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8FillTheHeart

"The high stat kids can't think; they can't apply what they supposedly know."

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If this departmental person really is dissatisfied with the student body as a whole, I'd love to know which school this is as I'd rather avoid it entirely.   Maybe their department should be doing something to build the students they have into better thinkers and problem solvers.  It's their job to teach.  They've got top students who would certainly be capable of learning.  Just my thoughts.

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Top schools are selecting deep thinkers who don't have a broad array of activities. Trust me, I had one!! My son was quite the homebody with only Scouting and some church stuff and piano for school year ECs. He only outsourced 1 PA Homeschooler class, 3 AoPS classes, & 1 Write @ Home. You couldn't have budged him into doing more regardless of how hard you tried. He's a very modest and soft-spoken boy who preferred thinking during solitary runs on the local trails to joining sports teams. We respected his need for quiet reflection.

 

BUT... you have to demonstrate that deep thinking with some sort of results, kwim? Or with participation in those olympiads and summer camps you listed. My son lived for Mathcamp and USACO...OR it could be research with a local prof, science fair, etc....

 

You can't fill a whole class with this kind of kid, though. What I'm seeing at the top schools is that they're selecting some of these kids and also a broad array of others, too. There's a spot for the pointy theoretician AND a spot for the well rounded generalist who's got the long list of leadership & ECs.

You know, Kathy, I think this is where admissions between the top schools and the good schools show their differences. I am starting to have some of my thoughts take form as I think about this. I had really only been thinking in terms of our experience at this school, which is definitely not in the select category, simply in the really good state school category. There was such a sense of shallowness in the entire discussion which I think missed the whole person and experiences outside of the classroom walls that they simply dismissed or cared less about. Yet those very "outside" experiences offer what he was lamenting.

 

I need to think about this some more bc I can't quite articulate what is starting to gel.

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I suspect some of it is geographical.  Although it varies a great deal from district to district in the US, our local district has IB themed middle schools, with feeder elementary schools to those which emphasis IB elements.  Students can attend the IB high schools without having attended the middle school feeder, but a sizable chunk start early in the process.  A big trend locally is for IB students to take AP classes in addition to their IB workload.  The thing is these kids generally are not exposed to a great deal of diversity anywhere along the way and a great deal of the program's strengths are lost to it all being more theorectical than practical and real for them. 

IB, for the most part, starts in high school here, with a few districts launching middle school IB prep. But the kids do take AP classes as well as IB. It would be much, much better for them if the program was administered like Laura describes.

 

My dd2 is friends with many girls who will be feeding into the IB program and one described her middle school to her as "well, we are supposed to be the best school, but I really think we are just the school with the most homework."

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You know, Kathy, I think this is where admissions between the top schools and the good schools show their differences. I am starting to have some of my thoughts take form as I think about this. I had really only been thinking in terms of our experience at this school, which is definitely not in the select category, simply in the really good state school category. There was such a sense of shallowness in the entire discussion which I think missed the whole person and experiences outside of the classroom walls that they simply dismissed or cared less about. Yet those very "outside" experiences offer what he was lamenting.

 

I need to think about this some more bc I can't quite articulate what is starting to gel.

 

8, I think this goes beyond "top" and "good".  Some colleges seem more interested in attracting students who have defined themselves beyond test scores.  When you think about it, admissions departments at state universities with large student bodies are not necessarily going to be interested in much beyond the transcript and test scores for the sake of streamlining their process.  We have heard repeatedly from some homeschoolers, for example, that certain Admissions departments were not interested in book lists.  We found that while the state U to which my son applied screened applicants on the test score/transcript basis, the honors college was more interested in his extracurriculars, book lists, etc.  The honors college expressed the same kind of desire to get to know the student that Admissions offices at smaller colleges also expressed.

 

Committees that interview for scholarships are also looking beyond those few pieces of paper.

 

It surprises me that the departmental people at Yuck U were not trying to sell the department while getting to know a potential student.  Clearly a PR failure as well as a telling indicator...

