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Everything posted by MariaT

  1. Hi, all! Some folks here on the boards have had a great experience with Julia Denne's Russian Literature classes. She has updated her program and created a new class for the fall: Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, Chekhov’s Annas, and Anna Karenina in Film. The class combines the elements of online learning and face-to-face teaching through video conferencing (live webinars). Full disclosure-- Julia and I met about 8 years ago at our homeschool coop. Two of my kids took classes with her: one before she moved online, and one just after she went online. She asked me to post an announcement to WTM since she has drawn good students from this group. This is from Julia: The class is intended for the students who love to read and write about literature. This is a college-level class, and as such it has a corresponding workload and expectations. Honors-level high school English classes or AP English Composition or Literature are prerequisites. The teacher will use her Russian background to provide the students with a unique chance to appreciate some of the pleasures of the original Russian versions of Anna Karenina and Chekhov’s stories that are inevitably lost in any translation. The class will focus on close textual analysis of Anna Karenina and Chekhov’s stories supplemented by biographical, historical, and critical information. The works will be examined against the film adaptations. Students will be conducting a textual scavenger hunt, connecting a variety of images, themes, events, and literary devices, searching for patterns, and constructing an overall design of the works. The new online classroom accessible 24 hours a day will provide flexibility and will make students more active participants in the learning process. They won’t just submit their weekly reflection paragraphs but will comment on the work by the classmates and will ask questions. Synchronous classes will consist of a short lecture by the teacher, students’ presentations, and group discussions. The combination of lecture, presentations, and discussions is a format that should prepare teens for the college environment. The teacher will help students to choose the topic for the final analytical paper and will guide them through the writing process from developing the detailed outline through the first draft to the final draft. The result will be an A+ paper that could become part of students’ college portfolios. Registration is here: Please specify the day and time of the 90-minute synchronous online session that will work for you. The synchronous session will be scheduled by August 15 based on your preferences. You can reach Julia at Happy Russian Lit adventures! Maria
  2. As others have suggested, DD18 did a rigorous honors/AP curriculum, particularly in the first half of high school-- Math through calc, although the calc was very liberal-artsy, using a non-majors college text. Lots of science, language arts, history. He didn't love it, but it informed his art. When he started DE classes, at first he dutifully took rigorous academic subjects, but after a semester or so of that he really looked at DE classes that would fit into his own studio practice-- contemporary American art. So a he took a humanities class that looked at the American history, art, culture, politics of each decade in the second half of the 20th C. and a sculpture class, for instance. I did not supervise his studio practice at all, except to drive him to art lessons all over. Oh, and he had to finish school work before he could work on art. He took lots of classes at School of the Art Institute-- that was very helpful. Lots of summer art programs. Sdobis, if your DD is interested in contemporary art, the Museum of Contemporary Art has a terrific teen program, Teen Creative Agency, where teen artists meet working artists at the MCA. TCA was highly influential for my son, and led him to several mentors that guided him. One of his pieces was shown at 21-Minus, which is where the MCA allows teens to take over the museum for a day. Now he runs his own schedule. I'm not an artist, and don't know a lot about art. When he was in 9th grade he told me he needed to start showing his work in real galleries. I told him I really didn't know how to even start doing that, and I had to help his older brother apply to college and homeschool him and his younger sister. He offered to contact galleries on his own. And so it began. He did a lot of things on his own: curating his own mini pop-up gallery, submitting his work to adult art exhibitions, applying for fellowships and internships. He maintains his own website and curates his work there, and created and maintains his own CV. I researched TCA and a teen program at the Art Institute. He applied to both, and got into TCA. I also helped him sign up to show his art at the local library, and that was his first 'solo' show. After that he organized his own shows at small galleries all over the city. So I was in charge of providing the academic stuff. He was in charge of his art. Good luck! Maria
