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Big Picture Goals for 2021


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So, there is the Chinese proverb goes:

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The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.

Following in that vein I figure that the best time to post this thread was 6.5 months ago, and hopefully the second best time is now. 😄

What are the big picture goals for your AL for (the remainder of) 2021?

2020 thread

2018 thread

2017 thread

2016 thread

2015 thread

 

Edited by Gil
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The goal for the next week is to finish up the 2020-2021 school year work for DS12 & DS9.

The goal for the summer for the entire family is to do something to challenge their brain and their bodies every day. For DS12, that is AoPS Intro to C&P, Henle Latin, and training camps for soccer and cross country. For DS9, that is to start AoPS Pre-Alg and MP Greek, and daily trips to the town lake and/or playgrounds. For DS7, we will continue with daily phonics, spreading several short lessons (new, review, & practice) throughout the day. He's coming along slowly, but he's still got a long way to go before his reading ability matches his abilities in other subjects. (Apparently, for *me*, I'll be working through C&P, Henle, and MP Greek, in addition to my own review of discrete math *and* a teaching course to renew my license. I'm tired just thinking about it!)

In the fall, the goal will be to get out into the world as much as possible (pandemic permitting). I'm planning a trip to D.C. for the fall, and hope to add day trips every couple of weeks to go along with our history study (early modern period, founding of America, etc). I also want to get my kids walking around town more, so that DS9 & DS12 could walk to the store, library, or playgrounds together. DS12 will also be taking an online writing course and will start in-person piano lessons at a music school (that he could probably walk home from).

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For ds11:

Languages: reading fluency in Latin (he's starting to read with expression, but is still halting), listening fluency in French, and back to a working vocabulary in ASL

Executive functioning skills: develop a higher degree of independence in organizing and scheduling his short term tasks and goals

Violin: finish his Suzuki book

Fine motor skills: tying his own skates.  It seems like a pretty simple task, and yet.......it's not.

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Last year!!  In fact, last 5 months because we are on the Southern Hemisphere school calendar and are done at the end of November! 

My main goals are to fill in gaps -- big picture gaps -- that could be a problem at university. He plans to major in either physical or cultural geography, or possibly earth science. 

1) Shore up his executive function, study skills, how to take notes, how to take tests, how to work with the disabilities office, how to advocate for himself, etc -- In the first half of the year he took his first university class and I helped him to deal with all of this. Looks like he might have gotten the top mark in a class of 150 at a university ranked about like Georgetown or UVA. However, this effort took up nearly all of our time, so I'm a bit behind on the rest of the shoring up!

Next up:

2) Shore up his writing -- He needs to increase his writing speed and referencing skills. He has decided to write 7 research papers in 14 weeks, each taking about 20 hours. 

3) Shore up physics concepts- We have decided to do some of these research papers a physics, given that he is not very good with textbook learning and physics. So one paper will be on Chernobyl to learn about radioactive decay, and one will be on geostropic flow in the atmosphere to deal with forces and mechanics. At that point all that is left is EM, and I'm not sure how we will attack it yet.

4) Shore up mathematical science - Because of his dysgraphia, maths and science have been very difficult to blend. So we will be doing a mathematical unit on Solubility and Buffers in Chemistry to make sure that this is even possible, because if it is not, that will rule out certain classes and maybe even majors in university.

5) Shore up his biology -- My dh will be reading and discussing The Way Life Works, to make sure he has the basics down about transcription, translation, replication, etc. Being a biologist, I just kind of thought he knew a bunch of stuff through osmosis I guess, but I found out about a month ago, that he really knows nothing. oops. 

6) Learn some Maori language and culture -- This is a requirement to work in NZ at this point, and I have been very bad a teaching it because I don't know it having grown up in the USA and then worked from home for 25 years. So we are learning it together as I enter university next year also.

7) Get some job experience -- he needs something on his resume besides tutoring kids in violin. So he is considering working for a political party and starting to tutor math also. 

Ok, think that is it! Should keep us busy for 5 months!!!  

Edited by lewelma
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Looking at the 2020 thread was so hard. It was basically reading the "before" times in a dystopian novel. So many things cancelled for these poor kids. So much stagnation and even regression, at least for us. It wasn't all bad, to be sure. There were certainly many successes to celebrate. It just pains me, as we finally begin to emerge and survey the devastation this pandemic has wrought, to think of all that these kids have been through.

