Gas station without pumps

2011 September 7

Home schooling week 2

Following up on Home Schooling week 1, this post describes our second week of home schooling.

The big news this week is that my son finally managed to get into the Spanish 3 class at the community college.  Today was the last class before Friday’s add/drop deadline, and after taking roll, the instructor asked if anyone was still not registered (in Spanish, of course).  My son answered affirmatively and was offered an add code.  He used the add code on the instructor’s computer during break to register, and I paid for the course this afternoon.  The Spanish 3 course so far is mainly review (except for some new vocabulary), but it should be getting into new material in a few weeks.

We now have two courses completely organized and arranged: Spanish 3 through the community college and calculus through Art of Problem Solving. Calculus doesn’t start until October.

The physics book (Matter and Interactions) arrived yesterday and I’ve read most of the first 2 chapters.  I’ve also had some good email conversations with one of the authors, who has pointed me to some useful resources and discussions of the pedagogy of the book.   (More on that in Physics C curriculum.)  I have asked that the consumer decision about what ultrasonic rangefinder to buy be made by noon tomorrow, so that I can order it online (see Physics Lab 1).  We do have a second student for the physics class, and it looks like we’ll have a fun time.

We had a robotics club meeting on Sunday, and they started making some notes in their lab notebook, explaining the project to a new member of the club and prioritizing tasks.  I’ll have to do some shopping tomorrow to get them parts they identified as needed for the “top of tether” box.  I’ll be out of town for the next robotics club meeting, so we’ll see how well the high-schoolers can organize themselves without a coach present—I may prime my son a bit by discussing their next critical task: figuring out how to get wire connections through the walls of the dry box without leaks.  We were looking at IP-68 waterproof connectors, but they are pretty expensive and require pretty big holes in the box walls.  It might be better to reduce the number of them and have the tether, for example, permanently attached to the drybox with cast epoxy to seal the penetrations.

History is off to a slow start, with HTML and JavaScript done to create a framework for the timeline, but no content yet.

Reading is off to a fast start (both Brave New World and Left Hand of Darkness read), but no writing has been done for either yet.  He has an idea of something he could say about LHoD, but hasn’t put anything in writing yet.  We may have to talk with the consultant teacher at AFE to find out how minimal the writing can be for these.

Nothing has been done about the writing (tech writing or creative writing) yet, other than getting him Dragon Dictate (the student/teacher edition) and having him train it.

Science fair is off to a good start, with my son attending a research talk yesterday for the grad students of the group that he’ll be working with. We also printed out a survey article on the hallmarks of cancer, so that he can get a little more familiarity with the data he’ll be working with. He’ll be going to the cancer genomics lab meeting this Friday.

The improv class that he was supposed to go to on Friday has a delayed start, because not enough kids have signed up for it. If it gets cancelled entirely, there is another improv class he may be able to join, with an instructor he has worked with before.  We’ve not checked the schedule on that though.


  1. Would it help if he did an interview about it, and was recorded, then transcribed the interview?

    Comment by Sue VanHattum — 2011 September 8 @ 07:18 | Reply

    • We have been considering transcribed interviews as one form—that is one reason for getting Dragon Dictate, which surprised me by being able to keep up with his fairly rapid speech, as long as he speaks reasonably clearly. The consultant teacher has told us that he will need to do different forms—he can’t do the same thing every time. One problem is finding things he is interested in talking or writing about. One possibility for Left Hand of Darkness is doing an analysis of the novel from a “planet construction” standpoint. He’s enjoyed the Planet Construction Kit and Language Construction Kit books and has been designing his own conlang (documenting it on the Zompist bulletin board). I’m hoping to convince him (later this year) to gather up his posts and polish them a little to be part of his writing portfolio for the year. For now, though, voluntary writing on the bulletin board is not school work—we don’t want to suppress it.

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2011 September 8 @ 08:17 | Reply

  2. Do you have an email I can reach you at? I am at

    Comment by GMP — 2011 September 13 @ 14:00 | Reply

    • Is this about your Call for Entries: Carnival on Theoretical/Computational Sciences? or something else?

      My identity is no secret, but I don’t usually send people my e-mail address without at least some idea why they want to talk to me.

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2011 September 13 @ 16:20 | Reply

      • Yes, it is about the carnival above. I wanted to encourage you to submit an entry, given you worked (or perhaps still do) on VLSI, now teach bioinformatics etc. I think it would add a nice perspective.

        Comment by GMP — 2011 September 14 @ 12:01 | Reply

  3. […] up on Home Schooling week 2, this post describes our third week of home […]

    Pingback by Home schooling week 3 « Gas station without pumps — 2011 September 19 @ 17:28 | Reply

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    Pingback by Home schooling week 4 « Gas station without pumps — 2011 September 30 @ 19:11 | Reply

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    Pingback by Home schooling weeks 5–8 « Gas station without pumps — 2011 October 25 @ 17:59 | Reply

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