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  1. We're using Truth Quest History http://www.truthquesthistory.com/ This year we're starting with American History for Young Students 1. It's a living books curriculum. There are guides with commentaries on each part of history. Under each one is a list of books on that topic. It is definitely NOT expected that you read each book. Those are just some to give you ideas. You choose which ones to read or to have your children read, and decide on activities. It is a VERY flexible program that can be covered as quickly or slowly as you choose and in whatever depth you choose. No workbooks or anything like that. It's all real, living books. We love it.
  2. That's a great story! Funny how the older children just instinctively know how to relate to the younger ones.
  3. My children thought it was dull and boring. They don't like textbooks, and even though it tries to come across as a story (like a "living book"), it is still came across to all of us like a textbook. My children loved the activities, but they were not able to connect them to the stories. I saw the connections, but I think the problem my children had was that they were so bored with the stories from the book that they were sort of numbed while I read to them. All they were doing was quietly putting up with it until we got to activities. I had read so many wonderful reviews, so I went into it with a very positive attitude, but after a couple of months we put it away. I had been using everything from Ambleside Online except history because I thought we'd prefer SOTW, but since that was a flop for our family, I spent the rest of the year doing most of Ambleside's suggestions. It was nice to get away from it also because it helped me change my philosophy about teaching history to young children. When we read SOTW, I constantly found myself telling my children that all that pagan stuff about their gods and preparations for death was just that --- pagan. I had to stop and remind them that we don't believe that, or they'd ask me if what those people believed was true. I finally wondered why I was trying to teach them things that weren't true. My middle son who was only 5 at the time one day said that those people believed in their gods and the things they do just as much as we believe in our God. Then he asked me what makes our beliefs any better than theirs. He was only 5, and that was a legitimate question. All I could tell him was that it boils down to faith. For a 5 year old, that's not much of an answer. Those people back in ancient times had every bit as much faith as we have. They could not prove their stance. It was all about faith, just like for us. That's when I realized that it is important for young children to be firmly grounded in their faith before learning about the pagan beliefs and rituals of the ancients. By "grounded", I don't mean that they can simply tell us what the Bible says or repeat what we believe. No matter how much we *think* a 5 year old is grounded, most are only going with what they have been taught. Yes, they believe it, but I don't believe they can be what I call truly grounded until they are old enough to have more developed critical thinking skills and reasoning abilities. The ancients were very "dark" and I did not want the young years of my children's history education focused on that pagan darkness. Then I found Truth Quest History. What a blessing! It has been SOOOO refreshing. The young years focus on American History. At first, I wasn't sure I wanted to do that because there is so much more to history than just the "New World". But, after spending some time on the Truth Quest website and giving it a fair chance, I totally understood and agreed with the philosophy. Even while doing SOTW, I sometimes read biographies and historical fiction that we already had at home, and my boys could relate to that so well. They had a blast when I read those stories. They'd pretend to be Daniel Boone or another person we'd read about and let their imaginations go wild. The stories and the characters were wholesome. They were good examples for my boys. I never had to stop and say "we don't believe that". My boys were learning history and loving it, and it did not interfere with our faith. When I found Truth Quest history, I was able to recall how wonderful it was to teach history naturally (without a program). We'd been reading other books on our own, on the side, but since it wasn't part of curriculum, I didn't really think of it as history. But it was, and it was wonderful. Now we're using Truth Quest exclusively, and it is wonderful. There is plenty of time to teach the ancients formally. Truth Quest does that, but it waits until the child is older and their thinking skills are more developed. It is a beautifully simple approach. There's plenty of time to fine tune all the details about history with our children, but when they are young, the idea is to get them excited about learning everything they can and to have fun. I want them to have a love of learning, and so far that is what is happening with my children. Every time I try to use a program that attempts to teach with stories but that is really still a textbook, it is a flop. My children love real, living books, and that is what works for us.
