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1  BEYOND EARLY LEARNING (for older years) / General Discussions - After Early Learning / Being Consistent When Life Gets Crazy?? on: August 18, 2014, 07:07:24 AM
Hi everyone!

It's been a while. A quick update, we had a lot of change over the last year, a lot of stress, and ultimately decided we could no longer take in foster kids. We got rid of all the baby stuff we were keeping "in case" we had another. So of course I get pregnant the next month.  LOL
Things have been too much.
The pregnancy, while fine now, has been very rocky, including being hospitalized a few times.
Amy is too old for preschool programs now, and the other kids are too young to go to the school aged programs, so I end up having to schedule the same sport or class twice. I feel like a taxi service.
All the kids are very firmly working above a 2nd grade level, but are spacing out more. Zed learns quicker than Andy by less than 10%. But the effects of compounding are adding up. Amy is progressing on an average rate, which is phenomenal considering what I was told to expect for her. And Kai is... spurty? He will need to do the same thing 100 times and then one day will wake up knowing it and the next three things, just to have to do the fourth thing 100 times too.

I am having difficulty being as consistent as the kids need. There are days that the only educational thing they do is watch a documentary.

I'd like to be able to relax and not worry about it, but Amy is old enough that she needs to be registered as a homeschooler and I have paperwork and hoops to deal with because of that.

Does anyone have any advice on getting things done when you've got no energy for anything? Ways to stay consistent when life is chaotic? Or anything else that might help out.
2  EARLY LEARNING / Homeschooling / Re: Calvert VS Bridgeway on: May 08, 2013, 06:29:05 AM
Calvert is quite rigid and very institutional it its feel, much like having a one child classroom. Lots of people like that and seek it out. The record keeping is fantastic, which is great for people who need that. If that is the vibe you want for your homeschool, Calvert is one of the best. But most of us here now don't want or need those things.

This is the post-test for AoPS Algebra (I think that yes, they are labelled diagnostic tests.)
3  Parents' Lounge / General Parenting / Re: When to start using a baby walker? on: May 06, 2013, 08:12:10 PM
Never ever use the sit in kind, although this kind is okay and mostly a matter of preference.
Sorry about the giant image I can't seem to resize it.

If you're set on having one, the time to use it is once they can cruise the furniture. Unless the child has stalled from frustration, ie they no longer walk far because they cannot get to anywhere they would like to go, a walker will not help them walk faster.
4  EARLY LEARNING / Homeschooling / Re: Calvert VS Bridgeway on: May 06, 2013, 08:01:36 PM
AoPS absolutely has hard copies. There is a text book and a solutions manual. I'm not a big fan of online stuff either. Having the texts mean you can go at whatever pace you need, the online course goes the speed it goes.

Start with their recommendations, and then take pre and post tests to adjust the fit to the correct level. A lot of kids who have already taken Algebra place into Introduction to Algebra because AoPS is that much more challenging than the usual programs.
5  EARLY LEARNING / Homeschooling / Re: Calvert VS Bridgeway on: May 06, 2013, 06:58:25 AM
Love the list! Thank you. Related to Calvert, has anyone heard of Laurel Springs?
 It seems to be similar but the website doesn't say much. Also, any experience with the Art of Problem Solving?

Art of Problem Solving is my number one choice for pre-algebra and up. It is designed for advanced/accelerated/gifted kids who like math. It is a super challenge, working all the thinking skills. And the support online is almost unparalleled. If Beast Academy (the AoPS elementary program) were being released faster we would be using it exclusively. As it stands currently it is only grade 3, and the end of grade 4 will not be available until 2015, and then the end of grade 5 in early 2017. My youngest, while officially only finishing grade 2 in 2017, will be well beyond that level by that time. Maybe we will have more kids that I could use it with smile

I have not heard of Laurel Springs. Browsing their site I didn't see anything that excited me to be honest. It's nice that they offer AP exams for high school students, but their list does not include some I expect my kids to take. It doesn't appear that it's one size fits all, which is also good, but that makes it very difficult to figure out what they actually do offer. Even reading the course catalogue left me in wonder about exactly what a child would be learning.
6  EARLY LEARNING / Homeschooling / Re: Calvert VS Bridgeway on: May 04, 2013, 04:05:55 AM
I know people that have used both. They are very expensive for what they are. The only time that it would be worth it to use one of those curricula is if you need the paper trail. Piecing together a curriculum by subject would be better tailored to a child, and significantly less expensive.

