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Everything posted by lewelma

  1. Best mathy investigation my older boy did was to time the traffic lights in our city. Wow was that a nutty project! He won the award at the science fair for the most complex data collection and analysis. haha. After figuring out *how* to improve the timing of the lights, he figure out how much CO2 would be saved each year given the number of cars, time of day, time idling, probability of making or missing the light, etc. I think in the end he collected data on like 20 variables. The three of us sat at 20 different lights with stop watches for weeks, counting and timing. But as a younger kid he did a physics project on kites, which was his most complicated primary school project. Can't remember the details, would have to look it up, but he studied how the design of the kite including bridal angle and length of something, impacted how it flew. If you are interested, I'll go find the details. I turned all their science fair posters into clearfiles so I have the entire write up and data collection notebooks.
  2. Found my write up from all those years ago. This is what we did for chemistry investigations with my two boys. These are not demonstrations, they are investigations with no clear outcome or answer. Each took about 40 hours to complete, write up, graph, and make a poster. One of them I wrote up in full as we did it- the link is below. x-post In third grade for chemistry, my older wanted to know how to make the best silly putty. So we went on the internet and got a basic recipe. It requires only 3 ingredients: glue, borax, and corn starch. So over the period of a few weeks, he made up lots of different batches with different quantities of the ingredients, or different glues, I think he even left out the corn starch once. He recorded what he put in each and then color coded them with food dye. He tested them for how high they could bounce and how stretchy they were (this step included standardizing the testing methodology and discussions on replication). And then they had lots of fun analyzing and graphing the results. This is by far the best real chemistry investigation I have ever run across. And because there are 3 variables, the interactions were quite complex and led to some interesting conclusions. My younger, wanted to figure out how to make natural paint, so he studied what are the strongest binders and how to find all the different colours from nature. He looked at milk, egg, and casein for binders, and both dyes and pigments from organic and inorganic sources for the colours. I wrote up a very detailed description of what we did and all our struggles in this thread. I think the link is broken: google "lewelma Scientific investigations with my 12 and 9 year old". I have now linked to this 3 times this week. haha. Must be a science thing happening on the board. 🙂
  3. My ds is 16 and still always reads his books out loud. He is only starting to dabble with silent reading.
  4. DS just wrote an essay on "If you could have every up coming freshman read one book, what would it be and why?" The other one I remember that he didn't pick was "What book or idea had the biggest impact on you and why?"
  5. Linked above. They are not biology (we did that one the year before), but they are full scale scientific investigations documented as they went. So lots of muck ups, frustrations, and problem solving. We did these types of projects for 8 weeks each year for 8 years. "Scientific Inquiry" was with my 11 and 8 year old, so it came first. That was our earth science year. "Scientific investigations with my 12 and 9 year old" was our Chemistry year.
  6. This was what I was going to suggest, sigh. There are no Co-ops here (I'm in NZ) and most people in my area are unschoolers. So we do and have always done all our academics on our own. For activities, we have a variety of sources: 1) Community groups for school kids: Orchestra, Chamber music, Drama, and Gymnastics. 2) Homeschool groups: swimming, sports day, park day (sometimes go), and annual 4-day camp 3) Personally organized fun: D&D / board games group. We have found 3 kids who are willing to come to our house every Saturday for 5 hours. They provide the transport (2 come by train) and we provide the pizza. These kids live pretty far away - 15, 20, and 30 milles away. So we have used a pretty wide net to find them. My young has also embraced being the older kid at most homeschool gatherings. He treats the other like younger siblings. They all gather around him when he shows up and just fawn over him. He loves it! 🙂 He is 16 and his following at different groups is kids aged 8 to 12. The parents all think he is wonderful too.
  7. Old fashioned drill with flashcards. My older boy is a math whiz, but found memorizing the math facts close to impossible -- and we tried *everything*. In the end, we decided to go with 3 times a day, 7 days a week, for 3 months. It seemed that frequency was the key. He asked me how fast he should go, and I said "I have no idea, give me the pack and let's find out." I think I was at about 80 cards in under 60 seconds, so that was his goal. To beat his mother. When he accomplished that feat, he quit the cards.
