Kahootie academic planner (for school kids) review

I got these undated academic planners from Kahootie for my kids at Target, but sadly Target seems to be out of stock.  Amazon does carry them though (affiliate link).  Kahootie doesn’t know we exist.

In any case, they are PERFECT for what my kids needed this summer and I’m hoping they will work well in the fall too (though I have some doubts about DC1 remembering to write down things like assignments).

They’re a weekly spread across two pages, which I like.  What’s even better is that they have a column for school stuff and then a column for *after school* stuff (something DC1 frequently forgets!).  And there’s a daily chores tracker on the right that they can check off.  DC2 loves the little space under the chores tracker and fills it up with pictures from books zie is reading or lists of pokemon zie caught that week etc.  Saturday and Sunday have smaller spaces, but that works too.

Week of DC2's planner with camps and chores listed.

One week of DC2’s planner.

DC2 has really gotten into hirs.  Zie updates it on Sunday or Monday morning.  Zie excitedly checks off chores.  Sometimes zie puts down weekly goals (“learn how to lightening strike a pig in educational minecraft”) and the weekends usually say what baked good DC2 is going to make that week.  More recently, zie has moved the two evening Minecraft dates and one piano lesson to the “After School” column.

DC1's much sparser planner

DC1’s planner. Pen obscures a password.

DC1 is getting less use out of hirs.  Zie actually *has* done the daily chores, zie just doesn’t check them off.  Zie doesn’t put in assignments (that blue in on Sunday is my writing…) or really use it for planning at all.  The class times are in the planner, but they’re also in Google calendar.  We’re hoping that a combination of the two systems (electronic and paper) will help DC1 remember to TURN IN COMPLETED ASSIGNMENTS and GO TO AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITIES once school is back in session, but it’s not looking hopeful.  Maybe being a year older will be enough.

I didn’t get much use out of paper planners in middle school or high school either.  I’m not sure how I remembered to get things done in high school (in middle school I just finished all my work in class so it was irrelevant).  I guess I just had a separate notebook for each class and a binder and checked those daily.  I started using a weekly planner (similar to the small weekly Moleskines, but with nursing branding on the front) in college some time when DH gave me one that his mom didn’t want.  Then I got free branded econ ones. Then I started having to buy my own Moleskines (or rather, I started having to ask for a small Moleskine planner for Christmas, which is an excellent thing to put on the Amazon wishlist for the in-laws who aren’t sure what to get you).  Along with those small weekly planners with meetings and deadlines listed, I had lots of loose leaf to-do lists.  These Kahootie planners look like they should have enough space for middle and high school to-dos, but I guess we will find out next semester!

Did you use a planner as a kid?  (If applicable) Do your kids use planners?  Have your planning needs changed over time?

Rules and telling

I had no ideas for Wednesday posts, so here’s one that I apparently started back in 2019 but never polished up or posted!

Agaishanlife discusses the idea of tattling here.

Back when we were growing up, there was a very strong non-NARC culture because we would get punished if we ever “tattled”.

Thankfully, that has changed.  “Tell someone” and “Use your words” are now “in” so we have thankfully not had to deal with our children being admonished for “tattling”.  Back at the wonderful daycare that went out of business, they’d use telling a teacher as a way to model for the children to work out their differences with teacher facilitation until they were able to do it on their own without teacher facilitation.  So basically, if a kid told on another kid, the teacher would be like, “X took your toy without asking?  Did you ask if you could have your toy back?” and if the kid hadn’t then, the teacher would tell them to ask for their toy back.  And if they had, then the teacher might go to the other kid and moderate a discussion about playing with the toy.  K-4 there’s less of that, but they also don’t punish children for telling things.

I really don’t think that kids are capable of understanding the differences between telling about something important and the kind of “tattling” where teachers used to think that kids were trying “to get other kids in trouble”.  I genuinely think little kids cannot separate the idea of trying to get someone in trouble just telling an adult when something is wrong. They do not generally know which rules are important or why (maybe with the exception of a few major things like biting/hitting). It seems really arbitrary to a kid when they’re punished for reporting some things but not others.   [Back in 2019] I do not think my 7 year old is at a point where zie would really understand the difference, and zie is pretty socially ept for a 7 year old.

