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Posts posted by FireweedPrep

  1. My oldest will be in fourth grade when we pick school back up this summer; we've homeschooled since K.  Last year, for third grade, we did part of FLL 3, and she seemed to really enjoy it--I didn't make her memorize every list of conjunctions or whatever, but it got so repetitive..and then we moved stuff around and started working on Latina Christiana from Memoria Press.  Latin was my favorite subject to teach, and my daughter really enjoyed it and worked hard on it and did quite well.  I've been looking a lot at MCT and reading tons of reviews on it, too.  I like the whole program and the in depth analysis you get into, but I am hesitant on the cost and the whole premise that you cannot write without explicit training in grammar--I've also heard that the upper levels get quite confusing and pile up with minutiae.   

    So for fourth grade, i see our options as
    1. FLL 3 
    2. Latina Christiana plus the simple grammar program from Memoria Press
    3. MCT (whole progam)

    I will only have time to teach Latin if we do option two; I don't think I can swing FLL, All About spelling, Latin, literature, and a lot of writing (we follow WTM for creating our own writing) for a whole LA program.  Maybe I could, but FLL + Latin seems a bit overkill, too, for this kid who is intuitive with English (though not with spelling lol).  I certainly can't do/ don't want to do MCT and Latin.  

    I am leaning to LC + MP Grammar recitation program, but any thoughts and ideas are appreciated!

  2. I think that a "true" CM approach would not transition well back to public school.  I learned a lot from A Delectable Education, and Karen Glass's Know and Tell is helpful, too, and we did a semester of Ambleside Online, and realized that CM isn't for us, though I do love many of the principles.  Mostly, while my seven year old could do great narrations, she really wasn't able to recall the specifics (she could tell about Washington crossing the Delaware, for example, but couldn't remember any names, dates, or locations whatsoever) and after much searching and trying out of many different curricula, my husband and I are in agreement that, frankly, there are just some things we want them to know, plain and simple, before they graduate.  CM was a little too "take what they will from this" for us.  Everyone has many, many, many different opinions; I just wanted to share our experience. :-)

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  3. I wouldn't.  We stopped at the end of AAR 2, at which point DD was reading at a solid fourth grade reading level with fantastic comprehension.  I had read that once they are reading fluently, start a phonic based spelling and it will set them up for success, and have them keep reading out loud to you.

  4. On ‎12‎/‎26‎/‎2018 at 4:38 PM, Ellie said:

    You are such a sweetheart. ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

    The reason that there doesn't need to be a teaching box at the top of the page even in the third grade book is that the children never work independently in that book; the seatwork always follows an oral lesson.  I'm guessing that the authors believe that at this age children still *need* that direct instruction. 🙂 The textbook helps prepare them for using a textbook the following year, but they don't have to write out every problem in the drill sets: they fold their notebook paper on a line, hold it on the page below a row of problems, and write only the answers.

    Oh that's brilliant!  Tucking that in my brain for next year!  I like doing the math lesson with her, so I'm happy to keep doing that!  At first we skipped part of the "drill" with flashcards and such, but I now see that for her, at least, she does need all that direct instruction, immediate feedback, and drill/review!

  5. On ‎12‎/‎25‎/‎2018 at 3:17 PM, Ellie said:

    The first three books follow exactly the same format: the teacher does the teaching with the excellent scripted lessons in the teacher manual, and then the children do the seatwork, which reinforces what they have just been taught. The only difference is that the first two have workbooks and the third is a textbook. 🙂

    The first three would be different because they are the building blocks for the rest of the series. The scope and sequence for fourth and up is comparative to Saxon or any other publisher; the lower three seem to be behind other publishers, but that's because they are working on basic arithmetic, without throwing in some advanced concepts they way other publishers do, concepts which are not taught comprehensively at all. When R&S students reach those concepts at fourth grade and above, they have *strong* basic arithmetic skills and are ready for the more advanced maths.

    Reading that R&S matches up with other curriculum in fourth grade greatly relieves my anxiety!  I know that when we have our annual (required) homeschool evaluation in August, my daughter will be considered "behind" but I also trust with R&S that she will be solidly grounded in arithmetic, which absolutely makes everything else easier later on!

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  6. As an update we have embarked on Rod and Staff 2, with good colored pencils!  She continues to insist that math is her least favorite subject, but I counter that she has to have a least favorite!  We are going to stick with it. The interactive part of the lesson is blessedly shorter than Saxon but still worthwhile and we like that. Sometimes I sit with her for the worksheet part, sometimes not. She gripes but eventually gets it done. 

