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Everything posted by coastalfam

  1. That is a fantastic idea. My husband works as a University. :) I have pdf's of appropriate composition paper for each of my kids that I can easily print onto paper that has been used on one side.
  2. Just looking to reduce our homeschool's overall environmental impact next year. There are a lot of things we do already, and a lot of things I have planned. Here is my newest campaign: Our newest change is transferring a good bulk of our curriculum to digital in the way of teachers books, planners, and student texts, in some cases changing to a new curriculum to accommodate this desire. We purchased a used full-size iPad, which makes this a perfectly doable solution for us. And second, for our living books, we will either be borrowing them from our public library (I plan to have the librarian school me on inter-library loans very soon), or borrowing from our charter curriculum room, or purchasing the Kindle version, or purchasing used. My personal goal is to not purchase any *new* physical books for our homeschool this year. It's going to be a really fun challenge! What sort of things do you do in your homeschool to reduce your consumption, your carbon footprint, or actions you take to invest in environmental preservation? I'm curious!
  3. I was going to suggest ELTL level B. It was a great grammar and English program for my reluctant 8 year old last year. There is a lot of copywork, but like you said, it is completely enough to do copywork from something more motivating. It's all the same. First, I would get a stress ball, and some other squishy balls, and youtube occupational therapy hand strength, and work on that this summer and through the school year. Strongly consider an occupational therapy consult, so you can learn some practice techniques to help your daughter build strength, improve pencil grasp, and writing stamina. Someone mentioned retained primitive reflexes, which is something my youngest child has, and he has major issues with writing and behavior in general. Therapy can be so helpful, and as a parent, you really learn a lot. It has helped me to be a better teacher to my two kids who really struggle. Ask your pediatrician for an referral. Next, rewards can be so effective for working on a difficult skill kids are reluctant to do (think potty training!), and while it "feels" like bribery, your goal is that she will be willing to work on writing to build her stamina, and the reward can be faded later on. In my house full of boys, my rewards are things like Pokemon cards and Baseball cards, so something cheap that you can hand out frequently. It could be a homemade punch card that earns a punch toward a Starbucks visit or something. Whatever is most motivational, yet small. For handwriting program practice. Maybe check out HLTL, by the same company as ELTL. It is a pdf, and you can print individual pages that are very simple. Or whatever you use keep it very simple, and unintimidating. Maybe do it at a different time of day as ELTL. If she really just needs stamina and practice and not letter formation practice, you could start teaching cursive or typing, maybe whatever is she feel super motivated to try. For copywork, you could use the ELTL passage, or something more motivating, but whatever it is, have her do just a tiny bit. You could highlight one sentence of ELTL copywork in the workbook (which I recommend for the sentence diagraming, by the way), and have her start with that. Or if she does something else, I might fold the composition paper in quarters, and tell her to do enough copywork to fill that quarter of a page (or whatever amount of a page would be easy enough that she would not bat an eye at you). The deal is that when copywork is done, she gets her little reward. And over the year, while also addressing any occupational therapy related issues, and working on hand strength, you slowly increase the amount of copywork she does... key word slowly. And just be so positive about her effort. It was a building up for my 3rd grader this year with ELTL copywork. By the end of the year he could do the entire passage. Also, over the course of the school day, you can sneak in writing here and there in the form of a fun little worksheets or filling in MadLibs or a game that involves writing in responses. Something with short answers... like one word answers, at least at first. The idea is she would not see that as "writing" at all. Worksheets definitely have their sneaky uses in a CM driven education. ;) Anyway, those are some ideas we use to help our reluctant to do things kids, with writing, but also the same approach works with, say, working up to dunk ones head under water (which is my current campaign with my youngest son). Good luck!
