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Posts posted by midori

  1. re: "mad rush to complete the classes", how did that actually work out?


    I haven't signed my kids up for online classes, but I did my MLS online. (Back in 2002-2003?) Things were generally paced with a weekly participation grade paired with weekly assignments. Then there were two or three projects spaced through the semester, and then the Final. The only way we could have a "mad rush" at any point was by putting off a major project, perhaps possibly due to the professors not putting them on the syllabus, or on the calendar, but tucked away in a corner, and then finding out about them at the last minute... *cough cough*


    But it would be helpful to know how the mad rush came about, and what the proportion/weight of grades were for the weekly assignments/tests/participation/projects, versus that of his final exam, on his final grade.

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  2. I did clarinet in 5th grade band. I had no aptitude for it. One of the problems I ran into was not having a good correlation in my head between fingering vs the notes on the sheet music vs the names of the notes.


    So when I started looking for resources to teach myself alto recorder as an adult (with the intention of teaching my kids soprano recorder), I noticed the Recorder Karate program. I really liked the interactive fingering chart, and liked what I could see of the sheet music on GIS.


    We've ended up doing piano for now--- but haven't abandoned our intentions on playing recorder in the future.

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  3. I remember browsing through a nearby university's Continuing Education program, and seeing Basic Locksmithing classes offered. I thought that was really cool. You might see if there's anything like that near you that you can sign up for credit, in case he wants to go further with getting a certification for a skillset to have in his back pocket.


    You might check your local state laws to see what the requirements are for a locksmithing license in your state. This, for example, is what is necessary in Texas. When he's old enough to get a part-time job, if he could get his foot in the door with a skilled trade, he can earn much better money than what most high school students earn, whether he wants to save up for college to study something else, or whether he decides he likes it enough to make a career out of it. So it would be good to structure your class so that he's able to use it for a solid platform for when he's 16, 17, or 18, if he decides he has an affinity for it, and prefers it to flipping burgers or mowing grass. :)

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  4. When I was at a four-year university, I had friends who had taken 4 years of Spanish in high school, and were flunking out of Spanish I at the university within the first month, because they'd already gone through everything they'd learned in high school.


    I homeschooled and took Spanish from my Mom's old 1960's textbooks. When I went to undergrad, the freshman admissions requirements demanded 4 semesters (2 years) of the same language. We said that we had done it; the school took our word for it. There were no competency tests, or requests to see the curriculum, or anything like that. Things might be more structured elsewhere, but it was laid-back in Texas.


    For graduation with a BA, our university required four semesters of 1 language, or 2 semesters of 2 languages. I had planned for Latin and Greek, but Latin was rough enough on me that I decided to fall back on Spanish, since I already had a grounding in it. I went to a community college in the summer, and took Spanish I and Spanish II and transferred them. They were less rigorous than at a four-year university, but since I wasn't actually majoring in language, it was more of a matter of checking the boxes for graduation requirements. I was happy to free up a whole half-semester of my time (and budget!) by transferring those eight hours.


    I had also taken Chemistry I and Chemistry II at the local community college during high school. I was very happy that those eight credit hours were also able to be transferred and applied for college credit. (Yay! One whole semester freed up!) If I had realized it ahead of time, I would have just taken community college Spanish in high school, and transferred the hours at the get-go.

  5. For high school credit, meaning---? Something formal and accredited? I expect you'd need to take a formal class, either online or at a local community college, to be sure of a "credit hour" that actually transfers somewhere, but for general homeschooling purposes, some books are meant to cover one college semester, and other books are expected to cover two. All of my times are in University-time; doing things at a high school pace would probably require twice the time, but that's just my guess. When I went to undergrad after homeschooling in high school, they required four semesters of one language for admissions, but didn't give any competency tests or investigate the curriculum I used. Things are pretty laid-back in Texas; it might be more rigorously verified elsewhere.


