Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer learning resources

By request, a thread to talk about resources for summer learning.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would like to prepare my kid to advance to algebra 1 from tm after next year. What are the chances and how do those chances compare to a student coming from Lincoln?

I think Kahn Academy might do the trick to get the magical MAP number. Anyone know if that will work or if there is anything else we should do?

Anonymous said...

My child would like to learn Latin over the summer. Any suggestions?

Thanks, RR

juicygoofy said...

Regarding Latin, my daughter has a strong interest as well (thanks to the Harry Potter series spells and a teacher who taught the numbers for fun.) We simply got her a Latin dictionary. Also, she figured out how to use Google translate, and she's been teaching herself..

Anonymous said...

Try internet search. UTexas offers step by step instruction. Gutenberg has Latin text books you can download. Another site is heavy on vocabs and phrases. You'll need to get grammar and vocab down first. Then work your way onto simple text translation. I'm assuming you want Classical Latin, not what's used later in Europe and the church. 'Cause that's a different kettle.

This is all free. There are the usual on line classes too which you pay.

Anonymous said...

AOPS has a program called Alcumus that we like better than Kahn for a variety of reasons. My DD did pre-algebra focus on Alcumus and was totally ready for Algebra in the fall. But she was well-prepared before that, having done Singapore through 6B.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the AOPS I will look into it now!

Anonymous said...

What are the drawbacks of Khan?

(4th gr student new to APP)

Anonymous said...


Some have posted there are data/ data mining issues with KA

Anonymous said...

Google translate is fun but by no means a way to learn a language. Double for Latin. Hit the UW bookstore and buy an actual Latin grammar book. When the basics are down, pick a historical Latin text/textbook (Aenid is great) and work on translations. I took Latin for 4 years in HS. I wasn't brilliant but my overall boost in critical thinking and language arts did brilliant things for my college entrance exams and turned into a 50% tuition academic ride at a Top 10 school.

Latin Fan

Anonymous said...

Er, Aeneid. Too much coffee.

Latin Fan

Anonymous said...

Latin Fan - are you saying that taking Latin in HS helps overall w/critical thinking and LA in general? My daughter will be at GHS in the Fall and opted to drop Spanish (after 3 yrs at HIMS) and take Latin (other elective is band). I wasnt sure the value but supposed to be a fun teacher, and she feels it will help with her interest in science. APpreciate any feedback on this decision, thanks!
-GHS mom

Anonymous said...

Studying Latin is great for critical thinking and language arts in general. Yes, Latin, through French, strongly influences English vocabulary. But the benefits are deeper than that. When we teach a language like Spanish we typically use a communicative approach that helps the students learn to speak the language. To use an automotive metaphor, with Spanish you don't look under the hood, you just learn to drive. This is great, but it isn't the only way to study a language. With Latin you go to the other extreme. You don't spend any time learning to speak. Instead you really focus on the grammer, structure and rules of the language. Latin is a specimen that you dissect to see how a language works. Or, to return to the our metaphor, this car isn't going anywhere, but you've now become both a mechanic and a better driver.

Another nice thing about Latin. Because so many homeschooling parents choose Latin for their kids there are a lot of options out there for self teaching. I would check out http://cathyduffyreviews.com/foreign-language/foreign-language-index.htm for ideas. Some of these books have a religious perspective, some don't.

Anonymous said...

Responding to GHS mom: "Anonymous" above gave some of my points already. Taking Latin is a fantastic baseline for learning any Romance language. If your kid has an interest in Euro languages - including a love of English - everything is easier with a Latin base.

I took the SAT in HS and just this year it has been changed to de-emphasize vocabulary. But still, for college prep tests on the LA side, Latin is the single best class to which I can point for increasing not just vocabulary but also essay writing and reading comprehension and critical thinking.

Then you get into the political science/social science/religion/history/philosophy of Western culture. Latin (and Greek, but given the 2 classical languages go for Latin in HS) sets you up for advanced studies across the board. And, yes, it doesn't hurt when you hit the need to memorize technical science terminology.

You don't take Latin for the language. You take it because it is a core of the Humanities and Western science. Like a student who studies law without the intention of becoming a lawyer, the study can set you up for a multitude of future uses. 20 years later, I trace much of my curiosity about and comprehension of the world around me to those high school courses. (And of course to that fat college scholarship to a school my family otherwise could not have afforded.)

Latin Fan

Anonymous said...

Latin Fan and Anonymous, thanks so much for the detailed info. I was concerned that my kid was dropping Spanish after 3 yrs study at HIMS, to take Latin. But she has heard such good things about the GHS Latin program and felt like it would be so interesting and a unique opportunity, so that was her choice. Good to hear there are so many benefits, thank you! Appreciate any other feedback from current GHS parents about the language options.
- GHS mom

Anonymous said...

GHS Mom-

Latin is your very best bet when it comes to language study at GHS.

French and Spanish are iffy - and we have even heard that the Spanish availability for this coming year will be minimal, as there is a single (not very effective in my opinion) teacher hired at this time. Spanish was a nightmare last year, as they didn't have ANY teachers hired before school started so the kids were in limbo for a while.

