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Posts posted by eternallytired

  1. Huh.  Our homework is always graded as 100% as long as it's turned in on time.  (Though we had one time where we were assigned a section that didn't exist, and the kids got marked down for not turning it in even though we sent a note to the teacher before the due date--and they never did adjust the grade, even after they were told in class not to worry about that assignment.)  I guess decide if the grade matters enough to ask the central office about it, since I'm not sure whether you will ever get an answer from three different teachers.  (I'm assuming that teachers have some system of recording the results of each class, which--theoretically--the central office would be able to access and read notes on.)  I'm with you, though--I don't care about the grade, but on principle I would want to know what went wrong.

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  2. The problem my kids had with Fix-It Grammar was that it gave them a whole sentence and asked them to identify certain parts of speech before they knew what all the parts of speech were.  It's more a whole-to-parts approach, and our brains don't work that way.  I LOVE Fix-It, though, for teaching writing conventions, editing, varied sentence structures, etc.

    I've used two different programs that have both worked well for addressing parts of speech before moving on to everything else.  I used MCT (Grammar Island and Practice Island) with my older two.  It introduced the parts of speech and had kids gradually work up to identifying them all.  (The sentences start with just noun and verb for you to identify, and they only add more words as more parts of speech are introduced.)  If you're looking for something faster/more get-er-done, I used Eugene Monteaux's Drawing Sentences this past year for my youngest.  It's available from the publisher for $25.  It's a pretty hefty book (three books in one), but even the first section will get you all your main parts of speech and start in on different phrases and clauses.  Like MCT, it starts with short sentences that have only a noun and verb to identify and builds on from there.  Unlike MCT, it doesn't have the story element added onto the workbook portion: it's just a brief explanation and then several sentences to practice.  If you're just looking for a grammar foundation, do the first chunk of Drawing Sentences (until you get your main parts of speech) and then switch back to Fix-It for more writing conventions.  Keep alternating between practicing identifying parts of speech/diagramming and the writing/editing.  Just thought I'd give you one more thing to research and consider. 😁

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  3. On 6/20/2022 at 4:08 PM, Roadrunner said:

    We have had zero retention with computer based programs. I remember DS acing Plato Science (I think that’s what it was called) all three courses in one year. Retained nothing. 

    Well, that's depressing.  Was it just with that program that retention was awful, or across the board?  I have noticed that a few online programs I've had my kids trial offered multiple choice answers that made it too easy for my kids to figure out the right answer without necessarily remembering or understanding anything, but I didn't end up using those programs (and ended up continuing with physical book/discussion work) for that reason.  I wonder if it's how the material is presented, the child's level of engagement, the way a program tests for comprehension, the way our brains work...  I do have one kid doing math online right now, and I think he's retaining well, but now you've got me paranoid that three years from now I'll discover a giant crater in his math knowledge that directly corresponds to this time in his education!

  4. Does anyone have enough knowledge of Borenson's Hands-On Equations and Picciotto's Algebra Lab Gear (or Algebra: Themes, Tools, Concepts) to compare the two?  I'm researching for my youngest, who learns best with visuals and thrives with hands-on material.  He's done Borenson's fractions lessons with great success and I was planning to do the Hands-On Equations, too, but then I ran across something about Picciotto's algebra and that got me wondering.  I'm not sure if they cover the same material or if one is more extensive or advanced than the other, so I thought I'd ask here and hope someone has wisdom to share.

    Any other recommendations or advice re: a very hands-on child as we head into middle and high school?

  5. I used Foerster for my daughter who thrived on the incremental/conceptual aspects of Math Mammoth (similar to Singapore in approach), and I think it was a good fit.  She would have been overwhelmed by AoPS.  Math Without Borders has videos available to go with the Foerster book if you need instructional help (or want answers to the even problems--the odd answers are in the back), but on the rare occasion she needed more explanation than Foerster had in the book, I found a video on Khan or YouTube if I couldn't explain it well myself, and she found the odd problems provided plenty of practice.  The other benefit to Foerster that it sounds like you might appreciate is that it felt like the lessons were better balanced/scheduled than AoPS lessons: in Foerster you do one complete lesson per day (except on the long story-problem review sections), and it takes you more-or-less the same amount of time each day.

