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    Hive Mind Level 3 Worker: Honeymaking Bee

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  1. Have you tried the Cialfo extension to Chrome? It allows you to type in the name of the school and produces a list of the essays that are required. I'ts not updated yet, I think, but it might give you an idea. No need for a login or anything. Also, on recs, we had an international application process in which recommenders were not accustomed to the American style of recommendation. We found a third party to review the recommendations and get back to the recommenders directly with comments -- mostly things like, start the first paragraph with a description of how long you've known the student, etc. We were able to convince the recommenders to do this by saying that the process was very different for these schools etc. The reviewer did not write the recommendation, but helped "translate" the comments into a format that the schools were accustomed to seeing.
  2. Thanks for the info. We've been home-edding for quite a few years now, with a break between DCs. For a variety of reasons, it's going to have to be full online school and do "after school" activities with schooled children I think. We have not, in all our years of home-edding, found a compatible group that DS can spend time with so we're reverting to more of a school model. I did have a chat with CHS and discovered that they want a commitment to pay a full year's fees, which is way out of line with normal independent schools' requirements (one term's notice). When I pointed this out, the guy I spoke with said it's because CHS produces such good results. Except they don't have GCSE/A-level figures because students take these as independent candidates. So we're steering well clear of them.
  3. How certain are you about receiving or not receiving financial aid from these schools? I assume you've looked at the estimated family contribution and run the numbers, but have you also looked into the possibility of merit aid (that is, whether any of these school award merit aid automatically, etc). Does your state have reciprocity agreements with other states that would make their state universities affordable? Generally I would say that five schools is not enough if you need a lot of financial aid; on the other hand, if the community college is definitely affordable and will get your DS where he wants to be in the long run, then five schools would be fine. I think you need to consider very carefully what the path from community college would be though. As a transfer student, would your DS be eligible for financial aid (need-based or merit-aid)? How easily would the credits transfer? What are the agreements in place between the community colleges and the schools he would consider transferring to, if there are any? I just wonder whether it might make sense to cast your net a bit wider to get your DS a solid financial aid package from the beginning, but that depends on your financial situation and other kids and so on.
  4. For a variety of reasons, I've decided that DS12 should do online school next year. Initially I wanted to him to follow the US curriculum, but since we live in the UK, and would like live classes, it makes more sense to do a UK school. Does anyone have experience with Interhigh, CHS, Briteschool, Netschool or Myonlineschooling that they could share? He did a three-day trial at CHS, which went well, but they want the full year's tuition with no possibility to leave midyear, not even with a term's notice. It's expensive, and that policy is out of line with every other private school in the UK that I'm aware of. So I'm putting him in Myonlineschooling for the rest of the summer term (because he needs to do something) but would really like to hear from anyone with experience of these other schools.
  5. We're in the UK and cannot wait to leave, and the schools are one of the main reasons. The independent sector suited DS1, but DS2 has hearing loss and mild ADHD. He was routinely seated at the back of the class. If he wanted a seat near the front, he would have to run to class (they switched each subject) to get a seat in the front. If these were full (boys liked to take them so he couldn't sit there), he would ask for a switch and the kids would tell him he didn't have a hearing problem at all. He was called "ret&&** Chinese" "flatface" and all sorts of things by other kids. He ran up the stairs with his buddies once and was told the three of them were the worst-behaved kids in school. When I confronted the teacher, he admitted it. His hand got slammed in a door by another boy (required X-rays) and the teacher blamed him because he was waving his school tie at the boy. I could go on. This is why many people in the UK homeschool, and why so many do not want registration. We would be subjecting ourself to inspection by the same system that has abysmally failed our children. They can't even run schools properly; how could they supervise homeschool? Here's another example. I took DS to the ER a few weeks ago for a hurt finger. Once the GP found out that we homeschool (we had to write it on the intake form), she asked many, many intrusive questions. She then consulted with someone else and came back to tell us she had reported us to our local government (in charge of welfare and schools) because my son was homeschooled. She told us it was the law that children unknown to the local council be reported. I know of other families who have been visited and cold-called by government officials demanding information about their homeschool. I'm a lawyer, so she picked the wrong mom, lol. I filed a complaint with the hospital and have received a verbal apology, as the GP was bang out of line. I am chasing the written apology. The poor hand surgeon to whom we were referred a week later got an earful from me when she dared ask "how's school". Turned out she was pro-homeschool. Anyway, long story to say that while I personally have no issue with registration or even supervision (to a degree), I do have major issues with the attitude of the government to homeschoolers here in the UK and no confidence at all that anyone in the educational department would be able to do the job.
