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lewelma

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Everything posted by lewelma

  1. I wrote about our grading approach a couple of days ago and it seemed like an interesting addition to this thread: I never gave grades and never considered grading anything, ever. There were three reasons for this. 1) I just wanted to teach the love of learning and was very unstructured in my approach to the point of no clear cut courses even in high school, 2) NZ is an exam based entrance university system, so homeschool courses would NOT count for anything so there was no reason to give grades, and 3) he did not decide to apply to American universities until April of his Junior year. So as I went into making an American style transcript of our homeschool journey, I had to both create courses from what he read and wrote about, and I had to create grades out of thin air for courses that were years in the past. I will always remember the generosity of some members on this board for taking the time to sort through my often belabored descriptions of what we had studied over the prior 3 years, make sense of it, and recommend how to organize it into courses that admissions folk would understand. Basically for grades, I retro-fitted what seemed appropriate given all his standardized testing. 1) Excellences in NZ national math exams, NZ IMO math team for 3 years = all prior math courses earned As 2) Excellences in NZ national writing exams, 780 in SAT verbal, 20 on SAT essay = all prior English and humanities style writing courses earned As 3) Excellences in NZ national physics and chemistry exams = all prior Science courses (including Bio) earned As 4) ABRSM distinctions on music exams - all prior music courses earned As 5) Courses created from his 3000+ hours of reading (Contemporary World Problems, Philosophy, Comparative Government, World History, and Economics) -- All As because he put in way more hours than required for a standard Carnegie credit and read content above high school level (War and Peace, Capital, Godel Esher and Bach, etc). I made it very clear in my course descriptions that grades were based on readings and discussion (no output whatsoever for 2 of them (stated clearly on course descriptions), and for 3 of them that had a small amount of writing, grades were also based off the of the composition exams he took #2 above). Basically, they required grades, and I had none. I did what I could to make clear the effort put forth and the knowledge and skills learned, and I made this clear in the only way they could understand which was grades. No school questioned the grades I gave. My counselor's letter discussed how these unstructured courses emerged over time through his own interests. Hope this helps, Ruth in NZ
  2. I had a friend who told me that all she feels is guilt. Not anger, not horror, just guilt that we let this happen to our migrant and refugee community.
  3. I think this is a beautiful picture of her -- the one further down shows her clasping her hands. She is the face of NZ, the face of our sadness. (Don't forget that she has a 9-month old baby.) I feel very much that she is directing the country towards compassion and firm resolve. https://www.smh.com.au/world/oceania/face-of-empathy-jacinda-ardern-photo-resonates-worldwide-after-attack-20190318-p5152g.html
  4. So far, I am very pleased with Ardern's leadership. This video shows clarity and purpose, and it lacks political maneuvering. https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/111355982/christchurch-shootings-families-wait-for-bodies--live-updates
  5. I couldn't get in. The lines were thousands of people long -- check out the third photo. They were estimating 12K showed up. Buses and trains into the city were free and all street parking was free. As we walked there, everywhere you looked, people were all going the same direction. New Zealand has rallied around our Muslim community. As the PM said in her speech, which you can see on signs in rallies throughout the country: They are us. https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/111348087/wellington-weeps-capitals-huge-vigil-mourns-victims-of-christchurch-mosque-shootings
