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Have kids -- will travel

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Posts posted by Have kids -- will travel

  1. I'm going to give a different perspective here. I loosely homeschooled during the preschool years for my oldest, and I was back at work full time when my youngest was 2.

    Our elementary has an extremely bright population with very highly educated parents, and I've been able to keep both of mine in their age grades so far. This has been advantageous particularly for my oldest, who had weak handwriting skills (and as a seven-year-old is now full caught up). Both kids have had the benefit of playing longer at school than they would have if accelerated.  

    If you want to go for a grade skip or K early entry, be sure that your child is ready for the handwriting demands. Get a good pencil grip and ensure that he's forming letters in the proper way. Be sure he's compliant enough to do daily handwriting. Schools expect a lot more writing than the homeschooling population, and writing is one of the key's to accessing higher levels of work in a school.

    Additionally, schools assess reading alongside comprehension. My five-year-old was tested by our school and can read and comprehend at a seven-year-old level, which is too easy for him. He can read the highest level they have, but he doesn't have the life skills and analytical ability yet to answer reading comprehension questions for eleven- and twelve-year-olds. This mismatch means that the reading level at home doesn't match with a level at school; that's been fine. My seven-year-old has gone through this same process, and his comprehension (i.e. ability to answer the school's reading comp questions) has gradually improved. He was tested by school as well and read the highest level (end of elementary, twelve-year-old age) and was also fine with the comprehension questions. Basically, the boys read whatever they want at home, and the reading at school is generally easy for them. This hasn't been a problem at all; we've seen no problems with perfectionism, underachievement, or stagnation of skills.

    For math, schools can't really cater for my five-year-old, who can handle negative numbers and is passionately learning times tables because he wants to do everything his big brother can. That's fine. At home, he learns a ton, none of which I teach him as I now work. He does his math work at school, wows the teacher with what he thinks is simple, and loves playing with numbers. A grade skip wouldn't help the mismatch, and so far, we've been happy with things.

    Basically, I don't expect a school to reach the top of my kids' abilities for math and reading. Both skills get practiced at home out of interest, and school is great for handwriting, spelling, writing in general, and social skills. These things are done in a much better way and at a much higher level than I could achieve through homeschooling.

    We've had great experience talking with schools. In general, I like to have objective information to present them, in the form of test results or concrete examples (writing examples, text the child can easily read), and we have allowed the schools to make suggestions on how to meet the children's needs. At the moment, we are in the process of a move, and we've been speaking to the new school (also highly educated population but a public school rather than private). The old school made a report, and the new school will use this as a basis to make a recommendation. Based on preliminary discussions, both kids will be grade skipped.

    Basically, I'd recommend talking to the school and seeing what they advise. Being in the age grade for the early, play years has been a great choice for us, and now that both boys are writing easily (younger brother is advanced for writing and doesn't have the relative weakness his brother did) and ready to leave play-based schooling, a grade skip feels right. 

    • Like 1
  2. Thanks for the reply. The older one bombed a spelling CITO, with below-age results, while his English spelling is well above age expectations. His reading age in English is 11+ and he got average for group 3 technical reading. So there's a pretty big language-related gap that I'm looking to close.

     

    The five-year-old is a special case, but he'll be heading to group 3, so will catch complete Dutch reading instruction and be fine. He'll still likely want to tag along with whatever the older one does and continue to disturb me with how quickly he picks up things.

     

    I'll check out the website. Thanks! I suspect catch-up will be really quick for the older one, since he has the skills to learn and just needs to transfer the language. But I'd feel better if he were at least on target for his age in spelling by the time he started school.

  3. Does anyone here have experience with homeschooling Dutch, particularly language arts?

     

    I have two bilingual boys who will be transitioning from an English school to a Dutch school. Reading in Dutch is at least a year above grade level; writing and spelling are well behind. I'd like to shore up the spelling and writing before the school transition.

     

    Anyone have resources or experience?

  4. What my five-year-old is currently into:

     

    Horrid Henry

    Jack Stalwart

    Captain Underpants

     

    Books that my older one also enjoyed at age 5/6:

     

    Zac Powers

    Magic Treehouse (also the Fact ones)

     

    My five-year-old is as happy reading a chapter as he is a comic book or a picture book, so we try to encourage it all. Chapter books often have limited and uncreative vocabulary with simple sentence constructions. Complex picture books, like the Lorax or other books meant to be read to children, are great for early readers to read to themselves. The vocabulary is often much better, the sentences more complex, and the pictures help a young child maintain attention and stay with the story. So don't give up on picture books too early. 

