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La Condessa

I live in an educational desert

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I went through the process to set up a Math Kangaroo location here in my town. I wanted to do it at the local elementary school, but they never responded to my email, and the math enrichment person there never answered or returned my phone calls. So I made arrangements to hold it at the public library. I put up a flyer there, passed out flyers at both schools, contacted the homeschool group in the neighboring town, and asked my friend to let the local exclusive Christian homeschool group know. It's not going to happen. Not one child other than my own has signed up for it, and they won't have the competition at this location with fewer than 10 kids. My friend would sign up her two kids, if it would make the difference. (Pretty much just to be nice to me--they aren't really interested). No one cares.

 

I wanted to put together a local science fair. I contacted the school principal, superintendent, and a science teacher who's been trying to start a science club. The teacher responded and thought it was a great idea, but is too busy to participate. Neither the principal nor the superintendent will respond. I am offering to do the work, I was just hoping to hold it at the school to make it accessible to more kids and wanted them to promote it to their students. They haven't even responded with a no thank you.

 

I am so frustrated.

Edited by La Condessa
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I'm sorry, that stinks. Maybe it's a bad time of the year? Fall back to school careens into Halloween, thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. So many commitments. Maybe try again in Feb when people aren't stretched so thin and are more likely to take on one more thing.

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If you open up a math kangaroo center and mark it as a public center, there are many who will look it up on the MK page and sign up. In my area, people get frustrated at the lack of public centers. Many travel a lot to take the test on a weeknight. You might get a better response if you open up the center to the public.

Edited by mathnerd
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It's the same story here.  The homeschool groups aren't any better either.  People SOMETIMES will initially show an interest and then it quickly fizzles.  I'm done trying.

 

 

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((Hugs)) been there, living there. It's one reason why we're trying the early college classes route, because all the lovely enrichment supposedly out there mostly isn't, and starting it hasn't been effective.

Edited by dmmetler
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Thanks you guys.

 

You might get a better response if you open up the center to the public.

It is public. We drove 3.5 hours each way last year to let my dd participate at the nearest center. I thought surely there would be other families interested who hadn't participated because it was so far. But apparently not.

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That stinks. There apparently aren't nor have their ever been any Math Kangaroo centers in my state. Guess that is why I have never heard of it outside this board. Seems like a fun things to do.

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Crazy hugs and sympathy. We're in one of those "liberal oasis in a conservative place" areas, with a major (and well ranked) state university in town. I thought we would have piles of opportunities.

 

Nope. The university runs a math circle, but for a very limited age range.

 

The nearest Math Kangaroo testing site is over an hour away.

 

There are no major competitions that homeschoolers are welcome in.

 

Some of the best university programs require feed-ins from the local public schools, no homeschoolers welcome.

 

The homeschool groups are so fractured that informing some groups doesn't get disseminated to the other groups.

 

*Delete and omit many rant-y paragraphs about how my kid doesn't fit and isn't welcome because they aren't useful.* I don't know how to deal with this, on so many levels.

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Some of the best university programs require feed-ins from the local public schools, no homeschoolers welcome.

 

Have you directly approached the faculty members in charge of the programs, explained about homeschooling, and tried to negotiate participation? Often, rules about school feed in are made by people who don't have homeschooling on the radar at all; it may not have occurred to them that homeschoolers might want to participate. We have a number of professors at our uni who homeschool; I would be surprised if yours didn't, too.

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Math club is viewed as something for elites here. The school district cancelled it at all levels during the recession and wont bring it back due to racial imbalance, and of course the regional League doesnt allow non school based teams. You might start something perceived as fun, like Crazy 8s Math Club, then see if you can fill the Math Kangaroo spots with those interested in more math.

Edited by Heigh Ho

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Have you directly approached the faculty members in charge of the programs, explained about homeschooling, and tried to negotiate participation? Often, rules about school feed in are made by people who don't have homeschooling on the radar at all; it may not have occurred to them that homeschoolers might want to participate. We have a number of professors at our uni who homeschool; I would be surprised if yours didn't, too.

I'd guess it's a possibility in reality. The programs I know of that fit this description are for older kids, so it's something I'm aware of but doesn't apply to my daughter yet.

