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Everything posted by Mimicoto

  1. Chiefcook - this exactly : "He can discuss and analyze verbally far more than he can communicate coherently in writing." This has all been so helpful!
  2. Thank you EVERYONE for the wonderful replies. All of them validating and helpful. Given my DDs precociousness, it has been hard to guage whether the level of engagement and support for my son's needs is appropriate. Lori D. - I agree with you 1000% and am already placing my brain on standby to drop or adjust the higher level studies if they start to impact his enjoyment. I may touch base again with his instructors this week to feel them out on reducing some of the requirements.....particularly since he will be starting IEW this week and will have another writing-intensive item on his list. I spoke with the course provider (Williamsburg Academy) before enrolling him in STEM and Humanities to explain his situation and they were / are supportive of accommodating him. However, unless we absolutely have to, I'd like him to stay enrolled - participating in MS level classes is a point of pride for him and is doing a world of good for his confidence....his late-blooming skills have made him self-conscious about his abilities, made him question his intelligence....which becomes a bit self-fulfilling for a student who doesn't think he can succeed. Much of the time, I transcribe his writing assignments for him - he talks, and I type. This is helping him to loosen up with his words, and I am more than ok with this. I will feel more comfortable doing this now....he is working on handwriting and typing separately, and that's good enough for me. I'll let him keep 'expressive writing abilities' and 'technical writing skills' separate until he doesn't have to think so much about them and they begin to become more natural. I should add....he does math lessons and practice,, TONS of free reading guitar practice and assigned reading for STEM and Humanities independently - and has good research skills in those areas as well. Gosh, I'm pretty proud of him! :hurray:
  3. Our family has returned to Homeschooling after a one year hiatus. Based on our initial experience, we are doing things much differently - much more outsourcing, much less mom-designed work. For the most part, things are going well and this is a setup that allows us to continue homeschooling within the limitations and realities of our family dynamic ;-) DD 13 is very independent and autonomous - always has been. She is doing very well and requires little to no input from me - although I do covert monitoring daily to make sure everything stays on track. DH 10 is another story altogether. He is very bright, but has always been reluctant (to put it mildly) to do schoolwork. He has done a brilliant job of applying himself so far this year, but has some extra ground to cover and is lacking in the skills that will eventually make it possible for him to work more efficiently and quickly. Specifically: 1) he has great verbal ability, but is an extremely hesitant and slow writer. 2) he is still learning to manage his time and apply himself to tasks in a self-organized manner, and sometimes seems to struggle to understand what is being asked of him in an assignment. I should add that, while he is in 5th Grade, he is enrolled in MS content courses for Humanities and Science - he is more than capable of handling the content, but due the writing delays (and lack of formal experience with this level of studies) sometimes struggles with the output side of things. At the moment, I am spending a LOT of time working 'with' him, helping him to plan his work, decipher the assignments, complete his work and 'coach' him through the writing required. I haven't kept track of exactly how much time, but I'll jot it down over the next week to see....but it's a heavy percentage of the time - definitely more than 50% of the time he's doing active work. I have to say that he has come a long way in a short time and is honestly giving it his best effort. This is the first year that he 'wants' to do well and is taking more pride in his work. I would add that he remains a curious and lively child - loves to read and enjoys learning. But I do need to prod him along often ;-) We are both working with the understanding that the goal is for him to transition to more independence as the school year unfolds, and he is accepting and embracing that. I am very grateful as well that we enrolled him in a Leadership Course that focuses on time managements and personal responsibility. It is a huge gift for any child IMHO. There is a question in all of this.....I'm curious to know from others who have BTDT if this is typical of the age and of boys in general? He doesn't seem to be chaffing at the demands too much, but does find the workload challenging.... BTW, I am ok with this for the time being - it is where he is and I am grateful to have this opportunity to be sure he has a strong foundation before the higher grades hit. I'm pretty sure he would be at risk of seriously lagging in traditional class room setting. Just wondering if this falls within the range of normal....ish....