    Thanks for all the support and recommendations!

    • Like 3
  7. 4 hours ago, Monica_in_Switzerland said:

    Just pick a program.  Do not attempt to find a program that will reduce the amount of planning and face-to-face time.  Your kid should not be expected to do ANYTHING without you at her elbow for at least a few more years.  Now, you may be pleasantly surprised and that might start earlier for some kids than others, but I really don't think elementary level math should be expected to be done with any level of independence at all.  You have to make that time commitment upfront.  

    If your dd finds the pages lack color, she can do like my girls and color in her math workbook like a coloring page once the work is done.  I know a lot of people disagree with me on this, but I feel your dd's opinion on the aesthetics is irrelevant.  Unless the pages are so crowded that she is unable to concentrate, let her meet her color needs elsewhere. 

    I feel very strongly that the best program is the one you can teach confidently.  If you don't want to learn "Asian math" in your spare time, don't use Singapore or the other Asian math programs.  If spiral bores you, don't use it.  If you don't like any math programs, find a good scope and sequence for elementary math and teach it on the whiteboard without any curriculum at all.  I learned a ton by watching videos on Educationunboxed.com, a website all about Cuisenaire rods.  We use base ten blocks plus c-rods for manipulative, along with a very few others, like place value cards and just some stuff to count, like popsicle sticks.  My oldest (Alg 1) hasn't needed them in years.  My second (SM4) doesn't use them, but I do demonstarte new concepts with them.  My third (SM1) and my little guy (PK) use them extensively- every lesson, every day.  

    Although I do use Singapore, I have pored over their teacher's manuals in depth, and read a lot about Asian math.  At this point, the lesson books/workbooks are more of a reinforcement to the lesson which I teach ad hoc after glancing at the next few pages of the book to see what the next concept is.  I use these materials well because I have studied them and learned how to teach math a particular way, and how to teach it a different way when one way doesn't click.  🙂  

    Just pick a curriculum, then spend all that free time when you would be agonizing about math by educating yourself on *teaching* math.  This will make you so much less dependant on a curriculum, and when you come to a little hiccup, you won't jump ship to a new curriculum, you'll just present the material a different way and then move on.  Again, educationunboxed is a great resource.  

    Thanks!  Yes, I have definitely come to see that in many of our school subjects, I'm switching because of ME, not necessarily because of my girls, and that is a disconcerting but ultimately helpful (I hope!) realization.  If I "believe in it" (and they don't absolutely hate it!) I will be able to teach it and I think that I am finally honing in on what that will be for us.  And for sure on the tutoring aspect of math at this stage--both of us like both of us doing it together.  I bought my daughter high quality erasable colored pencils and they have helped her enjoyment of math, too. 

    • Like 3
  8. 9 hours ago, Ellie said:

    Many years ago, when it became apparent that I was going to be doing some curriculum counseling (long story), I decided that I should learn about manipulatives, as that's what was the big thing (see my comment above). I went to a half-day class at a store of some kind that was all about manipulatives. All of the other attendees were public school teachers. We spent an two hours and 45 minutes working with pattern blocks (can you fill this shape using only this color? How many different ways can you fill this shape?) and tangrams (ditto). The teachers were ooo-ing and ahhh-ing, and I had no idea how on earth playing with pattern blocks and tangrams would help children to learn how to find the area of a triangle. I kept thinking about the Emperor's New Clothes...The last 15 minutes we learned about Base 10 blocks. At last! A manipulative that made sense!

    My theory is that the public schools in general are doing a really bad job of teaching math, and they keep looking for something new instead of going back to what worked. Manipulatives was supposed to be the answer, but no. They are not.

    Anyway, a friend raved about about her Cuisenaire rods and how awesome they were. After this class, I decided that I should learn about rods, so I bought Mathematics Made Meaningful, which comes with task cards; the first one tells you to dump the rods on the table and mix them up, then sort them according to color. Then you mess them up and sort them according to size. Hey! They're the same piles! I started with the first one, and before long I was sold on c-rods. For people who want to use c-rods, I recommend starting with MMM, and eventually to go to Miquon. But I do *not* believe that every child must use c-rods, or base 10 blocks, or Popsicle sticks, or counting bears, in order to have a good understanding of math.

