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Posts posted by YsgolYGair

  1. Totally an old thread, but such a good one, I thought I'd risk commenting... I, too, have struggled with the question asked, so I read up on the topic. One of the things I read stuck with me so I thought I'd share it. The article made the point that if you spend much time focusing on ancient myths, you will miss valuable time available to delve deeply into really great children's literature. That stuck with me, and as a result I have glossed over the ancient myths - nothing more than what is found in SOTW - and for read aloud time we do literature that makes even me want to keep reading: The Little House Series, Christian Heroes Then and Now Series (and other biographies), Owls in the Family, etc. There is so much great children's literature out there that teaches great lessons, gives kids great examples to live up to, or are just plain fun, that I really don't think they are worth sacrificing for Minotaurs or Zeus or even the "oh so important" knowledge of other belief systems in general. 

  2. I'll throw one more in the mix - BJU Math. It uses manipulatives, and has a scripted teacher's manual. The workbook is colourful and engaging with stories to boot. It's also, importantly, slower progressing through elementary to really cement concepts in the child's mind. For my sweet and compliant kid who just struggled to get more abstract programs, BJU has been the perfect fit.

    • Like 1
  3. All right, I think I've finally got things sorted out for this next year. Deary me, it took me long enough! 


    I make my own curriculum / year schedule for everything but math and language, and this year we're doing ancient history, astronomy, a study of several Old Testament characters, and the life of Christ. Although we're using more actual curriculum this year, compared to last year. Ancient history is not really my thing, so I need some support, lol. So, we're using:



    A Beka Flash-a-Cards: Old Testament Stories 2 (David, Elijah, and Esther), Abraham and Isaac, Moses, Daniel, First Christmas, Boyhood and Early Ministry of Jesus, Jesus Helps and Heals, Later Ministry of Jesus, Crucifixion and Resurrection, Missionary Stories

    We're also covering the life of Job using the Bible and the book, Job: The Patient Friend.



    SOTW Ancients with Activity Book (Selections)

    Plus, supplemental encyclopedias, library books, Our Island Story, and Stori Cymru

    Draw and Write through History Vol 1-2: Creation to Jonah, Greeks and Romans



    AIG God's Design for Science - Astronomy


    Read Alouds: Life in the Great Ice Age, Tirzah, the Bronze Bow, and three books by Patricia St. John.


    Reading Books for my 3rd Grader: Who was King Tut?, Who was Alexander the Great?, Who was Julius Caesar?, James a'r Eirinen Wlanog Enfawr (James and the Giant Peach - Welsh Translation), Charlie a'r Ffatri Siocled (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Welsh Translation), 4 Le Petit Nicolas readers, and Le Petit Prince.


    Math: BJU Math 3, A Beka Speed Drills 3, Process Skills 3


    English: Spelling Workout C


    French: Bled Benjamin, L'Atelier de Vocabulaire CE1, Orth CP


    Welsh: Dwli Mutations


    Plus, copywork, dictation, and narration across all disciplines.


    Life Issues:

    A Beka Health, Safety, and Manners 2


  4. Thanks for the great suggestions.


    I'm not really looking for something that will help my littles understand all of history - rather something where they could learn at their level, while I might be able to see some of the correlations between events. I had thought of maybe reading History of the Ancient World myself along side Story of the World. Although, at my level of history remembrance, SOTW is likely to be pretty educational, lol! I'll have a new baby this next year, so my big plan, whatever we do, is to keep things really simple. 

  5. In all my educational years, all the history I learned seems to have made no impact on me for the long term. Or possibly even the short term. My kids are still young, but I'd really like a history program that will help them, and even me, understand the deeper causes and effects of things. I'd like them to really "get" history - and I wouldn't mind getting it myself. 


    Which of the elementary level texts best helps to see the real flow of history and how one thing affected another??

