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Ad astra

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  1. I see your point and, yes, that should be the purpose of the special needs and gifted programs. As a parent of the kids who had both kinds of IEPs at PS, however, I can tell you the IEPs were not helpful--obviously, if they were, I wouldn't have given up on them and be homeschooling now. Not sure what kind of special needs services or "help" for the gifted you meant but my DS was pulled out to play chess or Mindstom lego or puzzles for the gifted IEP sessions while missing out on specials. For the rest of the school day, he had to do the same grade level academic (busy)works with his classmates, not learning anything. It would've been much more helpful if the school allowed any above grade level acceleration or offered any meaningful academic support or advanced classes with that funding for those who are capable and advanced. My 2e DD's experience at PS was similar with worsening anxiety. And my kids absolutely needed my help and guidance to become responsible and hard working. Good habits and work ethics are not born but nurtured over time. I understand not all gifted kids are performing well and they need help from school, if not from parents. I may have made myself sound like all work and no play type of person but it's not true. My kids are very social, self-content and the happiest ones I know. They are thriving with freedom and flexibility in homeschool and having plenty of outdoor play time and rest. I don't put too much emphasis on their giftedness (high IQ) because I do want them to reach their fullest potential without using it as an excuse to slack off or comparing to others. And I'm glad I had no idea about mine until late.
  2. I didn't know I was gifted until high school when I took an IQ test and scored the highest (in the HG range) in my class. But it didn't do or mean anything for me because in my home country being gifted or having a high IQ is not nearly as valued as high-achieving and hard working. I did graduate from my high school as a valedictorian, went on to earn an engineering degree and a master's at one of the top 3 universities in my home country because I was self-motivated and worked really, really hard for years. To me, what I was born with--innate talent or intelligence--is just a bonus and potential indicator than didn't really matter much to know or tell anything about my life trajectory. I had to prove myself through consistency, diligence and dedication just like other people do. So it baffles me when I see so much of the discussions in the gifted ed communities of US are focused over the identification of "true" giftedness regardless of achievement level and many of the gifted and talented programs are currently getting eliminated because many of the qualified students are supposedly high achieving, but not "truly gifted." IMO, high-achieving students also deserve to take advanced classes at their level in those programs and their achievements through honest effort and tenacity should be equally recognized and supported. I believe students should be assessed based more on merit and performance than just IQ or race or other factors, and receive the appropriate level of education accordingly, not solely by age. I hoped it would happen when son was tested HQ at PS and qualified for a gifted IEP but unfortunately what it offered wasn't enough, which led me to homeschool. In my homeschool, giftedness doesn't get discussed because we don't see it as important as other values I listed above.
  3. This is formerly known as Slader and I think Quizlet bought it. I've been using it to grade my ds' works on algebra 1 and geometry textbooks but, while the step-by-step explanations are quite helpful, found many answers--sometimes of entire sections and tests--are missing. It's free so I'm not complaining about it. Still hunting for a used copy of teacher edition or solution key. Wish they were more affordable.
  4. Yes, that's precisely why we've been homeschooling for the past two years. We live in the rural Midwest where academic rigor is rarely prioritized. My eldest qualified for a gifted IEP at public elementary school but it was only enrichment with almost zero differentiation and meaningful academic support. Grade skip was not an option for both sides. It was basically a waste of time. Both kids love homeschooling and have been thriving at home. We get nothing from local ps and are fine with it, at least for now. However, homeschooling high school would be different and more tricky because of this "closed door" policy of local public schools. Also, most social, academic and extracurricular opportunities for teenagers only exist within the ps setting in my area. I would like my ds to be able to take PSAT, AP exams, AMC 10, etc. for sure, just like other ps students, and build a strong college application. Enrolling him in public high school seems the only guaranteed way to be a part of these and I feel hesitant to gamble on it. Unfortunately, this also means my 11yo ds would have to repeat a lot of core subjects in high school since, for example, he's already doing Geometry this year while our local high school only offers up to AP Calc AB. Really, I would love to continue homeschooling through high school "if" there were equal access to tests and ECs for us since I could easily outsource much better quality online AP courses following our own timeline. Guess we can't have it all...
