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Everything posted by 2Peanuts

  1. By the way...the illustrator for Primates, Maris Wick, was apparently an EMT before she became an illustrator. She wrote a graphic novel of the human body called Human Body Theater, which I haven't read but I'm guessing it'll be spot-on in terms of presenting anatomy, since she has a medical background. But I know...that makes 2 graphic novel recommendations! ? Couldn't help it, though, since I was thinking there must be something on anatomy out there that would be an interesting read!
  2. I'm also planning to work on penmanship with my kiddos, who are rising 4th & 8th graders. I hit the "Contact Us" link on the Getty-Dubay website and got an answer from Barbara Getty! She recommended Book D for my 4th grader and Book G for my 8th grader. The rationale for my older kid was that Book G provides a shorter review of print before launching into connected italics (or whatever it's called). Plus the copywork would be more enjoyable for an older child since it's about the history of handwriting. Anyway, it might be worth clicking on "Contact Us" on their website to see if you might get an answer directly from either Barbara Getty or Inga Dubay. Good luck! I'm gearing up for the "But Moooommmm...." groans from my kids when I introduce them to the idea that we're revisiting penmanship! Lots of coffee...lots of chocolate.... ?
  3. Since you're reading a Darwin biography, you might want to check out the poetry anthology, The Tree That Time Built. Each chapter (well...at least the ones I've read ?) starts with an excerpt from Darwin's journals and then all the poems of that chapter tie to that excerpt. The poems are diverse - some oldies but goodies (like William Blake's Auguries of Innocence, "To see a World in a grain of sand...") and some poems written just for the anthology by Mary Ann Hoberman. It's a lovely collection and would pair nicely with his biography. There's also Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly. If you're ok with graphic novels, there's a nice book called Primates by Jim Ottaviani which looks at the lives of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas and their work. Great way to honor women in science! Happy reading!
  4. I don't have any suggestions for you, but I love the blog What Do We Do All Day. She has amazing book lists for every possible situation. And she's got 2 boys (one is a middle schooler, I think), so she's got lots of lists of books that would appeal to boys. Hope you find something good there! ?
  5. I'm a big fan of IEW's Writing with Style & Structure. It's their flagship product. The writing instruction is VERY scaffolded. Students first learn to use keyword outlines to help them remember what a sentence is about and then they rewrite a short paragraph (maybe 5 sentences) using the keyword outlines. There are 9 (?) units, each covering a different kind of writing. I believe Unit 3 would be helpful for your situation - it's where students retell a narrative (like an Aesop fable). Using variations of the keyword outline, they learn to pick apart the story & put it back together into an organized retelling. Another unit covers how to put together nonfiction reports from single & multiple sources. Along with each unit, they cover stylistic ways to improve/enhance writing, such as varying sentence openers and avoiding overused words, like "like." ? I'd say each lesson gives about 50/50 attention to the structure (how to organize the info) and style (how to spiffy up a sentence). The instruction is gradual and I've used it with great success with both my ASD 9yo and my neurotypical 13yo. You could probably go with a Student Writing Intensive product, which comes with a DVD that has all the instruction on it (as in, you watch Andrew Pudewa teach a class on that day's lesson) and then students practice the lessons on their own. They offer 3 levels - A, B, & C. My middle schooler took Level B this year. The main drawbacks might be that (a) you probably won't be able to get it all done over the summer unless you go at a brisk pace or cut some lessons (because it's intended as a full-year course) and (b) it may be on the pricier side. But I've really enjoyed watching both of my kids grow in their ability to write using this system. Another idea - if you want to outsource, I believe Open Tent Academy is offering some summer writing intensive courses. The writing teacher, Eva, is an IEW-approved instructor, and I've heard nothing but rave reviews of her teaching. She's very approachable, too. (I had several questions about which course would be a good fit for my 13yo and Eva walked me through all my options and even let me sit in on some classes or watch class recordings to get a better feel for what they do.) Good luck with your search!