Some recommendations:

Phonics (p) and/or spelling (s) programs
- Phonics pathways (P)
- Ordinary parents guide to teaching reading (P)
- The writing road to reading (Ps)
- Spell to write and read (pS)
- All about spelling (S)

- Rod and Staff English
- First Language Lessons for a Well Trained Mind
- KISS Grammar (
- Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts
- Shurley English

Math (Elementary levels)
- Singapore primary math
- Miquon lab
- Saxon
- Right Start
- Mathematics Enrichment Programme (
(Pre-algebra up)
- Art of Problem Solving
- Singapore Discovering Mathematics
- Saxon

- Nebel's Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding (and subsequent volumes)
- R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey
- NOEO Science

Resources with lists of books (covering literature and history and sometimes other subjects)
- Ambleside online
- Tanglewood curriculum
- Robinson curriculum
- Read Aloud America
- 1000 Good books list
- An Old Fashioned Education
- The Well Trained Mind
- lists used by curricula like Sonlight, My Father's World, Heart of Dakota, etc.
7  BEYOND EARLY LEARNING (for older years) / General Discussions - After Early Learning / Re: Swann Family = 10 Children with MA at age 16! Book Review & Discussion Thread on: February 22, 2013, 10:18:10 PM
I'm very late to this discussion, but I want to throw in my 2 cents on the Swann family.

When I read their books, what I took from it is that institutional school is so inefficient that it takes 14040 hours (13 years, 180 days/year, 6 hours/day) to teach what can be learned in 3000-5616 hours (2-3 hours/day, 5-6 days/week, 50-52 weeks/year, for 6 years). Now one could simply use 5000 or so hours to be as good as the average member of society, or one could take the remaining 9000 hours and go so much wider and deeper.

Working 1080 hours per year (same as institutional schools) is less than 4.5 hours of work per workday. I use workdays because I don't want the kids working when their Dad is home. I feel like that is a waste of family time. When he is at work, we do 4.5 hours of work. 1 hour is music. 1 hour is handicrafts (sewing, weaving, knitting, woodworking). The remaining 2.5 hours is enough that they could complete two years of school per year (as the Swann's did). Not only are none of my kids school aged yet, I do not want them to graduate early for a variety of reasons. Instead, we squeeze lots into the space: Language Arts (in English, and French), Math (French), Logic (English), Social Studies (French), Sciences (English), Computers, Art, and Drama.

School time does not include our morning run, sports, cooking, or chores. Nor educational things like trips to the zoo or museum, any learning games or reading they do during their free time, etc.

Honestly they're progressing faster than one year per year anyway. We only started focused, consistent, classes in August and we have already completed the first year in a number of subjects.

I think the Swanns (and others) were on to a great idea.
8  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child - Other Topics / Re: Outgrowing an Infant Crawling Track on: December 14, 2012, 08:14:01 PM
Congratulations Rsabs on your baby!
Sorry that I did not see your message sooner.
Do you still need tips with tummy time, or crawling tracks?
9  EARLY LEARNING / Early Learning - General Discussions / Re: Article: Highly Gifted Children in the Early Years on: August 18, 2012, 10:16:58 PM
Statistically speaking, oldest children have higher IQs than subsequent children.

In the study, Norwegian epidemiologists analyzed data on birth order, health status and I.Q. scores of 241,310 18- and 19-year-old men born from 1967 to 1976, using military records. After correcting for factors that may affect scores, including parents’ education level, maternal age at birth and family size, the researchers found that eldest children scored an average of 103.2, about 3 percent higher than second children (100.3) and 4 percent higher than thirdborns (99.0).

The difference was an average, meaning that it varied by family and showed up in most families but not all.

The scientists then looked at I.Q. scores in 63,951 pairs of brothers, and found the same results. Differences in household environments did not explain elder siblings’ higher scores.

I've seen for myself families that have younger children that are more precocious, that is capable of doing things earlier. But even in the families I am familiar with the older is frequently more gifted, that is capable of going farther. I think the act of teaching siblings, or the competition of having a sibling (and not wanting to be outdone), or some other factor in their relationship to each other, causes the older to develop more, though not necessarily faster.
10  Parents' Lounge / Introduce Yourself / Re: Formal Indroduction on: July 07, 2012, 03:31:53 AM
It is awesome being so crazy busy. We went to the Calgary Stampede today while DH was at work. All 6 kids.  LOL Who knows what I was thinking. But it tuckered them all out and everyone is sound asleep and the sun hasn't even set yet smile

Things have been tough on all the kids. We became foster parents because life is so hard for those kids.

