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#1 ThursdayNext

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 04:22 PM

I feel like we've got some great curriculum picks. I like what we are doing, but can't seem to get it all done. Maybe I could change curriculum to something more independent for the kids, or cut something out.

 

Please, please give me some advice on what to cut or how to streamline. I know I can be blind to the obvious sometimes every day.  :001_rolleyes:

 

We have also had a ridiculous number of sick days this school year (3 stomach viruses!), and I am starting to stress about how behind we are. 

 

This is our plan, but we are not hitting it all.

 

We start with hymns, a devotional, memory work, and prayer.

AAS1 and 2 -every day

Singapore Math 2a and 3a -every day

ELTL1 and ELTL2 -4 days a week

cursive for the 3rd grader with English

Silent reading time most days

SOTW3 -2 or 3 days week

Song School Latin -2 or 3 days week

Science in the Beginning -2 or 3 days week

AAR and story time for the little guy

 

My kids are separate for spelling, math, and English, together for the rest.

 

We have occupational therapy, music and science homeschool classes on Tuesday.

We have PE and pragmatic speech therapy on Wednesday.

We have social skills therapy and piano lessons on Friday.

Trying to fit in playdates, daily exercise, athletic skills, crafts, board games, and cleaning the house.

 

My 3rd grader is sweet, nurturing, compliant, and very prone to distraction. She is often forgetful. She struggles with spelling, and is (just like her mama) very slooooow at math. She loves reading, English, science, craft stuff. I require almost no writing other than spelling and copywork.

 

My 1st grader is interesting, curious, challenging, bright. He is on the autism spectrum and his perfectionism causes frequent meltdowns that disrupt the school day. Even the transition to getting dressed or leaving the house is a battle. He is incredibly stubborn, but if I can get him started, he loves to learn. He catches on quickly and remembers what he has learned. He loves reading, history, and English. He can help his sister with math and spelling, though he is doing his own lower level books.

 

My preschooler is happy, energetic, loud, extroverted. He doesn't like to be alone, and craves attention. He will never be the little kid who sits quietly coloring and listening in on his older siblings' work. While I am teaching spelling, or dealing with his brother's meltdown, he will be overflowing the sink and bathtub, or eating an entire bag of chocolate chips!

 

 

 


Edited by ThursdayNext, 17 October 2017 - 04:24 PM.


#2 Kiara.I

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 04:51 PM

I'd cut spelling for the 1st grade.  I tried doing spelling in K.  I gave up.  We start spelling maybe in 2nd, better in 3rd.

 

When you're doing SOTW 2 or 3 days a week, is that a single chapter spread out?  Or multiple chapters?  Maybe just compress one chapter in one day, and if you're doing an activity, do it the second day.

 

I'd cut Latin.  Save it for a year or two.


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#3 KathyBC

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 04:58 PM

If you have science in your homeschool classes on Tuesday, you could cut Science in the Beginning.


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#4 2_girls_mommy

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 05:01 PM

Sounds like you are doing awesome. I just try to get it all in by the end of the week sometimes. At times we might do less of our morning time (your hymn time.) This week, we are doing school light for fall break, and have done none of our morning time. In exchange, we are getting to do more reading aloud in the afternoons. My kids have to do math daily and latin daily. There are goals on paper for which lesson to do which day for math. Some years that works. Others the lessons are just hard and end up taking somebody 2 days to finish one lesson and we move more slowly through a book. At the end of the year I evaluate the text to see which chapters are redundant and cut them if that happens. Or we will put it up and finish it at the beginning of the next year if I think they need to go over that material before moving on. 

 

Spelling, I have a dyslexic. Last year a great deal of time was spent on improving her spelling. This year our focus hasn't been as intense. I know the methods that work for her, but some weeks are too busy, and that is what might get dropped. But we continue to improve just because we have put in that time and know what works for us. So when we focus on it, we do well. 

 

I don't usually drop anything on purpose, but as the rhythm of the year starts and all of the have tos get done and reality sets in about how each thing works for us, I can adjust expectations. We might only read aloud once a week. But we spend an hour or more doing so that day. We do audio CDs for more read alouds. 

 

So for us: latin, math, piano practice, art, reading of some sort get done daily no matter what. Science and history have outside expectations. They are usually covered everyday, but maybe not in the form of their curriculum. DDs are working through individual texts for a co-op class. They do the labs and some quizzes there. At home they read and study the chapters and do some written work. But it might not take them 4 days to do that. Today we read a chapter of a living science book we are working through for our science during our read aloud time. My middle schooler isn't working from her science text. That was enough. My high schooler did some individual study time from her science text on her own. Other things have their own deadlines: writing assignments for outside co-op classes (history and journalism.) When those projects are going on, I don't fret the writing curriculum getting set aside, or if I have assigned a written paper of some sort for something else. I use the writing curric as a teaching tool, but I don't use it as my only teaching tool. The same with all of the curric. 

 

So my point, drop what you need. Teach what you need to. Pick stuff back up that is valuable if and when you want. Don't discount it because it only gets picked up one week a month. Sometimes that's enough because you are getting the basics in daily along with other enrichment.

