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About Penelope

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    Hive Mind Queen Bee

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  1. I don’t know, thirtyish years ago, at my school one year of the honors chemistry was the prerequisite for AP chem. So to me it isn’t new. If I were to have my student take AP Chem without that additional year, I would at least have them do some reading the summer before.
  2. If you want to make the brain explode even more, start looking into what dialectic (which is the more original term rather than “logic”) means vs. what it meant in ancient times and medieval vs. what the neoclassical educators mean by it. The point made by some is that the ages and stages idea originated with Dorothy Sayers in the twentieth century so can not possibly reflect the true understanding of Classical Education, though it’s certainly possible over the centuries that some others made similar observations and connections. Another point is that the ages and stages structure totally ignores the Quadrivium. It’s interesting to read about and wrestle with, and a conundrum for anyone who is attempting a form of classical education at home. I wonder whether the modern neoclassical framework misses the boat on what a classical education was. It’s trying to overlay an older framework on the modern conception of academic “subjects” by sort of flipping the understanding of what teaching the trivium meant. I don’t think very many people alive today have the depth of study and understanding into the matter to understand what sort of classical ideal we are trying to target (from what specific time period?) and what that actually looked like, practically. I think it is almost certainly beyond me to figure this out while in the midst of trying to educate children and carry out the rest of a full life, and that is assuming it is even possible and that, if I could see what that looks like, whether I would be able to or even WANT to fully emulate it.
  3. UOther than choosing a Sherlock Holmes story or two, I wouldn’t say that any of them are must reads, even though there are some very good books on that list. At this age, I think which ones are more difficult etc. depends very much on the student. What kind of reader is she? Is she used to reading older literature and chooses these sorts of books on her own? Because if so, probably most of them won’t be a problem, even if they aren’t of the highest interest. The Pickwick Papers is funny, and if she has read Little Women it might be of more interest. But whether or not it should be an eighth grade read, for me, would depend on whether she has read any other Dickens or whether you plan to have her read any in future. Lorna Doone is a great story and was a very popular novel of its time, but not a must read. What do you think about Jane Austen’s Emma? I also think Space Trilogy is better read older. Though I really don’t like it and can’t figure out why it shows up on so many lists, except that is is Lewis. Also there is some sexism in there to discuss. Connecticut Yankee is fabulous and has been totally readable here. But it won’t seem that funny IMO unless the student has already read some of the medieval literature and history the book is poking fun at, like some of the Mort de Artur or similar, not just children’s retelling of same. Also there should be some explanation of the context of industrialization and what was going on at Twain’s time, and there is a lot to discuss in that book about both medieval and Twain’s views of magic, religion, and faith. Even though my kids that read it liked it at that age or younger, I think they would have enjoyed it more in high school after our medieval literature year. And I also agree that it depends what other Twain you have read. I would choose Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, or maybe even Life on the Mississippi before this one. I personally could not get through Count of Monte Christo, so there’s that. The Children of Odin is a big yes, and all the books on the second list. I agree that the Time Machine might be better than War of the Worlds.
  4. Hans Brinker is pretty dull IMO. My kids haven’t liked a Captains Courageous. Around the World might be too much for that age, even listening to it. Out of those you listed, I think most would be fine, particularly since you said they will be audio, and that your student is used to listening to similar books. I read a number of these out loud at that approximate age or played them as audiobooks and they were enjoyed. I would include Otto, Children of the New Forest, The Treasure Seekers, Treasure Island, The Prince and the Pauper, The Christmas Carol, and 20,000 Leagues. My son loved both Treasure Island and Kidnapped. I am not an Oliver Twist fan but you could try it and see how it goes. Most of Dickens are long, and I think Oliver isn’t among his best. I agree that Tom Sawyer and the Princess and the Goblin are great for this age. The Hobbit might also be good, or Little Women and Little Men.
  5. But nothing is ever really gone that quickly. Facebook would still presumably have it, somewhere. And could use it to develop information to sell to advertisers. Having things publically deleted is something that might be attractive to a lot of people, but it doesn’t solve the problem of a for-profit consistently sneaky company having control of the private info of many millions of people.
  6. I think I did the same history with two children one year, but other than that I have never done the same history, literature, or science with two children at once. Maybe it’s easier because I generally make my own plans rather than follow ones that someone else made, but others do follow different premade plans, too.
