Jump to content

What's with the ads?


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by lewelma

  1. My ds is applying for the humanities scholarship, which would give him monthly fancy dinners with faculty every month. Only 18 sophmores get it. I just wanted to share his essay because I thought it was awesome. He finds out in a month. Crossing fingers. Deleted.
  2. There are only a few other homeschoolers at MIT, but ds has said that all of them that he has met either attending B&M highschool or went full time to CC. DS thinks he might be the only homeschooler who actually did homegrown coursework with his MOTHER. haha
  3. I love re-reading old threads, but it is NOT the same as the back and forth of current conversation. I would *love* to rehash ideas that can be found in old threads because with new voices and old voices with new experiences, we will come up with new directions for old topics.
  4. We are zoned for the best high school (public OR private based on the national exam marks) in the Country. This school is 6 blocks from our house. My older ds offered to teach an olympiad maths class to their best students after school. When this school realized that ds was zoned, they asked him to attend. DS's response (haha): "I don't like waking up early." This very rules-based, strict, conservative high-school offered to have him officially skip the first two periods every day and arrive at 11am because they were desperate for his marks and IMO qualifications. We found this *very* funny!
  5. Ha! Found a least a piece of it. I would just write about it if I could remember the details. 🙂 x-post For physics, my older in 4th grade wanted to study the aerodynamics of kites. So he made his own kite and then once it was flying, he altered the bridal angle and some other variable I can't remember and watched how it affected the flight. I ran across this description that I wrote up a few years ago. x-post: My son did a science fair project on kites and the aerodynamics of flight at age 10. I am not a physicist and I will tell you I did not have a clue. But, ok I will give it a go. 4 weeks later, we still did not have a flying kite, the science fair was in 6 weeks, and we had not even started the experimental part of altering different parts of the bridal and flight height etc. What was wrong? We tried everything it seemed - changing the materials of the kite, changing the way we launched it, changing what wind speed we flew it at, every single thing we could think of. And of course the kite kept breaking when it would crash instead of fly. So we had to reconstruct it over and over and over. And I kept saying the the Wright brothers took 4 years of long hard work and their own money to get an airplane to fly (my son had just done a report on them, which sparked his interest in this project). The lessons every day seemed to be about persistence. Edison tried 2000 different filaments before he got a working light bulb. Persistence. And I kept thinking, how are we going to get this done in time? Then, we just happened to run across the issue of the wind shadow. The height of a tree will disrupt the air flow across a field for 10 times the height of the tree. The field we were using was HUGE, but long in the wrong direction for the regular wind direction so that all of it was in a wind shadow. The kite would not fly because the wind was turbulent. We changed fields. The kite flew. WOW! What a lesson to a budding scientist. I don't think he will ever forget it.
  6. Ok, I'll get out the clearfile on kites! I have written about this investigation somewhere here on the board, and while I was hunting around, I found this cool thread. Very fun to go back and re-read. It was actually an awesome conversation.
  7. Best mathy investigation my older boy did was to time the traffic lights in our city. Wow was that a nutty project! He won the award at the science fair for the most complex data collection and analysis. haha. After figuring out *how* to improve the timing of the lights, he figure out how much CO2 would be saved each year given the number of cars, time of day, time idling, probability of making or missing the light, etc. I think in the end he collected data on like 20 variables. The three of us sat at 20 different lights with stop watches for weeks, counting and timing. But as a younger kid he did a physics project on kites, which was his most complicated primary school project. Can't remember the details, would have to look it up, but he studied how the design of the kite including bridal angle and length of something, impacted how it flew. If you are interested, I'll go find the details. I turned all their science fair posters into clearfiles so I have the entire write up and data collection notebooks.