  5. This is the No.1 reason why I now consider sending my accelerated kids to public high school even though I know their academic needs won't be met there. In my state homeschools are unaccredited private schools and public schools don't want to do anything for us. And we don't have high quality DE options or selective in-state colleges. Hearing about this kind of barriers to homeschoolers is frightening and it seems utterly unjust and unfair esp. for high-achieving homeschooled kids.
  6. We are doing the Standards edition 6A. I just checked our 6B books and didn't see much review in it--it's mostly geometry, stats & probability and operations of negative numbers. Maybe US edition is different? My kid doesn't copy the problems though--she solves them in her notebook and writes answers on the textbook. We don't skip anything in the main curricula we use. My theory is, if it's truly easy for my students, they should be able to finish it quickly with no issue. We just do it faster and then move on to the next one.
  7. We did MCT vocabulary (up to level 4) and Wordly Wise i3000 (up to level 8), and like them both. Think WW and Vocabulary Workshop are most commonly used for test prep. No experience with VW but heard positive reviews.
  8. This is what we're going to do. My kid will most likely have to take algebra II again in grade 9 at a local high school after finishing it at home in middle school because that's the fastest math track the high school offers. This school doesn't have any math class or accept outside credits beyond AP Calculus BC and AP Statistics. Same for science classes. For him, at least, math and science will be easy As and it will free up time to focus more on other subjects and extracurricular activities during the high school. He is not considering an engineering major.
  9. For us IQ testing and even Gifted IEP didn't help get any subject acceleration. When we moved to a state that mandates GIEPs, we were excited. However, it turned out GIEP was only enrichment with no actual measurement of progress but arbitrary numbers given by the gifted facilitator/teacher. My kid had the state test scores in the 99th percentile from previous school and was tested by a psychologist at a new school to be in the 99.7th percentile of IQ that qualified him to get a GIEP. At the initial IEP meeting the school staff team refused to offer any grade or subject acceleration giving typical excuses of social maturity and equal treatment with other students even though his academics were far advanced across the board. He was pulled out twice a week to have GEIP sessions to do enrichment such as playing chess, building Mindstorms, and solving puzzles while missing out on specials. For the rest of the school time, he did exactly the same level works as other students did in the class. Heard our GIEP would be done as the same way until grade 8. Your experience might differ. We pulled him out to homeschool during the pandemic. He just turned 11 and is about to start high school geometry at home. We are planning to send him to a public high school at a regular age mainly for AP access and extracurricular opportunities (we live in a rural area where outside of school EC activities are scarce). Before then he is going to take ACT to prove his ability so that hopefully he can be placed accordingly in high school.
  10. I know it's an old thread but I just signed up for the online version and have a question to the moms who have used it. Am I really supposed to assign each lesson and test at a time? They call it an "experience." It does grade practice questions immediately but my kid can't seem to check her own result of the lesson test until I manually "end" the "experience" on my teacher account or the set time (that I have to schedule when assigning) expires. I was hoping it would be a self-paced program that automatically unlocks the next lesson & test but seems not. Am I missing something? Other than that, it seems fine and I prefer this online version to the WW books. With the integrated Quizlet, I feel it offers enough practice on new vocabs before moving on to answering questions. In each lesson, however, there are several activities, such as drawing and discussion/composition, that are more geared for classroom. We simply skip them if we feel them unnecessary. It is not on the fun side, like someone said above, but hopefully will get the job done for us.
  11. We tried both and agree they are similar in methodology--conceptual and mastery-based--but not necessarily Asian-based. Kumon is also Asian-based but very procedural-focused. Think the author of Math Mammoth is from Germany anyway. I, as Asian and a former engineer, much prefer MM. I think it is very solid, thorough and comprehensive with enough practices you can choose from. We found the author's free YouTube video lectures helpful, esp. for MM7 (pre-algebra). Love its reasonable price, too. While it worked well and gave an excellent foundation for my older ds, however, my younger dd hated the busy layout of MM. She preferred colorful pages, cute animated characters, and less crowded layouts of SM Primary Math Standards Ed. I never needed HIGs but Primary Math textbooks, workbooks, and answer keys together were still expensive. I personally didn't find SM worth the price tag but, oh well, that's what she's stuck with so far. (She's currently doing 4B.) Each kid is different, so you might want to try samples and see which one fits your student better.
