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specialkmom

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  1. A few of my kids take some classes through Wilson Hill and we've been very pleased with them. We've been very impressed but the quality of teachers they have. My oldest son had GC3 with Mr. Etter this year and loved him. I think all students love him. We were pretty disappointed when he stepped down. His wife still teaches at WHA, but I think Mr. Etter no longer works for WHA in any capacity. Their family has gone through a lot of challenges this last year and I wonder if that contributed to his decision to leave. His replacement Mr. Miles is really good, though no one can really bring the energy that Etter has. But, my son is very happy with Mr. Miles. I think the fact that he lived in Greece and is well versed in modern and Ancient Greek builds rapport. (My son is in Greek 2 and studied Koine before that. He's doing modern Greek on his own.) His Greek teacher from last year left to begin his PhD in Geology. He had so much fun with Mr. Bowden. Mr. Colvin is his teacher this year and is more than capable. He has a dry sense of humor, but my son really likes him. Mr Martin is a favorite. He had him last year for GC2 and this year for Logic. A soft spoken guy, but a Tolkien lover! Any class taken with him will be well worth it. Mr Meyer is the Honors Physics 1 teacher and my son finds him to be knowledgeable and engaging. I think he's new this year, but he's done very well adjusting to teaching online. He adds in more than what's in the book and has a weekly quiz (mini test) beyond the assigned homework. I think that it is very beneficial to the students to help master the material. Mrs. Tammy Jones is probably MY favorite teacher. She teaches several classes, but no high school classes. My younger son had her for Ancient History last year and my daughters are doing LA1 with her this year. I think she also teaches Latin and some lower science courses. She has a natural way of drawing kids into the material and passing her enthusiasm on to her students. My younger son has had Mrs. McGahey (LA2) - fantastic and this year Mr. Lawrence for GC1 and Mrs. Winn for LA3. He loves his classes and I've been pleased with work he's doing. Next year we won't be able to use WHA because we will be living in an internet-scarce area overseas. I was a little put off this summer about some of the teacher turn over. But, they've replaced great teachers with more great teachers. They have had a knack for finding people who not only are highly qualified, but love what they teach. I hope they can continue to do so.
  2. We used WHA for Algebra 1 last year. My Ds's teacher was Kaye Pepin. I thought she did a great job teaching. You can contact WHA to see a sample class for how it works. I thought Canvas and Adobe Connect were very easy to use. I don't know how Geometry homework is graded, but for Algebra 1, the parents checked the homework and gave the student a second chance at a problem if they missed it. At the end of each chapter, the teacher provided a spreadsheet for the homework grades and averages. At least one section homework from that chapter also needed to be scanned and sent in. The teacher graded tests on her own. I think the Algebra class towards the middle of the year started to use discussion boards for questions on the homework (as far as I know you could still contact the teacher with questions too). AoPS also utilizes a message board/discussion board for their math classes and it works very well. Multiple students can get help and work together to think through a problem. I would imagine that it also helps the teacher to answer one question for many people rather than the same question over again for many students. I don't have any experience with VPSA.
  3. I have a couple questions. I'm looking at my first ninth grader and finishing up the plans for this year. This is what I have so far: Great Conversations 3 at WHA : 1 credit history, 1 credit literature, .5 credit theology Accelerated Studies in Physics and Chemistry - Novarre 1 credit science Greek 2 at WHA- 1 credit language/elective Algebra B (Algebra 2) at AoPS (already started and will finish in October)- 1 credit Math Then what do I do? Keep on going with Geometry or take a break for a bit? Introductory and Intermediate Logic by Nance - 1 Credit Writing and Rhetoric books 9 and 10 and some Grammar review - do I pair this with Great Conversations literature for 1.5 credits? or should this be a whole credit of composition on its own? We were looking at the possibility of doing Arabic this year. So that's my other question. Is my 9th grader already full or is this do-able? As far as taking multiple languages, it wouldn't be the first time. My ds has taken Koine Greek for about 3 years, did a year of Ancient Greek last year and will continue on with that. While he was taking Koine Greek, he also was learning the language of the country we lived in. If I add in Arabic then it would be 8 to 8.5 credits. Is that too much?