  8. Found my write up from all those years ago. This is what we did for chemistry investigations with my two boys. These are not demonstrations, they are investigations with no clear outcome or answer. Each took about 40 hours to complete, write up, graph, and make a poster. One of them I wrote up in full as we did it- the link is below. x-post In third grade for chemistry, my older wanted to know how to make the best silly putty. So we went on the internet and got a basic recipe. It requires only 3 ingredients: glue, borax, and corn starch. So over the period of a few weeks, he made up lots of different batches with different quantities of the ingredients, or different glues, I think he even left out the corn starch once. He recorded what he put in each and then color coded them with food dye. He tested them for how high they could bounce and how stretchy they were (this step included standardizing the testing methodology and discussions on replication). And then they had lots of fun analyzing and graphing the results. This is by far the best real chemistry investigation I have ever run across. And because there are 3 variables, the interactions were quite complex and led to some interesting conclusions. My younger, wanted to figure out how to make natural paint, so he studied what are the strongest binders and how to find all the different colours from nature. He looked at milk, egg, and casein for binders, and both dyes and pigments from organic and inorganic sources for the colours. I wrote up a very detailed description of what we did and all our struggles in this thread. I think the link is broken: google "lewelma Scientific investigations with my 12 and 9 year old". I have now linked to this 3 times this week. haha. Must be a science thing happening on the board. 🙂
  9. My ds is 16 and still always reads his books out loud. He is only starting to dabble with silent reading.
  10. Ah, well my ds has dysgraphia. So at age 12 when we started our new approach to the *encoding* language, a pause was a VERY good start. Before our intense efforts he had *NO* and I mean NO idea what a sentence was. The problem was that he had elaborate, beautiful prose basically at an adult level, and showing him how to punctuate simple sentences in the grammar book was useless, and trying to explain how to punctuate the complex sentences he was writing was futile. Basically, it was a big fat mess. Put that on top of being unable to spell 70 of the top 100 words and being unable to remember how to form letters, and you can see why I despaired about him starting high school in a year. At first I thought, well he can't spell and he can punctuate and he can't remember how to form the letters, but he *understands* language. But I came to believe the more I worked intensively with him on *encoding* language, that although he could speak with beautiful style and vocabulary, this definitely did not translate to any sort of understanding of how language works. Written language is not oral language. It is structured differently. He could type out oral language (all misspelled and no punctuation), but it was virtually impossible to convert it to written language even with some commas, periods, and spell check. This was especially true for nonfiction writing. The approach I used in the end was 30 minutes of typing dictation every day for 3 years year round. Not only would I correct his spelling word for word as he typed, but I would also read the sentence in clusters of words that went together. So for example, a prepositional phrase would be accented by pauses -- not to tell him to put in a comma, but rather to help him learn to hear how words fit together. Over time as he got a bit more clarity, we started to put names to these different structures, just in passing without any lecture. Then, I started to just quickly mention the rule for punctuating. But it was the actual understanding of the constructs that was missing; the punctuation was just a side effect of not understanding how language is put together to make meaning.
  11. DS just wrote an essay on "If you could have every up coming freshman read one book, what would it be and why?" The other one I remember that he didn't pick was "What book or idea had the biggest impact on you and why?"
  12. Linked above. They are not biology (we did that one the year before), but they are full scale scientific investigations documented as they went. So lots of muck ups, frustrations, and problem solving. We did these types of projects for 8 weeks each year for 8 years. "Scientific Inquiry" was with my 11 and 8 year old, so it came first. That was our earth science year. "Scientific investigations with my 12 and 9 year old" was our Chemistry year.
  13. This was what I was going to suggest, sigh. There are no Co-ops here (I'm in NZ) and most people in my area are unschoolers. So we do and have always done all our academics on our own. For activities, we have a variety of sources: 1) Community groups for school kids: Orchestra, Chamber music, Drama, and Gymnastics. 2) Homeschool groups: swimming, sports day, park day (sometimes go), and annual 4-day camp 3) Personally organized fun: D&D / board games group. We have found 3 kids who are willing to come to our house every Saturday for 5 hours. They provide the transport (2 come by train) and we provide the pizza. These kids live pretty far away - 15, 20, and 30 milles away. So we have used a pretty wide net to find them. My young has also embraced being the older kid at most homeschool gatherings. He treats the other like younger siblings. They all gather around him when he shows up and just fawn over him. He loves it! 🙂 He is 16 and his following at different groups is kids aged 8 to 12. The parents all think he is wonderful too.
