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About daijobu

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  1. Using AMC 8 is great because the difficulty is about the same as MathCounts. In addition to old AMC 8's you may want to add in actual old MathCounts rounds, to add to your students' familiarity. For example, the Sprint Round, really is a sprint for some students. Students may need to add some efficiency to their approach to save time. One example is to set your variable equal to the answer so that you won't need to add an extra step at the end. Students won't have a full appreciation for how fast this exam is until they've tried a few. Target Round assumes the use of calculators, so your student will not only want to become familiar with how their calculator works, but also know when they should (and should not) use it to solve a given problem. (AMCs forbid calculators.) Team Round requires a bit of ... team work. You can assign problems based on a student's expertise, but a standard strategy is to have one student start at #1 and go forward, a second student start at #5 and go backward, a third student start at #6 and go forward, and your strongest student begin with #10 and go backward. You may also want to assign a student to be the team captain for this round: s/he will make sure all answers get transferred from the scratch paper to the exam before time is called. A little practice really helps here, and this round is what makes MC unique! In our chapter, Countdown Round doesn't count for advancing to state, but check your chapter rules. Nonetheless we also practice a CDR once a month, and I will Chromecast the PPT to a TV so it gives the students a fun game show feel. It also trains students to use mental math and resist the urge to write too many figures since that slows you down. By the time of chapter competition, the students have grown closer and real friendships are formed, while important skills are developed. I love being part of this and coaching these teams.
  2. That's really great. I'm wondering now whether I give up too easily. Or maybe what I thought of as rare cases are more common than I thought. For example, I do know of students who have stopped attending a school, but they have continued a relationship and been able to participate on a debate and robotics team. In the case of the robotics team, the homeschooling dad had founded the team and they went to nationals. After his dd dropped out of the high school, they returned as 'volunteers'. In the case of the debate team, the other parents were rude to this homeschooling family possibly out of jealousy because the student won more awards than his enrolled teammates.
  3. Now you're making me jealous. In California, you are either fully enrolled in a school or you are completely shut out. How I would love to have my kids participate in our school's clubs or take one class at a time. The flip side is we do have minimal oversight, so we are otherwise free to educate as we see fit. When homeschooling critics complain that there is no oversight of CA homeschoolers, I want to scream that if my kids could come on campus, they'd see first hand how well they are doing.
  4. Thanks for the tip on the MC Trainer. And congrats to your dd on making it to Nationals! I've been coaching for 7 years and only ever had 1 student make it to state, and I don't think I contributed much to his preparation. A minor point, but I want to say your blame about your student participating at the school may be misdirected. It is my understanding that homeschooled students may not join the team of a regular school (or vice versa). So your situation may be due to MathCounts rules, rather than state law or the whims of a teacher. A student may compete only for his/her official school of record. A student’s school of record is the student’s base or main school. A student taking limited course work at a second school or educational center may not register or compete for that second school or center, even if the student is not competing for his/her school of record. MATHCOUNTS registration is not determined by where a student takes his or her math course. If there is any doubt about a student’s school of record, the chapter or state coordinator must be contacted for a decision before registering
  5. Reverse Polish Notation But now I'm going to retract that statement because apparently MC competitors these days prefer TI 84 or TI Nspire because you can automatically plug into formulas like quadratic. I like my old HP because I'm used to RPN, but I may spend some time this summer learning one of the more popular calculators to see what the fuss is about.
  6. Are they currently studying chapter level exams? Calculate their scores according to the formula for individual scores: INDIVIDUAL SCORE: calculated by taking the sum of the number of Sprint Round questions answered correctly and twice the number of Target Round questions answered correctly. There are 30 questions in the Sprint Round and eight questions in the Target Round, so the maximum possible Individual Score is 30 + 2(8) = 46. If used officially, the Countdown Round yields final individual standings. Can you find out what is a typical score historically will advance a student in your chapter to state? There's a fair amount of variation in the minimum scores necessary, with some very competitive chapters and other very easy chapters. (Sometimes the easiest way to advance to state is to move.) If your student has taken enough old exams, you can review and see where their weaknesses are: algebra, geometry, c&p, or nt. Or if they aren't able to finish the Sprint Round in the alloted time. Every year I coach a MathCounts team of students with different math experiences. I have a lesson plan for every single problem, so if my student misses a geometry problem that requires the angle bisector theorem, I take them through a proof of the angle bisector theorem, and then we solve the problem. It isn't a great substitute for simply studying geometry, but it gets you there in a pinch. And if you are doing enough MC prep, you are likely to see another angle bisector theorem problem which will help reinforce this important tool. I even have had a couple of students study with my MathCounts team in place of any regular math curriculum, though I don't recommend that. You can also use MathCounts minis which are problem sets combined with videos to brush up on specific skills. I have cataloged all the minis by topics and grouped them according to different skills so I can assign them as optional homework for students who need more help. In addition to teamwork during the season I also work with students individually during the summer, often online to review old exams. (We communicate over google hangouts video and use an online whiteboard.) I will start with school/chapter level and then as that gets easier I challenge them with state and national level MC exams. These are more difficult than the chapter level exams they will see. As long as they are learning to use a calculator, I recommend RPN, and maybe with some formulas already plugged in.
  7. It's interesting because I'm in Silicon Valley, and one of my more affluent students is currently homeschooled (I tutor math) and will next year attend the local Waldorf School, which is notorious for being opposed to screens. (There's another NY Times article about Silicon Valley executives who severely restrict screen time for their own children.)
  8. I just read about Summit Learning in the NY Times here. Not good. Your DH wants this?
  9. I agree with others: your class sounds amazing, and those are some lucky students. Being able to have an intelligent discussion without taking things personally is a skill I have yet to master. I would only caution you against changing your course in response to this one student. You can't please everyone, and if this resonates with all the other students, don't fix what ain't broke. Enjoy your parents party with the ones who are truly grateful for your work. You don't want the disgruntled mom at your home to ruin your event.
  10. Yeah, I mean she got 5's on both halves of physics.
  11. She took both classes in one year. She's pretty mathy, and she'd already taken ap chem and bio, so she's BTDT with science APs.
  12. Another vote for Kernion >> Lanctot. My dd started with Lanctot for mechanics then switched at the semester to Kernion for e&m and was glad she did.
  13. Except our kids. Our kids are awesome. 😏
  14. I remember this "school box" was on our school supply list for several years of elementary school in the 1970s. Not sure what happened to them.
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