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Everything posted by Alice

  1. I’ve done it in England, Iceland and France. England was the trickiest at first because of driving on the left, but it just took a brief period of time to adjust. I felt like I was learning to drive again as a teenager. I just had to think really hard about everything at first. But the learning curve was quick, like a day or so. That trip was in 2000 so we didn’t have GPS. Dh just navigated for me using old fashioned maps. For Iceland and France we dowloaded maps to Google maps so we’d have them even when offline. That made it very easy. Honestly, driving in either place wasn’t really any different than renting a car and driving in a different place in the US. The one exception was Paris. I didn’t drive there because I’m not as confident with big city driving. Dh drove and then once we got out of the city we switched. I’ve driven in other big cities (NYC, LA) but Paris was insane. It was like there were no traffic rules and the cars just did what they wanted. Even dh who rarely gets flustered said it was a little unnerving. I don’t drive stick and we’ve never had a problem getting an automatic, you just have to request it.
  2. Books I loved in high school (and beyond): A Not Entirely Benign Procedure by Perri Klass Medical Detectives by Bernard Roueche ( true stories of investigations of outbreaks/public health mysteries) The Deadly Dinner Party (similar medical mysteries) by Jonathan Edlow Every Patient Tells a Story by Lisa Sanders Anything by Atul Gawande, especially Complications and Better. Anything by Oliver Sacks about Neurology...An Anthropologist on Mars, Awakenings, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat are three really good ones, all clinical neurology tales Similar to Sacks...books by Harold Klawans, Toscanini’s Fumble is one Jerome Groopman’s How Doctors Think Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek The Making of a Woman Surgeon by Elizabeth Morgan (interesting from the perspective of a woman who was one of the first in her field) Fiction: Robin Cook’s medical thriller’s: Coma is the classic but there are a bunch The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton The Chemistry of Death and others in the series by Simon Beckett (forensic series set in the UK....pretty graphic but really really good) The Body Farm series by Jefferson Bass (series of mysteries by a William Bass and Jon Jefferson...Bass was the real life doctor in charge of the Body Farm in Tennessee which is the premier lab for forensic research, Jefferson is a journalist who he teamed with to write the books). (FYI, I’m a pediatrician. These were all favorites of mine in high school or since high school. A warning is that my Mom pretty much let me read anything so I don’t really remember if all of these are typically high school appropriate.)
  3. Resurrecting my own zombie thread. 🙂 I found this thread today when searching for something else that I had followed. I thought it might be helpful to anyone else there with outside of the box, school-hating kids to give an update. My now 8th grader is still an outside the box, march to his own drummer kid. But we are still homeschooling and it’s been great. I backed way off for the rest of 4th grade and let him have a lot more autonomy outside of just doing the basics. He remained adamant that he didn’t want to go to school and I respected that. We spent the last few years letting him pursue more of his own interests while still doing the minimum for school. Fast-forward to now and he is a kid who still prefers to do things his own way but he’s engaged in learning (for the most part) and has tons of interests. He has taught himself a lot of skills (juggling, knitting, unicycling, computer drawing, power point, more computer skills that I don’t really understand, photography...). He’s happy and thriving. And he’s also now mature enough to realize that there are some hoops he just needs to jump through for school (like standardized testing required by our state) and he sees the value in doing them and moving on rather than fighting it. Anyway, I’m glad we kept with it and I’d thought I’d update in case it helps anyone else. When I read my old post I even had trouble remembering the struggles we went through.
  4. For classes at home, I don’t give tests or grades on individual assignments. He works to mastery and I give him an A. I will say this kid is a hard worker and deserves an A, so I don’t really feel like it’s grade padding. My son has taken a handful of outside classes each year (so far 3 out of 6 credits a year) and those grades have also been A’s and are more traditionally graded. This year he took one class through the public school system and it was shocking to me how lenient it was graded (and it was an AP class). He missed one exam by his own fault (we both read the deadline incorrectly). He sent the professor an apology and asked for an opportunity to re-take it but also said he understood if that wouldn’t be allowed. The teacher emailed back a very stern letter about how he could still take it but with a penalty. He took it and the penalty was 4 points off...which meant he still got an A on it. That made me feel even less worried about giving him A’s in the classes at home. I plan on saying something in our homeschool description on applications about how our philosophy includes working to mastery. I also think (hope) that since he has outside classes that are similar grades to mine and he has good test scores overall that my grades will seem valid.