  6. My friends are just horribly embarrassed. These people trusted us. They came here for a better life.
  7. I'm feeling like the only unschooler among everyone here. 🙂 I never gave grades and never considered grading anything, ever. There were three reasons for this. 1) I just wanted to teach the love of learning and was very unstructured in my approach to the point of no clear cut courses even in high school, 2) NZ is an exam based entrance university system, so homeschool courses would NOT count for anything so there was no reason to give grades, and 3) he did not decide to apply to American universities until April of his Junior year. So as I went into making an American style transcript of our homeschool journey, I had to both create courses from what he read and wrote about, and I had to create grades out of thin air for courses that were years in the past. I will always remember the generosity of some members on this board for taking the time to sort through my often belabored descriptions of what we had studied over the prior 3 years, make sense of it, and recommend how to organize it into courses that admissions folk would understand. Basically for grades, I retro-fitted what seemed appropriate given all his standardized testing. 1) Excellences in NZ national math exams, NZ IMO math team for 3 years = all prior math courses earned As 2) Excellences in NZ national writing exams, 780 in SAT verbal, 20 on SAT essay = all prior English and humanities style writing courses earned As 3) Excellences in NZ national physics and chemistry exams = all prior Science courses (including Bio) earned As 4) ABRSM distinctions on music exams - all prior music courses earned As 5) Courses created from his 3000+ hours of reading (Contemporary World Problems, Philosophy, Comparative Government, World History, and Economics) -- All As because he put in way more hours than required for a standard Carnegie credit and read content above high school level (War and Peace, Capital, Godel Esher and Bach, etc). I made it very clear in my course descriptions that grades were based on readings and discussion (no output whatsoever for 2 of them (stated clearly on course descriptions), and for 3 of them that had a small amount of writing, grades were also based off the of the composition exams he took #2 above). Basically, they required grades, and I had none. I did what I could to make clear the effort put forth and the knowledge and skills learned, and I made this clear in the only way they could understand which was grades. No school questioned the grades I gave. My counselor's letter discussed how these unstructured courses emerged over time through his own interests. Hope this helps, Ruth in NZ ETA: I included Regentrude's approach of high mastery = A (down to F of unsatisfactory) on the transcript in the grading box.
  8. My ds did this. His mental health required at least 4 hours a day of math. He liked to do it in the morning when he was the most clear-headed, but then he was too tired to do any other subject except his violin. He also liked to have his weekends totally off from all things except violin where he had 5 hours of lessons/trio/string group. I was very concerned as to where this would lead us. At the time he was not trying to get into an American university, so it was more *my* desire for a broad education than anything required in NZ. To earn university entrance here, he could have studied Calculus, Statistics, and Music to a high level and that would have been enough. *I* wanted him to have breadth. My solution: He could do 4 hours of math during the core 6 hours of the day, but he had to do only half up front (10-noon), then he had to work with me 12:30-2:30 on Science and English composition, and then he could do math again for the next 2 hours from 230-430, and violin afterwards. I made sure Science and English were done efficiently and well. They would not have happened without my sitting there with him. But 10 hours a week of non-math/violin was not enough in my books for a liberal arts education. The way I balanced his needs with my own desire for breadth was to strongly encourage his reading at night. I took all screens away at 9pm, and he often went to bed at midnight to 1am. The rest of the house would be asleep. In the lounge he had magazines (Scientific American, The Economist, and National Geographic) and novels (his choice from medium to high level in Sci Fi, classics, and modern classics), and a nice keyboard with headphones. His choice was reading, playing the piano, daydreaming, or sleeping. And in those quite hours he both learned so much and had time to think. He had space to breathe. And in the end it got to the point that he *had* to have at least 3 hours to himself every night before bed. He loved it passionately. He read with no expectations, no requirements, and no time demands. He read philosophy, economics, current events, Russian literature, postmodern literature, I don't know what else. He also learned to play the piano 🙂 When he unexpectedly decided to apply to American universities in April of his Junior year, I took all those hours of reading and created classes showing his breadth of knowledge and deep thought. Now, at university, he has been recognized by 2 humanities professors as an insightful thinker. This unusual, unstructured path worked for him. Good Luck with finding your own way, Ruth in NZ
  9. What makes NZ different from the US, is that we have a parliamentary system. What this means in NZ is that the ministers that are in the ruling coalition are required to vote as a block. So once the 'government' (which is the ten-ish ministers with cabinet posts) make a decision as to how to handle this, the rest of the ministers in the ruling coalition must vote with them. The ministers in the opposition obviously vote, but will always be out voted. The point is, the government can make sweeping changes without having to compromise with the opposition party, and they don't have to corral votes like you do in the US. So, we will see a united front, and the government could easily and literally overnight: 1) change the gun laws 2) change immigration rules to keep out extremists (we are an island) 3) block certain extremist internet sites (there is only 1 trunk line into NZ which can be controlled) etc What I will be watching is how the government handles this power. The goal is obviously to stop this from happening again without the citizens of NZ losing their freedoms. Luckily, I have found that the current government seems to make decisions based on evidence, and it is a coalition of multiple parties so represents a variety of views.