  12. Do you have a Netflix account? I'm not familiar with the books on Korean history and culture that are translated in English or the Korean language resources for foreign learners, but I can recommend a few Korean movies and dramas/tv shows with English subtitles on Netflix that seem informative and appropriate for a 12-year-old. Reply 1997 - drama on South Korean students' life in the late 90s Reply 1994 Solomon's Perjury How to Steal a Dog Abnormal Summit - Foreigners living in South Korea debate on Korean culture and other multi-cultural topics. 2015 Dream Concert - if interested in K-pop And here are some romantic comedy dramas, historical/political fictions, and action movies for adults that are worth watching; Assassination Luck Key Stranger Train to Busan Descendants of the Sun Oh My Ghost Let's Eat 1, 2 In Need of Romance 1, 2, 3 Can We Get Married? Misaeng Inside Men Master A Violent Prosecutor The Age of Shadows The Prison Tunnel The Tiger The President's Barber Operation Chromite Bad Guys Nine Old Boy These are currently available on Netflix. Too bad some good ones got removed... there should be more options on DramaFever and Viki.
  13. It just makes me cringe when people quickly label other parents as "pushy" and assume their children were "forced" and thus unhappy. We all make those "decisions" for ours. Homeschooling is one of them and often parent-driven, too. Following the child's lead 100% is not exactly the WTM's philosophy, is it? We all try to positively encourage and guide our kids to choose and follow a path we think is best for them until they are old enough to do it on their own. I'm still in the early chapters of the book, but don't have an impression at all that the author put his kids through misery against their wills. What I see is just another supportive parents who place a great emphasis on education and care a great deal about their kids' life and happiness. You can't really "force" the achievements like getting into MIT and top PhD programs. And he never claimed what his family did was for everyone. His way of homeschooling is not my cup of tea, either, but the talking down and nitpicking criticism I've seen here (without reading the book) seems to be a bit unfair.
  14. I don't think there is anyone who would doubt the validity of their path and blindly follow someone else's solely after reading a book about a different journey. Think most homeschooling parents know better than that. We encourage our kids to read biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, diaries, etc. because they provide valuable lessons in life depending on how you look at them. That's also why we are on this forum sharing ours though we all raise a different set of kids in a different situation. Think there is nothing wrong for sharing experiences and thoughts, whether they suit you or not, and one shouldn't be shamed for doing so. The author's kids may have good intellectual genes but there is no doubt their parents' support and guidance played a big role in their achievements. I see a lot of people praise early success in sports despite the high pressure from competition and risks to get injury (for example, a 17-year-old snowborder Chloe Kim's story that moved many American hearts. Granted, she's talented but wouldn't have been where she is now without her parent's full-time focus on her.), but it's sad to see they quickly feel the need to be judgmental on early "academic" success. Not sure what's the difference. And I think his advice on choosing a practical major can be useful for some who don't have any strong interest nor know what to do with their life. I wasn't a math whiz growing up but it's my engineering degree which got me into a job and financially supported my family and myself during the Asian financial crisis in the late 90s.
  15. Fascinating discussion! For those who are interested in reading this book, you can borrow it for free through the lending library if you're an Amazon Prime member. Just downloaded mine and excited to read! I think there is no right answer for this. Each kid/family is different. I personally wouldn't want early college for my own kids because I'd like them to take time to mature and prepare for a more selective university like some of you mentioned. But I do enjoy reading and learning from other people's experiences even though they don't agree with my perspective. (Even the Swann's story mentioned above!) It seems this method has worked for the author's family and I appreciate him for sharing his homeschooling journey in detail as well as many experienced homeschoolers who do the same thing on this forum. I take these accounts as a memoir or personal essay rather than a bible or guidebook that everyone should follow. I wish there were more books on a family's educational journey like this available in the States because I haven't found many as I do in my home country.
  16. There is no teaching in Daily Language Review but just bunch of review questions in a random order. I recommend Evan Moor Language Fundamentals among these. Each page introduces rules and examples followed by review activities and questions, and covers everything in the Grammar & Punctuation book and more.
