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Hits & Misses? 2019-2020 Edition

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On 9/19/2019 at 3:24 PM, BusyMom5 said:

 

Miller Levine Biology- I really like this course!  We are almost finished with the Ecology unit.  I got the student workbook to go with it, highly recommend!  (I used Holt with older DD

 

Are you using a specific schedule? Are you using the Macaw book or the Dragonfly book? We are covering it next year.

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7 minutes ago, cintinative said:

 

I am jealous. Are you teaching this? I wish we had the type of students to support this at our co-op.  

I am teaching it. We only had 5 sign up, and that’s about the max for a once a week, 1 hour class. More than that wouldn’t give enough time to do everything.

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My thoughts after our first semester:

  • I'm really glad I decided to adopt SWB's idea of a senior project. DS17 is spending 3 weeks on a big research paper about genetic engineering, learning a lot about the subject itself and also about how to quote and cite things properly.
  • I'm not terribly impressed with Master Books' science course General Science 2: Survey of Archaeology and Geology. While the content is fine and I think my son is enjoying it, the pre-made schedule is awful. It looks as though you are doing science 5 days a week for 36 weeks, but sometimes the assignments take literally minutes per day (the worst one was the day he was supposed to look up a picture online of some archaeological find. That's it). So I had to rewrite the whole schedule myself. Now the course is only 25 weeks long and I'm going to have to add to it to make it last the full year. The tests are also not that great - some of them are very nit picky and detailed and some give way too many points for 1-2 sentence answers.
  • Dropped one elective for DS17 and changed to something else, which is fine, but I wish the darn textbook hadn't been so expensive. :wacko:

Everything else has gone pretty well. MUS Geometry has been great for DS15, and DS17 is still really enjoying Physics 101. I sort of regret not having him do Conceptual Physics but I keep reminding myself that he doesn't need physics for anything, in which case it's probably better for him (not really a science lover) to keep it fun and interesting.

Edited by hollyhock2

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Roy Speed's Essay Writing and Appreciation course (HSCollegebound.com) and Derek Owens' AP Calculus AB continue to be big hits for us. This is DS's second year with Mr. Speed and DS has now taken all of Mr. Owens' math classes. Both are "best finds" out of our homeschool journey - which is saying a lot because we outsourced quite a bit, for several reasons. 

Our only miss so far this year was a fall semester DE government class at the local 4-year univ. The instructor is obviously already looking ahead to retirement and just phoning it in. DS attended every class that was held but had to basically self-teach from the textbook. The class met for only half of its scheduled times. (Supposed to meet Mon and Wed, but instructor cancelled every single Wed class in advance, just told the kids not to come because he wouldn't be there). DH and I can't believe this was how the class was run and DS will be sharing the experience with the department head. Good thing DS knows how to learn independently. (We did check ratemyprofessor before signing up, but this issue was never mentioned. Apparently most students like this type of setup and don't complain?)

Wasko Lit and Jetta Seboly's Clover Creek Science (Physics) were also standout hits for us in previous years. DS read many wonderful books with Mr. Wasko that I would not have gotten him to read otherwise, and he was guided through them in an enthusiastic, religiously-neutral and balanced way. And the awesome Mrs. Seboly gave DS a love of physics that was never there before (previously only a bio-sciences guy). Wish we had the opportunity to use them both again.

Edited by TarynB
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11 hours ago, cintinative said:

 

Are you using a specific schedule? Are you using the Macaw book or the Dragonfly book? We are covering it next year.

 

We are using the Macaw book- very cheap used from Amazon!  I also bought workbooks for all kids ( my 6th graders are doing it, too), and the Teachers Assessments book.  I am not using a specific schedule,  but I think we are moving along very well.  Other sources I am using:

Biology Corner

HHMI Biointeractive

Princeton Review Biology Coloring Book

Mel and Gerty on TpT if you need more help with a specific chapter

I also have RSO Bio2, and there are great labs in there.  

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18 hours ago, deerforest said:

Love seeing great reviews of Clover Valley Chem as it's on our list for next year. Has anyone done the self graded option? 

 

We're considering the self-graded option, too, if dual credit doesn't work out.

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On 9/18/2019 at 10:49 AM, teachermom2834 said:

My ds is in 11th grade.

Hits-

-Dual enrollment at the local private university (College Writing, Spanish I, Earth and Space Science). Older boys did plenty of de here so we knew what to expect. They had told him how much he would love going to college (and how much easier it would be) and they were right. He loves the independence and the classes are not difficult. He is in an actual lab class for the first time and he loves that. He is more academic than his older brothers so he comes home excited to tell me about classes so that is fun. He will do primarily de from here on out and hopefully the classes will become a bit more challenging. 

