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Everything posted by lewelma

  1. I'd stick to 2 pages. 11 point. (Ok, I did a little bit at 10pt). Say less. 🙂
  2. These are some ecology labs. Many of them are about statistics, data collection, data analysis.
  3. 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?
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Are you near the ocean? If so, I can give you a ton of hands on ideas.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. People would come into the living room and always ask about it. So I would say "you have to ask ds." Then, he could say, "oh, it is about my good attitude - I get a ring for every time I do my work with a good attitude." Of course, this would lead to comments and a short discussion. It gave him a lot of positive reinforcement from people besides ME. He loved getting to choose the color, and then make the ring and attaching it to the existing chain RIGHT THEN (of course this required a chair, and some exercise). So the reward was linked directly to the good attitude, and the length of the ring represented the long standing effort. He was always talking about it "oh, it is almost to the light... now I might be able to get it to the corner by next week." etc. It was a visible representation of his mental state. It was definitely one of my best homeschool ideas for younger kids.
  13. Totally agree with Melissa. But I do think that those of us down under don't focus so tightly on phonics when kids are learning to read. I have a friend who is a reading specialist and she teaches kids to use all sorts of clues to help them learn to read -- phonics of course but also things like semantic expectation. I think that kids who are enjoying the process of learning to reading are more likely to put in the effort to learn to do it. Pictures are a part of the joy for little kids. I would NOT cover them up. Ruth in NZ
  14. I will also add that at the age of 7, my ds did 1 hour of seat work a day. And we had a 2 hour excursion every single day. Exhausting for me, but required for him.
  15. My younger boy has always struggled with attitude and school. And Yes, I have homeschooled him all the way through - he is now almost 16. Every single day, I had to put my big girl panties on and get the job done. Every single day I worked to get him to take ownership, and yes, in the end it worked, but it was a ten year massive effort by me. True ownership only started at age 15. And this last year has just been wonderful. At age 7, I did something very similar to S4Christ. We made a paper chain that went around the living room ceiling so that *everyone* who walked in would see it and ask about it. DS got to put 1 ring on the chain for every TEN minutes that he worked with a good attitude - yes we are talking 10 minutes. And he had to decide (not me) if his attitude was good enough for a ring. We made a list of what good attitude looked like that he could reference if he couldn't decide. We did this for a full year, and slowly moved up to having a good attitude for a single subject (20 minutes). So maybe he would earn 5 rings a day if he was lucky. By the end of the year, the ring was close to circling the entire room, and he started planning how he could finish it up by Christmas. He would plan what he could loop it onto as it got longer. It was really quite motivating for him. And it was all based on Attitude -- not work accomplished or correct answers. And it HE decided if his attitude was good or not, because the chain needed to be *owned* by him. When I made judgments, he would disagree or argue. So I very quickly realized that he had to decide if he had worked with a good attitude. Worked well while he was young. Ruth in NZ
  16. I find this conversation fascinating. I was a school teacher in a previous life, and I am just so very different as a homeschool educator. I don't actually believe in giving grades for my home grown classes, and have never given my children tests, or graded papers, or kept any sort of grade book. It wasn't until the summer before my older boy's 12th grade year that I had to even think about how to create a transcript. Until that time, we did not have official courses nor did we have official grades. Like others have said, it sooooo depends on the family dynamic and the child in question. Our homeschool is not about me assigning work. I have never assigned work, I have never given my kids due dates or schedules to keep, which is part of the reason why grades would never work. We have a rhythm to our day, where we work from 9 to 3ish, and my kids have been expected to do some math, writing, and science every day. How much they do was up to them, what they studied was up to them. We would decide on the topics for the term, and I would find and buy the materials, and they would read them or do them, and if they didn't like them, I would go find something else. The goal was the love of learning, as I believe that kids who love learning, learn more effectively and efficiently. So once again, how do grades work here? I also did most things *with* my kids, so right now my younger boy and I are each writing papers on development economics comparing Botswana to the DRC. He is focusing on the impact of leadership, and I am focusing on the impact of slavery. We then read our papers to each other and find areas of success and areas that need improvement. If I were to *grade* his paper, it would ruin the dynamic of us being in it together, learning together, making progress together. I know *nothing* about development economics, so I am actually also learning the content and basing our work on question driven research papers. But once again, no grades. When my older boy was in 12th grade, and we knew at that point that he needed a transcript and certain classes, I bought a study book for AP government. He was to read it that term and take the unit tests (multiple choice) after each chapter. I asked him after