  4. What is Earthschooling? Any links to learn more? Thank you.
  5. I always just thought the vowels were pronounced as long vowels, and the emphasis was on the first syllable. But, I was wrong. Here's what the company says (I just copied and pasted it from the Noeo Science website: http://noeoscience.com/index.html (The original Greek word, noeo, is translated here as 'understood') Noeo (no-eh'-o) 1. To perceive with the mind, to understand, to have understanding. 2. To think upon, heed, ponder, consider. (Source: The New Testament Greek Lexicon) 3. Train the brain. (Source: our 8 year-old son)
  6. For Skip Counting, take a look at this site for a skip count CD. http://www.skipcountkid.com/ They have two to choose from. One is their original skip count CD, and now they have Bible Heroes. They have samples of each song on each of the cd's, so I let my boys listen to all of them and decide. They liked the Bible Heroes the best. The sound quality is EXCELLENT, and the tunes and words are catchy and easy to remember. Both my boys learned to skip count very quickly with them, and still sing the songs as they play. Even my youngest was able to skip count and fill in the Math U See skip count pages with the blocks when he was 4, although he can't do much of the other math. He just loves that CD and being able to do stuff with it.
  7. Thank you for that link. That looks like a fun idea! It is kind of expensive, though. BUT . . . . . It might be fun to make one ourselves. Maybe I'll try it just for the small time in history we're studying now. We're doing Truth Quest American History for Young Students 1, so it's from Exploration to 1800. We have a roll of butcher paper that is wide, so I could cut it to length and fold it in half so it would be double thickness (stronger). We could peel some sticks and sort of whittle them be fairly uniform. I'm not sure how we would attach the paper to the sticks, but we'd figure out something. Probably just tape it. I was thinking it would be a pain to keep it stored so it doesn't get torn up. But, I could sew up a quick pouch from scrap fabric. Hmmmm. That would be fun for my boys and give it sort of an "authentic" feel. Still might not store so well, but we might just try it out and see how we like it. Thanks for that idea!
  8. I just wanted to recommend that you get James Herriot's Treasury for Children now, even though it's covered next year in OM. My boys LOVE that book. It's one of their favorites and ask me to read stories from it several times a week ---- for the last 2 years! It's the kind of book with stories children want to hear over and over.
  9. Noeo Science fits your criteria (and mine) perfectly!:001_smile: We used Noeo Science one year, then switched to Apologia because 1) someone gave us most of the books, and 2) because I'd heard so many wonderful things about it. But, it was not a good fit for us. This upcoming year we're going back to Noeo Science. My children and I did not like the textbook format of Apologia. In a way it was nice to study one subject in such depth. On the other hand, my boys got tired of studying SO much of the same topic for the entire year. If we do Apologia again, we'll wait until about 4th grade, and then cover each book a little faster, maybe skipping some to keep it interesting. But, my boys do enjoy looking at the books even though they can't read them yet. I'm guessing that by the time I'm ready to try Apologia again, they will probably have already read the books themselves. Noeo Science uses fantastic living books, can be used with various ages, the teacher's manual is set up to do science 4 days per week, although you can double up and do it only twice a week), and all of the reading and activities are planned for you. If you buy the whole "kit" from them, it comes with all the teacher's manual, all the books and the experiment kits. In each experiment kit there are several activities and experiments, so it's actually much more than it looks. What I mean is that when you look at their site and see that there are 5 or 6 experiment kits, that doesn't seem like much for an entire year. But, each of those 5 or 6 kits contains the materials for several experiments and activities. Also, several of the books have additional activities you and your children can do if you want to do more than the planned activities. The way they have it scheduled makes everything fall into place so well. My boys absolutely LOVE the books. Another thing I really loved about Noeo Science was their customer service. Since you have such a wide age range, I'd either call them or send an email and ask them to suggest a way to handle it for all of them. Even if you spread it out to give the older ones a more challenging level, Noeo would still be very easy to handle that way. They have three courses for level 1 (Biology 1, Physics 1 and Chemistry 1, which are recommended for grades 1-3 ---- one course each year), and then the level 2 courses in each subject for grades 4-6. They also now have a level 3 Chemistry and are working on that for Biology and Physics. The choices can certainly be overwhelming. Each one has its strengths. The challenge is finding what works best for your family.
