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Everything posted by RoundAbout

  1. I went to public school Kindergarten in the 70s. It was a half day and we learned to tie our shoes, line up, use scissors, share, and color inside the lines. We had a play kitchen and a block station and a big area in the back for finger painting and growing plants in milk containers. I made my mom an ashtray out of clay and they glazed and fired it so that it was glossy and beautiful. We made witches out of construction paper and they hung them all from the ceiling at the local drugstore - I remember how fun it was to try and find the one that was mine. There were two sections in the morning and two in the afternoon - one of the sections was for kids who already knew their letters and one for the kids who didn't. The kids who didn't learned their letters a little each day with a giant flip chart. Those of us who already knew the alphabet (thanks Sesame Street!) practiced writing letters on big sheets of gray paper where there were lines at the bottom and space at the top to draw a picture. By the end of the year we worked up to copying a whole sentence from the board - something like "Fall is my favorite time of year." I know things are different now. I know many, many kids can meet the new expectations. But that doesn't mean the expectations are reasonable. Teachers see a lot of different children so I'm sure there's something going on if the teacher is mentioning it, especially if it corroborates with your own observations at home. However, I wouldn't get into a mindset that she is at all "behind" or "failing" kindergarten.
  2. Thanks for all of the feedback everyone. He is definitely a language kid - in addition to Lukeion Ancient Greek he studies Mandarin (less intensively but since 5th grade) and is in SLIYS I summer camp this week. We recently moved from a huge city to a small rural village and one of the unexpected benefits has been that we're right next door to one of the largest Mohawk communities in the world... and they run language classes! He's started taking classes with them (virtual for now, but in person again hopefully soon). I would really love for him to get more involved once things get back in person as its an extremely unique opportunity to learn an endangered language (less than 3500 native speakers). It just doesn't feel that exciting right now because the classes are over Zoom. He really enjoys architecture appreciation and critique. We've done Frank Lloyd Wright home tours and he loves to follow blogs like McMansion Hell and Architecture Shaming where people criticize bad architecture. It's very much a family interest and we actually moved in part to restore a historically significant (but modest) midcentury home. I would love to get him more involved in our home restoration actually - right now he mostly does yard work. One of the ideas I had was to take him out to Palm Springs his junior or senior year for Modernism Week where people open up their fabulous midcentury modern homes for touring and give style lectures.
  3. What things have you done to create a really special high school experience for your student? Projects? Travel? Rebuild a classic car? Learn to sail? etc. Is there anything you wish you could do if you had more time, money or freedom? I have a 14 year-old DS about to start 9th grade. We've been homeschooling from the beginning and I love the fact that it has allowed us to do some fun trips, meet DS's academic needs, and spend time as a family. However, because he's academically accelerated (starting Lukeion Greek 3 in fall and in the middle of Clover Valley's Honors Chem, and Pre-Calc) I feel like we've gotten into a little bit of a rut of doing academic work at the kitchen table so to speak. I want to bring back a little bit of the magic of the early homeschooling years where there was a little more... I don't know... Zing! But a day at the museum just doesn't have the same excitement it had at age 7 so obviously I need to think bigger. We have some geographic freedom working from home, no other children, and DS is academically capable with only one class where we need to be on a schedule (Lukeion) so we have a lot of flexibility and no concerns about getting the basics done. I would just really like to end our homeschooling journey with a little bit of "wow" and fun and looking for inspiration.
  4. Just sent a message to join the FB group. I'm very excited you are doing this! My DS is heading into 8th grade and I don't want to end up outsourcing high school as a default. I would really love to make our final homeschooling years something special. I don't know anyone IRL who is very hands on or developing their own courses.
  5. Absolutely! Strangely, nobody finds this unusual in the sports world. A top football coach obviously has familiarity with the game and probably played themselves, but seldom can they throw, run, or catch as well as their players, and many were even mediocre performers in their youth. The ability to lead, inspire, develop training plans, diagnose problems, balance short term vs. long term goals, find additional resources for player development, etc. is a very different job than playing the game. It's not a perfect analogy but it shouldn't be so absurd that a reasonably educated and well-rounded parent could learn along side their child and direct a course of study without being experts in every single subject themselves.
