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Everything posted by Iskra

  1. I should add, I don't want to rule out video instruction, but he is definitely more of a book kid, and would prefers books to videos if all else was equal. Also, if this helps with placement, the last thing he played at a recital before he quit 4 years ago was Bach's Minuet in G major.
  2. I haven't posted here in forever. I hope it is still a very active place full of wise contributors, because I need some advice. Ds is entering 9th grade next year and somehow we completely missed the boat on his music education. He had piano lessons for 3 years. He was doing very well, his teacher often said that he was among the brightest students she had ever had. Everything clicked easily for him and he was moving fast through the books. Then circumstances changed and his teacher could no longer come to our house and we stopped lessons altogether. That was 4 years ago. I thought he would just continue on his own because of how well it was going for him, but it fizzled out and he hasn't done any piano in 4 years. For a while he became interested in electronic music and was messing around with different software trying to make music for his computer games, but this was on and off and not taken very seriously. Now he is finishing up 8th grade and looking towards the high-school years he really wants to get back to the piano and take it seriously. Private lessons are definitely not in the budget at this point. How can we make this work for him? He has a math brain and anything logical/math related comes very easy to him, so I think he could very easily do an advanced music theory course at an accelerated pace (does this exist?) to serve as a refresher and make-up for 4 years of no instruction. This course would need to be part of a piano course and not just a separate music theory class, so that he can get back into practicing the piano, but at the same time learn theory at high-school level. So, please help as I do not know/understand the different stages/levels of a music education. Can someone who plays/teaches piano suggest a piano curriculum for him that won't make him waste time on stuff he already knows, but would quickly just review the beginner stuff and then move him through the rest of the material at an accelerated pace? It would need to be something that is self-taught and it is fine if it is aimed at adults.
  3. That's great. Unfortunately I don't personally know anyone that can fill this capacity. I know no local teachers or professors. I guess we might just drive to the closest university that administers the AMC 8 (about 3.5 hours drive).
  4. I'm interested in how you went about having the AMC 8 proctored by yourself? We contacted a local school that was listed on the AMC 8 website and asked if they would be willing to let ds who is homeschooled take the exam there. Initially they agreed, but the Friday before the exam they sent an e-mail to me saying that they can let him take the test, but i have to order a test bundle for him. I contacted AMC 8 and they assured me that if the school has agreed to administer the test to my son that they will provide the test for him, and they do not sell tests to parents. The school however did not provide a test for my son. Basically, I feel like we were tricked. I'm trying to avoid this same disaster happening next year. So how does the proctoring by yourself work, and what are the steps to make it happen? I saw no information on it on the AMC 8 website. Thanks.
  5. Thank you for the update. I've read through this thread many times. My impression always was that you were most impressed by CW. Your latest update doesn't mention that curriculum at all. Did you change your mind about it?
  6. Ruth, did you try TTRS? I'm considering it for my kids who have gone through dance mat typing multiple times, but still seem to hunt for letters when typing and are super slow.
  7. Ok. I am actually relieved to hear that the problem might be MEP. Also, in regards to discalculia, how do I get him evaluated properly? Is that LD difficult to diagnose and is there risk of false diagnosis? I want to look into it, but I don't know where to even begin.
  8. I know about dyscalculia, but that is not his problem. He is able to do straightforward arithmetic problems with ease. It's when the problem is asked in a slightly different way than what he is used to, or a new type of problem that he hasn't seen before that he says he doesn't understand without even trying and is not willing to engage actively with me in a conversation that will help him figure out how to approach the problem. He just tunes out and there is no getting through to him. Wintermom, are you saying that MEP is one of the more challenging curricula? I thought Singapore was considered challenging so I switched over to MEP as more straightforward. What would be an example of a less challenging curriculum that still prepares a child well for Algebra and other high school math? Also, MEP has a lot of problems that involve interaction/discussion between teacher and student, which I really liked initially because I thought that that's exactly what he needs in order to start making sense of things, but it turns out we might be better off with a more independent curriculum, because he does not want to interact with me during math. Any suggestions?
