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lewelma last won the day on April 8 2014

lewelma had the most liked content!

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About lewelma

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  1. lewelma

    Designing a course

    I know this fear. I kept it all neatly ordered in google docs. And we were very specific about what labs he did in the course descriptions, especially for Biology, because he did only one big lab and it was analyzing someone else's data (40 hours including a research paper with references). Given how non-traditional this was for a biology high school lab component especially to an American audience, I was very careful to describe it accurately in the course descriptions. I figured that if there were any complaints, I could say, " well look there, I told you what we did."
  2. lewelma

    Designing a course

    Ah, I should have kept the 200+ Economists that ds read!
  3. lewelma

    Designing a course

    Here are ds's other three social studies courses, all home grown. 1) Contemporary world problems ran for 4 years, and he wrote 2 essays and 1 research paper 10th grade . 2) Comparative Government was a just get it done class. He read an AP test prep book and did all the tests at the end of each chapter. 3) US history in a world context - he wrote 3 papers in his freshman year. So even for these courses there was not a huge writing component. Most of his writing he did in highschool he did for his 4 english courses. Also, keep in mind that until April of his 11th grade year, ds was planning to stay in NZ, so these courses (with the the exception of economics and government) were just stuff we were unschooling for fun throughout highschool -- they had not been planned out nor were they done to fulfill any requirement. The course descriptions brought together what we had learned into courses that could be understood by admissions. Government and Economics were designed to fulfill requirements that I thought the universities might have, and were completed senior year. My point is that if the learning in genuine and outside grades support mommy grades, then no one really cares how you learned the content. Contemporary World Problems. (1 credit) 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 Comparative Government. (0.5 credits) This course focused on political science concepts in a variety of nationalistic settings. The course covered sovereignty, authority, power, political institutions, citizenship, the state, political change, economic change, and public policy. It compared the government and political system of New Zealand to systems in the United Kingdom, the Russian Federation, China, Mexico, Iran, Nigeria, and Vietnam. Course requirements included reading assignments and unit tests. Textbook: AP Comparative Government & Politics, by Jeff Davis US History in a World Context. (1 credit) 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: I listed them all -- some classics, some narrative nonfiction, some documentaries
  4. lewelma

    Designing a course

    I'm not quite sure what you are after, but this is all I wrote in the profile section about our homeschool courses. I also wrote a lot about the NZ exam system and how grades are computed for it. About half of ds's courses were homegrown. The two courses I described above were the only 2 that did not have some test or writing component. Homeschooled courses: grades were computed using tests, papers, and discussion using a mastery scale of : A=high mastery B=above average C= satisfactory F=unsatisfactory
  5. lewelma

    Designing a course

    Here is another one. I tied this one together based on a variety of things we did over many years. My son has always been very interested in philosophy and has thought deeply about many topics. I thought he deserved credit for the work he had done even through it did not include papers or tests. The History of Western Thought. (1 credit) 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 and participation in discussions. 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
  6. lewelma

    Designing a course

    Here is my course description for a class with only reading and discussion. We worked hard, but there was no output and no tests. The Economics of Inequality. (0.5 credits) Using Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, this course evaluated and analyzed the history, theory, and implications of inequality in the world. The focus was on understanding how historical data can aid in understanding past and present trends in multiple countries. The length of the book (700 pages) required complex arguments to be tracked and reconstructed, and its focus on using evidence such as facts, statistics, examples, and expert opinions encouraged a nuanced understanding of the nature of evidence and how it should be evaluated. Great Courses lectures were used to provide the necessary background on economic growth, the business cycle, the global economy, unemployment, inflation, and economic policy. The Economist was used to understand macroeconomics in the context of current events and across many different economic and political systems. The course included reading assignments and participation in discussions. Texts: Capital in the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas Piketty Unexpected Economics, by The Great Courses and Timothy Taylor Thinking Like an Economist, by The Great Courses and Randall Bartlett The Economist
  7. lewelma

