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  Show Posts
Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 5
1  EARLY LEARNING / Early Learning - General Discussions / Re: Brillkid now a MENSAN on: August 23, 2014, 05:36:11 PM
What fantastic news! Well done to you both  thumbs up  clap  smile
2  Products Marketplace / Second-Hand Sell + Swap / Re: Selling - tweedle wink DVDs - full set 12 DVDs on: January 15, 2014, 10:11:36 PM
Hi Iris,

I'm in London too and can pick up this weekend if you still have them! Will pm you my number. I've been too scared of postage from US to order these, but really want them while my son is still early 3. Do call soon, thanks.
3  Parents' Lounge / Coffee Corner - General Chat / Re: My mom has cancer! I need your help!!! on: June 18, 2013, 10:41:42 PM
Hi Lelask,

My heart goes out to you in this season of great testing. I lost my dad a few years ago, and can only imagine what you are going through at this time. I have no input regarding your question, but want you to know that I am praying for your mother for healing, and you and your family for peace and strength at this time. So much love and positive energy xx
4  EARLY LEARNING / Early Learning - General Discussions / Re: There's Nothing New Here on: March 04, 2013, 01:39:03 AM
Hear hear.
5  EARLY LEARNING / Early Learning - General Discussions / Re: Aren't toddlers naturally independent self-learners? on: March 03, 2013, 06:30:23 PM
Mandab 4 sounds like the right age for Douglas, especially for sit down stuff. I hope to get more serious with the workbox system, and by 3yrs have him go through box 1 to 6 in order, but try to tailor what's in them to his interest. I feel like I have to build lowly into a more rigid schedule, building up to the grand opening of formal homeschool (talking about different parts and getting him excited, hopefully getting friends and family to help with this).

Wolfwind how I would love to have a proper Montessori activity shelf at home! How vexed I would be if Dougie completely ignored it! I feel your pain there. I don't know how to precisely recommend beginning self teaching - I'm experimenting myself - but I know ALL toddlers get to an "I do it myself" phase, introduce as much as you can together and then maximize on this desire when your toddler gets there. I use the computer/videos to introduce concepts or ways of doing things, and then bring it into the real world with both of us having a better idea how to do things and use manipulatives. I am aware of making this transition because they do easily become over reliant on screens. The other thing is to fully cater to your child's need to be close to you, which you're obviously already doing, to the best of your ability. Equally let them be independent when they want to be. I am sure I am thought by some to be quite bad with Dougie's safety because I let him roam quite freely (even when he was a crawler), even in the pool I try not to hover too near him (unless he wants to play with me), because the way I see it, I can either communicate the message that the world is a relatively safe place (following a few guiding rules) full of adventure and things to explore, so trust yourself and go for it! Or I can communicate, the world is dangerous and don't trust yourself to navigate it, learn, bear consequences (or rewards of discovery) - you need me by your side. My belief is that independence is an attitude that stems from the child taking responsibility for themselves including their safety, because caring for yourself means caring for your body, your family, your mind, your spirit etc.

Teacchingmykids, loving the ways you incorporate being independent into practical life! I'm working on building more of that into our schedule at home  yes
6  EARLY LEARNING / Early Learning - General Discussions / Re: There's Nothing New Here on: March 02, 2013, 05:59:39 PM
I love the idea of being an education hacker. Indeed, I am a parent who needs to feel she has the best tools for the job - because I know I do not have the patience or talent to get results without.