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  6. On 6/8/2022 at 8:36 AM, Dmmetler said:

    L loved Uzzingo, and it was a good way to give a younger kid high school level science content in a managable form, with digital labs beyond what would have been physically achievable. The videos and text content were good. One of my friends found that it was text reader friendly. Quizzes were mostly multiple choice and the occasional short answer.  I'm guessing adaptive is the same content, and that the primary difference is the teacher interface.

    I would consider it super light for high school. Like "might be OK as a get it done credit for a student who needs basic knowledge, but will not have to take an additional class in the subject", and would definitely not feel comfortable calling it a class with lab without some physical labs and lab reports added, and for chemistry and physics, a lot more calculations. 

    One thing I would check-at the time we did Uzinggo, it was flash based, and flash no longer exists. If they haven't updated it, most of the site won't work. 

    Thank you so much for your thorough review!  I'm actually considering it for my rising 7th grader, but I figured I would be more likely to encounter folks who had used it in the past few years if I asked over here.  I'm gathering that it might be adequate for a 7th grade level, assuming we'll hit the material harder when she's in high school, but it's definitely more enrichment than spine for high school level.  I'll have to check if it's still Flash-based.

  7. Has anyone used Adaptive Curriculum for math or science?  Someone somewhere once mentioned using and liking it and I jotted it down in my MS/HS resource list, but I can hardly find any mentions of it now that I'm looking.  I can find a few mentions of Uzinggo, which (from what I gather) was what they used to call the home-use version of their materials about a decade ago, but no one lately has mentioned AC that I can find.  It's reasonably priced and looks engaging and independent, but I'm not sure of the thoroughness or rigor.  Any reviews?

  8. My youngest is also a very restless learner.  I tend to have a couple resources running and sometimes use them on alternate days.  Maybe it's a youngest thing, since I (also a youngest) started doing much of this for my own sanity early on with my older two.  I tend to get restless, too, if I feel like I'm doing the same thing all the time.

    For language arts, I usually have separate curricula for writing and grammar, and we have a family book club for lit.  I tend to alternate writing-focused days and grammar-focused days and save book club for Fridays.

    History and science I alternate days on.

    Spanish I alternate days spent working on new material with one day each week focusing on building vocabulary and one day focusing on reviewing various conjugations.

    Math was the one subject where historically I've just had the kids plug along at a single curriculum day after day, but this child required something different.  I've tried a few things in the past couple years, but this year's formula seems to work well for him: every day he does one word problem card (Lakeshore Learning), one 5-minute review (Evan Moor workbook), and then one topical resource.  Our topical resources have been a book on decimals, Fractions Sense, Advanced Pattern Blocks, On-the-Job Math, and a few others.  This has provided enough variety in each day and throughout the year, since each day he can choose the order for his three activities and the more time-consuming one gets rotated every six weeks or so.

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  9. My oldest used AoPS Prealgebra, and it worked well for him.  He loves math and wants it to be challenging, and AoPS fit the bill.  I was definitely glad for the thorough explanations with the answers, since it's been a loooong time since I've thought much about algebra.  I thought it would be difficult to transition from BA to a standard textbook, but surprisingly he had no trouble with the switch.  I think the math itself was similar enough that it didn't feel different to him even though it looked different.

    After working through a good portion of AoPS Intro to Alg, he needed a change and switched to Elements of Mathematics, by the Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science (IMACS).  Elements of Mathematics is an online program that technically covers prealgebra through precalculus all during middle school, but the prealgebra he's doing now looks almost nothing like AoPS prealgebra.  He's loving it: there's a lot of practical application and interesting interactive modeling.  For example, he's currently figuring out the amount of taxes that would be collected in a fictional nation using various income tax structures.  This is definitely an intense program intended for those who love math and enjoy being challenged.  Instruction is done through both text and videos (mostly audio of a teacher and students having a discussion, with static images of each person showing on the screen as they speak).  I pretty much can't help at all, since the language and symbols used are generally very different from in traditional math programs, but that's been pretty good for him as far as having to read the question board and re-read instructions to figure out what he's doing wrong.