I will come back, after I have thought about our goals more. To be honest, I have been in survival mode for what feels like so long, it's been really hard to think much beyond making it through the day.  I don't know if anyone else feels like this, but anyway... Always nice to "see" you, Gil. 😊

Edited by SeaConquest
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7 hours ago, SeaConquest said:

 It was basically reading the "before" times in a dystopian novel. ...

To be honest, I have been in survival mode for what feels like so long,

☹️ I am so so sorry. Sometimes I just forget how horrible it has been for you all.

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55 minutes ago, Condessa said:

Yep.  For us, 2020 culminated in my youngest's cancer diagnosis and surgery.  I look back at the old threads, and see something we're never going back to.  We are stuck in 2020 forever.

I'm so sorry, @Condessa. Hope your youngest is doing better - virtual hugs to you.

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19 hours ago, Condessa said:

Yep.  For us, 2020 culminated in my youngest's cancer diagnosis and surgery.  I look back at the old threads, and see something we're never going back to.  We are stuck in 2020 forever.

Sorry to hear that 😞 

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So we kinda met last year's modest goals, to the extent possible given Covid:  starting to take ownership of their direction in life; finding balance and enjoying a full life; integrating successfully into a really large high school.  My eldest is more on track than my youngest, as far as taking ownership.

For 2021:

  • Take more ownership of their direction in life; do things because it supports their growth and goals, not because Mom is forcing them to.
  • Be willing to request and accept help when things are hard.
  • Take more responsibility for a pleasant home (physically and socially).
  • Start some kind of work gig, whether volunteer or for pay.
  • Third degree blackbelt in TKD (eligible in September).
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My big picture goals for 2021 are mostly to figure out how to work with DD8 in a way that's not stressful for either of us. We've had enduring attitude issues when I work with her and she's also not the kind of kid who can be totally and completely unschooled (although partial unschooling is almost certainly going to happen.) 

Another goal is to automate her high school-level math. Her elementary-level math is very robust, and conceptually she's doing well with algebra and above as well, but none of it is quick. So that's something that should be solidified. 

And I want her to be fluent in basic Russian, included noun cases for the rest of the year. 

Non-academically, I've started a co-op and hope it goes well. 

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Our big picture academic goals are pretty modest.  


-Keep going on track with everyone’s core subjects.

-Get my musical boy back into cello lessons.  Between the pandemic and his brother’s diagnosis, he’s lost a year and a half of lessons, but he is still faithfully practicing on his own motivation most days.

-Put more time into spelling, especially for my dyslexic girl.  

-Do a poetry unit for the youngers, since they’ve been asking for it for a while.

-Try to get involved with a non-denominational co-op I found.

-Work on dd2’s attitude.

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On 6/25/2021 at 9:04 AM, Not_a_Number said:

What attitude issues does she have? Attitude is currently our biggest issue here. 

Generally trying many different ways to get out of schoolwork.  I was having issues with several of my kids getting away with not completing what they were supposed to during the time when they were constantly swapping between babysitters, dad trying to work from home while watching them, and having me occasionally home during school time.  But when we went back to mostly having me back home in charge during school, the others fell back into habits of getting things done like they’re supposed to.  Dd10, however, is still often not doing basic routine things without me forcing her on to the next step, and then with lots of whining and arguing.  (Things like eating breakfast, getting ready for the day, starting schoolwork, going on to the next subject instead of going off to play).  
 

She will “forget” some subjects and claim she is done with all her work, or “forget” to do a second section of math after she finishes the first half.  She will fight me on using scratch paper, cry that the work is too hard when she gets problems wrong in her head that she was supposed to write down, lose her glasses and then argue with me about wanting to use the tablet with the tiniest screen for her work.  Sometimes she will work diligently when I am beside her, but any time I leave her side or give another child any attention, all progress ceases.

We have been working on all these issues and are making progress—she’s now having roughly 50/50 good days and bad  And we are also aware that a big part of this is a cry for attention after all the time and attention that has been poured into her little brother’s health these past eight months, and are trying hard to give her more attention and positive reinforcement outside of school time to remedy that.  It’s just exhausting to deal with.

