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Julie in MN

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Everything posted by Julie in MN

  1. I've had 2 kids who had trouble being high schoolers, and the results were different, but they are both doing fine as adults. In some ways, I think high schoolers are ready to move on, to feel like they are contributing to the world; being in a holding pattern controlled by adults around them is counter-intuitive. In other words, I sympathize. However, I was an oldest child, so I said, just tell me what I need to do to get out of here, I did it, I graduated early, and I moved on; my oldest was similarly bent. The middle and youngest were not so willing to "just do it." For them, I adjusted and adjusted, and in the end my minimal standards were very minimal. I didn't feel I was compromising on my word, because I made the kids aware of what an excellent transcript would look like, and how I had been shooting for a great experience moving into adulthood which would fit nicely into their gifts and preferences. Then I explained the potential effects if we gave up on those goals and chose a lesser transcript. When that seemed to be their choice, I outlined options about that transcript. Outside activities could become credits (if named honestly) rather than quality extra-curriculars. Some classes could be pass/fail or repeated. Extra credit could be earned and either boost GPA or boost the number of credits. I gave 0.25 credits for some things that were only partially done. As others have mentioned, there are all kinds of things done in the public school system, as well. There is an ideal, and then there is the reality that all kids aren't all staying on the same assembly-line. My kids have known kids who went into adulthood in lousy situations - some seem to be there to stay, some have pulled themselves out very nicely, at least one committed suicide. There are worse things in life than a lousy transcript. Today, my dd still hasn't finished my minimum requirement of one book per year for English, but she could and I would award her a diploma at any age. Meanwhile she's gradually become an excellent mom and has supported herself as a waitress and weathered the challenges of trying to live very cheaply. The other received a diploma from me, although less than his potential, then dove into a year of sweat labor, until he realized that the men there were still doing the same thing in their 40s. He is in college now :) He is still maturing but is taking care of everything himself in another state. When I see my homeschooled kids conversing with others their age, I am confident they were educated. I am at peace with that. And honestly, colleges will look at your son's great SAT score and may never even read his transcript. Colleges compete with one another by posting high test score averages, not transcript details. Your son may have to pay for high school level courses in college, which may annoy him. He may not get into elite schools that he might have qualified for. But he may find the perfect niche for him, nonetheless. Best wishes on agonizing through this. I've definitely been there. Julie
  2. That first sentence seems off to me. As a non-theater major reading it, I first wondered if all she did was attend a play. If you shorten the description as others have suggested, I'd give that first sentence more "education-ese."
  3. We did a strange block schedule for ds's last semester of high school. He was going through a difficult phase and had done only DE for first semester, then for his last semester at home he insisted he just work on one class at a time, until it was finished. And it worked for him (for the one semester, at least). I'd say he learned far more than he had when he paid partial attention to 6 different classes each day. He really concentrated when it was just one class all day. I was surprised. But I agree with the others that the week in between might be too long. I don't think it would've worked for my ds to work all of one day and then not come back to the material again for a week. Seems like a lot of time would be spent on review? Maybe if it was a class that could be separated into units done discretely? Julie
  4. We enjoyed making our announcement. We must have sent out 50 or more, including ds's friends. Friends exchanged grad photos of one kind or another - ds's announcement was his grad photo. We created a 5x7 announcement at Walgreens, with several pix taken by a friend plus a childhood photo for a cute comparison. The Walgreens announcement had the year and a "graduate" banner already on it, so we just added his name, the name of our school, and a little fun because ds likes fun: Received Every Award (in a class of 1 student) For those whom I worried about appearances, as far as asking for gifts, I placed a sticky note on the announcement and hand-wrote: No party, No gifts! In some cases, I added a comment on the sticky note about how I thought they would enjoy seeing his accomplishment, or how we appreciated their part in his life. One more thing: Be sure your student is prepared to write thank-yous for every announcement sent out, just in case (cards, address book, stamps, decent pen, etc.). That's a big project during a busy time, so talking about it in advance can be helpful. Congrats, Julie
  5. Notgrass is definitely not a 2-year text on its own. It is a fairly gentle 1-year text. So don't worry about that. MFW studies world history over 2 years, with B.C. the first year and A.D. the second year. So, Notgrass is mostly used in year 2, and folks wouldn't be selling their new editions until they were done with that. (MFW uses several materials besides Notgrass, especially in the first year, to fill out 2 credits.) HTH, Julie
  6. You mentioned McCullough, and Mornings on Horseback and The Path Between the Seas both feature TR. Though also long for the time span covered, McCullough's biographies are accessible. Also, you could do just one of the Morris books, and leave it up to your son as to whether he pursues the rest on his own time?
