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Posts posted by Alice

  1. My oldest did the WTMA Statistics course this year. It's one semester. He is likely to be a Math major and found it really easy. But enjoyable. He liked the teacher and had a lot of fun doing the required project. He's taking Intro to Number Theory this semester from the same teacher and really enjoying it as well. They are both light options for high school math (Ds was also doing Calc this year and these were electives) but if she has already taken through Calc and just wants something for the transcript they might be options. 

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  2. Yay! I can finally post. DS decided on Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. It came down to that and another college and he spent all day going back and forth before finally making the decision. Then today, he got an email from the other college saying they had “found” an extra $3000 a year scholarship for him! It didn’t change anything but was interesting to see them do that, especially after he had sent in the form declining. The decision wasn’t financially based in the end and Centre is still cheaper than the other one as they gave him a nice merit package as well. 


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  3. Jousting Armadillos was not a good fit for us, but I know others have liked it. IMO, it’s probably better for strong writers/verbal kids than kids who love math. It has a lot of writing and reflection. It also is geared towards being used in a classroom so you have to adapt that. And I was ttoally frustrated by the number of mistakes in the solutions guide. I used it fairly early on so those might have been corrected but it was completely frustrating. So much so, that I threw the book across the room on more than one occasion. 


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  4. 17 year old graduating senior is working as a pool manager and swim coach. And swimming a lot himself. And planning his gap year. He also has the goal to work through a Beast Academy book 😄. He's a Math guy and likely Math major and he just thinks it will be fun. He never got to do BA because it came out at a level below where he was at the time. But he's used AOPS and loves it. He also wants to get an AOPS competition math book and work through the problems. 

    14 year old rising sophomore will spend a lot of time at the pool. Hopefully he can work at the pool. He'll swim on the summer team. 

    11 year old rising 7th grader will dive and swim at the summer pool. And she has a few weeks of summer dance lined up. 

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  5. I know you said you looked at Land's End and wasn't impressed but I'm going to put another plug in for them. I have two pair of the Swim leggings and they are awesome. Super comfortable, even for lap swimming. I have worn them in the ocean and in the pool. I am plus-sized but also I have super fair skin and so it's just easier for me to have more covered when I'm in the sun all day. I usually wear a suit, the leggings and a swim shirt. The swim shirts are long-sleeved and comfy and provide good UV protection. They also dry quickly once you are out of the water. 

    Also, you can pick bra sizes still...it's just not available for everything. But I just ordered two new suits from them and I was able to pick the cup size. 

  6. Hugs. This sounds really hard. My SIL has cancer and has been needing round the clock 24 hour care for the past 4 months which has been mostly done by my dh and his two siblings, with her four adult kids coming in to help when they can (they are not local). It is really hard being the spouse supporting the caregiver spouse, I get it. 

    It sounds to me like mostly she is lonely and that the nightly visits are not enough for her as far as loneliness and possibly the anxiety of being alone. It sounds to me from your earlier post like the planned visits (eye drops, groceries, trash) aren't as much a burden on you all as the extra calls and visits. 

    Could you schedule a morning visit daily? But make it a rotating schedule, not necessarily always your dh? Make it clear that it will be for an hour or something like that. But then if she calls looking for someone, the answer would be a gentle "remember, so and so will be there in an hour" instead of either having to say no and feel guilty or yes and have it be an issue with work. 

    It sounds like she just wants someone physically there but doesn't always need something specific. Could you have her come to your house for the morning hours a certain number of days a week? That might give her something to look forward to. 

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  7. 4 hours ago, Kristini2 said:

    You are right. She is very self-motivated, and until this year she has had a lot of leeway in her education. I’m just finding it hard to reconcile the more interest led learning with the fact that colleges are going to want four years of this, three years of that, etc. I also want to make sure she is well prepared for college, since that is her plan B and plan B is a lot more likely than plan A in her case. I’m reading through a lot of older threads on non-traditional high school learning and id love peoples’s ideas on how to make it happen.


