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Everything posted by Clemsondana

  1. When mine were in early elementary, I had a daily plan that took 1-3 hours - some math, handwriting, reading (phonics or reading comprehension, depending on age), and then a bit of science, history, geography, art, or music (we did these in blocks of 2-6 weeks, so only one at a time). At the end of each day I listed what we had done in a standard student homework agenda. Some days might include a hands-on activity (build a model, draw a picture, color a map), and I saved these or took pictures. Some days had field trips. I read classic stories (fables, the original Winnie the Pooh, etc) out loud and considered that part of our time, too. They had outside time or active play inside if the weather was bad, and you could list that, too. Many of their toys were educational - building toys, games like Memory, floor puzzles with maps or the human body or the solar system, etc. Those could be counted as science or history time. Their screen time was stuff like Magic School Bus, Wild Kratts, etc, and I'd count that as educational, too, if I needed to. With my kids, we could not have done anything approaching direct instruction for 4+ hours/day. But, they could happily spend a whole day at a kids museum, old-time farm museum, or national park. We weren't exacting - some days were probably stretching to be 4 hours, but activity days were sometimes 6-8 hours of exploration. I think that for young kids the hours thing doesn't really fit. As they get older, they naturally take longer. As for the records-keeping, I just got a file box and dumped everything in it. I had a couple of boxes for each kid. After 2 years had passed, I'd weed out everything that I didn't want (workbook pages, etc) and keep 1 file folder of examples (one math test, one handwriting page, and any fun projects or neat writing assignments) so that I could compare over the years. We found that our saved work got smaller, likely because little kid crafts are so bulky, but printed copies of a high schooler's typed papers are very compact (although math is still bulky). Edited to say: Other than math, handwriting, maybe spelling, and the occasional project, we did very little output in early elementary. I had planned to do more school-ish things, but found that having to produce output got in the way of learning. My 2nd grader didn't write papers, but they used army men to re-enact various famous battles for fun. Sometimes I'd snap a picture. We started working on output more in 5-6 grade, when I focus on essay writing.
  2. Other than level (regular, honors, AP, etc) we had no choices at my high school. You could choose your senior year science (physics or bio2 - I took both), your foreign language if you took one (French or Spanish), and some electives. There were some math choices, but those were mostly by what you had already taken - there wasn't a choice of calc or stats, for instance, but after algebra or geometry there was the business math/consumer math track and the college-prep track. From what we see with kids on ball teams or at church, there are more choices now, but we are also in a different location. The schools are comparable size, though - my high school had 175-250 students per class.
  3. I would dearly love that. What I get, at different places, is coming for my hour or 2 and getting whoever needs help with homework. I have asked for students who are just overall struggling with the idea of working with them alone on a consistent basis. I offered to come over the summer and work with the same couple of kids all summer. These places can't pick out who needs that help, and the parents don't ask for help as far as I can tell. So, I may work with one student on place value or multiplication for a bit, leave a few problems, go call out spelling words to another student, help another student find paper to do some sort of drawing as part of their homework, then go back to the first student. I may get a full 30 minutes with them. They may or may not be back the next week. If they come, I have no knowledge of what they need other than the homework that they bring in, which is almost invariably on a different topic. I'm actually pretty good at figuring out the missing skills or knowledge, but at most I get to work with any given student for 2 hrs a month. I'm playing around with the idea of doing more volunteering once my kids are out of the house, but I'm not sure that, even if I was able to go 3-4 days/week, there's any mechanism for me to actually work with the kids on what they need. In other contexts, I've had teachers say 'trust the spiral' - if they don't get multiplication this year, they'll have another shot at it next year. But, over time it moves from being taught to being review and the kids who didn't learn it early aren't having it explained any more. Like I've said, I'd love to actually be able to properly remediate, but in the time that I have all I can do is hope that some of the visuals help. Learning more than what is required from their teachers would be a very hard sell.