  7. I would ignore that person's advice. Sounds like he doesn't know anything about modern homeschooling :) And yes, you certainly can grant credit in your school wherever credit is due. In cases where I wasn't involved in my son's learning, I had him type up a list of what he did, a sort of syllabus, and attached any paperwork, photos, etc., that he picked up along the way. It sounds like it's also a good time to get letters of recommendation from adults he has worked with, which can be included with the syllabus but also may be needed for scholarships and college admissions.
  8. To me, there is a big difference between grammar and writing. They are connected, but you would spend your time in different ways for each of them. Is it possible for you to borrow the books used in your school from previous years? You could skim through them to locate gaps in your knowledge, and read those sections carefully. Also, are you taking a foreign language? Grammar skills are often strengthened by learning the grammar of another language. If you are picking up the parts of speech and such through your foreign language studies, perhaps your English is simply lacking in punctuation skills or other fairly narrow areas? To me, it's best to spend your time on the specific areas you need, rather than something so broad as grammar and writing.
  9. Agreeing with Kelly and 8Fills - you don't have to make choices for them but you can do quite a bit now to educate them about their career ideas. I had my son do a research report in 10th about medical careers, having him interview many different folks in the field, with educational backgrounds ranging from 2 months to 8 years, to show him that "doctor or nurse" does not sum up the entire field. You could do the same with any career, from engineer to artist. I also think of a Girl Scout I was acquainted with, who got a "wider opportunity" through scouting to try out the journalism career of her dreams. During that experience, she realized that journalism was not what she imagined and was not the career for her. It's a fortunate person who realizes this beforehand.
  10. I totally agree. My boys are both math/engineering-minded and just wanted text authors to tell them what they were getting at, not make them read their minds about where they were going. I can see the benefit of exploration, and I loved when we did Singapore primary and explored many ways to solve a problem, but in later years, my boys wanted efficiency. They had too many other hobbies to explore LOL - probably were picking up a few of the same analytical skills when trying to fix their cars or win a hockey game. Oldest is now a successful petroleum engineer, youngest is a student in computer science, so I don't think it was a fatal flaw. But sorry, no experience with Forester's. Jacob's Geometry was discovery based and I forced youngest to spend a semester in it, but then I let him off the hook :)
  11. I also consider Singapore more advanced, but had some problems using high school level. We ended up only using a couple of topics in NEM at the end of 7th because I couldn't figure out how to schedule it and didn't have a son who would work hard without an assigned goal. The Discovery series was supposed to have much more homeschool hand-holding from I believe the same gal who did the Home Instructor Guides for the Primary series, but now I see that has morphed into the Dimensions series to incorporate common core, so I don't know how far from the original Singapore methods it has strayed. I would probably count NEM 1 & 2 as Prealgebra & Algebra. It doesn't cover proof-based geometry, which to me is where you get a separate high school level geometry credit. However, folks do it both ways with Saxon as well, so of course it's up to you. One problem with switching over to American Algebra 2 would be the exposure to the quadratic formula, which is such a staple in American Algebra 1 but not included in NEM 2. It looks like it's been added to the Dimensions series, see #3: http://www.singaporemath.com/FAQ_Secondary_Math_s/16.htm The quadratic will be in Algebra 2 and college Algebra 3, but goes faster and further each time, so I might find a quadratic unit online to prep for Algebra 2, if you choose something that hasn't covered it. HTH, Julie
  12. I agree that there can be some crossover. My dd had a lot of camp counseling experience and so no need to duplicate some of those skills and experiences if I required them for certain credits. Also, if Eagle Scout is a possibility, that looks really good as an extra on a transcript, so I'd keep that separate. There are also potential college scholarships for Eagle Scouts and other awards that could add to a good application package. For instance, http://www.scouting.org/About/FactSheets/scholarships.aspx (Some of the girls in my troop earned silver or gold awards in Girl Scouting, and most scholarships are now treating those equally.) Julie