  5. I just discovered that my 12 year old though the “f word” was fart for a long time when he was little. He was apparently really confused when people would talk about it being a bad word becuase he thought “hey, we say that at home all the time.”
  6. Complete infertility is rare. Subfertility (reduced sperm count) is not that rare in men, about 15% permanent. I didn’t say Mumps causes problems during pregnancy, it’s rubella that does. The risk of deafness is small but real. More recent studies suggest it’s higher than previously thought. Both my aunt and uncle are deaf in one ear from mumps.
  7. You can’t tell if it’s bacterial or viral until you do a spinal tap. In a small baby especially, they look identical. So you would tap and send off cultures and do antibiotics for 48 hours while you wait for the cultures and viral PCR to come back. Also a baby who has viral meningitis has to be presumed to be herpes meningitis until proven otherwise because herpes meningitis is devastating. So a baby with meningitis symptoms will get at a spinal tap and then often get hospitatlized and treated with antibiotics and potentially acyclovir for herpes until you are sure that it’s not those things. In older kids, it’s a easier to tell and you can make a better guess from the way the spinal tap looks if you do tap. Viral meningitis in itself is not usually harmful and typically kids recover well. Mumps meningitis is similar. I’m not going to wade into this vaccine debate becuase I’ve just decided not to do it anymore online. But as for the MMR....the main risk with Mumps is infertility and deafness, the main risk with rubella is that it is a teratogen and causes terrible birth defects. It is not usually harmful to kids but is given to them to protect pregnant women (who are typically in contact with young children). Measles can be a virus that makes you feel really ill, like the flu, but you can recover from. It can also be deadly. The main concern we vaccinate for is measles encephalitis and pneumonia which are the main causes of death and disability. . It can cause death, the rate is about 1:1000. The rate of encephalitis which can also cause brain damage and permanent neurological complications is 1:1000. It still kills about 100,000 people a year, mostly kids under the age of 5. Before mass vaccination in the 1980’s it was the cause of 2.6 million deaths a year. Those stats are per the WHO.
  8. I wonder if it’s a local church outreach or challenge kind of thing. You know like maybe “in Lent, approach a stranger per week” or something like that. I could see that kind of thing happening in some circles I’ve been in.
  9. First option. Breakfast is mostly everyone on their own, but there are usually a couple of people at the table at one time. Just not everyone. Lunch is usually me and the kids eating together. Now that my oldest is often working independently during the day, lunch is the time we all come back together. We read aloud, play a game or watch something on TV (currently old Amazing Race seasons). Dinner is almost always almost all of us. It’s gotten harder to do that as there are more activities. Mondays I work and the kids and dh actually have a long standing tradition of having dinner with extended family. This used to be dh’s father, all three of dh’s siblings and the kids’ four cousins. As time has gone on that is now usually just dh’s siblings and occasionally a cousin if they are in town. The other nights of the week, I’d say 3 are typically all of us and 3 are most of us but someone might be out at an activity and have eaten early or will eat late.
  10. Just wanted to give a shout out for Simplify Homeschool online classes for middle schoolers. My 7th grade son is taking one on Puzzles and Codes (taught by Farrar!) and it’s been a fantastic experience. He’s a kid who doesn’t like a lot of school and typically doesn’t like anything that seems schoolish even if it’s a topic he likes. But he’s totally gotten into the class. It’s also been a nice gentle first online class. The work is interesting and challenging but not so much that it’s overwhelming. I think he likes the independence of doing it on his own. I don’t know if they will offer online classes again, but if they do, I highly recommend them.
  11. We’re using the Arbor Math books for my 7th grader this year. He loved Jousting Armadillos and it was a great fit for him. We continued with Crocodiles and Coconuts. It’s still been mostly good. It’s a little too wordy for him, he’s much more of an auditory learner I’ve realized. We’ve gotten around that mostly by me reading him the longer sections and then orally discussing it rather than having him read it himself. But my bigger gripe is that there are SO MANY ERRORS in the solutions guide. JA had some and that was a bit annoying but understandable. This is way more and it’s really frustrating. I love the concept of the books, but I’m not sure I’d recommend it to anyone at this point becuase of the errors. Just thought I’d throw that out there since I know it’s a program a lot of people look at.
