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About jplain

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  1. The Spanish language courses taught by Bill Worden are quite good. I first checked the level 1 course out of our library, but have since subscribed to Great Courses Plus. If looking for supporting materials beyond the slim course workbook, the Vistas or Descubre texts from Vista Higher Learning are a good fit. (Not surprising, since Prof. Worden has taught from the Vistas text.)
  2. Definitely check directly with Ray if interested in the lower levels, regardless of what the website says. I think he runs a class if he gets enough interest. There was a Spanish 1 class of five students this year (2018/2019). I’m not sure when it was officially offered/announced, because my younger daughter joined late in September, after rejecting two other online Spanish classes because of disorganization and excessive class sizes. (I’d have considered Gamache for her, but the schedule was going to be awkward for us, and she prefers very small class sizes so that she can practice oral skills.) My older daughter transitioned from Spanish 1-3 with Gamache to Spanish 4 with Leven this year. That went super-smoothly, because although the texts Gamache & Leven use have different titles, they are 99% identical inside (Vistas is marketed to colleges; Descubre is marketed to high schools).
  3. I've decided we'll go with FundaFunda instead. I'm sure I'll add to the lab portion, and I'll beef up the plant, animal, and human biology I was already planning to do with my middle schooler so that my 9th grader can join us for that. By the end of the year I think my 9th grader will be ready for CLEP and/or SAT 2.
  4. I believe she's still teaching those classes. It sounds like the goal was to lighten her teaching load by reducing the number of preps (and class hours).
  5. Other options: Blue Tent Honors Biology $600 (confirmed by email that they have space) asynchronous, Holt McDougal text, prepares for either SAT2 test AIM Academy Pre-AP Biology $675 + $15 registration fee Tuesday 4-5pm EST, Campbell, must apply to instructor by email AIM also has a regular biology class $625 + $15 registration Tues 2-3pm EST, Miller Levine FundaFunda Biology 1 $383 (includes tax) asynchronous, Miller Levine, lots of detail in this thread:
  6. The new biology instructor's background does seem odd at first glance, but her graduate work was done in a biophysics lab, studying fruit fly development. It's hard to guess how much biology coursework was required and/or taken, given that graduate programs vary widely. Informal learning and gap-filling happens in the course of any graduate project, but it would typically be too focused to be of much use for teaching at the secondary level. I'm more concerned about the lack of experience teaching high school students and teaching general biology at any level. When I was a student teacher, I relied heavily on my ability to see my students' faces for informal real-time comprehension checks. I also had access to several veteran teachers; their doors, shelves, and file cabinets were always open to me. I can't imagine teaching a completely new subject online on my first attempt. At the very least, I'd find a homeschool co-op to use as guinea pigs!
  7. In the same boat. I don't fault the original teacher for needing to lighten her teaching load, and I wish the new teacher the best of luck. But this isn't the scenario we signed up for. A "give the new instructor a chance" approach seems risky, because if it doesn't work out, my kid is the one who suffers. 😕
  8. Bump! Anyone have feedback yet? I've spent some time with the samples, but I'm very curious to get user reviews too.
  9. Thanks OhElizabeth! You've given me lots of food for thought. :) We have a piano, but a keyboard might be a fun addition to our flock (horde?) of instruments. And yep, I agree with the idea that strings might be harder to match by ear. I hate to admit it, but I rely on an electronic tuner. I can't remember the last time I tuned my uke using a pitch pipe or the piano. And yes, self-concept is my main concern. I've been watching and waiting for the last six months, hoping it's just a developmental thing, but I think she's going to want help from someone who knows more than me. The idea of music therapy is very intriguing! We live in the boonies, but it's still pretty artsy, so I'll look into our options. Thank you again!
  10. My 10 year old has been playing piano for a year and a half, and she dabbles in ukulele. She's frustrated with her inability to match pitch with the piano (can't hum along with her playing). She's extremely upset about being unable to sing along with her uke playing, to the extent that she won't play it anymore. It's as if her voice randomly hunts for the note, and she's rarely successful in finding it unless I sing along with her. I have a hard time relating, as I don't have trouble roughly matching pitches, and neither does my 12yo. But my husband, a serious pianist, can't match pitch to save his life.(However, he's much more sensitive than I am to out of tune pianos, so his ears are fine!) She's tried a few ear training apps that I use for myself, and she hasn't found them helpful. But I stick with free and very cheap apps, so maybe there's a great app out there that I haven't seen. Any DIY suggestions before I break down and find her a vocal coach? She has no interest in vocal performance, she just wants to noodle around on the uke and use her voice as an aid when studying piano. Many thanks in advance!
  11. Yes, I did search before posting, using the word "Socratic." Is this the thread you mean? There was only one opinion given there. I'm hoping to get a few others! :) The other thread I found dates to before the first time the course was offered.
  12. I'm considering this one for my 7th grader. Does anyone have thoughts on it? Many thanks in advance!
  13. I haven't used Fluenz Spanish, but I looked at the scope & sequence for the Latin American Spanish product provided at this link. Personally I'd require all 5 lesson sets to cover Spanish 1 and 2. Fluenz Spanish 4 covers por/para expressions, which is usually a Spanish 2 topic. The imperfect tense and how to use preterite and imperfect tenses together are covered in Fluenz Spanish 5. Those topics are also usually introduced in Spanish 2. Also, though I didn't study the subjunctive until Spanish 3, many current high school Spanish texts begin to cover the subjunctive mood in Spanish 2. Fluenz doesn't cover the subjunctive at all. I don't think it's a deal breaker, but it's something your daughter should be aware of if she decides to continue her study of Spanish at the college level.
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