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About Jackie

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  1. We’ve used a few, and I like the NWEA MAP best. It is adaptive, meaning it will adjust the level of the questions up/down until it pinpoints level. Each of the two sections (language and math) takes about an hour, though the test itself is untimed and you can take breaks as needed. The results are thorough and helpful. You can access it at
  2. I’ve seen a few variations on this one, but still remember running across it for the first time in middle school: A group of students are pulling a prank. The school has exactly 100 students and 100 lockers. The first student enters and opens every locker. The second student enters, and closes every second locker starting with locker number two. The third student enters and closes or opens (closing the open ones and opening the closed ones) every third locker starting with number three. The fourth student enters and closes or opens every fourth locker starting with number four. This continues until the 100th student opens or closes the 100th locker. Which lockers are closed at the end? One of the reasons it sticks with me is a comment from a math instructor that seemed rather inane, but it’s still a fun problem.
  3. Jackie

    MCT Writing

    Keeping in mind that my child and I are very different people... she loved it and I didn’t. But there’s not much you can do to make me like poetry, and not much you can do to make her dislike poetry, so I’m not sure that means anything at all. I do acknowledge that the book was a better introduction to poetry than most of what I’ve read - not “kid poetry” and not all Shakespeare. It does assume you naturally will feel drawn to poetry, which is probably the dividing line between her loving it and me not loving it.
  4. Jackie

    MCT Writing

    Well, my kid did Island at 5 years old, and Town at 6-7 years old (we spread it over two years for her writing to develop), so it is certainly possible. She is highly gifted, and has a knack for language, so I never know what her abilities translate to for other kids. The vast majority of the grammar in Town is a review/repeat from Island, so if a kid can do Island’s grammar, they can do Town’s grammar. The poetry is also mostly review/repeat from Island, so if a kid could do the earlier level, they can manage Town. The big differences between the levels are in the vocabulary and writing portions. Island’s vocabulary introduces one Latin stem per chapter and plays with it. Town’s vocabulary introduces 5-10 new stems and/or words per chapter, and wants you to pay attention not only to origin and definition, but also sound and nuances of usage. Some of the words are pretty uncommon in modern usage. The writing in Island is minimal (we actually did almost all of it verbally or using magnetic poetry); the writing in Town is much more intensive. At a young age, my kid thrived with the academic vocabulary (she loves words) and struggled with the writing, though she loved reading the writing book.
  5. Jackie

    MCT Writing

    We've used the first two levels and are starting on the third. I hesitate to respond because we haven’t really used much else - this and Brave Writer - and I’ve only looked through a few other programs, which I knew pretty quickly weren’t for us. The writing portion of the Island level is close to nonexistent. There are assignments, but the majority of the writing portion in this level is embedded in reading about sentence structure and the grammar of sentences. It does change in Town. The writing assignments were uneven, but definitely more present and more in depth. There is very little hand-holding, and it jumps from writing sentences to writing multi-paragraph essays in this level. This was a bit of a shock to the system, because I was using it with a young, advanced kid and jumping straight from sentences to multiple paragraphs is a big jump. It is absolutely all forest and very little in the way of trees. That’s generally a good fit for my kid, who learns by being plunked down in the middle of a forest and figuring the rest out for herself most of the time. It’s a bit out of my comfort zone, as I’d prefer a blend of big picture and details, and a bit more hand-holding on guidance. I mean, assigning a couple paragraphs on a topic is all well and good, but when I read it and know that it’s... off... somehow....but don’t know how it’s off or how to guide her, this is less helpful. However, this has been the only formal instruction we’ve done in Paragraph writing, and my daughter can now knock out a solid paragraph with little effort (when she wants to). It changes again in Voyage. Suddenly, all the playful story base for the writing book is gone, and it’s heavily academic. It’s a bit of a shock to the system. The assignments are more specific and varied, with choices given in each chapter. It’s actually easier to adapt to topics we’re covering in other subjects than the previous levels. However, again, there’s no hand-holding for the instructor in how to guide and this is not a strong area for me; I write decently enough, but could use more support in how to break it down or coach. We’ll work our way through to see if she puts it together with this big picture approach, like she did with paragraphs, or if we need to do something that addresses a few more of the trees. i had read somewhere that this program was originally designed for use in gifted pullout programs in schools. Therefore, it assumes that students are getting the usual mundane writing instruction elsewhere and it is focusing on going more in depth on the craft of writing. In using the program, this makes a lot of sense to me. It feels like the program skips over the basics and goes to some fairly high-level ideas. Again, this is an approach that often works for my kid, so I’m going with it, but it’s sometimes hard for me to wrap my brain around.
  6. Jackie