  12. Full disclaimer: My son is in 10th grade so I don’t know yet if what I’m doing “works” as far as colleges. 🙂 1) I am putting classes he took in middle school that are standard high school level classes on the transcript. That is consistent with what the public schools here do. So for us that’s Algebra, Latin I and Intro to Counting and Probability. Around here the public schools will put higher level Math and Language classes on the transcript. I just listed it as being done in 8th grade. And didn’t use the grades to calculate GPA. I used the course descriptions on the AOPS website to explain what the classes included. 2) My son has self-taught with AOPS and wants to continue doing that. I’ve given him A’s for the classes because it is consistent with our philosophy of teaching to mastery. I assume that somewhere in the application I will include a statement about our grading policy and homeschool philosophy. I feel comfortable giving him A’s becuase he consistently gets most of the problems correct in each chapter when he works through the review problems at the end of the chapter. I know some people on here have made up tests for an end of the year review using problems through the book. For Algebra, I had a friend who teaches at a middle school give me an exam that he uses and gave it to my son at the end of the year.. I did that partially to ensure that the self-teaching method was working. 🙂 Since Algebra, I’ve been more comfortable with the approach and haven’t done that. I feel like the scores he gets on standardized tests will back up the Mommy grades. He plans on doing at least one SAT II Math test and has very good scores on the SAT Math section. He’ll also probably do AP Calculus. 3) I haven’t fully decided on this. I think currently in the transcript I have the Intro book labeled as Algebra and then in the Course description section I described it more fully. Now that he’s in Intermediate Algebra and I see how much harder it is than a standard text...I may relabel things to show that it’s not really a standard Algebra II class. 4) I kept records of things my son did in middle school that were significant and applied to his interests or continued into high school. I figure you can always leave it off but if you don’t remember it you can’t put it on. I don’t yet know what I’ll put on the final transcript but I figured it didn’t hurt to keep them. For example, he took the NLE Latin exam in middle school. I’ll probably put that in there with the other NLE scores.
  13. I voted No becuase I don’t think it’s common knowledge unless you have adopted from a rescue. When we adopted our dog, they made that really clear and I was somewhat surprised. Not upset, just surprised. I thought it would have been something like “if you can’t find another home for her than return her to the rescue” but not that it was return her even if you had another home in mind. It made sense to me when I thought about it, but it wasn’t what I expected.
  14. Pre-Calculus/Trig or whatever AOPS calls that level. He does it on his own. AP Latin with Lukeion ?Shakespeare semester class with Lukeion, something else for English other semester That’s about all I know. I’m impressed (and a little scared) by all the planning people. We usually do History at home, not sure what he’ll want to cover. Either Physics or Biology but not sure of provider. If Bio I might just do it myself. Electives...? Psychology ? Some other Math ? something else
  15. This almost exactl for my boys. My daughter has always really liked showers and so takes one daily.
  16. I have two that I like. One in my purse and one by my bed. But I have other dollar store ones around for an emergency.
  17. We only use Intensive Practice and Textbook. I’ve done it that way for three kids all the way through and it’s been fine. I have three kids. One is likely to be a math major in college and loves math. One used to hate math, but mostly because he doesn’t like school and math is school. One likes math ok and is good at it but it’s more that she likes school and math is school. 🙂 For all three the approach of using just the IP book has been good. My oldest needed and thrived on more challenge. He and I would go through a section of the TB and then he’d do the IP problems without doing any of the practice problems in the TB or WB. That worked great. He is a kid now who loves AOPS and the self-teaching, discovery aspect of it. He also reads math books for fun in his spare time. My middle son hated math for a long time and struggled. I finally realized half of the struggle was that he found it boring and dull and was just not willing to do something boring. We had been using the WB some with him and supplementing with IP problems. Then I realized he would miss a ton of the more rote kind of practice problems but get all the harder word problems right. So we started just using the IP book. For him, I went through the TB and would assign practice problems and review problems from the TB to him sprinkled in with the harder more interesting IP problems. He needed a little more practice and review than oldest so we went slower. He also needed more direct teaching than my other kids and more of the review, so I added that in as necessary. My daughter is more similar to my oldest but more of the get it done mindset with Math. I assign her some problems from the IP book and then all the word problems/challenging problems. All that to say, yes, you can do it that way and it works fine. It might not work for a kid who is really struggling and needs more review, but that doesn’t sound like the case for your daughter.
