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Everything posted by Christy-Jean

  1. My daughter was on the fence about the sketchbook one, I'll let her know the teacher has a good rep. 🙂
  2. My daughter is just finishing up AP Human Geography with Carol Ann Gillespie. She liked the subject, but the course was frustrating for her and pretty disappointing. We are giving PA Homeschoolers one more chance next year with a different course, but if it isn't markedly better, we won't be using them again. As others have mentioned, it was super tacky to get mailed a $25 book unsolicited so the author could sell it. It should have at least been noted in the course materials. The book was not even central to the course. There were almost weekly problems with the instructor evidently not knowing how to manage her web platform and essentially trying to coast on stuff from past years: There were things posted with multiple due dates, different assignments in different places, the posted syllabus not matching the other places assignments and due dates were posted, multiple places to upload the same assignment with conflicting directions or requirements in the two places, using "randomize answers" function on MC tests with answers like "all but A" or "A and B" when A and B were different for different students, making the tests wrong (but she couldn't seem to understand why when students complained, because her version looked different). Many of the videos were from years past and some are really are out of date (like, from the early 2000s.) for a subject that should be incorporating current events and global trends. Videos she has uploaded recently are in some wacky format and take an hour to download, so my daughter just doesn't watch them. She also would do things like post a question based on a graph, and not attach the graph, and when it was pointed out, just never get back to the question. It often took her three or four days to respond to student questions. It was typical for her to respond on Friday to questions asked on Monday when the work was due Sunday night. There was minimal to no feedback. Most of their practice test writing they were given rubrics and told to grade themselves. My daughter had 252 out of 139 points on her writing assignments that were turned in, but aside from minimal comments like "good reasoning" on about half assignments (immediately after a group of students decided to email the administrators and complain about how every one always got 100% and no comments.) there has been virtually no interaction with their writing that could help them improve. My daughter is a good student, but she is a freshman, and she could use guidance improving her writing for AP FRQs. I don't believe the instructor actually reads most of them. For example, last week my daughter wrote an FRQ response where she gave China as an example of a unitary state and explained why. She was completely confused, but got "100% Excellent" on the assignment. Then the weekly quiz asked, "Which of the following is a unitary state? U.S., Canada, China, or France. She picked China, but the answer was France. My daughter put in a lot of work and used additional resources from College Board and feels prepared, but gives herself most of the credit. Plus, now with the COVID-19 situation, the exam is all writing, and the course definitely did not help her much with that beyond what she could figure out herself. The course was essentially independent study, and you can find those for a lot less money than $750. Considering that is more than what we pay for Wilson Hill Academy classes that have 3 hours of live instruction and tons of feedback on assignments, it was nowhere near a comparable value.
  3. I heard back from the publisher. They said September 2017. :(
  4. Does anyone know when year four of the Telling God's Story curriculum will be available? We just finished the third book and I was hoping to pick up with the fourth one in August.
  5. BioLogos, a Christian organization that promotes the harmony of faith and mainstream science has just started publishing a biweekly blog geared specifically toward educators and homeschooling parents. (It replaces the Saturday Science Links they used to do.) The blog post, which will be published every other Friday, is a collection of cool science-related news links and activities you can do with kids. Here is a link to the first one. https://biologos.org/blogs/chris-stump-equipping-educators/this-week-in-creation-black-holes-pig-snouted-turtles-and-robobees My kids and I have really enjoyed the Saturday Science links from the past, and now it is even better that is specifically written with educators in mind. Even those of you who don't go in for the evolutionary creation perspective might still enjoy some of the content, since many topics besides biology are covered. Have fun!