    NME question...

    A padded, tan-colored envelope, about 12” x 15” in size, with a return address of the American Classical League.
  7. Jackie

    Online classes for 2019-2020?

    I have no idea what classes my kid will be taking next year. However, in case you just want more ideas of where to look, we’ll look at classes through Athena’s Academy, Online G3, Open Tent, and Outschool.
  8. Jackie

    MCT Grammar

    Yes, it is secular. I prefer the 4-level analysis to traditional diagramming. Caesar’s English doesn’t plan things day-by-day. There are 20 lessons, and I find it reasonable to plan one lesson per week, so there is some pacing. CE would give you a reasonable idea of how you would like the rest of the program.
  9. This is only possible at the California locations. Their other locations are all in states that do not offer charter funds or any financial support for homeschoolers. The classes are definitely too expensive for me to use charter funds. It costs about the same for a child to take one 2-hour weekly class at AOPS as for my child to take 1-2 full days of enrichment classes with any other provider here.
  10. Jackie

    MCT Grammar

    If just getting Caesar’s English, you need the student books. The Implementation Manual didn’t add anything for us, though there are quizzes in it if you want those. We strongly prefer the color version because the book is loaded with photographs. The packages include everything you *need*, plus a couple things that I consider nice to have but not truly necessary. Flash cards are an add-on, and only fairly recently available at all. The additional student books are if you have more than one kid writing in books.
  11. Jackie

    MCT Grammar

    Just for the grammar part? Or for an entire level? The grammar part is pretty straightforward: Spend a few weeks working through Grammar Island (or Grammar Town or whatever), reading in the book together for about 15-20 minutes at a sitting and working through any examples. When done with that book, analyze one sentence from Practice (Island, Town, etc) about 3 times per week. If meaning the entire program, have you seen the PowerPoint presentation that the MCT folks have put together to exp,Ian the program? It was helpful for me, though it still didn’t let me envision the day-to-day. Honestly, that was a leap of faith in buying it and hoping I would figure it out, because so many people that used other materials we enjoyed were also using this one. As for placement, I would generally start kids above third grade in the Town level. Island is a very gentle introduction, but is going to be too simple for most older kids. Town is when the writing instruction gets more interesting and when Caesar’s English starts.
  12. Jackie

    NME question...

    Not only did I receive the NME today, it appears I received an entire classroom’s worth of them. Weird. Pretty sure they just sent me the one I ordered last year.
  13. We just watched the sequel to An Inconvenient Truth on Amazon Prime. Currently in our Netflix list (we’ve watched some, and some we still need to get around to): Bill Nye Life Planet Earth Blue Planet Frozen Planet Kevin Hart’s Black History The Breadwinner Natire’s Great Events Walt Disney Short Films Collection Chasing Coral Jeopardy Being Elmo Life Story Encounters at the End of the World brainchild Carmen Sandiego Dolphins: Spy in the Pod A Plastic Ocean Lions: Spy in the Den Edge Of the Universe
  14. Jackie

    Sewing 101

    Sewing School 1 is primarily hand sewing, with 1-2 machine sewn projects that can easily be skipped or postponed. The techniques are simple and well explained in the book, but you can also search YouTube for “how to do an____ stitch” if there’s anything you feel would better be seen with video than in pictures; the book names the stitches for you.
  15. Jackie

    NME question...

    Last year, the test showed up in the mail 1-2 weeks before the testing date opened. My daughter is registered again this year, but we haven’t received anything yet.