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Everything posted by coastalfam

  1. My son has a different dx, he has Down syndrome, and is 11. He was diagnosed as having generalized anxiety disorder by a psychologist. We put him on Zoloft about a year ago, and it has made an enormous difference in his quality of life. I cannot speak at all to whether Zoloft would have the desired effect your doctor suspects, but I can tell you for us it was not as big of a deal as I thought. He is on a low dose, and experiences no side effects. Aside from anxiety relief, his cognition improved, such as recalling information, and committing new information to memory, and processing speed with reading. Others have commented that he is speaking much more clearly and fluidly, but it's hard for me to tell as I have always understood him, and hard to know if time and maturity are not the culprits. I just know anxiety can really gum-up the works in a person's brain. My son experienced relief from his anxiety beginning about three weeks after he started taking it. He still has anxiety, but it is so much better that working through it is a conversation we can even have, whereas before if his anxiety kicked in, there was no chance of working through it and we basically had to just take him home. So, I realize that does not speak to your specific situation very much, but FWIW, it is one family's experience with using Zoloft with a child.
  2. Why didn't I think of this? Thank you! My son does much better with enlarged type. To the OP, I haven't been able to find type big enough for my son who has Down syndrome. I don't know why he needs large print, but he does--probably a processing issue. He is also left handed, so using a dry erase board doesn't work (his hand erases as he prints), so I often just rewrite math problems by hand on paper. Not ideal. I wish there was an ideal product out there that would be affordable. I am going to tryout what Heathermomster said. I don't think my son will be able to master using a stylus, but it could help for reading a textbook at least.
  3. Yes and No, but heavy on the yes. :) I have a time budget spread sheet that shows how much time we will be spending on each subject and when each day, and what special activities and subjects will happen each day and when. This changes by the semester, so I just update the existing one rather than make a new one. That gets laminated in stuffed in my backpack, or I would regularly end up wrong place, wrong time. ;) Then I have my daily planner that also serves as my learning record. It has curriculum listed for each day that it is to be used, with a space to write lesson # or pages used. It has check boxes for the things I need to make sure get done, like practicing instruments. Anything that is "school" that needs to happen on M,T,W,Th, & F are listed in my planner. This planner is also my "no" part of planning. I don't plan out any lessons more than a week in advance, just the general curriculum to be used, and then I record what we do week to week next to the listed curriculum. I do this because some of my kids work much more quickly in some subjects, and on time or slower or out of sequence with others. I also often like to keep our science studies completely spontaneous to current interests in the boys, and would not want that planned our in advance. Sometimes we are reading History, and they are begging for just one more chapter, so I wouldn't want that planned out in advance too far, and while I have a general plan for things like art, sometimes we get interested in a particular genre and go off our curriculum for a while to explore it. But I do know we are using such and such curriculum for history, and so have that listed every Tuesday in our history time block. I made my planner on my computer using a simple spreadsheet, and I customized it to make it look appealing to my eye. I had such trouble finding one that would fit my needs, I decided my time was better spent making one. I made it so it prints double sided, making a two sheet spread for each week, and it helps me to be very organized, yet with plenty of opportunity to be spontaneous and change things around as needed.
  4. In our Charlotte Mason/Classical inspired curriculum plan we use, in the daily narration part it says younger children may color or draw for their narration if they like, and at least once a week the narration gets really creative, like acting out a story from History, or pretending to interview a character, rather than straight oral narration. I think narration has a couple purposes: One is re-living the material through your own expression to help deepen learning and meaning. In this case, I think you could add notebooking as a valid alternative in that case. Another purpose of narration, specifically of oral narration, is that expressing thoughts orally in a coherent way is helpful in the development of writing original thoughts. Oral narration has been an immense help for my 9 year old with writing, so I nearly always have him do a proper oral narration when we are working on language arts (and it is scheduled into our LA program, which makes it easy to remember to do). One way I "sneak in" oral narration is just to have them describe our history or science book reading for the day to their dad at dinner time.