    My middle child is good at math, but doesn't love a challenge like her brother.  (She did a couple years of BA before saying, "Okay, Mom, I proved to myself that I CAN do this, but I don't like it.  Can I switch to something else?")  She thrived on Math Mammoth.  She enjoyed the independence of having the instructions right in the workbook, and the author did a good job of scaffolding learning, taking it from the concrete to the more abstract in manageable bites.  It felt rigorous without stressing her out.  She was sad to leave it behind after MM7 (prealgebra).  I definitely think it prepared her well for algebra, though, since she cruised through the first half of Foerster's Algebra 1 before encountering much new material.

    I'm pretty sure I'll choose yet another prealgebra for kid #3, who tends to be very visual/kinesthetic.  We'll see!

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  10. I had this link saved in my "Resources" document as a possibility for my youngest, when he gets there.  Someone on the hive had recommended his books as being a "fun and accessible" way of learning algebra using manipulatives to help you visualize what you're doing.  He appears to have geometry publications, as well (at least one of which I remember seeing referenced on here a few times).  https://www.mathed.page/my-books/index.html

  11. 2 hours ago, PeterPan said:

    My ds had this issue of behaviors before/after and basically I needed to tell the person what was happening. Also, do some things that will let them see it, like staying to talk.

    The psych should be giving you questionaires that will let this stuff show. I hate the GARS. Hopefully they're giving you the ADI-R and some of the better tools. 

    I have no idea what they're having us do.  I feel so lost, but I also feel like my options are limited: I'd go to one of the highly-recommended private practices around here, but we don't have unlimited money.  This is the psych in the same practice as our developmental ped; I'm hoping the fact that he referred us will benefit us with the insurance--still awaiting a cost estimate.  Eek.  Hoping for the best...

    Now off to read up on weighted blankets and browse Walmart and Amazon.

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  12. 16 hours ago, KSera said:

    If he can’t stay still in his seat, that’s important information. As far as the anxiety, we were super low-key about it and told them we were going to do some testing to find out how they learn best so that we could use that information for deciding the best ways to teach them. We told them the testing would probably be interesting and involve doing a lot of different kinds of activities. Fortunately, they did find it interesting, which I expected they would or wouldn’t have said that.

    I do standardized tests every year, and I try to treat these the same: "This is to give me helpful information about how you think and learn, so I can be a better teacher for you.  There are going to be some simple questions, and some you won't know at all.  If you knew it all, it would actually not be a helpful test, so don't worry about getting things wrong."  But even though he did really well on the few tasks they had him do with me there (reading a word list, writing a few sentences), I could tell that he was really nervous.

    9 hours ago, Lecka said:

    But I think the comment you got was more along the lines of "if you have something you know works, already, feel free to bring it."  If you don't have that -- then that is part of what they might recommend -- because that is why you are going to this!  

    It's not a problem for you to solve before you go, unless you already have something you are using sometimes, and didn't know if you should take it or not.  

    I know for my older son, we went to Sonic and a playground after his appointments, and that was good enough for him.  It was something for him to look forward to and then it was fun for him.  He was probably stressed walking out and then feeling better before we went home.  

    My other son honestly had a fun time with lots of breaks, but -- I know it was adjusted to make it that way for him.  He already had an autism diagnosis and it was already known he needed breaks, etc.  

    Lots of good stuff to think about in your post--thanks!  I hadn't even considered what potential message I'd be sending by providing the wiggle cushion for certain activities.  I think I'll take your suggestion and figure out a treat for afterwards.

