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Everything posted by Freya

  1. Well, the adjustment hasn't been very smooth so far. My daughter thinks it's okay, but she is also thinking that she'd like to return to homeschooling next year. The kids are nice enough, she says, but she doesn't really connect with anyone there. I'ts been a bit disappointing. It's a small school with little turn over, so that is unlikely to change. If nothing else, this year will help us to see what we love about homeschooling. We'll see how it works out as the year goes on. Plus, having to do 186 math questions when she gets it after 5 is a bit tedious. As for me, I'm finding it exhausting. Between the driving, washing uniforms, making lunches and filling out forms, I'm spending close to the same amount of time on getting my daughter to school as I did on educating her at home. I have some flexibility in my time during the day, which means that even though I have a lot to do, I can take a day off and relax without the world collapsing. I guess that's good, because I'm tired. In a lot of ways, I find homeschooling way easier.
  2. I wish that was true. One of the decision-making parties doesn't value education at all and wouldn't be interested in moving somewhere with better schools. Blended families complicate things so much. I agree. If someone wants to spend $85 on a skirt for their child, my blessings to them. I, however, am not one of those people. I just can't afford that. I've thought about challenging the uniform policy but am afraid that I will just be seen as the new troublemaker. As much as she hates the uniforms, my daughter has begged me to not say anything because she doesn't want everyone at her new school to dislike us, and I get that because being the new kid in a relatively small school is a precarious position to be in. I'm usually not one to just sit and take things as they come; rather, I'm usually pretty happy to rock the boat as needed but I also don't want to make my daughter's experience miserable by turning the staff against our family. I've carefully put a brief thought or two out there to one of the people in charge just to test the waters and have been either ignored or shut down quite quickly. While I have no idea how the families feel about the uniforms, I'm getting the sense that the administrators are quite attached to the status quo. That said, it might be worth persisting because affordable options do seem like they would be for the common good. And they would certainly be good for my bank account. My husband has visited a few times at a local charter school, which also has uniforms, and he noticed that a lot of the kids were wearing clothes that looked 2 sizes too big for them and that they were quite dirty by the end of the week. Now he understands why. If you don't want to do laundry constantly and you can't afford to spend $1000 on a full week's worth of uniform pieces, I guess that's the next best alternative. .I can totally see how homeschooling would make you more meddlesome about what your kids were being asked to do in school. I can see that in my future. I don't want to be the parent who drives all the teachers nuts, but, at the same time, I care deeply about my daughter's education and if I see things I don't like it will be really, really hard to be quiet about it. Sure, I'd be game to join a club for the transitioning people. It sounds like it might be a really valuable thing.
  3. Thanks for all your thoughts. I really appreciate it. This is just a trying time ... I don't mean to sound so negative, but I am so frustrated and discouraged that I needed to vent. I wish we could move -- I've thought of that -- but we are a blended family, which means that we are pretty well stuck where we are until the kids are grown up. It would be nice to get all parties to agree on moving to the same place and to be able to find work for everyone who needs it, but, sadly, that is pretty well impossible. Therefore, we will have to make do with what we have here. The school my daughter is going to doesn't really fit neatly into any category. It's sort of like a charter school. The education part is funded by the government, but the building and grounds are not. Hence, the fees. It's a school that didn't find support from the local school board, in spite of the fact that they follow the public curriculum, and joined another board that is outside of our area. It's complicated. I do hope that it will turn out well. I expect that my daughter will settle in faster than I will, because (ahem) it's me who is having attitude problems. I guess it's better me than her, because at least she's more likely to be happy with the changes.
