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Posts posted by Alice

  1. Hi! I’m in Fairfax County. I have a son just finishing his junior year and one finishing 8th grade (and a daughter finishing up 5th grade but that’s not as pertinent to you). We have always homeschooled. My middle son definitely has ADHD. I also work part-time. 

    You can do part-time high school in VA. You can take up to two core classes (so not Band or Art) at a high school as a homeschooler. I believe that it is somewhat subject to availability, and that they are not required to allow it. I haven’t looked into all the details. I have not done it and haven’t known many people who do. Most of the homeschoolers I personally know enjoy their freedom and don’t want to be tied to the school schedule. For you, that might be different, since you are already used to that schedule.

    You can also take online classes through Virtual Virginia. There are regular and AP classes. The classes are free to public school students but are $375 per course for a homeschooler. That’s a fairly typical price for an online class, cheaper than some we have used. We used them for one class, AP Computer Science. It was fine, actually much less demanding than other online classes that my son has taken from other providers. You can also take classes at Nova as a DE (dual enrollment) student. There is an application process that involves proving academic ability with either a standardized test or placement test. I know many people who have done that, usually for junior or senior year. My son will likely take at least a couple of classes next year. Nova does have online classes as well. My second son really wants to do ASL there next year so I’m looking into it, even though he will only be a freshman. 

    Homeschooling in Virginia is fairly easy, as far as the legal part. There are also a LOT of homeschool opportunities in this area for outside classes and for social opportunities (perhaps not as many in the next year with covid-19). 

    If you have other questions feel free to DM me. 

  2. My so had trouble with Latin. He also submitted the make-up form. We had tested the demo on the same computer using the same browser and it had worked fine. For him it was the first question that wouldn’t submit but the second did and he did the exact same thing for each. 

    I told him afterwards that I was proud of him for staying cool and managing to even do the second question. I was in the room with him but had no idea he had a problem until afterwards. He thought it would be cheating to ask me for help submitting (I’m not sure that’s true, but I admire his integrity) and so when it wouldn’t work and he ran out of time, he just move on to the second one. I think at the same age I might have dissolved in a puddle of tears. 🙂

    I also told him that if they won’t let him re-take it, since he did really well on Lukeion’s final exam, he can just tell himself that’s the equivalent of a 5. 🙂 

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  3. My son had an issue submitting his first question on the Latin one. He knows it didn’t submit before he ran out of time. He stopped with plenty of time but the file wouldn’t come up when he did was trying to upload it. He filled out the form to do a makeup but we’re not sure if they will let him. Either way, it’s such a bummer for him. He’s handling it well but I feel bad for him. 

    I’m not sure I have a better solution for the AP exams given the current situation. I just feel bad for all these high school juniors and seniors who have worked hard and are going to have so much upheaval at a stressful time in their lives. 

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  4. 1 hour ago, vonfirmath said:


    Underdtood until a tree lands on a roof during a spring storm and one starts to figure out how to recover


    Just thinking that. We had a minor house fire today due to a tree falling a few houses away and causing a chain of events that ended with a fire at our house. It’s minor in some terms but is going to require a lot of work.  (We’re all safe and have somewhere else to go (a relative’s house).)

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  5. Definitely saving gas. 

    Not much food savings yet. We did a lot of stocking up early on but then haven’t really used it. We’ve still been going to the store and I’m keeping what we have in storage in case things get worse here and stuff isn’t available or we really can’t get out. I used to eat breakfast every day at the hospital but they shut down the doctor’s lounges so I’m now eating at home. We aren’t eating out otherwise so that should be a savings eventually. 

    Kid’s activities are the big unknown. We have a few that haven’t yet said if they will give partial refunds. If they do....that will be a nice amout. Likewise, if summer activities don’t happen we’ll save a lot. I’d prefer not to save though as they kids are all missing their various activities (swim and dance primarily). We also had some planned college visit trips that didn’t happen and a trip to Boston in June that won’t happen. We should get refunds for all those, but they haven’t gone through yet. 

