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Everything posted by shand

  1. I'm very excited to say that we ordered DD a Casio PX160 today to go along with Hoffman Academy. She's been begging to start lessons for months now and we finally took the step. Because we're getting rid of the internet soon (we're downloading the videos for offline use), it's not worth the money to pay for the premium account. I was wondering, though, if the printables are a necessity when it comes to learning with HA. how much do they add to the lessons? Is it possible for her to learn to read the music without them?
  2. Thanks for all the great ideas! We aren't giving up picture books (we read one or two before we get to our current chapter book as well as throughout the day whenever the kids bring one to me). I'll look into them and see which ones interest DD before making my decisions.
  3. I'm trying to plan out DD's first grade year and the last thing on my list is the read alouds we'll be doing. We've done some Classic Starts for K and are reading Charlotte's Web right now and she and joys them, though she seems to prefer the unabridged versions of stories. Are there any suggestions for read alouds that would be suitable for a 1st grader as well as appropriate for DS4 to listen in on as well?
  4. We used Zoology for DD5 with the lapbook option and she loved it. We've actually decided to re-read it for 1st grade next year along with Botany but with the logbook instead. The book is written for a variety of ages and while I'm no expert, the content does line up with what we read in the encyclopedias. My biggest complaint is that the dialogue is kinda awkward (not inappropriate, just doesn't seem to flow naturally). This might have changed by Geology as the authors gained more experience with writing fiction, but I'm not sure. Also, instead of information being sprinkled throughout each chapter, it's dumped in a monologue. DD didn't mind it, though and was able to recall most of what we read. I felt the lapbook didn't have enough to make it a complete science curriculum, which is why we're using the logbook our next go round with me doing the majority of writing for her.. With some adapting like you're planning, it should be enough for your older kids as well. I think it would provide a good start for teaching basic researching skills if you want them to go a bit deeper into the topics.
  5. We're using math mammoth and love it. DD is only 5 so we're not doing it independent (yet) but we plan on it next year. MM also has videos for each grade level where she walks through each type of problem in each lesson. They're only about 5 minutes long and their DDs favorite part of MM. Plus it's cheap. I found the download on sale , grades 1-3 for less than $60. We also plan on switching to Teaching Textbooks when we're done with MM since it's done completely to the student, but since I have no experience with it, I can't say whether or not it's a good program.
  6. Our kids are 15 months apart and, while we're not in the same position of worrying about our youngest surpassing his sister, we are trying to ensure that he's at a point where he can join her for science/history by finding curriculums for multiple ages. I understand why you would be worried about your oldest being surpassed, but at the same time, I think it could be equally bad if you held your youngest back if she's ready/capable of working at a higher level academically and socially.
  7. shand


    DD5 hated OPGTR but took right to AAR. We've done pre-reading and only have about 6 more lessons before we finish level 1. I've also started DS4 who has a speech delay on the pre-reading and he really enjoys it. They love the activities and the stories are really cute, plus all the material is excellent quality. While it's true that there's a lot of parts to AAR, I found that once everything was organized before starting the program, it's really open and go. Plus, now that they have the app out, there's no need to buy the tiles unless you really want to (and, honestly, when we first started AAR1 I didn't even use them, just wrote the letters/words on a white board until she learned how to blend). The reason I chose AAR, though, was I knew it could be easily adjusted to each of my kids. DD is able to fly through most lessons now and I'm comfortable enough to only have her do a few words off the fluency page before moving on to the stories. DS is a different story, though. With his speech delay, I actually sent off an email to the company asking how we could adjust it for him and they responded the next day with some great ideas on how to do that. While it is pricey, I wouldn't have gone any other way for them. DD loves the little notes that Rocket the Spacedog has left for her throughout the teachers manual and she can't wait to meet Herman the Frog in level two. My one suggestion, though, would be to buy a second set of phonics readers. We'll be getting the BOB Books soon so that she can practice the skills she's learning independently. For the longest time she could only read from the AAR readers since the leveled readers you get at the store/libraries are filled with sight words that she hasn't learned yet and needs my help to get through them the first few times.