  4. My daughter is tired of homeschooling and last year was a disaster, academically. She was very unhappy and unmotivated. The last two years were actually very unpleasant. The homeschooling community where we live is very disconnected and it seems that no amount of effort will get anything going. She's lonely and she wants to spends more time with other kids, which I get. There are a few kids in the neighborhood that she plays with, but that's it. She's actually pretty excited about starting public school -- it's me who's having the problems. I think I'm going to hate my new job description. I've already spent so much time filling out forms, shopping for school supplies that we would never need for homeschooling, trying to sort out where we are supposed to be on which days, shopping for uniforms (searching for that elusive pair of pants that will both fit my daughter properly and meet the school's requirements) and gym shoes, e-mailing the school with questions. We have to pay a small fortune for uniforms -- (some pieces you have to order from their supplier and some, like the pants, you can get elsewhere). Who buys $85 skirts for their kids?! I mean, really. And they are supposed to be hand washed, dry cleaned, or machine washed on gentle cycle without any other garments. Obviously the people who made these things have never met a kid. Then, there's also the fact that everything looks like a sack when you put it on and makes my daughter cry. And we have to pay a small fortune for the school itself. The free public school in our area is full of drugs and doesn't seem like a good option. None of the public schools here are good academically. I've looked at some of the curriculum and understand why people come out of school not being able to write a proper sentence. The curriculum at this school is the same as everywhere else, but the kids seem an awful lot nicer, so it seemed to be the only feasible option. Also, in order to be accepted into the school, we had to sign a document saying that we would not question anything the school does academically. I signed it because she needed to get into the school, but I am perfectly prepared to disregard the fact that I signed it if I have something to say. Do they think we live in North Korea? I pay their wages. I think they forgot that. I'm so frustrated and discouraged. I don't want to spend time making lunches and driving there and back for an hour or more each day and putting time into compulsory volunteering at the school. Homeschooling is so much easier, really. I enjoy preparing for school and planning curriculum. I enjoy teaching my daughter. All of this stuff I now have to put my time into, I hate doing. My daughter's social needs are important and, emotionally, she is done homeschooling so I can't force her to stay homeschooled (I guess I could, but it wouldn't produce any positive results). I don't want to give up control of her education to a system that I believe is doing a terrible job educating kids. We all have to make sacrifices for our kids, but the ones I'm having to make now are not sitting well with me. I just want to cry! Anyone been through this?
  5. Honestly, I wouldn't worry about it. My daughter has been running behind what is considered to be grade level in math -- 3 years behind, which sounded to me like a lot. It is what it is, I figured, and she'll finish it when she finishes it. The beauty of homeschool is that you can meet your kids where they are at, wherever that is, whether they are learning fast or slow. For some kids, if they are at the slow end, they will sometimes speed up the pace when their motivation kicks in. Sometimes they will just take longer. If your child was at grade level before going to public school, she doesn't seem to have any learning struggles and she'll probably be able to gradually catch up, bit by bit each year. You said you weren't sure what happened at school because she got an A in class. Well, I can't speak for all public schools, but can I tell you something about my experience with the public math system? My daughter has been behind grade level, right? She was working through a gr.3 homeschool program in gr. 6. Next fall, she wants to go to public school, so I got a hold of a gr. 7 public curriculum math book to see what she would be facing. Much to my surprise, some of the material covered in the gr. 7 math book we had done when she was in gr. 2 and 3. Half of the material in the book, I covered with her in about 2 hours. Let's just say the homeschool publishers have a different idea of what gr. 7 math looks like than the public school system. It might not be the same everywhere, but that's how it is in our case. I was shocked.
  6. Yay! I just contacted Peace Hill Press to ask about Advanced Language Lessons and was informed that it may be ready by the fall of 2017. I knew I wouldn't be the only one who is happy to hear this, so I thought I would share the news. Perhaps if many of us added our pleas here, they would get it out sooner!
  7. How good of a job does CAP W&R do of teaching persuasive writing? Anyone gone through it far enough to say? I'm wondering if it will do the job, or if I should look at LToW instead, which seems to be good for this purpose.
