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Everything posted by fyonaf

  1. So interesting to see the various permutations of 6th grade studies! We've had some solid years of IEW writing and Fix It grammar, so it's a "light" year for us for those subjects. But we're making some changes across the board; I think Singapore and Brave Writer are the only two things we're continuing from this year as far as author/provider goes. *indicates subjects done with all my kids at the same level--2 5th graders and 1 6th this coming year: Math: Singapore Primary 5B-6A/B (we'll see; almost done with 5A right now) *Language Arts: BW Arrow books, Wordsmith Apprentice for grammar/comp review, finish up Phonetiz Zoo Level B for spelling, history/science enrichment books as recommended and needed + written narrations in those two subjects *History: BF Modern US and World study guide for Jr High with Foster's books (5th graders won't have as much writing/questions as the 6th) *Science: Apologia's elementary chemistry/physics book with their notebooking journal (6th grader will write lab reports; 5th won't) *Logic: prufrock press.... kids are just about done with the safari books Music: continued piano and violin lessons; hopefully choir at co-op *Art: picture study + artistic stuff at co-op *PE: AGH.... does running around outside count? Morning Time: Bible, poetry reading/memorization, read alouds, etc.
  2. I'm fine with the CAT test for now (also used the Christian Liberty Press timed online version) for a few reasons. 1. It meets my state's requirements. 2. Standardized tests are nothing more than a benchmark and, by themselves, mean absolutely nothing. You have to take the same test for a few years in a row for the benchmark effect to even be useful. For instance, is my daughter scoring in roughly the same percentiles each year according to her age? Is she regressing in an area? etc. That's how schools used to use them and how I wish they were still using them! The test is very straightforward which helps kids answer what they actually know (v. the SBAC trial we did where the kids spent most of the time trying to figure out WHAT the question was even asking). If you take a different test each year, then you don't know whether your kid does just does better on one test than another or whether it's actually reflecting their academic performance in a given year. 3. my kids are still in elementary school, so I'm not sweating it much anyway.
  3. We just use the Theme-Based Writing books from IEW (did it with 3rd-4th grade this past year and will do another with the same kids at 4th-5th grade level). It's a great program to use with a couple of ages and the books give you tips on adapting the checklists for the various ability levels in your "class." Podcasts are great chunks of the important info. We also use Fix It (grammar + copywork). I didn't both with the teacher videos (cost + time + familiarity with program already). I saw a big improvement in my kids' writing this year after steadily plowing through the material....
  4. WOW!! Thanks for so many resources. I'd tried searching the forums, but didn't have the right terms, I guess. And as to my "newness", I'm one of those long-time lurkers, first time posters type. I've referenced this forum for upwards of a year, but finally officially joined!
  5. I'd like to do some logic puzzles and critical thinking activities with my 4th and 5th graders next school year--for fun, not as a heavy academic pursuit. Sort of as prep for more formal study during middle school. Any ideas? Workbooks? Websites? Games?
  6. We did this! Boys started 2B at beginning of school year (they are in third grade) and daughter started 3A (she's in fourth grade). We are now in our third books (3B and 4A, respectively)--it will be a stretch to finish completely by the end of the school year, but not impossible. I told them their comprehension is more important to me than our speed, and I expect we'll slow down a touch as they see more new stuff. We do 1 exercise most days, no tests, and no school on Fridays. Every 5-10 lessons or so, I skip one/do two in one day. Slow and steady wins the race :-). All kids are making 90+% on their exercises, so it seems we're not moving too quickly. I use *many* of the HIG tips (definitely the games), but often just use the textbook to teach (incorporating some of the HIG tips/strategies) and then turn them loose on the workbooks. The only thing I wish we'd made more time for were the extra mental math enrichment pages. I'm thinking of those as a quick daily summer review (shh... don't tell the kids! :laugh: )
  7. We do this and LOVE Teaching the Classics. I have two third graders and one fourth, but the reading levels look more like this: one reading at the third level, one reading as high as 5th, and one reading as high as 6th (depends on the book). We started the year with the picture books--I picked four total from the 3rd/4th grade lists from Reading Roadmaps. Then, we do about a book a month. I choose them by looking through the themes and conflicts (which Reading Roadmaps lists). I pick a pair from the 3rd grade list and a pair from the 4th grade list that have significant theme/conflict overlap. Then, I try my best to have two people each reading a book (this includes me). The reason I pick a "pair" from each list is that sometimes a given title isn't available in our library or just doesn't appeal to us. For instance, at the beginning of the year, my lower reader and I read Mr. Popper's Penguins and my upper two readers read The Jungle Book. Having at least two people read the same book (even if one of those people if yourself) helps more discussion happen. I now offer them a choice of which books, but still try to make sure that there is overlap. One month, I read a book aloud that we also used for TLC (Snow Treasure). You could do this pretty easily by doing the picture book for your younger one each week and having your older one read a novel that you discuss in parts each week. I would use a picture book that had a similar theme or whatever element you were hoping to discuss. (DON'T skip the picture book part--it is so helpful to the kids. They will be better able to deconstruct a book that is firmly at or even slightly below their recreational reading level, especially when they are new to this.) We do our discussions weekly, over tea :laugh: . So everyone looks forward to "lit" class. We do a plot chart with each book that they do in a composition book. I haven't had them do the summative writing assignment for each book, but I am hoping to work that in this coming year. I do ask them to "defend" their answers to the socratic questions with "evidence" from the book (and I just note in pencil which questions I've asked as we go along so I don't repeat myself--we focus on one-two major elements, like setting, each week). It's been pretty informal this year, but all three can tell me lots about the setting/characters/plot of a book and are fairly conversant with theme and conflict. As a former high school English teacher, I can say that if only my former students had been this conversant when they entered my classroom every year, we could have had a lot more fun! If you're not a "literary" person, then you might also check out Deconstructing Penguins. It has a nice, user-friendly, "layperson" approach to figuring out themes and other literary devices (just for your own background info).