  4. We use Wayfarers, and really love it. My kids are 11, 9, and 6. We use ELTL, RLTL, MUS, the geography program that is scheduled, the Bible readings, we follow the composer study recommendations, we do Quark Chronicles and the other scheduled science. We save the literary read alouds for summer time and breaks, and we do our own thing for art and the devotionals/Bible teaching. It just really makes sense for us to use Wayfarers, especially as we have one student moving on Dialectic stage soon, and I need to keep my kids together in content areas due to other time constraints and special needs. We tried Sonlight and My Father's World in the past, which might have also been perfect for us if I had given myself the freedom to augment the program as needed back then. It's my thought that with Biblioplan, Wayfarers, or any "all in one" program, the name of the game is using it as a guide, and not the rule, and in that fashion it is a great tool. So about your specific question, the Bible readings and devotional that are scheduled in Wayfarers are not integrated with the History. However, there are read alouds and picture books that correspond to Biblical History in the Ancients time period. The Bible studied along with Wayfarers Ancients is the Old Testament, so in that way, there is some congruency. I personally prefer to be able to be very choosy about Biblical history and how I address it with the kiddos, and I like that Wayfarers keeps it separate enough that if I choose to do something different for Bible, the whole program does not fall apart. I like to teach Jewish origins and ancient culture every year, to lend context to our Bible studies, anyway. Wayfarer's flexibility (and my self permission to be flexible with it beyond it's built-in flexibility) is what makes it a wonderful program for our needs. I really love it. Good Luck!
  5. We have used AAR, and it works great. We switched to Reading Lessons Through Literature, because of the better price, and because I prefer to have text books and teachers manuals on my tablet. RLTL works equally as well as AAR for my youngest and my oldest. However, neither of my kids has Dyslexia, so I really would not be able to comment on the interchangeability of the two programs I have used, or the ones you are using. I can say AAR is a solid program, and the tiles are a big hit with my kids, however, in my opinion, the font in the readers and on the fluency practice sheets is too small, especially for a struggling reader. I had to enlarge the material with my home scanner for my oldest, who struggles with reading due to Down syndrome, though my youngest son benefitted from enlarged material as well. I really can't wrap my head around the smallness of the font in the beginning level. If you can get your hands on the material to try it out with your son, that might be a good idea before you invest. Another thing you might do is cross post this in the Learning Challenges board for better guidance regarding curriculum helpful for children with dyslexia. Good luck!
  6. I have the Ikea cart as well. Our communal books for subjects we study together are on the top level of the cart. The second level has all our markers, pencils, scissors, etc., and the bottom level has all our math manipulatives. For subjects that are individual to the kids grades and ages, I use a magazine file that I keep in a closet. Each kid has one for their math and one for language arts. I also have moved to using pdf versions of curriculum for textbooks, which cuts way down on what would be a significant book problem that wouldn't fit in magazine files. Last, unless the book is in use, it is kept in a tote in a closet for later, or if we are finished with a book, it gets sold or given away (unless it was a really, really phenomenal book, in which case I might put it in the tote to use again down the road). Anyway, that is how we manage. We have a small house, so it just really helps to have everything central that is being used (though tidy, in the cart or the closet), or put away so it's out of my hair.
  7. We do: Monday & Wednesday: Math, English, Geography, Enrichment courses at our charter school, literary read alouds. Tuesday: Math, English, History, and Geography or Composer read alouds Thursday: Math, English, Science, Geography or Composer read alouds Friday: Math games, "Buddy Reading" (reading aloud to siblings), field trips, art, and music. I formed this schedule initially due to our charter school involvement. We go there more often than I would normally have planned, because one of my sons receives a lot of therapy and tutoring, so my other kids have lots of opportunity for enrichment courses. I was worried that covering science, history, art, and music just once a week (though in one big, very in depth chunk of time) would not be enough, but it actually has been very effective to sort of immerse ourselves in the subject once a week, rather than little bits on several days.
  8. An idea I would like to do on an "off year" is a world cultures year combined with music of world cultures/tribal music. I think that would be fascinating. Maybe even combine that with deeper study of world ecosystems/geography... a macro planet earth year. :) Think of the documentaries available! (Now I'm excited!)
