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Everything posted by lewelma

  1. I put where/with whom the class was taken on the transcript as a superscript with a associated reference box. VUW for Victoria University of Wellington, ABRSM Associated board of Royal Schools of Music, AoPS for Art of Problem Solving, TK for Te Kura, etc. I didn't want them to have to chase footnote numbers, so made them recognizable letters. Then I described the different educational partners in the school profile.
  2. It also obviously depends on the school. My ds got the top CM merit scholarship, and his grades were based on: Mastery in all homeschool classes Blooms taxonomy of knowledge for all NZ national exams (not a percent correct system, but based on demonstrated level of thinking) AoPS bar colors In fact, out of 30ish classes, only the 2 he took at the local university were on a 0 to 100% scale, and the mean and median for both classes were 60%, which represented a B-. So not in any fashion based on the different number criteria you listed above I did not weight any classes for ds's GPA because CM told me that they had their own weighting scale and would ignore mine. I did put info on my transcript (like university-level, AP equivalent) so they could weight them how ever they wanted to.
  3. I find it astounding that such a subjective and varying system of grade/GPA production could dictate so much money! It is really just nuts.
  4. I did my transcript like the one 8 linked to, but wrote it as "pre-9th" rather than 8th because some of the math classes were 6th and 7th grade in addition to 8th. As I remember, I included algebra 1, geometry, algebra 2, discrete math, and Mandarin 1. I did not include grades from these classes in his GPA or in a credit count for high school.
  5. What about an Art Portfolio? We were told to only include the music portfolio if we thought that he would be in the top 10% of musicians for the school. So we looked at what were the audition pieces for the music schools at each university to make the judgement. So add the art portfolio only if she is quite good. But if you are looking for a way to validate grades without doing any more testing, that is one option. And I still think that *formatting* of the paperwork adds validation. 🙂
  6. Carnegie Mellon admissions told us face to face "there is no such thing as too much documentation for a homeschooler." I then handed him one by one, ds's transcript, school profile, and course descriptions. He got more and more excited by the detail and volume of the paperwork. And I think the good formatting helped make it seem quite official. Things that look official are generally not questioned. I think the 86th percentile already confirms the mommy grades on the transcript -- even all As. DS also added a music portfolio with music resume, letter of rec from VIP, and recording of a performance. No way to contest that because clearly *he* was playing.
  7. I was a student who quit trying to learn to spell because of failure after failure throughout school. I just quit and would not try by about the age of 11. It became something I defined myself by. In fact, my little award in high school was "least likely to proof read a dictionary." If he is done and won't try, nothing you do will make him learn. Take time off. Wait a full year and try again. My younger boy could not spell 80% of the top 100 words at the age of 12. Basically, he misspelling every. single. word. he wrote. Now at age 16, he has made huge progress. He misspells about 10% of words at this point, which is totally workable if he is typing. But this progress is because *he* wanted to do the work.
  8. Gil, we sound similar. I maxed out with maths with my 7th grader when we worked together to get him into the IMO camp at the end of that year. It was horrible work for me, as I too am an applied-maths-gal at heart. I have a degree in mathematical biology. It is not that I am afraid of math or something. But *theoretical* maths is just something I really don't care for, and the year that I pounded it with my son left me incredibly burned out and it took me over a year to recover. I never helped him with maths again. But here is the thing, he could do it on his own by that time, so it was ok that he studied for 5 years on his own. He took one foray into the world of the local university, and those two maths classes left him convinced that he would go it alone. The classes were just too easy and slow paced and dull. What I did was give him a selection of books to read. For calc, I gave him AoPS calc, Anton (which I had), and Apostol. I also gave him Algebra by Artin and Analysis by Rudin. I figured that would keep him going. He also self studied combinatorics with random resources he found on the internet to a level that he has walked into graduate level courses in Combinatorics last year, and that was without a textbook at all in high school. So I guess it depends on how good your ds is at self-learning. You have always been so involved in their maths, and been such a good teacher for them, it might be hard for both you and him to make a change. But if a kid is keen, they can make it work even without academic support. I did a lot of listening for 5 years about all this exciting maths he was so keen on. I really didn't know what he was talking about at that point, but my role was to be cheerleader. So that is how I supported his efforts. And interesting, one of his essays for university applications was about having to go it alone in maths, and that because he could not find a local community in maths, that he built his community in music. Good luck with finding a path.