-Statistics with WTMA. This is just a one semester class and he will take stats de probably in the spring. This kid makes spreadsheets and crunches sports numbers for fun so this is right up his alley. He is interested in pursuing stats, data analytics, or something similar in college so it is a nice intro. 

Just fine, no complaints-

-PreCal with WTMA. This is absolutely fine. No complaints but ds doesn't LOVE it. However, it is by far his most demanding class so I wouldn't expect to hear him raving about it. He has done a ton of online classes since 7th grade and the taste of de definitely has him ready to move on from them. But no complaints at all.

We'll see-

SAT prep with Khan Academy. He is putting in about 4-5 hours a week here because his other classes haven't been too demanding. He likes the format and says it  helps. I like being ablel to log in and easily see his progress and what he has done. We'll see if it translates when he takes the test (Nov ?)

 

Ds continued to love dual enrollment. He got all As but the classes were not very challenging. He will take Comp 2 and Intro to Stats in the spring and then Introductory Spanish 2 in the summer. He was appointed to a national 4-H committee that will have him in Washington DC for a week in addition to his other 4-H weekend conferences and he was just going to miss too many MWF classes dual enrollment for those trips. So he was limited to T/TH de classes. But, he really wants to get the foreign language requirement done to transfer to the university he plans to attend so he'll do it in the summer. 

He did really enjoy the WTMA Stats class. He is very interested in the topic so I'm not sure how a kid less inclined would enjoy the class. He did a final project in sports analytics which he had a really good time with. He will take Stats de next semester and I think this will have been a really good preparation.

He is enjoying the WTMA AOPS PreCal class more now. He brings up his homework to show me what he did because he is excited about it 🙂

He did spent significant time on the Khan Academy SAT prep and that did not really translate into any kind of improvement on the PSAT or SAT he took. He is doing an ACT prep program this spring but then whatever he gets on the April ACT will be what he has. His current score is good enough to do what he wants...just trying to nail down a higher scholarship level.

He is pretty sure he knows where he will attend college and it is a safety to get in and manageable financially. Since he knows where he will go we will plan his senior year de classes with more of an eye on how they will transfer. (although my older boys changed their mind about where they though they would go).

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Biggest hit for my 11th grader: Intensive summer Greek class. 3 years of college Greek in one summer, all day every day all summer. She already had one college year's worth, slowwwly acquired over the previous few years, so the first portion was easy enough to give her time to settle into the intense work schedule. Then she hit the new material, and her bike got stolen by the university bike theft ring while she was in class, and there was Deep Unhappiness. But she got her feet under her, found a 1970s-era fixer-upper English-made bike on CraigsList and a copy of Richard's Bicycle Book from that decade, and to this very day she is intoxicated with (a) the classics and (b) bicycles. 

Also a huge success: Open University English Literature course. This is the last subject where I'm still able to teach her, and it's been wonderful having that mom-daughter tutoring, "just like when I was little and you used to teach me things." Open University course materials have never let us down.

Not so great: AP-prep Latin. Somehow I didn't realize until the beginning of the year that the sole surviving AP Latin exam is now half Caesar, and she resents returning to the Gallic Wars to the point that she's not really studying for that. She's on top of the Vergil, and her non-American tutor who looks askance at the AP process is taking her through the relevant portions of the Aeneid (though with some unauthorized diversions). And I introduced her to a retired classicist at church who taught high school AP for years and commiserated with her disdain for the current exam, and then worked her around to agreeing to prepare for it. Some.

Disastrous: Driver's Ed from parents. No cajoling can get her to go over 20 mph and frankly she's a hazard on the road. Good thing she's so enamored of bicycles. 

Edited by Violet Crown
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DS15 received his fall quarter grades for dual enrollment today and he is happy so that’s a big plus. He is taking three dual enrollment classes for spring quarter so we are paying as he exceed the number of credits allowed for free dual enrollment. He will be at community college five days a week due to his class schedules. 

I also learnt a new (to me) term “quality points”. He also has 39 quarter credits transferred which I have no idea from what (other than maybe 10 credits from his AP Calculus BC exam score).

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9 hours ago, Violet Crown said:

 

Disastrous: Driver's Ed from parents. No cajoling can get her to go over 20 mph and frankly she's a hazard on the road. Good thing she's so enamored of bicycles. 

