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Everything posted by lewelma

  1. Basically, I gauged how much I needed to do by reading the WTM and then coming here to discuss. Back in the day, this board was known as being pretty hardcore (which 8 has mentioned), and it drove me to be a better homeschooler. But it also caused to me to compare and find my homeschool wanting. As I tried to increase the amount and level of content we covered, my kids were like 'nope.' This made me second guess whether I was doing enough. I also felt like my kids were not putting in nearly enough hours, my older would do 5.5hr/day max. So 28hr per week. My younger has maxed out at 5hours 4 days per week. so 20 hours. It just seemed like not enough. But over time I came to believe that they were learning in their own way in their off hours, and when my older boy applied to American schools, I created courses out of this self learning so that it could be recognized as 'real.' When designing my own course of study for each of my boys, I always had huge dreams. I found so much I wanted to cover, and planned all summer. Honestly, I never even followed one of my weekly plans for any subject. I came to believe that "planning is essential, and plans are useless.' At first I worried about this, but over time I embraced the approach of having a big picture plan but then implementing it based on what each day gave me. I have decided that I adapt. That is just what I do. To work well, a homeschool must accommodate the needs of the parent and the needs of the child. So I needed a road map but not an implementation strategy.
  2. How about having her give a formal presentation on her work and then answer formal questions. Have her pretend she is a professor. ๐Ÿ™‚
  3. So my concern has always been the transition to university where the due dates are strict and there is no readjusting. My older had no trouble with this switch, but I worry about my younger. Do you have any due dates that are strict?
  4. My older boy considered any help of any kind to be *cheating.* This obviously included me, but it also included written explanations/textbooks! He refused any help AT ALL in math at the age of 7. I have no idea how he learned fractions, because all he had was 5 step long word problems and a single numerical answer. He would not do any drill, would not look at any examples, would not discuss it. He had to FIGURE IT OUT ON HIS OWN. This is why it took him multiple days of raging before he agreed to allow me to help him in math for just 30 minutes per *week*. He really needed that book back. ๐Ÿ™‚ But bringing this back to this thread's focus. This boy had very very specific needs for his math. The solution for him was created by Richard Rusczyk, who deeply understood kids like my kid. My ds basically created a discovery program on his own for all of primary school math and PreA by taking a standard curriculum and discovering all the content without direct instruction. I worked hard to understand what *he* needed, and to provide it. In contrast to most other subjects, math is often easiest taught with a curriculum with a scope and sequence. But not with my 2 boys. My first could not use any program but AoPS, and could not tolerate university courses at the local uni either. In fact, he could not tolerate undergrad math courses at MIT because of the direct teaching, and by his second term there, switched to graduate level courses. This kid has to *discover*. But I'm sorry to say that my second boy ALSO could not use a math curriculum. He has his brother's intuitive math brain but this is overlaid with dygraphia and an inability to *code* ideas. This meant I wove together 6 PreA programs, and now am weaving 3 separate calculus programs. So sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. And for my 2 boys, that meant that I had to actually create math curriculum that was usable for them. I firmly believe that this was the right approach for *my* kids, but boy I would not recommend it if a satisfactory pre-purchased curriculum could be found. It is much much more fun to create a program of study in Science or English or Social Studies!
  5. Oh he raged. For hours, and then days. But I would not give it back to him until he agreed to my conditions. I believed it to be a mental health issue, because he would cry for hours a day, but refuse all help, and never stop working no matter how upset he got. And then he would punish himself with another hour of work if he got something wrong so continue to cry. I told him he couldn't have the book back until he was willing to stop when he was crying and take a break. And he had to let me give him 30 minutes of help per week. He was desperate to get the book back, so agreed, and things went better after that.
  6. When my older was your daughter's age, when we butted heads it led to an explosion! You should have seen it when I hid his AoPS book because he was crying for 2 hours a day by doing work that was too hard for him!
