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About RenaInTexas

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  1. There are a lot of end-of-year activities that your daughter may be looking forward to like field trips, parties, and field day. So discuss with her and see how she would feel about it; letting her know that she would miss those events. I don't think I would teach her to skirt the responsibility of homework. One day she may do that to one of your expectations of her and you kind of taught her that it was ok. But maybe she should do the best that she can for the 15 minutes expected and turn that in and let the teacher know that she worked hard for 15 minutes and this is what she was able to accomplish. Then you reward her with a piece of candy (or whatever) for her 15 minutes of effort. The teacher may be underestimating the time commitment needed and you may be able to get less homework assigned to her - after demonstrating what is realistic for your child - if she wants to stay in school.
  2. My sons, while in PS, did the wide topics approach and once I brought them home, we did the one-subject in depth approach. They love science. Their retention was definitely better with the one-topic deeply approach. When we did Apologia Zoology, we did all three books in one-year - so we didn't stay on one animal / animal group for long. We watched lots of youtube videos and documentaries that year - it was a pretty fun experience. We especially loved the Titus the Gorilla documentary. We also did drawings, habitat models, and the world map of every animal we studied. We are sticking with the one-topic approach due to retention and depth of knowledge.
  3. We used Christian Kids Explore Earth Science and did it at the same time as Apologia Zoology - but my kids love science. So two sciences a year is normal for us.
  4. I think more people use algebra and algebraic thinking than they realize. Since they had to learn it, it became part of their intuition and in the areas that they have to use it, it is so intuitive at this point that they don't even think about it as such. Get math out of the -its a problem involving numbers and symbols that you work out on paper or mentally- box. I have entire math books that don't have a number in them or don't require one calculation to do a problem. The better a person is in Algebra, the better they would be able to handle such problems that require analytical/logical reasoning and critical thinking - without doing one calculation. Most adults use this type of thinking and reasoning every single day, especially when making a major decision. Arithmetic only requires a calculator, but Algebra requires coming up with the problem to solve - becoming a problem solver. Adults problem solve every day; no one is presented with a math problem. They are presented with known information and unknown information and they have to figure out how to organize the known information to figure out the unknown: algebra. BTW: none of this information has to involve numbers or symbols. Algebraic thinking is not just about numbers. When I went for my first jobs with my degree in Math, I could apply anywhere I wanted. I went on 3 interviews and was offered 3 jobs. Each person told me, if you can learn math, I can teach you anything. They understood that math wasn't just about numbers. I think a lot of the requirements to have a GED to sweep floors has to do with competition (they would lower the requirements if they had trouble filling those jobs or they would up the pay to get the people they want) or its because employers feel that the effort to get a GED or diploma shows something about your character that makes you an attractive employee. Perhaps they went through a period where they hired high school dropouts and it was a disaster because of employee quality. I say this from experience because I was involved with a decision to move a company because of the quality of the workforce available (read: high school dropouts) and all they had to do was factory work. They weren't very teachable and struggled with effort. But I am on the fence about Algebra being required. To me, you are actually asking should society conform to education or should education conform to society. If it is the latter than Algebra must be required. Our workforce needs to be able to think at that level or we will keep importing it. We stop requiring Algebra and we may end up importing more employees. If it is the former than the question is: should certain jobs require a diploma? I think the competition for those jobs have and will make that decision because there is no law saying that you must require a GED for this job. The companies decided to require it based on the workforce available to them. If you have a company and you get applicants with and without a GED/diplmoa, who would you hire - all other equal? Competition is making that decision and I think competition should continue to make that decision. A GED is not a death sentence. Many use the GED to go to community college to learn a trade or get an associates. So if someone stops at a GED, that was their circumstances or their choosing. Another angle to this question is: are students having trouble passing the Algebra course or a state Algebra end of course exam? In my state, it is the exam. Perhaps the exam needs to be looked at. The state exam has done more to ruin mathematics education than anything. Teaching to pass a math test and teaching math can be very different. So I say get rid of the exam and let colleges and society decide if they know enough math to succeed there. Then teachers can teach the students and not the test. At the very least the test should be much easier -like basic algebra not advanced topics like synthetic division. So passing an Algebra course really only requires that you know basic algebra well (the 1st half of the book) and you treaded water through the more advanced polynomial stuff (2nd half). The first part is mostly a review of middle school math. So yes, you should have to pass Algebra for the society we live in. No, you should not have to pass an Algebra exam that focuses mostly on the 2nd - more advanced part of Algebra. Sorry I rambled some.
  5. Have you tried to approach new concepts as an extension of old concepts; making each new lesson an extension of the prior lesson instead of something new altogether? I haven't seen CLE but perhaps she needs lessons that are incremental - small increments. Often my students don't even know we are in a new lesson because I start every lesson as a review and then we natural extend the material into new concepts. Before they know what has happened, we've covered the next lesson. I use a discovery style of presenting though which lends itself to a gradual release of new concepts. Taking a break is a good idea, but if the delivery of the math instruction is a problem, then the stress will return once the break is over. Just an idea that may or may not help.
  6. You might enjoy this article and it references what area of math discusses infinities.
  7. We did one and will not do another - ever. A lot of work for very little reward. After it was done, my kids asked; 'Couldn't we have just read all of this stuff somewhere?' I think if they were less than 7, the visual appeal would have delighted them, but at 9 they were over it. But mine are boys who don't enjoy crafts.
  8. I had to read it 3 times because I thought I was missing the punch line. But -WOW- they really did think that!
  9. My 7 yr old started with MCT Island; he is now 10 and hasn't used anything else for grammar instruction and can do 4-level sentence analysis correctly in Voyage now. We have supplemented writing with CAPs W&R series. But those two are all I use for Language Arts excluding reading. IMO all that is needed is MCT + a writing supplement that focuses on application (gives ample opportunity to practice).
  10. We read an 'on your own' book and a class book. We discuss the class book in depth and do literature guide type stuff. The 'on your own' book is where they can read for fun - they choose - they orally summarize each chapter for me. This has worked for us and I like that they experience the -sometimes I have to read certain text because of a need-, but that doesn't stop me from reading for enjoyment on my own. They often enjoy our class books though - even with the literature guide activities.
  11. For a standardized test that you could grade yourself, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) publishes several old STAAR exams and they are available on their website. You could give them one of those and grade it yourself. Your state may do the same. However, I don't know of any National Exam that you could grade yourself.
  12. Not sure if this would be helpful, but I'll throw it out there. I use the Dario app to capture life's little moments. It is basically a journalling app where you can have different journals. So you can have a homeschool journal and make a little journal entry attaching media to it as you see fit. You can also share that journal with others but otherwise, it is private.
  13. I wanted to post this earlier this week. If you sign up for a 19-20 online class by today, you receive a $50 coupon. Sorry for the late notice, but if you have already made the decision to take a class, then now is the time to sign up. If you are still thinking, the coupon is good for a free book or two, but not so good that you should rush your decision.
  14. I don't think offering Calculus is what has changed. I think it is the number of students who are trying to get to Calculus in high school that has changed. I took it in high school 20-some years ago, but my class was comprised of 7 seniors out of 244 and we were all college bound in a subject that required Calculus. What I see happening now is average math students trying to take Algebra in 8th grade so they can get to Calculus in high school. This is not a good idea ... seen far too many students struggle with Calculus because of insufficient algebra skills.
  15. I have been impressed with CodeCombat. The students write real code; it is not drag and drop. SO I think CodeCOmbat is a good 2nd level after the student is too old (or has done) the drag and drop type programs.
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