  8. Yes, exactly. You may not have seen my post above, but this is exactly what I said. He is asynchronous, he is not 2E (that is my younger). At 18 he had average EF skills, but very advanced academic skills. So his EF skills were not at the level required to meet his academic needs. But in 3 terms, he has learned a ton, and is not needing nearly so much support.
  9. Yup. On many days I enjoy my tutor kids more than my own kids. My tutor kids are so positive, do what I ask, and are really grateful. I need this external gratification for a job well done which is actually why I started tutoring. I would love to say my own kids are all these things, but you know what it is like - they don't know anything else, so they don't know how sweet they have it. 🙂 (although my older ds is starting to see it now he is hearing about other kids' educational experiences) If in some way I have made others feel bad or unworthy or some such, I am deeply sorry. I am a high energy person with a very balanced emotional state with a very supportive husband with a very good job. Plus, all my family has good health. Over many years being on this board, I have learned to be very grateful for what I have as I see so many other people suffer with much much less. We all do what we can with the energy we have.
  10. Yes. I agree. I'm looking forward to being done in 2 years!! The 5 minutes I spend on my older boy each day is easy compared to the struggles I deal with every day with my younger. I've talked many times about having to put my big girl panties on each morning and get the job done with my younger. Homeschooling is exhausting and sometimes frustrating and demoralizing, and I'm not trying to shame anyone into working harder! Sometimes college kids just need more help than expected. Obviously, it depends on the kid! By not outsourcing in highschool, my older ds was able to focus on his passions, develop independent learning skills, and have lots of down time to read and think deeply. HOWEVER, he did not have the opportunity to learn and master EF skills because he never took multiple outsources courses at once. The side effect of these choices is that he is a top student at university in three areas (math/physics, humanities, and the arts) BUT he has needed extra help to shore up this deficit in EF. All choices we make have pros and cons. I just think we need to walk in with our eyes open. But in just 2 years, I can focus on other people's kids!! How exciting! I am a tutor and have 11 additional students that see me 2 hours each week. I tutor in Math, Science and English, but more importantly for many of my kids, I tutor in EF skills and mentor them into career choices.
  11. I just want to say that I am deeply impressed that you are able to continue to engage in and learn from this thread given what seems to be some very different points of view. And I *love* your family motto! As for #8, thank you for taking the time to help me see different points of view. Part of the reason I am writing up all these things that I do for my ds, is that there is national obsession with helicopter parenting that I want to have a nuanced discussion about. How much is too much? How can you tell? How does this depend on your child? I think these are tricky questions, and it is very very hard to know if you are getting it "right." I have not even begun to discuss my younger boy, who is the 2E child. The older boy is not 2E, just asynchronous. The difference being asynchronous means he 5 years advanced in math and average in EF. My younger boy is the 2E child. He was 4 years advanced in composition while at the same time be 5 years behind in encoding language -- so *composing* at an advanced 11th grade level at age 11 while concurrently *encoding* like a 1st grader. For the younger it has been very hard to improve his average EF skills when we needed to spend all our time trying to sort out the dysgraphia, so I think EF skills are now below-average for his age. For the older, being able to take courses to meet his crazy high math skills, meant these same courses expected equally advanced for his age EF skills, which he didn't have. Not sure this distinction is useful to all, but it might be to some. So back to #8 - helping kids with time management/study skills/scheduling of schoolwork. I really liked your distinction between knowing a kid's schedule/reminding/organizing vs just offering advice when asked. So parent ownership vs student ownership. I do think, however, it is a sliding scale rather than an either or. So for the past 3 semesters what I have done is sit with him (on the phone) while he gets all his syllabi out (often online) and puts all the deadlines, homework dates, tests, papers, etc into his calendar. He then also gets me a list of the books that we go hunt down (not like the old days when you just went to the book store, it is all a mush of online, e-book purchase, free, pay, print copy, used on Amazon, etc. Really a huge pain IMHO). At that first discussion each term, I have gotten him to identify his hell weeks so he knew they were coming up. Basically, he had never taken a full load of external courses with external deadlines as a homeschooler, so had ZERO practice in how to do this or even knowledge that it would be a good thing to do. I just told him, "everyone does this, and so must you." Then throughout the term, when the hell week was coming up, *he* would ask me questions on how best to deal with it, and I would advise. The only time *I* took charge and made sure something happened was when he had a 15-page term paper due at the end of term. He had never written a paper like this, and I figured he had no idea how long it would take. So I initiated the conversation on scheduling the paper into the last 6 weeks of the term, and he realized that he had to get it done super early (as in a month early) because of the end of term exams in his other subjects. But that was really the only time I had to initiate the scheduling. One of the things this thread is helping me with is thinking about my younger and all the work I need to get done with him. So much. But as long as he is keen to try, I can help him to master the skills he will need. Success breeds success. Family motto number 2! Ruth in NZ