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  5. Late to the topic, but I agree that you don't have to do what the teacher says. Teachers can be well-intentioned but still misguided. One of the best things my mom ever did for me -- a perfectionist with a strong need to obey authority -- was tell me that I could pick my books to read, rather than read the school's books in second grade. I hated the school's books, since I had levelled out of the regular books and was getting textbooks. My mom let me go to the library and read what I wanted. The teacher never asked why I wasn't reading the books I was supposed to.

     

    My first grader's spelling words are very difficult. He's had apprentice, vibration, and beautician. He's not a natural speller.

     

    We do what works for him. He enjoys a writing app I got him to practice. It's a finger tracing app, and he types in the spelling words himself. That counts as one of your spelling activities. We do a mock test, but it's all low stress. The tricky words get a star, and as he learns the words, the stars go away. He feels motivated to see that progress.

     

    Still, for spelling tests, he always makes extra mistakes. We tell him that mistakes are fine, and that we're proud of his results. This has helped a lot, because there were definitely tears about not getting everything perfect.

     

    Don't listen to the teacher. Do what is right for your child.

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  6. Our school doesn't have a set time for free reading either. I'm not sure how much my seven-year-old reads at school, since he definitely needs his playtime and outside time.

     

    At home, we:

    - Visit the library weekly to ensure that new, interesting books are always available

    - Let the children read before bedtime in their bed (under the guise of "staying up")

    - No screens in the morning before school (time may be spent reading or playing)

    - Bring books when we're out for waiting periods (like waiting at a slower restaurant)

     

    My kids are bookworms and spend a lot of time reading. Particularly new library books are encouraging for them, so having new books every week is a huge motivator. They will re-read books, particularly the younger one, but the older one loves new books and variety.

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  7. We are all waiting to find out that. So far - guides online, same cost as buying books.

     

    My kids' school has now paid for a schoolwide subscription to a math-based program for home use. The kids get to use it for free, while it usually runs at $60 per year. That means I won't really be considering BA anymore. No time to do both, and the program so far has been much better than I expected (or experience with similar programs).

  8. So, I likely haven't been paying as much attention to my kids as I should. I am supposed to start nursing school in the fall, and my schedule will become even crazier for awhile, if I go forward. But now, I am wondering if this is a really the best thing for my family. It seems that I am letting too much fall through the cracks at home. :(

     

    This is working mom guilt, and most working moms that I know have felt the same way at various times. Full time study counts as work, even if it's not paid.

     

    You make do the best you can with the time you have. A kid scoring below expected for a class running two years ahead of his age is definitely not a failure. You are not failing your kids by having obligations outside of the home.

     

    FWIW, homeschoolers on this board typically aim to educate their children at the top of their abilities. (Advanced) children in school are not pushed to that level. Had you not homeschooled, your son would probably be working a year or two lower than his current level and sailing through.

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  9. Block design was also supposedly below average, as was coding (processing speed).  But within a range where it could have been her being distracted or whatever.

     

    I see several other things that make no sense.  For one, in the verbal section the age equivalent of 14:6 and 14:10 get a scaled score of 14, but in the fluid reasoning section 14:10 gets a scaled score of 11 and 63%ile.  (Kid's age was 10:8 so if 14:10 is accurate then I don't think that is 63%ile.)  Another FR subtest is  ">16:10" age equivalent but only 91 %ile.

     

    The way to read the report is to understand that the raw score is converted to a scaled score through comparison to children of the same age in such a way that converts the raw score into a score with an average of 10 and a mean of 3. Knowing those numbers, you can easily calculate the percentile rank based off of that. All scaled scores of 11 will get a 63% rank, and all scaled scores of 14 will get a 91% rank. 

     

    Age equivalent scores means that the raw score received by was similar to the average child at the age given for the age equivalent. That means that the raw score your daughter got in the verbal section to earn a scaled score of 14 would have been equivalent to a scaled score of 10 for a fourteen-year-old. The scaled score of 11 with an age equivalent of 14 seems off. It's possible it's a mistake, but it's also possibly correct for that subtest. The age equivalents have no bearing on the FSIQ, but any mistake would make you question the integrity of the rest of the report.

     

    16:11 is the highest age for which the WISC was standardized, so >16:10 is the highest age equivalent. Your daughter's scaled score was then 14, since the percentile ranks are just a one-to-one correlation with the percentiles based on the mean and standard deviation, and the raw score obtained is higher than the average raw score for the highest normed group. 