 

 


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#5 HomeAgain

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 05:03 PM

Drop the oral narrations for ELTL.  They're doing them in history, right?  So they're still getting the skill, just without overkill.  Alternate reading the oral narration stories from 1 and 2 over lunch. 

 

I'd drop SSL, too.  It's fun, but what do you get for your time at the end of the year?  Put it off until the kids understand grammar and then pick a quicker program for them to go through.


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#6 klmama

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 05:06 PM

My suggestions:

Cut Latin
Read aloud to dc while they clean up their rooms and other areas. Lit or science.
Do car history - listen to cds or mp3 on way to therapies and activities
Save board games for evenings and weekends
Don't worry about the flooded bathroom- give him beach towels for the floor and toys for the sink.
Hide the chocolate in your own bedroom so he won't find it.
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#7 EKS

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 05:25 PM

I'd make reading, writing, and math a priority.  If you have natural spellers you might think about using Spelling Workout or some other workbook they can do independently.  If your kids have trouble with spelling, I'd stick with AAS.

 

Then I'd alternate SOTW and science either every other day or every other week.

 

I'd eliminate Latin.

 

And I'd move silent reading to right before bed (in other words, don't stop doing it but get it out of your school day).


Edited by EKS, 17 October 2017 - 05:27 PM.

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#8 JudoMom

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 05:28 PM

I feel like we've got some great curriculum picks. I like what we are doing, but can't seem to get it all done. Maybe I could change curriculum to something more independent for the kids, or cut something out.

 

Please, please give me some advice on what to cut or how to streamline. I know I can be blind to the obvious sometimes every day.  :001_rolleyes:

 

We have also had a ridiculous number of sick days this school year (3 stomach viruses!), and I am starting to stress about how behind we are. 

 

This is our plan, but we are not hitting it all.

 

We start with hymns, a devotional, memory work, and prayer.

AAS1 and 2 -every day

Singapore Math 2a and 3a -every day

ELTL1 and ELTL2 -4 days a week

cursive for the 3rd grader with English

Silent reading time most days

SOTW3 -2 or 3 days week

Song School Latin -2 or 3 days week

Science in the Beginning -2 or 3 days week

AAR and story time for the little guy

 

My kids are separate for spelling, math, and English, together for the rest.

 

We have occupational therapy, music and science homeschool classes on Tuesday.

We have PE and pragmatic speech therapy on Wednesday.

We have social skills therapy and piano lessons on Friday.

Trying to fit in playdates, daily exercise, athletic skills, crafts, board games, and cleaning the house.

 

My 3rd grader is sweet, nurturing, compliant, and very prone to distraction. She is often forgetful. She struggles with spelling, and is (just like her mama) very slooooow at math. She loves reading, English, science, craft stuff. I require almost no writing other than spelling and copywork.

 

My 1st grader is interesting, curious, challenging, bright. He is on the autism spectrum and his perfectionism causes frequent meltdowns that disrupt the school day. Even the transition to getting dressed or leaving the house is a battle. He is incredibly stubborn, but if I can get him started, he loves to learn. He catches on quickly and remembers what he has learned. He loves reading, history, and English. He can help his sister with math and spelling, though he is doing his own lower level books.

 

My preschooler is happy, energetic, loud, extroverted. He doesn't like to be alone, and craves attention. He will never be the little kid who sits quietly coloring and listening in on his older siblings' work. While I am teaching spelling, or dealing with his brother's meltdown, he will be overflowing the sink and bathtub, or eating an entire bag of chocolate chips!

If you were getting to everything and not stressed about it, I'd say it's a great lineup.  My advice, as someone who spent years with great lineups and stress about not getting to the great plans, this is what I'd do and the order I'd do it in, until I felt less stressed:

1.  Drop Science in the Beginning.  You're hitting it in a class once a week, and the world is a science lab for elementary kids. 
2.  Drop Latin.  It's ok to start later.
3.  Move SOTW to listening to the CDs in the car.  It's amazing how much they'll learn, even without all the extras.
4. Drop AAR and get something more streamlined.  I loved Phonics Pathways--it was easy to fit into however much time I had, and it works very well.
5.  Drop spelling or switch to Rod & Staff Spelling by Sound and Structure at grade level.

It's okay to cut down.  It's more important to enjoy this time than hit an educational ideal.

 


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#9 LMD

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 05:34 PM

Listen to SOTW in the car on the way to appointments, they can do oral narrations after each chapter.

Cut science. They are doing a class already. At those grades it's fine. They can free read science books if you like.

I would try to streamline LA. Does ELTL have spelling through dictation? Can you cut copywork from ELTL and replace it with cursive?

I would just do ssl orally. The workbook is pretty busy worky. Maybe on a whiteboard together.

Prioritise. A list of must-dos and a list of when-we-cans. You are very busy, your out of the house schedule is more than I could handle. You are not doing it wrong, you just don't have time for everything. :)
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#10 8FillTheHeart

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 06:13 PM

Drop Latin.  Kids will master it at a higher level and faster when they are older and understand grammar.  