    I don't know if this will be helpful or not and I don't really know if it is good advice yet because my non-traditional kid is my 14 year old who is finishing up 9th grade. Right now I'm letting him follow his interests within a subject. For example, we did psychology this year but he did not want to use a textbook or follow a curriculum. He's listened to lots of podcasts, watched lots of videos, read books (some assigned, some on his own). We used Crash Course to kind of make sure to discuss certain topics and as a very bare bones scaffolding. Through some of those readings as well as another assignment that morphed into a philosophical essay he discovered an interest in philosophy and has been reading all over the place. He is reading a ton of stuff he would have probably balked at if assigned. I'm keeping track of what he is doing and may eventually call it a course or an independent study. 

    I look at some of the skills he will need for college as separate. He needs to learn to manage time, write an essay, follow a syllabus, etc. But I don't feel like he has to do that for every single subject and I think we can take four years to get there. So he has a few online classes and those are the ones I have him follow deadlines and a schedule. Stuff for me I allow to be more flexible and go with what he is interested in. 

    But like I said...I have no idea what colleges will think when it comes to making him a transcript. It just became really evident early on that for him to enjoy high school we were going to have to be non-traditional. And I think we are going to have to emphasize that his choice to homeschool allowed for a lot of self-guided learning and embrace the weird and quirky nature of his choices. It's very different than my other two, but hopefully it will work out. 

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  8. Obviously, as others have mentioned, there are lots of variable depending on the particular schools and things like in state status. That said. I know people who have done both. Ds is doing a gap year and did the apply and then defer method. Mainly because we felt like it wouldn’t really be a gap year if he had to worry about college applications. We wanted it to be a true break. I know a few others who have done a gap year or “super senior year” (which I don’t totally understand how they put it on transcripts) and applied after graduation.  It worked fine for the people I know. I think they all applied very early, like the summer right after graduation so that recommendations were less of an issue. And you have to make sure not to take classes at a college during the gap year and risk being seen as a transfer instead of a freshman. 

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  9. I cannot wait to post on the thread. My ds is still deciding between 4(!) places and driving me nuts. He hates to make decisions and they are all good options and somewhat similar so I really have no idea which one he will pick. 😜

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  10. 1 hour ago, Dmmetler said:

    A few got applied to because of mailings, mostly because they offered a free application last summer when my teen was bored, but none of those even got to the "make an effort to visit" list. I can't remember if Agnes Scott was first contacted by mail or at a local college fair, but I know they made it to the "will apply" list due to meeting 1-1 with the regional admissions rep when she was in town in fall of 2019 to do visits at a couple of the high schools here, and called to see if L wanted to meet up and ask any questions. So, we met her at Starbucks. 


    And yes, there were some real mismatches-a lot of schools seemed to think my kid wanted to be an engineer. 


    For awhile my son kept getting mailings from several Fashion Institutes which at least provided his younger sister with a good laugh. (Not that fashion is inherently bad or not for guys but he checked off Math or Physics as potential majors and is the least fashionable person you could imagine. Plus he hates art and design.)

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  11. I also forgot to mention earlier that the most impressive swag ds got was from Centre. He got a packet of cards that were super personalized. It's hard to explain but each card had some aspect about Centre on it but had things like his name, his hometown, his interests, etc on them. He also got a poster that was super personalized with his name on it and other specifics like his hometown. 

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  12. Ds got letters from a lot of places, I think everywhere but I can't keep track. But he got the email first. Some places then sent a packet that included financial aid offer. Some places sent a packet of material and financial aid separately. And many of them sent some kind of swag. We have been torn between...this is cool and your reaction of "maybe you could just lower the tuition a little?".

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  13. On 4/5/2021 at 12:01 AM, Dmmetler said:

    Agnes has since mailed out a box for scholar’s weekend with a lot of stuff (t-shirt, tote bag, colored pencils, notepad, pen, hand lotion and purple M&M’s, and then sent a nice pack of materials for women’s history month. 
    One of L’s friends got a hammock from one school. Obviously we didn’t apply to the right places! 