GHS did apparently receive money recently to start a sign language program, so that will be a new option this fall. Again, what I have heard, so not independently verified.

-GHS Parent





ben said...

I don't know anything about the relative merits of the different language departments at GHS but I'll offer my perspective on Latin since I took it from 7th grade all the way through college.

There were many great parts about learning Latin. The grammar structure is interesting, there's a rich history it exposes, it has a huge influence on all the other romance languages.

However, learning the language is about 1/4 the work of learning a living language since you don't have to speak it, understand it being spoken to you or write it. What tends to happen is than even with reading, students utilize dictionaries much more heavily than elsewhere and have smaller vocabularies. On top of that the entire canon has already been translated and usually very well into English

Having learned other languages as an adult, I think that you miss out on a particular kind of mental exercise by not becoming a fluent speaker of a second language. What I found was that once I had sunk the time in High School I didn't want to commit the time to learning a language from scratch again in College and continued in order to earn the language credits I needed for my degree.

So my advice is Latin is great as a secondary study after you've gone out and learned French, Spanish etc. but I wouldn't commit to it as my only foreign language.

Ben

Anonymous said...

A year spent in a foreign country surrounded by the language of your choice is 10 times better than middle, high school, college years toiling in the classroom. Don't sweat the languages in school. Make a plan to get out into the world.

And by all means don't make your student pick a language and stick with it just to tick credits off a degree.



Anonymous said...

As a recent graduate of Garfield Latin, I can absolutely say that taking Latin was the best decision I made in my high school education. The program is incredibly strong and students regularly earn regional and national titles, as well as 4s and 5s on the AP test. But the class was so much more valuable to me beyond just what was on the syllabus. The class taught me how to be an effective student in a rigorous and rewarding setting where you get out just as much as you put in. Perhaps the most important thing I gained from the program, and particularly AP Latin, was the camaraderie among my classmates. Learning Latin really was a team effort and I gained invaluable friendships through that class that I otherwise may have not. The history interwoven into Latin really helps to deepen and cement the everything taught in middle school, crucial to the AP world test. Since coming to college I've begun taking French again (since WMS) and was actually placed in the accelerated intro class, which I'm sure is because of my knowledge of Latin and language in general. Most of the students who take Latin are passionate about learning and were much more involved than in other classes I took. Even if you don't earn a classics degree, Latin certainly contributes to a well-rounded education, certainly at Garfield. Cave canem! -Anya D

Anonymous said...

* I mean everything you learn in 7th grade block.

Anya D

Anonymous said...

7th grade APP LA/SS is now changing. Starting next year, it will be one semester of Washington State history and only one semester of World History (and if following state guidelines, starting at 600 AD, so after the fall of Rome?). 8th grade will be US History. "everything you learn in 7th grade block" is now somewhat limited.

Greg Linden said...

I don't usually comment, but I have a lot of summer learning resources I love, so I thought I'd chime in. Here are a few things I think are great for kids:

Duolingo: A free smartphone/tablet app for learning language, as good as Rosetta Stone in my opinion, and did I mention it's free? It's by Luis von Ahn, the CMU professor that created captchas, and it's excellent.

DragonBox: A great app for learning algebra and geometry, subtly teaches math in pattern matching games. Really well done, #1 app in Norway, popular here in the US too. There's several levels, including easy algebra for younger kids and harder algebra and geometry for preteens. These aren't free, but they're worth it, by far the best example of an educational math game I've seen.

Learn to code: There are several good options here. Scratch is great, light, and easy. Khan Academy CS is good for older kids. Udacity has a neat mini-class for teens who might have gotten addicted to that 2048 game a while back and want to try modifying it (and Udacity and Coursera have other good classes too, all free). And my own Crunchzilla is free and worthwhile, with three levels, one for ages 7-11 (Code Monster), another for teens (Code Maven), and one for teens with some coding experience (Game Maven).

Rocksmith 2014: An amazing program for the XBox/Playstation that teaches electric guitar. Great for teens, extremely effective for learning, and fun too. You need an electric guitar, so this isn't gets expensive if you don't already have one, but this is worth it, works for complete beginners, or for teens with considerable experience already.

There's a lot of board games, books, outdoor games, and other things I could recommend too. I don't mean to sound like I'm computer-obsessed (though that's probably fair to say). But these are exceptional apps and games that I think work for a wide age range, so I thought I'd chime in with them in case others might enjoy hearing about them.

Anonymous said...

thanks Greg, those are great suggestions.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Greg, those are great suggestions.

Anonymous said...

Our daughter just attended the first session of the CTY Johns Hopkins program at Seattle U and loved it. She can't wait to go next year. Last summer she attended the UW Robinson Center's program. Both of these programs were outstanding. I know it's too late for this summer, but think about it for next summer. Signups for the CTY program were January 15th of this year and we had to get her tested before then. Robinson Center signups were in March. Both programs offer financial aid.

8th grade WMS parent