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Everything posted by lewelma

  1. I will add that I required 1 hour of writing per day. For my older Physic/math kid this was enough. For my younger with dysgraphia it has not been enough. We are currently at 2 hours per day, but he does want to be a geographer so he is motivated to accomplish the goal of learning to write.
  2. Just an FYI in case you had never thought about it, writing for English class does not mean you have to write about literature. My focus with my boys has been purpose, audience, and evaluating sources. For my older boy who wants to be a scientist, he wrote research papers on Genetic Engineering and Fracking (evaluating sources was goal). He also wrote papers mimicking The Economist science news articles, and the Scientific American policy recommendation articles (Purpose and Audience was the goal). We studied how these different genre were created, what kind of support they used, and then he wrote about space flight, nuclear power, fracking, etc. These papers were much more useful to him than any literary analysis would be My younger boy who has dysgraphia wants to be a geographer. So has written research papers on Demography and Environmental use. His purpose and audience paper he is writing this term is mimicking a National Geographic article. He is studying how they sway your opinion through creative nonfiction rather than straight argument. He will also be working on synthesis of sources in essay writing, and this one will be under time pressure so he will be prepared for exams in university. But he is Not writing about literature. So, if you want to teach writing for an engineer, perhaps focus on topics that might actually help him in the future. People need to be able to write, but they don't have to be able to write literary analysis. Ruth in NZ
  3. We did Economics by us taking turns reading aloud and discussing Capital by Piketty (he did no papers or tests, just discussion). It put economics in the context of world wide inequality, which was really interesting, especially because we did it together. Any terms we did not know, we looked up then, so there was actually a point to getting economic concepts rather than just a test.
  4. I think you need to move this to the high school board. 🙂
  5. mlktwins, my two nephews attended the governor's school in Northern VA (the younger is still there). The older is currently at Princeton. His experience at Princeton was very eye opening to me (and to him and his family). Basically, he had spent so much time on academics and official ECs in high school that he had never lived. He did not know who he was. He regretted so much. He told me that he should have taken the gap year that Princeton offered to go so SA and teach English. That all the students on that program were more interesting and more interested and had actually *lived*. He ended up doing what he called his "voyage of discovery" in the summer after freshman year, where he got in his car and drove randomly across the USA for 2 months, sleeping in his car and stopping at as many national parks as he could. He unplugged. His goal: to find himself. Basically, the *intensity* of highschool got him into Princeton, but left him a shadow of the man that he could have been. He pushed me *hard* over many late night talks to learn from his errors, and do things differently with my boys. He was 19. Your more recent posts make it appear to me like you are trying to recreate the Governor 's school in your home. That you are trying to compete on the same playing field as kids that have 28 full time teachers helping them over 4 years. I think this is causing you quite some stress because my guess is that you have realized that it is a HUGE ask to personally recreate these environments. I would gently suggest that you think about what *you* and your homeschool can offer your children that the Governor's school could not. That is where you will get an edge up if you are keen to compete for top schools. But as others have said in previous posts, you may not need to compete at all depending on what schools your dc is applying to. And I would suggest that if you do *more* academics and *more* outside work than required, then you do this at a cost - the cost of doing something else. Of finding yourself. Of having the *time* to be and to think. Of having time to discover. It depends on your goals, but I think right now your goals are to be like the others you see around you. I would stop and think and breathe before choosing a path. Ruth in NZ
  6. I would x-post this on the learning challenges board. There are some wonderful parents over there with an epic ton of knowledge. Ruth in NZ
  7. We only read library books in 8th grade. But for textbook style science, I really like the Scipad worktext because it picks a few topics to go in depth rather than trying to cover everything in a surface way. There is a view button so you can look before you buy. (FYI year 9 = 8th grade) Ruth in NZ
  8. Always. There are so many interesting conversations happening on the board right now. Too bad I'm about ready to go into busy tutoring season with final exams in 3-4 weeks.
  9. I love that we both said we would bow out. Haha. We just can't help ourselves. 🙂
  10. Oh, I also have a friend who cut large sheets of styrofoam to fit her windows. She inserts them at night because she has drafty single-pane windows.