    When I was in undergrad, we started off using Miller's Latin. If you can imagine a 1950's college professor writing his own customized textbook on a typewriter, that's pretty much how this book came about. He uses Ritchie's Fabulae Faciles for his exercises. We did one volume in a semester, moving at a 4-year university pace; I spent the first chunk of the semester declining my Latin nouns with Spanish verb endings, so I ended up repeating the course. But the book itself was fine; my personal ability to keep languages separate in my head was not. :)


    Then the teacher shifted to Wheelock's. It's currently in its seventh edition. It, too, was begun in the 1950's by a college professor; by the time I got to it in its fifth edition, his children were the ones responsible for its editing and updating. Wheelock's is so popular, you can get a good handle on its pros and cons by reading the Amazon reviews. Wheelock's covered one year of study (Latin I and Latin II).


    If I wanted to take it a bit easier on a student, and not give them something a bit friendlier, Cambridge Latin had a very nice sneak-peek that I enjoyed. "Caecilius est in horto" has been immortalized in memes because Cambridge Latin has been so ubiquitous in British education. *wanders off and gets lost in Caecilius memes for a while* I think it's 1 volume = 1 semester there.


    For a long time, though, people who wanted to dabble in Latin would try Linney's Latin Class, which makes use of a public domain textbook, and the whole purpose was to get the student to be able to read Caesar's Gallic War in the original by the end of the course. Lessons 1-33 are generally Latin I material, and Lessons 34-73 would get you solidly into Latin II territory.

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  6. I have an Epson flatbed scanner for running copies the slow and old fashioned way, and I don't do wifi, but one thing I did look for in the last inkjet printer I bought was a printer that had its ink cartridges separated out into C-Y-M-K. I was tired of having to replace the whole color cartridge just because I'd run out of M, but still had plenty of C and Y left. My current printer uses five cartridges (C, Y, M and two K), but I know some newer models add gray in for a sixth color.


    I personally have been very happy with the Canon Pixma ip-4700 that I've been using for the last mumblemumble years. (Since 2008, perhaps?) I needed a flexible printer that could print photos on photo paper, images on normal paper, and plain text. When I do replace it, I'll probably replace it with another Canon product that has scanning-and-copying capacity, like the MG7720 wireless printer/scanner/copier, or whatever the next generation is when my Pixma finally bites the dust. But I'm in no hurry to get rid of it.

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  7. DS1 started with the Hoffman Academy free lessons. I myself have good hands for typing, but not for piano--- my brain can only deal with one key at a time. :) So once they started getting into more-than-one-note-at-a-time, I transitioned to a local piano teacher, but I really enjoyed the base that Hoffman gave. And now that the teacher has gotten me over my own personal hurdle (which was really more mental than physical--- I didn't even try; I just automatically got discouraged), I'm in better shape to do a better job with DS2 before needing/wanting to outsource anything.

  8. I went to school at Baylor from 1996-2000.


    In 1980, tuition cost about $70/hr. In 1992, tuition cost $200/hr.


    By 1996, tuition was $269/hr. I graduated four years later, paying $329/hr, and was grateful I was getting out when I did, because the rates were jumping to $355/hr the next year. I want to say a semester, including room and board and fees, ran about $12k/year during my time there. 


    At some point, they hit an "unlimited hours for a flat rate" package, lumping room, board, fees, hours, and everything together, for about $40k/year as of 2016. 


    When I was shopping for a school, a year at a 4-year state university, like Texas A&M or UT Austin, was closer to $8k/year for in-state. Nowadays, it runs about $25-$30k/year for in-state. In other words, private and public tuition both have pretty much tripled over the last 16 years. When I took 8 hours of chemistry as a high school homeschooler, and 8 hours of Spanish as a college student, it ran me about $80/hr at the local community college in a summer session. And I was grateful to save myself a full semester's worth of tough classes at the less vigorous school, and at the cheap rate! (I know kids who had had 4 years of Spanish in high school who were flunking out of Baylor's Spanish I in the first three weeks of class.) 


    So, while $100 in 1980 dollars has the purchasing power of $300 in 2017 dollars, and $100 in 1996 dollars have the purchasing power of about $150 in 2017 dollars, people's paychecks haven't tripled along with tuition rates. Schools have been having 7%, 8% annual increases year after year after year, and admissions still kept on rising. Student loans were easy to get, and couldn't be discharged in bankruptcy. And schools are always in a cycle of building, attracting new students to fill those buildings, and then building bigger buildings yet again. And people often go to school during times of economic hardship, to make them stand out from the rest of the population... but nowadays, the same proportion of people have an undergraduate degree that had a high school diploma around WWII. 


