kitchen table math, the sequel: the homeschool advantage

Thursday, April 8, 2010

the homeschool advantage

from Terri W --
I have to ask myself: if [a good private school] was available in my area, would we choose to send our kids there instead of homeschooling?

My husband and I have had a few interesting conversations about this sort of thing -- since we homeschool for academic, rather than religious or social, reasons -- we have to put our money where our mouth is, so to speak. We need to provide a better education than what is available "out there" -- and the proof will be in the pudding to see if our gamble paid off.

Or maybe this is on my mind because my oldest has her yearly standardized test this afternoon. Heh. And she took it last year, so we'll have a delta to look at: just what did we learn last year, in our first "official" year of schooling?


We currently use Peabody. It's an oral test, the licensed test-taker comes to the house and it takes about an hour or so. I think it is structured like those new-fangled computerized tests where what your next question is depends on how you responded to your last question. We did it last year, as well, and seems to be a particularly good fit for younger kids.


OK, you'll just have to indulge me for a moment, because, hey, I'm a mom. I get to brag a little. We got our Peabody results.

Our traditional method-taught Kindergartener's grade equivalence:

Reading Recognition: 5th grade, 6th month
Reading Comprehension: 8th grade, 1st month**
Math: 4th grade, 0th month
Spelling: 4th grade, 2nd month

** She said possibly even higher. A. was starting to get bored and fidgety as they kept going and going and didn't want to answer any more questions.

So, THANK YOU Singapore math and Math-U-See combo, and THANK YOU traditional phonics!


ktm: How old is your daughter?

She's six.

I don't have her exact grades from last year in front of me, but from memory, she went up almost 2 years in Reading Recognition, 3 years in Reading Comprehension, 2 years in Math and almost 4 years in Spelling. Also, I didn't mention "General Knowledge" above, it's supposed to be an amalgam of Science, Soc. Studies, etc -- she went up 3 years in that, to 4th grade, 9th month. (And a "Thank you!" shout out to Sonlight, which provided a good chunk of the general knowledge bump this year.)

Last year was our first "official" year of schooling so we had her tested at the beginning of the year to get a baseline to see how much she learned during that year.

Apparently, a whole heck of a lot.


And, again, I apologize for the prideful mom-puffery here, but ... well, you guys know how this is. The choices you make for your kids *are* a gamble -- and homeschooling is a big one.

As Andrew has said -- sending your kid to public school is the educational equivalent of "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM." So we're -- and especially me -- sticking our necks out here. And the stakes couldn't be higher -- our children's education! -- if we lose.

So high standardized test scores? Yeah, that's a huge deal to me.

And it's a big relief because it solidifies my husband's support for our choice. As the tester said to him, the school wouldn't have any idea what to do with A. if she was a Kindergartener this year. Well, any ideas that taught her academics, at least.


Catherine Johnson said...

If I had it to do over again....

Anonymous said...

You and me both, Catherine.

Wow, Terri!! That is fantastic. I guess you know you're on the right track.

Hey, you can brag here because we're fascinated with how you did it. Congratulations!


Anonymous said...

Okay, it's odd that I posted up above and it shows up at the post, but it doesn't show up in Recent comments. Hmmm.


TerriW said...

During the test, I left the room, but stayed close enough so I could listen in a little. Some of her wrong answers were as telling as her right answers.

When asked what material wood is made out of, she was quiet for a moment and then said, "Well, the Egyptians used papyrus... Oh! Bark and moss and leaves!"

Now, I know that was counted as a miss, but I'm glad to know that she remembered our field trip to the nature center in January ... where we made paper out of bark and moss and leaves. Heh.

TerriW said...

Oh, and it turns out that Peabody isn't adaptive, like I thought. But it's structured so you keep going, progressively and incrementally more difficult until they get three wrong.

I appreciate the support. Like I said, the stakes are just so high. I research as much as I can and throw a lot of spaghetti at the wall.

If you're curious, this a fuller run down of what we're using:

Math: Singapore 1a (almost completed) and Math-U-See Alpha. Supplement with Dreambox (online), Singapore's Rainbow Rock CD-ROM and Sonlight's Mathtacular dvd.

