Jan 19 2007

Katie’s Fall Report Card

Tag:Tag , , , Cyn @ 22:21

We got Katie’s report card in, and she did in fact get all As!

She’s well in to the next semes­ter now. Because every­body else was reg­is­tered for this year last spring, the advanced physics course was full and she’s in the “nor­mal” physics course. She is crazy bored. I mean, this is seri­ously the first time I’ve won­dered if she’ll get in trou­ble because she’s so bored! Her teacher has never taught before this semes­ter, and isn’t doing a good job of man­ag­ing the class to start with, so respond­ing to the needs of faster stu­dents seems to be absolutely out of the ques­tion. So far they’re just review­ing the sim­plest alge­bra needed to even begin talk­ing about physics!

It’s things like the physics class that make me want to snatch her right back home.

On the other hand, her art and world his­tory classes are won­der­ful, and they’re beyond what I could do for her. She’s get­ting a bet­ter ground­ing than I could ever give her in geom­e­try, as well—because, frankly, I detested that class and got an A in it by the grace of a dirty old man called “Coach.” (And he and teach­ers like him were among the rea­sons I wanted to home­school! Not that any­body ever had to do any­thing with that par­tic­u­lar one but lean over his desk the right way, thankfully.)

So she has Very Bad Things to say about physics each day, but is oth­er­wise happy. I expect that her grades will be every bit as good this semester.


Jan 02 2007

Katie, Me and Schools

Tag:Tag , , , , , Cyn @ 15:36

Well, we’re wait­ing for Katie’s final grades for fall semes­ter while enjoy­ing win­ter break for both of us. We had Sam home for the first half of our breaks with us, but unfor­tu­nately work­ing for a school isn’t quite as lux­u­ri­ous as being a student.

Katie has had mostly As in her progress reports across the term, so I expect that should be what we see on her report card. We’re work­ing on an alge­bra refresher/wrap-up here at home, as she’ll be going into geom­e­try at school when she goes back next week. I don’t hon­estly recall using a great deal of alge­bra in geom­e­try, do you? Of course, I absolutely loathed geom­e­try and never “got it” to any real extent. This doesn’t bode well for home­work help this semester.

She has truly loved her art class. While she has had more access to art sup­plies at home than I ever had in school or out­side it, and I’ve taken her to a fair num­ber of muse­ums and tried to give her some ground­ing in art his­tory, I’m no artist. She’s learned more in that one art class than I could have ever taught her, and she’s hun­gry for more. So hun­gry! I should have given her access to art classes ear­lier, obvi­ously — but hind­sight is 20/20. She wants to take sum­mer school classes this year, and I’m even more in favor of it if it means she can con­tinue her pur­suit of art.

I’ve already got­ten my grades. The fan­tas­tic sup­port I’ve got­ten from Sam and Katie made it pos­si­ble for me to get As in both of my courses for the first half of fall semes­ter. The sec­ond half of fall semes­ter (Devry does things oddly) starts on 8 Jan­u­ary. I’m tak­ing all my courses online again, as that works bet­ter for the fam­ily and my ridicu­lous body.

Oh, I nearly for­got! We got the results back from Katie’s first PSAT. She didn’t do so great in the math, which isn’t sur­pris­ing, not hav­ing had any geom­e­try yet. She didn’t do too badly on it either—84th per­centile, some­thing like that, as I recall. She ran out of time on that sec­tion. She was in the mid to upper 90s on every­thing else. We were a bit con­cerned, because the coun­selor at the high school couldn’t be arsed to get Katie’s accom­mo­da­tions in place in time for the test, but obvi­ously it turned out quite well any­way. The accom­mo­da­tions will be in place and she will have passed geom­e­try before she takes it “for real” next fall, when it counts as the National Merit Schol­ar­ship Qual­i­fy­ing Test.