There are so many things in retrospect I should have told adults but never did because I’d been told not to tattle.  Because I’d been used to being punished for telling when I was in preschool so as I got older I assumed I was on my own. I always thought so long as I wasn’t being physically harmed I had to keep it to myself. I could have avoided a lot of bullying, including really misogynist stuff as late as 8th grade if I had realized adults would support me instead of punishing me. This all stems from my being punished for tattling as a 3 year old (and later reinforcement, no doubt).

I don’t think we should even use the words tattle or snitch.  We should encourage kids to protect themselves by letting an adult know if they’re being harmed.  We should encourage kids to let an adult know if something dangerous is happening. I don’t think the other stuff needs to be addressed at all– it’s just confusing for the kid.

[One] morning [in 2019] zie told me that I wasn’t supposed to be eating breakfast in the living room. (This is true– nobody is supposed to be eating in the living room.) Zie wasn’t trying to get me in trouble with myself. Yet, when zie says the same thing about hir sibling I might think zie was trying to get DC1 in trouble.  (And of course, if I accidentally spill something in the living room, I’m also the one who has to clean it up and also the one who has to pay for any replacements.)

Really I think often they want to know what the limits of the rules are. They want things to be fair. They want to be able to do things that other kids are doing. There are a lot of reasons they “tell” on people that aren’t just about getting kids in trouble that could be misinterpreted by adults as such.

Did you get punished for telling adults about problems as a little kid?  

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Ask the grumpies: How to pick a college?

CG asks:

How did you pick a college? Do you think you made a good choice? How have your children picked their colleges (if they are old enough)? How did you advise them?

#1:  I knew I wanted to go to a SLAC, and I read the Fiske Guide to Colleges and picked some good midwestern SLACs.  Then I took my list to the guidance counselor at our fancy school and he suggested a few more higher ranked SLACs not in the midwest.  I was waitlisted at my first choice and got into the second.  I think it was a great choice– I could go into detail about why but that would make it clear what my undergrad was!  Suffice to say that I’m a fan of highly-ranked SLACs generally.

#2:  Went to the state flagship R1 along with most everybody else, which happened to be a top school for her major and also where her now husband was going.  It was an excellent choice.

Our oldest hasn’t picked a college yet, but we will be giving hir a copy of the Fiske Guide* to colleges when it comes out in July.  I’ve already vetoed a few schools as we’ve been getting mail every since DC1 took the sophomore PSAT.  (No, you are not going to this over-priced meh-ranked local religious private school!)  I have no idea where zie is going to end up, but we’ve saved for an expensive private school.

*all amazon links listed give us tiny payments if you purchase through them

Grumpy Nation, what are your answers to CG’s question?

New-to-me French Toast Technique #LifeChanging

The Easter Bunny brought cookbooks and DC2 has started making something every week along with DC1.

DC2’s cookbook is from America’s Test Kitchen and is called, “My first cookbook.”  Technically it is hir second cookbook, but it is the first one zie has used with minimal parental help.  Zie has made ricotta toast and avocado toast and chocolate dipped things.  Next week zie is planning an oven roasted bbq chicken and broccoli one sheet meal, which we’re excited about (DC2 loves broccoli and dislikes cheese… I don’t understand but more power to hir).

This week’s was a revelation to me.

So basically the idea is you spray a jelly roll pan with cooking spray.  Then you mix up the custard/egg stuff.  Then… get this… you POUR THE CUSTARD INTO THE JELLYROLL PAN (!) (!) (!)  Then, working quickly, you put 8 pieces of bread into the jelly roll pan to cover it.  Then, starting from the top you turn them over.  Then you wait a minute.

After a minute, the egg mixture has completely been soaked up into the bread(!!!!!!)  This is AMAZING.  When I first saw the instructions, I was certain this was going to be a nightmare to clean up after with egg baked into the pan, but it wasn’t!

Then you bake it for 10 min on the bottom rack and then you broil it on the top rack for like a minute until it’s brown on top.  And you end up with perfect French toast. It’s not soggy in the middle. The bread is not dry.  It’s not burned. It just works!

Here’s a version of their recipe online (since I’m not going to violate copyright).  (But I will say you need another egg and 1/3 cup more milk if you use whole wheat or multi-grain bread instead of white bread.  And their recipe really needs nutmeg, that they did not list.)  If that link doesn’t work, here’s the google cache.

