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lewelma last won the day on April 8 2014

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  1. Here is a comparison of my first draft of my course descriptions, and then the final draft after I got feedback from the hive. All of these are home brewed courses. The suggestions I got were to include more about what was *done* in the class, not just the topics covered, so you will notice this difference between the two versions. Also, I decided to add the output for each class, basically what I used to grade. Sorry that the formatting is not great. Ruth in NZ Biology with Lab 1.0 credit (OLD) This course built on concepts covered in a first year Biology course. Topics included cell biology, molecular biology, genetics, evolution, and ecology. The course required a research paper on a socio-scientific issue. The lab component focused on how biotic and abiotic factors affected competition and predation. Biology with Lab. (1 credit) (NEW) This second-year Biology course covered cell biology, molecular biology, genetics, evolution, ecology, animal diversity, and biostatistics. The laboratory component included a large-scale investigation focusing on how biotic and abiotic factors affect competition and predation in the rocky intertidal zone. It required familiarity with the ecological literature, identification of an interesting question, and the design of appropriate methods. This course had a strong statistical component and results were analyzed using statistical software. The course also included a unit on human manipulation of genetic transfer including recombinant DNA, amplification with PCR, recombinant plasmids, transgenesis, CRISPR, gene therapy, and cloning. Course requirements included statistical analyses, a scientific paper, a research paper, and short essays. Textbooks: Biology: The Unity and Diversity of Life, Cecie Starr and Ralph Taggart Handbook of Biological Statistics, by John McDonald ------- US History in a World Context. 1.0 credit (OLD) This course focused on the causes, consequences, and explanations of historical events in the broader context of the historical developments in the World. The course studied how people’s interpretation of these events can differ, how to critically evaluate them, and why they can change over time. This was a discussion heavy class which also included required readings, documentaries, and short essays. Texts: selected readings in support of topics discussed US History in a World Context. (1 credit) (NEW - I was told to add all the book and movies even though some were middle school level) This course focused on historical events from 1840 –1975 and how ideas, beliefs, and social mores have shaped the United States. The course asked probing questions, challenged preconceived assumptions, and evaluated biases. It also studied how to critically evaluate different interpretations of historical events and why these interpretations can vary over time. The power of rhetoric in shaping perception was studied by critically analyzing the writing and speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. and John F. Kennedy. Course requirements included reading assignments, participation in discussions, and short essays. Textbooks: Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student, by Edward Corbett Rhetoric in the Classical Tradition, by Winifred Horner Texts: Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglas, by Fredrick Douglass. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain. To Kill a Mocking Bird, by Harper Lee The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald The Crucible, by Author Miller Letter from Birmingham Jail, by Martin Luther King, Jr. Inaugural Address, by John F. Kennedy Frontier Living, by Edwin Tunis Shutting out the Sky: Life in the Tenements of New York, by Deborah Hopkinson Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition, by Karen Blumenthal Six Days in October: the Stock Market Crash of 1929, by Karen Blumenthal Hitler Youth: Growing up in Hitler’s Shadow, by Susan Bartoletti The Bomb: The Race to Build the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon, by Steve Sheinkin After Gandhi: 100 Years of Nonviolent Resistance, by Anne O’Brien Black Gold: The Story of Oil in our Lives, by Albert Marrin The Civil War, PBS Documentary (9 hours) The West, PBS Documentary (8 hours) World War 1 in Color, UK Documentary (6 hours) World War 2 in Color, UK Documentary (11 hours) Vietnam War: a Television History, PBS Documentary (11 hours) ----------- Contemporary World Problems. 