  11. We hang wool blankets over the windows at night to stop drafts and insulate. Just wrap them around the curtain rods. Take them down in the day, or don't in the worst of winter. Also, hot water bottles are key. And hats to sleep in. I have been known to put a scarf around my neck to really insulate while I sleep. Dehumidify your house -- damp is colder. My boy's room can get to 45 degrees at night, and this has worked.
  12. He is not even 5. I would suggest the joy of books for a bit longer and then try again with phonics. There is no hurry at age 4. There is no hurry at 5 or even 6. From my point of view, the *love* of reading is way more important that reading at 5 rather than 7. I would wait.
  13. I find this conversation very interesting. Thanks all for taking the time to kick it around.
  14. Animal Diversity: Classify every animal you can find in Kingdom, Phylum, Class, and possibly Order Anatomy: Dissect all dead creatures you can find and identify parts and look up their functions. Compare anatomy between different phylum (jellyfish vs fish for example) Botany: Classify all seaweed you can find, make slides of slivers of tissue and compare parts between different species, identify function. Microbiology: get samples of different water from different locations (including tide pools), classify species, and compare what is in different water samples. Ecology: find two locations with different environmental conditions (shade/sun or tidal action/protected) and compare communities of organisms living in each. Do this also for the microbiology in different types of water (old evaporated pools vs ocean). Physics: observe how water waves move as they reflect, refract, diffract, interfere with seawalls, jetties, lighthouses, coves, inlets. Study how light refracts as it moves from air into seawater and how this affects where you think something is located underwater Geology: observe longshore transport of sand by looking at the sand accumulation on either side of the jetties. Observe the impact of the prevailing wind on the shape of coves. Chemistry: evaporate seawater and if not a polluted beach, taste the salt. Compare tastes between different locations. Pollution: gather sand from different areas and look for microplastics. Where is there more? How does surf and wind impact where it collects? Ok, that is about all I can think of in 10 minutes. Hope your trip is fun! Ruth in NZ
  15. I'd stick to 2 pages. 11 point. (Ok, I did a little bit at 10pt). Say less. 🙂
  16. These are some ecology labs. Many of them are about statistics, data collection, data analysis.
  17. Great! A few questions, so I can brainstorm ideas: Do you have access to the rocky intertidal or any rock pools? Any jellyfish, muscles, oysters, barnacles, seaweed? Are there any jetties, sea walls, lighthouses? Do you have access to barrier islands? or inlets? dunes? Are there coves/bays or just a straight beach? Is it windy? Does the wind direction vary? Are there waves? Is there large variability in tidal height? Do you have access to a microscope? Do you have any chemistry equipment?
  18. I'll bow out too. It is not like I am some big whole language advocate, but I do feel that in some homeschooling circles, it is Phonics 100% even when kids hate it or are in tears. I just wanted to help newbies realize that they can teach reading in many ways. There is no failure in scrapping intensive phonics for techniques that work better for your individual child.
  19. I think sometimes we create these worries on our own. MIT not only has Calculus level 1 on offer for freshman year, it also has a 'stretch' calculus class that lasts over both term 1 and the January term. The stretch Calculus class is for kids that just feel they need to learn calculus level 1 at a slower pace. This is at MIT. Just saying.
  20. Are you near the ocean? If so, I can give you a ton of hands on ideas.
  21. I get my tutor kids to convert all powers into multiplication. They do this for numbers and for variables for at least a month while learning the rules. We love to have a giggle about "please let it not be (x^10)^100". haha. But I just have them write them all out for how ever long it takes them to realize that powers are just repeated multiplication.
