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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 skateboard" When a goal is clearly defined, you'll know if/when they've hit it.
  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 a blunder in public, I suppose he'll feel embarrassed, take his lumps and move on. That's life.
  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 who have this attitude and approach? I'll give you 3-guesses how I feel about this parenting and educational choice) I made the mistake of getting involved with several local homeschoolers and new homeschools last year and I am annoyed with and appalled by the number of parents coming in to homeschooling asking for ludicrous things like "What apps do you like for teaching reading and letter tracing for 6yos?" "I want a 2nd-grade math that's handsoff for me. My 2nd grader is getting into more addition and subtraction stuff--I'm terrible at math, is there anything that she can do on her own?" "What is a good independent series for science, history, math and English for my dyslexic 7th grader who can't read independently and has never been asked to self-teach? It'll be our first time homeschooling but I don't want to spend a bunch of money, be directly involved or responsible for telling him what to do making him learn anything." "I need an independent phonics program for my K and 1st graders" "What app is best for doing flashcards with my 3rd grader?" "I need a self grading, self-teaching, independent program for K-3, because teaching counting, writing and reading is hard so I don't wanna do it." "Isn't there a website, video series, game system or app that'll teach my kids all the essential PreK-8 skills so that I don't have to do anything to get them ready for highschool or college?" When someone asks me what I recommend and I tell them what I honestly recommend, they look at me like I have 3 heads and talk about how they don't have the energy, interest, discipline, time, motivation, skills, certification, etc... In other words, they want to input MINIMAL TIME AND EFFORT yet have the nerve to express a desire for a HIGH QUALITY output. Or say dumb stuff like "Oh, you must be a genius to do all that." When "all that" is teach a 5-7yo NT kid to read, write and count. *grr* It'd be great to be able to recommend them a book that preaches getting in the mindset of teaching your kids if you want to educate them at home. Like, if your 4yo needs to learn letters and colors, TEACH them their letters and colors. If your 2nd grade is beginning to struggle in math, invest YOUR time and energy into understanding 1st the math that they need to be able to do, then invest YOUR time and energy into helping them understand it. etc. Anyway, I'm ranting at the choir at this point.
  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'll try and write a better update on their language studies soon.
  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 more often that not. Things that cut out the the teacher/parent as the middle man make me uneasy. I can't lie, it comes across as lazy when parents want an app to teach their young kids how to read, compute, and write. I judge when people outsource math at the 3rd-5th grade level because they're bad at math themselves. Get a book and learn along with your kids. I wish there were more Direct Instruction type products available to homeschoolers, so something with a strong Direct Instruction flavor for math, science and or history at the 4th-8th grade level would be nice.
  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 Boys primary education. I know where I am placing the gaps and so the fact that they exist or will exist doesn't bother me. It can't. I'm just one guy, there are only 24 hours in my day. During those hours I still have to parent, have family time, eat, sleep, work, run errands, and so forth. It's important to me that The Boys get a significant portion of those hours to be kids or learn things that I can't be absorbed at a school table. I committed early on to giving them the highest quality education that I can. Using the skills, experiences knowledge and resources that I have or can obtain. If I focused instead on trying to give them a education that is well rounded--as defined by others--then I would lose out on the option of giving them a higher-quality oblong education. I avoid trying to give The Boys a "well rounded" education. I am giving my kids the highest quality education that I can give them. If they really want to fit through round holes, then have the skills, support and the time to pursue rounding themselves off on their own.
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