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  1. Hi Everyone, To parents of tweens, teens etc. I'm looking for best-known methods here regarding computer usage. Our kids watch very little TV, and do not play video games. Laptop stays in the family room where I can "supervise". My daughter (DD11) does few online courses throughout the year, so we use computer for educational purposes -- EPGY math, CTYonline etc. CTYOnline require e-mail account. In addition, the kids do love to research science-topics and other educational topics, etc, which we encourage. However, with that comes exposure to the negatives of technology - namely friends constantly sending emails or chats while working on online classes, asking you to sign on to the next cool social networking, so the parents are feeeling the need to constantly hover over their shoulder as they are working. (and I have another active daughter to manage) Lots of times, I learn later that productivity was little due to these distractions. How do other families, whose kids use computer as a legitimate learning tool manage their kids computer usage. I'm needing to "up" the parental control, purge unwanted e-mails. Yet, I do not want to be a tyrant, and unleash unwanted teenage retaliation! suggestions?
  2. My daughters, then completed 3rd and 4th, took the CTY humanities/ language arts classes last summer. I wanted them to have a structured, regular writing assignments throughout the summer based on books they enjoyed reading. It was explained to me by CTY that one of the goal was for these younger kids to learn persuasive writing - making clear, insightful points and then supporting with specific cites from the book. There was also a creative writing assignment each week. (one assignment was to write a character analysis in poetry/rap style - very fun). The third part of the weekly assignment had to do with responding to your classmates writing with "thoughtful" and contructive counterpoints, again by supporting your points with specific cites and examples. The teacher provided weekly individualized review, as well as a summary review of the students writing at the end, which I thought was good. (they were coached in particular on writing positive counterpoints to classmates writing - outright negative comments, especially unsupported ones, were not allowed). One instructor was more specific, insightful and instructive in her comments than the other, but I suppose such variability is to be expected. In summary - my DDs really enjoyed it, especially interacting with their virtual classmates, it kept them "sharp" through the summer, their writing improved and they learned to be more specific in their supporting arguments, the weekly feedback from their instructors were good. The kids also learned from their classmates. I thought it was worth the $$ for the 10 weeks, especially considering there are other summer academic courses out there that charges $250 for just one week, with questionable challenge levels. We are thinking of doing one of the competitive math series this summer for my younger one. I've already talked to the instructor of that class, and it looks to be good with whiteboard problem-solving sessions etc. The accelerated or enrichment math series uses the EPGY and Thinkwell programs, I believe, so we are not interested in those. In general, if the classes are based on a software computer program available elsewhere, ie. EPGY, Thinkwell, PLATO, then I would recommend using those computer programs directly and save the $$. But I would probably pay for those classes that is based more on real person instruction and curriculum.
  3. thanks Chai. Yes, I saw reference to 4-H public speaking experiences in other threads. How does this work? We are not current 4-H members so I looked into their websites. Can you join just for the public speaking experiences? thx.
  4. My husband and I grew up in Eastern PA. My parents-in-law still lives in Malvern/Paoli, close to Valley Forge park. Very nice, big acreage properties. Main Line area, which is the suburb of Philadelphia including Villanova, Bryn Mawr, Newtown Square, all very nice, beautiful, with many very good schools including very established independent schools. I certainly would not mind moving back.... As others mentioned, the SEPTA system is good. I can't comment on the real estate market, but can't be as bad as CA.
  5. My daughter is interested in debate; I'm also interested in having her develop her verbal communication skills more. She is a rising 6th grader. For future reference, does anyone know of good speech/debate summer programs in CA or western USA, or any year-around organizations that offer speech/debate/public speaking training? I've contacted toastmasters, (no luck there), I"m also aware there are forensic leagues with religious affiliations that were suggested in previous threads here. thanks.