#11 dragonflyer

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 08:20 PM

I think everyone mentioned my suggestions:

 

Drop Science, because you are doing it out of the house.

Drop Latin, it is ok to wait until they can read and write to make Latin a priority.

Move SOTW to audio CDs in the car since you are spending so much time running.


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#12 MerryAtHope

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 08:27 PM

Some years are stressful when lots of illnesses hit. If I could just encourage you--your kids are so little, I wouldn't worry about it. It's really going to be okay.

 

As far as what to do:

 

Decide your top priorities--subjects that you want to do daily. For me that would be:

 

  • We start with hymns, a devotional, memory work, and prayer.
  • AAS (for your 3rd grader--only for 1st grader if that one is reading independently, otherwise drop for that one)
  • Singapore Math 2a and 3a -every day
  • cursive for the 3rd grader with English
  • Silent reading time most days
  • AAR and story time for the little guy

 

Put ELTL, SOTW, Latin, and Science on a loop schedule and just do them in rotation. That might mean that some days you get to most or all of them, but some days (like therapy days or homeschool group day), you might get to only 1 or even none of them.

 

I agree that science could be optional since you are doing a homeschool class.

 

Additionally, I would choose one day (possibly Friday) that is a designated friend day, and do shorter school days then. For example, you might do a short devotional and prayer or a hymn and prayer, but maybe not everything for your morning time. Do reading and math, and then see what time you have for other skills-based subjects. You probably wouldn't do any "loop" subjects that day--and then in the afternoon, have a play date with friends. Every week, you'll have something fun to look forward to then.

 

When you have a lot of outside classes, it really is hard to do as much at home. It sounds like you have some needed therapy 3 days per week. You could consider whether each of the other classes are helpful and needed, or if they are just extras that keep you from getting things done at home. How important and valuable is each one? If they are valuable and important, then they are worth not getting to do loop subjects that day. (And you get to decide which subjects are "daily" and which ones are loop subjects, I just gave the above as one possible example). It's pretty important to have time to hit the basics 4, if not 5 days per week, but you may find you can interchange loop subjects at times--so weigh them against the outside classes you do and decide what's most valuable to you. 

 

Pick a family game night each week to play board games. You could also have a family craft night, or do a craft night once a month (depending on the crafts you want to do and how often). I also found that there were "seasons" for things--and most of the time, we didn't do both art AND music at the same time. I did them by unit or by year, rather than trying to "do it all." Over the years, we did a lot of art and music, but not necessarily both the same semester or same year. You do have an outside PE class, and depending on what that's like, you may not need to worry as much about athletic skills--just make sure your kids get some active play time daily. 

 

House-cleaning--have designated "pick-up" times where everyone puts things away for 10-15 minutes before a meal. Clean up the family areas so that when you do have time to vacuum, dust, or do floors, things are fairly picked up. (Plus, if things are picked up regularly in short little bursts, it makes things feel cleaner and the job seems less overwhelming.) 

 

Hang in there!

 

 

 

 


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#13 2_girls_mommy

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:08 PM

My suggestions:

Cut Latin
Read aloud to dc while they clean up their rooms and other areas. Lit or science.
Do car history - listen to cds or mp3 on way to therapies and activities
Save board games for evenings and weekends
Don't worry about the flooded bathroom- give him beach towels for the floor and toys for the sink.
Hide the chocolate in your own bedroom so he won't find it.

Oh my, this sounds like my house. Preschooler was in the fridge non stop today grazing. But I let her go instead of helping her because I was actually getting some study time in peace for a few minutes with the older girls. 

 

Tomorrow though the baby gate is going up on the fridge. But the rest of the house will be destroyed as usual! I may do the tub and sink toys tomorrow. That is something that hasn't been done in awhile. Today was playdough and related toys, cutting from a Kumon book, blocks bucket dumped out (and cleaned up,) lego box dumped out and cleaned up, movies on my phone, outside on swings, to neighbors to play with dogs with sisters on a break, dump out her toy box because she was looking for something, more digging in fridge and making messes. She broke a casserole dish that had leftover pizza in it from the fridge. I was out of tupperware last night and out of big ziplocs, so used that. So that ruined lunch for the older girls, lol. We all scrounged for lunch instead. It was a mess. But a very successful day in what I got done with high schooler and my tutoring students and planning for my scout troop. The house will be clean someday, and I will be sad. :) 


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#14 Ellie

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:55 PM

I'd drop ELTL1 and ELTL2. At their age, AAS is enough. You can still do copywork and cursive.

 

I'd drop the Latin, too. Because little kids. :-)

 

How parent-intensive is Singapore? Because if it is very parent-intensive, I'd drop that, as well, and do Rod and Staff's arithmetic. You would teach for about 10 minutes, then assign the seatwork.


