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Josh Blade

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Everything posted by Josh Blade

  1. We've used BFSU as a base (foundation) and then doing dedicated topics afterward to drill in deeper. We did BFSU with our dd (2 years older than our ds). Then did Real Science Odyssey Biology -> RSO Earth and Space (ds joined in here) -> BFSU again (review for dd - new for ds) -> Alternating between RSO Bio 1 again and revised RSO earth and Environment (currently where we are). Our dd is 8 now which is why we didn't mind having her reviewing the RSO stuff and BFSU again to be on the same page as our ds. As for BFSU, I'm one of those people that's a big fan. I think it's a lot more work on the parent/teacher's part because it's very discussion oriented and you need to have a good grasp of the topic to talk about it. The book does a great job of pointing you in good directions for questions to ask to help with that discussion, but it's a really Socratic approach to encourage understanding rather than memorization. Our kids really liked it too. Maybe it's just a preference thing, but there's no worksheets or anything, it's just engaging discussion (maybe depends on the educator) and experiments. I was also impressed with the required resources for experiments in BFSU. It was pretty rare that we didn't have what was needed on hand already. RSO, on the other hand, we really have to look forward and plan around shopping for materials. We still like RSO, but really loved BFSU.
  2. I got my first dose (Pfizer) a week and a half ago. Shoulder muscle was a little sore for ~24 hours and that was it for me.
  3. If you are allotting time to every item you wrote down every day then it can be a lot, but more likely some of it is mixed together and some of it happens through everyday life. We cover basically the same stuff you do (Spanish instead of French) + typing and coding. Geography/History can be pretty well mixed/rotated. We do Science 2x and History 2x per week (for the most part), so those are pretty much a shared slot. Literature and writing go hand in hand as a general English curriculum. Painting/Handicrafts/Drawing show up in our history/science/geography pretty regularly, but the kids also do this kind of stuff just for fun unless you are wanting to really get into teaching techniques for getting better at these things. Our kids like to draw/paint just for fun in 'non school' time and like using the various learn to draw books. Philosophy just kind of gets brought up in every day life discussions (at a 3rd grade level at least). PE is just making sure the kids play outside sometimes with friends instead of just sitting in front of screens + extra curriculars like ballet/gymnastics. The only three things we do literally every day are English/Math/Piano. Everything else is rotated in to fill out the schedule or integrated into every day life. So whether it's 'too' much is more about how much time you're spending on everything rather than an issue of having a lot of topics (which helps lead to a well rounded education imo).
  4. That makes sense. I wasn't even thinking of the sex/massage trope tbh.
  5. How many women did he he have to drive by that he didn't try to kill to go to three different Asian (Asian American?) owned spas to murder women that were 50+ and presumably not particularly 'immodest'? To view this as not racially motivated because the murderer says it wasn't racially motivated seems wrong on its face. Whether it was general hatred toward Asians or a more nuanced fetishization / devaluing of Asians probably can't be determined at this time, but it's crazy to me to view this as not racially motivated on some level.
  6. https://twitter.com/JeongPark52/status/1372226344788979714 Chris Hayes retweeted someone who was reporting on what Korean news is reporting on the killings. I can't vouch for the veracity of the Korean reporting or the accuracy of the translations, but that's where I also saw the 'I'll kill all the Asians' claim.
  7. +1 to BFSU, Mystery Science, and Real Science Odyssey. I think BFSU is definitely the place to start. It'll give your children an amazingly broad foundation. A common theme seems to be that people think BFSU is a lot of work, but I felt like it was pretty open and go with maybe 5 minutes of prep to read ahead to make sure I understood the goals of the section. We're doing RSO now and it feels like it requires a lot more planning than BFSU ever did (though I still like it too). Mystery science is good at what it does, which is explaining a topic really well and providing neat experiments to reinforce the idea all in 20-30 minutes. Mystery Science doesn't really have enough breadth or organization to be used on it's own though (at least for us).
