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Posts posted by skueppers

  1. If I had only one child, and it was clear the new environment would be much better for them, then yes, I would absolutely do it.


    It is only for a few years, in the grand scheme of things. If the location didn't work for me and my husband, we could leave when our child graduated and moved on.


    The way I view marriage and raising children is that the years in which we are raising our children are short, compared with the many years of marriage. (My husband and I have been together for nearly 30 years, but have only had children for the last 12, so that's some of where this perspective comes from.)



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  2. I let my daughter read the entire Harry Potter series in Kindergarten. I called it school and didn't bother to do much else for language arts that semester.


    I'd have to think about what we did in first grade. I think she learned cursive in the summer after K, and typing during first grade.



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  3. I open up the textbook, go over what seems like a sensible amount with my child, and then have her do the relevant workbook problems.


    I don't use the HIG, CWP, or IP. I tried the CWP at one point, but it wasn't all that fruitful for us.


    I should also say that my philosophy is not to bore my daughter with endless repetition. If she gets it, we move on. I don't bother to prepare ahead of time for the lesson; if it turns out that my explanation was inadequate, we can always come back to it over dinner.


    I don't find it useful to try to figure out ahead of time which weeks I'll be using which chapters of the books. Some parts are much easier for my child than others, so our pace varies considerably throughout the year. This year, for example, my fifth grader took a diversion into algebra for at least a month, because she was getting so hung up on the bar method for solving word problems. Once I spent a month teaching her basic algebra, she was suddenly much more able to grasp Singapore-style bar diagrams, which she had been refusing to learn how to use for years (preferring to solve the problems in her head). We still finished on time.


    I have my kids use Khan Academy in the summer for review.



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  4. My daughter (age 11) has expressed interest in the various CTY independently-paced online courses for computer programming and related things.


    I'm not convinced these are likely to be the best courses she could take on these subjects, particularly for the money. I'd be especially interested in courses where a real relationship with a teacher was fostered.


    Oh, and my husband and I are perfectly qualified to teach these particular topics, but she is looking for independence and outside accountability.


    Thoughts? Alternatives?


    Thank you for any insight you have!



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  5. I only know this -- when people I know have taken Form C, they get results which show how their child's scores measured up to CC's goals.


    This anti-CC site lists Form A as non-CC aligned, and Form C as CC-aligned. (I don't think I said it was CC aligned, just that it showed your child's skills measured against CC guidelines, yes?)


    This PDF shows the "process used to complete the alignment between the CCSS and The Iowa Tests." (It is my understanding that The Iowa Tests = ITBS.)


    I believe the ITBS has an even newer form, Form E. I know nothing about that one.


    I don't really care about the Common Core aspect, but my kids have always taken Form A. As long as we continue to take Form A and they don't re-norm it, I can compare apples-to-apples between years & between kids. If we switched over, I wouldn't feel as comfortable comparing a child's progress from the previous test.


    [Note that I also think that Iowa as a state is transitioning to the PARCC, a new "Common Core" test, instead of using the ITBS. I don't know many brick-and-mortar schools that use the ITBS anymore for standardized testing.]

    Oh! Now I understand what you were saying. Yes, you can *optionally request* from BJU a version of the Form C results that shows the results in terms of the Common Core. The standard score report you get from BJU for the ITBS is the traditional/original version, with no reference to the Common Core.


    The test wasn't written based on the common core standards -- after the fact, they created a score report that shows how the existing ITBS test maps onto the common core standards. That's like when a textbook publisher prepares a chart showing how their existing textbook does and does not meet the common core standards -- without changing the textbook.


    "The Iowa Tests" is the new name for the tests published by the University of Iowa in the last few years, once they started writing tests that were explicitly aligned with the common core. Those are no longer called the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.


    I am personally unhappy with the common core tests, and prefer a more traditional standardized test. I don't want to know if my child is "meeting standards," some of which I don't agree with; I want to know how they compare to other children nationwide who took the same test. It's a major philosophical difference.

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  6. Form C measures your child's skills with the Common Core guidelines (in LA & Math). Form A is pre-Common Core. I can't tell which one Seton sells from the testing website. You'll have to call & ask.

    I'm confused by this.


    My kids have taken BJU's form C of the ITBS for the last several years. Looking at last year's score report, it says the test was scored using the Spring 2005 norms -- meaning that the test cannot have been written after 2005.


    Since the Common Core initiative wasn't founded until 2009, how can this version of the test have anything to do with the Common Core standards?


    What am I missing?

