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Everything posted by blendergal

  1. We learn a lot of world geography through our history and literature studies, but next year I’d like to touch on longitude and latitude, memorize the locations of some major rivers and mountain ranges, that kind of thing. I thought for sure I could find a list of world geography must-knows somewhere online . . . but not really. I realize now this kind of thing is totally subjective. We have Seabird left over from this year’s Beautiful Feet geography study, so we’ll have a blank world map pinned up anyway. Is there such a list anywhere? If you did this in upper elementary, what was on your list? P.S. I won’t include countries and capitals in this, since we’re learning those as we work through the Draw the . . . books.
  2. What about units from Core Knowledge? Some are history but some are more general social studies / geography. They could pick and choose. Also, FREE.
  3. We haven’t used those levels yet, but I can tell you composition is included. We use a different writing program because that’s our preference, but it is included. (The composition assignment instructions are in the teacher’s guide.) FWIW, we’ve used LL a year behind. So my (young) 5th grader used level 4 this year and he’ll use level 5 next year.
  4. The traditional flag/flower/bird state study never appealed to me, so we went a slightly different direction. We read picture books about many of the states — Akiak, Georgia in Hawaii, High as a Hawk, Climbing Kansas Mountains, etc. — and glued their tiny book covers on a map. We used flash cards to drill the capitals and Draw the USA to learn how to draw the map from memory. It was one of the most fun, productive things we’ve done in our homeschool.
  5. Thank you for this perspective! It’s so helpful to hear what sort of sequences other families have used. This child is young for his grade and pretty average in terms of math skills/interest. I can’t see him doing AoPS, but I don’t want to make a choice for middle school that limits his options later. Planning for 6th grade has caused me to have all kinds of doubts I didn’t have before! 🙃 Thank you too to Sneezyone and caffeineandbooks for helping me think this through.
  6. I belong to a Facebook group for homeschoolers who use the many different flavors of Singapore Math. It’s run by a former classroom teacher, so I guess that figures in. She often makes sideways comments about Dimensions, and she recommends Math in Focus over Dimensions for grades 6-8 because she says MIF is truer to the Singapore approach. I understand that Dimensions is the product of another company, not Marshall Cavendish. But my searches of the WTM forum turn up lots of posts about how Dimensions is the better bet for kids who want to get algebra I done before high school. Is there something less authentic about Dimensions? What’s the deal?
  7. We used it for a season. What I like best is how easy it is to move things around — when life happens or just according to your own whims. I think it could also be super handy if you often need to point your student to websites or online resources, because you can attach that to the directly to the card. The curriculum we use is mostly of the hard copy, do-the-next thing variety, though. And I didn’t like spending so much time on devices, even if it’s just for the purpose of checking things off. So we aren’t using it anymore. Never say never, though!
  8. We are just finishing up LL 4. I agree with the previous comment that the grammar kind of starts back at nouns every year, and builds. And the composition assignments can be definitely be scaled up or down to meet a child where she is. Just to be clear, there is no spelling component. The main thing I would say is LL 4 has many MORE books than the previous level and some of them are quite LONG. I think it takes a pretty strong reader to tackle them. They range from level P-V, if you’re familiar with guided reading levels.
  9. I find this subject so confusing, so I'll definitely be following along. We are finishing up Singapore Standards 5B, and I just can't decide what to do next year -- continue through 6B and then make a change, or switch to Dimensions or MIF for level 6 so we have consistency through middle school? To the OP's question: I don't think you can go wrong with Singapore, whichever flavor you choose. It's stronger than so many other math programs. My oldest -- barring some major metamorphosis! -- is not cut out for AoPS. So I'm crossing off that option for now.
  10. You might find this book helpful: God’s Story in 66 Verses: Understand the Entire Bible By Focusing on Just One Verse in Each Book https://www.amazon.com/Gods-Story-66-Verses-Understand/dp/1400206421
  11. My kids are younger, so I don’t think you’d be interested in most of the resources we used when we studied the world wars. But since someone mentioned graphic novels, I have to share just one. This was our favorite WWI book: https://www.amazon.com/Treaties-Trenches-Blood-Nathan-Hazardous/dp/1419708082
  12. Which levels are you considering? Would you use the curriculum in full? We have not done the composition portion, only because my kids need a different approach for that. The reading comprehension and grammar pages are pretty short and sweet on their own. And from what I can tell, the compositions are broken up into bite-size pieces during the week. So in general, I would not call it an “overwhelming” sort of curriculum. The student books do have weekly checklists, so that can be handy for list-checkers. For my more reluctant reader, we have used a grade “down” and I’ve read aloud a couple of the longest books.
  13. We are using Lightning Lit 4 this year. We don’t use the writing bits — he does W&R instead — just the reading and grammar. Something in me hates “wasting” the writing portion, but you’ve gotta do what works. What I love about LL is the book selections and the poetry study. Sonlight recently released a Grade 5 Readers package you might consider, if you want stand-alone reading comprehension. I bought a couple of the most interesting titles, but it’s just too many books for my son to do in a year. He would never have time for non-school reading.
