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Everything posted by Rivka

  1. We just got home from vacation on Sunday. :-D We rented a cabin in a state park in the mountains of western Maryland for a week. Hiking, canoeing, swimming, board games, reading, and good food. It was lovely!
  2. I taught "Foundations of Math" to homeschooled teens last year. We went through a big chunk of Lial's Basic College Math. I billed the class as an opportunity to fill in any gaps in basic mathematics before going on to algebra. The 12 kids in the class fell into two basic groups: one motivated group who did all the assignments, progressed well, and could have learned even more math than I taught, and one challenged group who often didn't do the assignments, didn't seem to learn much math, and fell further and further behind. That was the class that taught me that I shouldn't try to teach skills classes to mixed groups of homeschoolers, because I don't have the experience and skill to work with such a diverse group. This year I'll be teaching high school psychology. I've gotten permission from the homeschool center to kick kids out of my class if they aren't willing to do the work, so this should go more smoothly. Plus it's not based on cumulative skills, so that should help. FWIW, many of the kids who struggled in my math class had recently been in school. And some of the kids who did extremely well were unschooled and hadn't previously done much math - but they were sharp. They were intellectually awake and engaged. I am aware that a lot of families homeschool because their kids aren't a good fit for public school. I think I eventually found out, by the end of the year, that 40% of my students in that math class had once had an IEP. So when I see a wide range of preparation - and I do - I don't assume that it's because of the inadequacy of the homeschool education provided.
  3. I was elected President of the Board of Directors of SUUSI, the Unitarian-Universalist summer program we've attended for the past 10 years. I've been sort of switching back and forth between "oh my gosh, it's no big deal" to "oh my gosh, this is a HUGE deal." But about 1000 people attend and the program has close to a half-million dollar budget, so it's probably kind of a big deal, isn't it?
  4. Yes, exactly. Typically, to back up an LD diagnosis you need: (1) Ability testing (e.g., IQ) (2) Achievement testing (3) Historical evidence of problems outside the testing environment (4) Tests of basic mental functions (e.g., memory, perception, phonological processing, attention, etc.) to identify specific weaknesses underlying academic issues. (5) Evidence that the observed problems are not better accounted for by other issues, such as a mental illness, an inadequate education, environmental deprivation, etc. (4) and especially (5) are where I see significant problems with using someone who has, say, a Master's in Education.
  5. Our camp also used Bunk1, but I sent paper letters. Bunk1 is what it is, right? A private company set up to make money. My daughter was only at camp for five nights. I brought a couple of letters to drop-off (labeled "Monday" and "Tuesday") and mailed others, so that she had a letter at mail call every day. My mom did that for me when I was a kid, and I always appreciated it. If she went for multiple weeks I'd probably write three times a week.
  6. I do this. I'm a licensed psychologist, and I specialize in working with homeschooling families who have kids with LD, ADHD, 2e, and mental health issues. There is absolutely a need for more people who do what I do. It's fairly common for people who are doing LD testing in schools to have masters-level qualifications. You can be certified as a school psychologist or a psychometrician without a Ph.D. if you have appropriate graduate-level training. Note, however, that school psychologists often don't provide a full diagnosis. They may say that a child has a "reading disorder" but not that the child has "dyslexia." Pearson is one of the biggest test manufacturers. You can see their qualifications requirements for who is allowed to purchase tests here. Note that an IQ test kit is Level C, the highest qualification level http://www.pearsonclinical.com/psychology/qualifications.html I have seen people with Master's degrees in education offering testing on a private basis. They can do IQ testing for giftedness, and strengths-and-weaknesses testing for academic achievement. At least here in Maryland, I don't think they can provide diagnoses if they're not attached to a school system and certified as school psychologists. Honestly? For straightforward cases, I think someone who is Master's level with appropriate training and experience could diagnose a lot of LDs, but there are a lot of non-straightforward cases. You can't know which is which, going in. Multiple times, I've made a diagnosis that "this only looks like an LD, but actually it's a mental illness." Sometimes the parents realized that there were mental health issues going on but thought there was also an LD. Sometimes they had no idea. And then there are subtle cases where there's a nonstandard presentation, or where different problems are feeding into each other, or where I have to say "This isn't a neat diagnostic category, but these are the mental processes which are functioning in a different way than most people, and here are some ideas about what to do with it." I really think this is Ph.D.-level work.
  7. UU mom here. I like a lot of this thread, and I think the two comments quoted here are particularly important: If my kid said "isn't it amazing God made the world and loves us?" I would probably say "I'd like to hear more about your ideas about God." Seven-year-olds are trying to figure things out. They're usually pretty concrete, and they tend to believe in magic, so it's not surprising to me that a seven-year-old would take in and accept ideas about God from the general culture. Raised in an open environment and exposed to many beliefs, I wouldn't worry that her current thoughts about religion will be her final thoughts. Like WoolySocks said, I do think it's valuable for parents to share their own beliefs. If I were an atheist, after listening to my child's thoughts about God I would say something like, "People have so many ideas about God. I don't believe in God myself, and neither does Daddy, but Grandma does, and so does your friend Sam's family. I can see how you would like the idea of a God who loves us and takes care of us. I bet that makes you feel really safe." Or something along those lines. There are religious thoughts that I think are pernicious, and I would discourage them. In our house we are very UU-dogmatic about the nonexistence of hell and the devil. We take the Universalist part super seriously. If my child came home with ideas about God protecting people or curing illnesses in response to prayer, or something along those lines, I would question those ideas. "Hmm. I can see why people think that's a nice idea, but I really wonder about that. We know that people die in accidents or die from illnesses all the time, and it doesn't make sense to me to think that God would help some people but not others." A general "God created everything" would get a "hmm" reaction from me, but specific reference to 6-day creation or Adam and Eve would get, "That's a story a lot of people tell, but it doesn't fit with what we know about the world from science. Stories can give us useful ways of thinking about the world, but that doesn't mean it happened exactly that way."
  8. Just dropped Alex off at sleepaway camp for the first time. *sniff*