  4. I understand that, but when you have upper elementary kids learning to multiply by 10, 100, or 1000 and they truly don't understand that you can write it either way, they can't count by 34 1000 times as easily as they can understand 1000 34 times. It's not just a matter of nomenclature or stating groups of...they truly believe that they will get different answers. I try to help them see 34 thousands, so how do we write 1 thousand? 5 thousand? 10 thousand?, etc. But, many of us (tutors and public school teachers, for that matter) aren't in a position to go back and reteach this stuff from the beginning like it should be. I get a 4th grader for an hour and I have to work with them where they are, doing the assignment that they are given. They are afraid to rearrange the numbers because they don't understand that they will give the same answer. I drew it all out - dots in groups of 8 - and worked with a student who both didn't know that you could figure out 6x8 by doing 5x8 and then adding 8 more, but they also couldn't immediately see that 40+8 was 48. I'm actually volunteering at a different place that where I used to be, in a different part of town, with a different population. I am pretty confident that these misunderstandings are widespread. The kids see the answers as almost 'magic tricks' and any rearrangement will cause something different to happen because I"m not sure that, even with drawing, they understand what is being represented. Would I love to see them properly taught? Absolutely. I mean, the reason that I've been doing this for years is the hope that some of them will have a few aha moments and actually understand what they are doing. They are going to struggle if/when they get to more advanced math. But, would they be better off learning arithmetic by memorization without understanding if they aren't going to move into higher math? I'd say yes. These kids are likely to have to take algebra to graduate, and even if they don't understand what they are doing at least the manipulations can lead to correct answers. If they can't do arithmetic, they can't balance a checkbook or estimate costs or figure out much they need to finish a construction project. I don't think that my grandmother ever learned algebra, but she kept books for a company for years and was great at mental arithmetic. I've had similar experiences with other older people - they didn't learn to assemble and disassemble numbers, but they were incredibly accurate with mental or pencil-and-paper calculations. Would this be limiting? Yes. It's certainly not the path that I've chosen for my own kids. But, the utter bewilderment of kids who can't figure out what they are being asked to do, and the feeling of accomplishment that I've seen with some kids when they start to be able to solve problems, has caused me to think about it a little differently. Obviously I don't think this is optimal, and if I could redesign some programs or change some teaching strategies or pacing decisions I would. But, in my volunteer world the options aren't 'ideal understaning' and 'less good understanding', they're more like 'can do it' and 'has no idea and thinks it's magic'.
  5. That video was interesting. To me, there is a tension. It's entirely possible to be proficient at a skill but not really understand it. I'm pretty sure that I did most arithmetic without thinking about what I was doing up until I started teaching it to my kids. But, I also had the idea that I wanted them to see what was happening, so we did a lot with blocks and toy cars and drawing. My older absolutely would not do anything that kid didn't undersstand, so I had to come up with good explanations for why each step in an algorithm worked. There was a bit of that in the videos - 'so we put the tens here, and add 10 plus 30 plus 20...). Advanced math will likely go better if kid has more understanding than 'do the algorithm'. But, that being said...many of the kids that I've worked with have neither understanding nor algorithmic ability, and they can lead functional, happy lives if they can just do arithmetic whether they understand it or not. I've worked with kids who didn't know that 5x6 was the same as 6x5. It's easy enough to show using an area rectangle or blocks, but even with no understanding of why they'd be better off knowing that they are the same thing. I've had students tell me that the problem will be marked wrong if they draw 2 groups of 12 instead of 12 groups of 2, and that is worse than not knowing - it actually causes them to believe that the answers must be different. It's like going from educational neglect to anti-education.