  6. LIttle late as well but will add DS: Results: accepted at Brown, waitlisted at UChicago, Stanford, Yale and Columbia, rejected at Princeton, Harvard, Amherst and Williams. Yup, no safeties or matches in the bunch. Not out of arrogance. Gap year was the safety. Will attend; Brown, since that's the only place he got in lol. Major: American history and music What we learned: sibling legacy meant nothing, parent legacy seems to have required an EA application (heard that elsewhere for this school as well), and demonstrated interest counts for a lot in this case. Effectively, I figured DS stood no chance at Yale and Stanford at all, but I think the music got him the Yale WL and Stanford seems to like his secondary school. Very surprised by the sibling legacy rejections as both siblings do extraordinarily well at their schools. DS visited Brown twice, made sure the AdCom knew this, and spent a fair bit of time getting to know the music people -- not to boost his chances, but out of genuine interest in discovering whether Brown is a fit. Brown was in his top three so life is good. What else I learned from legit experts I spoke with this past week about the WL: kids have been accepted to Yale/Harvard and rejected at Brown, a case where UChicago wl a kid they figured would get into HYP (didn't, but once UChicago knew that, he got off the WL) and it's all a bit crazy.
  7. What about adding some small more liberal arts schools, such as some of the NESCAC schools? Some of these are generous with aid, and with your DD's interest in herpetology, adcoms would likely find her to be an interesting candidate.
  8. Great schools!
  9. Thank goodness it's all over now ... DS decided in December to apply only to five Ivies, Stanford and two little Ivies. No safeties, no matches. He had the application material ready, but decided that if he couldn't get into one of his very top choices, he would prefer to take a gap year. Since he's in the English system with no real grades for the last two years until his summer exams, this made sense from the perspective of having real grades rather than predicteds in his application. But wow the stress has been crazy. Two unexpected denials from schools where he had a good shot for various reasons, waitlist from a school where he forgot to send in his arts supplement (and the arts part is what sets him apart from 30,000 other applicants) and didn't respond to the school's prompt. He knew the odds and accepted them but didn't take into account the stress for me lol. DS was fine with his choice and got a great gap year gig, so it was really just my stress. So yesterday was nuts but thank goodness he got into Brown, which was tied for top choice with Yale, where he was waitlisted. So much relief and rejoicing here. Thank goodness #4 is only in 7th grade; it's going to take me a few years to recover from the last few months.
  10. Just a thought on cooking for yourself -- depending on how long you'll be in London, you could consider placing a food order with Ocado. They deliver in one-hour slots and require 40 pounds minimum for delivery. If you're staying near central London, you may not have access to large grocery stores and may be limited to smaller stores with a smaller selection. The three you'll likely encounter are Waitrose (nicest and pricier), Sainsbury's (middle) and Tesco (cheaper). Ocado delivers their own stuff as well as Waitrose I believe.
  11. Here's a bit more info about All Hallows by the Tower: Disclaimer: the website is DS17's pet project, so I'm shamelessly promoting it. He does have some interesting information about places in London you might be interested in seeing if you're in the neighbourhood, such as the site where the Liberty Bell was cast.
  12. So DS12 was doing great in judo and recently added karate (got named student of the month the first month he was there which was encouraging) .... and then injured a tendon in his right finger and is now off all sport (judo, karate, gymnastics) for at least a month and probably more. The finger is in a split, so as long as he doesn't actually hit anything with the finger and nothing hits the finger, he is okay to move. The hand surgeon said that karate moves, for example, would be okay, just no sparring. An online class seems like the safest bet to keep DS from going crazy without any sport while protecting the finger. I see there's quite a few providers online now -- does anyone have any recommendations for us?