Sonya_post thanks for your thoughts, I think you got very much to the heart of the matter, when people ask what difference EL makes, they should be asking instead what difference do they want it to make. I don't have an ideal career choice for my son, I'd be just as happy if he became a lecturer as I would if he became a  musician. I don't mind if he isn't the most brilliant mind of this century, but I do want him to know how to learn and be able to do so easily and confidently so he can achieve what he desires. I am not investing in EL to achieve Greatest Mind of the Century status, but to nurture multifaceted abilities in my son, for personal enjoyment and to earn a living. As Mandab mentioned, I do want him to enjoy social/personal interactions with all sorts. This is all part of having  a full life. I believe EL can improve a child tendancy to have 'multiple abilities' but I do not believe it can guarantee genius at all, and I do  not think that's what most parents here are after.
7  EARLY LEARNING / Early Learning - General Discussions / Re: There's Nothing New Here on: March 01, 2013, 08:31:40 PM
This is a very important conversation to be had on this forum in particular because a new member can easily be overwhelmed thinking there is so much curriculum that needs to be bought in order to effectively teach a child. In the homeschooling community "curriculum" is a BIG word that leaves ones head swooning, especially in the early stages. I think it is crucial to remember that a gifted chef will cook good food with the most rudimental tools. There was a forum post recently about the results parents were having from their early learning activities - this is a big questions with sceptics - what difference does all of this make? Where are the hundreds of genius children of BK parents? Well, there aren't going to be. I don't believe that every child of a EL parent is going to be a genius because even if all the suggested best curriculum are bought, as others have mentioned above, the learning happens in the context of socialization between a loving/committed parent and loving/committed child. I loved reading The Education of Karl Witte because of the broader relational aspects that were shared in how Karl was educated. The book actually states that he became what he did because and exceptionally gifted teacher was matched with an exceptionally gifted pupil. Mr Witte put a lot of effort into creating and protecting a learning environment/life/discipline for his son, and making it intrinsic in a big way because Karl was deeply religious. Reminds me of the Kramaricks. It is so not just about curriculum! More important is learning how to work with and support your child's desire to blossom into the fullness of his/her being. Which is why I am not afraid of unschooling. I have not decided I am an "unschooler" or a "Saxon-ian" or "Charlotte Masoner", I am still learning about my child - the person that is in there and what I need to put before him so that he becomes that person more fully. That has to be the goal of education - not completing programmes or textbooks or ticking boxes. I know that this statement can be taken out of context, and appropriated to set and settle for low ambitions based on low/negative parental assumptions (my child is not the academic type, my child is not this or that). My caveat would be to assume one's child is capable of EVERYTHING and let THEM ultimately decide which to pursue with commitment. You HAVE to trust the child. We cannot all be cookie cutter products of a type of education. We do not all have the same destiny/purpose on earth. So the person has to be taught and trusted to be reponsible for shaping their own life, which is what is at the heart of unschooling in my opinion.

I've gone on a bit of a tangent and ranted enough  LOL
8  EARLY LEARNING / Early Learning - General Discussions / Aren't toddlers naturally independent self-learners? on: March 01, 2013, 06:19:07 PM
I stumbled on a trick of late. The easiest way for me to teach Douglas something (either building on his existing interests or exposing him to something new that may catch his imagination) is to place it in the bookmarks bar of Chrome and show him where it is and what it does. I leave him with it and he figures out how to work with it. Now, I don't want to make myself obsolete - I do feel that I help by giving him tips (and helping him use them until he does so himself - a bit of vygotsky scaffolding) e.g. listen to/read  the activity instructions, check the picture in the puzzle, finish what you start is a tough one for a 2.5 year old, etc.  that make his involvement more productive. Similarly, this works with toys, which I have started trying to arrange workbox style for him. It works with reading, I see him sounding out more and more things in his natural environment (I see why labelling is a good idea though I never got round to it). I am planning to try this with learning to play the piano too (hoping to try with Soft Mozart and My First Piano Adventures).

So what's my problem? Well we've been talking a lot about Robinson style self teaching, and on the one hand I was pleased to stumble across a way of doing this at home with my toddler. I see that it is the Montessorian way (set up the environment with self correcting learning tools, adults should basically stay out of the child's way) and Charlotte Mason way (do not get in between the author's words and the child) and a bit of unschooling (children will feed deeply on their passion, just give them the best tools/materials and stand back) BUT ...

1) It annoys me a bit that Douglas wants to learn his way because when I want him to follow a certain path so I can measure his progress, he wants to jump around the material and seems to be trying to gain mastery over it. But because a lot of our learning is done on computer, this means some activities are based on his mouse handling skill, and I do not want want to wait around for him to perfect this before getting on with learning the content.