  6. This is an interesting topic to me because helping kids to be in a position to achieve their goals (through teaching, volunteering, etc) is important to me. My experiences have left me with jumbled thoughts. I do think that many kids are limited by poor teaching and lack of exposure. But, it's also clear to me that there are differences between kids. My older was doing simple fractions, perfect squares, and simple mental algebra including negative numbers as a 4 year old. Clearly kiddo wouldn't have been doing that had they not been exposed to it (I wasn't trying to create a math genius - we started with counting as we put away blocks and kid thought it was fun and it kind of got out of hand...). But, it seems equally obvious to me that the kid that I volunteered with, who took a couple of years to understand 2 digit addition (they finally got it on their 2nd pass through 2nd grade), would not have grasped the advanced concepts even with excellent teaching, and may never grasp those concepts if their rate of learning addition is indicative of how long it will take them to learn other math ideas. Many people can be taught systematically, but some intuitively understand things. If a student understands quickly, it's cumulative - over a year they can learn many more things than a student who has to spend several days, rather than several minutes, to figure something out. And, as they acquire more knowledge, they have more hooks upon which to hang new ideas, which helps them accumulate information and skills even more quickly. And, I once heard a talk that described intelligence in part as the ability to generalize. That may be simplistic, but differences in the ability to generalize may be why some kids can see one 2-digit addition problem with regrouping and then be able to add numbers of any size, while other students spend several days learning to add 2 digit numbers, and then later spend several days learning to add 3 digit numbers and only generalize it over a couple of years. And, for many people, the ability to generalize or learn quickly doesn't necessarily apply across disciplines - most aren't excellent at everything. I don't know anybody who plays multiple instruments, speaks multiple languages, plays multiple sports, is an excellent artist, and is especially advanced/competitive in multiple academic disciplines. There is only so much time in a day, and we gravitate to things that we find interesting or enjoyable, or that we are good at. Some differences can be overcome with good teaching or practice, but there comes a point of diminishing returns. To some extent, this is why many of us don't DIY every aspect of our lives. We just paid a handyman to do a few building projects. We could watch videos and figure out how to do it, but it's not worth the time that it would take. The same can be true academically - the kid who took 3 years to learn to add would take an inordinate amount of time to learn the quadratic formula...to what end? I do think, though, that while there is a role for genetics there may also be a role for exposures during the toddler years, such that kids arrive at school-age with very different starting points. It's even possible that some of the differences are not correctable, like the way that there is evidence for the idea that, if you don't learn some language during certain formative years, you won't ever be able to learn any language. I could imagine that not being exposed to complex language, vocabulary, linear thinking, spatial relationships, music, or physical movement, whether through play or direct instruction, could lead to permanent or difficult-to-remediate deficits, and possibly that the reverse - early exposure could lead to big advantages later. I'll admit that this idea is somewhat horrifying when we think about the implications. But, it does make me think about the nature of acceleration and giftedness. Acceleration can just be staring early and moving at a normal pace. Are the intuitive people who were born with differently wired brains, or are they people who got some good early exposure and formed some great neural connections and then they are off and running? And, where does receptivity fit in with this? My kids have had tremendous differences in their interest in learning and their willingness to be coached. The curious coachable will likely advance more quickly than the combative disinterested. Some of that is likely to be environmental - I read an interesting proposal that disadvantaged kids needed to be 'taught harder' because their upbringing hadn't taught them to try to figure out how things worked, etc, but my own kids have grown up with books and activities and museums and they are still very different people with different levels of frustration tolerance and diligence and that affects their progress.
  7. We used Core Knowledge (What your K'er needs to know) when mine were in elementary, but I don't know that I would add it in your situation. Listening is enough, but if you wanted something specific you might consider adding geography of some sort. It would be directed at the K kid, but everybody could participate. You could just play with globes and maps and color them, etc, but if you want specific things to do Evan-Moore has a map workbook that my kids liked. There's an illustrated book 'Geography from A-Z' that we used for several years at the start of each school year. If your kid is into hands-on things, you could pick a few terms and then have them draw them or build them from play-doh. They are a bit pricey, but Pin-it Maps might also be something that the family could use. We also did a 'continent book' where they cut out pictures from magazines (or they could draw, or use stickers, or print images, or make a digital scrapbook - whatever your family would like) for each continent. We'd print a map, maybe name a few countries, then see whether it had deserts or rainforests or whatever, then look at native animals, or watch videos or documentaries, and then maybe do a craft or 2 or try to buy or cook some foods from the region. I have a bit of a hang-up about geography because it wasn't really taught anywhere when I was in school, and history makes so much more sense when you know where things are so I tried to incorporate that a lot when my kids were little.
