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scott777

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  1. JoJosMom / kwg, The website definitely WAS NOT a chronic problem last year for History at our House or the Literature at our House. It looks like they are trying to implement a new payment system this week, so they are making changes to the pages unfortunately. It looks like it is working ok right now. The main websites, historyatourhouse.com or literatureatourhouse.com, are for information about the program such as a the syllabus, school year calendar, and for registering for the courses. After you register for the courses, you are sent an email with a link to the content. There are differences for history at our house vs literature at our house. Scott Powell of HAOH uses Webex for the live classes while Luc Travers, who teaches LAOH, uses WizIQ for the live classes. Depending on the level you purchase, live classes or recordings, you will access them through a web link that is provided after registration. We had no issues accessing recordings throughout the entire year. Both teachers are very responsive so you can contact them directly with questions. Scott Powell's email address is: powell_sd@hotmail.com Luc Travers for Literature: luctravers@gmail.com Oh it also looks like Scott Powell has added an informational video to historyatourhouse.com site. Or access directly on YouTube Hope I have answered your concerns about the website. It really was an amazing history and literature program that the kids just loved. They are getting excited about the new year for both classes!
  2. Mom in High Heels, I will be taking Scott Powell's History at Our House for American History next year. I took his European History for Upper Elementary children this year and learned so much. Oh I am 45 by the way.. :) Seriously, my 9 and 12 yr old loved this guy. I listened to every recording commuting to work, and I learned more from this elementary class than I did in high school or college. Mr. Powell is very entertaining, knows his stuff well, and delivers it well. I think he is a great history teacher. You can do either recordings of Webex, or live Webex with the class. http://www.historyatourhouse.com
  3. stm4him/Hunter What are your thoughts on Mrs. Leclerc's TOTIL Reading segment? We are kind of doing half TOTIL as I see it. The boys do complete Independent Saxon Math and the Hake Grammar (except dictations). We expand the Hake Grammar to include 15 minutes of Quizlet.com for the Hake Vocabulary words. Quizlet tests them on the meaning and the spelling of these words. The power and effectiveness that I have seen from this method for Math and Grammar has made me curious about the Reading aspect that she talks about. Do you think it would be as valuable in history, science, and social studies as it is for math and grammar? I know that would be very similar to the Robinson Curriculum. She states in her book: "Care needs to be taken when considering the learning of social studies. When the ideas of various economic and political systems of government and secular and religious philosophies are introduced, children should read original source materials first. Then, they should read non-original source materials that are in favor of, not opposed to, the concept they are studying. Finally, students should study the writings of authors who disagree with the particular concept or philosophy. By this time, students should be well able to assess for themselves the validity of the newly introduced concept. It should be clear what philosophy is being promoted, unlike most school texts that promote particular philosophies in a surreptitious manner to indoctrinate children. It is best to include all forms of each discipline, such as the following for political systems: constitutional republics, socialist/progressive systems, dictatorships, monarchies, theocracies and oligarchies. For economic systems, both Keynesian economics and Austrian economics should be included. -Doris Leclerc Ball PhD (2011-08-23). Revolutionizing Education in America:The TOTIL Method (Kindle Locations 1042-1049). iUniverse. Kindle Edition. Currently in the afternoon, we do a normal history, science, and literature class online over video. They are good and the kids like them but I sometimes wonder if it is less efficient and impactful vs something like Mrs. Leclerc describes. She seems to be going a bit deeper than the Robinson reading list? - Scott
  4. In the 4th Grade book the spelling is handled indirectly in the weekly dictations. There are about 4 or 5 grammar lessons that are devoted to Spelling rules type things such as "ie vs ei". Each dictation has words that would challenge a 4th grader. If our sons spell the words incorrectly in the dictation we put them into little spelling lists for them. So there are no formal spelling lists if that is what you are asking. Just the vocabulary works that we put into Quizlet so they master that spelling and the dictations.
  5. STM4HIM, Wow the whole book!? Nice power reading! Yeah that book really resonated with my thoughts also. It's sad how the high achieving students need to spend so much time after schooling, when it could all be so much more efficient and less grueling. Perhaps even pleasurable. Yeah, I had some questions I wanted to ask her, but also sadly discovered she had passed away in 2011. I would loved to have asked her about her reading suggestions. I think I was searching something up on Amazon regarding Saxon Math, and her book popped up on the right somewhere. I decided to click it and read the preview and it hooked me in, so I purchased it. There is absolutely nothing on the web about her book. It is very weird. I guess she passed away right after it's publication so wasn't marketed?