  13. I just want to share a different view. I would never, ever, ever take away the dance. Sure, she's messing up in some areas. But dance is healthy. It is building important "educational" skills like accountability, teamwork, and performance. It is getting her out of her chair to experience investing herself fully. A truly failing child might have none of those assets on board. A student doing poorly in school and quitting dance could potentially do absolutely zero, could potentially blame parents, could potentially become depressed. As Cleopatra mentioned, take her age into consideration. As Kiara and Janet mentioned (or my own take on what they said), take into consideration that ALL of us likely don't perform at 100% for 12 hours a day. We homeschool moms want everything for our kids, but realistically not many kids accomplish everything during their high school years. It's a tough time for many kids, juggling a lot of things, including culture and new responsibilities for self-discipline and in her case multiple families. Yes, keep her mind sharp for future college options (and just for life). Yes make her aware that her decisions impact her future. Your asking for tips on how to guide her is a great idea. But I have seen teens fall and fall hard. If she has one area where she's getting healthy exercise and disciplining herself, I'd hang onto that area for all it's worth, and start outlining her options from there. Julie
  14. We joined HSLDA off-and-on when we could, and I always felt it was good to have a national group of lawyers to keep an eye out for homeschooling ups and downs. But I'm one who has never had my own lawyer and would have no idea whether the guys in the phone book were any good, especially on homeschooling topics. I'm sure each person would interpret that differently, but folks could be referring to their support of conservative Christian programs for teens/young adults, or possibly their stance on parental rights with as little state involvement as possible? HSLDA does have two high school consultants, here https://www.hslda.org/highschool/coordinators.asp I have called them about several things, from a dd who flunked public school 9th grade to an uncooperative ds who needed credits. Of course, I also consulted local friends and online places, but I was very happy with the HSLD consultants, as well. Over the years, it seems like I've used HSLDA for various things: * their alternative homeschool forms for MN, which help us provide only the info required by law, rather than the extra info our local school districts tend to want (these things are kept current, updating them as our laws changed) * HSLDA also got involved when our local school districts wanted us to fill out "surveys" * their list of homeschooling laws by state when friends and family from other states have asked about homeschooling * forms for state income tax credits on education materials, which can get expensive in high school (I know, MN is a rarity) * their curriculum buying/selling market And specifically for high school, which is where I began (first year homeschooler was a 10th grader) and where I ended (youngest is now a college freshman): * free sample filled-out transcripts & blank transcripts * detailed instructions on calculating high school credits in various situations * lists/links of various curriculum providers on random topics my kids wanted to pursue in high school Well, things like that. I really found they had a lot of info, and it was fairly specific and current compared to some of the homeschooling books I had, but YMMV. Julie
  15. I would have a hard time calling Friendly Chem a lab science. It has some good materials for visualizing electron distribution using a hands-on distribution activity and visualizing the way you do a chemistry equation using different sized cards. It has some good activities for remembering the noble gasses using a skit and there is an experiment involving burnt marshmallows. But I just don't see that as a lab science. You could present it to your dd as a science course without lab, or lab could be added through another program (we used some of Rainbow Science chem labs and planned to use Experiences in Chemistry to completed a full lab credit, but my dd didn't finish that credit). Just one opinion. Julie
  16. I have the Ancient guide around here somewhere. We used a bit of it to discuss Oedipus. The high school guides are not the same as the Famous Men guides. The high school ones have been around quite a while but I think went out of print for a bit, as they don't seem to be used as often as the Famous Men ones. Here is the one we have: http://www.greenleafpress.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=pubs_product_book_info&cPath=29&products_id=1243 This link has a couple of sample pages: http://www.rainbowresource.com/product/sku/010792 I can't say how it would work to use the guide as a full literature course. Oedipus was a very small part of Ancient lit for us (using MFW for the rest). That one's a play so the whole story could potentially be spoken aloud in a few hours, thus you can see the reading is not heavy if using this guide for an entire year's literature, but it's more than our local public schools, if the essays are included. Those types of guides, written in earlier days of homeschooling, tend to be a little looser than what is created today. Thus they may be best for a student who is self-driven (to find out more than the bare minimum to answer the questions) or a family where there will be discussion. HTH, Julie
  17. I think there are various "points to it" for various folks. For me... In 7th grade [or 8th, I'm now thinking it was 8th] our boys were starting to listen to the outside world more than mom & pop. We live in a very urban area with loads of advertising everywhere, so even if you don't watch TV, you are being sold a bill of goods when you walk down the street LOL. I liked bolstering my son's awareness of fallacies, propoganda, illogical salesmanship. I'd think about the same in 9th grade. In 12th grade, which you mentioned, the goal might be more analysis of political ads for an upcoming new voter or something like that. As a college freshman, my son took Logic because he thought it would help with computer programming skills. All are valid reasons to study Logic. That said, I still don't like some of what is taught (especially the idea that I personally summarize as "false + false = true." I get the premise, but I don't think that's the only way, or the best way, to look at things, but we chatted about that :) ). I have my personal rant; your issues might be different. But rants aside, you need to have a goal with the class or else I'd drop it and spend the time elsewhere. I personally think homeschoolers load on too many classes in 9th grade -- six credits is usual in our local schools. Fallacy Detective/Thinking Toolbox doesn't weigh the student down too much, but if she doesn't like it, it might. Julie