  17. I was referring to the "Korean SAT" that most Korean students take for the college admission in S. Korea. Maybe a bad translation. In S. Korea, high school seniors take this test at the same time on the same day in November nationwide, and the test, consisting of highly complicated and comprehensive questions, is strictly proctored and receives national attention, and any act of cheating results in severe penalty. Regarding the incidents on the American SAT and TOEFL you quoted, I was by no means defending those cheating students/businesses(hakwons) nor implying they don't exist. It fact, they were highly criticized and shamed by the public, like I mentioned. I was just saying cheating is not as prevalent nor the norm in Korea as the previous poster described. I also tried to shed light on the background of such education fever and the recent positive changes in S. Korea.
  18. sewingmama, I do respect your experience and opinion, but I think it is an overgeneralization to say "Every kid cheats." and "No kid loves the learning." in S. Korea. If I said "All American kids are slacking and less educated. They play video games and watch tv unlimitedly at home, play outside without any adult supervision, and hardly study or read.", such remarks would be highly offensive and not even true (though I'm describing many of my neighbor kids. My family is the only one who doesn't own a video game device in this neighborhood.) I have never cheated on tests myself and never seen anyone cheating at my school. (Well, I did see a few in college but it was no way prevalent even then.) I don't know in which setting and to whom you were teaching English, but the cheating usually gets strictly punished in Korean PS because, like I mentioned, Koreans do not like and are very sensitive about others taking such unfair shortcuts in this academic competition toward college admission. A few still try and occasionally make the headlines but they are highly criticized by the public. Also, IMO, in every culture there are some lucky ones who found their passion and talent at young age and could pursue it, while many others still struggle in their 30s to find what they want. The educational environment sucks for most but some Koreans have still followed their dreams and become the world's class sports stars, artists, musicians, actors, K-POP stars, etc. I just watched the video that OP posted right before I wrote this comment, and those kids who go to multiple after-school classes at hagwon and study that hard until late at night should be compared to the American applicants for Ivy League schools, who are also extremely busy and under a lot of stress to be "well-rounded." The difference is that Korean students are only required to do the seatwork, studying books and taking tests, while American top-school applicants do sports and play instruments at a state competition level, go volunteering for hours every weekend, participate and show leadership in several clubs, write amazing essays and so on. Phew. It's just that not many American students go down this Ivy-prep route because luckily the college name doesn't determine their rest of life and there are many other ways to be successful in the U.S. The situation in S. Korea is different and the competition in the adult world is only getting worse. The living cost in S. Korea is similar to the one in U.S. major cities but the minimum wage there is much lower than what you get here with much less work. With the recent economic downturn, the "party time" for college students came to an end, too. A majority of college students nowadays continue to study hard, not only to maintain a high undergrad GPA but also to be more competitive in a job market, on English, other foreign languages, IT certificates, etc., in order to get a job in one of the few big companies like Samsung, LG, and Hyundai. I actually had fun at school, believe it or not. I have a lot of pleasant memories with my classmates from all those long hours we spent together. We didn't just study nonstop, lol. Oh, and the food.... you can't beat the freshly cooked, nutritious and yummy school lunch (and dinner served in high school) in S. Korea, lol. During my K-12 school years, I had no worries but studying and it was okay. I never went to after-classes at hagwons like the students in the video but did well on tests and got into a top univ because I was self-motivated and enjoying the feeling of achievement. Those important and trivial facts on science, history, geography and even music theory I had to memorize still help me now and then. Think classical homeschoolers like many of you on this board also value the memorization at least in elementary years. No one said that Korean kids are naturally smarter than the Western ones... because it is simply not true. But if they were only good at memorizing, not so many of Korean immigrants would be excelling at schools in the U.S. as well. And they are known to be especially good at math and science, which have least to do with rote memorization. I rather attribute their international test scores and other academic accomplishments to hard work and dedication, along with parental involvement/support and focus on education. The Korean society has changed fast over the past 50 years and still is. A lot of its people are aware of their system's problems and trying to improve them. The standardized tests has changed from checking the facts towards testing logical/critical thinking and reading comprehension skills more. Cheating on Korean SAT by writing on one's arm has been impossible for decades. Lots of Korean parents try to make the learning fun, read aloud books to kids and expose them to various extracurricular activities from early, until the college prep becomes a priority later. Many of them studied in the Western countries and try to apply the pros to their situation. I believe such changes are also happening in other Asian countries like China, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, where the educational environments are similarly overheated and competitive.
