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Everything posted by KAR120C

  1. Wow, that has been a long time! I don't think ours were ever longer than a week past the "first available", although they didn't always manage to send the email telling us they were there...
  2. I agree with Darla about the Dobsonian mount - especially for kids, it's easy to aim and keep it aimed, has a nice low center of gravity (no tripping over tripod legs in the dark....) We have the 6" and no regrets. The soft side case that Orion sells is great for throwing it in the trunk of the car and taking off somewhere. I personally go "old school" - no GPS and no automated tracking. I think finding things is half the fun... ;) Get a good star chart or attend your local planetarium shows to find out what's up when, and take a stab at it!
  3. We have a comic on the wall..... http://electroncafe....c-process-rage/ It's not entirely appropriate.. but boy is it spot on! ;) ETA: Just went back and re-read it and I should increase the emphasis in the warning... definitely not appropriate, especially for little ones! but still spot-on.
  4. In our case it meant he was competing at that grade level, in everything. When he was in sixth grade he was in the "junior" division (6-8th grades) for science fair, he was in his first year of MathCounts (6th-8th), and entered the state history competition against sixth graders. When we registered for the National Mythology Exam, AMC 8, Mathnasium Triathlon, etc. he was registered as a sixth grader. And when we normed tests (annual requirement in that state) they were normed for 6th graders. For outside things (museum classes, etc.) I generally didn't bother with them unless age AND grade matched. Otherwise it probably wasn't going to be a good fit. Other than that, I got away with not mentioning it a lot in random conversation. As far as the books he was using, they were all high school level by then.... but he wasn't ready to compete as a high schooler. That would have ruled him out of the Scripps Spelling Bee (just based on taking high school courses without regard to what you call the grade), but it was fine for competing against the brightest middle schoolers in our area, who at least in magnet schools had some of those opportunities too...
  5. I know the thread tagging feature isn't up yet... I usually tag threads on grade level decisions because there have been well over 200 of them already, and they usually cycle through all the same points. Since I can't yet.... I wanted to throw in a slightly different perspective. DS has been working way ahead of age-grade level consistently from the start. We called him a kindergardner at five, with every intention of continuing to follow age-grades, but not redshirting (even though if he had been in PS that would have been the expectation for a boy at that time and in that area). He made the PS cutoff but not the local private schools' cutoffs, which were much earlier, so in some circles that would already be considered a grade skip. When he was seven he wanted to participate in the science fair, which required that he be a third grader. It was clear both from his test scores and from his daily work that we could safely move him up from second to third, and we did so. He has maintained that level without any more changes ever since. I have no regrets. However, it's really not something to be taken lightly, and there are several things I would consider.... 1. I would be very hesitant to change the grade level of a very young child, just because they can progress in fits and starts. Seven was probably pushing it.. I think eight or nine would be safer. 2. I would generally not change a grade level "up" unless the kid is well beyond the target grade. That is, I would not take an advanced third grader and change grades so that he would be an average fourth grader. And I wouldn't change the grade of a kid who was inconsistent to the point of needing help in some areas (for instance ahead in math but well behind in reading). I would make a move only with plenty of information - if there are any little quirks that might later turn out to be LDs, I'd like to be clear on that first. 3. Related to #2... especially if you have a kid who enjoys academic competitions (or who may some day enjoy academic competitions....) Declarations of grade level can follow you around, and you can't pick and choose for each thing you do. For instance, you couldn't be a 9th grader for the science fair and an 8th grader for MathCounts. If MathCounts found out you could be disqualified. Don't change a grade unless and until you're ready to use that grade for everything, and consider whether bumping the kid up a grade is necessarily a good option if he is then going to be competing against the best and brightest of the target grade. (It might still be the right choice... but give it serious consideration before making a move). Some competitions have very particular rules about grade level and eligibility (the Scripps spelling bee is one of them... MathCounts is another... National Merit Scholar...) and they're not consistent. Some are based on your declaration, some are based on specific classes taken, some are based on age. Just look into it first if you think it might be a possibility. 