  3. We have used them. My kids did the Honors Bio, Chem and Env. Science. These are self-taught classes that use textbooks that were designed for classroom use, with the assumption that an instructor would be giving daily lectures to explain the lessons and concepts. However, when you are taking these classes online, all the student has is the poorly-designed textbook. The labs are online demos that are time-consuming for the student to figure out how to work before actually launching the lab. Learning online, and self-teaching, is very, very different and much harder than being in a classroom every day where the instructor helps you understand the material. The courses are not designed to accommodate that difference. My kids got through it, and they learned science. But it was grueling. I wish that I had a science degree so I could do these classes at home. Next year my DD will do Env. Sci on her own, and we are both looking forward to science being fun again. On the plus side, you get grades from a nationally-known provider of courses for gifted and talented students, if that is important to you. Maria
  4. Another way to boost the portfolio is to look at national arts competitions. SAIC gives $2000 automatically to students who place at a certain level in these competitions--other schools may be similar. Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards National Young Arts Foundation: deadline each year is Oct. 15. You can start submitting sophomore year. Top students are named either finalists or honorable mentions. (there are also 10 students named National Finalists, which is a really big deal) DS wasn't accepted until his senior year, when he received an honorable mention, and that was enough to trigger one of the automatic awards at SAIC. And he gets to participate in a week-long masters'-class program in either NYC, LA, or Miami. He chose LA. Young Arts pays for everything--airfare, room and board, plus masters' classes. He just has to bring his own art supplies. Good luck! Maria
  5. With DS18, who is going to School of the Art Institute, we focused on a very strong academic high school curriculum because we wanted to keep the door open for him to switch from art. Up until last fall, he wasn't sure whether he wanted an art school or a regular school with a strong art program. The strong academics fed his art. A super strong portfolio can outweigh average academics, but a great portfolio AND strong academics can bring merit aid. He and I went to National Portfolio Day every year, starting in his freshman year, so that he could get feedback from various art schools about his portfolio. This gave him a sense of whether he was on the right track. National Portfolio Days are held in the fall, all over the country. They are free for all high school students-- you can show your portfolio to reps from almost every art school in the country, from RISD to CalArts. Maria
  6. One reason I like TT is that every single problem is worked out and explained on the DVDs. This alone lowers the stress in our house, and it has allowed DD to LOVE math. I wish I had found it for her older brothers. DD does not use the DVDs to do problems-- she works them all out in her notebook, then I check them with her. If she makes a mistake and is not able to figure it out on her own, then she goes to the DVD for the explanation. She got a 27 in Math on the ACT with just Algebra, Algebra II and Geometry. She is working through Pre-Calc now, and did run into trouble with understanding some things. I cannot teach math, so I have her meet with a tutor once a week. I think one thing that is overlooked in these discussions is whether a kid likes math, and what kind of learner the kid is. I think the kid's attitude -- and their style of learning -- make a bigger difference in his or her success than the program. Maria
  7. DD15's plan for next year: AP Lang online, PA Homeschoolers, working on the app Environmental Science self study, with textbook, Great Courses videos, independent project monitoring local ponds and lab work at aquarium downtown Pre-Calculus, TT, finishing up. We had a major family crisis this fall which set her back in pre-calc this year, so we decided to break it up into 2 years. Spanish III with tutor Russian I with tutor a coop class, haven't decided yet violin and piano, orchestra and chamber music group Maria
  8. oops, sorry, I got carried away..... totally skipped over that I was to give ONLY FIVE books... :blushing: i really really like history....
