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Have kids -- will travel

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Everything posted by Have kids -- will travel

  1. Op, please keep updating and commenting here. Yes, plenty of posters have disagreed with you, but opposing viewpoints are part of what makes a community stronger. For your parent teacher conference, I think you'll be more successful if you try to see the teacher as someone who is playing on your team as well. How can you help your child at home? How can she help your child at school? What issues can you address? What things can you celebrate? If after a constructive chat, you ask to come in a time convenient for her to review your child's work once a month, I am quite sure she will be happy to let you. It isn't the same as homeschooling, and I suspect it will get easier with time. Good luck!
  2. My son's K class sends nothing home. The children do all of their work in books (literacy, math, and project books), and the teacher corrects these. One color highlighter for good, one color highlighter for incorrect. The kids get feedback, but it doesn't come home. Our school is the same, except that they send out weekly emails with the curriculum targets. This week my K'er's class is working on counting money by 10s and missing number sentences with money. Ask the teacher to see the books if you want to know more information. Most teachers are more than happy to comply with showing you.
  3. College level classes vary greatly in difficulty, and I would expect a CC math class aimed at education majors to be low level. How long has she been in this class? All my classes started low key and ramped up the intensity as the semester went on, so it's also possible that this is the beginning and relatively easy compared to later expectations. I would not afterschool a college class, in the same way I have no intention of afterschooling middle and high school. Placement should be addressed instead. I'll add an additional point. Very few of my college classes required that I turn in homework. There were recommended problems, and you could do them or not. There were classes where I did fewer problems than assigned and classes where I did more problems than were assigned. Up to you, but if the class is a waste of time, I wouldn't ask her to do of the same. I'd either let her coast for the class and decide for herself what preparations she needs, or I'd find a different class to take.
  4. OP, I'm an afterschooler who has gone back to work full time. It's hard adjusting to less control/oversight/influence over your child's education. I get that. I miss being more on top of things and sometimes wonder if I made the right decision ... until I see my son flourishing without my input, succeeding on his own, and choosing his own path. Please sit down with your child's teacher and principal. Would it be enough for you to get more work after it is already completed and graded? It's not okay to coach your child from a C to an A+. The scaffolding that a parent provides is not what the school is looking for. They want to see what a child can produce at school, in the available time. Even my K'er has "hot tasks" where not even the teacher or TA interferes, so that the school can see a child's work in class without help. Sure, he could do better at home with me reminding him to check his spelling, but that's not the assignment. Don't get in the habit of overly helping with your child's assignments. You'll find your child more and more incapable of creating quality assignments independently. The skill of independent work will serve your child more than any book report scaffolding or fifth grade spelling test ever could. Looking over graded assignments is a totally different matter.
  5. I second a vote to avoid Reading Eggs. Math Seeds was actually a much more enjoyable experience, but the trial period is more than enough. I never paid for it. TeachYourMonsterToRead.com is excellent. I highly recommend it, and my boys loved it at that age. There are three levels, so you can pick the most appropriate. My older boy only did level 2, my younger did levels 1 and 2. Neither really liked level 3 as much. For independent learning: -- Mazes (Kumon has a great variety): my boys loved to sit and do maze after maze -- it's the only fine motor work they would do. -- Building: started with wooden train track construction, moved to building with Duplos, then Legos, then Kapla. Anything that can be built and rebuilt. -- Sticker books -- Audio books or song books with CDs: the biggest problem was when I only had one physical book and both boys wanted to follow along
  6. Sounds ideal. It's not in the least surprising that her reading hasn't been picked up by the school. Our school does baseline testing for the 3-year-olds, so that's how they "discovered" my early readers. YDS is more likely to pick up a book and read it for everyone. My ODS was much happier racing around on the bikes. I think he spent every possible moment at preschool outside. He misses that much play now that's he's in K. Your school sounds great, and I wouldn't rush academics in the least.
  7. I know a family who homeschools one child (AL, not a good fit at school) while both working full time. Their nanny does the bulk of the childcare and home ed, but there is also a younger child for the nanny to care for. Without childcare or dramatically flexible hours, I can't see homeschooling being very successful.
