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Everything posted by KristaJ

  1. Crash Course Kids has a number of good science videos on different topics.
  2. We reserve mornings for math and language arts so that we have plenty of time and energy for those subjects. Everything else is done after an hour-long lunch break. We rotate history/geography and science every afternoon. However, we only do specific lessons Monday-Thursday, and Fridays are reserved for fun stuff like math games, art projects, and interest-led topics. For a second grader, you could work on getting the core stuff done on four days a week and save the fifth day for the extras.
  3. I’ve been using Mr. Q for my 7 and 8 yo. We started with the free life science book last year and now we’re working through the Earth science book. It is inexpensive and I can print out pages for each of the kids. I love the experiment ideas and we do at least one every week, but I do add additional resources because some concepts seem to be lacking in depth. The kids love the little jokes in the sidebars and fight over who gets to read them aloud each week.
  4. My DH read the Harry Potter series aloud over the past year (took almost a year to read all seven books) to my 7, 8, and 10 yo. All three of the kids were able to handle the content, but we also discussed it as a family so they were able to express their feelings when it was confusing or dark. My middle child did cry when certain characters were killed, but it didn’t do too much damage because she is already rereading the entire series independently. In the end, they enjoyed the depth and complexity of the story. But, if you don’t feel comfortable reading it to your younger kids yet, why not read it in the evenings when the littles are already in bed? We do read alouds at night, and I think it helps the kids calm down and settled for bedtime.
  5. I know it is frustrating for me when the kids can’t answer the questions too, but your child is young and is still building the skills needed. If he enjoys the stories, I’d continue reading them aloud, but lower your expectations for the questions. Last year my first grader struggled with it a little too, but this year (2nd grade) she’s able to write beautiful narrations with a ton of detail. They still aren’t spelled correctly and we’re working on grammar, but I’m impressed with her recall and ability to put it into words.
  6. We're reading The Long Winter right now. It's nice to snuggle up and read it by the fire when it's cold outside.
  7. Yep, it will be ok. We moved halfway across the country a few months ago, and we stuck to math and language arts while we prepared to move and then settled into the new house. My kids are close in age to yours (10, 8, & 7), and everything worked out just fine. By Christmas, we were back to our normal routine and no permanent (or even temporary) damage was done. And we all felt a lot less stressed when there was less on our plate. Like others have suggested, we listened to a lot of audiobooks and watched the Planet Earth series on Netflix more than once… but if you can’t find time for that, it will still be ok.
  8. My 7yo 2nd grader just recently began to read silently, and still sounds out challenging words verbally. I never “taught†her to read silently, but her older sisters certainly begged her to read in her head so she wasn’t a distraction.
  9. I buy the huge packs of loose leaf handwriting paper and use a three hole punch so I can load it in their binders. It's cheaper (but harder to find) than getting a bunch of the little composition notebooks.
  10. This is something I've added to our days that run a little short. The younger kids get so excited and run to their rooms to put on their "workout clothes." There are also some fun dance videos. These are good for the winter months when you're stuck inside and the kids have an excess of energy to burn.
  11. Last year, when I had a 6 and 7 year old who wanted to “do school†after lessons, I printed out a bunch of coloring pages that were related to what we were learning. They also practiced math skills on Khan Academy and Prodigy. Often, they would use those things to “play school.†Our K’nex simple machines kit still gets a lot of after school use too. They could do those activities with minimal parental involvement, so I could take care of my own chores.
  12. I would do this. You're not having him do any work over, and he gets an extra year of education out of it.
  13. My 8yo 3rd grader is still transitioning to wide ruled paper. If the paper with three lines is helpful, stick with it until he is ready for wide ruled paper.
  14. We did astronomy for the first half of this year, and we drew from a number of different resources from the library and online. It was my first time not using a formal curriculum, and it went way more smoothly than I thought it would. I also found a lot of good ideas and projects on the Teachers Pay Teachers website. The kids put together fantastic lapbooks and I think it was the most successful science unit we’ve done yet.
  15. I think everyone has given good advice so far! I agree that focusing on the three Rs and not worrying about everything is just fine. You’re kids are young enough that the priority should be reading, writing, and math and if you don’t have the time or energy for anything else, that’s ok. Audiobooks are also a great use of time. Reading with daddy (if he’s up to it) will give you a break too and be a nice bonding experience. I also second the baby carrier idea. My now 8yo was a challenging baby and was only happy when she was being held. A good baby carrier gave me my life back! She was happy and my hands were free to actually get things done. Even my babysitter got a baby carrier. As for bored kids—I always tell my kids that if they are bored, that’s their fault. I just don’t tolerate boredom! My 7yo is finally catching on and will grab a book or Lego set or coloring book. Hope everything calms down soon!