  5. How fun. Welcome! I am unfamiliar with Abeka (there is so much out there!), but when we first started I found it really helpful to use another "all in one" (aka you purchase all subjects from one company, and it is all scheduled out) for our first year. As we went through the year I found what I liked and didn't, and then changed course the next year. I am constantly tweaking our program, and I like that as parent educators we get that option. So, sure, Abeka would be fine. Other "all in ones" are Sonlight, My Father's World. You can order all subjects from the one company, and all your days are planned out for you. I use one now called Wayfarers, which is just the day to day schedule, and you purchase the individual items listed in it yourself, which means finding cheaper material if you buy from eBay or half.com. I definitely recommend this way to get going with homeschooling for folks who are overwhelmed, or not sure where to start, or generally unfamiliar with homeschooling to begin with. If you are interested in the Well Trained Mind approach, I would recommend something closer to Sonlight or Wayfarers than Abeka, which, from what I know about it is more textbook-ish (but I could be wrong). Also, the book "The Well Trained Mind" is really helpful. Have fun!
  6. Oh dear, this is why we homeschool. IEP's and dealing with schools is such bull you-know-what. Sorry. It is just a huge struggle, and yet it is law, so it should not be. Us parents should not be the ones policing schools, but we are. And it is hard. I completely respect your choice to do public with your daughter. I am not knocking that at all. We all have to do what works for your children and our unique situations. I wish our experience had been more positive. I think a couple things it is important to realize is they are not going to willingly offer your daughter all kinds of supports and services. They are not even going to let you know what the possibilities are, and likely, even if a teacher sees a need, it would be against policy for the teacher to speak to you about it. That costs them money. My son has Down syndrome (so you would think it would be obvious he needs supports and services just on stereotypes alone), and his school basically popped him in where it was convenient, and did not offer services until he was obviously failing... in Kindergarten. So, as the parent your job is to research what services will support your daughter, and what classes are appropriate and what modifications are needed within each class, then put in writing (everything MUST ALWAYS be in writing, or they will ignore like it never happened) what your daughter requires to be able to "access the curriculum" and to be provided a "Free and Appropriate Public Education". Get some books on special education, and IEP's--Wrights Law has some good ones. Learn the lingo and how to write an effective letter. Learn your rights. Learn how to request evaluations. Meet the other parents in the school who have children with disabilities, and find out what they have asked for. And then don't rely on the school to act in your daughter's interest without your insistence, again, in writing. If you want to be sure something is happening for her at school, then it must be IN THE IEP. If it is not, it is not their responsibility to enact it. If it is, then you can hold them legally responsible to provide what is in it. Be polite, but very, very firm. Good luck. Take care of yourself this year. <3
  7. Take a look at Wayfarers. I went from Sonlight to Tapestry (for a short time... it was too overwhelming with the planning for me) to Wayfarers, which has been the simple, yet rich and rigorous plan that I needed for having a complex variety of stages in my kiddos. I bet having done Tapestry for years you will already have many of the resources. Also, I think Wayfarers satisfies all your criteria. It is Classical, all levels on the same history period, includes all subjects you listed, and more. Also, it is very fairly priced. I like to have it on my tablet, so it is in full color, and then I write the assignments and subjects I plan to follow into my own planner as I go. No need to plan very far ahead, except to reserve or purchase books. I currently have kids in Grammar, pre-Grammar, and lower Dialectic stages, and it is working great. http://barefootmeandering.com/site/wayfarers/ ETA: I guess I don't know if it has the extent of discussion Q's you are looking for. I use the SOTW Activities book for discussion Q's for my kiddos, as well as general discussion we have on our own.
  8. I you liked FLL and WWE, then ELTL will be an easy good fit. The classics used in ELTL are used for copywork, and have been valuable for my children to read. I found the workbook that goes along with ELTL very nice to have in digital format so I can just print out what we are going to use.
