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Everything posted by lewelma

  1. Hee hee. I just saw this. You are definitely right. 5+ hours yesterday. I actually have the opposite problem, trying to decide how much math I will allow my son, because it is at the expense of learning in other areas.
  2. This is just the kind of story that made me fall in love with unschooling. Your dd's passion is just beautiful. It reminds me so much of the kids in the Teenage Liberation Handbook. My unschooler friends and I have spoken throughout the years about just this kind of passion. We had all read about it, but none of our children seemed to have it. It left us all scratching our heads, wondering how to encourage it. (My older son only found his after being classically schooled from age 9 to 12). I do think that passion can drive so much learning. But the unschoolers I know, although loving the idea of following a passion to ignite learning, ended up doing more of the learn through life model, rather than the learn through your passion model. Perhaps this is because their kids never had a passion, perhaps it is because the parents were unable to see what was in front of their nose. I'm not sure. But what I have personally seen in both unschooling and more traditional homeschooling is 70% of children with no passion, which is not really so unexpected. And given that some unschoolers rely on passion to drive education, it has left them uncertain how to educate their children.
  3. Just an FYI, dont know about the past, but today NZ universities require a pass on the NCEA1 math exam as a basic entry requirement for ALL majors. To translation into americanese, this exam covers 9th grade algebra and half of 10th grade geometry, and a half year of statisitics.
  4. But the problem with stories like this is that it makes people consider it a backup option for their children. Sure it is possible, just not probable. It is possible that I will win the jackpot lottery but it is not probable. I just would not want people to make educational choices based on these kind of stories.
  5. I think if you wanted to go to university and had covered all subjects except math through your own personal interests, you could at age 17 spend a very intensive year and learn algebra 1, geometry, and algebra 2 and then apply. I don't think it is likely or easy, but not impossible. A lot of unschoolers get into university from what I understand (although I have no stats to back this statement up).
  6. No, life isn't over at 18, but you will laid a very difficult road for your child to travel if at 18 she decides she wants to be an engineer and only has a 7th grade math education. I think it is a reasonable assumption to say it is just not going to happen. Parents do limit their kids options,and I think we need to accept that. I limited my son's educational opportunities when I moved to NZ because the universities here are not as good. My eyes are open to that. I don't think it is too much to ask that unschooling parents recognize that only studying math through life will limit their kids options for the future. If they don't want that limit, they need to do it a different way. We all make choices. Perhaps the child will more likely be a life long learner, perhaps the child will not have the severe anxiety that I did as a child from being tested all the time. There are pros and con's to all choices. You need to recognize both, and choose the path with your favorite pros and most tolerable con's. If you don't like the con that you child will not have the option to be an engineer or doctor, then you need to walk a different path.
  7. I'm absolutely sure it depends on the reviewer. But the man who reviewed me when I was an unschooler was pro homeschooling and had seen enough families that he seemed quite capable of differentiating the bottom 5% and offering them help. He really looked for evidence of the seven areas of learning and converted my then very wishy washy language into educational jargon for me. And just an FYI, at the time, my older boy did no formal maths (age 7). I had nothing at all to show the reviewer to prove/demonstrate my approach, but he was skilled enough to ask the right questions. I still hold firm that some people do not educate their children, and they need to be held accountable for their children's sake.
  8. I'm a bit unsure also. On one hand I think that we as a society need people who can vote, and to vote intelligently in today's world you need to understand statistics. Most hot button issues have strong underlying statistics that need to be understood to form an informed opinion. On the other hand, should we hold unschoolers up to a standard that others are not held to? What about Olympic athletes. How much time do they really spend on algebra? What about child actors? Child musicians? etc. If you are amazing at one thing, you are allowed to drop other things. But is that a fair standard? I'm not so sure. I do think that parents need to go in with their eyes open. If you unschool but you want your kids to have the options that come with a high school math education (doctor, engineer, computer scientist, social science, etc) you are going to have to do something else for math starting in 7th grade. Those are the facts. Once again, there are exceptions, but they just prove the rule.
