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Everything posted by strawberryjam

  1. We started off with doing Singapore for a few years and then tried every math program under the sun, pretty much, before setting on Saxon (which I LOVE!!). BA is too young for your kid. Honestly I would just stick with Saxon but move through it faster if she’s not finding it challenging enough. My gifted DS is very mathy and he hated Singapore style math. Just cause it’s popular with Gifted students doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for all of them. You could look into CLE math... it’s similar to Saxon but I find about 1.5 - 2 years more advanced. I love Saxon though. It’s the closest thing I’ve found to my ideal math program.
  2. Both kids together: -study art history up through Renaissance before trip to Europe this summer using Hillyer’s Child’s History of Art as a spine. -increase activity level, considering Couch to 5K running program and some at home exercise videos for kids... -hands on grammar, and both start Latin and restart German Grade 7 kid: -keep doing what he’s doing. Work on neater handwriting and cursive. It’s too bad he doesn’t want to be a doctor when he grows up cause his handwriting looks just like one. 🤪😜 -more focused vocabulary work -do a lot more memory work, especially Scripture and poetry -finish writing science fiction novel and self publish it -start Leitner memory box system (or something similar) for science Grade 4 kid: -more memorywork -more handiwork and art, maybe get into knitting or embroidery or something -this kid has a natural knack for biology so something along her passions for snakes and horses. Interesting combination, I know.
  3. My favourite for that age is Montessori math. It would not be “open and go” though, there is some learning involved in how to use the material. The material can also be pricey (but then again, so is buying dozens of different math curricula and manipulatives that aren’t a good fit... don’t ask me how I know) We’ve tried Singapore Math, Math in Focus, CLE math, RedBird by Stanford U math online, Life of Fred, Miquon Math, Math Mammoth, Critical Thinking Math, DK math workbooks... The “perfect” math sequence that works the best for us is Montessori math in the early years, transitioning to Saxon Math somewhere between grade 2-4. My daughter is in grade 4 and she is thriving with Montessori math. My son is in grade 7 and we had been doing CLE math for a few years before switching to Saxon. CLE is great also and very similar to Saxon but I like the way Saxon is organized better. Also CLE is a bit too advanced for the grade level, I think it has something to do with the fact they are written by a Mennonite community and they try to squish in math in less years to finish earlier. My son went from CLE early grade 5 straight to Saxon about halfway through grade 7 level, so CLE is about 2 years ahead. Singapore Math was not a good fit for my kid but lots of Gifted kids seem to like that approach. While my son can do math that way, he prefers not to. The sequential method of Saxon is far better, and will take him straight through HS to college. I also appreciate that it’s written to the student so he can do it on his own without my help. Saxon has a proven track record and I feel confident it will prepare my son for the STEM fields he is interested in pursuing in college.
  4. Major overkill to do everything in the workbooks and teachers guide... the stories are great though. I should have listened to everybody when they said you only need the textbook, it’s true! The little intro pages to each story in the textbook are plenty enough. We are focusing on full books in our curriculum right now and not doing Mosdos, just because our time is better spent doing other things right now. That said, the stories in Mosdos have spurred some of the best conversations we’ve ever had. That says something. If our schedule wasn’t so packed I’d consider adding the stories back in. Makes for awesome couch schooling. 🙂
  5. I haven’t heard of these. I have the Great Books set from Brittanica which Mortimer Adler was involved with, and I find them to be a super handy resource. Managed to get almost a complete set at a used book sale for a steep discount. They are the full volumes of original works, I imagine the two sets would work well together so now I’m interested in the set you mention also.