1.0 Credit (OLD) This course sought to understand the current events from a historical perspective to develop a deeper understanding of world events. The course simultaneously explored several perspectives surrounding each of major issues in order to understand and account for bias and the interests of invested parties. Using three well-respected periodicals, the course was able to cover political, social, and environmental problems, in addition to scientific advancements. Texts: The Economist, National Geographic, Scientific American. Contemporary World Problems. (1 credit) (NEW) This course covered political, economic, social, and environmental problems and sought to examine current events from a historical perspective. The course explored relationships between events, evaluated competing beliefs and goals, and identified bias. Scientific and technological advancements were also studied to better understand the part they play in solving some of the world’s most difficult problems. Periodicals were read year-round throughout high school, yielding 800 hours of reading. Course requirements included reading assignments, participation in discussions, short essays, and a research paper. Texts: The Economist, National Geographic, Scientific American --------------- The History of Western Thought. 1.0 Credit (OLD) This course examined the development of the western intellectual tradition from the Greeks through to 20th-century thinkers. Topics included metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and political philosophy. In addition to studying the great thinkers of each era, philosophical novels by classic authors were read and discussed including Voltaire, Faust, Dostoyevsky, Borges, Camu, Hemingway, and Vonnegut. The History of Western Thought. (1 credit) (NEW) This course examined the development of the western intellectual tradition from the Greeks through to 20th-century thinkers. Topics included metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and political philosophy. The course examined the rational basis of belief in all areas of inquiry, and taught critical and creative thinking and how to construct a cogent argument. In addition to studying the great thinkers of each era, influential philosophical novels by classic authors were read and discussed including Voltaire, Dostoyevsky, Borges, Camu, and Hemingway. The course also took a detour into the philosophy of consciousness and how it can be analytically modelled. Course requirements included reading assignments, participation in discussions, and short essays. Texts: Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy, by Simon Blackburn The Twenty Greatest Philosophy Books, by James Garvey Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, by Douglas Hofstadter Justice. EdX. Harvard University
  2. Here is my Educational Partners section. Hope it helps Art of Problem Solving Online School: AoPS offers courses in mathematics to high-performing students. Classes meet weekly in interactive online classrooms. Challenge sets require full written proofs and detailed feedback is given in content and presentation. Mathematical Olympiad Summer Program: A January camp used to select the squad of 12. The team of 6 is selected based on scores from the Australian, British, and Asia-Pacific Olympiads. The team is trained for the week before attending the IMO. xxx: Associate Concertmaster of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. DS has studied with Mr. xxx for five years. Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM): The UK’s largest music education body and provider of graded music exams. New Zealand School of Music: The Young Musician’s Program provides pre-tertiary students access to university-level music education. Auditions required. xxx University: One of NZ’s eight universities, ranked in the top 2% of universities worldwide. Te Kura Correspondence School: Te Kura educates students for whom traditional school is ineffective or inappropriate. All schools in NZ, including Te Kura, have identical national examinations and assessments that are moderated for equivalency in grading. Mandarin Tutors: Private tutors designed xxx’s courses and provided instruction. Three of five tutors had degrees in teaching Mandarin as a second language. New Zealand Wing Tsun Association: A martial arts training facility with courses taught by Sifu xxx
  3. lewelma

