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  1. Ds17 (a rising senior) is scheduled to take calculus at the local liberal arts college next year through their Lederman Scholar program. He is excited to be taking math in a classroom rather than distance learning through Art of Problem Solving. After reading several posts here about the rigor or lack of rigor of certain textbooks, I have some concerns. They use the Stewart book. My older son used it and he did very well. But, he is a bio major and it was a "good enough" text for him. But ds17 plans to either major in physics or math, so I am concerned that this book will not be adequate preparation for him. Although I majored in Math many years ago, I don't remember squat (except a very vivid memory of my professor nearly dislocating his shoulder to explain something about cluster points.) I really don't think I can help him as he has far outpaced me in this department. So, my question is ... how do I help him get a rigorous enough Calculus experience for what he wants to do? I don't want to do another distance learning class (nor does he.) I am tempted to email the head of the math department (as he is also in charge of the Lederman Scholars program) and ask him.
  2. Or is that so generalized that it is impossible to answer? Maybe the full spectrum was available 10 or 15 years ago, and the full spectrum is available now? There are so many homeschool curriculums choices now. I was wondering if, in general, they are more or less rigorous than the original ones? (Not thinking original original here. Just thinking about the choices when I started homeschooling 12 years ago.) I can see how it might go either way. There was a strong rebel-against-the-establishment feeling among some of the older homeschoolers. That might lead to less academicly rigorous curriculums, especially among those who felt strongly that academic skills were over-rated. Or maybe those who don't want to do things in such an academic way don't buy curriculums anyway so there is no way of knowing. On the other hand, academic expectations in general might have been higher, leading to more academically rigorous curriculums even though they were more loosely structured in a non-classroom-like way. Now far more people are homeschooling, which might alter the spectrum. And there are many people who are homeschooling for reasons other than a profound distrust of the methods schools use (or used to use) to teach academic skills. And there is the whole classical movement. Or maybe it is stupid question and we should all be working on our must-get-done-for-summer-to-happen plans and not be procrastinating on the computer LOL. -Nan
  3. Sometimes rigorous creates a hatred in a subject a child once loved. Sometimes rigorous has the child just learning for the test and not really digesting and retaining the material. A rigorous HS curriculum doesnt mean the child will do better in college. Sometimes rigorous just means harder, not better. I am just saying.
  4. I am very much enjoying the experiential and philosophical discussion on the current state of education in the other thread. I would love to start this new thread to discuss practical application. Please share strategies and/or examples of how you support and require excellence in your homeschool.
  5. I'm hoping not to offend anyone (and I've been *really* good at offending people since Wednesday night...I'll blame the pain meds:glare:). Is there a place (a social group, another message board, a y@hoo group, etc) where people are less relaxed and that is okay, even encouraged? Where people can be striving to be quite...ummm...educational in focus?
  6. I haven't seen any threads on rigor/academic standards in homeschooling lately. I miss reading them but don't feel qualified to start one myself ! :tongue_smilie: But I will say that when I feel like a lost, lonely misfit in the world of homeschooling, I dig up those threads and read them. Those are where I find my alignment and my inspiration to keep reaching for more. Reading those helps me to ignore the siren song that I sometimes feel surrounded by. When I need to retreat from what feels almost like peer pressure to do less, it helps to read encouragement from those who make the case for doing more. Thank you especially to those who have shared these thoughts. :) I would like to sign up for a service that sends a daily email encouraging an academic focus for homeschooling. Does anyone want to provide that ? :lol: Okay, in all seriousness....I struggle with feeling like a rarity for wanting to have an academic focus, for caring about the kids being at least at grade level, etc. I'm uncomfortable with feeling that perhaps this is a rare thing among homeschoolers now. I do my best not to think critical thoughts about others and to worry only about my own business. I care about where our kids are academically. This seems to qualify me as an oddball. :confused: Is anyone else having this experience ?
  7. We've had several discussions about rigor on this board, this forum, and there was a recent one started by AuntPol on the General board. David Kern gave me permission to post this from the Circe Institute Newsletter. "In classical schools much is made of academic rigor, and no wonder given the sloth and lack of interest in what we would call education in so much of the wider culture. Rigor, however, must be purposeful. If we don’t know what we are equipping students for, then we are like Soviet concentration camps that would have people dig up and then fill in holes to keep them busy. Sometimes rigor takes less time than sloth. In fact, it always does. The difference is that right rigor gets things done and sloth doesn’t. Rigor doesn’t mean, in other words, more time. It means more focus. It means imitating great works instead of silly ones. It means translating difficult challenges instead of tedious ones. It means jumping into that gap between what we know and what we don’t know, between what is easy and what is impossible, between what we understand and what is incomprehensible, and swimming for our lives. There is no other way to become a good thinker, student, writer, decision-maker, or communicator. You must fail. It is the only way you can succeed. What skills are being cultivated? What do you want your students to get good at? Can you help them get good at it? Are you? Are you getting the training needed to become good and to help them improve? These are accountability questions that can guide us toward excellence."
