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Emily ZL

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Everything posted by Emily ZL

  1. I think Dorothy Sayers' essay was sort of "rediscovered" just at the exact right time for it to catch fire. She was drawing attention to the fact that modern methods of teaching that were supposed to be much better than the old ways were generally having much worse results. In the 1940s this was beginning to be true, with lots of people still being alive who had received something akin to the old way, but well enough into the "reforms" to see the bad results. By the 1980s when people were re-reading this essay, it really resonated. FWIW, I think many people noticed she was right about the stages, in a very modest way. It's true that kids do progress from a "collecting info" stage where analysis and nuance is possible but difficult, to a time when debate and argument and nuance are fun and easy for them, and finally to a stage when expressing themselves uniquely and creatively (something they've perhaps done all along) becomes a more significant focus. So it had the ring of truth to it. I don't think her expertise convinced anyone. I think her argument resonated and they looked to her prescriptions and treated them like gospel. The trouble I think came when they tried to convert her ideas into systems and curricula, and take one line and run with it, and into the vacuum they invented something brand new (that may or may not work at all) and called it "classical" and then insisted that their collection of workbooks or plans are the same education that CS Lewis and Jefferson and Hamilton and Aquinas had.
  2. "50 things that made the modern world" by Tim Harford is about as engaging and entertaining as it gets! Though you might take a quick glance for appropriateness. He only made the original series so it isn't ongoing but it's fantastic.
  3. CAP's Art of Argument is fun and doable for an 11 yo.
  4. I love Chesterton! And PG Wodehouse, and loads of other people who lived a long time ago. I don't really think there's much point in judging people by the standards of today. Everyone is a product of his or her time. But that's another subject.
  5. For us, Latin is much more "living" than any other language. We hear it every Sunday. We don't do the full Latin mass but instead go to the novus ordo mass in English, but since it's a very traditional parish, tons of it is in Latin, and it's all memorized! We usually hear "Gloria in excelsis deo..." and the whole congregation starts in with "..ex in terra pax homnibus.." and I'm like "next week we are learning this!! I say this every week!!" Lol. My son prays the Anima Christi and I'm learning that too. The rhythm is so beautiful! We are Catholic converts. So I didn't need convincing to prioritize Latin!
  6. Actually, I guess I was exaggerating a little. If I say "Quid agis?" They'll say "sum pessime!!" and giggle hysterically. They just didn't keep as much as I did, and that's frustrating. In retrospect, I think the best use of young-child time for Latin is perhaps memorizing declensions while memorizing is easy and fun. It's amazing how chants can stick in young kids' brains, to be recalled and used later. I'm not a devotee of Dorothy Sayers and the neo classical model, but this is true, and something she mentioned. Though she also mentioned that if you can get them speaking and hearing it spoken, that really helps. I'm intrigued by Artes Latinae for that reason, but not sure if it's worth the money to go that route.
  7. I understand wanting to do LCC style and not wanting to give up on Latin and Greek. We've been doing Latin in some form since preK, and Greek for my oldest. However, it's amazing to me how little the young ones have retained from words they had down cold just 6 months ago - it's basically almost all gone, all 300+ words they had. I start the kids on their "real" Latin (LfC vs SSL) in 3rd grade, but honestly, my oldest still had a hard time on the most basic translations before 10 years old, and then it became easier. So now I'm dropping Latin for the littlests, because it wasn't worth all my time and effort. I wouldn't go with Familia Romana for young kids -- it's notoriously good but taxing even for adults. I even find Minimus hard for young kids. I like the history readers from CAP once they get there. For the long 6 hour day problem, perhaps some of his stuff can be done independently, and then perhaps you can just use the "timer" method to do what you can with core subjects? Then you can leave content subjects like art, history, lit, and science as library-book-based interest-driven subjects. Have lots of good audio books and library books around to read and keep your own contribution to a minimum. Sorry, one last idea: semester or trimester blocks! You can schedule fewer subjects in blocks. We only do Greek in the spring and Latin in the fall and winter. That eliminates the switching and confusion. And on the whole I can still see LOTS of progress. I still consider us as "doing Greek and Latin" even though we never do them simultaneously.