English: First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind and Queen Homeschool's Language Lessons for Little Ones. We're kind of beyond phonics at this point, so it's mostly grammar, narration, poetry memorization right now.

Writing: Nothing yet, except the aforementioned narration exercises. Like her mother before her, there are handwriting issues. Heh. We're slowly working on those. (Is my child the only one who even "Handwriting Without Tears" has brought to tears?)

Gravy: We've done Sonlight's Core K and are 15 weeks into Core 1. We did Winter Promise's Animals and their Worlds for science last year. We don't do any formal science except read a gazillion science non fiction books.

What we'll be doing in the near future: Queen Homeschool's spelling program. Real Science 4 Kids Pre-Level 1 for Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Prima Latina. Sentence Diagramming? You betcha. Do we already chant 1-12 skip counts? Every night before bed! (Even my 3yo almost has them memorized by now.)

Catherine Johnson said...

Hey, you can brag here because we're fascinated with how you did it.

That's for sure!

Anonymous said...

First Language Lessons was a favorite here. At the time, though, she hadn't written anything to follow it, which was a drag.

Terri, you must get the first volume of Story of the World if you haven't already. It's perfect for early grade school. I thought the workbook and maps were great, but even if I hadn't bought them, the library supplements all of the stories quite well, especially the myths.

Also, if you make a big timeline for the room or hall (or both!), the book really supports that idea of learning history from the beginning. Anyway, I hope I'm not telling you something you already know.

I think I learned more than my kids during that time.


Jean said...

SOTW--and homeschooling--has certainly taught me an awful lot! We are seeing similar results here. I don't want to brag either or anything, but I'm so grateful that we got the chance to do this and that so far it's gone reasonably well.

Allison said...

How did you find Peabody? I'm glad to see there was a way to establish a baseline. I'm in a similar state, trying to figure out how to tell how well my son is reading, and what level of books we're at now, and I can see wanting to know at the beginning of "official schooling" just how far ahead he is, to see where he's at. I can definitely see that I don't have a clue what other "average" grade knowledge is.

concernedCTparent said...

Wow! Fantastic results. Tracking the progress is a really solid idea. Certainly helps you get some sleep at night. You certainly should be celebrating. Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

Yup. Homeschooling can produce amazing results. Between K and 1st my son jumped 3 grade levels in reading, language, and math. Just recently he took a standardized math test for 6th graders (he was in the middle of Singapore 4A at the time) and his grade equivalent came back as 7.5.

Actually, I think that says more about average 7th graders than it does about my 2nd grade son.

LexAequitas said...

"I apologize for the prideful mom-puffery "

It's deserved prideful mom-puffery.

Catherine Johnson said...

Everyone - definitely tell us your results!


This isn't bragging, it's DATA!

Jean said...

Oh. OK, maybe you want to conduct a poll of your homeschooling readers, or ask questions, or something? Like, if we all tell how we did reading and where our various kids are now, would that be good? :)

Catherine Johnson said...

We do need a poll --- definitely, tell us how your kids did in reading --- where they are now --- great question!

Anonymous said...

"...definitely, tell us how your kids did in reading..."

I'm willing to participate, but don't quite know what we are looking for. I've got one kid, who is nine and has always been homeschooled. But he has never taken a standardized test (not required in California).

So ... I look at something like this:

    Reading Recognition: 5.6
    Reading Comprehension: 8.1
    Math: 4.0
    Spelling: 4.2

and don't really know how to map what we are doing to the scores above.

As an example ... I think of 8th grade reading comprehension as being able to read and understand something about the level of a Sherlock Holmes short story. But is this what the score above for Reading Comprehension means? 4th grade math has the same problem ... adding and subtracting mixed fractions? Two part word problems? What?

So ... can those of us who are homeschooling and are willing to respond have some guidance, please?

-Mark Roulo

Crimson Wife said...