    Many years ago, the Teaching Home published an article that talked about process math versus traditional math. It was SO good. I lost the article ::weeps::  It helped me understand the difference between the two, and is why I think that is more important than spiral vs mastery.

    That was illuminating, thank you.  Yes, I keep thinking...ok, those kids raised on the math of the 1940s are the ones who put a man on the moon using slide rules and paper trig tables...right?  :-)  I do think that manipulatives have a place...and I really do like base ten blocks and learning addition with the little unit blocks.  But I do see how they are overused.

    • Like 1
  9. 1 hour ago, knitgrl said:

    I took one year of education classes to become a teacher, and quit because I was so disgusted with the whole system. After studying the history of public education, it was clear there has been a long pattern of trying trendy things, and abandoning them after 3-8 years. That's not even long enough to see if it worked on a large scale. My understanding of Common Core is that it's based on teaching methods in Asia which have been successful, but the US only uses the trappings of it, without training teachers, and without offering the administrative supports or nurturing a culture that would facilitate the approach. In our school district, the year Common Core came in, teachers had no idea what the curriculum was until 3 days before the first day of school.

    Oh me too!  I was in an M.Ed. program and quit after we took the Classroom Discipline class.  I knew even then that I could never discipline my children this way, and so I could never discipline someone else's kids that way, either. 

  10. 18 minutes ago, shawthorne44 said:

    Have you looked into Beast Academy?    Not only does it have color, the guidebook is a comic.   Tuesday after bedtime DH was going to tell DD, 8 years old, to turn off the light and go to sleep.   Then he saw that she was reading her math book, and got me instead.  We supplement BA with Kate Snow's books.   Sometimes it is nice to have a 'get it done' option, and they don't take long, and there are games.   

    I think BA would be fun for us to try as "puzzle" math once a week, or over breaks.  Thanks for reminding me about it!  I know some folks use it for their main curriculum but for us it would work best as a fun addition (haha).

  11. 8 hours ago, Ellie said:

    You can get free curriculum samples by calling the publisher at (606) 522-4348 (the site you looked it is not the actual publisher).

    R&S doesn't use *manipulatives.* It uses visuals, and lots of drills, which works much better than you might think. 🙂 Honestly, before adding manipulatives, I'd faithfully follow the scripted lessons for awhile. Not all children need manipulatives; children who don't need them and are required to use them can come to hate math, and we don't want that. 🙂

    I have a friend who refuses to use manipulatives for math, and I always thought that was strange, but then I now have a kid who feels like the manipulatives slow her down, and another who uses them for art arrangement (seriously...she matches all the teddy bear counter colors, turns them to face the same way, arranges even the little unit cubes into shapes, etc) so this no manipulative strategy has some appeal!

    I actually ordered Rod and Staff through Memoria Press yesterday.  At the very least, I want to look through it all really carefully and take my time.  I figure I can return it, or use it, at that point.

    • Like 1
  12. This has been fascinating to read!  Sonlight didn't work well for us; I'm intrigued by Memoria Press but leery of how they do phonics with so much writing in the younger years!  And unsure of other things, too, with it, but I will definitely look into it more.  While I like crafting the "perfect" curriculum...it's exhausting and I spend SO MUCH TIME researching curriculum options.

    • Like 1
  13. Neat I've never looked into Rod and Staff or CLE even though I've seen them mentioned. Price is certainly right for both!  I looked briefly through the teachers manuals online for both but couldn't quite tell how much hands on stuff with manipulative there is scripted in? Though I've got bunches of manipulative and it's easy to add in when needed.  I love the streamlined aspect of Rod and Staff and she would love all the little animal pictures.  

    We actually gave MEP just a few more days before I had to call it good effort and go back to the drawing board/decision matrix.  I wanted to love MEP but I continued to feeel flustered teaching it and DD felt very rushed and uncertain, likely because of me but she likes all the activities with Saxon and I'm just going to have her do one side of the worksheet. Basically I need to find a math curriculum that I feel confident teaching, as a previous poster on this thread pointed out. I did the math curriculum questionnaire that was suggested and the secular one came out as Saxon being the best choice for us by a long shot. The Christian one said Horizons or Rod and Staff thought not as strongly as Saxon. 

    My husband has said no more math curriculum purchases this year! Haha smart man. We are going to finish the year with Saxon. However the local homeschool resale shop has bunches of Rod and Staff stuff so I will definitely look into that for third grade. 