  9. Sonlight uses SOTW in the G and H history programs, which are right on target for a 7th grader. If you did the Sonlight program, you could leave out all the other books, etc for your younger kiddos, and just include the activity book and supporting story books from the library for them. Also, Wayfarers by Barefoot Ragamuffin Curricula, uses SOTW for the grammar stage, which is coordinated with other curriculum to enrich students in the dialectic and rhetoric stages. Your 7th grader could still enjoy SOTW with the younger kids (and it really is so enjoyable, in my opinion), and the activity books mapping activities would be spot on for your 7th grader to bolster geography knowledge, in addition to what Wayfarers schedules. So there are a couple of ideas to get you set up to use SOTW for your 7th grader. It really is a great way to enjoy history. Maybe a little too lean all on it's own (I don't know for certain), but with the additional resources provided by Sonlight or suggested by Wayfarers (or you could just take note of them and schedule them yourself), I think you might end up with something rich and enjoyable. Another idea is to read "The Well Trained Mind" for suggested resources for the age/stage of a 7th grader that would coincide with each time period. I don't think you are doomed at all! I think you are in for an enjoyable year with SOTW. :)
  10. I was thinking about this some more, and one way we try to transfer extrinsic motivation to a more organic or intrinsic feeling of satisfaction is just to point out the effect of my son's actions. For example, today, when my son spoke with the ranch hand at his CBT's ranch (where he attends therapy sessions), the CBT said to him, "Boy, Isha looked really glad to speak with you today." That's when the CBT was coaching him to look at her feet when she approached instead of her face/eyes as that was too difficult at first. He did earn a Pokemon for doing that, but those sort of verbal prompts for him to recognize the positive effects of his effort have really helped him to feel much more confident to try without the guarantee of an external reward. That said, engaging in behavior therapy, or practicing behavior or occupational therapy activities at home, is like pulling teeth. I don't know if there is a reward great enough to motivate a good attitude into my son for those things, but for more natural things, like being appropriate in public, and engaging with his community, are much helped by rewards and by teaching or pointing out the positive effects of his efforts. Honestly, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been much more helpful that having a behaviorist when it comes to motivation, self acceptance, attitude, anxiety treatment, etc. At this point I reserve our behavioral therapy strictly for life skills and safety training. I'm not sure if any of this resonates, but I kind of thought if I shared our experience with what has been successful for my son, you might find an idea here or there. Best wishes!
  11. For my just entering puberty son who has a severe anxiety disorder and also Down syndrome--so definitely a lot going on and lots of challenges and a lot to be anxious about--a three-fold approach has worked very well the past eight months. The first thing was getting him appropriately medicated. Honestly, this is the lynch pin on which all other efforts rely at this point--it takes the edge off his anxiety enough that trying things is even a discussion we can have. Second, is ongoing cognitive-behavioral therapy, in which I am involved at the beginning and end of each session, so we can find, with the therapist as a guide, some strategies to help him feel motivated to try things or work on things that are very difficult for him. Just today, his therapist helped him to be willing to engage with people he is nervous to talk with by helping him decide to only look at their feet or hair at first--and it worked, and it is not something I would have picked up on or came up with. And last, the motivation part. We use Pokemon cards. He will earn them for even very small efforts, and we kind of scale it a bit. He will always ask if he can work for one if he is nervous about something, and I give them very liberally for what are sometimes very small baby steps (but not small efforts), and it has built his confidence over time and helped a lot. My other kids earn baseball cards. Just little things they have an interest in that are cheap. Screen time could work, too, but for boys the collecting card thing is just kind of a hit, and cheap for mom. ETA: My son earns "bravery points" towards when he is fearful to try, "flexibility points" when he is stuck on something and needs to move past it. He earns "friendliness points" when he is able to put into practice using nice words, engaging with kids or grownups appropriately. For all these things, his motivation is to earn a Pokemon card or two. We have actual lamented cards that say "Friendliness", etc, on them to hand to him if it is helpful, otherwise we just sort of loosely keep track, and at the end of whatever activity we compliment him on his effort, and tell him he earned his reward. I don't know how you might do it with a more mature kiddo, though, as this son is my oldest, and though we have the full force of hormones happening, he is still very immature in his interests and understanding.
