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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. Math Explorations? Exploratory Mathematics? Math for Liberal Arts? Liberal Arts Mathematics?
  2. Is there any particular reason why the calculation needs to resolved and stated all in the same line? Starting with the example of 182 279 + 45, this problem can be solved in stages. Just add by place value where it's most logical to the kid. 300 190 + 16, which becomes 490 + 16, which becomes the total of 506
  3. How do you assess a middle graders written output? Do you have a set of rubrics per type of writing that you use? I'd like to determine if either of The Boys would benefit from a formal writing program of some kind.
  4. We're doing a Business Studies unit so that The Boys learn about starting a small business in our town/state. So far, I have for them to Meet and talk with Small Business Owners in the area writing a (mock) business plan for a business idea that they have IDing and understanding the government agencies that they'd need to file paperwork with research and compare options for business loans work through business application problems in a couple of the math texts we have. They keep a budget for their personal finances and so I"m wavering on whether I should include something on small business accounting or not. Any ideas on what I might tweak to round out the course?
  5. As students progress through science courses, how do they maintain mastery of material from previous courses? Is there a series that just provides lots of cumulative reviews of a course? We're almost done with our home grown, text-based course in Physics, and it looks like after this one boy will do Anatomy and Physiology, and the other Chemistry. I have been harvesting practice exams and past exams because I plan to just give them a random "midterm" or "final exam" from some Physic teacher as a review every week or two to keep them fresh, but is there a series out there that does this already for any or all of the various science courses students take in Highschool/college? The test prep books I have seen have too few exams to make it worth the investment. I don't want to have to come up with dozens of exams for physics/chemistry/biology/A&P, etc.
  6. Spanish update: The Boys academics are mostly in Spanish now and they seem to be handling it really well. We just made the switch with our materials. All input for Reading, History, Social Science, their daily General Review/recitation and their Presentations is 100% in Spanish now and 90+% of their output for those subjects is in Spanish. Science and Tech Ed. are bilingual due to lack of sufficient Spanish language resources and the fact that I teach those subjects directly. Buddy has had another Spanish growth-spurt. He's reading childrens novels much more easily now and thinks that he might be able to make his goal of reading 50 chapter books this year after all, but we shall see. When he's finished the chapter books/childrens novels that we own, then we'll have to resume using the public library for him. For Pal, I decided to put out more money and invest in some Spanish language novels that Pal wants to read and it's a complete 180* difference. It turns out he doesn't have nearly as much trouble with reading in Spanish as I thought. He is reading quite readily now and has said that he was just so bored by the other books that it was really hard to read them. I'm not about to spend hundreds building him his own private Spanish language library, and so I'll have to figure out what do with about this. Hoping that this absurd pickiness about books is a phase because I've never had to struggle with getting either of The Boys to read anything and really don't want to have to deal with this going forward. I'll probably release Buddy from "Spanish Language Arts" sometime in 7th grade. He's got a really good "feel" for the rhythm of Spanish already and usually catches his own mistakes if he leaves his writing for a bit before he proofreads/revises it. Otoh, Pal and I are going to continue to work on language arts type skills in Spanish probably until he starts 9th grade. Or graduates from 12th. I can never tell with this one... 🤔 Aside from school stuff, they play in Spanish fluently for their ages because their recreational activities (video games, media, card games, etc) have been in Spanish for years. One Spanish speaking boy that they've played with for months now was surprised when they spoke to their grandma in English. The Spanish boy asked them when they'd learned English, and the boys were so happy that he had taken them for native speakers all this time. It really put a pep in their step and made them feel that they are winning at Spanish.