Amy and Andy are adopted from foster care. They have the same birth mother, who is an addict. She was arguably the worst parent one could be without assaulting a child. And even then technically she has crossed that line.

The 6 and 8 yo olds are in foster care because their father is in jail and their mother abandoned them. When he is released, they will go to live with him because, while he's a criminal, he has not been deemed an unfit parent. I haven't met him, but the kids do send letters to him and he seems to really love them. I can't imagine what it would be like if my mother abandoned me, and to not have their father available at the time, that breaks my heart.

Kai was very loved in his family. And his mother still loves him. She loves him so much that she's willing to give him up so he can have a 'normal' childhood.

I can't decide what's worse. I try not to think about it, it's incredibly depressing. I try to use all that emotion to love them better.
11  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child - Other Topics / Re: Outgrowing an Infant Crawling Track on: July 07, 2012, 02:10:16 AM
At that age, any tummy time is more than most parents are doing. It will seem weird. Your wife will warm up to the idea slowly.

I did things a fair bit differently than Doman suggests. I actually did less at that age.

Zed had GERD that was undiagnosed until 6 weeks, and not controlled for a few more weeks after that. He was absolutely distraught at going down an inclined track because of the pain it caused him.

We occasionally put him on the incline track heading UP. Primarily it was because it was a good angle to avoid vomiting, he didn't object, and he couldn't roll away so I knew where he was if I needed my hands free.

As for the rolling, I'm pretty sure he learned very early because of something genetic and not because of anything I did. He was just too young for me to think the few times I rolled him over (as suggested in the vestibular section of both HTTYBTBPS & HSIYB) actually did much. He was only 10 days old. Even now he has very high muscle tone compared to other kids his skill level (he looks like a body builder compared to another 2.5 yo).

We still did flat tummy time straight through from the beginning. I would place him on the bed, I'd sit on the floor in front of him, and we'd make googly eyes at each other. Or I'd put him on the floor and place interesting things just out of his reach. He would kick his legs sometimes and not get traction, so we would help by placing something that he could kick to get forward motion. If he could have used the track it would be just like its edge.

Once his GERD was controlled, we put him in the inclined track and he loved it. It took a couple weeks to get him back able to move his own weight (he gained weight very quickly) down the track, after which it became a when-ever-he-wants thing. Honestly, it was at least 15 trips down it per day, but he spent half his day on the floor, and the other half being held. The track was like the punctuation, not the sentence.

He was crawling well by 3 months, and started creeping shortly after. We put the track away at that point.

The suggestion, of 5 minutes (per day of tummy time) per week of age, was straight from my doctor. Current tummy time suggestions say any time the baby is not putting pressure on their head counts as "tummy" time, but he disagreed and claimed this was why the current generation is not only lumpier-headed but less active than previous generations. My doctor was sure that society needed to develop a standard for tummy time and a frequency that actually works to not only prevent flat spots, but to get kids moving. There wasn't one, so he made one up. I've heard other doctors in my area use the same metric, so I think it's catching on.

If we count by the current standard, he spent 23+ hours doing "tummy" time after his GERD was controlled. We carried him (using a soft structured carrier) rather than a stroller. He hated baths, so he was washed in the shower with my husband or me. He slept on his stomach*. He played on the floor. Literally the only times he was on his back were to change his diaper, in the car, and to be weighed at the doctor's office.

We did not make him stay in the track or on his tummy if he was unhappy about it. I just counted the minutes (or seconds) towards the total and tried again later. I wouldn't recommend making him wait to eat, that affects his ability to bond with you. In his eyes you will be that person who won't let him eat. He may start crying when you hold him even if he isn't hungry because he knows you won't let him eat when he does get hungry. I've seen it happen to overeager grandmothers who insist on trying to calm the baby everytime it cries (and at that age most of the time it is from hunger).

If you thought Zed 'crushed' milestones at that age you should see him race.  laugh He and I have entered a couple 5Ks and next spring it will be a 10K. He beat me both times  Wink  He is definitely "physically superb."

