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wendyroo last won the day on May 23 2013

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About wendyroo

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    Hive Mind Larvae
  • Birthday 02/14/1981

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  1. Yes, DS did all the problems in AOPS Pre-A. Then every couple of chapters he would take a break and catch up on Alcumus as review. It took him about 18 months to complete the book.
  2. wendyroo


    I agree. I have been here 8 years, and to me the chat board actually seems a smidge tamer than in the past. I like that this is a board where a group of intelligent, invested people, who believe in things strongly come together to discuss them (sometimes heatedly). Yes, sometimes it is uncomfortable, sometimes feelings get hurt, sometimes the discussion edges on uncivil. I prefer that to the alternative. Women have long been indoctrinated to use indirect, pacifying, self-effacing language. To me it feels like here we have a group of mostly women, some of whom are taking back their strong voices and not softening their ideas and opinions to fit society's image of the "nice girl". I find it refreshing. And even when it borders on harsh, I find it much more authentic than discussions steeped in deferential buffering to soften disagreement.
  3. I teach with all the zeros. DS11 no longer uses them. DS9 sometimes does and sometimes doesn't. Once they have mastered the concept and algorithm, I don't have strong feelings about it one way or the other. However, I am militant about lining up place values, and will have them entirely rewrite a problem if their answer is misaligned. That just leads to far too much confusion and far too many mistakes. For example, today DS was dividing 299046 by 101...he started out fine: 296 101 ) 299046 - 202000 97000 - 90900 6100 - 6060 86 But then he just wanted to call 86 his remainder...which is fine, except he forgot to put the 0 at the end of his answer. He then checked his work 101 * 296 + 86 and obviously did not come up with 299046. It was an easy fix, however, because we ALWAYS line up place value, so I just had to point out the problem that his answer lacked a ones digit. That would not have been as obvious in your original example.
  4. For what it's worth, that DS does still have CLE as one of his math options each day (along with a number of other choices), but he hasn't chosen it since before Christmas. He has a contentious, love-hate relationship with Math Mammoth, but by and large that is what he chooses almost every day. He is also working though Hands on Equations Verbal Problems and Hands on Geometry. He just started Math Mammoth 6, and I am already dreading the end of the era when he finishes has certainly not been a peaceful journey, but it has gotten the job done, and transitioning him to something new will not be pleasant.
  5. I don't put a tremendous amount of time into it. I do think it is important for my kids to be exposed to a wide variety of science concepts and vocabulary, so each year I read through one of Mr. Q's textbooks. "Textbook" is actually a bit of a stretch; Mr. Q is a science teacher who writes his books in a very casual, conversational, interactive he includes comics, jokes, and really bad puns, but don't let that fool you - the science is actually very deep. (The one down side is that he avoids discussing fact, I think that is why he chose to write Advanced Anatomy and Physiology instead of Advanced Life Science.) So, each afternoon, while the kids eat snack, I spend ~20 minutes reading either a chapter from Mr. Q or some of our science read aloud. Sometimes I tie our read aloud into our Mr. Q theme, and other time I choose something that complements it (such as the evolution book we just finished to complement our Mr. Q study of anatomy), or something on an entirely different topic. As I said, to choose/gather books, I tend to browse a couple book lists that I like. But, that normally just involves a couple hours once or twice a year while I watch TV in the evening. I rely heavily on Amazon's Look Inside. For example, I might look at the Noeo Science sight to see what they use for middle school chemistry. I find the book Molecules: The Elements and the Architecture of Everything and look it up on Amazon. I find it to be a feast for the eyes, truly mesmerizing. Then I see that the same author has written other similar books. From Build Your Library (level 10 because I never limit myself to the grades that my children are actually in), I find The Curious Naturalist: Nature's Everyday Mysteries, and I look that up. Amazon says that that book is frequently bought with The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness; that clearly peaks my interest and I go look at that as well. Biographies of scientists are great. Joy Hakim has written a three book series on The Story of Science. There are so many options. In the end, I often choose based on what I can cheaply buy used on Amazon. I have a loose budget in my head, and just start ordering based on what I most want to read and what I think the kids will most enjoy and learn from. Then I supplement that prodigiously with picture books and graphic novels and anything else science-y we find at the library. There is very little method to the madness, just an overarching plan to keep immersing them in science that spark their interests and fill their minds.