  22. Whole language in isolation. yes. But NZ uses a mixed whole language/phonics approach. I am just getting a sense from this thread that it is phonics 100%. That is the research, and that is what you should do. And based on my discussions with my RR friend, that is just not the whole of it. Kids expect a verb in a sentence, they expect the words to match the pictures, they expect grammar to match how they talk. It not *just* decoding individual letters into sounds in isolation that goes on in the brain. And I would also argue, that research from different traditions will give different results. My guess (completely unsupported) is that different countries will come up with different research and different results. I taught my older boy with Bob books at the age of 5 for about 2 months, and then when he saw the NZ readers which are more whole language, he asked to read them. There was a LOT of give-it-a-guess, way-too-hard-words-to-sound-out, but super-high interest topics in those readers. He kept at them for 3 months because they were FUN, and then he asked to switch back to the more advanced Bob books. *He* could tell it was time to master the phonics because *he* could understand its purpose and how his lack of knowledge was holding him back. We we went back to phonics instruction in isolation for 2 more months, and then he was done. Harry Potter all the way. 🙂 For me as a homeschool educator, interest is key to a young child's enthusiasm and motivation for a difficult task, and whole language books are better for that for sure. My younger son who has dysgraphia could not actually understand phonics. I gave up on this approach after about a year and a half of intense effort (30 minutes per day, consistently year round). We switched to whole language at that point just with phonics dabbling. At the age of 12, he was reading Count of Monte Cristo but he was still learning to master how letters connect to sounds so that he could spell. At TWELVE, we were still working on spelling the top 100 words. If I had stuck with phonics only, he would not have read until years later. This would have held him back, and would have withheld his greatest passion - reading. These are just one-off kids, and of course the research is about the *average* kid. But when you are homeschooling, you don't have to just use the *average* kid data and research. You can *adapt* to what your ONE kid needs. That is the beauty of homeschooling.
  23. I'm not a primary school teacher, but my understanding of NZ's approach is to do a whole language, immersive experience with an overlay of phonics for the first year. This allows about 80% of kids to learn to read by age 6 (school starts here ON your 5th birthday, so you enter mid-year). This makes reading fun and kids have no sense of failure even if they can't actually read (just cueing on the pictures or just telling stories but not reading). Then in the second year, Reading Recovery teachers like my friend take over and work more intensively one-one with the remaining 20% or so of students who need a more explicit instruction. This is publicly funded. One-on-one instruction goes on for about 9 weeks I think. For those small percentage of students who still can't read, there is an additional program whose name I forget. My friend who is a RR teacher is quite skilled and works with all kinds of kids from those just not getting it, to those with serious learning disabilities. Seems to work pretty well here to get all the kids reading, and the majority of them learning to read with little effort.
  24. The only people here who cover up with blankets or wear nursing shirts are the Americans. In NZ, you don't even have to be that discreet. I've definitely seen a boob before, and I always see tummies and backs because women just wear regular clothes and feed anywhere they want. The worst BF problem I had was when I was a bridesmaid in my sister's wedding in the USA, and she had us wear a dress that buttoned up the BACK. The only way to feed my ds was to take it all the way off with help! Nothing discreet about that! haha. Definitely had to find a room. Ruth in NZ
  25. This may be irrelevant to you if you are keen on a program, but I just thought I would throw it out there. In middle school, my kids just read books from the library on a variety of topics within disciplines. Earth science: ds read coffee table books like the DK definitive visual guides (there are lots of these like oceans, Universe, Earth etc). For Biology we read books like the Way We Work for human body, and Exploring the Way Life Works for cell and molecular bio, and coffee table books on rainforests, or cheetas, or whatever we found that he liked for ecology. (we do have a big library) For physics we used How Things Work for mechanics, and random library books on optics, electromagnetism, etc For Chemistry we use The Cartoon Guide, and then grabbed cool books on industrial uses for chemistry from library. My older son who is the real science kid, started reading Scientific American in 8th grade. For hands on, we did ONE big investigation each year. But for the rest of the year we just read books. ----------------------- This approach gave both of my boys a broad understanding and love of science, and deep competency in reading scientific text. This reading comprehension mixed with strong math skills set them up well for high school level science. The only thing left to teach them was how to write scientific answers, which I talked about just last week on a different thread. Just know that science-loving kids sometimes love reading for joy and exploring their interests and passions (obviously depends on the kid). And that this approach can be very effective in preparing them for high school level work, so don't feel you have to use a official science program in middle school if you don't want to. If you do, great; but don't feel like it is the only path for a successful science career. Ruth in NZ
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