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About aelgraham

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    Hive Mind Worker Bee
  1. I love everything CIRCE does. I've been to the Kindred conference and am currently an Atrium student. I signed up for Matt's conference, which in my area will be early February. It sounds like a more focused event- we'll be discussing the Iliad and memetic teaching.
  2. Absolutely, the best thing ever... doing the saxon math drills every day. And don't ever stop. My daughter has been doing a math drill page every day for a few years now. She used to struggle but now knows her facts, and we've used many of the other resources discussed above. We will never stop doing these. I use these drills now as we no longer use saxon, but it's basically the same thing: (terrible website, but the product is good- I bought the downloadable version: CalcuPak 1 and CalcuPak 2 Home Editions together are $27.95)
  3. Whatever history you use, and I think 'Beautiful Feet' has some wonderful history books and guides, I would add the study of American painters. I did American history with my third grader and we capped it off with a visit to D.C. Some of our best moments were seeing the artwork of George Catlin and Thomas Moran in the Smithsonain galleries. There are some great children's books on both of these painters.
  4. I tried all kinds of things, but what worked with my daughter was five minute drills daily. Just print out 100 math fact drill sheets and have him do those every. single. day. We do addition/subtraction/multiplication/division. She records her scores and is proud her progress.
  5. Great thought experiment and fun to read everyone's ideas! With TWTM and Charlotte Mason, the ideal is to build our learning around great books. I want my kids to be able to think about what they're reading-- with the level/depth of thinking guided by their developmental stage. This sounds easy, but it's hard, especially since homeschoolers are continually challenged to provide something that they are still trying to attain for themselves. So... along those lines... my ideal would also include the parents. Training and equipping them in the big ideas, methods, and lines of questioning that make learning deep and rich. Along with this, my ideal homeschool would include an outside 'academy' of sorts that offered book discussions for each stage of the trivium, and for each historical period within these stages. So logic stage students would have a book discussion class for Ancients, Middle Ages, Early Modern, then Modern. Same for elementary (with maybe light discussion and the projects) and then High School. In fact, I'd love to see a homeschool academy of some kind that has all sorts of classes for the things that are hard to do solo, or just more fun to do in a group. I'm thinking nature study and art projects at the elementary stage. Science at the logic and rhetoric stages-- those experiments! Many parents need to outsource math or foreign language. Public speaking, drama. All those things that we piece together and spend hours driving to, but located in one place. I'd love to see a private school of sorts that you can tap in or out of, to the extent you need, but still have a rich school at home. I wish there were more meaningful social opportunities for kids. It's all so kid-centric and seems focused on keeping kids entertained. I think travel would definitely be a part of our ideal. We're studying the Vikings and Norse Myths and I'm longing to kayak the fjords and visit Iceland. Service. I'd love to find ways for us to be serving in unique ways. My daughter isn't old enough yet to be a 'homework buddy' at the library. I'd like to have us involved with something where we're working directly with kids who struggle to learn. I want my kids to meet and work with kids that are different from us. We are privileged and I see how much compassion and gratitude is created when kids see a bigger world. This has been one benefit I've appreciated from my son's public High School experience. Also, I wish we lived on a small farm. The suburbs are convenient but uninspiring, and often noisy. I think kids need important work to do. Laundry and dishes, dusting and vacuuming, mowing and weeding are all worthy and necessary, but having a few chickens, a garden... some quiet and beauty around us... I long for that. I'd love to see easier access to mentoring and apprenticeship opportunities. My son really needed some direction and outside work that wasn't a class, but I never had any idea how to make it happen. Hmmm.... I'll be thinking more about this....
  6. I've used MCT for two students, and yes, it is that simple. I used it after SWB's FLL so they had quite a bit of memorizing parts of speech, lists of prepositions and pronouns... etc. They had also done some simple diagramming. I love that MCT gets to the heart and beauty of grammar, but I also like that my kids had some things memorized. If you do MCT alone, just make sure you work on memorizing the lists that he tells you you should. The prepositions are especially handy. Also, since they had had some diagramming practice, we do the 4-level analysis and diagram. It's not hard to add that on. We do one sentence a day.
  7. You implied that how she advised people to educate was different than how she actually educated. Just curious if that's what you meant and if so, what examples of this have you found?
  8. Can you share some examples of this? I'm just curious. The examples that come to my mind are grammar and writing. Have you spent time comparing her Original Series with the PNEU articles and other sources? I know others have critiqued her inconsistencies. I'm curious to hear your thoughts.
  9. I've read some of CM's Original Series, and you can't do better than the source... but if you don't have time for all that, I recommend Simply Charlotte Mason-- there's good basic starting info with lots of quotes from CM. I also like A Mind in the Light as a good way to blend CM and classical. She just put up a great document covering narration: I like that she draws right from the source-- CM herself and PNEU articles.
