The American Math Challenge 2012
It’s FREE and FUN, for all schools and students, K-12
REGISTRATIONS OPEN NOW
PRACTICE FOR ALL STUDENTS STARTS MONDAY OCT. 8th
Schools and students across America are currently registering to compete in the 2012 American Math Challenge!
Will YOUR school or class be on this year’s Hall of Fame?
REGISTER TODAY and get your students
It’s FUN, it’s completely FREE and there are prizes to be won!
GETTING STARTED IS EASY!
1. Register your e-mail at www.americanmathchallenge.com. We recommend using a personal email address for the fastest and easiest registration.
2. Wait for a confirmation link via e-mail. Click this link to let us know your registration is valid.
3. You will be taken back to our site to enter all of your school information (or, for students/parents, student information.)
Once your school is registered, you will get a SCHOOL ADMIN login to upload any number of students, classes, and teachers to your Registered School Account
Parents/Students registering on their own will receive a login for use on www.americanmathchallenge.com after October 8.
Students will compete in the American Math Challenge using Mathletics, an online Math program.
Homeschool conventions have an amazing way of exhausting and exciting me at the same time.
Wanted to share some of the great resources and speakers I enjoyed this past weekend.
Not to overwhelm, we’ll tackle excerpts from two of them today.
First, the College Board rep gave a little lunch time talk on CLEP tests.
She offered lots of helpful info on CLEP exams that made them seem a little more within reach.
– offers huge savings over paying for college, even community college, tuition
– Recommended the book College without Compromise and the CLEP official test book that comes out each year and is available for Amazon.
– No penalty for wrong answers.
– No age restrictions (her kids have taken them as early as 7th grade — earning college credit in middle school!)
– Immediate results. Because it is computer based and you can take it at a variety of times throughout the year, you get an immediate result and know if you pass or not before heading home.
– accepted at 2900 colleges. However, as I was looking at some local ones, the extent they accept them does vary a bit. Some will only accept some of them as elective credits. Others require a higher score than the minimum. So, if you are CLEPping specifically to save on college tuition, do your homework ahead of time with potential colleges.
She gave great tips on actually taking the test including using the practice tests after you have completed high school course work in the subject area. She recommended when practicing to make sure to get two tests in a row with scores in the high 50’s before you attempt the actual test. And, celebrate pass or fail, your kids deserve a reward for all the hard work.
She has a website of her own as well, Credits before College
The official CLEP website has lots of info, or course.
Another speaker, Janice Campbell offered some great insight into grading pieces of writing.
Her website has a number of great resources that you might find helpful, especially in teaching junior and senior high students. She had tips for teaching writing as well as some general teaching tips.
Check out all her info and resources at Everyday Education.
Here are a few of the points that I appreciated from what she had to say:
– In order to evaluate and encourage better writing in your student you need a rubric (which you can find at her site when you give your email), a handbook (to reference specific rules that the student needs to work on), a thesaurus, and a dictionary
– When grading the rough draft you first grade only content. Don’t get bogged down in specific words and mechanics. The rough draft first needs to be adjusted to get the information in an orderly format that completes the assigned writing task. Later revisions will get into the details of style.
– The goal is to teach the student to edit and evaluate themselves (a rubric helps significantly with this because it makes grading so much more concrete).
She shared many more specifics about evaluating writing, but those were the big ones that stuck with me and will have a great impact on how I read and evaluate my kids’ writing.
Did you go to ICHE? Have a favorite workshop?
God this message from a reader about an opportunity especially for area homeschoolers to connect online:
This discussion group is open to any and all home educators in the greater Naperville, IL area.
Non-locals also welcome and you will enjoy our extensive links section. Feel free to post questions concerning home education, list field trips, let others know of activities you’ve found in the area, promote your home education support group, tell us about great resources and events etc.
This cyber forum is not affiliated with any particular support group, nor any specific religious group, nor any one homeschooling philosophy. Polite home educating parents of all stripes are welcome. Disrespectful hotheads and spammers will be immediately and unceremoniously tossed out by the moderator.
Find out more about this group . . .
Naperville Home Educators
In reading on Charlotte Mason’s style I came across a term I have heard many times now — Living Books. She says this about choosing reading material:
For the children? They must grow up upon the best . . . There is never a time
when they are unequal to worthy thoughts, well put; inspiring tales, well
told. Let Blake’s ‘Songs of Innocence’ represent their standard in poetry
DeFoe and Stevenson, in prose; and we shall train a race of readers who will
demand literature–that is, the fit and beautiful expression of inspiring ideas
and pictures of life.
She warns against twaddle, a word I just love. So, I have started a vigilant hunt for books that breathe.
We read living books because we love them, they bring us together. They prompt incredible conversations. Even my little ones surprise me with the observations that they make about a book and its connections with real life. They bring something to our home school that no unit study, hands-on project, or even a field trip can. They spark the imagination and make creativity soar.
Some look alive, but hold nothing of value beyond the front cover. Others look old and dry and yet have carried us on amazing adventures. How do I know? Where do I find a good book?
Just wanted to share some great resources for finding a good read:
Ambleside Online — This website builds directly off of the Charlotte Mason philsophy. It assigns a time period for each year and can and is used by many as the core of their homeschool. We used them loosely for a couple years. Now, I still refer to that site because the book lists are excellent. We have loved probably 90% of the books we found through that site.
