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Everything posted by Tranquility7

  1. We are planning to attend the Great Homeschool Convention in SC in two weeks (Mar 19-21). The TX one is this weekend (Mar 12-14) and the MO one is the week after (Mar 26-28). We are all so excited, especially our kids, who are getting to meet some friends from online classes as well as some favorite authors. However, we are wondering if there is any buzz about it possibly being canceled. We have not heard anything, but with all the recommendations and other cancellations, it seems like it is not outside the realm of possibility. I tried to call GHC and got no answer. Just wondering if anyone else has heard anything re: the TX, SC, or MO conventions? We aren't so much concerned about getting the virus ourselves as we are about possibly bringing it back to our town and elderly family members. Thoughts?
  2. Just thinking through common issues of the day, and ideas and words that are defined in lots of different ways - Education Food Normal Disability Disease Spectrum Humane Compassion Ethical Poor Rule
  3. I have toyed with this idea for literally years!! My kids and I are finally getting started. Slower than I want, but little by little. My general idea is to make their own "reference" book for the Bible. Here are the sections I'm planning to include: The Word - lists of books of the Bible, categoized by type. This will ALSO include a single page reference for each book, which will include the main info – author, date, main stories, characters, themes, general outline (hopefully color coded and visually represented, not just text) Stories – One page for each main story – not sure yet how this will work, but just trying to have a central place for more detailed story info. Maps – Handdrawn, and might use transparencies for different times of the same area. Timeline – Overall timeline of main events as well as when books were set and written, plus some more detailed timelines (e.g., life of David, life of Jesus) Genealogies – Drawn from genealogy chapters, and including everything we can fit Names of God – As we read, we will make a list of names and their meanings, and keep a list of which name was used during which books and stories (we have a Names of God Bible that makes this easy) Types – This will probably be divided by book. E.g., What types of Christ are in Exodus? And then have a list and explanations. Places – This might end up in the Map section, but basically it will be an ongoing list of events that occurred in the same place. So, it will start as a list of places – Bethlehem, Shechem, Haran, Egypt, etc. I’m not yet sure how I will order them, but I *think* I will order them in order of appearance in the Bible. That way it will end up kind of chronological, too. This will allow is to, over time, compare the things that occur in the same location. Figurative Language – This is a place to keep a record of figurative language used. Again, not exactly sure how I will do it, but I’m thinking we will make a page for each type of figurative language we encounter – imagery, metaphor, personification, etc., and then just copy the examples we find onto that page. It will end up similar to a commonplace book, with just a bunch of copywork in it, but they will be organized by figurative language type. Symbols – Sort of an extention of figurative language, but we will have a page for each symbol encountered. This takes a little preparation since symbols aren’t apparent until they are encountered several times, but we will start with commonly known ones, and then maybe research to find more – water, bread/grain, light, etc. Every time we encounter the symbol in Scripture, we will make a note on its page. Every now and then we will just look at a single page and consider all of the appearances of that (possible) symbol. Themes – Again, a page per main theme – e.g, sin, redemption, worship, garden, etc. Prayers – As we read Scripture, we can consider how to use that Scripture in our prayers. If we are reading a very well-suited excerpt, we can make a note of just the reference on an overall page of Prayer references. Then once a week or so, we will actually write out a prayer using one of those references, and include it in our book. My longterm plan is to keep these prayers categorized by the Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication method, and then use the prayers in our morning Bible time and evening family worship. Vocabulary – Just to keep a quick reference of unfamiliar words
  4. We did SM through 6B and then transitioned to AoPS. DS is mathy, but I always been a part of the SM lessons, and AoPS is the same for us. Our routine is to do the lesson together. Then he does the exercise problems at the end of each section (and eventually chapter review) on his own. He has to show his work. If he isn’t following their methods, I might make him rework the problem even if he got the right answer. If he gets the wrong answer, he reworks it. In my experience, AoPS does not lend itself to being done independently, but certainly some kids could. Just not mine, LOL. There have been many topics that technically DS already “knows how to do”, and if he were going through the program independently, he would very likely disregard a lot of the conceptual complexity and just do things the way he already knows how. That doesn’t seem like a good approach for this program. Following their method is often quite important to reinforcing the concept they are teaching, and those concepts come up again and are built upon in later chapters. If you don’t have time to do the lesson part with him, perhaps he could get what he needs from the Alcumus website? I think they have videos on there and go through the book. Or maybe that is only if you purchase the online part? I can’t remember. But it is worth checking out.