    So I can definitely see the practical attraction in (a) making classes serve double-duty as high school credit + college credit, and (b) they're presumably taken at a lower-tier school and will be transferred to a more prestigious school, © taking pre-requisites ahead of time frees up valuable semester hours so students can focus on their major-related classes, and (d) the student can graduate sooner.

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  9. One of the main points is to be able to read source materials in the original language. Only a very small fraction of material has been translated into English. Or, if you want to appreciate the nuance, you read important documents in the original language. Translation is always going to be an art, and something is always going to get lost in the translation. Having that familiarity with how the original reads is going to give you nuance that your translator might not have been able to preserve.


    Latin and Greek are going to be most important in situations where a person is involved in history and theology. The language of scholars was Latin, so up until the late 19th century, you had many scholars/scientists/historians writing their works in Latin, instead of English/French/German/Romanian/Italian/whatever to ensure the widest possible audience for their findings. Latin and Greek are also very important in Bible studies and patristics (early Christian writings). 


    I once had a friend who was majoring in Classics, and they said, "The only reason to major in Classics is to become a Classics professor." I have no doubts they were correct!


    So--- if the individual has a genuine interest in history or theology, acquiring a fluency in Latin or Greek is going to be helpful in opening up many resources that would otherwise be closed off to them. If they're not really interested in acquiring fluency, they might be better served with a more modern language. It can be helpful for recognizing root words and things like that in modern language, but it can also be difficult for a student to keep things separate when they have too many languages that are too closely related to each other. For example, I did four years of Spanish in high school, and then went on to take Latin... and it took me ages to stop trying to decline my Latin nouns with Spanish verb endings. :) Someone with more of a knack for language will not have that sort of problem, but that's what I encountered myself.

  10. Just chiming in to say that although I've got a Baltimore Catechism for further along, and we try to do a chapter from the Knox Bible several nights a week, we've also been doing Truth in the Heart for Pre-K through 2nd Grade. We'd bought the complete 1st and 2nd grade DVD sets, with 30 eps per grade, and watch it through two or three times in a year. Then we talk about one or two things they learned from the episode. The first grade disks deal with a sort of faith worldview/overview-- "Creation & Fall", "God Makes His Presence Known", "Communion Among Holy Persons", "The Beatitudes". They do a nice spotlight on a particular saint or Blessed many episodes-- popular ones like Paul, or Francis, or Martin of Tours, but also modern ones, like Pier Giorgio and Teresa of Calcutta. The second grade disk focuses on sacraments and starts getting into meat and potatoes-- "How to Make a Good Confession", "How to Go to Confession", "History and Symbols of Holy Week", "The Primacy of Peter", "The Four Marks", "Te Deum", etc. In our parish, we don't do any sacraments until the 3rd grade, and then we do Reconciliation and Eucharist in the same year. 

  11. 21? Is this his senior year? Congratulations.


    Whose insurance will it be under, and who will be responsible for the annual registration/inspection/whatever government paperwork is required in your area? If it's under your insurance, I'd let him use it, and then sell or gift to him, complete with a title transfer, after he graduates and is moving out and is properly responsible for everything. 


    Is he able to afford gas? Will y'all be subsidizing gas? I didn't get a car until the spring semester of my senior year. Even then, I had no clue for how expensive a vehicle was, and it was way too much, even with the little bit of money I earned through work-study. I remember scraping coins out of the glove box, because the pump wouldn't take my debit card, because I was down to my last $15, even though I only wanted to put $5 in... It was an eye-opener.


    I was jealous of the friends who had cars their freshman year, but once I had the car, I realized that there was a lot of expense. I think I'll take a similar approach with my kids when the time comes. 


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  12. The thing about Latin is that it doesn't have word order. Instead, you know the part of speech based on the ending. So not only do you need to conjugate your verbs, but you also have to decline your nouns and adjectives. So whereas in Spanish, you might have four options for the word "white"--- "blanco", "blanca", "blancos", and "blancas"--- depending on what the white thing is, and whether it's plural or singular, masculine or feminine, in Latin, you have ninety different options for "white".