  9. I've never assigned grades until I had to create a transcript and work backwards 3 years. So in my course descriptions, I had a line at the end of each homegrown class in the course descriptions that included requirements, but never mentioned how I graded. For example: "Course requirements included reading assignments, participation in discussions, short essays, and a research paper." I had a short blurb on my school profile that said that we graded based on mastery.
  10. That is a part of math, but problem solving is too. Have you considered breaking math into 2 parts, one that is independent and drill focused, and one that is together and problem solving focused. We used IP and it was excellent for problem solving. In contrast to forty-two, we dropped the workbook and only did IP. Excellent problem solving, but only an unusual kid would do it completely independently.
  11. Well, it is like teaching English. First, it is about purpose and audience. Your student must really understand that the purpose is to explain scientific principles and how they apply to a specific example. For audience, your kid needs to pick an actual person they know who is *interested* in science, but just completely uneducated or just needs to have things explained slowly and in detail. Believe it or not, finding an real life person to write the answer *to* is critical, because otherwise the kids won't write the detail, because the answer is obvious to them so in their mind should be obvious to everyone. They need to write to someone where the answer won't be obvious. So like grandpa, who loves science but is a bit slower than he used to be and you have to really explain it well with every possible link. Once you have the purpose and audience, then you have to study answers. What makes a good answer? How is it structured? This is English skills again. So do the model answers use equations to explain? How many connections do they make? (connections between ideas are key to a good answer) Do they have a topic sentence, an explanation, and then an example? Really depends on what science you are studying and at what level. But you and your kid must sit there, analyze answers, and identify a general approach to follow. This will take time - like an hour, and often has to be redone each week to build up understanding, because the more you know how to write a good answer, the more you see in the model answers when you study how they are written. Next, you start writing answers. Typically, when you first start, you actually can't write anything. So you read the answer. Discuss it. And then you write it in your own words. As you get better (which can take weeks), you eventually have the language style of the science in mind, with all the 3 word phrases that go together and the vocabulary, and then you can start to write without having to read the answer first. Finally, you compare your answer to the model answer. You change your color pen, and add details to your answer that you should have included, and you improve your vocabulary to use more scientific words/phrases. If you are completely wrong. You discuss it, and then you rewrite it in your own words, and then mark it to rewrite the following day. Over time, you will find that your ability to use proper language techniques of the genre, and write a *complete* answer improve. In my experience, the first time you do this (for the first unit of the first science), it takes the longest, and every time afterwards (for other units and other sciences) it takes less time. BUT and here is the big but, you must continue to use this process for every. single. unit in every. single. science. you study. Because scientific writing is tough, and each unit in each science is a slightly different genre. So although you are becoming a better scientific writer, you still must study the how-to's for each unit. It is kind of the equivalent of saying you are good at creative writing, but you have only written horror short stories, and now you plan to write a love story. Yes you know a lot, but there is still more to learn, and reading and studying good models will help you a lot. Keep in mind that I start this process in 10th grade. Before that, it is all about loving learning and loving science. Hope this helps, Ruth in NZ
  12. My dh is the same! He has always said he wanted a workshop, but because he lives in an apartment he picked up knitting! He makes all of my younger boys socks, and has made me a double knit hat which always impresses my knitter friends. 🙂 He also ALWAYS has something fermenting. Right now it is beer and kimchi. But he does all sorts of vegetables, and has experimented with a billion types of bread. I have not bought a loaf of bread in 25 years. He makes it all! He also cans peaches, and salsa, and bbq sauce. He just loves this more old fashioned/authentic food production. He is and IT project manager. So sits in meetings all day. But at night, haha, lots of projects. And I love the tent in the house idea!!