2) It feels like my involvement frustrates him and makes him walk away from the task to go play puzzles by himself or something. I have to admit that he probably starts to pick up on my own frustration and, in truth I was forgeting to be playful (I've had a few sleep-challenged nights and was too tired to be playful, which so doesn't work for my son right now  wub )

3) Part of the point of "teaching" is to feel good that I "taught" him things. Now I find myself in a position where I assess educational materials on how easy it is for him to self teach with it, because if it involves me doing too much, I will get in his way. I have to think of ways to give him opportunities to practice things (e.g. using a pencil/colours, and then spark his interest in using that skill in a certain way (e.g. completing kumon workbooks or pre-writing exercises.) I feel more like a supporter, an encourager and provider of learning materials, than a teacher and that makes me feel a bit left out. And a bit like, I won't be able to take much credit for what he achieves - because it will have been HIS own hard work - and selfish or not that kindda sucks!

4) I feel less in control. I cannot just move him along a set path indefinitely. He controls the pace and area of learning as much, if not more than I do. Annoying for progress reporting and feel good factor of knowing what exactly he knows (probably an unrealistic expectation I know).

Does anyone else find this to be the case with children around this age (2.5 years)? It is making me think about what age I can realistically expect to formally start homeschool, if this is a developmental thing. I was hoping we'd be ready for Saxon at around 4years, as I reckon I need him to be mature enough to do as he's told. Everyone knows you can't make a toddler do anything he really doesn't want to! He's learning bag loads on his own, so I don't mind too much (inspite of reasons above) but would like to know when I might expect him to get a bit more flexible. Even when he does what he's told with work he seems to look at me like 'what is wrong with this woman? let me just make her happy this time, but if she wants to make a habit out of harassing me that's a different matter!'

I'm telling you I see it in his eyes!!
9  EARLY LEARNING / Early Learning - General Discussions / Re: Kramarik family on: February 23, 2013, 01:53:52 AM
Seems like they had a very Waldorf-y upbringing. Everything I've read about Waldorf thus far seems incorporated into the parenting philosophy that nurtured their talent, and is the intended goal of a Waldorf education. Waldorfers would never flash images, because in a sort of Platonian sense the image of the thing is not the thing itself, and when you have an image of say chair, you stop seeing the actual form as it exists, but see the image of a chair. Artists (creators/inventors etc) see past the concrete into the real/true form of things, that is why they can absorb it into their essence and translate it so it touches ours.

It's funny, I spent so much of my life surrounded by left brain people and left brain institutions that I didn't even like to think of myself as a 'creative'. But we all are, it just gets frustrated, buried and diverted. Watch this Ted Talk, that I feel touches on the topic of how to be and raise artists.

Can you feel the energy coming off her? It almost makes you uncomfortable how comfortably she sits in this alpha state. The founder of Tweedlewink talks in a similar dreamy way   laugh  Deep artists are often like this, some slip in and out of this state, but people like Ghandi I am sure were permanently on this plane/level. That I believe is what right brain is about. It is the physical part of a spiritual and energy experience. It is boundless, and connects all form as one Form. Jeez don't I sound like a sad hippy  LOL It sounds very new agey, but most of the main religions hint to this idea, Christians would say (and Waldorf is christian) 'everything comes from God and God is in everything and everywhere. Anything and everything can be sacred.' Young children are probably the most sacred of all because of their closeness to the spirit (Waldorf ideology - its why they don't rush to draw the child's spirit into the body with worldly images/ideas or stress, they believe doing so can cause the spirit to enter the body in a broken way that will later need healing).

