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About Penelope

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  1. I think so, too. Some school districts do pay for the AP exams. There is such a push to offer the classes and have certain numbers taking the exams as a measure of how good a school is. I agree it seems like a money grab. They will also gain some students who might otherwise have dropped the class due to poor grades, transfer to other schools, etc.
  2. Yes, next year it will be all schools, but I guess there are lots with early signups. I was told that later might not have been too late if they still had room, but that there are hefty late fees.
  3. My student hasn’t used the discussion boards much, but for the classes he has taken, I have seen evidence that the teacher is monitoring the discussions and contributing when needed or when a student particularly requests the teacher give input. As RootAnn said, I think discussion boards make sense because when class is only two days per week, waiting until the next class when a student is stuck could have him ending up really behind in homework and struggling to catch up. Is any of the class time spent going over homework or giving opportunities for questions? Our experience has been that there is some of this. I will say that my child is a relatively strong math student. I have other kids that I would not use the online, 2 day per week format for, because they need to go over math with me every single day, reviewing each assignment. I also haven’t used online math until solid on prealgebra and algebra 1. It makes me too nervous because there is too much that can go wrong or be misunderstood at this level, for me to delegate rather than give up on tutoring to mastery at home, though I am sure that there are students who are able to do quite well with this format.
  4. So far I have based this on looking at multiple syllabi and what is typically covered in these courses. Some textbooks cover two semesters of a college sequence. For math and science, I also look at what will come next and what will be helpful for them to learn to facilitate future courses or general understanding. Like for statistics, do the additional chapters cover more esoteric topics that are just an introduction to things that would be covered in future courses she is interested in, or will they be useful for understanding studies she comes across in other disciplines or in real life?
  5. Oh wow. It’s too bad you couldn’t have seen some samples of what is taught or what the goal of the class is before having signed him up. By content, do you mean that the arguments are not well-thought out, or is it the prose style that is bad, or what? Do you think this is a reflection of teaching to the AP test rather than the fault of the teacher? In other words, perhaps the individual student’s style isn’t necessarily exemplary, but they did the best job at fulfilling the assignment in terms of what the AP graders will be looking for. If I actually thought the class was teaching bad writing, I would pull out a 14 year old in a heartbeat. There is plenty of time to take the AP in the future if that is still desired, either with a different class or self-studying. At that time he will have had another year or two to grow as a writer and can take the idiosyncrasies of writing for these tests with a larger grain of salt. Also when they have more years of writing and studying really good essays of others, they can better objectively tell what other students are or aren’t doing well. But there are kids who will just be brought down by spending a lot of time with the work of other students, as other parents here have shared in the past.
  6. The article seemed more like a rant and a brain dump of everything the author thinks is unfair about obesity than a reasonable discussion. One thing I did agree with is that most physicians just don’t address weight at all, or do it without specific recommendations. And also, they don’t know much about nutrition in the first place. It might be better if they just told all patients, not just obese but everyone, to eat 8 or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day and walk thirty minutes per day. Everyone should do that and it is a positive message, not vague and not dangerous like some of the diets that are out there. But the article has so many contradictions. The person practically starving themselves is doing so on fatty, sugary, but unsatisfying higher calorie foods like Ritz crackers, granola bars and orange juice. No wonder she feels awful and isn’t losing weight; feeling unsatisfied leads to binging and these processed foods lead to more cravings anyway. Another person is mentioned with the same behaviors, depriving themselves and then binging in secret. So the conclusion the author makes from this disordered behavior is that, what? All obese people will do these things because they are shamed and so nothing done to address the obesity will logically work? This isn’t true and doesn’t make sense. There doesn’t really seem to be a point to it,
  7. I assign my boys all sorts of literature that have been suggested to be girly, plenty of female protagonists, but I wouldn’t make them read Little Women. I love the Alcott books and I think some of them are very good books, but I don’t think they compare as literature to the Mark Twain books they are compared to in the article.
  8. Penelope