  10. The blog post the OP refers to was really in full swing late last spring and early summer (if my memory serves) and I read every bit of it-- it was fascinating! The thing Christopher Perrin and others kept missing was that Art was arguing something very specific... he was arguing (and I think thoroughly and persuasively) that Karen Glass is in error in her book, 'Consider This' when she argues that Charlotte Mason's ideas and principles flow directly from classical roots. That was the premise of her book and Art directly refutes it in his article. What others went on to argue was that Art was somehow missing the point... he didn't understand Classical Ed and therefore couldn't see the ways it overlaps with CM. But he wasn't arguing about overlap, he was arguing about roots. I agreed with his core argument and I had read Glass' book. Now, you can tell from some of his posts that he doesn't really care to discover overlap either, and that he believes trying to merge these two big educational philosophies only serves to water them both down. Charlotte Mason herself and other purists believe that her approaches and methods should be applied fully, that you don't "sprinkle on" a bit of narration here, some picture study there, some nature walks, and wind up with a Charlotte Mason education. My take is that the overlap is interesting. If there is truth in both approaches, then without a doubt you can find that overlap and apply it well. I think it would make an excellent book and I wish Karen Glass had approached it that way. In using these methods, we are all trying to resurrect something that's been hidden for a long time. The question is always, 'how can we give an education that we didn't ourselves receive, and how can we even understand and use these methods that were dormant for so long?' We are in the early stages of rediscovering it all and I think that's fun and exciting, though extremely challenging. Homeschoolers are really in the trenches trying to figure all this out and make it work in the real world, with our very real children. So it's okay that there are 'purists' and 'camps' and 'experts' and 'critics'. That's all just a part of the recovery process. My job is to read, read, read, and glean what I can using my own mind, my own convictions, and my own needs for my daughter's education.
  11. Thank you so much for this resource-- I've also downloaded, read through carefully, and have compiled a great list of new ways to do narration. I also appreciate your comments on prepared narration. I've been trying to do this for my daughter's readings more this year. She's been reading Robin Hood and I've noticed that in the early chapters, I had a good list of proper names and places, as well as the vocabulary. However, when a student works her way through a novel, the names and places don't really change and you're just looking for the vocabulary and some good narration ideas. This means a lot of pre-reading-- I find myself keeping just one chapter ahead!
  12. Years ago my son used 'Ten Thumbs Typing' and then Mavis Beacon. I'm now trying to find something for my daughter. I got the latest version of Mavis and it seems buggy and frustrating. Plus, I only want her practicing 15 minutes a day and the lessons are longer-- it doesn't appear that you can save halfway through. I've currently got her on 'Typing Quest' which is online. It's good, but not enough practice for each letter/skill. I may try the 'Ten Thumbs' with her-- my memory is that the games got a bit distracting. Does anyone here have a strong recommendation? I'd love something that really helps her to not look at her fingers, and also has short lessons. Many thanks! AG
  13. Math has definitely been our struggle. Here's what has worked well for my DD11 and I, and things have gotten so much better. Last night at dinner when DH asked 'what was your favorite lesson today?' my daughter responded 'math!!' we use Saxon math drills daily. You can use any drill, but do it every day. Math Mammoth doesn't have this built in so you have to do this yourself. Saxon drills are 5 minutes and there's a record sheet to record progress. we're using Rod & Staff and Key To books-- very similar to Math Mammoth in that it is mastery based. I don't leave her alone to do math because I know her mind will wander. I'm either working on something at the table beside her or in the adjoining living room. We do math in two sessions-- 15 minutes each; the first session is the first thing she does, and the second is right after lunch break. This helps so much. She knows she only has to focus for a very short amount of time. I plan on extending this very gradually throughout the year, as I know she needs to be spending more than 30 minutes total each day. We'll be at 45-60 by the year's end. In one of her audio workshops, SWB describes using chocolate chips to motivate (a.k.a. bribe) your students to become more independent. I have varied this to improve focus with math. I put a small dish of chocolate chips and an empty dish beside it on the table where she's working. I sit at the table doing my own work. When I see her losing focus (staring out the window, glazing over...), I take one of the chips and put it from her bowl to the empty one. Whatever is left when she is done, she gets to eat. VERY motivating! I buy good, dark chocolate chips for this, especially since sometimes what goes in the empty bowl is MINE! I don't do the chocolate thing every day-- we did it a lot when things were really hard. I only bring those out for really hard lessons or when she's very tired or something. She is quite "behind" in math because it took a long time to find a curriculum that works. Every time you switch you have to backtrack a bit. I'm okay with where she's at because it is going so well now and she's doing well in her other subjects. I used Math Mammoth with my son and have used some individual units with my daughter. It is a great curriculum. SWB recommends it in the latest edition of TWTM. I have three criticisms-- one is the lack of drill. The other is that I'm not a big fan of all the emphasis on mental math included in many curricula these days. It gets tedious and complicates simple concepts, IMHO. My main issue with Math Mammoth is just the look of it-- I don't like the font or the crammed, homemade look; the visuals are important to me and my daughter. Nit-picky, I know. Obviously, these aren't deal breakers because it's so good and well-done. Hope this is practical help for you-- I understand your frustration with this completely! Your son sounds plenty smart to understand math concepts, it's just tweaking a bit that may help. Good luck!! ​
  14. I love the John Muir Laws books and his website. He offers a free curriculum that you can download that has some wonderful Charlotte Mason style techniques for encouraging students to observe and draw.
  15. She is not recommending outlining in the new edition. I misread it because I went straight to the section on outlining without reading the whole chapter. Jumping in at that point, there's an example of outlining from the Kingfisher book, as well as the caveat I quoted. I was frustrated to see this and am regretful that I ranted before I read the whole chapter. I appreciate being reminded that the goal is to have students think, make connections, and do their own research, as well as identifying most important facts from a core text. I think I just flashed back to some very challenging middle school years of the past when I saw that old outlining section. My daughter loves history and I want it to be excellent. Those years weren't that. Sigh. Homeschooling is very hard.
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