    On 4/8/2021 at 10:45 AM, kokotg said:

    Hendrix has a question on their application about your favorite candy, and then they send you your favorite candy (I have heard tell that they will go to considerable lengths to track down the candy if it's something obscure; my kid just said snickers, though). Aside from that, nothing more exciting than socks.

    My oldest got a hammock also...from Hendrix. But no candy. 🙂

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  14. 5 hours ago, Dmmetler said:

    FWIW, my future organismal biologist has had faculty at highly competitive schools (including some Ivies, some privates at similar levels and some state flagships who are actually better regarded than many Ivies in that specific area) suggest not applying as an undergrad because they really do not have the opportunity for undergrads to be as involved in research due to their large number of grad students-and students from their schools sometimes actually have a harder time getting REU's and summer opportunities because the assumption is that they don't need the opportunity the way someone from a school perceived as a lower tier does. So, we focused our college search on three things-were undergrad students from that school regularly doing research and publishing/presenting at a national/international level, the reputation of the labs and PIs with regards to women, BIPOC, and LGBQTA students, and the likelihood of getting excellent merit aid, because we aren't going to get need based aid. 


    We'll find out in a decade or so if this was a good choice, but overall, I'm pretty happy with it now. 

    Dh wnet to Yale. I went to a small private school in my state. He will often remark that he thinks I had a better experience as an undergraduate. I did biochem research for three years and two summers and was able to present at a national convention. I think the research helped a lot getting into med school. I also got into one MD/PhD program, but ultimately chose not to go that route. I don't think I would have gotten into that without the research experience. I was able to do research because I went to the biochem professor as a sophomore student (who had not had anything but basic chem) and said I was interested and asked if there was space in his lab. He said sure and took me on. For the summers I had to compete to get a grant to stay but it wasn't really that competitive, most people I knew got one if they had anything like a reasonable project. So I actually got paid for research for two summers. 

    I also knew my professors really well personally. That Biochem professor was a huge mentor. We would all go to his house for game nights. He had us all to his lake house every summer. The entire Chem department of professors and research students went tubing together in the summer, had movie nights and went crab-picking at a different professor's river place. They knew me very personally. Which also helped I think when applying to med school as far as recommendations and things. 

    Dh had a lot of opportunities as far as going to classes with well-known or even famous people. But he can't think of a single professor he feels like he really knew personally. He had a good experience, but it was mostly due to the other students. When he thinks about mentors, he thinks more toward grad school. He does feel like the name probably helped when applying to grad schools but he definitely isn't pushing or even encouraging any of our kids to try for an Ivy. If they really wanted to, it would be up to them and it would have to work out financially but it's not something he feels is necessarily the best option. 

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  15. Married in 2000. So many of ours. Dishes- we got really plain white dishes from Crate and Barrel. All the flatware. We only have one glass remaining. Serving utensils, pizza cutters, ice cream scoops (we got four). Right now, I have my feet on a coffee table my bil made for us. I think we still have some towels although they are threadbare. Definitely some dishtowels. Pots and pans. Knives, steak-knives. A silver tray. A chip and dip plate. Wooden bowls. Mixing bowls. A tea kettle. We would have still had a lot of the appliances but we had a house fire last year that was electrical in nature and a lot of those got replaced by insurance. 

    Most surprising to me at the time was a Crockpot (we don't still have it, I got a bigger one after about 10 years and gave it away). At the time I thought it was silly as my Mom never used one but I quickly became a convert. Another one I thought was dumb at the time was an electric carving knife. Every year it gets pulled out at Thanksgiving by my BIL to carve the turkey. Who knew? 

    The things we got that I didn't end up using was crystal vases and knickknack kind of stuff. Not really our style. We have given away most of those over the years. We did get a pair of silver candlesticks from my somewhat estranged grandfather. I do still have those and use them. 

