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It's the end of the school year and I thought I would start the wrap/brag thread for 2020. This is your opportunity to reflect on what you have accomplished this year and to brag about your dc!  No brag too big or small!

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I'll start because we had a break through this week! 🙂  As many of you know my younger boy has had a long hard-won fight against his dysgraphia. He is such a global thinker that his ideas and insights have always been incredibly difficult to write down. He could never move linearly through any standard writing program or progression, because the complexity of his thoughts were years beyond any age expectations. Overlay this with dysgraphia, and we had a mess.
 
So this week at age 16 he finally came to understand that paragraphs should have structure!  This was a huge success for him!  I've been scaffolding him for years, believing that his ideas were more advanced than he could structure on his own, and that it was not really fair to expect him to be independent especially with dysgraphia.  But then this week he had a breakthrough!  And he asked me, "why did you not teach me this before?!?!?" And I told him that I had -- from when he was age 7 and we were using IEW.  Year after year I taught him about topic sentences, how paragraphs go together, purpose, support, etc. And he just never seemed to get it. And what I came to understand this week is that his mind at age 16 was finally *receptive* to the idea of paragraph structure. And then he ran with it. He designed his own acronym. He went back and rewrote every single paragraph of his paper over the period of 10 hours.  He refused my help, saying 'I have to do this myself.' It was inspired. 
 
Just to give you a feel for the beauty of 2E kids, the paper he is writing is on how social class impacts the importance of internal versus external enforcement of norms by comparing the protagonists in Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, and Jane Eyre. 🙂 
 
 
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I'm so glad to hear, @lewelma!! 2E kids sound incredibly challenging, so that's such a victory. 

We're going to continue schooling through the summer, since we do generally, but here are my current victories. First of all, DD7 has had a pretty serious leap in abstraction and has astounded me this year by writing very respectable mathematical proofs, including ones with variables! Here's one from last week: 

Proof.thumb.jpeg.60bd4ad08bd4f5e71ea2699b5a88d2b1.jpeg

She also did quite well on her online Math Kangaroo, getting 84/96. I hope they have national/state prizes this year, and don't cancel them because of the pandemic, because she worked hard at it and definitely deserves some outside recognition. 

We started Russian this year, and she's also doing very well at that -- she's now understanding a lot, and speaking in simple sentences, which is a LOT of improvement over less than a year, without a fully immersive environment. 

DD4 has just finished 100 Easy Lessons today and is now reading to herself for fun! Her reading is very interesting -- she's slowly getting better and better at sounding words out, but her ability to read SENTENCES is miles ahead of her ability to sound out words. She's so good at filling in words from meaning that she gets incredibly impatient with decoding, lol. We keep practicing, and it keeps getting better, but she still occasionally confuses the letters b and d... while also being able to read complicated sentences with words like "everything" in them :-P. There's definitely a lot of pattern-matching going on. 

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^ That is great. DS is twice that age and we can barely get him to write anything ever. I bought a bunch of school supplies when he started Kindergarten, and he is now on his second notebook. (At least AoPS classes forced him to write 1 solution per class, though not on paper.)

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13 hours ago, HomeForNow said:

^ That is great. DS is twice that age and we can barely get him to write anything ever. I bought a bunch of school supplies when he started Kindergarten, and he is now on his second notebook. (At least AoPS classes forced him to write 1 solution per class, though not on paper.)

Yeah, I didn't really expect proofs this year, so she surprised me :D. I'm lucky that DD7 doesn't seem to mind writing (she was burned out on it after public school kindergarten, but she seems to have come around this year.) 

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We plan to continue through the summer, but I have a few small brags.

  • Jr. is really blossoming in his drawing. He's including greater details in his pictures much more regularly.
  • Jr. is making really good progress on Ukulele
  • We started a writing program a little while ago and it's a big success so far.