every test, 'how did you do?' and he would say I got them all right. So, ok, 95% to 100% on 7 tests -- that is an A. But that was the most worthless A I ever gave him. I got to put down that he took tests, and the grade was objective, but boy was it worthless compared to his independent reading and working that he had been doing for years with no grades. He read for 4 hours every single night from 9pm-1am for 4 full years, 9th-12th grade. This reading was not for an assignment, he was just reading the Economist, Scientific American, and all sorts of literature because he wanted to. How do you grade that kind of reading, especially because there was no expectation, no requirement, no assignments. These hours, however, had to turn into classes for him to get enough credits on his transcript, and clearly he had read more widely and more deeply than basically any teen I had ever met. But grades? No. Not until I was forced to. When I wrote the transcript, I based all grades 9th - 12th grade on standardized tests he took in 11th and 12th grade, linking grades by skills mastered rather than by content. But during my boys' 12-year education with me, grades have played no part. Ruth in NZ
  17. Thanks guys! My mom went through all the cheerios and found one that was way higher in iron than the others. Personally, I'd have him eating a cooked breakfast rather than cereal, but my mom is really only about 70% at this point because of the alzheimers, so I'm keeping it simple. Dad has great teeth, no cancer, no aging related ailments really of any kind. The low iron is due to him getting both knees done voluntarily. Apparently, he lost a lot of blood and now has low iron. Not clear why he is not on a supplement, but there are some complicating factors that I'm not going to go into. I've been told to get the food sorted so my dad can eat high iron and my mom can prepare it without too much fuss.
  18. I don't know about the other schools ds applied to, but I think that Carnegie Mellon read all my paperwork. My ds had an on campus interview (which was a big deal as we live in NZ), and at the end they brought me in to ask any questions (they do this with all parents, not just homeschoolers). I found out that my ds never mentioned in the interview that he was homeschooled, haha. I knew that they brought parents in, so I came with all my documentation to ask for a 'pre-reading' and advice. They man from admissions just about fell over with joy over my paperwork. LOVED IT! He didn't read it on the spot, but loved that there was SO MUCH of it. So 1-page transcript, 2-page school profile, 6-page course descriptions, and 2 page counselor letter. He said verbatim "There is no such thing as too much paperwork for a homeschooler." My ds got in, and got their top merit scholarship. So, yes, some schools do read the paperwork you are making. But even if they don't, if you make it *pretty* then it reflects on your homeschool and gives the impression of organized, effective educational environment. Ruth in NZ
  19. In search of deeper learning by mehta and fine. They did a 6 year survey of schools in america with the goal of finding and studying schools/teachers that taught high level thinking skills (top of blooms taxonomy chart). They did not find what they expected. It is an amazing book and is really helping me rethink what I do well and where I could improve.
  20. I'm currently tutoring a kid in the SAT and as far as I can tell the PSAT 8/9 is the same style test. You may not know, but the SAT reading portion does not test understanding or interpretation of fiction/nonfiction texts. It tests the ability to find details in a passage. So if you want to do better on the *test* not better on reading comprehension, the trick is to not read the passage from start to finish. If you read it all, your mind starts to put together a picture of what you know, what you can infer, what you can interpret. And the SAT does not test that AT ALL. In fact, many of the wrong answers are reasonable interpretations. In fact, there are lots of words that actually will lead you to look for interpretations - words like "best", "most nearly", "mainly" - cross these words out. There is only ONE correct answer, and the words/evidence will be STATED in the passage. Your job is to be like a lawyer and be super picky and find the *exact* place in the passage that the answer resides. So the best technique for the kid I am working with is to 1) NOT read the passage 2) skip questions without a line citation, and go to the questions with the line citation and do them first. 3) read the line citation, and then read one sentence before and one sentence after the citation. 4) Go through each of the multiple choice answers, and find where in the passage it is clearly proven right or wrong. Do this for all 4 possible answers. 5) Only when all line citation questions are completed, do you go after the ones without a citation (which is usually only 30%) 6) Then having muddled around with the passage with the other questions, you often have a feel for where you should look for answers when the question has no line citations. If you can't, guess and move on. This is clearly NOT good for developing true language arts skills. But the SAT is not testing that. It is testing the ability to read a single sentence or paragraph and look for a specific detail. If it is not in the passage, it is NOT the right answer even if it is actually true. Hope this helps,
  21. Great! He is sick of Total, but that list gives a bunch of good options.
  22. Ok, I'll ask him if he like cheerios. Any others?
  23. I am in NZ and helping my dad in the USA. My mom shops at Kroger. Can someone please give me a recommendation of a cereal besides Total that is fortified with iron and reasonably low in sugar. She is on a budget, but if I tell her there is a high-end one that is way better, she would splurge. He does not like raisins.
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