    1. Show previous comments  3 more
    2. Rivka


      I miss her! And it's weird to think that I won't know whether she's doing okay or not. Even if she writes, it will take several days for the letter to get here.

    3. Rivka


      I mean, I was a camp counselor in my youth. I know she'll do fine. All of them do. But this feels DIFFERENT.

    4. scbusf


      My DS goes to sleepaway camp for the first time this Friday. I'm already a mess.


  9. For the first time ever, I have run out of "likes." Thanks, Obama!

  10. You know, I've been discussing religion and gay marriage for more than a decade now. I've brought up the point I made earlier - that a ban on gay marriage violates the religious freedom of liberal clergy - multiple times. Each time there is resounding silence from marriage equality opponents, who go right on arguing that the "religious" point of view is theirs and that any proponents of gay marriage must be "secular" or "anti-religion." I would like an answer. Why should the definition of marriage under the law be according to the precepts of your church, rather than mine? Where's the religious freedom for my religion?
  11. From the very beginnings of our nation, the concept of "non-discrimination" has included voluntary lifestyle choices. Why does the First Amendment prohibit the use of religious tests or the promotion of an established state religion in American public life? Religion, after all, is a voluntary lifestyle choice. It's not inborn, like race or gender. And we've protected the voluntary lifestyle choices of religious identity and political dissent for much, MUCH longer than we've prevented discrimination based on race or gender.
  12. I see this ruling as a victory for religious freedom for clergy. My religion (Unitarian-Universalism) has been performing religious same-sex marriages for thirty years or more. The Christian denomination I grew up in (United Church of Christ) has supported same-sex marriage for a long time. So have a number of non-evangelical Protestant denominations. So have some Reform and Reconstructionist Jewish clergy. For many years, these clergy have been told that they don't have the religious freedom to perform legal marriages for all the couples they believe should be allowed to marry. Now, ministers of my denomination are finally allowed to express their religious beliefs about marriage! There are excited ministers all over my FB feed.
  13. Oh my gosh, this story is delightful. http://happyplace.someecards.com/news/texas-comic-book-store-has-best-possible-closedcome-back-later-sign/
  14. I went through my old pictures and found ELEVEN YEARS worth of photos of my family demonstrating for marriage equality. We have worked for this! On the one hand, my kids are thrilled. On the other hand, I was talking to Alex and her friend about it at lunch today and I realized that they genuinely don't understand why this should be a big deal. It's such an "of course!" thing for them. I told them, "When I was your age, I didn't realize I knew anyone who was gay. It was considered such a bad thing that people kept it a secret." They were completely bewildered. It's an incredible transformation in our culture over not that long a period of time.
  15. Rivka


