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  1. My 12 year old recently transferred into school and I'm still figuring out the school's balance of homework with how she works. She's had way more projects than I was expecting, but a lot less daily afterschool work so it's mainly figuring out how to divide it all up that suits her 'I want to get it all done and out of the way but I also want to do all these other things' personality. 2 hours in junior high sounds like a lot to me as my daughter's school tries to be firm on a one hour a night max of homework/revision policy, but this varies so much by school. During the school week, I tend to keep any additions bitesize - I try to keep to the school's policy of one hour additional work including instrument and additional language practice (I typically add in reading) and add at least one hour entirely hers (which she gets way more than most days though it can be a bit tight on Cadet night), and one hour with the family and helping (dinner, tidying together, and family time). While I'm considering another addition or two later once she's more in the flow, I keep anything bigger than that for Saturday mornings and breaks. With my kids still at home, we already do a Tuesday to Saturday schedule and I've adjusted so the main work is Tuesday-Friday and on Saturday mornings we do things the now in school child wants to be included in or that I think is important for her to still do that she isn't in school. Some Saturdays, she spends the whole time on school projects because she's been given 3-4 of them and she wants to get them all out of the way so she isn't worried about it later. We did a bit more over the recent spring break (though she had a project in almost every academic subject + art), but it's still a struggle figuring out that balance and how to prioritize the time. She misses doing a few things and there are a few things I'd like to at least review with her, but she needs her downtime. I'm trying to focus on what is the minimum I want to ensure we pass on, additions that I'd like or she would like to do, and ways to review more regularly in a short and fun way as a family that doesn't feel like more work to her on already busy days. It's difficult, especially when schools pile on a lot, but I think if I keep those in mind and try to be realistic that I wasn't getting everything even when she was home and the opportunities she has at her new school mean I need be even more selective of what I think is most important to include at home. I think most school days giving her space and being a soundboard for her thoughts and helping her find ways understand and express them better is just as valuable as anything else I could come up for her.
  2. I semi-moved halfway through MM6, in part because of issues with the geometry (I'm one of many I've seen that feels geometry is one of the weaker areas of MM). My older two who have gone through it did a page of Math Essential and a page of MM6 in a related area or an area they needed to work on each day so they didn't do all of the second half MM6. With Math Essentials, the video lessons are nice and straightforward, the review worked well, I mainly used book 2 though added in some parts of book 1 (easily done with PDFs to print out), and I felt it gave a good overall check of any gaps before moving onto MEP 7 and secondary level maths. They also have a geometry specific book which I'm considering for my currently Year 5 child for next year as she's struggling even more with the issues of geometry in MM, though Math Essentials doesn't have videos for the supplement books.
  3. In the last few years, we've done both - usually one day a week we do general science that uses a book with a variety of science topics or covers a range of science skills and the rest we do in-depth on a topic of interest for several weeks or more at a time - we spent several months last year doing anatomy and body science, sometimes spending a week up to a couple of months on different body systems. We're in the middle of a break while shifting onto a new topic after our spring break later this month.
  4. With my older two, I did a review in the second half Year 6 and into Year 7 to check for gaps and firm up the foundations before we moved on to secondary maths. For one this involved catch-up due to issues elsewhere and the other was kinda burnt out on maths and needed a change of pace to see the forest for the trees again. As mentioned by hhm, Math Essentials has a lot that can help. It worked well for us, the videos and notes on the page were great. This was our base. I bought both the general books PDF, the first one has some topics that the middle school/high school one doesn't so I add in those pages and included both books end review sections. Each day is one page which can be good for a child who dislikes maths and doesn't need a lot of repetition. I added a page of Math Mammoth or maths puzzle or other things on the back each day. For Math Mammoth, one piece of advice I found helpful when we switched to it in primary was if buying the big bundle, just going through the all the review sections from the start to see what is already there and what need works. Another option that might be worth considering is MEP for Year 7. Most of the sections are online with checks right there to see if you got it right (lovely for me as they don't argue with me anymore about it) and it's free to look through and print and it alternates between reviewing arithmetic with more complicated topics in Year 7 & I think 8 and even 9 had a bit of review in the first half. This is what we do after the Y6 review and it is, for us, a great gentle move into heavier secondary maths topics (though this jumps up significantly in Year 9). Both my maths loving child and my maths is an evil I barely tolerate child took well to it. Having a very clear beginning and end to what we were doing each day so she could see the light at the end of the tunnel was a major help to my the maths is evil child.
