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About RoundAbout

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    Hive Mind Level 6 Worker: Scout Bee

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  1. Yes! I don't know if you've read the book _A Mathematician's Lament_ but he suggests teaching math more like an art. The author suggests that trying to make it "relevant" and "practical" at the elementary or middle school level is a disaster (is there anything more boring than Consumer Math?). After working with a lot of different kids I agree. A few of my students are studying probability and were less than enthusiastic. These are compliant kids who do what I ask but don't really like math. But when I gave them a type of problem they had never seen before last week (Geometric Probability) the universal response was "Oh that's cool!" One even leaped to figuring out what needed to be done to solve it. I sparked something in their imagination and whenever that happens its very rewarding. A lot of my clients hire me because they see their daughters approaching middle school hating math and they want to turn things around before algebra. They want a woman tutor who LOVES math and can be a role model. I'm very fortunate that performance is secondary for a lot of my families.
  2. The K-8 school most of my students attend is not great for math but I have to say I'm impressed by the level of problems they get for homework. The problems are usually complex, involve higher order thinking, three or four steps, integrated into their social studies curriculum, involve estimation and comparison, etc. etc. The issue is that they might get only get one of these problems a week and no routine practice. I'm the exact opposite of "drill and kill" but a lot of my students actually need to spend a few days understanding percent by coloring in X% of squares on a grid (and a few other basic skills) before they take on a 2 page problem involving DC's Tax Policy. None of my students are stupid or even slow, but its like having kids tackle research papers before learning to craft a sentence. A previous poster mentioned concepts taking time to sink in - YES!
  3. I attended a full time gifted program in elementary school that was run somewhat like this - we had two math classes. The first was the regular book work that was done at the students own pace. The second was "Math Laboratory" where we did everything from projects like visualizing a million, alternate bases and beginning number theory, probability (where the teacher brought in an actual roulette wheel), etc. These were mostly done as a group or in teams, with presentations, visual aids, etc. I guess it was a very early math circle, but in the classroom.
  4. I definitely agree that a lot of those toys are rubbish, or at least unnecessary and overpriced. I also wanted to add that I in know way think math games and just playing around are sufficient for a math education after about 3rd grade. But I definitely think more hands-on manipulation with sorting, counting, combining, game strategy, etc. would benefit most of my students.
  5. I should add the part that I definitely agree with is that it doesn't have to take a huge investment of STEAM toys. I was poor growing up we had little more than a deck of cards and chess board but I learned a lot just from a few simple games. Some of my students are 11 and studying probability and have no idea how many sevens or queens there are in a deck. It floors me.
  6. I both agree and disagree. I'm a well-paid private math tutor for elementary aged kids who mostly attend private school and I am shocked at the number of households that don't have things like dice, cards, board games, dominoes, etc. let alone pattern blocks, tangrams, puzzle books, and other enriching toys and activities. These are very upper income homes where kids do things like go to NYC to see Hamilton when they're 8, so it is not about resources. It's also not about lack of interest - most of them light up when I bring these kinds of manipulatives to a session. Most of them have plenty of books, but parents have no clue about puzzles and games and have little time to play with their kid anyway. My son is kinda a math whiz and I feel like developmentally the many hours of playing around with things like this was a key component of his early education. Heck he's 13 and in intermediate AOPS books and still likes to build with pattern blocks when I leave them out.
  7. We've been very happy with our experience with Lukeion Ancient Greek this term. It's rigorous and I think having deadlines and assessments makes sense in this kind of class where the vocabulary and grammar constantly build on themselves. DS is really happy he's progressing so fast compared to when he was trying to learn on his own. HOWEVER, I can't imagine outsourcing more than this. We like working at our own pace, diving deep and following rabbit trails. The stress of having to get X done on Y day in 6 different classes would simply have to lead to more shallow learning.
  8. Travel is a big one: we've done 10 weeks of camping around the desert southwest, 5 weeks on safari in Namibia, and recently tagged along on DH's work trip to Italy (3 weeks) all in the off-season avoiding summer crowds and prices. Mostly though its just time to explore interests - right now DS takes 2 languages and does 2 hours a day of challenging math. We study other subjects but I don't require huge output on them. Friends in the local middle school are perhaps getting a more well rounded education but they are spread thin with 6 classes and heavy homework loads that they have to give full attention to. Lots of busy work, little depth, and few chances to really develop or dive into a passion.