    There's a guy commenting on the BLH facebook page now who claims to live a mile away from her. He's posting some uncomfortable truths: How do the supporters explain his home truths? "He wants to run you off and take your land." "He's an evil, sick-hearted man." "Keep the children away from him when they come home. He's dangerous" It appears, incidentally, that the Naughlers haven't planted a garden yet this year because that's Jacob's job. Besides which, they're too upset. So they just... aren't growing any food. I do not understand why they have any supporters anymore.
  16. I well remember ordering my first pint of beer in London. It was a big jump up from the 12oz bottles I was used to - and even more so than I was expecting when I heard "pint!"
  17. I just asked my husband, who was born and raised in Tennessee, if he had ever known an African-American person who displayed the confederate battle flag. He looked at me like I had two heads. I'm sure that some people do actually perceive a difference between "white racist pride" and "Southern regional pride that just happens to be expressed with a whites-only symbol," but I confess that difference is too subtle for me. Of course all white Southerners aren't racist. Of course all white Southerners aren't evil. Of course terrible things have been done by Yankees. But I'm extremely glad that the Southerner I live with doesn't believe that those three things are the most important things everyone should be saying right this minute.
  18. We've expanded morning time considerably this year and it is going SO beautifully. I think it's everyone's favorite part of the homeschooling day. We do: Novel read-aloud (currently Little House on the Prairie) Nonfiction read-aloud, currently going through the nonfiction pieces in my large collection of 1970s-era Cricket magazines, which are wonderful. History of science (once a week only, Aristotle Leads the Way by Joy Hakim) Poem of the day - selections I happen to like from a variety of poetry anthologies Classical music piece of the week, using http://www.marciawashburn.com/BeethovenWho.html (this week was Bach's Fugue in G Minor) Artist of the week, using two books: Usborne Introduction to Art and The Art Book for Children. (this week was Andy Warhol) Friday art project from Discovering Great Artists Song of the week - from one of the Unitarian-Universalist hymnals or a folk song.
  19. We also skipped a lot of the geometry in MEP 4-6.
  20. We have a 60ish widower friend who used to come to dinner at our house regularly. One week he announced proudly that he would supply steaks for me to cook for dinner. He arrived with a big bunch of individually sealed packets. The steaks, supposedly "New York strips," were about 1/2 inch thick and chewy with a weird gamey flavor. I simply couldn't finish mine even though I was striving mightily to be polite. ...Guess where he had gotten them? We thanked him profusely. He made a big fuss when we gave the dog some scraps - "Boy, I'll bet it's not every day she gets fed NEW YORK STRIP!" We tried to decline the still-packaged leftovers, but he insisted on leaving them with us. And after he left we laughed and laughed. Neither DH nor I could even conceive of buying meat off the back of a truck and then serving it proudly to other people. Bless his heart.
  21. I am nonplussed that condemning the white supremacist ideology that motivated the terrorist is being framed by some in this thread as disrespectful to the victims.
  22. Rivka


    I wish that were true. I used to see people questioning Rhogam all the time on mothering.com, saying things like, "Back before birth was medicalized, there was no such thing as Rh disease!" There are even crazy websites suggesting that you can change your Rh factor using herbs and "detoxes." For example: http://tinkerbelle78.hubpages.com/hub/Natural-Birth-and-the-Rh-Negative-Mother
  23. We're planning to follow up CC and CtRD (the two JA books that are considered "algebra") with AoPS Algebra. I wouldn't do two different PRE-algebra programs unless I had a kid who really needed more time to mature cognitively in order to handle the abstractions of algebra, but my understanding is that AoPS Algebra goes broad and deep enough that it won't be overly repetitive to do it next. I'm assuming we'll skate quickly through some sections and spend more time on the complex ones. Maybe it's just because Alex is young (she's barely ten), but she really seems to thrive on the whimsy and humor and her sense of Linus as an encouraging and personal guide. Even though she's a high math achiever, I'm a bit nervous about transitioning her to a more stripped-down, grown-up AoPS approach. I think it will help to have already been through algebra once.
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