    Latin will definitely help you with your grammar--- we tend to speak according to "what sounds right". We don't think about "pluperfect" or "ablative". But they also have elements that we don't really use in English as well, like supine and deponent verbs. Unless you're good at picking up languages yourself, I think Spanish would probably be the most low-pressure foreign language that comes to mind.

  13. Does a particular language make sense to pursue, based on your geography or their interests? ie, in Texas, Spanish is the obvious second language, since there's so many opportunities to encounter it here. Right over the border in Louisiana, though, it's rooted so much in French culture, that French would make more sense there. Latin is a good choice for someone interested in science, Rome, medieval studies, the Bible, or the early Church Fathers. If someone likes anime, Japanese would be an obvious choice; if someone likes Ancient Egypt, Arabic or even hieroglyphs would be doable.


    One thing to remember is that when they get to college, many programs require four semesters of a language. Giving them a solid foundation in something not too exotic will help them. Many times, taking a language course at a community college will transfer (if it's an elective and not actually the major itself), and isn't as rigorous a program as a language course at a four-year college. So look at the languages offered by your nearby community colleges, and choose one of those, if you want a cheap way to free up sixteen semester-hours in the future. :)

  14. I tried doing Greek in undergrad, but struggled so much with Latin that I had to rethink that... :)


    First, determine if he wants to learn Classical/Attic Greek (Plato, Aristotle), Koine Greek (New Testament), or Modern Greek. There may be other types, but I know those three aren't the same. :) If you're specifically looking for historic Greek, the general recommendation is to learn the Classical/Attic dialect, and if you have that solid foundation, you can handle Koine Greek with a few adjustments. But I think most of the early-elementary resources tend towards the Koine Greek.


    The second would depend whether or not he already knows his Greek alphabet. I remember when I was learning Japanese, it was easy as long as I was dealing with romaji (Romanized words), but once we accelerated into hiragana (phonetic characters), there was a whole lot of stumbling because I had to stop and think about each character, rather than reading the words in front of me. ("Is that a wa? A chi? Let me check my chart...") If I was starting with a second grader, I'd want them to be able to fluently associate the Greek letters with their phonetic sounds before we started getting too deeply into an emphasis on vocabulary and grammar.


    If you want to do Koine Greek at the elementary level, "Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek!" is well-recommended. Or you might try something like A Greek Hupogrammon to take baby steps of learning that foundation. If he's more advanced than that already, you might consider jumping into free online lessons like those at Kypros.com. Good luck!

  15. For learning to read with my now-4-year-old, it was recommended to start with words in all caps. Words that are written in lowercase have distinctive shapes to them in their patterns of ascenders and descenders that help them guess what the word might be, whereas words in all caps are much more uniform in shape. ("jug" versus "JUG", "happy" versus "HAPPY", etc.) So it followed that when we started learning to write, we primarily focused on starting with the capital letters as well.


    Remember that they're having to learn how to write 52 different shapes. As long as you're up-front about the fact that there are rules that are coming into play in the future, and that it's okay to ignore them for right now while she works on mechanics like stroke order, straight lines, counterclockwise circles, how-to-hold-a-pencil, etc, I wouldn't have a problem in letting a young learner like your three-year-old gravitate to whichever alphabet is easier for her to write for starters. For your 5.5-year-old, I think you're doing the right thing. When you ask him the reason for his inconsistency, what is his explanation?

  16. A friend of mine is an occupational therapist. When she heard I'd started DS1 tracing letters, she recommended some exercises to do instead.


    We had some little plastic rings that came on the top of a batch of bakery cupcakes. It became our game to pick them up with the very tips of his fingers and drop them into a plastic cup. ("AUUUGHHH, don't put me in the cup! AUUUUGHHH!")


    I found one of those old TickleBee games with a magnetic pen. I picked up a cheap knockoff Magnadoodle at the Dollar Store.


    Like Kleine, she suggested I get a pair of child's hinged chopsticks, and let him practice using them to drop things from one place to another place.


