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K for my eldest seems a while back now and I am starting K for my youngest next year in January.

For my eldest I used books that I chose for her and also let her choose some herself. We used Singapore Maths which she went through fairly quickly. I also did a little MEP with her (the challenge questions) and various logic puzzles. We mostly did copywork that year working to her writing her own sentences by the end of the year - I was working on pencil grip a lot and my eldest is not very keen on writing even now.

We used SOTW for History and taught a lot of Geography with it too and also included some of our own country's history, built maps in the mud outside (this is my hands on-get messy child) and BFSU (Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding) for Science - again doing the experiments and also finding plenty of books on the topic that I read to her to fit with both our personalities. She also watched some youtube videos and other programs on the science topics.

With my youngest who will be younger than my other child was upon entering kindergarten, I will work first on the reading and math and probably just read books that interest her for other subjects. She likes to join my eldest for Science now, but I will need to make sure she doesn't have gaps by following up with BFSU1 and making sure it has all been covered. My youngest has a very different personality and likes worksheets and books, learns through her eyes and does not like getting messy at all, so her kindergarten year will likely be very very different from her elder sisters. I had them both write their cousin a letter the other day and the youngest stuck to the task and enjoyed it while the eldest complained and couldn't think what to write - she would probably have done better writing in mud or glittery paint - anything that would make a mess would have made her happy.
2  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child to Read / Re: What are your children reading? on: May 18, 2015, 06:55:18 PM
My eldest is 7 (turns 8 in September). She is reading anything and everything. For school I have her read scientific articles on occassion and other forms of non-fiction aimed often at high school students.  I am still watching the emotional content of books that I give her to read or that I read to her. I also try to find poems that use good language but that are humorous as my eldest likes things that sound funny.  I do also give her easier books to read often - ones she can race through and that are simply for fun.

My youngest is now 4. She is reading at about a first grade level, though many of the books she now chooses to read to me are at a grade 2 or above level. Like her elder sister she has a stamina issue though less so than her sister did at the same age. Today she went to a friends house for the morning and the mother there suggested she could have some money for reading books that her 6 and 8 year old have been using for sight word practice. She told me when she got home that she had read 5 books while there. I continue to work on her phonics and also on splitting multi syllable words that she is unsure of and there has been a big leap in this recently. I will have to continue to look for high interest books with large enough print as it is the print size and not the words or vocabulary that is causing most problems now. I have had her reading books online where I can enlarge the print too which also helps.
3  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child to Read / Re: What are your children reading? on: November 03, 2014, 04:15:09 PM
I ran through a very rapid course on polysyllables with my 7 year old and she read them fine. Then I got her to read passages from the Bible which she also read perfectly, so I am now stopping reading instruction. She reads independently and I have a set time for this and she also still reads aloud to me daily but now from passages for school reading which I would normally have read to her. I am gradually going to move to have her reading some of the classics (starting with shorter easier ones) independently.

My 3 year old is reading Ladybird 5b and also 6c. She also started A big ball of String today. She does take and read parts of other books by herself quite a lot now - maybe second children learn to be independent more easily. We continue with phonics instruction and she has covered the alphabetic sounds, blends, silent E, ce/ci/cy,, sh, th and ch, ge/gi/gy, ee - I know she knows others from the sight word reading (aw, ea, ai, ew and a couple others come to mind) but I will see when we cover them - she hasn't needed much instruction actually, but I prefer to know it has been covered. Ladybird 5c expects them to know words where sounds have been left out and to figure which sound is missing and she could do this even when it was the middle vowel that had been left out (they give a picture too) so I imagine spelling should not be too difficult later on.

I continue multiple read alouds. My 3 year old is capable of listening to longer stories now which means I have been able to combine the two every now and then as my 7 year old still enjoys some fun light read alouds and there will never be a shortage of books to read at any level. I finshed SOTW2 with my eldest and have started SOTW3. My younger has become interested in the world map and is learning the countries as her sister has done.
4  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child to Read / Re: She is an early what? on: October 15, 2014, 07:25:16 PM
These are some of the classics and more modern books my child has heard read to her this year (I read these to her so we can discuss them - I will get her others to read by herself, but for now independent reading is what she chooses though I offer a variety for her to choose from). She has heard numerous other more simple books too. Except for Little Lord Fauntleroy all these books went down well with her and she kept asking for them.

