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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. Re: Dog. Not an option at this time. I almost wish that I could get him into horse riding. I have heard a lot of good things about the calming effect that horses can have on troubled kids. But we don't have access to a horse currently. I'm not a fan of animals and a part of me would be worried that he'd be kicked, crushed or thrown from a horse anyway. But barring the expense and the possibility of a tragic accident, I'm almost desperate enough to get him into horses.
  2. Are you and/or your spouse able to speak the language? Is there any one in his day-to-day life that speaks the weaker language with him consistently? If you don't boost his vocab, he's going to drop the language. Kids like to be able to converse, and be understood. They don't want to sound like toddlers or be limitted to baby words. When you say he needs help with subject verb agreement, what do you mean? To what degree and in what context?
  3. I do think that's reasonable, but I taught The Boys verbiage and terminology in mathematics and coached them to "speak Math correctly" so yes, I did expect and require that they be able to explain their solutions. I didn't expect that they do it spontaneously or through osmosis. Talking through solutions and "math speak" was something that we did focused practice of right along with writing numerals correctly and math facts. Right around 7 is when they started really having to be able to justify and explain their work. At 7, they should begin learning how to display their full solution for a problem. One thing that really helped The Boys get used to it, is talking through/teaching from/explaining an example that I had written out. Then writing out a full solution to an exercise that paralled almost exactly the one that I'd done and talking through their solution after they were done. That evolved into explaining their full solution as they went. Once they were comfortable with a solution format and type, I would intentionally make an error and have them find and explain what it should've been. Or cue them to listen in case I make a mistake and when I mis-explained something, they could correct it. We have an "in house" style that I used very consistently so the notation and color scheme wasn't random. The way that a problem is worked is systematic. By watching me systematically work problems out, and teach/justify/explain the steps, by taking a few moments to focus on terminology and concepts outside of calculation exercises each day they learned to do the same thing. By now, they do it automatically and easily, but it wasn't something that they did spontaneously. I think that 7 is old enough to learn to speak on and explain some process and concept that you are familiar with. I would expect to be modeling and scaffolding in the beginning and I wouldn't expect them to be able to explain something that they aren't familiar with but for a skill/concept that they're confident with and understand? Yes.
  4. I can't tell if you are serious or not. Re: Volunteering. Volunteer opportunities for an 11yo are scarce. Most local places don't allow just child volunteers under 13 or 14. The few places where children can volunteer, require they volunteer with a parent. I (somewhat) have a life and am not able or very willing to take on more right now. Re: Scouting. Not an option for us right now. Re: Big Issues. He's the family humanitarian. He writes letters to politicians and officials a few times a year, he has a cause that he raises money for/donates too. He follows current events and attends local town meetings. He often asks me to sign (or not sign) certain petitions being circulated in our area. Re: Running Laps. HAHAHAHAHAHA. I wish that'd work. But thanks for the laugh any way. When I said that he gets rigorous exercise twice a day, that's exactly what I mean. Those exercise times don't include the time that we spend practicing sports outside of Sports Practice or just playing a sport or outdoor game either. Re: Sending him away for camps/programs. Not an option for him right now. Re: Tutoring. Each of The Boys are allowed 2 tutees and he does well with them; he takes his tutoring very seriously and does good work with them.
  5. Not for lack of trying or exposure, but he doesn't have any particular passion. He enjoys learning new things. He likes to tinker and build things or learn new things--like juggling or stilt walking, etc, but I wouldn't label those things as "passions". I've tried to get him "into things", and he enjoys the exposure and he learns the basics and gets "pretty good" at various things within a short amount of time, but nothings caught him up just yet. He is not competitive. He does really enjoy winning--and he usually wins but even if he doesn't he does perform very well when he participates in a contest, but he isn't driven by competition. He has mastered the art and science of "getting his work done" so when he works on personal interest projects say for music or video games he works efficiently and the projects don't steadily consume large chunks of his time. It might be a big time sink for a weekend or so, and then "blip" over that hump and smooth sailing from there. Or if he's stuck, we're stuck and the project gets set aside for a few weeks or longer. His brother found a passion/hobby that he's able to invest large amounts of his free time too and enjoys. This hobby keeps him creatively and constructively occupied and out of trouble for an hour or two most days. Unfortunately it leaves LiveWire with even more time to "find something to do". You know the saying about Idle Hands... Plus, he's very imaginative. Very. Yes, Calvin is a good example. He's daydreaming his way through an adventure and not paying the other people any attention whatsoever. None. The only thing that I've found helpful for keeping him grounded in the moment is putting him in a leadership position. On his own, like for school or a movie he can concentrate/focus for only about an 1h15m, but when he's "in charge" of smaller kids, he's on his A-game for hours on end. He's amazing with toddlers and smaller kids. He's like the Pied Piper almost, little kids adore him, everyone calls him The Baby Whisperer. He does well with people much older than him, or much younger than him. He can take or leave his same-age peers though.
