Diviya

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1. Pls. suggest books like Scarlet Letter and To Kill a Mockingbird

My 12 year old read Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice right after To Kill a Mockingbird and really loved them. She is also currently working her way through the Wizard of Earthsea series. I will say that she has always self censored, and while she used to be a very sensitive reader, she is not now! She has recently read and enjoyed The Book Thief, The Fault in Our Stars, the Hunger Games, the Maze Runner series to give you an idea of how not sensitive she is now :) I'm reading the suggestions in this thread with interest also.
2. Anyone else taking Math Kangaroo today?

It's possible I'm not thinking of this the right way, but I think only the corner small cubes on the big cube have three painted faces. All the other small cubes would have only one or two painted faces. So, eight corner cubes total - they told you none with 3 red faces, so that also means none with three blue faces, so all eight will have both red and blue? Make sense? Can anyone corroborate?
3. Anyone else taking Math Kangaroo today?

There were about 40 kids at our site, an elementary school. There were all levels 1-5 I think, except for my 7th grader. My girls had fun with the test. I also was able to get an answer that stumped both of them - very gratifying! 4ofus, last year, the coordinator at the test site sent us a list of who made the state and national lists. For the actual scores, at some point you can go on the website to get them. It takes an unreasonably long time for the scores to be posted, given it's a scanned answer sheet. I want to say about two months. Well, phew, I think that's it for the math contests for this year. DD12 is taking the SAT on May 2 though - I'll be interested to see how that goes!!
4. Anyone else taking Math Kangaroo today?

We will be in Redwood City - my girls are taking levels 5 and 7. Good luck!
5. Am I setting my daughter up for failure? (AOPS/math questions)

You could absolutely try Algebra first - I did that and it was obvious she wasn't ready for it. But....I really love the Prealgebra book - you may be able to go through some chapters pretty quickly, but I don't think it will feel like needless repetition. For what it's worth, I think the AOPS pretests are ridiculously easy, and to me they seem to have no actual relation to whether your child actually is ready for the course, unless you know you have a super self-motivated child! The post tests are more useful, as Kathy mentioned above. Generally speaking, I would think an 11 year old could manage the online class for Prealgebra, but not the Algebra if it's her first time doing AOPS. Mine took the Algebra online class at 11, but she had already worked through that part of the book on her own the year before. She took the class to review and solidify. I don't think you were thinking of the online classes, but my kids both enjoy them, so it may be worth thinking about. Sorry, probably this was incoherent, but hopefully there is something useful in there.
6. Worried about ds and AoPS

I went through AOPS pre-algebra with my oldest, and now my younger one is taking it online and working with me on it. I would say, in my opinion, you should definitely not make the call on whether it is right for you after a chapter or two. I would say it took a good 5-6 chapters before my kids started "getting" it, and even enjoying it. There were tears, there was a lot of hand holding. We skipped some of the really tough challenge problems. Some chapters, especially early on, were more direct instruction than discovery method - it says right in the front of the book that you can tailor this to the child you have. The important thing is to not be a slave to the curriculum! If some of the problems are ridiculous, skip them! If they need help, work through some problems with them! I have to say, for my own purposes, that sticking with it was the best thing I have done for them so far. My oldest has totally blossomed - she can't get enough AOPS now - it's kind of taken over our lives LOL. And there are still some problems we have to leave behind. And that's ok. She takes all the classes online now, works totally on her own, and she decides when to pursue help on a difficult problem from her classmates or instructor. I totally agree with those above who say AOPS is not the only or best way to get "there." It was the only and best way for US. My only message is to give it a fair shot. Oh, and the pace was painfully slow at first - my younger one actually dropped the class half way through, and then started over a month or so later. But the pace picked up quite a bit as we went through. So you can't really project how long it will take. Hope that helps.
7. There are times...

Is there a side of the house where you can sit and they can't see you? Or a spot where you can open a window and sit next to it? Or maybe you can listen to a book on tape while standing in the garden "pretending" to weed? Or as a last resort, find some particularly tall weeds and hide behind them with your book. Will require taking something to sit on. I am sending hugs.
8. Rat gave birth in my car

Soak some cottonballs in mint extract and leave them in your car (after you've caught mama if you want to save the babies). I have read (and have some anecdotal evidence) that rats can't stand the smell of mint. I'm not promising though... :)
9. math without a curriculum--need ideas-MEP?

Agreeing with Sparkly Unicorn. Can you just go faster through MM? I wouldn't necessarily worry about him forgetting. Mine do that too. We just go over it again when it comes up. MM may actually have too much repetition for him. Get it done, and then move on to the fun stuff. He sounds like someone who would benefit from AOPS pre algebra.
10. Graduating class breakdown at Harvard

Huh. You got me curious so I looked it up. I'm still in favor of legalizing. :)
11. What are you reading this summer?

