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  1. We use Ray's and love it. Originally I'd started out with MUS but quickly figured out mastery wasn't going to stick for my oldest. I tried MEP and while I love it the kids did not. It was also rather teacher and time intensive compared to Ray's. I love that Ray's is simple and easy to use. The oral drill works best for my oldest. I just love it .... free, vintage, effective, oral drill, mastering skills before moving on but still enough review built in that they don't forget past skills, answer keys available, all levels available in one program. There are a lot of math programs that I love the look or idea of but Ray's is what works best for my family and what gets done here.
  2. My daughter had similar struggles. What has worked best for us for math is using Ray's arithmetic books. We have to do at least some math nearly daily though - no long breaks or summer. I read the problems out to her orally and she responds. I keep the review tabs pinned for random review. Usually we go over random drill of some basic facts orally as a warm up at the start of our math lesson then we complete the rest of the lesson and anything written. I find that as long as I give her a "warm up" orally at the start of the lesson she is ready to go and can do higher math. I can NOT let that slide though. Even if the child can add multiple digit columns quickly without scratch paper if we take a couple of weeks off of math she won't be able to tell me what 7+4 is without looking at me like an alien. For spelling I'm using Wheeler's spellers. My son is in the first book and I combine lessons skipping any memorization lessons. So lesson 1 is a group of similar words, lesson 2 is copywork sentences using some of those words from lesson 1. So our week will be... copy lesson 1, dictate orally, copy lesson 2, dictate lesson 1 written - or something similar. My daughter did this for that book and is now in the second book. The second book has a list of 8-10 sentences per lesson with a sound focused on (ea, ee, etc). The week is something like ... copy lesson 1, study it, orally dictate any focus words (ea, ee, etc), orally dictate any "challenge" words ( that I think she may have trouble with), written dictation. This seems to be working well for her since she's using the words in writing instead of just a random list of words.
  3. We did our first co-op last year. It was large and well organized but it didn't work well for our family. We were told "anyone could join" but they left off the part about the religious propaganda. :/ The youngest did the preschool while the older two were in classes. I did assistant teaching in some of the classes while we were there. This year we are trying a new co-op that is suppose to be actually non-religious *cross fingers*. I'm co-teaching three classes there and my youngest will be in the "big kids" K classes instead of preschool this year. They're very excited about the class offerings and it'll only be one day a week so we shall see. Not going to do more than one co-op at a time because we have other outside sports, activities, scouting, etc. also.
  4. I realize that higher COL means everything costs more in general and I didn't say a HCOL area = materialism. My questions are for people in lcol areas not high ones. Things are obviously going to cost more in a hcol compared to a lcol regardless of lifestyle choices. What I'm looking at is within the lcol areas. We spend so little and are committed to those choices I'm wondering if this a drastic difference from the numbers other people experience because of the lcol or more because of lifestyle choices as well. I mean I am notoriously cheap anyways so it's quite possible it's either one. :lol: ETA: crazy weird double posting
  5. The OP said in the original post that the babysitting would be done at her house not the family's house. I agree that home daycare rates are different than one on one care but this is a home childcare situation.
  6. I wonder if the 9% of income figure was meaning for one person?? That would be nearly in line. Because (different #s for the sake of easy math) $4000 a mo comes to $400 mo if using 10% of income on food. That would be close to what the financial person gave you. When feeding a family, if one person can live on $400 each additional person wouldn't add a full $400 more but it would go up maybe $100-200 per person? I wonder if the 9% figure wasn't counting in additional people. Hmm... This is us. This is one of the few areas that I splurge. This! We have had a large range of income over the years but our grocery budget has always (or could have) remained the same. The only way I see a real increase in grocery costs by income would be if you started making more organic, specialty purchases with the higher income than were available on a lower income. (So same foods and amount of food but much higher since organic, free range eggs might be $4/dz instead of $2/dz and so on)
  7. That's the kind of info I was wondering about :) I am uber cheap so I think my perception may be skewed so I wanted to see if anyone else was in a lower col area similar to what I am experiencing (or at least from what I was seeing). We also got a great deal on our house and moved into this area with resources to make things easier. We prepared in advance researching to make this happen and intentionally took a major pay cut that dropped us in SES in order to have more time together as a family. Add in some odd values and being insanely frugal and we're able to live on little. I guess I'd started to doubt I was seeing my area objectively LOL :)
  8. I wouldn't say that is materialistic. I would say that is less materialistic because you are giving up material comforts to live in the higher-col area. We choose to live with less which means it's cheaper for us to live regardless of the overall col but I wonder how much that is changing my views on everything. (ie: Our lifestyle is so different I could be way off in my perception of the overall col in my area because our lifestyle doesn't allow me to see how much is considered "normal" if that makes sense)
  9. This is what I was talking about though. You can live on more or less income regardless of the area. High-COL or low-COL doesn't change your own personal comfort levels and what you want in your living situation. Those are the kind of choices I'm talking about though. I know we are in a low-col area statistically but I wonder how much of that is affected by my own personal choices. We chose to live on little because that is what fits our personal values and our wants/needs. I know there are many families in the area that need more to live comfortably than we do. I wonder how much the difference in perception affects things - like if income levels and personal values about money are making a much larger difference than the col in the area). *And I think some people have taken offense at materialism but it wasn't meant in a judgmental or offensive way. We all have different comfort levels and value different things. I'm not going to ever want a large, new house but that doesn't make it wrong to want one and I'm not saying it does. It's just different that's all. I'm wondering how much that affects things, not judging others for their choices.