  8. I've seen several postings wanting to know rigorous for xgrade...what makes one home's curriculum more rigorous than another??:lurk5:
  9. what do you use for 2nd and 3rd grade? I'm thinking ahead to next year. Thanks!
  10. I have been reading the rigor threads, and I am getting demotivated. Many, if not most, of the families posting have either small families or no little bodies creating chaos. If you have a larger family with many littles, how do you define rigor? How does it look in your house? We vacillate between relaxed and rigorous. I have a lot of little bodies to take care of, and my school aged kiddos still need a lot of one-on-one time. We put a high value on everyone having large chunks of free time to pursue/develop interests, so I do put selective limits on formal school time. I have settled into hitting the 3Rs fairly well, which means making forward progress consistently, and letting the content come via life or independent reading. We don't do any projects or experiments and few field trips, and I am perfectly OK with that in this season of life. Next year my kids will be in 5th, 3rd, 1st/K, PreK, and 2yo. I am hoping the youngest's schedule will somewhat stabilize and he will consistently sleep through the night so our school days can be more predictable and productive. Any wisdom or further thoughts from those in similar family situations? Anyone live through this season of many littles with rigorous schooling for the not-so-independent olders?
  11. My older dc has always been advanced, self-motivated, well above level. Younger dc-very average, content with it that way. I notice myself not expecting or requiring nearly as much from the younger. I would like to remedy this. I find myself wondering how much the younger would be capable of if I set the bar higher. But then I'm afraid to cause frustration! How do you know how to set the bar for a more "average" child? Do you simply expect the same as you would for a more advanced child?
  12. It's hard to define rigor so let's just define it as more than 4 hours of schoolwork for the purposes of this thread. What I really want to know is how much of those hours are you involved as the teacher? And is it everyday? Just when they get stuck? Each subject or just some?
  13. I have two daughters with whom I have just begun to follow WTM. They are aged 5 & 8. Whilst I have always had 'structured' homeschool, it has been nothing like WTM & I after reading WTM, I now feel they are 'behind'. I don't feel too bothered by this (except for when i break out in a cold sweat in the middle of the night!!!) We have begun to follow my version of WTM & I am really pleased with how things are going. But I have learned a lot about myself so far - I am quite 'soft' - I want them to have fun - & this isnt always fun. No one has protested yet - but it is only time. Please may I ask for thoughts on this from other classical homeschoolers. I can see that my children will get a much better education if I am following a method of this sort. (Than what I was doing previously) How do I toughen up? How do you keep focused? Advice & thoughts welcomed.
  14. Probably I'm going to get tomatoes thrown and maybe I'm just feeling grumpy with too much paperwork....and maybe I'm misunderstanding because I don't read every word in posts dealing with this... It seems like SWB wrote her books to propose to those interested a path, for them or their children, to a "well trained mind"..... Then she opened her forums so that interested parties could have a place to discuss how to do that in practical terms and even refine her recommendations (that last is an assumption and hope on my part) and as a generous move towards people interested in her ideas and purchasing her materials.... Then, since it is a forum that gets so many conversations going and the format is so user friendly, more and more people join in...even with posts that have nothing to do with the original goal... and some people even get angry with the person hosting these forums freely to all of us...or with people trying to stick to the original goal... And then "rigorous" even gets a bad name... Something doesn't seem right - why is rigorous sidelined? (ETD because I didn't meant to offend. It was a rhetorical question that some took literally.) Am I misunderstanding the purpose of these forums? How can people overlook the generosity of the owner???? Just asking, since I'm asking myself this question and there is no one here with whom to discuss it, Joan
  15. ....for those who have gone before me. :001_smile: I feel a bit like an intruder on this forum, but I have a question for y'all. ;) Things have been a bit tense lately with my local homeschool group. There is a heavy emphasis on unschooling and that is not who I am. Of course, I want my children to love learning, but I also want them to have a thorough education as well. I guess my question is this: If you think of your homeschool as being academically rigorous, how did you handle the grammar and logic stages? In hindsight what would you have done differently? Lessons learned, mistakes made, things done right? I recently read a similar thread on the grammar board, but I guess I wanted a more personal touch by those who have gone before. :D Then again maybe I am just looking for some inspiration! Thanks!!!!
