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Everything posted by weederberries

  1. I agree completely. In this world of "you can be anything you want to be," we need to maintain high standards. Frankly, very few people can be "anything" they want to be. Most people have well-defined limitations and should learn to excel in their areas of skill. So my suggestion is, if you can't get an A or B in physics, pursue a different degree, one that doesn't require it. It's not within your reach to become a medical physicist or the like. The world needs all kinds of people, from garbage collectors to lawyers to physicists to chefs. We need to design our degree paths to best prepare them for a career in that field and then teach them in a way to provide the opportunity for them to truly learn and master the material, even if it means a slower pace. Then the value of education will rise.
  2. I appreciate what you're saying. There definitely must be a complete overhaul of grading theory, what grades mean and their ramifications for my ideas to be possible. I'm speaking purely in an ideal world. Maybe there needs to be some distinction between core classes and degree-field classes. I don't expect that I could do much better than a B in a college physics class, but I also have no use for that class. If it were in my field of study, I'd expect more and would not be satisfied with anything below an A. I suppose I'm suggesting that we require a high percentage of mastery in our fields of specialty and the classes deemed important enough to be "core" to higher education. If college algebra is required of all students because of its practicality, then all students should master a high percentage of the material. If it's not possible for the average student to master more than 75% of the material, then perhaps passing with a C is what is watering down our system. What I'm proposing is that we increase the value of a degree by increasing what we expect from students. I don't want to see the classes become easier to accommodate the average student. I'm suggesting we change the way classes are taught so that students are given maximum opportunity to succeed. This might include the opportunity for retaking tests for mastery, dropping classes that are beyond their grasp and trying again at a later date. If the average C student approaching a math or science class is afforded the opportunity to increase mastery through repeated attempts at a test or the like and they are still unable to master more than 80% of the material, then perhaps they need to drop the class and retry at a later date. It's a similar technique to what I use at home. If we don't master dividing fractions in the first go around, I let it lie for a little while and come back to it in a few weeks to try again. At the college level, if the day never comes that he masters algebra, then I'm suggesting that we not award that student with a degree. It may take longer for an average student to earn a degree, but it would ensure that every degreed adult has mastery of the material deemed important to his field. This way we aren't watering down the system, but raising the bar. I think plenty of average/C students could be very good or excellent students with a restructuring of the system to aim for mastery rather than passing. Then our degrees would really mean something. A degree-holding applicant is then someone who really knows their stuff, whether it came to them easily or they put in the extra effort to get there. When my husband interviews potential employees and reviews current ones, he asks them about their grades in classes. A B is considered a good grade. In the workplace though, if you perform your tasks accurately only 80% of the time, you get fired.
  3. I posted about what we are using and like very much that could be used as supplement to what you are using or a spine for what you want to build on. It's #4 in this thread.
  4. Texas is part of the Bible Belt. I think it stands to reason you'd find a higher concentration of creationists in the south. Throughout my public school career, it was an unwritten rule that no homework was to be assigned on Wednesday nights because that was Bible Study/Youth Group night at church. If it was assigned, it wasn't due until Friday. There was (is?) a high enough concentration to make that rule practical and wide-spread. I attended schools all over the huge state of TX and this was consistent.
  5. I grew up in small towns in Texas and attended public schools. Somewhere around 5th grade there was a chapter on "origins" in our science book. I think it was discussed with a host of theories on a wide array of topics, including Big Bang, natural selection, evolution and the scientists behind them. Of note, there was a 1/8 page inset that mentioned "some religious groups" reject these scientific theories in favor of their religious texts' suggestions, though they are not mutually exclusive. It was taught as "here are a bunch of theories." In AP biology in 9th grade, evolution and natural selection were afforded another chapter and probably a week of study, including a video. I know for a fact that my 9th grade teacher was a hard-core creationist, but he handled the topic in class with grace. He was an excellent teacher in general, actually. We spent a lot of time on genetics in that class and on glycolysis. I figure we spent the appropriate week or so on these "origin theories" given their practicality compared with other biological studies.
  6. Your real world applications are accurate. On things like written reports, I agree that a deadline is important. On concept mastery, especially in more objective classes, I believe the benefit is in learning the skill in school to perform well when accuracy counts on future assignments. Math mistakes in the business world are career enders, which is why we need to allow students the time and teaching to get it correct and master the concept before they are degreed and certified in their field. Subjective assignments, like essays and presentations, allow a period of growth over time longer than the typical degree cycle. When one practices these skills at entry-level jobs and perfects them over the course of their career, it allows for promotions and career growth. Minimal (passing) skills can be achieved in the course of education, while growth can continue in the career; although, the objective mechanics of such writing and presenting are rightly achievable (with repeated allowances for mastery) within the school time frame. By that, I mean an employee who can't capitalize a sentence and make the verbs agree won't get very far. Those mechanics should have been mastered in school. Entry-level employees who need work on succinct, persuasive communications have time to grow with their career. It's like the riddle: What do you call a student who graduated from medical school with a D? A doctor. I may seek out that framed degree on the exam room wall, but I've never asked my doctor if he was an A student. Can we allow our students to stick around in school long enough to repeat to the point of mastery and encourage them to learn for knowledge instead of the grade? We'd end up with better educated students. Could it encourage some to procrastinate? Sure, but there can be reasonable limits set. Give students two weeks after the original assignment to improve their mastery (and grade). If they try and can't, that's a clue that they need further instruction/tutoring. I'd also be thrilled to see the minimum bar raised. Maybe passing is a B or above. Otherwise, retake the course next semester. I'm definitely in favor of reinventing the way we think of grades.