    8 hours ago, PeterPan said:

    Not to point out the obvious, but you don't want to do anything differently going into the evals. The psych NEEDS TO SEE this stuff happening. It gives them an objective way to compare his reactions and interactions to what other similarly aged dc do in those settings and interactions. If you change things now, you're screwing that up.


    With what you're describing, he probably has retained reflexes. 

    The problem is that he holds it together remarkably well in public, but it all comes out afterwards. I was hoping that if I could ease his stress going in or during the process, maybe he'd be less upset later.  I suppose I just need to brace myself for this to be a rough process.  At least we have an hour+ car ride home each time, so he'll have plenty of time to unwind...

    He was diagnosed with retained reflexes at age 4, but when he had an OT eval at 7 they said we had successfully integrated them.  That OT was not as helpful as everyone here seems to imply that OTs are.  She said in her eval (which I had to request from my doc, since she kept saying she was going to sit down and go over it with me and never did over the course of several months) that he likely had sensory issues, given my answers to the survey questions...but she really didn't clarify anything for us.  I'm trying not to get my hopes up that this will be any more useful in the long run.

    I'm going to have to schedule a Walmart trip to look for weighted blankets; I think everyone would love them.  (It's funny: since we live in Texas, it doesn't really get cold enough to pile on blankets.  After the freeze we had in February, all of my kids discovered that they LOVE having a pile of blankets on them, but they were too hot to do it beyond that one cold week.  Maybe the weighted blanket would solve that dilemma: a single layer, but all the glorious weight!)

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  13. DS9 and I went in for an initial meeting with the psych this week, and she's scheduled us for two days of testing.  I've been trying to handle this like I handle everything else with him: explain exactly what we're doing and why, not make a big deal out of it.  He seemed fine before the appointment, but he was SO anxious afterwards.  Since he has two (nonconsecutive, for good or ill) days with 4-hour testing blocks coming in a couple weeks, I thought I'd ask if anyone has any advice on helping to reduce his anxiety and make the process more pleasant overall.

    The psych mentioned that DS might want to take a favorite fidget along because he's very wiggly (swinging his legs for much of the appointment, shifting a lot and fidgeting with his shirt when she was doing some initial evaluations with him)--but we don't have fidget toys around the house because he can just get up and walk around or roll on the floor or whatever if he needs that sensory outlet (input?).  (I take that back: we have a TheraBand tied around the legs of his chair at the dinner table because he could NOT sit through a meal otherwise, and it was driving DH nuts.) I'm not sure if I should run out and get something (wiggle cushion?), or if I just hope for the best.

    Any BTDT advice is welcome.  Thanks, all!

  14. At that age, my kids didn't sit for more than a few minutes at a time.  Any time I was reading material out loud to them (living books, mostly), they were allowed to draw or play quietly (or roll on the floor...) as long as they listened.  (We'd talk about what we'd read afterwards.)  If we were working on something out loud together (AAS flash cards, math facts), they usually jumped on the mini trampolines. (We had 1 per kid at that age!)  If they were doing seatwork, they were allowed to sit on an exercise ball or wiggle cushion, get up to pace while thinking, etc.  And, of course, each lesson at that point was quite brief--mostly 10-15 minutes, unless it was a very hands-on activity like a science lab or art project.

    If it makes you feel any better, I felt like first grade was a year when my kids were really difficult--distractible, irritable/easily frustrated--but suddenly around age 7 or 7 1/2, they matured and made a lot of progress emotionally and academically.

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  15. If you want a grown-up Bible that's written in everyday language, the Contemporary English Version is very approachable.  It doesn't have illustrations, but since it uses more modern language, it's not exhausting to read.  It was actually translated with the goal of being readable for children and English language learners.