  6. We switched to AO this year. I'm thoroughly impressed with it! Some background info... I have a grade 7 kid and a grade 4 kid and we've been homeschooling from the beginning. I've been drawn to CM methods for years but didn't go all in until after reading a bunch of CM books over the past summer. Prior to this I've done some WTM, and some piecing together my own mostly literature based curricula (so not all that different from AO, but less organized). Most of the AO books are available online for free so that helps. They are also very high quality. There have been a few that I've decided to skip, but for the most part they have surpassed by expectations. I found a link where someone has organized and reformatted most of the AO books as free Ebooks (the ones that are not copyrighted), and they are GORGEOUS! Even though I prefer hardcopy books, this helps with me being able to pre-read the books ahead of time to see which ones we want to use. I'm a major researcher... I've been pre-reading all the AO books over multiple levels. While I may have to do a few substitutions here and there, (probably for science, as both my kids are very set already on heading towards science related careers some day so I prefer using a traditional science curriculum), as a whole I think it goes above and beyond any other curriculum - and I've tried a LOT of different curricula over the last 8 years of homeschooling! The reading level is definitely advanced. I don't look at the levels as grade levels. My grade 7 kid is a very advanced reader and I have him doing mostly level 6 AO books this year. I would just put the child in whatever level fits them the best. I know they say you can jump in at any time without backtracking and doing the books you missed, but there are so many treasures in the years we missed that I've been working on a catch up plan to include a lot of them. So far it's going well and it's been worth it. As far as price goes, I haven't had to spend very much this year. I think on books I've probably spent a couple hundred dollars. Maybe $300? I'll probably make another big order this year yet, but the cost hasn't been bad. Though I'm really wanting to get "A Child's Geography" by Hillyer and that was is $$$. It's not one of the necessary books though, they have alternatives which are available for free. My grade 7 kid does Saxon for math and my grade 4 kid does Montessori math. We use CPO Science for middle school science. For questions about CM style writing and whether it's "enough", I *highly* recommend the book "Know and Tell: The Art of Narration" by Karen Glass.
  7. We are in our 8th year of homeschooling and we switched to Charlotte Mason style education this past year. I love it soooo much!!!! We always incorporated a few of the things, but this is the first year we went all in. Such a huge difference in our year. Don't be worried about the writing aspect. We always did very little writing and focused more on reading. My 12 yr old can read at a college level and he is starting to write well too. He is currently writing a science fiction novel and I'm amazed at the originality and grammar he has picked up just from reading and narrating. I also recommend "Know and Tell: The Art of Narration" by Karen Glass. By and far, the BEST homeschooling book I've read. It was a game changer for me. We pick and choose books from the Ambleside Curriculum, and sometimes Build Your Library. Things I find appropriate and interesting for each child, from various levels. This is working out splendidly for us. For math we do Saxon, for science we also use CPO science textbooks but I approach science with CM style too. Narrating, illustrating, nature studies etc. I follow the topics in the science book but add in my own stuff that's more CM focused. Don't let anyone tell you CM isn't rigourous. If you check out the Ambleside books for each grade level you'll quickly see how advanced it really is! Try narrating passages from the books on your own. It's not easy to do. It's a good kind of challenge though. It's challenging in an enjoyable way. My kids don't fight having to do their schoolwork anymore cause learning from living books is just so much fun.
  8. Read "Know and Tell: The Art of Narration" by Karen Glass and you'll never need to buy another writing curriculum ever again. I really wish I had read it before I ever started homeschooling! (Into my 8th year homeschooling now...)
  9. Fluent Forever is the best book I've found on language learning so far. He's an opera singer who has learned several language to fluency very quickly. His methods just make sense. Far less frustrating than many of the popular language learning methods out there, and I can see why the learning sticks. My second language is actually English, and is my main language now. Last year I started teaching German to my kids and also a group of homeschool students of wide abilities and ages. I did a ton of research into language learning and the best methods and curricula, and this book is the best I found.
  10. Check out "Know and Tell: The Art of Narration" by Karen Glass. I realized the worthlessness of all the writing curricula I've ever bought after reading this book. It doesn't have to be so hard!
