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  1. A friend approached me to suggest that my DD12 study for the AP Chinese exam with her DD this coming year. I hadn't really had any AP tests on my planning horizon for at least a few years. Both children might be able to perform well on the AP Chinese test, but (up until now) I didn't see any point in having her do it 7th grade. Are there benefits to taking AP tests early? Are there downsides? I seem to recall seeing on these forums (but now I can't find the threads) that there is some time limit after which AP exam scores are no longer valid. Since DD is only 7th, and I don't anticipate having her enter college early, I wonder if an exam taken this year will still be valid by the time she applies to college? I tried to find info on the AP / College Board website, but so far haven't been able to find the info I needed. If you could point me to any prior threads that discuss this, or to good links on the internet, I'd be very appreciative! Thank you!
  2. Related to my Formulating Great Questions thread.... Sharing a resource that I found very helpful. I believe it is based on this book. I haven't read the book, but stumbled on this PPT online, and found it very helpful. I adapted the PPT for myself (I wanted to be able to print it out). The last slide is meant to be printed and cut up to serve as a bookmark (Forgive my lack of design skills - no time this morning!).
  3. Thanks @8FillTheHeart and @Lori D. - very good stuff. I'm processing it and will probably circle back with follow up - didn't want you to think I didn't appreciate the input while I chew on this...
  4. Jim Murphy has some books that touch on both science and history - The Invincible Microbe Breakthrough American Plague
  5. I'd love to share them, but I didn't type them! I wrote in pencil directly in my BFSU book. It would take quite awhile to go back to pull them all out, but here's a sample from BFSU lesson A-13 on Atomic and molecular Motion: (some are questions directly posed by Nebel, the author of BFSU, others are questions I generated to use alongside BFSU). "Show video of starting a fire with a fire piston. Ask, how does this work?" Discuss temp - pressure- volume relationships. Can you draw a model or diagram showing the relationship between Temp-press-volume? "Why should pushing particles closer together (reducing volume) result in increasing temp?" What happens when we increase the volume of a gas? What happens to Temp? Pressure? Why? Can you draw a picture? Is the change in temp resulting from a change in Press permanent? Why or why not? Can a gas at high Press and a gas at low Press be at the same temp? "Why should we go through the trouble of liquefying gases?" How does a refrigerator work? What is insulation? How could we test the efficiency of different types of insulation? We discussed 1-2 questions per day, not necessarily every day.
  6. @medawyn, your post was so full of good things to think about - I'll be chewing on it for awhile. I find your 3 categories of questions to be a very helpful framework. I think category 3 isn't hard for us. We have a "morning basket" type of thing in our homeschool (though it's not necessarily a morning thing) where we read and discuss from our faith tradition, Shakespeare, history / literature, etc. The focus of these discussions is similar to what you mentioned -- "character building, preserving curiosity, and philosophy." Category 2 had never clearly occurred to me -- it's not just cognition, it's meta cognition on the part of the student. It's exactly what I want for my children. Part of me thought that as long as they were intellectually curious, they'd ask the right questions, but I think you're right - learning to ask good questions requires modeling and coaching. I love the idea of having the kids generate their own questions, then having us discuss the questions together. -- This is challenging. I find that my DC want to give very simplistic answers. I've tried to model the kind of thinking I hope for them to develop (or at least try) but sometimes that feels like I'm (paraphrasing from @8FillTheHeart's post above about prelection) "substituting my activity for the self-activity of the student." I don't know how to get around that. I'd appreciate hearing how others think about this.
  7. Thanks, @8FillTheHeart this is very helpful. I think I had asked a different type of question once, and you provided helpful links to sites that discusses how to engage in socratic questioning. The Bloom's framework somehow seems easier for me to digest. I've printed the content from the pages you linked so I can study them and have them on hand as "cheat sheets" for my discussions with the kids. (Here they are, reformatted for printing, in case anyone else wants to print them out - I placed the citations / original link URLS at the end) I've read some of the prior posts discussing prelection in the past, and have tried to implement the approach (or my imperfect understanding of it). My trouble comes in this: In order for me to clearly understand the objectives for what I want them to study, I feel like I need to read all the books and study them deeply myself. Of course this would be ideal, but I simply don't have the time. How does one develop a sense of what the objectives for learning should be for any given child at any given stage? I know it's in some ways an impossible question to answer, but I'm curious as to whether anyone has a ready response. I think my approach up til now has very much paced with each child - I know where they're at, and try to push them a little bit further at each stage. That was easier in the grammar stage, when I felt I had a pretty good idea of what kinds of skills they needed to pick up. As we move into logic, I just feel confused. I have a hard time remembering what it was like to be in middle school, and I don't have clear sense of which skills build one which other skills, and how to appropriately challenge the kids. Throw into the mix the fact that both kids are very bright, but push back in different ways, and I don't know whether they're pushing back because I'm asking too much of them, or if they're pushing back because they are uncomfortable but appropriately challenged. Maybe I am putting too much pressure on myself, as @square_25 suggested - I have been known to have perfectionist tendencies 🙂 But I do find things less straightforward now compared to when they were younger, especially with my 12 year old.