  7. Japanese update: The Boys have almost completed the Beginning Japanese program and I'm very proud of them for sticking with it. It's highly effective, but it's a lot of work, and not particularly exciting, but they've persevered and have learned a ton, though they've still got a ways to go. They're watching and beginning to enjoy Anime that they've never seen before in Japanese and keeping phrase logs in their personal study books. We've found a Japanese conversation group that meets and The Boys hope to join and attend regularly in the Fall the group reconvenes after the summer. They have a couple of kana picture books that they're able to read pretty well now and we hope to acquire a few more. They're looking into a few podcasts to keep up/improve their aural comprehension for when they've completed the BJ program and we're going to move them into online lessons with a native teacher to help them continue progressing.
  8. @Heigh Ho how do you address problems/sticking points during the weekly meetings? Do you spell out for the kid what they have done wrong/where they've gotten off track, or do you send them to find and fix their own errors? How long do you let them flounder, before wading in to save them from themselves? Or do you use a sink or swim model? Do you let kids choose if/when to pull the plug on a project?
  9. I would just get a sharpie and make a list of words with the two sounds of C and G on a stack of index cards then let him read them and sort them into piles.
  10. If projects are an integral and productive part of your families homeschooling, then can you give me some insight on how you kept them evolving and productive as the years went by? What does the division of labor look like between you and a 6th-8th grade compared with the division of labor between you and 9th-10th grade, and finally you and your 11th/12th grader? What are some ways you support and scaffold your 6th/7th grader that pay off hugely by the time they're 11th/12th graders. How did you scaffold in support for them from Point A to Point B?
  11. I might look for a fantasy-loving World Religions or Philosophy major to read and discuss fantasy with Pal in the Fall.
  12. If I decide to outsource literature at some point, should I look into a 1-1 tutor or is there an online service that I could pay for where my kid can choose his own books, but discuss them with a tutor or peer group? If we go the 1-1 route, should I expect to have to compensate the tutor for the time spent reading the books or just the time spent in active discussion? We don't want or need a grade or paper work or anything like that. Just someone who's read and will enjoy discussing the book in nauseating detail.
  13. No, we don't have an outside person, though we had one for a few months one year. Reading: I taught them "Spanish phonics" (way to early) and from that they were able to decode, and we practiced reading off and on for years but it wasn't until their oral/aural language took off, that their reading has blossomed behind it. As for writing: I have them do copy work and write short passages that mimic native--or professionally translated--materials as much as possible. We have dictionaries and a couple of thesaurus to help with word choice, we have books that teach idioms and we note any that we find "in the wild". We don't learn languages primarily by grammar rules, as I don't think it's very useful to speaking organically and fluently.
  14. I'm probably over thinking this whole thing, but since I don't really read and write Spanish myself, I have to be attentive to make sure that their Spanish literacy is not stagnating. In the ideal world, I'd like for them to be able to read and write equally well in English and Spanish by the time that they get to highschool, so we still have time.
  15. I guess it makes sense that natively bilingual kids wouldn't struggle with vocabulary. I'm trying to decide the best way to move them (us?) through "Intermediate Hell" before it becomes too big a task that they don't even want to try anymore. They are really quite good, but nowhere near to being native level. We're not in the Midwest, but we use the library book sale and the used bookstore to get books in Spanish, so we also have a very mixed bag of books. Next year, I may begin buying books online so that we have more choice/control over what books we acquire. That El Nino Volador series looks like it will be a good fit, length and format wise. He's read El Principito and felt comfortable with the length/format. The problem with novellas/books written for Spanish learners to practice reading is that they artificially restrict the grammar structures used, but many intermediate level materials are written to an adult audience and have microscopic print or story lines that my 11yo doesn't care about...Books written to a Native audience can be all over the place complexity wise. I had wanted to require them to do their writing in Spanish in 7th grade, but I might just delay because I think that they need a good solid year or two of recreational reading in Spanish, before they're ready to produce quality written output in Spanish. We're doing a lot of nonfiction reading and discussion this year. They'll be able to start taking history courses Spanish either in July 2018 or January 2019 and that'll require a good bit of writing anyway so maybe it doesn't matter. What do you think? I guess that so long as they're writing on level in Spanish by highschool graduation it'll be fine...
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