  5. I've done so many things for spelling, mainly for my eldest. We've done phonics-based ones, but he struggles to hear the differences in a lot of sounds and remembering the rules, we've done word origin based ones (Words by Marcia K Henry was helpful and I am intending to pull it back out for my 9-year-old in the autumn) but again memory comes into play, we've done Sequential Spelling, we've done Essentials for Teaching and Testing Spelling which has word lists by age, we've done daily dictation for spelling, we've done CGP books, and at times we've done a mixture of a few of these. Each one helps a bit, but still at 14 and years of this, the occasional 'thum' gets put down. It's frustrating for all involved and the best advice I've been given is don't spend a lot on it and use something none of you hate that you can do in 20 or so minutes and move on. Really, the only thing that worked for my struggling spellers is a lot of repetition and having them actively look back over his work and underline which ones they think may be misspelt. Being proactively working on the editing side and get into the habit of checking has helped things move along. Right now, my 7-year-old doesn't do spelling separately, he's working through Ultimate Phonics and we discuss and work on spelling with that as most of the lists are grouped by sound and spelling. So today it was Multisyllable >> Consonant plus le so words like candle, simple, eagle in reading and copywork. With my 14 and 9-year-old, we're currently using SpellingCity for practice. I keep a notepad on my computer of words they get wrong in their writing along with some words from elsewhere like lists of homophones and words similar to the ones they missed from the word lists by age. I update their lists weekly or so. They currently have two lists, a general list and a homophone list, though the 14-year-old is soon going to have a general and science word list though I imagine they're/there/their is going to show up in general now and then. My 12-year-old also has a list, but as a natural speller, I more often pull off of 'words commonly misspelt by high schoolers' and other similar lists and as she's recently transferred into school, we're still working on how or whether to include in afterschooling.
  6. Before my first was born, I hadn't really given vaccines much thought. In the time between him being born and his six weeks check up when he was meant to get his first jabs when I was not in the best place physically or mentally. I did a lot of reading through a lens of panic and horrific experiences with far too many medical professionals. Having both dealt with medical abuse and the struggle to get justice for it which at times involved even when the hospital would admit something what someone had done was illegal, they still tried to make it out to be my fault, I was scared that if the worst happened, I would get the same treatment and my child would suffer for it. It just seemed safer as we seemed so low risk to delay and be selective about vaccines. It was also in part wanting to feel like I had some control after feeling so helpless when it came to doctors and hospitals and such. That the only support I had at that time other than my husband was an online 'green parenting' group with lots of other mothers who had also dealt with abusive medical professionals did not help anything. It felt like we all had just enough science knowledge to see threats, but not enough to judge them appropriately alongside the reality of our experiences of the medical systems. Now, over 14 years later, all my kids are up to date and I actively seek out extra vaccines for my kids when I can. My oldest is soon to get his teen boosters and will then be getting the HPV and MenB vaccines privately (he's just missed the cut-off for the HPV on the NHS). Nothing big happened, no outbreaks or anything like that. It was mostly time and understanding people and better information written to explain the science and risks well rather than scare stories and name calling. I think being able to discuss the risks and the issues within medical systems and corporations in a realistic way rather than they're all bad or all just want the best for us was really helpful. Stories like the recent one of the French family who didn't vaccinate who went to Costa Rica and caused an outbreak when the country had been measles-free for years have always frustrated me as I've always felt that if choosing not to vaccinate then it's important to use other ways to reduce the risks to yourself and to others in high-risk scenarios like aeroplanes and daycare and places like that. I've changed my mind about a lot of things over the years. Some things have been in a snap, just the right bit of information or the right understand person explaining something to shift my point of view like a missing puzzle piece making the picture clearer and sometimes it's taken years of coming to terms and finding a better path. Immigrating to the UK from the US did open my eyes to many things as has just more life experience.
  7. My recently-turned-14-year-old son really likes cosplay, roleplaying, ninja warrior/beast master, and is interested in a snail mail penpal. We're in middle of Olde England .
  8. Write On by Karen Newell might be of use as it gives very unthreatening examples to go through which makes it feel more doable alongside the objectives and directions for each all contained on one page (though sometimes the examples are on more than one, all the instructions are on one). It goes from words and sentences up to the writing of a thesis and includes writing skills and concepts, academic outlining and writing, creative writing like fiction and poetry, writing about history and literature and spelling words and more. I've used it both as the recommended schedule and breaking it up into the above topics so we can focus on one area or another and found it helpful for my older kids who are struggling to write. I found it quite possible to do daily on the recommended schedule until we got to the 40s (out of a hundred) with my then-8 year old and my older two started to struggle in the 60s which is when I went through and made a list by topic for us to help us all focus. Now, we're starting to do writing time with that weekly with either revision days or freewriting the rest of the week to help build up writing stamina and practice skills. We also do typing at times for other areas of the curriculum - particularly if it involves reading on a computer - but as their qualification exams will most likely be handwritten, we do composition by hand almost all of the time. For freewriting,I use this which was posted on this forum but sadly I lost who wrote it between editing the notepad I saved it to and the forum update. I sometimes add 1-2 minutes on the times for brief outlining and for my anxious child, having it contained like this and discussing gently but not pushing for much revision then and there on these pieces both helped them relax as well as helped develop from very brief stream of consciousness style sentences to a coherent paragraph on one topic with clearer handwriting. I hope you find something that works, I've found writing one of more difficult topics to teach and for my kids to do.
