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Matryoshka last won the day on June 15

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About Matryoshka

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  1. Matryoshka

    foreign languages and dyslexia

    Spanish is much, much easier to read and spell than English. It is close to 100% phonetic. It even tells you where to put emphasis for syllabification. I teach Spanish - I suspect a few of my students have some kind of dyslexia or at least need remediation in English reading. With clear phonetic rules in Spanish, the kids actually have an easier time reading Spanish - there's one kid (high school aged) who another teacher told me couldn't read practically at all because of his difficulty in her English class, but I said that couldn't be true because he has no problem in Spanish. Some of the younger kids I teach (8-13yo) also have problems, and I slow them down and have them sound out the Spanish one letter at a time - I think in English they have gotten very used to guessing. I see them skipping over the middle of the words or ignoring the end sounds; having a language where every letter makes sense gets them in the habit of not guessing and paying attention to all the letters. There are also only 5 vowel sounds that always are the same in every word every time. I've actually seen learning to read in Spanish helping their reading skills in English. I guess it's kind of like some of the programs that use nonsense words, except the words aren't nonsense. And there's always Chinese - I'm fairly sure I've read that it uses a different part of the brain to read than phonetically written languages as it's entirely pictorial.
  2. Matryoshka

    Book a Week 2018 - BW46: Armistice Day

    Only finished one book this week: 115. All Strangers Are Kin: Adventures in Arabic and the Arab World by Zora O'Neill - Linguistic nerd that I am, I really enjoyed this book, where the author tries to finally become conversant in Arabic that is spoken (the Arabic she took in grad school is similar to what Latin was to the vulgates in the middle ages - no one spoke Latin, no one wrote in the languages they spoke). She travels to four different countries, all of which have wildly different spoken dialects. Even though I don't speak any Arabic, I found her linguistic musings interesting. 4 stars. Currently reading: - The Crab-Flower Club (Story of the Stone vol. 2) by Cao Xueqin - still quite fun to read in spite of being about spoiled 18th century Chinese aristocrats and their maids. - Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira Lee (audio) - Another book I have a hard time summarizing - it's told in a few different voices (3 so far), and covers a lot of different themes (I'd say the biggest two are mental illness and immigration), and I'm enjoying it. - Space Opera by Catherynne Valente (ebook) - Pretty much if Hitchhiker's Guide and Eurovision had a baby, this book would be the result. So 'funny' and frenetic and over-the-top whimisical, I'm honestly kind of sick of it and am finishing it only because it's for SciFi book club. I loved Hitchhiker's Guide when I read it years ago, but I don't feel the need to read another version of it, and I've never been a Eurovision fan. - Der Prozess / The Trial by Franz Kafka - This is slow going. I have never read any criticism on this book - I'm thinking the Narrator is unreliable. Things aren't lining up. I liked Metamorphosis better. At least it's short.
  3. I've been tutoring and teaching small groups. I really like that. I substitute taught in the PS a while back, and the pay was ridiculous - $70/day and this is a super high COL area. Math and science tutors around here can make more than that an hour. Sadly, I am not a math or science tutor - I was more than fine for homeschooling, but to command those rarefied prices I'd need more of a specialty pedigree. I'm focusing on foreign languages (Spanish and German) and English. Right now I'm teaching all local homeschoolers, but after youngest dd leaves for college next fall, I've been considering maybe trying to offer some online classes and/or advertise tutoring to the ps students. One of my homeschool classes has ended up with one online session a week (and one IRL), so I'm starting to get the hang of some of the online options. I sometimes think I should've trained in Speech Language Pathology - and I've heard they need ones who are bilingual. But somehow that career option didn't even occur to me till years later. In my mid-fifties now, pretty much no graduate degree will pay itself off, so the quite reasonable options in front of me will have to do. I am partway done with getting a certification from ReadAmerica (Phonographix) to teach reading - I already know the program very well as I used it with my kids. Just need to sit down and finish typing stuff in.
  4. One of mine transferred after freshman year at a 4-year, and even though she had sophomore standing because of CC credits, the new university still wanted her high school transcript, because they said she was just one year out from her high school graduation date. They are also not particularly homeschool friendly and I actually had to remind them of some recent positive changes they'd made to their homeschool admissions that the transfer office wasn't familiar with in order to smooth her way. But... my other dd will be transferring to the same university after completing an AS at the CC through the official state CC->university program. They tell me they will not want her transcript even though her high school graduation date is even closer to her transfer. I did make one, but I won't send it unless they ask for it.
  5. Matryoshka

    Book a Week 2018 - BW45: Nonfiction November

    LOL. I liked the story overall, but plot holes you could drive a truck through can bug me like a rock in my shoe on an otherwise lovely hike... 😂
  6. Matryoshka