 

 

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The Boys

  • designed and built themselves a club-house. It's made from scrap and would be an eye sore if we lived near people, but it's safe and the inside is quite comfortable
  • doubled their tutoring load and have handled the increase so well
  • have been learning to play music together and aren't painful to listen to anymore

Buddy

  • did a screening for friends and family of the films he's made this past year and it's really impressive to see how much better he's gotten.
  • gotten pretty good at cutting hair. He's been cutting the hair of select friends, relatives and neighbors for the last couple of months.
  • has made huge strides in personal organization around the house.

Pal

  • has taught himself guitar
  • has played me to a stalemate in Chess (which means that he's really improving. Typically I kick his butt mercilessly)
  • has gotten into making games and he's made a few fun ones

School wise, 7th grade is going amazing so far. Our first term of Autodidactic Studies has been a smashing success, it's their favorite class, even beating out mathematics. They are consistently writing really well-structured code and have been learning a lot in IT. Communication and Composition has been going awesome. Pal is writing voluntarily in Spanish which is huge and he's reading 300+ page novels in Spanish with minimal support. Int. Japanese has slowed down, but they're still doing active watching/listening each day and consistency shall prevail.

 

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Where has the time gone? I can't believe it's the end of the school year already, which means DS6 is officially done with Kindergarten. Time for a summary of what we've done!

  • His Mandarin reading skills are getting better and better. He's finished working through a series of 300 easy readers, and since then has read at least 10 children's books without relying on any phonetic assistance.
  • He surprised me one day by reading through a third of a 1st grade Polish primer in one sitting. I  never really taught him how to read Polish, so I was quite shocked he could pull it off. Since then he's gone through 30 or 40 readers. He comprehends language targeted at Polish 4th grades, which I am very happy with.
  • He has mastered his math facts (despite it really not being his thing) and finished 4th grade Math Mammoth.
  • He won a gold medal in the National Mythology exam for the second time. I haven't even looked at the questions this time around, so I had absolutely no idea how he did until the results were announced. This year we read through the relevant chapters in d'Aulaires' only once a couple of nights before the exam. Mythology is definitely his thing.
  • He has made a little bit of progress on the piano. I don't require him to play, so he can go quite a few days without practicing, but he has learned how to play a few tunes.
  • He has gone through 2.5 of the Getty-Dubay italic handwriting books, and is currently working on his cursive. Both bad handwriting and actual dysgraphia run in my family. I'm not sure if my son will face any of those challenges, but I suspect he might, so I'm celebrating the little things here.

DS3 doesn't really do school yet, but I'll write him a little summary, too, just to be a fair mom.

  • He's read through 6 boxes of Bob Books and is making steady progress with his reading skills. He can now read most of the books in the Beginner Books series. His older brother has been giving him semi-regular reading lessons.
  • He speaks beautifully and is able to express relatively complex thoughts in both Polish and English. He also counts confidently in both languages.
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I was thinking about this yesterday as a mom with kids in b&m school.  It's kind of weird to think about school year accomplishments this year, as everything was cut off in the middle & there was no public recognition like other years.  I also wanted to think of things that were learned/accomplished because of school being shut down.  I think I'm still processing that though.

Both were having a great year socially ... their friends were so important to them this year.  They managed to keep up with most of their good friends during the shutdown.

To be honest, it's kind of depressing thinking along these lines right now.  But that's probably because I'm not in the right mindset.

Kid1:

  • Has been diagnosed with OCD and misophonia, which helps explain why many things haven't been super.  Has been doing therapy for a couple months and improved a lot.
  • Achieved Merit Roll for 2 trimesters; 3rd trimester finished stronger (close to 4.0), but that didn't count because of remote learning.
  • Learned a lot about online learning & communication, and managing her own schedule / workload.
  • Gained confidence in cooking & is developing the habit of cleaning up after herself.
  • Participated in school volleyball & cheer.  Would have done track & bowling had school not shut down.  She was in school sports continuously in grades 5-8.
  • Received a physical education award pin.
  • Participated in band and choir.  Made a lot of progress on the trumpet.
  • Made the AR "wall of fame" with 150 points.
  • Advanced to 2nd degree blackbelt back in the fall; has made steady progress in TKD.
  • Ran two 5Ks and a 5 mile race back in the fall.
  • Completed a lot of badge / leadership work for AHG (BOR / crossover was postponed).
  • Completed the church Confirmation course (ceremony scheduled for August).
  • Learned some Korean in connection with K-Pop!