     

    The two glaring issues are the subtest with a 0 raw score and the scaled score of 11 with an age equivalent of 14:10. The child could have misunderstood the directions, or the test administrator could have failed to properly direct her. You're right that it's strange and seems off. You'll need to ask the psychologist directly about that. The scaled score of 11 with a high equivalent could be accurate, but it's worth asking about. It should all be listed in tables, so it's a trivial thing to check if you have the tables. 

  10. Which brings up another thing.  I thought IQ was mental age over chronological age.  So there were two sections where the average "age equivalent" was over 15yo, which would give a quotient close to 150, but the score and percentile did not fit with that.  So color me confused.  I should be able to ask the psych about this, but I don't trust her at this point.

     

    IQ was indeed originally designed as mental age over chronological age, multiplied by 100. That is no longer the case.

     

    Modern IQ tests are standardized tests, with a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15. This means that raw scores are converted into standard scores, using data from thousands of test subjects to arrive on the mean and standard deviation. This data uses age in that the test subject's standard score is derived from a comparison to other children with that same age. As a result, a child can get the highest available standard score without answering everything correct (for example for a younger child taking a test) or a child can get every single test item correct and still not get the highest available standard score (for example a child taking a test very near the age ceiling).

     

    There is an extremely knowledgable test expert who posts regularly on a public forum (Davidson). If you post your IQ test questions there, you will get the best answers available online. 

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  11. I looked at BA2 for my six-year-old, and it also seemed like the wrong level (too easy). If you like the BA approach and she's enjoying it, I'd finish up BA2 and then move to BA3. Have you given her the BA3 placement test?

     

    We also have mathy boys, not particularly challenged by school but very positive about math at school. As a result, we do some simple mathy things at home without a full-on curriculum. Bedtime math is fun. Spatial puzzles and games are fun. We have a few math games the boys really enjoy as well.

     

    I'm probably going to get BA2 for my younger one and BA3 for my older one some time next year. My hope is to have it fun and somewhat challenging, but mostly fun.

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  12. Being stuck with your school makes things challenging.

    If money was no issue, I'd say to send him to school for the religious studies and take him out at 3 p.m. Hire a high quality nanny/tutor to educate him on math and literacy after school.

     

    Could you pay for a tutor to come to the school to teach him separately? 

     

    The issue with having him just learn next year's curriculum is that the pace is likely too slow and it simply delays the problem for a short time. You'll want to look at different curriculums that stretch him in different ways. The teacher my preK'er has is introducing negative numbers to him. It's a new way of thinking about numbers, rather than just testing him with bigger and bigger numbers.

     

    Solving this problem will likely require resources on your part (someone to teach your child). Leaving up to the school will likely be highly unsatisfactory. The school's priority is clear in how the time is divided. A school that leaves literacy and math as an afterthought at the end of the day is not prioritizing that learning, and your philosophy may be fundamentally different from the school.

  13. Is the textbook broken up handily by sections with section titles? If so, you could start by having her read the questions and make a guess as to what section is relevant to the question. Then she only needs to re-read the sections relevant to the questions. 

     

    I agree with PP's suggestion to have her read the questions first before reading the chapter.

     

    Another option while you're working out the difficulties is to find the answers yourself and tell her which pages to re-read. I wouldn't recommend this long term in the least, but if she does need therapy or additional help, this could get you through the initial difficulties.

     

    Can you ask her not to outline but to summarize for herself what she has just read? Say she reads in class. Ask her to think about a sentence or two that summarizes the section or page she's read, just in her head, before moving on. Memory is improved by calling up higher levels of cognition, so having to summarize text makes it easier to remember because you've used the text rather than just reading it passively (and that's also the reason that kids get questions to answer at the end of the text; rewriting answers in your own words makes the facts easier to remember).

     

    It's hard to improve memory, except through practice. When it comes to remembering what is read, that comes down to using the text (answering questions, making bullet points), reading out loud (engaging more senses and registering the words both visually and orally), or re-reading. Re-reading strikes me as the least effective option, unless it's additional to other strategies. 

  14. Also, is it typical for every test to be on the computer?  Math, social studies, science, and english? Is this where education is going?  I just looked at dd's math test.  The computer corrected one of the problems wrong (it was a partial answer...other problems if you got 3/5 correct, it would mark it so.  One problem was 3/5 correct and it marked it 0/5).   Even if we switched schools would we still be facing this? She did lousy on the test.  She knew the material really well.  Maybe she's not a good test taker.  Am I just too involved?  This is 4th grade.  Maybe I shouldn't care so much.  She doesn't seem to care too much.