  9. How about Bookshark? We used the sister company, Sonlight, when we homeschooled our 2nd grader for the first time, and it made it really easy for me. Sonlight is Christian, and Bookshark is secular.
  10. I would hesitate doing any fine motor writing with a preschooler, but my lefties are boys, so maybe girls are ready sooner. With my lefties we do HWOT as well, and I have them form their letters as per HWOT, except when they need to ad horizontal lines to a letter, like F, T, E etc, then I let them go right to left as that is a lot more natural. You can always do more of the activities that involve letter formation in a large motor format, like using sidewalk chalk, or using foam in a cookie sheet, instead of the book for a while. Use the songs and rhymes from HWOT to practice starting letters at the top, etc., then move to the book later on when the motions and method is better known.
  11. I keep all our materials for the year in a box as I collect it, and then on the first day of school we open it and go through it together. The kids get so excited, and usually spend the rest of our time exploring the materials. It's like Christmas. I unveil their schedules to them, and usually start our first read aloud. It's great fun, and kind of sets the stage for them for what to expect for the year.
  12. The accompanying Notebook that goes with each Quark book has topics listed by chapter, as well as additional reading recommendation by level, and activities.
  13. I think Green Thumbs plus Quark would probably be plenty. If the only thing you got the Notebook for was to do extra reading, then you can honestly just find some extra picture books, do some gardening. We did a lot of "dissecting" flowers, sketching plants, looking at things under our little microscope (the underside of ferns!). Also, the Ellen McHenry website has a free section of activities. I think you would be good to go. :) The chapters of Quark are pretty long, but you don't have to read an entire chapter at once. There is usually good stopping points. It's a fun story.
  14. I do Quark with my kids, and my youngest is 6 and gets a lot out of it. I would not say any child need to be advanced to be able to benefit from Quark Chronicles at a younger age. We use Wayfarers, and Quark is scheduled for both the Grammar and Dialectic levels, so it is definitely intended and appropriate for little kids as well as bigger kids. The accompanying Notebooking pages are valuable because they schedule in additional enrichment reading, as well as the copywork pages, and the definitions, which provide an opportunity to integrate science with English dictionary skills, penmanship, etc. I did not use the experiment pages for my kids, nor did we do the experiments very often, but we always do the extra reading, as well as many of the projects suggested in those materials. I get the Notebooking pages in PDF form. We did use Ellen McHenry's curriculum with Quark Botany. It has some really great activities for younger kids--scavenger hunts, art projects, lap books, etc--but with just a 7 year old and no older sibling doing it along side, it might be a little dry for the reading part. I thought it was a very valuable companion. We are currently doing Zoology and having just as much fun. :)
  15. And probably slate and chalk would smear much less for left handed writers (of which I have two). Good idea!
  16. At age 5 your still good, even six, and then somewhere in the 7 age range I would get an evaluation.
  17. My first year I used Sonlight, and homeschooling definitely did not take over my life, and we enjoyed ourselves very much. My second year we switched to Wayfarers, and while with that program you have to procure the selections scheduled in the plan, I still did not have the burden of spending so much time in research. Half way through the year, I read Well Trained Mind, and just wanted to jump off and make our own way, and that was fun in theory and in practice, but the reality was, it was more time consuming than I had imagined. I don't have gobs of extra time. We are back to following the Wayfarers plan, and as with any all-in-one, not every suggestion fits us perfect, but it's nice to swap out an item here or there and still be able to follow the rest of the plan, than it is to have to make every single decision about all the subjects, for each and every kid, every year. Again, I like that idea in theory, but I need and I enjoy the freedom of a pre-planned school year.
