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Everything posted by lewelma

  1. NZ citizens are allowed to return (and also those with the official visa type called "permanent residents" which is the pathway to citizenship). Border is closed to all foreign nationals, including family of people on different visa types like a "work visa" who are currently in the country. Some family members were caught off shore when the borders closed, and they are stuck right now because all the quarantine facilities are at capacity with just the returning NZ citizens. There are exceptions being made for foreign nationals who have critically important jobs (like the German engineers who needed to fix our very complex sewage crisis here in Wellington). And exceptions for people who are very positive for the economy (the 56 member Avatar film team and their families were allowed in. They are supposed to create 1000 jobs here to make the film). Currently, we can only quarantine 250 people per day because they have to stay for 14 days - so space for only around 4000 spaces in total throughout the country. It is just hard to find suitable hotels (1 exit, enough space, place to walk outside for exercise, etc), and they must be very very carefully managed and manned, so they can't grow the operation too quickly. They have already had to start busing arrivals from Auckland to Rotorua which is 3 hours away because they can't find any more hotels in Auckland. They are about to open the second hotel quarantine facility here in Wellington next week. It costs $4000 per person to go through the 14 day quarantine, and currently the government is picking up the cost.
  2. NZ - there was a bit of a bungle in quarantine about 2 weeks ago, so they are running around confirming the numbers: 16 cases were caught at the border in the past 2 weeks and they are all currently in quarantine No community spread - 50,000 tests completed last week in Auckland have come back negative. Auckland is where the quarantine facility has been for the last 2 months, so some people were concerned about that location specifically. We are currently testing around 10K people/day around the country which is around 1% of the population per week. All negative. No cases from community spread for about 6 weeks now I think. So looks good even with the border bungle.
  3. We have a difficult decision coming up -- whether to send my older ds from NZ where Covid has been eliminated to Boston to live in a dorm. What kind of statistics are available for the percent of 19-20 year olds? I have always figured that if he goes, he will get it. So we need to evaluate the risk given his age group. So for example, if 80% in that age group have mild symptoms, and 0.5% require hospitalization, and 0.01% die, we could use that data to decide how much risk he is willing to take, and whether he is wants to go back. So is there any half-way decent data by age group?
  4. DS took the two classes back-to-back 3 years ago, so they might have changed. But he said that there is NOT a big step up. The final project can also be done at a lower or higher level -- making a checkers game I think. He said there was some complexity to that project, but he enjoyed it. Also, his python skills are on par with kids who have taken a programming course at MIT. And with this foundation, he has been able to teach himself machine learning at a high enough level to be currently analyzing CERN data. This tells me that the AoPS intermediate course is well designed.
  5. My older boy took both intro and intermediate python back to back the summer before senior year. I'll ask him when he wakes up.
  6. LOL. I could actually see how you could think that. Clearly, not true with my grandmother because the chicken fat she kept in a old can in the fridge, and added the rendered drippings from all the chickens she ever cooked. I honestly think that she thought vegetarians didn't eat meat, but chicken fat from a chicken was not meat to her. She grew up in the great depression so she saved and used everything. Thus, the chicken fat in the sweet cookies.
  7. Another, my 90 year old grandmother (who knew I was a vegetarian) make me the most delicious oatmeal cookies. When I asked her what made them so crispy, she said without a second thought "chicken fat." "But granny, I'm a vegetarian." "Well, I didn't put meat in them!"
  8. When I was a vegetarian, I had an acquaintance order me a dish at a restaurant that they told me was bamboo, but was actually tripe. The menu was in a foreign language that they could read and I couldn't. After my first bite, I was pretty sure it was NOT bamboo! 🤢
  9. MIT announced yesterday that they will go partially in-person -- they will invite half the students back each term next year. They have not yet decided how to split the students for spring and fall. My son's dorm hall has already started talking about renting a house in a cheaper location than Boston for their online semester.