  5. My 8 year old ADORES Nature Friend magazine. We have also had various levels of Highlights, National Geographic Kids, and Clubhouse Jr in the past. Nature Friend is the only one my kids have really loved. It is always filled with info about animals, but also stories, a drawing lesson, photography information, etc. It is laid out in a lovely "calm" way - not wild and overstimulating, IYKWIM - and has no external advertising. It is geared toward Christian homeschoolers, but not in a heavyhanded way. It is so wonderful!!
  6. I would put on my most genuinely cheerful and friendly self, call the other mom and say something like, "I'm so sorry! We didn't know about your party and really didn't mean to create an awkward situation for your DD. She really does not need to invite my DD, my DD totally understands and honestly is not upset. It is no big deal, and we are just going to reschedule our party for after DD returns from out of town. That way we are just spreading out the fun! Plus we wouldn't want anyone to have to choose which party they can attend, and this way hopefully both parties will have great turnouts. You all have a great time celebrating!" Better yet, if DD is comfortable with it, have your DD call, and say all of that to the new girl. The new girl still might feel bad for not inviting her, but DD needs to just cheerfully tell her it is no big deal and that she doesn't always invite everyone either, it just happened to work out well to do that this year. Then reschedule DD's party, and make sure DD stays friendly and cheerful with the new girl so the new girl doesn't feel like she did anything wrong (which she didn't, of course). And then when rescheduling, just have DD cheerfully say that she didn't mean to schedule her party for the same weekend as the new girl, and so she is rescheduling for later so hopefully both parties will have great turnouts.
  7. Wow, scary! I've heard of that, too, but it falls in the category of "you never think it will happen to you". Thanks for the reminder that it could indeed happen... scary stuff. Glad everyone is okay.
  8. We do a ton of Anki. It is central to our homeschool, and keeping up on our Anki makes learning new content in every area easier. I like to think of our review time as not just "review", but really "review and integrate", because making connections happens all the time! I add Anki for each subject and curriculum we do. The subjects are in different decks, and curricula within subjects are in subdecks under that. We have a zillion decks, LOL. (ok, not a zillion, but > 40, which seems like a lot but really isn't so bad, since Anki basically manages it all for me). When we review, we just go from deck to deck until we are finished; Anki time is it's own thing, and is not tied to any particular lessons. I have a DS11, DD8, and DD4. As a group, we do our Anki Bible, History, Geography, Language Arts (grammar, poetry, etc.), Art Appreciation, Music Appreciation, and Science. It usually takes about an hour on Monday (since we haven't done it since Friday), and then about 20 min Wed, Thurs, Fri (we often skip Tues since Mon was big). DS11 has been doing Anki far longer than DD8, so some of these decks have cards DD8 knows nothing about. For some of those, I may tell DS11 to "teach her" - by which I mean, explain the fact to her, whatever it is, in a way that will help her understand more about it. Also we try to connect it to things that DD8 has learned since the last time we saw the card together. But then we still schedule it for DS11's retention, not DD8's. DD4 also has a smattering of cards that are "hers" - some Bible verses and catechism and such. Eventually, DD8 will have her own deck and her own review time with me and DD4, but for now, doing most of it together works fine. (In fact, she used to have her own deck, but it just seemed inefficient to me, so I stopped that and started the mega group review time and have been very pleased with that.) For DS11, I also have extensive Latin and Chinese decks, and a small math deck. He and I do those together, and we usually spend about 3-4 hours through the week on those. Also, not sure if you were asking about this, but one major lesson I have learned from our experience of using Anki for the last 6 years is to do reviews the decks orally *with* your child as much as possible. It is very tempting to just create the decks and then have kids do them independently, but IMHO, Anki cards are not just flashcards. They are an awesome opportunity to re-discuss and integrate. Over the years, I have tried a couple of times to have DS review on his own, but reviewing that way became more of a rote exercise (not to mention that DS would be tempted to rush through on his own). Reviewing together, OTOH, became an opportunity for wonderfuldiscussion and connecting with new things we had learned since last seeing the card. We don't discuss every card, of course, but reviewing together at least gives us that option. Plus, it ensures that I keep up with DS in everything he is learning (which is becoming all the more important the older he gets).