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  16. Our co-op is great but it works primarily, I think, because it is run by the church it meets at. One of the pastors started it many years ago for his own kids and it's evolved over time. We know have something like 120 families (on a non-Covid year) and classes for kids from nursery to 12th grade. There are no paid teachers so the fees are very low. It is not a drop-off co-op. Everyone has to teach two classes and the third period of the day there is a parent support group. It's a lot of work to run and the pastor who started it does most of that work. There are downsides to that as well (like we have to abide by policies of the church that we may or may not personally agree with) but overall it's a good thing and takes the burden off parents. And it gets rid of a lot of the issues mentioned previously about insurance and legality, etc. 

    There are several other co-ops in our area that are drop-off with paid teachers. One that I have been very interested in has classes that you sign up for by the quarter (so no yearly commitment) and is secular. It is very popular and I've seen it explode in numbers over the past 8 years or so. It's definitely filling a need. The main reason we haven't done it is that the classes are VERY expensive. I'm sure they are worth it in that they are paid professionals teaching, and with the drop-off set-up it's more of a once a week school than a true co-op. But it hasn't been in our budget. 

    One thing I would think about is what YOU want out of a co-op. Is it mostly social? Academic? Those are two very different things, in my opinion. One of the things I like about our co-op is that it offers both kinds of classes. I think it can do that well because it's large. With a smaller group you could run into trouble if you are offering academic classes but some people se it as social or vice versa. We have used ours  primarily for social reasons. My kids take things like sewing and drama and book club and games class and art. Some people use it primarily for academic reasons, especially for science classes that they aren't comfortable teaching to high schoolers.

    One thing you might want to do is to a very focused "co-op or even just a drop-off class. Like a Science co-op which always seems to be a need in high school. You could offer one class with lab Parents could drop-off but to keep the two-deep leadership, you could ask one parent a week to stay on a rotating basis. You could offer some kind of social time after class....lunch followed by sports for example. Other ideas that would work well for that kind of thing for high schoolers would be something like a book club or a movie club or a book/move discussion club. Again, maybe paired with lunch and some kind of activity after. Or anything where a group setting is better than individual, so meeting a need for homeschoolers. A drama class would work. I did a book club in our house for a few years for my daughter and friends. They were younger but we did a combo of discussing books, art and an activity. It met a need as far as social time. Another Mom took it over the next year and they called it "Girl's Fun Day" and they did games, drama, crafts, etc.  There was a woman in this area that taught a class using the Omnibus curriculum out of her home. It was very popular and met once a week at her house. I knew some kids who did it and I think it was as much social as it was academic. 

    If you tried the one class method, you could see how it goes and how much work it is and it might help you figure out some of the things you need to know to maybe expand it. 



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  17. I think I posted here a long time ago. 

    Ds applied to 11 schools and is down to 6 to choose from, although really it's 5 I think. 

    Still in the running: Wooster, Allegheny, Messiah, Centre, Hendrix, Clark (I think Clark is the one that he isn't really considering but hasn't declined yet). 

    He declined: Macalaster, Calvin, Skidmore 

    He got waitlisted at Hamilton but went ahead and declined the waitlist. He knew it was probably going to be out of our financial reach anyway and I think he wants his decision to be over and done. He got rejected from Swarthmore, which was a reach for him and probably would have been a reach financially. Also, he wants to swim and had never contacted the swim coach there (despite bring gently reminded many times that it might be a good idea.) 

    We are going to go visit Centre and Hendrix over spring break in a few weeks. And then he'll have to pick. They are all fairly similar and I really don't know if he has a clear favorite. Financially, they came in at a good range. He got a lot of merit aid at all of them and they are all within what we wanted financially. Hendrix is clearly the cheapest, but it's nice that he won't have to make a decision solely on cost. I'm not sure how he is going to decide but I feel good about all 5 choices and think any one will be a good fit for him. 

    The cost thing is pretty amazing...when he got the acceptance to Skidmore he came down and said "The good news is they gave me a $20K grant but the bad news is they start at $78K". 😬 Crazy. 