  10. I was also wondering how long this program has been around.
  11. I had not heard of this before. It does look interesting. I have already accumulated almost everything we need for next year, but I will take a closer look and consider it for the future. It may not be exactly what I want, but it does look like a solid program. I'm not sure about the "Unit Study/Charlot Mason" combination, though. Folks who are strict Charlotte Mason homeschoolers oppose the unit study idea. I once took sort of a quiz that was supposed to show which homeschooling method fits your personality best. I was having trouble deciding whether I wanted to go with a Charlotte Mason method or a Unit Study approach, and wondered if I should even consider something totally different. The quiz showed those two styles as the strongest ones for me, exactly even. So, maybe something like the Epi Kardia would actually be a nice fit for us. I'm still a bit skeptical, but I'll definitely take a closer look. If you sign up for their newsletter, you can download two poetry e-books free --- A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson and an illustrated e-book The Children's Own Longellow by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. http://www.epikardia.com/free_downloads.html
  12. Thank you. Those look good. I'd forgotten about the donnayoung site. Always good info there.:001_smile:
  13. LOL! I just got a kick out of the way you put that!:001_smile: With all these Math "programs" around, you'd think we do math ALL the time. Actually, our math lessons are relatively short, but fun, and we sprinkle it in throughout the day, just like science. When I first started looking into this, I'd read similar posts by other moms and wonder how in the world they figured this stuff out, and how do they find time to DO it all. But, you get to know the learning styles of your children (as well as your own teaching style), and you spend some time going over different programs. It falls into place. Sometimes I wish I was one of those moms who could just choose an "all in one" boxed curriculum with everything planned out, AND have that actually work well for my boys. But, that's just not the case. Either it just wouldn't work for them, or (most likely), I'd go nuts with something that simple.:lol: :001_smile:
  14. Sounds like you might be a bit like me. I don't like scripted lessons, but I love the way MEP works on thinking skills (not just memorizing math facts). I also think Math U See (MUS) is GREAT (absolutely the best) at teaching certain concepts. But, both are "workbook" type things, which is really hard to get away from in Math. Now I have found a PERFECT system for our family. We use Math On The Level! It works on the developmental level of the child, acknowledging that each child is different. The books are written for the parent and are used as guides for teaching your child various concepts. You choose when to teach each concept. If you feel like you're hitting a brick wall with a concept that, say MEP or MUS say should come next, then skip it (for a while) and go on to something else. Then come back to the problem concept later when your child is developmentally ready for it. You will find that your child may easily move several grade levels ahead in certain aspects of math, but have trouble with other areas that are considered "basic". That's fine, and it's completely normal. One of my sons is working fractions and graphs on a third grade level, but struggles with a few 1st grade concepts at the moment. If I were stuck on using just the MUS or MEP right now, we'd have many frustrating and tearful math lessons. Instead, we have fun and take each concept as my children are ready for them. In the end, they will cover everything, but their path to that end might be a little different. I use Math On The Level as my primary curriculum because it works so well, and because it is SO much fun for my children and for me. But, I also use MEP "on the side" and I use Math U See for some concepts. To me it is WELL worth it to have both, but Math On The Level is plenty all by itself. I love the way MUS teaches Place Value, for example. It is so vivid with that method using the blocks that go with MUS. Those are invaluable. We just have the starter set, which is fine. We don't use the student workbooks. I've found that just watching the video for the lesson(s) we want, and then using a few practice problems that I get from the teacher's manual work very well. Then I go back to Math On The Level to "solidify" it. However, many times (most times) I just use the simple suggestions in the Math On The Level books, and it works GREAT. The only thing is that you have to be familiar enough with MEP and MUS to be able to use them right when you need them. It's easy with MUS because you can just look at the table of contents in the beginning of the teacher book. MEP is a little more difficult because you have to spend more time skimming through the lessons to know what is there. But, it is so wonderful, and my boys have lots of fun with the activities. When we use MEP, we don't just do the workbook pages. To me, the other activities are what make the program so valuable. MEP is an amazingly wonderful program, and I'll probably use it exclusively once my boys get to Algebra (Math On The Level only goes through Pre-Algebra). I have found using my "method" (mixing Math On The Level with MEP and MUS) that my boys are ahead of the actual math concepts for their ages in both MUS and MEP, but the MEP is especially helpful in developing those very important critical thinking skills that I believe are lacking in most other workbook programs. Each program has its strengths and weaknesses, just like our children. We just have to find what works best for us. Best wishes, Jenny
  15. Thank you! That site has lots of very helpful articles. While browsing the Knowledge Quest site, I noticed that their timeline figures looks like the ones from Homeschool In The Woods. Then I read on the KQ site that they are. That was interesting. Those really are wonderful timeline figures.
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