  7. It sounds like things will work themselves out. At some point the community will reach CC saturation and there won't be any new ones. In the next couple of years some families will discover that CC isn't a fit and you may even see some CCs close down. Meanwhile, the small support groups like the ones you mention here may close but the members who aren't interested in CC will join the remaining groups and they will grow. You may see a shift in groups, but those interested in paying for CC will balance out with those looking for a different kind of support. People like you will maintain a few free groups. The book sales will likely balance as well. I'm unlikely to visit a CC book sale when my own group is hosting one that I'd like to support. In fact, I'm unlikely to visit a CC book sale at all, since I'd most likely buy from Amazon. I'd plan to buy some books from a support group to support them, but not my entire collection. I know it sounds like a lot of change and potential for losing your support, but imagine that many in the community are excited about new CC opportunities, even if many of them return to support groups later on. You're witnessing the shift in interest away from your preferences, but it doesn't mean that you'll be left standing alone out in the cold. There are still others who share your interests, even if you have to put in a little effort to reorganize.
  8. I did it in the public school. I had lots of students and parents who just didn't care. So, they'd flunk a test and "move on." We had a no-fail policy, so they knew they'd pass to the next grade anyway. It was really frustrating. So, in my class, I had my own "no-fail" policy. I made it mandatory to retake the test until the student made an A. I deducted points on their recorded grade based on the number of times they had to retake the test to do it. It was possible to receive an A on a test that you'd retaken once. By making this "do-over" mandatory, I was able to assure that the students capable of mastery did in fact learn something. They had to retake the whole test, too, so I could prevent cramming and forgetting. I offered tutoring in my room for 20 minutes after school and then gave them 30 minutes to retake the test. (this was 5th grade, so the tests were never very long). With my own children, we don't move on until I'm satisfied that they've mastered it. If they don't "pass" on the first try, it simply means that they didn't master it within my arbitrary time frame. Usually, I don't "test" them until I'm sure they've gotten the concept. What's the point of school? To prove how quickly you can learn something or to learn it and prove that you can use it? If you look at school that way, it doesn't make it unfair that a student has the opportunity to improve his grade by improving his retention. That way, grades can be a measure of accumulated knowledge instead of cramming and purging.
  9. We're having similar problems. I decided not to let it hold up progress on further math concepts. She does her math work with a multiplication chart on her desk. She's able to use it to find specific facts, factors, products, etc. It's removed the pressure and is allowing her to progress. Is that something that might help? Just a reference sheet to relieve the pressure of memory?
  10. We read it when my kids were 7, 6 and 4. They did just fine. They can be a little sensitive to tense movies, but generally don't show that anxiety with books. I think they only process what they can handle.
  11. Those of you using a timer, does it not encourage the "worker" to just sit and wait for the timer to go off so he can be "done" and move on, only to dawdle and resist at the make-up time too? I have one child who would do that. Another of my children would collapse into a crying fit if she wasn't finished at the bell. We'd lose another 20 minutes to regain our composure. She doesn't do well with time pressure.
  12. The ONLY difference in the two is how you set it up. They are the exact same program and is practical from age 5 to adults. The homeschool edition allows you to "enroll" 10 students instead of just 5 and track their progress as a teacher with reports, instead of self-tracking progress per user. If you got the regular edition, you would have to log in to your son's user to see his progress. With the homeschool edition, you can log in as yourself and view a report of all the students using the course. We have the homeschool edition German. My 6 year old easily uses it, as do I. I'm in level 5, he's in level 1. My other two students don't progress as quickly, but it is not the fault of the program. ;-) I can log in and look at all of their progress and "grades." For each user, in either edition, you can choose how they study the language. I study listening, speaking, reading and writing, while my 6 year old only does listening, speaking and reading. Each student's path is customizable within the same program. Edit: I'm not sure I was specific enough. There is not an "adult" version versus another version. There is "personal" and "homeschool." They are the same program, same lessons, same opportunities to customize how you want to learn the language. The homeschool edition only gets you reports on progress AND rights for additional users (5 more than the other edition).
