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Everything posted by hil

  1. I haven't used these kits yet, but they look nice and are free! http://www.animalearn.org/sciencebank.php
  2. Hi ebunny, I remember that you just recently pulled her out of an unsatisfactory school experience? I'm thinking maybe she is trying to recover from that experience by providing some soothing predictability for herself. I've heard that people get a burst of serotonin in reviewing stuff they already know. Kind of explains why many are adverse to new information- it literally hurts their brain. I think it's a very good sign she still wants variety and challenge with her math. I think she is using the literature as a mental blanket. I would try to gently introduce new literature at her pace, in line with her interests. You are instrumental in either letting her stagnate in a mental groove, or slowly encouraging more stuff for her brain to work on. She sounds like a lovely, brilliant girl and you are a very attentive parent. I think she has a bright future. Maybe whoever tested her can recommend an appropriate playmate for her in your neighborhood? Hilary (If I can find the applicable TED talk I will post it.)
  3. My bright son is just five months younger than yours. He went to kindergarten, but has been homeschooled for the past year and a half. I didn't intend to homeschool, but with we had a baby right before he would have entered first grade, so it made sense. I couldn't recommend homeschooling more. It's thrilling to see their acceleration. For socialization, I've joined a local gifted homeschooling group. The parents of this group are just different in the best way possible. Their posts are so thoughtful and error-free. It is truly relieving to know other genius-parents. So that's my advice: homeschool, (make the jump, you won't regret it), and somehow find the other gifted kids around you. Maybe whoever does the testing in your area, (not that testing is necessary!), could point you in a good direction locally? Hilary DS7 DD1
  4. I know this isn't a Khan Academy board, but I'm going to beg you to take a look. DS7 started Sept 1 of this year and has advanced many grades (!) because, for us, the whole set-up is conducive to accelerating without gaps. Did I mention it's free? The kids do 'modules.' Ten right and they advance, with the software systematically prodding them to review. When we get to concepts I'm rusty at, all the instruction is in the form of short videos that I can enjoy with DS. The software-provided exercises build skills logically and incrementally. The videos by Sal take the pressure off the instruction for me, so difficult concepts can be watched a few times. It leaves the more fun instruction for me or his dad. Last night, as a family, was all about how to calculate the area of a circle. Two months ago I think the only things we had solidly down were multiplication tables. For us, a life-changing website. Hilary DS7 DD1
  5. I can't emphasize how accelerated his learning has become in two years at home. We do VERY short lessons throughout the day. For a second-grader, his school-dominated day would start at 7a and extend until 5p, with all the busywork-homework to complete. After a ten hour day, who is going to crave anything besides checking out? I think of the long school day and excessive homework as a purposefully counterproductive, bewilder, bore, and dumb-down routine. More is not better. Your son sounds like an great candidate for being an unstressed, self-directed genius at home. Reading "The Hobbit" and playing outside were the extent of our academics at three. Hilary DS7 DD1
  6. I've read that kids shouldn't be expected to share until four or five...did some kind of sharing issue ruin the group encounters? Your kid sounds gifted to me. Some smart people need alone time in order to process their experiences and be sane. I think lots of smart people shut down, (and stop being smart), with the stress of school and never-ending expectations. Who is going to be a genius, share ideally, and wolf down broccoli? Probably not the same person. I think you have great instincts. And homeschooling is the harder path. One income is not fun. It'd be easier for me to be at work, but I think it'd be a disservice to my son, who's now working at a middle school level. He wouldn't be at this level if he had to deal with the stress of school all day. He went to kindergarten and was a model citizen. The school still found stuff to critique. I put too much organic sugar in his lunch and we didn't do the pointless, sometimes offensive, homework. (The children had to write 'fat' next to a full-figured picture.) I often have the sneaking feeling that school and TV are as much about social programming as they are about knowledge-aquisition or entertainment. Homeschool has been a hard and unexpected route. Hilary DS7 DD1