  8. We have a semi formal schedule / curriculum for our 4.5 year old and have since about 3. She's been reading on her own since just before she turned 3 and has always enjoyed her 'lessons' so we've gone through all of BFSU 1 (finished in about a year), probably 60% of what's available on Mystery Science, Right Start A, 100 EZ Lessons (which we used to teach reading and it worked well for her), several Explode the Code and Beyond the Code books, and What your Kindergartner needs to know. Our current curriculum consists of RSO (hopping back and forth between Biology and Earth and Space), Right Start B (in the last 20 lessons or so and just ordered BA 2A), Explode the Code / Beyond the Code, and What your 1st Grader needs to know (mostly using this for history), some read alouds led by me or mom -although these are mostly at bedtime these days (DD and Mom just started Harry Potter 3) and read alouds led by DD. We only spend 1-2 hours per day 2-5 days per week (probably averaging 3 days). We aim for 5 days when everyone is feeling well and our schedules are clear, but that honestly rarely happens. We don't really push school time too much other than to say "Alright let's go do some X now". The rest of the time is spent playing on her Fire tablet, running around causing chaos with her little brother, playing outside, etc. We try to go somewhere like the zoo/aquarium/science museum/natural history museum/children's museum once or twice a month. I work from home and my wife is in her last year of her masters / certification program for teaching high school English. We split the homeschooling duties pretty evenly. On days I'm not super busy with work, I'll do all or most of the lessons, but sometimes they have to wait until mom gets home. We consciously try to incorporate reinforcing skills/knowledge during every day life by talking about what we've learned in science lessons and how it relates to every day life (BFSU has given us a fount of topics we can bring up while doing basically anything), having DD help us with cooking and understanding measuring, counting money, telling time, reading signs, maps, directions etc. Listing out everything we've done now sounds impressive, but it hasn't been because of some herculean effort on our part. It's been our daughter's interest in learning and taking things small chunks at a time and it adds up over a couple of years. Our 2.5 year old on the other hand barely speaks (enough now that we can usually get the gist of what he wants) and isn't even all that interested in being read to most of the time.
  9. I see a lot of people saying it's hard to implement, but for us, my wife or I would open up to the section we were going to teach for the week and spend 5 minutes reading through the goals and discussion suggestions and then we would just talk about it with our daughter. Most demonstrations I felt like were super easy to get going on the fly (even easier than Mystery Science which my daughter also loves). The most involved demonstration we had was the bean plants which were in our last few weeks of the book and even that was just sticking some lima beans in a bag with a paper towel and checking on them every day / transplanting them to soil once they had roots. I felt like BFSU was very conversational. Most of our lessons were discussion explaining whatever phenomena we were talking about for the week scaffolded with easy to perform demonstrations. I liked that it went over a ton of topics instead of spending a whole year on biology or earth science etc. We did 1 lesson per week across 2-4 days. We usually would do 1 part (the lessons are typically 3 or 4 parts) per day unless we felt the part was really short or ended up talking about a subsequent part in explaining the idea. The conversational nature made it easy for us to review in an unforced kind of way all of the topics in just our every day life as we can bring up a topic and talk about it's implementation when doing just about anything: cooking, sitting outside looking at the moon, watching or feeling the wind blow, rolling a ball, playing with balloons, listening to music, playing with dirt and rocks outside, watching the rain, and so much more. We did all of BFSU in about a year with how I described above spending maybe 15-20 minutes per day 3 days a week on average (with the additional non school time review whenever we see a good opportunity to talk about and reinforce and idea). I just went and checked and we started at the beginning of August last year, so we did 40 lessons in about 50 weeks (meaning we took 10 weeks off or extended the lesson a bit like for the bean plants). For us it was easy to integrate into our life and the prep was minimal. I feel like BFSU gave our daughter a very broad scientific foundation to understand a huge range of topics while also being easy for us to implement. In another 2-3 years when our son is old enough, we'll probably go through the whole thing again with both of them. ETA: I was just reading through another thread about people having a hard time implementing BFSU. A common complaint seemed to be that the parents weren't very science minded and thus it wasn't as hand holdy as they needed it to be. I felt like it provided plenty of discussion ideas, but I am very science minded and my wife is a teacher (high school English) so maybe in that respect it was a little easier for us to 'wing' the lessons as we both have our own foundations to draw upon and my wife has the knowledge and experience with teaching strategies.
  10. This is exactly the idea I had. If you were able to find / provide the lessons with permission from the original creator that'd be great. If not, I can probably cobble something similar together following the BFSU lesson order we went with. Thanks for the advice.
  11. We just finished up with BFSU. We all really liked it, but we're definitely not at the point where we could go to BFSU 2 and we don't want to just run through BFSU again. I was looking at Real Science Odyssey, but thinking maybe we would pick up both the Life/Biology as well as the weather/astronomy books and kind of go back and forth between them rather than spending a whole year on one and then a whole year on the other. Has anyone else done something similar? I was thinking this would be a lot more similar to the approach that BFSU takes with integrating all topics of science rather than just focusing on one at a time.
