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Everything posted by Amithy

  1. Not sure if you're asking me or Woodland Mist. I can't speak to it a whole lot, as it's more something my DH felt about the curriculum. And, again, neither of us has actually held the books in our hands. DH read all of the online samples, and we watched some of the videos. Every math text has a way of asking questions that tends to reflect that particular text. In that sense, they're all a little quirky. AND, as Arcadia mentioned, that's why it's important to mix it up a bit.
  2. Wow! This thread took off while I was gone. I'm sorry if it seems like I dropped out of the conversation. I frequently have days when I have no availability to be online for anything aside from school and work. We are still in a holding pattern. We've taken some days entirely out of any curriculum to do some exploration of triangles (sin, cos, tan...) in preparation for the next chapter of physics. DD had a couple of days of standardized testing last week, too. So, we haven't had time to hit math hard. My husband, who teaches computer science and has taught physics in the past, thought AoPS looked fine based on their online samples, but he had a certain feeling about it, which I think Woodland Mist put a finger on in saying, "Some students develop odd habits and tendencies." ...It seems a little quirky. This is probably a personality thing, and I want to express that I am *in no way* criticizing those who use AoPS. As with everything else in homeschooling, different curriculum works for different people. I still kind of want to order AoPS just to see it and try it out. But, I don't think I will. Based on a number of reviews and having read extensively on the AoPS website, I don't think it's the right move for us. I'm guessing we'll be using some of their videos and Alcumus, though. These are both such great resources.
  3. Please bear with my questions a little longer. :) I *so* wish that I could see an AoPS book in person! My next question is this: Does Alcumus accurately reflect the difficulty level of problems in the AoPS texts?
  4. So, do you feel that the transition from Saxon Algebra 1 to AoPS geometry was fine? Are you concerned about moving to AoPS Intermediate Algebra without having done their Intro to Algebra text? Or are you not necessarily planning to continue with AoPS?
  5. Oh, I believe you that it gets harder! But for the level that the sample lesson was at, the questions were very comparable to what DD has already done in Saxon. I also *did* see that each exercise problem presented a variation on the concept. DD would prefer that to the way that Saxon introduces micro-concepts separated by several lessons. She often makes the micro-concept connections on her own, which is why I offer her the Saxon sample problems before reading the lesson. I think we'd both prefer to see a concept taught to mastery, rather than the skipping around that Saxon does. DD doesn't use a calculator for most math currently. So, that not a change for her. So, can anyone tell me what we know about AoPS outcomes? How do students do on standardized testing? What if they *do* go into math-related fields? I intend to look up some research on my own, but I wanted to ask here, too. :)
  6. Well...I appreciate all the replies...though I'm feeling just as conflicted as ever. :laugh: DD looked at Alcumus this morning and couldn't figure out how it was any different than working through Saxon problems. Then we looked at the sample chapter section from Intro to Algebra. Interestingly, it doesn't look all that different from Saxon, IMO. Saxon covers a series of sample problems at the start of a lesson/chapter, followed by practice problems/exercises related to the new concept. The only thing missing from the AoPS chapter was the 30 review questions following the practice problems that Saxon always has. She was *thrilled* with the idea of a shorter lesson/chapter/section. LOL! Now, Saxon walks students through the sample problems, rather than offering up the new problems to see if the students can solve them on their own. However, I *teach* Saxon the same way AoPS walks students through lessons. So, I read explanations with DD and offer her the sample problems without the solution to see if she can figure them out on her own. Then we walk through the explanations when necessary, and she does the practice problem set followed by the odd numbers of the review problem set. I looked through the exercise problems at the end of the sample AoPS chapter, and they did not look any harder than Saxon problems. In DD's opinion they are laid out a little more like a logic puzzle, but she enjoys those. So, maybe this is a good fit for us? I just hate spending the money only to find that it's not. To clarify some things I said earlier: DD says she hates math...BUT this doesn't, in any way, mean that she is not math-minded or "mathy." She drags her feet and dawdles about math because she's bored, not because she can't do it or has a hard time with it. I honestly don't see how math can be any more of a time suck than it already is. Right now it's a black hole. I'd like a rainbow colored time suck, please. :P
  7. Ok, so...can someone tell me how a typical lesson is set up? In what way is the curriculum time intensive?
  8. With regard to math for mathematicians: I don't consider myself a mathematician, but I enjoy math as it relates to theology. A lot. I mean, in a nerdy way. DD enjoys philosophy and theology. I want her to *get* what math and science have to offer those fields of study. And I think she would enjoy it a whole lot more if she *got* it. A few years back she would REFUSE to do a math problem if she didn't understand why it worked. Now I'm finding that she's applying formulas without understanding. So disappointing.
  9. If this is the sequence, is it possible to get through Calculus by the end of high school? She's 9th grade this year. I would, personally, like to see her finish calculus because I know she CAN, and I think she could enjoy it, given the right curriculum.