  6. Nan, I really like your suggestions and perspectives - that really resonates. Also, I love all that your son is doing, it sounds wonderful and enriched -- I'm assuming he is homeschooled? (or I"m impressed if it is all done as after-schooling):001_smile: I agree with the idea of "notching things" up as they grow older. Also with the idea of going wide in some areas, going deep, accelerating, and even reviewing/solidifying. I guess we do all that, and in different things simultaneously, depending on the kid and interests. My kids have been very fortunate to attend a GT school with wonderful teachers, curriculum and 1-2 year acceleration. Other than encouraging lots of independent reading (mostly fiction), fun creative play like building, tangrams etc, I didn't do much else outside of school during the primary years. However, as they have moved to upper elementary and getting ready for IB MYP MS and hopefully to IB for HS, I've seen the need to intervene and not rely 100% on school (its no longer just good to be reading alot, but, I've started to require reading of classics , non-fiction etc), we do extra math, problem solving, speed math, etc, and work with them on home science projects (luckily my DH loves to do science/math with them). Also, I've become big on having them form good "work habits" -- efficiency, time management, study habits, even how to "lay out the math problems" etc -- that will be critical. My 5th grader is loaded up on tennis this year 2-3 hrs daily afterschool, but, that has immensely helped her learn to manage her time, and become very efficient in her studies - that will help her when she moves up to MS, and she is already chomping at the bits to join various clubs at school - debate, Science Olympiad, Math Olympiad -- ie. more time commitment. Also getting involved with talent search etc, so that you and your kids have exposure to what else is going on with similar-ability or similar-interest kids beyond your neighborhood, state, or region.
  7. This has been a very interesting thread and thanks all for sharing their perspectives. What I saw reading them is that we all as parents have thought through this issue * a lot * for our particular children, with the best intentions. Everyone will have their certain take on it, based on their own experience, values and the individual child, but, in the end, we've defined "well-rounded" at various different levels, and they are all very good points. I know for me, some were "given" expectations in our family (1-4 and 6, below) so I didn't highlight them as much but I'm glad others did highlight them more. At least for me, they are all important and part of being "well-rounded" and shall I say means to becoming "well-adjusted" adults. Even for the prodigies. 1) ability to become self-reliant and resilient to survive, or problem-solve through life's ups/downs - this covers all the more practical and life-skills mentioned, including ultimately, financial independence, afterall, we can't be there for them forever! 2) general broad intellectual or practical knowledge - well enough to be confident individuals, conduct an decent conversation if needed. This includes "knowing" or being well-versed about the world around us including how things work (around the house, our society, life), rest of the world/cultures/religion, politics, the arts, musics, sports, you name it. You may have just heard about it, read or observed it, or "exposed" to it with hands-on experience. 3) general academic abilities - this includes speaking/writing well (ie. ability to communicate), read, general mathematical abilities, qualitative and quantitative analytical skills to think on your own 4) Contributing to the world and the general good. Responsibility, community service and helping others....In some sense, this may include "contributing your talents" 5) Finding and following your passions and talents, many times, these will be areas that the kids excel in, sometimes it may not be, but its so important to have a dream, and learn how to develop/fulfill/achieve such dream or goals. Such passions or talents may be academic/intellectual endeavors, or other ECs: athletics, arts, leadership, cooking, community service -- all of the things mentioned above 6) Being happy while developing those passions/talents, afterall, we all want our children to become content well-adjusted adults. There will be ups and downs, and sometimes the going will be tough that the kids need the firm encouragement or guiding hand, but it should never be forced upon them long-term. I hope I did justice here
  8. urpedonmommy, I love your list. You made my day :) Hear, hear -- all moms unite!