    We did those sorts of things for about a year before we tried doing pre-writing exercises on paper or markerboard again, when we got about 3 months away from his 4th birthday. My friend is of the opinion that in the US, we push kids in that direction too early... she'd prefer it if we waited until age 5 before we started tackling writing. But of course, limiting ourselves to dropping things into cups and playing with the Magnadoodle for so many years would be too hard. :laugh:

  17. I'll have to look more into the CM philosophy behind handwriting. The "only do what you can do perfectly" kinda through me for a loop.



    One of the big things behind Charlotte Mason is the concept that habit is worth ten natures... if you get into the habit of accepting sloppy work, it will be the rare person who can wake up one day, realize their handwriting is chicken scratch, and make the effort to develop a good hand on their own after years and years of bad handwriting. So rather than say, "I'll just be happy they're learning to shape letters that look like letters, and I'll go back later and teach them to write neatly when they're older," you start off with expectations that they do things properly from the start... rather than giving you a page of A's or B's, and only two or three good A's or B's out of 40 or 50, you ask for just one line of good A's or B's. Or, in our current case, not asking for even a full letter... just one or two good strokes. It would be frustrating and foolish to ask for something beyond their ability, but you tailor your expectations to what they can give you, and then expect their best.

  18. Someone had recommended Peter Rabbit's Counting Book (ISBN 978-0723244851) to me. I picked up a cheap used copy off Amazon.


    The nice thing about the book is that it has 1-10 across the top of each spread. Then it has a scene from a Beatrix Potter book on the left-hand page, and a related number of "things" on the right-hand page... trout, bees, piglets, whatever. Then at the bottom of the page, there are ten little slider beads.


    I'd have my little guy practice counting with the numerals at the top... he always counted from 1-10, regardless of how many "things" the page was talking about. Then we'd practice counting the pictures of things. And then I'd have him slide that number of beads.


    He hated it when we first started (2.25 yo), but he's grown into it at some point while being 3, and now goes through it with lots of enthusiasm.

  19. I substitute teach at the local schools, and penmanship as such is really neglected around here. If it looks enough like an "A" or a "B", etc, that's good enough, so I knew if I wanted my kids to have good handwriting, I'd need to teach them, regardless of where they obtained the rest of their education.


    DS1 is currently not-quite-4. When he was 3 and 3 months, I started him off on a dry erase pupil board I'd picked up for a dollar at Wally World, and a Sesame Street dry erase tracer book (ISBN 978-1595458469) from the Dollar Store--- both for the sake of trying to get him to learn to hold his marker properly. He had fun tracing the letters. But a friend who's an occupational therapist told me that in the US, we start kids worrying about writing too early, and should wait until they're closer to 5. She gave me some exercises to do with him first-- little games we could play where he would pick objects up with chopsticks or the very tips of his fingers, etc, and drop them into cups... magnet maze games... MagnaDoodle-type toys... Operation would be a great exercise for an older kid... those sorts of things.


    So I put the dry erase stuff away for a bit, and we focused on those sorts of dexterity games for several months, always making sure to keep it fun and lighthearted and just a weird game that Mom likes to play.


    When he was closer to 3 years and 9 months, I gave him two options of what hand he wanted to learn-- did he like D'Nealian or Zaner-Bloser? I figured if he liked the hand, he'd do better with it. He chose Zaner-Bloser, so I started putting together some tracer pages from tracer page generators. He hated them. It was too much, too fast.


    I came across Charlotte Mason and printed off a free sample of her Delightful Handwriting. I liked the emphasis on only giving the child what they can do perfectly, and to hold them to perfection in what to accomplish... so if that just mean's the day's work consists of giving me two straight lines, and knowing the difference between a good straight line and a bad line, that's great. I also like how the letters are grouped by similarity in composition... you learn to write a | and an __, and from there, you learn I, H, E, F, L, etc. (I dabble in calligraphy, so being able to break a letter down into its component parts is really awesome when it comes to understanding how a letter ought to be shaped. Stroke order is another really important thing that's overlooked in our local school system.)


    DS1 will turn 4 next month. We're still working on holding a pencil, giving consistently good straight lines, sometimes vertical, sometimes horizontal. Getting four straight lines out of him in one day is still really ambitious. He has the enthusiasm and energy for one or two, so I'm not pushing him yet. But once he develops a little more, and will benefit from doing real work, I'll probably get Delightful Handwriting, just because I found the free sample so appealing.

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