  8. I may have said this before, but I would make educational plans for your daughter that allow for easy movement into other fields of science, as her interest may change. The sort of biology/ecology research she does now isn't particularly attractive to highly STEM-oriented students because it's not very high level. She may realize as she matures that genetics in her snakes is interesting, but that her real passion is understanding how the proteins responsible for DNA replication mechanics leads to errors that cause human disease. Or how misfolded proteins cause disease states. Both of these topics were discussed in my intro bio class in college, so I'm sure the ivies are doing much more interesting research on these topics (full disclosure: I'm a chemist who tried very hard to like biology, but even biochemistry didn't suit me well -- organic chemistry is absolutely my passion though). She'd be more likely to find intellectual peers at better universities.
  9. This depends more on her long-term goals than anything else. Does she want to finish college early, or is she more interested in (relatively) on-time college, which in itself can be a great experience, at a more elite level? Homeschooling plus early college is going to get her a degree early at the cost of peers. All the way through. It will matter less as she gets older, but even being five years younger in grad school makes a difference. The tradeoff as well is that it's going to be hard to get an elite education, if that's her goal. Basically, a community college offers significantly weaker classes than an elite university (or even a solid state flagship). I tutored a state school student who took one class at my elite university. He was the best student at that school and still significantly weaker than the other students at our university. His math and science background was weaker, which meant that he had trouble keeping up with the high level class. The advantage though of early college is that a highly motivated individual can reach a terminal degree early and start earlier on the carrier ladder. Regarding IB vs. AP, if I had a choice for my kids, I'd vote for IB. DH did IB at school; I did AP. IB is much more rigorous; AP can be a joke (though perhaps it's gotten better over the years). I'm perpetually skeptical of magnets, though.
  10. At my boys' school, the kids with behavior trouble or those who struggle more with learning get "star student" more easily, as any little improvement is encouraged. I definitely wouldn't quit a school over my child not getting star student within the first three months of the year. I've even explained to my child that his behavior has no influence on the "star student" award, as he was getting very discouraged about his efforts not being recognized (he's very well-behaved at school). I told him he'll get a turn eventually. However, I'm a bit confused by your post. You have a psychologist who has presumably run a full battery of tests, and she has ruled out ADHD. My understanding of that diagnosis is that a report from a class teacher is needed; did the school participate in that evaluation? Is there behavior at school that you don't see at home? Parental and teacher reports weigh heavily in an ADHD evaluation, and having only your view of things may have affected the evaluation. Definitely sit down with the school and try to make things work before you jump ship. You can re-evaluate in a few months time and either stay with the school or make plans to switch in the fall.
  11. Personally, I think the "physical safety" aspect of parent worry about bad neighborhoods is overestimated, while the influence of peers is underestimated. Sadly, kids growing up in poverty are exposed to more violence, experience more stress at home, and are more likely to have behavioral problems. It's an important consideration to make when choosing a school for your children, and calling it "classist" trivializes the importance of weighing all factors. For the record, I strongly disagree with the US policy of creating a magnet school in a poor school to bring up the quality of that school; the poor school should get much more money and strict oversight to improve -- that way all the kids benefit, not just the bussed-in gifted kids. OP, I wouldn't stress about changes for your daughter, if the move to the gifted magnet would fall with the beginning of the school year, and I wouldn't worry about fitting in when middle school starts. As others have pointed out, kids come together from different schools at the beginning of middle school, so it's a very natural point to arrive from a different place, as friend groups are just forming. The length of time on the bus would be a big factor in the decision for me, as would educational opportunities staying on at the current school and peers who stay or choose the magnet school. If there are one or two quality kids from your current school planning on going, that would make it more attractive to me. Can you apply and choose to back out later (in which case, apply and decide later)? Also, can you talk to parents who have children in the gifted magnet? They'll probably be able to better answer your questions. Afterschooling/enriching is hard work, and not all kids are equally eager to spend a mind-numbing day at school followed by hard work at home.
  12. I missed a lot of brainstorming during the holidays, but I'd agree that any potential path that doesn't begin with VWO in secondary is less than ideal. You'd already have all of the high achievers skimmed out to VWO, and HAVO is going to be at a lower level. HBO for the record looks a lot more like a US high school than a US college, with lots of (mindless) homework for the students, while WO (university) is a sink-or-swim sort of thing like most universities (don't do your homework, that's on you come test time). Gross generalizations, honestly, but you get the idea. For the record, while HAVO-HBO-University is possible, HBO will be on your CV forever and basically tells potential employers immediately about your general capacity. Many jobs require university thinking level, so not just a degree but also the associated level of analysis. (All not relevant for now honestly). I wouldn't mention anything to SIL, personally. Even the Dutch around here don't think that kids should spend time doing homework, so even the bright ones are behind at school because all of the English (UK, Australian, North American) parents make sure the kids do homework and reading from school.