Kid2:

  • Achieved honor roll all year (final trimester was 4.0 but that didn't really count).
  • Learned a lot about online learning & communication, and managing her own schedule / workload.
  • Has really grown a lot as a cook, and is doing better with cleaning after herself.
  • Participated in a few horse shows, added some ribbons to her collection.
  • Participated in band and choir.  Made a lot of progress on the clarinet.  Also improved noticeably on the piano at home.
  • Won an award pin for reading, as one of the few kids who made the AR "wall of fame" every year from 1st-8th grade.
  • Advanced to 2nd degree blackbelt back in the fall; has made steady progress in TKD.
  • Ran her first 5k.
  • Completed a lot of badge work for AHG.
  • Completed the church Confirmation course (ceremony scheduled for August).
  • Learned some Korean in connection with K-Pop!
Edited by SKL
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Both boys are learning grit in kung fu. Ronen is the more naturally athletic of the two boys, but he is also my perfectionist and has more anxiety, so it is harder for him when he gets nervous. He wants to quit on the regular because he is afraid of failure, even though he is very likely to succeed. I am working with him to push through that fear of failure (because I have it myself) and just do his best. Sacha is challenged in a whole other way because he is less naturally athletically inclined, so he has to work harder to succeed. But, he is a pretty cool cucumber, and really wants it badly, so he goes after it. I am really proud of both boys. Unfortunately, CV19 put kung fu on hold and, even though gyms are set to reopen soon in San Diego, I am not comfortable sending them back right now. So, we are still on hold.

I already mentioned that Sacha passed the CHSPE last fall. That was huge for him. He was also awarded a competitive scholarship to attend Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. Due to CV19, that was also put on hold, but they are holding his scholarship until next summer. So, hopefully, things will have calmed down enough by then for him to attend.

Similarly, Sacha was going to do an internship with Virgin Galactic in August, but that has been postponed until next summer. 

Sacha was also really having a great time rehearsing for a satirical Shakespearean play that he was performing in at his charter school, but alas, Covid took that away from him as well. I was really looking forward to seeing him perform in it. 😞

Thanks to the advice that I received on the board, I am pretty confident that Ronen has dyslexia. So, I have been working with him to remediate the issues he's been having with learning to read, and he has been making steady progress. His confidence is slowly improving, which I'm really happy about because it was killing me to see him so down on himself. 

As for me, I am almost finished with term 3 of 5 in nursing school (term 4 starts August 1st) and we finished our 6th year of homeschooling! Hard to believe. This time next year, I should be pretty close to finishing up my BSN and getting ready to take the NCLEX.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This thread is always my favorite!

 

What a weird school year. 🙃

Oldest DS (13) took the SAT in October for the first time and scored well enough to qualify for CTY. He didn't study, aside from a couple of Kahn Academy practice sessions and a haphazard intro to filling out bubble tests the day before. He's not a serious student so I was happy he even agreed to take the test!

DD (almost 10!) is my dysgraphic 2E kid. She's reading a lot and has agreed to mom tutoring this summer. That's a huge win. She is in PS with her twin since last year but I'm leaning towards HS for this coming year.

DS (also almost 10!) He did really really well at PS. He qualified for all the GT pull outs, and even made some friends. He's doing great with piano, and loves his lessons. 🙂

 

And I'm going to brag! I started my grad program Spring semester (I've always had impeccable timing 😂) with two classes and got an A in both, whilst suddenly homeschooling the twins.

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Dd6 read her first Bob book in September and just finished reading Harry Potter last week. (She knew her letter sounds at 2 and then waited until she was ready to just sprint!) She basically taught herself, she stopped letting me read with her once she got to Elephant and Piggie.  It’s been a godsend to have a real reader as we settle into this stay-at-home summer.  She’s burning through books on the Kindle, and giving me time to focus a bit on her younger sister.  

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This was a weird year. 

 

DD15-presented her work at the WCH9 in NZ!!!

