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Everything posted by Tsuga

  1. That's about it. One takes lessons but his practice does not involve structure--he's very sensitive so his dad just lets him play around, which I think is probably a good strategy knowing this kid in particular. Otherwise it would just be a battle. With some people there's no reasoning. My step-daughter is very artistic and quit orchestra for reasons I don't fully get, but wants to play piano. She practices on her own via youtube videos. At 9:30 p.m. With the volume all the way up. I think her dad is planning on getting her lessons, which would be nice, but my question is... Would it be bad of me to ask him to ask them to practice earlier in the night? My children are four and six and exhausted. My partner simply doesn't hear noises, period. His kids were excellent sleepers. My children are hyper and totally different. I've asked them to turn down the TV and music, to extremely icy stares, but I feel I'm within my rights. I mean, it's 9 p.m. on a school night, I just don't think it's necessary to watch American Idol at full volume. You can watch it quietly. But music is different. I really value it and would like to encourage her to play. I feel that if I ask her not to play after 9 p.m. her 12-year-old mind will interpret that as, "step-mom is being mean to me about something I like AGAIN, she doesn't want to hear it". This used to be their "easy" house. Their dad is super easy going and though he has firm boundaries, they are pretty sparse. I have no desire to change that. I just want my kids to sleep. Tips?
  2. She sends out a weekly newsletter and I will reply with specific questions to that if I have any. I think once a week is more than enough. We get assignments back weekly and it's first grade so I rarely have any comments.
  3. I agree that it's important to speak to the specialist. For my own daughter, she was on track but I basically had to beg/bribe/"force" her to practice to get there. A lot of reading skill comes from familiarity, which means practice, practice, practice. After meeting with a specialist, if there appear to be no specific neurological, sight, or other problems, then I'd get some Bob books, Dick and Jane and just have him read them out loud to you while you make dinner, for 30 minutes per night. Read the same book again and again. Agonizing and painful to listen to. Then if he does the 30 minutes without complaining, give him a reward (points towards a Lego set or perhaps candy if he doesn't get it often or a treat in his lunch). Every week, up the level a tiny bit. I know how slow it goes but it's the only way. This is what we did all summer with my daughter who was just under grade level last year. She was in immersion school, so reading in another language a bit, but nowhere near where she needed to be in English. We just pushed through it. I kept repeating, "I know it's not fun, you fell a lot when you learned to walk, and this is another life skill, and I'm here with you. Keep going. Don't stop. I promise you someday it will be easy." And we just pressed on, sounding words out one by one, until finally we had a few sight words. Then she was recognizing patterns. Every night, 30 minutes. No matter what, no matter the tears. Now she's able to read books she actually enjoys like the first grade popular books from Scholastic and those are used as rewards. (Reading as a reward, who ever would have thought we'd get there?!? Not me a year ago. :) )
  4. I learned the flute. It was never my passion but I mildly enjoyed music. I was encouraged to continue to develop my ear for music, develop an ability to read music fluently in case I ever wanted to learn another instrument (this turned out to be a great idea, as I'm now learning another instrument and helping three kids to learn instruments), develop fine motor skills, enjoy the musical community if I wished, and finally, just to expose me to many types of music that I would not be listening to on my own. I didn't go pro, didn't even play in college. I was first chair probably once in my life, if that. But I'm really, really glad I stuck with it. It is also a great way to "blow off steam" and it's wonderful to have that option. The most important thing to me is that none of these sports, instruments, games (be they Scrabble, chess, whatever) are totally non-transferable skills. They all open you up to a whole area of recreation that can bring you to a community and give you something to find solace in, even if you don't continue that particular instrument/game/sport for the rest of your life. That to me is what the classical education is all about: you learn complex things deeply, not everything, not because those things are so important in and of themselves (are the Mayans really less important than the Spartans?) but because you thereby learn how to learn and how to process a type of subject matter.
  5. My daughter is in first grade but I'm subscribing because I believe these grades are similar, development-wise. My daughter's schedule is: Monday, academic afterschool at an immersion program, read school-assigned book at home and more reading. Before school we do a subtraction drill. Tuesday, stays with my mother in law. Before school subtraction drill. Wednesday, math drills with me after school, play at local park, then music at the immersion school. Thursday, play as I'm watching the neighbors' kids, math worksheet for concepts in German (language of immersion), read. Friday, she's with the neighbor so she plays. I'm thinking of sending her with a worksheet for math to do while the neighbor's child does her own homework. It's not as if she'd be alone. They could study together. Read when I get home. Weekend, we review what she's brought home from school, and work on the spelling errors. She also has soccer Saturday mornings. They have two recesses at school plus PE once per week. All in all, she does about 20 minutes of math including discussion of concepts in the car (because that's how we roll... literally... counting on fingers in the rearview mirror) followed by 10 minutes of practice of math facts. Our goal is multiplication and division partners to 5 by the end of the year and we are easily on track. Reading--she's not been into reading so I just want her to enjoy it. We use it for cuddle time. She's at grade level but her comprehension is higher and I'd like her to get to fluency so she can actually begin to *use* it as I know that she will read much more when it benefits her.
  6. Hi everyone. I thought I'd introduce myself here. I bought the Well-Trained Mind when my first daughter was about 6 months old. At the time, my marriage was stable (or at least I thought so), and I planned to stay home and homeschool my kids. Fast-forward three years, I had two kids, am separated, and the older child is the most social person I have ever met in my life. I can't keep her out of school and I realize that my introverted self can't cope with her constant emotional needs. So, school it is. Put TWTM on the bookshelf with a wry smile. "The best laid plans of mice and moms oft go astray...", I thought, to paraphrase the old adage. Now my youngest is in pre-kindergarten (and loves it, just loves the other kids, the school, everything) and the oldest is in public school in the first grade. Though I'm happy with their schools in most respects, I feel that they don't get nearly the classical background or reinforcement or repetition they need. Well, the first grader, really. Obviously the kindergartener is still learning mostly through exploration. So it comes down to math facts. I found myself, surprise surprise, on a WTM forum looking for information on math facts. How fast should she know them? What can I do to inculcate that? Our schools are really pro experimentation but I have seen in life that there is no substitute for drills for the basic operations on the single-digit integers. You just can do so much more without using your fingers. That was when I saw the myriad of articles arguing against homework, against repetition, etc. I started to look for parents who did afterschool supplementation and came back here. I'm not a Christian and I think that is a major difference between me and many other parents on this forum. But I'm very open minded and I think I will really enjoy it here. We have very strict limits and boundaries in our home and it's hard to get support for those online, when Alfie Kohn is so revered (especially amongst my social circle). Anyway, I've had too much wine tonight, but I thank you all for carrying on this tradition. I really look forward to cracking that book open again and getting started and reaching out to the community here. Thanks.
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