  16. Please, if you have a great thread or post or sermon or link that you read when you need to get more, um, rigorous with "doing school" (if you ever need that kind of thing), could you please share this with me? I've been thinking that there are times for saying to oneself, "Oh, they're little children, they're so young, there is plenty of time, let them play in the sandbox....." But lately I've been thinking I've said that long enough this year (ahem) and I need to get a marching drumbeat in my head (at least for a while). One, two, three, four, MARCH, two, three, four... Does anyone have a "rigor" speech or link for me? Please? :bigear: (or do I need to just chill?)
  17. I see this word thrown around quite often! Everytime I see it, I think of the quote from Princess Bride, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." For example, on an Ambleside threads, I hear that Ambleside is not rigorous in math and science. I think to myself what is more "rigorous?" What do people mean by rigor? Is it time spent? Is it number of curriculums used? Is it a particular method? Is it requirement of higher thinking? Is it the amount of seat work or Writing? Other?
  18. I love the Classical learning method. With the exception of a few things we tried. I do not like the copy work aspect so we skipped this. My kids just don't respond well to it. We've have switched around this year to find a good fit with curriculum-and so far so good. My passion for teaching def. lies with Classical and I am finding it difficult to be excited about using a more laid back method:/ Has anyone run into this? Where did you compromise? Did you find a solution.
  19. I've been kind of surprised by some of the posts over the last couple of weeks, but have hesitated to post on this, because it seems like it could be a real firestarter. But I'm feeling brave . . . You know, I think of myself as having rather low expectations of my kids compared to a lot of people on these boards, as I don't expect much in the early years, and am a pretty flexible parent over all. But then I read some posts and I think, wow, maybe I actually have pretty high expectations compared to some other parents. And I kind of wonder why people don't expect more of their kids. I certainly believe parents have the final say over how they bring up and educate their children. There is a real beauty to just letting people be themselves, and I'm all for that. At the same time, once again, I do find myself surprised at what can sometimes seem like a low bar in some areas. Have you noticed this, too? Why do you think this is?
  20. When I first started visiting TWTM forums however many years ago I was at once impressed by the dedication of moms to the classical homeschooling method and academic rigor. When I felt a little puny, I could come to the boards and find new strength to provide my kids with my best effort. Now I come to the boards and the rigorous homeschoolers are either quieter or seem to be a minority. If a kid doesn't like math, then many simply suggest we switch to an easier program. If a kid doesn't like reading, pop books are okay... the classics are not for everybody, and don't bother reading them yourself because it's just not necessary. History phobia? Pick a prepackaged curriculum that doesn't demand much. We are granted permission not to teach basic science requirements if we know(?) our children won't "need" them, granted permission to do bare minimum on extracurriculars and count them as full credits, and granted permission to take the day or week or even month off if we're having a bad time of it. After all, we've heard that public schoolers aren't covering all that much, so why try harder? It is my experience that we don't really need much encouragement to do less than is required for a well-educated, (and even more, a well-trained) student. What I really need is a kick in the pants to get off the computer and sit down with my sons and teach them -- and myself -- to know, or at least appreciate, as much about history, and math, and science, and literature (and logic, and rhetoric, and the arts) as possible, and not to scrape by on minimum requirements for any test or college requirement, and to overcome any phobia I or my kids have of any subject by treating the fear as a simple misunderstanding that can be overcome. I'm glad there's a big crowd here. I've learned from so many of you and I do like it here. I only lament that this isn't a classical education board anymore, and people will ask basic questions about scope and sequence that could be so easily answered by a cursory reading of our hostess' own book, which is the namesake of this forum. It seems to me, but maybe I'm mistaken, that we owe her at least that much. I know every family is different, and we are obviously supposed to tailor the book's suggestions to our own style, but the whole spirit of the system seems to have left. Or so it seems to me. In my opinion. I'm trying my best, and I do think the classical method is superior. I sometimes find myself wishing there was a support forum for classical homeschoolers who follow The Well-Trained Mind, at least in part. I don't want excellence measured in modern public school terms. I want to be surprised at how much my kids and I can learn together. I need a push to go farther than the minimum. I know that this will come across as such a criticism, and that people will take offense. I do apologize if anyone is offended... it is not meant as anything personal and I don't have anyone particular in mind.