  8. We've never used the term 'gifted', but my kids are very aware that different people learn different things more easily or with more challenge than others. My older picks up most academics very easily. Our karate teacher said that he'd never seen anybody learn kata as quickly as my younger. One kid had years of speech therapy. The other kid has some struggles with ADD/behavior issues. Most people have gifts and challenges. But, we also emphasize that natural ability only takes you so far. Older may learn academic content more easily than most, but you don't win Science Olympiad medals without hours of practice and study. My less athletic kid has comparable levels of success as the more athletic due to effort and practice. - we use the words of one of our former coaches and talk about having 'want to'. We had concern that the kids would get too full of themselves, but our concerns were alleviated a bit when older said, in regards to a situation in a book, 'Being the best at something is only useful if you are actually doing that thing...the rest of the time, their opinions and ideas aren't any more important than anybody else's'.
  9. We did Standards all the way through 6B and rarely used the textbook at all. I think it depends on what your student needs - if the review is needed, then do it. If it's serving as busywork, then don't. My kids usually spent a year on each level, but level 6 only took about half as much time One kid did both in the first semester and then started pre-A, while the other did a book each semester and then added Life of Fred for something different at the end of each semester.
  10. My 2 are older now, but when they were in K-2 the schoolwork portion of their day was short. Each day, we did math, some sort of reading/spelling/literature, handwriting, and something for science, history, music, art, or geography (we did these in blocks, 2-8 weeks each, so we weren't switching around a lot). We were very 'do the next thing' except for the the blocks - for those, we read from Hirsh's 'What your X needs to know' or from a pile of books from the library about the topic, or maybe we did something hands-on. We did have a co-op day where my kids usually took art or some hands-on crafty class, which took some of the 'do projects with supplies' pressure off of me. We usually spent around 30 minutes each on the subjects except for handwriting, which usually only took around 10 minutes. The reading/spelling varied. In K, we did a bit of phonics until we finished the program. I would often do a bit of spelling orally - just spell the phonics words that we were working on, or, with my advanced speller, spell some words from other subjects. Sometimes instead of orally we'd use letter magnets or letter cards from a flash card set, or we'd get a dry erase marker and they'd write on the sliding glass door (writing big is different than writing on paper). As they got a bit older or finished the handwriting book, we might do the spelling list as handwriting practice. That only happened if kiddo could do the writing, though - I didn't want them to miss spelling words because they were trying to remember how to form letters. I would also read poetry or fables or idiom examples or other types of kid lit out loud. They did math in a workbook, but some days I scribed for them rather than having them do the writing. It wasn't daily, but if it was the kind of day where they were 'out of writing patience' and weren't going to be able to do as much math as I wanted due to writing, then I wrote. That was only for K and maybe 1. For the subjects that we did in blocks, there was very little output in elementary. I read, or they read, or we watched, or sometimes we did a project. Occasionally we'd fold a piece of paper into 2-8 parts to compare different things, or draw a picture and label the water cycle or parts of a plant or color a map. They did an Evan-Moore workbook about maps in K - they didn't find it difficult, but they enjoyed it. We didn't do any other workbooks on those topics for several years. Different families handle the planning and scheduling differently. I tend to put most of my time into big-picture planning and materials selection. My kids prefer routines and knowing what to expect, so after the first few weeks when I'm evaluating how long certain things take I don't do a lot of planning - we just follow the same general template of activities for each week, and periodically I'd say 'Enough geography - lets move on to art history for a while'. Obviously if we have a 'we do projects on Friday' plan then I have to plan the project, but it gave us all a framework. In early elementary, I wanted to expose my kids to things and we wanted to get a good foundation in the 3Rs, but I wanted them to have a lot of free time to explore. I had educational toys - blocks and building sets, dress-up and play kitchen stuff, good games, floor puzzles and small puzzles, craft supplies, etc, and they had lots of time to use them. One kid spent hours re-enacting battles with a cheap bucket of army men and ships made out of cardboard boxes (kid would glue penne pasta along the flaps to make gun turrets).