  13. Not sure if it's recent or regional, as my experience is anecdotal, and I don't live there anymore (nor did I grow up in Holland). My DH was grade-skipped from groep 1 to 3 relatively painlessly back in the 80's, and one of his nephews with dyslexia has repeated a year, also without significant issue or problem. The Netherlands has a system where kids born between 1 Oct and 31 Dec can move from groep 1 to 3 or stay for groep 2. It's not clear to me if kids born after 1 Oct are considered grade-skipped or not (and this is relevant because one of my kids falls into this group, and the other just outside). With regards to an extra year basisschool, I have only seen things online (for the Dutch readers): http://www.hb-kind-forum.nl/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=11307 More relevant to OP is indeed how flexible schools in general are with moving kids up and down based on their needs, and my understanding is that the schools are generally flexible in that. So hopefully as the fluency progresses, he can at the minimum move up with peers. My DH moved internationally at age 7 to a school with a language he didn't speak. Just as with OP's son, he got put down a year from his age (this was after his grade skip, so he moved down two years). Within a few months he was moved to his age group, and after a year and a half, he was grade skipped again. He graduated valedictorian less than a month after turning 17. There's no reason OP's son can't end up in the right spot, as long as the schools are willing to be flexible.
  14. Skipping grades and retaining kids are definitely more common in NL and less stressed about. It's even quite a thing that skipped kids do an extra year at the end of the basisschool to end up back with their same age. It's definitely no big deal to have a kid redo a year. I'm not sure HAVO/VWO advice is what to aim for, since there are some schools that only offer VWO curriculum and may not accept all pupils with HAVO/VWO advice. Anyways, I'm happy to hear his Dutch has improved! I hope the evaluation will be helpful in teasing out what his problems and strengths are. Honestly, I can imagine your dilemma, especially after homeschooling, and wanting him to be able to do work at his level, and I'm anticipating the same problems. I wish I had better advice, especially since it would I would know what to do. We're spoiled by my kids' current school (I'm not a homeschooler, so a total fake here on the board), which had my five-year-old doing two digit subtraction in class and tested his reading comprehension to the secondary level. It's not going to be that easy at a Dutch school. So yeah, keep us updated. Such hard decisions.
  15. Yes, that's true. Last year, one of my in-law's daughters got HAVO advice and was moved to VWO because of the results in the brugklas (and the test she took in the brugklas). Still, I think it's worth considering the implications, because I don't think it's very common to simply ignore the advice of the school, unless the score is clearly borderline. (The advice of the school takes into account both the score and the classroom performance from my understanding.)
  16. How is his Dutch coming along after the first three months of school? Has he caught up enough to go back up to join his agemates? The risk of skipping in the Dutch system is that if his end-of-groep-8 test scores aren't high enough, the school may not recommend him to go to the proper high school (VWO). Our kids may be heading to Dutch public schools for the school year after next, both have birthdays around the cutoff, both bilingual with a preference for English, so we're expecting difficulty getting a proper placement.
  17. It sounds like a bad test if your example is indeed indicative of the requirements. As well, I wouldn't worry about having a child who tests poorly at this age; as other have pointed out, 1:1 testing depends so heavily on the tester that your child may have no problem with testing as an older child with a written test.
  18. Math Monkeys is done here, and both my kids, who are admittedly quite a bit younger, both really enjoy their classes and get a lot out of them. It could indeed be the management at your program, but missing 1/3 of the classes probably contributed to the problem. Last year, my oldest learned the "trick" of using dots on numbers to help with counting on, which I considered quite complementary to the "trick" his school taught him for counting on with his fingers. His class now is doing place value and time, and his brief homework is very conventional (and gets done with no problems because he likes his class). If they were teaching mental math strategies for multiplication for example, and the kids missed the classes, it would indeed be hard for them to enjoy subsequent classes. Just my two cents. FWIW, my youngest had his class Saturday, and we moved it to Wednesday because he didn't like missing out of Saturday time. Saturday may just not be a good day for your children, especially considering how many classes you had to miss.
