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31  Products Marketplace / Product Discussions and Reviews / Re: Deal Alert- Giant Abacus Currently on Sale on: April 22, 2014, 04:24:05 PM
That is exactly what someone else pointed out to me and thinking on it, I probably agree. The first choice listed is probably better. But wow, is it impressive or what LOL?

And no, this one is not  a deal/on sale like the first one, I just added it to this thread for fun. smile
32  Products Marketplace / Product Discussions and Reviews / Re: Deal Alert- Giant Abacus Currently on Sale on: April 22, 2014, 02:50:53 PM
Wow! Check THIS out.

33  Products Marketplace / Product Discussions and Reviews / Re: Deal Alert- Giant Abacus Currently on Sale on: April 22, 2014, 02:14:14 PM
Yes, I do love that one! It's been a good investment and my only regret was not buying it sooner. If my kids were 1,2, or even 3 I would buy this big 100 bead one, too. But at 4 & 5 both kids use our smaller one without issue, so I cannot justify the cost even though it's SO beautiful! smile
34  EARLY LEARNING / Early Learning - General Discussions / Re: 5 Year Old EL'er Becomes the Youngest Pilot in the World, How did we miss this? on: April 22, 2014, 01:35:47 PM
I think toughness can better be taught through sports than through extreme situations like freezing your child out. Funnily enough, Amy Chua mentions making her daughter stand outside in the cold at age 4 or something ebcause she wouldn't obey. Her stubborn little girl toughed it out until Mom brought her back in for fear of being reported to the authorities. The kid won that round!

When I was training as a competitive gymnast as a child, we were instructed to keep our legs straight while practicing uneven bars. Every once in a while our coach would get fed up and tape tongue depressors to the backs of our knees. Inevitably, you would break one on accident and then you had splinters jamming into the backs of your knees if you bent your legs after that. You learned to keep your legs straight! One of my teammates could not attain the proper positioning of her back and our coach threatened that she would need to wear a corset. Sure enough, mom brought one in and she had to practice with a corset over her leotard for a while. When we would have to practice handstands on the balance beam (and not the easy way sideways, but rather the narrow way) and hold it for 60 seconds, Depending on when you fell off determined how much conditioning you had to do that round until you got up to try again. These things made us "tough" but I'm pretty sure some of it would never fly in this day and age. It's kind of nuts when I reflect on it, but that kind of pushing probably DID make us stronger, although we hated our coach for it. My kids whine way too much, but I don't see myself taking on these kinds of tactics anytime soon.

Regardless, by teaching toughness through sports you can come out of it with some skills versus standing out in the cold doesn't get you much but a lousy relationship with your dad. Just hire a mean coach! Wink ....kidding.

Tim, as a fellow former athlete did you endure a certain amount of grueling torture?

And I agree, I like his out of the box thinking on flying a plane. This kid will certainly have confidence, but he might hate his Dad. I don't think Dad really cares though as long as he reaches his goal of creating his own super-human.
35  Products Marketplace / Product Discussions and Reviews / Deal Alert- Giant Abacus Currently on Sale on: April 22, 2014, 01:22:48 PM
I wanted one of these when my kids were much younger but I couldn't justify the price. I just saw them on sale yesterday for $74 which is the cheapest you will find pretty much ever, and the shipping is reasonable. I have no idea how easily it does or doesn't come apart if you are inclined to repaint it into quadrants, but even as is, it's just an awesome tool that I wanted to pass along.

36  EARLY LEARNING / Early Learning - General Discussions / Re: We Can Do by Moshe Kai with guest Robert Levy discussing Saxon Math. on: April 08, 2014, 04:31:51 PM
In Chicago public schools they are usually dealing with extremely low income students. I am generalizing here, please forgive me for that, but I am going off what a teacher friend explained to me. The at-risk children (which is most of them in many areas) are constantly missing class, and when they do come to school they haven't had their basic needs met so they are not prepared to learn (good nutrition, sleep, hygiene/clean clothing, emotional support at home, abusive homes, single mom situations, etc). Basically they miss so much school that they just can't miss anymore or the parent will face criminal charges. So to avoid fines and jailtime, the child goes off to live with an aunt, friend, grandma, or mom moves in with new boyfriend, and so on and the cycle continues. Just totally unstable. So the teachers pretty much have to be on page 72 on a specific day to accommodate the kids playing musical schools.  They actually created a Chicago public school truancy task force to deal with excessive absences....something like 32000 kids missed over 4 weeks of schools in a year. And that's just K-8!

Anyway, some districts like Chicago have been doing this previously, just not in a national level. Does it help? Their schools are still really terrible....maybe doing things this way makes them slightly less horrific. I would imagine so.

In regards to standardized 25 district mandated standardized tests in a school year mellow   ....Now that's a lot of bubbles to fill in. No wonder they had no time to learn anything. They have since dropped down to 10.
After working with hundreds of parents, teachers, students, administrators and researchers over the past several months, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced today that she will streamline the amount of District-required standardized testing currently administered by CPS. The streamlining of assessments will mean the elimination of 15 District-mandated tests including elimination of fall standardized testing for all CPS grades. This school year, CPS will require 10 District-mandated standardized tests across all grades, a decrease from 25 District-mandated standardized tests last school year.
Beginning in February, the District hosted meetings with 17 focus groups made up of parents, teachers, principals and other education stakeholders, the majority of whom agreed that focusing too intensely on test preparation can crowd out the valuable learning time that is so critical to student success.
“As  a former teacher and principal, I heard loud and clear the concerns of our parents and educators that over-testing is not in the best interests of our children, thus I recognize the need to pursue a policy that increases valuable learning time,” said CEO Byrd-Bennett.
37  EARLY LEARNING / Early Learning - General Discussions / Re: We Can Do by Moshe Kai with guest Robert Levy discussing Saxon Math. on: April 08, 2014, 10:05:59 AM
Another reason parents oppose it is that teachers' bonuses or school bonuses may be based on the the scores, which creates a high pressure environment for teachers and administration. Then teachers spend the majority of their time "teaching to the test" in a very contrived fashion without the freedom to allow good teachers to teach in the manner they teach best. And people question the educational value or feeding kids answers to a test so they can regurgitate it for the sake of a score.

