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hepatica

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About hepatica

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  1. Just read The Knowledge Gap, by Natalie Wexler. Essential reading if you want to really understand what is going on in schools and why it seems like a lot but is often not working very well. The most important take away is to focus on content (which, btw, kids love). I get the hand wringing about writing. I have three dyslexic kiddos and I was always worried about how much writing their public school peers were doing. But, just by accident, we did exactly what Wexler is recommending - we learned lots of content. Even when my kids couldn't read we were constantly reading out loud, listening to audiobooks, watching documentaries, going on field trips, etc. In other words, we were learning about real stuff. I think homeschoolers do this naturally because we are not so brainwashed to think of every lesson as a conduit for teaching a skill described in an educational standard. We learned history and all kinds of science and read all kinds of great books and read poetry. Neither my DD18 nor my DD15 could write multiple paragraphs until middle school or even high school in some cases. Yet they are both excellent writers now. Why, because to write well you need to know stuff. So much of the writing elementary school kids are doing is just personal narrative. Many elementary kids can spew out tons of this stuff. That doesn't help them when they later need to write about actual things like history or science or literature. Wexler says it much better than I am saying here. It's a fantastic book and, IMO, really gives insight into why homeschoolers are often successful educators.
  2. I would not pay a dime for my kids to attend any Ivy (and a bunch of other private colleges as well). I think they are parasitic on society. I'd like to see them have to justify their non-profit status.
  3. Altogether I read this article as one big argument for fully funding and expanding (as in basically tuition free) public colleges and universities. Very little of this comes as a surprise to me as we live at an elite New England boarding school and see this process all the time. I am at the point where I no longer care how bad places like Trinity and Wesleyan feel about their small populations of minority and lower socioeconomic students. As Moonflower said, they are businesses and this is their business model. The reality is about 75% of college students are non-traditional (ie not the "just out of high school, 4 year residential college student"). These places just aren't making much of a difference at all when it comes to social and economic mobility. They are practically irrelevant. Places like City College of San Francisco or the SUNY schools, these are the places that really are making a difference. We are only talking about places like Trinity because these places want to see themselves as the epicenter of higher education in the US. They are not. They are increasingly perpetuating and extending economic inequality and cater to a tiny percentage of the population. I am exhausted from hearing about the pangs of conscience felt by their admissions teams. This is an interesting companion read about how college athletic scholarships are now going increasingly to the wealthy as well. It's time for the states and federal gov to get back into the game and actually fund public education. We are paying the cost of decades of defunding.
  4. They are not required to take the AP exam and it doesn't impact the course grade. They won't even get exam scores till summer. So that will likely be our plan - just take the course and not the exam, at least as long as the CB is still denying accommodation. My DD does have all her accommodations for the class itself, so she should be fine in the course. Interestingly, the High School uses the school day SAT for their junior year state testing now (although they do not administer the essay section I think), but I spoke with a lawyer from the CT dept of Education and he told me that they required the College Board to recognize all the school accommodations for the test and to still provide reportable scores before they agreed to adopt the SAT as their state test.
  5. It's not quite that bad in our school system, but frankly I was pretty appalled at the behavior in DD15's non honors level classes last year. She was recommended for honors after placement testing as a freshman (which was really just vocabulary testing??) but we decided to put her in non honors just to ease the transition to school since she had been homeschooled her entire life. That was definitely a mistake. The student attitude was very different in the two levels, and the constant behavior problems were a real shock to us. And, it was frustrating to DD because it was mostly the boys, and she found the teachers to be quite biased in their "boys will be boys" attitude, and actually much stricter with the girls for occasional small transgressions that were completely overlooked for boys. But that may be a whole other issue about what is not working for boys in schools these days... But, we also have the same problem of honors classes migrating to AP at the upper level. By junior and senior year I think the only non AP honors courses remaining are math and chemistry and some language. So if you don't want to be in the "everyone else" level then you must take AP English, AP science, and AP history. We are on our third appeal to get DD's 504 plan computer accommodations accepted by the College Board, but if they are are not then she will also just be taking the class and not taking the exam. And most teachers really don't get the dyslexic/dysgraphic thing. They like her in class. She is engaged and intelligent in her contributions, so when they see her handwritten work they think she must just be lazy and not living up to her potential. I hate that the College Board is dictating school curriculum. It puts these 2E kids in a real bind because they have a such a stranglehold on what is being taught.