  19. Congrats! Very exciting. We know lots of teachers and their families where we live, both working for international schools and local schools. Vaccinations are something to add to the list, particularly for the more tropical destinations. HepB takes six months to arrange, for example. Pets can be prohibitively expensive to import/export, but families we know who do take pets consider them family. We've loved our adventure, and while living abroad will test anyone's flexibility, the experience is priceless. I'll just add that in our country, we are minorities, but European/white is a privileged minority. In many places, racism (against for example Indians in the Middle East) is strongly institutionalized, and the low-status minorities have so few rights people can treat them as slaves. So you get a very different experience, being a minority, but I feel personally even more privileged by my skin here than in the US or Europe. A friend of mine spent a couple years at an international school in Albania and had a good experience. Good luck with the process!
  20. For afterschooling, Singapore or Beast Academy/AOPS are generally recommended.
  21. What worked best for our three-year-old readers was to go to the library and pick a large variety of picture books. He could pick what he wanted to read, and it was indeed great for building vocabulary when his stamina wasn't sufficient text-only books. Mine particularly loved action books like "Don't Push the Button" or funny books like "The Easter Cat." You can go as complicated as you want with picture books, including some very long ones as stamina improves. Obviously, anything by Mo Willems, Dr. Suess, Julia Donaldson, etc. will be suitable. Oxford Reading Tree library has a wonderful set of free ebooks for reading on a tablet or on the computer. Both fiction and non-fiction, and my boys have loved the characters. Early chapter books tend to have very simplistic vocabulary, and there's no need to rush into those.
  22. Me too. Shakespearian plays should be watched, not read. Dickens is horrific (sorry to Dickens lovers). If your kid likes it and you don't, let it be independent or outsourced. Put it off until she's reading independently at Dickens' level and let her do a "book club" sort of thing with a Lit Major. Plus, a six-year-old's life experience makes French Revolution or England's Debtor's prisons a challenging read. I'm going to second handwriting work rather than copywork. Letter formation in isolation to words. Spelling in invented sentences. My five-year-old has never done copywork, and his handwriting has been steadily improving. If you have to stick with copywork, make it the fun kind with several mistakes (spelling, grammar, punctuation) that she has to correct in the sentence she writes. Personally, I think grammar is best learned in the context of a foreign language. So much of English feels more open to discussion when you can compare how two languages approach the same problem. Linguistics (particularly comparative linguistics) is also incredibly fascinating, but you're going to be hard-pressed to find an appropriate program for elementary, though you yourself may enjoy a MOOC. My linguistics professor in college was monolingual, so fluency in multiple languages isn't essential to understanding linguistics.
  23. Common Sense Media won't have every book, but it's been an invaluable place for evaluating movies for my sensitive kids. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/book-reviews/where-the-red-fern-grows https://www.commonsensemedia.org/book-reviews/where-the-mountain-meets-the-moon You can take the age range liberally, but the reviews will cover things that talk about age appropriateness for kids.
  24. So they're definitely not right in saying that you shouldn't get him ahead. He's already ahead, so that's a fairly moot point. A kid who doesn't face challenge, whether that happens at school or after school, doesn't get the benefits of working to be successful, doesn't get a chance to fail and succeed, and gets taught that success comes without effort or only perfect results are good enough. The point of afterschooling and pursuing developmentally appropriate education isn't getting your kid ahead; it's providing your child with the chance to work hard and succeed. So don't teach a first grade curriculum just so that your kid is ahead (which of course you don't), but aim to challenge your child since the school hasn't been capable. I'd encourage you to keep going, but also think outside the homeschool box. Afterschooling means that you get to focus on the areas that the school is weak in or areas of high interest. No need to tick all of the educational boxes since school is ticking some. My K-er is also a boy with limited interested in coloring. He has in the past enjoyed mazes, drawing maps, writing signs for his toys, and doing written math -- anything done with a pen is a win in my book. Fine motor is important as a school generally only accelerates to the output level, so poor writing will mean math becomes more of a struggle when writing problems, etc.
  25. What is the teacher turnover? Required certifications? Administration structure? Special services (English for non-native speakers, special needs, counseling)? Average class size? Gender ratio? Percentage of students leaving the program before finishing? Percentage of graduates attending higher education versus stopping at the end of the program? What schools do they matriculate to? Support from the school for college applications? Particularly for a high school/college: how does the school actively foster cooperation instead of competition among students? Can you get a copy of the latest inspection report and the school's response to it?
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