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Julie in Monterey

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Posts posted by Julie in Monterey

  1. For my 8th grader next year. This will be her last year home schooling prior to attending a college prep high school.


    Math- AoPS Intro to Algebra and Intro to Geometry


    Language Arts- outside IEW class- Literary Analysis- MacBeth, To Kill a Mockinbird, the rest to be determined. Reading list to be determined.


    Foreign Language- Elementary Spanish 1 at local community college. We will take this together


    History- A History of US by Joy Hakim- 10 book series


    Computer Science: How to Code: Systematic Program Design, Parts 1, 2, and 3 on EdX.org, general computer science intro - the stanford online class CS101, web development and Python - using CodeAcademy.com- I will be taking all these classes with her.


    Science- Physical Science textbook- just touching on this. The main focus will be computer science this year.


    Fine arts- weekly drawing class, voice and guitar lessons


    , Academic Events: Model United Nations, Science Fair CompetitionHistory Day Project


  2. Just so you know computer science doesn't count as science for most schools, but I know that you've got high school covered.


    I'd look into code.org or Khan to start. Some of the MOOCs are pretty advanced, so I start basic.

     Yes agreed. We've been so very thorough on the sciences up until now and I feel if we don't address computer science before high school, it just won't happen. Her sister is a sophomore at the same high school and homework is so heavy, there seems to be no extra time for computer science study.


    I've talked to several administrators at local schools about this massive gap in digital literacy for our kids. The answer I keep seeming to get is once the UC (University of California) schools accept a computer science class in place of a math class, that will trickle down to high schools to allow them to offer more computer science classes.  Ugh!


  3. I cross posted on High School board. These are some recommendations I am initially going with.


    general computer science intro - the stanford online class CS101 (free)- I registered for this class this morning. I plan to take this prior to my daughter taking it.


    web development - using CodeAcademy.com (free)- we started this last year. I will look at it again. The issue with code academy is they have many courses so I've been overwhelmed in the past about which one to take.


    programming - python - using learnpythonthehardway.org's online book (free)- plan to check this out. We started Python on CodeAcademy last year as well.




    • Like 1
  4. Thank you!  I just registered for the Stanford online class CS101free. It is self paced so I will start this right away and take it before my daughter so I can help her with it next year if needed.


    We've worked through HTML on CodeAcademy.com and are about 15% through Python. My concern is that there are so many choices, where to begin.


    I will check out learnpythonthehardway.org's book. Anyone take a course at a local community college?


  5. HI,


    I am working on planning 8th grade next year and I've decided to drop all traditional science for computer science next year. Cross posting on high school forum. We've been heavy on the traditional sciences in the past and my daughter will be attending a college prep high school 9-12th grade. Ironically, they do not offer any computer science courses until senior year so I want to spend the next year getting my girl engaged and excited about computer science. It should be noted that I don't know a thing about it. I plan to learn right along side of her so I'm not thrilled by the idea of only on-line like Khan Academy. I would love to have recommendations for a sequential learning plan. I feel like there is so much "experiential" learning out there that we can't actually get down to the business of doing anything.  My hope is after this year, so can have a solid foundation and start to self educate on this topic. We can do dual enrollment at a community college but I don't want it to be too hard and scare her off. We can start in the summer as well. Does anyone have any ideas? We can dedicate lots of time to it. On-line? Local? Tutor? Programming languages? What's first? Any and all help/advise would so very appreciated!


    Julie in Monterey

  6. Hi,


    I am working on planning 8th grade next year and I've decided to drop all traditional science for computer science next year. We've been heavy on the traditional sciences in the past and my daughter will be attending a college prep high school 9-12th grade. Ironically, they do not offer any computer science courses until senior year so I want to spend the next year getting my girl engaged and excited about computer science. It should be noted that I don't know a thing about it. I plan to learn right along side of her so I'm not thrilled by the idea of only on-line like Khan Academy. I would love to have recommendations for a sequential learning plan. I feel like there is so much "experiential" learning out there that we can't actually get down to the business of doing anything.  My hope is after this year, so can have a solid foundation and start to self educate on this topic. We can do dual enrollment at a community college but I don't want it to be too hard and scare her off. We can start in the summer as well. Does anyone have any ideas? We can dedicate lots of time to it. On-line? Local? Tutor? Programming languages? What's first? Any and all help/advise would so very appreciated!