  9. :iagree: Also, as a variation on this, we like the Pomodoro Technique. We look at the assignment, and estimate how long it should take. Say, 20 min max for outlining an easy passage, IF DS11 is focused and not dragging it out. Then we set the timer for 20 minutes, and it is heads-down working on that until he is finished with the task or the timer goes off. Usually he finishes before the timer goes, but if the timer goes off first, he is usually close enough to completion that he will work another couple of minutes to get it done. For larger tasks, like a several-paragraph essay, we split it up into multiple small chunks (e.g., one chunk for outlining, one chunk for each paragraph, etc.) and use the Pomodoro Technique on each chunk.
  10. Hmm, that is a great question, and I have heard many people on WTM say they take it slower. However, I don't really. I tried to start my DS at 10, and it was too much for him at that point. I considered going at half pace, but ultimately just set it aside for a year and picked it up again last fall (6th grade). It is a lot of work, but it is going great. I'm so glad I waited! We do school year round and so with WWS I tend to have him do about 4 weeks on and then 1 week off (we still school other stuff that week, just not WWS). Some weeks are harder than others, so I just figure out our schedule as I go, but I am roughly trying to finish by the end of June. Honestly, on weeks that are a bit "much" for him, what I tend to do is rather than slow down and spread the lesson over more weeks, I simply sit with him and read through the lesson together and do all but the actual writing project orally. Doing it totally independently would be hard for him, because he can drag it out and feel like it takes longer than it really should. But if I join with him and we just read and discuss as we go, that gives him some good energy and motivation and we get through it together.
  11. Late night computer programming!! Seriously. I am such a nerd! I also love solving math problems or logic puzzles. I was a software developer back before having kids, and now I am getting back into it (albeit completely different technologies) so I can teach DS. I'm making some cool apps I think will be useful in our homeschool, and having so much fun doing it. It is totally my happy place. :001_tt1: Probably too crazy to add it to your list of ideas, but it works for me!
  12. :iagree: I have just introduced my youngest (3.5) to pattern blocks, and I'm so glad I've kept them for her through my various purging cycles! I printed out a bunch of free sheets online - animals, letters, numbers, etc. - and every now and then will put the sheets and blocks in her "rainbow bins" (a series of bins, each with a different activity that she gets to work on quietly while I'm working with the big kids). She didn't love them at first, but actually my bigger kids got interested in them again (the blocks have been put away for a couple of years), and that made her realize they were fun, LOL. The big kids made fancy mosaic patterns with them, but then they showed her how to use the sheets to make letters, animals, etc., and she decided they are pretty fun. I keep them put away if they are not in the current rainbow bin rotation, so they are something special she only gets when she "gets to do school". So in our house, pattern blocks are a keeper!
  13. You can check out my Udemy rx and comments in this thread: http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/667823-computer-science-online-classes/?p=7983227 The particular courses I recommend are not Java, but here is a Java one taught by one of the same instructors I recommend: Complete Java Masterclass This course is taught by Tim Buchalka. He is an excellent professional intructor, and it shows. He covers topics quite thoroughly and clearly. Right now I think the course is discounted to $24 - which is still DIRT CHEAP for what you are getting! - but sometimes they get as low as $10. Do not ever buy them at full price :-) FWIW, I still recommend the Web Dev Bootcamp by Colt Steele more highly for any beginner programmer in junior high or high school, because I think he teaches a lot more diverse skill set and helps the student create some small projects start-to-finish, which is not only motivating, inspiring, and fun for the student, but also very practically helpful and gets the student to the point that he can actually create something and put it out there for the world to use. But - if you really want Java - I'd go with Tim's course at this point.
  14. One thing I'm confused by is that the Great Conversation classes are the most expensive at $880... theoretically because they are 2.5 credits, I guess? But then why are they not more class hours per week? They are the same exact number of hours per week as the single credit courses, aren't they? It just doesn't make sense to me. Also, Great Conversation I for 7th graders costs the same as 12th grade Great Conversation VI, yet I'm sure the TGC VI has far more writing and thus is more time-consuming for the teacher to grade (whereas TGC 1, by my understanding, only has paragraph-level writing). I would think it would make the most sense for TGC to be cheaper for younger years, and more hours than any of the single credit courses. What am I missing?