  12. I was also going to suggest Wayfarers. It has been just what I wanted in a CM/Classical regard, and very adjustable for our family. A quote taken from the Barefoot Meandering Website about their curricula: "Classical Mason: Homeschool curricula with a classical education, Charlotte Mason, twaddle-free flair." http://barefootmeandering.com/site/
  13. So far, sleep in (sort of--my kids wake early), get a lazy start. We do some reading or math for 30 minutes sometime after breakfast. That is our structured, predictable part of the day. Then we just do Summer time stuff: lots of sports day camps, swimming lessons, they are earning baseball cards for extra music practice and doing extra jobs and chores, hiking, and just plain being bored with no screen time whatsoever (boredom sparks so much creativity lately--such a fun stage). It's been wonderful. My stress level is SO low right now. :)
  14. I think, especially for homeschoolers who are pretty great about spending family time and recreating together, we don't have the same issues of "over commitment as kids who go to school all day and have homework, so extra curricular activities can be enjoyed as much as the mommy taxi driver can take it. :) Our activity schedule has periods of intense time commitment (for me, not them), and then time off. I personally prefer sports with seasons to ongoing lessons. It ebbs and flows, and while it can feel crazy at times (again, for me, not them) it is a joy to see them engaged and exploring avenues of keeping their bodies healthy, and enjoying new activities. I am learning to ride the waves. I have decked out my minivan with activities for kids who are waiting, we always make it a family event to go watch the kids play games or do races, my husband always tries to help with coaching teams. It's kind of like when you first acclimate to homeschooling, you find all your tips and tricks and your sweet spot for making it work, and suddenly, it's a lifestyle. For on going lessons, you can always take a two months on, one month off type approach to give yourself the benefit of down time. :) ETA: Thought I should add, this isn't to say I never say "no" or decide to pair down on something that is tipping us over the edge of what is doable for us. And I also try my best to encourage my two youngest to participate in the same sports activities. My oldest has different needs, and is always involved in something completely separate, so we have to strike a balance. I think we moms need to consider our personal activity threshold, and that's okay, too.
  15. I don't know if I would wish my two sensory kiddos sensory seeking behavior on just any animal. We have an amazingly patient Labradoodle who is wonderful to let our heavy sensation seeking older son cuddle *really* close. People comment on how amazing our dog is, and I just tell people, I think we a dumb-lucky that our dog is fine with close cuddles and people not getting the hint to give him space when he wants it. If I was to do it again, I would never raise a dog from a puppy with the expectation our kids would "use" him as a therapy dog. (That actually wasn't our expectation, but it's definitely what happened!) I think in the future we will go to a shelter to give animals a "test run" with our kiddos actual real-life sensory needs and habits with pets. I don't want to risk having to give up an animal because they hate having their moles rubbed, or their ears twirled, or their space continually invaded, or their bellies used as pillows for nap time. So I guess my official advice is, pets are great for sensory kids as long as you can find a way to get a sensory seeking pet!
  16. Quark Chronicles is a great way to organize an Anatomy curriculum for that age, if they are at all lovers of read alouds! Very engaging. You can round out an entire curriculum using the Quark Chronicles Notebooking pages that have additional resources scheduled. For 2nd and 3rd you don't need to use the experiment pages. Those are more fort older students for weeks where a parent may want to schedule experiments. Lots of engaging complimenting resources are suggested for younger kiddos. We've loved using Quark.
