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Brad S

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Everything posted by Brad S

  1. There are two Great Courses that might make a wonderful elective for you: How to Look at and Understand Great Art and How to Listen to and Understand Great Music. The first one fits more closely, but the second one (on concert music) would give more breadth as part of a fine arts course, and the presenter is very dynamic and engaging.
  2. I'm not sure what level you're studying, but there's a Spanish 4 (with some Spanish 3) reading list here. For Spanish 1 and 2 I would focus mostly on the spoken language. If there are some local native Spanish speakers around, you could try a set-up where you speak half the time in English and half the time in Spanish, that would be a great way to learn Spanish while helping out someone else, free for both. If you can't find someone the same age as your DC, you may need to find an adult for the practice. An additional benefit of the joint practice is that your DC will learn a lot about the culture of the native land.
  3. Many journals list the contact person who is, obviously, the person to contact. It varies a lot by field, but I would first try to contact the first author. While the last author is sometimes the principal investigator, it's sometimes the person least central to the paper and sometimes the lab director or doctoral student's advisor (who may have come up with the idea if the work was done as part of the work for the doctorate). You can, of course, try to search for the article online, and get the article that way, but sometimes only a "working paper" or only the version originally submitted for journal peer review is available publicly online; the author will almost always send you a single copy of the final version.
  4. The Practice of Statistics book by Starnes, Yates, and Moore is excellent. The 4th or earlier editions would be less expensive. While it is a textbook often used for AP Statistics classes, it starts at a pretty basic level and has a lot of very relevant problems and exercises. Many or most middle school and high school math books used in schools in the past 20 years include basic probability and statistics, which is a very good trend. Most of the chapters in books I've seen are actually pretty good, often better than the rest of the book on pre-algebra, algebra, or geometry IMO. But they're more of an introduction and tend to have a textbook-like feel; Starnes, Yates, and Moore has a lot more depth, a lot of relevance to every day issues, and would provide a nice reference after your coop is done.
  5. I like the idea of having "problem solving" in the title somewhere. It depends somewhat upon the audience. "Problem solving in advanced high school mathematics," "Advanced mathematical problem solving," or "Math Olympiad problem solving" would be possibilities.
  6. Thanks, Mark. IMO the more recent discussion on "rigorous precalc books" on the WTM boards was much more informative. Also, some points on the Davidson link's thread: as discussed on the WTM discussion, IMO Lial is no where near rigorous and someone in that discussion said the same about the Blitzer book. I'd first go to the WTM discussion; if you're still dying for more on precalculus, give the Davidson link a read.
  7. The recommendation of the math dept chair is not uncommon for someone in a math dept. AP calculus is fairly calculation based as opposed to a theorem and proof approach. Certainly an AP calculus course can cover calculus in a rigorous, theoretical way, but there's already a lot for a typical high school calculus student to cover in a year. It's somewhat analogous to a "middle school geometry" unit covering how to calculate the area of triangles, circles, etc. as opposed to a "high school geometry" course going from postulates and proving theorems. I won't get into whether the theorem and proof approach is necessary for engineering school or not, but AP calculus is not necessarily the same as what math majors at competitive colleges cover in calculus 1.
  8. That's my understanding of what they do in 9th grade at our local public school too. It doesn't seem like the expectations are a lot higher in 9th grade for non "at risk, remedial writers," but the level steps up after 9th. Writing is not easy for most people in my experience. We devoted an entire class in 9th grade to "composition and rhetoric" in addition to a full class (credit) on literature. I'm not sure if we'll do the same in 10th grade, but we will if we need to. A major high school academic goal of mine for my DS is that he be able to express himself confidently, rationally and competently in writing, so YMMV. Sure, I wish we would have gotten to that point in middle school, but we didn't.
  9. Penguin, I wouldn't take my page count as standard unless others confirm. My DS hates to use much paper (not a fun thing for me trying to read his math steps!), so he wouldn't want to print out a double-spaced page. I also usually make comments using the "track changes" type of feature on the word processor, so we usually don't even print out writing assignments unless it needs major reordering of text.
  10. Well, I don't know either, but when I ask for two pages, I'm expecting what my son's default is on the word processor: single spaced. More than anything, it's a way to get a little more writing :-) Happily, your question reminds me that sometime in the past couple months we've gotten past that point with my 9th grader of needing to push him all the time to write more. I think we got to that point by consistently asking for weekly writing as well as having DS write for someone besides me. I think it was mostly just the consistent practice, but both helped. We're getting toward that point where DS is recognizing that two pages isn't necessarily that much space to put together a well-supported argument, so it's not such a struggle anymore. We're not there yet, but I feel like we're getting there. The type of material assigned matters a lot too. A 10-page descriptive narrative is far easier IMO than a 10-page research paper. My DS can do the former on his own, but not the latter. I think your question was geared toward getting more content out of your DC, but there's also the issue of writing for an outside party. There, I think you really need to ask: does it mean double spaced? MLA format, etc. I'd be interested to hear others' perspectives too. P.S. Most, if not all, word processors have a word count feature. I'd use that for word count.