  11. I've got no advice on applying to MBA programs - my brother earned one at a school that he worked at, so I'm not sure how the application process worked. As for applying to grad school, back when I did it some of us got advice from the profs whose labs we worked in, but there was no office to help like there was for students looking for jobs. Both junior and senior faculty members can give good advice, often from different perspectives. Most people in academia have ties to people at many univerities, though. I've been out of the university setting for 15 years and could still connect students with faculty that I know in the biological sciences at 10+ universities, and that number would have been far higher before I left, when I could have made friend-of-a-friend contacts and also had people who would have recognized my name from interactions at conferences, or responded to requests because they knew my advisor and I would have led with 'Hi, I'm a former student/postdoc from Prof X's lab'. Faculty often have a feel for what labs are productive, where students tend to do well, etc. Mostly I was writing with ideas about what a student could ask other students. Spouse and I were both first-gen college students, so we got no advice from parents once they dropped us off, and we figured out the grad school thing on our own, so the idea of parents being involved much beyond getting to college isn't something that I have experience with. Having been one of the grad students involved in hosting, recruiting, and otherwise working with prospective grad students in our department, it's a different ball game than undergrad admissions. In some departments, you apply to the department and they decide how many they can take based on funding. In some settings, or for some labs, students are applying to work specifically with a faculty member. That faculty member picks the 0, 1, or 2 students that they want for the year, so in a sense the application to the department isn't relevant - it has to be done, but it isn't the deciding factor. When we went through the application process we had no idea what questions to ask. Looking back, I have some thoughts. -Ask about the research, of course, but also ask about how free students are to pursue their interests. You'll always be limited by what projects are funded, but some faculty want students to pursue the faculty member's specific questions of interest, while others encourage students to get their own funding and explore things that are generally related to the area of the lab. Some faculty give students a 'starter topic' and then they branch out, while others seem to view the students as...extra sets of hands? who can work on what they want to have done. -Ask about a typical day or week to get a feel for work-life balance. Some faculty are very flexible - check in occasionally, be there for lab meeting, and get work done at some point. I worked in one crowded lab where some students worked 'the night shift', rarely being seen before mid-afternoon but saying that the equipment was all free at night so they worked then. Other faculty want students to be there 9-5 hours at a minimum. One faculty job candidate said that he worked 70 hr weeks and expected students to do the same. I know one prof who went over what he wanted students to accomplish in the next week, and they were nervous about their weekly check-in. I remember a student talking about having to pull an all-nighter because something hadn't worked and they needed to repeat the work so that everything would be done on time. That level of management is really different from anything that I experienced, or would have appreciated. On the other hand, faculty can be so unfocused that students can flounder along unless they are really self-motiviated. My own advisor was a good guy but didn't see any reason to 'rush through' grad school, and it took our faculty committees saying ' They've done enough' for us to get out. -Ask about cost of living and what life is like in the area. Realisitcally, how long is the commute? Is there anything to do in the college town? Where can you afford to live on the stipend that you'll get? Can you afford to live within walking distance? Is there close parking, or busses, or whatever, if you need to work late? Grad school is different than undergrad for many students - a bus system that runs until the library closes at 1 does you no good if you are doing a timecourse that ends at 2 am. -Ask about the atmosphere in specific labs. Some places are cutthroat, with students needing to hide data lest somebody try to scoop them and publish it first. Others are very collegial and have a family feel. Ask about undergrad, grad, and postdoc numbers. When I worked in labs, that was the biggest difference in vibe. Postdoc-driven labs felt very...business-like? In places with lots of undergrads, you'll likely get to be a mentor (this is where I learned that I preferred teaching, and a stint in a postdoc lab confirmed it). Others specifically do not want to 'waste time' working with undergrads. Depending on the field, they might also ask about summer internships. Both as a grad student and as an employee, spouse was involved in summer programs for grad students that later led to jobs. This isn't a thing in my field, though. Good luck to your students!