    I took a pay cut and even though I’m very part-time, I have the bigger income in our family. So we’re trying to not spend much not knowing how all this will end up and what will happen as the year goes on with jobs. 

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  6. I think part of the problem is that the semantics are confusing between social distancing/stay at home/shelter in place. I’m in VA and we are under an official stay at home order until June 10th. But it’s not really all that different than what we were told to do before, it just became official. I understand that some people needed the official order to make them do what they should have been doing all along...but it’s not really that the recommendations changed. The VA governor was similar to the Iowa governor in that he didn’t want to issue an official order but was finally really pressured to do so. Partially, due to people crowding state parks and beaches, I believe. And partially due to neighboring governors letting it be known they were issuing official orders. So then he made the order and made it be until June 10th, which I think is the longest one out there. 

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  7. Everyone in my office is taking a 20% paycut to avoid lay offs or furloughs. Most medical offices are hurting right now, which I think people don’t realize. So far, dh’s office is doing well. They actually just hired someone who started yesteday. Dh is an architect though so we’re wondering what things will be like when the current projects they have are finished. Back in 2009 it was tough for them as not many people were building the kind of things they work on. We have a friend who is a dentist and who owns his own practice and he may end up losing it because of this. 

    We do realize that we’re lucky to be able to weather a paycut and that it could be much much worse and is that way for many people. 

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  8. I don’t really fit the complementation view of marriage but am a Christian. But I agree, this isn’t really about that. 

    I’m answering as someone who has a family member who suffers from a mental illness. I say this gently.....I firmly believe that in this kind of scenario that the partner and possibly even the children (if adults or teens) have the right to an opinion on meds for a family member when that person’s illness impacts their lives. I think that’s even more true now when people are isolating and staying home together. 

    My Mom is bipolar and has from time to time stopped her meds because she doesn’t like the side effects or decides they aren’t helping or doesn’t want to take them. The result is always bad. Always. Always. She has very poor insight into her illness (which I do realize is part of her illness). She does not believe us when we tell her that it’s a bad decision based on previous times. And yes, she has the right to make her own decisions about what she puts into her body. But for these kind of meds it very much impacts others and I think we also have the right to tell her that we don’t agree with her decisions or even are upset by them. I’d say the same thing is true for your husband. 

    I would agree with contacting your doctor and/or therapist. A lot of docs are doing televisits now so you could be seen without having to go in to an office. 

    ETA: I agree with the poster above that I’m not commenting on whether or not you should stop your meds. I don’t know how severe your symptoms are or how much they impact your family. And it may be that it’s ok to do in coordination with a doctor. But I don’t think that it is unreasonable for your husband to want to have some input in this decision as it seems it has affected the family in the past. 

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  9. 25 minutes ago, Ausmumof3 said:

    My nephew was given the opposite advice and I was pretty sure it was wrong.  He did keep self isolating anyway.


    And they may have been wrong but I will also say give all health care providers grace. We are literally getting dozens of updates daily (I get them from our state Dept of Health, our county Dept of Health, three local hospital systems and my own practice). Information is rapidly changing and we are all learning. It’s a NOVEL virus for all of us. Individual doctors are trying their best to give correct information. But it’s really hard. 

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  10. I feel like what I offer is what I would offer before the pandemic. If someone asks, I’m happy to offer advice/resources appropriate to what they are asking. 

    I do a monthly article for our office for a newsletter. Usually it’s recommended books. This past month I did a list of educational resources for people that might be looking at learning at home given the pandemic. I tried to list things that are free and not a full curriculum. 

    The way the question was worded was “should” we help. I don’t think we are obligated to somehow go out and set up training programs for people who are suddenly homeschooling. Or to set up Zoom calls to counsel them (I think the person doing that in this thread is really awesome....but I don’t think it’s a “should” for everyone). But I can’t imagine not answering a question if asked in a way that was actually helpful and not something like “well, since you aren’t a real homeschooler, I can’t help you.” 