  18. I think it is so personal what fits well family to family, but my own personal favorite after having done Sonlight (another similar all-in-one) is SOTW with the Activity book, and a book basket list. For Science we do a combination of living books, experiments, art activities, and specific unit studies based on my kids revolving interests. We happen to use Wayfarers by Barefoot Ragamuffin Curricula as a curriculum guide for the bulk of our science living books and activity ideas (I throw in little unit studies to break it up a bit), and Wayfarers is also how I coordinate extra books to go with SOTW, both picture books for my lower grammar kids, and chapter books for my upper grammar kid. You don't need Wayfarers to do what you are describing, though, it is just a resource I personally like. If you are undecided about what to do, I would highly recommend getting the book "The Well Trained Mind". It is fabulous in helping with this sort of pulling together of a program that is exciting for your own family, and will fit with your time and lifestyle, if you decide against MFW Adventures. All-in-one programs are super convenient, and I know MFW has a great reputation, especially the Adventures year. It was super for us to use Sonlight our first year homeschooling. It gave me a wonderful introduction to teaching from living books. It is a little more work to plan out your own, but very rewarding. On the Barefoot Meandering website, there is a freebie download section that has a grid with SOTW schedule out. I have used that in the past to jot down book basket ideas, science unit studies to coordinate with history themes, or field trips I could plan. Maybe it will be helpful to you in your planning. http://barefootmeandering.com/site/planning-pages/
  19. Your reasons are the same as my reasons for switching to English Lessons Through Literature. ELTL is actually like WWE and FLL rolled into one, though you could certainly skip the little grammar lessons if your choose. If you like WWE, except the part where you are working purely from excerpts, then you will be satisfied with ELTL. http://barefootmeandering.com/site/
  20. If it was me, as you sound so reluctant, I would put off that question for a year, and try all you can to make it work. You can always pop her in school next year if it doesn't work out. Some ideas that might make space for your work, and provide kid time for you daughter are teaming up with another mom to swap one subject a week (you take her kids for one subject, and she can take your daughter for one). Out sourcing a subject to a tutor. No extra kid time, but it will help with you having some work time. Homeschooling in the evening (i.e. dad can do part of it, while you do some work). Get a housekeeper so you can have work time instead of needing to do the usual cleaning. Picking and "open and go" curriculum so you don't have to bother with much planning. Paying another homeschool mom to take your daughter a couple times a week-- this could be for days she does not have a new assignment to work on, but rather items she can work on along side another family's school day. Anyway, those are just some ideas that occurred to me, or that people in my area have done to juggle homeschool and other circumstances. I may be helping another mom this year my taking her kiddos in the afternoon to do history and science with us.
  21. I don't know the answer either. We buy all our devices used, and we share them, except my husband and I do each have our own phone. So between the five of us there are two iPhones, an iPad, and an iMac, and all bought were used from craigslist, or refurbished from Apple. We've never had an issue with quality buying used, so if people want use these tools, I would definitely recommend this practice. I prefer books hands down any day of digital documents, but it is actually really convenient to have teachers manuals and texts that are only used for a few minutes a day as digital, also I can print what I need from digital workbooks, and therefore what I don't need does not then get wasted.
  22. I have read this as well. We get our meat locally, which is really expensive (actually, our groceries are our biggest expense and we have to live much more simply to afford to buy local, though the reaches of that decision are worth it for us), and have found that if we are choosy about our meat producer, we can find very ethical, well managed, and small scale meat sources, but ya, we have to eat less of it to do it this way.
  23. Audiobooks save me with a living book heavy curriculum. Oh my. Do they ever! I like the page protector idea. I had shied away from that because of not knowing if I should keep a physical copy, but I never thought to snap a picture for our record. Now I think I will do this.
  24. How fortunate you are to be able to produce so much of your food! That would be my dream come true. We aren't able to purchase land at the prices they are here, but luckily we get our veggies, fruits, and meats all locally. Also luckily, my husband is an electrician, so we have solar. On our tiny little lot, we do produce quite a lot of blueberries, though!! I have left handed kids, and left handed kids can't use white boards as they erase what they wrote as they go. Who knew? My right handed kid uses the board for spelling tests, though.
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