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3 hours ago, Condessa said:

Generally trying many different ways to get out of schoolwork.  I was having issues with several of my kids getting away with not completing what they were supposed to during the time when they were constantly swapping between babysitters, dad trying to work from home while watching them, and having me occasionally home during school time.  But when we went back to mostly having me back home in charge during school, the others fell back into habits of getting things done like they’re supposed to.  Dd10, however, is still often not doing basic routine things without me forcing her on to the next step, and then with lots of whining and arguing.  (Things like eating breakfast, getting ready for the day, starting schoolwork, going on to the next subject instead of going off to play).  
 

She will “forget” some subjects and claim she is done with all her work, or “forget” to do a second section of math after she finishes the first half.  She will fight me on using scratch paper, cry that the work is too hard when she gets problems wrong in her head that she was supposed to write down, lose her glasses and then argue with me about wanting to use the tablet with the tiniest screen for her work.  Sometimes she will work diligently when I am beside her, but any time I leave her side or give another child any attention, all progress ceases.

We have been working on all these issues and are making progress—she’s now having roughly 50/50 good days and bad  And we are also aware that a big part of this is a cry for attention after all the time and attention that has been poured into her little brother’s health these past eight months, and are trying hard to give her more attention and positive reinforcement outside of school time to remedy that.  It’s just exhausting to deal with.

That does sound familiar. We also have issues with trying to get out of any and all work that DD8 deems to be boring or not worth her time. And yes, if I'm nearby, the work will be done well, but she still won't listen to what I say, so it's really tiring and annoying. 

 We've also had major improvements but we're definitely still trying to figure it out. We haven't had anything major happen in our own family, although of course the pandemic did pull the rug out from under us... 

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My eldest is going to start TK (Kindergarten for kids born between Sept. - Dec.) and a younger daughter who just turned 3.

  1. I want to make school more of a routine instead of what we do when we are bored. Not concerned about academics just the get together for a time to do "learning work" and to teach a little self learning, because my eldest does not like me just telling him how things work.
  2. I'd like my son to be a little more flexible in life or at least not complete lose his cool because someone put the blue train in front of the green train. Honestly maybe just that after he loses his cool not have to take 30min to calm down would be better than where we are. (Of course this is improvement from last year when he thought I was going to say no left us with a 2 hour meltdown.)
  3. My daughter I would like to be able to do a quiet time by herself and play independently without the assistance of me or her brother.  

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

After five moves in 8yrs, we are finally putting down roots in 2021. We bought our house right at the New Year & have been getting DS as involved as possible as things have gradually reopened.

Our main goal from last year was accomplished; DS’ ADHD was diagnosed & we have gotten that under control, which has greatly improved his ability to participate in classes, camps, & other adventures. It’s also helped lessons run much more smoothly & allowed him to really shine athletically as he learns to harness that nearly-endless energy! 

This year we are embarking on a new adventure: competitive sports. He’ll have 4 soccer practices + 2 games weekly during the main season in addition to tennis (2x/wk), swim lessons (1x/wk) & Scouts. Plus tournaments & possibly either skills training or Futsal between seasons. It’ll be a big step up in “busy-ness” for all of us, which I’m sure will be a bit of a learning curve.

As for academics, we are simply chugging along. He’ll have his first online class through Athena’s. We’ll do some NaNoWriMo, some IEW, some MCT, some AAS. I’ll begin teaching him to type. Most likely it’ll be his last year of Beast Academy. He’ll learn about chemistry & continue history from the Black Plague through Elizabethan times. With all of the extra-curriculars, he will be held more responsible for getting his work done. Hoping we are able to find a successful balance! 

Edited by Shoes+Ships+SealingWax
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  • 2 weeks later...

DD is 11

Academically, we’re taking things relatively easy for the remainder of this year. We just moved back to San Diego and I want to establish some solid routines and connections again. As always, mental health is a bigger focus of our big picture goals than academics.

With that in mind, mental health goals include returning to a good psych instead of the pedi for ADHD treatment. Pedi was comfortable prescribing the meds already figured out by the psych, but not adjusting, and DD is overdue for an adjustment. I think it is also time to approach the idea of meds for the anxiety. We are again living near the one therapist that really worked with DD, but she is full so we are essentially waitlisted. 

