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mshanson3121

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About mshanson3121

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    Hive Mind Level 6 Worker: Scout Bee

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  1. Live life? 🙂 Play board games, plant a garden, have a yard/bake/lemomade sale, set them up with an allowance and bank account, sewing and carpentry projects, baking and cooking (I just use regular cookbooks), have them estimate and calculate distance when you go in the car, help with the grocery shopping - give them a $20 and their own short list to manage etc... 99% of the math your kids will use in their life will be the stuff that is easily taught through life - the four processes, measurement, simple fractions, ratio and decimals.
  2. This blows me away. I've already got it on the calendar till when our next tetanus is due lol. We are selective vaxxers. Which basically means - we do all of them except flu shot and Gardasil. We skip those two because of the low effectiveness/actual risk vs. benefit, and because of other effective preventative methods/transmission modes. It's a highly researched/educated decision using CDCs own data. I agree with other comments - the anti-vaccine movement today has little to do with Autism and everything to do with shortfalls in the medical establishment themselves. Their refusal to acknowledge very real risks and side effects, thinking it will make people feel safer, has backfired, big time.
  3. Haha, we may be twins. #1 - I have been dealing with these thoughts myself. I lean more towards CM for LA. But my son is only so so on parts of it. We were using CLE Language Arts and here are parts of it I like - I really do. I find it breaks down writing well, and it's all in one. And yet at the same time, the grammar was overkill and I felt the same as you - it was taking away time from what is actually really important - writing. The best grammar skills in the world are useless, if you aren't a good writer. And good grammar skills do not necessarily a good writer make. Example: my son enjoys diagramming because he is a visual child, and loves puzzles. But in no way does he really comprehend what he's doing or why he's doing it. So, why are we doing it? What's more, my son (11) is really craving more writing now. He wants to write stories and articles etc... so I feel like we need to strike while the iron's hot. So I have given myself, and I thus bestow it on you as well, permission to drop grammar and focus on writing. What I do plan is focus on one element at a time, so when he sits down to write, we'll quickly review say, quotation marks, before he starts writing. Then we'll probably do a grammar program (Winston is my guess) in a year or two when he is writing better. #3 - I've struggled with this a bit as well. I despised having good books destroyed by literary analysis in school. Quite honestly, literature (much like music, art etc...) all boils down to personal interpretation. Everyone will get something different from it, depending on their own personal experiences and emotional state. So, I despise turning an excellent book into a bunch of right and wrong answers, that are based solely on one person's interpretation. I watched an interview once with an author (forget her name), but she was discussing this very issue. Her book was chosen for a literature class in school, and I believe was used for an exam. The person writing the exam, had completely misinterpreted the book from what the author herself had actually been intending/meaning. So, honestly? I don't see the point. I think there are other ways to develop critical thinking skills. I think it is great to read good books and discuss them, to talk about what you personally felt/thought etc... But to turn them into a workbook full of right and wrong answers? No thanks. So, I have assigned books I want him to read, he reads them, we discuss them and that's that. #4 - I really love the idea of written narration a la Charlotte Mason. We used to aim for one written narration per week, but we're now aiming for one per day. I think narrative writing is the easiest form for children to start with. We do add in creative writing once or twice a week, but only because my son wants to. He too, needs a lot of work with writing. I have found that webbing really helps him get his thoughts in order. I have been considering adding Winning With Writing, since it breaks down writing much the same way CLE did, but we'll see. We have struggled with too much focus on content subjects as well. Like you, our school turned into nothing but the 3Rs and was boring as all get out. Also like you, I strongly dislike having all subjects separate. For starters, that's just not reality. The world around us is incredibly integrated, and I prefer to keep our learning that way, though I haven't always. One thing I have learned is that my son gets really overwhelmed with a daily to do list of 7 or 8 different subjects, keeping learning integrated really helps with that. What we currently do is almost more like a Waldorf Main Lesson approach: we start our day with history or science. We first recap what we read last time, then we read from our source and then just naturally segue right into oral narration/discussion, and then perhaps a written narration, or a drawing or painting or an experiment etc... pertaining to the day's reading. I find that a great way to integrate history/science, writing, penmanship, even some spelling and grammar (if you're reviewing things with them as they work), art etc... Then, after that we'll do math and spelling, and then finish with his assigned literature reading. I've learned that I would rather do less, well, than do more, poorly. Absolutely love this idea and I think we'll be integrating this in our own approach! I have done this before, too. It really does feel good! My children especially loved watching their workbooks go up in flames in the wood stove! I too, have definitely been guilty of making our homeschool too complicated and too expensive. All these curriculum are actually very unnecessary - they just prey on our own insecurities.