  12. I assume you read mine on the thread! "We're a family so we help each other out."
  13. I have written up as we did them our 8-week long science investigations on this board. Because I wrote them as we went, they were not all prettied up, you can actually see the mess unfolding and then how we fixed the problems. Would you like a link to them?
  14. I totally agree! What a privilege and a joy. I love watching him grow, and he calls because he knows there is no critique, only support.
  15. I do think that because of our family dynamic, I have a deep friendship with both my boys. Yes, I'm the parent, but at this point I am definitely more mentor. He trusts us more than anyone else in the world, of course he would ask for advice. At some point, however, his loyalty will switch to his spouse which is expected and appropriate. But until that time, we are there for him with whatever questions he throws at us. Just yesterday he asked what he should write about for his humanities scholarship application. I was thinking in my mind "how would I know?" but I asked "what are the prompts?" When he said, one is " if you could recommend one novel for all MIT students to read before coming, what would it be and why?" I told him that I had the list of all the novels he had ever read. Oh boy was that helpful. So I read them out, he chose one, found a thesis on his own, and wrote the most beautiful paper (He read it to me). All he needed was the list of books. I was happy to help. Easy for me, super important to him.
  16. I wish I could have been more involved in this thread, but I am just swamped with tutoring and National exams next week. I was thinking last night about how the OP responded to my Older boy's experience at university, saying some things were parentish and other things were a no go for her. She was very kind to me, so hopefully she will come back and comment on this post, as I am very curious. I provide a *lot* of support for my 19 year old. I would say probably 5-20 minutes every day. I have learned over they years on this board that he is so incredibly unusual that most of my experience is not very useful for others, but I'm still going to describe it because I would be interested, truly interested, in how different people sort 1) OK-to-be-involved tasks and 2) NOT-OK-to-be involved tasks. My ds is in the very unusual circumstance to be close to an unschooler attending an Elite university in a foreign country. So these are the categories in my mind of how I provide support. Not in any particular order: 1) Career advice - help with writing his resume and linked in page, options for jobs, timelines for applying, appropriate wording of emails. Just yesterday ds told me that for the lead on his J-term research position in String Theory (haha can't believe I am saying that) that he needed to meet a postdoc in person. He wanted to know what he should ask as there are 6 different project opportunities. So I suggested that he ask where he could add the most value given his high end math skill, and which project would help him develop his machine-learning knowledge without assuming he had 2-3 years of background. He simply had no idea what to ask. 2) Mental and Physical health - I regularly check that he is eating, sleeping, and exercising. I also ordered a pile of healthy nuts when I found out that he was eating junk food late at night when studying. I have also made sure in conversations about his day, that he has put in 30 minutes for food. So I do keep an eye on his timetable, timing, and taking care of himself. 3) Transport. Although many MIT students apparently organize their own flights (as stated on the parents' facebook page by many parents), we do all the booking of these flights as they cost 1000s of dollars. We have to get him to give us dates for exams and work out plans to get reasonable prices and timelines. We orchestrate this piece in its entirety. 4) University Payment. Although ds is working a part time job actually tutoring someone on this board, we fund his education, room, and board. Because of this, we regulate his meal plan and figure out his housing situation based on our budget. 5) Purchasing. We purchase lots of different things on Amazon that he needs. He just found out for his violin that he needed a humidifier, so my dh researched this, and shipped one to him. He now needs batteries for his metronome. DH will be ordering that next. This is one of the support pieces that we think he could pick up, but ds just doesn't have the time to get it done. He is swamped with school work, so if he had to order these things, he just wouldn't. 6) Written admin. We do written admin for his passport, his bank account, FAFSA, CSS etc. This is crazy time consuming, but I'm not sure how much of this he could actually do. But dh has also had to do all the leg work to set ds up a paypal account and a venmo account. 7) Etiquette. America is not NZ. And we have provided advice on appropriate behavior/emails/formality/ dress/ etc. 8.) Homework/study scheduling. DS in the first semester asked for advice most days, now he just wants me to say 'yes, that sounds great.' He is doing all the scheduling now in his 3rd semester, but likes to be reassured. As a close to unschooler, he has quite a lot of catch up in this area compared to kids that went to the Governer's School who took 6 APs in one year. He just doesn't have the experience, but he is learning quickly. 