  7. wow. I cannot remember any book bothering me as a kid except Caddie Woodlawn. my favorite author for this age group: Roald Dahl, that quirky, original genius. Hil ds7 dd1
  8. my husband read the entire series to our son when he was four and five. he said it's the character 'Tip' who turns into a girl at the end of the story. turns out he was really Osma. i asked my husband about your daughter being freaked out, and he said something like, 'yeah, frank baum's a weirdo, I don't know what he intended. it just seems to be an awkward convention. lots of stories have the characters transform at the end of the story, but it's strange because you read the whole story and you identify with a male character only to have the character change sex at the end of the book. a lot of readers of the oz series are disappointed by the second book, as it's not about dorothy.' he characterized the rest of the books as full of 'girlish delight in the land of oz.' but he says there's more weird, creepy stuff to come, so i don't know whether the third book will bring any closure. ? hilary ds7 dd1
  9. My seven-year-old uses the Khan Academy with good results. I was recently looking at the state's website which outlines grade standards. http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/cr/cf/grlevelcurriculum.asp The state's math practice questions sort of bewildered and bored me simultaneously. In contrast, the Khan Academy is all about user-friendly software meeting good instruction. The concepts are broken down into digestible bits and build on each other logically. Hilary ds7 Khan Academy for math and science, Writing Analytically by Rosenwasser and Stephen, Greek alphabet with dad dd1 bites the dog, obsessed with climbing Sfbay
  10. my ds7 enjoys the Khan Academy. it's free, high-tech, and wonderful beyond words. http://www.khanacademy.org/#geometry hilary ds7 Khan Academy math and science, Writing Analytically, lit, Greek alphabet dd1 interested in climbing and electricity (!)
  11. My homeschooled seven-year-old enjoys the Khan Academy. I've needed to incentivize focus, or there would be too much foot-dragging and frustration. My son is motivated to earn whole days off. Ten modules, (problem sets), for a day off. One chapter of a book is also a module, etc. What's motivating to him is individual and will change over time. This framework has worked well for us, but I'm at a loss right now for appropriate superlatives for the Khan Academy. Trust me, it's great. (Life-altering?) Hilary 'Bruno' 7, Khan Academy for math and science, Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, Brave New World and Gulliver's Travels for lit. 'Miloshka' 1, running experiments daily.
  12. Hi, My son is also seven. This is his second year of homeschool. He has been very motivated lately to manage his own time in order to earn time off. I'd been incrementalizing the reward, 20 minutes of video game time per 'module', but what he really wanted was whole days off. The lessons are immeasurably easier when he's motivated to focus. We're using the Khan Academy for math and science. Each new concept for math is accompanied by a module of exercises that need ten problems answered correctly. A chapter of a book we're reading is also worth a module. I want it to be about an hour's worth of work, but it's incredibly variable, and that's okay. (Ten modules equals one day off.) I think this mimics the adult world, where you have certain stuff to do each day, and once it's complete, you can rest. I tried to rig the system for two days of school and one day off, but he has been outpacing me. I do like a casual set-up: never formally at the table, and at odd hours, so we do school at five in the morning, if we want, and sometimes at 9:30 at night. He's fallen asleep to our history being read aloud many times. (Ideal!) With difficult concepts, I've had success reducing my expectation to him just having laser focus for a tiny amount of time. Hilary home-schooled son, 7 baby girl, 1
  13. Sheena Iyengar's talk about choice helped to me think critically about the entirely self-directed educational method espoused by 'unschooling': Romulus Whitaker's talk about snakes entertained my seven-year-old. Hilary and 'Bruno' 7 and 'Miloshka' 1