  14. Old fashioned drill with flashcards. My older boy is a math whiz, but found memorizing the math facts close to impossible -- and we tried *everything*. In the end, we decided to go with 3 times a day, 7 days a week, for 3 months. It seemed that frequency was the key. He asked me how fast he should go, and I said "I have no idea, give me the pack and let's find out." I think I was at about 80 cards in under 60 seconds, so that was his goal. To beat his mother. When he accomplished that feat, he quit the cards.
  15. We absolutely do grammar, but we do it in context of writing. When I used to dictate to my younger, I would teach the grammar as we went so he knew how to punctuate. DS: Why do you put a comma there? Me: It is an introductory adverbial clause. DS: Why is it an adverbial clause? Me: Because it has the work 'although' at the front. Listen to the way you pause when you read. You typically pause when it is a new structure - a phrase, a clause, a new sentence, etc. Over many years he internalized grammar as a way to punctuate and then as a way to edit his own writing. I have worked with many NZ kids on English. In NZ, kids are taught NO grammar, and I have found that not only can they NOT proofread their papers, they also are at a severe disadvantage when it comes to proper editing. They simply don't understand how sentences are constructed and how you can move pieces around for effect, or change them from one structure to another. So NO to formal grammar. Absolutely YES to applied grammar. Ruth in NZ ETA: Like the pp, we also used MCT Grammar Town to nail down the big picture. We did both the thin book and workbook orally. Took about 10 minutes a day for about 3 months if I remember correctly. That was the end of our formal grammar.
  16. Yes, exactly. You may not have seen my post above, but this is exactly what I said. He is asynchronous, he is not 2E (that is my younger). At 18 he had average EF skills, but very advanced academic skills. So his EF skills were not at the level required to meet his academic needs. But in 3 terms, he has learned a ton, and is not needing nearly so much support.
  17. Yup. On many days I enjoy my tutor kids more than my own kids. My tutor kids are so positive, do what I ask, and are really grateful. I need this external gratification for a job well done which is actually why I started tutoring. I would love to say my own kids are all these things, but you know what it is like - they don't know anything else, so they don't know how sweet they have it. 🙂 (although my older ds is starting to see it now he is hearing about other kids' educational experiences) If in some way I have made others feel bad or unworthy or some such, I am deeply sorry. I am a high energy person with a very balanced emotional state with a very supportive husband with a very good job. Plus, all my family has good health. Over many years being on this board, I have learned to be very grateful for what I have as I see so many other people suffer with much much less. We all do what we can with the energy we have.
  18. Yes. I agree. I'm looking forward to being done in 2 years!! The 5 minutes I spend on my older boy each day is easy compared to the struggles I deal with every day with my younger. I've talked many times about having to put my big girl panties on each morning and get the job done with my younger. Homeschooling is exhausting and sometimes frustrating and demoralizing, and I'm not trying to shame anyone into working harder! Sometimes college kids just need more help than expected. Obviously, it depends on the kid! By not outsourcing in highschool, my older ds was able to focus on his passions, develop independent learning skills, and have lots of down time to read and think deeply. HOWEVER, he did not have the opportunity to learn and master EF skills because he never took multiple outsources courses at once. The side effect of these choices is that he is a top student at university in three areas (math/physics, humanities, and the arts) BUT he has needed extra help to shore up this deficit in EF. All choices we make have pros and cons. I just think we need to walk in with our eyes open. But in just 2 years, I can focus on other people's kids!! How exciting! I am a tutor and have 11 additional students that see me 2 hours each week. I tutor in Math, Science and English, but more importantly for many of my kids, I tutor in EF skills and mentor them into career choices.
