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Posts posted by Alice

  1. 19 hours ago, Dicentra said:

    My degree is in organic chemistry. 🙂  It's... uniquely challenging.  Students who are strong mathematically run into a wall because it isn't an intuitive type of course and students who are strong in the biological science run into a wall because (probably) they've been led to believe that OChem is mostly memorization (which they're probably good at) - but it isn't.  It's that bizarre combination of being detailed oriented (similar to biological sciences) with also leaning heavily on logical and deductive/inductive types of thinking (similar to physical sciences).



    Oh my goodness, this explains so much! I LOVED Organic Chemistry, it was one of my favorite classes. It was hard but it just made so much sense to me. I actually got asked to tutor someone a year or two later and I was a terrible tutor for her because I couldn’t figure out why she couldn’t “see” the reactions that just seemed so obvious. (Don’t worry, I realized how bad I was and got her a new tutor quickly.) I actually also took it in the summer which I kind of loved...I basically spent 8 hours a day doing Chemistry and it was fantastic. 

    I was a Bio/Chem double major (my school didn’t have Biochem as a major but that would have been what I did if we had it). I also went to med school. For me, Physics and P. Chem were the really challenging classes. Biology classes weren’t hard as I’m very good at memorizing but I didn’t find them fun. Med school (and I would guess PA school) are much more like Biology...it’s a ton of memorization.

    Also, for med school in general, I often hear people say they aren’t sure if they want to go to school that long or if they want to put in that much work. And it is a lot of work and people should be sure they really want to do it. On the other hand, it’s not really like undergraduate work. The first few years is a lot of book learning and memorization but if you are interested in medicine it’s all really cool stuff that you are excited to learn. Then you get to the more hands-on clinical years and those are also a lot of work but even though it’s very intense and hard, it’s very exciting. Basically, yes, there will be classes as hard as O. Chem. But it will probably be way more fun than taking a really tough class online and alone. 🙂


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  2. Thanks everyone! I found that as I wrote out my question I kind of reassured myself. 🤣 I don’t know if that happens to anyone else here, but it’s often the case for me. It’s like the act of processing the question or issue by writing it out then helps me figure it out. But I also appreciate all the input.

    I also remembered the wonderful old thread by Nan (I think) that talks about how your 9th grader is not a college freshman. I realize I did the same thing with my oldest for different issues...projecting that he wasn’t ready for college yet when he was entering 9th grade and forgetting that I have four years to get him ready. I think part of my concerns was feeling like that he needs to be prepared for a heavier reading load...even if he can use audiobooks, they may not be available for everything in college. But then I talked myself off the ledge and repeated the mantra from Nan that a 9th grader is not a 12th grader. And a 12th grader isn’t even a college freshman. Big deep breaths, and I’m ok again. 

    I think I’ll mostly leave it up to him. Some of the things we are going to use don’t have audiobooks as options so he we have to use the print version. But if there is one available and he wants to use it, we can do that. 

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  3. On 8/14/2020 at 2:00 PM, Mom2mthj said:

    Pardon my ignorance, but I have never listened to podcasts.  How do you access it and is there a fee?


    No fee. We listen through Apple podcasts. There are a few ads, but not a ton. I think there are apps you can listen to that are a fee and have no ads but I haven’t used them. There are other podcast apps but we just use Apple because we have iphones and it’s easy. 

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  4. I tried to search this but couldn’t find anything, so sorry if it’s been asked and answered before. 

    I’m wondering about using audiobooks for a high schooler for his school reading. My rising 9th grader greatly prefers audiobooks over reading. I have a strong bias against audiobooks, I will admit. I tend to be a little bit of a snob about it where I feel like “it’s not really reading”. I think that is because I am personally way more of a visual learner. I would always choose a book over a lecture in order to learn. So audiobooks have always seemed to me to be somehow lesser, probably because I don’t retain information from them as well. I admit my bias fully and realize that it’s not really fair. 

    Ds would be happy if I let him listen to all assigned reading instead of requiring him to read the print. He can read well and I don’t think he has any kind of reading learning disability. He definitely is a more auditory and kinetic learner. He listens to Ted talks and various Podcasts all the time and retains a fair amount of information. He likes to draw or do something with his hands while he listens. He does has ADHD and I think that is part of the issue. He gets bored and distracted while reading and is a very slow reader most of the time. Occasionally he’ll find a book that grabs him an he’ll devour it, but that is rare. 