  19. English is my second language and I had a great success with Hooked on Phonics in teaching phonics to my kids. The lessons don't require a direct instruction and students basically learn it by reading practice. My kids loved its cute illustrations, leveled readers, and DVDs... even the app! Starfall is also a good one for independent/foreign learners. Its phonics app is called Starfall Learn to Read.
  20. Wow, what a great discussion!! I'm Korean who spent most of my life in S. Korea and moved to the States at age 28 so I can relate myself to this topic but what I'm going to write below is just my personal opinion and does not represent my country. :) I see a good point in everyone's comment and sort of agree with most of you. There seem to be always both sides of view on each culture and it is somewhat true that the educational environment in S. Korea is quite harsh and fiercely competitive... mainly because it is a very small country with a HUGE population but low natural resources, a handful of selective universities and very few decent job opportunities. The general expectations on workload and outputs are much higher than here, and such hard work and the rapid growth of the educated labor force are in fact what turned one of the poorest countries in the world in 1950s into a world's top 10 economy only in a few decades. Such early training and discipline have also allowed many of them, who moved to the States in their 20s or even 30s, to compete with Americans, get into Ivies/top schools and find high-income professional jobs despite their visa status and language barrier. However, there are also lots of cons and side effects you all pointed out.. It is indeed a soul sucking experience for most students to go through such a rat race for 12 years. The schools in Korea teach to the test and heavily focus on memorization mainly for efficiency. When I went to school, there were 50~60 kids in each class. The teacher-student ratio is much better now, but the standardized curriculum and tests are still the core in the S. Korean education system and there is very little room for creativity or flexibility, as mentioned previously. When everyone wants the same thing, getting into top schools and well-paid jobs, a merit system becomes important. Korean people hardly put up with any kid of privilege or inequality when it comes to education and college entrance. Thus, there is very little quality/price difference between public and private schools and no legacy preferences in college admission. The K-12 curriculum is nationally standardized and the high school GPA and standardized test scores are the most important factors for college matriculation. So, for many Koreans, the "holistic" U.S. college admissions often come across as confusing and somewhat subjective. Oh, and it is not true most Korean students sleep through the day at school, especially if they wish to get into any college. They are just required to work much harder and for longer hours than most American students do in average. In elementary school, students take midterm and final exams on all 10 subjects, including music, art and P.E. Lots of cramming, yes. Lot more pressure and stress, yes. Brain working less effectively, yes and no. When you do it everyday, you get used to this routine and your tolerance level grows. Well, everyone is studying and working hard, so there is basically no other choice anyway unless you don't care about falling way behind in the system. My DH (Caucasian American) and I (Korean immigrant) try to find some middle ground between these two starkly different mentalities for our family. He often tells me he learned the value of hard work and dedication from me and it helps him excel at work. And I learned from him to be more self-content, care less about what others think and love the learning itself. I feel fortunate my kids don't have to go through what I did in S. Korea, but at the same time I also find a majority of the public schools in the U.S. are... quite lacking, according to my experience of sending them to three different PS in the North-West, Midwest and South. My son, whose academic levels are a few years ahead, is currently placed in 1st grade and there's almost zero differentiation for him. His teacher and principle are both very "laid-back" and defensive. I kind of expected this but sent him to school anyway for social time because he is an extreme extrovert and I was not confident enough to continue to teach him in English. But I found out he has been only getting very short recess and lunch time--In S. Korea, 1st graders get a 10-minute break every 40 minutes and an hour-long lunch break.--and the school's art/music classes are awful. The school doesn't do much for science and social studies, either, and the only text book they are using for 1st graders is Go Math--Every South Korean students receive and own brand new textbooks and workbooks for all 10 subjects, that are nicely printed in color and for free, in the beginning of the school year. Therefore, I have been heavily afterschooling him and am most likely to pull him out at the end of Christmas break as it is obvious his school doesn't teach anything new to him and he is not even getting enough social time there. He is begging me to homeschool. We are military and it is unfortunately not possible for us to move to one of the best school districts in the U.S. About Singapore Math... honestly I haven't found anything special about this program so far. Its method of introducing different ways of thinking, e.g. regourping and bar models, is very similar to how I learned math when I was in school. The S. Korean math curriculum is not necessarily fast paced, especially in elementary school, but the school tests are more focused on its applications while the American schools mostly just teach basic concepts and review them with simple and direct questions. They do learn calculus in high school. IMO, Primary Math is not challenging nor advanced. It can be compared to the basic text books the Asian elementary schools use. My biggest pet peeve about Intensive Practice and Challenging Word Problems is there is no teaching incorporated in these. There are only questions and answers, but nothing else, no explanations for the advanced concepts or each problem solving process. Another difference I found is that Korean students don't just use a single curriculum for each subject. Education is a HUGE business in S. Korea and there are tons of different options for K-12 curricula/workbooks at different levels. Many students use a variety of programs for math. For some, it can be an overkill for sure, then there are also many different types of advanced math books to choose from, too. In short, I think you all as homeschooling parents are making a great balance for your kids. I don't know anything about Finland, so can't compare, lol.