  13. I tutor science, and in my experience most students require training to be able to write full written answers using scientific principles, how much training depends on the level of science and the complexity of the question. Personally, in 8th grade, I would not be expecting a student to write that answer because the question is a bit inane. In that situation, I would just read the answer out loud and then discuss it, rather than expecting a student to produce it. If you want me to, I can describe how I teach students to write complete scientific answers. Ruth in NZ
  14. There is just so much you can do without a big workshop. Some stuff it so small and non-messy, you can just put it down and pick it up in 10 seconds - like whittling. But other projects - like the reupholstering- were bigger and super cool long term. They deconstructed the chair down to where you could stand in the middle. Then had to research how to web it and spring it, what materials to use for padding etc. Then how to stretch the fabric. They even refinished the wood, stripping it down, staining it, and coating it. I'm sitting in one of the chairs right now. So he may want some small projects and large projects going at the same time, so if he isn't in the mood for the large project or waiting for supplies to come in, then he can do something else. For a kid who dreads school work, hands on can be so empowering. One of my ds's friends actually constructed a playable violin. If he is into electronics, I know that Make magazine in the past has had a complete kit with tools and components with full instruction book. Not cheap (like $400) but it would take quite some time to work through, so cheap per hour of education. I would also recommend he document his work each day with photos. You may do nothing with them, but they could be useful later for a portfolio to help him realize how far he has come and how much he has learned. 🙂
  15. I agree with homeagain. His independent time should be for hands on so you know he will be doing *something*. Plus if this is where his interests lie, it could lead him to be a bit more passionate about learning as he builds up his skills. He may need to read a book on how to improve, or he may need to search out some youtube videos on Saturday, he may get interested in the history of the different crafts. So what is cheap and reasonably easy to get going? These are the things my dh or my two boys have done within our very small city apartment: Whittling and carving (some amazing projects books available), Kite making (lots of physics and aerodynamics in that), fabric technology (spinning, back-strap loom, design, knitting) Leather working (my dh has constructed both knife holders and I have a friend who made shoes) Sewing (my dh has constructed tents, backpacks, sleeping bags), Upholstery (all you need is an old chair, webbing, springs, fabric, and very few tools), Refinishing (purchase cheap crappy old furniture and strip it down) Food technology (pickling a million things, gardening, preserving, culturing, bread making, ginger beer making), Medieval weapons construction (trebuchet, catapult, bows and arrows - this requires wood and a few hand tools) Art for cheap: Origami, water color, nature craft, calligraphy, paper cutting, drawing Music for cheap: harmonica, recorder, spoons, voice ------- Get him busy and active as this will help his mental health. That is key now. Then at night (and I know it will be miserable for you) get him doing math and writing for 2 hours in total - 4 days per week (Friday night off). For now, I would skip history and science, but after a bit of deschooling with all these projects, add it back in. If you are willing to step out of the box, make history and science built around these projects. But I do think homeschooling is going to be a hard road for you and him given your schedule, and will definitely take time and energy from you to make it work. Good Luck, Ruth in NZ
  16. Definitely. That is my next option if timez attack is a bust. We have time, the exam without a calculator is next September.
  17. No. This boy is the most calm, focused child I have probably ever taught. He does have dyslexia which can definitely impact facts memorization.
  18. I just found out 2 weeks ago that even though I've been working with him on memorizing the facts for 8 months, he is using a calculator in class, so not reinforcing his memorizing. I was kind of surprised, but perhaps I shouldn't have been. Sometimes you don't know what questions to ask, and clearly I should have told him to stop using his calculator. oops. But since they were working on measurement unit, he needed it; but when he switched back to algebra, he should have stopped using it. But the ok then, but not ok now can be confusing to a kid. The problem is that we are walking into the equivalent of Algebra 1 (2 exams), Geometry, Statistics, and Numeracy all in the same year. So basically the culmination of 3 years of study tested in the last year. He needs to pass for his belief in himself. So it is probably a better use of my time to get him to pass the other 4 exams that allow a calculator, and keep him doing algebra but not expect to pass the non-calculator one. Kind of a strategic choice. I should add that there is no grade inflation here, so 20% of all students fail any one exam. These exams are HARD.