  6. This is my first WTM post ever. I've been successfully avoiding being sucked in for a few years now, but I finally had to get an account a few months ago to avoid the ads, and then I started following a few threads because the Sonlight forum was so slow, and then... here we are. It's a slippery slope. :tongue_smilie: I figured I could make an exception to my "lurking only" rule to talk about Sonlight, since I am a Sonlight person more than a WTM person. We have used SL through p3/4 through E. (pre-K through 4th). I plan to continue using SL through G, seventh grade, at which point we may go a different direction. My three kids are 21 months and 19 months apart. I combine the youngest two in one core and the oldest does a different one. I use the history, readers, and read alouds. I do Bible with all the kids together, so we use some of SL's Bible books, but we don't follow their Bible reading schedule or do their memory work, I make up my own. I also use PHP's Telling God's Story curriculum once a week. I used SL science through D (minus the YEC books, and there were only a couple). We moved away form SL Science because I wanted a more structured, linear program, and because it moves into Apologia resources, which I didn't want to use. It was good for elementary though. My kids still pull out the books and look at them. I used SL LA with my first child through half of LA3, but I didn't like it. We switched everyone over to Writing With Ease this past year and have been much happier. I also use Winston Grammar with my oldest. I do use the SL phonics (Explode the Code) and spelling (Sequential Spelling starting in D). I recommend Sonlight to people who want a living books curriculum where most of the planning work is done for you. I also recommend it to Christians who are less conservative or who aren't Protestant, because I think it is one of the few Christian curricula that leaves most of the worldview instruction to the parents. It is easy to tailor it to your own perspective. For example, in Core C we read a book about a girl who prays to her dead grandmother for help throughout the story. The IG says something neutral like "Philomena is Catholic and believes her grandmother can intercede for her in heaven. You may want to discuss this with your child." So you as a parent can choose how to handle the teachable moment based on your own family's beliefs. I trust SL not to use a bunch of books that are dogmatic about debatable things, and I have been happy that so far it has avoided (mostly) the things that make me crazy in the homeschooling world - the founding father worship, the view of history where the US is the new Israel, the Republican/Tea Party rhetoric when talking about government, the constant imposition of young earth creationist view on archaeology and anthropology, the proof-texting of Bible verses out of their historical/cultural context, the tendency to equate Calvinism with Christianity, and the deference to New Patriarchy gender views. But on the other hand, if you wanted those things, it would be easy to add resources that put them in. Like others, I don't really like the LA. But it is super easy to sub it out and do something else. What I like most about SL is the schedule. It pulls together several spine resources with the other book selections and it is pretty easy to adapt and modify to fit your preferences. It is an incredible time-saver to have it as the starting point. For me the schedule itself is worth the price of the IG. I have been very happy with the book selections. My kids love to read and be read to and generally like school and look forward to the next new book and the next new school year. We have always finished a Core in a year, and we have added in a lot of other books too, so I can't relate to the complaint that it is impossible to finish in a year. Lots of people take longer, but it is their choice. As for an older IG, I don't think you would be getting that much more by updating it. The new format is more user friendly for people who stick closely to the IG. But it makes it a bit harder to adapt and modify or change the pacing of certain elements, so a lot of the veteran users who are used to lots of tweaking prefer the old style. I think they both have their pros and cons so I'm ambivalent. I use a lot of post-it flags to keep track of where we are in what book since we aren't usually all on the same day or week in everything. Lots of people use older IGs but update their libraries with some of the newer book selections and work those in. And lots of people add in books that have been dropped from the new guides because they are usually good books. One thing you might want to be aware of is that the older Core D guides use a different version of the spine, Landmark History of the American People than Sonlight currently sells. A few years ago, SL totally re-wrote the books to gear them to children (the originals were written to adults) and put in a lot more visual aids and pictures. I have both and definitely prefer the new version. If you are using Core D with a younger student, the new version is so much more appropriate. Anyway, you can use the old IG with the new Landmark books, but you will have to adjust the page numbers/chapters. I'm sure someone has probably done this already if you ask on the Sonlight forums. The IG has comprehension/discussion questions for the history, read alouds, and readers. Some people use them, some people don't. Some people just do narrations. I tend to use the history questions but the readers and read alouds we just discuss more generally. The IG also pulls out vocabulary from the readings and passages for dictations if you want to use them. There are also sometimes background history or culture notes, though not as often as I would like. I sometimes use other literature guides so that we can get more background on the author or historical context of a particular novel. Hope that helps.
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