  18. My son did Critical Thinking Co's "Critical Thinking" (NOT building thinking) in about 7th grade with his book club. In my opinion, all of logic has the same stuff -- I've looked at or used parts of those you mentioned and Memoria's. Though I admit that Logic courses drive me batty and so I'm looking at them from that POV. CTC is more dry than Fallacy, IMO, though it does have some fairy tale and other lighter examples. All Logic seems more fun with a group or with some crazy TV-ads from real life to liven it up. You'll probably want the teacher book as well, for when you get stuck. You might want to add the second book to make a semester credit, since it wasn't too hard for 7th graders (although I haven't tried book 2 - probably have it around here). By the way, my son is taking Logic in college this semester and says it makes sense to him with mainly just the CTC book on board (and his book club's discussion). Julie
  19. I am someone who taught U.S. history to myself as I homoeschooled my kids using Hakim (2 different years). I was in high school in the early 70s and I can't even express how lame some of the social studies classes I took were, as teachers tried to be relevant (imaginary housing of the future, spirtual world after death, really). So I needed a lot of hand-holding to teach my kids history, too. The good thing was that I could spot things that my kids (and I) didn't get! I'd use what you have at first, and then switch things up if you find something isn't working. Each family is going to be different. I have the whole set of Teaching Guides and they are great, lots of meaty stuff in there, but none of it really got used here. I wasn't a knowledgeable "classroom teacher" and my kids weren't good at figuring out the core meaning of an assignment on their own while still juggling all the other millions of facts they were reading. I usually had to figure out which chapter an assignment went with, make sure I remembered I had an assignment to go with that chapter, try to allow for an unknown amount of time for each assignment page, and figure out if their answers were close to being correct. I did pull a few interesting ideas for my own discussion, and I felt more secure having lots of possible resources at hand, but they were expensive for that purpose. Not sure if they are the same "Teacher's Guide" you mentioned, because mine were a set of 10 guides. Yes, I overspent -- the first student I brought home to school was a high schooler. I tried the Hakim tests and found that the only way my students could pass a test after a whole book would be to do a heavy-duty memorize-and-forget study session right beforehand. Although that skill has its uses and benefitted my oldest public-schooled son greatly in college, it seemed little was retained in the long-term. And U.S. history is a core concern of mine, in creating knowledgeable future voters and such. In the end, I decided my kids needed to immerse themselves in the text as they went along. This could be done through conversation, but neither year was a good year for me to sit with them and read/discuss together. It could also be done via good note-taking and outlining, but that took my perfectionist-dd too long and took me too long to correct in my non-perfectionist-ds. So, I used (1) the Sonlight daily questions. The kids digested their daily readings using those extensive (excessive?) daily questions on what they were reading. I liked that the questions showed there is more than one way to look at a lot of things in history, although I ignored most of the over-the-top teacher notes that took that point a little farther than I needed. Then, (2) they used the Assessment book, with multiple choice questions on about three chapters at a time, about 10 tests per book. I don't ordinarily like multiple choice at all, because whenever I try to look up wrong answers, I can't even find them or they are some obscure fact amidst tons of other similar facts, so I can't blame my kid for getting them wrong. However, the Oxford multiple choice tests were easy for me to find in the text and usually the wrong answers were wrong because of something we could talk about -- would this really have happened in that state? isn't that the name of a black man - would he really have held that position at that time? If my student had a knowledgeable conversation with me about the wrong answer, I gave him some credit back. Thiese tools did not mean hands-off learning for me, since I would have to find a chunk of time to really read through all their answers (i didn't read the books, but I read their answers carefully and looked up any answers that were wrong or questionable to see what they had read). But I felt both my students and I needed to immerse ourselves in the material as we went along in order to move it into our long-term memories, and these tools helped us do that. I also liked that they learned how history is what's happening today, all wrapped up in culture and opinion and lots of names we can't keep straight but really should. HTH, Julie