  12. Not even getting into the financials of how much of a pain insurance can be, literally just having to deal with insurance companies is gigantic pain and waste of time. We have insurance through my wife's school this year. You have to be enrolled in school to sign up for it. My wife had several doctors and specialists visits, a CT scan, and an out patient surgery this year. We paid our $500 deductible (lowest deductible we've ever had) to the hospital for the CT scan. We paid an additional $1100 for the 20% copay to the hospital at the time of surgery. Then we started getting bills from the various doctors and specialists that showed us owing the full amount. So we call the doctors to figure out why they didn't bill the insurance. They tell us the insurance company says we aren't enrolled with them. Call the insurance company to find out that you have to verify student enrollment for them to process any claims (on a plan that you had to be enrolled as a student to sign up - and premiums have to be paid in advance 6 months at a time). My wife then had to call all of her doctors back and tell them that they would be able to refile the insurance in 2-3 weeks after the insurance company processed her enrollment verification (which she took care of her responsibilities for the next day on campus). A month later we start getting doctors bills again showing we owe the full amount. More phone calls and they are all telling us the insurance says we have to pay them for the deductible (which at this point we've already paid 3 times over to the hospital). Well the hospital still hasn't submitted their insurance claims for the CT (4 months old at this point) or the surgery (2 months old), so from the insurance's perspective we haven't paid anything. My wife literally spent an hour trying to explain to a woman that we had already paid $1600 and should only have 20% coinsurance on the remaining bills. So this resulted in calls to the hospital to ask why they haven't processed these claims yet and calls to all of the other doctors awaiting payment to explain the situation to them to get them to hold off for another few weeks on payment. The Hospital finally submits their claims. The CT claim where we paid our deductible is denied. Several calls to the hospital and the insurance company later and it turns out the hospital didn't put 'In Care of Student Center' on the address of the insurance company, so it went to the insurance's dental department (lolwut) instead and got denied. I'm not entirely sure why they even need the physical address from our insurance card when everything is electronic, but it's apparently important. The CT finally gets billed to the insurance properly and the insurance company tells us that the money for the deductible has to be paid first come first serve with their claims, so we'll have to pay the deductible to the doctors who have been waiting for months at this point on their money since they filed their claims first and we'll get a refund from the insurance company on the deductible we already paid. Queue up another round of calls to doctors offices explaining that now we're waiting on a refund of our deductible from the insurance company to pay them. This is where we currently are in our saga when we ultimately owe about another $250 in coinsurance and my wife has had to spend about 20 hours on the phone over 2.5 months to get it all straightened out. In half of the steps I outlined above, there is also a billing company that is working on behalf of the doctors' offices that gets the initial call and they have literally no idea about anything and redirect you to the doctor's office. That's all just for my wife. We pretty regularly get bills for 10 dollars or less on essential health benefits for our kid's well checks that should be completely covered like vaccinations where the insurance partial pays the cost. I'm pretty sure it's not really legal what they are doing with those, but it's such a hassle to deal with insurance companies that it's easier to just pay the 8 dollars. TLDR: I would gladly even pay more in taxes than my current average annual medical expenses if it meant we could just go to the doctor when we need to without months of hassle trying to get everyone paid properly later.
  13. We went to the library a week or so ago to get our daughter's first chapter books to try out on her own (well really we take turns reading a page each at night as she's still intimidated by so many words on one page compared to picture books). While we were there, my wife went to check out their summer reading program. The librarian asked what grade our daughter is in. My wife said we home school and aren't really sure about a grade, but she's an excellent reader (our daughter was sitting at a table reading me a book in sight of the librarian at this point). She then asked how old our daughter is (4) and said they had to go by age. Their summer reading program for 4-5 year olds included no actual reading. It was basically what you described. Singing songs, talking about colors, numbers, the alphabet etc. I'm sure it would have been a good program for kids that needed it, but we were looking for something that would challenge our daughter to try new things or have something to work toward. I'm sure it's a great set of activities for motivating kids/families that might not be doing those things already / have mastered them, but it was silly for our situation.
  14. The awesome thing is there are tons of great curricula out there these days. We've personally used Right Start Math (there are plenty of highly rated cheaper options though), 100 Easy Lessons, Explode the Code, Beyond the Code, Hand Writing without Tears, and Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding, and Mystery Science. I'm happy with everything we've tried so far. Stuff I haven't used but comes highly rated by others that you might look into are: Logic of English, Phonics Pathways, All About Reading, All about Spelling, Singapore Math, Saxon Math, Math Mammoth. That's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to choices, but I think covers a lot of the most common choices for reading and math.