 

 

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Top schools are selecting deep thinkers who don't have a broad array of activities. Trust me, I had one!! My son was quite the homebody with only Scouting and some church stuff and piano for school year ECs. He only outsourced 1 PA Homeschooler class, 3 AoPS classes, & 1 Write @ Home. You couldn't have budged him into doing more regardless of how hard you tried. He's a very modest and soft-spoken boy who preferred thinking during solitary runs on the local trails to joining sports teams. We respected his need for quiet reflection.

 

BUT... you have to demonstrate that deep thinking with some sort of results, kwim? Or with participation in those olympiads and summer camps you listed. My son lived for Mathcamp and USACO...OR it could be research with a local prof, science fair, etc....

 

You can't fill a whole class with this kind of kid, though. What I'm seeing at the top schools is that they're selecting some of these kids and also a broad array of others, too. There's a spot for the pointy theoretician AND a spot for the well rounded generalist who's got the long list of leadership & ECs.

Scouting, church stuff, piano, plus participation in math camps/science fairs/research, classes outside the home (via internet) for a homeschooler ... sounds like an array to me.  I haven't gotten the impression that broad array means everything and the kitchen sink.  My impression was that they wanted to see some initiative, something to a student's life beyond academics, something to indicate a personality and drive.  Many times I have heard comments that lean negative toward too many activities that when added together leave open the question of whether the student could have really been involved in so many things.  Actually of late, some of the really intense types we know have taken even that to an extreme and don't allow their kids to try anything that may detract from the pattern (swimmer girl says mom I want to try chess once a week with some friends, Mom discourages with cautions of depth/not breadth). 

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Scouting, church stuff, piano, plus participation in math camps/science fairs/research, classes outside the home (via internet) for a homeschooler ... sounds like an array to me.

 

No.. ds didn't do all of that stuff!! No science fairs or research before college & no dual enrollment. Church and piano were very low key - no leadership roles, no competitions. VERY non-competitive kind of kid. He did love his summer camps, though, and that's where he met mentors (and they came in handy later in writing LORs for him).

 

I was just throwing out some ideas of how a quiet deep thinker could get some documentation of what he's done at home.

 

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8, I think this goes beyond "top" and "good".  Some colleges seem more interested in attracting students who have defined themselves beyond test scores.  When you think about it, admissions departments at state universities with large student bodies are not necessarily going to be interested in much beyond the transcript and test scores for the sake of streamlining their process.  We have heard repeatedly from some homeschoolers, for example, that certain Admissions departments were not interested in book lists.  We found that while the state U to which my son applied screened applicants on the test score/transcript basis, the honors college was more interested in his extracurriculars, book lists, etc.  The honors college expressed the same kind of desire to get to know the student that Admissions offices at smaller colleges also expressed.

 

Committees that interview for scholarships are also looking beyond those few pieces of paper.

 

It surprises me that the departmental people at Yuck U were not trying to sell the department while getting to know a potential student.  Clearly a PR failure as well as a telling indicator...

 

I agree with you.   I know when dd applied to small LACs they were far more interested in her as a whole person and her individual goals, etc and how they could help meet her needs.    It seemed that they were definitely approaching it from a "this goes 2 directions".......we want you here bc we think you have x,y,z to offer our student body and we want you to see us providing you with a,b,c to meet your personal objectives.   But, the process with her was so far removed from this experience.

 

Yuck U definitely acted completely different.   The attitude was definitely 1 way.......accept what we have to offer in a "one size fits all"-- be happy with what we have to offer--attitude.

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No.. ds didn't do all of that stuff!! No science fairs or research before college & no dual enrollment. Church and piano were very low key - no leadership roles, no competitions. VERY non-competitive kind of kid. He did love his summer camps, though, and that's where he met mentors (and they came in handy later in writing LORs for him).

 

I was just throwing out some ideas of how a quiet deep thinker could get some documentation of what he's done at home.

 

 

And I think this is vital.   Where do the more quiet, introvert type of deep contemplatives fit in?   How do they present their passions w/o being over-shadowed by the "loudness" of the multi-page activity extroverts?