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#15 PeterPan

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 10:08 PM

Well I admire you if you're getting even HALF that done, mercy. It would be a full load, even with all typical children, and adding in the spectrum (and maybe ADHD? Hmm?) makes it astonishingly hard. My ds is on the spectrum, and he's the only one I'm teaching and he keeps me busy full time. For my ds, all the transitions out to things, even really good things, are hard. If we go out to them, we can't go back and do things. So at some point you're going to ask yourself if what you're accomplishing on those outtings is more important than what's being missed by not being home. And it really could be. Around here, I can get a behaviorist to come do the social thinking stuff at home, meaning I don't have to go out for that. We do go out for speech, and it's an all day trip because it's such a long drive. We dropped OT and music therapy and art therapy, because the benefits (which were there!!!) didn't balance out the stress, the exposure to GERMS that were making us sick, and the transition issues.

 

So for us, less outings, more at home, means lower anxiety, more predictability, more work done. It's better for us. You could think about it. You've got a lot on that list.

 

If you want a total different suggestion, you could put the middle dc in school and be done with it. I'm not heartless. I'm right where you are, and I look at schools. My ds is on the spectrum and gifted with all the SLDs. There isn't a school to fit him, and I have my choice of 10. Like literally, we have autism schools, dyslexia schools, christian schools that take IEPs, all kinds of schools, and there isn't one that is a right fit for my ds. So I get if you're like oh no, not what I want. But still I'm just tossing that out as something you could put on your list. 

 

If you don't do school, then I think the autism realities are going to continue to hit you. Meltdowns are not ideal, and in our house they're dangerous. We do a LOT here to reduce anxiety, reduce transitions, increase predictability, reduce stress. I got Zones of Regulation training so I can implement it. We do tons in the home with calming routines, talking about strategies, using the strategies. Even that social, honestly, why go out? Go to the training, buy the stuff, do it at home yourself using your kids as the social group or bring in a behaviorist.

 

Yes, I would drop some of the unnecessary academics. Merry gave you a good streamlined essentials. But more than that, I'd just streamline your LIFE. I'm really death on people bringing germs around me now. I had pneumonia twice in 12 months. Granted it turned out I also had asthma, but it was all the GERMS we were being exposed to. So there's a cost. To me, *I* am my ds' most valuable therapist. It would be ok to streamline some things, find your peaceful point, get a level you can live with, a level you ALL can live with.

 

If you're going to keep him at home, you might like to have days off and a person you send the kids too. And you might send the socially typical kids one day, the ASD kid the other. They might want space from each other. My ds had a grandma and now a doting aunt I can send him to. It's just once or twice a week for a few hours, but it's huge for us. It's a break for me, and honestly a doting aunt can be tremendous ABA!! It would be free social, and it wouldn't be hauling off to groups and appts. If you've got someone to do it for you...


Edited by OhElizabeth, 17 October 2017 - 10:09 PM.

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#16 abacus2

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 12:36 AM

You've been given lots of good suggestions. I will add, stop stressing about being "behind." At the elementary level, the only thing you need to do is consistently work on school. You don't need to finish any particular book, even math, or follow what you had originally planned for the year. Your students will not be worse off academically because of a few days of stomach bug, even if you just cut three days off the end of your schedule and never try to "catch up." One of the great things about homeschooling is you don't have to worry about getting behind. If you need a break, for illness or another reason, you just stop and the work waits for you to come back.

 

ETA: I plan about 140 days of regular lessons each year. That allows about one day a week to be for illness, field trips, outside classes, etc. I find this to be more realistic than planning 180 days of regular lessons like some curricula present as a year of work.


Edited by abacus2, 18 October 2017 - 12:46 AM.

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#17 fourisenough

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 06:38 AM

I didn't read the other replies, but I'd make SOTW an audiobook in the car only; listen & discuss.

I'd cut Latin. No need for it at that age.

I'd cut Science in the beginning. Since you're attending a hands-on class, it is unnecessary.

Finally, I'd reduce your out-of-the-house commitments. You have to be home (a majority of the time) to HOMEschool.
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#18 Bluegoat

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 11:27 AM

My suggestions are similar to others, only I would try and think about doubling up to do some tasks more efficiently.

 

I'd drop spelling for the younger student, Latin, and science.

 

But I might make some silent reading books related to science, and I'd try and do a regular outdoor walk, maybe with friends.  I'd also try including things like history stories, poetry, and so on.  You could do the same for reading aloud.  Kids are often just as haps to listen to history stories or biography as they are fiction, if it's well written.  You can bring a book to an appointment for the waiting room, and instead of being school its a fun way to pass the time.

 

I might use memory work or something else written to work on cursive.

 

Having dropped Latin, I might for use your hymn or singing time to learn some simple Latin plainchant, or maybe folksongs in a second language like French or Italian.  Even groups like Sharon, Lois and Bram or other kids entertainers have songs that work well for this.

 

 

 


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#19 OnMyOwn

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 11:40 AM

I'd drop Latin and not pick it up again until 6th grade.  If I was going to do anything at all before 6th, it would be to just memorize the conjugations since little kids love to memorize, but you'd have plenty of time for that even if you started slowly in 6th.  I'd also cut Science in the Beginning.  I'd get the SOTW audiobook and listen to it while you are traveling to your various activities. 