Got through therapy for her knees and is in much less pain (occasional twinges, but nothing too bad), and seems to have also gotten through the emotional crisis that came with it

Survived a Spring semester that went 

Has survived social isolation pretty well so far

Completed her first college application (more opening August 1)

Taught two more Herpetology classes and pitched her proposal for a new Dragonology class,which has been so successful that she has opened a second section

Generally, lots of gains in emotional maturity

Is learning to drive

 

Me

Survived the first year of being back to teaching other than a handful of homeschoolers, even with having to pivot to online midway through, gradually building up online teaching. The post-homeschooling path isn't as clear as I had hoped at this time last year, but at least it hasn't been totally blocked off.

 

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Participating in these threads has been hit and miss for me over the years, but this year will be the last time I can, so here I am.

We had a fabulous year.  We only homeschooled two classes, and since both were (technically) electives, the only output I required was conversation, which meant that there was no angst over written assignments.  If you ever get a chance to homeschool your older teens in this manner, I highly recommend it!

In our first course, we focused on the intersection between human behavior, evolution, and ethics.  Some of the readings included Robert Pirsig's books Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values and Lila: An Inquiry into Morals, Michael Sandel's Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? and What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, and Nicholas Christakis's Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society.  My son felt the ideas in Zen were particularly transformative for him, so much so that I ended up giving him his own hardcover copy along with his diploma.

In our second course we used Robert Strayer's Ways of the World as a jumping off point in an attempt to find coherence in the vast swath of human history.  We then focused on how science and mathematics can inform historical study, and in doing so took a detour through complexity theory using the Teaching Company lectures Understanding Complexity.  The essays in a book put out by the Santa Fe Institute called History, Big History, and Metahistory helped us understand how complexity theory is being applied to the study of history.  We also read Peter Turchin's Ultrasociety: How 10,000 Years of War Made Humans the Greatest Cooperators on Earth, which ended up uniting this course with what we were thinking about in the other one.

We were able to thoroughly enjoy this work owing to the foundation we laid during K-11.  My son had enough background knowledge in history, psychology, economics, biology, mathematics, and statistics to really engage with the ideas being presented.  It ended up being a thoroughly appropriate capstone experience, and a shining example of what an out-of-the-box education can accomplish.   

Edited by EKS
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3 hours ago, EKS said:

Participating in these threads has been hit and miss for me over the years, but this year will be the last time I can, so here I am.

How come, if you don’t mind me asking?

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1 hour ago, square_25 said:

How come, if you don’t mind me asking?

No particular reason really.  It mostly depends on whether I'm motivated and have the time when I see the thread roll by.

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On 6/28/2020 at 9:26 AM, EKS said:

Participating in these threads has been hit and miss for me over the years, but this year will be the last time I can, so here I am.

We had a fabulous year.  We only homeschooled two classes, and since both were (technically) electives, the only output I required was conversation, which meant that there was no angst over written assignments.  If you ever get a chance to homeschool your older teens in this manner, I highly recommend it!

In our first course, we focused on the intersection between human behavior, evolution, and ethics.  Some of the readings included Robert Pirsig's books Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values and Lila: An Inquiry into Morals, Michael Sandel's Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? and What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets, and Nicholas Christakis's Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society.  My son felt the ideas in Zen were particularly transformative for him, so much so that I ended up giving him his own hardcover copy along with his diploma.

In our second course we used Robert Strayer's Ways of the World as a jumping off point in an attempt to find coherence in the vast swath of human history.  We then focused on how science and mathematics can inform historical study, and in doing so took a detour through complexity theory using the Teaching Company lectures Understanding Complexity.  The essays in a book put out by the Santa Fe Institute called History, Big History, and Metahistory helped us understand how complexity theory is being applied to the study of history.  We also read Peter Turchin's Ultrasociety: How 10,000 Years of War Made Humans the Greatest Cooperators on Earth, which ended up uniting this course with what we were thinking about in the other one.

We were able to thoroughly enjoy this work owing to the foundation we laid during K-11.  My son had enough background knowledge in history, psychology, economics, biology, mathematics, and statistics to really engage with the ideas being presented.  It ended up being a thoroughly appropriate capstone experience, and a shining example of what an out-of-the-box education can accomplish.   

