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CrystalAnne

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About CrystalAnne

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    Hive Mind Worker Bee

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  1. This is the only book that worked for my son. We tried AAS, and oh the tears. He just didn't retain the rules. Apples and Pears is about writing, copying, then covering and writing again. Somehow that process just cements spelling for him. We are a couple pages away from the end of Book C, and will start D in the fall. He now has tools to spell many words. The morpheme breakdown also helps, but I think that process above of write, copy, cover and write, along with the constant repetition, is key.
  2. PeterPan - I have so much to look through and think through now. He hasn't been in Speech for several years, and all Speech ever did was oral motor skills to make talking clearer. No expressive language work, narratives, anything. And OT says he can write fine, and he's making good progress with typing.com. Honestly, his CP is very mild. Now OT just works on finger strength, and for more everyday functional ability, not school related. But I wonder more about this Executive Function piece. Would an SLP be the one to work on that? An OT? Who tests and works on Executive Functions and how they relate to writing?
  3. Lori - Thank you for your encouragement! It was a breath of fresh air today. And yes, we will celebrate!
  4. PeterPan - Thank you for your thoughtful reply and that link. I would not have come to the conclusions below if you had not posted it, so truly, thank you. To give some background, he has mild cerebral palsy, which makes him have constant jerky movements that he cannot control. It takes a lot of motor planning and control on his part to "be careful" when writing, place letters and numbers appropriately, sized correctly, etc. He has worked with a PT, OT, and some Speech for years and years, but they are discharging him for good in a few weeks, saying he is done and doing well. The CP does not affect his intellect, just motor. Regarding writing, we have followed the WTM philosophy and worked up stamina with copywork, spelling, and cursive. Those have always gone well. The difficulties come when he has to think of what he needs to write (original writing), keep the thoughts organized in his head, and still put a ton of mental effort into the act of writing. I requested some low-key evals on word and memory recognition with the OT and Speech, but nothing has ever come up. I do know that although he reads well, he often doesn't express himself verbally as much as he is able, especially when he is tired. That also translates to even poorer expression with original writing. After having read your post and looking through the link a while, I realized that the breakdown happens when the pencil is in his hand. And I suspect that is from using so much mental energy to motor plan when writing. So today, we sat at the computer and I gave him a prompt and typed while he spoke. I gave no input. We did a rough draft, then a revised rough draft, and wow! He has thoughts and details, and can "write" pretty well. But it's all verbal. My goal as teacher and mom is to get him to lay out his thoughts, organize his thoughts after they are all out, and then polish the writing, eventually all on his own. I think we will start doing this verbally for the next few weeks, and then try to transition him to writing different types of paragraphs, interesting openers, using quotes, etc. from some of the resources above. The IEW and Writing Tales methodology was fine, but we didn't really make progress in organization of original thought or original expression. The key word outlines, writing from them, changing small details, using strong verbs, was all fine. I don't think we were making headway in his weak areas. Even after that type of work and WWE copywork, original writing was still a few minimal sentences at best. We were never getting enough original output to work on organization and expression. Anyways, here is what he dictated today, after one revision. We will revise again tomorrow. I've never seen anything close to this quality in any of his writing in the past, so we will be using this same speech to text method for a while until we hopefully can get him to merge this method with his own physical writing or typing. I'm so proud of him! "It was a very sunny day, but there were a few dark clouds in the sky. Daddy, Bethany, Tom, and I were excited to go in our boats and paddle on the lake. Tom and Bethany rode in Daddy’s canoe and I paddled in my kayak. We started off with the wind paddling down the lake. When we got to the end of the lake and we tried to turn around, we found that the wind was very strong and the waves were very choppy. We noticed that the wind was too strong, and we didn’t really pay attention to how far we had paddled from shore. We realized we should try to get back. Daddy had trouble paddling against the wind, and I had even more trouble. Tommy was very afraid and was crying, but Bethany got over her fear and tried to console him. The wind kept blowing me farther away and I felt I couldn’t make it. Daddy almost turned around and tried to get me, but when he saw me actually making a little bit of headway, he turned around and kept on going. Daddy thought that he would have to go back in a car around the lake and pick me up at the end. But, I put on a determined face, and made it all the way back to the rowboat drop off. We were very wet and tired afterwards. We learned that we should be mindful of the dark clouds and only paddle when there’s not so much wind."
  5. Lori D. -. Those are excellent books you posted! Especially Writing Fabulous Sentences and Paragraphs. I may buy them all. Would you recommend that path, or Wordsmith? I really didn't like the look of Wordsmith Apprentice, but I really like Wordsmith. I can see how it moves fast though, even in the first few pages of the sample. Thanks for the suggestions!