Well, back to “stor­ing up” sleep and tak­ing pic­tures of every­thing, most espe­cially spoiled lit­tle Kiyoshi the solar-powered cat. I miss spend­ing this much time with Katie on a daily basis. It was much nicer, but she does love her school. She is obvi­ously ener­gized by the aca­d­e­mic dis­course, even by dis­agree­ing with an annoy­ing teacher. She was ready to try out her wings, and we had a good school nearby where she could do so. I’m glad we could go back to home­school­ing if we chose to or needed to do so, but I’m glad the fledgling’s flight is going so well, too.


Nov 12 2006

Grades for the girl

Tag:Tag , , Cyn @ 12:04

I haven’t men­tioned how Katie is doing in a while. While there have been some adjust­ment issues switch­ing over to “school” from home­school­ing, she’s got all As. The “life by the bell” thing has been a nui­sance, and she and one of her teach­ers just do not com­mu­ni­cate on the same wave­length, but she’s deal­ing with it. She adores her art class, some­thing I’m def­i­nitely not equipped to teach at all.

Two of her three aca­d­e­mic classes are advanced, and the third would be but was already over­crowded when we reg­is­tered her for classes. So much for hav­ing trou­ble going into high school as a homeschooler.

The sched­ule isn’t easy on her body or the fam­ily, but again, she’s deal­ing. She does have increased fibromyal­gia symp­toms as a result, and has had to add a daily nap to her sched­ule after school.

One of the most dif­fi­cult issues is hav­ing cer­tain lines of dis­cus­sion “off lim­its.” That’s just too weird, after years of being encour­aged to fol­low her inter­ests and inquiries wher­ever they lead. While she’s attend­ing a rel­a­tively lib­eral school, the fact that it is a school means that there are con­straints on sub­ject matter.

Her lit­er­a­ture teacher referred to chastity belts as a medieval urban leg­end ear­lier in the year, and when she started explain­ing just how very wrong he was, he slammed the dis­cus­sion to a close. If the man is going to be so sloppy with his facts, he shouldn’t be sur­prised when he encoun­ters disagreement!

Sam and I met some­one yes­ter­day who said, “Advanced classes are how we seg­re­gate these days.” I pointed out that they cer­tainly aren’t new, as my own class of 1984 was tracked into advanced, reg­u­lar, and reme­dial (although the last two weren’t called that, pre­cisely) tracks, too. I found it an inter­est­ing state­ment, but we were in the mid­dle of Charis Books and dis­cussing many things, and didn’t get to pur­sue that one as far as I’d hoped. What do you think of it?


Nov 05 2006

The “S” Word

Tag:Tag , Cyn @ 16:19

I just wanted to post a link to an inter­est­ing but very basic arti­cle about social­iza­tion, since it con­tin­ues to be some­thing idiots bring up regard­ing homeschooling.


Oct 29 2006

Will we regret homeschooling later?

Tag:Tag Cyn @ 22:01

I don’t think so, hon­estly. And, if she’s any­thing like those who par­tic­i­pated in a recent sur­vey, I don’t think Katie will, either.

…accord­ing to “Home­school­ing Grows Up,” a research study on adults who were home­schooled, 74 per­cent of those who were home­schooled are cur­rently home­school­ing their own children.…The “Home­school­ing Grows Up” sur­vey said that out of the more than 5,000 sur­veyed, 95 per­cent say they are glad they were home­schooled and 92 per­cent say hav­ing been home­schooled is an advan­tage to them as adults.

From Are home­school­ers pre­pared for the real world?


Sep 17 2006

Learning by Doing

An awe­some arti­cle by Seed mag­a­zine (my cur­rent favorite mag­a­zine!) about learn­ing by doing. Appar­ently that’s how we learn best. When we learn by doing, we retain the infor­ma­tion we’ve learned much bet­ter than if it’s pre­sented to us in an abstract way.

How We Know: What do an alge­bra teacher, Toy­ota and a clas­si­cal musi­cian have in common?