    Julie in Monterey

  7. Honestly, if your child is asking for more, I would listen and give it to her BUT ask her what she is interested in, what she wants to delve into more deeply. Perhaps she wants to learn a language, do more art or really investigage a topic she touched on in her other studies.


    7th grade with my second child looks way different than it did for my first. My DD plans to attend a private HS after home schooling preK-8th just like her sister. With the oldest in 10th grade now in a brick and mortar school, I feel like I've gained more perspective into what is really valuable to spend time on. Typing skills are huge in HS and college and it's a good use of time and can be done on-line for free. I also realized that now my oldest is in school all day and sports and music until at least 8pm (with homework after), there is such minimal time for recreational reading.  Help your DD learn how to search out good reading recommendations and how to self study a topic. More school does not have to mean more busy work. For me, that is the beauty of home schooling...there need not be ANY busy work. They are in the business of learning how to learn and how to eventually be in charge of their education. It's all about knowing how to find and use resources. Perhaps she is ready for some sort of hands on volunteering in a field that interests her. It's super exciting you have a kid asking for more. Please let us know what the both of you decide to you.


    Below is roughly what we do.


    One day rarely looks the same but we do have a basic structure and rhythm to our week.

    2-4 hours a week with Grandma doing Story of Science.

    4-5 hours a week, Big History Project (together)

    independent Reading- at least 1 hour daily during school hours...some books my choice, some hers

    Math- average 1-1.5 hours a day AoPS pre-Algebra

    On-line Art Appreciation class-3-5 hours a week- together

    On-line Music Appreciation Class- same as art and together as well.

    IEW class out of the house on Fridays (2.5 hours) and about 2-3 hours of related homework

    Shared history or science reading with direct instruction on annotation and discussion of literary elements (3-7 hours a week)

    Outdoor outtings- this week we went whale watching.. 2-5 hours a week.

    Typing- independent 15 minutes a day

    Logic-1-2 hours a week cumulative.

    Oh yes, we also try to fit in at least one documentary or movie a week.  A favorite is to watch a movie that was adapted from a book she/we read and compare.




    Julie in Monterey

    • Like 2
  8. Hi,


    We are taking Art Appreciation with Apex Learning. It's good, but my daughter is looking for simple straight forward drawing instruction. I think the best setting for us is on-line video or tutorial instruction. I've bought countless books on the topic but the reality is I need the instruction myself. I plan to do it alongside of her. It doesn't need to be free, it needs to be clear and good. Any ideas? This could be a youtube series, an open source class but it needs to start at the beginning and work from there.




    Julie in Monterey

  9. Listening in.


    Any chance I could have access to your reading list for last year?


    The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebeckah Skloot. My bookclub read this fantastic book. I understand there is a junior version out there.


    I recently read and really enjoyed, HOW WE GOT TO NOW With Steven Johnson. Six innovations that Made the Modern World.  I just learned that PBS put out an 6 part series that complements the book. It discusses the impact of six ideas that have impacted history.  This was avaiable on audio with our library.  I enjoyed Steven Johnson's writing style. The science was very accessible.



    • Like 2
  10. We loved the first book this year. Grandma has taught this first book. i just ordered the two others. I ordered the Quest guide for the second book and we'll use probably 1/10th of it (this is based on me looking through it) . I won't order the 3rd guide. The discussions that flow out of the reading of the book together is worth more. I don't always need evidence that learning is taking place.  We'll follow those books with the Big History Project (on=line) and do it together. It's a great follow up to Hakim's bookes.

    • Like 1
  11. This is a fantastic thread! I already have a list going for my current 6th grader. Her sister entered a college prep private high school this year after 9 years of home schooling. It's been an amazing year for her and we've talked often about what really helped prepare her for this next step in her education. My youngest of course benefits from lessons learned.  I agree with the statements to savor this last year or two homeschooling and spending the T.i.M.E with your child. Now that she is in HS, I and talk to her the most during our drive to and from school and at the dinner table. We've both mentioned many times that this works becasue we have so much time together "in the bank."