DD cherishes her independence, so she is going to learn how to navigate public transit. She has already spent hours on foot exploring the new neighborhood, which is much more urban than places we’ve lived before, and runs some of the small local household errands independently. Along the lines of seeking more independence, she wants to try some busking to earn money, so that’s on the agenda.

Along those lines, my main academic goals for her center around EF skills. While I don’t mind issuing reminders for things, I am not a human calendar. I do not believe I should have to remind her step-by-step how to get ready to leave the house to go somewhere. She needs to start learning to evaluate her workload and adjust appropriately for it.

Smaller, more specific goals for her include TAing a class at Athena’s, applying to the math circle, learning ASL, forming a new Destination Imagination team, gaining skills on flying trapeze, and exploring some crafting skills in more depth.

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On 6/25/2021 at 9:03 AM, Condessa said:

Our big picture academic goals are pretty modest.  


-Keep going on track with everyone’s core subjects.

-Get my musical boy back into cello lessons.  Between the pandemic and his brother’s diagnosis, he’s lost a year and a half of lessons, but he is still faithfully practicing on his own motivation most days.

-Put more time into spelling, especially for my dyslexic girl.  

-Do a poetry unit for the youngers, since they’ve been asking for it for a while.

-Try to get involved with a non-denominational co-op I found.

-Work on dd2’s attitude.

We have made some good progress since this post.  Dd10 still has bad days, but they are getting to be less and less frequent.  

I started Music of the Hemispheres with my boys and Building Poems with dd10, and so far it is going well.  (I’m very pleased that keeping the boys together for MotH is working.  I had my doubts about ds7 being ready for it, but he is doing great, and being able to combine them for poetry will save me a lot of time in the long run.)

I found a cello teacher for ds who teaches one day a week in the town next to ours, and will have a spot available in a few weeks when one of her students heads to college.  I didn’t expect to find someone so close, so that is nice.

I am letting the kids sign up for some small-group activities, knowing that if ds7’s blood counts drop I will have to pull them.  They’ve been missing everything for so long.  Ds7 really wants to play soccer again. His doctor says he’s okay to try, if it is outdoors and his blood tests are coming back okay.  At the same time, he is falling while walking around the house and is nervous of going up the stairs, and struggling to make it through an hour of physical therapy before he is too fatigued.  We have ordered a new leg brace for him that will hopefully be better.  I am really anxious about this, but feel like I need to let him try.  We will talk to the coach about having him do short bursts of time with long rests in between.

 

I’m preparing for the school year and second guessing myself on my oldest’s work this year.  We are outsourcing a lot of her schoolwork in the interest of both lightening my load and not having her academics fall off when my teaching is interrupted by medical concerns.  And individually I think she is fine to handle all the work.  Even together, I think she will be okay with the class load. (It’s only one more class than she was doing at the end of last school year).  I guess I could just use some reassurance that having her work at her ability level is the right choice, even if we don’t know anyone here who’s kids do work on this level.  
 

ETA: She’s doing what I would consider high-school level work in several areas, but it is well beyond the challenge level of the academics offered at our local (really bad) high schools.

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On 6/24/2021 at 12:52 PM, Not_a_Number said:

My big picture goals for 2021 are mostly to figure out how to work with DD8 in a way that's not stressful for either of us. We've had enduring attitude issues when I work with her and she's also not the kind of kid who can be totally and completely unschooled (although partial unschooling is almost certainly going to happen.) 

We've made some progress with this, although it partially involves offloading some of the frustration onto DH for now -- I need a break from the resistance behaviors! DH also points out that she's rarely doing the "purely resistance" stuff she used to be doing, so that's nice. Sometimes it's hard to see improvements when you're in the trenches... 

We've had to implement a "zero tolerance" policy for not listening or not being respectful -- we constantly have the issue that if I give her an inch, she takes a mile, so we need to stop giving her inches. If she can't work with me in a good way, she absolutely can work on her own -- it's not a punishment, it's a natural consequence... 