Whilst I see where Waldorfers are coming from, striving for a balanced approach works better for me right now, well because I am not a deep super hippy like the Kramarik's mother obviously was/is! I still need emotional/spiritual healing, and my home environment would very likely imprint some VERY negative things on Dougie if I didn't have the options to use modern technology to imprint images, sounds and messages that are positive and educational. But I really do try to respect the powerful spirit that I know is in my child, and hope that by doing so (and with much of God's mercy) he will stay connected with the universal spirit that with allow him to be deeply and passionately creative, so that he touches and inspires others positively ... while utilizing his learnt left brain skills of course  smile

10  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child Math / Re: Recommendations for online math curriculum? on: February 21, 2013, 07:56:48 PM
Korrale4k, thanks for the Appuseries link! Dougie took to it immediately and it was just the extra little something I needed in maths right now.

Just wanted to recommend Destination Math from HM, has been very helpful and is not excessive on graphics (and is based on Saxon Math). Of the ones you mentioned Lzp11, I checked them out and I personally wouldn't use them except for iSingapore which looks really swell - because of the drama with the graphics. Dreambox had great reviews but before it even loaded up (trial) Douglas was gone! I prefer more maths and less of the cartoon like graphics personally.
11  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 21, 2013, 10:53:23 AM
MyBabyian, I'll share how I see it - Douglas loves math and learning. He also likes playing/working on the computer and watching EL DVDs. I have no doubt that if given a choice he will rather stick with easier things, watch cartoons, run wild in the house etc. If allowed to do this for long enough, it will become his comfort zone. So doing what he wants will ultimately equal doing the most unproductive things THAT THE ENVIRONMENT ALLOWS.

If however, I block access to twaddle, keep his environment refreshed with appropriately challenging activities and materials, and nurture in him a love for order and mastery, then these will be the things he desires. So in planning homeschool, I see my role as provider of rich food and setter of parameters (how much should be consumed) and Dougie is free to play within those boundaries. Also, if he is seriously resistant to something, I know I need to offer him a different approach to the topic, even if that is just a different way of thinking about it. I don't know if this explains it well, but I see what Douglas and I do as teamwork. I am not trying to take him somewhere he doesn't want to be, and the older and more mature he gets the more input he will have in running his life, until he really is that autonomous young person, who is wise enough to know who and when to turn to others for support.

This intuitively makes sense to me because of my own personality and issues with autocratic leadership. I hated it as a child (still do), and being African (were that is almost entirely the kind of leadership practiced) I see the result of it large scale back home and do not want that for my child. I think there is a world of difference between 'do what you're told' without being informed of reasons or plans and being allowed to have input and given the dignity of being heard out, knowing you and your feelings and opinions are respected and valued. It doesn't mean the child gets to be a dictator. But neither does the parent, who is responsible for modelling how people ought to interact and most importantly negotiate.

12  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 20, 2013, 09:41:42 PM
Absolutely loving the URtheMom Homeschooling 101 lectures, and still fully sold on Dr Robinson. Self-teaching particularly rings true for me because of the twin foundations of respect for parental authority AND respect for the independence and innate abilities of the child. You gotta love that combination! And it would result in high achieving people, because well who does anything unless they really want to? And who gets anywhere unless they know how to be humble and work well with others? I want to continue to learn a way of parenting that teaches my child how to relate intelligently with people, starting with me and his immediate family. His attitudes in my home will be the ones he has outside, so I need to learn to give the structure and independence for Douglas to grow into a hardworking, moral young man of his own volition, not because I am hovering over him making him do the right thing. Self-teaching (and this thread! LOL) is opening me up to yet more reasons why I should not be afraid to set boundaries for my child (Charlotte Mason helped a lot as well).

You gotta love this forum, it gets deep on here sometimes!  laugh
13  BrillKids Software / Little Reader - General Discussion / Re: "I don't know" on: February 14, 2013, 02:38:29 PM
Jemi, we use reading eggs and Douglas is progressing very well on it. I started from Lesson 1, even though he knew letter sounds so he got a good review, and had fun doing lessons he found easy while getting used to the way the lessons are presented. Currently on lesson 28 and he loves hatching those little critters and is starting to roam across to reading express. Anyway, he doesn't do all the parts in one lesson independently himself, I use Vygotsky's ZPD to scaffold some activities:

