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lewelma

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lewelma last won the day on April 8 2014

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About lewelma

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    New Zealand
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  1. I've also had some kids use words rather than symbols for a period of time until they really get it. So write: 5+3 equals 2*4. And if they are doing some mental calculation then: 5+3 leads to 8+2 leads to 10+5 which equals 15. Or some such. I hit this a lot in probability, because the notation can be quite odd and out of the realm of common experience, so we just use tidy/crisp wording of my choosing (not just any words), which can later be converted to symbols once the thinking process has been tidied up. So P(no heart attack given a patient taking aspirin) later becomes P(H'|A) because I've made the words directly line up with the symbols so they can move to the notation when their brain is ready, and just convert, and not have to completely reorganize the thought.
  2. Sometimes when kids don't like how math is notated, I'll ask them what sign/system they would suggest. About half have an opinion which can be fascinating to think about as it shows the workings of their brains. At that point, I just say well mathematical notation has been *invented* over 1000s of years, and everyone agrees at this point how it has to be physically written down (but not necessarily thought about, although the form of notation does impact your thinking). If I'm with a particularly argumentative kid, I show them adding two large numbers with roman numerals vs arabic numerals, that makes the point that over time the most useful notation has been chosen (and it wasn't theirs!). For older kids, this frustration at notation is most common in Logs and Trig, and interestingly it is easier to clear up with them using the old fashion tables rather than the calculator. Then it is not magic-- it is actually numbers that I tell them were hand calculated at the beginning with rulers, etc, and then put in a table. Obviously, the best example of notation differences is calculus with Leibniz vs Newton - kids find that story and the ramifications of notation really interesting once they get to that level. So I have seen notation frustration all the way up.
  3. Great news! DS says he can put 2 hours to tutoring this term, if your dd wants to work with him again. I told him you would pay him 🙂 I'll PM you.
  4. For K, we did 15 minutes of handwriting (Getty Dubay style) and 30 minutes of learning to read (readers from the library). We typically played 'shop' for math. No curriculum necessary.
  5. Do you want a scripted teacher's manual or just content with answers? Do you like object content or a more exploratory style? Do your kids prefer whole-to-parts or parts-to-whole learning? There are lots of things to consider when evaluating curriculum. And it often takes a year (or more) to figure out what works for both you as the teacher and for each of your students.
  6. Welcome to the board! There are many styles of curriculum. It would be helpful to try to detail what you are looking for or what your goals are. Ruth in NZ
  7. Do you want me to as ds if he has any friends who would be interested? He could vouch for your dd's amazingness. 🙂
  8. I did a school profile also. The above extract was from my counselor letter. The school profile had 4 sections: 1) philosophical vision of our homeschool, 2) description of outside vendors we used, 3) approach to each main topical area (math, science, etc), and 4) how I assigned grades. Its tone was very objective. The goal was to show rigor. The counselor letter was about how ds drove his education to achieve his own vision for how he wanted to learn and develop as a person. Its tone was very personal. The goal was to make ds seem more human. Both also demonstrated that his education was unique.
  9. I was told by MIT admissions that they wanted my counselor's letter to describe what ds's nontraditional education looked like. I found this a very helpful way to look at it. Here is the first paragraph of six of my letter, to give you a feel for the approach and tone I used. The last two sentences are basically the thesis for the letter. please don't quote. deleted
  10. I work 20+ hours per week. I am a reasonably high-end tutor, so make sure that I make a top teacher's annual salary in the 20 hours per week that I work (with the same holidays). So they make $60K per year; and I make 60k/year. The way I see it, I have only after school hours to work (which are obviously limited), so they are paying to have me not working another job. So in NZ, this comes out at $70/hour, but I also charge for noncontact hours (typically 12 hours per year). My students typically stay with me for 3 years. For 11th and 12th graders, I require 2 hours per week or they can go find another tutor. Ruth in NZ
  11. She has the compelling story, she just has to tell it! It took my ds and I months of effort to really figure out what his story was. He coordinated his 6 MIT essays to tell the story in full, and then I made sure that my counselor letter filled in all the details that couldn't come out with the prompts and used this letter to describe his education as coordinated whole driven by his very pointy interests. I've never done this before and won't likely do it again, but I will send you his MIT essays and my counselor letter if you want them, so that you can see how both you and she can tell this very important story. We found it a very complex task but very very rewarding.
  12. I can't speak to the schools you are considering, but we were very concerned about academic pressure and competitive culture when my older was applying. We visited the schools with the sole purpose to find out as best we could what it was like to be a student there - was there a collaborative cultured, was it cut-throat, was there heavy partying, were kids interested in balance, was there a one-up-man-ship thing going on? etc. When we organized our tours, we made sure we could meet with 1) at least 2 students at the school (one of which would be in ds's majors), 2) a professor in his department, 3) admissions person, 4) academic adviser/curriculum administrator in ds's major. We learned a LOT from these chats, and looked for reoccurring themes. We also name dropped at other schools where else ds was applying and often got a bit more of a scoop from professors concerning their competition. What we found was that ds's current school had had a big run of suicides about 5 years ago which really woke the school up to mental health and the importance of developing a culture of collaboration and caring. We heard it from everyone, and more importantly heard how they were specifically tackling this - through shared mental health course requirements that were focusing on helping your friends, through academic advisers discouraging the higher course loads as a way of impressing your friends, by encouraging working together on all assignments but then writing them up yourself for the grade, etc. So it was actually the school's earlier failure that led to changes making it less pressured academically than all the others that ds was considering, even though it was equally rigorous. Culture is a tricky thing to try to figure out, and it took us a ton of time an effort from very far away to make sure ds was in the right environment for him. So I would suggest you just keep asking asking asking, and come up with a list of more specific questions than about 'academic pressure' - the devil is in the details.
  13. Same here. No formal assessment in primary or intermediate school. My goals for science are about engaging, questioning, finding answers, investigating, experimenting, dabbling, delving deep, enjoying, etc. I want my kids to be exposed to lots of different content areas of science so they can begin to see the big picture, but I also want them to find something they are passionate about and really go full force into deeper learning and thinking - comparison/contrast, analysis, synthesis, evaluation. I am not super interested in retention at this age. When my kids *want* to put something they are interested in to memory, then we do a unit on that (e.g., memorizing mineral names by appearance was something my older wanted to do, memorizing all the order names for bugs in our yard was something my younger wanted to do). But these were one-off projects. Retention did not drive our science studies when my kids were young. Ruth in NZ
  14. I know! NZ has put half of the national exams all on line, but the 4 my son will take have not yet be computerized (math, physics, chem, geography). So I will have to fight to get him a computer (these are all essay tests, except math) when if he were just 2 years younger, it would be a non-issue.
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