How do you make French toast?  Am I the only person who did this the fussy way with dipping and frying and occasionally baking after?

On teenagers’ role in the household

Wow, this draft was last touched in 2011.  I have a teenager now– I think I will finish this post using italics so you can see what has changed in the past 10 years now that I’m less ignorant!  I bet I know less!

Disclaimer:  we don’t have any yet.  Update:  We have one teenager and one almost-9 year old.

Often it is said that your teenagers need you more as a SAHP than they did as toddlers.  This was maybe a bit true last year– the transition from doing nothing academically in middle-school to all of a sudden having AP classes and homework in every class and being expected to know things that weren’t taught in middle-school was pretty traumatic for everyone.  There was also just a ton of hir needing to remember things.  Last year turning in English assignments (last period of the day) was the WORST, and zie kept making the exact same MLA citation mistake on every single paper and getting Cs because of it.  THE SAME MISTAKE.  But this year has been a lot better.  I don’t know if it’s getting more sleep, having everything set with deadlines electronically, the more flexibility that the pandemic has brought or what, but oddly having DC1 home 24/7 has been less stressful and less time for us than hir going to school.  (The same is not true for DC2!)  [Though to be fair, they have never needed me as a SAHP.  I guess technically DH is a SAHP right now, but looking for work and doing unemployment training stuff is kind of a part-time job, so…]

I sure hope that’s not true.

I hope my DC is mature enough at that point to make good decisions on hir own.  I hope I’m mature enough to trust DC to make those decisions, even if they end up becoming learning experiences.  For the most part DC1 is mature and makes good decisions.  Zie just needs to do some kind of extra-curricular and also there are some things zie can work on in terms of project management, but those aren’t bad decisions so much as small mistakes.

Working mom from generations of working moms…  This is still true– the point I wanted to make here was that I had friends/acquaintances whose moms were SAHM and who basically catered to their every whim and made sure they met deadlines and helped them with their art projects and science fair projects and so on.  I was expected to figure this stuff out myself– my mom had work, and school was my work.  So starting in 5th grade or so she stopped going through my back-pack and just expected me to get good grades, which I did.  (In 5th grade we also got school planners and they had to be signed every night– my mom ended up telling me just to forge her signature, which I did.  I still can!  She better not let me near her checkbooks!)

if my mom is to be believed, she cleaned the entire house and got her younger siblings to school every morning..  I never had to do anything like that, but I was expected to be responsible for myself. 

I wasn’t quite that much of a superwoman, but I started helping with hardcore chores by age 7 and was cooking dinner several nights a week by the time I was a teenager…  This is true!  I could cook many things by heart.  Oh hey, it looks like I say what I wanted to say here a couple sentences lower.  I just the patterns of my brain haven’t changed much in the past 10 years.

I was more helpful as a teen than as a younger kid.

This benefited me as well… by the time I was on my own I knew how to cook and grocery shop and do basic cleaning.  I’d been taught.  I had years of practice.  Just because I choose not to do many of these things now doesn’t mean I don’t know how.

As the kid gets older, zie waits on the parents rather than the other way around.  That’s how I was brought up.  I had kind of hoped for this, but alas, DC1 has to be cajoled to empty the dishwasher or make hir one meal a week etc.  The cajoling often takes both parents (zie only does it, with grumbling, when the SECOND parent, usually DH, says zie has to).  DC2 has been pretty helpful on the days that school assignments get done super early.  I think zie gets bored. 

Sure, I went through normal stages of teenage angst… and was treated with sympathetic but amused indulgence that it probably deserved.  DC1 had some rebel-ly angst last year, but sometime last year zie  found out that one of hir friends has a terrible homelife (zie was telling us this this year while in pandemic, not last year when it actually happened– zie hasn’t kept in touch with the kid, otherwise I’d have suggested zie bring the kid home sometimes) and that made hir grateful for us.  And then this year there’s just been no angst at all, which I attribute to being able to get up at 8 instead of 6.  Sleep is important!