  4. Thank you for the suggestions! I will give them a look - much appreciated :001_smile:
  5. Our children are heading back to school this fall after 2 years of homeschooling. For a variety of reasons, both kids are a bit behind in math and need to ramp up before the fall. Their tutor (who will be their Math teacher this fall - bonus!), feels that they need to review grade level concepts as well as increase their fluency / speed on basic functions. Can anyone suggest a solid, open and go workbook that will do the job for my 6th Grader? We have been using giftedandtalented.com for new concepts and are very happy with it, but we need something to supplement that will help her solidify early middle school math skills that she seems to have forgotten. We have Evan Moor 6th Grade Skill Sharpeners on hand, as well as Saxon 7/6 which she had been working through. We could likely use the timed tests from Saxon, but I'm looking for something efficient and not teacher intensive. thanks in advance for any and all suggestions!!
  6. We haven't used readers & workbooks until just recently....DD had a (very) short stint at a PS with an IS option. It didn't work out for us BUT she discovered a literary analysis program that she absolutely loved from Teacher Created Resources, and from my view, was thorough, engaging and not too pricey. I plan to get another unit with book for her to study - you can find them here... https://www.teachercreated.com/books/literature-units?level=6th-grade I haven't taken a thorough look at it yet, so I'm not sure how 'open and go' it is (we received a bundle of photocopied pages from the teacher that DD worked through). The sample pages don't provide a full perspective, but basically the books are divided up into 4 or 5 sections with activities suggested for each of those sections. Some activities are for a single child, others are for small groups. I get the impression it could be done 'big' or 'small'. Is this the type of material you are looking for? I look forward to hearing other responses and ideas, since lit analysis is something DD really seems to enjoy and I would love for her to continue on this streak!
  7. Thanks everyone for the encouragement :001_smile: I am making good on my commitments to better self-care as well and started a course of acupuncture this week. It is something that has worked very well for me in the past, and should help me get on the rails again. Bigger picture changes are also afoot with regard to workload and generally the way we organize home, school, work and life. The whole family is 'done' with the current set up and motivated to change....gently, yes, but change absolutely Oh boy! You know it!!!! Hang in there Ausmumof3..... :grouphug: :iagree: So well said....it has definitely been a huge learning experience for all of us and for that we are truly grateful.
  8. A HUGE thank you IEF !!! I had no idea single grades were available! I've already ordered the Grade 3 package, plus some play money from Amazon (RR was out of stock) and we are good to go. I am soooo kicking myself for not having given Saxon a try earlier - both my kids are using it now (DD 7/6 and DS will start 3 as soon as it arrives) and it is exactly what we need right now. :hurray:
  9. Popping in quickly to update.... We are slowly righting the ship here....I moved quickly to enroll DD in the independent studies program - she had her first teacher meeting Monday and has been chugging away on her assignments since then. It is not ideal from a content standpoint, but it is a style of working that suits her and it will ensure that she's moving forward, unimpeded by my inability to plan everything for her right now. Met with a tutor for DS....wonderful woman with a ton of experience, both as a homeschooler and a teacher....only to discover that DS is working within his grade level on math. Made some curriculum changes to both Math and Language Arts to simplify our program. It's a good start. Still work to be done in establishing a more sustainable work flow at home, but we are on our way....
  10. Thank you everyone for the input! We are going ahead with Saxon 3 - he needs the facts practice, and it does look like the review will be manageable. A quick follow-up question if anyone is still around....did you use the manipulatives kit?? I see that Sonlight / Bookshark offer a kit targeted at 'just' SM 3, so we wouldn't need to get the full K-3 kit... Thoughts??
  11. We are switching DS 8.5 to Saxon Math for a variety of reasons, the most important being that 1) he is just not as solid on the fundamentals (basic math facts, fact families etc.) as he should be, and 2) he could use some confidence-building in math before we start to tackle more advanced concepts. I've just completed the Saxon Math Placement Test with DS, and he is 'right' on the cusp of Saxon Math 2 and 3, and I'm looking for your thoughts....he is literally one point off of 'passing' to Math 3. He performed the test well and confidently, and only hesitated on a couple of concepts - areas that we have not yet covered (fractions and reading a thermometer that had a scale of 2 degrees per line). I am leaning towards beginning with Math 2 simply because it will give us an opportunity to get a strong, 'fresh start' on math while having a thorough refresher course for him on the basics. We could easily do the chapter / review tests and only double back on concepts that need work. I am concerned about getting him in to Math 3 and having him (and me!) feeling discouraged if it's just too much of a stretch for him... Would it be worth keeping him at the Saxon 2 level - and accelerating him as needed, or should we head straight into Saxon Math 3? I am fine either way - my priority is to give him a rock-solid foundation in math. I should note he has no delays and understands math intuitively - he's been tripped up by inconsistencies and curriculum errors. Would love your thoughts!
