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Renaissance Mom

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  1. The vast majority of the literature assigned in Tapestry of Grace is not excerpts but whole works. Their literature component is rich and quite comprehensive. Most families need to trim the lit list each year, which TOG makes easy by including trimming and cutting charts. (Ninth graders typically should use a lightened up list of works rather than attempt to tackle the entire lit component.) TOG history covers both American and world history quite thoroughly. As a matter of fact, i hunk it is better to teach history this way rather than teaching separate American history and world history courses. The student learns about American history in context with world history. There is no danger of not having enough of the right types of credits for a transcript. We never had any college question whether or not our history courses met their requirements. Admissions counselors complimented my dd on the rigor of he credits on her transcript including all of the credits from her TOG work. There are optional but included components for the history and development of government which more than satisfy any requirement for a government course. (You would need to supplement details about your own state and local government, but we covered that in basic civics in middle school.) There is no economics in TOG. I would not minimize the value of the suggested discussion guides for history, literature, government, philosophy, etc. They are excellent, especially if you don’t prefer to come up with deep discussion questions yourself. I found that I leaned heavily on those guides the first couple of years. They helped me find my own rhythm in discussing these subjects at a meaningful level. I have done this so long now that sometimes I just glance at the suggested questions and then go my own way. There are still weeks, however, when I prefer to use what they have because I haven’t had prep time or because hey have done it so well that here is no sense in reinventing the wheel.
  2. This is an awesome course! We worked our way thru this one then visited lots of art museums to apply the skills we learned. Best credit we did in all four years of oldest dd’s high school IMHO.
  3. We borrowed the biology DVD from a friend this year. It is excellent! The additional exposure to the material from the text helps my kids understand and retain the information. The extra examples she provides and the visuals provide another pathway into my kids’ brains. I can’t address whether or not it is worth the price since I didnt pay for it. I do have to admit that I am very disappointed that I don’t have the option of this type of DVD for chemistry next year. (I won’t use the 3rd ed of Apologia chemistry. There is no video series for the 2nd ed or for Dr. Wile’s newer text. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I will have to be the video for my kids for chemistry next year. THAT ought to be entertaining!) Several families in our co-op subscribe to Catie Frates teaching videos for high school sciences. http://www.catiefrates.com/ These families rave about these videos. One dad in our co-op is a PhD chemist, and he insists that his sons use these videos for not only chemistry but for all their basic science courses.
  4. No, I don’t allow my kids access to the solutions until we have gone over them. I handle grading proofs just like I handle our Socratic discussions for history, literature, philosophy, etc. If a proof step or a reason isn’t correct, I ask questions that hopefully spark a thought. Once my student has grasped basic proofs but he or she has a different solution than the answer key, I allow him or her to explain the answer all the way through. Sometimes I give credit if their answers actually arrive at the proof step logically. However, I do want them to see how the teacher guide arrived at the same endpoint as that is often more direct. We use the first version of TT Geometry without the automated grading. When TT first launched the self-graded version, I asked a question at the TT booth at a homeschool conference. The rep whipped her phone out, called one of the Sabouri brothers, and handed me the phone. He told me that the self-graded version started teaching proofs by providing some of the statements and some of the reasons in the proof and then allowed the student to choose from multiple choice lists to fill in the missing pieces. As the student grows more confident with proofs, he suggested gradually weaning the student off the multiple choice component and then off the partially completed proofs until the student could complete proofs from start to finish without these prompts. I did not upgrade to the self-graded version, but I did adapt that strategy to use with my kids. They ALWAYS struggle with and hate proofs at the beginning of the year. However, we sit side by side and do them together with me asking leading questions and prompting where necessary at the beginning. After a chapter or two, my kids typically do most of the proofs on their own, and then we sit together to grade them. I’m fairly lenient and give credit for second chances too. That builds confidence. Let me say that I am not a geometry expert...I am not even really competent! I teach writing, grammar, and literature in our co-op and for an online academy. Truthfully, teaching and learning proofs requires the exact same skill set as teaching and learning essay writing does. Have a clear view of where you begin, have a clear view of where you want to end up, break down the middle so that it logically gets from the beginning to the end, and then work on accomplishing all that clearly, concisely, and elegantly. I wouldn’t start teaching a beginning student how to write an essay without plenty of examples, without modeling, and without lots of opportunities to succeed with shorter pieces, so I approach proofs in the same way. I don’t need to be an expert in geometry, but I do need to be willing to work alongside my student for a time. Edited to add: Two proofs a day are certainly not time-consuming considering that my kids rarely need help with any other component of their geometry lessons. I don’t consider it onerous to devote 5-20 minutes a day to working through whatever questions or issues they have for proofs. Even if we have to do both proofs together from scratch, it never takes more than 15-20 minutes.
