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Everything posted by TiaTia

  1. PM me if you know someone with a high school student or very recent high school grad who might like to arrange an informal student exchange this summer. We're thinking the DF (aka CDMX). We live near Washington, DC and would be happy to trade hosting with some overlap. The Mexican student needn't be fluent in English.
  2. A good reminder that YMMV. We once had an experience with an instructor whom others loved and recommended wholeheartedly (and still do), but whose particular pros and cons were a real problem for us. Lots of variables, for sure.
  3. We used both of those, too! Along with Susan Benford's Masterpiece Cards and museum visits. Good stuff. I'd love to visit a museum with Sharon Latchaw Hirsh someday. To OP, ditto on other comments. For your self-study student, even if you don't work up your own syllabus, be sure to read the newest College Board course description seriously, focus on the 250 works, and figure out the essays well ahead of time. See especially the bit starting at p. 192. Third-party prep books are not always well-synched with the actual exam, so believe CB when in doubt. This exam isn't so much about knowing a lot of art history and being able to analyze and write about it, as knowing what to expect on the exam and being ready to ace that. Along the way, you'll get plenty of great art, of course. My view is that if you love art anyway, live an an art-rich environment and this isn't your only trip to the rodeo, you might as well "teach to the test" in this case. Here's my advice on the long and short essays, called "free-response questions." They take 2 of the 3 hours and are worth 50% of the exam. Be sure to read the CB's released free-response prompts, the scoring guidelines for them, the sample student responses, and how they were scored. Also read the comments about how the overall population of students did on each question. (You will soon notice some VERY similar points. For example, answering the question actually asked eludes many!) If your student can read an APAH prompt, read one of those posted student samples, and then assign it a score very close to what the readers did, with a logical explanation of how the points were earned, then he probably "gets" exactly what they want. Kudos. Next step: practice answering prompts in the long and short formats. It's not heavy-duty writing, but the responses are scored in very particular ways.
  4. All I have heard is that she has a AWESOME coat . . . .
  5. I'll chime in with a recommendation for a teacher you didn't ask about: Ray Leven in Pennsylvania. He's known for teaching AP Spanish via PA Homeschoolers, but also teaches other levels of Spanish. Because I just asked him about something else, I happen to know he has a couple of openings in his Spanish 2 and 3 now. I've had two students with quite different learning styles work with him over several years and would be happy to share our experiences with you via PM, if you want to know more. Ray uses Skype for live, small classes and (for some levels) Vista Learning's "Descubre" series of textbooks with an e-component. You can find his email and other info here: https://sites.google.com/site/spanishlearningonline/ Before you start, Ray meets with your student via Skype to chat a bit and determine placement. He's very astute, but gentle and encouraging. I've found that the name/level label of the class is less important than his ability to figure out where a student is, and then help him or her become more confident and proficient. My students had different goals, but both found the workloads very manageable and assignments well-chosen. I speak Spanish, so can tell you that both made excellent progress. (One corrects my terrible grammar now; I love it!) Sheesh, it sounds like I get a percentage. But you know how it is, when you find a good fit -- you want to share! Good luck with your transition.
  6. Posting for a friend. She has a student who's finishing up AP Calculus BC and they're looking at multivariable calculus and/or differential equations for next year. The student is currently a sophomore. Can anyone suggest homeschool resources, or is an online or in-person college course their best option?
  7. I'd love to hear from anyone whose student recently took the AP Spanish (either language or lit) exam. I have a student who will be taking the language course and exam next year (2017-18). Favorite providers? Surprises? Other thoughts? The curriculum description has not changed in several years. See College Board: http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/exam/exam_information/4554.html Our instructor will be the lovely Ray Leven, who teaches other Spanish classes, but offers AP via PA Homeschoolers.
  8. "College prep" should mean that you hit the big five SAT Subject Test topic areas for biology, but ALSO get experience with scientific thinking, experimental design, and interpreting data tables and graphs. Basic algebra is very helpful for that last one, not to mention things like probability and the Harvey-Weinberg equilibrium in population genetics.