  6. I've given this a lot of thought, and I have concluded that I really don't care if a grammar stage student doesn't know why a fraction behaves like a fraction. I mean on a purely computational level: 1/n of something = 1/n * something = (1 * something)/n = something/n means something divided by n. But my goals for grammar stage math doesn't go any further than that. I guess in my mind, one of the hallmarks of grammar stage learning is being allowed to build upon foundations even if you are not in a position to understand why or how the foundations are true. I see my job as summing up the grammar, the definitions, the foundations of the subjects into correct, versatile, simple axioms that the child can learn and expand upon. So, for example, I teach a definition for a noun. With that in hand, the child can learn to identify nouns, use nouns as nouns and verbs and adjectives, diagram nouns, use nouns symbolically in poetry, etc. They can build all of that from a simple, true definition of a noun...but they don't necessarily have a clue why the definition is true. Why do we group people, places, things and ideas all into one group? Would we have to do it that way? Do all language define nouns that way? Why don't we have to worry about noun cases like in Old English? Do all nouns behave the same way, even those that are actually verbs or adjectives being used as nouns? Why doesn't our language use gendered nouns like most of its ancestors? That is all incredibly interesting information which can deepen a student's knowledge and intuition of grammar, but it would just serve to confuse the issue during the grammar stage. So during the grammar stage I keep things simple. My kids all have/had significant speech delays, so their first math definitions were actually hand gestures I teach them. By the time they finish arithmetic, they have a whole host of definitions that they can call back on. I might prompt a struggling child with, "A fraction is...", and they will fill in, "a division problem." If I say, "The denominator tells us...", they can quickly recite, "how many equal parts we are dividing something into." They don't know why that is the case any more than they know why sound moves in a wave...they know it does, and they can build upon that information, but they can't explain or defend the foundational concept...yet.
  7. Trello is a very versatile, free, online, collaborative scheduling app. You create task cards which can include as much or as little information as you want as well as checklists, due dates with reminders, attachments, tags, etc. Then you can drag and drop the tasks onto certain days or any other organization that helps you keep yourself on track. You can share your entire schedule with a "team", so in our case, DH and I also have access to DS's schedule for now. We can add tasks, check on his progress, see if he has tagged any tasks as needing help or checking, etc. We don't utilize this feature, but team mates can also send comments back and forth; on one tutorial I watched for using Trello in a homeschool, the mom had the student send her a comment through Trello (a written narration) of the main idea after reading history or science assignments. Trello has been a very helpful addition to DS's studies as he heads into the middle grades. I can see a clear path forward of how I can transition more and more responsibility to DS for organizing and meeting his obligations - academic, extracurricular, familial, etc. Google Classroom, OTOH, is more about organizing classwork in such a way that DS can work through it independently and self-directed. For example, I put together a poetry unit for him on Google Classroom. I went through and created the course: adding in readings I wanted him to do, links to videos I wanted him to watch, poetry vocab quizzes I wanted him to complete, short answer questions for him to respond to, and Google Slides for him to either interact with (for example, a slide with a poem on it that he needs to annotate) or design himself (for example, finding three very different images from nature, copying them onto a slide, and writing a haiku for each). In other courses I have included maps for him to label or mark a route on, a worksheet on using past perfect verbs in Spanish and then instructions to use to record a silly story in Spanish using at least 3 past perfects, etc. Google Classroom has been useful in particular situations, but not something I will be using too extensively. It requires a lot of prep on my part, and while DS can then be a bit more independent, I still have to stay on top of supervising his work. I have found it useful for a short unit study where I want to use a variety of short resources and present them in a particular order. It was also perfect when DS needed to complete a project with a friend and for red-tape reasons we needed very specific output from each of them. I made them each a student in a course, assigned the reading they needed to do, let them both virtually collaborate on the project on the course's Google Drive folder, and had them both complete short answer questions to collect the output we needed. But I don't have that kind of prep time for most subjects, so I usually stick to do-the-next-thing or a repeating cycle of assignments, and I haven't found Google Classroom useful for that type of course.