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#20 Ausmumof3

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 09:37 PM

That's a crazy lot going on even with nt kids and no preschoolers.

Firstly, this may not work for you but we work better if we do things in blocks. I would try and reduce the out of the house stuff or move more onto one day. I couldn't handle being out of the house three separate days a week.

I do spelling or writing/literature not both on a day. We have two days on spelling and three on writing but if they need more spelling switch around.

I basically have a language hour each day for each kid and language other than English goes in that hour (for us Latin and Italian). Then we have a math hour where all the maths stuff plus critical thinking goes. We have a "morning basket" hour which is some variation of read alouds, memorisation, bible, art appreciation, music. Stuff that is somewhat fluffy but also is the stuff that makes school rich. Then we have one hour of another subject. They rotate on a loop schedule , grammar, history, geography, science, art. I wouldn't be able to cope with history 3 times a week.

This limits school to four hours. What doesn't fit in that time mostly doesn't get done.

You might find Mystie Winklers time budget stuff helpful. Basically you can't think of time as an unlimited resource. There's so much you could do but we can't do it all. That's like going shopping and buying whatever you want instead of thinking how much money you have and allocating it. Think about your week as a bank account. Allocate your hours to the must dos first. Leaving some margin for error is also a must do. Then add on the nice to dos from there. Sometimes it helps to have a list of nice to dos that you can slot in when you have a bit of extra unexpected time.
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#21 fairfarmhand

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 11:38 AM

Can you do hymns while cleaning up from breakfast and getting out school books?

 

Can you get your autistic guy dressed and pretty much ready to go out the door before school even starts so it's not so complicated to transition?

 

Can you get the audio books of SOTW and listen to them in the car, doing the bookwork later?

 

Also, I'd see my mornings as sacred. Unless someone is dying and the only appointment is in the morning, there are NO appointments/field trips/extra activities in the morning. That gives me four solid hours to focus only on school. For a long time I was "We homeschool so we can do x, y, z in the morning when there's no crowds, etc." But that approach killed our productivity. We are just so ineffecient after lunch. What takes 2 hours in the morning takes 3 and a half in the afternoon.

 

It also helps with transitions to go from lunch to out of the house stuff if needed.


Edited by fairfarmhand, 23 October 2017 - 11:42 AM.

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#22 AdventuresinHomeschooling

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 09:04 PM

I'd cut Science in the beginning to once or twice a week even if you don't finish the book bc you are doing it in co-op. You could also cut SSL or do it once or twice a week. Maybe just listen to the cd in the car.

Edited by AdventuresinHomeschooling, 23 October 2017 - 09:06 PM.

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#23 ThursdayNext

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 04:50 AM

You all are so nice! Really, I'm almost tearing up at the encouragement!
Sorry I haven't responded- busyness of life, extended family trouble, etc.

History
We do have all the CDs for SOTW, and listen in the car. The kids HATE answering the questions. Does this mean I can skip it, so they will like history? Maybe just discuss as I drive? Also, they struggle with narration. (Of course) it never looks like the sample. I've assumed that we should keep doing it, to strengthen those skills. But they do some narration with Aesop's Fables in English, which is much easier. Because those stories are so short, however, I often hear the same story back almost word for word. Summarizing is challenging.

Now that I have 2 doing history, one kid gets even numbers, one odd, for choosing the activity. I limit to the ones that I'm willing to do.

I have the worst time not getting the whole booklist from each chapter. I try to get only 4 books. Both my older kids are strong readers, and can usually read in the car. We love books at our house, but I will try to be ok with returning books unread to the library.

Latin
I told my son he could quit Latin. My daughter is still doing it. She loves it. She's been asking to learn Spanish for 2 years, but I couldn't find a class that would fit in our schedule. She will speak all the Latin she has learned to us. But I will relax on how fast she goes through it, and let her choose the pace. ( Which might be faster.)

Math
This takes more time than anything else. Any ideas for speeding up kids/ streamlining? I don't really want to switch, because I feel like we're getting a solid math education.
Singapore is teacher intensive. You teach the lesson, often with games or manipulatives, then go through the textbook with them, then they do the workbook on their own. Some days there is also mental math, 20 some questions that they are supposed to be able to finish in 3-5 minutes. We often skip the textbook or some games, and both kids are slower at mental math. When I have time I let my 1st grader do his work verbally, as that is much faster for him. I can't believe people fit in Singapore intensive practice supplements, and Singapore complex word problems as well as all this. Maybe instead of mental math, I could find a math game on the iPad.

Spelling
My 3rd grader is a great reader, but a poor speller. Last year we tried doing spelling 2 or 3 days a week, but that didn't work well. She really needs spelling every day, and a program like AAS. I'm hoping to get her spelling well enough to do some writing next year. I would like to keep my 1st grader moving through spelling, partly just for the handwriting practice, but with him I could cut back to 2 days a week.

