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Everything posted by JennSnow

  1. Chess mom chiming in here, lol. The best way to learn and improve is to play, play, play! Seek out local chess clubs, classes, or gatherings :). Learn and practice all of the basic rules and etiquette (how the pieces move, how to castle, en passant, shaking hands before and after, playing touch-move, etc..). Learn the "value" of each of the pieces (pawns = 1, knights and bishops = 3, rooks = 5, queen = 9) Learn how to take notation and to record your games. Study and practice the basic "rules" for the beginning, middle, and endgame. This link provides an excellent list of guidelines! http://www.chessdryad.com/education/sageadvice/thirty/ After you've done all of the above and are ready to deepen your understanding and skill level there are some great resources available! https://www.chess.com is a website where you can sign up for free and play games (either live online games or correspondence type games), practice tactics, study openings, watch instructional videos, etc.. http://chesstempo.com is a free tactics server where you can practice tactics. http://www.chessmagnetschool.com is a place which teaches chess concepts and principles at a customized rate. Happy chessing! :)
  2. I have a gut feeling that most doctors, if not all, take a very conservative approach to prolapse. Even if they notice you have one, as long as it's not severe, they most likely won't mention it until you bring it up to them. Because the surgical results and longterm outcomes are "meh" at best they tend to wait until it's at least causing life interfering symptoms or discomfort to raise the issue. I'm sure there are many women walking around with varying degrees of prolapse who don't even know, lol! I do wish that doctors would do more to educate women BEFORE childbirth on what they can do afterwards to minimize the risk (take it easy, don't lift anything heavier than the baby...or in my case don't go traipsing around Barnes and Noble carrying a baby in a car seat a week after delivering :thumbdown: ).
  3. I had a bladder prolapse that I noticed after my second..but it could have happened when I had my first and I just never noticed it (my first was a fast and furious labor and they vacuumed him out after only a few pushes). If you are postpartum giving it some time will help :). They say it takes a full year for your body to recover from childbirth. Take it easy and be careful not to lift anything too heavy. l found these two things to be very helpful... First is the HabIt DVD... http://www.amazon.com/Hab-Pelvic-Floor-Tasha-Mulligan/dp/0510539610 Second is the Kegel8 machine... http://www.kegel8.co.uk I don't know if was one or the other or just allowing time to heal but within a year of my second son being born my prolapsed "lifted" to where it's barely noticeable anymore :).
  4. The CAT test is notoriously simple..which is why most homeschoolers in my area use it..it's quick and easy. I have no idea how it stacks up with regards to grade level in other states but in NY there isn't even a comparison to the yearly NYS standardized tests that the school kids take...those are much more difficult. I'm not saying your son isn't ahead in grade level..I just don't think I'd use the CAT test to evaluate grade level. I wish I knew of a good tool to help you get an accurate baseline so that you can effectively plan your curriculum, but unfortunately I don't. Hopefully someone else will be able to point you in the right direction! :)
  5. After a week of tweeking (auto correct really wants me to change this to twerking, lol) I've finally come up with a tasty recipe for low sugar/low carb chocolate and wanted to share :). Sweets are my biggest weakness and I needed something to have on hand for when I'm really craving something sweet and this has really done the trick to help me stay on track. This recipe is based off of Trim Healthy Mama's "Skinny Chocolate". Keep in mind that it's not fat or calorie free, lol, so it's definitely something to eat in moderation...but they do say that coconut oil helps to rev up your metabolism so it's almost kind of healthy ;). Ingredients: 3/4 cup coconut oil 4 T xylitol (I tried a few different sweeteners...stevia was too bitter and didn't dissolve...I found the xylitol to work best) 2 T water 1/2 cup all natural nothing else added peanut butter 1/4 cup cocoa powder 1 t vanilla extract dash of salt I used little square silicone candy molds that I picked up at Hobby Lobby, but you could also just use a baking dish and make the layers and then break it apart into pieces afterwards. First make the peanut butter layer - Combine 2T of the xylitol, 1T of water, and a dash of salt in a small sauce pan. Heat over low/med heat until all of the xylitol and salt have dissolved. Add 1/2 cup of peanut butter and 1/4 of a cup of the coconut oil. Heat over low heat until everything is melted and incorporated together. Pour the mixture into your mold or baking dish (only fill halfway if using a mold) and freeze until solid. Next make the chocolate layer - Combine 2T of the xylitol, 1T of water, and a dash of salt in a small sauce pan. Heat over low/med heat until dissolved. Add in 1/2 cup of coconut oil and 1/4 cup of cocoa powder and heat over low heat until everything is melted and incorporated. Remove from heat and add in the vanilla. Pour the chocolate mixture over the peanut butter layer and freeze until solid. Keep stored in the freezer and enjoy! :)
  6. Chess Magnet School is a good resource :). http://www.chessmagnetschool.com
