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Posts posted by KAR120C

  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 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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... ;)

  9. We ended up having to go way across town (passing a good dozen schools on the way, who either weren't offering the exam we wanted, or didn't have room, or weren't open to having an outside student test...) but it was entirely worth it. After last year's test, which went off without a hitch, the coordinator there is willing, this year, to order any test we want. Which is great because while last year we were doing a very common one, this year we're aiming for three less-common subjects!


    I only vaguely remember linear algebra (or multivariable calculus, for that matter), but I remember thinking, "This is really easy. Why is it after calc3 and diff. eq.?" We did learn parts of it in earlier courses - probably the parts necessary for multivariable calculus. It wasn't all new to me. But I just thought the whole course was ridiculously simple and seemed out of place when I took it.

    I never took a whole Linear Algebra course myself, so I don't know what I don't know (lol) but we had what seemed like quite a bit mixed into the calculus sequence as needed...


    I don't know if it made a difference or not, but my calc sequence was at an engineering school, and maybe even though they called it calculus 1, 2, and 3, it might have been more like the "engineering math" sequence. There were things in the course that weren't in the text, and supplements they added in... But I have no basis for comparison, really.

  11. I aimed for a "middle ground" between too much planning and too little (lol.... I like knowing where we're headed! but I promise I don't stick to plans that aren't working...), so my intention when DS was reaching Algebra very young was to alternate years - one year of "progress" (standard curricular stuff) followed by one year of "tangents" (Counting & Probability, Number Theory, Stats, etc.)


    It still didn't quite work out that way.... We did algebra, it went well, and then we switched to statistics... which requires a couple topics from algebra 2... no problem... but also we had a great co-op group doing Zome Geometry, so that year ended up being Statistics AND Algebra 2 AND Geometry. I had another year of geometry for him (there's plenty of geometry to go around... lol), but really between what of algebra 2 we picked up for stats and what he picked up to use elsewhere (science, math competitions, etc.) there wasn't much left of Algebra 2 by then. After Geometry we did AoPS Counting & Probability and Number Theory, and then a year that I meant to call Algebra 2 but ended up being more Precalculus.... and at that point, he wanted calc-based physics, so we jumped right into BC Calc and to heck with the plan... lol...


    Like Regentrude's DD, my DS is interested in the physics applications more than the pure math... so after multivariable I expect he'll do DiffEQ. And after that? no idea. He may fall in love with computer science finally (I keep expecting him to...) and go back for more discrete math... Or he might need something specific for a particular science use (that's usually what drives our direction around here...) and whatever that is... I guess we'll find out when it shows up! If he's not too particular, I'll encourage him to do another year of discrete math and a calc-based stats class... and linear algebra somewhere in there.


    BTW... my general approach would be to put statistics before Precalc. AP stats doesn't require anything more than Algebra 2, and I don't like to interrupt the Precalc-calc1-2-3 sequence if I can help it. There may be more that should be in that uninterrupted run, but that's as far as I got myself... so that's as far as I can advise.

  12. I'm not exactly sure of the set up over there. I am vaguely aware that there are two inter-related entities, one a nonprofit, one a for profit. I can guarantee I know what the for profit corporation does: make money.


    Really? I know they've been criticized for making a ton of money while enjoying non-profit tax status, but I'd never heard that there was an actual for-profit entity too...

  13. There are a ton of reports... somewhere..... I know I've found a few (that of course I could never find again), like every single different way they could cut the population of AP exam takers to correlate with different score distributions. I remember that one in particular because it had a "native speaker" grouping for every language. Including Latin. LOL (If I remember correctly "significant study before the 9th grade" made a native Latin speaker!) But it was also interesting because native speakers of languages did not necessarily score higher than English speaking students of the language.


    I'm not sure who all uses those, but they're interesting to poke through when you can find them. The navigation on their website leaves much to be desired, but I think they're under the "professionals" branch of things.

  14. I use Coursera as a source of material... like a textbook. I don't necessarily ask DS to do all the assignments (if they're good I probably will, and if they aren't we'll skip them) and I might add other requirements. So for instance he did a Mythology class with Coursera this fall. He did all the readings and quizzes, and one of the two papers. I used the quiz grades for 25% of his course grade, and I marked the paper myself for another 25%. In addition to the Coursera work, he's preparing for the Medusa exam with extra reading and another paper, and those will be the last 50% of the course grade. For all of that we're counting a 1/2 credit elective in Lit/Comp. It's on his transcript as "Greek and Roman Mythology", and I have a separate Course Descriptions file that has a paragraph and list of resources on each course.


    It's the same as if we used Great Courses DVDs. I'm still the teacher, and I determine assignments and grades, so the credit comes from me.

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