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  1. We've been using Saxon for 11 years now, and we use it as it is recommended. My oldest finished Calculus last year. My middles are going into Algebra I and Algebra II, and my youngest is heading into 8/7. My oldest was completely self-directed in reading the lessons and working through them from 5/4, my middles from about 6/5, and I still read the lesson through with my youngest, so a little bit depends on the child. We always start the day with math. So for my youngest she does the math fact sheet first, then the mental math and problem solving, if she can do it on her own (if not, I work it through with her). Then I read the lesson with her and work through the lesson practice with her to be sure she understands the concept. Finally, she completes the mixed practice, every problem, on her own. In Algebra there are no more math fact sheets, so the boys begin by reading the lesson, working through the lesson practice if they understand the concept (if not, I step in to help). And then they work through the mixed practice - all problems. I am available if they get stuck or need additional explanation. Years ago, I purchased the Art Reed videos because I wasn't sure how well I would remember Algebra. My oldest two never used the videos, however my third son finds it helpful to watch the video if he doesn't understand the lesson when he reads it. When my oldest arrived at Pre-calculus, I put him in a live online class through Veritas Scholars Academy. That is where he also took AB Calculus. He's a junior this year and he will be taking BC Calculus. Except on test days I would estimate that math takes at least an hour and a half (not including checking their lessons). Test days are about 30-45 minutes and I grade their tests. Hope that is helpful.
  2. I am so sorry for your loss. I'm not sure how old your kids are, but I lost my dad when my kids were 5 1/2, almost 4, 2 1/2, and 9 months. It was a heartbreaking loss, and it took us by surprise. They were very close with their Grandpa - especially the two oldest. After my own initial shock (I didn't even realize I was in shock), I just sat down and told them what had happened (he died a natural death, but it was unexpected). They asked questions, and I tried to answer the best and most straightforward that I could. And I kept the conversation open. I did not try to hide my own grief - it was challenging to get through some days. Thankfully my oldest was only in kindergarten, and so I just gave myself freedom to drop a day of school here and there as we needed it. I talked with the kids about the grief - I let them know that it would hurt a lot at first, but that it would ease over time. (I didn't say we would get over it - but that with time, we would be able to carry it more easily). The most poignant moment was after about six months, my oldest was sitting at the table and remembered something my dad had said to my second son (the last words he spoke to him in person), "Next time I see you, you'll be four!" He passed about 5 weeks later-just a couple weeks after my son's birthday, so we didn't see him again. It made my eyes well up and my son apologized for making me sad. I told him to please not be sorry, that I would MUCH rather remember my dad and talk about him and miss him (and deal with the sadness), than to avoid talking about him. I'm so grateful for the shared memories. It has been almost 9 years now. I think we have done well, and we still talk about him often and remember him, and every now and again our eyes well up. I think the thing I was least prepared for was some of the straight forward questions and statements my toddlers would make at somewhat unexpected times. They would periodically just matter-of-fact-like say, "Grandpa died" (to me or to my mom) - and it felt awkward, but I think it is just how they processed it - a way to get the feelings that were on the inside to the outside. I would just affirm it and say, "yes, he did honey." I didn't totally fall apart, but I did have a hard time at times. I didn't try to hide it - I just kind of let them know that I was feeling sad, and missing my dad, or thinking of him, or something like that. They did the same. I also checked in with them at times when they seemed a little off - just to see if they needed to talk something out. I don't know if any of that helps, but that was our experience, and I feel like we made it through the loss and upheaval in a healthy way. My youngest has actually asked the most questions over the years - probably because she can't remember him - but it gives the boys an opportunity to talk about him with her. So in short, yes, many hugs - and keep going, and then pause for more hugs. Repeat :) My heart goes out to you all. May you encourage one another with your favorite memories of him.
  3. We had the same issue. We opted for Rod & Staff (the first year transition was horrible). My 9th grader is now in R&S 9/10 and I have two middle schoolers in R&S 6 & 7, plus a grammar kiddo in FLL4. I'm curious scope and sequence-wise, what will be the best transition back. R&S has been very thorough, but oh goodness...I would love to be back with a SWB product.