 

I do think there is a responsibility on our part as parents of homeschoolers to seek out opportunities that will let them be themselves and shine that way.   But.....it takes being informed.   It also means filtering out college options as well.   Where our ds is definitely not an introvert and is very self-assured, I have other children that would wilt in environments that he could/can make fit his needs by sheer force of personality.  ;)

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8 - I used the admissions process itself to judge colleges.  We weren't working at the tippy top and I was so afraid we would wind up sending our children someplace where the students were apathetic and the professors had given up trying.  (Not that the tippy top can't be like that, too, but it is more common and more severe at the level of college at which we were looking.)  We looked carefully at the admissions process itself.  If the process attempted to get to know more about the student than his statistics, we thought there was a good chance that the college itself offered an alternative to the standard college education.  This didn't work the other way around - colleges that looked only at the statistics were not necessarily un-alternative-y.  We did, however, take it as a good sign if the admissions process could cope with a lack of grades, lack of SAT scores, required extra essays, encouraged an interview, and had directions for submitting extra stuff.  My son's statistics were ok for the colleges he was interested in, but if the college had an application process that was going to enable them to see past that to who my son really is and to the interesting things he's doing, then we had hope that the college was planning on dealing with those parts of my son and not just the parts that were going to be producing more statistics.  If that makes sense.  Not foolproof and no guarentee, but at least something hopeful.

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About the creativity test - I think perhaps the 98% thing is confusing people. If I gave a test to adults that measured how many could add 2.5 to 3.2 and 98% scored well on it, I would not conclude that 98% of the test takes are geniuses. I would just conclude that 98% of the test takes were able to add 2.5 to 3.2. Not that I don't have doubts about these sorts of creativity tests - I do. I definately have doubts about taking a bunch of teenagers who have been trained to do one thing with tests and ask them to do something else. Even the creative ones may decide finding uses for a brick is a "stupid" task and refuse to play, in which case you are measuring testing motivation rather than creativity GRIN. I especially, especially have doubts about the validity of the results for students taking an unfamiliar test after having tried to teach my untested homeschoolers how to take tests for their community college class. You WOULD NOT BELIEVE the things things they didn't know. Youngest is still struggling with this. He switched courses and walked into the new course the day before the first quiz, having missed the directions. The rest of us would know that we needed to ask how the test is set up. Not mine. He took the quiz as best he could and then when he was walking his paper up to the front to turn it in, he noticed that somebody had their notes out. Ooohhh! He went back to his desk and answered a few more problems. On the way to turn it in, he noticed that somebody had their book open. Ooohhh! You can use your book? Back to answer a few more problems. The next trip to turn it in, he noticed that somebody was using a calculator. Back he went to answer a few more problems using his calculator. It took him four trips to turn in his paper. LOL My husband and I were apalled that he would even consider taking a test or quiz without asking the rules first, especially about a cheat sheet and calculator. Sheer lack of experience with test taking. This is beginning to sound like a rant lol. Guess I am STILL frustrated by the difficulties of teaching a homeschooled child how to take a test. Multiple choice ones were particularly bad and true/false ones were a nightmare.

 

I like the basketball/hockey analogy.

 

Nan

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8 - My previous post simplified: If the admissions process was creative, we had some hope that the program also would be creative and would apply problem solving to itself and have thought through the education enough to also think about what sort of student they wanted and how to filter for that sort.

Nan

 

(Can't edit for some reason. Jane - your funny n tip usually works but this time produced a java script error, for some reason.)

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8 - I used the admissions process itself to judge colleges.  We weren't working at the tippy top and I was so afraid we would wind up sending our children someplace where the students were apathetic and the professors had given up trying.  (Not that the tippy top can't be like that, too, but it is more common and more severe at the level of college at which we were looking.)  We looked carefully at the admissions process itself.  If the process attempted to get to know more about the student than his statistics, we thought there was a good chance that the college itself offered an alternative to the standard college education.  This didn't work the other way around - colleges that looked only at the statistics were not necessarily un-alternative-y.  We did, however, take it as a good sign if the admissions process could cope with a lack of grades, lack of SAT scores, required extra essays, encouraged an interview, and had directions for submitting extra stuff.  My son's statistics were ok for the colleges he was interested in, but if the college had an application process that was going to enable them to see past that to who my son really is and to the interesting things he's doing, then we had hope that the college was planning on dealing with those parts of my son and not just the parts that were going to be producing more statistics.  If that makes sense.  Not foolproof and no guarentee, but at least something hopeful.