  6. DD took Expository Writing Level 1 as a 6th grader (last year). She said that her teacher for that class, Jennifer Roudabush, is one of her favorite teachers so far. (She's had 4 online classes...so really, all her teachers are "Top 5." ?) As with the IEW class, I liked the WTMA class because it got her writing instruction done. However, I felt like DD needed more hand-holding & structure re: writing with style. Expository Writing didn't really go into stuff like how to vary sentence structure or how to organize info so you aren't quoting large swaths of research. But it gave great templates for how to structure different types of writing. I liked that it made DD think about the purpose of her written piece - is it to provide a description of a scientific discovery? A narrative of a historical event? A description of a person or character? Each type of writing had its own guidelines for what to include/think about. However, beyond those guidelines, students pretty much had to come to the table with decent skills in crafting a coherent (and interesting) sentence. DD needed *a lot* of help from me on that part! After IEW, I felt like DD was coming to me with better 1st drafts. She's also better at figuring out how to organize her info into topics. And her narrations are really solid now! So, I think it really depends on your student --- if they need more help with the actual craft of writing, I'd go with IEW. If they can already write pretty well but need help writing to different purposes, then go with WTMA. If either way would work, then WTMA would probably provide a more robust online classroom experience since the students did activities like work on assignments together in class and share ideas/insights in both the chat box and with the mic turned on. FYI, DD also took WTMA's Socratic Discussion & Story of the Middle Ages courses. Both were great experiences for her. Mr. Caro (the history teacher) is a stand out for his ability to challenge the students with assignments that stretched their history muscles. We've been homeschooling for 5 years now and this was the first time DD actually enjoyed history. (Disclaimer: History is NOT my thing!) Socratic Discussion was great because it teaches some foundational skills in critical thinking and literary analysis. That class is heavily driven by student participation and since DD likes to share her opinions, it worked out quite well for her. I also liked Socratic Discussion because it introduced DD to lots of great short stories - I do ok finding good novels for her to read but I don't know my short stories at all so this was a fantastic addition to her literature lessons! Hope this helps...sorry if I was too long-winded! ?
  7. Hi there, My DD13 took SWI-B online this year. It wasn't her favorite class experience. (She has also taken WTMA classes and much prefers the platform they use.) That said, DD was very glad to have learned the IEW system of writing and acknowledges that it has improved her writing skills tremendously. I outsourced writing instruction because I wanted it done & in a timely manner. DD is a good student, but she often gets stuck waiting for me to work with her because most of my time & attention is spent working with DS9 who is autistic and has language & attention issues. Yes, you do have to purchase the DVDs and yes, most of the instruction comes from Andrew Pudewa & the DVDs. This was one of the issues DD had with the class - she felt like she didn't really learn anything new in class that wasn't already explained on the DVDs. Most classes seemed to go over the DVD lesson to emphasize the key points. Then a good portion was spent on the grammar lessons (Fix It, which both DD & I did not enjoy). In theory, it's nice to edit a passage to practice grammar skills, but some of the passages were so poorly written (as in, the grammar mistakes were so contrived...not at all what you'd come across in real writing) that we actually abandoned the lessons halfway through the year when we felt like they were not the best use of our time & energy. She still got the grammar concepts just fine. (She had done a year of Analytical Grammar in 6th grade.) Some issues with the classroom platform - it's all typing-based so slower and non-typers were at a distinct disadvantage. DD's teacher did not turn on student microphones at all during class, which DD didn't like. Sometimes, it took so long to type something in the chat box that by the time she got the whole question/comment typed out, the teacher had moved on. Also, the teachers don't open the classroom until they arrive so there's little interaction between the students before/after class. WTMA teachers, I believe, do open their classrooms about 10 minutes early & DD has really enjoyed getting to know her classmates during that time. She really wished she could have done that with the IEW class but it wasn't an option. So, those were her 2 biggest "beefs" with the IEW platform. The class was worthwhile to me, just for the aspect of keeping her on track. Since she was accountable to someone other than Mom, she did all her assignments in a timely manner and she covered several units of IEW. Had I been her teacher, I probably wouldn't have gotten her through half the material she covered in class! So...it was worth it from that aspect - from getting the job done. But if you're better at holding your kids accountable, then you can probably just do the lessons on your own with the DVD. It's really hard to find a better writing teacher than Andrew Pudewa. Watching his lessons was by far DD's favorite part of the class.
