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Cake and Pi

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About Cake and Pi

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  1. And see, the text-based classes are a good fit for my 11yo and an excellent fit for my 7yo, for the time being, at least. I think DS#1 would like it if there were audio, like if the text were read aloud to him, but he has extreme social anxiety and would not want to talk or have his name/username called out for any reason in the classroom. Text and whispers are good! He says he reads the book before class, but he doesn't really. He just looks through it, reads the highlighted boxes, and watches some of the videos. He depends on the in-class instruction. DS#3 has issues with auditory input. He does the exploratory questions from the book before class but usually has no interest in the videos. There are different examples done in class, sometimes in totally different ways than what was shown in the book, and it keeps his attention for the most part. He lasts about an hour, anyway, then usually wonders off or ends up hanging upside down in his chair. The long pauses after the instructor asks a question work out well for him because he's not a very fast reader and is still very slow at typing. He also often does the assigned reading 2 or more weeks before the class that goes over them, so the class essentially becomes a useful review. *I'm* thankful that his classmates cannot tell how young he is and that his off-topic/spam-like comments are not shared with the class. There was a recent pre-class discussion where everyone was sharing what grade they were in, mostly 6th-7th, someone mentioned that there was a *genius* 3rd grader in their Prealgebra class the previous term. I had to stop DS#3 from telling them that he was supposed to be in 1st grade but earned two grade skips and got to be in 3rd grade instead. Yeah, no social awareness there.
  2. There are a ton of fun ideas on the My Little Poppies blog, and I really like her gameschooling resources. I found the book Creative Homeschooling: A Guide for Smart Families helpful and interesting. There were bits I gleaned from Developing Math Talent. When I'm lesson planning, I try to keep the subject matter interesting and relevant and present it in a way that will be most accessible for my students. I aim instruction so that we're working in or close to the zone of proximal development. If things are too easy, my kids get stressed. If they're too hard, they get stressed. It's a balancing act for sure.
  3. My DS#1 worked in Jacobs MHE, but it was in between topics in AoPS Prealgebra. He only got through about half the book before wanting to return to AoPS. There's a lot of good stuff in there and it's presented in an engaging way. He also really liked what we did in Patty Paper Geometry, but it morphed into his own private obsession with complex origami so that most of the exercises in the book were never completed. But, yes, another vote for looking into Jacobs MHE and Patty Paper Geometry.
  4. I don't think there is a one-size-fits-all answer on this; it depends on the child and circumstances. In my experience with my three highly gifted and mathematically intuitive elementary kiddos (before switching to PS or AoPS Online) the general pattern we had was they play with a concept, I introduce the algorithm, and then they proceed to completely ignore the algorithm until they tire of playing with the concept and/or decide they want to use the algorithm in order to speed up calculations. The timing on that last bit seems to depend pretty heavily on moving on to higher level concepts where the calculations of previously dwelled on concepts become mere stepping stones rather than the goals in and of themselves. We used RightStart (very accelerated and compacted, with some tweaking) so traditional-ish algorithms for the basic operations were introduced after a fair bit of playing with ideas and manipulatives. DS#2 used to do 4+ digit subtraction in any old order he felt like, often starting in the middle and then switching to the outside, working inward from alternating sides. It wasn't efficient, but it sure exercised his conceptual understanding and kept him happily entertained. DS#3 was doing medium division (like a 3-digit by a 1- or 2-digit) intuitively in his head long before I even introduced him to basic division within 100. He'd do a 3-digit addition problem and then just notice that the sum was a multiple of another number. He's 7 now and could care less about the traditional algorithm for long division, but when he needs to he uses his own pen-and-paper method that is sort of a mixture of partial products and short division with some personal touches, and I'd argue that it's just as fast as -- even faster than -- the traditional algorithm. He and DS#1 are both well into algebra and both do a large majority of calculations in their heads -- no algorithms. When a multiplication is too large, DS#3 pretty reliably utilizes the traditional multiplication algorithm, whereas DS#1 will still use the partial product method or only write the first half and then finish it mentally. It's all pretty interesting to observe, really.