    Big Picture Goals for 2019

    Thanks, Gil for running this thread again. I looked back to last year and we didn't do too badly. 🙂 I'll give it some thought and post in a few days.
  8. The most respected recent history is The History of New Zealand by Michael King. There is an audio version of it available. It starts with one chapter before the Maori came, then about 3 chapters on Maori only before the Europeans came, then up to recent times. I would suggest learning a bit of the Maori language, especially how to pronounce words as you will see a lot of place names in Maori when travelling. It would also be interesting to study how earthquakes have recently affected Christchurch, Kaikuora, and Wellington. Specifically, how the government chose to red zone parts of Christchurch and completely redesign the city before the rebuild. It would be interesting to study how New Zealand has a unique flora and fauna due to when it broke off from Gondwanaland, and how the government here is using its many offshore islands as bird sanctuaries. On the negative side, you could study the impact of the switch from sheep to cows on the environment, especially the polluting of the rivers. Or you could look into the serious housing crisis in Auckland and what has caused it. But you may want to only focus on the good stuff, don't know. Happy to think of more ideas if you want some. Cheers, Ruth in NZ
  9. Aw, thanks. His joy makes the six months of hell we went through worth while. He only decided to apply to American universities in April of his Junior year, which left us scrambling to pick schools, figure out finances, take SAT+ subject tests, reorient his senior year to meet requirements, create understandable classes out of three years of self learning, write all the counselor materials, and write the essays. He applied early decision, so his application went in in October. He has finally found peers. He is in a dorm with most of the math kids, and they play a lot of board games and just hang out and chat. He was thrilled to get into the music scholars program, which only accepted 12 freshman for all instruments. He has to work long hours, but enjoys his classes and the camaraderie. From his point of view, the food is great, the PE classes are great, his single is great, the kids are great, the professors are great -- it is all just great. And when he told a friend that he was homeschooled, the kid said, "Your mom must be so smart!" Recognition at last. 😀
  10. I was talking to the mom of another MIT homeschooler, and she said that there were 5 accepted this year, but we could only name 4 - from California, Ohio, Oklahoma, and New Zealand. So now we know the 5th kid. 🙂 Two of the boys are roommates, and my son hangs out with one of them as they are both in music together. Apparently, many homeschoolers will do the Experimental Study Group freshman year because it is has small classes and group learning, and allows for an easier transition from homeschooling to full time university (ds didn't do it, though). My son has found that he is much more prepared for the rigors of MIT life and education than most of the other students from public or private schools. Having both the freedom and responsibility to learn in your own way leads directly to the self-study and time management required to do well at MIT. DS is loving it. Ruth in NZ
  11. Oh goodness, I didn't know about that lecture series. The philosophy of Humor is not the same as studying comic elements of film/lit but it would still add a wonderful dimension to this very big project. Thanks!
  12. lewelma

    SAT Score Improvement

    We did way more than look at subscores. We analyzed, categorized, and charted every missed question on each practice exam that he took. We also made sure to include the ones he got right but was uncertain of the answer. We studied why, very specifically why, he missed a question; and more critically, how he would make sure not to make the same mistake again. Then we made a list, and I drilled him on all the ways he would reduce errors. We did this and only this for 6 practise exams, and raised his verbal score from 700 to 780 in 4 weeks. Once he realized that there was an *objectively* correct answer, and that he just had to find the *evidence* in the text, his score shot up.
  13. lewelma

    My teen works so slowly!

    My younger ds is super slow. In contrast to other posters, when I had him tested, he showed no evidence for slow processing speed, ADHD, or working memory problems which are what is typically implicated in being slow. He does seem to have a terrible sense of time passing. He has finally set a timer that goes off every 10 minutes at night for an hour before bed, so he is more aware of the passage of time. Before doing this, he would go to bed at 9pm and start reading only to look up and find it was 3am! He said it felt like only an hour. I also sense that his mind goes down lots of bunny trails. When I am working with him in Chemistry, he is asking all sorts of really good questions, but if we don't look them up right then, he is just too distracted by the unanswered question to complete his work. My guess is that this happens a lot with many of his subjects. But the thing is, this is why I homeschool, so that my beautiful ds can learn in a way that works for him. I will not bow to the pressures of a standardized school system that wants me to put him in a little box and force him to learn in a certain way on a certain time table. We are not unschoolers, but I definitely adapt to what the day gives me, and if he can't get done what was on the list, well then, it just moves to the next day. There is a big difference between age 15 and age 18, and I fully believe that in those 3 years, he will grow and change and work a bit faster. If he needs a gap year between high school and college to complete this maturing, then we will encourage that. Mental health, physical health, and positive self-perception as a learner are the key. That with a decent work ethic will get him far. Stepping off my high horse now.... Ruth in NZ
  14. Here is an example of something that would be great for high end study. But we are just babes in the woods..... 1) Reader in Comedy: an Anthology of Theory and Criticism by Romanska “Editors Magda Romanska and Alan Ackerman open their book by admitting the difficulty of their tasks: to historicize a genre so diverse in form and style and to define a genre (and its many subgenres) that itself resists definition. Rising to the challenge, the editors of Reader in Comedy: An Anthology of Theory and Criticism have created a temporally expansive analysis of western comic theory. Romanska and Ackerman’s collection of theoretical texts tells a story of how comedy and comic theory reflect and influence theatrical and performance conventions, social structures, technology, philosophy, and civic life. It is a substantial anthology that interweaves performance studies, drama, literature, and critical theory. Romanska and Ackerman have curated a collection that charts continuity in comic theory without diluting historical specificities. Each introduction to the chapters succinctly contextualizes the comic theory of its time and also links the annotated texts to previous chapters. Consequently, I would recommend this text for a survey course on comedy and comic theory in the United States and Europe, or to any scholar seeking a broad overview of writings on comedy.” – Modern Drama 2) The Legacy fo the Wisecrack: Stand-up Comedy as the Great American Literary Form This one is too specific as it is about the stand-up comedian which we are actually not studying, although it looks good!
  15. Thanks so much, Lori. I'll start reading what you have found. The more I read, the more I can guide our conversations. I have also found some university textbooks on amazon about comedy, but I was hoping for something easier -- like a Comedy for Dummies. My parents are coming here next week, so I have a couple days left to order something if I want to get it in their suitcase. 🙂
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