I had friends who went through more abnormal stages of teenage angst.  Mostly coinciding with parents divorcing.  Some with SAHM (I’m not sure what I meant by this or who I was thinking about).  My mom bought a pregnancy test for a friend of mine…(huh, was her mom a SAHM?  I have lost that memory!)  Some angst caused by parents, abuse… (There’s a reason kids go away to boarding school…)  When we were residence assistants in graduate school we had a student who was an only child with a very overbearing mom… he was a stress case.  One nice thing about being busy with work is that it’s really hard to cause too much damage through overparenting– there just isn’t *time*!  I mean, maybe if you’re that law professor at Yale who is super messed up (apparently she hosted inappropriate parties this past year in exchange for clerkship recommendations and her husband is not supposed to be alone with law students and it sounds like there’s a lot going on besides the Tiger Mom stuff).  But most of us don’t have that kind of energy! 

So… I wonder how to end this.  Maybe just with a series of questions for Grumpy Nation.

Obligatory update:  A commenter reminded me that the mommy wars exist and I forgot to put a disclaimer #NotAllSAHP.  You do you, bro.  Empirical evidence says it DOESN’T MATTER (low SES kids do better in high quality preschool, bad preschools are worse than educated moms… and nothing else makes a lick of difference). That’s another nice thing about having a teenager instead of a toddler– all this stupid stuff people get angry about is years and years away.  I’ve completely forgotten all the stuff that the patriarchy forces women to fight about as if it matters instead of fighting a common enemy.  And I was just reminded the other day when a friend of mine mentioned a facebook war she was watching about whether or not it was ok to call your pets your children and yourself your pets’ mom.  Maybe now that Trump is out of office, we’re back to our own stupidities?  Guys, voter suppression is going on in a huge number of states.  Figure out what your state is doing and make phonecalls.  Also call your federal MOC and ask them to pass HR1.  

What do you think teenagers’ role in the household is?  Were you a help or a hindrance to your parents as a teenager?  If applicable:  Do your kids wait on you or the other way around?  What should they be doing?

Reminder: If you have kids, you need a will

If you don’t care about what happens to your assets after you die, you probably don’t need a will.  Your stuff will be apportioned out in accordance to state laws and people will get what they get, including the government.

But if you have kids, you need to make sure they’re taken care of.  Even if you don’t have much of an estate you need to make sure that if you die unexpectedly that the powers that be know where your kids are going to go.  So they don’t have to enter the foster care system.

You may be thinking, but I have a spouse, if I die or if they die then it’s obvious that the kids will just go with the other spouse.

That’s fine, but what happens if you both die at the same time?  Say you’re in a car accident together.

You need a will.

The will needs to say who is going to take care of your kids and who is going to take care of your kids’ money.  (Which they will presumably get because you and your spouse had life insurance, right?  If you have kids, you probably need life insurance!)

If you have pets, you may also need a will depending on what the people in charge of your estate would do if you died without a will.  At the very least, stick a note in their vet records saying who will take care of your pets should you be gone (and make sure that person agrees!), especially if said person is not your next of kin.  If you don’t have people you can trust, this random website says that a will may not be enough.

Do you have a will?  

What we’re doing for summer: update

The other week we asked you all what to do with our kids for summer and you had some great ideas.

DC2 recently had spring break while I didn’t.  This reminded us that zie reallllly needs more mental stimulation and interaction than what we can provide.  Basically by Wednesday DC2 starting talking and didn’t stop until school started again on Monday.  School has been online all year and it has been great– it keeps DC2 entertained, talking with classmates, and mentally stimulated so we can get normal amounts of interaction at lunch and after 5pm when I stop working for the night.

Meanwhile, we’ve been getting ads for online college credit classes for DC1.  I was irritated to find out that my uni lets high school students take classes during the school year but not during the summers!  What is UP with that?

But there are plenty of programs willing to charge $4K-$6K per 3-4 credit hour class to take either their own special classes for high schoolers, or in the case of Wisconsin-Madison, anything that they’re offering over the summer.  Right now we’re leaning towards C++ at Georgetown, though it is tempting just to do the C++ Coursera not for credit.  We’ve also been considering Intermediate Spanish courses and academic writing.  Vanderbilt has an interesting mentorship program that isn’t for course credit that DC1 may apply to, but zie hasn’t decided yet.  Even though there are a bunch of schools DC1 can’t go to because they require people to be 16 (and zie is only 15), we’re no longer super worried that zie will be doing nothing over the summer.