Mark- at least on the standardized tests that my DD has taken (Scantron and Iowa Test of Basic Skills), the grade-level equivalencies are not a measure of where the student is in the curriculum. My DD started 2nd grade last fall scoring at 8.9 GLE in reading on the Scantron. What that means is that the average student in the 9th month of 8th grade would be expected to score the same on the 2nd grade reading test my DD took.

If I had given her an 8th grade reading test, would she have scored in the 50th percentile? I doubt it. And if she HAD, I would find that pretty depressing since I don't think she's actually reading at an 8th grade level.

She took the 3rd grade ITBS last month & I'm still waiting on the results. From my informal scoring, she got 97% of the test items correct on the vocabulary section, 94% correct on word analysis, and 81% correct on reading comprehension. Where she ran into difficulty on the latter section was on questions where she had to make inferences from what she read. She's still very literal and hasn't yet learned to "read between the lines". I'm not worried about it at this point because she's only 7 1/2.

Crimson Wife said...

I forgot to mention that I also had her work through the released test questions from the 2nd grade STAR (CA state standardized test). She got 98% of those correct. And again, the ones she missed were making inferences.

Anonymous said...

"What that means is that the average student in the 9th month of 8th grade would be expected to score the same on the 2nd grade reading test my DD took."

Thank you.

This makes interpreting the test score quite clear ... and I have absolutely no idea how to contribute, now, since I don't have test scores and have no idea how to map what we are doing to them :-)

-Mark Roulo

Anonymous said...

"What that means is that the average student in the 9th month of 8th grade would be expected to score the same on the 2nd grade reading test my DD took."

Thanks. I had (obviously) been interpreting the results incorrectly.

Without test scores for my own child, however, I don't have any idea how to contribute ... :-)

-Mark Roulo

[P.S. Kinda repost ... my earlier response seems to have been lost]

Jean said...

OK. I have two girls and I've used pretty much the same materials with each, and I've always read aloud to them.

Daughter #1: We started when she turned 5, with Phonics Pathways--a page or two a day, and the easiest Bob books. We didn't get halfway through the book before she just took off reading. I had to force her to finish the phonics book, but I didn't want her to just be really good at guessing words. She read all the Magic Tree House books and went from there. By the end of K she was reading at about a 7th grade level (I looked up the Lexile levels of a couple of her books). She is now 9.5, finishing 4th grade, and can read anything in the children's room; at the beginning of this year we joined a charter (we had been independent before) and she took a Scantron assessment test. The results were "She actually tested out of the system's levels in reading (it only goes up to 9.9), with a lexile range of 990-1105 which is 11th/12th grade level. She also tested at the 9th grade level for Language Arts."

Now quite honestly I did not have a whole lot to do with this, besides teaching her some phonics. I'm a bookworm in a family of bookworms, and she is just like that.

Her challenge right now is in slowing down for comprehension. She is used to gulping her books, and when we started SOTW 4 this year--which is quite dense and not quick to read--she was having trouble retaining the information because she didn't realize that you don't always have to read at top speed. So we have been practicing slowing down and making sure of comprehension; I'm considering having her do a series of lessons on reading non-fiction this summer.

Daughter #2 was not as quick to pick up on reading. We started when she turned 5 with Phonics Pathways and she did well, but did not zoom ahead like her sister. I still have to remind her to sound words out as she is inclined to guess. After PP we moved to reading aloud every day--she started with easy readers and then Nate the Great. She is picky about what she will read and likes to stick to one or two series at a time.

She just turned 7 (last week) and is finishing 1st grade. She is a good reader--our charter teacher says about 4th grade--but is hesitant to read much that is unfamiliar. I still have her read 2 chapters to me every day, to make sure she's progressing well. She likes that and often wants to read aloud to her dad in the evenings. For her, finding books that she is interested in is very important.

Don't think I'm down on her because she didn't do the zoomy thing like her sister--I'm not! And I only compare them like this for you folks, not for them. They do not know about reading levels or anything like that; I hate that stuff and am convinced that for the majority of kids, reading programs like Accelerated Reader etc. are counterproductive and wrong. I'm a librarian, and can't even tell you how often a family has come in with a list the child must choose from--the interesting titles are checked out, that neat book right there on the shelf isn't on the list, and he can't read it because he has to find and read the required book first and take a test on it. Blech.