  7. I think this is where I get off track. I'm pretty good with how long output will take, but taking in content I seem to get wrong over and over. Do you actually give them daily assignments? I definitely readjust my courses over the year. This used to bother me, but now I see it more as adapting to my child as an individual. I now make a list of what I would like to do knowing that I will always cut at least a third. If I expect that I will drop content, it gives me permission and reduces stress. It also lets me adapt by choosing which of the content is most suited to my kids developing interests as they learn more about the topic. I'm sort of flexible within a strict structure. And I am more into skills than content, honestly.
  8. I'm not sure about that. I have high standards and my standards are generally met. We keep strict school hours and work on very hard content and skills. I think the difference is that I spend a decent amount of time on buy-in, and organize my homeschool around cooperation and collaboration. I read a book years and years ago that revolutionized how I parent and how I homeschool -- The Explosive Child. (My older was an explosive child!) In it he argues for problem solving for issues so that both the parent and the child find the solution to be workable. If later it is found that one party or the other is not satisfied with the agreement, you relitigate. I've followed his approach for 13 years, so I've gotten pretty good at it. ๐Ÿ™‚
  9. Not exactly. But I did purposely buy my older boy Dungeons and Dragons when he was 12 because it was clear that he needed help with EQ. I hate that game, but played it for 3 hours a week for 3 years with my dh and 2 boys to help my older boy learn how to collaborate, argue appropriately, deal with disappointment, be a good sport, etc. And it worked!
  10. I love all opinions. I think you and others need to quit thinking that you have nothing to offer because you have not been homeschooling for very long!! I think that when lots of voices kick around ideas, a more nuanced understanding is developed and explored. I'm also trying to give people questions to mull over to get this thread started and see if we can maintain it as a mega thread like Serendipitous Journey suggested. Hopefully, some other posters will come and help me out. There are only so many questions I can come up with! 'Lack of effort' - I'm a bit wobbly about how to assess this. My approach has always been to focus on self assessment. How did you do today? Have you done enough? How can you improve tomorrow? My younger boy has always been incredibly laid back and not very keen on academics. At one point he informed me that "he didn't really fit in our family, because he found no joy in academic work." But over a decade of slow encouragement for self assessment, I have turned it around. So point being, I wouldn't have a conversation about 'lack of effort' with a child because I run a collaborative homeschool with complete buy-in from my kids.
  11. I would suggest that you find a poorly worded piece of writing from another kid and have your child make suggestions to it. If he/she can't think of anything, then you could help them see what could be improved. But you would be attacking a *different* kid's writing, not going after what your kid wrote. Over time I would expect that a child would start to see how the process works and try to improve their own work. The other thing I would do is model. You could write a letter to your mom and have your child watch (write it at her level not an adult level!). Talk out loud about what you want to say and how you think about different options of how to say it. Put some faults in your letter so you can go back and fix them. Edit a sentence to make it better. Talk through writing as a process. Do this every week. Eventually, a child will internalize that 'first draft, final draft' is not how great writing is made.
  12. I think back in the day I did use WTM books to get a sense of what to accomplish. But once my kids hit highschool it became much trickier. I apparently have very high standards as I wasn't convinced that my older was doing enough in high school and worried constantly about how much he *should* be doing, and now he is at MIT. So my expectations are clearly way way off. With my younger having dysgraphia, there is such a disconnect between what he *could* do if he could write vs what he can do. Thus, I have basically found it impossible to make a week or month schedule of assignments. Just can't do it. But each of my boys prefers content goals over time goals, and I just can't seem to make it work. I under estimate or over estimate how long things take. There is no rhyme or reason to my poor predictions. I have been homeschooling now for 15 years and have never figured this one out.
  13. I'm curious how people adapt their program to the child throughout the year. I have really struggled with this. I'm not good with strict weekly/monthly deadlines like a school -- if my boy finishes an assignment early I feel like I could have used that time to teach him more, but if he isn't done by the due date, then I probably put too much in the program. Because I have only taught every class once and maybe twice, I can't easily judge how much can be accomplished. For this reason, I have never used due dates. We work until it is done to a mastery level. But the problem with that approach, is it does not reward hard work or penalize laziness. And both of my children have requested content goals rather than time goals because they find them more motivating. It's just that I can't seem to get the content goals right. Thoughts?
