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  1. Right now my kids just write whatever they want, but they have to fill up a page. My children that are under 10 can choose copywork and so far this year that is what they want to do. My oldest (14) is into writing song lyrics right now, but she also writes stories and letters. She has yet to write me an essay, but that's ok with me at the moment. My children have never done much free writing, so it is refreshing to all of us that they are doing so. My 12 year old is mostly choosing to write chapters to his book about Pokemon at the moment, but he also started a book about King Henry (the 8th I think). Every day or every other day, I sit with them and go over their work and help them correct their errors. We are all enjoying it so far.
  2. I am studying theology and want some focused time to study daily. I usually consider myself a night owl rather than an early bird, but that usually isn't very conducive to homeschooling so I am considering other options. I'd love to hear what time you get up, how long you study, how you get school going, etc. and what your night has to look like in order to make that work. Thanks!
  3. Does anyone use this for memory work at home? How do you like it? I am considering using it in the fall. We used to do CC (left at Christmas break of 2014), but we can't afford it anymore. Thanks!
  4. This isn't popular on here, but Hunter (one of the well known posters on here), does recommend for certain families in certain circumstances and apparently I fit those. I have been homeschooling for ten years so I don't know if that counts or not, but I have tried most of what is out there over the years. After all of that trying, I have settled on ACE because it is pretty inexpensive (and gets less expensive as you go since you don't have to repurchase score keys) and it gets done consistently around here with plenty of time left over for whatever else we want to learn about or do together. I can juggle five children that are school age and allow the sixth and seventh kiddos to tag along with number 5 so that I am only actually teaching out of one manual. The kids can check their own work (for the most part) and the record keeping is really organized and straight forward. There are a lot of bad reviews online, but those who have stuck to it over the long haul and done it in a homeschool setting have had great success with it, especially if they added oral reports, book reports, and had their kids use the software they sell for practicing math facts, spelling words, typing, and reading speed/comprehension. They also have Rosetta Stone, which some people dislike but others have had great success with. The other thing I like about ACE is that you can have the kids tested for free with their diagnostic test online and find out exactly what gaps they have and know exactly what to order. You can order a little at a time so that if it doesn't work for you you haven't lost much money. There is a facebook group of moms that are very willing to help you with any questions you might have. The website is www.aceministries.com Also, if you are wanting to add some memory work in, I recommend crossseven.org
  5. For us, I would have my high schooler bring an expandable 7-pocket folder with her math, English, science, social studies, and Bible PACEs and score keys. I would have a container of 4-color pens and pencils. I would have one small bin with a lid containing her other score keys and PACEs, and we would throw away the used PACEs as we went, keeping only her notes and compositions or drawings (or Activity Pacs if they are still in there) in a binder. The only other books I think she would need would be a Bible (I just like to hold it) and a Bible handbook. I would have her bring a Kindle (or other device with a Kindle app) for reading and a laptop for Rosetta Stone, Reading Master Plus, Teaching Textbooks (as a backup resource), and Alfred's Music Theory. I would probably have a sketch pad and colored pencils and/or watercolors and an instrument for creative expression purposes. She would have one pack of small, index card sized goal cards to keep her daily assignments written down, which could also probably be thrown out as we used them up. In our house, we would also include a hymnal or some copies of hymns for her binder. If she had a favorite devotional or one she is trying out that year we might bring that. For the math and science courses there are DVDs, so I would probably have one small cd case with all the software and DVD discs in it. I think the English courses don't usually have more than 2 books, but I would have her read on a Kindle any other books mentioned in the PACEs. So I am assuming there may be a couple of literature books to bring that would fit in her folder. The catalog says they need an Advanced Dictionary their senior year, so I might include that in the senior year, but that could also probably be done via some app. Here it is as a list: Expandable 7-pocket folder Binder with reinforced filler paper and dividers Container of pencils and 4-color pens Artist kit Sketch pad (with tear out pages for the ones she wants to keep) CD/DVD case holding various software and DVD courses Small bin of other PACEs and score keys Instrument Bible Bible handbook Hymnal (or hymn copies in binder) Devotional (optional) Literature books as needed for English (probably 1-2/year or 7 total) Advanced Dictionary (optional) Kindle or app Laptop (software capable) Expandable file with record keeping pages and forms Pack of goal cards or index cards for assignments
  6. ACE. All of it. I don't have to supplement with anything except music theory and living books. Done and done. Gets done and the kids actually like it and have asked to never switch. Successful for four months straight and very consistently done. I could go on and on about why we like it. I so wish we had started with it and never left it. If it weren't for Hunter, I probably never would have given it a chance.