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  11. It’s a variety of things that make the actual test tricky...you have to use specific swabs (not cotton, not wooden shaft). It’s the same swabs we use for the flu test. So you can imagine how they would run low when you have the same person you might want to swab for both. If I was to collect a sample at my office it has to be put on special viral media. That’s not easily available and not something we typically have. It has to be frozen and stay frozen until it gets to the lab. It’s an RNA test so can only be done in certain labs, it’s not a point of care test like ones that we can do bedside like strep or flu. The lab that has to do the testing has to have reagents to process the sample before it can be run. I assume when they talk about “kits” that’s what they mean is those reagents for processing the samples. But I’m not sure about what the kit means exactly. It’s not something that gets sent to a doctor’s office, other than the viral media we would put the sample in. 

    I’m not sure how to address why we are so behind with testing without getting political. And I’ll just leave it at that. 🙂



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  12. Every test has false negatives and false positives. I read the same article that said it appears that the overall average for the US tests has about an 85% sensitivity (meaning about 15% false negatives). It’s hard to know better know because there are a variety of tests being used, and some may be less accurate than others. It also seems to be highly dependent on procedure of the test. The sample has to be taken fairly far back in the nasopharyngeal passage. So if a patient moves back while testing, or the tester doesn’t really swab far enough back...much more likely to be an inaccurate test. The specificity (amount of false positives) isn’t known at this point but seems to be lower. 

    What we are being told is that a positive test is very useful, especially if it correlates with clinical history and symptoms. A negative test is less useful, especially if someone has a history or symptoms that would suggest having Covid-19. So if someone has a history of exposure and symptoms or symptoms that are very suggestive of covid-19, with a negative test....they should still act like they are positive as far as self-isolating. 

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  13. Ds is in Lukieon AP Latin..he’s somewhat happy because their workload for the year as just dramatically cut. They’ve pretty much covered everything that will be on the test. At the same time, I think they will be at a disadvantage because I think Lukeion probably prepares them particularly well for the essay and Mrs. Barr thinks there will be no essay, or if there is one it will be a much smaller part of the test. Regardless, it’s a weird year. 

  14. I don’t know your state laws but even when we were not allowed to do refills or 90 day prescriptions (now we can do 90 day scrips but no refills) we could give a patient three separate prescriptions at one time. They all had to be dated the actual date of writing them and then I would write DO NOT FILL UNTIL _____. I’d give the person one for the current month, one for the next month and one for two months out, if that makes sense. You could ask your doctor if they could do the same thing. We can also do electronic prescriptions, you could ask your doc about that. I believe soon, that will be required for controlled substances as it makes diversion harder. 

    Other things we are doing that you could ask about...

    -Car to room...patients can text us when they arrive and then we can text them back when a room is ready so they don’t have to wait in the waiting room at all. 

    -Physically separating appts. All well things are in the morning. All sick are in the afternoon and then the office is thoroughly cleaned at night. We also are attempting to screen out anyone wiht respiratory symptoms of any kind or any kind of travel. That’s not always completely possible, but we’re doing out best. We know an office near here where a parent clearly lied to all screening questions until the room with the provider. 


    -Limiting additional people in the office. Since it’s a pediatrician’s office, usually one patient might have multiple people with them. We are asking that only one parent accompany each patient. We know that’s not always possible and are sensitive to the fact that a lot of people have their kids home with them and no options for child care. So we’ll make exceptions but we’re at least asking people to think about it. 

    -Gotten rid of all magazines, books, toys, etc. 

  15. I’m a pediatrician. So far for us things have been weirdly quieter than usual. Patients don’t want to come in...which is totally understandable. Ironically though it’s probably much less likely that they will get anything now than they it was back in January at the height of flu season because then we are packed and now we are empty. I worked yesterday and literally so zero sick patients. It was all well checks. 