  9. I don't know how to help my 8 year old like math or to stay enthusiastic through challenges and be ok with wrestling with new concepts (or old ones that he no longer remembers). He started out with Miquon and education unboxed in kindy, then did a couple of years of Singapore. We are currently doing MEP Year 3 and are on lesson 15 (we started in September, and it's a lesson a day type curriculum, just to give you an idea of how slowly things are moving). He also does Khan every few days, and reads math living books as part of his daily reading. He read through LOF till Honey and is currently reading the elementary series from Murderous Maths. He hates math, and gets super frustrated over any problem that he can't figure out off the bat. He doesn't want to ponder and think about what is being asked and he doesn't want to discuss problems with me. When he makes a mistake, or doesn't know how to do something, I never just give him an answer, but rather try to use questions to try to get him thinking, so that he can figure it out on his own. He hates this. It's like his brain shuts down completely the moment I start asking questions. At times, after a long struggle, I've just given him "the formula" as a last resort. He then can immediately solve the problem in question, but few days later when we revisit the question he has forgotten all about it and again has no clue on what to do. So, I know that telling him how to do it is not helpful in the long run. I'm just at a loss for ideas on what to do. I truly believe now that there are kids who are "mathy" and some who are not, regardless of the quality of instruction. To take stress off of both of us, I'm calling this year again 2nd grade (not that it really matters since we homeschool, but mentally it helps me to not hold him up to what I consider to be an appropriate progress for an average 3rd grader) and am sincerely hoping that this is simply a brain/maturity issue and that some kind of switch will flip at some point which will make mathematical thinking/problem solving start making sense for him. Regardless though, I am considering starting with the 3rd grade BA books for him in September. I'm familiar with the books because my older (very mathy) son went through them, but my question is, has anybody used these with a kid who struggles with math and what were the results? Did they start liking math more? Did you have them skip certain problems so that they would not be frustrated? Was it enough on it's own or did you supplement? I do not wish to supplement, except with Khan on his own initiative, because math takes us FOREVER and I want to have time for my other kids and also all other subjects that we are studying. Part of what makes me want to do BA with him is the fact that the there aren't that many problems (compared to other curricula) so I won't feel pressure to do more than just a few problems per day, since that is all that we can manage, even now. I love math and my background is in math and computer science. Until this child, I sincerely believed that kids who struggled with math were simply not taught correctly and that if they had good quality instruction they would thrive and love math. This child is seriously challenging that belief. I'm inclined to say now that some kids just can't be taught to think mathematically, no matter how hard you try. I hope I'm wrong, but if I'm wrong, what do I do? How do I turn this around for him? I consider math to be so important and especially problem solving skills. Do I just let him muddle through? Is that even an option for a college-bound kid? What's the lowest level of math they can get away with on a transcript? To be clear, he doesn't have any learning disabilities and he is doing great in other areas of homeschooling.
  10. What do the R:, C: and E: stand for at the top of each lesson plan? I was thinking maybe R stands for Revision, and E maybe stands for Extension, but what is C then? Does anyone know?
  11. My kids were involved in several research projects this year (from FLL to geography) that culminated with an oral presentation using a tri-fold display or poster. While their displays were very colorful (packed with information, charts and pictures), I felt that neither kid used a well defined process for deciding what should go on the display board and what shouldn't, nor give any thought to the "user experience" (if you can call it that) that people who would be just walking around the display room and spend a few quick seconds glancing over each display board would have. I'm guessing that a well designed display of research should be self-explanatory and easy to grasp for people who have had no experience/contact with the research in question. Those people should be able to quickly look at the display board and be able to get a basic understanding of what the student researched, his findings and why is this important/why does it matter. I realized that my kids don't have the skills for doing this, and come to think of it, I don't either, so I don't know how to teach it to them. I also realized that this is a very important skill to have, not just for science fairs and presentation clubs, but in general for being able to clearly communicate not just orally, but visually with anybody for any purpose. I can see the benefits that this could have in so many different settings. A teacher in a co-op setting should have these skills, a business person conducting a meeting with his clients etc. i would like to be purposefully focusing on this skill next year with my children as we homeschool. I've checked out "The non-designer's design book" from the library which should give us some basics on design and visual layout in general, but browsing through the chapters I noticed there is not a single example of designing a tri-fold display in the entire book, so I personally might have trouble taking the general knowledge that I learn from it and helping the children apply it to our specific problem of learning how to communicate effectively through a tri-fold board. Not to mention, that the layout is only part of the skill that I want them to have. I also need to teach them "content strategy" (or however we call the skill for knowing exactly what information should go on the display and what should be just saved for oral explanation or skipped all together) and of course both layout and content are closely tied to "user experience" and how to make that maximally positive and effective for a person who is completely unaware of what the display should be about before taking a look at it, how to grab his attention and help convey to him exactly what we want him to grasp from all of our information. I hope I'm making sense so far. It seems that a great deal is spent on these "skills" or "topics" when it comes to web design, but I need books that will teach these skills in a way that is applicable to tri-fold boards or posters and of course geared towards students, not professionals. What books/curriculums would you guys recommend (middle school or high school level is fine) or a book for me so that i can learn it myself and teach it to them? And also, am I the only one that feels like this is lacking in homeschool curricula? Is anyone else deliberate about teaching these skills to children who do not plan to have careers in art or design?