  6. Oh my, he's an orange crabby, so crazy is in the genes. Just had my 4 month old orange crabby neutered and he only had one dose of pain meds at the vet, nothing at home. He was fine, but he was a bit crazy when he came home. I just thought he was happy to be back, but maybe it was drugs... Here he is attacking the table leg on the morning he came home.
  7. Insane, especially since they are already in the process of putting them online?? I think the stupid admissions scandals here have really hardened the resolve of testing agencies to deny everything they can. I have repeatedly asked my Senator to initiate some oversight of the College Board monopoly. I have even filed a DOJ discrimination complaint, but it takes a long time and lots of complaints to get anything done, and frankly this issue just can't break through the crazy here these days.
  8. I have thought occasionally about the cultural/community level aspect of this before. We do live in a pretty affluent area now(we live in faculty housing on campus at an expensive boarding school) so the public schools in the area are extremely competitive. But I also think there is a culture of achievement that I am not comfortable with. Both DH and I grew up in very middle class neighborhoods - he in the midwest and I in the south, and my father was first generation immigrant. There was definitely more of a culture of humility in both our households. You didn't really praise your children at all. To stand out was to set yourself apart from others. It was seen as anti-communal and somewhat immoral. You didn't boast about accomplishments or even really discuss them with others. There was just a culture of "we are all in this together," and "there but by the grace of god go." So it is really jarring to me to hear so many parents discussing and even boasting of their children's achievements. If my kid was first across the finish line (I am speculating here because well....) I can't imagine even cheering out loud. I think I would just congratulate her quietly after the race, alone. Yet, I have neighbors who yell and scream throughout the entire race as their child competes for the win. Just makes me uncomfortable. But, I recognize the so much of this has to do with how we are raised and how we see the world.
  9. I hear you, but I guess this is just not my experience at all. There is a full two hours or so of cheering and discussing the winners at every meet. Most people are not even present when the stragglers finish. Let's holler for them all sounds nice, but it's not what happens. That's fine. It's a CC meet, so it's the time to celebrate fast runners. I just don't want to hear about it at the coffee shop, or pool or church or work. Most days I just feel like the winners are blocking out the sun.
  10. I have to sometimes stop and wonder at the absurdity of the hours and hours I spend trying to get computer accommodations for my kid when in a decade or so we will probably all be using the computer for everything at it won't even be an issue. All the kids at her high school are already issued chromebooks for the entire four years.
  11. I might look into DE, but right now she is trying to integrate into the high school experience since she has been homeschooled all her life. Not sure how the pace of the AP courses will work for her. She is definitely interested in AP English, but part of why she likes English is that she actually likes to write and she is a good essay writer, she just literally can't handwrite. She is currently in the AP Seminar course which they offer for sophomores, but that course is not a content course but rather a research and analysis and presentation skills course. She is a very interesting thinker and really likes the format of the AP Sem course. She got to substitute it for world civ and civics, which at the freshman and sophomore level is essentially all note-taking, which is a nightmare for her. She does much better when she has essays and analysis as her assessment. But, right now, she will just take the course and not the AP exam because there is no way she can take it without the computer. She uses the computer for all her classes.
  12. Yeah, I really don't have a good handle on which of the tests are testing what when it comes to the fine motor issue. Her testing is three years old, so she would be due for more, and the High School is supposed to do her triennial evaluation this fall (although this will be the first evaluation for her actually done by the school). I don't know what they typically do. Seems the college board is completely uninterested in processing speed issues. They consistently say that is not enough to justify accommodation. It's baffling. They truly do not seem to know what they are talking about.