Sep 13 2006

The Myth About Homework

Tag:Tag , Cyn @ 16:28

As the days go by, Katie’s time gets more and more pre­cious. I’m not the only one who is miss­ing lazy days of cud­dling up to do our lessons together at our own pace, doing as much as is needed and no more, then going on to Girl Scouts or dance or friends.

Every night, every week­end is full of more and more home­work. Some of it is very obvi­ously work for the sake of assign­ing home­work. She has four classes, and only two of the teach­ers assign home­work. I can’t begin to imag­ine when she’d sleep if she were tak­ing four “seri­ous” courses, but we’ll know next semes­ter, when she adds a third one.

So this arti­cle really hit home. It’s some­thing we railed about when Sam’s chil­dren lived with us, and now it’s an issue for our fam­ily again.

Think hours of slog­ging are help­ing your child make the grade? Think again

Too much home­work brings dimin­ish­ing returns. Cooper’s analy­sis of dozens of stud­ies found that kids who do some home­work in mid­dle and high school score some­what bet­ter on stan­dard­ized tests, but doing more than 60 to 90 min. a night in mid­dle school and more than 2 hr. in high school is asso­ci­ated with, gulp, lower scores.

I sup­pose it’s time to start cam­paign­ing, which means first get­ting involved in other ways. You can’t walk in with a com­plaint and expect to be heard very well if you haven’t already estab­lished your­self as a pos­i­tive asset.


Sep 04 2006

Quote of the day, happy half hour

We worry about what a child will be tomor­row, yet we for­get that he is some­one today.” — Sta­cia Tauscher, quoted in The Change Your Life Chal­lenge by Brooke Noel.

One of Noel’s sug­ges­tions is to have a reg­u­lar “happy half hour” with your fam­ily. Set up fresh fruit or other health snacks, pour cups of juice or some sort of drinks they like, and set apart that time for every­one, kids and adults, to con­nect in a pos­i­tive way. No “must do” talk, no down­ers, no com­plain­ing — just good stuff. Encour­age each other, express your grat­i­tude for each other and the good things in your lives, share your joys, and catch up with each other.

Home­school­ing fam­i­lies sel­dom need that as much as some oth­ers do, but it can’t hurt, can it? There’s never a bad time to share some hap­pi­ness with our families.


Aug 29 2006

Katie and high school

Tag:Tag , , , Cyn @ 11:26

Katie is absolutely lov­ing school.

Well, she loves the social aspect, and the chal­lenge of inter­act­ing with new instruc­tors. She isn’t happy about liv­ing by a bell, and of course all of us are adjust­ing to liv­ing on the school’s timetable in general.

At the end of the very first day, she called and asked if she could go hang out with her new friends at a nearby cof­fee shop. That’s my girl, the extro­vert. She’d already made friends and con­tin­ues to do so. So much for any wor­ries (which we didn’t have) about her social skills.

She’s doing well aca­d­e­m­i­cally, too. We talk about her school work and she asks for input at times, so I know what she’s doing. It isn’t nearly the same as the level of involve­ment required for home­school­ing, but it’s something.

She isn’t accus­tomed to the adver­sar­ial rela­tion­ship some teach­ers and staff mem­bers auto­mat­i­cally assume towards stu­dents, and it isn’t some­thing I ever want her to accept as right or nor­mal. Expected at this level, maybe. But not right.

I’m still hav­ing some “empty nest” feel­ings, but see­ing her thrive cer­tainly helps deal with them. Home­school­ing was def­i­nitely the right thing for us for the past few years, and did pre­pare her well for high school. We have no regrets at all there!


Aug 10 2006

Geography is colorful — and a whole lot more

National Geograhic is lead­ing the My Won­der­ful World cam­paign. There are sug­ges­tions for par­ents, kids, teens, and educators.

I wanna be a teen. I want to get a pass­port and a nifty lit­tle GPS unit and go geo­caching and explore the world and learn other languages.


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