    Even with being weirdly quiet we have all kinds of protocols in place to screen and keep people out of our office if there is any chance of Covid-19 (we can’t really easily test yet so we would help direct them to the right place to go rather than have them come in and then have to go somewhere else and double the amount of people that get exposed). We also have begun doing Tele-visits for things that don’t require a physical exam (med checks, behavioural consults, etc). 

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  16. 18 hours ago, staceyobu said:


    It's the best extra curricular we've ever participated in. I enjoy the hangout time with other parents as much as my kids enjoy the water. We've had coaches who have mentored my children for years.  We plan vacations around it. We have never missed a swim meet in five summers. A month off of kids would be tempting. But, I wouldn't trade summer swim for pretty much anything.

    I now have three kids in year round swim as well. Just consider how much you enjoy the smell of chlorine before getting sucked into swim! 


    Yep. We have to a meet this summer for the first time in like 10 years. We’re going to a family wedding. My oldest is buying his own plane ticket and flying up the day of the wedding so that he can still go to the meet. The younger two are angry that we’re not letting them do that as well. 

    18 hours ago, staceyobu said:


    I asked my 7 year old what he thought I should say. He stood with his mouth hanging open for like 5 minutes in shock that any child could have to do school instead of summer swim! 



    My daughter’s reactions was  “wait, is summer school like a punishment?” 

    I also was laughing because the swim people are all obviously a little bit in the same cult. We’re all like, “it’s a ton of time and work and you’re at the pool all day and you’ll smell like chlorine all the time and have wet towels perpetually in your laundry room and have to stand outside in the sun for hours at a time...and it’s AWESOME”. 

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  17. Thanks Evanthe and MysteryJen! I have an eighth grader who I think is vying to take down your kids for the laziest teenager/homeschooler award. I’ve been really struggling with the idea of whether or not I can homeschool him for high school. His brother is a junior and is a super motivated self-directed kid. He’s not perfect but has been fairly easy to homeschool. Added to that is the fact that he and have very similar personalities and learning styles. I hasn’t been a breeze but it’s been relatively smooth. 

    Enter the eighth grader who has a totally different personality and learning style. He is an out-of-the-box thinker.  He definitely has ADD as well, but is adamantly against taking meds. So far, I’ve mostly been ok with having a different approach with him. But I think as we’re looking at high school next year I’ve started to feel anxious about it again. 

    I might not let him read your posts but it’s good to know that there is hope for a kid who comes home from swim practice, makes himself an enormous breakfast using every dish in the kitchen  and then spends hours on the couch with his coffee and his dog before he is ready to think about maybe starting the school day. 

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  18. 7 hours ago, Calizzy said:

    This has all been very helpful for thinking this through. Thank you all for your input and experiences. 

    Alice- there are several teams in my area that we could join. Is there something I should look for if choosing one? Anything I should ask beforehand?


    I’d make sure your younger kids can use the pool, if they won’t all be on on the team. 

    If you can ask other parents I’d look for a coach who has the goal of making it fun and having the kids love the sport.  The coach pretty much sets the environment. I personally think adult coaches who are more experienced are better than college students, but a lot of times it’s college students. We have the benefit of having a coach who has been around forever and has a good perspective on life and swimming. That’s not to say college students and high school students can’t coach...my two teens coach but they do so under the guidance of an adult who shows them how to be a good coach. 

    I think the swimming culture is different in different places. But in general, I’d see if there are teams that are known for being really intense or being “fastest” or the “top” teams. I would personally avoid those. 🙂 They tend to be much more intense experiences. That might not be an issue where you are. Here, summer swimming is all through private swim clubs. There are ones that are known for always being at the top. There are people who want to join those and go on long waitlists to do so. And there are others of us who like the slightly more laidback experience. The same goes for the winter teams here. 