  4. Hi, I was one of the previous posters in this thread. I have used W&R with my oldest ds through book 8 (with the exception of book 4). I mentioned before that we took a year off and did IEW and some of the pros and cons with that. I am so glad we stuck with W&R even with the outlining frustrations. And now that I’ve used the higher levels (and my ds took Scholé Academy course this past year with books 7&8), I understand how to use the program better. I still stick to my earlier opinion of using W&R at the higher recommended grade level. As a matter of fact my ds was in 8th when he did books 7-8. And most of the kids in his Scholé class were too. In Narrative 3, outlining is introduced but it is not expected for them to master it until later levels. In the Tell It Back section of the upper level books there are 3 exercises: Oral Narration, Written Narration, and Outline. I remember reading in the notes to teachers that it is not intended for your student to do all three of these. So, we alternated or picked one to focus on for a few weeks and then switched. The Scholé teacher doesn’t have them do it all either. Also, as they learn the different kinds of essays, outlining becomes a little more natural. For example, in an encomium/vituperation we know the function of each paragraph and outlining becomes much easier. As I look back I wonder if the outlining instruction in book 3 was more for an introduction and the teacher was meant to walk alongside the student in the outline, not expect them to do it all independently. The higher level books definitely ramp up but it isn’t unreasonable. My ds liked to complain a lot but I think it was because he was a middle school boy who decided he was bad at writing. However, even with that he still liked the curriculum as a whole and didn’t want to switch to something else. He ended up doing really well in his class this year and earned an A. So now he can’t say he’s bad at writing, lol. We will be using book 9 and 10 this year but can’t swing the class. I thought his teacher was excellent and I liked how she drew in a lot of public speaking into the class. That was an area we weren’t getting to very well and I was glad to see him being pushed a bit. If you have more specific questions I can try to answer them. I think there are many great writing programs out there. W&R may not be the best fit for everyone depending on what your goals are for your child’s writing. However, I think it is an excellent program and I’m very pleased with the results so far.
  5. @lbell my ds is in LA 2 as well! That’s cool. We did CAP Fable and Narrative 1 last year. I plan to do Narrative 2 alongside LA 2 this year because I really like CAP’s W&R series.
  6. @ScoutTN That’s neat! I’ve heard good things about Mr. Reini. My ds is in the T/Th early morning group with Mrs. Pepin. It’s 7am our time!! But it was the only open class that would work with our schedule. He actually doesn’t mind being up early and getting math over with. Some of my other kids are not morning people and it would never work, lol.
  7. I haven’t used BJU or BA 2A. My boys did BA 3-5. BA2 wasn’t out yet. And I used SM Standards Edition 1-5. I would have my kid do Xtra Math (an app or online) everyday or every other day. It’s a math facts app. Not terribly exciting but it does a good job and takes 5-10 minutes. Second, do you have the workbook for BA 2A or just the textbook? Looking at the topics BA covers in 2A, I would say it’s exactly what your child is struggling with. Don’t be afraid to sit with him and help him through more challenging parts and you could even skip some of what might not work with him. I sat with my boys through most of BA3 and let them loose in BA 4, with helps along the way. If you have the workbook, start it. One of the other things I used was the SM Intensive Practice. It gives extra practice and reinforcement. More than the SM Extra Practice. However, since you bought the BJU book, you could use it as an extra practice or reinforcement. Maybe like a constant review as you continue with SM. Although I think BJU is less spiral than Horizon/Saxon and similar programs. But, I’ve not used it before so I’m not sure.
  8. This is our first year doing any live online classes. My oldest ds has done a self-paced course before and two of my dc have done a dvd alongside a subject before. My ds 8th grade is doing 3 classes through Wilson Hill Academy ( Algebra 1, Great Conversations 2, and Greek 1) and 1 through Scholé Academy (Writing and Rhetoric 4). My ds 6th grade is doing 2 classes through Wilson Hill (Language Arts 2 and Ancient Times). So so far I’m really happy with these decisions. I have several other kids, We just moved back into the US and I needed less on my plate. My ds 8th has taken Koine Greek for 3 years and was ready to move on to Ancient Greek. His teacher is excellent and has such enthusiasm that it made me want to take the class. Algebra 1 is going very well (though we are just in the first month so nothing hard yet). But his teacher has been teaching in this format for several years and does a good job keeping people on track and explaining concepts well. As we get into harder topics, we will see about how that goes if he needs extra help or guidance. Although both my Dh and I could figure it out pretty well. He enjoys his GC2 class (especially as they are reading Tolkien right now). I’m happy with his Writing class because he has to do public speaking and I think between this class and his others, he will be exposed to other’s writing will help him to grow. We’ve been using CAP’s Writing and Rhetoric series for a few years and I feel this class will take the same material and move it up a notch. (Compared to what I was able to do with him before.) My other ds 6th really enjoys his classes and appreciates the fact that he can be in a class but not in school all day (if you know what I mean). Typing is the one area we are struggling with as the online classes do require interaction during class as well as most assignments to be typed and turned in. The interaction in class is typed, audio, and visual. So there is a “chat box” where they can ask or answer questions and add to discussion, but they can also activate their microphone or camera to interact in class (when the teacher allows). Anyway, so far I’ve been pleased with these choices. But we are only a month into the school year.