  8. I agree. I have always used Beast Academy a year "behind" Math Mammoth. Then again, in our case, we are using both of them way "ahead" as well. For example, each of my boys finished Math Mammoth 1 and most of 2 during kindergarten. Then they finished the rest of 2 and 3 during first grade. My current first grader has started Math Mammoth 4, but only recently has he had the executive function and flexible thinking to tackle Beast Academy 2 (independently, I'm sure with sufficient support he could have done it last year, but it still would have been very frustrating). For example, today he was working in Beast Academy 2b. The problem was: Lizzie is practicing addition with a game. She starts by writing three numbers on a piece of paper. Each turn, she crossed out one number and adds the other two, writing the sum somewhere on her paper. After four turns, Lizzie's paper looks like this: 6, 33, 60, 21, 15, 26, 27 (the illustrated numbers are not in any sort of order or line). What three numbers did Lizzie start with? The actual math involved in that is trivial addition, but it takes a lot of logic, problem solving, and organized thinking to figure out where to even start. That is the only problem that DS got done today, and even that required a lot of scaffolding from afar. It took a long time and some tears. I do think that level of challenge is good for him (mathematically and emotionally), but it would have been far too much a year ago when he was easily cruising through Math Mammoth 2.
  9. We start typing pretty early: first grade, or 2nd at the latest, depending on the child. By third grade they are outgrowing the typing program, so I stop that, and instead have them start typing some of their writing and narrations in Google docs. My boys greatly prefer this to handwriting, and I commiserate; my hand is toast after hand writing a few paragraphs. I choose to teach Google Docs over Word simply because it is much easier for us to share and collaborate on documents in Google Drive. Online safety is a reoccurring topic from the time they first start using computers, but when they begin using Google Drive I also start explicitly teaching digital navigation, organization and etiquette. Fourth grade is when I put a class for my oldest on Google Classroom for the first time. I've done a few since then, and I always include some Google Slides assignments so that he can experiment with images, text boxes, etc. My oldest (finishing 5th grade now) certainly knows about spreadsheets (he sees me use the ALL THE TIME!), but he has rarely had any real need for them. Just for kicks, last year I had him record how many pages he read each day for literature, and how long it took him. He created a Google Sheet, and filled it in for a month. With that data, I taught him how to average, how to make charts and graphs, etc. I'm also allowing him to interact with my spreadsheets more and more. I have a spreadsheet of his weekly Python coding challenges. In the past, I would pull one out and paste it into his planning document (a Google Sheet) each week. Now, I have been handing that task over to him. The other two apps that I'm working on teaching my oldest are Trello and Anki. He has ADHD, so I really want to build strong foundations to support his executive function as he gets into higher education. Trello is a collaborative, adaptable scheduling program. DS has his weekly schedule in it, and over time I am slowly shifting more and more responsibility for recognizing what needs to get done, setting intermediary goals, fitting tasks around daily and weekly activities, etc. My kids start using Anki (a spaced-repetition flashcard program) in first grade, but next year I am going to start having my oldest create some of his own Anki cards. As he reads through his history, he will pull out what he considers the 2-3 most important points and make Anki cards. I want to use this opportunity ti help him experiment with his own learning and fine-tune how he best retains information. Wendy
  10. My kids are 4, 6, 9 and 11. I mostly just read aloud for science. Sometimes that is "curriculum" - we love Mr. Q Classical Science - but often it is just books about science. That is what is typically meant by "literature based", just reading the best books you can get your hands on. So, for example, I have read aloud to my kids: A Black Hole Is Not a Hole; Invincible Microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure; Lives of the Scientists: Experiments, Explosions (and What the Neighbors Thought); Clan Apis; etc. I check out every science picture book that looks interesting at the library...I read them to my youngers and sometimes the olders listen in or else sometimes they read them themselves. Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12 is an awesome resource. I also get a lot of ideas from the living books suggested in the Build Your Library curriculum. I know on first glance this might not seem "rigorous" enough, but I have been able to read some very high-level books. Our most recent read aloud was The Story of Life in 25 Fossils: Tales of Intrepid Fossil Hunters and the Wonders of Evolution...oh, my goodness, what a dense read. It was fascinating, and all four of the kids were engaged and learning at ton, but it is far, far "above" what any curriculum would suggest for middle school.