  12. None of us can figure out why the private school that lets homeschoolers test with them does this. In a way, it's no problem for them to do so - they have a person who coordinates testing for the school, and they have a gym (that's a separate building) set up for the week of testing and students from the school come and go, so it's not as if it adds any work on their part for homeschoolers to park by the gym, walk in, get their name checked off the list, and take the test. We send the coordinator a list of what we want in the fall and she sends us the codes to type into the AP site for prep and then they send a mass email to the homeschoolers letting us know the test date, reminding us to bring a check to cover the cost of the tests, and asking us to dress our kids in some approximation of the school's dress code (khakis and a white or blue shirt). They don't even charge a fee to proctor. I mean, they'd be there proctoring anyway, and they charge enough tuition that they have plenty of bells and whistles without charging homeschoolers a fee, but still. Maybe we do well and it helps their numbers? Maybe the coordinator has ties to the homeschooling community? They could be doing it as a goodwill thing, but it's not as if 'homeschoolers whose kids take APs' is a large demographic. I think that our zoned public school would probably let the kids test there, but I can't imagine they'd be willing to order tests that they aren't offering.
  13. I think that's just the cost of the test - it sounds about like what I wrote a check for last year when my kid took one (we have a private school that lets homeschoolers take APs, pSAT, etc, at cost). Back in the 90s when I took an AP exam it was in the $50-60 range.
  14. For us, there have been a couple of different things to consider. First, what level of class is appropriate for the student? The level of content in AP Chem seemed right for my student, so we decided to try it and take the test if we felt prepared. Also, what would you need to do to prepare for an AP? For Chem, the AP exam didn't change the content of the class. However, we may not do AP for some of the social science classes because the content on the test may not be the content that we want to learn about. My kid with an interest in martial arts may focus on Asian history, for instance, which is a valid class but not what is on the test. The other thing that we consider is what benefit are we looking for? A few more points in a competitive process? Not needing to take certain courses? For instance, a non-language-loving kid going into STEM might benefit from APing out of a foreign language requirement. That same STEM major may benefit from skipping prereqs for upper level classes, or they may find that the college intro class covers far more material than AP and they may miss something that will help later (my roommate APd out of a class that I took in college, but had never seen some of what we learned). Based on our experiences, we would be more likely to encourage a biochem major to AP out of the physics requirement but go ahead and take the college bio class even if they could exempt part of it through AP, unless they could skip it completely (not just 1 semester of a 2-semester sequence). But, that advice would vary depending on the school, the field and how the pre-reqs fit with the upper level courses. The calculus series, or the way that physics is divided, seems a better fit for skipping the first part of a series than some other other classes because the content seems to better align with how the college classes are divided into semesters. My older doesn't mind taking tests, so we've settled on planning what we want to do and then seeing if the courses that we're intending to do fit with any AP tests, and then seeing if there is any benefit to taking those tests based on the kid's potential majors. We may do some DE, but again it depends on what the goals are. One of my kids is likely to choose whatever will get them to their career goals the quickest. The other, who loves learning for the sake of learning, is dubious about jumping into DE classes if they will be..limiting? I'm not sure how to phrase it, but they want to be able to either move through content quickly if it's easy, or dig into something more interesting, for as long as they can before they have to take more regimented classes.
  15. My older is a sophomore and I don't outsource everything nor do I read everything. Kid does often take 1-2 classes at co-op, but even for at-home classes I don't read every word. Sometimes I choose material that have a study guide, and we can discuss answers even if i haven't read it all. Kid mostly self-taught chemistry, but I could step in and help, using the teacher's guide, and, if necessary, helping to find other resources to answer questions. There are also differences with different kids. My older likes to learn and educating that kiddo has felt more like 'making resources available' because they devour information. That is not the case for my younger, so I approach things differently.