  11. I am bilingual. I have actually come across research saying it makes no difference whether you learn a language earlier or later in life. There are no benefits to starting young, besides the fact it's easier to pick up a natural accent. That's the only real difference. Either way, it takes just as much effort and time for a younger child to pick up a second language as an older child or an adult. I highly recommend the book "Fluent Forever". I was taught my second language when I was 6 years old, and even though I picked it up quickly it actually held me back in school and was very stressful and traumatizing.
  12. "Itch" trilogy by Simon Mayo - this is about a Grade 7 kid who discovers a yet undiscovered (highly radioactive) element and a crazy manhunt that ensues. It takes place in the UK. It's very much a thriller and my kid loved it (probably better than Gordon Korman but he likes those too) "Beetle Boy" and "Revenge of the Beetle Queen" by Leonard - this is also a "light thriller" for middle grades. I second "Hittite Warrior" (Williamson). Also all the Jules Verne books, like "Journey to the Center of the Earth", "Around the World in 80 Days", etc "Hatchet" series (they are short though)
  13. We switched to CLE when my son was in grade 3 (I think it was in the middle or end of third grade). We started with level 200s and he accelerated quickly - what I did is just skip the quizzes, tests, and sometimes I'd double up on lessons if they were easier ones and then just cross out a few of the review questions. I think CLE is pretty advanced, at least compared to the other math curricula I've checked. It is so thorough. I think it's common to do it a grade level behind. It seems a lot of people do. We love CLE and it is the best math program for us, but we are still slightly "behind". That said, I'm defintely sticking with it because it works and my kids retain the math and really master it. My aim is for them to be constantly getting 95%+ and really understanding it, and that's what's happening.
  14. Grade 4 and Grade 7 next year. We are pretty chill with academics... both kids are ahead in science so usually by the time I have things organized and ready to go they are ready to move on to the next level... Math: CLE (with a bit of Miquon and Montessori for younger) Literature: Mosdos Press Writing: Voyages in English Grammar: Voyages in English and some Montessori together with Analytical Grammar as needed Science: CPO Physics for Grade 7, not sure about Grade 4. She's obsessed with snakes and dinosaurs so maybe something with that. History: K12 Human Odyssey and "A Childs History of Art" from Calvert and Montessori art history. Latin: English from the Roots Up, and Visual Latin. Doodle Notes from TpT. German: "Nico's Weg" and "Willkommen in Deutschland" PE: homeschool gymnastics Haven't figured out what to do for art besides art history, but I'd like to incorporate a lot more art projects.
  15. Math - CLE Language arts - Voyages in English for grammar and writing, All About Spelling and Megawords for Spelling. Literature - Mosdos Jade Science - CPO Physics History - Human Odyssey K12 with extra books and projects added in Homeschool Gymnastics Maybe Visual Latin. Continue with mama-made German. Reading list from Mensa Kids Reading Excellence and WTM, Build Your Library, Bookshark, etc. Not sure what to use for art, Bible, geography or vocabulary yet. Would also like to add in some mini units like about economics and government.
  16. History: Human Odyssey Spelling: All About Spelling Writing: Voyages in English (Loyola) Science: CPO Middle - finishing Earth and starting Life Math: CLE Foreign language: Fluent Forever and "Wilkommen in Deutschland" workbooks and website ("Welcome to Germany") Grammar: Voyages in English (Loyola)
  17. I've done a lot of research on Giftedness testing. The research shows most parents are accurate at determining whether their kids fit the profile or not. Parents are at least as good if not better at determining Giftedness in their children. We've been homeschooling for 7 years and I knew by the end of Grade 1 that my DS was Gifted. Don't plan to do any testing besides maybe the SAT exam when he's old enough (it's not required in Canada or for the university we're planning on sending him to). There are tons of helpful resources out there for Gifted education, that's all I've needed. That said, where we live we have the option to choose extreme flexibility in schooling up until Grade 10. So the asynchronous nature hasn't been an issue, since we can be extremely flexible. As the years have gone by the asynchronous learning has become less of an issue so I'm fairly confident that by the time he gets to Grade 10 he'll just be flying through everything that's at grade level, and he won't be bored by the stuff he's advanced in cause it will mean easy grades, mastery, and they are still topics that interest him (that's what happened to be in school anyways... time will tell if it works for him but right now I'm not worried). We plan to homeschool all the way through the end of high school and the Giftedness is part of that decision, even with individual learning plans and Gifted programs etc. it's just not good enough in our area to consider that option so that's another reason I haven't bothered with testing. I've read tons of books on Giftedness and my favourite ones so far have been "101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids" and "The Gifted Adult". "The Gifted Adult" is really fantastic and goes over the shortfalls of IQ testing and really expands on all the other types of intelligences which are common in Gifted people.