  8. I'm pricing out my curricula for the year and I am having a hard time finding Singapore Essentials Kindergarten (A & B) math books. Everyone has the "Earlybird" version which I also own and really don't like at all. I'm mostly seeing "used" options coming up. This is my favorite K math!! Does anyone know if this program and going out of print? I am going to have to buy three sets for the next three kids, so I won't have to worry.
  9. My feeling from using it, so far (just finished book 3) is that it's about playing with language and learning gently and with some fun; if you need explicit "teaching" of technique, it's got very little of that, and something like IEW might be better. But as for your 9 yo, some of that IMO might just be the huge difference between doing something for fun and having it assigned to you. That's something I dislike about "interest led learning" -- as soon as you say "you like this? Ok now it's in your school and now you need to do it!" Then they don't want to. You might just offer a choice; sometimes if they see the alternatives (rod and staff writing assignments, Classical Comp etc) they can be more bought in on the one that looks best (or least boring).
  10. The only red flag I see here at all is the potential for video games. Video games press a ton of incredibly unhealthy buttons for kids who have real life problems and want an extended escape. I would put away (or even lock away, like alcohol for a kid with a history of having problems) the video games for the whole week and allow them only on the weekend. That at least gives you a fair chance at a real education -- otherwise, it's like asking "do you want to eat meat and vegetables, or ice cream?" and no kid has that kind of control. Otherwise, it's his last year. It's his last chance to work independently and in a self-directed way, period. Much better now to work out those growing pains, than in college. If he can't work without you holding his hand, that is your #1 goal for this year. You can't do it for him forever and time's up. Lol ETA- I just realized I read that wrong!! It's not his last year, it's 9th grade. My mistake! Still, I aim for independence starting in late elementary school. By 9th, having your involvement be only buying appropriate plans, handing him a sheet of daily or weekly assignments, and being available 2-3 days per week, should be plenty. Especially for a kid who wants to stay home.
  11. I get needing independent work. I always have babies and one on one time is hard to come by sometimes. I will proceed, assuming this is not, like, trolling or anything and is an earnest request. My best suggestions for your first grader are: - Handwriting workbooks, like HWOT (also good for a third grader, though you will want to check periodically to make sure cursive form is correct if doing cursive, which I really flubbed once); you can just tell them to do a page and circle the best letter - math online practice with a good site, like math mammoth (only 1x per week though, for fun/drill) - ABC Mouse for a 1st grader is certainly not a full curriculum, but can be fun and a bit educational - audiobooks, including a little cozy spot for them, or classical music cd-and-books like peter and the wolf, carnival of the animals, etc. For 3rd and 6th grade, I would have everything independent, with mom being available to trouble shoot and check work. Give them the spiral notebook method, with their books in a basket and their notebook with the day's assignments on top. It might say for a 3rd grader, though, "read pages 3-10 and come narrate to me" whereas the 6th grader might have "read pages 20-40 and write a one paragraph written narration/summary in your history notebook and timeline the dates." Having a busy time in life means, for me, leaning on the textbook-and-workbook approach instead of a more creative approach. But it does teach independence -- you just have to make sure the kids are doing the work, and able to do it accurately, and that you are on the ball about correcting their mistakes and helping them so they don't fall into the cracks. But my kids like taking ownership and they don't like mom "teaching at" them or lecturing. They like having a basket with only their stuff in it, instead of being grouped with the other little kids.
  12. I'm a little bit surprised by this. I did MP Astronomy with my DS a year or two ago. He did memorize and retain the 15 brightest stars, which I liked, and he drew the constellations and such, but just seeing it in a workbook didn't actually help him make the connection to the skies. I added in another book, and a phone app, but he was never able to transition from "copy this black and white piece of paper several times" to pointing them actually out in real life. But he liked all the info about the planets.