  5. I just want to chime in about curricula which require proofs. In my opinion, one of the long term benefits of taking a proof-heavy geometry course is to learn a logical and systematic approach to problem solving. I want my students to be able to not just regurgitate what they’ve been given but to be able to apply it to different situations. Proofs require them to understand the principles, think through which ones are relevant in a given situation, and apply problem solving skills to get from the beginning to the end. I don’t care if they memorize theorems, but I do want them to be able to argue coherently for the approaches they choose to take in their proofs. (I allow them to look up theorems on a master list to use in proofs.) This is why I have all of my kids work through a geometry program heavy in proofs regardless of whether or not they will ever go beyond college algebra.
  6. Not that you asked for another resource...but my favorite resource for teaching essay writing it The Lively Art of Writing. The author provides a basic structure for introductions that is both effective and flexible. In a nutshell, she suggests the writer begin with a general, non-controversial statement related to the topic and then gradually narrow in focus to the specific, arguable thesis statement. I grade a lot of essays, and when students do this well, it sets up their arguments perfectly. As the previous poster said, it is a good place to define key terms as part of that transition from general to specific. I always instruct my students to never begin arguing their thesis in the intro. If they preview their main points, it can be done very, very briefly in the thesis statement itself for most essays.
  7. My oldest dd did Spanish I at home with me then took II and III with Sr. Gamache. She then took the CLEP test and received credit for four semesters of college Spanish. To add a Spanish minor to her degree, she only needed to take three more courses. We were very pleased.
  8. Analytical Grammar teaches all of the diagramming a student needs to know. We go through the entire book at a brisk pace—typically one unit per week. AG is a very thorough grammar component. Yes, the course is intended to be a complete English course including grammar, literature and writing. The students complete weekly writing assignments plus a number of bigger, multi-week writing projects. We do use The Lively Art of Writing to teach the fundamentals of writing essays, but our writing assignments are in no way limited to essays. We assign four novels over the entire course. Students track certain aspects of each novel throughout the unit, discuss them in breakout groups, and complete written literature projects at the end of each novel. It’s a good balance and mix of grammar, writing, and literature for this age group. My first name is in my signature. I am the only teacher for that course with the first name of Monica. :)
  9. I teach a section of the Foundations in Writing class. I would be happy to answer any questions you have. I realize that you seek feedback from families who have had students enrolled, but if you have specific questions about the course, let me know. As a teacher, I try to give specific feedback to each student according to his or her level. I have a few students who are very capable writers for their age. I do give high scores on their assignments because they earn them. However, I try to give them feedback to help them grow beyond their current levels as writers. I also have students at the other end of the spectrum who struggle with every assignment. I give feedback to each student according to what I think they need.
  10. The HSLDA Online Academy Foundations in Writing course is for 8th and 9th graders. There is a live, 90-minute class each week plus a huge amount of interaction through forums and assignments during the week. The teacher grades and gives feedback on all assignments.
  11. Yes, I have used all three of those LMSs teaching in a virtual co-op and/or teaching as a paid instructor for an online organization. I am asking about organizations or schools like Wilson Hill Academy or HSLDA Academy or the Potter’s School or ??? I seek reviews or recommendations from anyone else who has taught for these or other organizations. (I teach for one now and am happy doing so. I am just checking to see what others have to say about their experiences teaching for various online providers.)