  19. I just want to say that I am deeply impressed that you are able to continue to engage in and learn from this thread given what seems to be some very different points of view. And I *love* your family motto! As for #8, thank you for taking the time to help me see different points of view. Part of the reason I am writing up all these things that I do for my ds, is that there is national obsession with helicopter parenting that I want to have a nuanced discussion about. How much is too much? How can you tell? How does this depend on your child? I think these are tricky questions, and it is very very hard to know if you are getting it "right." I have not even begun to discuss my younger boy, who is the 2E child. The older boy is not 2E, just asynchronous. The difference being asynchronous means he 5 years advanced in math and average in EF. My younger boy is the 2E child. He was 4 years advanced in composition while at the same time be 5 years behind in encoding language -- so *composing* at an advanced 11th grade level at age 11 while concurrently *encoding* like a 1st grader. For the younger it has been very hard to improve his average EF skills when we needed to spend all our time trying to sort out the dysgraphia, so I think EF skills are now below-average for his age. For the older, being able to take courses to meet his crazy high math skills, meant these same courses expected equally advanced for his age EF skills, which he didn't have. Not sure this distinction is useful to all, but it might be to some. So back to #8 - helping kids with time management/study skills/scheduling of schoolwork. I really liked your distinction between knowing a kid's schedule/reminding/organizing vs just offering advice when asked. So parent ownership vs student ownership. I do think, however, it is a sliding scale rather than an either or. So for the past 3 semesters what I have done is sit with him (on the phone) while he gets all his syllabi out (often online) and puts all the deadlines, homework dates, tests, papers, etc into his calendar. He then also gets me a list of the books that we go hunt down (not like the old days when you just went to the book store, it is all a mush of online, e-book purchase, free, pay, print copy, used on Amazon, etc. Really a huge pain IMHO). At that first discussion each term, I have gotten him to identify his hell weeks so he knew they were coming up. Basically, he had never taken a full load of external courses with external deadlines as a homeschooler, so had ZERO practice in how to do this or even knowledge that it would be a good thing to do. I just told him, "everyone does this, and so must you." Then throughout the term, when the hell week was coming up, *he* would ask me questions on how best to deal with it, and I would advise. The only time *I* took charge and made sure something happened was when he had a 15-page term paper due at the end of term. He had never written a paper like this, and I figured he had no idea how long it would take. So I initiated the conversation on scheduling the paper into the last 6 weeks of the term, and he realized that he had to get it done super early (as in a month early) because of the end of term exams in his other subjects. But that was really the only time I had to initiate the scheduling. One of the things this thread is helping me with is thinking about my younger and all the work I need to get done with him. So much. But as long as he is keen to try, I can help him to master the skills he will need. Success breeds success. Family motto number 2! Ruth in NZ
  20. I assume you read mine on the thread! "We're a family so we help each other out."
  21. I have written up as we did them our 8-week long science investigations on this board. Because I wrote them as we went, they were not all prettied up, you can actually see the mess unfolding and then how we fixed the problems. Would you like a link to them?
  22. I totally agree! What a privilege and a joy. I love watching him grow, and he calls because he knows there is no critique, only support.
  23. I do think that because of our family dynamic, I have a deep friendship with both my boys. Yes, I'm the parent, but at this point I am definitely more mentor. He trusts us more than anyone else in the world, of course he would ask for advice. At some point, however, his loyalty will switch to his spouse which is expected and appropriate. But until that time, we are there for him with whatever questions he throws at us. Just yesterday he asked what he should write about for his humanities scholarship application. I was thinking in my mind "how would I know?" but I asked "what are the prompts?" When he said, one is " if you could recommend one novel for all MIT students to read before coming, what would it be and why?" I told him that I had the list of all the novels he had ever read. Oh boy was that helpful. So I read them out, he chose one, found a thesis on his own, and wrote the most beautiful paper (He read it to me). All he needed was the list of books. I was happy to help. Easy for me, super important to him.
