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    Hive Mind Queen Bee

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  1. Most things can be written out in a notebook or on notepaper, even if there was space for it in the workbook; the dd I did it with has dyslexic tendencies, so a lot of times I would help her format the page (if it was potentially tricksy) instead of leaving her to figure it out by herself. There's some places where you are supposed to underline and double-underline things (subjects and predicates iirc), and box and circle things. I wasn't able to come up with a great way to modify this; I ended up letting her write in the workbook, under the theory I'd be able to erase it for the next ones. You could probably do it orally, instead (but my dd was fairly resistant to that).
  2. Sort of. I flipped through it this weekend, and it has a little bit of everything. It has straight thematic vocabulary lessons, it has special spelling lessons, it has special word-building lessons (which are more implicit than explicit morphics), plus a few more odds and ends. It's meant for middle grades, and I think it will be a nice follow-up to Spelling through Morphographs for my middle girl. Word Wealth, for high school, does thematic vocab for the first half of the book and word roots for the second half (again, more implicit than explicit morphics, but more systematic than WWJ), and will be a good follow-up to StM for my oldest (who is beyond WWJ). Both WWJ and WW are very much focused on *vocabulary* in general, as opposed to any specific approach to vocabulary. Another program that combines spelling and morphic-centric vocab is Megawords (gr 4-12).
  3. Oh, also, I got Kwame Alexander's Crossover from the library - got the rec from the thread Lori linked on narrative poetry. I'm 30 or so pages in. I really like the ones that are giving a visceral sense of the basketball experience - lots of good language (reminds me of hip-hop a bit) and they are really effective at getting you to feel it. And I like the little thematic poems that spin off from the main narrative, both the poems themselves and how they spin off from the narrative. But the poems that are carrying the narrative - they are nice enough, but I don't really understand what makes them poems as such, other than having stanzas #poetryphilistine.
  4. Thanks so much for all your responses :). I have the Koch and MCT books, and started reading the Koch one today. The Runyan one looks interesting - I remember looking it up when you'd rec'd it on another thread, Lori; I re-read the Billy Collins poem - I do like that one, the image of torturing a poem to get at its meaning rings all too true. I'm not a huge podcast/audiobook person - I like to see things in print - but I can see the advantage to hearing poems read well. We listen to audiobooks of familiar books, and a good reader's worth their weight in gold. Might look up poems before listening, so I can follow along. Interestingly, 8, I saw another reference to the poetry reading in Anne Gables today :); it's a neat idea, looking up all the poems. Thanks for all the poetry recs - I'm looking forward to looking them all up. I read the bio of Tennyson at the Poetry Foundation today and they talked about his focus on sounds - sounds ;) right up my alley. Re-read Charge of the Light Brigade - don't think I'd noticed before that he's actually positive about the charge being worth something despite it all. Wrt hymns and psalms (and metrical psalms), I think I ought to prioritize them more. I do love hymns, but somehow when I'm singing them I treat them entirely differently than I do poetry; somehow I can't sing something and think about it at the same time - it's like mutually exclusive brain pathways or something. (And usually singing a hymn is more pleasant than thinking through a poem.) But I've got several memorized, and could write them out and then take a bit to think about them. And it nice to take the time to think about them, because it makes singing them a richer experience, in a way that wouldn't happen if I only sung them. Actually, I think I'd be well-served to make a habit of memorizing some poems. Something about having all the words already in my head gives me a head start in thinking about it, plus you can think about a poem whenever you have a bit of spare time, without needing to have the text with you. Plus all the repetition involved in memorizing is helpful - gives a lot of opportunity to have thoughts and for things to click. Also, sheer familiarity tends to promote liking for me - I have happy thoughts when I meet a poem I've met before, just because it's familiar. Likewise, a poem-a-day habit would be a good one, too - just making a habit of seeing a bit of poetry a day - it adds up. Quarter Note, thanks for all your enthusiasm and recs and analysis - I particularly enjoyed your post :).