  8. I'm not familiar with the programs that you mentioned, but I'll share what we've done, in case it is of any use. Nor do I know any online programs ... We have faced a struggle getting my daughter engaged with a few subjects, composition being one of them, math being another. Writing was an easier one for us to tackle, math was a monster. Even though we are 2-3 years "behind" in math, my main goal this year was to make friends with math. I decided that we could catch up later, but that without her being engaged, we were going to continue getting nowhere. So, now we are another year behind, but she doesn't hate math anymore and we can move on instead of wasting so much time because she wasn't engaged. Totally changing the approach might work better than trying yet another program (?). It may be worth spending time on tackling the resistance rather than trying to get through the work itself. My daughter loves history and I found a lovely history of math/living math program that helped an awful lot. Is there a subject your son likes that you could tie in somehow? Maybe he would enjoy technical writing if he is into science, for example, or something like what this guy does https://freelancetowin.com/ He is a freelance writer, and has tips on how to write to sell, for advertising purposes, for example. It doesn't teach you to write, per say, but it might be a hook that pulls your son in. If you can find something that interests him, that will help him to enjoy the subject, it is probably worth the time spent on a diversion. In the end, if it got him interested, it would probably better enable him to buckle down later and learn whatever skills he needed to pick up on. My daughter absolutely hated writing too and has now come to a point where she can enjoy it. How does your son feel about the physical act of writing? Is it more about actually putting a pen to paper or about actually composing something? Does typing make any difference? My daughter absolutely hates the physical act of writing (does marginally better with typing), but is happy to dictate. That has left me as her scribe, which is hardly ideal, but it does take some pressure off of her. She has composed some wonderful material this way and doesn't mind dictating one bit. Physically writing, itself, is still kind of a fight, but I figured that the goal of composition is composing, and that can be done orally just as well as by physically writing. He could also record himself, because really, the point of it at this stage would be to compose something rather than to work on the mechanics of writing. If you found some good voice recognition software, the computer could then transcribe it for him. We started out with the lower levels of Writing Strands, which, honestly, I didn't feel taught her anything at all, but it did help her to learn to not hate writing. We then moved on to CAP Writing and Rhetoric, which she has actually enjoyed. I just came across a book by Karen Andreola called Story Starters. I haven't used it, but thought it might be interesting. It has pictures and short paragraphs to start stories that have, apparently, done a great job of grabbing some people's interest and getting them writing. It's good up to high school. If you chose the same approach of making friends with grammar, there are a few resources that might help to do the trick. They are not full grammar programs, but might help get his attention. Language Mechanic, by Critical Thinking Press (as well as the smaller workbooks that delve further into the concepts, if more practice is needed) takes a fun approach to grammar too. It has a lot of silly and amusing sentences. It is a full program, but might be below the level your son needs, depending on where he is at. There is an old story called Grammarland (from the 1800s, I think) that we read through. It is in the public domain and can be found here: http://www.letticebell.com/GrammarLand.pdf It is also available as an audio book here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7M3mGI4nhvs In the story, there are some grammar activities you can do too, but we skipped those. This website sells some very accessible grammar materials: http://www.grammarics.com/ They are not all you would want for teaching grammar, but they are quite fun and silly. The book Eats, Shoots and Leaves is another clever approach to grammar -- there is also a kids' picture book version that he might like even though it is for younger kids (I, as an adult, found it quite amusing). Though intended for younger children, a twelve year old might still like Brian Cleary's grammar books. They don't delve into in depth grammar, but for "friend making" purposes, they might be worth looking at. Ruth Heller has some slightly more complex books in the same genre. The Curious Case of the Misplaced Modifier by Bonnie Trenga is a book that could be useful as well (I haven't seen this one, but it is on my list of books to check out). Same with I Laid an Egg on Aunt Ruth’s Head: Conquering English and Its Ruthless Ways. The latter book is intended for teens who already have the basics of grammar, but could use some polishing. I doubt it would be over his head though. Good luck. I know how hard it can be when your child just doesn't engage with a subject and you have to do it anyway. I just came across a book by Karen Andreola called Story Starters. I haven't used it, but thought it might be interesting.
  9. Thanks. That's very helpful. Would you then recommend covering all of the W&R books in addition to WWS?
  10. Another vote for Spencerian. It's an older style (from the 1800s), and has a lot of elegance to it. It think it's beautiful. We have a set of 5 copybooks put out by Mott Media (this set http://www.canadianhomeeducation.com/products/33917-spencerian-penmanship-set-of-5-copybooks.aspx#.Vy_uSvkrLDc).There is also a theory book available, but I found that it wasn't of any use to us. There are a few letters that are formed in a way that is not used in modern writing, though, and you might wish to modify them so that they will be understood by modern readers. There are only a few, so it's not a big deal, and they are easy enough to modify. The letter C, for example, has a funny little kink at the top that, in my opinion, makes it look more like an E. If you have a left handed child, I wouldn't recommend this style though -- I am left-handed and am completely incapable of doing it because of the slant required.