But, back to DC2 because while DC1 may need to do something this summer for hir own needs *I* need DC2 to do something for *my* needs.  I looked up online summer camps and was a bit overwhelmed.  It’s hard to tell what is any good and what is a for-profit scam.  I did see that the science museum in the nearest city has something, but it is only an hour per day so I wasn’t sure that was going to be enough.  The descriptions for that camp also sounded a bit like they needed more parental involvement than we really want to give.

Then one of our friends who grew up in the midwest recommended NIU– that’s one of the regional universities in Illinois.  Apparently they run some really great summer camps for kids each summer and this year they’re all online this summer, unlike all southern camps that are mostly back in person this year.  An actual university and a personal recommendation?  I will take that.  And it looks like each one is around 4 hours online, with some being 4 hours straight and some having a break in between for projects, which is pretty similar to DC1’s online schooling this past year. They also seem to know what our rising 5th grader will enjoy.  The only thing that sucks is that there’s no creative writing week for 5th graders.  (DC1 has moved on from Bad Kitty fan-fiction to epic fantasy.)

So we did the jigsaw puzzle work with the different options (5th graders are eligible for both elementary school and middle school camps and several camps conflict and several repeat) and signed DC2 up for most of the summer.  There’s about 2 weeks on either end and two weeks sometime in the middle of summer that are unaccounted for, but we can figure that out later or take an actual vacation.  All told it will cost ~$1000 give or take.  But well worth it if it means I can finish an email without being interrupted 5 times.

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I guess I will front-load DC2’s 529 too?

Previously we decided to stop contributing monthly to DC1’s 529 and instead invest a lump sum equal to what we would have invested each month in the time before zie graduated high school.  Once we knew more about hir college plans, we could adjust.

DC2’s 529 we kept investing in monthly as before.  I guess we’d decided not to because we were expecting to pay for DH’s relative’s son’s college.  But he didn’t go to college in the end.  And I was completely wrong about the stock market– I always am!  The stock market is unpredictable.  It’s irrational!  Especially when we have such huge income inequality.  (We will be paying for 2 years of DH’s relative’s daughter’s college though, tuition and fees but not living expenses– she’s recovering from being sick taking this semester off and plans to finish her remaining two community college courses in the fall, then transfer to a state school as an English major.  Hopefully that will actually happen.)

Right now we have too much in cash savings.  Even with the 12K gone for our annual IRA Backdoor Roth conversion.

We could also use a little bit more monthly cash flow to help me with accounting given DH’s continued unemployment.  Another $750/month wouldn’t go amiss, especially since my health insurance costs have gone up $300/month putting DH on the plan and switching from the  the Traditional 403(b) to Roth 403(b) (now that Trump is gone, I’m more willing to pay taxes now) is taking more money out of my take-home pay.

So we could do a lump sum in DC2’s 529 equivalent to what we would put in between now and when DC1 graduates from high school (or some other target date) and then stop contributing until we know what DC1’s college plans are going to cost.  DC1 is currently a second-semester sophomore so two full years would be $750*12*2 = $18,000 and then $750 a month additional for however many months more we want to add.  If we do that, our savings account will drop to a more reasonable level– a standard academic emergency fund (3 months summer salary + 1 month for emergencies) and a little bit more.

Now I just need to get around to actually doing this.  (Which is why this post has sat in drafts for a while.)

If DH suddenly gets employed before I get around to doing this, I might not?  But I don’t know if that is going to happen or not.  After the four interviews last week I’m not sure that there’s anything obvious to set in motion unless we are willing to move.


Ask the readers: What should I do with my kids this summer?

My oldest is 14 and will be a rising junior (there were 2 grade skips).

My youngest is 8/9 (summer birthday) and will be a rising 5th grader.

I’m not sure how wide-spread vaccines will be this summer, but it is very likely that they will not have been vaccinated yet.  That means we’re leery of sending them to in-person or away camps.  Especially since our area has rampant covid-denialism (a recent faculty/staff survey at the UNIVERSITY showed that only 60% are planning to take the vaccine when offered(!)).

In the past, DC1 has gone to a bazillion engineering and coding camps of varying qualities.  DC1 has done sciencey day-camps.  Last summer we had been planning on sending them to less academic camps– DC1 was going to go to magic camp and orchestra camps. DC2 was going to do a lot of camp run by the after school program.  I also looked into sending them together away to a fancy Spanish camp (Concordia), but couldn’t get the dates to work out.  Then the pandemic cancelled all of those.