  14. Synthesis is bringing together ideas from multiple sources whereas Analysis is breaking up a single text to see how its ideas were created. For the speed work, I am using premade content from the NZ exams. We will spend the entire year building up to this level of speed in synthesis and analysis. Because it will take us a year, we are doing all the research papers this year. I am hopeful than an extra year of maturity will make the speed work more realistic, which is why I'm doing long form this year (Jan-Dec 2020) and short speed essays next year (Jan-Dec 2021). Analysis essays The English exam provides one poem and one creative nonfiction for analysis. You need to write 3 essays in 3 hours. (Unfortunately the pieces have been redacted so you can't see them if I were to give you a link.) The questions are Discuss the way the writer explores ongoing change, referring to at least TWO specific aspects of written texts. Discuss the way the writer explores the experience of danger, referring to at least TWO specific aspects of written texts. Compare how the writers portray the ways people relate to rivers, referring to at least ONE specific aspect used in each text. Here is an excellence exemplar: Synthesis essays The Geography exam provides 16 short articles, graphs, tables, and diagrams.You need to write 3 essays in 3 hours. Some of they resources you can see here, but they have redacted anything under copyright. The questions from 2019 were: Comprehensively analyse how the environment (natural and/or cultural) makes parts of Italy suitable for the generation of solar energy. Comprehensively analyse the changes in Italyโ€™s electricity generation methods from 2010 to 2016. โ€˜Solar power is critical in ensuring the long-term sustainability of Italyโ€™s environment.โ€™ Critically evaluate the positive and negative impacts on the natural and/or cultural environment of solar farms to come to a justified conclusion about the future of solar power generation in Italy Here is an excellence exemplar from 2017: Long form synthesis and analysis papers My ds has completed a synthesis research paper for Geography and an analysis research paper for English in the last 4 months. I can share them if you think it would help you understand the difference and the level of writing I am aiming for. Hope that helps Ruth in NZ
  15. @lwest, I'm happy to discuss this more. I learned this lesson with my older boy. I pushed too hard when he was young, and he came to believe that he was a bad writer. Seriously, how can an 8 year old actually define themselves as A Bad Writer? It can only happen through the eyes of someone else, or some sort of comparison to others of which he had none. I took this as a fault in my teaching, and I changed. I am so glad that I learned my lesson with my older boy, because I needed these attitudes to support my younger child. My younger was a boy who at age 12 could not physically write because he could not remember how to form the letters; could not spell the top 100 words because even though he knew the rules, nothing was automatic; and could not understand how a sentence went together even having done 4 years of a grammar program. And yet at age 12 he considered himself a GOOD writer because he had something to say and ideas he wanted to express. He believed his massive struggles did not define him and could be overcome in time. I made sure he truly believed that writing is thinking made clear, and that handwriting, spelling, and mechanics were just a small piece of the larger goal, and that it was a goal worth fighting for. And it was this Good Will that allowed him to work for 2-3 hours a day from the age of 12-16 to master these skills and to have almost come out the other side. The key thing to know and believe is that *you* don't make suggestions, you ask *your child* what he wants to improve. You *support* a young writer, you do not dictate to him. So for a 6 year old, I would want him to know that writing is a process of improvement. But you cannot say things like 'drafts' or let's 'clean that up' or 'let me give you some suggestions to improve.' They don't hear what you are saying; they hear 'your writing is not good enough based on my judgement.' This destroys confidence. And leads to disinterest and avoidance. Instead, you say: What is your favorite sentence? What do you like about it? Then discuss this, help them really see clearly why it is good, help them express why they like it. But don't do direct praise because praise from you is Judgement from you. What you want instead is ownership and self evaluation. So only then do you ask: What is your least favorite sentence? How do you want to change it? Depending on what your child say determines what you 'teach.' But make sure it is not Teaching with a capital T, instead it is careful encouragement of belief in himself as a developing writer and encouragement to be the best writer he can be. When it came to more picky editing, I gave my kids 20 cents for every error they found in a book. This was particularly lucrative once they got some messy copies on their Kindles. Once kids see that others make mistakes, not only will they identify their own mistakes, they will know that it is not a reflection on their value as a person. Judgement is insidious. Kids have to *want* to improve; it needs to come from inside. Ruth in NZ
  16. I've started a thread here on the General Board for those who don't want to move to Facebook