     

    Some schools actually advertise that most of the learning is via computer. We're school shopping for a potential move, and any school that has most of its learning via computer is off the list.

     

    No, you're not too involved. If I didn't care at all, my kid wouldn't, and would be happy to dash off his work with a minimum of effort and go play.

     

    You can teach test-taking strategies, how to check work (so, so important!), how to pace yourself. It's early for these things, but it would help. Getting that practice in before higher stakes testing in middle school and high school would benefit her.

  15. Yeah, pre K is easier to deal with than k. She's spending a lot of time "learning" letter sounds right now. The math objective for French for the year is learning to count to 100 in French. Dd could learn that in about 20 minutes, but I haven't pushed it. If the teacher says that she can move on after she learns that, then we'll sit down and do it.

    She reasonably happy. They have specials, and she's started to try to read in French. If she becomes very unhappy we will certainly pull her. I'm trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, but the school isn't looking like a long term fit.

    By the way, the school is pretty old; just the language immersion part is 4 years old.

     

    My first grader did K last year, equally advanced, and had a great year learning to write stories and measure objects. My oldest has learned his letter sounds in school three times, once in preschool, once in preK, and once for his second language. Each time he enjoyed it.

     

    The point is that if your child isn't having any problems, she may indeed be enjoying the learning, even though she already knows it. If it's brought in a fun, exciting way that's age appropriate, it can still be enjoyable for children (does she ever watch the same TV shows over and over and over again?). If she's having issues in the classroom, by all means be that mom at the school. Just because she's doing work that is under her level, doesn't mean you have to do that now.

     

    I've stopped looking at the minimum objectives for the end of the year. Those are a mismatch for my child. I've starting looking at the areas in which my child grows during the school year (resilience, writing, automatization) and how my child feels about school.

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  16. A school that is just starting isn't generally well-prepared to assist children who need more, whether that is extra learning support or learning beyond the curriculum. A new school will often be opposed to acceleration, as there won't have been previous parents paving a way and creating success stories.

     

    Definitely consider moving schools if the option arises. Be aware that if your daughter switches languages now and doesn't continue with French, she will retain no fluency in French. Many friends of mine have done immersion or local schooling abroad for a few years in elementary and cannot speak anything but the most rudimentary phrases in the languages. Three months of K will definitely not be retained.

     

    I'd give up trying to send in books or push for harder work unless your daughter was having problems in the classroom. My preK'er is reading chapter books and doing proficient first grade math, but he has a great day at school playing with cars, making masks, and playing outside. If she's enjoying school and not complaining, don't worry about it not being at her level. My kids continue learning outside school and read plenty of books on their level, so enjoying regular, preschool picture books during school is fine (and my preK'er is of course the only one actually reading those books anyways).

  17. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding your age, but it sounds like you're in college full time. The great thing about college is that you get to explore different areas and really work out your passions. The bad thing about college is that you'll have to take some courses that don't come naturally to you.

     

    If this is a motivation issue, schedule time to work on your quantitative class. Do it first, before you do work for the more fun classes. Do it while you're still fresh, since the enjoyment will help you power through your more fun/easy classes. Ideally, you'll do a little every day in a productive way.

     

    If this is a time issue, learn to learn what the professor/instructor expects you to know. Passing a test, or even acing a test, doesn't mean you need to proficient and fully understand the material. It means you know how to answer the questions in the way expected. I went to arguably the most academically rigorous liberal arts college , and there were subjects (third year physical chemistry) that I got an A in without really understanding. If your issue with the quantitative course is time-limited, focus only on the course text, do all the practice problems recommended, and make sure to ask questions. You could understand the theoretical underpinnings of every calculation, or you could memorize the required algorithms. Nothing wrong with quick-and-dirty solutions to get through a class you aren't passionate about. Memorization can save you from understanding in many things.

     

    Should it come to memorization over understanding, the crucial skill comes to knowing what exactly to memorize to maximize your score with the least effort. This skill, being able to efficiently filter out irrelevant information and focus on the material that you need to know, will make you successful in any career. 

  18. I find that teachers generally enjoy telling parents what they are doing and talking about your children, so I have gone in the past to let the teacher know that we value what she has to say, not actually because we value what she has to say.