Catherine Johnson said...

can those of us who are homeschooling and are willing to respond have some guidance, please?

Tell us all!

(I don't mean that as a joke --- !)

This is the kind of anecdotal evidence we need to get out there.

Plural of anecdote is data!

Catherine Johnson said...

Mark (& others) - if you're not using standardized tests, then tell us what books your child(ren) are reading, where they are in curricula - anything at all---

Nicksmama said...

My own formal education ended at Community College. However, I have been able to successfully teach
my two (6th grade and 7th grade) children to read, write a decent paragraph, identify the 8 parts of speech, outline a chapter in a textbook, add, subtract, multiply, divide, manipulate fractions, decimals, percentages,
solve complex word problems, write algebraic expressions, etc. I don't hand out grades, I teach to mastery. We move at our own pace. So far, so good.

Phonic Pathways and Explode the Code (and lots of patience)
A few false starts and then MegaWords
First Language Lessons (loved the memorization)
Rod & Staff English (3rd - 5th)
Analytical Grammar (6+)
Rod & Staff (3-5)
Paragraph Writing Made Easy
Singapore Math (Early Bird to 6B)
Keys to Fractions (During SM 4A & B)
ChalkDust/Dana Mosely Lectures and Larson Algebra Texts
Many resources, lots of living books,
Exploration Education (CD-Rom, text and experiments)
Prentice Hall Science Explorer
Story of the World (Susan Wise Bauer)
Books 1 through 4
Activity Guides and CDs
Historic Fiction and Biographies

Laura said...

My DD scored on average a year above grade level on the ITBS while she was in private school - until 4th grade - when she dropped to below her grade in reading and social studies and to her grade in everything else. One of many reasons we pulled her out half way through the year.

Except for a brief stint at a charter school in 5th grade, we've homeschooled. Her last ITBS (5th grade, which I gave to her rather late - about 18 months after her 4th grade test) she scored MUCH better!

Reading Comp. and Social Studies were still her weak points but she moved up to 60% in both... She went from a Reading Total GE of 4.3 to 7.1 in that time. Her Math Total GE score also went up a lot - from 4.6 to 7.6.

I can say the same for almost every subject - even ones we didn't really spend a lot of time covering. My DD is in 6th grade now, and we'll be giving another ITBS test in summer. I'm sure there will be more gains this year, especially in Reading.

Anonymous said...

CrimsonWife said: ...the grade-level equivalencies are not a measure of where the student is in the curriculum. My DD started 2nd grade last fall scoring at 8.9 GLE in reading on the Scantron. What that means is that the average student in the 9th month of 8th grade would be expected to score the same on the 2nd grade reading test my DD took.

My son took the ITBS (one year ahead of level) and the Woodcock Johnson III at practically the same time last spring. The WJ-III is considered the "gold standard" of achievement testing as the student is tested until he misses a certain number of questions in a row and it goes up to adult level. What is interesting is that his reading score on the ITBS (GE 5.1) is similar to the reading score on the WJ-III (GE 5.5) and reflected his reading level in real life quite well. Math was similar with an ITBS GE of 4.8 and a WJ-III of 5.1. Since he had just finished Singapore 2A, I'm not sure what to make of that score. So I guess that my point is that even high GE scores can be accurate.

Anonymous said...

If you're looking for homeschool success stories, my 13yo son probably qualifies as a poster child in that regard.

We began homeschooling him in 2nd grade after he learned *nothing* in 1st grade. He could not count to 10 reliably and could barely sound out CVC words at the end of 1st. When we had him tested for learning disabilities three months into 2nd grade, his achievement and his IQ were the same, right around the 50th percentile. What this means is that in three months of homeschooling his achievement went from what must have been a kindergarten level to average for a beginning 2nd grader.