 

I don't think the small LAC dd is attending is particularly alternative at all; however, there was a lot of personal attention during the admission process. Open houses were incredibly well thought-out for both the potential students and their parents, with a lot of involvement from the professors. Every step was well organized. All the colleges we visited were nice; but of all the schools she applied to this one stood out as having their act together. She's only been there since August but I can't believe how focused they are on students, providing them with a good education inside and outside the classroom, nurturing them as people. Having only attended large public research universities, it's incredible to me. Anyway, the point is there has been a lot of consistency from the beginning, through the admission process and beyond. I think I'll be alert for this when it's my next one's turn.

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Top schools are selecting deep thinkers who don't have a broad array of activities. Trust me, I had one!! My son was quite the homebody with only Scouting and some church stuff and piano for school year ECs. He only outsourced 1 PA Homeschooler class, 3 AoPS classes, & 1 Write @ Home. You couldn't have budged him into doing more regardless of how hard you tried. He's a very modest and soft-spoken boy who preferred thinking during solitary runs on the local trails to joining sports teams. We respected his need for quiet reflection.

 

BUT... you have to demonstrate that deep thinking with some sort of results, kwim? Or with participation in those olympiads and summer camps you listed. My son lived for Mathcamp and USACO...OR it could be research with a local prof, science fair, etc....

 

You can't fill a whole class with this kind of kid, though. What I'm seeing at the top schools is that they're selecting some of these kids and also a broad array of others, too. There's a spot for the pointy theoretician AND a spot for the well rounded generalist who's got the long list of leadership & ECs.

 

This is so encouraging. I feel like we often struggle for the balance with deep-thinker ds between drawing him out and letting him have time with his atlases, cross-section books, and building/programming projects. I tend to want to push him into activities, classes, and competitions because it seems to be the norm and he really doesn't enjoy these. He loves math circles and his down time to think, read, and build. It is great to hear that there can be good fits out there for these types of kids too.

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I posted this video over on the General board last night.  It kept me awake.  He diagnoses the problem as the basic philosophical approach we (teachers in the US) take to math education: We teach kids to find the answer, not to learn to understand the underlying math.  I found his description of how math is taught and "learned" chillingly familiar: yep, that's how I learned math.  I'm trying to teach it differently.  I don't know if my kids are lucky or unlucky to have me as a teacher: at least I'm aware of the problem and of my own shortcomings as a teacher and trying to improve, both in philosophy and in practice.  

 

But I do think this speaks to the problem the OP raised.

 

http://vimeo.com/30924981

 

 

The man in this video seems to be highly influenced by Stigler and Hiebert's book "The Teaching Gap".(2007) Or maybe he is part of the same group...

 

I did not learn math as the video or the book suggests math is done in the U.S....I was lucky and had 'new math' as in space age math plus a textbook for late elementary so it was easy to gain understanding since I could read and had plenty of free time...then I was off to Dolciani land....

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I still think that those with ivy level SAT/ACT scores should have no problem in physics classes, unless their high school courses were too easy, didn't require hard work, and they couldn't manage the level of hard work needed for most college classes. 

Yes, this was my experience, though I never attempted to take physics in college (I did take courses in other scientific disciplines). I got my backside kicked freshman year because I had skated through high school on my ability to memorize and had never been asked to actually THINK about the material covered. I did figure it out and wound up graduating with a 3.8 GPA, but it was a HUGE adjustment.

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I remember a professor saying:  "You will not find the answers for my exam questions in the books assigned for this course or in the lectures, but you will find components of what will be needed to constitute the answer which will receive an A or a B grade and demonstrate you learned."  The next class session 1/3 had dropped the course and others were on the fence. 