  7. Wow, that's a tough situation. How does she envision this working? She does the work by herself, you correct it, and then she figures out for herself how to fix it?


    Honestly, that *could* work, depending on the kid. All I do in "teaching" Singapore with my kids is go through the textbook with them. Every now and again, I have to offer some additional explanations or demonstrations. Oh, and we use the U.S. Edition.


    If I were in this situation, I would probably say something like, "you are absolutely welcome to try it this way. I'm going to make some notes in your textbook about which Khan Academy videos and exercises match up with each section of your book, in case you need to look at it from another perspective in order for it to make sense. Once you finish the Singapore curriculum for the year, I'm going to expect you to review the material on Khan Academy until the start of the next school year, so you'll be sure to be in a good place to start the next year's math."



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  8. sportsmom --


    If you have iPads, you might investigate whether the cost is lower for you with the iBooks edition. There's only one TM for the entire Town level that way, except for the literature component.


    I'm going to be trying MCT Town level this academic year, and have purchased just the TM and Grammar Town to get started. I figure I will buy the other books as needed -- with digital, there's instant gratification!



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  9. I have no idea whether this experience from decades ago is relevant to you, but my mother did make sure I had a basic grasp of the main topics that would be covered on the math portion of the SAT when I took it in 7th grade in the early 80's. This amounted to her explaining these concepts to me for a couple of hours, not any kind of major test prep. 


    If I had a child who was motivated to do well on the test, I would definitely make sure they had an opportunity to be prepared for the material they would encounter. I'd probably buy an actual test prep book, because the math covered on the SAT is so specific. 

  10. For what it's worth, the way I teach Singapore here is to sit down with the kid and the textbook, go through the new concept in the textbook together, and then assign whatever workbook pages I think that particular kid needs based on how well they understood the sample problems we did together.


    I usually only "teach" in this way once a week -- for the rest of the week, I just answer questions as needed about the workbook exercises.


    This method requires zero preparation. I just teach until it feels like enough new material has been introduced, assign some amount of work in the workbook, and give the kid a deadline ("do these five pages by Thursday.")


    I doubt this would work with kids who needed more instruction, but if your child is ahead in math, such a method might be right for him.



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  11. Mobymax is really a review thing. It does not teach, just expects the kids already know the material. Because we don't follow a PS school scope and sequence it didn't fit us at all.

    Huh. That hasn't been my experience with the "Language" section -- once the initial assessment is done, there are little mini lessons explaining each topic.

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  12. We aren't using the math portion, so I can't really comment on that, but my kids have learned a lot of grammar and usage in the month they've been using the "Language" part of MobyMax, and they have been able to apply it outside of the software and discuss it intelligently.


    One of my kids is also using the math fact drills there, which I'm finding more effective than what we were doing before because there's a time limit on each fact.


    Anyway, since I'm just using MobyMax in a few limited areas, I'm not the right person to give a full review. I responded here mainly to give this tip: the default passing score in MobyMax is 70% -- I bumped it much higher, because I expect my kids to get every or nearly every question right before they move past a topic.



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  13. I think it's possible that this could be resolved by finding the right discipline strategy, but I think it's worth focusing on one particular aspect of the problem: the impact it has on the rest of the family.


    I would focus first on mitigating the impact on others, by not allowing working with him to take up the whole day. Ideas like:


    * Setting a specific time to work with each kid. If that's not enough time for him, he can have more of your time later -- at some time when it is convenient for you.


    * Putting History or Science first most days, to make sure they get done.


    * Switching some of his lessons to independent formats, e.g. online, so they take less of your time.


    Then I might try to figure out why he is acting like this. Is his assigned work wrong for him in some way? Does he have learning disabilities that make things extra hard? Is there a way to work on these issues?


    Maybe he needs help developing self-discipline, but maybe what he needs is a curriculum/methodology change.

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  14. You might take a look at MobyMax, which we've been using recently in a couple of areas. While I don't think it's possible to assign specific tasks, it's pretty easy to say to the kids, "I want you to set a timer and do 20 minutes of X and 20 minutes of Y." There are reports you can look at to make sure they actually spent the time you wanted them to spend. You can even specify writing assignments you want them to do and submit to you within the system, though I have not tried that.


    We also use Khan Academy in the same way -- both of my kids finished their math books early this year and then switched to using Khan academy for review and independent learning.

  15. I got mine when I asked at the local library when they planned to replace their World Book, and they realized it was overdue. A couple of months later, the old one was in my house for $20. :)


    I agree with others that the browsing value of the printed copy is worth the shelf space.

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