  11. I read somewhere that CAP's W&R book 3 flows nicely into WWS. I anticipate finishing up CAP W&R book 3 before my daughter is ready for WWS and was thinking of going through W&R book 4 before moving on to WWS. Would there be too much overlap between book 4 and WWS? It looks like W&R books 4-6 do cover roughly the same material as WWS. Any opinions on whether one does a better job of it than the other?
  12. I'm hoping for some help choosing between the Big Book of Lively Latin and Latin for Children. If you have used either, what did/didn't you like about them? I'd be starting with a 10 year old -- would that be too old for these programs? She really doesn't want to do Latin, but has a agreed to give it a shot and I don't want to dive into an intense program that is intended for older kids, as that is likely to be a disaster. My main goal in studying Latin is to improve vocabulary by understanding root words. Secondly, I hope to see an improvement in grammar.
  13. We used Real Science 4 Kids. They have 10 week long chemistry, physics, earth science and biology courses at the elementary level. Admittedly, they are short, but I love how they manage to take more complex ideas and explain them in a way that makes sense to young children. The presentation is also very engaging, and the labs are easy, but informative and fun. I wanted a longer course than just 10 weeks, so I supplemented with Janice VanCleave's experiement books (which I just love), various library books, Usborne science encyclopedias and a few other things. It has worked out great and been a lot of fun. One other option would be Mr. Q (http://www.eequalsmcq.com/). It has full 36 week curriculum for each of chemistry, life science, earth science, and physical science. The life science year you can download for free. I haven't used them myself, but am waiting to see what he comes up with for middle school. I think they look like a lot of fun, and appear to have labs for each week, even though it didn't seem so obvious from the samples. I hear they go on a half price sale in January.
  14. I'm looking at middle school options for science, and am wondering if anyone has used RS4K for these grades. We've been using the RS4K elementary books and have really enjoyed them, but I'm feeling unsure about continuing because the program is only 10 weeks. For the elementary level, in order to round out the short program, I have supplemented with Janice VanCleave's experiment books, various library books, and science encyclopedias. It has worked out well, but my fear is that if I do the same for middle school, I'll miss something important. Experiences with this program?
  15. I'm considering my options for middle school science, and am wondering if anyone has used the WTM recommendations for science. I'm a little nervous about the idea of going completely without a written curriculum, but really, I pieced together a lot of things myself over the past year and a bit anyhow, so I would probably be fine. How solid of a science education would the WTM recommendations give a child? My daughter is very science oriented (and has been since she had even the slightest understanding of what science is), so, just in case she decides to pursue a career in this area, I want to make sure I give her what she needs in this subject. Edit: For clarity, I guess I should say that I mean the recommendations that include not using a curriculum (like RS4K) -- rather, using a compilation of various things like science encyclopedias, and terrarium, dissection and experiment kits.
  16. Can I ask what resources you use to address which aspects of writing?
  17. Thanks. It's really helpful to get your perspective. I was thinking I'd like to finish a few levels of CAP W&R and then move over to Writing with Skill, but was hesitating about that choice. I think I'll go ahead and give it a try. It seems like CAP would allow my daughter's creative side to flourish, while WWS would give her some more of the technical aspects I'd like to focus on. Anyone have any thoughts about how WWS would work after doing 4 levels of CAP? Ruth, I think, you said you recommended the first 2. Would 4 be too much? For overlap or anything?
  18. Thanks for the link and for your thoughts. I have to say, your daughter's writing is better than some writing that I have seen come from some people at college and grad school levels. She'll do incredibly well. It's brilliant -- and it makes me think that maybe CAP is a good choice for us for the time being :)
  19. I was wondering about WWS with the more creative kids as well. I am a very logical, structured kind of person who would appreciate the kind of instruction given in WWS -- and I do think it seems to be very well done and thorough. My daughter, on the other hand is a creative person who really can't stand following a formula for much of anything. I want her to learn to write well, and I think WWS would do the job, except that I fear it might make her hate writing so much that she doesn't learn anything at all from it. Any thoughts on WWS with the creative free spirited kids? Or any of the other curricula mentioned in this thread? I was looking at CAP W&R, but haven't heard any results from it yet. That, I guess I need to research. I only wish the whole series was already finished so I could see exactly where it is going. Thanks Ruth, and all the others, for offering your wisdom and experiences. This thread has been extremely informative.