5 Children and It
The Little Princess
The Secret Garden
Little Lord Fauntleroy
Peter Pan
Lassie Come Home
Jungle Doctor Pulls  a Leg (not known as a classic, but it has good vocabulary)
Rudyard Kiplings Just So Stories
The Story of Doctor Dolittle
Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
The Incredible Journey
5  EARLY LEARNING / Parents of Children with Special Needs / Re: HOPE FOR AUTISM! on: October 09, 2014, 03:23:20 PM
I know there are a lot of things people have been trying for autism - gluten free, dairy free diets with no colourants and preservatives seem to get some good reports and this will explain why Vitamin D may be linked (along with calcium and magnesium) - since gluten intolerance results in a lack of absorption of many of these minerals and vitamins in sufficient quantities. However, I do not know enough about autism to comment on whether there can be a cure or not - what I do know is that dietary issues cause a huge amount of problems. I know a child with autism who I have watched deteriorate in the last two years despite being a lot of therapy. His mother has Crohn's and I am interested  whether other autoimmune issues are linked with autism which is not known as an autoimmune condition at present. Seems there is a lot of research to be done.
6  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child to Read / Re: She is an early what? on: October 09, 2014, 03:18:01 PM
My DD7 is homeschooled which makes my life easier in some ways - at least to keep her challenged though it comes with its own issues.

I would go and talk to the school and find out what is expected each day - is it possible to send more challenging books with her for her to read. Does the school have a library and if so is it not possible for the teacher to pick a more advanced level book for her to read for homework (this is what my teacher did with me when I was in grade 2 and reading well ahead of the other children - I still had to read the boring readers with my group in class, but I didn't have to  read it at home.

You could decide what is most important to you and afterschool it - probably you would need then to include science or history and get her reading this - non fiction reading brings its own challenges and teaches vocabulary. Finally keep reading books to her to increase her vocabulary - the classics are best for increasing vocabulary, but you should still be reading a large variety of books.

What is happening about Math at the school? Is she also not challenged there or is that ok? What about writing and spelling? It is relatively easy to keep providing books of increasing levels, but it might help to expand to other subjects and interests too.
7  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child to Read / Re: What are your children reading? on: October 04, 2014, 09:12:42 PM
My 7 year old is now reading The World Around the Corner (Maurice Gee) during school time  and a number of books on her own.

My 3 year old is almost finished Ladybird 5a. We started long vowels (silent E) for phonics and she has loved the change and is doing well. She still sight reads mostly, but is getting better about sounding out words when she gets stuck. She is now also writing quite a bit and has learnt in the process to spell a number of words. I am having to get a move on teaching her all the letter formation.

My youngest is hearing about 5-10 picture books a day many of which my eldest joins her for. She is also slowly getting into chapter books - at the moment I am reading My Father's Dragon and Rootabaga stories to both girls together. To the eldest I have read Lassie Come Home - she enjoyed seeing a real rough collie soon after we finished the book. I also read her The Mud Pony, The Puppy Sister, Mae Jemison, What I like about toads (she has been playing with a friend of hers toads), a drop of blood, various books about cells, Galileo Man of Science, 666 jellybeans and more.
8  EARLY LEARNING / Early Learning - General Discussions / Re: My 8 yr old Doman Kid was accepted to College!!!! Share your success stories on: October 04, 2014, 09:02:21 PM
Thanks for sharing all that. It is very interesting.

I am very interested in the gross motor activities you did with your son. Both my girls do gymnastics but I see that my younger does need work on various gross motor activities - we have started running around the block in the mornings and also doing jumping exercises as she struggles with those at gymnastics (partly a weight issue as she weighs about half what the other children in her class weigh). You also said that the gross motor activities can help with speech - which activities in particular? Thanks for the help.
9  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child to Read / Re: Any advice to motivate early reader??? on: October 04, 2014, 08:54:23 PM
Time... and lots and lots of reading aloud to your child - especially of books that are very exciting and that your child could manage and then read and stop at an exciting point - if he/she picks it up and reads great, if not then you keep reading the book the next day again stopping at a good point.

I still read aloud to both my children - books of every level even below their reading level, but especially above their level.

Provide your child with loads of books, but young children do sometimes need fewer choices rather than too many. I expected my child to read to me daily - it was part of the routine and while there were days she complained, she still read to me - to increase fluency, to work on vocabulary, for her to realise that she can read almost anything. Now that my child reads a lot independently I have stopped weekend reading (she reads to herself then) but she continues to read aloud to me every week day from books at a more challenging level for her (at this point more challenging means they will have a high degree of more difficult vocabulary or will contain foreign words or the sentence structure in the book is more challenging or the book is from an era where some history explanation is needed or the book is about a different country and some explanation of the culture or the types of plants/animals listed are needed etc)

Finally don't worry - you can't make someone love something - all you can do is find what it is your child enjoys while still providing variety.
10  EARLY LEARNING / Early Learning - General Discussions / Re: My 8 yr old Doman Kid was accepted to College!!!! Share your success stories on: September 19, 2014, 08:45:18 PM
Congrats! That is an amazing story and a real inspiration. What plans do you have for the future and is your child still doing other work at home and just certain classes at the college? How do you decide what to do next?