  12. I am teaching a high school level English class for a Christian online academy as an indepedent contractor this year, and it has been an overall good experience. Although I’m not looking to teach more than one or two courses until my younger two dc are a bit closer to graduation, I am starting to look around to see what other online course providers have reputations for not only quality courses and quality teaching but also for treating their teachers well. At this point, I’m not interested in starting my own business chiefly because I don’t want to deal with setting up and maintaining technology platforms or worrying about billing. (I’m very comfortable USING the technology, I just don’t want to select, lease/contract, troubleshoot, etc.) I would appreciate hearing from anyone who teaches or has taught live/synchronous online courses to homeschooled students and would recommend the organization/provider for whom they teach/taught. What do/did you like about teaching for them? Do you feel you were fairly compensated? Are/were there any drawbacks or things you wished were done differently? Feel free to PM me if you’d rather not share specific details in an open forum. Thanks!
  13. So, what does this look like? Do you have any examples you could share to help me visualize this? (Obviously, I would expect any examples to be adjusted for privacy reasons.) Thanks,
  14. I have no experience with the SAT2, but my oldest dd took Spanish 2 and Spanish 3 with Sr. Ganache and then earned 12 credits with her CLEP score. (She did not even study for the CLEP but simply took it during the summer after she finished Spanish 3. She was very well prepared by Sr. Gamache’s courses.) The college she attends accepted all 12 credits...four semesters worth of college level Spanish. She only needs to take 3 more semester courses to add a Spanish minor to her degree.
  15. Yes, we love the library! Our library has quite a few of the Great Courses series, but not the more recent releases. They also loan the series they do have for a two-week loan period with no renewals. I haven’t figured out how to have my kids watch and take a few notes on a 36-lecture series in two weeks and still work in their other subjects. :) I’ve considered selecting the most important 15-20 lectures to view in those two weeks. Some lecture series, however, are very linear or sequential, so we would just have to watch them in order and get done only what we get done. I still haven’t decided what direction to take. We still have about half of two series that we own on DVD to finish before we tackle anything new.
  16. We love the Great Courses. Years ago, we purchased the courses we needed when they were on sale. The majority of those courses were video/DVD. When they added free streaming to our purchases a couple of years ago, we either watch on an iPad or with the DVD on TV. I've listened to a couple of courses through Audible, but I find that I don't sustain focus as well with audio only. Having said all that, I am trying to figure out what the best option for additional courses is going forward. Here are the options I see: 1. Buy the DVDs or buy the video downloads; use streaming as a convenience tool 2. Subscribe to Great Courses Plus (I'd would love to do this when they run a promo, but I haven't caught one lately) 3. Amazon Great Courses Signature Collection video streaming (I haven't figured out completely yet how this works. I have to subscribe to Amazon Video for one fee plus another fee for GCSC access? Or can I buy the courses I want and access them through my Amazon video library?) I admit that I am a bit overwhelmed by how to decide which option is the most economical as well as the most useful. I realize that the latter is up to me to decide, but I've gotten myself wound into knots trying to sift through the options. Would anyone want to share what they do and why they prefer that option? Is there anything I am missing? TIA.
  17. A college professor with ADHD recommended to my dd that she have one larger printout of the whole semester to record due dates and then to record the detailed steps to meet those due dates on her daily planner. I print out monthly calendar templates on card stock then tape them together each semester so she can fold them accordion style. Then she takes her syllabi and records due dates color coded by subject. She uses that to help her fill out her more detailed weekly planners. Having a big picture at a glance helps a lot, she says.
  18. That's what we use. We have one for moms only, one for the kids in our dialectic classes and their parents, and another one for the kids in our rhetoric classes and their parents. We only need this for communication since we use Moodle for assignments, grades, links, etc.
  19. I did email him four days ago and haven't received a response yet. I don't know if he teaches summer classes, is on vacation, or doesn't want to share his process. I hope he does respond, though.