  7. When I am lost, I seek out Hunter. She always has the key. Sometimes I think our brain waves run parallel. Which makes no sense because our lives are SO different. My kids and husband know who you are and you regularly come up in conversation as if you are a distant cousin or something. I seriously think we should have a Hunter Homeschool Conference and Hunter can be the speaker. I would do everything I could to be there. And I totally second the book thing. But I think she should write two books. One autobiography and one book of homeschooling advice. I almost cried when she took down her old signature. We love you, Hunter!
  8. I also thought about those 8 pocket portfolios, but I'm not sure they are thick enough to hold the pace and the key in one pocket. I saw one at Walmart that had an elastic band to hold it together that I thought was cool. I also need to have a spot for their goal card and that other chart that you put stars on. We haven't started the record keeping part yet but I want to soon. And a place to put their composition book would be great because I hate loose paper.
  9. We have a large family so these are going to add up quickly. I am trying to figure out the best way to store them. We will most likely buy the paces one at a time per subject and throw all but the front cover (or other special pages) away when done, but I am not sure what to do with all the score keys. Also, I am thinking about what to put their current paces in. Right now I am thinking a file jacket. I will probably put their tests in a binder. I might store the test keys with the score keys or make a separate binder. The reason I am leaning against a binder for their paces is the annoyance of opening the ring so many times. I thought about a storage clipboard, but I don't know that it would hold all of their paces plus score keys and the opening and closing of that might be annoying too, plus there would be several of them stacked up since we have so many kids. 8 file jackets in a filebox seems smarter to me for their current paces. That way each morning I can just pull out each child's file jacket from the filebox and hand it to them. They can pull them all out into a stack on top of the file jacket and file them as they go. They are cheap and easy to replace and I can probably color code them. Any thoughts?
  10. So, a month out from this and I am feeling much better I think. At least about homeschooling. My oldest is doing well at the school though she doesn't really like it very much. She does recognize that she is getting a lot done, so that is good and we have much more peace at home, which is also good. She has been very responsible to get up on time, pack her lunch, get her uniforms ready, do her homework (when she has some, which isn't often), etc. We are very proud of her. We are still working on not talking back, but even that has gotten better. We have been using some PACEs to fill in "gaps" and that has gone well. They are doing well with checking their work. Soon I think I will be ready to order one of each subject and really get them going. Right now the one or two PACEs they are using is not filling up enough time, so the last few hours of the day (like right now) kind of drag on. Our computer that can do software bit the dust so now we are not able to use our Teaching Textbooks. Once we have a "new" computer I can't wait to begin adding software programs for them to work on. I haven't decided if that will be something they use on rotation throughout the day or if they will be required to finish all of their other work before getting on the computer. Probably a rotation would be needed for them to be able to fit in a Rosetta Stone lesson, a Teaching Textbooks lesson, and drill in one area (math, reading, spelling, typing, or music theory). Once they test out of the drill they can choose a different elective from SOS. I read some awesome reviews about ACE that have me really excited despite all of the naysayers on here. I just ordered the first grade manuals and the first workbook for each subject they start with (animal science, Bible reading, math, and word building) for my 6 year old. Once she finishes the first 12 weeks I plan to order the K program for my 4 year old (who may be five by then). I don't want to be doing intensive teaching with both at once. I am also about to do the Review Manual (which takes 3 weeks to do) with my 7 year old. She is going to go through the first grade science, social studies, and English paces because she needs to build up more stamina and the phonics clues help her. She is ready for second grade math and word building, though. I am having her eyes checked Monday to check on the stamina issue. I have all our things so far in a small filing box. I am hoping to only need one more. I LOVE keeping things minimalist. After each pace I tear off the front cover (which has the goals, character definitions, and new vocabulary) and save it with the test which is a good sample of the work covered. I throw the rest of the pace away. And except for math (which I bought as a set for one of my kiddos), I am just buying one pace at a time for each subject and that is helping it seem more affordable. It