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    Hive Mind Royal Larvae
  1. I have my third grade math book from the nineties downstairs. Maybe I'll look this up.
  2. I think the problem with EM is that it's a huge math program even without throwing in "btw, do all the math facts." And a lot of it advised drill via games, which is tricky to organise with one kid, let alone thirty. AFAIK Math Makes Sense, our Canadian folly, doesn't include drill.
  3. I may be coming at this from a very place-specific situation. Right now we've gone head-over-heals into conceptual math in my province (and several other provinces) and we're trying to pull back. So most of the people that I meet day-to-day are suffering because the teacher thinks that multiplication tables are optional niceties that parents might or might not drill at home, not because they didn't get the concept explained. They probably did get the concept explained, but they're so underwater they can't internalise it. Think less Singapore Math and more Everyday Math.
  4. Not taking sides on what children do or do not do in the grammar stage (because I don't care), but Euclid &c. were intended to be studied later on in education, and thus I don't think they make your point here. I think knowing that 4*6 is itself useful, in addition to understanding that multiplication is commutative, but ymmv.
  5. I strongly disagree that everything understood will be retained, although it may be true for people who are very gifted in a given area. The best results in educational studies result from good explanation followed up by significant targeted practice. Countries that generated these conceptual math programs (Singapore, Japan, Russia) supplement them with drill, often in amounts that would make Americans weak in the knees. My own kids do Singapore, but my daughter is still not particularly strong in math. I think people overestimate the extent to which the texts make a difference. I believe that attempts to run trials with Singapore math in American schools were similarly uninspiring.
  6. I grew up with traditional math and understood all this stuff. Maybe my mother was very bright. Conceptual math makes explicit what traditional math may not. Some people don't need explicit, and skilled teachers have always demonstrated the rationale behind the procedure. Unfortunately elementary school teachers are frequently weak on math. I'm not at all sure that a deep understanding of arithmetic is necessary for higher math. In general I think people fail at math for want of practice, not for want of explanation.
  7. I've had that experience as well in France. Thank goodness I can get by in French. Quebec goes to massive lengths to preserve the French in the face of English hegemony. You aren't allowed to put up a sign in a language other than French unless it's got the French on top and the French is some percentage larger than the other language. The language laws are myriad and it does put Quebec at a disadvantage internationally. Companies aren't locating in Montreal anymore, partly for that reason. The ridiculously high taxes don't help either.
  8. I think Americans don't learn other languages because they aren't particularly close to any other country (and the largest border is with Canada), and because they already speak English. English is the lingua franca of the world right now. Canada has spent approximately nine bazillion dollars trying to get people bilingual. The results have been uninspiring. French Canadians speak French and range from "getting by" to fluent in English, with a heavy lean towards fluent in Montreal. Everyone else speaks less and less French as one moves away from Quebec. By the time one gets out to Alberta or BC, no one speaks French, even though they took it from fourth grade at the latest. You don't have to so you don't. If all of the best movies came out in French, and all of the good TV was in French, and the bulk of the science and academic writing was in French, people would know a lot more French. As it is, you mainly use it for not having to turn your cereal box around to know what the ingredients are.
  9. IB you need an IB school for. I just suggested it as an example of a world-class education. International A levels can be sat by anyone. But they aren't the same as English A-levels. England split off.
  10. In my ideal world they'd write the international A-levels. You could take a look at the A-level diploma (the international one, not the UK one) or the International Baccalaureate diploma. The two main differences are that the United States separates out math (other people continue to just have math class rather than algebra/geometry/trig) and most countries start with the second language(s) much earlier.
  11. Also, most people don't regret home schooling, full stop. They regret decisions they made while home schooling. A big one is better late than early/early academics cross roads. When a child struggles, you are faced with a choice: Wait and let it sort itself out, or confront it aggressively. Whichever way you choose, you're opening up the possibility for huge regrets. In school, someone else makes the decision. They introduce it when they introduce it. But we get to make our own decisions, and if it turns out to be catastrophically wrong then we own it. The child we thought just needed more time to read, has a learning disability; we've lost precious years we could have used to address the issue. Or the attempt to teach a not-quite-ready child to read turns into daily tears and leaves everyone with a terrible complex. Sometimes we make the wrong decision and the damage is permanent. The possibility for regret is a side effect of increased power and therefore increased responsibility.
  12. It sounds like a rather romantic vision. I don't believe in asking myself questions that I won't like the answer to -- which includes "do you want to teach spelling today," as well as "do you want to empty the dishwasher" and "do you want to read Owl Babies for the millionth time."
  13. Actually, I don't know anyone who identifies as "Asian" generically. They are fairly particular about the type of Asian. But if they were forced to pick between "black" or "white," they'd go with "white." Back to the OP: a white Hispanic would be a person who is culturally hispanic but racially appears white. It shouldn't have been used to refer to Mr. Zimmerman, because Mr. Zimmerman identifies as (and appears to be) Hispanic in the conventional sense (more of an Amerindian appearance). Racial categories are all basically cultural and/or imaginary, and afaik it's considered polite to defer to the person being so identified.
  14. I like Our Island Story in the same way that I like D'Aulaires Myths (Greek and Norse). It's less a reflection of what was than of what was believed to have been, but it's good for that purpose.
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