  14. Oh, I like that idea! Better than all the carets we’ve been using.
  15. Thank you to your perspectives! My instinct is that he is just thinking faster than he can write (plus a little careless by nature). So we will keep re-reading aloud and see where that gets us.
  16. One of my kids has a habit of omitting words when he’s writing (original text, not copywork). Now I’m prompting him to re-read what he’s written before he “turns it in,” keeping an eye out for dropped words. But he does it so regularly, I’m wondering — can this be normal? What’s the deal? He turns 9 this summer. He reads fluently and above grade level. Handwriting (left-handed) is quite good. I have an older son with special needs for whom reading and writing have been extra challenging, but he’s never had this particular quirk. Thoughts?
  17. I purchased a Meet the Masters art package to help keep us on track for art this year. I did not realize it requires Flash, which was being phased out at the time and is now totally inoperable. (Put aside the fact that even when it was working, we had to access the lessons on a desktop — groan — because our iPads didn’t support Flash.) The company has not responded about whether the lessons are (or will soon be) available in any other format. Just no answer. Very frustrating. I didn’t pay a ton for this, but it’s the principle — I can’t use the lessons I paid for, and I don’t want to have to find something else for art! I was looking at Veritas Press today, chewing on the idea of using their self-paced history next year, and I see in the FAQ that it runs on Flash. Ack! Can anyone speak to this? Are your self-paced history courses still working? Can you access them on an iPad? Have you ever run into technical difficulties like this with curriculum you purchased? Presumably you could seek a refund, but then you have to scramble to find a replacement. I will be more careful about this in the future, but I remain miffed. 🙃
  18. My 5th grader is taking Writing & Rhetoric through Schole Academy and it is AWESOME. It’s taking an important subject off my plate and the amount of “homework” has been just right. It also gives me some uninterrupted time 3 days a week to work with my younger kiddo. No tech problems — so far!
  19. We’re planning to use Middle School Chemistry and The Elements next year. I haven’t dug in too deep, but it seems best to do Middle School Chemistry first. We haven’t studied chemistry before. What order did you use?
  20. I agree with everyone else who said it’s totally appropriate for a family like yours to focus on the basics. So I would not kick myself even once if science and Spanish took a backseat for a year. But since you asked, I will share what has worked for us. When I’ve decided that we really need to make progress in a certain subject, I schedule it early in the day. Last year, it was reading fluency. This year, it’s math. When we plan to do it early, it almost always gets done! And the cumulative effect of almost always working on that subject really adds up as the days go by. When there’s a subject I’VE been neglecting (and there can be so much shame over this, you’re right!), I resolve to over-prep for it. I did that for science this year. Gathered the gazillion little supplies in a box. Printed out all the lab sheets and put them in that same box. We haven’t gotten to everything I prepped, but we did science a lot more consistently this year.
  21. DS is signed up for this online class in the fall. It meets for 45-60 min, 3x a week. Anyone taken this before? How much time should we set aside for “homework”? The syllabus doesn’t say.
  22. I love having a lefty. I can’t do ANYTHING with my left hand. It’s like he has a super power! I bought him lefty scissors pretty early on, but he doesn’t prefer them. I think he just figured out “regular” scissors because that’s what he kept being given away from home. HWT designs its pages to be lefty-friendly. (You copy words below the sample instead of to the right of the sample.) Our only headache has to do with eating out. I always seem to end up sitting on his left. Then we knock elbows for the whole meal.
  23. This is what I’m thinking: Bible: Starting Strong Math: Singapore Math 5A/5B, Life of Fred (Kidneys—Liver) Handwriting: Can-Do Cursive Spelling: All About Spelling 5 Writing: W&R through Schole Academy Geography: BF Geography History: Story of the World 4 Science: The Elements, Mystery Science Where I’m having trouble is with reading and grammar. I feel SO drawn to Lightning Lit 4. Using it for reading and grammar (skipping composition) would really satisfy my desire to SIMPLIFY next year. But DS is just now starting to read for pleasure. I worry assigning so many books might backfire. So we might do interest-led reading instead, plus something like Fix It Grammar or Editor in Chief. ETA: He’ll also continue homeschool PE class and piano lessons.
  24. I would continue with AAR, honestly. (It’s “been wonderful for him,” it covers comprehension and other basic reading skills really well, and it resells like a dream.) Instead of switching to another reading program, I would supplement with books you choose yourself. It may seem like he won’t read this or won’t read that. And I’m sure he is resistant! Reading is still challenging and few of us enjoy doing challenging things. But no one knows his ability and interests better than you! I just don’t think you’ll have as much success working through an assigned reading list. Also, I would not dial back on solid reading INSTRUCTION for a struggling reader. I have a reluctant/struggling/picky reader myself, and I found the stage you’re in very difficult because AAR doesn’t easily “line up” to any particular book leveling system. To supplement the readers, I went to the library by myself an hour before closing, set up camp in the early reader section, and flipped through books until I found 10 that might work. We’d buddy read the 1-2 books he didn’t reject (too babyish! not funny enough!) and then I’d head back to the library. Rinse. Repeat. Eventually, we hit on a series or an author he liked. Then we were really in business! All this to say, I feel for you. But I would be surprised if switching to another reading program did the trick.
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