  8. Hi Nixpix & PeterPan, My kiddo doesn't have apraxia but I thought I'd share what we do, in case it gives you ideas. Like both of your kiddos, my DS works hard at visualizing the info. I've used V&V materials as the starting point for our narrations. But I mix it with some of the techniques I learned from IEW. On the first day with a paragraph (usually 5-8 sentences), I ask DS to draw a picture to go with the passage. He draws maybe 3-4 pictures per paragraph - we don't do sentence-by-sentence pictures but rather 2-3 related sentences into one picture. We usually talk a bit about what's in his picture, and we make adjustments if what he drew isn't quite what the sentences described. This, of course, is the hardest part of the lesson - getting him to change the picture in his head. Sometimes it works; sometimes, it doesn't. But I'd say 90% of the time, he's in the right ballpark re: understanding the action. On the second day with the same passage, I have him pick 3 keywords (from IEW's teaching) to help him remember what each sentence is about. Then, using his keyword outline and his drawings from Day 1, he narrates back the entire paragraph while I scribe. When we're done, we talk about whether or not the words he chose match the pictures and also match the intent of the paragraph, etc. We also use the time to "spiffy up" his writing (i.e., IEW dress-ups) so he gets used to the idea of having to revise his writing. Before I discovered IEW, I used only pictures with him, but it was so hard for him to remember what each picture was about. He got the general idea but couldn't remember the details. Once I added in the keyword outlines, it really helped his memory. And I do see some dividends when he actually recalls something from what we've read/written about. I also use Spelling You See to work the copywork & dictation skills taught in WWS. There's a lot to be said for letting him work the same passage for several days in a row because he does surprisingly well with dictation since he's read the passage so many times already. Hope this helps!
  9. Nixpix - I love the Venn Diagram idea! I'll have to try that with my kiddo.
  10. PeterPan - I looked at Story Grammar Marker at one point...ages ago. How do you like it? Reading comprehension has been challenging for us. I've been using Lindamood Bell stuff (Visualizing & Verbalizing) and also Critical Thinking Co's Reading Detective series...plus working with a local reading specialist. I'm always on the lookout for ways to crack the comprehension nut! ?
  11. I've also got a kiddo with autism. We do a lot of social maps - when you did this action, this was my reaction. What do you think I'm feeling? How do you feel about making me feel that way? I've learned to be blunt with my kiddo and say stuff like, "Geez, you're making me feel really frustrated right now." It usually cues him to think about how his actions have an impact on others. His ABA therapists have used the Zones of Regulation program with him pretty extensively, too. They've played bingo with the different emotions to learn to identify them and then they talk about when it's ok to be in each zone. (I'm assuming you already know about Zones since I know you've posted extensively on the LD board, but if you don't, let me know & I'd be happy to explain it more.) Just recently, we added Mightier to our "toolbox," thanks to your recommendation. I have found it has helped him calm down, especially when game planning how to deal with a potentially stressful situation. He took great comfort in remembering that he could breathe like the Mightier bear to help himself stay calm if a situation felt out of hand. Hope this helps!
  12. My 3rd grader started learning Spanish in 1st grade with Song School Spanish. He really likes music so that was a great fit. Song School might be a bit too young-ish for a 3rd grader, though, but it was a lovely, gentle introduction to the language. Taught mostly vocabulary - no lessons on verb conjugations or anything like that. When he finished that, he did The Fun Spanish which was right up his alley. He likes anything that makes him laugh and the silly sentences in The Fun Spanish were a hit. I liked that each lesson had a verb to conjugate and then vocabulary was introduced. Students translate simple sentences from English to Spanish and Spanish to English. Plus they draw a picture of the silly sentence --- which worked well for us because DS has some reading comprehension issues so I was able to check his reading comprehension along with the Spanish. So, all-in-all, it was an excellent fit for us. He finished The Fun Spanish a few weeks ago and we've begun using All Bilingual Press' Espanol para Chicos Y Grandes (https://allbilingual.com/product/espanol-para-chicos-y-grandes/). I like that it uses cartoons to teach the week's lesson and that each lesson has a grammar/vocabulary component plus aural/oral practice. The lessons come with free audio tracks that go with each lesson so students can hear a native speaker. There's even a book of Spanish poems so you can hear the language in use. The only challenge is that the Spanish poems do NOT come with translations and it can be a bit cumbersome to try to figure out what the poems mean. So far, DS is enjoying this series. In addition to all of the above, he also watches Salsa from Georgia Public Broadcasting. It's like Sesame Street but all in Spanish. ? The videos are only 15 minutes long and they provide a full transcript in both Spanish & English so you can figure out what all the puppets are saying. Very enjoyable! I've looked at Getting Started With Spanish and my main concern with that book (for my kiddo - I know it works well for lots of folks) is that it's too dry. My kiddo works better with pictures (especially because of his reading comprehension issues) and there aren't any in GSWS. Hope this helps!