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I know many *high stat kids* who've worked hard and done well applying what they know. My two older kids are now 29 and 27 and doing okay. They are both inventive and creative types. My son loves working on start up ideas in his spare time and is an electrical engineer in the meantime. My daughter is in grad school in a program that allows her to develop an idea using art, engineering and business. Currently, she's making an illuminating fabric that she wants to use in different applications. She already made something like this during her undergrad years at Northwestern for a fashion show at the Art Institute of Chicago. My youngest is still in high school but wants to get into a program that will allow him to use math in creative ways. He is not entirely sure what he wants to do but he's only 16.

 

Maybe part of the problem lies with the professor's attitude and perceptions as well as his ability to help foster his students' development.

 

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I know many *high stat kids* who've worked hard and done well applying what they know. My two older kids are now 29 and 27 and doing okay. They are both inventive and creative types. My son loves working on start up ideas in his spare time and is an electrical engineer in the meantime. My daughter is in grad school in a program that allows her to develop an idea using art, engineering and business. Currently, she's making an illuminating fabric that she wants to use in different applications. She already made something like this during her undergrad years at Northwestern for a fashion show at the Art Institute of Chicago. My youngest is still in high school but wants to get into a program that will allow him to use math in creative ways. He is not entirely sure what he wants to do but he's only 16.

 

Maybe part of the problem lies with the professor's attitude and perceptions as well as his ability to help foster his students' development.

 

How cool!  My youngest would love the fabric project.  For some reason, he finds fabrics intriguing.  That's where his interest having a concentration in materials came from.

 

You know, now that I think of it, I don't think I personally know any high stats kids who aren't like this, but I suspect this is just who I happen to know.  They all are doing interesting, creative things.

 

Nan

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I remember a professor saying:  "You will not find the answers for my exam questions in the books assigned for this course or in the lectures, but you will find components of what will be needed to constitute the answer which will receive an A or a B grade and demonstrate you learned."  The next class session 1/3 had dropped the course and others were on the fence. 

 

How sad.  Poor kids.  Poor as in lacking in something they needed, not poor as in nobody should have asked them to do that.

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In a couple of words...nonconformity and absence of inhibition.  As people age, they tend to gain affirmation from their compliance and achievement within systems.  The 4 or 5 year old is less likely to show restraint than the 9 or 10 year old. 

 

Yes. I volunteered in our district's art literacy for nine years and saw evidence of this over and over. The younger children eagerly approached the art projects and for the most part, were pleased with their results. By fifth grade, many of those same students are paralyzed to the point of struggling to even get started. I remember being in awe of a 6th grade girl's art project, only to hear the project coordinator tell her that she had not followed the instructions completely. The young lady took a risk and was smacked down for it. In contrast, I enjoy reading the comments of ds's AP English instructor. She will tell a student that they were slightly off target in hitting the prompt, but that the essay itself was skillfully written and deserving of a higher grade. She does this in a way that leaves no doubt in the student's mind that they had better be careful to hit the next essay prompt on the mark, but that it is okay to takes risks in developing your own unique voice. Frankly, I think we need a lot more teachers that possess the ability to walk this fine line and I know that I am not one of them, but I am working on it. :tongue_smilie:

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How sad.  Poor kids.  Poor as in lacking in something they needed, not poor as in nobody should have asked them to do that.

 

And poor as is lacking the right motivation. Preferring a good grade to a genuine learning experience.

 

When dd called me to gently break the news that she got a bad grade on a test, she was feeling so discouraged. I told her that while, yes, I wanted her to keep her scholarship, but I was happy as long as she was learning and would come out at the end of four years better because of it. Once I said that she seemed relieved and could tell me about some of the exciting things she's learned and how she has already put them to use in real life. 

 

I don't think I would have ever been able to encourage dd like that if it hadn't been for what I've learned through hsing. I'd still be stuck in the same rut of grades being the measure of your value as a human being. That's putting it to the extreme, but you get the idea. I was one of those who never realized that learning exists apart from grades. 

 

In the same conversation, dd asked me if I ever got a bad grade like that and I said no, but I could tell her she's learning a lot more and having more enriching experiences than I ever did (content as I was with my 3.9, part-time job, and boyfriend). (Blech.)