  9. If a parent chooses to unschool math through highschool, IMHO one of two things will happen: 1) Kid becomes interested in engineering, realises that she needs math, and asks to learn it 2) Kid's never asks to learn math, her career options are limited, and she chooses a different field I don't think that the minimum requirement in each subject needs to allow your student to enter any field possible. That's like saying that all schools should require music just in case a student wants to be a musician. We all make choices for our kids, and each of these choices restricts options. The difference being, of course, that having only a middle school math education restricts your job possibilities way more than not being able to play the piano. However, I do think that you can set a floor in all subjects, which is exactly what NZ has done. What exactly the floor is in maths I am not sure, as I have never known a highschooler that went through a review. I will also say that I do not think that kids can get a highschool level math education just *through life* unless the parents own a business and have their children fully involved in inventory, accounting, taxes, purchasing, financial planning, etc. So out of all the subjects, people are the most worried about math for unschoolers; and I think that is a fair assessment. I think that the vast majority of unschoolers will not get past about 7th grade math (fractions, decimals, percents) which is basically what is used in everyday life. Of course there will always be exceptions that prove the rule.
  10. Oh, I just made it up. It refers to people who are not educating their kids. They are not unschoolers, they just don't educated at all. You don't have to *teach*, you do have to *educate*.
  11. ETA: changed the title for clarity This is an X-post, and many of you have already read it. But given the other thread might be deleted or titled in an unsearchable manner, I've decided to pull my post out so that it might help someone one day..... X-post I will stick my head out and differentiate between unschoolers and Notschoolers. I was an unschooler for my first 3 years of homeschooling, and ran the unschoolers group here in town for 4 years. I have met and been good friends with many unschoolers. I have read every unschooling book I could get my hands on and done quite a bit of personal thinking and reflection. This is my take: I personally believe that all kids have a right to an education, and I am willing to define it. I think it is unfair to children to say that it is undefinable, and that anything counts. Horrible parents lose their kids to social services; we as a society have found a way to draw a line in the sand. And I believe that we need to do the same thing with education. NZ has a very good system for evaluating home educators, until 5 years ago (when National came in), all home educators were evaluated in person on a rotating basis, so about every 5 years. The law is fair; it requires that homeschool students are educated "as regularly and as well as public school." Clearly this must be interpreted, and here in NZ it has been interpreted as educating for at least 40 weeks a year (not a problem for unschoolers as they educated year round), and that all multiple learning areas are included in the education environment. This society has decided that all children are entitled to an education; and a democratically elected government has defined it with these 7 learning areas: Language (Maori or English) Numeracy Social studies (understanding people and society) Science (understanding the natural world) Arts (chosen from: music, dance, theatre, art ) PE Technology (understanding *how* society runs. This is NOT a computer class (although it could be); kids study the things like how a grocery store works: growers, distributors, store management, etc; or how gasoline gets to your car; or how mail gets to your house; etc So when evaluating if you are providing an education, the evaluator is looking for evidence in all these areas. I have gone through a review while I was an unschooler, so I know that *how* you achieve the above does not matter. I also know that if you fail a review, you are given 6 months to improve your game with the help of the ministry before your children are returned to school. I'm going to give 4 examples based on unschoolers I know. 2 city dwellers and 2 rural dwellers. One is a pass and one is a fail in each category. 3 of the 4 have had reviews (the 4th one I am just guessing at). I'm talking about 9 - 12 year olds here. Rural dweller #1 This family works a farm. The kids help with the animals and the farm maintenance and their small farm market. They cook, sew, draw. The kids are surrounded by books in the home and read when they are ready, which has been up to 10 years old. The parents read and discuss the newspaper over breakfast. This is a pass: Language - they do learn to read (writing is weak but is often associated with drawing) Numeracy - through cooking and sewing and the farm market (never getting to algebra, but learn elementary maths) Social studies - newspaper reading Science - farm work Arts - drawing PE - farm work Technology - how a farm works rural dwellers #2. This family lives rurally with a big yard, but does not actually run a farm. The dad works and the mom is very busy with her babies/toddlers and generally running the home. She does not include her older kids in home management, but rather kicks them outside to play every day for all day. They carve, build forts, play in the river, play imaginary games, etc. This is a fail Literacy - none, older kids do not read and are not being taught to read Numeracy - none, not even in cooking etc. Social studies - none science - biology from being outside Technology - none PE - playing outside Arts - carving perhaps? These children are not being educated. City dweller #1 A good friend of mine unschoolers her children in the city. They have a print rich home, the kids learn to read when they are ready. They do a lot of activities in the city: swimming, dance, drama, karate, art museums, etc. The mom reads a lot to her kids - whatever kind of books they want. She talks to them all the time as she does errands, talks about how things work in general. They cook, sew, play with some pretty cool computer programs (video, architectural, games, etc) This is a pass Literacy - print rich home and her children love writing stories Numeracy - through maths, sewing, architectural persuits social studies - read alouds science - read alouds technology - computers and errand discussions art - drama, dance, museums pe - swimming, karate, outdoor fun city dweller #2 This child typically plays video games all day long. He does go to swimming lessons and drama class. This child could read, but did not ever do it. Mom was too busy setting up her new business to do any read alouds. This is a good friend of mine, and she failed her review. She was given 6 months to change her game, did so, and passed the subsequent review. Literacy - none. not ongoing math - none social studies - none science - none technology - computers art - drama PE - swimming once a week, but nothing else My point is that you CAN define education. It does not need to look like what I had as a child or what I provide now. It does not need to set the kids up to do/be anything they want in life. It does not need to cover specific topics or be completed to someone else's timetable. It does not need to be provided in a certain way or create specific outcomes. But it must be an education. Children deserve no less. Ruth in NZ