  9. Congratulations! Doing a last-minute dust-up of my APUSH syllabus, just in time for the holiday rush. Soooooo many CRs! If we could use images, I'd stick in one of a count-down clock with glowing red digits, wired into a suspicious electronic mess. I'd also look like an action movie hero. Tia
  10. Workingmom, get the College Board's big, fat blue book called Official Study Guide for All SAT Subject Tests, Second Edition. You can find used copies everywhere, cheaply. It has at least one bio test . . . actually, I think only one (can't lay my hands on mine right now to confirm), but with questions from both the E and M versions (they share a common core set of questions). Alas, unlike the US and world history subject tests, you can't buy an additional skinny volume to get an extra practice test from the College Board. (That skinny history book happens to have two tests each for US and world, with one each that are NOT duplicated in the big, fat book.) If you can't Google the answer to a question, try the College Board order-takers on the phone. I had good luck there once when I was very puzzled about something.
  11. Working on curricula so fall goes smoothly!

  12. Searching Maryland law turns out to be MUCH harder than searching the Code of Virginia (sheesh!) but here's a good place to start: http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/msde/nonpublicschools/npdocs/fact_sheets/np_fact_home_instruction.htm It has links to regulations in COMAR and statutes via LexisNexis (shudder).
  13. "not too intimidating or rigorous. Fun is okay as long as he is learning vocabulary, sentence structure/grammar, practical conversation practice, but I would also like assessments to garner a grade and also if he's understanding." Dianne, based on those goals, you both might like one of Ray Leven's live, online, small group classes for high school students. You wouldn't have to do anything but make sure DS is at the computer on time. Ray is extraordinarily patient, gentle, and respectful -- while still insisting that students turn in their work on time! He covers grammar, usage, vocabulary, and some cultural context as well as speaking, writing, and listening skills. He uses textbooks by the publisher Vista to supplement what he does with conversation and other materials. You can search on his name here at WTM. He also teaches AP Spanish with PA Homeschoolers. See his site here: https://sites.google.com/site/spanishlearningonline/ Based on our experiences, Ray would place your son in one of his levels after a phone or Skype conversation. Asking him about time commitments and rigor would help you make a good fit. I wouldn't worry about the level designation for the class. Sounds like he has time to get the credits he's aiming for.
  14. Your mileage will vary, but here's what I think. Because of where he is, in terms of motivation and ownership (and age), I'd take a long, close look at the curricula he's using for the subjects you think he'll take SAT Subject Tests on. Before worrying about any prep books, you (not him) could drill down into the real, released subject tests available in those big, fat College Board books or on their website. See what the material tested actually is. Look at CB's web pages where they tell you the percentage coverage for specific topics tested. Check out the practice questions they provide online. Then tweak the coursework so that he's got the best possible shot of covering and understanding the actual material they will be testing on, next June. Check the content at midyear to see if he's on track. If he's a lukewarm student anyway, but really does care about the eventual test scores, for whatever reasons of his own, then this sort of "teaching to the test" won't ruin anything for him, but could help set him up for success. I'd make sure he does cumulative review all year so that the chances of content "sticking" increases. Then his review will pay off more handsomely. If he's done with his courses by early May, then he'll have nearly 4 weeks before the Saturday, June 3 testing. If you can get for him TWO real, released exams (not prep book exams) for each subject, that would be beautiful. (Two might be close to the maximum number you can get, by the way, so I wouldn't squander them by using them earlier in the year for review or practice.) Your student could start by taking one of these the moment his course is over. This would be JUST a place-marker. Tell him the number really doesn't matter, except as a bookend. He would use its results, though, to make a list of exactly where to focus his efforts -- and he may enjoy the idea of investing as little as possible for the maximum reward possible, based on what you wrote. On the other hand, if that score happens to be a rude wake-up call because it's a lot lower than hoped, that might help him light his own fire. As long as he knows the first score is JUST a starting line, and NOT an assessment of his self-worth or intellect or place in the universe and your heart, then he might enjoy the competitive aspect of beating his score on the second round. For 2 weeks, he can focus on those areas of review that he thinks would give him the most payoff. That's where prep books can come in handy. He'll be glad he did cumulative review (if he did) when he realizes his brain is better able to take in materials it has seen at some point in the past. Then, taking the second real, released test with about a week to go would allow him to make a serious comparison. Hopefully, his score would go UP (!) and that would encourage him. Bonus: he'd still have time to brush up on a couple things before the real exam. Compared to what he'd learn by relying on prep book practice tests, I think that using the CB exams in this way may give him a more realistic notion of where his scores could likely fall -- plus or minus some margin for the weirdness of real life. That can be a psychological boost. It's about attitude! If you think only a 780 will do, you could be bummed by a 775. But if you're working in the 580 zone and end up with a 615, you may feel very cheerful indeed. One last thought: some 9th graders find that one Subject Test is plenty. If they are fearful or reluctant, or just not big scholars yet, then scoring well on ONE instead of "meh" on two can give them some nice confidence for their next year, when their academic skills may be better anyway.
