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NittanyJen last won the day on August 3 2013

NittanyJen had the most liked content!


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  • Gender
  • Location
    East Coast USA
  • Interests
    Math. Science. Teaching. Birdwatching. Nature Journaling. Knitting. Quilting. Hiking.

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  • Biography
    Homeschool Mom to 2 young men, 1 in college.
  • Occupation
    Teaching AP Stats with PA Homeschoolers starting fall 2021

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  1. This sounds wonderful! I also use “T. Rex and the Crater of Doom” in my history of science class (I didn’t think that one up; it’s recommended in SWB’s History of Western Science, which we use as a spine).
  2. Yes, AP exam questions are hand-written. The College Board is starting to investigate moving a couple of exams to typewritten entries, but only for a limited set of exams, and I don't know that they are doing it this year; one of the two AP English exams is slated to move to a typewritten format in the near future, and one or two other exams. The others are still planned to stay on paper and pencil. My advice is to start practicing now and practice throughout the year. But start slowly and build slowly-- pick part a of an FRQ and do it untimed, then the next week do an entire FRQ (Free-response question). Do a single one a couple of times a week for a month. Then add a second one and do two-a-day twice a week. If you build gradually, it will become easier to handle, and you can focus on the essentials along the way: are the questions being answered correctly and completely? Are all parts of the question being addressed? Does your student understand how to interpret key question words such as explain, identify, etc? Good luck!
  3. Got them done on Monday. That was a long day, and I was so happy to be done with that process, so I could get back to teaching! Now back to the even longer process of waiting for results from the college applications . . . *sigh*. I don’t even want that to go too quickly this year, because too soon after it’s over, I’ll be an empty nester, and we are actually really enjoying this year.
  4. It means I probably shouldn’t post late at night? 😄 I was, however, always told— fill out FAFSA even if you don’t qualify for anything, because a lot of schools won’t even consider for things like scholarships — even merit scholarships— unless that doc is on file. Obviously, this will be school specific, and not true everywhere. And a lot of people do apparently find out they qualify for more at the college level than they thought they would, even if they don’t get federal money.
  5. I did not. I noted on the transcript that honors and AP courses were unweighted. Often the first thing a college does is re-calculate the GPA by their own standards (weighted or unweighted) anyway, so that they are making an apples-to-apples comparison between candidates, and your kid isn’t competing for class rank. So I don’t think it actually matters in the homeschool setting. But … I could be wrong.
  6. Yep, many schools want to see FAFSA before they send an offer. Some include scholarship offers in the initial acceptance letter, and may use the FAFSA data in that calculation; some schools may not be “need-blind” in admissions, and some schools just want to see if you are serious enough about applying there to go to that much effort, because it increases their yield to make offers to students who are more likely to accept. There are a few colleges sending out offers super fast, but the earliest “wave” of rolling admissions offers often goes out around Halloween, if I recall correctly from my last round. It is not uncommon for other schools that don’t use rolling admissions, or for students who didn’t make the “first cut” but also didn’t land in the “no” pile to wait until spring to get notices though, so be prepared for a long wait. I can see that I am writing with an excess of shutter quotes, which tells me I need to stop posting and go to bed.
  7. I think this is the one I meant. Sorry about the wrong model number 😉 I should have double checked before hitting the final post button.
  8. I will add that if there is no need for a *graphing* calculator, a scientific Casio will probably be the most efficient choice in terms of learning curve, use, and budget. They remain my favorites for non-graphing calculators.
  9. I teach AP Stats. In order to be able to support my students, I have all of the following on my desk: 2 Casios— the basic graphing fxsomethingorother and the color cg50II TI84Plus CE HP Prime TINspire All of these have ample video tutorials available on YouTube, often for specific content— you can search for a specific model calculator and AP Statistics, or calculus, and quickly find a how to for what you need to do if you are stuck, including answering questions about why the calculator is apparently misbehaving, for all of the above calculators. All come with a protective hard cover. Casio— most Casios work essentially the same way. My sons both prefer the more bare-bones version of the Casio graphing calculator— it’s sturdy, does everything with a minimum of fuss, is pretty straightforward to learn, and the price point is the lowest of the bunch for the lower end one. The color fancy one is on par, price wise, with the TI84. Both of these take AAA batteries. The color one can do fun things like graphing two box plots at the same time to make side-by-side comparisons easier. It will do anything a student or a professional needs to do. TI84PlusCE— A lot of textbooks have instructions specifically for this calculator embedded in the book. TI has really taken over the educational marketplace, aggressively. The learning curve is pretty quick, It is not hard to learn how to do things quickly once you learn your way around. It is slim and light, though it feels less sturdy. It has a rechargeable battery that recharges by USB cable plugged into the computer every couple of days with heavy use. TI has clearly been engineered specifically for school use with functions chosen for testing needs over practical use sometimes, but for a student, that’s not always a bad thing. HP Prime — probably one of the more expensive in the bunch, depending on the deals you find at different times. I thought I was going