  17. For first grade Language arts I had the following goals for writing and reading: Writing: 1) help my child believe that he was a writer. 2) discuss ideas with my child, because writing is really thinking. and 3) help my child with the mechanics of language (handwriting, spelling, sentence formation etc) Reading: When my child was an early reader, I wanted him to 4) feel the joy of independent reading, 5) hear and discuss books too hard for him to read. 6) slowly ever so slowly build up his skill level Once I had my goals, I would figure out how to achieve them. 1) Help my child believe that he was a writer: I encouraged story telling and wrote down my kids stories. I celebrated all writing and was not critical (we are talking 6 and 7 year olds!). Meeting this goal was not about curriculum, but about my attitude towards writing and my perception of the role of the teacher. I can discuss more of this if you want, but it is incredibly important. 2) Discuss ideas with my child. Kids can't write if they have nothing to say. This goal is about *talking* to your kid. Lots of verbal discussion at the dinner table, while walking, during and after reading a book. It is just about developing depth of thinking. A purchased curriculum can't really do this. Which is why homeschooling is so great! 3) Help my child with the mechanics of language. For my kids, I just had them copy the Cat in the Hat and then other books that they enjoyed. If a child is ready, you could do some simple dictation, but it would depend on the child. We discussed phonics in context of their copy work and in context of them reading out loud to me. We continues with 10 minutes of handwriting that was beyond the copy work. I bought Getty Dubai workbooks. I did more formal grammar and spelling programs in 2nd and 3rd grade. 4) Feel the joy of independent reading. We went to the library every week and I had him pick out readers that he was interested in. Then we created a special snuggle time for reading where we would both read on the sofa. I acted as a model, and reading was connected to a peaceful special time with mom. 5) Hear and discuss harder books. My dh was in charge of this. Every. single. night. he would read out loud for an hour after he got home from work. We chose to have him read through history with cool library books, but he also read literature like Charlotte's Web etc. He and my boys talked almost as much as he read. Discussion is key to developing insight. 6) Slowly every so slowly build up skill level. I did a lot of research as to what was on the next level of books. Once we got past readers, I would make an annual list of appropriate leveled novels, and let them pick off the list. I would talk up each book, describe it enthusiastically, and then whichever one they chose for the next book, we would get it at the library that week. Some I did purchase. I also got them to find nonfiction that they were interested in. I often helped them pick through books at the library that were of an appropriate level. So that is how I created a LA curriculum for my 1st graders. Goals first, then how you will meet these goals. Purchased curriculum can definitely be a part of meeting your goals, but often it was only a small part for us. Ruth in NZ
  18. So right now, I don't have any questions to ask the group, but I can describe how I have created a writing program for my younger who is in 11th grade this year. He is 2E with dysgraphia, so a standard English curriculum has always been impossible to implement. When designing my own curriculum, I've considered 2 main things: 1) what do I want him to learn? and 2) how can I keep him motivated and interested. What do I want him to learn? Well, obviously to write. But I want to tailor it to both let his strengths run, and to shore up his weaknesses. Plus, I want to align his writing to his goals in life. He wants to major in human geography and work to solve complex world problems. So I think he needs to be able to write synthesis papers of many different opinions on the same topic. I also want him to learn how to write for multiple audiences and adjust his approach and style depending on his purpose and audience. I want him to be able to be an effective speaker as he is considering being a Mayor. His strengths: He is a nuanced, deep thinker. He understands multiple perspectives and makes great insights. He has a wonderful style with a lovely use of language features and vocabulary. He can type at speed. His weaknesses: He has dysgraphia. He cannot physically write and we have chosen not to fight that battle. He struggles with structuring his arguments and he is SLOW! What my top goals are for the next 1.5 years. 1) He has to pick up speed 2) He has to be able to structure his arguments What my objectives are (linked to the above 2 goals): 1) I have found a bunch of geography exams where you are given 8 to 10 articles to synthesize on the fly. We will be working through those for a year, to get him faster and faster. I will also be using English unfamiliar text exams for the same purpose. But instead of synthesis, they will be used for analysis. 2) I think that to structure arguments, he needs to have a bunch of purposes and different types of papers to work through. So we have decided on a synthesis research paper, an analytical research paper, a National Geographic article, a creative writing short story, a speech, and a movie analysis. These will be long and have to be carefully structured. How to keep him motivated and keen to learn. The key here is that he gets to pick the topics that fill in for each paper type on #2, and he is on board for the speed work where we used other people's choices for #1. I also work *with* him for a couple hours a day, kicking ideas around, talking to him about structure, answering questions, researching ideas etc. I have lots to say on motivation as this has been a key piece in working with my ds in writing given that he has dysgraphia. But I'm going to post to get this thread started! Looking forward to what others have done and to sharing ideas!