  12. Wow. Are you guys going to make me work on this again? I never finished it because everyone who wanted to contribute already had, but we certainly did not get through all the curricula that are out there. So if more people want to add reviews, I will organize them and put them in the summary sections. Ruth in NZ
  13. 2.5 hours. This gave me the giggles. Last week when my ds had Intermediate Number Theory overlap with Algebra 3, he was up to 6 to 8 hours a day. Leaving me with a bit of :huh: and a bit of :001_smile: . I even found my him sitting in the family room in the dark at 10:30 at night with the tablet. I was a bit :eek: . Of course, he was sneaking in more maths and asking questions on the forum. :D Ruth in NZ
  14. I'm going to bow out of this conversation. I know that my experience with my older son is incredibly unusual, and I think it is clouding my judgement. I don't want to advise anyone because it really depends on the student. Clearly, there are different levels of math talent, and I can assure any parent that if your child has talent like mine, Saxon would never ever fit. And you would absolutely know. Absolutely. So if Saxon is working, keep with it. Ruth in NZ ETA: Wow! I hope that did not sound arrogant or condescending. Not my intention.
  15. I should add that my younger son, although using a conceptual program (singapore DMCC), will not be using AoPS. I want his math skills strong enough for a STEM career if he chooses, but I don't think that being an actual mathematician is in his future. Just don't want to scare people into thinking AoPS is the only way. I also want to reiterate that I am NOT saying that Saxon will not prepare you for university. I *am* saying that students who do well in Saxon will not necessarily do well in a *math* major, because Saxon focuses on different skills than mathematicians focus on. Ruth in NZ
  16. Well being a scientist, I know I have no scientific proof. So just a hypothesis with enough behind it that it would be worth investigating. So my suggestion is based on : 1) Personal experience. I used tradition programs in high school, not exactly plug and chug but leaning towards that. And when I got to Duke and took 3rd semester calculus, I found a lot of proofs were required. I needed to have the persistence and experience to stumble in the dark, and I completely failed at it. 2) Reading about mathematicians like Andrew Wiles who emphatically stated that mathematics is wandering in the dark. It is not plug and chug. 3) My personal comparison of Saxon vs AoPS textbooks. The style of problem could not be different and clearly they teach a very different way of thinking about mathematics. Saxon does not line up with what Andrew Wiles describes; AoPS does. 4) My experience teaching math in High school and now tutoring students. I have seen so many students that have no idea *why* they are doing something, but are quite happy and good at plug and chug. Depending on the student, they fall over somewhere between algebra and calculus. 5) My eldest child. He is set to be a mathematician, and in our search for higher level mathematics, have found problems that require him to search in the dark, for hours, days, even weeks. His hardest problem so far took 20 hours of desk time in addition to 2 weeks of just thinking. 6) Hearsay. I have heard numerous people discuss how strong high school math students are in for a rude awakening when they get to university math. But still, I would love to hear from a mathematician, as I am a scientist without personal experience as a math major. Ruth in NZ
  17. I'm going to go out on a limb here, and suggest that a student who has worked through a program like Saxon would be fine in first year university math classes, but would have a rude awakening if he/she wanted to be math major. ( I'm not talking science or engineering majors) Aops has really opened my eyes to what difficult math looks like. My son has experienced what Andrew Wiles described. Solving a math problem is like entering a dark room and stumbling around in the dark bumping into furniture for six months, until you find the light switch. My son does not take six months, but a single problem can take five hours and quite a lot of stumbling. Saxon and programs like it teach students to know how to solve every problem encountered, and this is not the way mathematicians work. Would love to see this aspect discussed by a mathematician, as I am a scientist and only use math as a tool. Ruth in NZ
  18. I agree with NASDAQ. Google CIE - Cambridge International exams. They have a wonderful selection of advanced coursework. Ruth in NZ
  19. I started a thread a few months ago talking about how to make WWS usable if your student could not study it independently. There were a lot of good ideas in there that I really think will help. Here is how I am teaching the material in WWS1-3. What are you doing? I also want to tell the OP, that WWS1 is by far the hardest of the 3 (relative to age of the the child) because it is just more esoteric than levels 2 and 3. Ruth in NZ
  20. I made my sister do her statistics for her masters in Biochemistry by hand. :001_smile: And there were quite a few of them! They were, however, nonparametric, so lots of ranking and no calculus. I told her that she would understand the stats so much better if she was not just reading printouts. When they asked her about her statistics at her defense, they quit asking once they found out she had done them by hand. I have definitely considered teaching the calculating of statistics by using nonparametric stats. My nonparametric class was by far the best, most interesting stats class I ever took. The calculations were very very easy to do and thus really helped me to understand statistics. I was never buried in the details.