also means that we don't have a ton of paces to store at any one time; just the score keys. I am feeling good about the idea of donating the rest of my curriculum (minus anything resembling a living book). School and little ones and a trip I took last weekend have been keeping me busier than I was before so I have made very little progress on my religious studies; however, I am totally looking forward to tonight and tomorrow when I can totally focus on my own studies. In the past, we used to not take Saturday off unless we had something specific to go do and I think that was part of burn out. Having one day to myself to study is glorious! Plus Sunday we go to church and I consider Sunday time to run errands or work on house projects. This feels much more balanced. Part of the reason for the evenings being scattered is because we just started baseball this week and we have practice 4 times a week. This is tough but at least it is close by and only lasts a few weeks and doesn't interfere with weekends. I am hoping to reserve Saturday nights for learning with my husband and discussing our views, etc. We just got paid again though it was a small amount. This allowed us to make a few orders of paces over the last month. Now it is hold our breath time and see if we can make it to the next check (and since we don't know when the next check is coming this is especially hard). This is the biggest part of my life that is still bothering me, but if there is any hope that I could make money at some point to help us get out of debt it would be a curriculum like ACE with software supplements. Perhaps I could take on a part time job in the late afternoons/evenings after my youngest is done nursing. Maybe my oldest will get a job within this year and begin to help out by paying her own expenses (which aren't much anyway). Maybe the leads my husband is handing off now will prosper. Anyway, the future is looking brighter :-)
  11. So you saved the day again, Hunter. I implemented the same schedule as the school at home and it is working very well except for the fact that I keep ending up in my pjs until the afternoon. 7:00 seems to be a bad time for me to wake up in my sleep cycle or I just need to get up earlier to have time to wake up. I'm not one of those people who can just hop out of bed unless there is an emergency (needing to make sure her uniform was washed counts as an emergency). So we are doing this: 7:00 Wake up and do our B's (bathroom, bedroom, body, breakfast, brush) 8:00 Blitz (we attack the living areas together) while husband drops off daughter 8:30 Pledges and read a chapter of the Bible together that we are memorizing, prayer, sit for school 11:30 Lunch 3:00 Whatever we want the rest of the day: free time, errands/to dos, yoga, family time, read aloud, etc. 9:00 Blitz, then bed We spent the week doing testing for the ACE curriculum, which gave me an idea of where they were weak. We continued with Teaching Textbooks, which both boys love and my oldest is doing as her homework since most nights she will not have homework. Since money is tight, I think we will just start by ordering Reading Master Plus software which has typing, spelling/vocabulary, reading comprehension/speed, and math drills and Alfred's Music Theory software program that I've been wanting since my kids are not doing any music lessons right now. I may also subscribe to the Rosetta Stone Reading to help keep my 6 and 4 year olds busy during school time. That is much cheaper than the ACE reading programs, though I would like to order those, too eventually. Other than that, they will have the freedom to continue studying what they would like to during school time. Since we have only one computer that can do software right now they will have to take turns. The Rosetta Stone Reading can be done on our chromebooks, so the little girls probably won't have to take turns because we purchased a few used chromebooks a year ago when we were trying out Monarch. They will all need a pair of headphones, but I think we have two already to get us started. I have a set of The Book of Knowledge and a set of Childcraft from craigslist, so I will have them read or draw from those if they get bored. Right now we are using the Epic app and I absolutely love it because we have it on the tablet and ipad and it has audiobook and read aloud options that are wonderful. We have 4 different profiles going and only pay $5/month for it. It's great! Thank you, Hunter, for your words of wisdom. I underestimated how well I am doing. Tonight I even cooked dinner for probably the first time in two years or more!! With three short clean up sessions each day the house is staying pretty nice, which is good since our baby is crawling all over the floors now. My oldest mops when she gets home from school. My husband is really blown away with how productive our days our now and he is getting more work done. He is working on possibly handing over the majority of his business from our former state over to a large brokerage to manage for him and we are praying that that will generate a more steady income and allow him to put more focus on his business in our state. Having enough money to pay our bills AND