  5. There is such an enormous range of abilities, personalities, and preferences encompassed in the label "gifted." What would be just perfect for one gifted learner may be mind-numbingly boring for another or oppressively over-scheduled for someone else. You'll know if what you have planned is right as you work with your child. Just be ready to add, drop, or switch out things as you go. Teaching these kids is a dynamic process. My 7yo DS#3 would be 1st grade by age and he is doing A LOT (just look at my siggy!), but he works quickly and rarely spends more than 2 hours a day on actual planned-out seat-work lessons at home. He may also read for another hour or three or spend a big chunk of time on Khan Academy learning JavaScrip or make his own model of the solar system with craft supplies or type up several friendly letters to relatives. In the past he's sneeked off with his books and done 11 weeks of his spelling curriculum in one go, whipped out 15-20 pages of Beast Academy, or tried for a record streak of correct answers in AoPS Prealgebra on Alcumus. All of this is really "school," and he's really learning by doing it; however, it's all self-directed and fun and how he chooses to spend his time. It'd be hard to stop him, lol! And this is just what works best for him for now. Things were different a couple of years ago and will probably have changed again in another year or two. I have two other gifted boys who would never ever have wanted or enjoyed doing what DS#3 does when they were of first-grade age, and there's nothing wrong with that. They're different people. So yes, just try to meet your kid where he/she is at and it will all work out.
  6. Looking back at last year's thread, I don't have a particularly stellar track record for correctly predicting what we'll be doing in six months. But, I keep trying anyway. Here's my best guess for 2019-2020 (homeschooler first, public schoolers second and then ordered by age): DS#3 -- 7yo, 4th grade with district / 2nd grade by age AoPS Online Intro to Algebra B AoPS Intro to Number Theory Maybe Right Start Levels G and/or H for select drawing lessons BYL 7 social studies and lit CAP Writing and Rhetoric Chreia (book 3) and Proverb+Refutation (book 4) Finish MCT Town (just the writing and 2nd half of practice) and begin MCT Voyage (grammar, vocab, half of practice) Sequential Spelling 3 Interest-led science? Hewitt Conceptual Physics? RSO Earth and the Environment 2?? Something else??? Hour of Code Sharon Kaye Philosophy level C HWOT cursive Plans to self-study Spanish and Greek with DuoLingo. I might have to investigate more on homeschooling Spanish if his interest is sustained. Other TBD electives at the homeschool enrichment program DS#1 -- 11yo, 6th grade DS#1 is set on attending an aerospace academy next year for 6th grade. They have a "hybrid" option where the kids take their core classes online and only do the aerospace-specific classes through the academy. If he were to change his mind and homeschool instead, he'd join DS#3 for math, science, BYL, CAP W&R, and spelling. He'd finish MCT Essay Voyage and maybe begin MCT Lit level. He's also asked to do the Online G3 Lord of the Rings class if the aerospace academy doesn't work out. DS#2 -- will be almost 10yo, and DS#4 will be almost 6yo Continuing in public school. DS#2 will be in 5th grade at a GT magnet, and DS#4 will probably be in 1st grade with an IEP. (We've mostly dedicided not to retain him in K but are still kind of considering it.)
  7. I see the 2019-2020 planning threads popping up on the other boards and would love to see what you all have planned for next year. Please share your ideas here! For reference, the 2018-2019 AL planning thread: Aaaaand the 2017-2018 AL planning thread:
  8. I wouldn't hold him back either. I was just having a discussion about this topic with someone from our school district's sped department about my PS kindergartner. I thought it would be good to have him redo K next year, but she persuaded me otherwise. Studies show grade retention doesn't benefit students long-term. Here, just read page 82 in the preview for this book on Amazon: Building Equity: Policies and Practices to Empower All Learners
  9. My DS#2 switched to public school, but it was early on. He started with 2nd grade in a public charter. I did some pretty heavy advocating and got him single-subject accelerated to a combined 4th-5th grade class for math, but I didn't manage to get him a 504 for accommodations (ADHD and dyslexia), despite promises from the charter. The administration there was hard to work with. I had to bring in the school psychologist and someone from the district's GT department to get what we got. That year at the charter we collected data for his "body of evidence" and applied to the public GT magnet. They required him to take the CogAT even though we already had WISC scores. He switched to the GT magnet the following year. The GT magnet has been a much better fit for him. All students get an automatic full grade skip for content while keeping their official grade designation unchanged, the classrooms are sensory-friendly, they kept his single-subject acceleration in math, they gave him the 504 he needed, and they "get" gifted. Overall, it's been good and he's happy with his choice to be there instead of homeschooled with his brothers.