  16. Like many things, it's to some extent kid-dependent. LoF is what drug my kid back to thinking math was interesting after getting burned out on AoPS. For the algebras, kid said that AoPS made more sense if you saw it in a different context in LoF, too. I have a friend who had a couple of kids succeed in mathy fields in college and LoF was their main math in the middle or high school years. Her statement was that it worked because they just needed to see it, without a lot of practice, in order to learn it, but if they had needed more practice they would have needed something else. My younger is moving from pre-A to algebra material right now and using LoF and Arbor press materials. Kid is/was doing very similar work in both books as far as learning how to set up equations for word problems. We never used the elementary books, so I can't speak to how those would have worked, but right now LoF is the only math younger will do without drama, which, with other things going on, has value. For us, Singapore was the 'best' slementary math by all criteria that mattered to me, but in middle I've used different criteria for each kid and have made different choices accordingly.
  17. I'm not sure exactly what the question is. You can definitely put homemade classes on a transcript - we outsource less that 1/2 of my high schooler's classes, and others on here do everything at home. I wouldn't list the course as outsourced - what you are describing seems more like watching Great Courses than taking an outsourced class. It may be my own hang-up, but if I say that my kid took Class X from Provider Y, then I expect them to follow the course mostly as it's designed. If they are auditing a class for the lecture but doing different work, then I'd probably list the lectures and provider where I might list the textbook or video series used - as a resource.
  18. I won't comment on the rest of it, but here coaches have definitely driven kids. Some of the high school sports teams have to drive to get from the school to their field or practice facility. The kids divide up between whatever cars are there. If there aren't enough drivers, a parent with a van may pick up a load or the kids ride with coaches. There aren't any permission slips. I'd guess it's assumed that if you don't want your kid to ride you'll pick them up yourself, since that is always an option. The coach sends out the next day's schedule and tells you where to be when, so I think that if you don't drive your own kid it's assumed that you are OK with them getting there with whatever driver they ride with. As for how age lines up with grades...I know that last year several of the sophomores could drive for most of the year, and most are driving by the end of the school year. So, I'd expect that some of the kids are 18 fairly early in the school year and most are 18 by the end. This varies a lot by state, though - I was just talking to a mom who was new to our state and, due to cut-offs in her previous state, her kid was doing to be a year...older or younger, I don't remember which...than many of their classmates.
  19. I clicked on the 7 sisters link above and the number of books they list on their website is significantly lower than the number that are included on the chart that they sent the poster. They max out at 30 books, 7 of which are classics. I have an advanced student who reads constantly, choosing classics like Shakespeare or Moby Dick sometimes for fun. Some of these numbers seem on par with what that kid might read, which would be a ton of reading for a student who reads more slowly and/or doesn't enjoy it. Our co-op English classes generally have kids read 8ish books a year - sometimes 7 plus a short story collection. My older was happy when he was reading the same book as some of his public school friends early in the year last year, but was shocked when they only read 2 books. This summer my kid decided to do an 1/2 credit elective in Science Fiction. Kid had read the Dune series over the school year, so they added Asimov's Foundations series and Lewis's Space Trilogy, so 10 books over the summer plus however many were in the already-read Dune series. With dense reading like that, they would have struggled to keep up the book-a-week pace over the school year while managing other classes. For lighter books it's not a problem to read a book every week, but there isn't much time to do anything with it (discussion, write papers, etc).
  20. I'm agreeing with Lori. You might be thinking of Kolbe, maybe? But, I don't think that there is really a 'most advanced' homeschool curriculum. Some programs are more challenging than others, but how you use them also makes a difference. For instance, Life of Fred Chemistry and Physics would not be considered advanced, but when my middle schooler did one each semester as part of their Physical Science class, it accomplished what we set out to accomplish. If you're looking for homeschooling options, you might consider whether you want to add more depth, move more quickly, or free up time for independent inquiry - what exactly are you looking for as 'most advanced'? There are also issues with asynchronous kids - one of my kids was advanced in math and understanding of content knowledge across several subjects, but kid struggled with writing until 6th-7th grade so I had to take that into account when choosing the right materials.