  9. a lot of these are looonngg, but very good. Some might be too long for a 9th grader. John Adams by David McCullough, long, basis of HBO miniseries Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, long, basis of the musical Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, long, about Lincoln's Cabinet during the Civil War, basis of movie Lincoln Stealing Lincoln's Body by Thomas J. Craughwell, on the establishment of the Secret Service One Summer: America, 1927, by Bill Bryson, on events of 1927 Bloodstained Sea: The U.S. Coast Guard in the Battle of the Atlantic, 1941-44, by Michael G. Walling, one of the shorter books on WWII that are available The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, by Bill Bryson, memoir growing up in Iowa in the 1950s. An American Insurrection: James Meredith and the Battle of Oxford, Mississippi, by William Doyle, on the violent desegregation of the University of Mississippi in 1962 Carry Me Home, Birmingham, Alabama, The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution, by Diane McWhorter, long, but very well-written. Won the Pulitzer Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly, on black 'computers' at NASA, basis of current movie The Rise of the Rocket Girls, by Nathalia Holt, on women 'computers' at NASA Also, John Lewis' March trilogy, graphic novel on the 1963 March on Washington You could also do movies: HBO John Adams miniseries Lincoln, based on Team of Rivals Last year my daughter did an online U.S. history course and we watched history movies over the course of the year. It was shocking to first watch Gettysburg, which was based on Killer Angels and it's affectionate view of Confederate generals, then watch 12 Years a Slave. We did a lot with the Civil Rights movement: The Watsons Go to Birmingham, Selma, The Great Debaters. PBS has a documentary series, The American Experience, which included a film on the year 1963, which is very good. Fiction could be useful, too: Stephen Crane's Red Badge of Courage, Herman Melville's Moby Dick Louisa May Alcott's Little Women Harriet Beecher Stowe Uncle Tom's Cabin Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby.... Uncle Tom's Cabin
  10. We never did a curriculum on project management, but my kids just dove in with their own projects and figured it out as they went. My goal was to be the driver and supply procurer. I never really wanted to get too involved-- I wanted them to do the work!! We started with their own interests, and what they wanted to do during high school, and helped them figure out a broad project. We helped them lay down a base of knowledge through classes in art or science, or making lots of short videos for the film kid with acting classes. Then we looked for experts who wanted to help them. My sons did long-term projects in their interests-- filmmaking for one and art for the other. My daughter is now starting what I hope is a long-term project monitoring water quality at nearby reservoirs, and then taking her samples to the aquarium downtown to work with scientists there on analyzing the samples. Working on their own long-term projects was such a joy for them through high school-- the projects were their own property, something outside of the academics that mom oversaw. And having those accomplishments, in an area of deep interest, made them stand out in college apps. Maria
  11. 7th grade was when my kids wanted to do everything, so it was hard to plan ahead because everything looked good to them. But there was a sort of persnickety-ness that maybe was related to them not really wanting to rush into high school stuff too fast. My oldest was and is a social butterfly and artistic. We didn't have a single coop that met all his needs. We mixed it up with group classes when we could. As the years passed he wanted to do things with new people, he just needed more stimulation. We added mentors so he had one-on-one interaction with adults in his chosen field and added in CC classes junior year. Like Maize suggested he did a lot of extra-curriculars, with kids both inside and outside of homeschooling, and in the larger geographic area, to broaden his interactions. (He took a lot of public transportation.) He did summer programs in different parts of the country to meet new people, and he kept in touch with them. He was a fun kid because he was always eager to try most new things. Maria
  12. Our group is seeking to move from Yahoo over the summer, because we think yahoo groups will be phased out by Alibaba, which is based in China. Last year we started an FB group because the newer homeschoolers couldn't figure out yahoo, just like the newer homeschoolers Kinsa knows! We had a big kerfuffle last summer from our veterans who refuse to FB due to privacy. Years ago there would be long, thoughtful posts and conversations, and you had a real sense of what someone else was thinking. There was such a strong sense of community. All that stopped about 3 or 4 years ago. Would that be when folks started on FB? The newer folks wanted something where members would post pictures of themselves. THAT really sent the privacy-lovers over the edge-- they didn't want pictures of themselves or their children online. We are a group of extremes, lol! Maria