  16. I also found CPO to be reasonably well done.  They have middle school books for Earth Science, Life Science, and Physical Science.  They also offer high school level materials.  Each section has a few questions at the end, and each chapter has a review.  There are also some worthwhile extension activities in their Skill Sheets.  The Student Pages have two labs for each chapter (and there's usually one or two more lab-type activities in the book).  While some of the labs were pretty much impossible to do without the huge supply kit, I was generally able to find one per week that we could manage at home.  (For example, we just used an under-bed storage bin--one of the plastic ones--for our stream table and took it and our water cooler to a local park with a sand volleyball pit to experiment.)  My complaint with CPO is that I felt like they introduced a fair amount of vocab, but surprisingly little content that we hadn't hit yet.  But then again, we were trying to use them for middle school, so it might be perfect for you.  (We used BFSU K-2 in pre-K and K and have done interest-led or living book-based science until this year.)

    CPO materials used to be entirely available online; I'm not sure if that's changed in recent years.

    • Like 1
  17. On 6/11/2021 at 7:42 PM, Clemsondana said:

    We did a trip to DC several years ago (right around New Years was cheap because Congress isn't in session - there were no crowds at all - the supreme court tour and library of congress were surprise favorites). 

    Ugh.  I wish we'd been able to go to DC in the off-season.  We went in Summer 2019 because we were meeting up with family and not everyone homeschools.  What my kids remember most is that it was SO hot and we had to stand in long lines for everything.  If you can manage to go in the spring or fall when the weather is pleasant but schools aren't out yet, you'll probably enjoy it way more.  The LoC is definitely gorgeous, and I still remember getting to see the Supreme Court in session when I was in high school.  (I remember being shocked that the SC justices were twisting in their swivel chairs and whispering to each other just like any other restless human being would do if they had to sit and listen to hours of legal arguments.)  We also toured both Mount Vernon and Monticello (when I was in high school and recently), both of which were really interesting.

    My favorite national park is probably Yosemite (and Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Sierra are all relatively near there).  My family did a very memorable train trip to California when I was 14 (Amtrak through Colorado is awe-inspiring), and we visited the national parks and saw San Francisco.  I'd love to do that trip with my kids.

    I'm not sure what my third trip would be...

  18. 6 hours ago, PeterPan said:

    RightStart teaches the to do subtraction from the left. You go through and do all the trades first. Sounds like he's very intuitive on what ought to work and needs the instruction. There are always multiple ways to do things.

    Yeah, he reminded me that this is the way RS originally taught it.  I had introduced it the other way at the time, showing how I had learned to do the trades, and the other two kids do it the way I do it--but not YDS.  He is definitely intuitive; he seems to be able to mentally manipulate numbers and can do what I think are the more difficult, puzzle-y elements of BA, but it's the stuff that I think of as being straightforward/rote that seems to trip him up. 

    We came to a screeching halt in math this year because--despite working on them with SM2, SM3, and BA3--he still hadn't memorized his multiplication facts (which was absolutely necessary at this point because of his very, very slow processing speed); we couldn't master long multiplication or division or a host of other things until he got those down, and that took something like three months of 20 minute-a-day practice.  (We're not quite done, but he's around 80% mastery now.)  Now I'm busy trying to remind him how we did all these basics while also modeling decimals and long division and...  And I'm wishing I didn't have to generate my own, Borenson-style math worksheets.  But he loves it when I do, and the method seems to work--and it's less expensive than buying a whole new curriculum.  So I guess I read and research and keep plugging.

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  19. 52 minutes ago, EKS said:

    You're right.  It was expensive but I was desperate.

    I used the manipulatives with his younger brother, and ended up selling the rest.

    Alas!  I was hoping you'd found some less expensive way of doing it.  I may still end up going this route, but I'm going to wait to spend that much until after whatever testing/evaluation they recommend for him this August.  

  20. On 6/4/2021 at 9:31 AM, EKS said:

    Anyway, I ended up doing MUS Beta-Zeta in about 6 months with a dyslexic kid who had hit a wall with Saxon 7/6.  It worked like a charm.

    How in the world did you do this without breaking the bank?  Even the used items I'm finding are $40 for the manipulatives (not counting the add-ons for fractions and algebra) and $25 or more for the instructional materials for each level (and that doesn't always include the workbook).  Eeek!