  8. Thanks for all the advice! I feel a lot better about not pushing forward with a formal k5 next year and will continue to do easy learning activities with the exception of AAR (he really enjoys it). I'll make sure to add in some of the fine motor skill activities suggested here and focus on getting his speech/behavior/focusing where it needs to be and check out the resources suggested. I've also looked into a new doctor in the area. Despite only being here for a few months, she has some amazing reviews including some about her working with nonverbal children and I'll be calling tomorrow. Hopefully we'll have better luck with getting referrals there and hope he does well with the change. Thanks again for helping me come to this decision.
  9. We live in a small town, so our choices are limited. There is a new ped that's moved into town not to long ago and once they've really established themselves I'm gonna look into how well they're doing. If not, we may have to go out of town. We do have a local mental health center and I recently found out that they have child therapists there, so I'll look more into that. We've recently switch SLPs since the one who suggested having him seen was promoted. His new one is learning to compromise with him, giving him a few choices, and quickly set up a routine so there's fewer behavioral issues with her. He actually looks forward to it now as long as we make sure his morning and the trip there goes smoothly (it's an hour away).
  10. Thanks, it helps knowing that other's have held off for a year (or two). We're saving the school route for a last option since they're not that great in this area and I have experience with the teachers there that makes me hesitate to go through them. We are homeschooling them and his birthday is in August. We include him in school activities for DD(5) and give him his own "school time" for AAR Pre-reading, math games, and speech skills. I'm hoping that the light schooling will help him catch up before then, if not we'll keep on as is. She didn't mention anything specific, just that if he didn't start cooperating and continued to throw fits they wouldn't be able to work with him any longer. His doctor mentioned autism when he was 2 but ruled it out at the next appointment. As I mentioned above, we're saving the school-route as a last alternative, though if we don't figure something out soon, we might have go ahead with it. Thanks! I always feel like I should be having him do more but I'm afraid if I push it now then he'll start to hate school before we really get started.
  11. I never had any doubts about starting DD on a formal kindergarten curriculum. DS(4), though, is a different story. While he understands everything said around him, his speech delay keeps him from communicating well. He's come a long way in the past year, but is nowhere near where he should be. On top of that, he refuses to focus on anything that isn't something that he wants to do. We've been working on the AAR pre-reading, but are only working on the letter/sound recognition, saving the skills for a second go round. Due to behavioral/focus issues, I've been wanting to have him evaluated but between DH and his doctor, who insist that he'll outgrow it (they also said the same thing about his speech and wouldn't refer him to a speech pathologist until he was 3). I've even had one of the speech pathologists suggest that he see a behavioral therapist. So, I guess my question is two-part. How do you decide whether or not to postpone homeschooling? And is there any advice on getting him evaluated when his doctor is intent on giving us the go-around? We're on Medicaid so we're supposed to have a referral in order for them to cover everything. I'd appreciate any input.
  12. DD5 do light school 3 days a week, focusing on reading, copywork, and math so she keeps up her skills. I'm planning on creating a summer reading list, at least a book a week with regular trips to the library. We also plan on going to the Mcwane Science Center, the zoo, and some local historical areas. Finally, she'll be choosing a single topic for us to research and create a project. Last year we did space and created a solar system poster board as we learned about each planet. DS4 will focus on basic math/reading/speech skills as we ready him for kindergarten, pretty much the same thing we're doing now.
  13. Pretty much every math program we've tried. MUS and BJU Math at the top of the list. Things start out okay but we would quickly lose steam. Recently switched to MM and things have been going pretty good. DD actually said she likes MM today. I asked why and gotta admit, her reason makes sense. "You only make me do it for 25 minutes, then let me play!" All the others I felt like we had to complete the lesson/worksheet(s) so we didn't get behind. I feel like MM is much more flexible, there's no juggling manipulatives or lesson plans, and it's all right there in front of us. There's no guilt when we stop halfway through a page and the 1st-3rd grade bundle was cheaper than just a single grade of the others.