English
Any recommendations for English that combines grades?
The kids and I have loved ELTL. I like the classic literature selections, the poetry, the occasional picture study, the copywork. But with 2 kids doing it, I'm not sure if its still working. An English program that combines kids would be so much easier/save so much time. And I'm not sure that it's the right grammar approach for my daughter. A basic workbook with circle the correct answer might be more her style. We haven't been doing much with cursive yet, so she's not ready to do her copywork in cursive, but by Christmas she should.



Science
The science they are doing at their homeschool class is not Science in the Beginning. But they both enjoy it. I've really liked what we've done in SitB, and feel guilty for not doing more, since I've finally found science we all like. Thank you all for telling me it's okay if we don't get more science done, or do just a little bit. I plan to chill.

Therapy
I'm thinking about dropping pragmatic speech therapy. It's only 30 minutes a week, but an hour drive round trip. Not sure how much it's helping. I kinda want to hang in til Christmas since we've already hit our max out of pocket with insurance and it's practically free til next year.

#24 ThursdayNext

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 05:00 AM

Can you do hymns while cleaning up from breakfast and getting out school books?

Can you get your autistic guy dressed and pretty much ready to go out the door before school even starts so it's not so complicated to transition?

Can you get the audio books of SOTW and listen to them in the car, doing the bookwork later?

Also, I'd see my mornings as sacred. Unless someone is dying and the only appointment is in the morning, there are NO appointments/field trips/extra activities in the morning. That gives me four solid hours to focus only on school. For a long time I was "We homeschool so we can do x, y, z in the morning when there's no crowds, etc." But that approach killed our productivity. We are just so ineffecient after lunch. What takes 2 hours in the morning takes 3 and a half in the afternoon.

It also helps with transitions to go from lunch to out of the house stuff if needed.

Yes to getting my guy dressed in the morning. You would not believe how hard that was when he was 3. We've come a long way. He still struggles with leaving the house, but we're seeing progress there too.

Thank you for reminding me how important mornings are. I really have to remember that.
Other than our Tuesday classes, we don't normally do things in the morning. But it takes so long to get going in the morning, that we are not as productive. I've been working on that, but still...
Often outside activities are at 1:00, and 30 minutes away, so there's not much afternoon time for science and history activities and read alouds.

#25 ThursdayNext

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 05:08 AM

Some years are stressful when lots of illnesses hit. If I could just encourage you--your kids are so little, I wouldn't worry about it. It's really going to be okay.

As far as what to do:

Decide your top priorities--subjects that you want to do daily. For me that would be:

  • We start with hymns, a devotional, memory work, and prayer.
  • AAS (for your 3rd grader--only for 1st grader if that one is reading independently, otherwise drop for that one)
  • Singapore Math 2a and 3a -every day
  • cursive for the 3rd grader with English
  • Silent reading time most days
  • AAR and story time for the little guy

Put ELTL, SOTW, Latin, and Science on a loop schedule and just do them in rotation. That might mean that some days you get to most or all of them, but some days (like therapy days or homeschool group day), you might get to only 1 or even none of them.

I agree that science could be optional since you are doing a homeschool class.

Additionally, I would choose one day (possibly Friday) that is a designated friend day, and do shorter school days then. For example, you might do a short devotional and prayer or a hymn and prayer, but maybe not everything for your morning time. Do reading and math, and then see what time you have for other skills-based subjects. You probably wouldn't do any "loop" subjects that day--and then in the afternoon, have a play date with friends. Every week, you'll have something fun to look forward to then.

When you have a lot of outside classes, it really is hard to do as much at home. It sounds like you have some needed therapy 3 days per week. You could consider whether each of the other classes are helpful and needed, or if they are just extras that keep you from getting things done at home. How important and valuable is each one? If they are valuable and important, then they are worth not getting to do loop subjects that day. (And you get to decide which subjects are "daily" and which ones are loop subjects, I just gave the above as one possible example). It's pretty important to have time to hit the basics 4, if not 5 days per week, but you may find you can interchange loop subjects at times--so weigh them against the outside classes you do and decide what's most valuable to you.

Pick a family game night each week to play board games. You could also have a family craft night, or do a craft night once a month (depending on the crafts you want to do and how often). I also found that there were "seasons" for things--and most of the time, we didn't do both art AND music at the same time. I did them by unit or by year, rather than trying to "do it all." Over the years, we did a lot of art and music, but not necessarily both the same semester or same year. You do have an outside PE class, and depending on what that's like, you may not need to worry as much about athletic skills--just make sure your kids get some active play time daily.

House-cleaning--have designated "pick-up" times where everyone puts things away for 10-15 minutes before a meal. Clean up the family areas so that when you do have time to vacuum, dust, or do floors, things are fairly picked up. (Plus, if things are picked up regularly in short little bursts, it makes things feel cleaner and the job seems less overwhelming.)

Hang in there!

So helpful!
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#26 ThursdayNext

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 05:18 AM


I'd make reading, writing, and math a priority. If you have natural spellers you might think about using Spelling Workout or some other workbook they can do independently. If your kids have trouble with spelling, I'd stick with AAS.