  13. This is why arguing with strangers on the internet is so silly and pointless. I specifically said "proposition" instead of "abuse" because the 10% figure includes these other things beyond abuse, like showing pictures or offering a date, etc. Are you really saying this whole thing is overblown because it includes "lewd comments, exposure to pornography, peeping in the locker room, and sexual touching or grabbing" and you don't think that's bad enough to be a concern? I'm not saying people should homeschool due to fear. But I'm calling double shenanigans on saying on a homeschooling forum "the average homeschooler is better off in school" and then sitting back and insisting that anyone who disagrees must produce multiple studies that conform to an incredibly high standard, or who imply that millions of students' reported misconduct isn't abusive enough or is emblematic of poor reasoning?? This is crazy pants. I can't believe I once again started out my day intending to finish homeschool planning and instead getting into fights on the internet with strangers who have no interest in my opinions. This is why my husband wants to cut off the internet. And probably should!! I need to block all social media until I get enough self control to just roll my eyes and move on. Which is probably never. So no more internet for me. And I'm bowing out now. Good luck with your educational choices!
  14. Well, I think right away I would just note that 6.5% of high schoolers is very much in line with 10% over all grades. And seriously, 6% would still be pretty messed up and not a "myth" circulated by HSers. Also, the 10% figure is real. It comes up in many places over decades. If you have other evidence, fine. Just a couple examples: A huge meta survey by the government in 2004 talking about the difficulties in research and concluding 9.6% rate overall: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/misconductreview/report.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwi5hra32PTwAhXHbc0KHXhmClYQFjAJegQIGhAC&usg=AOvVaw0I-DI3_3N8c3YTS1g1gW08 And here's Slate referencing another study https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2012/02/is-sexual-abuse-in-schools-very-common.html Look, I went to a good public school. And there was some messed up stuff. And you can choose PS for your kids, that's fine, I did at one point and may well again.. but with all due respect you cross the line when you go from "this is what's best for my family" into "the average homeschool is worse for kids". I mean, that's a objective-sounding claim and you shouldn't be surprised to get push back.
  15. And I constantly, constantly in real life see parents doing everything in their power to get their kids into selective colleges to the neglect of many other things. And I'm saying that's silly because of my experience -- I know tons of happy and unhappy people and it has nothing to do with what college they went to. Nothing. Being in the ivy league is fun and hard work, but it has almost nothing to do with having a good life.
  16. No true Scotsman? There can never be studies that randomly assign people to the various educational options, so you're never going to get a perfect study. My understanding is that teachers' unions and others have often funded studies to discredit homeschooling and consistently come up with nothing they like. If studies DID show worse outcomes for HSers, we'd have a much harder time keeping our right to HS.
  17. Arg, I should SO keep my opinions to myself, but there's just so much here that bothers me. She wrote, gracefully I think, exactly what I was thinking, which was that your experience and anecdotes and perceptions seem to be exactly that -- your data points, and she is saying it's a shame those were negative overall when you look at HS and B&M school. Which is true. But I see no evidence at all that your feeling accurately reflects the reality -- that the average HSer is worse off at home than at school. Or that "nothing" is happening more frequently in homeschools than in public schools. Frankly, I would label that, very scientifically, to be "crazy pants." Kids consistently self-report a 10% rate of being propositioned by their teachers at some point K-12. Performance rates of HS kids are always, on average, higher than public schools, and their socialization is better too, even when the study is paid for by people antagonistic to HSing. And if we are talking less about data and more about feelings and anecdotes, we all have our own. I can talk about the NYC public school where my husband volunteered in college, where the teacher had stopped even trying to teach and none of the kids had any books, paper, or pencils, and he literally couldn't tutor them because no one had any supplies or interest. Or the cultural problems I see -- middle school students who look like every day they are miserable, and have sky-high rates of anxiety and stress. I have met dozens of homeschoolers and have never met a single family that isn't really homeschooling. And I have seen and interacted with dozens of HS kids who are confident, joyful, and engaged. And I have personally met many public school kids who are sullen, withdrawn, and have seemingly no connection to their families. (Of course, I've also seen HS kids like this too.) In the end, of course, these are just anecdotes. As for "heaven not Harvard" I would say this is not repulsive at all. Now, "Harvard not heaven" would be truly disturbing. The Ivy league looms way too large to people. My DH and I have a lot of Ivy experience and it's not that great. It's a better education because the kids can handle more work, and that's about it. It doesn't guarantee a good career. It doesn't guarantee a happy life. IMO, if people would spend 1% of the time they spend worrying about positioning their kids for highly selective colleges on instead teaching them virtues, self-sacrifice, EF skills, and the fundamentals of what marriage really looks like and entails, we would have happier and healthier kids with better and more productive lives. Trying to optimize for greatest possible academic performance rather than a stable, emotionally and spiritually whole person is not a good calculation. Of course, it's best to have both. 🙂