 

These sound incredible, Kai. Congratulations on a wonderful senior capstone experience and another successful homeschool graduate!

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I've always read this forum to mostly get ideas about Math and never thought I'd be actively home schooling. But 2020 is the year I did so involuntarily in the Spring.  Overall I had a lot more fun with the process than I expected despite needing to work from home at the same time. It definitely was only possible because both kids were in middle school. Most days started with me setting a written set of priorities for the younger one and checking in with my older son to make sure he was on track. I basically leveraged mealtimes as a time to talk about school related matters most days.

Wins

1. I really like choosing the reading materials for the week. I mostly leaned on books I remember reading in the school at the same ages and other online lists of recommended interesting reading.   Among other titles we went through:, Frankenstein,  Rolling Thunder Hear My Cry, Tuck Everlasting,  Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Jacob Have I loved.  Plus a ton of poetry interwoven through the weeks as material for writing prompts.  (Boy I'm glad I have a few poetry anthologies as well as there being a lot of online resources)  Initially we spent about 1 month listening to Patrick Stewart read Shakespeare's Sonnet everyday and parsing the poems. I thought they were amazing but the kids were less enthusiastic.

2. We did writing prompts almost every day (usually short).  These were also fun and something I never would have had the heart to do before taking over schooling.  We almost always did at least 1 poem a week for this. Sometimes, the week was spent on a longer essay.  I tried to carve out time to always go over the results and talk about structure, grammar , style etc. after we were done.  Among the  cutsey ideas. One week I had the kids write a story trading control every few sentences but  each one had a totally different genre they were trying to represent.  Another time, I had them state a position on household rules and responsibility and then surprise argue the opposite position.  But a lot of times they were reactions to either the history or English reading.  I'd say the overall balance was about 60% creative writing.

3. History. Thankfully I owned a few American History textbooks  and Bauer's Ancient History.   We basically read through all of the year's history in 3 months,  My usually structure was to ask for the 3 main points and then do a discussion afterwards based on the section. My younger son also ended up binge watch Crash Course History.

4. Math was the only subject which we were already partial home schooling and that mostly proceeded as normal with a combo of a home guided Intermediate Algebra and a self paced pre-algebra course from AoPS.

5. Science: Uggh the hardest piece. I leaned on whatever came home from school mostly. If I'm forced to repeat this process, here's the area I want to be more on top of next time.

6. Language: both kids started Duolingo for French and Spanish. I'm not convinced its the best way to learn but its hands off and better than nothing. 

Looking forrward: I'm getting more pessimistic that the schools will reopen enough to be worthwhile especially the M.S. and am girding myself to repeat this process in the Fall.  Maybe this time around with advance warning I can find an online Science Option or some way to do labs without a lot of supervision.

 

 

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Just found out that MDD was selected to be in a special traveling improv troupe for next year.  It has been weird doing improv over zoom.  Really hoping they get to be in person even if performances are streamed.  

ODD didn't get to do science fair but they still did their engineering projects for each other.  Her presentation was the most popular because it had the most explosions.  Got to love middle schoolers. 

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I have been so impressed with my kids' growth in compassion, patience, and generosity this year.  There have been some other successes to celebrate, too, but these are the ones that really jump out.  If I had known how hard the first six months of fostering was going to be on all of us, I don't know that I would have been brave enough to do it--but the character growth I have seen in my bio kids as a direct result has been amazing.  They have willingly chosen to give of their home, peace, rooms, family, and attention, and if they didn't know what they were choosing the first time, they knew the second time, and chose it again.  I am so proud of them.  

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Dd11's academic writing has taken off and she has really put the foundational pieces together into a very strong writing process.

Dd9 has improved on her reading stamina and attention focus to where she can now take a test and have it actually show roughly her real level of understanding.  The charter school was so impressed by her improvement, and I was kind of going, um, yes, this is what I was telling you all along.