Then I'd alternate SOTW and science either every other day or every other week.


I'd eliminate Latin.


And I'd move silent reading to right before bed (in other words, don't stop doing it but get it out of your school day).


I like the idea of moving silent reading to right before bed, but we would have a revolt on our hands. 😉 They like to choose their own books in the afternoon and evening. For my daughter, sometimes Geronimo Stilton or Calvin and Hobbes. And for my son, silent reading time is a lifesaver. When he's getting too upset and about/starting to scream, sitting in his room and reading The Mouse and the Motorcycle or Little House on the Prairie saves all our sanity. If I just gave him free time, it would encourage more fits, and he would freak over starting school again after having a break.

#27 ThursdayNext

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 05:25 AM

My suggestions:

Cut Latin
Read aloud to dc while they clean up their rooms and other areas. Lit or science.
Do car history - listen to cds or mp3 on way to therapies and activities
Save board games for evenings and weekends
Don't worry about the flooded bathroom- give him beach towels for the floor and toys for the sink.
Hide the chocolate in your own bedroom so he won't find it.

Yes to this, especially hiding the chocolate in my room. 😊 It was in there for several months. Then when I would escape to my room to get away from the kids, the chocolate was right there. I've had a few too many snack-ciddents with a full sized dark chocolate bars.😳
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#28 Ausmumof3

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 06:58 AM

I hear you on the math! It's my one hate for Singapore. How irregular the lesson lengths are!!! Today my DS had to draw about five triangles using a protractor and my dd had multiple long division, fraction and complicated word problems! It's so frustrating. Theoretically we could move further ahead on the fast days but that involves an argument with my kids about doing more than one math lesson. Just schedule a small amount of practice or review in the lesson each day instead of a massive review/practice at the end

Edited by Ausmumof3, 25 October 2017 - 07:00 AM.

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#29 PeterPan

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 07:17 AM

I'm thinking about dropping pragmatic speech therapy. It's only 30 minutes a week, but an hour drive round trip. Not sure how much it's helping. I kinda want to hang in til Christmas since we've already hit our max out of pocket with insurance and it's practically free til next year.

 

Are you getting homework from the SLP and asking her how you can do it more at home? Can she get you a longer appt block? We drive 2+ hours each way weekly, but we do much longer sessions. I agree driving an hour each way for 30 minutes is excessive. There needs to be someone closer or go to every other week with double length sessions or something. Even if she just maximizes her value to you by giving you more ways to carry it over at home, that would be something.

 

My ds has turned out to have pockets of language issues here and there that we could identify. It might be that if she did more testing she could find more to work on, thus justifying longer sessions. For instance, my ds had issues with sequencing. I'll just point out that you also said in this thread they didn't want to answer questions. That's absurd to drop them when you have a dc with language issues. Do you know what his language issues are? When our ps says pragmatics, they use it in a blanket way to include wh-questions, conversation, anything, and it's the very stuff that would cause a kid to buck answering questions about his history. ;)

 

So yeah, I'd dig in on the language and do more, not less. Language affects all the school work.



#30 AdventuresinHomeschooling

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 12:45 PM

If you really like Singapore and are willing to put the time in, I would not touch it.  You could put a cutoff at 45 minutes.  If they're a little older, you could have a homework hour in the afternoon to complete anything not finished during math time if you want.  But it is a solid foundation and approach that is working for everyone.  This is a hard subject to switch on everyone, and I wouldn't do it unless there are issues with it.

 

If your daughter is actually wanting to learn spanish vs. latin, check out duo lingo.  It's an app that my kids are loving to learn some spanish vocabulary.  I read a study that there's no real huge benefit to learning latin before jr. high age, so I wouldn't feel guilty over it.  

 

I feel your pain.  I am doing similar intensive curricula with three kids and a one year old.  Our saving grace this year is that we have zero outside obligations right now.  My third grade son is similar in that he reads well, but he really needs AAS because his spelling is so erratic.  

 

On SOTW, I don't know that we have ever done a bunch of narrations with it.  I do ask discussion questions sometimes, but we do narration elsewhere.  The css in the car with a book basket would be fine.  And we never get all the supplemental books.  First, our library never has all of them.  Second, I check out so many books on the lists that go back to the library unread.  And that's ok.  I made them available for their interest to learn more.  As long as I select a few to read, I'm completely ok with not reading them all.

 

As a rule of thumb, I'd focus first on skills subjects: math and language arts.  When you have found the programs you like for those, I'd rearrange the rest of your week around those.  This is hard for me as a history lover, and my kids are big science lovers.  So I always feel guilty if we don't do enough, but at this age, the biggest goal in these subjects is to develop a love of learning them and piqued interest.  They'll be ok if they don't fully understand the scientific method or world history until 6th grade, but if they can't read and spell or have a poor math foundation, this would be detrimental.  So start with those priorities and then carefully evaluate your time and resources and goals.  