  11. We are in the process of trying to get my son qualified for another year of Medicaid coverage through a Severe Emotional Disturbance waiver. Our wraparound coordinator summed up our last meeting as, "Well, from what you are saying, it sounds like occasionally he is not a danger to other family members, so I doubt he will re-qualify." So, there is the line. If the child is only a danger to other family members (including 2 younger siblings) most of the time, then you're on your own. 😕
  12. I have never once worried about my post-toddler-aged children knowing what "of" means. Of is used in a lot of ways, but one very common one is defining a "whole". Itty bitty children understand "you can have part of my cookie" (my cookie being the whole), "most of the leaves have fallen now" ("the leaves", presumably on one tree or in one area, being the whole), "only one of us can fit" (us being the whole). In multiplication, of is used the same way, because you can only define x groups of y, if first you define what a whole y-sized group is. So if you say 5 groups of monkeys, we can all vaguely picture it in our head, it is a valid multiplication, but we cannot calculate the total number of monkeys because we have not adequately specified the size of our "whole". The "of" is showing us the size of one "whole group", but we lack the context to define that number. On the other hand, if you say we have 5 groups of a dozen, we both share the background knowledge to know what "whole" the of is defining. So when we say half of a dog, the of is simply defining our frame of reference: for this calculation, "a dog" = 1 whole. We could just as easily say half of this pack of dogs. Or half of a dog's spleen. And once we have defined our whole, then we know that 1/2 means splitting that whole into 2 equal pieces and "keeping" one of them. So talking that through, I guess the difference between "three 4's" and "3 groups of 4" is a subtle distinction between treating the 4 as 4 individual objects or as a cohesive "whole". Which is why when you shift to fractions, the "x y's" language kind of falls apart; what is "1/3 18's"? But since the group language was already treating the 4 as one whole entity, it can deal with fractions: "1/3 of a group of 18" the "of" defines 18 as one whole, which then gets split into 3 equal parts, and we "keep" one part, or 6 individual items.
  13. I am not very hard-core about this, but I do try to word even early multiplication as scaling rather than "arbitrary" repeated addition. So, a model for 3*4 might be, "A dog has 4 legs. How many legs total do three dogs have?" I would not use the word scaling, but that is what I am describing: scaling up from one dog to a group of dogs. To solve this we would "figure out" 3 groups of 4 (I avoid suggesting adding the three 4's together). Initially, I always make three groups of 4 with manipulatives or on the abacus and then physically rearrange them to show that we have one group of 10 plus 2 more. Eventually each of my kids has realized the shortcut of repeated adding, and I don't stop them from doing that, but I continue to use the language of "figure out how many are in x groups of y", leaving a lot of flexibility as to how we figure that out. Then it is a pretty easy leap to go to "A dog has 4 legs. How many legs does half a dog have?" = "figure out how many are in 1/2 group of 4". I draw my dog splitting picture such that each half gets two legs, but it only takes a couple problems for my kids to realize that if we split into a top half and a bottom half then one will have 0 legs and the other will have 4. So then I introduce the language of "how many legs (on average) does half a dog have." And then "Each alien only has 1/2 a leg. (We draw an alien standing on one bloody stumpy leg - this catches my boys' attention.) How many legs (on average) does 1/4 of an alien have? (We illustrate bisecting our alien through two vertical orthogonal planes.)" = "figure out how many are in 1/4 group of 1/2".
  14. I have not received emails in many months, and I still am not this morning. I am using Chrome on a Windows machine.
  15. I'm reading it to my 4, 6, 8 and just turned 11 year olds who are all experienced read-aloud listeners. They are all enjoying it, though clearly some of it is going over the 4 year old's head. I think if I were just reading to my 4 or 6 year olds, than I would choose something different and save The Hobbit for later. But it is going well, and I will probably read it aloud again in a few years when it will speak to everyone (including myself) on different levels.
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