  13. Hi there, I used both with my DD13. She used WWS1 (or was it WWE?) through WTMA's online class two years ago and IEW's SWI-Level B (also through their online class) this past year. So, WWS1 as a 6th grader and SWI-B as a 7th grader. I liked the writing instruction in SWI more, only because it provides more scaffolding for students who have trouble with anything beyond a simple, subject-verb-predicate sentence. They provide a lot of checklists to help kids slowly build their writing tool box. Lots of focus on how to structure a sentence, how to choose a variety of words to convey your ideas, etc. IEW gives your kiddos the techniques to make their writing "pop." That said, IEW progresses more slowly in terms of types of writing - i.e., writing pulled from multiple resources, the different essay types, etc. SWI-B only covers rewriting paragraphs, simple narratives (think: retelling an Aesop fable), reporting on a topic based on multiple sources (i.e., a 5-paragraph research report), and personal narrative. So for families that want to hit the various essay types or cover lots of different writing formats, this program may move too slowly. WWS looked more at how to structure a writing. This program would work well for a kiddo who already knows how to vary their sentence structure or can write smooth, flowing prose. WWS gives templates for different types of writings, but there's not much on how to make your writing more interesting. The way I look at it --- IEW is more for writers who work well with checklists (that's me!) and enjoy the challenge of trying to vary sentence structure or avoiding using certain words when writing. WWS is for the writer who works well with general frameworks of how to do something & already has a decent voice and flow in their writing. As for the online class element (not that you asked but in case it's a question you have later or others might have) --- WTMA wins hands down! They have really figured out the platform and format for their online classes. DD loved her WTMA teacher and ranks her as one of the best teachers she's ever had (Jennifer Roudabush for anyone who's interested). DD hated the IEW platform - it's very stodgy and students must be able to type their responses to the teacher...which puts some students at a distinct disadvantage. WTMA allows students to use their mics so they can talk...and the in-class chat box stays functional during class so students can interact throughout class. In the IEW classes, the chat box gets shut down as soon as the teacher comes online, which means students interact with only the instructor. DD hated that because part of the joy of taking online classes is meeting the other students. Also, all the instruction for the IEW class was pretty much on the DVD (which is a required purchase for the course). In class, the teachers mostly just reviewed what was taught on the DVD and then they went over the grammar workbook, which was fun for the first 3 weeks and then became a chore. Bottom line: I'd recommend the IEW writing program in a heartbeat, but not the online class. I'd also recommend WWS, but only if your kiddo is already a decent writer. Hope this helps!
  14. I was also recently researching Getty-Dubay for my kids. I sent an email to customer service through the Getty-Dubay website (http://handwritingsuccess.com) and Barbara Getty herself responded! So if you don’t get responses here, you could try emailing and asking for their advice. I’ve got a rising 4th grader and a rising 8th grader who could both use some penmanship lessons. Barbara Getty recommended Book D for the 4th grader and Book G for the 8th grader. Book G appears to review the italic print alphabet for the first 8 lessons or so and then it dives into cursive italic. I can’t give you feedback on how interesting the lessons are because they’re mighty cool to me, but I’m Mom. :) I plan to do the lessons with my kiddos over the summer. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  15. I haven’t read it yet, but Keeping Score by Linda Sue Park is about a girl whose friend is drafted into service during the Korean War. It’s on my list of books to read with my DD12 next year (trying to tie our reading to US History). https://www.amazon.com/dp/0547248970/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_ZRKQAbXHNGXSH Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  16. The vocal group Anonymous 4 was famous for performing chant. 4 women. Gorgeous sound. Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols uses Old English texts and, while Britten was a modern composer, the Ceremony of Carols uses many musical devices that were characteristic of medieval music. I'll post more if I think of them but these 2 should give you a good start for building a library of beautiful music to listen to. Carol