    • Like 1
  14. Have you considered Artistic Pursuits?  We do it all together, and it involves art and history and art study. 

    If they like to read, maybe grab the Sonlight Catalog and pick books from there?  A lot of their stuff is history, but some of the read alouds for the younger grades would be good independent reading for your older ones.  Kildee House, for example, has some fascinating stuff about forests and animals; Understood Betsy is great; Red Sails to Capri and Adventures with Waffles made me laugh so hard I had to stop reading, and all these books are good jumping off points for sea exploration (Capri) or Vikings and European festivals (Waffles).

  15. I really appreciate everyone's input and thoughtful responses!  I talked with my mom and she asked, "So what, exactly, is wrong with the program you have now?"  And I stumbled around with well it's cobbled together, not colorful, teacher intensive, etc., but really came to see that MEP is fine for at least the rest of the year.  I just need to reformat our day a bit to accommodate it, and make sure that we keep up with the flashcards and drill sheets from our Saxon 2 program and maybe buy some more, or use XtraMath, or something like that!  And I ordered a box of the Prismacolor Col Erase erasable colored pencils for DD so that she can make things colorful.  Definitely going to keep Horizons in mind, too!

    Now, I will see if I can actually start and complete an entire grade of a math curriculum :-)

    • Like 2
  16. On ‎11‎/‎28‎/‎2018 at 3:52 PM, seemesew said:

    Interesting about abeka fitting with a different guide. Is there a similar one for abelka for the grade she is in now? I haven't tried horizons but it does seem similar to abeka. I actually love abekas math books they are colorful and only 1 page both sides so my kids never get overwhelmed even my overwhelmed at everything son ;0)

    I am extremely interested in the Abeka guide you mentioned for K if you still have info on where you got it I would appreciate it!

    This is the guide I used; it doesn't tell how to teach it, just has review and stuff on there.  I made it as hands on as I could.  Because there's no instruction help, I'm not sure how useful it would be once you get to multiplication, say, unless you find other resources or are comfortable teaching that.


    • Like 1
  17. I can't imagine my almost 8 yr old doing RSO on her own.  We are doing Earth and Environment 1 this year, and frankly, some of the stuff we just did regarding hardness charts for testing minerals and transferring that information to a formal chart (provided but still parsing down our findings to fit the chart) and then comparing our findings to the given chart...one of the reasons I love the program is that it's a stretch for her!  She might be able to do the "Life Sciences" one on her own at this point, but I'd still have to help her set up the lab.

    Maybe just some Janice VanCleave books?  We did the biology experiment one a bit and those labs were pretty simple but still showed good information, but you'd need to get some supplemental books from the library. 

    It does seem like all the "amazing" programs require a lot of mama input!

  18. 16 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

    Abeka is spiral. SM is mastery. If you find spiral math tedious, I don't know how you describe mastery. 😉 

    Honestly, I don't see Abeka as asking too much for that age. It is very comparable to Horizons. I am not one for skipping things in math, either, so I can definitely relate to that. We do some things orally so they don't have write them down (months, days, number names, etc.)

    I'm glad to hear that comparison between Abeka and Horizons.  I liked Abeka, or could have if I'd played around with it and not been scared of it, but needed a bit more in the way of an instructor's guide that didn't teach to a classroom, so I like that Horizons is made for homeschooling!  I've printed off the Readiness Assessment and we will work on that and see what we think.  Thank you so much for your help!

  19. 3 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

    Abeka is spiral. SM is mastery. If you find spiral math tedious, I don't know how you describe mastery. 😉 

    Honestly, I don't see Abeka as asking too much for that age. It is very comparable to Horizons. I am not one for skipping things in math, either, so I can definitely relate to that. We do some things orally so they don't have write them down (months, days, number names, etc.)

    haha I know it seems like I'm searching for a unicorn!  :-)  I'm looking at Horizons on Rainbow Resource.  I don't know why I haven't before...it seems really, really good!

    • Like 1
  20. 1 hour ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

    important question. For k and 1st, curriculum didn't even matter as much as teaching/learning. There is nothing magical about curriculum. They are just resources for guiding instruction.

    To answer your question, you need to find curriculum that you are happy teaching so you will stick with it. I personally dislike SM bc it often phrases things in an unclear way and presents some concepts in a way that makes them more difficult than they actually are. I don't want to teach using their texts.