9) Financial advice. He has yet to figure out the American banking system. NZ has no cheques, so when he got the first one from Grandma, he needed to be told what to do. Also, when he had to pay in a lump sum for his violin lessons, we told him to go get a bank check. Live and learn! He got a bank check made out to MIT (not the full name), and it did not have the music department or his name written anywhere on it, and he handed it to someone at the music front desk. We were like, 'well, that $1200 is gone.' Surprisingly, it wasn't. But he just has no idea how the American money system works. In NZ, you would just use the EFTPOS machine at the music desk and just move the money at point of sale. When we dropped him off at age 17, he had to flip all the coins over to see how much they were worth. He was like "what is a dime?" I had never really realized that a dime is not a word that has any meaning to anyone outside America. And when we told him, he wanted to know why the 10 cent coin was smaller than the 5 cent coin. He found that very confusing. That was his starting point with the American financial system! 10) Communication. He asks for help with some emails. This is kind of subsumed by the above 9 items. But in general, if he is uncertain of an email and what he should say, he will call and ask. He is definitely getting more independent on this one over time, but at first he was just frozen, not knowing what was the appropriate tone, formality, length etc. 11) Computer advice. DH has put Linux on ds's computer, so sometimes ds needs advice on how to load software on a non-standard operating system. Well, that is about all the categories I can think of. I think the OP was only against #8. And if so, I would be curious as to why that one is the most important for adult independence. I'm not being critical at all, I am just deeply curious as where the boundaries are drawn. When we have a conversation with ds on the phone, it is pretty free flow, so from my point of view it would be really odd to say let me help you with this, this, this, Oh NOT that, but this and this. Obviously, this is a parenting perspective, but I am curious. Our family motto is "we are a family and we help each other out." So ever since the kids were little, if one of us needed help, we would ask, and the others would help. If someone started getting lazy (this was me once when I kept asking my dh to do stuff for me once I was in bed), then the other was allowed to say, 'um no, you really need to be doing this on your own.' But in general, we are a family and we help each other out. That is our go to motto. This is why I help my ds who is in a foreign land buried in work. I will help him out, just like one day he will help me out when I am in need. Ruth in NZ
  17. Developing interests is a funny thing. I think that many of us have heard the stories about kids with passions, and that homeschool kids especially have the time to find their passions. But IRL I have not found this to really be true. I used to be an unschooler (and in some ways still am), and I remember sitting around with other moms wondering where we had gone wrong, because our kids had not developed any passions. In hindsight, I now know that they were just too young. Most were under 10. But more interestingly, I have come to believe that passions have to be recognized by adults to be considered 'passions'. Kids can clearly be doing something a LOT, but if you can't label it with a NAME, somehow it doesn't count. Sad but true. So my kid LOVES his ECs. Just look at that siggy -- it is NUTS. Nine daily activities each week, many for 2+ hours. For a long time I thought he was just social, but once I labeled it, it became a passion. And once I could call it a passion, my ds was proud of his efforts and could talk about it in a way that led others to be really interested. And he began to see it as a passion. So the name of his passion is Leadership. My ds is trying to develop the skills that are required to be a leader. And as this passion has developed, it has also led him to new interests for careers. Specifically, he is interested in being Mayor. So why am I calling it leadership? Because he purposely continues to go to activities with younger kids (age 12) because he is trying out different techniques to manage them -- manage their behavior but also influence them to work as a group to a common goal. He is also using his D&D group to work on his leadership as he is the Dungeon Master so is in charge of a group of peers. Often after one of these activities, he will ask us about this or that leadership problem. And once he had a name for what he was doing, he started doing it MORE. He started thinking about leadership more, he started trying to purposely lead younger kids more. And once success built on success, he started being more proactive in other areas of his life. For example, he is not very