My DD turned 7 less than a week ago and is being homeschooled using much the same curriculum as you listed though possibly at a slightly slower rate - we have just started BFSU2 (with Bill Nye and Magic School Bus which I use with my younger child but both listen in) and she keeps asking for more Story of the World. For Maths she is also doing Singapore and Life of Fred and my husband does a session on current affairs and world geography (usually linked) once a week - however the more we have done this the more current affairs have entered the homeschooling scene so we have been learning about Ebola and also about world health and how countries try to control outbreaks, but also about the Ukraine and how what happens in other areas of the world can affect many other people (and so on - we usually pick up only on what she shows interest in though introduce her to a lot of other things too). She's also doing  gymnastics as is my younger child and they both swim through the summer.  We started foreign languages a bit later than you did and need to work on those a bit more in the coming year. She does read a lot independently though I still read to her (and her sister) everyday from a wide variety of literature.

Her writing took a little longer to advance than the other subjects, however she has finished Reasoning and Writing B and is using WWE2 at a rapid pace without issues and her spelling is advanced for her age. I let her write an olympiad in 5 subjects this year - Maths, English 1st, Afrikaans 2nd, Life Skills (Creative) and Life Skills (Physical) and I think if she does it again next year provided we concentrate on the Afrikaans that she will have to be skipped forward a grade or 2 before writing since she achieved 100% for both Maths and English, 90% for the 2 life skills papers and 85% for Afrikaans 2 which I had only taught her for a month or two before the test. On top of that it was the first tests she had ever written.

Since I know more what I am doing now, my youngest (who has some speech issues and also is slower with gross motor development than her sister because of very slow growth and weight gain) is reading at about the same level as my elder was when she was 6 months older than the younger is now. Her understanding of numbers and patterns is also advanced. She has some advantages in that she hears a lot of what her older sister is doing and also prefers more structured academics (probably also from watching my older DD)
11  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child to Read / Re: What are your children reading? on: September 04, 2014, 08:22:03 PM
My 6 year old turns 7 soon. I can't believe she is getting so big. For school reading at the moment she is reading The Toothpaste Millionaire. On her own she has read 5 minute bedtime stories, Jewel Kingdom series, some Enid Blyton books and has now started Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I know she will curl up on the couch and read anything now so I miss a number of books she reads now.

My 3 year old is again reading Ladybird Book 5a and it is going better now after the break from it. We continue with phonics - she has covered ING, NK, SH, CH, TH, CK and we should be starting the long vowels fairly soon if she can handle them (I think she will although sight word reading is still easier for her).

As for reading to them - I have been reading more classics to my eldest (The Secret Garden, Pollyanna) interspersed with other books she has asked for (Running Wild, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone). My youngest is listening to slightly longer picture books now and I have read a couple of shorter chapter books to her. She is also joining us more and more when I read to my eldest - having a 3 year worrying about the bubonic plague was something I was not quite ready for as I have always presumed she was not listening. She also seems to be linking things more and more now - so when I read her My place in Space she remembered the Milky Way from other stories we had read. The large quantities of stories she hears has also helped a lot with her own story telling and her stories are now rich in adjectives and more vibrant language than they used to be.
12  EARLY LEARNING / Homeschooling / Re: Unexpected Homeschooling on: July 28, 2014, 08:42:43 PM
My daughter was enrolled in a school beginning in grade R (the year she turned 6) - she went for testing at age 4.5 and I asked some questions to which I did not get satisfactory replies - she would have had no differentiation and would have received just extra work - I want more play for my child, not more wasted time in school.

She turns 7 in September and would have been in grade 1 this year at that school. She is homeschooled. I did start thinking about it at age 3 however so the plan was always in my head. She is reading at a 6th grade level (well it is hard to tell now since she can read almost anything) and is doing Math at a grade 3 level (she will start a grade 4 curriculum in the next few weeks) as well as finishing Life of Fred Elementary series in the next couple of months after which she will start the Intermediate level. Her writing - spelling, grammar etc is well beyond the grade 1 level though her stamina to write long passages is still more like a normal grade 1 or 2 child and her handwriting still needs work - she writes well and can write neatly, but if asked to write more than is usually given to someone in grade 1 then the neatness deteriorates, so its a fine balancing act.