  21. Never a stupid question, especially from you. Let me restate, I do not consider myself a statistician. I am a biologist. And I also have not taught statistics, only done lots of it. In biology, medicine, and economics (at least the questions that I have answered), you are asking if the location of two populations are different or how two populations are associated. For hypothesis testing, there are numerous tables in the back of any stats book that you can use to determine if your test statistic is greater than the critical value depending on your desired significance levels. These things have already been calculated. I have never needed to find the exact probability of something happening, which is why I would not have calculated the area under a specific piece of the normal curve. All the probabilities I use reference the standard deviations. I would not suggest that you would never want to take calculus based stats, I am just saying that if you are only going to take one or two classes in your life so that you can understand the news and the important scientific and social questions that face the world today, a large survey of the field (anova, regression, nonparametric, time series, etc) is much more important than a thorough understanding of how the statistics are calculated. Yes, calculations lead to a deeper understanding, but there is just not time for everything. This is just my experience, and I am happy to agree to disagree.
  22. Derek, the order does not matter. I personally would not teach calculus based stats as a first stats class anyway. It would be like taking calculus based physics as your first physics class -- you are likely to lose track of the concepts because you are buried in the details of the calculations. Statistics is not about calculating, the computers do that, rather it is about thinking about the data. Sure it is easy to run a t-test on data that has been collected for that purpose, but where statistics gets tricky is when the data has been collected without a statistical test in mind. My sister just did a bio masters and her advisor had her collect data without planning the stats first. She had only 8 claws, but took multiple samples from each claw and took measurements over time. She also removed tissue in some but not all the claws and at different times in the experiment, had three different levels of drugs, three different response variables, and non normal data. Her measurements had such a high degree of error just because of the sampling equipment that we could not even use percentage change which would clearly have been useful. It was a mess! Calculus does not help here, being familiar with numerous options does, because you can see the big picture, know what questions need to be asked, and then you can look the details up in a book. My main point is I think you need to think about your goals. If a student is passionate about statisitcs or physics, clearly calculus based stats in high school can be a good option, but to just be an educated adult, it is not, because with limited time in this world you cannot be both a generalist and a specialist (think medical doctors). My goals for my kids are to understand as many possible types of tests as possible so that they can interpret the stats in the news or research papers that they read. This translates into a survey class. They do not need to be able to calculate all these types of stats, so I am not looking for a calculus based class. There will be time for that later if they want to persue it. But to have their first and possibly only stats class be calc based, means that they will have the trees and no forest, and I don't think that kind of knowledge will be very useful in a field like statistics. FWIW, I have taken 8 university stats classes, done a four year statistical modeling project, and worked at Statisitcs NZ and the Ministry of Health as a multivariate statistician ( so quite a large range of topics in biology, economics, and medicine) and I have never used calculus based statistics. Clearly some fields need it, but the majority don't. I will add however, I don't consider myself a statistician because of my lack of deep understanding. So happy to be overruled by others more experienced. I don't have a book to recommend as we are not there yet, so hopefully others will link to some good ones. Ruth in NZ
  23. You have already gotten such good advice from Pen, so I doubt that I can add much. It seems to me that you should just plan one year at a time and evaluate how it is going. As Pen said not all programs work for all students and some work for a while but then it is time to move on. My biggest suggestion to you is to start your own education on how to teach writing. You need to make explicit what you already know implicitly and this can be very difficult for natural writers. My own studies in writing instruction have given me great confidence that I can meet each of my students where they are and help them move forward. I think you will feel so much better if you know what you are doing. The IEW DVDs were my first step in this self education process. Ruth in NZ
  24. 1991. I had a friend take the physics for poets class. He later became a lawyer, but never regretted taking a humanities-styled physics class.
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