  18. I can't believe I didn't really see this the first time! Thank you so much!
  19. Yes!!! This is so true. And in my case I would go a step further and confess that my pride was bound up in it. I thought of BA as the best, and the only true "problem solving" curriculum as opposed to the "just learn the algorithm" approach. And if course that's not true, there are many great programs that teach conceptually. I just really wanted to think of him as a puzzle solver when he wasn't, though he has many gifts and math is his favorite subject. You just have the kid you have! That's why the forum for curriculum says "let's remember no one curriculum fits all kids"! 🙂
  20. But again, this is where I get frustrated: if the subject is homeschooling oversight, then standardized testing looks smart to many people. But if the subject is standardized testing and the impact it has had on teaching, suddenly the opinions are way more negative -- teachers complain about having to teach to the test and not having time to spend on things that won't be tested but are valuable. Many of us got into HSing because we didn't want that. We want to, say, focus on poetry memorization and Latin grammar the way things used to be done. Or we want to teach our kids shop and mechanic skills and self-control and self-reliance, and those aren't on the test either. THAT is why we fight for autonomy and are willing to give people the benefit of the doubt - we don't want the public school's standards of what's valuable, and frankly, we don't think they have earned the right to tell us what should be learned when, because it doesn't seem clear that they know. Their desire is to send all (mostly unprepared kids) to college (of some kind). Many of us think this is outdated, and teaching plumbing skills and problem solving at home is MUCH better for many kids than (badly) cramming them with Shakespeare who (largely) don't care about it. That's not my homeschool, but I respect people who have homeschools like that. And until the schools can show a great track record of educating all their own students well, they don't get to measure the rest of us by their (awful and badly implemented) standards. /End Texas-y rant, lol.
  21. I'm sure OP already got all the answers she needs. I would just add an example of something frustrating: in the year 3 book that introduces multiplication, it has a drill sergeant just say you need to memorize the table, and that's it. Done. After that one lesson, they expect you to have memorized the tables. So off we go, to find our own additional flashcards, practice timed worksheets, etc. In contrast, math mammoth does 2-3 pages for each number (8s, etc) and doing lots of practice, and then having them fill in their table with what they have learned so far, adding more each time. I think BA is great for kids who love puzzles, and who are proud and happy and "high" when they solve something. Lots of kids are good math students who hate puzzles, or who finally get the answer and don't feel "high" but instead feel discouraged and defeated that it was so hard. When my son said he hated math after successfully slogging through a hard puzzle, we quit. My husband was a math major and hated that curriculum from the start. But I know lots of people have very different kids and excellent results!