    What really worked.... we agreed on these.


    Keeping her room really tidy daily. This started the summer before her freshman year. We've always been "sorta tidy" but her room would get out of control once in awhile. We wanted her room to be a sanctuary after a long day of school and swim practices. At first, I was in there everyday helping but now she craves that order and it allows her to get right-down-to-business after school to do her many hours of homework.


    TIME MANAGEMENT- This has to be one of the biggest! My dd is a competitive swimmer and is used to being efficient with her time but now with all day in HS, up to 4 hours a day of swim practice and on top of that homework. If she didn't have time management down, she would have drowned (punn intended) She used her own planner the year before with moderate success but them she still had lots of leeway in her schedule. That is generally how we roll. But this year, I promised to be her organizational partner. Each week, especially in the beginning, we looked at what was due when and set out a plan. It works best for my daughter to do each assignment as it is assignned even if she has two weeks to do it.  She squeezes in study time and homework in those dead moments in class. She figures she gets at least 25% of her homework done this way. We talked about this as a strategy from the beginning.


    Outsourcing Writing (literary analysis specifically) and Public Speaking in 8th grade. Both of these were HUGE. Her writing instructor was IEW certified and a very TOUGH grader. She struggled alot during this course, but her skills and confidence grew leaps and bounds when overcoming those struggles. Public Speaking was fun and weekly got her out of her comfort zone. This class helped prepare her for presentations, speeches and to contribute more meaningfully and appropriately in discussions.


    Personally, I  focused on helping her be thoughtful and purposeful in her statements when discussing topics. We've always done this but I for sure focused more on it in 8th grade. We talked alot about what contributes meaningfully to a good class discussion and how to be a good listener. No one enjoys listening to the kid that likes to hear themselves talk.


    I never assigned a book report, and sporatically did spelling. Neither one of us regret it. All those hours and hours and hours spent reading paid off. She has a big vocabulary and all that reading, I believe, contributes to her solid writing abilities.


    Typing- her self set goal was 50 WPM. Time and time again, she mentions how big this was.  She primarily focused on this the 2nd half of 8th in earnest and the summer before 9th. My daughter takes handwritten notes in class and types them later. It's part of her studying process. The typing proficency has taken that out of the homework, assessment, writing composition equation.


    Writing.. prior to 8th grade outsourcing. Starting in middle school, we did an IEW course each year. I wasn't an amazing instructor but so far so good. I think half the batttle is writing consistenty.


    Surrounding yourself with like minded people. Most of her social network up until high school was swim team friends who tend to be too busy and tired to get into much trouble. I made it clear that who she chooses as friends significantly impacts her high school experience academically and socially.


    Electronics- none during the school week. We were consistent in this starting in 8th grade. My younger benefits as well. My daughter mentions that many of her friends struggle with homework, time management and studying because they are watiching netflix or texting their friends while doing homeork.


    What didn't matter so much...


    Tests- we did two standardized timed tests a year (one for the state and the other as a benchmark for us) Each year, we did review and practice common test taking strategies. This was fine.  Other than that, I never saw the need. We both knew if she understood the information or not. The big thing this year, is to ask for the test back and find out what you missed and why. I firmly feel like this falls in place. She has found out that each of her teachers teaches and tests differently, it's more important to figure that out in my book that waste time in middle school taking unnecessary tests. I would rather watch and discuss an interesting documentary or go on an excursion.


    outsourcing to on-line sources. My particular dd really disliked this. in 7th, we tried outsourcing a fair amount. My daughter felt isolated at home (computer was downstairs away from her sister and me). I will use on-line for art and music appreciation because the benefits of digital resources but I won't outsource anything else on-line.


    What I have changed for my next child...


    Coding... this is now a required subject for my middle schooler. I let this slide time and time again and the HS offers nothing. My oldest struggles to fit it in around her existing homework load.