  12. Closing the loop here....we've decided to go with CLE for the 'core' LA skills training and continue with ELTL on the side for literature study and narration. Will also keep plugging away on the Getty-Dubay and work torwards beginning cursive soon. BTW, I was amazed at how decent DS's spelling was in the assessments! We've never done anything formal - just a ton of reading and copywork.....go CM go!! :-))
  13. Indeed! Quick follow-up - do you use the Teachers Guide?? I think I have this on hand (oh goodness, all the tools I have that have not been used!! :blushing: ). Thanks for the reminder!
  14. Hi Katie - I'm looking through the units and this looks like exactly what the doctor ordered!!! We will do the diagnostic test to see where he fits best, but I am officially heaving a big sigh of relief... :o Having everything in one place so we are SURE to cover things off on an ongoing basis is key - our life needs a bit of simple right now. I'm fine with the religious content - we used CLE math for a time, and enjoyed the gentle spirit those references lent to the lessons. Huge thank you!!!
  15. Katie - your son is the same age as mine, so this sounds interesting. And yes - open-and-go is where it's at right now! We looooove all of the meandering we do with literature and poetry, but DS and I can easily get blown off course....I am going to take a look at this, it sounds right up our alley....and possibly something we could do while not dropping our beloved ELTL... I'm heading over to take a look....what level / book are you using?? ETA: I've just found their LA diagnostic test online, so I'll take a look at that. Thank you!!
  16. We've crossed paths on the 3rd Grade Writing thread :-))) I do love ELTL....and no, we haven't been doing the memory work...so I'm excited to take a look at Growing with Grammar ....that would be great reinforcement. HWOT - is that Handwriting Without Tears??
  17. @Displace, you are so generous - thank you!!!! While I think of it, I just read on your siggie that you are OG trained....is that the phonogram thingie (sorry, I'm so tired!). I just posted in the curriculum thread - maybe you have some light to shed on this for me? http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/586477-help-me-design-a-targeted-language-arts-program-for-8-year-old/?do=findComment&comment=6821956 My DD works well independently, and we will be set up with a binder system next week. DS is very much hands on....but I am gently working on having him do more independently. Advance planning will be crucial for this. Unfortunately carpooling and public transportation aren't options....we live in a small(ish) center and the barn is rural, so it's not practical....I don't even know if they have public transport out that way... As for DD, she already works for most of her lessons. We are extremely fortunate as she is very gifted and has been taken under the head trainer's wing.... We probably pay for about 1/3 of the horse time she gets....in exchange, she assists with building jumps and works the more challenging horses for the riding school. It is not something we could afford otherwise, but she is talented enough that she is being followed closely by key folks internationally...it is her passion, she works extremely hard and it could be her future....so we are choosing to bite some serious bullets to ride out some lean times..
  18. My 8 year old DS was an extremely reluctant writer and it was one of reasons we came around to homeschooling. He is a voracious reader and has a fantastic vocabulary - but he is lagging in writing, grammar and spelling. By grammar I mean basics such as capitalization, punctuation and by writing I mean the ability formulating a sentence independently. He does copywork, but is still writing in manuscript. He is ready for more of a challenge...he is willing now. And I need some help in targeting our efforts as to be honest, we've wasted a fair bit of time by being inconsistent with his lessons. Really inconsistent. What I would like is something (or somethingS) with few bells and whistles - it needs to be straightforward and allow us to stay focused on skill building. He WANTS to spell and is constantly asking me to give him words to spell. He is very expressive verbally and narrates very well. We need tools that are simple and unencumbered....just for a short season, mom and son have to stop getting sidetracked by all the beautiful books!!! Can you help? Here is what we have on hand for materials: Spelling: * RLTL - but to be honest, I'm intimidated by the phonograms as it is a new system to me * Spelling Power - have started with the assessments but have not followed through Grammar & Writing: * ELTL - love it to bits, but am thinking of putting it aside for a little while so we can concentrate on some matters of grammar and handwriting in a more 'intensive' way....ELTL is slow and gentle, and sometimes I think we get too bogged down in the stories and poetry and end up passing on the 'meat' of the lessons. He reads a ton as it is - and perhaps we could keep going with the reading list, but find a targeted tool to work on grammar basics Handwriting: * HLTL - I have it but have never printed it or used it * Getty-Dubay Italic Book C (the one that transitions to cursive). It is getting used, but he is still printing. Any suggestions would be appreciated - including materials, schedule, frequency etc.