  10. Superpower: I can convince teens of anything. I can convince even the worst students that they have skills to use to overcome weaknesses. That they are capable, that they have inherent self worth. My success as a tutor is dictated on how I can change attitude, which is why all of my students stay with me for 3 years. Now, when new parents call, I can say "Oh, I can turn the attitude around in 2 months, but the math will take a year." I have NEVER failed at this. This is also how I convinced my younger boy with dysgraphia that it was worth the fight to overcome it. He does not mind me talking about his struggles because he is *proud* of them. A teen proud of how he has struggled in school? - yes, this is my superpower. Weakness: I cannot keep an academic schedule. I am philosophically ambivalent as to whether good learning includes strict timetable goals, and because of this ambivalence, I am unable to keep my own kids to due dates. This can build excuses and a sense that they can just do it tomorrow. I have no trouble with this with my tutor kids because the school gives them due dates to meet. But because I am philosophically ambivalent, I have been unable to work on this weakness to improve it.
  11. My father grew an inch in his early 20s.
  12. My mom had me take 6 years of latin hoping it would help my spelling. But I couldn't spell the latin words either. 🙂 My younger ds tried to make fun of me for never having read the Aeneid (his dad is currently reading it to him). And I could say, "actually ds, I *translated* the Aeneid." So there.
  13. I actually remember talking to my dh when I was 35 reading up on phonics and saying "did you know that the oa makes the O sound in boat and coat?" He was like "um, duh." But to me this was a revelation. Every single piece of phonics that I learned that year was new and exciting. Even with a PhD which meant a heck ton of reading, I had never noticed that combinations of letter consistently made certain sounds. Clearly, my mind just wasn't structured for this kind of thing.
  14. Oh yes! But in addition, my dh could not write as a kid. His very conservative mom actually sent him to secretarial night school in the late 80s when he was 14 to learn to type. He was with a class of 30 older women. But he could spell, so all he needed to do was learn to type and then he was fine to write. Me, I could not spell or read, but I could physically write. So once I could read at 12, I could write within a year or 2 with just poor spelling and punctuation. So my poor ds got the worst from both of us, the inability to physically write from dh and the inability to understand how language goes together from me. This is why it has been so much harder for him than either of us. At 12, he could not form letters, spell the top 100 words, punctuate anything, understand grammar, or structure paragraphs. Not a good starting point heading into highschool.
  15. I learned phonics at 35 when I had to learn it to teach it to my older. 🙂
  16. I also want to suggest to people that you can get creative. My younger right now prefers to read his more advanced books out loud. If he does not have an audience, he will just read out loud to himself. 🙂
  17. This. To be able to enjoy adult literature (both classic and modern) you need to be so comfortable with advanced vocabulary and sentence structure, that they feel natural. Only then can you actually enjoy the books rather than reading them for 'school.'
  18. I will say looking back at my reading thread from when my children were little, we definitely focused on classics, and we ramped it up *fast* to get into a larger selection of options. However, when my older started high school he definitely didn't do all classics. He read an entire year of post-modern novels and award winners -- The Luminaries, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, House of Leaves, Roadside Picnic, If on a Winters Night a Traveler, Wolf Hall, etc. These are modern books that are complex and often innovative. He could only get up to those because we built up his level every year with easy classics with complex vocabulary and language structure. As for 'saving up' books, I would just have my kids reread books when they were older so that they would understand more of the nuance. My younger read Watership Down about 10 times. You get something new out of a novel every time your read it. He has currently reread Pride and Prejudice 3 times and The Enchanted Forest Chronicles 7 times (currently his favorite books). The Enchanted Forest Chronicles are modern and don't have complex vocabulary, but because they are subversive, the critique and irony are quite advanced. As for finding appropriate books, my problem is not with finding books about girls, my problem is finding funny books or books with happy endings. My younger won't read depressing books as they are really not good for his mental health, so as you move up in literature, it becomes harder and harder to find good books that don't deal with horrible topics. He is fine with Oliver Twist, because of the sarcasm even though the topic is depressing, and the Aeneid is exciting and doesn't deal with darker themes. For his senior English year, he is reading all of Austen and some Bronte, as they are uplifting. All about rich women finding husbands which obviously he doesn't connect to, but they are what he wants to read because of the humor. His senior English research paper is about conformity in these books, so he connected to their themes but not to their plot or characters. So I hear you about the struggle to find appropriate books, but perhaps you focus not on finding books about girls, but finding books on topics/themes they would like.