    Ask up front what other commitments there are for you. Are there meets? How often? Do you have to volunteer? Hidden costs- (team suits, social activities that everyone is doing but cost money, etc)? 

  19. We are a swimming family and I read your thread title to my two boys and they died laughing at how obvious a choice it was and then were appalled when I told them everyone so far had said summer school. There aren’t a lot of things I can say anymore that leave two teenage boys speechless, so that was fun. 😂

    In all seriousness, we have loved swimming. We’ve done swim team every summer since my oldest was 6 or 7 and he is now 16. All three kids swim. My two oldest coach. My oldest is a lifeguard. My daughter also dives and loves that. Summer swim has also grown into a year round sport for us, my oldest will likely swim in college. They all sort of smell like chlorine all the time.

    That said, I do understand that families are all different and it’s not for everyone. I have friends that absolutely love various things that I think are as crazy as they think swim team is. 

    Pros of swim team for us...
    *It’s a sport where all the kids can do it at the same time in the same place. We tried other sports that meant we had to be at three different places at the same time.  With swimming, we are all at the pool together. Meets are at the same time, regardless of age. Social events are the same, regardless of age. 

    *When they were younger, I did stay at the pool during practice. Mostly, I didn’t mind it. When my younger kids were two little for swim team, I would hang out with other Moms with little kids or play in the pool with my kids. It was a great summer activity for us and relatively cheap way to get out of the house every day. I’m an introvert and like staying home but I also appreciated having a place to go and socialize.  I have a lot of “summer friends” now that we are close to and enjoy spending a LOT of time with for two months a year. 

    *Because of the all-age thing, my kids have made friends of different ages. And they also have had the chance to be mentored by older kids and now to be coaches and mentors for younger kids. That’s a great opportunity and not one you see in a lot of sports. It’s almost homeschooler like. My kids all love our summer team and some of their closest friends are from that, even if they don’t see them as much during the school year. 

    *It is a great sport for exercise. I love that it emphasizes the individual within the context of a team. You can always push yourself to get a best time even if you aren’t the star swimmer. 

    Cons of swim team....

    * It is an intense season. Here, we end up in practice M-F and then there are two meets a week in the summer. Add social activities to that and it can be a lot. Again, for the most part that has been a good thing for us. Partially that’s because we lead a more relaxed life in the school year. We’ve also developed a rhythm where late May/early June and August are very relaxed months for us and then we have an intensely social and physical summer and a more academic school year. 

    *You will almost certainly be called on to volunteer. Or you have to be there. I know for a lot of parents that’s a deal breaker. 

    *That’s really all the cons I can think of....maybe all the wet towels. And the perpetual chlorine smell? 🙂


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  20. I looked at the title and thought...nope, mine will be a senior. And then I remembered my second son will be a 9th grader next year!!! Ack! 

    The first step will be making sure he wants to homeschool. We’ve been talking about it all along. We let the kids decide when they get to high school. I think he will probably choose to stay home and I think it is be the best option for him, but I’m open to him going to public school if he wants to. 

    He’s the most out of the box kid I have so I’m really not sure what we will do if he does stay home. I’m thinking about using Farrar’s Global Perspective Studies class for both him and his brother. He’s doing Derek Owens Algebra this year and it’s working so unless something changes we would probably stick with that for Geometry. He really likes ASL, so we’ll likely have that be his language. And that’s all the thinking I’ve done so far.

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  21. I have a junior. It’s a tough year, even homeschooling. Pretty much all the juniors I see as patients are crazy stressed.

    It’s partially workload. It’s also starting to think about college. For my son it’s also a bunch of other added things...he is taking driver’s ed, he is trying to get a certificate to enable him to have a certain job for the summer, he said yes to a staffing/leadership position within Scouts (that is taking up multiple weekends), he is thinking about swimming in college so having to negotiate writing to coaches, he has other fun thing he wants to do, there are social pressures. It’s an increase in responsibility on all levels. On the flip side...I see him rising to those challenges. He’s stressed a little but he’s also thriving. So it can be a really exciting time. 