    For anyone reading this who hasn't gotten to the college application point yet, I would second the advice given in other places on this board to have conversations early and often about cost with your kids. Going into the process ds knew that Skidmore, Swarthmore and Hamilton were all likely out of our financial comfort zone. They don't give merit aid (or very little merit aid) and we knew we wouldn't get a lot of need based aid from them. We said it was fine to apply but he never got his heart set on something we couldn't afford. Macalaster was a little bit of a harder one. He liked the coach a lot and had talked to people on the team. And it was more reasonable, but still more than what we were comfortable with. He wasn't super excited about Minnesota though (he doesn't like the cold very much) so that made it a little bit easier. 


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  18. I have gone to mostly audiobooks with my now 9th grader. This was hard for me because I am very much a visual learner and I had a huge bias that listening is not reading. However, I knew that he is a slow reader and I felt like it was going to be hard to have him cover what we wanted to cover by reading. So I reluctantly told him he could do mostly audio. 

    It has been FANTASTIC.  I have really realized he is an auditory learner. He also has ADD and just can focus better on the audio. He often draws while he listens. He actually often listens on double speed, which neither his brother ( a voracious reader) or I can believe. We joke that he is a fast listener/slow reader and we are slow listeners/fast readers. And I think there is truth there. He has rediscovered a love of books through audiobooks and is blowing through books, even ones I don't assign. Things like Farenheit 451 and complicated environmental science books and psychology and philosophy. 

    I do have him read some books, because we can't always find what we want on audio. And I do think he needs to learn the skill of reading and retaining info (just like I as a visual learner had to learn the skill of listening to a lecture and taking notes). But it's much less pressure for him to not have to do it for everything and for us to be able to look at it as a skill he is developing rather than one that he needs right now in order to enjoy and learn from books. 

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  19. We have used the Global Perspective Studies course by Simplify4you for my 9th grader and 12th grader. https://simplify4you.com/gps/ (Farrar from here at WTM is one of the authors...or maybe the only author, I'm not sure). It's been excellent. The first year covers Africa/Middle East/India/China and Japan from ancients to modern day times. It's a broad brush but has been a great introduction (including for me) to areas we hadn't previously covered in depth. It covers both History and English so can be a two credit class, or you can modify to cut out the Literature/Writing portions. They also have a Europe year but we haven't used it so I don't know the specifics of it. 

    It uses a lot of videos. It does have a fair amount of reading, but we have used audiobooks for my 9th grader who is a slow reader and greatly prefers audio. Almost everything has been available on either Audible or our library. They also have a fairly comprehensive list of alternative books if you can't find the books. They use a textbook to fill in gaps but each unit has a non-fiction book as the spine. Some were challenging for my 9th grader. One thing I really liked is that they have assignments that help scaffold things like taking notes for a younger high schooler. They also have history questions for each week that the student has to answer. That helped my 9th grader (who also has ADD) focus on some key points rather than just read/listen and then forget. 

    I am very much a tweaker and modifier of curriculum. I almost never get something and use it as meant to be used. One of the things I really loved about this was that it provides a great list of assignments each week so I didn't have to research or plan...but it was also easy to modify. It's all laid out so you could hand it to a student and have them do it themselves and not modify at all; it tells them what to do each day. I cut out some things that didn't work for us for various reasons and added some things that I wanted to. But it was so helpful to already have the structure there.

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  20. 20 hours ago, Lilaclady said:

    I think you already received great suggestions  from PP. I don’t have a student who wants to study medicine but my nephew who just graduated with a biochem degree is premed and studying for his MCAT. 
    the one thing I have heard from parents with students in the medical line is to be careful with the level of courses they take as DE especially at a community college. Apparently, the medical board “prefers” students who take the core science classes at a 4 yr. that is not to say it wouldn’t be accepted, but it wouldn’t booster the application. 
    also a lot of emphasis seem to be placed in things like volunteering in the medical field, having a family member in the medical field, level of maturity etc. 