4. I wouldn't bother changing a grade unless you got something out of it - access to a program, eligibility for a competition, etc. Our 2nd-grade-to-3rd-grade skip got DS two things - access to a talent search test, and eligibility for the science fair. There was no further benefit to further skips until the point where we might have considered moving him up to get to the junior division of the science fair (middle school) instead of elementary. I do think there was one year where that might have been a good idea, but one year of mediocre fit wasn't awful, and it would have put him in MathCounts earlier which could have been too much. Again, to move him from junior to senior (and out of MathCounts) a year earlier... in retrospect would have been a great idea, but again, the "fit" problems were minor and the potential benefits not particularly worth the effort. This is our last year homeschooling, and DS is applying to private schools to finish out his high school education. We've been perfectly clear about the skip and why we chose to do it, and no one has questioned his placement. It helps a LOT that he has a solid record of test scores, outside class grades, competitions, and volunteering - not just in one subject area, and not just ability but also persistence and maturity. One school out of all the ones we're looking at hesitated about grade level, but not in the way you might expect. They leaned toward counting him as an even higher grade (based on credits) rather than a lower one (based on age) because they were more concerned about applicants who hold back a year to game the system and make a better application than their age peers. I hadn't expected that! But when we discussed it they could see that wasn't what we were doing at all. All this to say... the flexibility of homeschooling allows us to teach every kid at his or her own level in every subject, and you should absolutely take advantage of that, BUT with respect to "official" grade level, I personally would recommend treating it as a serious almost-set-in-stone proposition. Maybe not in every single conversation with every random stranger, but certainly when you're putting it on paper (registering for an exam, competition, or program, or in any paperwork submitted to the state). It may never come up, but there are circumstances where it absolutely matters, and it's worth considering the possible ramifications of whatever choice you make.
  6. I think what I'd do... especially since you're new to homeschooling... is give her placement tests for a few curricula. Singapore Primary is one you might consider.... It's hard to say which one would fit without knowing the kid pretty well, but you might find that placement is different just based on scope and sequence, or that there's material on topics she's familiar with that could be done in greater depth with challenging word problems. Another possibility is competition math. I like MOEMS in particular at this age, because it has a good problem-solving focus (rather than computation speed). If none of those offer any interesting possibilities, then you could certainly try prealgebra. I like AoPS in general for mathy kids, but there was no AoPS prealgebra when DS was at that point, so I can't say anything about that from experience. We used Singapore Primary Math and then went into Singapore New Elementary Math (NEM), which includes a bit of prealgebra, then integrated algebra and geometry. Hope this helps!!
  7. I know a place in Estes Park, CO, but it might not be convenient... lol (But in case it is convenient... it's called Poppy's. They put all the pizza stuff on a bed of shredded zucchini. I've not had it myself, but I've heard it's delicious!)
  8. You know... this is something I only recognized recently. Possibly because I only have a DS (and no one seems to care if they play with little kids or not...) and partly because we moved and have a new group, so as a semi-outsider I think I see some things that I didn't really notice before. But the expecation on pre-teen girls to be de facto babysitters for groups of little kids can be a really heavy burden for the girls. Some probably love it, but what I saw with one group we were briefly associated with was that the older girls stopped showing up, until the last 12 year old left was completely overwhelmed with little kids, and parents (not hers - the little kids' parents) who seemed to kind of just assume she was okay with that. If DS had been expected to hang out with little kids at any point in his life, I think it would not have gone well. I do expect good manners, but really... I expect the adults to help manage the situation too. If there's absolutely no one she can play with, I'd definitely encourage her to make do with what she has, as politely and patiently as she can (and not retreat to read the whole time they're there, although if these are weekend guests I'd try to make sure she had some breaks from them too), but unless she ends up in a permanent state of dissatisfaction with everyone available, I don't know that I'd worry too much about it.
  9. The way I'd approach both of them is how many ways can you choose the first digit (or letter) and the second... and the third... etc. So with the number problem, you have five choices of digit for your first number, four remaining digits for the second, and three for the third. 5x4x3 is 60. With the arrangement of MATH, you have four choices for the first letter, three for the second, two for the third, and then there will only be one left for the fourth. 4x3x2x1 = 24. They're both permutations, but it's easier to think through them without reference to the formulas..
  10. We did singing just because his flute teacher was also a voice teacher, so it was convenient to combine the lessons.... I was thinking of acting voice classes now, though, because he's working at the local art center's theater... so it would be convenient again. I think either one might be good, but singing is what we have done.