 

On 6/24/2021 at 12:52 PM, Not_a_Number said:

Another goal is to automate her high school-level math. Her elementary-level math is very robust, and conceptually she's doing well with algebra and above as well, but none of it is quick. So that's something that should be solidified. 

We've added the goal of doing well on the AMC 8 this year. Having a common goal that we can both see (and not just having her feel like I'm making up the math that she needs to know!) is definitely improving her attitude. I'm letting her pick what topics to practice each day to increase motivation as well. 

 

On 6/24/2021 at 12:52 PM, Not_a_Number said:

And I want her to be fluent in basic Russian, included noun cases for the rest of the year. 

No progress on the cases yet, but we're continuing to practice lots of other stuff 🙂

 

On 6/24/2021 at 12:52 PM, Not_a_Number said:

Non-academically, I've started a co-op and hope it goes well. 

We've started doing playground meetups with the co-op and that's been tons of fun! The classes are all scheduled for the fall and start in early October. 

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Our the biggest goal for next scholastic year to improve languages (French and German) immensely. All extra resources and time will be devoted to this task. Planning to move in a few years time.

 

 

Edited by Rush
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Goals for DS12:
 - To make a friend (so, participating in a lot of interesting extracurriculars with age-peers in as safe a manner as possible)
 - Also, starting with a therapist to facilitate both his social development and managing his ADD/autism/anxiety challenges
 - To regain his positive attitude about math after his bad experience with AOPS C&P
 - To practice taking responsibility for his first outsourced class
 - To acclimate to a more high school schedule of 5 distinct courses - this year he will be completing English and history at a middle school level, and Algebra 2, physics and Spanish 4 for high school credits.
 - To continue to develop his interest in working with young children. Last year he taught his younger sister piano; this year he will be tutoring her in Spanish. If he demonstrates responsibility in his nature class, he will be eligible to be a teen mentor to the younger classes next year.

Goals for DS10:
 - To acclimate to public school. I have no academic goals at all...I just hope that his emotional impairment room offers him the structure and boundaries necessary for his psychological growth
 - To avoid mental health hospitalizations if possible
 - To improve his relationships with other family members by giving everyone long breaks from him each week

Goals for DS8:
 - To better manage his ADHD so he is more successful in classes, at home with school work, and with his personal goals
 - To put him in some social situations where he can be the "big kid" instead of always the younger brother
 - To transition him to an outside piano teacher now that he is a strong intermediate player beyond my skill
 - To finish elementary math (MM6, Hands on Equations, Hands on Geometry, and perhaps Zaccaro's Problem Solving Genius)
 - To get him speaking more Spanish now that his comprehension is very strong
 - To work on writing strong 3ish paragraph compositions

Goals for DD almost-6:
 - To have her evaluated (and probably medicated) for ADHD...this should help with all other goals
 - To solidify her reading fluency and stamina to the point that she can easily read books of her choice for pleasure
 - To continue to work on her "playing by herself" skills...preferably to the point that she can play independently for ~30 minutes
 - To break her of the habit of screaming to get her way...which is very hard because she has a lot of success with it when playing with her brothers
 - To further develop her sweeping, bathroom cleaning, dishwasher emptying, laundry doing skills
 - To keep working on building her frustration tolerance

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This is the year where things are going to profoundly shift in our homeschool as I return to work full-time and Sacha makes the leap to starting classes at Stanford Online High School. Honestly, it's a year that I begin with a great deal of trepidation. We are having to make a lot of changes; we are moving to an apartment in mid-September, for one. We had hoped to buy, but the housing market here has gone even more bonkers than its usual level of insanity. So, we are waiting on the sidelines, paying an obscene amount in rent instead. But, I digress. Anyway, Delta be-damned, the boys will be returning to in-person enrichment classes at their charter school's learning center a few days per week (Sacha can only spare one day of fun, but Ronen will go three days per week) because they absolutely need to be with other kids. I was on the parent committee that worked with the school in planning the reopening of the learning center, so I feel confident that the school is taking the appropriate safety measures. 