  18. Just thought I'd update this thread as I've noticed there are a few others planning trips to London as well. Our trip was AMAZING!! Here is a link to our highlights video from our trip. We ended up going to Magdalen College in Oxford where C.S. Lewis taught, it was *beautiful* and we had the entire grounds to ourselves! (pinch me!) Also checked out the Botanical Gardens and All Souls College (apparently the most difficult one to be accepted at, not much to see here but it was cool nonetheless). Had we more time and if our feet hadn't been so sore, I would have gone to Christ Church College too. The Natural History Museum in Oxford was amazing! We didn't get a chance to see all of the one in London (and I wasn't a fan of what I saw there ... not into the electric dinosaurs and it was super crowded with kids) so this was a treat. Loved the "touch" gallery for kids. We also went to the Musuem of the History of Science to see Einstein's chalkboard and other cool artifacts. It was small but good. The Ashmolean Musuem wasn't as great, especially after already having been to the British Museum. Skippable. We did make it Blenheim Palace. The grounds and the exterior is absolutely stunning, minus the modern art exhibits which I thought ruined some parts of it. It's definitely more posh than any other place we visited and there were no other kids there. Still glad we went, we got some amazing photo's there. I would want to go back to explore the grounds further. Lot's of people came here to walk their dogs. The interior was skippable though. I probably wouldn't really go out of my way to visit here, but we were already close by. As far as castles and palaces go, I found the most impressive to be Hampton Court Palace by far (contains treasures worth almost as much as the Queens jewels, and they are kept at touching distance... just a note, if you go with kids! lol), and secondly Windsor Castle. What I loved about HCP was how you get so much history with it... one half is Henry the 8ths in a middle ages style, the other half from William and Mary (?) in a style similar to Versailles. We had a horse drawn carriage ride through the grounds which was included with entrance, and that was so fun! We didn't make it to Cornwall but we did make it to Lyme Regis. Very cool! Looking for fossils was so fun. We didn't find any we could take home but once we got used to interpreting what we were seeing we started seeing lots of ammonite fossils in the boulders. The Durdle Door beach a little further south was even more beautiful than I imagined it would be. The small towns here are so charming. It made me want to come back and experience Cornwall some day. I was disappointed by Westminster Abbey - it's so much smaller than I imagined! We went to the Tower of London an hour before it opened and had most of it to ourselves for the first hour. :) Just amazing. The car we rented was a Sante Fe with GPS and it was perfect. GPS was MUCH needed! I've driven in Europe before so I expected it to be crazy, but the UK highways take the cake when it comes to craziness! That said, the traffic wasn't bad. We made it from the Cotswolds to Liverpool in 4 hours and from the Dorset coast to Legoland in 2 hours during rush hour, just as Google maps predicted. We were able to squish a lot into our itinerary and there is not much I would have changed. (Wish I could have changed the jet lag... but not much you can do about that! Also wish we had gone to Harrod's on a weekday morning instead of a weekend evening, it was too crowded to really enjoy.) By our last day in London we figured out that it is so worth it to just take the black taxi's everywhere in downtown London instead of relying on public transport, though the Citymapper App was invaluable to figuring out the transportation system. They literally tell you step by step exactly where to go and what to do so you don't even have to think about it. Greenwich was another surprise. It's out of the way for a day in central London, but I'm glad we took the time to head out there anyways. It's so kid friendly and just beautiful. I would want to go back again and spend time at the observatory and explore the park, which we didn't get to do. The reason we went all the way to Liverpool was to go to the Chester Zoo which is considered the UK's #1 zoo. It was worth going out of the way. We are really big into zoo's and this place was amazing. The southeast Asia exhibit made you feel like you were really there. It's brand new, high tech, well designed. Very cool animals. We only made it through about 1/3 in the entire day we were there. This is what we ended up doing: Our itinerary in a nutshell: Day 1: Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Thames River Cruise. Day 2: Tower of London, St. Pauls, Greenwich. Day 3: Kensington Palace, St. Marys Hospital, Natural History Museum, drive through Nottinghill and Soho on the double decker city bus. Day 4: Buckingham Palace, St. James Palace, St. James Park, British Museum, The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, Harrod's. Day 5: Hampton Court Palace and Windsor Castle Day 6: the Cotswolds, then drive to Liverpool Day 7: Liverpool Day 8: Chester Zoo, then drive back to Cotswolds. Day 9: Oxford University Day 10: Blenheim Palace, then drive to Dorset Coast. Day 11: Jurassic Coast - Lulworth Cove and the Durdle Door beach Day 12: Corfe Castle Day 13: Drive from Dorset coast to Legoland Windsor early in the morning, fly home the next day from Heathrow. What ended up being my personal favourite top 3 experiences, in order: 1. Hampton Court Palace 2. Oxford University 3. Tower of London
  19. "My Father's Dragon" trilogy was the first "real" book my kid read. Also "The Littles" series was a big hit, as well as the Tintin comics. Tintin was what turned me into a voracious reader at that age and it worked for my kid too (who was a "late bloomer" when it came to reading).
  20. Another thing I loved about Premier Inn is that everyone can get their own bed in one room. They sometimes have quad rooms where it's 4 twin beds in a room. Or you can get a queen size and two twins. Much better than sleeping on a sofa bed! Just can't say enough good things about this brand. I was thoroughly impressed with all they offer for the price. The breakfast buffet is extra but it's HUGE! So many options! We did it every day. In a country with less than exciting children's menu options (um... squashed peas, beans and fish sticks), the breakfast buffet helped us out a ton. It included lots of hot food options as well as really good pastries, breads, organic yogurts, fresh fruits, specialty coffee's, juices, fruit smoothies, etc. We also loved Pizza Express for lunches/dinners. Some of them will even have a viewing area for children and give the kids pizza dough to make their own pizza creations while waiting for the food to come out, they also get chef hats and colouring sheets with crayons and stickers. Best gelato I've had was from there, surprisingly enough!
  21. Thanks for all your suggestions! We are coming from Vancouver so the mountains and snow are not a draw for us. The seals and tide pools are not a draw either as we've already experienced them plenty. We've decided to skip the Palm Desert. I've been told by multiple people that the Balboa museums do not compare to the LA ones so I think we will skip Balboa and just do the LA ones (Natural History, Science center, etc). We've been to the Oxford Natural History Museum and the British Museum, the Met and Natural History Museum in NYC, etc. so I'd be comparing them to those. Trying to decided whether to do the Getty Center or Villa... I'm actually leaning towards the Villa now... and it's a bit less of a drive from where we're staying. Any input on what to expect at the Griffith Observatory? Best to go later in the evening I'm assuming? We've already been to Legoland in the UK so we'll skip that. Already been whale watching before and won't do that ever again... :ack2: (lots of puke and 5 tourists died after their whale watching boat capsized, the following year in the same place we were... oh, and never did see any whales) We are crazy about animals and zoo's... I've been told that you can't feed animals with the regular Safari tram, and that's kind of what drew me to it so I think it would be worth the extra $$$ for us to do that. Not every day you get to feed giraffe's and rhinos. Still cheaper than going to Africa. :thumbup: Originally we were only going to do one day in Disneyland but now that we're not going to Palm Springs we'll have an extra 2-3 days to do Disney or something else.