  14. I found this forum after running in horror from my local 'unschoolers' forum. My second-grader is home-schooled, and I thought 'unschooling' was just a quirky way of describing an unorthodox, less rigid, educational philosophy. I guess I was wrong. Here are two quotes, actually typical of the board. The query: > But what about things like, my daughter who will be 13 who absolutely hates reading and doesn't know all her times tables?! *************** Response #1: Plenty of adults dislike reading and don't know their times tables. Most adults, especially women, have so much math phobia they avoid doing any kind of computation. If your daughter is like that then she is no worse off than most high school graduates! >> How do I encourage her or get her to be a better reader?? You don't. First of all, reading requires a curious kind of "readiness" which is entirely biological and some people aren't ready to read until puberty. So a 13yo who isn't reading yet may not be ready yet. There's another problem, though, which is that you've been saturated with the propaganda that reading Should Be some kind of pleasant activity when its just a useful skill, like driving a car. I drive a car almost every day but I don't enjoy it and I'm not a great driver. I avoid driving when I can. It's okay to have that kind of relationship with reading! Response #2: 'Why does she need to know the time table at 13? I don't think that I do at 45 and I have a Law Degree and I speak 4 languages. I just never memorized it in school. I know probably 95 to 98% but there are a few that I need to think about. It has made NO difference in my life.' The woman drilling her unhappy child at the spelling bee is misguided about the long-term success of her agenda. Continuing high achievement is utterly dependent on emotional health. But in a world of endless, cardboard mediocrity in the public schools, and 'unschoolers', deluded about the realities their children will face in a few short years, I'm starting to appreciate other parents who try to challenge their kids, and do the truly hard work of consistently educating them. Every time we're learning anything, for me, there's a silent message to my son, "I love you, I'm investing in you." Hilary and 'Bruno', 7, enjoying the Khan Academy, and the baby, 'Miloshka', 1
  15. Hey Deacongirl, I'm in agreement with everything you wrote and will try Webb's book. You raised complexities I hadn't considered. I have a lot of ambivalence about the assessment and labeling process, but data are data, and needn't be shied away from. Thanks again, Hilary and home-schooled 'Bruno', 7, enjoying the Khan Academy, Howard Zinn's A People's History, and Brave New World (what was I thinking?) and the baby, 1, very mechanical, scientific, and vocal so far.
  16. Hey Deacongirl, My family is so rife with this personality complex maybe I don't want to give it too much credence. I've also known a lot of perfectionists-prone-to-outbursts with pretty 'middling' mental faculties. I do tell my son I think he's brilliant. (I think the other kids would be brilliant too, if they were given half a chance.) Seeing emotional issues through the matrix of "typical for the gifted child," seems like putting a nice, even misplaced, spin on difficult, (and surely universal?), issues. Are being emotionally labile or having peculiarities of motivation really unique to smart people? There are reasons to test, but testing in order to strategize emotional development? I'm unconvinced, but I will read the SENG site! Thanks for the tip, Hilary
  17. When I see my son (7), I think, "future nobel prize winner." Silly, I know. I'm homeschooling him for now, and I don't think I'll be testing his IQ outside of some admission process for school. I have to admit I'll be keen to know the results when the time comes. Perfectionism and outbursts are probably equal-opportunity offenders. (The unsmart have feelings too.) Aside from identifying learning strategies or easing the parent's mind, is it helpful to create the framework of you're neurotic cause you're brilliant? Hilary, mom to 'Bruno', 7 and 'Miloshka', 1
  18. As the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) guidelines dictate one has to be thirteen for a gmail or facebook account, the only solution would be for them to use your account. (?) (This system seems a bit clumsy.)
  19. hi, my homeschooled second-grader recently started using the khan academy. i really can't say enough good things about sal and the khan academy. 1. their gmail accounts are perfect for logging in. 2. you could choose any entry point, but i think the site would perennially prompt you to review the missed lessons. the site also has built-in review mechanisms, so even once you've been gained competency by correctly answering ten in a row, it will ask you to review periodically. 3. getting them to the right level, starting with addition 1, won't be time-consuming. (one hour?) the reasoning behind everyone starting with addition 1 is that in trials, a subset of those who didn't start with addition 1 got stuck, while those who had progressed incrementally never got stuck. 4. my advice: check out sal talking about his endeavor: http://www.khanacademy.org/#khan-academy-related-talks-and-interviews you'll realize there's nothing intimidating about the khan academy, just pure, delicious knowledge. hilary and augie
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