Fast forward to the end of last year, 7th grade, after homeschooling him for six years. His IQ was retested and found to be at the 99th+ percentile. His ITBS scores were at the 99th percentile in reading and math (and in most other areas as well), with the GEs for everything except spelling at the 13+ level.

This kid has dyslexia, ADHD, and various sensory processing issues, and learning has been a major struggle for him, but with homeschooling he was able to run with his strengths (math and science) while working on his weaknesses (reading and writing). So now as an eighth grader he is taking algebra II, high school chemistry, 9th grade english, and using a college level geography text. He wants to go to MIT and eventually become an engineer.

He would never have come this far in the local public school. I truly believe that if we had just left his education up to them he would be struggling in special ed classes now. There was no moment where maturity kicked in and everything magically "clicked" for him. It just took a lot of hard work, one-on-one, every day for seven years.

Anonymous said...

Why not use a standards-based test, like the Stanford 10? Is that not available to home schoolers? (Does it matter what state you're in?)

A standards based test would get "average grade " questions. you'd know exactly what the standard is.

concernedCTparent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
concernedCTparent said...

Stanford 10 is available to homeschoolers through BJU Press as is ITBS. As a homeschooler, it's not difficult to administer either yourself or you may choose to have you child attend a group administration of the test.

Allison said...

My earlier post was unclear (between broken Blogger and my broken dell, too many words are missing from my sentences.)

A standards based test would get past these issues, like a comparison to "average grade".

Has anyone here used the Stanford 10, or any other test that is also standards based?

My understanding is that ITBS is not; rather it gives percentile scores and these computed averages. Am I wrong?

Jean said...

Homeschoolers don't necessarily care about the standards, or the tests. Some do. But while it was interesting to have a number for my kid's reading level, I already knew that she was an excellent reader and could have made a good guess at her level. I would not have given her a reading test if the charter school hadn't wanted to for their own purposes. I probably would have gotten around to some sort of testing in 5th grade, but not because I was worried about her reading or her progress.

Nor do I care about 4th-grade science standards or whatever. I have my own plan for science (and history, and LA) which I think is better suited to us. (4th grade was physics! Only my unit of simple machines has been hijacked by the microscope we just got, so I'll have to put the wedge and screw off till next week.)

Crimson Wife said...

My understanding is that a parent can't administer the Stanford to his/her own children unless he/she also administers the test to at least 2 non-related children. That's why most homeschoolers choose the ITBS or the CAT over the Stanford.

Anonymous said...

"Mark (& others) - if you're not using standardized tests, then tell
us what books your child(ren) are reading, where they are in curricula
- anything at all---"

Hmmm ... I'll try. So ... child is a 9¼ year old boy.

We treat these together, but track separately. What I mean by
this is that literature is read for its own sake, but I do
track the reading difficulty of the texts he reads as part of
his schooling. The idea is to provide fairly constant low-grade
pressure to read slightly harder things. With the exception of
a few days playing with a McGuffey's Reader, we have never used
a "real" reading textbook.

For reading difficulty, we track the following:
  a) Average Sentence Length (in general, longer is harder)
  b) Difficulty of Vocabulary (in general, rarer words are harder)
  c) Total words read (to build up stamina)

I use software called "Lex", developed by Dr. Hayes to track (a)
and (b), but also track Lexile because it doesn't require any data
entry by me. (c) I often estimate by counting a few pages worth
of words and generating a words/line estimate.

So ... some examples for Lex and Average Sentence Length, you can
go here:

Recent books that my child has read (to me) include:

  *) World Landmark Book #41: William the Conqueror
  *) Landmark Book #41: Buffalo Bill's Great Wild West Show
  *) Half Magic
  *) The Castle of Llyr (Taran series, book 3)
  *) The Hobbit
  *) D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths

We generally try to have one fiction and one non-fiction book going
at any given time.

Books that we've tried and are too tough for him include:
  *) Call of the Wild
  *) Treasure Island
  *) The Fellowship of the Ring


-Mark Roulo

Anonymous said...