  21. I have a 4 yo girl with high functioning autism. She is a very bright, self-motivated and independent learner who taught herself how to read and add/subtract 0-20 fluently by age 3. She also has strong fine motor skills in the areas of cutting, pasting, coloring and handwriting. However, her social and communication skills are weak due to her ASD traits and severe speech delay along with some sensory and behavioral issues. The book we found most helpful was the one written by Bill Nason. We have the green one called "The Autism Discussion Page on anxiety, behavior, school, and parenting strategies: A toolbox for helping children with autism feel safe, accepted, and competent." I follow his Facebook page, too. What he says about ASD kids and the tips he suggests make so much sense to me and help me understand my "quirky" DD better. I also have another book called "A Parent's Guide to High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder: How to Meet the Challenges and Help Your Child Thrive" but haven't gotten to it yet so have no opinion on it.
  22. We did Singapore Primary for lesson, MM for independent review and (during the summer) IP and CWP for challenge. Not a big fan of LoF.
  23. 1. DS had pretty good stamina for handwriting. We did HWOT preK to Grade 2 workbooks and then finished Evan-Moor Daily Handwriting Practice before starting Writing With Ease Level 1. 2. Kumon workbooks are nice for that age. We did all tracing, mazes, alphabet/number writing, cutting, pasting and so on in order, and they greatly helped develop his fine motor skills. He especially liked the mazes books.
  24. We used ES Intro to Science last year. DS loved it! He kept begging for more science experiments. I know what you mean with the typos (in the very beginning of the book!!) and ugly coloring pages... Those made me wary of purchasing it at first, too. However, Intro to Science is fairly inexpensive compared to other HS science curriculums and its all-laid-out lesson plans and schedule with extra reading lists helped this busy, untrained mama tremendously. I also bought the experimental kit (The kit is expensive for what it is but saved me so much time and trouble so it was well worth the money for me as well.) which made it totally open-and-go. Science got done in my house and I'm pretty happy about it. I don't know about you, but if I tried to come up with my own lesson plans and schedule with the "More Mudpies and Magnets" book alone, I might have saved $16 from not buying the curriculum but science would have not been done in such a consistent and organized way. We also did most of the listed extra readings and even more. Those cute, simple experiments really sparked his interest that he's read every.single.science readers published by National Geographic Kids. And we're doing RSO Life this year. HTH
  25. I have both, and we're now almost through with Daily Geography Grade 1. My son loves it. About 150 pages of the whole book are divided into 36 weeks and in each week you study a different map under the same format of introduction, vocabulary, a picture of map, daily questions and "challenge" activity (usually coloring). It is repetitive and doesn't go much in depth but gets done in an easy and systematic way. OTOH, Beginning Geography doesn't lay out a schedule to follow and has about 100 pages that vary from page to page. You'll get a more variety of hands-on activities than Daily Geography and need to make copies of some pages for cutting and gluing activities. It also comes with 2 big colorful fold-out maps attached in the book. We plan to do Beginning Geography during the summer break before we move on to Daily Geography Grade 2. HTH :)
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