  24. I wish I could have been more involved in this thread, but I am just swamped with tutoring and National exams next week. I was thinking last night about how the OP responded to my Older boy's experience at university, saying some things were parentish and other things were a no go for her. She was very kind to me, so hopefully she will come back and comment on this post, as I am very curious. I provide a *lot* of support for my 19 year old. I would say probably 5-20 minutes every day. I have learned over they years on this board that he is so incredibly unusual that most of my experience is not very useful for others, but I'm still going to describe it because I would be interested, truly interested, in how different people sort 1) OK-to-be-involved tasks and 2) NOT-OK-to-be involved tasks. My ds is in the very unusual circumstance to be close to an unschooler attending an Elite university in a foreign country. So these are the categories in my mind of how I provide support. Not in any particular order: 1) Career advice - help with writing his resume and linked in page, options for jobs, timelines for applying, appropriate wording of emails. Just yesterday ds told me that for the lead on his J-term research position in String Theory (haha can't believe I am saying that) that he needed to meet a postdoc in person. He wanted to know what he should ask as there are 6 different project opportunities. So I suggested that he ask where he could add the most value given his high end math skill, and which project would help him develop his machine-learning knowledge without assuming he had 2-3 years of background. He simply had no idea what to ask. 2) Mental and Physical health - I regularly check that he is eating, sleeping, and exercising. I also ordered a pile of healthy nuts when I found out that he was eating junk food late at night when studying. I have also made sure in conversations about his day, that he has put in 30 minutes for food. So I do keep an eye on his timetable, timing, and taking care of himself. 3) Transport. Although many MIT students apparently organize their own flights (as stated on the parents' facebook page by many parents), we do all the booking of these flights as they cost 1000s of dollars. We have to get him to give us dates for exams and work out plans to get reasonable prices and timelines. We orchestrate this piece in its entirety. 4) University Payment. Although ds is working a part time job actually tutoring someone on this board, we fund his education, room, and board. Because of this, we regulate his meal plan and figure out his housing situation based on our budget. 5) Purchasing. We purchase lots of different things on Amazon that he needs. He just found out for his violin that he needed a humidifier, so my dh researched this, and shipped one to him. He now needs batteries for his metronome. DH will be ordering that next. This is one of the support pieces that we think he could pick up, but ds just doesn't have the time to get it done. He is swamped with school work, so if he had to order these things, he just wouldn't. 6) Written admin. We do written admin for his passport, his bank account, FAFSA, CSS etc. This is crazy time consuming, but I'm not sure how much of this he could actually do. But dh has also had to do all the leg work to set ds up a paypal account and a venmo account. 7) Etiquette. America is not NZ. And we have provided advice on appropriate behavior/emails/formality/ dress/ etc. 8.) Homework/study scheduling. DS in the first semester asked for advice most days, now he just wants me to say 'yes, that sounds great.' He is doing all the scheduling now in his 3rd semester, but likes to be reassured. As a close to unschooler, he has quite a lot of catch up in this area compared to kids that went to the Governer's School who took 6 APs in one year. He just doesn't have the experience, but he is learning quickly. 9) Financial advice. He has yet to figure out the American banking system. NZ has no cheques, so when he got the first one from Grandma, he needed to be told what to do. Also, when he had to pay in a lump sum for his violin lessons, we told him to go get a bank check. Live and learn! He got a bank check made out to MIT (not the full name), and it did not have the music department or his name written anywhere on it, and he handed it to someone at the music front desk. We were like, 'well, that $1200 is gone.' Surprisingly, it wasn't. But he just has no idea how the American money system works. In NZ, you would just use the EFTPOS machine at the music desk and just move the money at point of sale. When we dropped him off at age 17, he had to flip all the coins over to see how much they were worth. He was like "what is a dime?" I had never really realized that a dime is not a word that has any meaning to anyone outside America. And when we told him, he wanted to know why the 10 cent coin was smaller than the 5 cent coin. He found that very confusing. That was his starting point with the American financial system! 10) Communication. He asks for help with some emails. This is kind of subsumed by the above 9 items. But in general, if he is uncertain of an email and what he should say, he will call and ask. He is definitely getting more independent on this one over time, but at first he was just frozen, not knowing what was the appropriate tone, formality, length etc. 11) Computer advice. DH has put Linux on ds's computer, so sometimes ds needs advice on how to load software on a non-standard operating system. Well, that is about all the categories I can think of. I think the OP was only against #8. And if so, I would be curious as to why that one is the most important for adult independence. I'm not being critical at all, I am just deeply curious as where the boundaries are drawn. When we have a conversation with ds on the phone, it is pretty free flow, so from my point of view it would be really odd to say let me help you with this, this, this, Oh NOT that, but this and this. Obviously, this is a parenting perspective, but I am curious. Our family motto is "we are a family and we help each other out." So ever since the kids were little, if one of us needed help, we would ask, and the others would help. If someone started getting lazy (this was me once when I kept asking my dh to do stuff for me once I was in bed), then the other was allowed to say, 'um no, you really need to be doing this on your own.' But in general, we are a family and we help each other out. That is our go to motto. This is why I help my ds who is in a foreign land buried in work. I will help him out, just like one day he will help me out when I am in need. Ruth in NZ
  • Create New...