(continuing ... I still have a 9¼ year old)
We basically are (well, were ...) following Singapore Math.
Formally, we are somewhere in the 4B textbook, but I've diverged
a bit (or more than a bit). As an example, SM4 introduces (I think)
adding, subtracting and multiplying fractions, but not dividing. We've
done dividing. We've done more geometry than is in SM4. We've done
a bit less on gallons/pints/quarts. We're starting adding and
subtracting decimals, but not multiplying or dividing. I'm trying to
figure out how I want to approach this.

[We have done some work with exponents/powers (e.g. 10^4 = 10,000)
and this ties nicely with multiplying/dividing decimals].

He can add, subtract, multiply and divide whole numbers w/o a calculator, including carrying (or regrouping, if you like) and borrowing).

I have formally introduced number systems (Natural Number, Integers,
Rationals, Reals, Complex) with an explanation of why each one is
needed and how they build on each other. My child can reliably reproduce
the table ... he might even understand it a little.

We've done a fair amount on factoring ... he know what they are and how
to factor an integer (most of the time, at least).

Word problems are part of the normal curriculum ... but there are still
a whole lot of "forms" to cover to ensure no gaps.

Algebraic notation has been covered, and he can solve simple equations of
one variable (e.g. 5X + 3 = 77, X = ___). Usually.

I *think* we are on track to finish up everything needed to start Algebra by
the end of *next* school year (so ... July 2011) and then we can start Algebra
in fall of 2011.

Much of the next year will be lots of practice/review and finishing up loose ends.

-Mark R.

Anonymous said...

(more continuing)
I have a fairly large master history outline (here
and the basic idea is that by the time my child has finished high school, he will know most of it.

That is the basic idea. It might even happen.

For Kindergarten, he read (to us) all of the David Adler "A Picture Book of..." series we could find.
We were able to find most of them.

For 1st grade, he mostly read to us history books from Capstone Press's
Graphic History series. Disasters in History (1918 Pandemic, Shackleton and the Lost Antarctic Expedition, etc.),
Graphic Biographies (Benedict Arnold, Christopher Columbus, Amelia Earhart, Booker T. Washington, ...) and many others.

For 2nd grade, he spent the year reading to us a 10 volume US History series (about 15,000 words/volume, I think so
only 150K words total).

This year we were *supposed* to be reading Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of the Universe series, but it
went poorly (tougher than I expected to read), so we're reading more Landmark books and we'll try the Gonick
books next school year.

For history, we also watch a fair amount of videos. I've been quite happy with:

  *) Engineering an Empire (series)
  *) Battlefield Britain (series)
  *) The World at War


  *) old Captain Z-Ro episodes!

Additionally, we cunningly leave out interesting books on history (other subjects, too) that he
often reads on his own, not realizing that this is part of our plot.

-Mark Roulo

Anonymous said...


For now, science is pretty much catch-as-catch can.

He takes a 1-hour/week class called "Rocket Science," but this is still
mostly doing interesting sciency stuff, but without a lot of theory.

We watch videos. I *love* the old Bell Telephone science series with
"Unchained Goddess", "Hemo the Magnificent", "The Strange Case of the
Cosmic Rays" and the others. So does my son. We also have some
astronomy videos (although I found Cosmos amazingly unwatchable).
The "Chased by Dinosaurs" series is super-excellent.

My primary goal at this point is that he not be turned off of science
by forcing him to memorize the parts of a flower.

-Mark Roulo

Anonymous said...


We're working through the continents/countries/rivers/mountains/etc
of the world and the US that appear to matter. And a bunch that don't.
Eventually, we'll dive deeper, but I have to figure out what that means.
Memorizing the three principle exports of Zaire (now Republic of the Congo)
doesn't seem to serve much of a point.

-Mark Roulo

Anonymous said...


Better than it was. Still needs work. Haven't found a curriculum we like.

-Mark Roulo

Foreign Language
We had a plan. Right now we are punting this ... maybe try again next school year.

Physical Education
California requires 200 minutes of PE every two weeks. My child takes 180 minutes of Tae Kwan Do every two weeks and we usually have something else going (Little League, fencing, whatever). I don't worry about it.