    Compacting Writing with Skill

    Well, I found it! It was on the hard drive of my old computer. I'm not sure I remember all the details as it was in 2013, but here it is word for word as written in the document. I'm pretty sure I've listed only the pages I'm going to do. All pages not listed are to be skipped. Looks like I edited this document for putting in the hive all those years ago, as I see comments written to you guys from back then. 🙂 Ruth in NZ Compacting WWS2 I have the explanation first, with the example passages in parentheses S1, S2 = student text WWS1 or WWS2 I1, I2 = instructor's manual WWS1 or WWS2 Narrative (WWS2 weeks 2, 4) Scientific Discovery S1p.65 Chronological narrative of past event (S2p.25, easy) Sequence History S2p.30 (refer to p.27-28); I2p.65 Natural Process S1p.281-2(refer to p. 279-80, 282) combination of narrative and sequence S2p.63-65 (read); study T2p.62-65 Explanation by comparison (WWS2 weeks 5,6,7) S2p.79-80step 2 (refer to p.75-76, 78) Lit analysis T2p.274 Introductions and Conclusions S2p.94step 2 (refer p. 91-93) Combination of comparison and intro/conc S2p.110step 2(refer p. 109-110) Description (WWS2 weeks 12, 13) Person S1p.223-4 Place: point of view and metaphor S1p.116 (refer 115, 118) Scientific S2p.155-157 Explanation by Definition – scientific (WWS2 weeks 12, 13, 14) Essential and accidental S2p.159step 3, p161 step 1 Function S2p.173step 2 using p.171-3 step 1 Genus S2p.187step 2 using 161 step 1 S2p.193-5 step1 T2p.240-1 step 3 Explanation by Definition – historical (WWS2 weeks 19, 20) Unique properties S2p.241-7 all of day 1 Function S2p.253-6 all of day 4 Genus S2p. 257-60 all of day 1 Not sure yet if I will compact these or just work through them. My older is not very good at writing about history. Explanation by Temporal Comparison – historical (WWS2 weeks 26-28) Week 23 mimicking classic essays Week 31, 32 combining Topoi Figurative language (We will definitely be working through this as my son is a very black and white thinker) S2p.87-90 Simile S2p.103-107 metaphor S2p.283-5 metaphor S2p.308 figurative language These are just from the WWS1 student book. I have indicated the examples that I like the best for each topos. Each topos is covered over 2 weeks, so I tried to pick the more complicated example. I put a few extra examples in the narrative section in parentheses. Chronological narrative Past event: p.49-51 (p.45-6) Scientific discovery: p.65 (p. 62-64) Description Place: point of view, p.115-6, 118 (metaphors in these passages noted on p 126-7) Scientific points of view p.168-9, 181-184 Person: p.223-5, metaphor p.237 Combining Topoi Chr. narrative of scientific discovery with scientific description p.198-201 Biographical sketch (description with chr. narrative) p. 253-4 Sequence Natural process p. 279-83 ReplyForward
  4. lewelma

    Compacting Writing with Skill

    It was me. I have the file somewhere for how I compacted it, page by page. I'll try to find it.
  5. Manhattan Mom, my oldest was an explosive child from age 8 to 12. I don't want to go into the details on the board, but it was pretty horrible and had a large impact on my younger. I found a book that really helped me change my parenting style to work better with his reality - The Explosive Child by Greene. The author is a psychologist who deals with explosive children with all sorts of labels, and his approach is very straightforward and doable. Implementing his techniques turned my life around, made the situation more containable, and gave both of my children a more consistent and effective parent.
  6. lewelma