  19. The research/writing projects have revolutionized our homeschool. 3 hours each day over an entire year leads to an awful lot of learning. I am considering this kind of project based learning to subsume the traditional silo-ed subjects of English, History, Economics, Government, and Geography. So when it comes time for a transcript, we will have the credits. Also, you should note that we are doing some projects in physical geography and some in cultural geography. In addition, we have had different focuses for the different projects: perspectives, interactions, and change. Perspectives - cthe greening of the Basin Change - demographics over time Interactions - development economics of DRC/Botswana I am just working my way through the NZ geography curriculum. There are about 8 different papers per year on offer - so I have about 24 ideas to try. The curriculum gives you the goals, but then you get to pick the topic/country. There are exemplars so you can see what people chose, but you can do what ever you want. For the exam based ones, we do them as research papers rather than exam essay style work. We do not use a textbook, we are question driven,and writing focused. Here are some links to get you thinking: These are the level 1 (10th grade) exams and papers. Level 2 (11th grade) Level 3 (12th grade)
  20. I was thinking some more about this as I have had a similar situation with my younger. I think it would be interesting to consider the impact of news and literacy to how settlers perceived of their actions. My great grandfather died when I was 12, and told me many stories about living in Oklahoma. His father was a part of the Oklahoma land rush -- land that was obviously stolen from the native peoples of the area. The stories he told me were about desperate poverty. That his grandparents back east sent them one barrel of molasses each year, which they sold the majority of for flour, lard, and salt. They lived all winter on biscuits and molasses and a rabbit if they could catch one. They had only a single room to house the 6 of them, and only years later did they tack on a lean to. His mother lost her first baby due to a botched birth where the baby was cut up INSIDE of her to get him out. And ever after that, his mom and the children (including my great grandfather) traveled by covered wagon to Kansas city to have a proper doctor. I just wonder if their lives were so miserable that they didn't have the energy to consider others. I know they could not afford a newspaper, and I'm not actually clear that they could read. It would be interesting to consider when studying these very difficult times of our history, how different we are today in terms of our education and knowledge of events. We as a people don't tolerate injustice, but back then perhaps the common folk didn't know or were poor enough they couldn't care. I just think it might be an interesting avenue to help your child realize that looking back on history is very different than the living of it.
  21. Yes! My younger boy pours over maps all day long and loves learning about complex issues that have no right answers. He has decided to major in geography in university. We are in NZ so no championships here. As for extra activities, I'm not sure this is what you are talking about, but we have put full focus this year into research papers which both he and I have found difficult and fascinating. We are also heading down to the south island this weekend to see the High Country, Braided Rivers, and Damn/canal system he has been writing about. Here are the research papers he has done this year (10th grade, so older than your boy). Geography is so big with so many wonderful things to study. Notice the breadth of locations and topics in this list. We LOVE geography! Explaining the difference in the timing of the demographic transition between Maori and Europeans in NZ using historical, social, and economic causes. Explaining how the 2004 Tsunami impacted the social and economics of Ache Indonesia. And explaining how reflection, refraction, diffraction, and interference of the initial wave caused the varying intensities of the Tsunami hitting the countries throughout the Indian Ocean. Comparing the perspectives of tourism operators, farmers, and environmentalists on the ethics, laws, environment, and economy concerning the greening the the MacKinsey Basin in the South Island. Evaluating the sustainability of the hydroelectric damn system in NZ and its impact on the environment and economy of the region. Evaluating the limitations of economic metrics. Comparing the economic and social development of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to Botswana and explaining it through differences in history, location, and culture. Hope this helps, Ruth in NZ
  22. Oh I know you weren't. Sorry that I made it sound like that! Clearly, I was too tired last night. I was just writing for the bigger audience because there are lots of people who thing the multiplication facts = math. Basically, I have limited time with this kid. Just one hour per week, and he is 14 and about to go into 10th grade integrated math - algebra, geometry, statistics - with required national exams. So from my point of view, if memorizing his facts is too time consuming for him, I'm going to hop ship and focus on what he can do. If he fails that algebra exam (the only one without a calculator), he can still progress in qualitative statistics in 11th grade which is what I'm expecting to do. He doesn't have the brain power or interest to go into the calculus path, so my goal is to get him able to do basic algebra with a calculator. It will be enough. I'll ask him in more detail next week what strategies he does use for circumventing recall. I think it is a calculator. 🙂
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