It would be like someone coming in your house and telling you that you needed to parent your child in a specific know you're a good parent and you're being asked to parent in a way that is not your natural style (be it authoritarian, authoritative, uninvolved, or permissive), or that this style might not be right for the child, and that they can learn better another way, but hey, rules are rules. So that's what you have to do. And instead of capturing teachable moments, you basically are required to follow the script and parent-by-number everyday....becoming a sub-optimal parent and creating sub-optimal children in the process who are having the same cookie cutter experience as every other "equalized" child across the nation.

From what I can tell it is similar for teachers. First, they must "follow the recipe" to teach to the test to get their individual and/or school bonuses, or just not get fired. It's enough to even encourage some teachers and administrators to go in and change the bubble answers after's happened more than once!  Then later, when enough schools are "following the recipe" to get their race to the top funding (which dribbles in like cocaine fixes for lab rats) these methods/curriculum/watered down educational approaches can be turned into law on a national level because there is so much buy in already and now the schools are depending on the money. It is no longer treated as bonus in their budget, they've come to expect it so they are going to do what they need to do to keep it rolling in. And like Robert Levy posted, if you think that "fighting" with your local school board is a nightmare, then try and "fight" a garbage curriculum on a national level. Forget it.

So the testing is just part of this big, ugly scheme to keep the hamster wheel turning. I don't know enough about it to fully debate it, but these are my initial impressions from what little I've read. Maybe I'm full of it. But nationalized education just allows SO MUCH control as to what kids are/are not exposed to. Call me a conspiracy theorist or whatever, but say over the next 20 years they water down education every couple of years a little more through textbook revisions....the population could be fed anything the "powers that be" want them to be fed. I am not saying the majority of people in positions of power are bad, but it would allow sooooo much room for abuse! Think about the agriculture industry, or the pharmaceutical industry, or government contracting....those deals are HUGE. There is some BIG MONEY involved. And when there's big money involved, there is almost always corruption. Introducing a bad math book on a national level because someone was offered a nice, fat check on the side or a new sports car could impact the outcome of an entire generation.

Now, I know there are bad teachers and maybe they need these kinds of regulations, but the effective teachers will have their hands tied behind their back....most likely cutting all the tall poppies in the process.
38  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child Math / Re: DreamBox Math Users - Red/White Abacus Available Here on: April 07, 2014, 03:01:22 PM
My kids have gotten "stuck" slightly as well, both about halfway through second grade and have been on break with it for a couple of weeks. So we are working more intensely on other math programs right now and then will come back to dream box in a month or two. I figure we will work on some of the challenging concepts and give them a chance to revisit it later with fresh eyes and maybe some new brain connections. Overall, I do LOVE it and will keep up the annual subscription until they level out of it at the highest level 6th grade.
39  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child to Read / Re: Reading but not comprehending? on: April 07, 2014, 10:51:26 AM
With my son I will often retrace the steps of our day before bed. What did we do when we first woke up? Then what? Etc. I think this kind of summarizing will help him think sequentially. Of course work on other more direct methods too, but that's an easy way to enhance your efforts.
40  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child Math / Re: DreamBox Math Users - Red/White Abacus Available Here on: April 07, 2014, 10:46:07 AM
Lol no way, you can be cheap like me. I'll send you a new one if it's THAT bad. Haha Wink
41  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child - Other Topics / Re: Ask a Programmer- Guest post with Kodable kids app creator Jon Mattingly on: April 05, 2014, 01:57:20 PM
Thank you!
42  EARLY LEARNING / Early Learning - General Discussions / MOVED: Tweety Tweet Learns The Alphabet :) on: April 05, 2014, 01:53:24 PM
This topic has been moved to Product Discussions and Reviews.
43  EARLY LEARNING / Early Learning - General Discussions / Re: We Can Do by Moshe Kai with guest Robert Levy discussing Saxon Math. on: April 05, 2014, 01:50:03 PM
Re: Sit and Stare/opting out of testing. Have you seen this article about the mother who got "suspended from school" after giving her kid opt-out forms for distribution?  LOL  (I didn't even know schools could SUSPEND parents?! Ban someone? Sure. But "suspend"... what is she, 12????)

I would have been livid if my kid asked to call me in this kind of situation and was denied.
44  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child Math / DreamBox Math Users - Red/White Abacus Available Here on: April 05, 2014, 01:36:03 PM
For all of your Dream Box Math users, this is perfect to reinforce lessons and use with any workbooks you might use. No craftiness or painting required! (DreamBox is an online math program. It can be found cheapest here, 2 week trial available

45  EARLY LEARNING / Teaching Your Child Math / Re: A few questions about Soroban on: April 05, 2014, 01:31:19 PM
My advice is ask his instructor.  LOL  Sounds like he is doing FABULOUS already! Good job!
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