  4. After consuming Watership Down chapter by chapter, I feared I might scratch my eyes out trying to drag myself through the thornbushes of The Road from Coorain. After following humble Hazel, it was a rough transition to following a self-focused, ungrateful, complainer, who spends the latter half of the book deconstructing her mother. At first, I thought the long drawn-out set up in the first chapter was so that I could deeply appreciate the character of Conway’s mother making a life for their family in the outback. It almost worked up to that point. Instead, Conway sets up her mother at the beginning of the book, only to tear her down through the rest of it as she builds herself up in her own eyes as both a martyr, and self-realized woman. My curiosity has certainly been peaked about why this book was chosen. The class discussions have been sprinkled with comments pointing out the lack of female characters, so I am sure that is part of the story. If this is representative of stories by or about women during the modern time period, it is no wonder to me that I have not read more. It is also a good example of how ugly it can come across when one sings their own praises, especially at the expense of someone else. It was a very looooong, short book. And for me the only upside to reading The Road from Coorain was that it made reading The Road, the book I had been dreading, almost a relief. Feel free to throw tomatoes at me now.
  5. My son is taking Biology with Mrs. Upperman this year. He is enjoying the class, and has learned a LOT. He's in the delayed section (recorded), but she has been very accessible and helpful, and it has been a great experience. I highly recommend it, and hope my younger kiddos will have the same opportunity when they get to high school.
  6. WMA- You are right. My son just clarified that they are not optional, but that they account for a higher percentage of the participation grade for the delayed course than for the live course. Thanks for pointing that out.
  7. I went back and forth about doing that too. We start school at 8 am, so it wouldn't be a huge stretch, but at the time he had Rhetoric at 8, followed by precalculus, and he really prefers to work on math lessons in the morning. The delayed course has taken a bit of the time pressure off of him, which I appreciate, though I'm sure he would enjoy actually being in the live class (the early start, not so much). :)
  8. Teachermom, hopefully someone with all their classes at WTMA will respond, but since no one has so far, I thought our experience might be helpful. My 9th grade son does not have all his online classes with WTMA but he is in the Biology class and has a somewhat similar load. He is taking Biology at WTMA, and through Veritas Press he is taking Omnibus IV Primary and Secondary (Ancient History, Ancient Lit and Theology), and Precalculus. He is doing Latin and Grammar at home. When he started the year he was also in Rhetoric I at WTMA - and that proved to be too much. So we dropped it and he has managed well without it. However it is a full load. If you are concerned about the Biology load, consider having him take the delayed course. My son had to do that because the time was too early in the day for us (we are on the west coast), but it has been a huge help having a couple extra days to complete the homework, discussion board posts, and labs. Your son would have the advantage that he is already familiar with the online format. My son had only taken one class online previously, so there was a definite learning curve for him.
  9. Skimomma-One thing you could consider if you are concerned about your child's ability to keep up is signing up for the delayed section. We had to do that because of the time the class is offered (we're in California), however it turned out to be a blessing (especially the first few weeks) because there is a slight extension on due dates for the delayed section. One caveat is that the participation grade is largely dependent on the discussion board posts. I believe they are extra credit for the live classes - so they would be optional if you took that route. On another note, one big plus about WTMA is their generous first month guarantee. You can sign up for the class, and if it turns out to be too much, you can drop the class without a financial penalty. My son has given rave reviews about the class, and on more than one occasion has told me HOW MUCH he is learning. I have been especially pleased with the detail going into the labs, and the understanding my son has taken away from them afterward. On top of everything, Mrs. Upperman has been very accessible and responsive to my son via e-mail when he has had questions, which has been especially helpful since he is in the live sections. Overall I couldn't be happier with the experience my son is having in class.
  10. I read Watership Down for the first time in high school, and I considered it my favorite book. I even named one of my market sheep “Frith†– irony I didn’t recognize at the time. I felt some hesitation about rereading the story because I have reread books that I loved as a kid, and been rather disappointed in my young-self afterward. Not so with Watership Down. It’s an epic journey (a few years might not seem to qualify as epic at first glance, but in the three-year lifespan of a rabbit it is), and this epic is complete with lapine mythology and it own lapine bards. Unlike so many of the epic heroes of old, Hazel is not totally sure of himself, but his instincts prove to be spot on. He is willing to sacrifice himself for those who join him, and better yet, he leads his motley band of rabbits and discovers the gift in each one, and challenges them to grow, and the reader gets to partake in the characters coming into their own. It is an interesting choice to follow Pilgrim’s Progress in light of the discussion about the intensely solitary journey portrayed by Bunyan. Hazel’s journey stands in stark contrast to Christian’s. Though it begins with Fiver feeling “the danger like a wire round my neck,†their exodus transforms along the way into a deep longing for a new home built of a true community. The key to that better future is wrapped up in community itself and their dependence on one another’s strengths - even reaching out to other species - something that has never been done before. In the introduction to the copy I have of the book, the author discusses how he came up with the story – on a long trip when his daughters asked him to tell them a long story they had never heard before. Richard Adams gave his daughters a great story and a great hero. Watership Down is my feel-good-read of the year.