  22. Everyone has already mentioned great resources. We are Christians who teach evolution. I second: -Biologos -Reasons to Believe -Howard Hughes Medical Institute DVDs (also free streaming online or YouTube - especially love the "Your Inner Fish" series by Neil Shubin) My kids have also enjoyed "Walking with Monsters", "Walking with Dinosaurs", and "Ice World" documentaries. As far as books go, I really like the DK ones. Specifically DK Prehistoric Life and DK Evolution. " "Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be" by Daniel Loxton is very good too. Learning about the Geologic Timescale is very important. We've used various resources for that. There is a great unit for this at the Teachers Pay Teachers site. We printed off a timeline and there are little cards that coordinate with the various events. Really helpful to put things in perspective. The Cosmos series by DeGrasse Tyson is very good but he can bend towards an anti-religious stance. Didn't seem to bother my kid though. He would have picked up on it if it was really bad. A more advanced read but very interesting about the history of the creation/evolution debate in Christianity is "Inventing the Universe" by Alister McGrath.
  23. I hear ya. I'm working out the same things. Have you figured anything out? I've read that Randy Alcorn has become a Calvinist in recent years. I'm not sure if I'm a Universalist, but I'm quite sure I'm not a Calvinist. I've read his book on heaven and I'm not sure I agree with a lot of his ideas. "Why I'm not a Calvinist" is a book that's on my reading list. I think that will help me clarify where I stand on "the spectrum".
  24. Hoping there are some people here who can give me some good advice. We are homeschoolers planning a trip to California (first time for me) and we like to pack our itineraries with educational outings. This is what I've got on the itinerary so far. If you are familiar with any of these places, are there any specific exhibits that you'd consider "must see"? Some of them are really big so don't want to miss any key things. For reference we'll have an 8 and 11 yr old with us who are used to these types of trips (ie. lots of walking!). Main interest for them is science but I want to make sure to get in some great art too. The main thing I'm unsure about is the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. We live near a world class aquarium so I wonder if this one might be skippable. Also wondering if the safari's at the safari park are worth it, and if so which one? Which museums at Balboa Park should be priority? We won't have time for all of them. Any suggestions? Our whole family is science crazy, but we also appreciate history and I want to make sure to get in some great art. I love botanical gardens and so do my kids. My hubby not so much, but he'll tolerate a bit of gardens and art. ;) We've done these kind of trips before so we know how much we can handle. Is there anything major that should be on my list but isn't? (Besides Disney ;) ) LA Area: Getty Center La Brea Tar Pits and Page Museum Griffith Observatory LA Natural History Museum California Science Center LACMA art museum Palm Desert: Living Desert Joshua Tree National Park San Diego: USS Midway Museum San Diego Zoo San Diego Safari Park (extra safari’s worth it?) Birch Aquarium at Scripps (maybe?) Moonlight Beach Balboa Park San Diego Museums: (which ones to prioritize?) Fleet Science Center San Diego Museum of Man San Diego Natural History Museum San Diego Museum of Art Timken Museum of Art San Diego Air and Space Museum San Diego Mineral and Gem Society
  25. We went to London last year with our kids. I highly recommend the Premier Inn chain of hotels!! They went above and beyond my expectations. The beds are consistently comfortable and they even guarantee a good nights sleep or your money back. We also loved the hot breakfast buffet (very extensive, something for everyone!). They are situated all over the UK and very affordable. We did one Air BnB while we were there and it ended up being the most expensive night, and the worst nights sleep cause of the awful beds (even though it had good ratings) .... so I'd go with Premier Inn over Air BnB any day!
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