  19. Apologies upfront for the massive multiquote post, but I couldn't figure out a better way to do this. As you all have been helping me process this, my eyes have been opened to some of the ways we're just really not helping ourselves out much. Yes, we have a lot going on and yes, I do pretty much single-parent a lot of the time. And yes, I'm exhausted.....BUT, I think the fatigue and stress and just simply being worn out has blinded me to the ways I'm hampering our efforts, and weakened me to the point where I've just kind of given up putting things right. It seems pretty clear that if our home and our homeschool are to work better than they are at present, I'm going to have to step up, draw some lines in the sand and (wo)man up :001_smile: There are two parallel themes or issues I see coming through in experiences and comments shared by many of you: 1) Schooling needs to be priority #1. School time has to be blocked out, and that time respected by everyone - including me. I am as guilty as anyone, if not more so. This means early bed times (we're not so bad here), set getting-up times for the crew. This means a plan in place, systems in place and the home running in a predictable manner. This is something I crave and used to have down pat, but have just kind of given up with the wear and tear brought on by our lives. Decision fatigue is just killing me. 2) My DSs situation is hardly unique and can be remedied - likely without much difficulty....just some targeted, consistent effort on everyone's part and we'll get him there. See #1 above :001_rolleyes: I will be posting on the K-8 Curriculum thread for specific advice. ....and as quick updates, we have enrolled DD in the Independent Studies program I mentioned way upthread, with the view that we keep her there for the balance of the school year. This will take the planning, scheduling, grading off of my plate for a few short months so I have just a bit of breathing room and to reduce the overwhelm. We are also meeting with a Math tutor for DS tomorrow. Same deal - some additional support for me, some recommendations targeted to his needs and a plan and roadmap to help him move forward. On my end, time to return to FlyLady....many years ago when the kids were still baby and toddler and DH had just started traveling (and I was still working!!), FlyLady saved my sanity.....I could use a bit of that right now... Yes - the kids do help with chores. They've been taking on a bit more of late, and I'm thankful for their help... This. Absolutely. One small challenge on our end is that DH works from home...and sometimes stuff IS urgent (we also deal with multiple time zones, and that causes some special pressures. So I LOVE the notion of 2 school slots....That is doable....I could also easily have the kids do their literature or history reading or other independent task during that time. I realized during the week that Saturday school will be necessary if DS does 2 days of enrichment. :iagree: :iagree: :iagree: This part has been huge for us - the kids were in private school before, and time where all of us were together was rare. We have loved truly getting to know one another....it has been absolutely transformational. MillyDilly, thank you....your words from the other end of the equation meant a great deal to me. Perspective is important, and the critical thing is that I 'think' our family has woken up to the need to take action at the right time. :grouphug:
  20. I'm back with something I just remembered last night....I had asked Kathy Jo something about Level 4 and she brought to my attention the fact that all the memory work is in the Appendix of each book. I do like to write down, or have the kids write down, the grammar rules but if you're stuck for time, it's already there in one place...
  21. Beautifully said! Thank you!!!! She's not up to the bookkeeping just yet as we are generally working with several countries and currencies....plus I've been able to automate that pretty well....but we have started getting her (and her brother!!) to help with more aspects of the business and home. DH had her help him put his key documents together before this current trip. I'm also having her work up a budget for her extracurriculars to help inform her choices. Ours isn't a business that has inventory, but the kids do know a lot about technology and that comes in really handy. DS likes to help with equipment set-up....and he is also our VP of Shredding :lol: Of late, I've been keeping my eyes open for things they can take on...they are generally pretty happy to help out, especially with papers, filing etc. Channelling that more effectively would be a boon to everyone...