  21. I've done levels 1-5 with my older (we're finishing level 6 this year) and am on level 5 with my younger. It depends on what you need to work on, but my favorite is level 3. The vocabulary is great and you can do a lot with Essay Voyage. Level 4 is a quirky level - a little shorter and focuses on writing in literature. We got to level 3 in middle school because we started when my kids were in late elementary and, well, level 3 comes after level 2. 🙂 But, that being said, if I had to pick one level to do with a student between 6th and 12th grades, that's probably the one that I'd pick.
  22. I used Singapore with both of my kids and it is definitely a 'do the next thing' program. We didn't do extra practice and rarely used the textbook - normally my kids could look at an example, or get a short explanation from me, and then do the workbook. We did use the end-of-chapter tests from the tests book at the end of each chapter, but that's not required. Singapore has some practice that you could possibly skip if your child is grasping the material quickly, but since you describe them as being behind I don't know that I would plan to do that. She may be able to double up on the exercises - my kids sometimes did that if we wanted to take a day off later in the week. But, a lot depends on what your kid is able to do. Is she able to focus for long stretches? If she needs to work through the problems in the text to get a good understanding before moving on to the practice problems, then even one lesson in a day might be a bit much sometimes. The end of most Singapore books seemed to involve a section on graphs that was a bit tedious (not the graph reading - the calculating averages and such), so you might be able to streamline that a bit. There is also a geometry section that is kind of fun. We sometimes would do 1 regular and 1 geometry lesson in the same day because then it didn't feel like doing 2 math lessons - one was the usual computational stuff and then the geometry was enjoyable and easy. All of that being said, understanding elementary math is important for being able to do the next step. The biggest issues that I've seen kids have with math is moving on before they understand what they are doing, so it's better to be a year, or years, behind but actually be able to do the algebra or whatever when you get to it than it is to not really understand what you are doing. Once she finished Singapore 5, she can do 6 quickly (we did it in a semester - for whatever reason, it's shorter) and then move to pre-algebra. 6 is mostly a review, so many skip it and go to pre-A. While not advanced, that would have her doing algebra in 8th or 9th grade, which is on track for high school.
  23. We snagged How to Lose a War at Sea at the museum at Pearl Harbor. I know there were specific ones for some wars - How to lose WWII. I don't remember what all there was, but we have 3-4 at least. They are written for adults but kid read them when younger and I think they learend a ton of history from them.
  24. I don't know anybody who uses a 4 year cycle in high school. I chose to do a 3 year overview of world history in middle school so that my kids would have some context for whatever we chose in 9-12. Locally, most umbrellas require 1 credit each of US and World and then 1/2 credit each of econ and gov. These could be covered however you want, so they could be worked into a cycle if you wanted to do that. With my older, now in high school, we did gov as DIY at home and econ as an online class. We're doing US this year at co-op with friends. We might choose to do world at co-op or DE, or we might choose to do it at home. We do science and math at home, so kid sometimes likes to do history with friends at co-op. Possibly for world, but more likely for senior year or as an elective, I've been accumulating a narrative books like Salt or Gunpowder and Steele as an interesting way to look at history. We've been doing 8 credits/year, so kid has room for more electives. We've pondered doing some semester-long themed history classes. After reading a book series called 'How to lose a war' (at sea, in the air, etc) kid is intrigued by dumb historical decisions and has in the past expressed interest in a class where we explore the decisions that caused various catastrophes, or looked into unintended consequences (such as some of the consequences of prohibition). I don't know what all we'll end up doing, but in case you were looking for ideas....
  25. I'd suggest an over-the-door hook or towel rack. When we stay in hotels, we use the coathangers intended for pants and clip 2 corners of the towel. Then you can hang the coathanger anywhere - on a hook, under a lofted bed, etc, until the towel is dry. She might also consider thin Turkish towels. I live in the humid south and sometimes shower twice a day in the hot and garden dirt-filled summer. I got a Turkish towel and it dries completely between uses.
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