  5. I've gone from no appreciation whatsoever to a kind of fledgling, neophyte, still-mostly-aspirational-but-occasionally-concrete starter-level appreciation. But I feel like I've stalled out in my progress and I'm not sure how or where to get going. My one real achievement is learning to hear and genuinely enjoy the sound elements of poetry - the rhythm and rhymes and word play and such. I started out firmly in the camp of "why bother putting things into poetry when prose is so much better anyway", but now I can at least appreciate how good sound is worth aiming for. (I still appreciate the stronger and more obvious sounds, though - not sure I'm up for catching the more subtle rhythms.) But I'm still pretty much at square one when it comes to appreciating the visual images; it's still way too much like deciphering the images instead of *feeling* the images; it still feels like the images are getting in the way of the meaning instead of being the substance of the meaning. Actually, I'm not sure I actually grasp all that much about how the rhythms and rhymes and such embody meaning, either, but I enjoy them for their own sake; and for my own sanity, I'm subscribing to the “appreciating poetry for being lovely is at least half of the point of poetry appreciation” school of thought. (I also subscribe to the “the sound of poetry is at least half the point” and “only analyze poems you already love” schools, too.) But I'd like to learn to appreciate the imagery side of poetry, too: to appreciate the lovely images of a poem as much as the lovely sound of it. And to generally increase my poetry reading ability and stamina. As far as it goes, I genuinely *like* nursery rhymes and humorous children's poetry (Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky, T.S. Eliot's “Book of Practical Cats”, A.A. Milne in Winnie-the-Pooh). And I intellectually appreciate and mildly like non-humorous children's poetry (Robert Lewis Stevenson and the ones in children's anthologies). AKA I enjoy poems with lots of fun rhythms and sounds and wordplay, coupled with straightforward images; plus humor provides excellent motivation. But I haven't really progressed beyond that. There's been the occasional poems I've struggled with on and off because I was motivated to understand them (Tolkien's “Mythopoeia”, Kipling's “The Gods of the Copybook Headings”, some of Dante's “Inferno”), plus I try hard not to just skip poetry excerpts when they are quoted in prose stuff I'm reading (although sometimes I fail when the excerpts are on the longer side). (Interestingly, I just realized that on the “harder” poems I was motivated to understand despite the inherent detriment of their being poetry – I almost entirely ignored the sound. Whereas on the poems I'm reading *because* they are poetry, I pay far more attention to the sound than the images.) Anyway, I've thought about trying narrative poetry, because I like stories (and things with a point), and it might help improve my poetry stamina. But unless the language is really good (while the images are not-too-hard to comprehend), it's going to suffer from “this story would be so much better in prose” syndrome. Any recs for good narrative poems, especially those with a great sound to them? I've also thought about trying short poems of increasing difficulty, hopefully some that have a great sound and are in areas of interest. Any recs for good humorous or religious poems (esp sacramental Christianity; hymn recs welcome)? Or, really, any poems you absolutely love and want to sell me on? Other people's enthusiasm carries me pretty far (esp if the poem is short <shifty>). ~*~ Also, any thoughts or links or recs wrt “why poetry” are welcome. I have only the most fledgling intuitive sense of “why poetry.” It's enough to inspire me to press on, to take it on faith that poetry can convey things that are impossible to convey in prose, and that those things are worth the trouble of conveying - but I still have no idea what those things actually are. I've read a lot of “why poetry” stuff, and while I'm inspired by their writers' obvious passion for poetry, their reasons never resonate. It's like they have the worldview of a poetry-lover and I don't, and until I can somehow manage the paradigm shift, I'll never be able to understand their reasons. Especially since half the time they resort to poetry to try to explain their love of poetry ;). Understandable, given that poetry is apparently the best way to try to say the unsayable, but not as helpful as it could be to the aspires-to-understand-poetry set, lol. (It has occurred to me that my attempts to try to understand poetry apart from actually, you know, actually reading poetry, might amount to me seeking a royal road to poetry <shifty>.) I know I suffer from needing to know *why* I'm doing something, and my reasons for "why tackle poetry" are still a little too "because it's good for you (somehow, in general)". About all I have for intuitive, felt reasons is the inherent pleasure of strong, singsongy rhythms; this one, brief shining moment of poetry appreciation in high school where I had to answer a multiple choice question about the meaning of a line and it just struck me so hard how the line itself was so much fuller and more beautiful and made the test answer seem so ugly in comparison; and when I was filling out a response form for a religious retreat I was on and I didn't have the words to describe what the services were like - I had to resort to "It was really great", and that was just so *inadequate* that it made me wish I'd memorized poetry, so I'd have had the words to do justice to the experience. Those are enough to keep me plugging in an on-and-off sort of way, but not enough to persist in a disciplined sort of way.