    Book a Week 2018 - BW45: Nonfiction November

    Yes, but Laura had been legally declared dead. She was not recognized by the lawyer or her uncle as being alive. The vicar could raise her from the dead to marry her? The only way I could guess that works is that in those days before the internet you could just claim to be whoever you wanted even for legal purposes, but no one would bother to confirm your identity in any way, just have you sign whatever name you claimed to have? But that very much doesn't seem to be the case for all the other legal problems they have related to this plot point. Also... under her true name, she's still married, as no one has confirmed her husband's death. And if they did that, they'd find out that he died a 'widower', so how could his wife remarry? There's that too!
  7. Matryoshka

    Book a Week 2018 - BW45: Nonfiction November

    So, you think she was using the other name at the time? But then legally he wouldn't be attached to the right person, and the ending as written wouldn't be possible...
  8. Matryoshka

    Book a Week 2018 - BW45: Nonfiction November

    It doesn't show up if you highlight the white text?
  9. Matryoshka

    Voting when in college

    I always voted absentee ballot when I was at college; that's what my dd who's too far to come home is doing. Other dd20 is fortunately close enough to come home to vote here.
  10. Matryoshka

    Book a Week 2018 - BW45: Nonfiction November

    Didn't get around to posting here last week, so here's a two-week reading wrap-up: 107. Touch Not the Cat by Mary Stewart - As a teen I read though a big part of Mary Stewart's books, so I figured this one should at least be palatable. Weird that of all her books, this is the one that hit the bestseller list? Can't remember if I'd read it before - if I did it was forgettable. I have fond memories of The Moon Spinners, Airs Above the Ground, Nine Coaches Waiting... this one's a bit odd with our telepathic heroine calling her telepathic friend her 'lover' even though she's not quite sure who he is except that she's pretty darn sure he's one of her second cousins. Um, okay? 3 stars for still managing to be reasonably readable in spite of that. But I'd have to say my least favorite Mary Stewart. 108. Dark Orbit by Carolyn Ives Gilman - for my SciFi book club. A planet that seems to have an unusual concentration of Dark Matter is discovered and folks are sent out to check it out. Things are weird. What if some of the wacky physics laws that happen at the quantum level could happen at the macro level (perhaps because of the dark matter or whatever the heck it is). And also some philosophical musings that had a good amount of overlap with that Buddhist book I just read. 4 stars. 109. The Winter's Tale by Shakespeare - Bit of a wack play, starts as a tragedy, ends as a comedy. And yeah, Bohemia doesn't have a coast, and if everyone's consulting the Oracle at Delphi are we still supposed to be in pagan Roman or Greek times, which makes no sense based on other things going on (like, Russia and Bohemia are places that exist). Did Shakespeare mail this one in? I'm going to read the Hogarth 'retelling' of this, so thought I should read the source material first. 3 stars. 110. Die schwarze Spinne / The Black Spider by Jeremias Gotthelf - thankfully very short book about the devil coming to strike a bargain with some put-upon peasants sometime in the middle ages. It does not go well for them. A Swiss book - in standard German but sprinkled liberally with Swiss-isms, most of which were easy to figure out except one that wasn't in the dictionary and when I googled it the only thing that came up was this book - but thankfully with a note saying what the word meant (something like a window sill). Moral of the story: don't make deals with the devil. 2.5 stars. 111. The Wife (Kristin Lavransdatter #2) - I did enjoy this book, but think I'm ready to take a break from Kristin and Erlend. Will probably finish the last book sometime next year. 4 stars. 112. Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas (ebook) - I thought this book was very well done. Vargas just tells his story. His story doesn't fit the standard narrative - he's Filipino, not Mexican, doesn't speak Spanish in spite of his Spanish name. With the help of a lot of mentors in high school and later at work, he was able to 'pass' as a citizen for many years and had well-paying, prestigious jobs. He was a few months too old to qualify for "Dreamer" status (he was brought here by adults as a child and didn't know he was not legally here till he applied for a driver's license). But he finally couldn't take the stress of hiding and lying and 'came out', rendering himself unemployable and a target for deportation - but somehow he hasn't been deported, in spite of testifying before congress, writing quite publicly about his status, and even being detained in one of those cages when he went to report on refugees crossing the Mexican/US border. He's not sure himself why. Too high profile? But he's still stuck with no way to even apply for US citizenship in the country he grew up in. 5 stars. 113. Copenhagen by Michael Frayn - I really enjoyed this drama, which is a conversation among the ghosts of Bohr, his wife, and Heisenberg. 5 stars. 114. The Woman in White by Wilkie Colllins (audiobook) - While I could see the plot 'twists' coming a mile away, it was still reasonably enjoyable. But I'm glad I listened to it on audio - I think I would have gotten bogged down in print. And can someone please explain to me how (spoiler in white) Hartwright managed to marry a woman who had been declared legally dead? That is never addressed... 3 stars. Currently reading: - All Strangers are Kin: Adventures in Arabic and the Arab World by Zora O'Neill - A one-time student of classical Arabic decides she'd like to learn much more about the Arabic that people actually speak - in many variations. Fun for linguistic nerds like me. - Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee (audiobook) - About two sisters, one of whom struggles with mental illness. - Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente (ebook) - Her sentences and descriptions can be amazing. But all her writing does make me feel like she's mixing meth and LSD... - Der Prozess / The Trial by Franz Kafka - Have just started this. The first stuff I read by Kafka was some unfinished short stories I think found after his death, which were nuts. But I read Metamorphosis last year and that was good, so I decided to give some of his more polished work a chance (although this was also released posthumously...). - The Crab-Flower Club (The Story of the Stone vol. 2) by Cao Xueqin - I have swapped this for KL as my 'read 100 pages a week' book. I'm really enjoying this - this translation is considered by many the 'best', and I can see why. These two quotes from reviewers at Goodreads spoke to me... "The Story of the Stone is an immensely fun, inviting, and enjoyable novel, but explaining why it is so is a bit of a challenge." and "It's kinda silly how much I loved reading this, when spoiled Chinese aristocrats writing poetry really oughtta be boring." Yep, I can't explain it either, but I agree with them...
  11. Matryoshka