  10. I enjoyed the article. I think it's a little harsh to doubt that this kid wrote the essay himself. It reads just like something my non-PG 10yo would write, only with different experiences, after using spell check and an adult flagging punctuation and capitalization mistakes. It doesn't seem the least bit far fetched to me for a PG 9yo to have written it. And I'm just going to throw out there that my 9yo public schooler has never played or watched Fortnight, but he knows all the dance moves. All the kids in his 4th grade class seem to know the dances. They learn them from each other. Also, on the topic of this kid's reading list, a young person without the life experiences to put adult themes into context can blow right through all sorts of topics that would be difficult for an older person who really understands the full meaning of what they're reading. I read Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire and The Witching Hour series along with Jean M. Auel's The Clan of the Cave Bear series and Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth at 11yo. Those are full of super adult themes -- child-rape, violence, incest, homosexuality, disturbing supernatural stuff, murder, executions, etc. It didn't phase me at all. I reread them in my 20s and was shocked that my mother let me read them as a child and that none of those disturbing themes bothered me the first time through. I remember loving The Giving Tree as a little kid, but now I can't get through it without crying. Heck, I often cry just reading our history books now! Meanwhile, my 7yo and 10yo are able to read about families being torn apart by slavery, ethnic groups being systematically murdered, poor people starving to death while the rich enjoy extreme excess, animals being hunted to extinction and left rotting on the plains, etc. without batting an eye. To them it's just bad stuff that happened long ago. There's nothing frightening or upsetting about it to them because they lack life experience and context. They are truly unable to empathize with much of the content. Jus' say'n...
  11. One of my boys taught himself to read around 3.5yo without me even noticing. I'm not entirely sure how he did it, but I know it started with light switches (he noticed the tiny words on and off on the switch and that the light was either on or off when he could see those words). I wish I'd been paying more attention to him at the time, but I was very preoccupied with his special needs little brother.
  12. I agree. It had a similar set-up, but I didn't think 2A was the least bit challenging, especially when compared to the rest of the BA series. My DS#3 did all of 2A in about a week and a half (at 5yo) and then refused to do 2B when it was released because it was "tooooooooo easy." He liked BA levels 3 and 4, and then decided he wanted to jump into AoPS Prealgebra. He's gone back and done most of level 5 in between prealgebra assignments, so I'd say he still finds it engaging.
  13. I think this was mentioned above, but you might want to check out Beast Academy as well for math. There are a lot of options for handwriting and spelling and they'll work better in different situations, just depending on the student and instructor. In the past we've used and liked Spelling You See and Handwriting Without Tears, which work well together because they both use 2-line paper. We're using Sequential Spelling now and like that too, though it's a *completely* different approach than SYS. I couldn't get the oomph to do Spelling Power, but it was on my list of possibilities at one time because the lists are customized to the student and it seemed like it could work well. For Writing With Ease, there's a placement test available. I'd guess that WWE 2 would be a good place to start, but check the placement test. The program changes somewhat between 2 and 3, and 2 is the level that introduces dictations. Also, it would be pretty painless to compact WWE2 and finish in 40-50% of the allotted 36 weeks if you felt it was just a little on the too-easy side. First Language Lessons 1 and 2 are soooooooo easy and quick, but also fun (as long as you skip the repetition when it becomes more than needed for the student). My kids liked them at 3.5-7yo (three oldest were all combined then), but the two levels together only lasted us a few months. FLL 3 is a step up in intensity and switches from almost entirely verbal lessons to writing and sentence diagramming. Maybe look at the samples on the welltrainedmind.com store.
  14. Gah! But I already signed up and paid for spring semester!
  15. Alcumus will automatically occasionally throw out review questions from previously passed topics. Admittedly, they're relatively infrequent. You can manually change things though. While in Alcumus, go to the left hand side and hit "settings." There you can change it so that Alcumus progresses on mastery (blue) instead of passing (green). That'll give you a base line of more questions per topic. You can also change the difficulty level in the settings if you want. Then return to play and look up to the top right. You'll see in teeny tiny print "change focus" directly under the left-hand side of the progress bar for the current focus. Click that and you can choose a different topic to practice. If a topic was previously passed (green) and you changed the settings to mastery, it will move you forward as soon as the bar turns blue. As far as I can tell, if you return to an old focus that was previously mastered to blue, it will not kick you forward again until you manually change the focus. I don't know if this is always true, but I once experimented with it and did 41/41 correct in a row on a topic without it seeming to repeat questions or ever pushing me along to the next focus. The progress bar stuck at 98; it makes me wonder if it's possible to get the bar to 99 or 100. Now, it WILL eventually start giving repeat questions if you do enough in one focus. My DS#1 has a few topics where's he's done 50+ problems and seen repeats. I don't know about your other questions. If you don't get answers here, you might email AoPS customer service and ask. They're pretty awesome.
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