  4. I absolutely love the CM approach to Language Arts, and with all my heart, have wanted to use it with my son. And we have used bits and pieces, but I had to learn to let go of it. Why? For starters, he despises dictation with a fierce passion, isn't all that fond of narration (he told me that the pressure of having to narrate sometimes ruined the book) and he actually enjoys CLE Language Arts. And to be perfectly honest, it makes me more confident, there are things in there that I feel worth teaching, that I may not have necessarily thought of on my own. I also really like the way they break down writing step by step, right from how to build a sentence, a paragraph etc... He really needs that. He enjoys the creative writing days at the end of each light unit too. I did however, more in the CM approach, wait until he was in grade 4 to start grammar, but it took me awhile of trying to force him through a CM approach, before like you... I finally relaxed and tuned in, and "gave in"... lol.
  5. So there has been some awesome input, thank you. I do feel better about it. I spent a good chunk of today really researching and viewing samples of it feels like every math program under the sun. I had my son give me input, as well. And it was kind of shocking... So I started with mastery programs as I thought that would be easier, and he's always said he prefers one concept at a time. I/we looked at MUS, Developmental Math, Singapore, Math Mammoth, MCP, Rod & Staff etc... For various reasons, they all pretty much ended up scratched off, other than MUS. Then, I looked at spiral programs, including TT and the hated CLE that we spent a couple years with. Again, for various reasons they all got scratched off, except TT and CLE. So... going with a gut feeling, I told my son for math today I was going to print off a lesson from the computer and he and I would work through it together. I let him do quite a bit orally, I helped him when he was struggling or got something wrong, drew pictures for him etc... and at the end of the lesson, he told me how much he enjoyed that program and to please buy it. The program? ........ CLE I told him after the fact what it was, and the look on his face was priceless, lol. "You tricked me!!!" We talked after, and I asked him why he liked it so well now, and didn't before. And... it was my fault. Before I basically left him to learn it on his own. Everyone always says it's designed to be self-teaching, so I would just hand him the workbook and let him have at it. That night, I would correct his work, and the next day, before lessons, we would sit, go over any mistakes, and then I would hand him the book again. The other issue was the length of the lesson. My son has SPD, as well as a hypermobility disorder that has greatly affected his hands (he's had to have both OT and PT), so writing has always been a struggle. The lessons are long, so his hand would get tired/sore (but never said too much to me about it), he'd just start rushing, making mistakes etc... or he would stop, take a break, get daydreaming and then next thing you know, math was dragging on forever. I never let him cut a lesson in half, because I was afraid of "getting behind". He said what made the difference today was I was there, helping him. Instead of just leaving him to make mistakes and have to correct them later (basically increasing the next day's work load), we went over them as he made them (or I stopped him sometimes) and we discussed what to do. I made sure he understood what he was doing. Also, with me sitting right next to him, we were able to some of it orally, decreasing the writing. I also let him skip some of the unnecessary review. The end result was a completely different math experience (for both of us!). I asked him what he wanted to do - MUS, CLE or TT, I decided that I would be fine with any of those 3, and he chose CLE. So, I am going to do a few more sample lessons with him this week, just to make sure, and then I think that will be what we do. But I feel good about this. Out of all the math programs we've tried in the past, CLE was the one he learned/retained the best with. He just "hated" it. So I was trying to remedy the "hate". But now that I know why he hated it (how stupid could I have been???), I know what to do differently.
  6. Thank you so much. It took me years to realize that he was a VS learner, so that didn't help. He is like most VS learners in that he grasps the concepts easily, it's the little details (the facts) that challenge him. Though he does struggle to apply his knowledge sometimes. He is so much like myself in many ways - his talent lies in the language arts etc... and yet, I always excelled at rote memorization etc... At work they used to call me the walking calculator, lol. I loved Albegra in school, figuring out the equations etc... Though once it got into pre-calc I lost interest, lol. In reply to your first comment, as she said - no, not all kids will, but I expect most would, yes. Our son certainly knows what the concepts are behind it all, just can't remember the facts. We do this sometimes, but normally by the time DH gets home, supper is over and they actually have time to sit and do it, DS is done for the day and it doesn't go as well. Thank you for sharing. I do think that sometimes you just have to wait for it to click, or for the child to even see the need for it. I do know I have seen a big improvement in him since he turned 10. That really seemed to be a big thing for him, when stuff started clicking better. If I could turn back time, I would have kept his schooling pretty much informal and hands on until grade 4. I am doing this now with our daughter. Yes, he is a poster child for "do not need to memorize facts to get the ideas"... lol. Fractions, angles, shapes, things like perimeter, area (even diagramming sentences, which he loves, lol) etc... he grasps the concept pretty much instantly, because it's so visual. He told me at 10 that adding/subtracting fractions was boring because it was too easy. He understands what division and multiplication are etc... He just struggles with the facts and with applying his knowledge sometimes.