flexible but loves gymnastics, so he decided that his focus would be on upper body strength (required for men's gymnastics) which is why *he* chose to join the gym. And then because I am busy with tutoring, he also has to get to all these activities by himself, which has its own EF challenges. I can easily make these activities into official classes just like I did with my older. Read 1 book and write 1 paper, and I have a practical leadership class and a drama class. And just like with my older boy, *I* facilitate and encourage these endeavors. I am currently reading and discussing the 48 Power Laws book with my ds and dh at night. We discuss how people manipulate others, and pull up examples both positive and negative in our own life. With the amount of time we are spending, this could be a half class in the Psychology of Leadership. Next up, we can read and discuss difference Leadership styles for a course in Comparative Leadership. And for his geography paper right now he has decided to compare how the first leaders in the DRC and Botswana impacted their country even to this day. Basically, it is in the eye of the beholder *what* is academic. And it is up to me to help his interests grow. It could have been so easy to say "oh, he is just really social." And never ask what was happening, what he was thinking, how it was impacting his sense of self. I think for passions to develop you need a parent who can recognize possibility and encourage it. Got to run, tutoring for 7 hours to help pay for MIT!!
  18. My younger boy had EF troubles. AT 16 he still can do basically nothing by himself without me either sitting next to him or constantly checking up on him. He is crazy slow to get his work done, and often prioritizes enjoying a stately pace over actually getting the work done. I have reduced expectations again and again, because he must succeed. I firmly believe that success breeds success. Right now he has 2 years to go before university, and we have only *just* gotten on top of his dysgraphia such that he can write math slowly and type papers at a reasonable speed. THIS one thing has been our main focus for the past 4 years when I came to believe that we were simply not progressing at a rate that would seem him ready to leave my homeschool being able to write anything. At 12, his top speed when copying text by typing or writing was 8 words a minute sustained for 3 minutes. When not copying, he could not encode basically *anything.* He could not spell 70 of the top 100 words, and no matter how much grammar I did, he could not understand where a sentence was. That was my low point, and we chose together to press forward with a slow and steady plan, which has gotten us to the point we are at now -- a boy who can write. But NOW we have to deal with the EF challenges. There is NO WAY we could have gotten where we are if I had had ANY expectations of him handling ANY aspect of his EF struggles. He just would not have done the hard work that he has done. But now I am at a low point again -- a child with EF issues who has 2 years to learn to manage them. But here is where I got it right I think. By doing all the hardy dysgraphia remediation together and focusing everyday on the positives, he believes in himself and has a good strength of character. He does not mind me writing about his dysgraphia on the board (I have asked) because he is PROUD of the work he has done to overcome it. Because of this believe in himself, he is now ready to tackle this next big hurdle. Have you ever seen my thread on the top of the general education board "explicitly teaching executive function skills"? I find it interesting that out of all the threads over the years that I have started and written a book in, *that* is the one people wanted pinned. So with this boy, we have done step 1. I have helped him to know how hard you must work to get a top mark. He had to work for months to get a distinction on his ABRSM violin exam, and it was the extra push that he made in the last week that got him into distinction level. So now we have a shared reference. I can refer to that effort and he can understand the goal for the next test he takes, and he can intuitively know the inner effort required for success. Step 2) I have also already been working on him being able to honestly identify what he knows and what he doesn't know. Getting an accurate assessment of where you are at is actually reasonably hard for most kids (I tutor), as they either have no metacognition or just have a lot of wishful thinking. So next up are 3) figuring out what you are supposed to study to meet the assessment criteria (difficult with high end humanities/social science papers) and 4) Figure out how to get from your knowledge base to what you are supposed to have done. So in some ways even though EF has been on the back burner while we dealt with the dysgraphia, I have still been able to get 2 of the 4 academic first goals accomplished. Then of course is the scheduling, prioritizing, paper management etc, which we can't really start until he takes an external class, which we hope to do in a year. I'm going to post this, and then go after the non-academic EF.