  15. We are also a Suzuki family, although we do Suzuki piano. I am not a Tiger Mom either, but I treat piano like any academic subject in our house - reading and math are not optional, and neither is piano. In fact, piano is the first "academic" subject we start, mainly because there is a lot of character development that occurs as a result of having to sit still, focus, repeat things, etc. I do try to "know my child's frame" and not give them more than they can bear, but I also try to challenge them appropriately and help them grow. Once we have done Suzuki for a year or two, I start introducing other academics (reading, math, etc.), the transition is easy because the DC has already learned so many skills helpful to learning. My first question, since you have not mentioned it, is how much does he listen to his Suzuki CDs? You indicated that he is a good sight reader, but then said he is loose with note value and intonation. To me, those are both ear issues (though I also would not say someone who doesn't hold notes the written length as a "good sight reader"; note length is part of sight reading). If he is playing the right notes but not playing them the right length, and they are out of tune, he is just playing the notes on the page rather than making music. This is not meant as a criticism of your teacher, but being a "good sight reader" at the end of Book 1 is a red flag to me. I've never heard of a Suzuki teacher teaching music reading at that point in study. The whole point of the Suzuki method is to develop the ear first - *First*, not *instead of* music reading. This is done, in my experience, through having the child *listen* extensively, and have to figure out, by ear, all of their pieces. I don't know what violin or cello teachers do, but our piano teacher has the children figure out all of Book 1 solely by ear - both right hand and left hand. The child is not even allowed to look at Book 1, no matter how much he might want to learn to read the music. It is HARD and SLOW, especially for kids who, like my DS, start off with a *terrible* ear for music, but the payoff in aural development is remarkable. This has been important for piano, but I think is even far more important with strings, where you have the added fundamental aural skill of playing in tune in a way that doesn't exist for piano. Once they start Book 2, they begin learning note reading, and by the end of Book 2 their music reading has totally caught up to their playing. If our teacher had let DS learn to read music from the start, he could have gotten through Book 1 in half the time, easily. Probably faster than that, even. But doing it by ear required him to develop his ear. Now he is finishing Book 4, and plays beautifully, and incredibly musically. Not because he is naturally talented, but because the Suzuki method itself taught him how (plus a lot of hours at the piano, of course!). If I were you, I would have him do a lot of listening and imitating, solely by ear. Do not let him read the music for a piece he is learning with you. I'm not sure what repertoire you could use since he already knows Book 1, but honestly even if you just had him learn melodies from kids's songs or hymns or whatever, *solely by ear*, I think that would help. And have him imitate, imitate, imitate. Play a game like Simon, where you play a line and then he has to play the same thing (you could play it on a keyboard or other instrument if you don't have another cello). Change it up, playing notes longer or shorter, softer or louder, etc. Hope this helps!!
  16. Dwane Thomas teaches live, but you can also just do the class self-paced by watching the recordings: https://dwanethomas.com/schedule/
  17. Ouch is right. Is it just my imagination, or is that a significant jump from last year?? I thought TGC was closer to $650 or $700??
  18. You might have already read this thread, but in post 8 I recommended a few excellent programming courses on Udemy. Super cheap, and *awesome* - especially the Web Dev course by Colt Steele. One of the best things about it for a newbie programmer is that he introduces you to lots of excellent free development tools online. And even more importantly, he shows you conventions and best practices (rather than just quick and dirty ways to do things). As you work through the course, you code along with him and develop lots of little projects, which are extrmely helpful at both reviewing what has has taught you previously as well as integrating new learning and giving you a good overall picture of the process. The TA for the course is extremely active in answering questions, too, which is a huge help when you hit a brick wall in a project.
  19. Two books I keep on my shelf for Python reference are: Effective Python (Slatkin) Python Cookbook (Beazley & Jones) Also, when he is finished with the CodeAcademy course, I highly recommend this video course on Udemy for someone with a little programming experience: The Complete Python 3 Course It's only $10.99 until 1/11. The teacher is very good, and I have learned a ton from it (I used to do programming before having kids and am trying to get back into it). The instructor does go fast, so you do have to back up and replay things often in order to follow what he is typing. I took a break about halfway through because the Web Dev part assumes more knowledge than I have in that area, so now I'm working through an awesome Web Dev course (this one, in case your DH is interested - it.is.awesome). But then I'll get back to Python. :)
  20. Interesting article! The Surprising Thing Google Learned About Its Employees
  21. Almost always. We school year-round, so we always just finish one thing and go on to the next. Depending on what subject it is, I might give a couple of weeks break on that subject before starting the next book. Starting and finishing curricula happens in a staggered way throughout the year, which we all love, because starting a new book is like a breath of fresh air. The only things we haven't finished along the way are things that I just decided were not working for us.