  7. Yes, as ds's school work load has increased chess has taken a bit of a back seat here as well. We have a wonderful club that meets locally once a week and we try to get in 1-2 tournaments a month with a larger one every few months. We also travel to Rochester often as they have a very active club as well :). The state champs at Saratoga is absolutely great prep for nationals! Having experience with both ds says that the NY state championship is actually MORE competitive than nationals..that at nationals there are kids from all over the country..some small towns and some big ones which evens out the playing field a bit..whereas at states almost all of the kids are from NYC..and NYC players are fierce! :) We skipped states this year but ds will most definitely compete next year because he will be at the top of the age bracket for the junior high championship section. We have a large local tournament coming up here in June. Ds will be playing in a 6 board blindfolded simul with a grandmaster who is attending (the grandmaster is the only one blindfolded, lol) which is a really neat opportunity! Drop me a pm if you're ever interested in traveling to this end of the state and I'll fill you in on the details! :)
  8. We're on the other end of the state in the Western New York area...but we almost always attend the state championship at Saratoga Springs :). Do both of your kiddos play?
  9. That's so funny because my older son is teaching him how to play! The older kiddo has been playing competitively since he was 6..he has a goal set of reaching master and is getting close to reaching it. I had thought the same thing..that a strong visual memory will be an asset in chess :). We're in NY..our local chess scene is relatively strong and we travel a little for larger tournaments as well. Thank you for the link to the screening tool as well, off to take a look at it! :)
  10. My older ds (14) has been accepted into a gifted math program at our local university which will begin in the fall. I'm going to need to buy him a calculator and am hoping, if it's possible, that I only need to buy one that will get him through the four years. I barely passed algebra 1 and failed geometry the first time around...I don't think I ever even had/needed anything more than a basic calculator so I really appreciate the help! The coursework will look like this: 9th grade - 1/2 the year will be geometry, 1/4 of the year will be analytic and transformational geometry, 1/4 of the year will be an extensive course on probability 10th grade - this year will cover algebra 2, trigonometry, and precalculus 11th grade - calculus 1 and calculus 2 12th grade - calculus 3 and introduction to linear algebra Thanks in advance! :)
  11. Thanks again for all of the input and advice! I can't even express how appreciated and valuable it is :). I just wanted to add that despite all of my concerns, ds is also a joy :). He loves classical music and kept trying to figure songs out by ear so we figured what the heck and signed him up for piano lessons (nothing serious..the lessons are about 15 minutes a week and his instructor is a teenage student of a lady who runs a small local studio). He just started about two months ago but he loves it. He's gotten good and figuring out and playing the songs on his CD (Suzuki) by ear. He loves to create his own little original compositions too. He came up with this one for me last week..he calls it, "Paddling in a Boat" :).
  12. Thank you so much everyone for taking the time to read and respond to this :). I really appreciate all of the input and advice. Thank you also for sharing your personal experiences with your own children..I had been feeling very much alone in this so it's comforting to hear that others have struggled with the same concerns :). Here in NY our local school district offers free evaluation services. They can't give an official diagnosis but can offer a "classification". I had initially thought that if we did evaluate we'd just go through our local district but after reading the responses here I'm thinking I should probably seek out a private specialist who has dealt with gifted/twice exceptional children. I have been trying some small things at home..for example for the OCD I'll tell him we're going to put the first ten cards in the deck of the QBitz cards out of order and leave them on the table for 30 minutes while we go and do something else. I'll set a timer, mess up the cards, and we'll go play a game or do a puzzle until the timer beeps and then he can put them back in order. My sister has also been bringing my niece over to play and practice social skills but I also need to think of some things that I can work on with him by myself as well. I'm going to look up some role play and social story ideas tonight! I know he needs more exposure and practice with other kids. When my older son was little all of my friends had little ones too so we had lots of friends to have over for one on one playdates..not so much this time around, lol. I tried joining a couple of local "mommy groups" but the few playdates I took him too were just too much..too many kids and too much chaos and noise. I would love to seek out and find some other families with gifted children in my area. Someone here posted about a local group in their community for gifted kids..I so wish we had something similar here. I've looked and there is nothing, especially for younger children. I'm thinking of starting an online FB group for my area..perhaps if I do I can draw some other parents out of the woodwork :). Thanks again for all of the thoughtful responses!!