    S/o Unattractive

    I think y’all are thinking of some of these people as they looked when middle-aged. Look at Sophia Loren from the fifties when she was in modeling and movies. She could be a model today. Same with Candice Bergen. Same with a lot of earlier stars. I think that actually, it is less important today to be conventionally beautiful to be in show business. And TV seems more forgiving than movies. There are more “regular people”portrayed on tv and maybe more character parts. Maybe also some people that look best on film and sparkle the most aren’t the ones who are most interesting in photos or IRL. I would say say there are actors I think of as not unattractive or even that they are nice looking, but not the 90-95th percentile or above: Jennifer Anniston. Tom Cruise. Nicole Kidman. Jennifer Lopez. Tom Hanks. Ben Affleck. Kenneth Branagh. Emma Thompson lots and lots for which you could say you saw several people at the grocery store in the past few weeks better looking than them. Oh, and Chrissy Metz is beautiful by any standard, just not thin.
  9. AoPS Intro to Algebra is a little different than the pre-a book. The layout is similar and the way of teaching is the same, but some people on the forums have thought it is more straightforward while not liking the pre-algebra book.That said, I don’t think chapters 1-14 or whatever of Intro to Algebra lines up as well with Algebra 1 as typical textbooks do. I am also one who has posted that AoPS pre-algebra didn’t work for one of my kids. That one did great with Jacobs Algebra, though. And I do think having to do all of those word problems in AoPS was excellent regardless. I am so glad I have the AoPS books for the word problems alone; they enhance any curriculum. If it were me, I would still look at what the school uses or at the CC standards or whatever your state standards are. You might find a couple topics that are not in the Algebra 1 books recommended here, or are addressed a slightly different way. Then you can fill in with Khan or something like that.
  10. The Great Courses has a lecture course on the Industrial Revolution? You could pick and choose which to listen to. I don’t know how interesting it would be to a middle schooler, but most eighth graders I’d think could follow it just fine.
  11. Penelope

    setting boundaries with sister's newborn

    Agree with others. Its her first baby, it’s only been three weeks, and unless sister herself promised the six year old she could hold the baby, that shouldn’t have been the expectation. Also, older siblings holding the baby isn’t the same thing as a cousin. It just isn’t, even with how close you all are. Dd needs to stop asking sister. When baby is a little older, maybe you could ask again for her. But also agree that children should not have to be super quiet for a sleeping baby, especially if sister understandably wants to keep baby right with her among the rest of the family. Sister is being too sensitive.
  12. Penelope

    Lab reports in middle school - how often?

    We don’t do them. I know I have heard homeschooling gurus that recommend them, but I think it’s unnecessary in middle school. Students should be able to explain the demonstration and the related concepts, but a formal report seems silly. I agree with EKS that even at the high school level it seems a little silly, but we still do some then. It is a type of formal writing, and there are some skills involved in following a required format and using particular language.
  13. I’m glad to hear I am not alone in this experience! 😂 AoPS prealgebra in sixth grade, did fine, but I think all of it fell out of the brain on the way to puberty.
  14. Penelope

    hours spent on school work

    I think it is very hard to make an accurate estimate if you don’t have a schoolroom of sorts where everyone is together most of the time and you can see how much time they are actually on task. Also I have seen a lot of people add up hours and count time for things like practicing piano and time spent reading. But reading is tricky because when some kids this age read only exactly what is assigned for school and so maybe parent needs to actually assign more reading, where other kids are very active readers and read many hours per week outside of what is required, so their time strictly spent on assignments may be less but may be in reality spending a lot more time on their education. Some parents count their kids’ creative writing as part of school, others don’t. My best guess is 25 hours per week averaged over the course of the year for solid academics, but that could be wildly off.
  15. Penelope

    xpst: Rainbow Science

    It is three days per week and laid out very clearly. It has been a while but I’d say 30 minutes per session was plenty. No tests and light on writing. My student enjoyed doing a lot of it independently, and we’d discuss the topics and lab about once per week. I looked through the second year but didn’t think it seemed as strong, so we moved on after year one. I don’t remember enough about the biology in the textbook to answer the age of the earth question. I think both years are doable in one year. I think it’s light for eighth grade. We actually used year one in sixth, but I think seventh would be fine, too. One thing I really liked about it was that it covers enough while leaving time for reading of other books for science topics of particular interest or doing other kits and projects as desired.
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