So, I will likely be working on night-shift and will sleep on the weekends, when my DH can take care of the boys, and on the days when Ronen is at the learning center. Nurses usually only work three 12 hour shifts per week, and most of the hospitals around here allow for self-scheduling, as long as you work two weekends per month, so I am hoping that I can make it work. But, it is going to demand that both my DH and the boys become much more independent from me, for Sacha to learn better executive functioning skills, and for Ronen to better manage his anxiety and moods, and I am just not sure how to get them all there. Not to mention that I feel like I am trying to herd cats while I learning to juggle in my own tornado that is life as a new graduate nurse. Let's just say that I come home from work most nights crying and feeling like a total imposter. At least, my DH usually has a glass of wine waiting for me. I don't know if any of that counts as goals since I am still working out how to get from A to Z.  

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On 8/8/2021 at 6:54 AM, Not_a_Number said:

We've added the goal of doing well on the AMC 8 this year. Having a common goal that we can both see (and not just having her feel like I'm making up the math that she needs to know!) is definitely improving her attitude. I'm letting her pick what topics to practice each day to increase motivation as well. 

I’m curious what you and she consider to be a good score for her age on the AMC 8?

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4 hours ago, Jackie said:

I’m curious what you and she consider to be a good score for her age on the AMC 8?

I'd like her to make Achievement Roll, so 15. Technically, I think she can do almost all the questions, but I don't think 40 minutes is anywhere nearly enough time for her to actually do them. I'd vaguely like Honor Roll, but that's a reach, and worrying about that goal is just going to stress me out, whereas Achievement Roll is so obviously doable that it's motivating for both of us but not stressful. 

When we did some practice tests about 6 months ago, she was already really close. We had a practice that was a 14 and another that was a 16 -- that's with random guessing on the ones she missed, to be fair, but of course she'll do the same thing on the real one. And a lot of the ones she missed were ones where she simply didn't know the words -- we've never used a curriculum, so we keep discovering things that she's never used that I didn't teach her because I didn't think they were fundamental. Like bar graphs 😛 . Or lines of symmetry. Or weirdly enough, the "less than or equal" symbol... these kinds of things apparently can get missed if you do your own thing 😛. So picking them up is a good idea, anyway.    

Right now, the biggest issue she's having, other than just simply not knowing some words, is that she's not fast enough. We've discovered that her decimal arithmetic could really use streamlining... she can DO it, but she's really slow. So that's a good thing for us to practice. 

We've decided to just work through a lot of practice tests and actually work on concepts that she's having trouble with. She's really eager to pick the things she does herself, so I've been letting her pick the topics she wants to work on after we do the weekly practice test. So far, we've worked on bar graphs, percents (she didn't realize how to do repeated applications of percent, so we talked about treating it as multiplication), circles, and questions that require 3D visualization. So... all useful topics, all kind of boring for her, so it's a good thing she's picking them herself 😉. I like having an external arbiter of what she knows, so she feels more motivated.   

That may have been more than what you wanted to hear, lol! 😂 I hope it sounds reasonable enough... we picked it because it seemed in the sweet spot of requiring work but obviously reachable. 

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On 8/13/2021 at 6:14 PM, Not_a_Number said:

I'd like her to make Achievement Roll, so 15. Technically, I think she can do almost all the questions, but I don't think 40 minutes is anywhere nearly enough time for her to actually do them. I'd vaguely like Honor Roll, but that's a reach, and worrying about that goal is just going to stress me out, whereas Achievement Roll is so obviously doable that it's motivating for both of us but not stressful. 

When we did some practice tests about 6 months ago, she was already really close. We had a practice that was a 14 and another that was a 16 -- that's with random guessing on the ones she missed, to be fair, but of course she'll do the same thing on the real one. And a lot of the ones she missed were ones where she simply didn't know the words -- we've never used a curriculum, so we keep discovering things that she's never used that I didn't teach her because I didn't think they were fundamental. Like bar graphs 😛 . Or lines of symmetry. Or weirdly enough, the "less than or equal" symbol... these kinds of things apparently can get missed if you do your own thing 😛. So picking them up is a good idea, anyway.    

Right now, the biggest issue she's having, other than just simply not knowing some words, is that she's not fast enough. We've discovered that her decimal arithmetic could really use streamlining... she can DO it, but she's really slow. So that's a good thing for us to practice. 