    I think there is also some degree of stress involved in coming towards the point of a big change in your life...ending high school. People put so much emphasis on the whole college search process and what you will do and it seems like this make or break point. We’ve tried really hard not to do that and I think our son isn’t too worried about where he will go. Our emphasis has been that there are so many good schools and there is one that will be a fit for him. And we’ve talked a lot about fit (financial, personal, academic) over reputation of the schools. But there is some stress just in the uncertainty aspect of it all. 

    I just asked my son why he thinks junior year is stressful and he said “because everyone else makes it stressful.” 😀

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  22. I went to University of Richmond. I also grew up in Richmond. I loved UR and thought it was a great experience. I’ll share my thoughts, with the caveat that it is all from a long time ago so things may have changed quite a bit.

    I was on a full scholarship (not from UR, a separate private scholarship). I also had a lot of friends on scholarship as I was in a honors/scholars program. I never really felt like most of my friends or people I knew were wealthy. I am definitely not from a wealthy upbringing. I knew going into college that I had to get a scholarship or likely wouldn’t go to school. I honestly can say it was never an issue for me while there. 

    Most of the students do come from outside Virginia. When I was there (and I think it’s still about the same even though that was a long time ago now), many people were from New Jersey or New England because relatively speaking UR was much more affordable than the schools up there. 

    UR is very much a campus school. We spent very little time off campus and being in the West End really doesn’t impact life.  There is the city (which is way more hip and arty than when I grew up or lived in Richmond) but you will have to have a car to go downtown. You kind of have to drive to go anywhere, so being in the West End doesn’t make things cost more. There is a Greek system and when I was there frat parties were a big thing on the weekends, but not the only thing by any stretch of the imagination. Rush happens in the spring so you have the whole fall to make friends before you join a sorority (or don’t). There are also no sorority houses (at least there weren’t then) so it was kind of just another club. My roommate for most of my time (sophomore through senior year) was in a different sorority than me and our other two roommates were not in the Greek system. 

    I was a Biology and Chemistry double major. I had a fantastic experience. I had a lot of friends who went to UVA or W&M and I got into both of them but chose UR for various reasons. When I talked to them and compared our experiences in the sciences, I felt like I had a much more personal experience. At the time, the only large classes I had were freshman bio and chem. Everything else was small. I was able to do fairly significant undergraduate research for three years and two summers. I got paid during the summers for the research. Because there were no grad students, I basically just approached the Biochem professor and asked him I could work with him and he said yes. I knew all my professors really well. We would go to their houses for dinners. One of the Chem professors had us to his lake house every summer, we would all as a department go tubing on the James River. We had Tshirts made one summer and all went to Kings Dominion together (with the professors). I went to Florida with several professors and some other students over Spring Break one year to present at a national conference. Yes, all very geeky...but heaven for me. 

    Because of the honors program I was in, I was able to take upper level classes in a lot of other departments and had great experiences in Studio Art, Theater, English (I had enough credits for a minor but not the right classes) and Women’s Studies. 

    My roommate was almost exactly the opposite, as far as majors, a Art History, English and Women’s Studies major. She had similar relationships with professors in her fields. I knew other people who had similar experiences in Physics, Math, Psychology, Sociology. 

    It’s a great school. I’d be happy if my kids when there. It doesn’t have nursing though, so that is a definite downside if she is interested in going that route. 



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  23. I’ve written recommendation letters for a lot of people because I teach a high school class at our co-op. Once I’ve written one, it’s easy to send it again, even if I have to modify it slightly for a new thing. One thing that is super helpful to me as a writer is when the student tells me things that the scholarship/experience/competition is looking for. Then I can add a few sentences about how the student meets those characteristics. And then change them for the next letter. But leave the  main body of the letter the same. 

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