  12. lewelma, when you do write out what you wanted to share please post a link in here so that I won't miss it. Thank you for giving so much of your time to this community.
  13. Would we be allowed to organize local "watching parties" with our friends, where we pay for a single registration and split the cost, but all of us watch together? Or would each "watcher" need to register separately? If "watching parties" are allowed, that would greatly help with the cost.
  14. I'm jumping a bit late in the game. I just found out about it and have been posting all over facebook like crazy. But more than anything else, I would really like to have seasoned boardies present. Here's my wish list: Quark lewelma Nan Kathy 8FillTheHeart Also, will there be some kind of discount if you sign up for multiple sessions, or will it be $20 per session regardless? And another thing, will there be a way to interact with the speakers during the sessions and have questions answered?
  15. Wow, thank you for taking the time to write all that out. Your sons education and accomplishments are very impressive. I will look into Rod and Staff. Thank you!
  16. Well the purpose of diagramming is to analyze. I guess I like the KISS approach with underlines and such instead of actually drawing trees.
  17. Tibbie, I have honestly never looked into it, not because of the religious bit but because I have heard that the Amish/Mennonite don't value education much and only teach their kids till a certain grade and then stop. This is probably just a stereotype, so please someone correct me if I'm wrong, but basically I want my kids to think deeply and get a rigorous and thorough education and somehow that seems to be the opposite of the philosophy that I've heard about how Amish education is set up. So I've steered clear from curricula that they produce. However, I do see that lots of people on here use Rod & Staff so it is probably worth looking into, but I also know people homeschool for various reasons (and not necessarily for the quality of the academic side of it) so I can't go solely by "lots of people use it" either. I don't know personally (in real life) anybody using it so that I can just look through it myself and evaluate it.
  18. I think I started my grammar thread in the wrong sub-forum (since it involves middle school grammar) and I don't know how to move it over here, so I'm just going to link to it here: http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/542705-are-all-english-grammar-curricula-about-nothing-more-than-diagramming-and-questiond-about-kiss/ I really need some responses, because I still don't know what to do. I'm getting the impression that people don't find value in any grammar beyond diagramming? Here's my concern. We are a family that considers learning foreign languages an important part of education. Verb tenses are super important when trying to understand a new language. Here is an example: We've been learning conversational Spanish using Mango for a long time now. The kids and I are all at the same level, because we were all absolute beginners when we started. Sometimes we are asked to translate sentences such as " You are going to the store later." and "Where do you go?" Now in English, those 2 sentences are clearly using different tenses. "are going" is present progressive and "go" is present simple. However in Spanish, both of those verbs are translated as "va" clearly not making a distinction between the different tenses in this particular case. My kids not understanding this were tempted to start translating "you are" as one verb ("esta"), and then were scratching their head about what do with "going", since they only know that "you go" is va. Thankfully being able to compare it to how tenses work in my native language I was able to deduce that really we translate both of those things the same way in Spanish, otherwise we would have been left with either "well the program made a mistake" or "this is too hard to understand". My understanding of tenses in English and in my native language, helped me in learning something in a new language that was not adequately explained. This happens all the time in all sorts of settings. I frankly am surprised that anyone would consider understanding verb tenses as not important for proper understanding and usage of language. If you've learned a foreign language of any kind you know that a significant amount of time is always spent on verb conjugations. Yet, native English speakers think they don't need to do this since it's their own language and they just can tell when something "sounds right" and "when it doesn't" and that's enough? I don't consider that enough. I'm hoping there are others on here that feel similarly and have some good grammar suggestions for me. Like I said in my other thread I would really like to go with KISS, but if it doesn't include these things, I would like to know what to supplement it with.
  19. I actually do want my kids to do lots of diagramming (hence KISS). I just don't want that to be the end of it. I want them to learn all the other things as well.
  20. Does MCT include excercises in conjugation for every tense? We are not at the lens level yet. What grade is that usuallly for?
  21. Verbs most definitely conjugate though and I found it very useful to do that while I was learning English (and we did that actually as part of grammar in my native language as well and it has also been a part of every other language that I have learned). I can see that my kids lack that ability and I don't like the fact that english grammar texts just skip over that.
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