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I feel your pain.  I've been known to beg and plead with local families to get their kids to do MathCounts.  Once they're in, I can usually get them to do Math Kangaroo.  

 

It's also hard because you are asking them to pay for an event in March before the end of the year.

 

Then again, it seems like other families are organizing events that we have no interest in.  

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Last year I talked to a few folks about starting a math club (both public and home schooled). I got the distinct impression they thought that was about the dumbest idea they'd ever heard, but were too polite to come out and say so. Really there is only one homeschooling family who will associate with us, as we are the wrong denomination for most of the locals. I thought Math Kangaroo would have a better chance because it was a one-time deal, so could pull from a wider area. (And has less of a social element to it.)

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I think some people don't see the point?

 

My mother was that way - for most things she was overly practical. "What's the point?" and "What is it good for?" were common refrains when I or my siblings asked to do an activity. Even organized sports were questioned - I liked doing gymnastics and dance, but after a bit my mother asked why I kept signing up for classes since I "wasn't good at it." As in, I wasn't winning, so why even do it anymore. 

 

I think many parents see the point of sports, and sometimes music or an art class, even if their kid isn't particularly good at it. But with academic competitions, the peripheral benefits are harder for most parents to understand. Also, academic competitions come with less bragging rights. I mean, the social cachet is less, but there's also the problem that (in the younger grades) there's no progression of my kid won County meet (and people saw it) and my kid won State meet (and people watched) and my kid went to Nationals (and it was a big deal) and got a bunch of huge trophies, Do you see them? No, it's you get a certificate and maybe a ribbon in the mail and an invitation to try again next year. Where's the thrill in that?

 

I know it's not the fault of competition organizers who run on small funds and would never be able to charge the same fees as any of the "national" dance competitions. It's also not the kids' fault, who are probably pleased with their small recognition and look forward to the next year. Call me cynical, but I think if there was a math competition set up like a chess meet, where kids faced off with each other one on one and there were rankings and lots of huge trophies, parents would be more in favor of it.

 

Also, I think you also have the problem of moms saying "Math? Eww." Unless they have a huge personal incentive to think beyond their immediate emotional reaction, they won't.

 

And....that's my social theorizing for the day.

 

And yes, my mother was hard to live with.  :blink:

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I do think it is the age of your kids. For K-5 level, the hype is on the 5th grade science fair projects to make it to state level. That is what the local schools boast about. For 6th-8th grade, the focus is on AMC8 and Broadcom Masters as well as the Science Talent Search. Those give schools bragging rights.

 

When I asked my neighbors, there were plenty willing to form study groups for the competitive math events but they expect free tutoring and the kids are participating in their respective schools. Those who are willing to pay have already signed their kids for sessions at Russsian School of Math, Mathnasium or equivalent prep center.

 

Links shows what RSM offers which makes it popular here http://www.russianschool.com/about-us/our-results

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Thanks you guys.

 

 

It is public. We drove 3.5 hours each way last year to let my dd participate at the nearest center. I thought surely there would be other families interested who hadn't participated because it was so far. But apparently not.

I am sorry to hear that even a public center for MK has no interest. Are there universities near where you live? If so, are there kids of university staff/professors etc who would like to participate in math enrichment programs? That could be another place to look for interested kids.

 

I think that you could look online for future enrichment for your kids if the situation is so bleak for enrichment - AOPS group classes, JHU CTY online courses etc. could be some things that you can investigate. And as Arcadia says, there are RSMs in a few parts of the country where kids interested in math are congregated in evenings and weekends. Your area might have one or two of those schools (maybe mathnasium?). Good luck.

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I think some people don't see the point?

 

 

I think many parents see the point of sports, and sometimes music or an art class, even if their kid isn't particularly good at it. But with academic competitions, the peripheral benefits are harder for most parents to understand. Also, academic competitions come with less bragging rights. I mean, the social cachet is less, but there's also the problem that (in the younger grades) there's no progression of my kid won County meet (and people saw it) and my kid won State meet (and people watched) and my kid went to Nationals (and it was a big deal) and got a bunch of huge trophies, Do you see them? No, it's you get a certificate and maybe a ribbon in the mail and an invitation to try again next year. Where's the thrill in that?