  9. DS has shifted some of his interest from Math to Linguistics recently so it will be interesting to see how the year pans out. Big goals: Languages and Linguistics: 1. Ancient Greek - kiddo took Lukeion Ancient Greek this fall and just received his grade report today 98.61 (A+) one of the highest scores in the class. He did this with no outside help (neither of us know any Greek) and put in many hour of work. It was a very tough class but I'm more impressed at how he budgeted his time and planned his studies. He will continue in spring. 2. Continue Mandarin at home with me. Goals here are simply to have some daily exposure and gradually improve reading ability. He took a year with a native speaker (CTY class) but we simply don't have time for him to go full speed with 2 languages. 3. Practice problems for NACLO and learn most of the IPA. 4. Reach a point in Analytical Grammar where he's learning something new. Math He's studying Intermediate Counting and Probability from the AoPS book this year. Goal is simply to finished the book and maybe do a major project (something on paramutal betting systems perhaps since he has a strong interest in gambling). Practice for AMC 10 and also since he attended MathPath last summer and wants to go back he needs to finish his application for 2020. Integrated Course We're doing a self-designed course on Edgar Allen Poe that will cover literature, poetry, some history, etc. Most of kiddos Language Arts work will be done in this course. DH has an MFA in Creative Writing so will be teaching the bulk of it. We have a few other odds and ends we want to study including continuing chemistry and piano, studying for the National Mythology Exam, some outside fun classes at a homeschool enrichment center, etc. but the above three things will be the bulk of his work.
  10. We live 5 miles from downtown Washington, DC and the wealth of opportunities all within 45 minutes is absurd - free homeschool classes at various museums, $6 tickets to Kennedy Center performances, math circles, camps, a gifted association in a nearby county, a homeschool enrichment center with classes, an AOPS center, and many vibrant and active homeschool groups. We could be out of the house every day with something going on. Even so I don't think it is easy to get social/emotional needs met. As someone else mentioned there is not a lot of overlap between the homeschooling and gifted communities and we haven't found many who are quite at DS's level. We organized a local CTY SET gathering and met some really bright kids but most of the families seemed fine with a nearby excellent public school system and doing the standard path. We didn't find the really "out there" thinkers and doers we were expecting.
  11. We did this for the first time this year quite by accident. My husband had a three week business trip to Italy that we tagged along on so I designed a course around Palladian architecture. We visited Palladio's inspiration in Rome, his actual works in Vicenza, and then because we also live in Virginia we were able to add in a trip to Monticello to see Palladio's influence on Thomas Jefferson. Reading and writing assignments encompassed art, architecture, Roman and Renaissance engineering techniques, and even early American history. It turned out so brilliantly that I plan to keep doing this kind of thing although obviously on a less grand scale. It really takes the pressure off to not feel like our day is chopped into a million subjects and I feel like there was much greater depth of learning.
  12. I would hire a driver. I don't mind housework and I can get quite a bit done while DS is working independently, but it kills me to spend time driving to activities, appointments, friends houses, etc. Feels like wasted time to me.
  13. My son is turning 13 next month and has about a 5 hour school day most of the time. His work is extremely rigorous IMHO and includes at least 90 minutes of AOPS intermediate-level Math, Lukeion Greek, plus another foreign language. We believe in work hard/play hard and also are very interest-led (he loves math and linguistics) so some subjects like history and science just are not a priority. We do these subjects more informally through travel, podcasts, documentaries and free reading. Instrument practice is mandatory after dinner so not really a part of our school day. Most kids I know do music practice outside of school so I don’t feel fair counting it. If he was an aspiring musician doing hours of work or doing intense music theory or something I’d definitely call it school though. ETA: scheduling wise we do school together from 8:30-11:30 take a break for activities, lunch, and appointment and then he does Greek on his own afternoons and weekends (about 10 hours total per week)
  14. I'd love an invite too. I was a member of the old social group but can't find it now. Thanks!
  15. DS(12): Qualified for SET this year, and is off to MathPath next month. He also earned a silver medal in the National Mythology Exam. He tried two new sports - Wrestling and Tennis. He also achieved the Outstanding Student Award at his piano studio (he is a late beginner but always works hard). He also earned his SCUBA certification this year and went on a father-son diving trip to Cancun.
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