  6. I can only relate what happened with our oldest.


    He was fully 2 years old, and not yet speaking at all. He was completely in his own world, and did not respond with pointing or anything. He never told me when he wanted anything, and he started banging his head on the floor. Obviously, this was very alarming, so we started him in speech therapy. Around 2.5 he began saying "mama" and such. We spoke to him predominately in Welsh, but with some English. At 3yo years old, he spoke Welsh and learned to read Welsh, and as a side note, put his first 300 piece puzzle together. I think it took less than 48 hours. At 4yo, he spent two weeks in the US and came back speaking well in English, he began learning to read English that year, and he put his first 1000 piece puzzle together. At 6yo, he spent 9 months in France, and came back speaking French to a fair degree of fluency; he also learned to read French that year. He also learned to solve the Rubik's cube in under a minute. Now at 7, he speaks all three languages well, reads all three well, writes to his age level in Welsh and French, and is beginning to write in French. He's currently putting together a model of a V8 engine, and has completed numerous puzzles of 500-1000 pieces, usually in a pretty short time frame - even by adult standards.


    I have given these particulars to show that a child who is late speaking is no indication of anything wrong with the child, and based on the experience I have with one child, can be an indication of giftedness. But for the child's sake, speech therapy can make a world of difference!


    As far as stopping German, based on my limited experience, again, I think that's ridiculous! If I did feel it was necessary to stop speaking one language, I would stop speaking English, as the culture will teach that for you.

  7. I like A Beka for review, but I don't prefer it as a main math program. The trend, for good reason, is away from "procedural math" and toward "conceptual math." A Beka is procedural: learn the steps, and do many problems that are similar. They've been doing it this way for 50 years, and won't be changing any time soon. But more up-to-date math is going toward the international standard of children understanding what they're actually doing when they do those steps. 


    The problem comes when you ask an A Beka taught math student "why do you solve the problem that way?" Many times, they have no idea. 

    • Like 1
  8. We did this twice - once for three months in Belgium, and another time for nine months in France. I would take just the reading things, including some few books, if they are progressive readers. You can stretch out the books by reading slowly through them, for daily practice, or by reading each one twice. You could even use them for daily copywork and dictation, and then narration once they have finished a book. I would also take something for daily math practice. This could be worksheets printed off the internet, or you could just get some paper while you're there and make up your own daily practice pages. Don't forget that you can do the same for reading practice, for the children who are at a low enough level. Sentences and stories written by Mom will do just fine! For the older ones, like someone else mentioned - the library. We spent loads of time at libraries in France, and if they're anything like those, they'll be filled with great books, including some in English. 


    There will be down time, so I totally understand wanting something to do, but if you are limited by your luggage, then I would either put some clothes back (you won't need as many as you think anyway), or put loads of read aloud on the Kindle. I would also take some few toys if you can manage - legos are great. To save room, have one of the kids make it into a solid cube, lol.


    Travel if you can! Not just Germany, but if you can make it, Belgium, France, Luxembourg (at least to say you've been, lol!), and the Netherlands. It's amazing how different each country is! Belgium has the best chocolate. Try Cote d'Or. They only sell it in Belgium. France, stick with the breads and bakery goods. Oh for a Paul's baguette and coffee! The Netherlands is the cleanest country you will ever visit in life, except maybe Singapore, but I wouldn't know because I've never been. Go to an Auchan grocery store in France, if for no other reason than the experience. It's like the size of a city. 


    Finally, enjoy the coffee. I've drunk coffee in several European countries and the US. No one makes it like the Germans. 

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  9. Thank you all so much for your responses!! It's great to know that others do this. My education and experience mean that I could teach most subjects myself if I wanted to, history being the great exception, as I just didn't seem to absorb much at all, but I have just never had the courage to do so. I end up with huge stacks of curriculum each year which become like a noose around our necks. And yes, I've just got littles. Thankfully, they like school, but I really need to learn to keep things simpler for all our sakes!