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Yes. I volunteered in our district's art literacy for nine years and saw evidence of this over and over. The younger children eagerly approached the art projects and for the most part, were pleased with their results. By fifth grade, many of those same students are paralyzed to the point of struggling to even get started. I remember being in awe of a 6th grade girl's art project, only to hear the project coordinator tell her that she had not followed the instructions completely. The young lady took a risk and was smacked down for it. In contrast, I enjoy reading the comments of ds's AP English instructor. She will tell a student that they were slightly off target in hitting the prompt, but that the essay itself was skillfully written and deserving of a higher grade. She does this in a way that leaves no doubt in the student's mind that they had better be careful to hit the next essay prompt on the mark, but that it is okay to takes risks in developing your own unique voice. Frankly, I think we need a lot more teachers that possess the ability to walk this fine line and I know that I am not one of them, but I am working on it. :tongue_smilie:

 

How horrid!

I can not say this loud enough: TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO DRAW.

That way, when they hit 9 or 10, they won't stop doing art projects.

Learning to draw is easy for most people.  If you can write with a pencil, you can draw.  You just need to be shown how and you need to fill about three sketchbooks in order to train your eyes and hands to line things up so the proportions come out about right.  THEN you can continue to develop your artistic ability if you so choose.

 

Nan

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How horrid!

I can not say this loud enough: TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO DRAW.

That way, when they hit 9 or 10, they won't stop doing art projects.

Learning to draw is easy for most people.  If you can write with a pencil, you can draw.  You just need to be shown how and you need to fill about three sketchbooks in order to train your eyes and hands to line things up so the proportions come out about right.  THEN you can continue to develop your artistic ability if you so choose.

 

Nan

Some of us are very artistically challenged.  I'm convinced it's as true as those who are truly math challenged or reading challenged or whatever.  I could never draw and I have always detested it since my youth as I just never could "see" what others see.  Fortunately, I had a middle school art teacher who gave me a C because he knew I was trying, but I was super glad to be finished with art after middle school.

 

Even in Physics, my biggest challenge was drawing the figures... and even today in math/science classes at school I often tell kids, "pretend that's a circle."  We joke about it and move on.

 

It's a common mistake for those who can do things (math, science, history, art, music, animal training, whatever) to assume that EVERYONE can do it if they just try.  The more I see, the more I'm convinced it just isn't true. We all have our individual talents.  Then most people can do the "basics" of most things, esp with instruction. But then there are some who are at or below the tail on the lower end of the talent bell curve - and it's ok.  I'm there with art...

 

I'll admit to being glad that my kids didn't inherit my lack of ability there.  They got papa's genes (and he's quite talented in that dept).  He's the dude they went to for ALL artistic projects they had.

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Yes, but learning to draw isn't "art". If you can line things up enough to write, you can draw. You can't draw now, no, because you haven't been trained to look at how things line up in reference to each other. You do the "sensible" thing and let what you know about things get in the way of what your eyes are actually registering. I totally understand that some people aren't artists, just as some people aren't musicians, but just like there are very few people who truly can't hear different musical tones, there are very few people who truly can't make their hand draw an outline of what they are seeing. Are you dislexic? Or something that causes a mixup between what your eyes and your brain? If so, I apologize - you might be right about the drawing. If not, then I would say that there are many people who think they are bad at math because they had a bad math teacher somewhere along the line. : )

 

Now whether you WANT to learn to draw is another story. Most kids do, though, and it is pretty simple to teach them enough so that they can keep drawing for fun, if they want to.

 

Nan

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Are you dislexic? Or something that causes a mixup between what your eyes and your brain? If so, I apologize - you might be right about the drawing. 

Nan

No, but I do have Face Blindness and poor depth perception on various sight tests (recently confirmed with the latest BT issue).  I've often wondered if those are linked.

 

Trust me, I suffered through a couple of art teachers trying to teach me how to draw (everything going to a point, etc).

 

I can look at art and appreciate it, but that's about it.

 

Someone has to be in that bottom 1%... I'm there for art, esp drawing or painting.