  19. It sounds like many of us wish to discuss the design of our own curriculum to support the unique characteristics of our children. As Serendipitious Journey suggested: And thanks to 8 for suggesting the idea and good luck to those heading towards the new facebook page. I'll post this starter message now. And then think of some of my own questions and ideas and post again soon. Please join me. ETA: I've posted a lot here at the start just to get a vibe going on the thread, but please know this is not an Ask Ruth thread. ๐Ÿ™‚ The more voices the better.
  20. I've heard that Princeton is going to make any upcoming Freshman who defers reapply. This is from my sister whose boy just graduated from there.
  21. It's the end of the school year and I thought I would start the wrap/brag thread for 2020. This is your opportunity to reflect on what you have accomplished this year and to brag about your dc! No brag too big or small! ***************** I'll start because we had a break through this week! ๐Ÿ™‚ As many of you know my younger boy has had a long hard-won fight against his dysgraphia. He is such a global thinker that his ideas and insights have always been incredibly difficult to write down. He could never move linearly through any standard writing program or progression, because the complexity of his thoughts were years beyond any age expectations. Overlay this with dysgraphia, and we had a mess. So this week at age 16 he finally came to understand that paragraphs should have structure! This was a huge success for him! I've been scaffolding him for years, believing that his ideas were more advanced than he could structure on his own, and that it was not really fair to expect him to be independent especially with dysgraphia. But then this week he had a breakthrough! And he asked me, "why did you not teach me this before?!?!?" And I told him that I had -- from when he was age 7 and we were using IEW. Year after year I taught him about topic sentences, how paragraphs go together, purpose, support, etc. And he just never seemed to get it. And what I came to understand this week is that his mind at age 16 was finally *receptive* to the idea of paragraph structure. And then he ran with it. He designed his own acronym. He went back and rewrote every single paragraph of his paper over the period of 10 hours. He refused my help, saying 'I have to do this myself.' It was inspired. Just to give you a feel for the beauty of 2E kids, the paper he is writing is on how social class impacts the importance of internal versus external enforcement of norms by comparing the protagonists in Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, and Jane Eyre. ๐Ÿ™‚
  22. I thought you would appreciate this ad for kiwi crush. ๐Ÿ™‚
  23. Westlandia
  24. I create compelling work by finding outside requirements that allow for self-directed topics. This way my ds has to follow the rules of high end work, but has the flexibility to find something he likes. So for example, for his geography paper the instructions were: Describe the nature of the contemporary geographic issue. Comprehensively explain some viewpoints that relate to the issue. This means you will explain what those viewpoints are, and why people have those viewpoints. Comprehensively evaluate the different courses of action and make a fully justified recommendation about the issue. This means you will explain the strengths and weaknesses of each course of action. Then you will decide which course of action is the best. Explain in depth, giving examples, why that course of action is the best one. So for this set of instructions he wrote a 10 page research paper on the impact of dairy farming in the Mackenzie Basin in NZ. By giving him external requirements but flexibility in meeting them, he has been able to recognize that this is a school project but still follow his own interests. The key for us is that we work collaboratively and we work for very defined times during the day.
  25. ah, now I remember why I did 6 different preAlgebra programs with my younger. Switching it up was key. Even now, he is concurrently learning Trig, Complex Numbers, and Differentiation. It is the variety that keeps him from complaining. I always switch it up every day right before I anticipate the attitude.
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