  19. Thanks for your kind words. I think that we all do the best we can for our kids. It is very very hard to balance many different goals when our child is constantly growing and changing. Unfortunately, we never have the full picture and are constantly wandering in the dark. Good luck to you and your dd. Ruth in NZ
  20. I will try to come back tomorrow and write about how I have used the same approach with my younger boy who has dysgraphia. I have had similar success with him. They key for *him* is his extracurricular activities -- just look at my siggy! His goal is to develop leadership skills and he purposely uses his extracurriculars to do this.
  21. I've come to believe that courses organized and dictated by adults are far inferior than independent study self-directed by kids. Said another way, my two boys have learned way more by following their interests and having 'courses' created after the fact, than by any course created by me or by a textbook. The sole exception being AoPS. I used to pull my hair out about my older boy being unwilling and unable to write. In the end, writing math proofs taught him to write English papers. He wrote so very little up until his senior year in highschool. And in that year, he had to pull off top marks on the SAT essay and the NZ national English exams, and he had to write and rewrite a bazillion university application essays. By my count, it was about 60 essays for those three goals. Before that I could count on one hand papers he had written in high school. Now, at MIT he has had 3 humanities professors shower him with praise for his writing, one going so far as to say that his term paper "was the best student paper she had read in numerous years." So *how* did he learn to write?!?!? He read. He read 2-3 hours per night for 5 years year round. The Economist, Scientific American, National Geographic, and literature. Lots and lots of high end literature like War and Peace and 100 Years of Solitude. This was his time, and his choice. I was asleep. The rule was no screens after 9, and he liked to go to bed at 1 or even 2am. So there was basically nothing else to do in a 600 sq ft apartment than read or learn to play the piano (electronic with head phones) . The key was that NO book was ever assigned. I would do research and just buy books to have sitting around. He had *time* to be, time to think, time to read. And it was this deep and prolonged reading that has made him a humanities star at MIT. I will let you know next month if he gets the humanities scholarship that he is applying for. His humanities professor said that he was "perfect" for the program, and that she would write an "enthusiastic" recommendation. This success was because of a LACK of requirements for humanities and social science in my homeschool. I have come to believe that depth comes from personal interest and involvement. I could have used an AP prep program, or a great books program, or any other sort of humanities/social sciences program, and the results would NOT have been the same. DS had the *time* to have the energy to read. And this has become very clear as his reading has tanked during his senior year in high school when things got so crazy and during his first 1.5 years at MIT. Without *time*, there is no initiative to better oneself. To dig deep into what it is to be human. To dig deep into who you want to be. *Time* is the key. The problem with giving *time* to kids is that they seem to squander it. I had many many sleepless nights thinking that there was so much that *I* could have made sure that he did. Books to read, conversations to have, ideas to cover. But these would have been top down. The problem, however, with giving *time* is that it seems inefficient. What exactly is being covered? Anything useful? Should I step in? Should I check up? What about kids who seem to "waste" it? It just seems so much less assured. But depth requires time. Filling the day with work means by definition that deep thinking can't happen -- kids get into the box ticking mode, and box ticking definitely does not equate to deep learning and thinking. It was only when I went to write the transcript and course descriptions did I realize how much had been accomplished when ds was doing nothing. Nothing was the key to his education. Without screens, there was nothing else to do than think deeply and sleep. What more do teens actually need to grow? I think, however, that I did a good job celebrating his learning. When he would start reading a book, I used that as motivation to go get it on audio and try to keep up. He loved being ahead of me, and he loved discussing the ideas. I also embraced deep thinking about world problems. We had Nuanced discussions about complex ideas with no clear solution. Basically, I supported his independent learning by being engaged but not in any fashion directing or controlling. I think he came to believe that he led me, which in may respects he did. So although he was in charge, I was in the background supporting his efforts through very subtle encouragement and by embracing a life-long learning approach. So I did drive this education in a way, but clearly so did he. Personal connection to his learning was key. Programs for us (except AoPS & science) were a complete fail. Ruth in NZ