  18. That’s funny. In our discussion several people mentioned friends that they had who had read it as teenagers and loved it. Our theory was that people who read it as teens maybe saw it as more romantic and overlooked the more troubling parts. Ha!
  19. I finished Lonesome Dove. It was not my cup of tea, although it’s not a bad book. Just so ultra masculine. It’s probably a fair depiction of the time and place but I really didn’t need to be immersed in that much violence for 850 pages. Almost everyone in my book group felt the same way, except for the 70+ year old woman who picked it. We decided it was partially generational, at least in that she had grown up watching cowboy shows on TV and the movies and just found that life fascinating. The rest of us weren’t entranced enough by the cowboys to want to put up with all the icky stuff. Not sure what is next for me. I’m reading the Iliad with my oldest for school and I need to read some other things with the kids. I have a big old stack beside my bed so trying to decide waht is next for my personal reading.
  20. No specific reading goals here, other than to read more. I’m currently reading Lonesome Dove for my book group. And starting The Iliad to read with oldest. I’m also reading The Fellowship of the Ring and The Girl Who Drank the Moon out-loud to my kids. And we’re listening to The Incorrigible Children and the Unmapped Sea in the car. I have many other things on my nightstand but I’m not letting myself look at them until I finish Lonesome Dove or the book club meets (whichever comes first).
  21. I am not at all a dog expert, we have a minimally trained 5 year old dog (and it’s our first dog). She likes to jump on people too. One thing we taught her was to go to a specific place on command. For us it’s her mat/bed which happens to be near our front door. We taught her to do that when it was just us and family by using treats. Then we worked on having her learn to stay there until we say to get off. Once we got her to learn to stay, we worked on going to the mat when she was excited but it was just family (she gets barky and jumpy when the kids play loud music or dance around). I added the command Quiet/Calm and wouldn’t give her the command to come get the treat until she was lying still and calm. Now when someone comes over, we will usually tell her to go to her mat and then let her off to get a treat if she is calm. It’s also useful when kids are over and she gets overexcited.
  22. I can see that but the problem I have with it is that everyone can have a bad day. Posting it online I feel like is a way of labeling the person as being one way, it gives no grace. Maybe this mother had a particular horrible day. Maybe she was fired from her job. Maybe her kid was having one of those super annoying kid days and she was just at her wit’s end. Or maybe she’s just and entitled horrible person who makes a habit of going around yelling at people. But as soon as it gets posted online and has potential to get shared and go viral...she becomes only that horrible entitled person that everyone is talking about. And I think posting the video that has her child in it is particularly egregious. That’s a really good point. Although, I think I read a news article that seemed to suggest it was the same person. That’s where I made that assumption. But I could be wrong. It also sounded like from some of the articles online that it was a group of people who were training service dogs, not one person with a dog. So it could have been any of them taking the video, I suppose.
  23. I said not enough info. From the video, I’d say the mother is more to blame but the more of these kind of things that get posted online, the more I feel like we (as a society) are all too quick to rush to judgment. We’re seeing a tiny clip from an interaction and it’s hard to know exactly what happened. And even though I think the mother is likely more to blame, the fact that the service dog owner posted the video online makes me biased against her, it’s such a horrible trend. I can understand taking the video, if she felt threatened and wanted to intimidate the mother and make her go away or was worried about having evidence for her own protection. But posting it is really unnecessary.
  24. We’re doing a lot of the things mentioned here...bluetooth speaker for 15 year old, bluetooth earbuds for 12 year old. Funny Tshirts for both. Books. Some card games. I’m getting them both a year subscription to Amazon Music to share. They like getting food that I don’t usually buy. I got 15 year old Pop-Tarts for his birthday and he loved that. And we got 12 year old Cinnamon Toast Crunch for his birthday and I think it was his best present. Someone got my oldest a Yeti mug for his birthday and he really loves that.
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