  13. Oh, I should mention that I was 13 when I took my first flight and I took it alone. I was not "tagged" as an unaccompanied minor and didn't have an escort. I was quite nervous, being the first time in an airplane. This was before cell phones and I was worried that my mom wouldn't pick me up on the other end. This was also back when you could meet arrivals at the gate. I didn't see her right away and I started crying. She was there in the crowd, but I just didn't see her. It was too much for me then. In this day and age...a 19 year old with a cell phone and a debit card... See ya! Have a good trip.
  14. Wow. We have flown several times with our children in recent years (9, 8 and 6). After seeing the way they handle it, I would be willing to allow them to fly (up to 4 hour flight) alone if they would be directly in the care of someone they trust on the other end (grandparent, my brother, etc.). I wouldn't hesitate if the three went together. I'd allow my 9 and 8 year olds to travel independently. My 6 year old is not ready all by himself. I know a family who has sheltered their daughter. We hired her as a nanny to go with us to Europe when she was 19. We assured her parents that we would care for her as though she were our own child. She was rather terrified the whole time, but was a great nanny. She refused our offers for a day off so she could explore Berlin on her own. She preferred to sight see with us from behind the stroller. A year later, she returned to Germany for the summer to nanny for our German friends. Again, she preferred to stay with them at all times, though she made the flight by herself. She's now 25 and still lives at home. She's in school and has a seemingly normal life, but is quite afraid to step out independently and is waiting to move out until she marries. That being said, I hope my daughter and I get along well enough that she feels comfortable living with us for practical purposes before she marries, but is not afraid of venturing out on her own.
  15. History Pockets we like these in a variety of themes. you can modify the language intensity by reading aloud, and requiring less writing, more constructing. Hands On History (I recently purchased the ebook from Teacher Express for $1) Read Draw Remember - make it read aloud, draw, remember Tunes that Teach
  16. I'm very sensitive too. I need time to myself and time away from other people. It can be challenging at times, but we work through it. Get your husband involved in this task. As for team work, you've got 2 kids. They'll be able to do many activities together and I suggest you plan it that way for your sanity. In fact, it's Monday morning, which means my kids are all teamed up and working against me to get anything accomplished this morning. See how well they learn that lesson? ;)
  17. Thank you. I was beginning to wonder if I'm crazy for fighting the new standard for child activities. That was a very nice and encouraging thing for you to say.
  18. Our portfolios, which are just for our own purposes, show progress, just like you suggested. We collect everything over the course of the year and pare down at the end, picking our favorite and most memorable assignments. I choose 3 (beginning, middle and end of the year) that show progress. The kids get to choose 2-3 more for each subject. There are some projects that we keep the entire collection if they are chronological, like history, and it makes a nice "picture book" through the ancients or something.
  19. I don't know anything about specific pianos, but I know that the Universities around us have an annual sale. They replace pianos frequently and sell beautiful, high quality pianos for fantastic prices. I would contact the music departments at the universities near you and ask when this might happen and if they can put you on a list to notify, if not reserve one for you. Edit: Reading up on these university sales, many people seem to think they aren't as good a deal as they are cracked up to be.
  20. I fully expect our schedule to change and expand over the years. That will also be a time when the kids are better able to manage their own schedule. Right now, I want my children to feel peace, not rushing, to have time to play freely, not another class to attend, and to have friends that participate in day to day adventures with them. I know it won't be this way forever, but childhood is short...I don't want to make it shorter with the stress of running from here to there.
  21. Recess, lunch and nap. Maybe nap twice. I mean, we're talking about a dream world here, right? ;) For real, I think I might say, math, reading and art. Math is just a life and problem solving skill. By good reading you can learn history, science, and even how to write well in any number of other subject areas. I surprised myself with Art. I wasn't educated in art, but it takes some understanding to appreciate it. It would also be a good window at history.
  22. We use FLL and it walks us through each type by diagramming directed by questions. It has been gentle since the beginning. My kids don't need the prompting questions by year 4, but slow and steady has gotten us there. The definition of an adverb also helps. "An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective or another adverb. Adverbs tell how, when where, how often and to what extent. " We use that to find them and match them with what they modify. In the sentence above, we'd start by diagramming the verb and subject. What kind of drill? Fire. Which drill? The. Is there a word that tells when? Today. Today the drill went. Adverbs tell when something happens, so it describes the verb 'went.' Is there an adverb that tells how it went? Quickly. Is there an adverb that tells to what extent it went quickly? Rather. By phrasing the questions this way, you'll naturally help find the modified part of speech. I wasn't taught this in school either, but FLL has made it smooth and simple for all of us.
  23. We had a good day! We invited over a young girl from church and her brother. THEY WERE AVAILABLE!! He's a bit older than my boys, but they played together well anyway. They homeschool as well, so we were able to play from 2-5pm. It was so nice. My daughter was thrilled. "If I can't play with my best friend, E, very often anymore [about once a year], maybe I can have a second best friend that can play with me more." It was nice to see dd enjoying the company of someone she sees regularly, but hasn't been able to connect with outside of "context."
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