Sunday, July 24, 2011

Home Schooling - Alex Update - Alcumus and Alto Flute

Song:  Storm

Artists:  Yoshida Brothers


A learning and rating web site put together by
 former Math Olympiad Winner...
Richard Rusczyk.

Alcumus is part of...
Art Of Problem Solving.

My last report of Alex's score in Alcumus was in April 2011.

He was 1,423 out of 14,255 competitors 
(no age or country limitations).

The competition is comprised of three categories...

Counting and Probabilities...
Number Theory.

Alex is evenly balanced among the three categories.

For most of his problems...
he does them in his head.

On some, he writes out the problem...
he doesn't use a calculator
(important... as we use Alcumus to reinforce 
his rapid calculative capabilities).

Just yesterday...
he broke through into the triple digit realm.

He was ranked at...

994 out of 16,716 participants.

The number of participants have increased by almost 2,500 
in the past 3 months.

A very happy Alex.

He had, for the first time, gotten into the top 1,000.

Not bad for a ten year old!

He told us as he neared it and then completed some problems
to give him his new placement.

His mother quickly got her camera and took this shot
just as he got his new score.

He gets so excited whenever he progresses in any endeavor.

Although the placement fluctuates depending on the performance
of the others between his sessions at Alcumus...
he has been steadily moving up in his rankings.

He usually finishes his daily online Home Schooling with Alcumus
(he still does off line Home Schooling activities afterward).

The competition greatly motivates him to keep sharp.

We use Thinkwell Math for his Algebra II.

Alex playing the Alto Double Minor Pentatonic Flute.

He can now almost cover two octaves in range and he is learning
a simple song...

I have him do 5 separate sessions of scale practice and push ups
throughout the day
(he needs to build up his push up capabilities for his Karate).

As I, not only, do not wish to over load him with too much at once...
I wish for him to realize the efficiency of multiple practice sessions
in his daily routine.

For skill practice...
it is, in general, more effective to have a 
quantity of quality practice by breaking it up into
multiple daily sessions.

To have him do an imperfect repetition of a skill
due to fatigue, is to have him take a step backwards.

By having him fresh for each session...
he learns the correct application each time.

It actually makes a difference neurologically.

As his body gets its feedback from the motion...
the neurological connections are strengthened.

It is no different from the cutting of a grove into an old time 
phonograph disc.

To make an imperfect grove would result in imperfect results...
results that would need to be corrected and adjusted for
in subsequent lessons.

It also keeps him motivated, as he sees the lessons as relatively
easy to complete and fun to do.

I also ordered another two flutes...

one for Alex...

a concert tuned Transverse Shakuhachi...

and one for me
(for duets with Alex)...

another Transverse Shakuhachi (lower range).

I love the older Japanese music...
we shall be playing some in the future.

There is also another very important purpose
to achieving results in increments...

Mama would never have let us get more flutes had I
ordered them all at once.

By getting the flutes incrementally...
I should be able to sneak these in more easily than with
one large order.

Ah...another reason to achieve results incrementally!  :)


  1. Alex's performance in the Alcumus competition is amazing. I'll bet there are not many ten year olds who even participate in this competition.

    I like your incremental approach in ordering the flutes. Haha! Very wise.

  2. I just picked up the flutes from the Post Office...

    I wonder if my wife will notice that these are a natural finish instead of a dark finish like the others...Doooohhh :)


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