  10. The sitter is keeping the child in her own home so she could take care of other children if she wanted to for extra money. Those subsidies that you mentioned aren't just available to everyone either. Those programs are often underfunded and it can take months or even a year or more to get child care help even if you are within the income guidelines. Why she needed two days a week of care hadn't been stated. She may have had family help for the other days she worked, the hours needed on those days may be outside of what a child care subsidy would cover (if she has one), that may be all the hours she is getting right now. Idk. I never said that anyone should work below market prices or undervalue their own time. If those are the rates in the local area then it definitely makes sense to charge that much. I only said that childcare prices vary wildly depending on the area you are in so the OP should look to area prices to determine a decent amount. ETA: I wasn't talking about the $35/day being out of range either. The $15/hr+ that was being repeated in the thread is out of range for many areas.
  11. Same here. No way could anyone here pay $15/hr for childcare since that is about 150% of most people's incomes. Even if you had a two parent household with mom and dad both working for $10/hr the couple would end up with $5/hr left after paying the sitter??? That isn't at all reasonable. (Those rates might be considered reasonable for date night sitting and such where the parents are paying for a couple of hours for a dinner out but definitely not reasonable for hourly while the parents work pay) It really depends on the area. In my area that amount would likely be 40-50% of the mom's income. That's not low ball at all.
  12. We manage to live on less for a lot of the same reasons you listed. We're all those crazy non-mainstream things... bfing, cding, NFL, minimalist, tiny house, zero waste, paper free, and on it goes. Some of these no long apply and things are very much still a work in progress for us but we're working on it. :)
  13. Low COL area. Low income. We spend approx. 30% of our income on food. I could lower this to about 20% but it would reduce the quality of our diet by quite a bit. Currently dairy free, some organic but not much. I do lots of things to stretch the budget but I do focus on healthier, home cooked meals. Groceries are our largest expense by far. In fact I spend more on groceries than we do all other expenses combined. Luckily our bills are quite low so I don't feel too bad about that but it is scary seeing that percentage! If dh were to his previous job then this amount would be closer to 10% of his income. We chose to have him home and be a low income family so I'll say it's worth the trade off. :) Also the household items are *sort of* included in the budget. That budget doesn't include things like tp or soap but it does sometimes include things like vinegar and baking soda which are used for cleaning and many other uses. Too low to really affect it though ... $5 or less/mo.
  14. Great. My up/down arrow keys have gone out on my keyboard. I'm trying not to blame this on Windows 10 until I get done tech checking but I'm pretty annoyed. As much as I type on the computer I need those keys! The keys aren't working on the on screen keyboard either so it isn't just my keyboard. Darn Windows :glare:
  15. This! This is a great idea and a really great way to approach it. Prices are going to vary depending on tastes, wardrobe needs/wishes, and quality purchased. I agree the best way to budget is to sit down and make a list of what your ideal wardrobe would look like (type and # of pieces). Figure up the average cost of these pieces purchased where you would shop. Add it all up and divide up to how often you want to give the allowance. I think letting a teen be in charge of budgeting her own wardrobe is a great idea! ETA: I do agree about setting guidelines on the wardrobe. I might let teen pick her own clothes but I'd want to be clear about what was/wasn't allowed (thinking if you have family preferences in skirt/short length, midriffs, sleeve type, etc.) and also adding in suggestions from mom on guiding purchases like justasque mentioned.
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