  22. Thank you for the reality check, reminder and encouragement!!! The bolded portions are critical....and I have realized over the past few days of reflection that I HAVE lost sight of our goals to an unhealthy degree. Some is life-related, some is the creeping influence of the Charter ISPs in which we enrolled both children this year....and some is the disappointment that there wouldn't be a 'quick fix' to the imbalances that are currently running our household. The assessment was an eye-opener, to more than just my DSs academic status....we (or rather, I) have become myopic about my kids studies and their learning. I've fallen into the traps of "needing something for turn in", and meeting the school's content requirements...wasting valuable time, adding more stress and seeing my kids' resistance to 'learning' go back up.... That's not what we wanted when we started homeschooling....I'm beginning to think that what I originally saw as a major crisis is quite possibly the wake-up call our family needed to make much-needed changes in many departments, and get back to the roots of 'why' we homeschool and what we really hope and pray that our children will gain from family-based education. Funny how that works, isn't it?? :001_cool:
  23. Ok - have you downloaded the samples from Lulu.com? There are about 6 lessons of each level in the samples, and all of the 'up front' information about how to use, reading lists etc. is included. A full table of contents for each level can also be found - that will give you an idea of what is covered by that particular Level. You will also find Kathy Jo's recommendation about which levels are appropriate for stage. Don't quote me, but what I recall is that Levels 4 and 5 contain material that should be covered before High School. My DD is in 6th grade and has a decent grammar background, is a good writer but is crossing that threshold of writing with purpose on subjects, taking notes, gathering info from sources etc....and is also new to narration. I have her using Level 4 and I'm glad I chose it. It is allowing her to become familiar with the CM methods, she is enjoying classic lit for the first time, and she'll still have a level ahead of her when she finishes with this. If nothing else, download the samples, look through Levels 4 & 5, and work with your dc on a couple of weeks of lessons - see how it goes... ETA: Here is the link to the Samples....hopefully it works for you! http://www.lulu.com/shop/kathy-jo-devore/samples-english-lessons-through-literature/ebook/product-21697611.html HTH!
  24. Goodness! The support, understanding and great, practical ideas keep coming!! Thank you!! Arcadia - those test are a great resource :thumbup1: I read and re-read this thread last night and again this morning, and have a new resolve to homeschool. Your encouragement has been invaluable - you've helped me remember the 'why' behind homeschooling for us. I WANT to homeschool our kids....it is still the right choice for us as a family. I am mapping out a firm schedule to put into place, have been exchanging with a local tutor who looks very promising and am preparing the paperwork to withdraw my DD from the Charter that gives us more hoops and paperwork than the funding is worth. I've left messages with the IS program...will investigate further and see if it could work for her, even just for the balance of the school year as a means to help us catch our breath. I think all of this might be doable. We expect to have more $$ to work with from March onward (God willing!!), so I've also been thinking objectively about some of the business tasks that are on my plate, and considering how I might be able to bring someone on - even just one day a week - to look after that stuff. It's a conversation DH and I started before he left, so hopefully this 'mission impossible' stage of our life is coming to a close. If the funds don't come as planned, that's another thing entirely....but I realized that we were willing to find a way to pay Private School tuition, so we can find a way to pay for other things that will make our lives run more smoothly and put us all in a healthier place. Either way, the kids will be in the right place academically come fall, and if if if school is needed and/or desired, they'll be ready. Cross that bridge when we get to it.... :iagree: :iagree: :iagree: I wouldn't say that we've ever considered it to be a hobby, BUT I will say that I have failed to apply what I learned in my professional career to our homeschool. I would also say that nothing prepares one for how huge an undertaking this is...especially if one doesn't homeschool from the beginning. I was CLUELESS going in! :lol: Treating school as the number one priority is going to demand a culture shift in our house - especially with DH....he will need to learn to respect the limits set on my time....and I will need to learn to be firm about those times. And I will need to learn to put school first and leave the house and all else until after that's looked after as KSinNS pointed out. And we will all need to learn that just because we can be flexible doesn't mean that we will or should be flexible all of the time. Oh do I hear you on that!!! In fairness to DH, we've BOTH been overworked. It has been really rough on all of us, but we have stayed focused and hopeful and done the best we could to keep it together. It sure wasn't an intentional thing, but it is absolutely not sustainable or healthy for anybody in the long run. I agree with you and have definitely found the 2 days out to really pose a challenge to making steady progress on DSs studies. However, the group activities are sooooo important to him, and the classes are really good. It's his extroversion and need to be around others that motivated us to look at FT school in the first place. But, I think there's a solution to be found...he usually goes from 9-2:30, but classes don't start until 10:00. He can easily spend an hour on his studies at home before leaving for enrichment day, and add a short study session on Saturdays if need be. And there's still summer to work with. Letting those classes go would be counterproductive...he really would be miserable...Honestly I think intensifying his studies will help a lot - he's at loose ends to often.
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