  9. My ds is in LA2 this year. It is our first time using WHA. He is in 6th grade. So far I’m pleased with the class. But we are only a few weeks in. Typing is important, so if you are looking to put your 4th/5th grader in a class, make sure they can type. This is probably the hardest part for my ds. He has done typing for a couple years but is so slow, and partly because I almost never required his work to be typed. My guess is that a parent would be allowed to help with a 4th grader. Every week the students have copywork, dictation (done in class), vocabulary work (from the literature they are reading), grammar work (mostly done in class), and literature study. There is usually what’s called a Practical Practice (I think this is mostly grammar and mechanics) as well as a quiz (might be over literature and vocabulary). Sometimes the literature study includes pages to record certain things from the book reading, sometimes it’s a paragraph they need to write. My ds did his first paragraph with A Wrinkle in Time. He had to summarize a chapter in 5-8 sentences. They also did a shorter couple sentence character description where the other classmates had to guess who the character was. The class is an hour and a half twice a week. Mrs. McGahey is my ds teacher and she is pretty upbeat and does a good job with teaching material and making it interesting. Recitation or memory work is also included. They memorize a new poem or piece every few weeks. He just did Lady Moon and next up is The Secret. For the first semester of writing, there are a few writing projects: descriptive paragraph about a place, making your own character, descriptive paragraph about your character, and indirect characterization of your character. But a lot of basics of writing is taught, including formatting. A lot of foundation work. I don’t have the second semester writing schedule yet, but my guess is that there would be more in the second semester. I think most of his classmates are 6th grade. But some could be 5th as well. Overall I’m pleased with what he is learning this year and am hopeful we will see improvements in several areas.
  10. My older ds finished AoPS PreAlgebra this past school year. He and I worked on it together with the videos (which we loved!) I’ve been considering putting him in an online class to free me up for my younger kids and a new baby coming this fall. I looked into AoPS online classes for Algebra 1, but didn’t care for the setup and thought the pace would be too much for my ds. I’ve since looked into other options and am wondering if anyone here has advice on which direction to take. 1) Dolciani Algebra 1 through Wilson Hill. Is Dolciani a decent choice for Algebra 1? I have heard Foersters get good reviews, as well as Jacobs. Any feedback on WHA Algebra 1? Is the digital writing tablet and the graphing calculator really necessary? 2) WTMA Algebra 1. Haven’t looked into this a lot, but they do offer an AoPS Algebra 1, I believe. 3) Do AoPS Algebra 1 ourselves. With the videos only covering through ch. 13, I believe. This makes me a little hesitant. We enjoyed AoPS a bunch, but it also took a lot of time. 4) Do Foersters or Jacobs Algebra 1 ourselves. Not familiar with these texts, but doubt they’d take as much time as AoPS. Or take the Jacobs course through Veritas Press Academy online school. Thoughts? Also, another thread got me thinking of my ds2. Regentrude mentioned making sure students write out their math work. I’m waffling on whether or not to do PreA with my ds2, and it’s precisely because of this issue. He is very intelligent and does so much math in his head. But he hates to write things down, which of course leads to silly mistakes. (Side note: he’s always struggled with the act of writing, and was “unofficially” diagnosed with dysgraphia by a special ed evaluator.) And when he does write things down, it doesn’t make sense to me. He likes to erase work he wrote, as if it’s clutter he doesn’t need anymore. It also is difficult sometimes in trying to follow his line of thinking- which is usually different, but nonetheless correct and rather creative. He has done Singapore Math Standards Ed. and Beast Academy and done very well in both. I’ve debated entering him in an online class for the same reasons for ds1, but the “won’t write things down” issue is making me think twice. Would an online class help him in this area?
  11. (I'm not sure how to cross post, but I posted this on the Middle School board too for anyone there who can add in their experience.) My rising 8th grader has done W&R books 1-3, 5-6, with a year of IEW in the middle. We've enjoyed the W&R series and I really like the approach. I'm contemplating registering him for a few classes with Wilson Hill- Greek, possibly Great Conversations 1 or 2, and maybe math and/or science. I saw Scholé has an online writing class for books 7&8 and I was comparing that with WHA's Fundamentals of Expository Writing. Has anyone had any experience with either of these classes or providers? I know Scholé seems to be newer in their online offerings and I've read a lot of positive reviews of WHA on here. Specifically- I noticed WHA's Fundamentals class has grammar and literature as well. How much in class and outside class time does the grammar and literature usually take? If my son is also doing a Great Conversations course, would the additional literature from Fundamentals be too much? Does the Scholé course have any Grammar outside of what is in the W&R book? It does cover some, but it's not really a lot. Does it have any literature reading? Or does it stick to the book in what it covers? The WHA class seems appealing because of the incorporation of Grammar and Lit- but he will already be reading a fair amount if he is in a Great Conversations class. And we have been working through W&R series so it would be nice to continue with that. It appears he would do a research paper with W&R, but not really with WHA. I don't know how much writing the Great Conversations class would have.