  20. Yes, a weighted course gets extra points. I've heard of adding 0.5 weight and 1.0 weight. However, remember that the college may take that extra weight off and do its own calculation. Some colleges also take non-core classes completely out of their GPA calculation. So, again, your GPA may not matter, but if it does, I felt it was nice to be on par with public schooled students who may have the advantage of a weighted GPA. My 0.25 system is very unusual so you may want to ignore it. I only give it as an example that you can do all different things, as long as you are clear. My son took 3- and 4-credit courses through Christian colleges during high school, and my mathematical mind didn't like the options of full credit for both or giving one twice as much credit as the other, so I gave 0.75 high school credit for a 3-credit college course and 1.0 high school credit for a 4-credit college course. Most folks, including HSLDA, recommend 1.0 credit for 3-4 credit college courses. Others give 0.5 credit for all college courses. In some high schools around here, certain courses like physics are given 1.0 credit while other courses like art history are given 0.5 credit. (Dual enrollment is very common in MN, as it is state-sponsored.) As you can see, these things are done all different ways. The most important thing, in my view, is to be very clear about what you have done so that the college can compare your student to others in an accurate and fair way. The second most important piece of advice I'd give is to make sure the credits (and weights) you give at home are not far different from ACT/SAT scores or college grades or anything evaluated outside your homeschool, making your homeschool grades look like mommy doesn't know what she's doing. Julie
  21. You can do your transcript any way you want, as long as you make it perfectly clear to colleges how you did it, in part because some colleges will re-calculate the GPA. This is what I put at the bottom of my youngest's transcript, and I never had any questions. But I only weighted dual credit courses so it might be more murky if you are calling an at-home course "honors," not sure. Grading Scale A = 90-100 4 points B = 80-89 3 points C = 70-79 2 points D = 60-69 1 point * Dual credit college courses 0.25 high school credit per credit +1.0 weighted college grades
  22. Although I think Yale is very generous in making such courses available to the public for free, I personally wouldn't recommend them for someone wanting to read through the Bible for the first time. My first thought is that the lectures would mean an additional 25 hours of time spent not actually reading the Bible. And I think the problem most folks have with reading the Bible is that it's so long and takes a lot of time. Second, the course is not an overview of the Bible, at least the New Testament one; I haven't listened to the OT one yet, but most such courses are not meant to help you through the Bible for the first time. The NT course is an introduction to a method of "historical critical" interpretation of the Bible. He spends the majority of time critiquing traditional authorship of books of the NT, which I don't think matches your goal of reading through the actual Bible. Anyways, two versions I didn't see mentioned above: 1. The NIrV is the entire NIV but with smaller words and sentences, meant for children or new English speakers. NIrV isn't for digging deep into theology, but it can be a good one for quickly getting the whole picture, the first time through. 2. A "study Bible" (I haven't seen the ESV one need2read mentioned) -- my study Bible is the same as other Bibles in the same version, but just has tons of footnotes available. They may tell me what a cubit is or where I heard this phrase before or what scholars think something means. Helpful clarification without stalling from moving forward. And online helps I like: 1. BibleHub.com can show you lots of English versions, all on one page (type in a chapter and click on "parallel" -- for example http://biblehub.com/hebrews/12-1.htm). And while you're reading, you can look up the original Hebrew/Greek (type in a chapter and click on "interlinear" -- for example http://biblehub.com/interlinear/hebrews/1-1.htm ). 2. BibleGateway.com, like others mentioned, is a huge resource. As you're reading, it's great for trying to find a word or phrase you remember hearing before. 3. And just using a search engine like Google can give you lots of thoughts on any questions you have along the way, rather than reading about questions that someone else has :) HTH, Julie
  23. Review is great. But I found that if review was just memorize-memorize-memorize, then forgetting after the test was the likely result. If your goal is remembering after the test, then I found it worked better to discuss why wrong answers on the quizzes didn't work for that question - was it the wrong time period, was it unlikely that a woman would have taken that role at that time, was that the right colony for that type of leader? Of course, some test-writers make this easier than others, but when I tutored, I saw too many kids trying to keep too many discrete facts spinning in their heads, without getting the big picture. HTH, Julie
  24. Not sure if you are considering autobiographical novels, but they may give more of a sense of Australia than some straight-up novels. I always liked Road From Coorain. It's kind of depressing but gives a sense of a certain piece of Australia, especially in the first half of the book. It's not too long, maybe a couple hundred pgs. (Also a movie.)
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