    Math- our goal is complete Algebra prior to 8th grade. It makes the sciences easier and more managable going into high school.


    on-line classes- see above. Only outsource music and art appreciaton on-line.


    More time practicing instruments. Once high school starts with home work loads, less and less time is avialable to practice. Morning works best for practicing at our house.


    Art- more of it!


    That's all folks. I hope our experience helps others.


    Lastly, lots of people have asked me about transition to HS and how it went. This year was fine, we struggled last year when the choice was made. Although, I know it was best for my girl, it still stung (being honest here) and she was super nervous. She argued a fair amount late last year. Part of me thinks it helped make the transition easier. I'll know to expect some struggling with my youngest when the time comes and just know to recognize it and move through it.



    • Like 6
  12. I think that it depends on the child, and I find age and grade level to be an arbitrary distinction when schooling my daughter. She is "5th grade" by age only. It tells nothing about her skill level in any subject nor her experience to this point. It also doesn't indicate my priorities for her education.


    I assume, universally, that no one will ever have the same experience as I will. I have no vested interest in what anyone chooses. I was just posting a follow up from my previous thread.


    Totally agree that it depends upon the child and I certainly didn't mean to infer anything about your child. As an person with experience with this program from using it with my own daughter, I thought others may want to know our experience.

  13. I have found in my coop classes, that if I ask the kids to do the work "in-class" it gets done and I can guide it. Encourage them to bring laptops and do the research right then and there. It's a great opportunity to teach kids about reliable sources and the internet. Pairing them up works well. Maybe an old fashioned compare and contrast discussion with points on a board. Each week certain kids could be responsible for actively watching and taking notes on the film and the other group could do the research.

    • Like 1
  14. I have used both. The middle school books are just a tad harder than the elementary. I will tell you that my now 9th grader, who was homeschooled her entire life until this year and cycled twice through RS4K Biology and now has a solid A in her HS bio class. She feels familiar with lots of the concepts. That said, I am co-teaching RS4K Biology this year to a small group of 4 kids. We have so far augmented the curriculum with the following activities;


    Owl study and Owl pellet dissection

    Echnoderms study with starfish dissection (with an aquarium fieldtrip)

    Earthworm study with live earthworm experiment (dug up from our yard after a rain) and earthworm dissection

    Bivalve study with clam dissection


    on the agenda for the rest of the year (we have only two chapters left in RS4K Bio book) includes;

    cow's eye dissection

    sheep's heart dissection

    Frog dissection as well as growing a tadpole (different animals) and frog unit

    observing a butterfly through stages (we are lucky enough to have a Monarch Sanctuary nearby)

    a unit on wolves (we recently visited wolves at a drive through park)

    a unit on aligators

    The human body systems- I think we'll do at least 5-8 with experiments for each (we also plan on a fieldtrip to see a Body Worlds exhibity)


    * Our group utlizes Discovery Education Streaming for each lesson. The kids do the assigned reading, then watch a few videos prior to coming to class.

    We also utlize Youtube a ton on a large screen to walk us through the dissections. We can often see bits and pieces better on this big high def TV and do trips to the library. The kids choose the wolves, and aligators units and will have a few free weeks to decide.


    So..long story short, RS4K Middle School was adequate for my now 9th grader to prepare her for HS bio but I am offering way more in this middle school bio class then ever before....it's super fun and so much easier to home school one child and one grade

  15. This is an age old question...how much is too much and how much is not enough? I often tell my kids that the biggest leaps in learning and achieving come when they are pushed..when they are uncomfortable. If learning to swim, play violin, etc, etc where easy, then everyone would be doing it. I do want to acknowledge that learning can't take place when fear or a major power struggle is happening.


    I personally think of swimming as an essential life skill. This is swimming, not roller skating. I remember when my daughter hated brushing her hair, my pediatrician's advice was, "well..what if she hated brushing her teeth? Sometimes kids need to do hard things." This is one of those non negotiable things in my book. Does your child need to do the water-slide to be safe?..not in my book. If you approach this from a learning to swim unassisted approach instead of doing a specific task such as a water slide, then maybe that will help gain some perspective...for both of you.