  15. I didn't have students who took APUSH this year, so would also love to hear about student & instructor experiences from y'all. See all score distributions here: https://apscore.collegeboard.org/scores/about-ap-scores/score-distributions?excmpid=SM51-PR-1-tw In 2015, a score of 5 was earned by 9.4% of the APUSH exam takers. Looks like that went up to 11.7% this May. So, despite the deep, deep worries about APUSH scoring ("contextualization" especially?), exams scores looked good this year. I can't figure out how to embed Trevor Packer's 6/21 tweets or images of them, so will paste these three I picked (see AP_Trevor at Twitter): "AP US History students/teachers have perhaps achieved biggest score increases of any subject so far this yr, also w/25K more students. Wow." "2016 AP US History scores: 5: 11.7%; 4: 17.9%; 3: 22.5%; 2: 23.4%; 1: 24.5%." "1 AP US History student, out of ~500,000, earned a perfect score of 130/130 pts; first time we have seen that achievement in many years." Good discussion on the College Board's AP teacher community about scoring the AP US History essays. Test revisions will always be a pain for any number of reasons, I guess, both good and bad. I'll throw out my two cents on some of that (and related) discussions. (1) I do think AP courses themselves can be super, with or without the exam; (2) I remain willing to teach the gamesmanship and approaches needed for students to show well on those exams; and (3) I don't think that doing both is a disservice at all. Not one bit. AP isn't the end-all-and-be-all and won't cure cancer, but I think it can be a great part of this nutritious breakfast.
  16. Bumping. Hope anyone who took the AP Environmental Science exam this Monday did well and is now getting to relax.
  17. You can get a lot of info on the Subject Test for Biology (E and M versions) straight from the horse's mouth at College Board: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat-subject-tests/subjects/science/biology-em You can also buy The Official Study Guide for All SAT Subject Tests from College Board (or elsewhere) and see what the released sample test looks like.
  18. If you've taught high school biology in homeschool venues and would like to swap ideas for packing, equipment, level differentiation and learning differences, online LMS, dodging the culture wars, the minutiae of grading and scheduling, maintaining joy while slogging toward the SAT Subject Test, fetal pig strategies, "best lab ever" -- etcetera -- feel free to PM me. I've done this for a couple of years now and would love to exchange some ideas with others.
  19. Off topic some more -- Nan, how did U Mass Amherst respond to not getting a dated transcript, out of curiosity? BTW, I just saw that they require "proof of graduation" in the form of an "official" transcript from some entity or else a GED. Sheesh.
  20. Has anyone had a college require an applicant to provide dates for spine textbooks in course descriptions? Thoughts/ideas/information on "how old is too old" for listing a science textbook?