  8. This is a spinoff from @lewelma's Designing Your Own Curriculum thread, and from @8FillTheHeart's encouragement for us (the Hive) to discuss these issues. I think one of the most important ways we can help our DC learn is to ask good questions and teach them how to formulate good answers. We can call it the socratic method, or CM style narration, or any number of names. I'm more interested in the how. My problem is that I don't know how to formulate good questions. I can do it for science. Last year, I took BFSU and broke the lessons down into a series of questions-of-the-day. The kids enjoyed it and learned a lot. (I haven't done that yet for this year, because I have all these great ideas but I'm so horribly behind on actual planning an implementation....) But I really struggle with formulating good questions in the humanities - lit, history. I would love to design our homeschool year around quality questions. I was thinking of having a question of the day / week / month related to whatever the kids are reading or studying, to help focus our discussions and their writing. For example, if we're learning American history, here are some sample questions I found on the Gilder Lehman website:  Has America lived up to its ideals as “a land of opportunity�   Was colonial America democratic?   Would you have been a revolutionary in 1776?   Could the Constitution be written without compromise?   Was George Washington’s leadership indispensable in the founding of the United States?   What made Americans want to go west? For reference, my DD is 12, DS is 10. I think they're ready to move beyond simple narration to this kind of thinking. How do you formulate questions that challenge your DC to think analytically, critically, synthetically? What kids of questions are appropriate for the grammar vs. logic vs. rhetoric stage?
  9. Sorry it's taken me awhile to circle back to this. I've been chewing on it for awhile. Thanks for sharing such a detailed description - especially the specific essay prompts -- it does help. I think my problem is that I don't know how to frame questions. Up until now, we've been mostly doing narrations of readings, CM style. I've been thinking through how to ask questions in a way that stimulates analytical, synthetic, and critical thinking. I think if I knew what questions I wanted them to answer, I could break down the steps to help guide them into that kind of thinking (and writing). I think I really need to finish reading Engaging Ideas... I would love to design our homeschool year around quality questions. I was thinking of having a question of the day / week related to whatever the kids are reading or studying, to help focus our discussions and their writing. But I feel at a loss for how to formulate good questions. I'm going to start a new thread, since this one encompasses many other topics, but basically my questions are: How do you formulate questions that challenge your DC to think analytically, critically, synthetically? What kids of questions are appropriate for the grammar vs. logic vs. rhetoric stage? I did this for science last year - I broke BFSU into a series of "question of the day" topics - micro discussions. My kids enjoyed it, and it was fun to lead that kind of discussion. I would like to learn how to pose questions on the humanities side...
  10. Thank you @lewelma-- I love this approach. I am guilty of nit-picking and eroding my DC's confidence. I tried something similar to this today with DS today and it worked well. He wrote a narration from a chapter in SOTW. I asked him to pick his favorite sentence, and one sentence he thought could be improved. I told him I would also pick a favorite sentence, and one I thought could be improved. We had a very productive discussion about our respective choices, and I think he felt proud of what he'd done, but also open to learning.
  11. Here a sample from Nesbit - it will give you a sense of the wording. It really is targeted to younger readers. I’m personally not opposed to having a bit of redundancy in our Shakespeare. Hence I have Nesbit, Lamb, and Garfield, and now I’m at risk of buying the comic book ones mentioned above as well 🙂 I want my children to be familiar enough with the stories by the time they read the original text that the original doesn’t seem so daunting.
  12. I have both Nesbit and Lamb’s. Nesbit is much more simplified- appropriate for early elementary, but ultimately too simplistic - she tries to pick it one story line from each play and ignore the subplots, etc. Lamb’s is more detailed. Personally, our family prefers the Leon Garfield books. His phrasing captures or closely parallels Shakespeare’s language. We read Hamlet recently (Garfield retelling), then watched the Royal Shakespeare production. my daughter pointed out how closely Garfield’s version meshed with the stage production.
  13. We are vegan, very low oil, no processed foods (whole foods plant based). My husband lost at least 25 pounds after adopting this way of eating, but says he never feels hungry. The first few months were also the hardest for him, as there is a period of adjustment for your palate.
  14. Hello, We are potentially relocating to TX and I'm researching the homeschool transition. I googled the Texas Homeschool Coalition, and it looks like there are pretty much no logistical requirements (other than actually teaching my kids, which I'll definitely do): no paperwork to file, no tests to take, no reports to make to the government or local school district???? I just want to make sure I have that straight. Is the Texas Homeschool Coalition a legit website? Could anyone point me to other websites or resources to look at as we consider a TX relo? Thank you!!
  15. DD is what I’ve termed a linear learner— she acquires knowledge at a steady pace, in a linear fashion, adding to what she’s learned before. DS is what I call a step function learner. He has long (long....) periods of learning latency where it seems like he’s unable to learn or process anything (!!). I’ll drive myself crazy trying to figure out what’s wrong, trying to trouble shoot with different teaching techniques, etc. I’ll finally get so exhausted that I just give up. Then, shortly after I give up, he’ll suddenly do the step function thing where all that knowledge or all those skills suddenly coalesce! It’s like his neurons just needed time to myelinate. It used to drive me crazy,but I’ve seen him cycle through enough times now that I expect it and know to just be patient. i share that because your DD is only 7. She’s really young. She’s clearly gifted, but she may just need time before she can engage in the Socratic style you hope for. In the mean time, I’d suggest using a very concrete teaching style. Sometimes my kids just do so much better with clear expectations as opposed to open ended or self directed learning. Meanwhile, in your conversations with her, model the kind of responses you hope she can grow into. When I give my kids really clear learning objectives, they just do better, and I find that their natural intellectual curiosity comes out in other ways. Mine are only 10 and 12, so I’m by no means an expert... This thread and the designing your own curriculum thread are giving me a lot to think about.....
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