  8. Your question prompted me to finally "join" and be able to post on this forum! (long time lurker :coolgleamA: ) This has been our first full year of homeschooling (after university model school and other approaches). I have two third graders and one fourth grader, all of whom are advanced readers and strong math students (lucky me!). Your plans are nearly exactly what I planned and have used, and I learned a couple of things. (I didn't homeschool young children, so I can't speak to that) 1. Take the placement tests on Singapore! I have LOVED this program, as have my children, but even my strong math students were in a lower level than I expected, partly because of the vocabulary and methods Singapore used. It really helped us to have a couple of months of doable math to get used to Singapore itself. We're starting our third book this week and will likely finish this this year (so, 3 books in one school year instead of 2--and we started in August and have taken normal school system breaks). 2. IEW/Language Arts: COMBINE what you can. I think, if this is your first year, you could do IEW All Things Fun and Fascinating (or another level A book) with both your 3rd and 6th grader. Your 6th would be a bit more independent with it, but you won't have to juggle two different things. You could also probably do the first Fix It! book with both and even the same Phonetic Zoo level. We did Level B successfully this year--and are about halfway through. But the words are still challenging enough for many 6th graders (hydrophobia, pharmacy, and metaphysics). And Fix It! has worked really well for us. Remember: YOU will be the one grading every single writing assignment. To do a good job, this means you have to read/coach through every writing assignment (says the former high school English teacher :hurray: ). You can easily do the poetry memorization together, all starting on level 1. We are enjoying that tremendously! 3. Earth Science and Astronomy: We did this, too, and ended up ditching it. We used the Grammar Stage stuff and I wish so much I'd used the teacher's guide for the Logic Stage, the recommended books and experiments for the Logic Stage, BUT let my kids do their own "journals." There's a fair amount of writing required (which is good), but the reading/thought level required at the grammar stage is a bit young for the more advanced readers. So, you might use the Logic stage full on for your 6th grader and just amend slightly for your 3rd (perhaps get the lap book templates and let him/her create her own journal). They do not follow the exact same schedule/content at the two levels as written by the company, and I think you'll want them on the same page. 4. I think you can TOTALLY do SOTW with your 6th grader while you do it with your third. Sure, you'll ask him/her to read more stuff (there are LOTS of reading suggestions on that level in the activity guide) and maybe do some extended research in the Usborne Encyclopedia and/or on the internet links in that book. I've had my 4th grader do that occasionally, and it works well. 5. Reading: You might consider, since you're doing so many other IEW products, trying their Teaching the Classics/Socratic Method/Reading Roadmaps approach. We LOVE this, and it lets you cover similar things with wildly different reading levels. You can choose your own books (so you could do the same approach with whatever you're reading for history, for instance). We do it once a week over tea and discuss what we're reading (intelligently), write up plot charts, etc. Here's what we've used (two 3rd grade and one 4th grade): IEW All Things Fun and Fascinating (Level A) Phonetic Zoo (Level B) Fix It! Nose Tree (first book) Poetry Memorization Teaching the Classics/Reading Roadmaps Earth Science for the Grammar Stage (went off the reservation with this one and just used the spine to decide what topics to check out at the library) Singapore Levels 2B-4A (all are in 3B or 4A right now) Basic cursive book for 3rd graders, copy work occasionally for 4th (I make them do their Fix It! sentences in their BEST handwriting so it doubles as both) I don't think I could have handled Latin in the mix, but we also spend a full day at a co-op, so we only have 4 days at home as it is. We do piano and violin, so that's our "art" during the school year (they also get some art at co-op). Then we do a lot of art and nature stuff in the summer!
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