    This is true. Although it's not a monolithic "medical board" which is actually a thing, just not in this instance. Med schools will vastly prefer that pre-requisite classes are taken at a college. This doesn't mean you can't use DE and AP classes to place out of classes in college but would be an issue if you were going to major in a non-science but use the DE pre-reqs. So for example, if you took regular chemistry DE and your college allowed you to then take Organic Chemistry and you did well, I can't imagine a med school caring where you took the Intro level Chem. Or if you are a Bio major and you use an Intro Bio DE or AP credit to check off the Intro Bio box but then take much harder Bio classes and do well, it should be fine. 

    However,It is also true that many colleges prefer science students not to use AP credits for their majors, as they don't always truly prepare you for the harder level classes. So even if you take them it's often recommended to repeat the Intro classes at your school. 

    As for the family member in medicine, they are looking to see if you know what it is like. A lot of people go into medicine thinking it sounds good but not having a great idea of what the commitment is like as far as time for education and then lifestyle, etc. You can demonstrate that lots of ways if you don't have a family member in medicine...show you have volunteered, shadow doctors you know, be up on current events in medicine, etc. 

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  21. I'm a pediatrician. I knew I wanted to be a doctor from the time I was a preschooler and I had a lot of people doubt that I could really know that, so have no problem believing that your daughter knows what she wants and is committed and it's not just a phase. (Surgery as a specialty might change...I went through all kinds of specific doctor phases including a great desire to be a reconstructive plastic surgeon or a neurologist/neurosurgeon. In fact, the one thing I was NOT going to do was pediatrics. 🙂 Or maybe she will continue to love surgery.) 

    That said, whenever these questions come up, but reply is to just get a good strong foundation in science. Med schools really don't care what you do in high school. Nothing in high school or earlier will count and I don't think there are really any skills beyond the skills any college bound student needs. How to communicate well both orally and in writing, how to manage time, how to think critically. Having a good foundation in science and math will help in the pre-requisite classes she will take in college, or if she is a science major the science classes in college. 

    If she loves medicine and wants to get into volunteering or doing the kinds of shadowing or medical camps those can be fun. But they are really truly not essential and there are no skills you will learn that you need or that will set you back if you haven't done them. 

    I read a lot of medical related books in high school because that was my interest...books by Atul Gawande, Oliver Sacks, Jerome Groopman are all great. There is a series called The Medical Detectives that I loved as a teenager that is about the real-life Public Health Corps of the CDC that researches outbreaks. 

    Good luck to you daughter! 

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  22. I kept a list of books read and then also listed assigned books read under course descriptions. It was a habit for us to keep track of books read, just for fun (I do it for myself) so that wasn't a big change. 

    I made overly detailed course descriptions as we went along that listed every single book read or thing we used. I would just do this every now and then, like every few months and then at the end of each year I went in and made sure we had a course description for each class. 

    Then when it was time to send them in, I edited. I figured it was way easier to edit down the course descriptions than to try and remember "what did we read for English in 9th grade?" 

    I did send in as a separate document a list of books read in high school, and clearly marked it "Independent reading". My ds is a voracious reader and that's really a main part of his personality so I felt like even seeing the list told them something about him. I assume very few any  people actually read it. I'm doing the same for my now 9th grader. He doesn't read a lot but he reads pretty impressive books for his age. And he will likely be a kid who doesn't have a lot of traditional academic appeal (doesn't test well and has no interest in doing anything "to check a box"). So his reading list is more to show his intellectual curiosity and that he had a deep education, even the part that was self-directed. 

    I don't think it's essential to turn in a list of books read. I would keep a list of what you assign for classes so you can at least mention some of them in the course descriptions. 

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  23. 5 hours ago, stripe said:

    Where did you find the tutor?

    She was someone that we knew the family from our homeschool co-op and I knew she had majored in Math and had an interest in teaching.

    I think other people have found similar situations through local homeschool groups or with local colleges where a current student might be interested. With so many people able to do Zoom or other online options, you don’t have to find someone local. 

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