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Poor depth perception shouldn't have anything to do with it?  I think?  Something you can do to help get your perception to "pop" into seeing-things-as-they-are mode is to shut one eye.  And your comment about everything going to a point confirms my suspicion that you have received poor teaching. : )  The face-blindness is something I know next to nothing about.  I'm very very bad at remembering faces.  And names.  And people in general.  And I can draw.  Not really well, but well enough for my purposes.  But I can see how there could be a true face-blindness that was a vision thing, not a paying-attention/ knowing-what-to-look-for/wanting-to-remember thing (which I suspect is my problem).  In that case, maybe it could cause you not to be able to see things as they really are?  I have no idea.  I still think that unless there is something very abnormal with someone's brain wiring, they can be taught to draw.  From what I've read, if they are extremely  left-brained, it can be hard for them to learn to see this way, but there are various ways to trick the brain into doing it.  I think it is probably much easier to learn when you are young, before you are full of bad experiences and expectations grin.  And then, of course, you have to practise to become good at it.

 

It's ok.  You can be bad at drawing.  You do so many other things well. : )

 

Nan

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It's ok.  You can be bad at drawing.  You do so many other things well. : )

 

Nan

We all have our niche.  I think the key is that I never let my "issues" affect what my boys were exposed to.  They are not me.  They'll have their own talents and likes/dislikes.  We had a broad education so they could figure themselves out - and 2 of the 3 can draw quite well.  ;)

 

When we homeschool, we really have to make sure our kids get decent exposure to figure themselves out.  It's tempting to assume they'll love the same things we do.  Sometimes they do, and sometimes not.

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I can not say this loud enough: TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO DRAW.

 

What steps would you take, Nan, to teach a child or an adult to draw?  Do you recommend a particular resource?

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Some of us are very artistically challenged.  I'm convinced it's as true as those who are truly math challenged or reading challenged or whatever.  I could never draw and I have always detested it since my youth as I just never could "see" what others see.  Fortunately, I had a middle school art teacher who gave me a C because he knew I was trying, but I was super glad to be finished with art after middle school.

 

I am motor skills challenged.  However just give me a computer and a digitizer/stylus and I can easily score an A for technical drawing, blueprints and biology diagrams.  My art teachers from 1st to 8th grade had to give me a compassionate pass for Art.

 

I do have poor depth perception due to strabismus even though I had years of vision therapy which helped regain some depth perception. I don't have face blindness though.  I have to use a compass to draw a circle and ruler to draw a square or rectangle.  I used a flowchart stencil to draw my programming flow chart diagrams during class time. I could use the computer after class to do a better job for assignment submission.

 

My kids luckily do not have that issue and their art classes are outsource. They teach themselves CAD/CAM.

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What steps would you take, Nan, to teach a child or an adult to draw?  Do you recommend a particular resource?

 

Regards,

Kareni

 

Children usually want to draw things out of their heads rather than things they are looking at.  Draw Squad is good for this (it teaches a sort of cartooning), or if they are older and unable to deal with the ra-ra-you-can-do-it, there is another book frequently recommended here that contains the same instruction whose name I can't remember.  After they've gone a little way into that book, I would do some glass tilting to make sure they understand that what they know is not always what they are seeing.  Then, when they are a bit older and more willing to draw un-imaginary things (this is often rather boring), I would do Artistic Pursuit's drawing book.  (Think I got the name right - it's been awhile.)  If they were starting later in high school, I would probably use Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.  The same with adults, although my husband learned to draw using Draw Squad very happily : ).    In any case, it is a good idea to take a glass and tip it and point out that the circle at the top turns into an oval as you tilt the glass, and that when you are drawing, you have to draw what you actually are seeing rather than what you know something is shaped like (horrible sentence but I've got a 3yo tugging at me).  You can take simple drawings of things and turn them upside down to draw them, too, or draw the space around something rather than the something itself.  All of those things help you to see how things line up with each other.  Somebody here once said they used the "ream" method of teaching drawing - they used up reams of paper.  Whatever you do, once you know what you are doing (seeing things the way they really are or in the case of Draw Squad, some rules of perspective and asthetics), you have to practise in order to become proficient. : )

 

Nan

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Children usually want to ...

 

Many thanks for your thoughtful post, Nan, and for mentioning the resources you like. 

