a cookbook recommendation, thank you!
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