  14. We recently switched to MM and, so far, it's been good. DD doesn't love it, but she does enjoy the accompanying youtube videos. It's also easy to set a timer for 25 minutes and just stop when it goes off. That has been a huge advantage to MM that we didn't have with MUS or BJU since I felt we needed to complete the entire lesson so we wouldn't get behind. What should've only been a 30 minute lesson would always take so much longer. MM has actually turned into our "cuddle time". We sit together and she tells me how to solve each problem and I do the writing for her. This will change as she gets older, but for now we're loving it.
  15. My kids love Dr. Binocs and will insist on watching video after video and there's also Crash Course Kids for science. For history we watch Liberty Kids. All three of these are on Youtube. We also like Horrible Histories on Hulu, but you could get it on DVD if you're interested.
  16. AAR and MM are our gotta do's each day. Luckily, they're also the ones that are the easiest to get done thanks to their open and go nature. We've also started implementing BW's A Quiver of Arrows and it's also been getting done every day lately. It's only been a week, though, so we'll see if that stays consistent. It should since it fits in nicely with our morning time.
  17. We start off by listening to a good morning song (dd5 loves to dance to it). After that, we choose a library book or two to read and then read from our current read aloud while dd colors and ds4 plays with his blocks. Right now it's Charlotte's Web. Our read aloud is currently the only book that I require an oral narration from at the moment but that'll change once we start science/history. I also choose a passage from our read aloud for copywork and we work on it throughout the week. It's not much but it works for us.
  18. Thanks, everybody! I'll check them all out and see what interests her the most.
  19. Not yet, but it's something that we're working on and one of the reasons I'm looking for more books. The AAR readers are cute, but the stories are pretty short. I also believe it'll really build her confidence once she can hold a single book in her hands and finish it in a single sitting.
  20. DD(5) is finishing up AAR level 1 soon and has a strong foundation for her phonic skills and is quickly building up fluency/stamina while reading. We plan on continuing with level 2, but I was hoping to add in some other books that she could read on her own. I was looking at leveled readers but they're filled with sight words, so she needs my help to get through them. Are there any readers out there that are more phonics based than sight word based? We've been reading Little Bear, Pete the Cat, Dick and Jane, ect, but it'd be nice to have books besides the AAR readers that she can read with minimal help. Is there any recommendations or should I just find some kindergarten/1st grade sight words and have her learn them?
  21. Thanks! We're not a very musical family and the site just seemed a bit too good to be true. I'm glad to hear that it does work.
  22. I haven't used LOE, but we do use AAR and, soon, AAS. It's a very open and go program, which is one of the reasons I chose it, the other being that it's great for different types of learning styles and I wanted something that I could use with both my kids. We rarely spend more than 20 minutes in AAR and, once dd learned to blend the sounds together, she's had no trouble picking up new concepts as they're introduced. And I don't really see it as slow since you can move at their pace. We've had a lesson or two where we spent a week or so on it, but for the most part we end up finishing a lesson in a day or two unless I feel she needs to spend an extra day re-reading the stories. As her confidence grows, though, that's happening less and less.
  23. I haven't used LOE, but we do use AAR and, soon, AAS. It's a very open and go program, which is one of the reasons I chose it, the other being that it's great for different types of learning styles and I wanted something that I could use with both my kids. We rarely spend more than 20 minutes in AAR and, once dd learned to blend the sounds together, she's had no trouble picking up new concepts as they're introduced. And I don't really see it as slow since you can move at their pace. We've had a lesson or two where we spent a week or so on it, but for the most part we end up finishing a lesson in a day or two unless I feel she needs to spend an extra day re-reading the stories. As her confidence grows, though, that's happening less and less.
  24. Dd has been asking to learn the piano lately and due to finances, we really can't afford to get her lessons. I was thinking about getting her a keyboard for her 6th birthday and using Hoffman Academy with her. Anyone have any experience with it and is it worth the money for the monthly subscription?
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