Oh my word i feel your pain, I wish we had outsourced this for sure. I think there is something to Peer Pressure in the crappy Drivers Ed car that just gets them over the hump. 

My dd is actually a decent driver, but she is like an overly cautious old lady. She has had her permit for 2 years and getting her to drive is like pulling teeth. Her deadline for the license is this spring because I told her "I'm not driving you to college," and it's a 15 mile drive each way, so she's going to need to figure it out ASAP. Try to ride a bike around here and you'll get killed by a Dually on the highway. Dh is making her drive him around all this winter break while he's off and you'd think we'd kicked a puppy or something! I do not know what is wrong with kids these days. I was like that old Mervyn's commercial (if anyone remembers that) at the DMV the day I turned 16. "Open, Open, Open". 😂

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26 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I was like that old Mervyn's commercial (if anyone remembers that) at the DMV the day I turned 16. "Open, Open, Open". 😂

I remember that one. 😂

It biggest hit has been Bio 2 at Fundafunda interesting reading, a short explanation paper each week. 

I glommed a lab class onto that which I'm running out of the furnace room using the top of the washing machine to hold the instruction book. I was giving even odds that it would crash and burn, but no! Not all the labs are successful, but the discussions have been good, good, good.

Outside of that everything is fine. This is how most of my life has been going for a while now. I (over)plan it out and then things go about how I expected. One of these days karma will bite me, but in the meantime, no major complaints.

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On 12/23/2019 at 1:07 PM, Violet Crown said:

Biggest hit for my 11th grader: Intensive summer Greek class. 3 years of college Greek in one summer, all day every day all summer. She already had one college year's worth, slowwwly acquired over the previous few years, so the first portion was easy enough to give her time to settle into the intense work schedule. Then she hit the new material, and her bike got stolen by the university bike theft ring while she was in class, and there was Deep Unhappiness. But she got her feet under her, found a 1970s-era fixer-upper English-made bike on CraigsList and a copy of Richard's Bicycle Book from that decade, and to this very day she is intoxicated with (a) the classics and (b) bicycles. 

Also a huge success: Open University English Literature course. This is the last subject where I'm still able to teach her, and it's been wonderful having that mom-daughter tutoring, "just like when I was little and you used to teach me things." Open University course materials have never let us down.

Not so great: AP-prep Latin. Somehow I didn't realize until the beginning of the year that the sole surviving AP Latin exam is now half Caesar, and she resents returning to the Gallic Wars to the point that she's not really studying for that. She's on top of the Vergil, and her non-American tutor who looks askance at the AP process is taking her through the relevant portions of the Aeneid (though with some unauthorized diversions). And I introduced her to a retired classicist at church who taught high school AP for years and commiserated with her disdain for the current exam, and then worked her around to agreeing to prepare for it. Some.

Disastrous: Driver's Ed from parents. No cajoling can get her to go over 20 mph and frankly she's a hazard on the road. Good thing she's so enamored of bicycles. 

@Violet Crown are you able to post a link to the open university courses you’re able to complete online? I seem to only find their degree requirements and such. I’ve never heard of them so I’m curious to check them out. Thank you!

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7 minutes ago, madteaparty said:

@Violet Crown are you able to post a link to the open university courses you’re able to complete online? I seem to only find their degree requirements and such. I’ve never heard of them so I’m curious to check them out. Thank you!

We haven't done any online; just bought the textbooks for the courses we've used and done it ourselves. The trick is to get texts for discontinued courses, so the books are cheaper.

So, for instance, this course, "Discovering Science"

Currently finishing "Reading and Studying Literature" -- which looks as if it will be available online in 2022.
 

Edited by Violet Crown
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On 12/23/2019 at 10:03 PM, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Oh my word i feel your pain, I wish we had outsourced this for sure. I think there is something to Peer Pressure in the crappy Drivers Ed car that just gets them over the hump. 

My dd is actually a decent driver, but she is like an overly cautious old lady. She has had her permit for 2 years and getting her to drive is like pulling teeth. Her deadline for the license is this spring because I told her "I'm not driving you to college," and it's a 15 mile drive each way, so she's going to need to figure it out ASAP. Try to ride a bike around here and you'll get killed by a Dually on the highway. Dh is making her drive him around all this winter break while he's off and you'd think we'd kicked a puppy or something! I do not know what is wrong with kids these days. I was like that old Mervyn's commercial (if anyone remembers that) at the DMV the day I turned 16. "Open, Open, Open". 😂

Isn't that the truth? If she ends up at Big State U., which she can easily bike to but not so easily park at, we may never get her to learn to drive.

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