  6. SweetandSimple, We only use the Hake writing portion. Your question is very difficult for me because writing is my weakness, and I attribute that to being a victim of the watered down grammar curriculum from the 1980's. This author highlights the issues well in my opinion: http://www.nas.org/articles/teaching_writing_teaching_grammar My wife, however, was a 5th and 6th grade teacher for 6 years and was an English/Journalism major. She likes the Hake writing portion, and she believes the boys made good writing progress this year. We aren't too familiar with other homeschool writing curriculums, so maybe other people know of better one's, so they use that instead? There are so many different philosophies of what makes a good writing curriculum for students that it all becomes so subjective. With Hake, the student does 3 days of 5-10 minute journal entries. The authors suggest that the parent/teacher NOT grade these journal entries. They are meant to be a safe, fun place for the child to practice. At first, my wife wanted to check and mark these journals, but over time she now agrees with the Hake philosophy because both boys love writing and find it FUN. The formal writing lessons in the student work book are well done in my estimation. They take the student through the structure of an essay and the writing process, step by step. It does this for many different essay types. It also has some nice lessons on transitions, improving topic sentences, strengthening the thesis statement etc. So I don't think the writing instruction is weak at all. Maybe some people think it isn't enough essay writing? In that case, I would just require more essays. For instance, once my kids finish their grammar books in early May, we will go through writing an essay once a week out of the workbook through June. If you wanted you could assign essay's, poems, chapter summaries, or whatever writing you want during your school year. They can follow the process in the workbook for any topic of your choice. I can't imagine a student who goes through this curriculum from the 4th - 8th book would not be a strong writer. I expect the same result going only through 6th - 8th like my oldest son. Hope this helps.
  7. Hunter, it will be very interesting to see the 7th grade book when my son uses it next year. Unlike, Saxon Math, for some reason, I am not in any rush for them to progress though the Grammar books. So once, they finish 4 and 6 by early May, we will stop grammar study until September. Math they will definitely do through the summer. Yeah, I really can't compare the Grammar to much else except their non-exist public school grammar. The other homeschool alternatives I merely researched with my wife. She is an English/Journalism major and she is extremely satisfied with the Hake books. I am sure there are other excellent and effective English homeschool products out there but for us, it was really the Incremental continual review that made the difference. Another observation that I can make is that I really love how vocabulary falls into that pattern. It is a nice gradual way of memorizing important vocabulary. Does that lead to mastery of the words? I'm not so sure, but it's definitely provides a good recognition of the words and prefixes. So we require the words go into Quizlet and be studied for mastery - it takes only 2 or 3 15 minute Quizlet sessions for a list of 20 to be mastered because they have been seen so many times in the practice sets.. Also, originally I didn't see the value in dictation but over the year it has become my favorite aspect of the program. I was very surprised to see how beneficial the dictation exercises are with regard to spelling and punctuation. In the beginning, my wife and I dabbled with skipping it. I am so relieved we didn't. In addition the content of those passages are excellent. It taught my 6th grader the Gettysburg Address. f Another temptation was to intervene too heavily in the writing student workbook. Turns out it was best for us to let the kids proceed through the writing exercises on their own, and to let them do the self analysis exercise by themselves. My wife does intervene after the entire writing assignment with suggestions and edits. Both kids love the diagramming of sentences. They both said it really helps them understand. I hope this all leads to an easier time learning a foreign language. We shall see. Finally it only takes them about 1 hour to do the entire hake grammar exercises for the day. Many times less. … Scott
  8. Gosh stm4him, that was very well said and mirrors so much how I think about curriculum at this point. Just balancing out simplicity, common sense, with efficiency. When my oldest son was beginning to deteriorate in mathematics in the 5th grade, I knew I needed to intervene. So being strong mathematically, I did intervene by what I now in retrospect understand was studying for the test. In school they would study fractions in a chapter fashion for 4-5 weeks or so and then the review packet would come home showing that he knew 75-80% of the material. He definitely is a smart kid too but this wasn't cutting it. So Dad would intervene for a couple hours at night and hand hold him through the problems and bam, a 98% A on the test. Sadly, the intervention was only for a total of 2 hours; so God knows what was going wrong in school for 4 weeks. However, when the review packets for the state standard test starting coming home 3 months later, the fraction mastery was non-existent. We had studied for the test. Not good, not good at all. This applied to most topics not just fractions. So reflecting back on my own mathematics education, I realized that as a child I had a computer program for my TI-99/4A home computer called PLATO that I used to review math problems all year for the "fun" of it and because I NEVER understood them from the initial teacher lecture or practice problems. I