  7. I definitely agree he needs to learn his math facts. I think that would really help moving forward.
  8. Do you have thoughts on the Developmental Mathematics that was recommended above? I do love the idea of MUS, but oh my word it is so expensive, especially for us as Canadians. Pricing it out, to get a used set of blocks and used books, with exchange and tax, will be roughly $150. And knowing he's going to blow through Gamma and need Delta within a few months, that will be another $65... ouch. 😞 We do have tonnes of free online resources we use for games etc... that he likes. Different websites etc... I really like the looks of the Kate Snow books, too.
  9. Just looked up Developmental Mathematics. That has certainly piqued my interest - it's insanely affordable! I like that it has good pictures, and it's well set up to work together with him.
  10. Not much. I used to have a bunch, we never used them... so I sold them all 😞 We basically just have a few MUS blocks (only a partial set), a set of pattern blocks, and then a few games (Math War etc...). But I'm willing to invest a bit of money. We did the free trial of Reflex Math for math facts, and he did love that. We have used Xtra Math too, he just finds it boring. What manipulatives would I need for the Kate Snow books? I have to confess, I can't stand MEP, it overwhelms me, lol. I am lucky at least, that my son (whom we call our little Absent Minded Professor), could care one whit about grades, levels etc.. so that does help. As I do know some children have really struggled having to be placed "behind".
  11. My son is in grade 6. Very new to writing. He wrote this short story the other day. Thoughts?
  12. I've posted more than once recently about issues with math. I realize that my son is in grade 6, is behind in math, and it's largely my fault. Reasons being: - I started formal math before he was ready - I jumped right into workbooks and didn't give him a solid, hands on, concrete foundation - I didn't understand his learning style (extremely visual-spatial processor) and used some outright wrong curriculum - I let insecurity force my child through programs he hated which made math a tears-inducing battle - I let insecurity force me to abandon ship on programs too soon - I was too hands off and relied too much on the textbook to teach - I wanted all learning to be fun and engaging, I didn't want my child to hate learning (oh, the irony) so I kept hopping around looking for the fun math program. - I was too swayed by the unschoolers/uber relaxed folk who made me feel that doing anything less was depriving my child - I of course now struggle with the idea of making my child do a curriculum they don't like, even if I think it will benefit them, because I don't want to go back to tear filled math battles - I have struggled with my own discipline issues when it comes to homeschooling (ex. not forcing them to do school when they don't want to, which kind of ties back into wanting school to be fun, and not like "school"). - Essentially, I have failed We have tried sooo many programs in our years of homeschooling, I can't even remember them all. Some we tried for a few weeks, some a few months. CLE Math we did give almost 2 years. The problem is, we have cycled through so much, so fast at times, that it's hard to say what worked and what didn't. And here we are, with my son in grade 6, with his heart set on a career that is going to demand advanced mathematics if he has any hope of getting into the program he wants (pre-Calc math required), and according to Prodigy, he is only on par with about grade 3 outcomes. I know we still have time, but I also know that if we don't figure this out soon, we will run out of time. My biggest problem is I have second guessed myself so much now, that I'm just not sure what he needs anymore, which way is up, what is the right program to use. I want something that we can stick with. I am tired of jumping around in math. He has Sensory Processing Disorder, Tourette Syndrome and I would guess some executive functioning issues, so while he's incredibly smart, there are definitely some challenges, too. Please help....... My husband, a college-level math teacher, is a big fan of mastery-based programs, that focus on one concept until it has been truly mastered, all the while reviewing previously learned concepts. He really wasn't a fan of CLE's spiral approach, and to be honest, neither was my son - when he had lessons that he had mastered most of the content, he was fine. But when there were lessons where he was trying to work on 3 or 4 different "newer" concepts that he hadn't mastered, he felt very overwhelmed. He also despised how long the lessons were. But from my point of view, I think the constant review was really good for him (he has very poor memory/slow recall when it comes to math facts, terminology etc...) and I feel like he was learning with it. But he hated it... Since leaving CLE (last spring) we have just floundered. We did a bit of Oak Meadow, then stumbled across Prodigy. My son absolutely loves Prodigy, so I let him use that for awhile, but then realized it doesn't teach, it's for review only. So, seeing that he liked the online format, I signed him up for a trial of Teaching Textbooks (online version). He placed in level 