  9. Thanks everyone for all your inputs! I'll be monitoring very closely.
  10. This is an interesting question, and a loaded question...so dependent on the family/personal values, life outlook and goals. It's also dependent on the kids themselves, their age and their level of interests/passions. In general, balance in life is always good. But, are we talking about being "well-rounded" so it looks good on a college resume? (in reference to the book "Overachiever") Or are we talking about helping a child become a happy, fulfilled adult, who understands himself, his/her passions and lives life to its fullest? This is my opinion, but, if the child is younger then 11 or 12, as a parent, I would like to expose my child to as many different types of activities as financially and emotionally feasible. This is whether I have a little genius on my hands or not, because for a young child, it will be up to the parents to "show them the world" and let them explore variety of things whether it be athletics, music, high math, art etc. At these younger ages, it is not like they need to spend "hours" on end perfecting their crafts or passions. I personally would not want a little genius who is so focused on only one thing at such an early age. Besides, for most kids, learning to enjoy and work hard at different things -- athletics, music etc -- helps them learn about different aspects of themselves, explore the world around them, and helps them develop overall confidence, goal-setting and work-ethics skills. Starting around 11 or 12 (and these ages are somewhat arbitrary, they can be 10, or 13...), it would seem to me that kids need more time to hone their chosen interests and really develop their talent, at the detriment of being "well-rounded". And maybe, that's perfectly ok and needed. It depends on the longer term goals and interests. I would probably encourage my child to strive to do at least one thing "with real excellence", but that is just me and my values -- I do think there is something to be learned by setting high goals for oneself and learning to achieve those goals. This may mean you have to drop some things and may also mean you get more focused. If you have a god-given talent, by all means develop it. Some other parents may not agree with my philosophy, however. To some, life is not about specializing and becoming super-successful in something, but about "experiencing life", being recreationally well-rounded and being happy. In the end, I couldn't say which way is "right" or "better".
  11. This is all very interesting. Looking at EPGY 7th/Pre-Algebra, it looks as though it covers many of the new topics Joannqn lists.
  12. Thanks everyone thus far! I will look at Dolciani and LOF, as I am not familiar with them, but I've seen them mentioned alot. I am curious about the AoPS classes - given the intensity - are these courses mostly for homeschoolers only or do they also have students who attend regular school but are motivated and find the time to take these classes? Perhaps my choice of word "supplement" was little misleading. My DD would like to "test-out" of Pre-algebra all together at school next Fall so that she can take Algebra instead, since she is doing some "pre-algebra" already now (and doing well) and didn't want to feel like she was "repeating" most of the school year next year. My thinking, though, was that I would like her to gain ample understanding, practice and facility in pre-algebra/beg algebra concepts (and fill in any gaps) if she wanted to test out of a Pre-algebra class all together. Any other advice/comments welcome! thank you.
  13. Hi Everyone, I'm trying to figure out what Pre-Algebra/Intro Algebra would be good as supplement. My DD is studying 6th grade math now, and they solve some algebraic equations, but it is not a full-blown pre-algebra course. We are currently also doing EPGY. The hope is to pick out next a pre-algebra/algebra curriculum that would be good supplement/enrichment for more practice, breadth and depth. I'm considering: EPGY Pre-Algebra, then EPGY Beginning Algebra AoPS Algebra text AoPS Algebra class Singapore NEM Any advice, comments would be most appreciated. Also, would anyone consider using EPGY and AoPS, or EPGY and NEM for this level, or would that be too much? Thanks!
  14. Thanks Joannqn, for pointing out the List in the back. I hadn't noticed that, and that will be very useful. Naturalmom, just to share my experience, since I'm doing something very similar with my DDs for problem-solving etc. My one DD is studying 5th grade math at school, but does Singapore CWP (finishing up 4th) at home. Was doing IP 4th up until few months ago, but we put a hold on that to focus on CWP problem-solving now, since IP was more for solidification. I really like Singapore. She did do about a 1/3 of Zaccarro's Primary Math a year ago...I'm thinking of having her go back and selectively pick out few problems per chapter so that she can move onto Zaccarros' Problem Solving for Elem/Middle School. We also have the MOEMs, which I got originally got for my older DD whose class is doing Math Olympiad. My younger DD picked up the MOEMs and did a page or so for fun...I tried to get her to be little more "systematic" and go through the first few pages of "strategies", but she was rather impatient, dove right in, wanted to be timed and everything. She struggled through it but got it done "her way". I have not encouraged her to go back, just because, I would like to take her through it little more systematically, and I feel there may be other things like the CWP and Zaccarros' to also do before starting in on MOEMs in earnest (I will try Joannqn's method). So, my point being, if you start with Olympiad #1 and go through the book, since in any given page, several different concepts and strategies are covered, it is not necessarily pedagogical developmentally, and may get very confusing and overwhelming to do as a student or to even teach as the parent. This is unlike Singapore CWP, where you are presented concept by concept, building on strategies learned, little by little.. That has been my experience with it so far. Since my goal is also to teach systematic problem solving, I plan to be "armed" and be better organized beforehand when my DDs do do the MOEMS, because otherwise, I'm afraid we'll flounder our way through!
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