 

 

 

You have something here.  With the exception of the MathCounts Countdown Round, math really isn't a spectator sport.  It's a participatory activity.  

 

Although...wouldn't be cool to watch a play-by-play of someone solving a challenging math problem?  

Edited by daijobu
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I am sorry to hear that even a public center for MK has no interest. Are there universities near where you live? If so, are there kids of university staff/professors etc who would like to participate in math enrichment programs? That could be another place to look for interested kids.

 

I think that you could look online for future enrichment for your kids if the situation is so bleak for enrichment - AOPS group classes, JHU CTY online courses etc. could be some things that you can investigate. And as Arcadia says, there are RSMs in a few parts of the country where kids interested in math are congregated in evenings and weekends. Your area might have one or two of those schools (maybe mathnasium?). Good luck.

 

No universities within three hour's drive from here.  There is a small community college almost an hour south.  Last year when we drove to do Math Kangaroo, the location we went to was hosted by a university's math circle.  The teacher offered to allow dd to join, despite being a couple years below their cutoff age.  How awesome would that be?  <sigh>  I think you're right, the online route (once my kids are old enough) may be the only option.

 

Well, that or moving, which might well be the course we take.

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We had to wait until Ds was old enough for online (this year, age 12). It completely changed how he thought about school. Academic, friendly competition?! How great is that?! Around here, very few families send their kids to college and deem CC senior year of high school to be uber fancy. We just don't talk about school. The idea that other kids would out perform Ds in Latin was shocking and very exciting.

 

Slowly we will switch to all online, but right now a couple of classes is fun. The Internet opens up the world to outliers. If possible, find friends st the library, the hobby shop, rec sports. Years 10-12 were hard. It gets easier. Sorry for things currently being a bummer.

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Around here, very few families send their kids to college and deem CC senior year of high school to be uber fancy. 

 

Yes, that's what it's like here, too.  Also an educational desert (TX).  It's very depressing.  It's why companies were paying college grads to move here a few years ago (which is how we ended up here).

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Tech is moving in here, but they will live across the Columbia River to be in the liberal, highly educated neighboring town. Many families have tried it, but just did not want their kids around the ignorance here. Neighboring town has AP classes, lego robotics teams, an advanced program for placement that does not focus on age, ect. Unfortunately, it is in Oregon and we are Washington. Otherwise, Ds would participate in a lot of the afterschool programs and sports. As it is, our friend base is over there.

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Huh.  I was so frustrated by the lack of response, I hadn't even looked at the Math Kangaroo site since I posted this.  It turns out that three kids signed up at the last minute, so that makes five registered at the center, including mine.  Math Kangaroo has a policy of not having a center with fewer than ten students registered, but I sent them an email asking if they would make an exception and offering to help with paying shipping charges, if that is an issue.  Here's hoping.

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Huh.  I was so frustrated by the lack of response, I hadn't even looked at the Math Kangaroo site since I posted this.  It turns out that three kids signed up at the last minute, so that makes five registered at the center, including mine.  Math Kangaroo has a policy of not having a center with fewer than ten students registered, but I sent them an email asking if they would make an exception and offering to help with paying shipping charges, if that is an issue.  Here's hoping.

 

I didn't know about that rule.  This year I have 6 students and last year I had only 5 students.  And that's been typical for my site.  In any case, Maria has been very accommodating and I'm sure she'll offer you an exception.  Since I never knew about the rule I never asked for one.  Good luck!  

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Glad to hear this. I am sure that the participation will grow in your area in the years to come, thanks to your efforts :)

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Has anyone else received their exams yet?  I received the t shirts, certificates and scantrons a few weeks ago, but no exams.  

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Has anyone else received their exams yet?  I received the t shirts, certificates and scantrons a few weeks ago, but no exams.

 

I just picked mine up from the post office.

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Whew!  I just got mine this afternoon.  I was worried when the UPS guy came and went, but then the regular mail arrived.  Good luck on Thursday!  I'm wondering how these tattoos are going to work out!  

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