  17. We start by 8:30 at the latest, and schedule by blocks of time. 8:30 to 9:30 is math. I get the most independent kid started first. Then the next, then my guy who needs complete handholding I get to last. I often have him start with a math game he can do himself while I get the other two started. Math does not normally take an entire hour for everyone, and everyone gets to play Prodigy or Starfall during that hour as well. At 10am we do language arts, and I do it in the same fashion, by getting my independent 3rd grader started first, then my Kindergartener, then last my son who has learning challenges. Everyone usually gets to play one literacy game, expect the 3rd grader, who simply practices typing. That chunk of time, with me bouncing around to whoever needs me, lasts until lunch. In the afternoon is when we do content studies. We go to our charter school on Monday and Wednesday afternoons (music lessons, and enrichment courses). Tuesday we do one big chunk of History, and Thursday is one big chunk of Science. I work in Geography while they eat lunch. I want to work on more mapping next year, so will have to decide where to work that in. On Friday we do art projects/appreciation, music appreciation, or a field trip--I just kind of rotate it. In the evenings we continue with read-alouds that support our other learning, such as composer biographies, geography read alouds, history read alouds, or just fun books my kids are interested in. We use car trips for audiobook read alouds that are more literary in nature. They listen to works of the composers we study as they settle in for bed. There is no way, with having one kid needing so much of my time, that I could work all our school in between morning and afternoon, so we just spread it out to the entire day. I think play is learning as well. My kids wake early, and I don't make them start school until 8:30. Our mornings are our most intense and focused time, but I juggle the kids, and inevitably someone is always having some free time in that space, aside from the half hour break they all have between math a language arts. We take a long lunch break before getting to our afternoon studies. We do lots of sports, because my kids love it, so that gets them moving in the afternoon (and of course no homework, so it works to keep busy afternoons). We use Wayfarers curriculum schedule, which I re-work because of our charter school afternoons. I have found audiobooks are my best friend when it comes to realistically working in all the wonderful books I want to include from Wayfarers, with the exception of picture/story books, of course. :) ETA: I should say, Wayfarers is one of those "multiple ages/levels studying the same content" programs, so once I get through our crazy mornings of kids all in vastly different levels, learning abilities, and even individual curriculums in math and language arts, the content studies are all together with little adjustments made for age/stage. My mornings are intense (for me, not the kids), but afternoons are easy and enjoyable. ;)
  18. LOL, Hunter, I SO agree with you! :) Sarah0000, yes. Narration automatically helps children to pick up on key points, so lends itself very well to the skill of outlining.
  19. I think you hit the nail on the head. Narration aids memory and understanding, and narration helps children articulate thoughts in an organized way before the ability to articulate organized thoughts through writing develops. Coaching kids to narrate in complete sentences, without pausing by adding "um" or "like" will certainly help with developing professional, articulate speech, and public speaking later on. I personally think narration lends itself to the way children have developed the skill of learning over thousands of year, sort of imitating an "oral tradition". If your son is good to go with writing, you can certainly let narration just be something for reinforcing learning with history and science type subjects, without requiring the dictation part. Another way to incorporate it would be to work recorded narrations into outlines such as would be helpful in college or lecture oriented courses later on. Another area to investigate on benefits of narration would be from people well versed in Charlotte Mason methods.
  20. We are what a lot of people would consider minimalist due to some health issues that are helped when we keep our house uncluttered and sparse, and Wayfarers with ELTL for english, and RLTL for reading/spelling, has worked fabulous for us to keep the kiddos together in content studies, and be able to have a great deal of our curriculum, through Barefoot Ragamuffin Curricula and other sources listed in Wayfarers, as pdf's on our iPad. It's been a very good fit to have a huge amount of curricula all organized in this fashion. We used Medieval this year, and moving on to Revolutions next year, which has a fantastic program by BRC called "50 States and Where to Find Them", also available as PDF's. I think it would fit the bill for RVing and needing to keep physical possessions to a minimum. :)
  21. What can I use to explain baseball statistics to my 9 year old. He is VERY interested to understand this on a deeper level. I gave him a brief explanation that he seems to understand, but I would love to go deeper while his interest level is so intense.
  22. The Barefoot Meandering Curriculua company that puts our Wayfarers has extensive literature lists organized by geography, time period, science study, and even a list of Newberry Winners. The lists are free downloads on their website. http://barefootmeandering.com/site/freebies/
  23. I think it is totally fine to take a break. This is the first year I covered grammar with my son, who is in 3rd grade, and he just picked it up so easily, I think because of his maturity, and because this is the year he was finally motivated to learn to write original pieces. I'd say, pick up some Mad Libs, and call it good until you think they are ready. Another poster mentioned ELTL. I started DS in Level 3, which is now renamed Level C, and he had no problem picking it up despite not having any previous grammar instruction. I find it more enjoyable than FLL, though it follows the same basic form. Consider it for when you are ready to pick back up with grammar.
  24. Homebound services might be the best way to go if she is not actually wanting to homeschool, and especially if she thinks there may be a chance he will go back to school on-campus later on, as it sounds the experience has been satisfactory, other than the child's health. Homebound is a special education service for students with medical needs that warrant the service. The child would continue to have an IEP, as well as receive in-home tutoring.
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