  13. Thanks all! @Margaret in CO I think DS would love to join your Troop! Reading this I realise that one issues the Scouts in our Troop have is not knowing when the SM is going to step in and take the lead, and when they (especially SPL/ASPL/PLs) should. At the "planning" meeting, DS, for example, tried to remind the group of the cooking/camping mb requirements. The SM just ignored him. I would have said, hey Scouts, these are the requirements, figure out how to ensure that you meet them. SM just assigned groups according to his (incorrect) interpretation of the requirements. At the campout I saw our SPL doing a great job of going over the required safety guidelines with the Scouts at one activity, only to have the SM suddenly appear out of nowhere, ignore SPL's efforts and do the safety talk himself. As a result, the Scouts often just wait to be told what to do. Sometimes though the SM thinks they should be taking action and tells them off for not taking action. Sometimes the Scouts take initiative and are then shut down. I'd like to let DS go to campouts by himself, but I really don't think it's safe. There are often no older Scouts along (so oldest Scout at most campouts is often just turned 13) and those older Scouts who do show up refuse to help or to lead (as in, literally refuse to help -- DS asked the oldest Scout at the campout for help and the Scout refused because he was too busy messing around). There's also a boy or two who have issues, that I happen to know about, and there's no way on this planet I'm letting DS alone in a group with a kid with this history of dangerous actions, especially because this kid likes to pick on DS and stir up trouble (eg telling another Scout that DS was messing with the Scout's tent, so the other Scout comes tattling to me to discipline DS, when DS was nowhere close to the tent. Also making fun of DS for not knowing things like "that's what she said" etc). I did of course tell the Scout not to run to me but to sort it out directly with DS. I know there's at least one other family that has a parent present at all campouts, so I think I'm not alone in my concerns. Actually, reading this and the replies makes me realise that there's quite a lot going wrong in the Troop. Fortunately there's only one campout before the end of the year, and we know we have a conflict so cannot go.
  14. Cooking MBC wasn't, but ime the SM would overrule the MBC. We do have Committee Meetings, which I attend, but there's a lot of talk with no change. At the last one we discussed survey results, which showed those involved wanted more boy-led activities with less top-down management, but the SM's response was effectively to refuse to acknowledge an issue. At least DS has his 20 camping nights now.
  15. Just trying to get some perspective here and have a bit of a vent... how does your Troop run? DS and I just got back from a two-night campout that was not fun at all. About half of the campouts are fun, the rest miserable. Our SM likes to say the Troop is boy-led, but actually is a bit of a micro-manager. DS tried to do camping cooking for the cooking merit badge this weekend at a campout. SM assigned himself to DS's cooking group (DS was the only one from his patrol there, so he couldn't cook for his patrol). SM said that DS could cook for himself, the SM and another adult to meet the requirements (technically, he's wrong, but when I questioned him I was told off). DS got up at 6.30, started a fire (I was there to take instructions from him if he wanted my help) and added charcoal to do foilpack breakfast. SM wakes up an hour later, comes over, criticizes DS's fire, tell him to do this, then do that, then this, etc. DS is getting nervous and stressy. At lunch, SM comes over and tells DS to use oil, not butter, for the eggs, tells DS that the hole in the bread isn't big enough to crack the egg into, etc etc etc. SM offers to be sous-chef, DS says he's fine on his own, and SM is visibly put out. DS puts together a snack, dutch oven dessert (asked an ASM for help but SM kept interfering) and cooked dinner. I was there, and every step of the way, SM was making comments. BUT SM maintains that it's boy-led and that the parents should leave the boys to do their thing (especially the moms -- he's not fond of the moms being there). By the evening DS was losing it. They did a night hike (got back to the campsite at 12.30 am.) and DS was terribly upset the whole time (also two Scouts were pretty unpleasant to him, which didn't help). Anyway, so that's part vent, but also -- how are your Troops run? Do advancement coordinators (I'm one) have any say? Is the SM firmly in control of everything that happens? Basically, I cannot imagine that this is normal, but hey I was never a Scout so what do I know? Older Scouts almost never come on campouts or, for that matter, show up at Troop events, which I think is a result of this treatment. This is the only Troop around ...
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