  21. 17 hours ago, HomeAgain said:

    I got another page in and saw all his Facebook posts on the side. Nope.

    Some ideas for you, though:

    Algebricks/Algeblocks (listed above)
    Patty Paper Geometry / AngLegs material
    Shiller Math
    Math U See

    My ds uses a highly hands-on, low writing math program.  It has a slight learning curve, but has been a better fit for him.  I hesitate, though, because it uses one set of manipulatives for everything, so we did branch out slightly when it came to percentages and multiplying fractions of fractions.  I brought in money to show 1/10 x 1/10 and slowly work up.

    Thanks!  I had AngLegs on my list after browsing @kbutton's suggested site above.  I actually own Patty Paper Geometry and had seriously considered Math U See way back when (and actually Shiller Math before that), but went with Right Start partly because it uses a variety of manipulatives to model things.  Unfortunately, while we loved A and B, C was both too much review and too much fine motor--particularly since my kids hit it around 5/6--so we jumped ship.  I was able to find something that worked well for my other kids, but not this kid.  Maybe I should look at it again, since several people suggested it.  I hesitate now because it's mastery, so I worry I'd have to invest a ton to get all the levels we'd need to catch up with their program.

    What's the low writing math program your DS uses?  I didn't even mention that element, but writing is like torture for this kid, even after OT.

  22. 34 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

    How's his place value? Because a lot of this stuff comes down to a thorough model of place value. And I don't mean "he can name 10s and 1s" -- I mean, how comfortable is he trading up and down whenever he needs to, sometimes in his head and sometimes on paper, and trading as many things as needed. 

    I tend to hand kids a bunch of poker chips and tell them to knock themselves out. We make observations from what they do. It works really well with every single kid I've tried... I don't have a program, though. 

    That's the weird thing.  He has no trouble telling me that 4200 is 420 tens or 35 is 3.5 tens.  But it's like as soon as I have him do something on paper--say, a long subtraction problem--he does things like insisting on starting from the largest numbers and working down, without writing out any trades (though he can get it correct about 80% of the time this way).  If I have him write his trades and start from the smallest digit, suddenly he does things like trade a hundred for ten ones.  This is the same kid who randomly informed me at age five that there were 100 fingers/toes in our family, so if two people in our family were sick, then 40% of people were sick.  I feel like it's all up there, but I'm failing him in figuring out how to help him put it on paper (or interpret what the paper is asking).

    I've been having him model things with base-10 blocks (not perfect, I know, but at least a concrete model) and that seems to help: he does one that way and then the model sticks in his mind for the rest of his work.  But it's almost like I need to repeat the presentation of the model every day, which is weird to me because he seems to have such a great understanding by the end of each day.  It's very disheartening for me, and he feels like a failure when he doesn't understand what he's supposed to do.

  23. I half hate myself for continuing to poke at this topic, but I'm taking my fifteenth new direction with this kid, and I'm hoping someone has a suggestion.

    DS9 started math early and strong, but seems to be making less and less progress each year.  I really think that there's some processing/working memory/visual-auditory thing going on with him (he can do BA puzzles, but struggles with the regular problems; he can read music, but can't remember the note names even though we've gone over them daily for months), but the ed psych has a huge wait list, so I'm doing what I can.  I recently picked up Fractions Sense (the Borenson curriculum) for him, and he loved it.  The incremental instruction, visual/hands-on models, and minimal practice worked really well for him.  I've been trying to recreate this success by writing my own similar material for decimals and long division and multi-digit multiplication, but I'd dearly love not to reinvent the wheel.  Does anyone know of any materials similar to Borenson's, but for other math topics?  He's working on fourth grade materials now, but I'm not sure how high his retention has been.  (It's really weird, since he can come up with answers to complicated stuff on his own, but doesn't seem to understand what he's being asked to do on a math worksheet, and verbal explanations seem to make it worse.  I think it was the visual-interactive that really clicked with him.)

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