to hate this one, based on my experience with HPs back in high school a few decades ago, but I have been pleasantly surprised. The interface is pretty intuitive. The relationships between the data, graphs, and calculations are pretty clear. I’m still exploring it, but I’m impressed. It is the most solidly built of the lot, with a metal body rather than plastic. It does feel like it was built with the least interest in specifically catering to students, but seems like it will do anything a student needs it to do. If memory serves, it recharges with a cable. TINspire— this calculator is probably the most versatile and the most fun. I have the CAS algebra system version, and it can do Python (though why you would want to do python on a calculator instead of on a computer is beyond me; I am guessing this is a build to help teach coding skills in schools where putting a computer in every classroom is not going to happen, but they can get a calculator into kids hands). It has a slightly steeper learning curve, but once you figure it out, it is pretty fast and efficient to use, and the flexibility of it is pretty impressive. You can save files that include multiple documents together— a spreadsheet of data, a few graphs, some calculations, and more— and name them, just like on a computer, so if you have a pain in the neck problem to solve and want to get help with it later, you can save everything you typed in and not have to retype it later. You can display multiple graphs on one screen, and it has a mini trackpad cursor for more flexibility to choose stuff on the screen. It competes with the HP for the title of most expensive in the group. It also recharges with a cable. There is no one “best pick” overall. All of these are competent calculators that will get the job done, and will last through high school, college, and beyond (as long as the batteries don’t die). Best budget pick: Casio fxg1150 Best pick if you want to use AAA batteries: either Casio Most Solidly Built: HP Prime Most integrated with many textbooks: TI84Plus and TINspire Most Innovative and Flexible: TINspire Best pick to be functional through high school and college: Any of the above; TI and Casio may have paid more attention to educational specific needs and functions. Steepest Learning Curve: TINspire (but arguably worth it in a relatively short time) I am hard-pressed to pick a favorite from the bunch, to be honest. I have been a die-hard, decades-long Casio fan. But the time I have invested in really getting to know these other calculators has won me over to the charms of the the rest of the pack. I don’t think you can make a bad choice with any of these.
  10. In Delaware, we are in the same boat as far as homeschools being rather unloved— we are just “nonpublic schools.” Unaccredited doesn’t bother me, and has not posed any problems for the boys; my oldest had no difficulty with college admissions over it. We do, however, have a rock solid state U, and for dual admission, there are community colleges that offer courses that have been vetted by the state U for content and rigor, that they can take for relatively little money. So we have that going for us— and homeschoolers are eligible here for the scholarship that many find to be important, which will pay for the first two year of college at the big CC, with virtually guaranteed transfer (if good grades are maintained) to the state U to finish the four-year degree, slashing college costs in half. So, for a small state without a *lot* of options, we still have *good* options, particularly for high-achieving homeschooled students who will shine on college applications, and stand a good chance of being offered some money to attend college. Develop a relationship with a local private school where you can take your AP exams— it’s a less drastic option than consigning a kid to not being challenged for high school. Remember that people vent, and rarely return to say, “Oh, it all t urned out all right in the end after all!” Look around and see what the situation realistically is around you, rather than reacting.
  11. No; when you sign up to sit for an exam, they issue an exam-only join code. The student still uses your classroom code that you can issue for the course once you have passed your audit.
  12. And done. At least with the Common App part of things. I know there is more to come, when the portal invitations arrive, and then FAFSA. But SAT results arrived today, and they were right on his target, so with the applications turned in, we are set to focus on enjoying his senior year. Yippee . . . And yikes. And boo hoo. He’s my last one. I really, really, really could only vaguely imagine this day when I went to clean all his stuff out of the little peanut’s school desk one day a little over a decade ago. Next year will be *really* weird. It is for all new empty-nesters, but I think for those of us who homeschool and are used to having them around 24/7, it’s a little. . . . Extra.
  13. Nope, we cannot order or proctor the tests ourselves. The College Board takes exam security and standardization of administration incredibly seriously, and that would instantly fall apart-- even in schools, teachers who teach the courses are not permitted to have even incidental contact with the students they teach in AP courses (not even in the halls or lunchrooms) until after their AP exam is finished for the day. So by definition, you could not proctor your child at home (during the digital exams at home last year, students were required to take the exams in a room without others present, so if a parent had been the teacher, again there was supposed to be no contact during the exam. I actually left the house to avoid even the appearance of impropriety wrt my son, and let my students who were online across the globe know that I was not going to be reachable until after the exam time expired). It is really frustrating that schools play gatekeeper on these exams :(.
  14. The College Board needs to step up and tell schools— if you are going to use our trademark, you cannot discriminate. You must offer a seat to any student who wishes to test who resides in your feeder pattern. This would also get rid of the problem of public schools cherry-picking which students of their own can take the tests so their scores look better (yep, it happens).
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