    On the one hand, I want him to have a successful 9th grade year and I know if he can listen to books we can cover a lot more material without it being torture for him. On the other hand, part of me feels like this is cheating. (I think that’s just my bias...?) 

    Anyone used audiobooks primarily with a high schooler? 

  5. Ds is signed up for the SAT in October. He was supposed to test in June but it got canceled. He’s a rising senior but already has SAT and ACT scores that are good enough for everywhere he is really looking. So he’s in an ok place. The only reason to retest is that the last time he took the SAT he was in 9th grade and he should be able to raise his score enough to make a difference for a few scholarships he is looking at. 

    There is one school we are looking at that does require SAT II tests for homeschoolers. There are some others we know of that do the same thing but only one on his current list. He took one SAT II test as a sophomore for that reason but the school requires two. I wrote them asking if they would consider substituting an AP test given the limitations this year. They wouldn’t say definitely but said they would consider. At this point it’s not super high on ds’s list so I think he would just choose to not apply. He feels kind of done with proving himself. 🙂

    As for AP tests this year....I’m undecided. We have been able to register for AP tests the past two years in our area without much hassle at two different public schools. I haven’t contacted them yet this year so not sure if it will be the same. Ds was one of the people who had trouble submitting in the spring and had to retake his exam. But he was the first week and it seemed like the figured out slightly better procedures for later testers. He is taking classes where he could take as many as 5 exams. But since it won’t really make a difference for college admissions, I’m not sure if he wants to deal with it all again this year. 

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  6. I’m a pediatrician and I tell all the Moms of newborns to use me as they need for family issues. Pediatrician says no touching baby without a flu shot. Or a TdaP. No leaving the house for 2 months. No visitors for 6 weeks. No traveling anywhere for 6 months. No seeing baby without a mask. Etc. I’m a mean super-strict pediatrician. 🙂

    In reality, I’m more laidback and don’t actually say those things in that strict of a fashion to the parents of newborns. If someone is actually asking my advice I’d have a lot more nuance with my answer. But I think Moms of newborns should do whatever makes them feel comfortable and if that includes any of those things and they need the backup from a doctor to help convince family, use me. 

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  7. On 6/14/2020 at 5:42 PM, dmmetler said:


    Cornell University-She has decided she should try one Lottery school, and she likes Cornell the best of the Ivies. Having said that, I think she would be more likely to end up at CWR as her lottery school than Cornell, all things considered. There are herp folks, but getting into a lab might be a challenge, although she might have an advantage or two there. 



    This made me smile. My son and I were just talking about what schools he will apply to (he’s also a rising senior). He surprised me by saying Princeton. Just because he wants to do one Ivy and for various reasons he likes it best. I don’t think he has any chance of getting in and I don’t think it would really be a great fit for him if he did. And he knows that so I’m not worried about him being disappointed. For one thing he wants to swim, and isn’t going to swim at a DI school, so that’s an issue. But I thought if he wanted to apply, sure go for it. 


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  8. I’m in Virginia, and I agree with everyone else. Everything I have heard is that it’s very difficult to get anything done as a homeschooler accepted for credits here for high school. I agree with going to your specific school because the way the statues are written it’s really up to each school. They can but don’t have to accept credits. 

    Have you looked at Virtual Virginia? https://www.virtualvirginia.org/programs/courses/ The courses there are technically through the public school system.My oldest took one course through them and it was fine. It was Computer Science which was perhaps more suited as an online class anyway. You can take courses through Virtual Virginia through the public school, for free. (Schools are limited to how many kids they enroll...it’s mainly designed to offer classes that the school system doesn’t offer. I’m not sure how things are changing this year with everything going virtual anyway.) You can also take courses through Virtual Virginia as a homeschooler, but you have to pay. It’s not an ideal solution but it may be that they would be more likely to accept those credits over typical homeschool credits. And it may be that the courses from teachers who are experienced with online classes may be done better than the distance learning the public schools are offering. 