  10. Found this interesting. Murders are rare in New Zealand, and gun homicides even rarer. There were 35 murders countrywide in 2017. Since 2007, gun homicides have been in the single digits each year except 2009, when there were 11. But there are plenty of guns. There were 1.2 million registered firearms in a country of 4.6 million people in 2017, according to the Small Arms Survey, a Swiss nonprofit.
  11. google, youtube, and facebook are trying to take down the video. NZ providers are blocking other websites with the video from being accessed inside NZ. I think this is good.
  12. Lots of sirens in Wellington tonight. Very disturbing. They are not sure it is confined to Christchurch. 😞 ETA: now a police helicopter zipping by.
  13. I will say, however, that they will be caught. There is no where to hide here. The country is too small and everyone knows everyone. I remember once about 20 years ago that there was a hand gun spotted in Wellington when someone held up a convenience store. And it was all over the radio. "he was last spotted heading down Courtnay Place. Call in if you see him. Oh, another call, he has now been spotted on Tory.....etc" Took them 10 minutes.
  14. Grover lives in Christchurch, but I haven't seen her on the board for a while. Will be very interesting to see where the guns came from as they are illegal here. Even the police only have Tasers. In my experience, there is very little anti-muslim rhetoric here. Me personally, I've never heard anything anti-muslim *ever*. So it will also be interested to see who has trained them for hate. So sad. 😞 Ruth in NZ
  15. Regentrude, I've missed your presence on the board since your ds went off to Uni. Clearly OT, but I just wanted to thank you for all your help in the application process last year with my older ds. Your advice was invaluable and definitely helped him get where he is now. Ruth in NZ
  16. Ah, unschooling. I was an unschooler, and perhaps I still am. It was when my older son *invented* algebra at the age of 6 that I had to change my plans and move beyond playing shop. I have written before about the difference between unschooling and not-schooling. There is a difference no matter what people say.
  17. The waiting is so stressful! I remember it not so fondly. Hope you guys get at least one good option!
  18. Two goals for a public education stand out to me: 1) Being an informed voter. Statistics allows people to understand news about the environment, social issues, surveys, poverty, water quality, demographic trends, etc and thus make informed decisions when they vote. This requires statistical knowledge. 2) Understand mental and physical health issues to make informed decisions about your own life. This includes understanding research in the news on medicine, food, mental illness, etc.; and understanding risk associated with different procedures on offer when one is injured or ill. Once again, statistics and probability. Statistics in my book is way way way more important than algebra for the everyman.
  19. Nulake is a good publisher for 11th and 12th grade, and has data online that you can use to analyze. A full year course would be 5 units. https://www.nulake.co.nz/products/nulake-year-12/ 11th grade Units include: 2.8 Questionnaire 2.9 Statistical inference 2.11 Evaluate statistically based reports 2.12 Probability methods 2.13 Simulations 12th grade units: 3.8 Time series 3.9 Bivariate data 3.10 Statistical inference 3.11 Experiments 3.13 probability concepts (quantitative unit) 3.14 probability distributions (quantitative unit) https://www.nulake.co.nz/products/nulake-year-13/
  20. This is what we use here in NZ for a qualitative report writing class. Its focus is on asking good questions, figuring out how to collect data to answer it, analyzing data, graphing data appropriately, explaining bias, sampling, making inferences, understanding assumptions, planning future work,etc. The ultimate purpose is to understand what can and can't be said with the data that has been collected. 10th grade qualitative statistics workbooks include: 1.10 Multivariate data (analyzing data) 1.11 Bivariate data (analyzing data) 1.12 Chance and data (probability) 1.13 Elements of chance (experiments) These booklets published by Sigma are very very good. They are about 40 pages each and have detailed written answers. http://www.sigmapublications.co.nz/math-workbooks/ncea-level-1/ (scroll down to the bottom of the list to find the statistics) exemplars for all reports for 10th, 11th, and 12th grade units: https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/ncea/subjects/mathematics/exemplars/
  21. Yes, NZ has publishers who make cheap workbooks. I'll get the links later today.
  22. So why algebra over qualitative statistics? Go look carefully at my links and come back an tell me that they do not show a base level of education. Explain to my why algebra would be a better choice. I am not saying *math* should not be required, but I am arguing that *algebra* is the wrong choice for many many reasons.
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