  11. Before the punishment/ reward part, DS does best when he can see exactly how much time he's spending and/ or wasting as it happens. He's overly optomistic about how long things will take (under-estimates), and he forgets how long he's been on a five minute break until half an hour later. So... we have a chess clock. One side for working time and one side for breaks. The reward (or punishment) is that he's not done until he's put his time in, so if the clock says he spent five hours working and three hours not, he has not finished his time for the day. If he had put in eight hours and not gotten to the end of his list, we could call that done, but not if he wasted three hours in there too. So whatever it was that he wanted to do, too bad. He needs to finish his school work first.
  12. We switched to voice lessons after DS was "graduated" from speech therapy, and I have to say it was a much bigger improvement than the speech therapy ever was. That might reflect more on the speech therapist than anything else.... :glare: or on the fact that he didn't have a problem making the sounds when he thought about it, just on remembering to actually do it... The other thing we've done is emphasize foreign languages to an extent we wouldn't have otherwise. Paying attention to his foreign language pronunciation has helped him pay attention to his English pronunciation.
  13. (emphasis mine)Test prep is not "so much". Using it for everything? That would be too much. But the OP is (if I understand correctly) primarily interested in test prep. It really only takes a couple weeks of very light use to teach a child to use a calculator sufficient for test prep. Seven questions a day was perfect for us, just so he knew where all the buttons were. And then the calculator goes away. We don't use it for everything, or anything he could do by hand. Honestly even with higher math, I'm almost always going to want the answer in terms of pi, or in simplified radical form, and not a rounded decimal answer. So he needs to know his standard trig functions, how to factor algebraic equations and complete the square, how find asymptotes and limits and graph by hand... all of that first, and then if at the end I want a (rounded decimal) numeric answer he can plug in the last expression. Is it tempting to use it for everything? I don't know - I never asked him. It's not an option. But every time he has a standardized test we haul out the calculator and send him off. Is it a little ridiculous? Sure. But it hasn't actually hurt his ability to do real math in real life. The one year he had really heavy calculator (and computer) use was the year we did AP Stats. I did make him do one simple linear regression by hand (ten data points isn't going to kill him), but really it's a royal pain in the rear and always doing it by hand isn't giving you any extra insight. Once is plenty. And I'm perfectly happy to let SAS draw scatter plots and boxplots as long as you can reconcile what you know about your data with what shows up on paper, and that when it spits out an equation you can talk about it with good understanding of how your data produced that particular pattern. (and not "the calculator said so")
  14. This! The TI30XIIS is by far my favorite cheap scientific calculator. If it's not pretty enough (LOL) get stickers. DS only got his TI30XIIS to take the Explore, and practiced with it for a bit before the exam... seven questions a day (add, subtract, multiply, divide, something with decimals, fractions, and percents). We didn't use a calculator for math in general, just for standardized testing when it was recommended.
  15. I've never had any problem taking him with me to vote... and I'm pretty sure he really did learn *something* from the process. Maybe not a great big civics lesson in kindergarten or anything, but he learns that his parents think it's important, he sees that we put a lot of thought into who we vote for, and DH and I discuss the complicated issues and bounce our thoughts off each other even though we don't always vote exactly the same. If nothing else, when he's old enough to vote he'll be at least semi-familiar with how it works. And then we stay up late watching returns. :)
  16. One thing to consider... if she's already panicked when she's in the doctor's office, you want to find a way to step it back just a tiny bit, so she recognizes something that makes her anxious but she's not overwhelmed and she can remember the candy part too. Or if the doctor's office is okay but that one NP isn't, you might spend as much time as you can in and around the doctor's office with only little glimpses of the NP. Basically the idea is once she's in a panic she's not learning the good association, but if you can find things that she's only a little anxious about, or things that she's medium-anxious about, but stay away from the really panic-producing ones, you'll probably make more progress. :grouphug:
  17. But you know... hurricane... (sort of) I think severe weather calls for Halloween candy. Nevermind that our power outage started right around bedtime and ended just before it was time to get up, thus minimizing the inconvenience... and we're on the far west end of the affected area, so potential for danger was really minimal.... But individually wrapped Reese's peanut butter cups were just what one needs to make it through that kind of, uh, trauma. And once the bag was opened, it just made sense to finish it off after lunch. It's okay though - we only ate one bag among the three of us... and I went to the store this afternoon and got four more to replace it. ;)
  18. I don't think it's crazy to move for a perfect school.... but be careful. What looks perfect of paper doesn't always hold up to close inspection. We moved recently for a job, and chose a neighborhood based in part on the schools... and while I don't regret it at all (it's a great neighborhood for a lot of reasons!), the schools aren't as amazing in person as they are on paper. They really are good schools - really really good - but especially when you're dealing with kids who are outside the norm in one way or another what's really really good in general still might not be the right fit. And of the four local schools we started out considering, the one I thought was going to be all wrong has ended up being our top choice.