  22. Without a doubt. Not only have I studied a lot of educational philosophy and methods, but I’ve also studied a lot about how to teach and how we learn. And so far I have seven years of experience under my belt. Not to mention all of the skills I’ve worked on and content I’ve learned over the years. I still have tons to learn, of course, but am I a better teacher now than I was when we started? Hands down, yes! I joke with DH about how my DD8 has a MUCH better teacher than my DS11 had at her age. But in reality, they are also just getting hugely different experiences, kwim? With DS11, I learned *with* him. He learned to read as I was learning how to teach reading. He learned math as I was learning how to teach math. He learned history as I was learning history myelf (as well as learning how to teach it). With all content subjects, he and I learn together, and still do. He could go faster through material if I already knew it, frankly, but that’s ok… there are benefits for him to see me struggling to learn, and we actually have a lot of fun learning together. My DD8, on the other hand, needs a lot less of my time to learn the same material, because I already know it. I can pretty much teach her off the top of my head, whereas I couldn’t do that at all with DS when he was her age. DS11 and I went through a LOT of curricula. With DD, however, I tend to have a more informal Socratic discussion-based method, because I know the material well enough now to do that with her. DS and I do Socratic method a lot, too, but sometimes he gets to play the part of Socrates, LOL!
  23. There are also some "fun" exercises you could do with him. I say "fun" because they are fun to us, but not to everyone. To help the exercise, you might purchase a small electric keyboard - super cheap, at least 2 octaves, and you don't need to worry about how it sounds other than that it plays in tune. A keyboard works better than other instruments because you can visualize intervals and flats and sharps more clearly. This would also help with the music and math course, because he could experiment a little with things that the prof says about intervals and such. Anyway, an exercise that DS and I did a while back - figure out all the keys. Start on C. Play a major scale up the keyboard. Count the intervals between each note of the scale (any two consecutive notes on the keyboard are a half step, so a regular major scale will be whole-whole-half-whole-whole-whole-half). Write down the pattern W-W-H-W-W-W-H Move to D. Figure out, using your ear, how to replicate the same scale you just played on C. After you figure it out, count the intervals again, and notice that it is the same W-W-H-W-W-W-H pattern. Jump to any key on the keyboard, and notice that you can figure out that same major scale starting from any key, and it will always be that same pattern. Notice that sometimes there will be more black keys, and sometimes fewer. Now – super fun – figure out the circle of fifths. Make notes as you go, so that you can really see the pattern developing. Start on C again. Notice that a C major scale has no sharps or flats in it. Explain that if you count up 5 notes from C in the C major scale, you will land on G. Because you are in the key of C, the C note is called the tonic, and the G is called the dominant. The dominant of a scale is always up a fifth from the root note. Noticed that if you now play a major scale on G – meaning you start on G as the root note and figure out the major scale, this G scale will have one sharp in it. Now move to the dominant note of the G scale – that will be D. Play a major scale starting on D. You will find that it will have two sharps in it (F#, C#). Now move to the dominant note of the D scale – that will be A. Play a major scale starting on A. You will find that it will have three sharps in it (F#, C#, G#). Now move to the dominant note of the A scale – that will be E. Play a major scale starting on E. You will find that it will have four sharps in it (F#, C#, G#, D#). Keep following this pattern until you have five, six, or even seven sharps in the key. Go back to C, and this time count *down* five notes from C in the C scale. This will take you to F. C is again called the root, but F is called the subdominant. The subdominant of a scale is always down a fifth from the root note of the scale. Now play a major scale starting on F – use F as the root note, and figure out the major scale, and you will see it will have one flat in it (Bb) Now move to the subdominant note of the F scale (remember count down a fifth) – that will be B flat (notice that it is not B, because B is not in the F scale; B flat is). Play a major scale starting on B flat. You will find that it will have two flats in it (Bb, Eb). Now move to the subdominant note of the Bb scale (go down a fifth within the Bb scale) – that will be E flat (again, notice it is E flat, not E, because E is not in the B flat scale). Play a major scale starting on E flat. You will find that it will have three flats in it (Bb, Eb, Ab). Continue this same pattern until you have five, six, or seven flats in the key. Notice that as you get into more sharps and more flats, the same scale can be formed being called by flats or sharps. Anyway, DS and I have just had fun figuring some of this out. We don’t necessarily understand it all, but it is possible to see lots of relationships between intervals the more you play with keys like this. You can also do the same thing for minor scales, and some other types of scales, too. If you want to add in more math, you could also get into the actual frequency values of the different notes, which would help him understand more about why the intervals behave the way they do (proportions). The Great Courses course gtes into some of this, and also the very interesting question of why the same piece of music played in different keys on the same instrument (e.g. piano) can have a very different “feel†or “mood†to it. Fascinating!
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