  21. In reading some other recent threads on this board I've been thinking about the difference between academic rigor and busy days of complicated schedules. I'm in this for the long haul and want an excellent education for our children, but without "burning out" or damaging my relationship with my children by driving them instead of educating them. We're a pretty straight forward neoclassical-approach a la WTM family. Would anyone further down the road weigh in on how they achieve rigor without overdoing it? What is reasonable? What are your overarching goals for each year? Your priorities? What makes your busy-work alarm go off? What do your days look like?
  22. There have been a few mentions lately of looking at fellow posters you seem to "match" with and noticing what they are using as a guide to what might work for you. If you are attempting a rigorous curriculum (I'll leave you to define that ;)) I want to see what you are using! If you have any caveats, post those, as well as any thoughts of the future. If all of this is on your sig, then you are allowed to just post a :) and let me see for myself. It is a rainy day, school is done, and I am in a research-y mood. Please indulge me! (and Spy Car... would you pretty please post what you WOULD do or HOPE to do?)
  23. I have been pondering academic standards for the past few months while experiencing an ever-increasing level of frustration. My goal was simple in our first year of home schooling: produce better scores than the public school. Fine. Done. As is the way with human nature, now, I want more. And I want it in writing to refer to on the days I'm too tried to know where I am going. I currently feel submerged in a "good enough" culture and I am in serious rebellion. "Let them be children." "Just this once." "It doesn't have to be perfect." Or there is the worst disservice one teacher delivered to my dd, "C's are just fine, it's average". What inspires you to reach for more in teaching your children? What inspires you to ask for more out of yourself? For many of you, the pursuit of excellence is a way of life. Is that how you grew up? Do you talk about excellence with your children? Do you talk about why things like attention to detail, order, and self-discipline are important. Or do you just ask for them. Do you operate from a set of written academic goals? Do you have a family mission statement/philosophy? Are there books and people that get you to stretch your boundaries. Tell me what excellence looks like in your home, in your life.
  24. We've homeschooled from the beginning, but as my oldest is only 7 I lack experience. I've been reading the high/low standards threads, and frankly I don't know if my second grader's day is rigorous or not. Below is a typical day M-Th. We rotate history, literature, geography, science, and drawing. Fridays are shorter; we still do math but exchange most of the rest for library, art/music study, critical thinking, e-mails to family, and some type of project for other people, e.g., get well cards to sick relatives, take food to the food bank, etc. Listened to Memory CD during breakfast (15 min) Primary Mathematics 2A, introduced multiplication, did Exercises 31-33, and did 5 Practice 2B problems orally (25 min) Copywork in best Italic cursive “Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.†~ Eleanor Roosevelt (30-40 min with excessive dawdling, lots of daydreaming, and a brief interruption when Grammy came to p/u dd; could have been done in less than 10 min) Circle Time: reviewed topics from Children’s Communion class; prayed; read one poem from Now We Are Six; read one chapter from Charlotte’s Web; read one chapter from Black Ships Before Troy (30-40 min) Song School Latin: listened to chapter song twice, read short paragraph called Chapter Lesson, briefly discussed commands versus nouns, talked about one English derivative (less than 10 min) History: read aloud one LG book from TOG Y1, short oral narration, he read related books independently during Quiet Time (20 min) Math: Played one RS Math game (10 min) WWE 2: began copywork for Day 2, accompanied by much groaning. Only made him do half the sentence today in best cursive, “I shall give you half an hour to be up, dressed, washed, teeth…†(20 min, including groaning) Spanish, listened to audio, added 2 vocabulary words to poster, colored a page (20 min) Sometimes I think we're doing great, and other times I think we basically wrote 1-2 sentences and did a little math. I need perspective. Anyone able to chime in?
  25. I realize, upon much self-reflection, that I have veered off course with my dc in recent years. When I read WTM eight years ago, a fire was lit in my belly to give my kiddos a vigorous education. Slowly, over the years, we seemed to have dropped the most challenging of subjects, opting for a more "relaxed" approach. As life took twists and turns - having babies, illnesses, college for me - we have diluted our original curriculum toward a road of least resistance, dropping Latin early on, then daily writing, formal grammar. \ I see now the deficits of my decision, as dd12 struggles with writing and grammar, and lacks perseverance in anything that takes much mental energy. She is a good student, willing to learn, but has not been stretched nearly enough. Well, ladies, I am here to say that I AM BACK to my WTM roots, and some things are gonna be changing around here! I feel like I've had an epiphany and see that this journey these past years has taken me full circle. I'm excited to restructure our homeschool, apply the due effort and diligence to our studies, and challenge ourselves. Anyone BTDT? Blessings, Lisa
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