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About Gil

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    Supreme PooBah of Learning at G.I.Z.M.O.S

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  1. They are 13 and 10, so get a piece of paper and pen and all in one room with snacks, have THEM PARTICIPATE in coming up with a long list of Interesting or Constructive Things To Do Around Home/Neighborhood. Can you hit 50 items? What about 100? 150 items. Try and come up with a really long list of SPECIFIC things. Then when the kids display to you that they're bored bring out their list and they pick something to do or assign them something to do. I discourage really vague goals like "learn a skateboard trick" and instead prefer very clear goals "Learn to do an ollie while riding my
  2. I try and teach my children manners. Not just the manners that I learned growing up (which weren't many at all) but codes of conduct for situations that aren't apart of our everyday life experiences too. As a family we intentionally learn about and practice situational etiquette--even if it's for something that I don't encounter often, simply because it's important for them to know. To me, it falls on the families AND society to teach children these things. I can't be with them every second of every day, and I can't plan for or catch ever mis-step. If one day Pal or Buddy makes
  3. Then there is your answer. If his stamina is "depleted" at 50 minutes, it's depleted. It wouldn't matter too much what you had planned for the 51st minute, would it? If you want to develop his concentration, build his mental stamina or train his ability to focus, then devise a way to do that. But that doesn't mean that he needs to spend more time on math
  4. Plays around like what? Keep in mind that my comment was specifically about the white sheet of paper, where his steps were *perfect* but @mathmarm reported that it took 3 minutes for him to find the quotient. I trust that mm's son has superb number-sense and his math facts rock solid, so I was curious about whatthe hold-up was time-wise. Being distracted out of the math-problem itself makes sense. For a child who is fluent in the prerequisites, and supposed to be fluent in the division itself, that problem should've taken 35-50 seconds, not 180.
  5. Are you 100% sure that he is fully fluent in the multiplication and subtraction algorithms? Since you say he's got a grip on the estimation part, then it really shouldn't take 3 minutes to do this problem with the long-division algorithm.
  6. Since we've been working our way through the home library for over a year now, we are low on untapped secondary language books 😦... Unfortunately, the majority of the books that we own have been read in-depth and repeated. So if this outbreak continues more than a month, I'm not sure what we'll do for reading material.
  7. Oh good lord, my post reads as though it were written by Scrooge McCurmudgeon. That wasn't my intent. There is a huge difference between leading your kids to being independent learners and students, then gradually passing them academic responsibility vs just throwing (cheap) books, (free) apps and (random, inexpensive) trinkets at them and hoping to god that they figure it out and teach themselves because you have your Netflix queued up for a 8-year binge session and heaven help you if you have to put it down and do something akin to TEACH your own children. (Can you tell I know people w
  8. For routine, do it quickly and get it right type problems, you can just purchase a textbooks on the same topic and have her do the word problems from each lesson, Mid Chapter reviews and chapter reviews from each chapter, going back to work through the lesson when she's stuck. There are very few workbooks at the high school level of mathematics, but Mark Twain media publishes some. I'm not sure if they're good or not.
  9. Pal wrote a story. In Spanish. Of his own volition. It's a short story, but still a BIG deal. If you'd told me 6 weeks ago that Pal would write a story in his secondary language this year, I'd have told you that you didn't know my kid very well. But I forget that kids can be changing and transforming every week or that sometimes, your child wakes up a completely different person than who they've been for the last several months or years. Sometimes it's like they go to bed and then BAM Update Complete. Please restart the machine. They wake up newly capable of things. So neat. I'l
  10. Parents as teachers who are actively teaching. I find materials that teach me how to teach something are more valuable than almost anything else. A guidebook with a strong Just Roll Up Your Sleeves and Do It Your Damn-self vibe to it would be nice to recommend. I find the rampant desire for Independent Subjects for elementary and middle schoolers weird. I think a solid manual for elementary math education is needed. Too many home educators are clueless about math and they are okay remaining clueless and inept at math. Personally, I hate edutainment. I find it gimmicky, and ineffective
  11. I'm looking for unabridged editions of classic books, with "lovely" illustrations--obviously "lovely" is in the eye of the beholder, but I figured I'd save a ton of time if I simply asked here.
  12. As someone who wasted an inordinate amount of my and my7yo childs time trying to teach spelling too early, I would let cross-lingual patterns slide so long as it made sense phonetically. If x-langauge is highly phonetic and regular, then between Rod and Staff levels, I might teach and drill the 50 most common words with him. But I wouldn't blend the two languages. When he finished RS Spelling 3, I'd take a few weeks to teach and drill the 50 most common words in x-language with him, then move right back to RS Spelling 4, etc.
  13. False alarm everyone. As of this morning he officially forgot about printed instructions. That they exist, that they are too be read--the whole 9 yards. Oddly enough, it made me feel better to see that he ignores common-sense advice even from himself.
  14. I did some thing like that to them several years ago. They bombed the test and man it was funny. I tried it on them again a few years ago with a slightly more sophisticated version and Pal actually caught on. But it didn't transfer into him doing it as a normal, every day thing. But this morning he really said it like it had just occurred to him. As if he hadn't heard it multiple times every school day and then argued about it every other school day for the last 6 years. He really said it like it was a epiphany. There was a little note of wonder in his voice.
  15. Re: Comparisons. In general comparisons don't do a ton of good for anyone and are more likely to cause harm than they are to have no effect. Comparing can be helpful to know where your kids are in relation to societal expectations/standards at large and of course it's helpful to know where they are in your sequence of study for your particular goals, but beyond that then what is the good of comparing yourself, not just to others, but to a highly niche sample such as another home school? I think that I'm more content because, for the most part, I design the gaps that are or will be in The
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