  7. Professor Carol’s Discoverng Music is good. You could expand it as much or as little as you want. I sampled several of her other courses when we had a subscription and enjoyed them. Just the videos and short quizzes isn’t enough hours for a full credit, but there are suggestions for choice of assignments and projects. You could add short papers, community concert attendances, or another of her courses if needed. How to Listen to and Understahd Great Music is a Great Courses series. Professor Greenberg is very engaging and keeps the attention. Once again, just listening isn’t really enough, but fine arts credits in schools aren’t usually very intense and some are only performance based, so looking for community opportunities to round things out is a good way to go, too.
  8. Maybe there is more pressure to research things now that we have the Internet, because it’s easy, and we can. I may not be remembering well, but when I was in high school, a lot of kids picked from one or two state u’s, and they were done. Some kids applied to just one college that they knew they would be accepted to. And it was only just coming on the radar in junior year. Or at least that is how it seemed. If guidance counselors aren’t pushing it and peers aren’t into it, that might still be pretty typical. ? It sounds like some research has been required and done, and it is hard to research in more depth when you don’t know for sure what you want to do.
  9. I understand that we can see what scores are for individual universities. What I wondered out loud about is whether score is at all predictive of who does well in college and actually finishes. I understand from larger studies that SAT is not the best predictor. What I wonder is if there is any meaning in the “college readiness” scores designated by the ACT and whether colleges place any stock in that in class placement. The ACT says they have extensive data to validate these benchmarks. If a student gets in but has to take remedial math or English due to placement, or has to retake freshman courses due to underpreparedness, the chances are much lower that he will graduate. It is just something to consider in whether to begin with a four year school for a less-motivated student.
  10. For sure a score on a time-crunched test like the ACT isn’t everything. The average for all US high school seniors is 21. Some states require all students to take the ACT, even those who don’t wish to or plan to go to college. I don’t know if there is any data on the average ACT of freshmen entering four year universities, or of college graduation rates of those with different scores. Probably individual schools have that sort of data. There is something else I wonder if anyone can comment on. For a student who just doesn’t do well on these tests but is otherwise solid academically, it is quite possible they would be able to get into a better school via transfer than as a freshman. With good grades from a strong community college, do colleges even care what the ACT or SAT score was? Probably much less. And sometimes admissions rates for transfers are higher.
  11. Do you think there is a reason she does so well in school but does not test well, something that can be tested for? Where do other students from her school attend, and what does the guidance counselor suggest for a student like her? ACT scores come with an assessment of whether the student is college-ready in different areas. I think it is somewhere in the low-mid 20s scores for reading and math. With the composite score you mention, will she be able to be placed in college level math and English in a four year school? Students who begin needing remedial classes have poor graduation rates. If you have dual enrollment in your state, can you see what classes they would place her in based on ACT or accuplacer testing? That may give you a better sense of whether she would succeed in a four year school. Have you visited any schools yet? I think that, while it is common for high school students with high achieving peers to be invested in the college search process by now, it is not so unusual for juniors to not be that vocal yet and for things to not seem that real to them yet. Visiting helps, I think, even if it’s not a school you’ll definitely apply to. I agree about good young adult experiences outside of the four-year school away from home. There are some things in the dorm away from home experience that I actually think would be best avoided and do not promote maturity. There are positives and negatives to everything, but I will not be guiding my own kids based on wanting that experience for them. I think a lot of parents are in the situation of not being comfortable paying what some schools require us to pay. Even with high scores and being solidly prepared for a school, there are lots of situations of schools that would be nice to attend, but money absolutely plays a role.
  12. This is the approach recommended in TWTM book, but with regular writing of papers in addition. There are good questions recommended in there and in The Well-Educated Mind. I have my kids journal some of their books and it has been pretty simple to break up the reading myself. In later high school, I have broken it up by week and my student has done it from there.
  13. I think poor teaching must contribute. Well, I am sure it depends on the school and the district, but that is still exactly what I have heard is still happening from friends and relatives. The student who is humanities-bound will have precalculus in 11th and finish up with AP Statistics, while the student who needs courses higher than college algebra for their proposed major will take AP Calculus. No one is being forced into calculus. Probably there is more pressure for the student who is competitive for highly selective schools, but that won’t be most of them. This just isn’t true. It depends on the school. Many medical schools require some calculus. It looks like fewer vet schools do, but since admission is competitive, it may be that most students who gain admission do have it. As we all know from college admissions, requirements, vs. what is actually expected to be competitive, can be two different things.
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