  13. Yes, private neuropsych testing when she was in middle school and we were still homeschooling. I essentially brought the high school all the necessary information before she started so she could get a 504 plan right from the get go. The downside of that is that the school system does not have a record of failure to document. She has done pretty well with the accommodations, although definitely below what you would expect given the IQ testing. The CB apparently sees the computer accommodation as an exception to their 2017 policy, so they feel free to demand additional documentation. She is a 2E kid and is interested in taking a couple AP courses but there is no way she could take the AP exam without the computer. I think it is a shame that the CB gets to set the curriculum for the High School, but that is what they offer for their higher level courses. She can only manage one or two higher level courses at a time, but the classroom dynamic is really different in the lower level classes. It's a weird predicament. Not sure what the CB obsession with fine motor skills is. I think they would like to reserve the computer accommodation for kids with disorders such as cerebral palsy, and just don't understand dyslexia at all.
  14. I know this thread has moved in a different direction but I was ruminating on the OP yesterday as I waited and waited for my DD to finally finish a cross country race. It took her even longer than usual, and believe me the usual is slow, because she stopped to reassure some visiting runners when they came across a black bear in the woods (we have a lot of bears in our neighborhood and DD has done quite a bit of hiking so she's comfortable with these encounters). She has a great coach who cheerfully waits at the finish line for all her runners to finish, but really she was just about the only one there for the few remaining girls on the course. This kid goes to all the practices. She does all the workouts and it is hard! She is new to the sport, so there is lots of room for improvement, but she is dyslexic, so she is already exhausted at the end of the school day so racing in the afternoon is doubly hard. She also has some anxiety that she has to work around. It's just a challenge all around. But I just kept wondering about why I should be concerned for the winners? I heard lots of chatter all around me about how great the winning girl did. Everyone was congratulating the parents (yucky, I know) and all the other girls who ran well. There was no shortage of celebration for the winners. They won, they got the exciting finish with all the cheers and accolades. Where is the backlash? And how in the world is it harder than waiting there for your child to when everyone else has moved on. How is it harder than just hoping that if she keeps at it she can make it somewhere into the middle of the pack. I guess I am just not sure where the backlash is? It seems like the celebration for the winners is built into the event itself. Why is even more necessary later on? I certainly don't want to make anyone feel bad, but it doesn't seem like having to keep a low profile about achievements in other settings is nearly as difficult as the support and cheering that the parents of the loser have to do at every event.
  15. I'm still not sure I understand the fine motor part of dysgraphia. The College Board is insistent that you have to show a fine motor issue for computer accommodations. I think my DD15 was given some sensorimotor test that included finger tapping and imitating hand positions (I'd have to check the report to refresh my memory), but the scores weren't awful. In any case, the test was scored in large percentile blocks rather than specific percentiles. She had just a couple of scores that seemed somewhat low, I think, but mostly not that bad. She can draw pretty well, and enjoys it, and she learned cursive in second and third grade and it looked ok, and she has had classical guitar lessons since she was age 3, so lots of fine motor coordination there, but she still cannot write (compose) by hand. So, when I think about it, it seems the issue really is with the language processing and not the fine motor. In other words, when language is not involved you wouldn't really notice her as having a fine motor issue. I find the College Board requirements very frustrating. They repeatedly state that poor handwriting is not a justification for computer accommodations, as if poor handwriting is just the same words written poorly. But my experience has been that using the computer has a huge impact on content. She can't write the same kind of sentences, with the same vocabulary and phrasing by hand that she can write on the computer (and this is not using any kind of speech predictor or grammar program, just typing in a standard word processor). It's almost like she is a beginning foreign language student trying to compose sentences when she is writing by hand. There is no automaticity. It's all very frustrating.
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