I am very glad we homeschool. I enjoy being with my children, I like being able to choose what I do with my child. We have a large homeschooling community here and my child gets to play more with friends than she possibly would if I were at work all day and she went to school. She also gets to do gymnastics that we would not be able to send her to if she was in school. Academically it is definitely advantageous.
13  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child to Read / Re: What are your children reading? on: July 28, 2014, 08:28:08 PM
We have put books onto an android tablet that my daughter can use. I am reading aloud to both children from a computer attached to a big TV screen because the size makes it easier for me and they can gather round and see the pictures - my youngest asks to read the books after I have and though she just retells most of the stories still she knows how to turn the pages.

My 6 year old has independently read a few books - she has read Anna Maria's gift to me and is reading McBroom's Wonderful One Acre Farm though she is perfectly capable of reading this alone - I have a feeling she will take it and finish it outside of school time soon and then I will have to look for something else. I am not keeping track of all her independent reading anymore - I know she finished The Sheep Pig in a day, but she still jumps from activity to activity very fast - so if she is most interested in playing Math Fact games on the computer then naturally less reading will occur. I probably need to make a reading time for the day.

My 3 year old finished Put me in the Zoo and is reading Little Bear now. She is also reading book 5a of Ladybird, but only when she asks for it - the amount of words per page seems to be an issue again and we may need to wait a bit, but she is picking up new words very rapidly now so moving to larger print early readers is probably the way to go. She also reads with me a lot - I read half a sentence and she reads the rest or I let her fill in a few words (not just the obvious ones) She is also playing a lot of Starfall at the moment and doing well with it (she likes the games and Reading is Fun section)
14  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child to Read / Re: What are your children reading? on: June 29, 2014, 07:16:06 PM
DD6 has now taken off with independent reading and is asking for the light to be left on at night - what started initially with very short and easy books has now moved to books slightly below her school reading level - so she is ploughing through The Little's series at a book a day (they are not easily available here so I have had to teach her to read other books on the internet - not something I was very keen on, but she has taken to it very easily and it will save us a fortune as we do not have a good library system in this country) She is also reading Magical Monty and seems to have three chapter books going at once - since I read 2-3 books to her at once also that is quite a lot for a 6 year old to keep track of - but she seems to manage fine.

DD3 has finished Ladybird 4b and started Put me in the Zoo. She continues with basic phonics (we are beyond simple cvc words now though still very early in phonics acquisition - we have slowed on the McGuffey primer but that was just because we were very busy with other things.) She is starting speech therapy now due to muscle issues - she cannot say certain sounds that she should already have acquired and battles to chew, to put her tongue down and to blow bubbles or even blow through a straw. They tested her up to a 5 year level (she is 3 years and 4 months old) and she did fine on all language issues they tested her on - they did not test further because it would have taken too long and she was losing focus however the fact that she has had this early learning makes it easier for her to start younger with the therapy - I know they had to start many children later simply because they did not understand enough or could not follow directions.

Both children continue to hear multiple read alouds daily - as many as I can reasonably fit in.
15  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child to Read / Re: Do girls learn faster than boys? on: June 22, 2014, 05:53:37 PM
I only have daughters, however I am one of fraternal twins and we differed a lot in the early years despite our IQs being almost identical (his rated a few points higher than mine) I was faster to walk and talk and also grew faster though he is now much taller than I am. I read earlier, spelt earlier and was better at both fine and gross motor activities earlier than he was. However I never caught him on learning how the vacuum cleaner worked (though I could pronounce the word better) and I had no clue how to take a radio apart when he was very clued up on it at a very early age. He beat me hands down with technology (he is in IT now). He was also more defiant and more likely to fight the system - so while I went to study further and got degrees, he quit school in grade 11 and worked his way up learning Maths he would never have coped with in school simply because he didn't see the point til he needed to learn it to accomplish something else.

So my answer is no - girls do not learn faster than boys - however they may outpace boys on certain things and certain ways of learning. I watched a boy at my DDs preschool - the teachers thought he was very behind on many skills and yet when someone sat with him and worked with the things he was interested in (mostly taking things apart) then you could see he was a bright little boy who was probably just not interested in coloring and painting and chatting - gee I wonder why that was - probably that darn Y chromosome. He wasn't learning slower, he was just learning differently.
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