  17. Elements Song by Tom Lehrer. Just search for it on YouTube and it’ll pop up. There’s even a video of Daniel Radcliffe singing it. As if I couldn’t love Harry Potter any more! :) I wanted to 2nd (or 3rd?) IEW’s Linguistic Development through Poetry collection. Level One has some great age-appropriate poems for the younger set. I’ve been working through it with my DS8 and he’s already got some 35 poems under his belt. I admit that Level 2 of the IEW program has some poems that didn’t inspire us so I switched them out with more whimsical selections from Fujikawa’s A Child’s Book of Poems. I also supplemented with poems by diverse authors since the poets in Level 2 are predominantly white males. I used Poetry Foundation’s website to find some good ones. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  18. My DS8 is very visual (he is autistic) and we’ve had great success with Spelling You See. He color codes different letter combos — vowel chunks, consonant chunks, etc. I started my son with the program when he was halfway through first grade (that’s when we started homeschooling), and it’s one of the few programs we’re still doing 2 years later. As an added bonus, the program also gives him practice with copywork and dictation each week, and the passages he practices with cover animal facts (1st grade) and American history (2nd & 3rd grade). I love programs that allow me to work on multiple areas at the same time! Good luck with your research! Carol Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  19. I was just researching this topic myself. :) I've tried Peterson's with my kids and it was ok. They didn't quite get the whole rhythm of writing concept, which is key to Peterson's. So, I'm now trying Getty & Dubay. From what I can tell, the italics style is easier to learn & looks neater on the page, too. Several folks on the boards have used it with success. And the sample passages for copywork actually teach the student about other stuff, too, like zoology, the history of writing, etc. So, students actually enjoy the copywork because they're learning something nifty at the same time. You can find G&D materials at Rainbow Resource --- they have better prices than both G&D direct and Amazon. Good luck with your search! Carol
  20. Ooh, I love so many of these books! And I’ve got several of them on my To-Read list. Tanaqui, I like your taste in books! :) Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  21. I love the blog What Do We Do All Day (http://www.whatdowedoallday.com). She has booklists for everything, including ones grouped by age. I find lots of great recommendations there.
  22. For writing, I would also recommend looking at IEW. The way they scaffold instruction works really well for my ASD kiddo (although he’s only 8 so a few years behind your DD). He has reading comprehension issues but using the IEW techniques, he is able to narrate back full paragraphs and write about them, too. I actually also use IEW for my neurotypical DD12 and her writing has improved tremendously. I have used both WWS and IEW with DD and found that IEW was much easier to follow. It also works more intentionally on building a paragraph than WWS did. I kinda felt like WWS would give a template for a type of writing so she’d knock out, say, a scientific discovery paragraph that was dull, dull, dull! Meanwhile IEW gives both the template for a decent paragraph and how to cull information from the sources plus how to vary sentence structure to make the writing more interesting. All told, her writing is much easier to read now and she has even noticed the change. We are not Christian homeschoolers either, and I have found IEW’s writing materials to be neutral in its materials. (I’m talking about their Student Writing Intensive courses; they have thematic writing courses that may not suit secular homeschoolers.) Good luck with the search! I’ll be looking for this type of info for my DS in a few years! Carol Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  23. I thought that science class looked very interesting! If my kiddo had more leeway in her schedule, I would have encouraged her to look at that class.
  24. Targhee, Thanks for the info! Now, I'm torn! :) I was thinking I'd just get the workbook series (I've also got a 4th grader whose writing is "meh") so I figured I'd work through the books with both kids. But now that I've read your experience with the book, I'm thinking twice. Oh...and my kids just need to improve their handwriting. They don't have dysgraphia. But I hear you on the attention issue --- My DS8 is autistic and has difficulty staying focused. I like the idea that this writing system is easier to learn than some of the other more traditional "loopy" scripts. I think that would serve both of my kids well! Thanks for your help! Carol
  25. I decided to outsource almost everything for my 8th grader. When I teach her, the schedule keeps getting pushed back for one reason or another, and it kinda makes me batty. (Both of us are at fault for that --- I haven't quite figured out how to balance my time & attention between DD-8th grader and DS8, who is autistic and requires one-on-one supervision for all his lessons.) More importantly, I've realized that DD is an extrovert, and she really thrives on learning with others. Kinda hard to do that in a 2-student homeschool. Between the peer interactions online and the consistent lesson schedule, she'll learn more and learn better online. Math - AoPS Intro to Algebra A (summer into Sept) with expectation to start Algebra B in Oct. Writing - Middle School Writing with Open Tent Academy History - US History, 1865 to Present with Open Tent Academy Science - Physics with Clover Creek Electives - Intro to Interior Design with Open Tent Academy; Chorus with local homeschool music group; gymnastics/Ninja/Parkour Foreign Language - Cambridge Latin with me (I don't know Latin, but I've always wanted to learn!) Literature - Lots of read-alouds with me --- we mostly just read to enjoy the stories but sometimes, we throw in some lit analysis.
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