Huge Georgette Heyer fan here! Which one is your favorite? I have way too many books. Who knows what I will actually end up reading. I'm currently reading Why Don't Students Like School, recommended here. Just finished Robinson Crusoe and How to Fail at Nearly Everything (really enjoyed both). Also working on How to Read a Book, and Teaching as a Subversive Activity. On deck is Angry Conversations with God; The Liberal Arts Tradition; The Up Side of Down; Food and Western Disease, and whatever my dd11 picks out to read next. So many books, so little time...
12. Just in case you have a 7th grader who doesn't particularly enjoy reading...

You could take a look at Readers Odyssey. She has great ideas for how to tailor to a child who doesn't like to read.
13. Doing all the AoPS PreA problems?

In my opinion, you can't really skip problems in AOPS. None of the problems are the same. You can choose to skip the challenge problems for now, and come back to them later. With my older daughter, we would do a section in two days at first. At some point she picked up speed and got more interested, so we could do a section or even two in a day. The summaries typically took 3-5 days. It is totally worth it to spend more time on it in order to get everything out of it. We found it transformative. Hope that helps.
14. Do you ever wonder how much of your kid being ahead is homeschooling?

I'd love to talk about the larger problem (because I think about it all the time), but I'm barely coherent tonight, so I better not. In my opinion, the problem with a younger kid going into a "regular" algebra class has to do with the textbook and the pacing. You would need to look at the number of problems they would be expected to copy and work, the amount of repetition and the amount of review. All of those things would have simply crushed my dd's spirit at an age when she was ready for algebra. ONLY AOPS would work for her, because the pace is right, and the number of problems per section is just right. No review, no repetition - just incremental difficulty. Looking at a page in Dolciani made her hyperventilate. Ok, not sure that was coherent, but hope it helps.

16. Grr. For the first time, we won't finish our curricula..

We don't school year round, but we've never had everything end tidily at the end of the year! We just start new books when the old ones end...I do try to have specific goals of how much I want to cover, but that gets revised a few times over the course of the year as I get a sense for what is going faster and what is going slower. This year is even messier than usual, as we have added some online classes midyear, and shelved some things that weren't working. Overall, progress is definitely being made! I find that each year, we delink a little more from what a traditional school would look like. Haven't been able to give up having the summer off though!
17. Beast Academy 4B is now available

Hooray! I ordered it a couple of hours ago, as soon as I could get to the computer after the email came. What a junkie...
18. Upper elementary and above: Help me cull our books and decide how much to keep (especially history and science)

Why can't they go in the bathroom?
19. Best text for me to re-learn Latin?

I really like Learn to Read Latin, by Andrew Keller and Stephanie Russell. I haven't had time to work through more than a few chapters yet, but it is extremely thorough and well thought out. (There is also Learn to Read Greek). There is a text and workbook, and you can get an answer key from the publisher. Wheelocks would be fine too. I don't think you'd need something before it. For reference, I took through AP Virgil in high school plus an additional semester of literature in college. I've been able to keep up with the kids so far, even without the refresher. The refresher has been working along with them! And my memory is not so great, and my last latin class was over 20 years ago...I would definitely need to study more as they get further along though. Hope that helps!
20. What subjects, if any, will you continue over the summer?

I always plan on working on some things through the summer. But between camps, travel, other activities and my own need for time off, the reality never comes close to the vision. Hoping this year to keep up with math and Greek. I'm thinking about having them do a class online with AOPS for the accountability!
21. When to start on Latin

You can easily wait until at least 4th grade. If your child is excited to start sooner, that's a reason to do it earlier. Otherwise, understand that they will learn virtually nothing useful in those first few years, and probably add unnecessary anxiety to your day. IMHO :)
22. What have you used for Italian? And a Rosetta Stone question..

I was recently researching Italian programs, and decided to purchase Living Language Italian. It had great reviews and is not expensive. There is a book and CDs. We just started using it, so I can't give you any feedback on it, but it does seem very user friendly. I'd be curious to know if anyone else has used this. The company has other languages as well. ETA: while I would normally look for a program with a strong reading component, in this case I was looking primarily for spoken.
23. Most Readable Divine Comedy Translation?

If you search the boards, you may find a thread in which Ester Maria and others talked about the different translations. Here is what I came away with: Dante translators Mandelbaum - best compromise between form and function Esolen - best faithfulness to original Ciardi - most fun Hope that helps!