-Mark Roulo

concernedCTparent said...

Crimson Wife is right. Stanford 10 is a little trickier for homeschoolers to administer. It can be done, but it requires a little more planning and you can only administer it to your own children if you offer it to non-siblings at the same time. That would explain why I mostly hear that homeschoolers use ITBS. The CAT is not supposed to be a very good test, is it? I've heard negative things about it.

Anonymous said...

@Mark Roulo:

You wrote: "For 2nd grade, he spent the year reading to us a 10 volume US History series (about 15,000 words/volume, I think so only 150K words total)."

Can you identify this series?

We've read a bit of "A History of Us" by Joy Hakim. I was just curious if this is the series you are referring to.


concernedCTparent said...

A History of US was my guess too. BTW- the History Channel is going to have 6-2 hour installments of the series America: A History of US based on the Joy Hakim books beginning April 25th.

Anonymous said...

The US history series we used was "The Golden Book History of the United States"

This page has some information on it. I can't find a good description anywhere.

I remember looking at the Joy Hakim books a while back and not being very impressed. But I don't remember why. In any event, her stuff is not on our "to read" list.

-Mark Roulo

TerriW said...

Mark: I found that series at a garage sale last year, and we're going to be using it next year. What did you think of it?

I also found one called the Pictorial Encyclopedia of American History which is somewhat similar and is 17 volumes that seems to skew just a little younger. It only goes up to 1967, but that's plenty far for our purposes. Heh.

They both look great. I really love these old history resources, and you can often find them for a song at garage sales and thrift shops, if you're lucky.

bky said...

Regarding the Joy Hakim series on American History: I have not seen it, but I have used several of the books from the same publisher (Oxford University Press) which were ancient history for kids. I think the series is "The Ancient World" and they have books on Greece, South Asia, Mesopotamia, and so on. They are disappointing but not terrible. Here is the shtick. Each book has 2 authors, one a historian, and the other a children's book writer. They want to avoid a straightforward chronological history; instead, they want everything to be narrative. Thus in discussing a Chinese dynasty, they start with a story about someone who got into trouble with a warlord, and the next thing you know they have discussed the beginning of a dynasty. However, this fact might not be clear to every reader. It can be difficult to correlate what these books present with other history books. This same insistence that everything be a narrative also infests newspaper writing. Thus, if the local Whatever Center had its budget cut at the recent city council meeting, the newspaper will say "Sheila Johnson stared at her choices of Whatever and wondered what she would do next week ...." Later in the story, Sheila Johnson is never mentioned, since she is really irrelevant to the council's actions. Anyway, these OUP press books take a similar tack. When we study Greeks and Romans to finish up the year I will check them out to see if there is anything useable, but my experience with the series so far tells me not to expect to rely on them very much. My guess is that the Joy Hakim books might be similar since they are from the same publisher.

TerriW said...

Oh, you know, now that I've pulled out both sets to look again, it's the Pictorial series we were going to use next year, and the Golden Books one for the next go-through a few years later -- that one does look like it skews a few years older.

Anonymous said...

I have the Golden Book history of the Civil War. What a fabulous book.

It seems that these books were written at different times, and not always published under the Golden Book heading, so sometimes you can find the same book by searching for that author, too.

Anonymous said...

"Mark: I found that series at a garage sale last year, and we're going to be using it next year. What did you think of it?"

I was pretty happy with it. The only real thing to keep in mind is that it stops around the early-1960s ... because it was published around then. So, no Vietnam War, or anything after it (including landing on the moon).

It *is* incomplete, as any 150K word text has to be. I don't remember it having anything on the Granger Movement, for example. Still, I thought the general choice of things to cover was pretty good and I figure we'll just cover the missed stuff later. I think this is probably what I'd conclude for *any* history book/series with only 150K words.

-Mark Roulo

Jo Anne C said...

"My understanding is that a parent can't administer the Stanford to his/her own children unless he/she also administers the test to at least 2 non-related children."

I spoke with the Bob Jones University Press folks today, and according to the representative the requirements for the Stanford-10 have been changed this year. She indicated that it is no longer a requirement that the exam be administered to the additional 2 non related students.