I hope this is some help.

* Babies with GERD very rarely die of SIDS due to rarely entering the deepest levels of sleep. The deepest levels of sleep are when babies are most likely to die of SIDS. Sleeping on their stomach causes most babies to sleep more deeply. Babies with GERD on the other hand can die from inhaling their own vomit. It's very hard for a child to inhale vomit lying on their stomach. We chose to 'risk' SIDS to 'prevent' vomit inhalation and to 'deepen' sleep. I am not recommending that anyone alter their child's sleeping environment because of what worked for us. There are risks to everything. Be informed and make your own assessment of the risks.
12  Parents' Lounge / Introduce Yourself / Updates on: July 06, 2012, 05:42:47 AM
Things are going. I'm very busy all the time. I get online maybe once a week and spend most of the time on replying to email.

Amy is advancing at a tremendous rate, she's 4 now, and is on par with most 3 year olds. I was told to not expect much with her, but I have never trusted people who minimize the abilities of anyone.

Andy is almost 3, and is on equal footing with Amy, which makes it easy to teach them both at once.

Kai went home just before Christmas and we were happy and sad to see him go. Unfortunately his mother cannot keep up with him now with her disabilities. He's been back in our care since March. We visit his mother twice a week, and he spends most of the visit sitting on her lap crying. It's been hard on all of us. There have been discussions of her giving up parental rights, so that we can adopt him.

While Kai was home, we took in a brother-sister pair that are 8 and 6. It will be a long term, but temporary, placement. We are not planning on taking in anymore kids. (But that's what we said before too.)

Last, but not least, Zed is doing great. He's learning everything I can put in front of him. I don't have time to put as much in front of him as I could before. It's bittersweet: he has all the love of having brothers and sisters, but he doesn't have the attention he used to have from me because of their needs.

DH and I have been trying to have more kids since Zed was born. It has not been going well. We've stopped trying for a while. I think our fertility issues are a way of the universe telling us that there are other kids that need us more.

I always wanted a big family, and the plan was always some born and some adopted, maybe 3 and 3. But 1 and 5 is good too.  big grin
13  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child - Other Topics / Re: Outgrowing an Infant Crawling Track on: July 06, 2012, 04:45:11 AM
I had to special order naugahyde because I was not comfortable with the smell of regular vinyl. It was quite expensive comparably.

I also used two layers of recycled low VOC carpet underlay. Which I bought at the hardware store. I also didn't like the smell of upholstery foam. It was slightly less squishy. I think next time I would use organic cotton quilt batting on top of one layer.

We used a low VOC glue that applied with a caulking gun. This was a bad idea. It dried lumpy. I would definitely use a brush on product if I were to do it again. Then I stapled the ends to the underside.
14  EARLY LEARNING / Early Learning - General Discussions / Re: Ultimate Goals of Education on: July 06, 2012, 03:32:24 AM
Students should think for themselves in order that... they are not misled by charlatans, pseudo-scientists, or other bad influences
Students should acquire a love of learning in order that... they never stop learning. There is too many interesting new things happening in the world to have a negative view of learning.
Students should seek excellence in order that... they are proud of their own accomplishments and become the positive influences of the world.
Students should be able to read in order that... they learn for themselves, and not rely on others for their information
Students should write in order that... they express their thoughts clearly to others.
Students should do arithmetic in order that... they understand the language of the universe, or at the very least can mind their finances.
Students should exhibit courtesy in order that... they are the people with whom they would like to share the world.
Students should attain high achievement scores in order that... they can brag? LOL. I don't care if kids score well on tests. It's completely irrelevant to being a good person, or a successful person, or a happy person.
Students should acquire demonstrable skills in order that... in childhood their mother doesn't have to put up with the BS of people that cannot do any of the above.
15  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child Math / Re: Math supplement for advanced 3-year-old (almost 4)? on: July 06, 2012, 03:13:30 AM
Beast Academy is fantastic. Something to look out for: only 3A and 3B are released, 3C should be out sometime this summer, and 3D before the end of the year. From what I understand the levels are going to be released every 4 months (which means only 3 of the 4 levels per calendar year), but they are trying to remedy the bottlenecks causing that schedule. Depending on her pace that might not be fast enough for you.

We like MEP (Mathematics Enrichment Programme). Lots of atypical problems, mental math, and other goodies. And it's free, I like free.
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