  13. Both my sons applied to just one school. The oldest applied early decision, and he had about 4 others that were distant second choices, but he hadn't really started their applications when he was accepted mid-December. If he hadn't gotten in it would have been a sad Christmas with him writing applications. He had visited the school three times and talked to several profs each time. The younger son, the senior, applied early action-- his first choice doesn't offer early decision. They were heavily recruiting him, so we knew he would get in. He had another school that he thought for a long time he wanted to apply to, but he kept dragging his heels on doing the extra essays. He knew in his heart that the other school was not a good fit for him. So it all worked out. Maria
  14. Sometimes seniors change their schedules in the middle of the year due to scheduling issues, such as with the Greek class. I agree other posters that she will want to show that she is continuing to pursue the 'most rigorous' course plan available. And you will also want to demonstrate intellectual rigor and persistence by pursuing the subject on her own. At some point you will need to send the colleges the mid-year transcript and then an end-of-the-year transcript. You may want to include a counselor letter from yourself explaining why two classes were dropped -- you can upload the letter and transcript together on the CA. I would not say that the Psych class was too easy, but instead say something about an independent study was a better fit. Maria
  15. Hooray!!!! What a wonderful accomplishment!! You both must be very proud. Maria
  16. You can also ask to meet with the prof while visiting the college, to talk about the prof's research (and share the student's interests/research). My sons did this-- before college visits we had them look at the profs who shared their interests. Usually I would scope out the site first, then highlight several profs that would be good matches. My sons picked who to contact. They contacted them, said they would be on campus on x date and could they meet up to talk about the prof's work. Before the visit they reviewed the prof's site, read some of their academic articles so that they had specific things to ask about. My oldest was able to turn one of these meetings into a college essay when that school asked applicants to share 'an interesting conversation' they had had in the last year. For my second son, he talked about a project for which my son had received an art grant, and the art prof gave him advice and his secret formula for concrete for the project. Although my son never used the secret formula, it was a great way to collaborate and talk shop. Maria
  17. While you are working on the money aspect, your daughter needs to protect her GPA. More schools are going test-optional, so they will really look at the grades as a way to evaluate how successful she will be. I would not worry about how many AP classes are at your school: on the Common App, she will be asked how many APs her school offers, so she will be evaluated based on what was available. Schools will want to see that she is taking the most rigorous program offered-- not the most rigorous program in the universe. Also, if and when my kids start struggling in a class, I made sure I lined up a tutor for them, to help them protect the GPA. Test prep helped my oldest son a lot -- he was gunning for a Little Ivy he really really really wanted to get into. (and did). He took the ACT once in the spring of junior year, then really pushed to take it again in October of his senior year so he could boost the composite more. Some schools will super-score: they will take the highest score of different sections from tests taken on different dates, so he took advantage of that and really focused on math and science for the last test. Visiting the colleges will help narrow things down. My second son really thought he wanted to attend a very small school in the Five Colleges in Amherst, but a visit there convinced us both that it was not the right place for him. Is it harder to get into a selective college? I sat in a college info session at Yale in the fall of 2014, and the admissions guy said they want 'lopsided" kids-- kids who showed that they were really passionate about something, and that they spent a lot of their time on that passion. These kids are spending their summers, school breaks, weekends working on something they love, whether it is something in the sciences or filmmaking or video game designing or manga. Of course, these kids have to maintain good grades and test scores. The kids who get into these schools are working very, very hard. I think high school is really the last, best time for them to pursue something they really love, and if they are able to do that -- and have good grades and scores-- they will be demonstrating an immense intellectual curiosity and academic passion. Colleges will love them and some will even throw money at them. A really good book that addresses this is Cal Newport's How To Be a High School Superstar which I found very interesting because there were several examples of kids who really didn't find their 'deep interest' until later in their junior year. And, instead of taking gobs of APs these kids instead focused on a project that they found really interesting. Another interesting book was Malcolm Gladwell's What the Dog Saw which has an essay that addresses whether Ivy League schools are better, particularly for women and minorities. It's the big-fish-in-a-small-pond vs. small-fish-in-a-big-pond. Being a big fish -- top student -- at in a small pond -- less selective school -- can be better for women, especially in the sciences, because they get more support and it is easier to stand out at when you are a top student. It is harder to stand out at a Harvard or Yale when all the other students are The Top Students in the Country. You are doing the right thing, and it sounds like she has a good head on her shoulders. She is just starting the process. There are tons of great schools out there, and lots of places where she will thrive. It will end up just fine. Good luck! Maria