  16. Could you spend the entire year on astronomy? Most curriculums just touch on astronomy for a few weeks or months, but I know that my kids would love to spend an entire year on it. Or you could fill out the year with interest led unit studies.
  17. My oldest was in PS through third grade and had never encountered dictation before. She absolutely struggled with the memorywork, though she was great at the writing assignments. It frustrated her to no end. So I broke down the passages, sometimes a lot. I like the idea of letting the student read through the passages a few times first so that they can become familiar with new words.
  18. My 10yo, who has natural writing talent, loves The Creative Writer. It has helped her organize her ideas so that she can focus on storytelling and I’ve seen great improvement in her stories. We're slowly working our way through level one and although she's younger than your son, I think he would still get a lot out of the book.
  19. 1. Am I giving enough one-on-one time to each kid throughout the day? 2. Is my oldest being challenged enough? 3. Are we getting out of the house enough?
  20. I usually get my “alone time†for about an hour after we are done with all of our lessons and chores. This usually starts at 2:30-3:00. This is the ONLY time during weekdays that the kids are allowed to play with electronic devices or watch TV, so they repay me by playing with them quietly (or at least, relatively calmly). The kids know that this is my time and only bug me if there is something crazy going on. I usually take a shower and then a catnap or read a book before its time to reemerge from my room (if I try to get quiet time anywhere else in the house, they bug me) to start dinner. I also get a little break for 30 minutes during reading time now that all of the kids can read independently, but we do that in the morning and I usually spend it getting ready for upcoming lessons. For reference, my kids are ages 7, 8, and 10.
  21. I track grades for record keeping purposes only. I use Scholaric to make a schedule, and it has an automatic report card feature. I only use it if my ex asks to see grades. Since we work until the kids achieve mastery, grades are pretty much irrelevant.
  22. Yes, I think it is important to use adult language with kids! I've been talking to my kids like little adults since day one. I remember my mom laughing at me because I didn't "baby talk" when my oldest was a toddler. But it is good for kids to hear complex words in context and in everyday conversation. They seem to pick it up more quickly.
  23. Now I need to get it. Need the chapters on science for my science-oriented kids!
  24. We just read. A lot. The kids have dedicated reading time during the day and often rush to bed at night to snuggle up with a book. I’ve also continued reading aloud to them. My older two (10yo and 8yo) sometimes take over my read alouds, so they get some practice and I can listen for any issues. My youngest (7yo) is still working on fluency, so I make time for her to read aloud to DH or me every day. I’m just starting to work on literary analysis with my 10yo. This past year, I’ve been assigning her books that are at or slightly above her level that I think she’ll enjoy. She loves reading and has great comprehension skills, but can still miss out on some underlying themes in her books, so we discuss it together. I also assign book reports or some other culminating project at the end of each book to make sure that she really understood the story. I used to make all of the kids log their reading every day, but I realized that I was just doing it so that I could check some imaginary box. Now I just have a spreadsheet that lists what books each kid has read. I want the kids to WANT to read, so I try to keep it as simple and pleasant as possible. So far it’s working—my two older kids whine when I tell them to put their books down.
  25. In my household, I read aloud for 30 minutes every day, and my DH reads aloud from a different book for almost an hour every night. It has been a great bonding opportunity. Honestly, I love getting out a coloring book while my husband reads to the entire family after dinner. We have lively discussions as a family and everyone brings a different point of view to the story. I’ve also noticed that since starting our family read alouds, my kids’ vocabularies have increased dramatically and they have better reading comprehension skills. I also think that reading some of the classics aloud has helped them be more prepared to understand older and more varied language once they are ready to read them independently. I think the trick is to read something that you will enjoy as well. I’ve tried to read some more modern children’s books and I struggled to get through them because they didn’t have any depth (at least not the books my 7 year old selected). We usually stick to the classics that I either loved as a child or regret not reading as a child. I also think, for the sake of your own stamina, it is good to mix it up. I just spent the first half of the school year reading older books with challenging language and I needed a break, so I switched it up and opted for a Little House book because it is easier to read aloud. My kids (ages 10, 8, and 7) have enjoyed these books as read alouds: Alice in Wonderland A Little Princess The Secret Garden The Swiss Family Robinson Peter Pan The Jungle Book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Charlotte’s Web King Arthur and his Knights Anne of Green Gables All of the Harry Potter books Many of the Little House books BTW, I loved Esio Trot as a kid! It’s such a cute book.
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