purchase curriculum will be wonderful. But for now we can make due with what we have and still do our schedule. Tomorrow we are taking off to do some deep cleaning for guests that are staying for the weekend from out of town. I don't feel guilty at all because we had 4 solid days of school and I plan to do that Tuesday-Friday next week as well. (Monday our guests will be leaving, it's my husband's birthday, and my son has a checkup so we are going to just take off that day, too). I even got to do quite a bit of reading during school time since they were working pretty well independently. I am so encouraged about this coming year! I also want to say that the more I look at ACE the more I think it is misjudged based on former versions of it. I think if one adds in book reports/oral reports (which I saw mentioned in an article they have on their website) and uses the software and art supplements they offer it can be pretty well-rounded. I only Teaching Textbooks because I am nervous to switch from spiral to mastery and the Rosetta Stone Reading is just to have something the little girls can do for fun that is educational when I am not available or for extra reinforcement. It keeps them focused and quiet so that the others can study in our small house when the weather is too cold for extended outdoor time. 7th grade is supposed to contain 1/2 a year of state history and I may decide to just use Switched on Schoolhouse for that instead of the extensive research project ACE suggests. Also, they have a lengthy project suggested for Computer Science and I may decide to use SOS for that as well. SOS electives may be an option depending on what the kids are interested in, but I am pretty impressed with the ones ACE has in the homeschool catalog. They even have some they are calling Advanced Highschool/College and so if our kids finished things up early they would still have plenty of credits they can earn beyond the normal. I like the idea that I will know exactly what credits have been earned and that the grading will all be objective minus the writing assignments. It takes a lot of weight off of my shoulders that way. I love knowing that they can be done at 2:30 and have the rest of the day to play. Other things we have done have made school last all day and that was just exhausting. homeschoolhowtos.com is going to be my new favorite website I think. It actually addresses many of the things I am researching out with my faith and advocates ACE as a base to build on. She talked about reading The Bible Story and Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories to your little ones each night and it reminded me of how I have neglected to spend enough time reading Bible stories at their level and short devotionals like I did with my older ones. I have been so focused on whether they are getting a steady diet of the classics that I have neglected some of their spiritual education. It is amazing to see how she addresses so many of the things I have been wrestling with on her website and I am excited to learn from her. (I know others think she is over the top, but I find it amusing and convicting and practical, actually.)
  12. Thank you so much for that encouragement. Every story I hear of ACE working well for a family gives me hope :-)
  13. I talked to my husband more about all of this last night. He told me to just start slowly. So I think we will begin by having all of us copy what the oldest will be doing first thing in the morning, even if we are in our pjs. We will do the pledges and read aloud together the chapter of the Bible her school is doing and then pray together. Then my two boys will sit down and do their Teaching Textbooks lesson and read a classic (they'll have to take turns with the computer). Eventually we will add a music theory program for them. And I want to do Reading Master Plus which works on spelling, reading comprehension and speed, math drills, and typing. And Rosetta Stone Hebrew and Reading. These are all on the computer so they won't need me to do much. We can try to follow the school schedule little by little with break times and work times. When we add Reading Master Plus we can add in my fourth child and when we get Rosetta Stone Reading we can add in my fifth and maybe sixth child. That will give them Bible, math, reading, spelling, typing, foreign language, and music. ACE has an art elective for elementary that we can do, too. Once all of that is going smoothly, we can think about adding paces. The computer programs obviously don't include writing, so I will have them do some copywork or a written narration from their current classic when they finish it (or if it has stories they can do one for each story), or a journal entry or letter to someone. My six and seven year old already know how to write their letters and how to write lowercase in cursive, though they may need a refresher. I only have my 4 year old to teach handwriting to. If/when we do paces we can have them give us an oral report or a written narration and we may keep their tests for reviewing what they learned in previous paces. I think I can handle a slow ramping up like this.....
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