5. And here we are. He likes Teaching Textbooks, and he scores okay, ranging 80-100% on his lessons. But ultimately, I feel like my son is really good at doing math on the surface - he does well with the lesson, but then when encountered in real life, seems to struggle. Part of it is his learning style - he really needs things broken down visually, diagrams, models etc... So just trying to ask him a question orally, forget it. He can't process that at all. He also doesn't know how to break down problems without help, either. He just guesses, doesn't really know how to stop and think it through. He needs a lot of prompting, basically to guide him to the step he needs to take (if that makes any sense). I think he would do well learning other strategies (making 10 for addition/subtraction, breaking multiplication problems down etc...) to help him since he struggles with his math facts/recall. And yet, he is extremely literal and some of those heavy, conceptual programs (like MEP)... forget about it. They would completely overwhelm him. I also think he really needs me to be more involved in the teaching. To really just be able to stop and make sure he has truly grasped the concept before moving on. And so... I find myself at a cross roads of uncertainty. He really likes Teaching Textbooks, but I have read all the reviews, and I know there are a lot of negative ones out that that it wasn't enough. I am afraid of letting him continue if down the road we're going to find out it wasn't enough. Given the issues I've described, do you honestly feel TT will help with those? Especially thinking/processing? On the flip side, he likes it and says he doesn't want to switch math again, and I hate to make math a battle again. Add in that we are on such a budget and we just can't afford to buy 2 or 3 different resources to supplement with. Ultimately... how do you know if a program is really working for your child? Thoughts? Tips? Suggestions?
  13. I'll preface this by saying we're Canadian, which I find tends to throw a monkey wrench in history, since 99% of the great history resources out there are American. So, I'm doing a New Year revamp, and Social Studies is on my mind. My son is grade 6, and we have done very little work with history/geography thus far. We talk about historical events as they come up, we've visited historical settlement villages, have watched historical shows, and read some fiction books here and there. He knows the general geography of our country as far as what provinces are where, and a loose general geography of the world, knowing where the continents are as well as some countries around the world. But, I would like to get a little more "serious" about social studies now. I know that in high school, for grades 9-12, I plan to do a traditional 4 year cycle starting with ancients, but what I'm trying to figure out is what to do for the remainder of this year, as well as grades 7 & 8. My son has very little interest in history, especially your traditional history approach (basically, study the chronological happenings of the world, this war, that war etc...). He does enjoy reading biographies of people however, and good historical fiction. The only real interests he does have regarding history mostly lie with Medieval history (knights, kings, queens, castles and the like). My husband would like us to start by focusing on our own country. I feel like I would also like to cover World Geography at some point, before high school, bonus if I can add in a study of world ecosystems, animals etc... at the same time for science (which is where his true passion lies). I have the following resources currently on hand: - A book about the history of our own province - Bigger Hearts for His Glory (which covers American history from 1400-1900) - Courage & Conquest (which covers Canadian history from about the same era) - a Canadian geography resource - Pam Barnhill's Medieval Morning Time plans I have wondered about instead of focusing on chronological history, instead doing more of a geography approach (starting with our country, then expanding to our world) and adding in something like Profiles from History. We could read them, tying them into the country/area we're studying? I have also considered more of a chronological approach, but focusing on biographies and fiction. So.... what would you recommend, starting with this year, and then also thinking ahead to grades 7 & 8, what scope/sequence would you suggest? Whatever we do for this year, needs to be something that can be finished in 6 months, as we will be finishing school on June 15th, and breaking for the summer. Of the resources we have, the provincial history text, Bigger Hearts, Canadian geography, and Medieval Morning Time plans would all fit into the 6 month time frame. I am open to purchasing something for the rest of this year, though would prefer not to. I am definitely willing to purchase programs for grades 7 & 8.
  14. I ordered it last night after your post, and agree - it's excellent!
  15. I see what you mean about defining unstructured. So, yes I think by unstructured I meant more - "interest led" instead of traditional textbook, structured scope/sequence (as in Ancients in grade 1, Medieval in grade 2 etc"
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