was reviewing over time. How else can we retain? Didn't I practice sports and music like that? Surely there had to be a better and more efficient way of including review over time in my children's education. After some research, I found that John Saxon and Stephen Hake had actually created a math program that did just that. I read and researched incremental learning with review over time, and the obvious benefits of independent learning; we easily decided that we needed to homeschool math in this fashion. We tried grammar with normal teaching and with outside help, but then discovered in September that Hake Grammar and Writing existed. What a stroke of good fortune! These two boys have never looked back. I think they would be offended if they needed to ask for help in either Math or Grammar at this point. The youngest would-be 4th grader has completed Math 6/5 and the other would-be 6th grader completed 7/6 by mid March. They have now jumped to the next books. Previously, these two boys were helpless, even weenies, before learning in this model. If the information couldn't get in there heads passively via a teacher or parent conduit, then it wouldn't get in there all. Now it is completely opposite, they are self sufficient. This has only been one year. I feel their behavior has improved because of this, but I can't prove it. You may be interested in a book by Doris Leclerc called "Revolutionizing Education in America: The TOTIL Method". She addresses the differences between the international scores of American public schools vs the other schools of the world that massively outscore the U.S. In a nutshell, her conclusions reflect your observations from your post above. http://amzn.com/B005X8MQII Well I like to always disclaim that this is just one family and for only one year so far. I hope the results continue to accelerate as they have been. I know there are other methods for education and I don't want to diminish them at all. This is just our test case. Is this the best method for literature analysis? good question. Can a child just be left to read great works of literature, source documents, biographies, and autobiographies for history without assistance from a guide? good questions. But for math, grammar, vocabulary, spelling, and perhaps writing, in my opinion, this method of learning is a slam dunk. Oh we are really hoping for the 3rd grade book next year also! We are bringing our daughter into homeschool next year for 3rd grade and would love to start with that book! I emailed SH regarding it's availability or if we can field test it. LOL Take Care, Scott
  9. Hunter, Yeah, I am not sure if there is some placement test like Saxon math uses to evaluate where a child should be placed in the series. From looking at the 4th, 6th, and 8th grade books, they seem to cycle through the same topics but in a deeper fashion for each successive book. I can only give an opinion based on my two son's experience with the 4th grade and the 6th grade books this year. Both of them came out of a "normal" public school system this year into homeschool. The oldest would have been in 6th grade and the youngest would have been in 4th grade. I would rate the public school grammar, vocab, and writing education that they had up to that point as being a bit above average; nothing great. The public schools don't focus on grammar very much. We didn't see or experience any difficulty at all for the 4th grader to independently work through the 4th grade Hake book. As a matter of fact, from our experience, my wife and I are very surprised how much he is retaining and more importantly applying to his writing. We've seen tremendous improvement in his spelling as well. Also, that first writing lesson you referred to doesn't get used until after the first 10 grammar lessons and the first test. So technically it is around the 3rd week, that the student will see that lesson. Not trying to nitpick. Still, my son didn't have any problem with it. Similarly, the 6th grader has had no problem starting right off in the 6th grade Hake book directly out of public school. I believe they both are above 90% average on their cumulative test scores for the year as well. Again, what I am most impressed about is that they are adapting their writing to what they are learning in the grammar portion. It is really being understood enough to be utilized. I have seen a relatively small number of literary analysis vocabulary words in the books that they are using, so maybe that is a focus of the 7th grade book? Not sure. I do love the Core Knowledge content that they use in these books as explained by Mr. Hake in his email. The 8th great book is great with it's government content. I actually purchased the 8th grade book to go through myself because I am a victim of a 1980's watered down grammar education. I am on lesson 34 so far and find it very interesting to actually feel and experience the effects of incremental learning. I have always struggled understanding grammar, but the incremental approach with the constant review over time helps it to really sink in. Maybe I can be helped yet, after all these years! :) Anyway, that is just the experience of one family for one year. They are almost finished with these books and we will move on to Grammar 5 and Grammar 7 next year. Warm Wishes, Scott
  10. Hi, In the past, I have posted my email exchange with Saxon Author Stephen Hake regarding his Saxon math series. I wanted to share with you his views on incremental learning and his Hake Grammar series of books. We use this series of books with our children and they are great in my opinion. My children love them, and are they are really retaining the concepts while applying them to their writing. I wish I learned from books like this. http://homeschoolingodyssey.wordpress.com I hope you find some value in this interview. - Scott
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