  9. Another I would recommend is the Blackwell Pages trilogy particularly since he liked Percy Jackson. They're good generally but also if he also has an interest in mythology (it's specially Norse based) -- or werewolves, werewolves is how I sold them to one of mine though I think the books just call them shifters. About as PG as a teen-angst apocalypse can be.
  10. I agree with others on trying different methods, possibly multiple short ones daily, and that a review period is pretty common after time off particularly in the earlier years. Part of what worked here for my very rules-just-make-it-worse spellers is a combined effort. My older three have independent spelling (previously written but now we use SpellingCity which encourages mine to practice more), dictation sentences on a whiteboard, a few challenge words which are marked and put into sentences, and spelling checks on their literature summaries and composition work. Self-checking has been helpful as well - having them underline anything they think is wrong - and I'll underline anything I catch before I add all the words to their word bank which I build the independent spelling lists from weekly and discuss it with them. Some words get rotated on and off their lists. Having them check their own work and making that check just part of the writing process has helped and made our lives easier with writing which for two of my kids has long been a struggle.
  11. For science and history (and many other things), I have a spreadsheet - science by topic, history I have two where the main one is timelined and the other is a more flexible topic of interest. In each section, I put resources, assignments, activities by either general key stages (early primary is KS1, late primary KS2, middle school KS3, first half of high school KS4...) or by a specific year which is mostly for older kids where X resources needs to be done before Y so it's easier to have X one year and Y the next. We do We come together for activities, documentaries or family reading, but I do assign quite a bit independent reading and work like for science a couple of my kids this year use Science Detective by Critical Thinking Company or CPG books for their key stage as a general science. Sometimes for history, I'll do a family reading and have my older kids take notes or assign the reading depending on time/energy/how things are going generally.
  12. Along with mixing up the topics, maybe the new MM review books might be of use to help slow things down and work more on concepts. I'm considering it for my daughter as we're in the midst of MM4 now and I'm not sure how she'll do with the speed.
  13. Likely there will be similar stories some local to you, but when we dug deep into it we started with small-scale life and built outwards and one of early labour disputes in the Industrial Revolution in England that he might be interested in was the Lockout at Derby Silk Mill which there is a small film that was made in Derby partially at the site of it (which is now a museum, saved partially because it's one of the first industrial silk mills though the story goes the techniques to industrialize came from Italy and the Englishman who brought it to Derby stole them as part of early industrial espionage). We started with the small stories and then built out how that affected elsewhere and even to labour laws we have today.
  14. I prefer Secondary to Primary MEP - it has a very different format with what's taught mostly on the page and done examples right there so I can point to them as we talk through it. We use the online tutorials when available (they like the computer and it means they tend to argue with me less about whether or not the answer is right...) along the side of the books. , the mental tests at the end of each section, and the overhead and other activities as needed or when fun (I used them far more for Year 7 than for later years). The diagnostic tests are helpful for catching growing gaps before they get too far and the revision tests and extra exercises are helpful when they're found. I've only a couple times needed outside resources to help and practice. It's far less parent-intensive, it's a good transition for kids taking on more of the work themselves. I think it could be quite possible to do the Y7-Y9 in two years for a strong math student before high school (doing one lesson a day and tests without any days for just activities) or do it as 6-8th instead or have 9th being an integrated math course before moving onto a more traditional format if you don't want to use the GCSE program. Some US schools do use integrated math. In the high school I graduated from, there were four years of maths literally titled Integrated Maths (grade level). Having transferred from a high school with a more tradition format it was difficult (and I ended up using the local community college to finish math instead, but that was more an issue of having moved so often I had gaps that I needed to go back to move forward rather than an issue with the program). You might need more of a description for a transcript but if you like MEP, I think it would certainly be doable.
  15. Write On! by Karen Newell (self-described as "The Kid-Friendly Mother Pleasing, Gentle Way to Learn To Write" which I've found mostly accurate) has worked well for my very reluctant writers and has a lot of handholding through the parent section at the beginning of the book and each section has listed objects and steps and an example for you and your child to see. A recommendation I got on here - http://www.pobble365.com/ - has been great here for helping with talking through possible ideas and creative writing. Typing more has been helpful here and, as said by kaxy, having him dictate to you sometimes might help. Having my reluctant writers read an article or other short writing and then go over three or so of things of interest, to typing it as a list and working to make it a paragraph as helped. Writing has been the trickiest subject here, I fully sympathize - it's a struggle many have.
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