  11. There's a lot of information on the pinned High School Physics thread, which kind of sums up the hive's knowledge on this topic. For one non-expert opinion, I'd say that if you remember a semester or more of calculus, use a calculus-based physics book. If you haven't taken or don't remember any calculus, but do remember some algebra 2 and trigonometry, use an algebra-based physics book like Knight's College Physics -- I think he also has a similar text with AP high school physics in the title (Giancoli is also used by some). If the algebra is dicey, you could try Hewitt's Conceptual Physics text. I think I've also heard some good things about the Coursera "How Things Work" course.
  12. Our papers, including drafts, are all typed, which is what DS and I both prefer. He does have a very few assignments which require a little handwriting, which I hope is enough to maintain handwriting ability, but I'm also a little bit concerned about having some practice just to maintain the ability to hand write if needed.
  13. There's a GC music appreciation type of course that could provide part of the course. I've listened to the beginning, it was great, and we're planning on using it...engaging speaker. Some folks on these boards have recommended it.
  14. Is there a reason to use ALEKS vs. the free KhanAcademy.org ? Khan Academy seems to do the things listed above and has a bit of instruction too, although I wouldn't say it's a standalone course either.
  15. I know that this is just part of the Old Testament, but there's a really good Great Course entitled Genesis. It is non-denominational, even useful both for Christians and Jews, but it's loaded with information and the teacher is really into Genesis, which is neat. I've generally been more interested in the prophets, but the teacher has given me a new appreciation for Genesis. Of course, YMMV.
  16. My recollection is that it provides a fairly clear and objective way to grade writing, and it can be challenging to find clear and objective ways to grade writing. I'm not sure it's a perfect fit for everyone's style of learning and teaching, but that is not a negative of Opus 40, because what could possibly be? Also, my review is from reading Opus 40 rather than implementing it, so take it with a grain of salt.
  17. I'm more of a do-it-yourself person with course development, but I've really found the Norton Anthology of World Literature (formerly called Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces) a great resource. As I was doing it myself, I found that I was doing so much like their anthology that I switched along the way. They have brief introductions to each author and then into the literature selection. There's a range of cultures represented. They carefully abridge when they do, and if you want to go with the full-length version, you can switch out as you go. There are many editions, and they often split into two volumes, such as this one. We're going through a 3-4 year world lit schedule similar to the WTM, but I really like these as a base to start from.
  18. May I ask what your DS used for AP Calc BC on his own? Did he find them clear? Thanks!! (My DS likes doing math on his own, and I'm looking for materials.)
  19. I have a somewhat different take on this. I think that at least a quick pass through the non-Euclidean material is important, although maybe just an hour or two if you're comfortable doing it and your daughter is really pressed for time. While I agree that you won't need it for the next math class or two, I think it's important to understand that many of the results of (Euclidean) geometry depend on certain postulates -- and with slightly different postulates the world is a very different place. While not necessary for the grade in the next math class, it is mind expanding and helps put some of the geometry course in perspective. It's fun stuff too. If you have a little time over the summer for a couple hours, the geometry course should be fresh in her mind, but after a few years, it's a little bit removed. Just my 2c.
  20. You could look into Ways of the World as the main text for a one-year overview; it has a global focus.
  21. We used Jacobs for both algebra and geometry (3rd edition). They are similar, but I think that his geometry book is better -- I think it's just more polished. My son was not able to pick up his algebra and just read it himself and get everything but he was able to learn almost entirely from the geometry book. Perhaps you can both learn from the book together. Did you use a course or videos, etc. with the algebra? Whatever learning style worked may work again, although, of course algebra and geometry are different. I'd be sure to do enough problems with the basic proofs so that the logic is learned. I would not use Jacobs algebra review problems, however; you might want to slowly start algebra 2 simultaneously so the algebra isn't forgotten. Jacobs has recommended Foerster's algebra 2 as a follow on, and I think it's a good choice. Of course, you'll need to go more slowly, but you may find that geometry doesn't take the whole year, if full time, and algebra 2 the following year would be shorter if you slowly start it with geometry.
  22. I also don't think most colleges would treat AoPS Calculus with AP test differently than a standard AP Calculus BC course, but a few probably will and they should. AoPS would provide a much, much better preparation for college math, IMO, at least for a math major. I don't know about PA HS, so my comments are not about that class in particular, but rather about typical AP calc classes. In many cases, AP classes as well as the test provides a modest floor on the course as well as preparing for the AP test, but AoPS is at a much deeper level than the minimum AP calc course. By the way, I've heard a lot of positive things about the Barron's AP prep guide, but I'd guess that others would work too as a supplement to AoPS for AP test prep.
  23. I think comments 2 and 3 address your question: with proper prep before precalc, you need to do the trig before the calc, then can do matrices whenever it fits but before multivariable calc (around the 3rd semester of calc).
  24. It really depends on the student and his previous work. For example, if he's had logic in a geometry course, etc., he might not even need MP Traditional Logic, at least the first one (it might just require a quick explanation or review of terminology since the terminology is different in math courses using proofs).
  25. Thanks for the addition of the "geographic region, history-related" lineup. Besides the South America (until 1500s, and which is excellent), and Understanding Japan (which has terrific reviews), there is a China one, an Eastern Civilization one (which is mostly China and which has somewhat of a high school feel despite being a "college" course), there are several other regional courses, including Russia and another on Eastern Europe. We're only really familiar with the pre-Columbian South America one, but both DS and I are really enjoying it.
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