  13. Hi everyone Okay..so this is the first time I'm really expressing these concerns out loud to anyone other than my husband and my sister. I apologize in advance because I'm sure this will get long and I really appreciate if you take the time to read this and chime in :). I've been having some concerns about my recently turned four year old (turned 4 in January). Ds4 has always been a particular, sensitive, clingy, quirky kind kid..but so was my older son (now 14). Every time some new quirk or red flag pops up I usually rationalize or dismiss it figuring it's just some new toddler/preschooler quirk..after all, toddlers and preschoolers are by nature kind of random and weird, lol. Lately I've been getting more concerned about a few things..especially his social struggles and I've been contemplating where to go from here. I've been contemplating having him evaluated but thought I might run this by you all to see if anyone has dealt with something similar in their gifted kids. I guess, first off, here are the things that always make me rationalize and dismiss his behaviors as still being in the "typical" range .. he's a very bright kid..he has excellent visual spatial skills..he's been a whiz with puzzles since he was very small (could do 12-24 piece jigsaw puzzles before he turned 1), and excels at visual spatial games which challenge adults (Q-Bitz for example is a game for players 8 and up but he could easily play it when he was 3). He was an early reader and currently reads on a 1st grade level, is great with numbers..he spends a lot of time counting as high as he can forwards, backwards, by 5's and 10's, can add and subtract, tell time on an analog clock, etc.., he seems to have an intense need to always be "creating" something..he started taking piano lessons recently and is really excelling, he can remember songs and figure out how to play them without any help, he writes his own original compositions, he writes me stories about the solar system, he could write letters and draw discernable people and objects by 1 1/2 years old he hit all of his milestones on time/ahead of the curve; smiling, rolling over, crawling, walking, talking, laughing, pointing, clapping, waving, ect.. his language skills are great..he has a large vocabulary, he asks and answers who, what, why questions and doesn't speak in a monotone manner- he exhibits joint attention he's structured but is usually okay with change he's affectionate (not with everyone but with those he is close with) he makes eye contact he "gets" humor he plays imaginatively Now..here are the red flags.. he has ZERO interest in engaging with children his own age..he'll actually go out of his way to avoid interaction (he does, however, socialize fine with older children and adults). I asked him today why he didn't want to play with some of the other children at the playground and his answer was, "Because they are annoying." he seems to have a photographic visual (and possibly auditory) memory..the game "QBitz" for example has 120 cards each with a different pattern..we realized at one point that he had them ALL memorized..we could show him any card and he could tell us it's number. He did this with several other games..he memorized all 80 patterned cards in "QBitz Extreme" and the 100 patterned cards in the game "Color Code", etc.. he still has separation anxiety he always has some type of intense, all encompassing obsession going on..when he was little it was fans, then waterfalls, then garage doors (just the door)..from the time he was 3 until he turned 4 it was space..everything all day everyday revolved around the solar system, for awhile it was the "QBitz" game, right now it's classical music and numbers (dates, birthdays, phone numbers, time, etc..) he has some mild obsessive compulsive behaviors..things like needing to rub and tap the front door in a certain pattern before he opens it he seems to have an intense need to put and keep things in order if they are numbered (decks of cards, etc...) he carries on normal back and forth conversation at home but with others he "scripts" quite a bit..he'll memorize parts of shows and repeat them back word for word in replacement of actual conversation he will hit himself when he is angry or frustrated I think that's mostly it. To be honest, it's the complete lack of interest in his peers which worries me most. The plan was to homeschool him as I have my older son but now I'm debating preschool for next year..just to try and get him to separate a bit and maybe engage with kids his own age. Part of me thinks it would be a good idea and the other part thinks it will likely be a well intentioned disaster. My older son was quirky but was always incredibly social. I could take him to playdates and he'd jump right in and play . He's always had friends and been well liked. I guess I just don't know if I'm overthinking and overworrying and this is all just typical kid stuff or if I should push to have him evaluated. Some days I think he's fine and I'm crazy for thinking otherwise and some days I think I'm just in denial. Thanks for letting me vent...any feedback would be much appreciated! :) Thank you!
  14. Ds has used and enjoyed the "Elements of Mathematics: Foundations" offered online through the Institute for Math and Computer Sciences. We've only used it as a supplement, but stye claim you can also use it as a stand alone course :). https://www.elementsofmathematics.com
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