1. He doesn't have the manual dexterity to drag and drop, so he clicks and I drag.
2. I set up the pointer and explain the activity, I always wait for him to hear the instructions, and the sort of talk through what we're doing. E.g. How can I find out what this sounds like, ok I roll the mouse here and then check here ... sort of talking aloud my internal thinking process, so he can copy it.
3. Some repetitions are just too much and if he's done a few, I take over while talking/reading aloud so he can follow what I am doing, not just watch passively.
4. Sometimes he clicks without looking, so I move the pointer to a centre starting point, so it not already on a word.
5. Over time I have to remember to give him the opportunity to try a little bit more without my assistance. But I try not to let him get too much wrong (can be frustrating), we work together to get more right than wrong, allowing for some errors that we learn from.

Just some tips for how we make reading eggs work for us!

We used Jolly Phonics (which he loved deeply) and preschool prep (although we never really took off with blends an diagraphs dvds), Jolly Phonics introduced some blends and diagraphs and that has been enough to build on with reading eggs. Reading bear was very helpful in showing how blending works (also used some My Montessori House) I had a sharp learning curve with this as well as I had NO IDEA what they were so had to learn along side  LOL . On important thing I learnt with Dougie is to be mindful not to always correct his reading or sounding out - especially if he picked up a book to read for himself or attempted to sound out for himself (even if he gets it wrong I'll say something affirmative like 'that's good, are you trying to sound out the word? Good effort baby' without correcting.) It's important that he doesn't become wary of reading aloud/trying, but sees it as something enjoyable between us. He sounds out with reading bear (mostly, I don't force if he doesn't want to after gentle encouragement), he sometimes sounds out with reading eggs or when we play with letters in the bath, but mostly he just has a go at the word skipping c-a-t and just says cat. Which I'm honest I prefer. If he gets stuck then we use the sounding out technique but I don't want him sounding out every word before saying it as I've sometimes seen. Like Wolfwind just keep trying various things whilst having fun until you hit what your LO enjoys and do lots of that. Thank goodness we're starting early, gives us AND the kiddos time to learn and get comfortable with these new skills  smile

Lzp11, that's one thing I read and really took from the Engelmann's Give Your Child a Superior Mind - that it DOES take longer to teach a 2 year old to read than it does a 5 year old. It takes longer and more patience to teach younger children than it does older ones, and the younger the more precise you have to be and careful to eliminate errors and misconceptions. The kids are putting in a LOT of work and investing a lot of emotion in learning from us, and just when they have one thing right e.g. A says Ah or cat says CAT, we then change the rules or up the game and want them to know/say cah-ah-teh spells CAT and when they say what they said before (which used to be right and get mommy all proud happy and smiling) it gets a poor reception LOL. It's funny saying it, but it can be quite disappointing from the child's perspective and put some pressure on to make mommy happy, if you imagine it. It's so important they know that this is all just good fun and only worth doing if they're having fun and that we love em anyway, kids can easily forget this. I have to remind myself this all the time because Douglas can be quite sensitive to even a hint of criticism in my tone of voice, or over praise for a thing that's supposed to be not a big deal (like reading). Now, I do try to cultivate an understanding of what is expected of him as per normal, that gets acknowledged when he does well, but I try not to fly too high or too low with praise or criticism - because he should see it as standard. Took us sometime to get here and I'm still learning to manage my emotions/expectations every day.
14  BEYOND EARLY LEARNING (for older years) / General Discussions - After Early Learning / Re: kindergarten and your early reader on: February 09, 2013, 09:51:31 PM
How strange. Why do they do that? Anyone have any theories? Is it that they take in the expectations of their teacher?
15  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 09, 2013, 09:49:28 PM
If anyone has a Sonlight Instructor Guide or TOG IG they are very good in giving warnings about dodgy topics in books, they know its hard for parent to proof read loads in advance. Would definitely appreciate a list like what you describe Mandab! It's still a discovery process seeing what stories Douglas is interested in and when he's in the mood for a long complicated story or a simple one. Anything that helps break that down would be highly appreciated  yes
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