  11. Yes, Hannah. Two and three are both posted. I just checked, but the Inferno discussion has not yet posted. The historical perspective on each book has been fantastic.
  12. I just wanted to add, that the most on-point description I have read describing that transition from not knowing death to knowing death is written at the end of chapter XXXVI in Anne of Green Gables, when Montgomery prepares the reader for Matthew's death. "Anne always remembered the silvery, peaceful beauty and fragrant calm of that night. It was the last night before sorrow touched her life; and no life is ever quite the same again when once that cold, sanctifying touch has been laid upon it."
  13. I will admit that my first read through Gilgamesh was not particularly careful. I felt contempt for the hero, and hoped not to find much to relate to in his character or journey. I read it from the outside looking in; from an opposing worldview and morality. I was surprised this week when I revisited my snarky annotations and ran head-first into a part of Gilgamesh’s journey that resonated with me. It begins in Book VIII, when for the first time Gilgamesh meets the circumstance he cannot control– the loss of Enkidu, or more specifically, what the loss of Enkidu reveals about his own condition. In the midst of his grief, Gilgamesh cries out, “Must I die too? Must I be as lifeless as Enkidu? How can I bear this sorrow that gnaws at my belly, this fear of death that restlessly drives me onward?†(p. 159). The restless warrior turns into a restless wanderer driven into a tunnel of total darkness, seeking a way of escape. It is not that I had walked through life untouched by death, but it was not until my dad died unexpectedly that I had to bear the relentless burden of, “How can I bear (carry) this sorrow that gnaws at my belly?†and still be present for my family and my young children? I also felt embarrassed by how inadequate my compassion for others in the same circumstance had previously been, not because I showed no compassion, but because I had not known the excruciating weight of the burden. Gilgamesh’s journey through the tunnel rings true to me – both the heartache and the understanding gained from the journey. Though my worldview conflicts with Gilgamesh’s fatalism, I found experiences in his journey that resonated with my own, including Shiduri’s exhortation, “But until the end comes enjoy your life, spend it in happiness, not despair…let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand… That is the best way for a man to live†(pp. 168-9). What resonated with you? Jenny
  14. Hi RootAnn. I am signed up too, and have also started reading. I know I'll feel squeezed during the school year. I WISH I could attend the live class, but it falls at the same time that I'll be driving three of my kiddos to youth group. I've now read and annotated the first three books. I'm not fast either. Thankfully for me, only three of the assigned books will be first time reads for me. I was disappointed that I did not enjoy reading Gilgamesh :huh: - I kept thinking a very unsophisticated "ewww," especially reading some of the end notes. I found it easy enough to understand, but I did not really empathize with anyone - though I felt sorry for Enkidu. I hope that there will be something in the questions or discussion that will make me want to return to it again and dig for something deeper. (I have the same hope for The Inferno). On the other hand, I fell in love with Fagles' version of The Odyssey. The class will have been worth it to me, just for that new introduction to The Odyssey. I read Lattimore's version for the first time a couple years ago, but I felt more like I was observing the story than caught up in it. As I read Fagles' version, instead of thinking "oh, THAT's an epic similie" - I kept getting caught up in the description and afterward could appreciate the resonance created by an effective epic simile. Happy reading! Wish I could say, "See ya in class!" :) Jenny
  15. Catherine, there have been two selections that I have found particularly challenging - one was the Hound of the Baskervilles and the other was The Necklace. My son actually kept the characters in The Necklace straight better than I did as we worked through it (and I had the Teacher's Guide). If every single week is a total challenge then I might slow down the pace, but if it is just a selection or two, I would press through and keep going. As for the protagonist and antagonist being the same person, my son and I talked about that for a while using real-life examples of how people can behave as their own worst enemy (repeatedly making bad decisions). We also talked about how a person might escape that cycle. I don't know if that will be helpful, but maybe your son just needs a more concrete or "close to him" example. It might help to just talk through some of these concepts using books he has read and enjoyed. Whether you need to press through or just slow down the pace, hang in there! I think most of us hit a wall now and then. :)
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