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  9. My oldest has done a scattering of AP classes, mostly ones he is interested in, or where the class was the best fit. For example, he did Latin at Lukeion and really liked it and their fourth year of Latin is AP. An excellent Chemistry teacher at our co-op offered an Advanced Chem class that prepped them for the AP exam, but wasn’t an official AP approved class. He liked Chem and her and so he took the class and then took the test.  I also knew he was a good test taker and figured it wouldn’t hurt to have a few outside test scores in addition to what we did at home. He did two AP tests sophomore year, one junior year and is taking several for senior year (two actual online classes, one self-study). I’m not hundred percent sure he’ll do all the AP tests in the spring. He had a bad experience with the testing this spring (was one of the people who had to retake it due to a submission issue) and I’ve told him the goal isn’t to take the test but instead to learn the material and enjoy the classes. 

    My rising freshman will likely not do any. He is not a good test taker and he hates learning anything for a test or in a traditional format. He’s a super out-of-the box thinker and he wants to learn stuff that he is interested in. He also is going to need a fairly non-traditional college, I believe, so I’m not worried about whether or not he has test scores. 

    My youngest is only 6th grade but she will likely want to take a bunch. She is a very traditional learner and a good test-taker. She gets excited every year when we do standardized testing (a state requirement). And she really likes doing things the conventional way. If all her friends are talking about AP tests, she will want to take them. 

  10. Ds got a 4 in Latin. He had to do a make-up exam because the first exam didn’t submit correctly. I’m pleased with his score but I think he might have gotten a 5 if he had been able to do it the first time. He had about three weeks between tests and although he studied, he didn’t study as much as he did for the first one. He was just tired of the whole thing by that point in the year. 

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  11. Thanks everyone. I posted this, went on vacation and totally forgot I’d asked the question. 😄

    The half credit for each makes sense. I’m totally stressing about the transcript, this being my oldest. My husband finally looked at me and said...”seriously, if they don’t accept him because one of the fonts you used was slightly misaligned, is that even a college we want him to go to?” Which helped put everything in perspective a little bit until I started stressing about some other miniscule issues. 

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  12. This has probably been asked and answered somewhere here already but I can’t find it. 

    My son is planning on taking AP Physics this year doing the AP Mechanics C class first semester and the Elec/Mag class the second semester. Is that two science credits on the transcript or is each one half a credit? I know a semester class is usually a half credit but I didn’t know if you’d give a full credit for Mechanics especially as it’s also offered in a full year version so the semester one is just more intensive. 

    Same question for Macro/Micro Economics. Is that two half credits? Macro is offered as a full year class as well. 

  13. I’m a doctor and I wouldn’t have tested either but not for the reasons given. It’s true that you can be asymptomatic and have Covid, but it’s also true that it’s less likely that you’ll have a viral load high enough for a negative test to be truly meaningful. A negative test in this situation shouldn’t change your behavior, so it’s somewhat pointless to do the test. If you have high risk family members and have been traveling and not social distancing, I would advise people to stay away from the high risk people for 14 days, regardless of test. If their exposure was simply going through an area that has more cases and not a known close exposure to someone with symptoms or a positive test, I would also have said it was safe to go out...but that they should practice normal social distancing and wear masks just like everyone else. It’s possible they didn’t specifically mention or ask about someone who is high risk. 

    We’ve heard from people high up that there will be a nationwide shortage of the reagent used for testing again. We’re testing a wider number of people than we were in the spring (anyone with any possible symptoms regardless of cough or fever and anyone who has any kind of significant exposure) but we aren’t testing everyone that wants a test. If we did, we’d run out of tests very quickly. We’re expecting to be in a really hard place again as far as testing this winter. 

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  14. We are counting Driver’s Ed as a .5 credit because it took so many hours (not just in the car but online classes, etc). Just a ridiculous amount of time. And the schools around here count it fairly standardly. On the other hand, we aren’t counting PE/Health/Music in credit hours on the transcript even though he did them all as part of life or extracurriculars. I think in general my thought is that if the transcript looks fairly standard, colleges aren’t going to care that much beyond the core classes. At least that’s what I hope. 