  18. My youngest will be on her own for grades 10,11 and 12, and at first I was worried but now I think it will be OK and may even be delightful. She is 3 years younger than the middle kid, so she has been working on her own for a long time. She has developed different interests than her older brothers, and we are launching long-term projects for her to develop over the rest of her high school years, and she finds it all pretty involving. Tenth grade will be the toughest, I think, because she will be too young for CC-- students have to be 16 to start DE classes at the local CC. Some moms from our support group started a teen group, and that will help ease the transition. She enjoys working on her own, and the few times when she and I have been home alone for the day have been pretty pleasant. We had a tough fall with DD18. I know I am secretly looking forward to him heading out, and allowing the youngest to develop on her own without the ups and downs we've been through recently. Maria
  19. DS18 heard before Christmas that he was accepted to School of the Art Institute Chicago, and won their President's Scholarship, $100,800 over 4 years. It is the only school to which he applied, so we are pretty relieved. He had a second choice but at the last minute decided it was not a great fit for him. He had a tough fall, so this is a wonderful way to end an awful first semester. Now it is all onward and upward! Congratulations to everyone! Maria
  20. Regentrude, did you include any writing or other ways for your kids to integrate what they learned in the lectures? Maria
  21. Thanks to all of you for your sound advice -- it really validated my own thoughts on this. Thank you!! Maria
  22. The thread about the "overcoming obstacles' essay was very interesting-- What does the Hive suggest about how to address a student's anxiety and treatment? At the beginning of September, DS 17 started having anxiety attacks during the course of transitioning to new meds for a mood disorder that up until now had been easily managed. He missed about a week and a half of his honors CC classes, and as a result of his anxiety and depression at the time, we withdrew him to give him time and space to heal and get better. He is doing much better now, with a new psychiatrist and therapist, and new meds. But his plan for his senior year was trashed, and now he has 3 Ws on his DE transcript. But he also has 5 As (in challenging humanities classes) from the 5 DE classes he took last year as a junior (as 4-5 years each in all the academic subjects.) He wants to address the reason for the Ws somehow, but we are both extremely leery about the stigma. (We are researching the option of a gap year to give him more time, but he wants to get accepted somewhere before deciding on that). Before we pulled the plug at the CC, we began redesigning his senior year into a Senior Capstone Project. He researched topics in an area in which he was interested, found undergrad and graduate level syllabi with texts he wanted to read, and he is doing an in-depth, year-long project. He has 2 profs from a nearby college who are consulting instructors on his project as well as a staffer at a museum downtown. He is publishing essays on his readings on his blog. He has all his other high school credits done, with high grades, so his senior year will be focused on pushing his art further. He has a solo show lined up at a gallery at a regional university, is collaborating with working artists known in the contemporary art world, and is curating other known (adult and established) artists in other shows. So the project is very demanding and time consuming. He will write the main essay on the first CA topic to discuss his work as an artist. He will use the "Additional Information" essay to discuss his Senior Capstone Project. For those of you who have had to address your DC's anxiety, how did you go about discussing that? What traps should he and I avoid? He wants to be honest, but we also want him to get accepted! How do you balance that? Thank you in advance for any advice! Maria
  23. As a PP pointed out, watch out for whether the content in the CC course lines up with the AP requirements. Around here, many of the CC courses are "AP-Lite," that is, the CC courses are at a lower level, with less content and fewer skills than what is demanded of the AP courses. My two guys took several composition classes at the CC, and found them to be very basic. These classes are designed to get high school students' writing skills ramped up for college writing. Meanwhile, the AP English Lang. course is very specific in the kinds of writing that is taught and practiced. It's doable, of course. The only question is how much extra content, time and skills-learning will your student need to do to do well on the test, while at the same time finishing up cc courses. Maria
  24. You could read Homer's Iliad or Odyssey. Odds Bodkins has a 7-hour audio retelling of the Odyssey that would help with the reading. Maria
  25. All that and Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man.
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