  20. Thanks, this gives me something to think about. Importing a 5-6 page paper times 25-30 students at one page at a time doesn't exactly sound like a productivity improvement, though! :o I do wonder if Microsoft Word 2013 on a Windows 10 OS would work. It has an ink function that I haven't been able to turn on without a tablet...
  21. I teach writing both in our virtual co-op and for an online course provider. I have always had students upload their papers to whichever classroom management software platform (i.e. Moodle, Blackboard, Canvas) our co-op or the online academy uses, then I download the student papers, mark them up and add feedback using a combination of the Word review/comment function and the comment/mark up function of Adobe Acrobat Pro, and then return the paper to the students via the classroom management platform. I have no issues with the downloading/uploading systems. Since they are determined by the co-op or the online academy I teach for, I am not concerned with changing or tweaking any of their requirements. However, I have been wondering if I can make my part easier or more functional by using a stylus to mark issues, annotate, and add a better level of feedback to student papers. I've looked online at Microsoft Surface Pro computers and at iPad Pro tablets, both of which seem to allow fairly straightforward annotation with a stylus, but fall over in a dead faint when I see the price tags. I have wondered about Wacom tablets which are often designed for either graphic arts or for very high end use. I can't get my head around how (or if) something like a Wacom tablet would work for giving writing feedback and be affordable. I can't help but think that I am missing something obvious. Does anyone have experience with marking up and giving feedback on writing assignments for remote students? Do you have any suggestions for what works for you? What hasn't worked for you? Specific product recommendations would be nice. I'm not a techie but am willing to learn. TIA.
  22. Regent is accredited. Oldest dd took a science course plus lab DE which transferred easily to Liberty.
  23. http://www.regent.edu/cas/applying-to-regent-university/early-college/?utm_expid=140130747-102.K9FyzC9RTau7_prsKT8CFA.0&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F
  24. We've used TOG for 11 years. The R level is rigorous, but not so much so that it can't be customized to meet each student's needs. Doing it ALL, is too much for most 9th (& perhaps 10th) graders. I used 9th grade as a transition year for my oldest. She did all the history reading, questions, and discussions, but I cut the R lit and added Windows to the World to help transition her to a full R lit by 10th grade. She did do maps, but didn't do philosophy or government in 9th. By 10th, she did did full R history, lit, philosophy, and government. She worked very hard that year and struggled. However, in 11th and 12th grades, she did it all and did it well. My point is that most students don't step into a full R load in 9th grade. (I've seen it happen and happen very well in our co-op, though.) My middle child started R history in our co-op in 8th grade. He did fine, kept up,with the older students in discussions, and handled the work load. He had been doing TOG from K forward, so the type of books, the questions, the maps, the discussions weren't new to him. He has plenty of room to grown in the depth of his answers, but that is an age and maturity thing which will resolve itself naturally over the next year or two. My youngest is staying in D history for 8th grade. She will be ready for R next year, I anticipate. I think TOG is an excellent tool to provide an excellent education for all ages. The approach of reading a variety of resources to garner facts and ideas added to rich discussions helps to train them how to think, how to analyze, how to synthesize. The approach is an outstanding training ground for college. But the approach is also valuable for students not going on to college because it does teach them how to think, etc. and how to evaluate arguments for themselves...exactly what we as parents want for our children as they mature. My oldest is thriving at college. She was and is a humanities kid. TOG was perfect for her. My son and younger daughter are STEM kids. We do TOG history, geography, and lit for all the reasons I mentioned above. As they move into high school, I am keeping my plans for things like philosophy and government a little looser. I want to leave room in their schedules for extra science and math. They would definitely benefit from doing close to all of the TOG subjects, but there is always time in college for them to go deeper in their gen eds. I also know that they will mature a lot between now and 11th grade, so who knows what the right choices beyond the core curriculum will be by then?
  25. The EE would work for both the 7th grader and the 9th grader, and definitely do it first. When you do WttW, you can always start applying some of the later assignments to novels instead of short stories. That's what we did with my oldest. She wrote the characterization essay on Odysseus since we were doing the ancients that year. It really prepared her well for more in depth literary analysis and literary writing later in high school.
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