  6. I feel like we're saving a ton because of our cancelled gym memberships and kid activities and no date nights, lunches out for DH, dry cleaning, or drinks with friends. Hair cuts, dr. and dentist visits all deferred. We will also save a small fortune on camps and family travel this summer (even if things reopen we've decided to stay home and do a simple summer). Definitely spending almost nothing on gas - just 1 mile to the grocery store and back once a week. However, I am spending more money on groceries since cooking and eating are now highlights of the day. I've also spent more on books since the libraries are all closed. I guess we'll see how it all shakes out at the end of the month.
  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 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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)
  13. I'd love an invite too. I was a member of the old social group but can't find it now. Thanks!
  14. 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.
  15. We've really enjoyed a book called The Best Old Movies for Families. He's a father and a movie critic and has a great sense of what movies are a hit with kids at different ages. I just watched "His Girl Friday" with my 12 year-old DS and he loved it.
  16. I think this is largely attention seeking behavior and since I am teacher myself I came down pretty hard on my son the times when he did this (thankfully not a problem now). I think fixing it boiled down to three things: 1) Empathy. I explained how draining it is to be a teacher, and he's seen first hand when I've been flustered and annoyed by challenging students and situations. I reminded him of this. That sometimes teachers even come home at the end of the day and cry after a difficult day. 2) Respect. Regardless of whether you're challenged or stimulated or not the teacher is giving their time to teach you something and you should respect how they run their classroom. Classroom situations are not the same as private tutelage and you have a responsibility to go with the flow. 3) Wait. If it's important it can wait until after class or a quiet moment to discuss with the teacher. Also that when you do mention something, make sure its only once. If you find yourself having to say the same thing over and over again, especially because you don't like the answer then you're bring rude. 4) I stopped allowing the same behavior in our homeschool mostly by using the "wait" approach. If we're doing math for the next hour and you want to discuss something irrelevant like how the text book is organized it waits until our break.
  17. The Botany course on the Great Courses Plus is really good though we haven't watched them all. Also, this book looks excellent and has been on my wish list for a few months: Flora: Inside the Secret World of Plants.
  18. I would have a bit more meat and definitely more taco shells and tortillas - I've seen tween kids blow through 6-8 shells each at taco parties I've hosted. A lot depends on the crowd. When my husband was an active duty infantry Marine I would plan to triple the amount for a normal party, but my 70 year-old mother-in-law always has way too much food leftover when she hosts a party with her elderly friends. Since rice and beans are cheap I always make sure I have a ton of that on hand to fill people up. I never want anyone to leave hungry.
  19. My son just got accepted to MathPath. Since its a month long, that's it for us except maybe one week where I'll be traveling and DH will put him in a local day camp (probably something fun and physical).
  20. I don't know about the value of lifetime membership, but we really enjoy Brilliant.org. Some of their math topics are very creatively presented and overall I've been very impressed.
  21. I wouldn't worry one wit about 1-2 mile hikes in state parks. I've done that many times. For camping I prefer to camp with friends if my DH isn't there. We've had issues with obnoxious drunk people in some state parks and though I doubt they were real threats, I could see feeling vulnerable in those situations. If I were to camp alone, I'd make sure I was near a ranger station or some retirees rather than off on my own.
  22. I can't get over that someone would let their 9 year-old read Game of Thrones, however gifted. There is explicit sexual and other violence in those books and I have a few adult friends who struggle with the content.
  23. As a Trekkie I'm going to put a plug in for Star Trek: The Next Generation. Most episodes involve smart, educated, classy people solving problems involving technology or cultural crises. In fact Gene Roddenberry used to frustrate his writers because he demanded that there be no interpersonal conflict between the main characters.
  24. Just me, but if their social and academic needs are getting met I'd probably keep them in school. Until the end of the year at a minimum at least. I would cut back on activities if necessary and make an effort to get out on the weekends. I think when the time changes in the spring and the days get longer some of these issues will diminish.
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