  12. (I'm not sure how to cross post, but I will post this on the High School board too for anyone there who can add in their experience.) My rising 8th grader has done W&R books 1-3, 5-6, with a year of IEW in the middle. We've enjoyed the W&R series and I really like the approach. I'm contemplating registering him for a few classes with Wilson Hill- Greek, possibly Great Conversations 1 or 2, and maybe math and/or science. I saw Scholé has an online writing class for books 7&8 and I was comparing that with WHA's Fundamentals of Expository Writing. Has anyone had any experience with either of these classes or providers? I know Scholé seems to be newer in their online offerings and I've read a lot of positive reviews of WHA on here. Specifically- I noticed WHA's Fundamentals class has grammar and literature as well. How much in class and outside class time does the grammar and literature usually take? If my son is also doing a Great Conversations course, would the additional literature from Fundamentals be too much? Does the Scholé course have any Grammar outside of what is in the W&R book? It does cover some, but it's not really a lot. Does it have any literature reading? Or does it stick to the book in what it covers? The WHA class seems appealing because of the incorporation of Grammar and Lit- but he will already be reading a fair amount if he is in a Great Conversations class. And we have been working through W&R series so it would be nice to continue with that. It appears he would do a research paper with W&R, but not really with WHA. I don't know how much writing the Great Conversations class would have.
  13. I’ve used IEW and W&R. I prefer W&R. I still use the All Things Fun and Fascinating as a precursor to W&R and I use W&R on the older end of the grade recommendation. IEW has its benefits, but I’ve seen writing from kids who have used it for a while and it’s very predictable and often stilted. If you use it, don’t force all the dress ups if they aren’t going to add to the piece of writing. W&R only uses fables in book 1. There is no 4 years of fables. I’ve used books 1,2,3,5,6. I like the progression and the thinking that goes into the writing process. There are aspects that are more for a classroom, but you can drop or change those aspects. The book is written to be flexible for both home and school use and I think they do a pretty good job. They learn skills such as narration, outlining, identify different types of narratives, dictation, summarizing, amplifying, dialogue, taking a sentence and changing it in various ways, copiousness, revising, thesis, compare, contrast, argument, and if you use the Speak it section: elocution, public speaking, memorization. It does require more teacher time than IEW because you are meant to discuss the narratives and (later) model essays. But there are sections that my kids do on their own and I go back with them and look at what they’ve done, helping them if they didn’t quite get it. I also choose some of their writing to edit, revise, and type out.
  14. The comment about bacteria is probably going to be made in A Beka as well. So, I wouldn’t run to A Beka simply because of that. ABeka and BJU are both Young Earth, Literal 6 day and so would both espouse those views. In my past experience, A Beka is more hardline in their comments. You can check out Novare Science if you’d rather not deal with that, but I don’t know that they have Life Science. A friend of mine is writing their Biology book now. She’s definitely qualified to do it and I look forward to seeing what she’s done. I don’t have experience with ABeka’s new Life Science. I’m glad to see they are finally becoming more serious about science in middle school. One of my kids is using the BJU Life Science this year in a small group setting. I had heard BJU’s science texts were well done and rigorous (in the sense that it prepares well for a future in science). We are using the videos, and the instruction is adequate, though the teacher is not especially engaging. There are “field trips†(with someone other than the teacher), occasional cartoon clips, and “Science News†( two college students acting as news anchors and giving “updates†with more information.) Almost every lesson is different in length, some shorter (when there is a lab or dissection), some almost 30 minutes. But almost every class there is reading, study questions, and/or a lab study page. So, I think the idea is to give the students more time to work on those things.
  15. The videos range in length from 7 minutes (experiment days when the student has an activity to do) to 30 minutes. I have one in Science 6 and one in Life Science. The Science 6 teachers are more engaging than the Life Science. I had heard good things about Mrs. Vick and was a bit disappointed we didn’t get to find out what she was like. The videos are shorter, I think, to give the students more time for the reading assignments, study sections, lab sheets, etc. Almost every class they are doing reading, and study questions and/or lab sheet. So, 45min to 1 hr a day, at least. I think the instruction is adequate. I’ve watched some of the videos with my kids and usually don’t feel the need to add anything else in. But maybe it clicks easier with them than others. They grasp and retain the material and sometimes go looking up more info for themselves.
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