    Challenging science

    I'm with 8, my kids read science books. At age 10, my older boy read The Way Things Work and Scientific American cover to cover. My younger boy, at that age, read coffee tables books (big pictures, great writing, and full coverage of the topic) on weather, astronomy, and geography. We also did science fair projects which allowed them to dig deep into questions that interested them. I have written about them in depth on the board and can track down the links if you want them. Ruth in NZ
  7. In New Zealand the cutoff is typically July with beginning of school year in January. This makes half of the kids 17 and half of them 18 when they start university. With an August birthday, my son is an oldest here and a youngest in America. I am not sure I could have kept ds home for another year. Not only was his last year of high school crazy difficult to pull off at the level he was studying (no dual enrollment here so it was all on me!), but he has become *very* much an independent adult and is ready to leave home.
  8. Wonderful! mumto2 you found the course I had heard of! yea! And Sebastian, the lecture series looks great and is in my cart. And Regentrude, I would love to see the book list your dd used if you can find it. Thanks, guys! My plan is to have him continue to listen to classics (he just finished pride and prejudice and *loved* it), watch/discuss Shakespeare movies, and read poetry (which he loves). But for his everyday reading, he just can't seem to get into anything but fantasy, so I think I'll just go with it and make it awesome, complex, and insightful! I asked ds (who just woke up) what he has read. This is what he can remember: Lord of the Rings Enchanted Forest chronicles Novels of Valdemar (Mercedies Lackey) Temeraire series Wheel of Time (Jordan) Belgariad (Eddings) Watership down Last Unicorn Once and Future King Riftwar Saga (Feist) Golden Compass series Eragon series Narnia series Some of these books are literature and some are not. Most are pretty easy/basic. I'd like to move him into more difficult books and a variety of sub-genres. I think I start with his favorite (epic fantasy) build up the complexity and move to expand to other subgenres. So epic fantasy that looks complex and has a positive outlook: The wheel of time (finish) Earthsea cycle (leGuin) The Kingkiller chronicles (Rothfuss) Lyonesse Trilogy (vance) Shadowmarch (williams) The farseer - assassin's apprentice (Hobb) Prince of Nothing (Bakker) Any comments on these books? Off to look for more....
  9. My younger son really likes Fantasy literature and I would like to bump it up into an English class. He likes books with beautiful writing, deep thinking, large vocabulary, moving plot, and generally positive outlook. So I know a book like Gormenghast by Mervin Peake would not work because the plot is way too slow, and I also know there are some fantasy books that are dark, which would be a no go (He didn't like Donaldson because the leprosy thing was too depressing). I have just bought him Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss which I understand to be well written and deep. What books would you suggest for this class? Do you have any resources (lectures, list of tropes, sub-genres, literary analysis of fantasy, etc.) that we could work through? It looks like there used to be a coursera course out of University of Michigan but I can no longer find it. sniff. Thanks for any and all ideas! Ruth in NZ ETA: just looked at American Gods by Gaimen (won a bunch of awards), and it appears to be part horror. That is also a no go.
  10. Before he starts in August, DS's university required him to write 2 freshman evaluation essays so that they could place him in an appropriate freshman writing course. This was a 20 hour assignment and two tough topics. After doing the readings and doing some thinking, ds went back to check the assignment. He came and found me and said: DS: "The instructions say I can't write a 5 paragraph essay, and I had planned 5 paragraphs for this essay." Me: "You can write 5 paragraphs, they just don't want you to write the official formulaic 5-paragraph essay." DS: "Ok, but if I write 5 paragraphs, what if I write a 5 paragraph essay by accident." Me: "I've never taught you the 5 paragraph essay, there is no way you could write one even if you write 5 paragraphs." DS: "What?!? I have no idea what you are talking about" Me: "Trust me. Write *your* 5 paragraph essay, and I promise you it won't be *the* 5 paragraph essay." Ah, being both a foreigner and a homeschooler. 😁
  11. lewelma

    The IMO is today!

    So results are out. DS scored 14 points for an honourable mention, same as last year. He actually said that it was good to have experienced panic, because he has never felt that way before and thought it was an experience worth having. Once his panic abated, he easily got problems 1,2,4 and 5, giving him the 28 he was expecting. I was particularly surprised that even with this second disappointing year, he said he is up for Putnam and plans to join the Putnam club. I thought he would be done with competitions, but he said that he really wants to continue to build his problem solving skills and loves working with like-minded students. So thumbs up for Olympiad Math giving my son persistence, gumption, sportsmanship, friendship, and challenge!!
  12. lewelma

    Long term prep for math competitions

    My ds started a math club last year, and convinced one of the other top competition kids to help him run it. They have a class of 12. They are doing 9 weeks on each of the competition topics - algebra, geometry, combinatorics, number theory. My son lectures on the new content while the other boy works with the subset of kids that already know the content to solve problems. Then after the lecture, the kids in the lecture group start in on the problems. They work in groups of 3 mostly self-sorted into skill level for that particular topic, and the two older boys wander around helping them solve the problems on the worksheet that they had prepared earlier in the week. Over the course of 9 weeks, they try to get through most of the basic content in each subject area. In ds's final 2 weeks, they are going to focus on *how* to write up proofs. The whole experience has been excellent for both the kids in the class and the two older boys leading it. My son and his friend have put this class on their university applications and on their resume. DS is considering running one of these classes in Boston for pay now that he has a year's experience, knows what he is doing, and has references. I think he could charge a decent amount to help him fund his university education.
  13. lewelma

    The IMO is today!