  19. Believing you're correct is one thing... being rude about it as another. I'm not sure you can (or need to) change her self confidence. I mean.. it's good to keep an open mind about things, but that probably comes with maturity more than it can be taught. But being obnoxious is more of a behavior issue. It's fine to believe you're right - and in fact to be right much of the time, but whether you're actually right or not you still have to be polite about it. It might be worthwhile to role play or discuss some strategies - key phrases that come in handy for situations when you think someone is wrong. Because really, unless there's a safety issue involved, or you're a parent and/or teacher, it's rarely appropriate to correct someone. And having a productive discussion about a disagreement takes an awful lot of tact and grace. One thing you might try for those situations when you as a parent (and teacher) want to correct a misconception that threatens to turn into a battle of wills... is to defer to a disinterested authority. That is, instead of giving several examples and finding three adults to take your side, just skip straight to the dictionary. If they still want to argue then fine - they can argue with the dictionary and good luck to them. At least it's not personal, and you're not engaging in the argument.
  20. At three it was his choice whether to start something at all, but once he started he needed to quit politely (not wander off, not speak rudely, etc.) At four, I started asking that he finish some portion of what we started... like finish the problem he's on. By five I was doing more starting myself (rather than waiting for him to request something), and he needed to finish more - a whole section, or a page - before he could be done. The things I asked him to do were mainly things I thought he'd enjoy, and our time commitment for sitdown work was still small, but that was when I think I'd have called it "required".
  21. If the day just isn't going to be salvageable (attitude, too many things on the schedule) I'll drop it. If there are hard-and-fast deadlines to be met and a risk of not making them, I'll press on. If both of those are true I'll curl up under the dining table and whimper.....lol...
  22. And I had a passing thought that it might be Italian for flu..... :lol:
  23. :iagree: T-shirts! Especially funny ones about any special interests. And food is definitely good. Favorite snack or candy or something interesting he's never had before...
  24. When we started, the plan was definitely to get through middle school (ugh... middle school!) and then take high school as it comes. And we have. We're looking at high schools now... DS is ready to spread his wings out in the world, and if we can find a really good, challenging (almost certainly private) high school for him, we'll both be thrilled. Unfortunately a lot of what we've found is only moderately passable.... but there are some promising possibilities still on the list. We should know by Thanksgiving if any are worth pursuing. If nothing pans out, we'll continue to homeschool... but it's going to need to take a different approach, with him much more self directed and working with outside mentors. As far as how it has affected our content, curriculum, and pacing... I've always done what worked right then. Squashing it into a format that looks like a transcript is a little challenging (lol) but I don't regret it at all. The only last minute preparation for high school has been, honestly, in handwriting. So far every place we've seen is very typing-heavy, which means this is probably my last chance to improve his penmanship. :lol: We're also putting some time in this year to work on the specific skills of time management and keeping an agenda... not so much for going to high school as for the possibility of continuing to homeschool. It's good for both of course, but if we do homeschool for high school he is absolutely going to need to manage his own time and do it well. He and I are both busy, I can't juggle both calendars reliably, and there is absolutely no reason he can't manage his own. He does need some practice though, so I'm sitting with him every Saturday to help him plan out his next week.
  25. Some of them I think I've always heard and used.... autumn, proper, cheers, pop over, sussed, twit, and wonky... Some I'm hearing more, like roundabout (although I have to admit we didn't actually *have* roundabouts until recently... lol), some of them I hear only from the set that thinks it makes them sound cool (but teeter precariously between Michael Caine and Austin Powers.. lol), and some I've never heard at all. I only ever hear "knickers" when they're "in a twist" and not in any other context.
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