  22. I know this is the perennial debate, but I just keep looking at the alternative: there's no plan in the public school for how to fix kids with messed up home lives, and most people who wouldn't do a good job educating their children at home live in areas with low performing public schools. It's very few people who can afford to live in high quality school districts but who then don't send their kids to those schools and choose to subpar homeschool them. I know there's no "magic bullet" to solving this problem... But it always annoys me when the following happens in the media/think pieces: 1. Story about homeschooling: highlights all the potential problems and abuses, interviews people who buy a dollar store workbook and call it good. Opinions about public school that are fairly glowing and show kids having a great time with caring adults. 2. Story about racial divides in education: highlights the terrible performance and high rates of violence and abuse at many or even most public schools in places that especially serve people of color. 10% abuse rate of all students nationally. Interviews with parents and kids who have been beaten daily or can't read at graduation but prosecuted for truancy if they stay home. Condemnation as unconstitutional but otherwise without solution, no homeschooling mentioned. The juxtaposition of these two things always makes me crazy.
  23. It's not nice to watch, but I really don't think you should do anything at all. You mentioned this is a family member and there's already tension there. Well... She already knows how you feel, probably. She knows and doesn't want your help. I have struggled with this in my family and said to myself many times before "If they want your opinion, they will ask for it" and they never do (but my opinion is so good! Lol) so I end up approaching things obliquely to try to offer "help" and it inevitably goes terribly. They resent it all the way. Even people whose kids can't sleep on their own without massive interventions totally do not want anyone's help even when they are complaining on FB about it (that one always kills me). The truth is that public school is not that great in many areas. If they are in a rural area with few opportunities, it's not clear that they would obviously be Rhodes scholars in the public school. But even if they were in a good school district, the public school culture is so awful to kids today. I'm NOT saying "better out of school no matter what" but I see so many young people with such bizarre jaded, cynical mindsets and so many psychological issues, and maybe this mom can give them a better childhood and adolescence and equip them for life in a way that their better educated peers will not be. It's something to hope at least. But I see my family members doing what I think is the wrong thing with their kids and the answer is TS, if you get my meaning. We can't fix others' lives for them. Sorry if that sounds harsh but I really have made a hash of things in my family with my "tactful" attempts.
  24. Lol, I didn't mention which because most people aren't Catholic, but we now mostly use the Language of God series from CHC. Some people think they are too easy because they almost always review absolute basics in each book like punctuating a sentence and what nouns and verbs are, but they do get harder and do include some diagramming. I tried to skip some lessons so we would have time for R&S but I couldn't skip as many as I wanted to - it was more solid than I expected. The diagramming is NOT as extensive as R&S and doesn't move as quickly. I also think R&S does an excellent job with teaching outlining. However, I was having a hard time planning out R&S lessons for all the kids (it sounds like it should be easy to just see what lesson you're at and where to go next, but times that by all subjects and kids and it adds up). So I switched to these workbooks and they just go on to the next page, with the answers in the back if you need them. When they finish a book we go on to the next one, or else fill the rest of the time with R&S or other writing. I think it's easy to flip through R&S and cherry pick the ones about diagramming gerunds or whatever you've missed.
  25. I can't say I have made a meta review of the studies! But this quote from a New York Times article is typical of what I've seen: "In fact, learning to write in cursive is shown to improve brain development in the areas of thinking, language and working memory. Cursive handwriting stimulates brain synapses and synchronicity between the left and right hemispheres, something absent from printing and typing." (*ETA: this was an opinion piece by an OT. I totally have not examined the studies. Just sayin.) When I was looking at this issue, I saw lots of people say that when children learn cursive first/primarily, they are able to back their way into print if needed without being taught. It's (anecdotally) a derivative skill. But the same is not true in reverse. Another interesting thing I picked up at that time was that people in Europe and worldwide do NOT have "printing"!! How crazy is that? They literally don't understand what Americans are talking about. "Joined up writing" is the only writing. One person said "I'm so confused. Like you try to pretend you're a computer or a typewriter and try to separate each letter? Why?" Apparently printing was introduced very recently in the history of education in America as a "reform" to make things "easier" and this just did not happen elsewhere. Anyway, interesting! But I found the whole "teaching both" thing to be very easy and natural.
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