  10. I thought it might not be enough, but after reading the introduction to the 4th book, I'm quite happy to wait on it until those ages. SWB says in the 4th book that SOTW 1 is designed for grades 1-4, SOTW 2 is for grades 2-5, SOTW 3 is for grades 3-6, and SOTW 4 is for grades 4-8. So, it seems that 5-8th is not too far out of the age range for the books. 

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  11. (Or any other subject for that matter??) 


    I'm making up my list to purchase for next year, and because I'm feeling uncertain about where our finances will be, I am starting to question whether I even need to get many of the books I was planning on. I know I'll get some, so I don't plan to go completely curriculum-free or anything. But has anyone ever sat back and said, "Seriously, why do I need that book or workbook?? I can teach it just as well myself out of my own head!"


    If you went down that road, how did it go for you?? I'm totally confident in my ability to teach several subjects, but somehow I seem tied to the notion that education requires textbooks and workbooks....



  12. For pleasure my 7yo second grader puts things together - puzzles, legos, models. He also loves artsy things. Independently, he does pretty well with a checklist, a quiet room, and a timer. Otherwise, he watches what everyone else is doing, and takes forreeeevvveeerrr.... 


    He does little on the computer. I'm quite non-tech when it comes to my kids. I'm an older mom, so I didn't learn to type or use a computer until my later teens, when computers were becoming common, and I'm still here. I feel there's more benefit to waiting than to hurrying electronically.

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  13. I would disagree that spiral is better for all struggling students. Yes, it's great for those who forget previously learned things easily. But, I don't find it best for children who struggle to grasp the concepts, period. For kids who really just need to be able to focus on learning one thing at a time.



  14. I agree with those who say that spiral is better for struggling math students or for those who forget concepts easily, which is why I recommended the reviews book. My oldest struggles with math as well - we had tears with Singapore, Math Mammoth, and MEP. BJU, with its stories and gentler approach, has been our solution, hence the reason why I say that I don't personally know of anything more suited to the struggling learner. Everything else I've ever used has been more rigorous.


    That being said, I realised at some point this year that my son was needing more practice with math facts and more review, so I pulled out the A Beka along side the BJU, and now he does two math lessons a day. It's the best of both worlds. That's what we've done anyway. 

  15. Being honest, I don't know of a curriculum that is better for struggling math students than BJU, because of all of the helps and support that come with the curriculum, and because it is one of the slower progressing curricula. So I really can't think of what curriculum would be better, and I don't believe that a self-teaching program like TT is the answer for a struggling student. Struggling students need more personal interaction, not less.


    It sounds to me like he's at a level that's too advanced for his current understanding. I wouldn't worry about finishing a grade level book, or about being at grade level. I would aim to find out where he is comfortable, and go back to that place and start again from there, even if that means going back a year or more. The Reviews book and the Reteaching pages on the cd would be ideal for this. If you take him back to wherever he is comfortable, even if it's the previous year, instead of doing the work text again, use the Reviews book. It has more general review to give a bit of that spiral feel. Also, print out the Reteaching pages and start going through those as necessary along with the lessons - they're very struggling-learner friendly, very incremental. 


    As someone who's worked with struggling math students most of my working life, I'll just say that it's a fact of life that there's alot of time involved helping some students succeed in math. So I would just prepare to spend 45 minutes everyday working with just him. If he starts to get overwhelmed, take a break, but come back to it and finish, because he clearly does need the practice of finishing all the problems. Above all, keep yourself positive and encouraging, and pray before each lesson, because God can do great things, even in our math lessons. :)  

    • Like 5
  16. Before I could give a better answer, I need to know how you are teaching this -  are you going through the steps in the teacher's manual with him for all lessons, and have you been going through them all along, each year? Are you using the manipulatives packet as directed? Are you using the Reviews book? Are you utilizing the cd fully - with the remedial teaching pages? How long has he not been finishing his work?


    Having tried several math programs, and dealt with tears as well from my ds, and having been a math teacher and tutor for many years besides, my initial thought is that I don't believe switching curricula is going to be the answer. But let me hear back from you on these things before I suggest anything else. 

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