 

One additional question occurs to me ~ is there a resource you can suggest for someone who is proficient at drawing in black and white but would like to move to colored pencils?

 

Regards,

Kareni

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Kareni - I'm sure there is, but I have not happened to use one. I learned about colour from a watercolour book, and then found that I could apply what I learned to coloured pencils. Suddenly, the weirder colours made sense, like the oh-so-un-mother-nature-y viridian, and I was much more successful with them.

 

I'm reading and liking Simblet's Sketch Book for the Artist at the moment. It seems to be doing a nice job of furthering my drawing abilities. I decided at the beginning of summer that I needed to be able to draw better for what I want to do. Not that I am recommending the book. It happened to hit me at the right place.

 

You might look at your library. Ours has a lovely array of painting books, drawing books, manga drawing books, ... I tend to try books by borrowing them first. TWTM recommends Drawing for Children for children. Somehow, I could never get that to work with mine. Then we found Draw Squad and that worked SO well. Then just about the time that mine were old enough to draw things they were looking at, we began to work on more adult-level natural history notebooks. They had been through the Artistic Pursuits book the year before and drawing daily in their notebooks provided the practice they needed. There are some nice natural history drawing books, too, but the ones I have seen were very deficient in explaining how colour works, and they weren't really good at explaining how to draw in the first place. I know more about painting books than drawing books. : )

 

Nan

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Many thanks for your thoughtful post, Nan, and for mentioning the resources you like. 

 

One additional question occurs to me ~ is there a resource you can suggest for someone who is proficient at drawing in black and white but would like to move to colored pencils?

 

Regards,

Kareni

 

I do believe Artistic Pursuits has a middle school level books on drawing with colored pencils.

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"Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" helped me improve my drawing from truly pathetic to merely mediocre. I don't have great fine motor skills in general so I think merely mediocre is as good as it's going to get.

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 I learned about colour from a watercolour book, and then found that I could apply what I learned to coloured pencils.  ...

 

Nan, thank you for the additional information.  It's much appreciated!

 

"Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" helped me improve my drawing from truly pathetic to merely mediocre. I don't have great fine motor skills in general so I think merely mediocre is as good as it's going to get.

 

I'll admit to liking that book, too.  I know that she has a book on color as well ~ Color by Betty Edwards: A Course in Mastering the Art of Mixing Colors ~ but I've never had a chance to go through it.

 

I do believe Artistic Pursuits has a middle school level books on drawing with colored pencils.

 

Thanks, Susie.  I wasn't aware of that.  I'll be on the lookout for it now.

 

Regards,

Kareni

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On the topic of multiple choice questions versus essay based exams--

 

I would think one reason essays are used less frequently than they were even when I was in school is that the skills necessary aren't supported by the curriculum from elementary upwards.  Spelling and grammar are almost no longer taught, there is less formal writing and more creative writing, etc.  How can a biology teacher assign an essay answer and then grade it with any reasonable chance of testing the students' knowledge if the students have never been taught to present it properly in essay format?   Do they grade and instruct in grammatical issues and argument defense or do they just look at content rather than clarity?  I suspect that a lack of support in the curriculum for coherent writing has led to a decrease in the usefulness of the essay as a testing method.

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On the topic of multiple choice questions versus essay based exams--

 

I would think one reason essays are used less frequently than they were even when I was in school is that the skills necessary aren't supported by the curriculum from elementary upwards.  Spelling and grammar are almost no longer taught, there is less formal writing and more creative writing, etc.  How can a biology teacher assign an essay answer and then grade it with any reasonable chance of testing the students' knowledge if the students have never been taught to present it properly in essay format?   Do they grade and instruct in grammatical issues and argument defense or do they just look at content rather than clarity?  I suspect that a lack of support in the curriculum for coherent writing has led to a decrease in the usefulness of the essay as a testing method.

 

I actually think it's the reverse of what you said. We've been moving towards standardized testing for a long time. Multiple-choice tests are far easier to standardize than essay exams, as a computer can grade them. As we have moved towards more standardized tests, we have stopped teaching how to present answers in essay format because it wasn't on the tests.

 

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