  20. Aak. My head is swimming with choices. I've been reading and researching like crazy and I could really use some feedback. My daughter, age 8, is a creative kind of kid, who enjoys hands on kind of work. She is also very verbal. So far, grammar comes easy to her and requires very little explanation. She was in public school for a couple of years before I pulled her out, and last year, I pulled together a number of different grammar resources and just did my own thing. I covered roughly the same topics as were in FLL 1, but did things like make noun collages, read fun grammar books, had mix and match cut outs of contractions. We had a few worksheets, but they certainly did not make up most of what we did. It worked great. This year, I simply didn't have time to pull everything together myself, and since, much to my surprise (because it is just the kind of thing that would normally bore her to tears), my daughter loved the samples I gave her of FLL 2, I decided to use it. I think FLL does a great job -- it just seemed like it would be a poor fit for her learning style. It's been going pretty well and I had planned to follow with FLL 3 and 4. I tend to get on things early, so I started looking at what to do after FLL. Rod and Staff, though undeniably a great looking program, would probably lead to my daughter simply refusing to do grammar, so I though that might not be the best for her. Analytical Grammar seems good and efficient. I thought Winston, with something like Critical Thinking Press' Language Mechanic or Editor in Chief, might be a bit more engaging. I'm not sure about the effectiveness of this program, and was unable to locate a sample. Then I came across Michael Clay Thomas' Town, which I gather I would also need to add something to for mechanics. I looked at this one, but wasn't sure how effective it looked, though it seems engaging. I looked at KISS, and with revised website and printable workbooks, thought it looked good. It seems to be an effective way to teach grammar. Plus, it's free, which is a major bonus. I thought I had it settled. I was going to use KISS, and maybe even switch over before starting FLL 3. (Should I, if I follow this route? Is there value in finishing the FLL series first?) Then, I found Killgallon's Sentence and Paragraph composing and their grammar books, which I really like the look of. Hmm. Killgallon uses the idea of modeling to learn grammar. Then, this led me to think more about writing, as it seems to follow the same kind of idea that CAP does. My daughter absolutely hated writing, and last year we were just working on getting her to put a pencil to paper, even to write the alphabet, so we didn't get far with that. I have been using WWE 2 this year, in combination with Writing Strands (it's been going well). Writing Strands is what helped her to not hate writing, as she finds it fun. Bonus. As far as I'm concerned, it has done it's job well. I'm not sure however, that she is learning anything from it, and I had hoped to go in a different direction anyway, so I don't intend to continue on with that one. WWE is serving a purpose for now, as there is learning taking place, but it is really not the greatest fit for my child. I had planned to switch to CAP Writing and Rhetoric next year. I like the premise of the CAP program, and think that it would not only work well with my daughter's learning style, but that it would probably equip her to learn to write well. If I use Kilgallon, would that fit with CAP or would that be too much overlap? Then, I'm thinking does Killgallon teach writing well enough? Should I be eliminating a writing program if I choose this one? With Killgallon, it seems that it is more about putting grammar to use rather than being able to identify all the parts of a sentence. So, I'm thinking, isn't that the ultimate goal? To be able to use it. If she can't name all the parts (and I'm not sure if she could after Killgallon -- maybe someone can enlighten me on this), but learns to write with proper grammar, it seems to me that grammar education would have served its purpose. KISS, on the other hand, teaches you to completely take apart a sentence. It seems also to be more focused on practical application than most grammar programs, which I like. Anyhow, as you can see, I have way too many programs to consider and I would appreciate any thoughts that would help my swimming head to settle down. Any thoughts on what would or wouldn't be a good fit for my daughter's learning style? Effectiveness of the various programs? If you have recommendations for a certain one, would you combine it with anything else? Umm, yeah, and sorry to add to this book that I wrote, but I wanted to add that it is really, really important to me that my daughter learns to write well. That's just to say, I'm not keen on sacrificing quality of the curriculum for something that would be engaging (just in case you find one of the above to be fun but adequate, rather than great). Thanks for your help.
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