    So..I say keep pushing but for the important stuff..independent water safety. Not everyone needs to go down a water slide, learn to roller blade or even ski. But, yes, one should know how to swim. Try to find a middle ground and keep at it. Kids are perceptive. She will be able to tell if you are unsure about your choice. Whomever suggested that you get in with her and overcome your fears was wise. I think this is the most powerful message...even mom can do hard things.


    Good luck and keep us posted. Make a big deal about the accomplishments, however small they are.


    I hope something here helps!


    Julie in Monterey

  16. Ok. so I am on the parent board of our home school *public* charter school. The school offers no organized sports. The home school charter is funded publicly. Yes, the public charter is willing to work with the public district. They just have never been asked before (hard to believe) so I'm hoping to give some examples in case we run up against some resistance. I'm personally vetted in this as I'll have a high schooler in a couple of years that will want to do the same.


    Julie in Monterey

  17. Hi there,


    This is a cross post. I an trying to help a friend whose daughter is enrolled in a home school charter be able to swim on the public high school swim team whose district she lives in. Unfortunately, we have just started looking into it and the hs swim season has already started. Background; her mother Is the assistant coach, she would be their biggest asset as a swimmer and team member, so.. The coaching staff wants her but the school and district say it has never done this before and doesn't think it is possible. My guess is that this is and has been done before. I need examples of how this works and where. They need specifics. We live in Monterey, CA so we need examples in CA. Hopefully this will pave the way for all kinds of kids enrolled in our home school charter.


    Feel free to email me directly at julieonthego@hotmail.com


    Thanks so much (in advance)!


    Julie in Monterey

  18. Hi there,


    I am trying to help out a friend with her daughter trying to swim for the local public high school swim team. She is enrolled with a home school charter and wants to swim with the high school that is in her district. Do any of you have experience with this? if so, would you be specific as to the steps that you or your sponsoring school took to make this happen? Also, if you wouldn't mind sharing which charter school and which traditional public school. I need examples of how and where it has worked. By the way, we live in Monterey, CA so CA examples would be great!


    Thank you so much (in advance!)


    FYI .. The assistant swim coach is her mom, and she would be the most talented swimmer on the team. It's not an issue of the team not wanting her (they do) it is an issue of it never have been done before. This could pave the way for lots of kids.


    Julie in Monterey

  19. Great ideas so far! Sounds like San Francisco has been covered well. In case you head south to Monterey to hit the Aquarium, here are my rec's in that area.


    We live in Monterey and lOVE the Monterey Bay Aquarium! It's worth the drive and if you spend the night, hit First Awakenings, located near the Aquarium at the Cannery Row Outlet Mall..(lame mall) for breakfast. I swear we are sending one of their kids to college based on how much we love going out to breakfast there. I highly recommend the bluegerm pancakes (HUGE!..order 1) or the over lightly crepe egg. YUM!


    Whale watching is incredible right now in Monterey. The blue whales (yes, the largest mammals alive on the planet!) are back in the bay right now after a 7 year hiatus. The humpbacks are plentiful as well and super playful. Now, that said, the krill is thick currently and once it's gone, the whales move on, which could be any day now. This is a time that most locals I know are getting out and whale watching. Check out Monterey Bay Whale watching and you can check on their website the numbers they saw the day before.


    Also, if in Monterey, head over to Pebble Beach and do the 17 mile drive about an hour or so before sunset. End at Spanish Bay resort and sit outside at the fire pits (and bring a sweater..this is summer on the coast) and listen to a bagpiper walk the back nine while playing his pipes and watch the sunset. They have a pricey bar menu, but it's worth it! Also, you can apply your overpriced gate fee to get into Pebble Beach to your tab.


    If you don't have time to drive to Big Sur, go to Point Lobos state park and be sure to visit Whaler's cove and China cove. B..E..A..U...T...I...F..U...L! This is one of my all time favorite places on the planet. Chances are you will see birds of prey, whales, deer, rabbits, seals and sea otters. If you end up heading to Big Sur, stop at the River Inn and have an ice tea while soaking your toes in the Big Sur river.


    Feel free to personal message me if you have any other questions.


    Julie in Monterey

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