    I have used Horizons all the way through with 7 kids and our 8th will be in the 5th grade book in a few weeks. I find it easy to teach bc it suits me. I see myself as more important than the book.

    Interesting. I see myself as more important than the book in other subjects but math seems so critically text dependent. And I’m less confident in it. Frankly I excelled at math even at higher levels in AP classes in high school but it wasn’t natural for me the way Language Arts stuff was. 

    We tried Singapore before in first grade but it was just a few days 🙈 because the convuluted language of number bonds and such was confusing. Abeka and Saxon used number sentences and that made more sense to us both. 

    Sigh. I know if I keep looking for Perfect!!!!! I will end up looking and switching forever. 

  21. 1 hour ago, HomeAgain said:

    What is the longest you have stuck with one curriculum?


    Yikes all my dirty secrets lol. We did Abeka K without the teachers manual but with a supplemental guide made by another woman for 5 months. DD was 6 and she learned a lot! We did the new math from Simply Charlotte Mason for a few months last year. We did Abeka 1 for a few months at the beginning of last year but it was too much writing for her at that point and I didn’t know how/that I could adapt that. It was also a bit tedious and I didn’t know what if anything I could skip. I find blowing off entire lessons or problems in math hard bc you might be missing something that ends up being critical. 

    • Haha 1
  22. I am a chronic math curriculum switcher. DD1 is in second grade and a bit "behind" in math due to my inability to stick with things. I won't even list everything we did in K and first but for,this year, Math u see was a disaster. Saxon 2 has been ok; she does well with the one on one tutoring aspect but she doesn't like the lack of color and frankly it's so incremental that it's killing us both and she isn't being challenged at all. We have done a few days of MEP 2 and I like the level of thinking she has to do and that there is some review built in. It's just a different format; I think we'd both prefer a more distinct lesson followed by her doing problems on her own.  She wants more color. And the drill has to be done separately.  I'm strongly considering the new Singapore Dimensions math but it's just so different from how I was taught that I'm unsure about it. I used Saxon when I was homeschooled and loved it!  I think Saxon could work for DD1 but I can already see that DD2 will not tolerate it. 

    Basically I need to find something and stick with it through till 8th grade because the constant switching is stressing me and holding her back from where her true ability is!

  23. We've changed every single thing since we started school in late July, at least once...

    So, misses: Sonlight PreK, A, C  I've finally come to see that I don't like having a nitty gritty syllabus.  It stresses me out.  And I like to take history much, much slower.  And Bible, too. 

    Sonlight LA C and A: too many bits and pieces and not enough practice and direct instruction.  Too much writing about made up subjects.  I'm a CM Narration lover at heart.

    Sonlight A and C Science: not enough cohesiveness or true study of "science" as it's own art

    Math U See: my kids don't like worksheets and they like tutoring style math

    Handwriting Without Tears, Print: the second grader doesn't need more print practice

    Saxon: too tight of a spiral, not enough thinking about math

    Singapore Math Kindergarten: the K4 was bored to tears doing a full on mastery program

    FLL: too much grammar at this point, too dry...we just did a few days

    Spelling You See: too repetitive, too many tears!

    Apologia: entirely too much text and entirely too creationist

    But we've managed success!  Here are our hits!

    Bible reading and picture journaling from the Ambleside Online schedule

    Bible Scripture memory from Simply Charlotte Mason

    All About Spelling

    Queen Homeschool Cursive for the second grader, print for the Kindergartener

    MEP Math for the K4 and 2nd grader

    Real Science Odyssey, Earth and Environment

    Story of the World 2 with activity books and supplemental literature

    All About Reading, PreReading for the K4

    Second grader reads aloud and narrates to me

    Principles from The Complete Writer for the 2nd grader; I give her copywork and she copies her history narrations. 


    • Like 1
  24. I really love Real Science Odyssey.  Very, very hands on.  I think they have a sale through today?  You have to have print copies of the student books, but can use the instructor guide on an iPad or something.  We are doing Earth and Environment this year with my K and 2nd grader and I get the supplemental picture books from the library.  I sincerely enjoy doing it myself!  I'm definitely planning on using their chemistry and astronomy and physics in subsequent years.  The instructor guide has limited "read aloud" material which I appreciate...we did one day of Apologia and it was an inundation of minutiae that is much better learned via living book, IMO.  Apologia was also stridently Creationist which I did not like, although we are Christian.  :-) 

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