Ds8 has made great improvement in his area of weakness (writing down his ideas) and has made wild progress in his area of strength.  All my kids are mathy, but I admit to being overwhelmed when I look ahead at the apparent trajectory of these boys.

Ds6 has made good progress in his area of weakness (learning to read) and is a complete math addict.  As in, "You've been doing Beast Academy for four hours.  You aren't allowed to do any more until you go play outside for a while" with ensuing tears.  He's my most lopsided one.

Dd3 has made about a year and a half of developmental progress in 10 months, and learned safety and trust and love.

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  • 1 month later...

My youngest is learning and displaying perseverance. He's individually studying a math topic that I have no experience with. He has no help from me or his brother and this is a big deal for him. So long as I scaffold the EF side of things, he's able to work on the working through it side of things.

A couple of weeks ago, I could tell that he was frustrated with some of the material and even more frustrated that I didn't dive in and help him, but I can't help him so he is forced by circumstances to dig-deep and help himself. I guess he thought I'd been being humble when I told him I have no idea about this material.

Anyway, he'd gotten really upset after about 3 or 4 days confused on the same things so instead of telling him to do his work, I asked him "are you going to do Complex today?" and he looked at me like I had sprouted a 2nd head and was like "Of course! Why wouldn't I?"

This from my kid who would want to quit things at the first bit of frustration or second bit of boredom. We have worked for years on getting him disciplined to Just Do It because he's very much an "in the moment" type of kid who if he's not feeling it, doesn't want to do it. This isn't carrying over to all domains of his life yet but it certainly gives me hope.

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34 minutes ago, Gil2.0 said:

My youngest is learning and displaying perseverance. He's individually studying a math topic that I have no experience with. He has no help from me or his brother and this is a big deal for him. So long as I scaffold the EF side of things, he's able to work on the working through it side of things.

A couple of weeks ago, I could tell that he was frustrated with some of the material and even more frustrated that I didn't dive in and help him, but I can't help him so he is forced by circumstances to dig-deep and help himself. I guess he thought I'd been being humble when I told him I have no idea about this material.

Anyway, he'd gotten really upset after about 3 or 4 days confused on the same things so instead of telling him to do his work, I asked him "are you going to do Complex today?" and he looked at me like I had sprouted a 2nd head and was like "Of course! Why wouldn't I?"

This from my kid who would want to quit things at the first bit of frustration or second bit of boredom. We have worked for years on getting him disciplined to Just Do It because he's very much an "in the moment" type of kid who if he's not feeling it, doesn't want to do it. This isn't carrying over to all domains of his life yet but it certainly gives me hope.

 

That's awesome. Gil. It's great to see all the effort you've put into working with the boys bear fruit.

I feel you on the not being able to help. Sacha took a game theory class over the summer and all I could do was watch 'A Beautiful Mind' with him. 😄 Way over my head.

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7 hours ago, SeaConquest said:

 

That's awesome. Gil. It's great to see all the effort you've put into working with the boys bear fruit.

I feel you on the not being able to help. Sacha took a game theory class over the summer and all I could do was watch 'A Beautiful Mind' with him. 😄 Way over my head.

Let me know if you need input at any point 🙂 .

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15 hours ago, square_25 said:

Let me know if you need input at any point 🙂 .

 

Awww, thanks. It was just a 3-week CTY summer course that wrapped up a week or so ago. It was a course for the older kids, but they let him enroll and he seemed to follow it fine. But, there was no way I could help him if he needed anything from me. That seems to be the case more and more these days. 

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27 minutes ago, SeaConquest said:

Awww, thanks. It was just a 3-week CTY summer course that wrapped up a week or so ago. It was a course for the older kids, but they let him enroll and he seemed to follow it fine. But, there was no way I could help him if he needed anything from me. That seems to be the case more and more these days. 

Game theory is fun! So even if he didn't totally follow some of it, it's probably still exciting and inspiring. 

I have the feeling DD8 will get ahead of me in lots of stuff soon enough, too. Not in math, because that's my thing, but I do want her to have a much better rounded education than me... so then she'll probably surpass me without trouble, given how motivated she is and how much time she has. 

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