  6. Thank you! I need to click through all of those links above. And thanks for reminding me of EIW. I've always been hesitant because I wanted in depth grammar. How has the grammar portion been?
  7. My boy will be 11 this summer, and I need writing ideas for next year. My goal is for him to be able to take a writing prompt at the end of the year and write a well organized paragraph with topic sentence, supporting sentences, etc. He has trouble setting the pen to the paper and organizing his ideas in his head. He successfully completed WWE 1-3, and CLE 2 and 3 when he was younger. We tried Writing Tales 1, Rod and Staff English in the past, and IEW A and MCT Town this year, but those were all half done and ultimately flopped. He does better with clear instructions and practice step by step. I'm looking for opinions on BJU 5 or CLE 5, either paired with Jump In, Wordsmith Apprentice, it Spectrum Writing 5. Someone gave us Wordsmith Apprentice, but it doesn't look like it would be the best fit. I love the look of Jump In samples, but it's leveled for slightly older kids. Any thoughts on all this? The biggest thing I have learned is that if a curriculum doesn't work, have a backup ready to go.
  8. My husband has a summer birthday and was held back due to maturity. I have a September birthday and missed the cutoff. We were both the older ones in our classes, and academically advanced. Having taught in the schools for a number of years and spoken to many teachers (who all pushed to wait until 6 yrs old), I decided to "give that extra year" to my summer birthday boy. I saw too many young kids who struggled socially, academically, or both. And I saw many kids who excelled with both, and that social maturity made a huge difference! We still challenge him academically and give him work for the grade ahead quite often. However in social settings, scouts, church stuff, etc., I call him the younger grade. We'll always have the option to bump him up to the next grade if he should need or want to.
  9. I have a 10 year old who reads profusely and I'm looking for advice on where to go next with science. He's extremely interested in all topics of science, but when I try to do a curriculum, it either moves too slow, doesn't go in depth enough, or he reads all of encyclopedias in one sitting and doesn't want to read or go over the topics again. We've tried Bookshark and Elemental Science and both flopped. For example, one of them used an Usborne Science encyclopedia and Mysteries and Marvels of Nature. He liked both books, but quite literally read them in their entirety the first week. Do I just need to keep buying or checking out the living books that go along with those courses and let him keep reading those? Or should I try for middle school textbook? I saw a BJU middle school textbook on Space and Earth science and it seemed a lot more meaty than any I've seen so far. But I don't want to spend a ton more on science that flops and frankly we'd like to avoid science with religion sprinkled in. (The BJU had that, but less so than others.) This kid needs a challenge. And he has yet to explore much Chemistry or Human Anatomy. Unit studies? Ideas?
  10. I highly recommend CLE math. It gives you tiny bits of new concepts and cements them to ones you know. Very one step at a time approach. Look at samples online and see if it might be a good fit. We had tried Math Mammoth and briefly looked at Singapore before switching to CLE. My kiddo had trouble getting from point A to point D, and other curriculums just assumed you could get there yourself. CLE introduces each step and is just solid.
  11. Haven't had a chance to read through the whole thread yet, but this year I'm scheduling more of those extras around mealtimes. For example, poetry and map memorization right after breakfast is cleaned up but before we begin table work. And nature studies and outside time at 11 so I can prep lunch when they devolve into playing. Read aloud happen when they're eating lunch or dinner and one of us adults is done eating quickly
  12. Thank you sbgrace. That's what I needed to hear. We will stick with Apples and Pears because you're right. It has worked when others didn't. And I never know on how it compares to grades and levels. Thanks!
  13. Hmm. Thank you for the comment on rigor. And yep, I've downloaded the G and B. So aesthetically pleasing.
  14. I'm at a crossroads and need to order material for next year. We have done CLE LA in the past with Apples and Pears Spelling instead. While Apples and Pears has worked well, it takes a long time, and the material in CLE language arts is almost too spiral that it drives my son and I crazy. (Already doing CLE math and probably adding CLE 4 reading this year). He loves he cursive, but the actual language arts material is too all over the place and a lot of it feels like busy work. So I'm now pondering Climbing to Good English 3 or 4, adding in Pentime for cursive, along with Apples and Pears for spelling, and WWE 3. And then I see the Good and the Beautiful. And the geography is perfect. Exactly what I've always wanted to do but haven't gotten to. And the language arts activities are varied and beautifully laid out. But now we're behind in spelling (only on A and P B), so should I try the regular spelling with my kid with the Apples and Pears style? And he needs a lot of handholding with writing, almost what they offer in level 2. But his reading level is through the roof (read all of the Unwanted series and the Five Kingdoms this summer) and he basically reads a book a day. Like the Hatchet yesterday. Is the Good and Beautiful a solid education plan like CLE? If we're going nuts with CLE should we just move to CTGE instead of a whole new curriculum. Or have you used G and B and loved it too? I'm maybe also tempted to pull out the geography from G and B and use that if not he whole curriculum. Is there another geography curriculum like that in the world? All in one is so much more tempting than piecing together so many books. By the way, my kid just turned 9 and will be more on 3rd grade level with writing and LA this coming year.
  15. I'd add Dr. Doolittle and Heidi to the classics above. Good thread!
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