    For honors, I only designate things as honors that are outside classes that have specifically been designated that way by the teacher (an AP online class) or that are widely regarded that way in the homeschool community (AoPS and Lukeion). I plan on writing something in my counselor statement or homeschool description that says that we worked to what I would consider honors level in our homegrown classes but that we chose not to designate them that way on the transcript. 

    We listed classes taken in 8th grade on the transcript that were highschool level (Latin 1 and Algebra) but didn’t include them in credit hours or GPA. 

  15. This might not help you at all but I figure it won’t hurt. 

    My rising senior is a likely math major. We’ve used AOPS all along, he self-studies and doesn’t do the classes. What we are doing this year is having him self-study and hiring a tutor to meet with him on a regular basis (maybe weekly or biweekly) to go over questions. Also, to have her go over proofs as I can’t do that anymore at the Calculus level. We haven’t used the classes in the past due to the timing of them. He’s also going to take Statistics and Intro Number Theory from WTMA. He’s also taking Physics and Econ which seems like a very math-heavy year. But then I realized it’s what he wants to be doing and what he ultimately wants to be doing all the time. 


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  16. I’m a pediatrician so I’ve been to work all along. Dh has kept going in to his office also. They are a small firm so they were always below the 10 people limit and they sit about 6 feet away from each other. For awhile, I think a lot of people in his firm were working at home so it was often just him and maybe 1 or 2 other people. Now I think they are more back to normal. But having meetings with clients outside if needed (which works ok as it’s an architecture firm so they can meet onsite) or virtually. 

    Our oldest is lifeguarding at our summer pool. Middle son goes lap swimming and has hung out with friends outside.  Youngest has hung out with friends outside. 

    As a family we go outside on walks almost daily. We’ve also been volunteering at a food pantry once a month since April. They came up with a really creative way to give out food in a socially distanced way. It helps them to have a family volunteer as we don’t have to socially distance from each other. So on the day we are there we are the only ones allowed inside the pantry (and then we hand things outside where they are picked up...it’s hard to explain the logisitcs but it works really well). 

    We’ve also gone shopping to grocery store or Target (we had a house fire in April and moved into a rental and so have had to replace a lot of stuff) all along.  Dh and I just made reservations to go out to dinner, sitting outside, to celebrate our 20th anniversary. 

    We wear masks, wash our hands, try and socially distance as much as we can. 

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  17. If it’s SIL hinting at it, I wouldn’t necessarily blame MIL. We have a relative who will often try and get us to do things for another relative that I don’t think are necesssary. It’s taken me awhile to realize that the issue is with the person who wants us to do stuff, not the person for who we would do the stuff. If that makes any sense. 

    It sounds like this is SIL’s issue. If she wants to help MIL, she can do that, if MIL wants the help. But it isn’t up to you to make SIL feel better by being part of it 

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  18. 1 minute ago, Elizabeth86 said:

    Right. He doesn't want to be in debt.  I get that.  My current vehicle is 16 years old and has over 200,000 miles so it will need to go soon anyway.  My house is 1,070 sq ft, 3 br, 1 bath.  There are 6 of us now.  One more won't even fit.  If he doesn't want to move I have to be done. The thought of more of us living how we do stresses me out.  


    I was going to the say the same thing has happysmileylady but then you answered. Have you all talked about the decision to expand your family outside of things like getting a new car or moving? That could be part of the problem. Does he fundamentally not want to have another child? Maybe putting the other decisions off is his way of saying that he’s happy with your family as is and doesn’t want to have another child. Or it could be that he doesn’t believe in making changes until you need to make them. I think regardless, you need to try and get at the root of the problem rather than focusing on why won’t he decide to move or buy a car. 

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  19. 19 hours ago, Roadrunner said:

    Are you set on calculus text? I am asking because if you are flexible, Bluetent has an amazing calculus teacher. That class is rigorous and your DS could always add AoPS text afterwards to get more theoretical side. I know lewelma said her kid also did two rounds through it - one with more traditional text and one with AoPS. Just to bring in an alternative solid and rigorous course, don’t discount Bluetent! 

    I am flexible but he is not. 🙂 H'es a pretty laid-back kid so the fact that he really wants to stick with AoPS makes me want to honor that wish. 