  19. Mine too! DH is currently reading The Aeneid to my younger (16) and Infinite Jest to younger and older (19). One book is very old and one is very modern. 🙂 And now my younger has started reading out loud to my dh, he started with Oliver Twist so he could do the accents. So there is just a whole heck ton of reading together that happens in this family.
  20. I started a thread a number of years ago on how to work through progressively harder fiction. Wow, looks like it got 179 responses! I'll have to go back and reread it and see how much I currently agree with. But it might give some people here something to ponder. Ruth in NZ ETA: gulp, going back and reading this is fascinating. Definitely some stuff in there to argue about. I'm also starting to understand why my older mathy boy is actually quite a humanities kid. I had much less success with this approach with my younger.
  21. I always struggled with all the pieces of LA curriculum. For math I had one workbook to do generally in order. We just did the next thing. But for LA we seemed to need to cover handwriting, spelling, grammar, mechanics, writing, literature, poetry tea time, reading skills, etc. It was just so many different things and for us, and it seemed to take over which was especially hard for my older mathy boy. If each thing took 10 - 20 minutes each, and you really only wanted to do an hour of LA, you just couldn't fit it all in. In addition, with my younger boy, he could not understand language arts skills in isolation because of his dysgraphia. In the end we had to combine it ALL. At the age of 12, we did dictation, where he worked on his handwriting, phonics skills, spelling, grammar, and punctuation, and because we used literature like the Hobbit for the dictation, we also discussed the author's style and his themes and characterization. Keeping all these skills separated out for his first 6 years of education taught him nothing as at age 12 he couldn't remember how to form the letters, spell the top 100 words, or punctuate even the most basic sentence. This lack of skill was even after 6 years of handwriting, spelling, and grammar instruction done as separate skills with separate workbooks. It was the silo-ing of individual LA skills that was the complete fail for him. So the bitsy approach was a real problem for both of my boys. But only in hindsight. I still used it for each of my boys in K-5 when I really should not have.
  22. So the last thread got a bit unwieldy because there were so many different grades and so many different subjects getting discussed. So I thought it might be a good idea to rotate through subjects and grades. Seems like youngsters and Language Arts would be a good place to start. I'm long done with this, but I can ask the questions that I struggled to answer all those years ago. 1) How much should your require? Especially with a child who is resistant? 2) How can you avoid the bitsy approach of LA or do you embrace it? 3) Do you focus on classic literature, modern, or both and why? 4) How do you build confidence and motivation? These are just ideas for a discussion. You don't have to answer any of these questions! Post your own questions if you are in the middle of this. There are lots of people on this board with piles of experience who can help newbies design their own curriculum. Ruth in NZ
  23. I'm in NZ. Our social life is completely back to normal; our economy is not. Yes, all cultural events, sporting events, bars, etc are happening. We have no masks required, and no one is wearing them. We have no social distancing requirements anywhere including public transit. In fact, we just sold out a 40k stadium for a sports match with no masks or social distancing required. Biggest thing we can't do is leave NZ and expect to be able to get back in. There is only room for 250people per day for quarantine (you have to stay for 14 days, so that is actually 3500 people at a time). So they are prioritizing people for quarantine who have critical jobs or need to get back in for humanitarian reasons. So if MIT opens, and ds can actually get a flight out (there are few out because there are few flights in), he may have trouble getting back in, and when he does, he has to sit in a hotel room in Auckland for 2 weeks. So that part is not normal. In addition, NZ's economy is about 20% tourism and a big chunk is also international students. So that is a real problem with the borders closed. But it does mean that all of our natural and cultural heritage sites are not mobbed with tourists, so a lot of Kiwis are off and about learning about their own country.
  24. This made me smile. I had the same response.
  25. crossing fingers! The stadium is sold out in Auckland! 40k capacity. BLM marches in all major cities today. Look at the photos: no masks required. We are about ready to find out how well we have eliminated the virus.
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