    Well, guys, ds bombed the second day. He said he panicked and his mind went blank. The chances of a medal are slim, but interestingly he doesn't really care. Last year so much of his self worth was mixed up in the results of the IMO, that he spent the entire year this year working to disconnect the two. And he was successful. His goals this year were to have fun, enjoy the people, and be challenged. He feels that this year's results in no way reflect his skill level, and earning a silver on both mock exams last week reinforces this belief. He has decided to just see where the cards fall tomorrow, and go have a great time sight seeing around Romania. As always, resilience is his middle name. I am so proud of him!
  14. DS has been in Romania for the past week, doing the last bit of training. The NZ team took four 4.5 hour-exams over 4 days, using the short-listed problems from last year. DS took a photo of their exam room at the rented house, and DH and I couldn't understand what we were looking at because it was a mess, like a real mess with chaotic furniture everywhere. The NZ team is only country in the world that is not fully funded to go, so they try to keep the costs down so the parents don't have to pay a ton (already it is $2000 each). So the 6 team members and 3 adults (team leader, deputy team leader, and student organizer) were sharing some sort of small house with only ONE bathroom for a week! They only had a very small shared living space with one small table for 2 and a sofa. So they brought in a table from outside, and some of those cheap plastic outdoor chairs, but were still short a table. So DS suggested they turn a dresser over sideways to use as the third table (2 kids per table). They were still one chair short, so one of the kids sitting at the dresser (for 4.5 hours!) got to sit on a bedside table. I was like wait, what?!?! How did you sit on a bedside table and write up a math exam on a dresser? He said "Well, I had to hunch a lot, and turn this way and then that way as there was nowhere for my legs. But we each took a turn at the dresser, so it was ok." 😮 Surprisingly, he did well on the mock exams given he was jet lagged, sick with a cold, and hunched over a dresser!! We figured the American team probably had a better set up for the last week of training. 😀 So after the opening ceremony, they got to view the big gym with all the 600 desks in it. DS didn't really want to go as he has seen desks before, but finally decided to give up his down time to go see the set-up. And the most amazing thing happened. One of the American team leaders came up to DS in this big gym and handed him an MIT t-shirt sent to him by Chris Peterson of MIT admissions! DS was soooo excited and flattered. He had only found out 10 days before leaving for Romania that he could get an MIT t-shirt if going to an international competition this summer, so by the time he signed up we figured it was too late for the shirt to make to NZ, and it didn't. Oh well, no worries. But apparently Chris figured it wouldn't make it, so made other arrangements - hand delivery in Romania! DS was wearing it proudly when I talked to him a few hours ago. It really set the stage for a good first day of testing. Thanks Chris! So the weather is lovely, the city is beautiful, the NZ team is amazing, and maths is challenging and fun! So far, DS is having the best time ever! Ruth in NZ
  15. lewelma

    Homeschool fails

    It was in my freshman year at Duke University when I found out there were companies. I knew there were factories, but had never given it even a small piece of thought as to who ran them. Companies were never discussed in school subjects like English, Calculus, Chemistry, or History, even though my school was excellent. My dad worked for the government, so we didn't discuss companies at home, and they didn't own stocks or track the stock market. I was not allowed to watch TV, so never saw any advertisements; and my mom only bought clothes from yard sales and goodwill. Companies just never came up, ever. Needless to say, all my friends were quite floored that I didn't know there were companies. Point being, I think that it is easy to have BIG gaps in your education let alone small ones, but you just fill them when you find them, and move on. 🙂
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