  6. If you have raised a spunky, spirited, mischievous, fun-loving, hyper-active, prank-loving kid who has way more energy than good-sense, let's talk. Note: Malicious and mean are not on the list. This kid is a handful, but there isn't a mean-bone in his body. He may accidentally break stuff on occassion, but he isn't destructive. He's just...a lot. He just doesn't have an off-switch. He never gets tired. He has a wicked sense of humor and can be very impulsive. What clever parenting tips or life style hacks have you come up with to help wrangle that beloved individual before you had to strangle him? (metaphorically speaking of course.) He isn't a mean or malicious kid, but dammit is he...a lot. He's a live-wire energy wise. He gets rigorous exercise at least twice every day plays sports both team and individual has personal time has 1-1 parent time has academics that are leveled as appropriately for him as I'm able to get them has limits and boundaries and clearly defined consequences for when he exceeds or violates them doesn't eat junk, dyes, preservatives, etc. is a fairly happy kid He is 11 and still very much a kid. He loves to play. And play. And play. And play. And play. And when he's done, he wants to play some more. When I say "stop playing" deep down he hears "change the game". I have come to the conclusion that he isn't trying to be "bad". He just...hears a different drum. He is so very energetic, he has a wonderful sense of humor. He is going to be such a wonderfully interesting adult and probably a great parent. There is a lot about him that is good. But he is he is wearing me out. What outlet have you found effective for the live-wire kids energy?
  7. How good is your understanding of fractions and your ability to communicate that understanding? If you comprehend fractions well yourself and you can teach fractions, then buy nothing else. There isn't anything magical about Math Mammoth (which we did every grade level of and many of the upper level supplements as well), or Key to Fractions (we also used all 4-books in that series). If you understand the topic and can convey your understanding of that topic then the only difference between math books is the formatting or layout of the text itself. Because the books are going to boil down to being just a collection of graduated exercises that students complete to gain fluency at various thought-processes, manipulations, calculations, relationships, etc.
  8. Assuming we're talking about an able-bodied, child with no extraordinary situations: Yes, it is reasonable to expect a 10 yo to wake up to the alarm and get themselves ready in the morning. I have that expectation for my 10yos. I sure as hell expect them to retain the ability while they're 13yo. OP, I can understand your frustration with the situation entirely. But I urge you to figure out what you are dealing with. Is she willing to get up at 7:00, but struggling to gain wakeful consciousness and get out of bed? If she is willing, but needs scaffolding and support, I'd give her scaffolding and support. Any time I'm teaching a skill or habit--even if it's something I feel shouldn't "have to be taught"--I teach it according to the learner. Some kids need scaffolding and support for the most ridiculous seeming things. *shrug*. Teach the kid in front of you, not the one you think the kid in front of you ought to be. IF she were being willfully defiant/lazy/uncooperative about getting up, I'd go another way with the situation entirely.
  9. When my kids were doing timed fact drill sheets. I taught them to work in two phases. The "quick-pass" and the "finishing-pass". For the "quick-pass" they Work downward in columns. quickly read each equation. If they know the answer--write it If not, continue reading down the column. When you get to end of that column, make a mark--squiggle, box, circle, check whatever I don't care. Just make a mark, so that THEY know, that they've completed that column. Then move to the next column and work their way up, doing the same thing--reading all equations, completing the equations that they knew immediately, and making a mark at the top of the column. Once they have read all the problems and answered all the ones that they can immediately they being the "finishing-pass" Go back to the first column and fill in as many blank equations as they can before time is up. This way, kids complete as many equations as they genuinely can and don't deflate their score because they get caught up calculating the ones that they don't know immediately. Additionally you can measure their genuine progress with the facts. If you intentionally work on memorizing one multiplication table each week, then the kids and teacher should see marked improvement on how many they get done on a "quick-pass" vs a "polishing pass". If you're working on the 8s, then you should be getting them done in the "quick-pass" vs the "polishing-pass", things like that. Some kids like to do the two phases in different colors so that they can see easily how many they knew and how many they have to work on and can tell "At the beginning of the month, I had 32 greens, but now I only have 6 greens." Things like that can be motivating.
  10. I've almost maxed out the math that I am willing to co-learn so whatever I get, he's on his own with it for the most part. It needs to be a text that's not too scary format wise and he can at least make some progress in most chapters of. I'm an applied-math-guy at heart, I find the heavy-theoretical stuff boring and difficult to get through. So naturally I have a kid who is interested by the heavily-theoretical stuff so I have to try and find the perfect book that's going to be friendly enough for him to work on on is own, and engage him. AoPS only covers single-variable calculus. We found some of AoPS Intro books incredibly boring and slowopaced so he has a low opinion of the AoPS math books from that experience. He thinks that he might be ready to go give AoPS another try in 8th grade since it's "practically the standard" but I'd like something to gift him for his impending 7th grade year.
  11. I don't think that I want something even more theoretical. I'd like something that he can begin work on sooner, rather than later, but that'll offer value on repeated readings, exploration etc. It'll be a self-study/independent text, so I don't want something that's too big of a stretch for him. I'm hunting for a text that'll stoke, not extinguish his interest.
  12. Congrats! I've made a mistake or two in my parenting life-time, but teaching reading early and often to my toddlers was NOT one of them. Enjoy the journey!
  13. I'm on the lookout for the most readable text for calculus that might interest a pure-math enthusiast. The theoretical underpinnings that gets glossed over or raced through in applied calculus texts is what I'm after for our next pass. Courant - vol 1 and vol 2 Apostol - vol 1 and vol 2 There was a 3rd name, but I forgot it. I'm looking for a book/series to give a complete coverage of single and multivariable, which is why I didn't include Spivak. If you know of anyone else who wrote a calculus book on the same wavelength/level as the 2/3 above, please mention it.
  14. So here's my quandary. I've gone back over some of their papers and they have been doing these things 1.5 -2 years. I don't know if I see a decent amount of growth between about 2 years ago and now. Is there some standardized "test" or "assessment" I can give them specifically to measure their writing skills?
  15. If I had to pick just one, it'd be mathematics. But if I can list the things that I like to teach it's Mathematics, Spanish language, study skills and technology.
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