Our primary need with DC2 (age 8) is that zie have something to keep her busy and out of our hair during the work day.  Virtual school days have been so much better than school holidays.  Ideally we would not be providing the tasks and instructions and feedback and so on.  As far as I can tell, none of the usual camps in our town for middle-schoolers or elementary schoolers are offering virtual options, only in-person.

Our primary need with DC1 (rising junior) is that zie have something that either helps hir with a skill that needs work (Spanish, actual English instead of the crafts and feelings zie gets at school) or a skill zie wants to increase (computer science, magic).  Ideally, zie would also do something that looks good on a college application.

DC1 has taken 2 years of computer science in high school and has learned Java and Python and will have taken one of the AP CS exams.  There are no more computer science classes in high school after this (they had offered a video game design class in conjunction with the arts department, but starting in 2021 it will no longer be offered to people coming in from the computer science track).  There might be computer science courses at my Uni, but I can’t figure out how an at-will high school student can take them during the summer (there are ways during the school year) and zie would probably need to take the intro class (which is not Java or Python at our uni) but I don’t think that is usually offered over the summer.  There’s also a community college, but I don’t know if their summer course offerings would be worthwhile or online.  Also, zie is taking BC Calc next year, so zie can’t just take the next math class in the sequence because the timing doesn’t work out (summer would only let hir take differential calculus, not both semesters), and zie hasn’t had the prereq for Calc 3 or Linear Algebra.

There are a lot of very expensive summer camps at extension programs of fancy universities sending us paraphernalia, and some of those deadlines have passed but some haven’t.  I’m not sure if any of these would be at all worthwhile.  They are certainly expensive!  And DC1 has gone to versions of some of these that our Uni puts on and we haven’t been all that impressed.

Usually I have this all figured out in January, but with not knowing what is going on with Covid, I just didn’t.

So… I have no idea what to do.

What are you guys doing with your kids?  What recommendations do you have?


Ask the grumpies: How much workbooking should your child do each day?

Katie asks:

When you say your kid does a page of Singapore math each day, would that be the Primary Math textbook and/or workbook? Is that generally math they understand already, are they figuring it out themselves based on the textbook, or are you teaching it? If you teach it, how long do you usually spend on it each day.

I also have a kindergartner at home. She’s enrolled in virtual public school, but I’ve also been doing a homeschool kindergarten math curriculum with her since she aged out of preschool in mid-August, just because we both like math and we needed something to do. I’m starting her on Singapore 1A soon (probably Dimensions, maybe Primary Math though). I’m wondering whether we’d be able to transition that to an after-school enrichment activity once she’s back at in-person school, dependent on her interest level and my time. (Though I’d be surprised if her district goes in-person before spring, if at all…)

That depends on the kid and what else is going on. DC1 usually did an “exercise” a day in the workbook. DC2 usually does just a single page (DC2 is a bit more rebellious). BUT when DC2 isn’t getting enough mental activity or when DC1 was overwhelmed with other stuff, we’d do the opposite (or if really overwhelmed, Singapore math would switch to just weekends during the school year).

Early on, we would go through the textbook each day they had a new exercise. Right now with DC2 we only do that when it’s something that DC2 doesn’t already know (this is because DC2 is a bit rebellious and doesn’t want to spend time on the textbook if the workbook is clear enough). But in the early years there is quite a bit of difference in how Singapore math approaches things and how school approached things so we did do the textbook every day. Now (4b/5a) that’s less of an issue with a few exceptions.

Similarly, the number of homework books and which ones depend on the kids’ individual needs at the time.  With virtual schooling, DC2 is doing a page of Singapore math and 15 min of DuoLinguo on school days, and two pages of Brainquest (reading + math), one page of spelling, Singapore math, and DuoLinguo on weekend days and holidays.  In the summer we’re probably going to add a science workbook in Spanish unless zie has daycamp.  Zie also has 15 min of piano practicing each day and has been agitating for violin, but that’s not going to happen until it is safe to get fitted for a violin.

So… we’ve played it by ear with both kids. It depends on where they are, what else is going on in their lives, and how tractable they’re being. Early on, there was a lot more new stuff in new ways that we taught with the textbook, as it got later, they would be able to figure things out just from the workbook or from reading the text themselves, though we would sometimes still need to explain things.