  15. Josh Blade

    Subjects

    We cover several topics: Math: RightStart B Reading: ETC / BTC. We used to do HWT, but figured ETC / BTC have enough writing in them. We're on ETC2 and it's pretty trivial for her other than spelling, so we kind of skip through and only do about half the pages, focusing on pages with reading comprehension and writing/spelling. Science: BFSU - I love BFSU. It's mostly conversational which seems to work really well for our daughter. Mom or I read the section to get a feel for the talking points and talk a little about it each day. We also do Mystery Science about once per week Social Studies: We had gone through What your Kindergartner Should Know last year. Right now, we're just talking about an important person in American history every week and discuss topics related to that person (Lincoln, MLK Jr, Muhammad Ali, PT Barnum, Davy Crockett) Actual sit down time (reading/math) usually takes 1-2 hours (closer to 1 most of the time). Then we talk about Science/Social studies. We try to bring up topics when relevant to the real world: Fractions or adding when cooking, science basically anytime (it's pretty easy to point out how topics we've learned are effecting themselves in the real world basically anytime), reading happens all the time outside of bedtime / school time. We do a lot more than most people do for a 4 year old, but it works for us and she likes it (most days).
  16. My wife made a 'coal' bag that she hangs up next to my stocking and she always fills it 5 or 6 different kinds of beef jerky. It's something I always look forward to.
  17. HBO has a standalone service now (HBO NOW) that doesn't require a cable subscription. It's $15/month so it's a little more pricey than most other options that are around $10/month, but you get access to the whole HBO catalog on demand. I've used it to watch some of the greats that I had never seen, but only heard of (Sopranos/The Wire), as well as enjoying the stuff that's airing more recently: Game of Thrones, Westworld, Last Week Tonight, The Night Of. There's also plenty of movies with newerish ones getting picked up all the time. I find myself opening HBO instead of Netflix most of the time if I'm looking for something new to watch.
  18. I had DTAP or TDAP (one is for kids and the other for adults is my understanding) a couple of years ago to protect my children.
  19. He doesn't really need to know his letter sounds, recognize his name, how to blend, rhyming etc before learning to read. Those are all skills you pick up while learning to read. If he's wanting instruction, give it to him. If he become frustrated with it then back off. You sound like my three year old telling me she doesn't like food when she's never tried it. You don't know how he'll take to instruction unless you try it.
  20. We used 100 Easy lessons from 2.5 until just after her 3rd birthday (when we finished it). It worked out really well for us. Prior to 100 Easy lessons she already knew letter sounds though from having the the bob books pre reader letter books read to her a few thousand times as well as using the Leap Frog Letter Factory. We basically just did a lesson whenever she was receptive to it (3-5 times per week on average - sometimes not at all for a week if she didn't want to do it).
  21. What makes you think he's not ready to learn to read if he's asking to learn to read...? As featherhead mentioned, you can start with teaching him the letter sounds. Leapfrog Letter Factory does a great job of it or just a few minutes per day with a letter puzzle. Teach your monster to read is free on pc (or about $5 I believe on iOS since you said there's no pc access) that goes really slowly with introducing letter sounds and other phonemes as well. Wanting to learn to read seems like exactly the time to teach reading to me.
  22. She was Cinderella last year and a pirate the year before. Naturally, this year she wants to be a Cinderella Pirate.
  23. I don't think it's necessarily saying it improperly or lazily. Even in the dictionary.com pronunciations of man and mat I can tell the subtle difference I was describing. After playing around for a while I think it's just the natural/efficient movement of lips and tongue from one sound to the other. At least in the A->N sense, when I say MAN my tongue is up in my mouth slightly higher on the a than when saying the a in MAT. This leads well into the n that's coming up. It feels uncomfortable to say MAN if I start with MA like it Mat. I'm honestly surprised there aren't different IPA spellings between the two a sounds.
  24. I definitely can tell the difference you are talking about. It's almost like saying 'mayun' only not quite that pronounced. It's like a subtle mix of 'ay' and 'a' that makes it almost a two syllable word but not quite. It's hard to describe but noticeably there. I don't really have any advice, but I have been sitting around for about 5 minutes saying ham, man, and mat (probably looking insane) trying to figure it out.
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