  21. Other than the 7-page sample, I haven't seen the Oak Meadow syllabus for world history, but it looks similar to others. Their syllabus really is just a pacing guide, with reading selections and some choices of homework assignments and projects. In other syllabi, I've noticed most or all of the assignments seem to be drawn directly from the spine text. They give you keys for those in the teacher's manual (not offered in their bookstore, but purchased by calling or emailing them). Katie, I agree with you: the sample does look like this OM syllabus has a lot of "lesson" to it. If your son would rather just "get to it" on his own, you wouldn't need to buy the OM syllabus. The Glencoe book is very basic. You can use an older version and many of the companion website features are free, including self-quizzes. For example: http://glencoe.mheducation.com/sites/0078607027/index.html I love Worlds Together, Worlds Apart (Tignor et. al) from Norton, but that's a college-survey level text. I use it to teach AP World History. WTWA also has a companion website with lots of neat goodies, including interactive map exercises. I use the cheaper 3rd edition, but they've just come out with a 4th. Here's the older one: http://www.wwnorton.com/college/history/worlds-together-worlds-apart3/ A word about "world history" -- it's NOT the same as western civilization at all, but a different and newer historical discipline. I believe it complements western civ in a well-rounded education and in my opinion, students should take both. But they are not equivalent. It's true that many high school level textbooks make this unclear, because they are labeled as "global history" or "world history," but in fact are just slightly re-engineered western civ books, with some China stuffed into Chapter 6 and some lonely ancient Mesoamerica stranded in Chapter 4. The tell-tale for me is whether post 1500 is basically the same stuff.
  22. DC is accepted and we've paid the college deposit. Test scores are far above the school's average (not a highly selective school and not Common App). The mid-year transcript submitted with the application showed progress through the first semester, with a year-long AP course already half-done and a second AP course planned for the second semester. Along with previous AP scores (all fives), the test section of our transcript showed "pending" for the two planned AP courses senior year. Now, as the year comes to an end, we realize that taking the second AP course was far too ambitious. Given the work already put in, we've decided to downgrade the course title and description to on-level and skip the AP exam. DC will still take the exam for the year-long AP course -- the one for which a grade was reported for first semester. I'm hoping this change won't present a problem, though DC is applying to an honors program. It may mean a half-credit less in the total sum, but DC has plenty of credits. How have others handled similar situations on final transcripts? What kinds of changes have you made, and how did it work out? On a related note -- hoping it doesn't apply to us -- how do schools consider "senior slumps" in final transcripts for admitted students?
  23. Some homeschooler in these forums must have experience applying to Oberlin's conservatory and/or arts and sciences college. Like to share any general advice and experience? Our questions so far: 1. How did the music theory exam compare to ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) Level 7 and/or the AP Music Theory exam? 2. How far down into the weeds did you go with course descriptions? Were you asked for more at any point? 3. Was a lab report sufficient evidence of "science laboratory experiences?" 4. If you did the preliminary financial paperwork, was that process helpful in contemplating early decision? Because Oberlin asks for "a description of each course of study" with dates, I'm stuffing key details into the notes section on the transcript. That makes this version somewhat bloated compared to the prettier, streamlined one. But I just can't see uploading zillions of pages, and can't imagine they'd want to wade through that level of detail. * * * * * "Homeschooled applicants to the Conservatory should submit an academic portfolio, with a detailed syllabus that lists the subjects studied each year, the dates each subject was studied, a description of each course of study, major texts used or literature read, and evidence of science laboratory experiences. In addition, the test scores from either SAT I, or the ACT with writing exam are required." http://new.oberlin.edu/conservatory/admissions/apply/academic-and-testing-requirements.dot "A detailed syllabus that lists the subjects studied each year, the dates each subject was studied, a description of each course of study, major texts used or literature read, and evidence of science laboratory experiences. The Academic Portfolio is to be uploaded in PDF format to Oberlin’s Common App Writing Supplement. . . . Provide a copy of a recently written academic paper. Papers do not need to be lengthy, but should be a typical example of your written work. Graded copies are preferred. A recent scientific laboratory report is welcome as an example of an academic paper. The Academic Paper is to be uploaded in PDF format to Oberlin’s Common App Writing Supplement." http://new.oberlin.edu/arts-and-sciences/admissions/first-year-applicant/homeschooled.dot
  24. One of my Girl Scouts self-studied with Campbell last year as an eighth-grader. She didn't study to the test particularly, though she is a good test-taker and did get a prep book at the last minute. She earned a five. She took Pearson's twelve online labs. Not the same as live labs, of course, which she would have preferred, but it was a good experience for her. Just an example of self-study for homeschooling joy, rather than trying to get credit in college.
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