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  1. If everything goes to plan.... this will be our last homeschooling year. All in all it went very well. Not exactly what I planned in September, but what we needed anyway. DS worked hard, gained a lot of independence and took resposibility where he needed to. He was challenged, and did very well. He'll be starting private high school next year. It's a good school, with a good reputation (teachers that care; strong academics and good athletics and arts programs, strong stance against bullying...) I'm optimistic. It's not the school I thought we'd fall in love with, but we really have. And what's more, it was the school that made me most feel like they really really wanted DS. Not that they'd condescend to accept him, but that they would be thrilled for him to be there. Could we have done more this year? Almost certainly. I fell into a job in December (thinking if I just started looking something might come around by summer), and while I don't think it put too much of a dent in the academic side of things (DS works better, in fact, without me over his shoulder), I'm very very tired. Very tired. I haven't had as much time to be helpful, and the time I've had hasn't been my "best" time... and I do feel guilty for that. But really, DS has risen to the challenge. What I notice is that those things that he are entirely on his shoulders get done, well, and on time, even if his has to (literally!) run across town to meet a deadline. But our best work is done when we sit down at the beginning of a project, work out a plan, and then let him carry it out. He still needs some guidance to prevent those mad dashes at the last minute. So here, a few months into my job, I'm starting to get the hang of it all, just in time for the end of this school year. We'll call it early for next. ;) I'm going to miss homeschooling. I already do. But DS is ready for something different and I think he'll do extremely well with the school we've chosen.
  2. I greatly prefer prime factoring... extracting roots beyond that is optional. However.... I have a slightly-less-painful method for extracting roots than the long-division thing... I find it enjoyable in a "things to do while you're waiting at a bus stop and only have paper and pen" kind of way. I don't know if I can explain it right (long week...) but basically you use the (a+b )^2 = a^2 + 2ab + b^2 pattern to estimate closer and closer. So if you wanted the square root of 8872, you know it's more than 90 (90^2 = 8100), and that it can be expressed as 90^2 + 2*90*b + b^2... and with b being a one-digit number, 180b will be bigger than b^2. So 8872-8100 leaves 772, divided by 180 is between 4 and 5, so we'll go with 4....8100+4*180+16 = 8826. So it's 94.something. And if you want the next digit, you can repeat with 94 as a, and figure out a b between .1 and .9... It can go on like that as long as you like. I like it better than the long division one just because I know what I'm doing at each step.
  3. I'd certainly let them know that it might be chicken pox -- there's no downside to their being aware of the possibility, even if it isn't. DS got a very mild case of chicken pox after having had the first vaccine but not the booster. (We didn't skip it - it was just not due yet.) He had a fever of about 101 for less than 24 hours, slept through an afternoon, and then he was pretty much done with it except the blisters itching a bit.
  4. I'll second the drawing class... Since it's a fine arts credit I'd lean toward drawing from the arts side of things rather than technical drawing, but you could probably do either.
  5. If they weren't already assembled... I precook the noodles (or at least soak them in hot water) to speed up the baking part.
  6. I don't have anything against gold stars, or grades, or competitions.... DS has always enjoyed competitions and enjoyed doing well at them. My take on it all is that as much fun as rewards are, that's not enough to sustain the effort in anything for long, unless you have real interest. DS has done really well in science competitions, for instance... but no matter how big the rewards are -- and they can get pretty substantial -- the effort required to get them is HUGE. Even if you won some of the top national awards, if you divided it up into an hourly rate for the work you put into it, you'd do about as well to get a minimum wage job. You really do have to want to do the work for the rewards of the work itself. You have to want to find out all the things you learn that way. You have to want to be the person who did all the work and discovered the things you wanted to discover. There's a certain pride of ownership. That doesn't mean there's anything inherently wrong with the rewards. Rewards can be exciting, and recognition is satisfying in a way that appeals to a lot of people (myself included). But if that's all there is... it's not enough. I think, though, that sometimes from the outside it looks like it's "just" about gold stars... which I find irritating. It's a not very subtle statement that you're incredibly shallow. And I bristle, too, at the implication that competition is about feeling superior to others. If you really thought you were better than your competition, winning against them wouldn't be meaningful at all. It has to be a challenge - you have to know that you're up against a strong showing from your peers who have as good a chance at winning as you do, and you have to know that sometimes (maybe even frequently) you put in a ton of work and come away with no awards to show for it... and that it's fine. You did your best, you learned a ton, and it was worth the effort.
  7. The first time DS took the ACT he was still riding in a booster seat. On the other hand, when we showed up for his first AP exam, I was thrilled that the school security guard thought he was a regular student. :) He was seven when he did the Explore and looked tiny, but did fine. I got to hang out with other parents in the school library, waiting for the kids to come out and fielding awkward questions, but he didn't get any of that.. lucky kid... lol
  8. We have Fiestaware and the racks weren't a problem....
  9. The only dishwasher I ever loved was a Bosch. They're not cheap... but they're quiet and they wash the dishes really well. We have an LG right now that DH and I both hate, but it came with the house and it's not actually broken, so we're letting it stay for now. One of these days one of us will run out of patience, and we have the Bosch all picked out to replace it.
  10. When DS was little we had a single cab pickup but you could turn the airbags off. DS rode in it as a toddler (front-facing) with the airbag on his side off.
  11. At that age DS could read Harry Potter (and did) but 99% of what he chose to read was Garfield and Calvin & Hobbes. I still read aloud to him, and he did occasionally pick up a chapter book, but he read tons and tons of comics too. No harm done... he picked up more chapter books as the years went on, and as a teenager reads some seriously challenging stuff.... but when he was six he happily buried himself in comics.
  12. Just to throw in another option.... DS really liked how Counting & Probability meshed with Number Theory. We did them simultaneously. I wouldn't try to match them up, but if you have both going at the same time, you'll find that each one is enriched by the other at different points.
  13. We go to one.. it's nice... I like that you can get out of the contract at any point, and it's only $10 a month. Also they let >13 year olds come with parents, which is nice for homeschooling a teenager (although it looks like yours aren't that age yet). Ours is open at like 5am, so DH can go before work... My only complaint is they don't seem to have "real" personal trainers. DH had a great personal trainer at his last gym, but at Planet Fitness they really seem to just show you how to use the machines. "Judgement" with an e bugs me, but apparently it's an acceptable alternate spelling... ;)
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