Thanks ConcerndCTparent for the BJU link. I have been trying to acquire Stanford-10 testing for my son for some time now.

Once again, another problem solved thanks to the KTM brain trust!

Catherine Johnson said...

wow - what a thread!

I have to get ALL of these up front -- maybe I'll start by posting a link on the sidebar...

Jo Anne C said...

The K-12 on line school uses the Joy Hakim History of U.S. Vol 1-5 for 5th grade in CA. My son loved this series. I was pleased with the content, though I am no history expert. N enjoyed Hakim's writing style so much that he asked me if we could buy the rest of the volumes 6-10. (6-10 are used for 7th grade in CA)

I am very impressed with the series based on my son's request. I'm not familiar with any children who have asked their parents to buy school textbooks for their reading pleasure, and I certainly wouldn't place N in this category either! My son is now a big fan of History, primarily due to Hakim's work.

N indicates that he is now learning what has transpired historically rather than mere social studies that don't provide the whole picture.

rocky said...

We're starting adding and subtracting decimals, but not multiplying or dividing. I'm trying to figure out how I want to approach this.

Mark: say you want to multiply .125 by 1.6 (1/8 * 8/5).

.125 * 1.6
= (.125 * 1000) * (1.6 * 10) / (10,000)
= (125 * 16) / 10,000
= 2000 / 10,000
= .2

In practice, this means adding up all the decimal places in the question, multiplying whole numbers, and then moving the decimal place of the answer.

That's how I would explain it. Blessings.

Anonymous said...

"That's how I would explain it. Blessings."

I do not want to teach the "count the decimal places and shift" approach. This is what I was taught, and it works, but I feel that it leaves a very large conceptual "hole." I haven't taught my child to "invert-and-multiply," either, for the same reason.

What I'm thinking about doing is something like this:

0.125 × 1.6 =
(0.125 × 1000/1000) × (1.6 × 10/10) =

The same basic approach you have shown, but with the "multiply-by-one" identities more clear. It is the bit about moving the denominators our that isn't so clear. It is legal, but I haven't taught him that yet. I probably should do that first.

More, if we are going to do this, it might make more sense to do this:

0.125 × 1.6 =
(0.125 × 10^4 × 10^-4) × (1.6 × 10^1 × 10^-1) =

This is the dilemma :-)

One nice thing about using the powers-of-ten is that we only have multiplying to start with, and he knows that order doesn't matter for that. Additionally, the "count" for moving the decimal shows up explicitly.

But I'm still thinking it over.

Mark Roulo

TerriW said...

Maria Miller, the author of the nice math curriculum Math Mammoth has a series of math instruction/explanation videos up on her site, Homeschool Math Blog.

Here is her video on dividing decimals by decimals.

kcab said...

One nice thing about using the powers-of-ten is that we only have multiplying to start with, and he knows that order doesn't matter for that. Additionally, the "count" for moving the decimal shows up explicitly.

I believe Life of Fred uses a method very similar to this, Mark. Essentially, uses multiplying decimals by powers of 10 to get to whole numbers, whole number multiplication, then apply the inverse of the multiplication that was required to get to whole numbers. Concepts of inverse functions and multiplying and dividing by powers of 10 are covered before reaching decimal multiplication. I thought it was a sensible approach.

Anonymous said...

"I believe Life of Fred uses a method very similar to this, Mark."

I will know, soon (I hope) as I've ordered one of the Life of Fred books :-)

Thanks for the links, TerriW. I'll try to get around to looking at them.

Mark Roulo

rocky said...

Mark: Or you could just give him a calculator and tell him to multiply .3x5, .4x.7, 4x.12, .6x.12, etc. until he discovers the rule of adding decimal places.


Anonymous said...

"Or you could just give him a calculator and tell him to multiply .3x5, .4x.7, 4x.12, .6x.12, etc. until he discovers the rule of adding decimal places.


My fear is that he would discover that the rule is that you punch the buttons on the calculator :-)

-Mark R.