    Just popping back in...

    Hi Laura! So good to see you here - can't believe Hobbes is off at college! My youngest is pretty much full time at the CC now, and will be heading off to university in the fall. I second this!
  12. Matryoshka

    Students currently studying abroad?

    None of mine are abroad now, but I thought I'd say hi!! One dd20 spent a summer in Barcelona - a year and a half ago now! Seems like yesterday! She came back speaking Catalan in addition to Spanish, and is now minoring in it. Other dd20 is currently on coop - she'll be back at school spring semester, but is hoping to do an international coop in Germany after that. I was just helping her translate her resume into German yesterday. How's Sailor Dude liking Chile? I've been reading a lot of South American novels lately and have been kind of bummed I've never traveled farther south than Mexico. You should stick around! No need to leave just 'cause you're no longer homeschooling! My youngest is attending CC full time now and will transfer to university in the fall, but I've still found niches here where it's not just about curriculum or college... Lots of people with kids grown over in the Book-a-Week thread (been reading more to keep my brain active). I also lurk in the Politics 'club', it helps keep me sane.
  13. About Goblin Emperor - which I also heartily recommend, 5+ stars! - someone else that read it a while back said they would have enjoyed it even more if they'd had a glossary of characters and some idea of the language that is sometimes used - then got to the back of the book and found out it was there the whole time. I read it as an ePub book (don't have a kindle), and with that you can flip to the back with a bit of clunkiness, hardcopy would be even easier. I don't tend to have a problem with lots of characters and enjoyed deconstructing the language (it's mostly in honorifics), but geeked out a bit when I got back there. But it's nice to know it's there ahead of time if you want to reference it. And as an audio you wouldn't have that available, so just fyi.
  14. Finished 3 books this week: 103. The Remarkable Life and Career of Ellen Swallow Richards by Pamela Swallow - Did really enjoy reading about the life and accomplishments of this woman - the first degreed female scientist in the US, first woman at MIT, first woman to teach there, also started the first school lunch program in Boston which then spread nationwide as well as a ton of other stuff. One of those people that seem to have inexhaustible drive and energy. The book is short and written by her first cousin thrice removed, who was able to get access to old family letters. 3.5 stars. 104. Oreo by Fran Ross - What to say about this book? Here's something from the Afterword: "In Oreo the Greek myth of Theseus' journey into the Labyrinth becomes a linguistically riotous feminist tall tale of a young black woman's passage from Philadelphia to New York in search of her white Jewish father." Yep, pretty much that. 4 stars. 105. Las cosas que perdimos en el fuego /Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enríquez (ebook) - yes, these are creepy stories. Mysterious possibly supernatural disappearances, maybe zombies, monster children, people devolving into madness. The stories don't have clear resolutions. I don't usually copy blurbs, but I thought this one was good: "Mariana Enríquez brings contemporary Argentina to vibrant life as a place where shocking inequality, violence, and corruption are the law of the land, while military dictatorship and legions of desaparecidos loom large in the collective memory... But alongside the black magic and disturbing disappearances, these stories are fueled by compassion for the frightened and the lost, ultimately bringing these characters—mothers and daughters, husbands and wives—into a surprisingly familiar reality." 3.5-4 stars Currently reading: - The Wife (Kristin Lavransdatter #2) - I'm partway into the section I thought I should have finished by today, but now I see I have an extra week, yay! I'm not sure if I'll continue with the third volume in the series right now, though. I definitely want to get to it, but other books I want to read before the end of the year are competing for my attention... - The Woman in White (audiobook) - Much of the drama could have been avoided if the family lawyer had talked to the sister and just told them to delay the wedding 3 months till Laura was of age. But then there would be less drama, and this is a dramatic book. I am enjoying it, but I do have to say I can see miles ahead where some of the drama-inducing bad decisions will lead... - Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas (ebook)
  15. Matryoshka

    The art of listening is gone!

    I do this, and add either bullets or numbers for each line, and I often bold the part of the question that's important so it's more easily seen. That doesn't even seem to help that much.
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