  6. Go to where your username is displayed in the upper right corner of the screen, next to the notifications and messages icons. Click on the down arrow to the right of your username, and it should show a menu. Toward the bottom of the menu, under settings, is "Account Settings" - click on it. That takes you to the settings page, and there's a list of options on the left - one of them is Signature (sixth down, I think). Click on Signature and it takes you to the signature editing page. HTH
  7. This is what I use - right now I'm taking my second child through it. I bought it used on Amazon: teacher presentation book 1, teacher presentation book 2, and the student workbook. At the time I bought it (6-7 years ago), I paid ~$30 for the first presentation book, ~$55 for the second presentation book, and ~$5 for the student workbook. Since I've seen prices both lower and way higher for the presentation books - it fluctuates a lot, so it helps to start looking early - but right now it looks pretty good, around $30ish for the first presentation book and around $45-50ish for the second presentation book. I've also seen a steady creep upward in the student workbook prices; I think I paid nearly $10 for the last ones I bought, which looks to be in line with the current prices. I really love it. It's been wonderful for my struggling spellers. I'd say it is heavier on spelling than it is on vocabulary; I'm thinking of following it up with something more purely vocab-focused (I have Word Wealth and Word Wealth Jr on my shelf, from a rec on a thread here, but haven't done anything with them yet). It's a year-long program, teacher-centric, but completely open-and-go. (My oldest and I did the lackadaisical 2.5yr approach, which nevertheless had very good results; my middle and I are doing it at the suggested 1yr rate.) I feel like going through it has helped me learn how to teach spelling. ~*~ Also, Words, by Marcia Henry, has a lot of good info and an interesting approach (albeit not open and go, which is why it is languishing on my shelf).
  8. I believe that you can view full previews of the books by clicking on the individual books and then clicking the "look inside" link.
  9. That, and also dd13 not caring about what AoPS cared about (and thus having zero motivation to work past the issues making it (extra) hard). I picked AoPS because dd13 has good math intuition and has always cared so very very much about understanding *why* something is the way it is in math (and in general). However, turns out all she cares about is *intuitively* understanding what's going on, not formally understanding what's going on. And she hates having to explicitly *explain* why things are the way they are in general, and super hated having to do it formally. In addition to those "philosophical differences", AoPS expected students to already know or to automatically pick up a lot of "variable manipulation skills" (for lack of a better term), and to be able to follow the steps of a proof as it was worked out. While dd understood the idea of a variable standing in for an unknown number and could solve standard arithmetic equations with variables with ease (all the pre-test asked for), what she did *not* get was the idea of a variable standing in for *any* number. (She's still shaky on that - every time we do functions, she has to be reminded/retaught about how f(n) relates to f(1), etc.) And so while she could follow any individual step in a proof, she had no idea how anything about the proof related to any part of her intuitive understanding of math. Also, while I could coach her through understanding the steps of the proof as I worked it out, she froze at the whole idea of doing math on variables that didn't have to do with finding a specific value for the variable; she also had a hard time seeing how the "doing things to both sides of the equation" way of solving connected to the "write and solve the equation, use what you found to write and solve the next equation" method she used in arithmetic. I think all of that was solvable (I had similar issues connecting her intuitive understanding of math to writing out equations to show her work in word problems, and we managed that) - and working through her problems as they came up was the most informative diagnostic on her underlying conceptual weaknesses I've ever done - but it was a ridiculous amount of work having to stop all the time and explicitly teach her things AoPS assumed she'd naturally intuit, especially since it turned out she actively disliked the whole idea of proofs in the first place.
  10. FWIW, I did a trial of AoPS Pre-A with my oldest (after finishing SM), which conclusively showed that AoPS wasn't a good fit for her. I had Dolciani as a back-up. When I'd flipped through Dolciani prior to trialling AoPS Pre-A, it had seemed dry and kinda uninspiring. But after the trial, when I opened it and started teaching from it, the straightforward logic of it all was a sight for sore eyes, lol. We're 2/3 of the way through it now, and I just keep liking it more and more, to the point making Dolciani my top Alg choice.
  11. Agree it varies by denomination. For ours (Lutheran - LCMS), seminary is a 4yr Masters of Divinity degree. You have to have a bachelor's degree, but it can be in anything - dh's is in biomedical science. Our seminaries also have been working hard to subsidize tuition as much as possible. When dh attended, tuition was 100% subsidized; now it's a significant percentage but not 100%. Even so, he still took out the max federal student loans each year to cover room&board (on top of working part time). There are a *lot* of "second career" guys at the sem, too - over half the students - so they could have built up savings from years of full-time work.