    Thanks everyone else for weighing in as well. Typing up the question helped me think about it. I talked to ds and he wants to use AoPS mostly like he has been and then we are going to look for a tutor who can work with him a bit. I think in reality the tutor is more of a crutch for me than a necessity. It just gives me peace of mind but I think he would actually be fine self-studying. I have someone in mind who was a homeschooler who majored in Math and I believe is interested in teaching. I mostly want someone to correct proofs and who can meet with him on some kind of basis to go over questions. 

    @Arcadia he hasn’t done a ton of non-standard Math. He worked through the Intro to Counting and Probability book back in 7th grade and really liked it. He is planning on taking Statistics this year and possibly working through the Intro to Number Theory book. Thanks for the DE suggestions. It isn’t free here and is fairly pricey. Also, I’m not sure how covid-19 is going to affect DE this coming year. We had thought about him taking some DE classes on the community college campus but if they are just going to end up online, I will probably go with online homeschool providers. From reviews I’ve seen online of the local CC, they didn’t transition well to online.  And there definitely isn’t a swim team for CC...that would be awesome if there were. 🙂

    @daijobu If I went through the process of getting approved as an AP course at home, would those be problems that I would have access to? 

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  20. This  has probably been asked and answered here a bunch of times but everytime I do a search I end up with threads about people whose kids are in Multivariate Calculus in 4th grade and I end up feeling depressed becuase I’ve clearly failed my son. 

    My son is a rising senior. He loves Math and will likely be a Math major. Almost certainly something STEM related. He has used AOPS since Pre-Algebra and loved it. He has always self-studied instead of doing the online classes. For one, the online classes seem too fast and also we haven’t wanted to do a class at night (he is a swimmer and gets up at 4 am to swim so an evening class is tough). He is going to do Calculus this coming year. 

    For some reason, I’m having doubts about him continuing with the self-teaching. I think I feel guilty because we’ve gotten to the point where I really can’t help him. It’s been that it’s hard for me to help for awhile but in the past six months or so I really am useless. He’s independent and doesn’t seem to mind the self-teaching....I just worry that he’s maybe not learning as well as he could. I’ve looked into online Calculus options and the only one that I see that uses the AOPS text is the WTMA. For some reason, they call their class Calc AB where the AOPS people say their text could be for Calc BC. I’m not sure why or really if it matters. He doesn’t really want to switch texts as he really likes AOPS. 


    *Continue with self-studying. I did think about hiring someone locally as a tutor who could maybe look at proofs and meet by Zoom or Skype or something to just go over concepts and questions. I guess if it’s online it wouldn’t have to be local. 

    *Take a non-AOPS Calc BC class (meaning one that doesn’t use the AOPS text). 

    *Take the WTMA AOPS Calc AB class and either just do the AB exam or figure out the gaps and have him self-study. 

    I’m not sure if AB vs BC really matters. Since it’s the end of his senior year, colleges aren’t going to see the score anyway and after the debacle of this year’s AP exams (we were one of the people who couldn’t submit an exam) I’m not really sure how much AP exams are going to matter in the next year or so. 

    Mostly my goal for him is to have a great experience with Calc. He loves math and I want him to really enjoy it. I’m not really looking for him to do well on the test in order to score highly for credit on the AP exam. But I do want him to really learn at a deep level. 

    Anyone with thoughts on that somewhat convoluted story? Anyone whose kids self-studied and thought it was great? Or who had terrible experiences and they wished they hadn’t? 


  21. I teach Anatomy at our co-op and use the Apologia text. I’m a physician and the Anatomy portion of it is very solid. I don’t love the way they insert references to God into the text, but as a Christian it isn’t a non-starter for me. 

    For labs, we use slides from websites that have their slides online. It’s fairly easy to find with a Google search. Many med schools have their slides online now. I think if I was doing it at home I would want my kid to known how to use a microscope, but if they already knew how the online slides are actually much better for identifying structures than what you will be able to see on a slide at home. We also do three dissections (cow’s eye, sheep’s heart, fetal pig) which you can buy at Homeschool Science. They have very good dissection guides as well. I think it’ a fairly easy class to do at home, especially if you’ve already done some of it. 


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