     

    I'd go to all of them, concerns or not, unless the extra trip was especially annoying to arrange.

     

    We don't make extra appointments with optional teachers unless we have concerns, but we go to all the formal teacher conferences.

  19. It's dumb.  But I thought having how good you were at basketball be a part of your middle school GPA (equivalent with math) was stupid too, so I guess to each his own.  Schools are weird.

     

    Well said. Can we call the whole middle school GPA part weird too? We were thankfully spared from that back in my day.

     

    Which was good because I got C in homemaking in middle school. (Was deserved and is probably better than what I would get if my current homemaking skills were assessed)  :lol:

     

    Sorry, OP, seems like a rough situation without a great solution. 

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  20. What did the teacher say?

     

    Foreign language once a week is a waste of time, unless you're very diligently studying in the week between classes. 

     

    Pop quizzes in general can be a useful tool, but I'd not have expected them early in sixth grade, honestly. I felt as a student that they were often a lazy teacher's solution to kids not caring about the class, but that was generally because the teacher never maintained consistency in pop quizzes (and the good teachers made it clear that your learning was your problem and didn't need pop quiz threats to get kids in line).

     

    Foreign languages don't need pop quizzes anyways. Announce the quiz and do it every two weeks. Foreign language classes need lots of quizzes because cramming is utterly ineffective.

  21. Indeed, money and time are the first issues to sort out. Homeschool curricula can also be expensive depending on which program you use.

     

    If those factors don't help you decide, have you talked to your daughter? Does she enjoy the class? Some kids learn better in social situations (maybe she's extra challenged by older children in the class) or can focus better for teachers than for a parent. 

     

    We both work full time, so our balance was that we had more money than time. Both our kids did a fun math class in preK, and our oldest kept going in K. He really enjoyed the class and the games they did. When it conflicted with his sport and he had to quit, he was genuinely sad. My youngest has gone for about a year (after begging to go because older brother does it), and he is less enthusiastic. We asked, and he said he'd rather stay home. So when this course is finished, he won't go back. Neither learned a significant amount of math in the class, honestly.

     

    FWIW, music lessons are an excellent way to add math into a child's life. 

    • Like 1
  22. I'm struggling to keep up with my first grader's homework, honestly, so during a typical school week, his school reading gets done daily, his spelling work is done, and he does reading and vocabulary for his second language. 

     

    During the holidays, I give him some Math Mammoth to do, and he practices writing. 

     

    In general, the idea is to shore up weaknesses and to provide challenge for the strengths. That means doing some writing practice as that's DS's weak area, providing lots of reading material (below, at, and above reading level), and doing some math activities to provide a bit of extra challenge in that area.

    • Like 1
  23. Reading Eggs was too slow for my boys with too much repetition. They liked Math Eggs more, but it didn't hold their attention really long enough to justify longer than the trial. This was during their preschool years, so I suspect that a K'er working ahead would have the same problem.

     

    My boys both loved the free game Teach Your Monster to Read. I thought it was done better than Reading Eggs, and it's free. My kids used it for preK, so again, the level might not be right.

     

    Readtheory is free site for an advanced, self-motivated reader. My K'er didn't like it, but it's basically texts with comprehension questions. There are rewards but not a game element. 

     

    What has worked best for us for reading is regularly visiting the library and letting the kids read as much as they'd like. For a voracious reader, practice reading and enjoying reading is the best "afterschooling" you can do, IMO.

     

    Dreambox is a subscription-based math site. It's interesting and unique but has the same issue I've seen with every math-based website: it doesn't teach. Prodigy and Sumdog are two math-based website that are free, both with significant game elements. Neither "teaches" math. 

     

    We limit screen time in general, so none of these options has worked out as a good choice for us.

     

    For math, my kids get occasional math vacation work from me, and we do various math activities together, like games and fun math books. My favorite fun math book is Bedtime Math; the kids love it.

  24. OP, I suspect the reason the initial responses weren't satisfactory is that many posters here don't considered an accelerated five-year-old to be "preK level". Many people responded with an answer for their preK kids, thinking you mean a three- or four-year-old. A five-year-old is already more capable of sitting for academic activities.

     

    It sounds like you have a wonderful child and want to offer more. I can't help much, as I went back to work when my oldest hit preK age (just turning 5), but there's no reason not to offer math, reading, writing, and much more at that age. My six-year-old in first grade is just now starting to figure out that it isn't all a game, so there's also no reason not to make the academics as engaging, entertaining, and game-like as possible.

    • Like 1
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