  10. My DD (14yrs, beginning 9th grade) is just finishing Saxon Algebra 1. I think we might be done with Saxon. I'm not totally decided...partly because she wants to stay with Saxon. But here's the dilemma: - I think she only wants to stay with Saxon because it's familiar, therefore "safe." - She says all the time that she hates math. - Math takes a LONG time, even though she only does odd numbers of lessons. I *think* this is due to dawdling because she doesn't like it. - She's very good at problem solving in general. She's the one I ask when I need a creative solution for something. She's crocheted dolls with no pattern. She created her own pattern AND wrote it down in order to repeat the pattern later. She can sew or make pretty much anything she puts her mind to. It's not necessarily mathematical, but she has a problem-solving mind. - I'm starting to see her lose the underlying principles of numbers. She's just copying the formulas but cannot necessarily explain why they work. This was not true a year ago. - Most recently I realized that a concept that Saxon introduced completely out of context actually HAS a context FIFTY lessons later. I am re-learning algebra as I go along and had totally forgotten how this worked. I was disappointed with Saxon for not introducing this as a complete concept much earlier. I don't want to see this happen again. So, I've heard a tremendous amount here about AoPS. I would, more than anything, like to see her enjoying numbers and their underlying concepts again. I don't think she's headed for a math-related career, but I want her to be well-rounded and ABLE to do whatever she wants in life. So, can someone tell me the sequence of AoPS if we're just finishing Saxon Algebra 1 (3rd Edition)? How are the books generally sequenced? Anyone with reservations want to tell me why? Any other suggestions? Thanks!!
  11. Have you looked into the different editions of Saxon? I believe that the 4th edition now has a separate geometry book. If you get the older versions of Saxon, geometry is embedded in algebra. Older versions are also significantly less expensive if you look into buying books used. I've picked up Saxon math for my DD every year since 4th grade and have never paid more than $30 for the student text, teacher text, and test booklet combined. Obviously, given the things I just said, we are biased toward using Saxon. If you want your student to get the benefit of learning geometry along with algebra, I'd suggest using Saxon for both Algebra 1 & 2. My gut is that it would be a difficult transition from one curriculum to another between algebra 1 & 2 because of the inclusion of geometry beginning in Saxon's algebra 1. I'm sure there are people here with more experience than I, though.
  12. We are not far into the program yet, but so far we like drawspace.com. They have some free portions to try it out, and you can purchase a subscription to access other lessons. I liked that it started with really basic things like drawing materials and vocabulary. Beginning lessons are about testing different types of pencils, using an eraser to create effects, and some basic shading. DD likes that the lessons are for people of all ages. She is not typically impressed with "kid" curriculum.
  13. Sure. First, we aren't using any DVD options because DD doesn't learn well from DVD explanations. I can't quite put my finger on it, but there's definitely something in the human interaction, the back and forth between us, that helps her understand new concepts. We chose the 3rd edition primarily for the reasons I listed in my original question: the 4th edition was not written by Saxon, and it does not integrate geometry. One of the reasons we considered the 4th edition was for it's introduction to graphing calculators. We've decided that we'll supplement with graphing calculator activities from elsewhere. It is *not* hard to find online resources for teaching the use of graphing calculators. For both DH & I, separating geometry from the rest of math is out of sync with our philosophy of education. We'd both rather see geometry integrated.
  14. Thank you for sharing your lists! We are also getting ready to start a Renaissance unit!
  15. Sorry to disappear on the topic. We had a whirlwind of a summer! I *did* end up with the 3rd edition, and I'm very happy with the choice!
  16. The end of each Saxon book overlaps with the beginning of the next. So, it is common to begin several lessons into a new book unless your child has had a long break and needs the review. I did not have my DD test in order to decide where to begin in a new book. Instead, I looked through chapters with her until we hit on a concept that she did not understand. I taught the new concept and had her do the practice problems. As long as she had no trouble with the new concept, I kept moving her forward in this way until she was consistently encountering new material. That became our starting place for the new book. This method insured that she did not have any gaps in her learning from simply testing through it. She has never, ever finished a Saxon book, and she has consistenly started somewhere around lesson 30 or 40 in the next book. (We've used Saxon 4th-7th grades so far.)
  17. We've been using Saxon math since 4th grade and plan to stick with it. DD is ready move into Algebra 1, but I'm hearing mixed reviews about the 4th edition. At first, I was sold on the 4th edition. The Cathy Duffy Review makes a good case for it, including the addition of "Investigations" and graphing calculator labs. However, the makers of the DIVE CD's make a very good case for NOT using the 4th edition, including the dis-integration of geometry and the loss of Saxon methodology. I would love to hear the thoughts and experiences of others. Thanks!