  12. My mom did the "teach your baby to read" thing with me when I was a toddler. (In elementary school, I found the box of flashcards she made and used, and she told me a bit about it.) Pure whole word teaching, but it worked. Per family stories, I was reading unfamiliar words at 2.5yr. I remember reading old 60s chapter books when I was 5. I can't ever remember a time when I couldn't read. And I read a *lot* - hours and hours a day (still do). Read everything I could get my hands on, and read under my desk at school. My reading comprehension was effortlessly good. (Auditory processing and comprehension was weak, though.) With my oldest, I liked the idea of reading early, but I wanted to do phonics, not whole word. I taught her the alphabet - names and letter sounds - when she was a toddler. She picked them up really quickly, and I thought she'd start reading young, too, but she never made the leap from letters making sounds to sounding out the letters in words. I did informal sounding out stuff starting around age 4, and that was the year she started recognizing whole words in her environment and getting meaning out of text. But she still wasn't making the connection between /c/ /a/ /t/ and /cat/, nor between 'c' 'a' 't' and 'cat'. I started teaching her phonics at 5.5 and it was ridiculously slow going. She'd known her letters and sounds since before she was 2, but we spent an entire year on CVC words. I felt so guilty about being so strictly phonics-only, because she was like the poster child for whole language: she resisted phonics, but she naturally used picture clues and context clues and grammar clues. But when she was 6.5 something clicked and lessons started going faster. A few months later something else clicked and she made the leap to independent reading. At the time I thought phonics finally clicked. Turned out that what clicked was the ability to learn from phonics teaching despite not having the ability to learn to read phonetically (she flunked the Barton pre-screening, which is checking whether a student has the necessary phonemic awareness to learn phonics, as a fluent reader). She managed to be an almost total sight reader despite strict phonics-only teaching, because she didn't naturally develop the developmental skills needed to learn phonics. (I worked very hard to remediate her once I realized it.) But she somehow was a fluent reader anyway. Maybe she could have learned to read early if I'd done the whole word approach of teach your baby to read (certainly it would have been earlier). Or maybe if she'd developed the usual phonemic awareness at the usual times, she'd have been able to make the connection between letters and words earlier. Or if I'd realized earlier that she *wasn't* developing the usual phonemic awareness at the usual times, and I deliberately remediated it earlier, she'd have read earlier. But I wasn't really wanting to deliberately and formally work toward early reading. (And all my kids have needed explicit and extensive phonemic processing work, and I've started later with each child.) I'm of two minds wrt "does early reading provide a distinct advantage?" I read early and prolifically and I never slowed up. How is that *not* an advantage? But my oldest was 3-4 years behind me, reading-wise, yet once she started reading, she hit the ground running and has never slowed. She has the same effortless comprehension, insane speed, and a huge vocabulary and knowledge base. I see no real differences between our reading experiences at this point. Reading widely and constantly - and reading fast - seem to be of greater importance than reading early. (And I'm not sure how to foster those things, either. Threw me off a lot when my middle loved to read and re-read old favorites, but resisted reading new things. She's better now, but her knowledge base is a lot less than her sister's at the same age, and I think the lack of reading widely is a huge part.) Although I do wonder about the intangibles of being an early reader. Reading is like breathing for me - so effortless and ubiquitous and *necessary*. I'm not 100% sure my intense relationship with reading is the best of all possible worlds, but it has shaped me so much. How much is attributable to having pretty much *always been reading*?
  13. My thought is to do just that. Figure out what publisher/author/series you want to use, get their Alg 2 book, and have him go through the chapter reviews. If he indeed aces the review, then he's "tested out" of that chapter. If he only misses a few topics and aces the rest, have him just do those sections. If he's not solid on several topics, have him do the whole chapter. That way he can get what he needs without a ton of review, and be ready for the next math book in the series. It doesn't surprise me at all that a kid who's done all the AOPS Alg book has mostly mastered the "usual" Alg 2 content. (IIRC doing chs 1-7 of AOPS Introductory Alg covers all the "usual" Alg 1 topics, and the rest of the book moves into typical "Alg 2" topics.)
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