Curriculum reading lists — I started looking through other curriculums (like Sonlight — which we also used for a year) to see what books they recommend at various grade levels. Lots of great recommendations made it into our reading list this way as well.
Five in a Row — For books and accompanying activities, these books can give you plenty to choose from. Books that have stood the test of time, and you will love reading and rereading with your kids.
The Book Guardians — This is a brand new site for which I will be a contributor. Be sure to check it out over time as more books get added to its ranks. It will list books and share in 10 key areas if they have content that might need consideration. I talked more about it on my blog post about book reviews.
Common Sense Media — This site offers a number of reviews, but does not seem to have a strong moral slant. I did not find the reviews as helpful because I tend to have a stricter standard on what I deem appropriate reading for my kids. Still, definitely some value in the sheer quantity of books they have reviewed.
Christian Children’s book reviews –A good site, but seems to review only Christian books.
Focus on the Family has a book review section — Some good reviews, but they seemed to be lacking a depth in their recommendations and information provided. Does come from a conservative preference morally.
Facts on Fiction — Lots of reviews and clearly targeting key areas of concern. Alphabetized and easy to find what you are looking for.
1000 Good books — compiled by 25 homeschool moms, you can find 1000 of their recommendations. That should keep you busy for a while!
Many books also offer lists and reviews:
– What Shall We Then Read
– Hand that Rocks the Cradle (from the Bluedorns)
Finding the time:
With six kids, five of them now school age, the trick is finding time in a day to read books. We have employed a variety of means to do so. We read a bit each day. Sometimes at bedtime, sometimes in the afternoon. We have a silent reading time each day as well. Books on CD also help. We listen to these in our rooms, at bedtime, and definitely in the car. We “read” an extra book or two each month by listening in the car. And, it keeps the kiddos quiet while we travel!
Looking for some recommendation? Here are some of our favorite books:
The Little House on the Prairie series
The Princess and the Goblin
Gone Away Lake
The Calico Captive
The Endless Steppe
Galileo and the Magic Number
And, every year we discover a few more favorites. Stay tuned to hear what we unearth this year.
Please add some more resources or book favorites of your own in the comments. We are always looking for well loved books.
This post linked to Works for Me Wednesday.
Math is one of those core subjects that all students need to study. It is also one of those subjects that often elicits groans from its prisoners, I mean students.
Fortunately, there are many great resources for helping your child through math while reducing their discomfort and maximizing their benefit in the process.
MathScore provides students a place to learn their math, enhance their skills, attack their weak points, and build their mastery of basic math, computation, and applications of these skills.
Details: A web based program that allows students to work on math skills online. The program awards them with points for building their math skills in both speed and mastery.
Price: $9.95 per month for first child (introductory rate, after two months this goes to $14.95), $5 for second, $3.95 for third. There are other discounts for ordering for multiple months.
What we loved . . .
- Flexibility — You can choose and switch levels as you desire. You can decide which topics to work on. The kids don’t have to be stuck on something frustrating, or stay on a topic that bores them. They can do a little and return later. Or, if they like to do one topic and complete it, that is possible as well.
- Tracking — I would receive a daily email automatically that would summarize the student’s work. This would let me know the topics they worked on, the level of mastery achieved, and how much time the worked (as well as how much time they spent idle in the program). I really like that I knew not just how much time they spent on it, but also how much time they spent engaged with the worksheets.
- They encourage rewards — They don’t have any built in rewards (games, characters, etc.), but they do encourage you to recognize your child’s achievement. When they reach that 100 level saying they have mastered a topic, don’t let their hard work go unnoticed. They do earn “trophies” that are displayed on a page that shows their progress.
- Variety of approaches — Your child can choose to either simply begin the “worksheet,” follow a mini-lesson, or try some sample problems depending on their level of comfort in a given topic.
- Free resources as well — Their website has free math worksheet generators and lessons available to everyone.
- Timed lessons — Some kids might not do well with these, although they start pretty generous, but for my daughter they really helped her stay on track and not let herself get distracted. If she ran out of time, she had to work on that level again.
Some considerations . . .
- Might be difficult to use as a complete math program. They do present that as an option, but I prefer to use it as a supplementary program or as a break from the regular math book.
- The scoring confused me a bit. To master a topic they must reach “100.” There were too many classifications of accomplishment for me to really grasp — rating, points, percents, etc. I wasn’t quite sure why they had so many different ways of presenting the same information. It was like reading a standardized test result.
- If you have a particular goal for your child in math, you might need to spend more time with them. Since they do have a fair amount of free reign once logged in (they could choose grade 1 material if they feel like it), you will need to guide them and make your expectations clear if you want to make the most of their time on the computer.
- No frills. This program does not come with a lot of extras. It gets the job done efficiently, but when my daughter first tried it out she said it was “boring.” Now, when I let her try it for a couple days in place of her regular math text it became “fun.” So, I guess it depends what you compare it to.
MathScore meets a definite need in developing a child’s mastery in mathematics. It makes it easy for the parent to track progress, and provides tools for helping a child learn and excel at a variety of levels. I think it is reasonably priced, especially for families with multiple children. This might be a great tool if you are looking for something to supplement your current math curriculum or to help students retain knowledge during those longer breaks from school.
Disclaimer: This web based program was provided to me free of charge from MathScore.com as part of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. I received no additional compensation and the opinions expressed here come from my personal experiences and sincere thoughts.