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#31 ThursdayNext

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 03:24 PM

Are you getting homework from the SLP and asking her how you can do it more at home? Can she get you a longer appt block? We drive 2+ hours each way weekly, but we do much longer sessions. I agree driving an hour each way for 30 minutes is excessive. There needs to be someone closer or go to every other week with double length sessions or something. Even if she just maximizes her value to you by giving you more ways to carry it over at home, that would be something.

My ds has turned out to have pockets of language issues here and there that we could identify. It might be that if she did more testing she could find more to work on, thus justifying longer sessions. For instance, my ds had issues with sequencing. I'll just point out that you also said in this thread they didn't want to answer questions. That's absurd to drop them when you have a dc with language issues. Do you know what his language issues are? When our ps says pragmatics, they use it in a blanket way to include wh-questions, conversation, anything, and it's the very stuff that would cause a kid to buck answering questions about his history. ;)

So yeah, I'd dig in on the language and do more, not less. Language affects all the school work.

It's not all questions the kids hate, just the ones that go with SOTW. They can never remember all of the information asked for.

Speech is only a half hour each way. I can't go back and watch the sessions because I have my other 2 kids with me. She is working with him on L sounds, which I hadn't noticed were a problem, with eye contact, passing the ball of conversation back and forth, and reading body language. Mostly social stuff that we also work on with his social skills therapy on Friday. I figured a different person and more time wouldn't hurt.

Edited by ThursdayNext, 25 October 2017 - 03:29 PM.


#32 coastalfam

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Posted 26 October 2017 - 11:03 AM

My oldest son has Down syndrome, and so, like you, have many therapies we go to a week. It can really throw a wrench in our schedule is I am not careful and very picky about how we get plan things out, and how we guard our remaining time. I though maybe if I list some of my time-savers something might jump out at you as you have much the same situation with therapies. ;)

 

One thing I have tried to do is limit our therapy times to afternoons, three days a week. We get some of our therapies through our charter school, and the other kids take enrichment classes during some of those. We do a lot of "car school" while my son is in his therapies--I have a big box educational games, a "scrunch map" (the coolest thing... really cheap at Rainbow Resources for "car school" geography!), our geography book, and we do lots of our read aloud time in the car as my older son has a hard time following along with no pictures. We use Wayfarers as a curriculum schedule for history, geography, and science, and it is really book heavy, so doing lots of read alouds and oral narration is a perfect school strategy for us. On Friday we drive quite a ways for horse therapy, and I use audio books for that. We can get all three chapters of our geography read aloud in easily in that drive.

 

I save a lot of our daily reading for bedtime. My husband sits down with my oldest, and has him read one book to him for practice, then he reads him picture books from the library that go along with the subjects that we are studying through novels and read alouds while he is in therapy.

 

We only do ELTL 3 days a week. I haven't done levels 1 or 2 (we started in 3), and in three it is only suggested for three days a week. Last year we did not make it through the entire book, but as every level starts over at the beginning (in different ways) and goes through the entire contents of each previous book, I am not going to sweat it. I think ELTL will give them a superior grammar education, even if I can't do the entire thing. I think 3 days a week would be fine for your purposes.

 

When we did AAS, and now we do prepared dictation for spelling, we only do it on T & TH, the opposite days from ELTL. However, we would briefly review our phonograms daily.

 

We only do cursive twice a week.

 

We only do Science and History once a week. We disperse science and history read alouds throughout the week at bedtime, or in the car, but as for SOTW, and our general science curriculum, we only do those on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. T & TH are our "home" days. An entire chapter of SOTW is pretty easy to accomplish in one afternoon. I give them a coloring page from he Activity Book to color as I read to them. We pause a lot to talk about the passage. We always do the discussion questions, and then we do a very simple activity, either the mapping activity, or another one that is simple to do. It only takes 30 minutes maximum, but if I was short on time, I would have no problem at this age, just briefly reading the chapter for the week, then leaving it at that. We often have to finish SOTW up in the summer, but the kids enjoy it, so it's a non issue. For science, I've found having a curriculum that we can skip around in, drop a week, etc. is really helpful. Often our field trips are science oriented, so I have no problem about calling that our lesson for the week if that happens. I have a feeling my middle son will be ready for a more independent science program soon, and brothers can certainly tag-along, and then I will call that "Science" for them.

 

For physical activity... we don't do something formal every day, but we do try to have them constantly involved in evening/weekend sports or lessons. My oldest does Special Olympics.

 

My 4th grader is really compliant, independent child, so I made him his own daily schedule that I laminated so I can fill in week to week, and I set out his materials each day. He gets right to work on them, and gets through all his independent stuff (with coaxing as he day dreams a lot), and then I work on the things that we do together (mainly ELTL) once I am finished with the younger kiddos.

 

Last, I do our devotional at lunch time. My husband is a worship pastor, so I don't incorporate hymns as that kind of just happens semi-regularly. 

 

Anyway, that is our daily reality of fitting things in in a way that helps us feel less frantic. It sounds like a lot to write it down... like we are constantly doing school, even in the car, but it is just kind of habit. :)