  22. Wow! You remember well. Yes, that is exactly what we did.
  23. Sorry to Corraleno and LSB for not adding my 2 cents worth. I've had a crazy busy day. I think that some people on this thread need to walk in the shoes of the parent of a 2E child. My ds took GRAUDATE-level classes in math at MIT as a freshman last year while not realizing that he could turn the heat on in his room with the thermostat until MID-JANUARY in BOSTON! My ds got the TOP mark in honors physics at MIT for 2 classes in a row while concurrently not knowing he needed to check his mailbox. To suggest that my incredibly gifted son should be at a neurotypical level in all things is to suggest that asynchrony does not exist. Which is false. Just false. To suggest that I should have held my ds here at home to help him shore up these deficits, would be a disservice to him and his strengths. I have always allowed my ds's strengths to run, while shoring up his weaknesses. But he actually needed to get away from me and our home to find where his weaknesses were. He needed to get in over his head for me to be able to help guide him to learn what he needed to learn. He needed to struggle to be willing to work on these deficits. There was no struggle here. I could not provide it - not for a child of his level. DS is one of TWO international homeschoolers to make it into MIT his year, and only ONE american homeschooler got in. To suggest that helping him was inappropriate is nuts in my mind. He only took 2 outside courses in his homeschooling career and both were at the local university and were ridiculously easy for *him.* Clearly not for others as that mean and median were 60% for a sophmore class, and my ds scored 100% at the age of 15. As in there was *nothing* he could not do that was thrown at him in a class 4 years advanced. Should I have held him at home and had him continue with these classes? Taught him to be more independent, taught him to have better EF skills? Sure I could have, but it also would have taught him 1) that he was better than everyone else, and 2) that he did not have to try hard to succeed. Sometimes there are multiple lessons being learned. He could have improved his EF skills and become arrogant at the same time. To give you a feel for the EF challenges he has faced while in university: 1) Without parent support, at age 17 he could not rent a hotel room when his flight was delayed for 36 hours in Houston. 2) Without parent support, he would be without a passport. With an birth abroad, his passport renewal required us to be present in the USA (we live in NZ) to swear he was our son. So we had to organize for him to get it renewed in NZ during the 10 days he was here. 3) Without a parent with an American bank account, he cannot get a USA credit card or even something as easy as Venmo. 4) Without a parent to organize his travel back to NZ (ELEVEN and a HALF months in advance), he would be unable to come home at Christmas as ALL the flights out of Boston were booked up. And I very much doubt most 18 year olds would be buying tickets home 11.5 months ahead. 5) Without a parent to realize that his new 10K violin was uninsured, and to know that USAA was an option for foreign-resident parents with grandparents as US veterans, his violin would be uninsured because NZ insurance won't cover violins for residents overseas. 6) Without an American born parent to help him with American etiquette, he would have made a fool of himself over and over with professors and students at MIT. 7) Without a parent to help him organize for a hell NINE DAYS, ds would have failed many assessments. In NINE days he had to: study for a chemistry test, study for a biology test, write a wikipedia article, write a book chapter from a lecture (his grad class on content never published before), prepare for a trio concert, prepare for a private scholarship concert, write an ethics paper, and complete a physics p-set -- a single 9 day period of time would have destroyed his GPA. 8.) Without a parent to help him decide if he could work for Fermi labs in Chicago with funding from said parents and without a licence to drive a car let alone a car, he could not make a rational decision. I could just go on and on. Why 18? Why?!?! Life for my ds is complicated. He is an international teenager at an Elite university with a background of homegrown courses. He is doing an amazing job, but honestly he needs what in the 1970s was called a secretary. Does he actually do LESS than my FIL did in his career as a middle manager at Chevrolet? My FIL had a secretary to help with these things. I believe in my heart of hearts, that my ds will tell me when he no longer needs my help. It is less and less each month. To suggest that I should have stalled his forward movement until all pieces of his brain caught up, is to suggest that people need to be equally capable at all things, that they need to be generalists. It is to suggest that I should have held his math and physics hostage to his organizational skills. I do not believe that this is fair. My kid is spiky. He is not a mooch. He is not lazy. He just has EF issues that are slowly but surely improving with *teaching* by me. Ruth in NZ
  24. We did large scale scientific investigations when my kids were K-7th grade. I designed them to last about 8 weeks and integrate english, maths, science, history, and basically all other things into the project. I've written up a few over the years as we did them (so week by week), so you can see in detail how they work.
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