  18. I use a 1:4 coffe grounds to water ratio and soak at least 12 hours. The coffee I buy is typically free trade & organic, medium to dark roast. I like Costa Rican coffee, but I'll settle for less. ;) I also drink the coffee in a 1:4 coffee to water/milk/ice ratio. So, with almond milk I'd probably fill 1/4 of my mug with coffee and fill it the rest of the way with almond milk. It takes a lot of almond milk to make something creamy, as others have mentioned. If I'm using cream, I'll fill 1/4 of my mug with coffee and fill the rest with water, leaving room for cream. For my DH, I use 1/4 cup coffee, 1/4 cup coconut milk (the real thing in the can, but the "light" version), and enough water & ice to fill the mug. For sweetener, I typically use two packets of Truvia. It dissolves well and tastes like sugar. :)
  19. For The Art of Argument, is it necessary to have the teacher book & DVD?
  20. DH is a public school teacher. So, it works best for us to loosely follow his schedule. What this means, though, is that we start school 2 weeks before the public school kids because that's when the teachers go back. We trade those extra weeks for time off during the Jewish High Holiday season (a week or so in September or October) and sometimes an extra week off in January. School runs until mid-June for DH. So, we take a break basically from mid June to mid August. DD continues to read and do some math over those 2 months. We also do projects, summer daycamps, and family trips, which all tend to be "educational."
  21. I apologize ahead of time for my lengthy response... It's interesting that this discussion should come up right now because my DD is 12, and we're FINALLY settling into a foreign language. In the past, I've tried to generate some enthusiam for learning Spanish. My oldest daughter speaks Spanish as a first language. I took 4 years of high school Spanish & a year of college. So, it seemed like a natural choice. BUT, my younger DD has been everywhere from totally resistant to mildly interested in Spanish. She's picked up some. It's true that I could have pushed harder, but we had bigger "fish to fry." So, I let it go. We dropped even trying to learn a foreign language for a long while. This semester I started talking to her about how she's going ot need a foreign language in order to graduate from high school someday. She knows that she is ethnically a large percentage German, and DH spoke fluent German in high school & college. We also visited the Germanic American Institute in our area over Christmas. She started casually mentioning that she wanted to learn German. Finally she asked me if DuoLingo had a German program. (This is an app that we had previously used for Spanish.) We looked it up, and she started working through the German lessons immediately. She's been willing to try out the German phrases she's learning in the appropriate context (something she'd never do with Spanish), and she was enthusiastic about exploring other apps and creating a binder for keeping track of her German vocabulary!! We are now 3 weeks in, and the enthusiasm continues. The biggest things that I think have influenced the success of this choice are: DD's enthusiasm, my own interest, and the availability of resources (as has been previously mentioned in this thread). I have been way more enthusiastic about language learning than I've been in the past also. I'm not really even sure why. Maybe I also needed something fresh, new & different? In the past I might have advised you to go with a language that is likely to be most useful. Now I'd say that drive and enthusiasm need to be a significant component in your language choice. If you're Italian, and you feel like this gives you a reason to learn Italian, go for it. As I understand it, once you've learned a 2nd language, learning still other languages will come easier. So, there's value in the process. A word about resources: There are getting to be a TON of online resources available for language learning. Many of them are free. As I mentioned, we are using DuoLingo (an android app). Live Mocha is a free online language learning website. And radiolingua.com has language learning podcasts for a number of different languages. I also live in a larger city where there are opportunities for attending classes and conversation circles. AND our public library has a ton of resources available - including children's DVDs, CDs and CD-ROMs. Our library also has an online language learning program that we can access for free with our library login.
  22. Awwww! I already got them 1 at a time this past summer - 1 credit per month. That's a great deal, though!!
  23. It's interesting to see how people define & handle "field trips" differently. We've hardly every used the term "field trip," but we do intentionally plan some outings, and I also keep record of them as part of "schooling." I couldn't agree more with those who have said that group outings almost never work. We stopped doing them a long time ago. If the purpose is educational, we don't go with friends. That said, we almost never state that the purpose is educational. Over winter break, DH & I took DD to the Museum of Russian Art...just for fun. I find that DD is easily irritated by pressure to get something educational out of an experience, but she *does* enjoy the experience and get a lot out of it if I just let her explore and hang closeby to exclaim over my own exciting discoveries. :) I think the value in field trips, as others have mentioned, is getting a true feel for the reality of something. Having a real experience is much less quickly forgotten. Experiencing the world is qualitatively different from reading or watching videos about it.
  24. Thousand Word Thursday - Advent/Chanukah just added today!
  25. We really enjoy board games at our house, and many games have a logic component. These are the ones that come to mind right now: Blokus - I've been playing this with my friend's 5yr old, and I remember playing it with my daughter starting when she was 5. Gobblet - Might be too difficult for a 6yr old. I can't remember for sure. IZZI - Great for all ages and can be modified by number of pieces for younger kids.
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