We've decided to just work through a lot of practice tests and actually work on concepts that she's having trouble with. She's really eager to pick the things she does herself, so I've been letting her pick the topics she wants to work on after we do the weekly practice test. So far, we've worked on bar graphs, percents (she didn't realize how to do repeated applications of percent, so we talked about treating it as multiplication), circles, and questions that require 3D visualization. So... all useful topics, all kind of boring for her, so it's a good thing she's picking them herself 😉. I like having an external arbiter of what she knows, so she feels more motivated.   

That may have been more than what you wanted to hear, lol! 😂 I hope it sounds reasonable enough... we picked it because it seemed in the sweet spot of requiring work but obviously reachable. 

At what math level would you consider a young student ready to attempt the AMC 8?

I have a kid who I think would love to get into serious math competitions, but I had it in my mind that it was only for middle schoolers.  How do you tell when a young one is ready?  

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1 hour ago, Condessa said:

At what math level would you consider a young student ready to attempt the AMC 8?

I have a kid who I think would love to get into serious math competitions, but I had it in my mind that it was only for middle schoolers.  How do you tell when a young one is ready?  

I had her try the first few questions off of the 2020 AMC 8, and she surprised me by finding them easy. Then we did a few timed practices back in the spring, and she got 11, 14, and 16... at which point, I figured it'd be simply a waste not to try to get an Achievement Roll score on her record in Grade 4. I figured the score might open doors at some point, too, so that also motivates me, given how close she is 🙂.

We've done timed Math Kangaroos every week for a few months before the actual Math Kangaroo for the last few years, so she's quite used to math contests 🙂 . But the Math Kangaroo has been annoying me, what with all the rampant cheating and also the fact that this year, she didn't even find the questions challenging. So I figured it was time to move on to the next contest... 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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On 8/14/2021 at 6:19 PM, Condessa said:

At what math level would you consider a young student ready to attempt the AMC 8?

I have a kid who I think would love to get into serious math competitions, but I had it in my mind that it was only for middle schoolers.  How do you tell when a young one is ready?  

We judged readiness more by the ability to sit still for the length of the test, not have any real chance of disrupting other test takers around her, and wanting to sit the test. My daughter did not get a particularly good score, nothing like what Not A Number’s kid is aiming for. She loved taking the test, was happy even about problems she didn’t know how to solve as they meant she would learn that someday. She was disappointed with her score, as her practice tests at home were coming in several points higher, but it didn’t deter her from wanting to take it again.

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6 hours ago, Jackie said:

We judged readiness more by the ability to sit still for the length of the test, not have any real chance of disrupting other test takers around her, and wanting to sit the test. My daughter did not get a particularly good score, nothing like what Not A Number’s kid is aiming for. She loved taking the test, was happy even about problems she didn’t know how to solve as they meant she would learn that someday. She was disappointed with her score, as her practice tests at home were coming in several points higher, but it didn’t deter her from wanting to take it again.

Very good point!! I didn’t think about that, because I have pretty focused kids, so they’ve pretty much always been willing to sit still that long. But I certainly know kids who might be mathematically ready but too wiggly.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/15/2021 at 9:22 PM, Jackie said:

We judged readiness more by the ability to sit still for the length of the test, not have any real chance of disrupting other test takers around her, and wanting to sit the test. My daughter did not get a particularly good score, nothing like what Not A Number’s kid is aiming for. She loved taking the test, was happy even about problems she didn’t know how to solve as they meant she would learn that someday. She was disappointed with her score, as her practice tests at home were coming in several points higher, but it didn’t deter her from wanting to take it again.

Jackie's daughter and my son are the same. They enjoy math competitions not because they get particularly good scores, but because they like doing the math. Sacha started the AMC 8 when he was in 5th grade. He never practices for any of these competitions, and his scores obviously reflect that fact. 🙃

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 8/24/2021 at 3:18 PM, SeaConquest said:

Jackie's daughter and my son are the same. They enjoy math competitions not because they get particularly good scores, but because they like doing the math. Sacha started the AMC 8 when he was in 5th grade. He never practices for any of these competitions, and his scores obviously reflect that fact. 🙃

We’ve always done the problems, but I figure if we’re actually going to do the contest, we may as well try to score well. Otherwise, I’d probably just stick to doing old contests on our own time.

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