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About Holly

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  1. My girls loved Book of Astronomy last year (for grades 3rd & 6th)! I don't think it would have been as enjoyable if we'd just done the workbook, but we often took nature walks after dark and looked for the constellations and stars that we'd read about. It was so exciting to find them in the sky and made them more interested to learn even more. There isn't a ton of information in the book though, it's mostly memorization and a bit of background information. We added a solar system kit to make it a bit more hands-on.
  2. Rainbow Resource, Thrift Books, Amazon, and from the publishers themselves--I feel like companies try to compete with Amazon now days, so I can often get a better deal ordering directly form the publishers! I order teacher guides and cores from Memoria Press so I can get download PDFs of tests & quizzes, plus they will replace their materials if they are changed drastically.
  3. I am a single mom of 5, grades K to 11th. I also have some health issues, so we school year round, taking time off as needed. I wake up at 7, check email, shower, etc. I make sure my kids are all up by 8:30 (we aren't early risers). Our breakfast is something easy like cereal, yogurt, fruit, or eggos. My older kids get their own breakfast. I usually help my youngest, although most days he just wants some fruit. I am aiming to start school at 9:00, but I may have to fit my 5yo's lessons in earlier when he starts K. He's not really a morning person though, so I don't know how this will work. Before lunch, we work on our "morning basket" (for us that includes Greek, grammar, hymn, catechism, and fine arts--basically anything we are doing together). Then we work on Latin, composition, and math. Lunch is quick and easy (quesadillas, tuna salad, PB&J, etc. with some a fruit and/or veggies). After lunch, we work on content subjects like literature, history, science, etc. If we finish early, I might organize a craft or experiment, but usually we just have free time. We work on chores and laundry during this time and on weekends. I start dinner anytime between 4 and 6. More free time after dinner, sometimes we take a walk. I try to round up kids at 8:00 to clean the kitchen and pick up. We do a family devotion at 8:30, followed by a read aloud. Then we head to bed (quiet time until 10-ish or later, depending on their ages). We sometimes take a day off for shopping, visiting with friends, co-op, or going to lunch. We don't have many activities, so we need this time out of the house. Sometimes we go to a movie, a park, or the ceramics shop. I try to grocery shop on Saturday morning. And we have church on Sunday. Yard work is done in the evenings or on the weekends.
  4. All of my kids have used the R&S preschool workbooks. Most have used at least one Kumon book. All but one have used McGuffy Eclectic Readers for phonics, my last is going to use Memoria Press, because I went with their whole core. We have gone back to some things we started with, like SCM's Scripture Memory System and Memoria Press Latin. I tried other things, but those work the best for us. I wish I'd jumped around curriculum less, but it seems like my family dynamics are always changing. What worked when I just had littles doesn't work with a mix of ages.
  5. I'm thinking of having a "heavy" school day on Monday and having the days get progressively lighter throughout the week. It's what ends up happening anyway. 🤣 So Monday would have video lessons, lessons on new material, and longer readings. The rest of the week would be spend completing workbook pages, writing assignments, review, and finishing what didn't get done on Monday. Hopefully by Friday, we'd be down to a math lesson and Latin review/quiz. Then maybe we could fit in some fun extras or take a field trip. But I will also have two high school students next year, and this schedule seems less do-able for that age. I'm still toying with this idea.
  6. They liked Treasure Island okay, but not any of the others. I think because they require more thinking on their part. 😢 I'm trying different ways of covering literature, and it works best just to read & discuss. Treasure Island asked more comprehension type questions, which they are comfortable answering, but the others have asked for central themes or dissecting descriptive passages, and my kids are really struggling with these. I see it as something we need to work on, but they are unable to go through the guides "as-is".
  7. I used pretty much full MP classical core kits, with a few subs. Here are our hits/misses: Hits: Literature & poetry for the lower levels Dorothy Mills books--we vastly prefer these to straight-up Plutarch. I feel like she includes the most exciting parts of Plutarch and adds a bunch of background information. Greek Myths Latin (Latina Christiana & First Form)--Although some of my kids aren't huge fans, they are learning a ton! Book of Astronomy--so easy to teach and my kids can locate several stars and constellations in the sky! It's not the flashiest program, but I like it. Read Alouds & American Supplemental Readers--MP always picks such great books! Jr Kindergarten--This was a miss at first, but DS has matured a bit and we are fairly consistent at getting to it (even if we do often have lessons at night or on weekends). More than I can say for any other preschool program I've used! There is a lot of writing, but I just have him write a few letters or numbers at a time. All About Reading (pre-reading level)--my DS has also been using this. It's so cute and fun! I'm so tempted to use the next level, but I already purchased MP K for next year. DS loves Ziggy, so maybe I can add him into next year's phonics lessons. Misses: Classic Composition-While I like this, I just feel like my older kids need a faster pace (you are supposed to start with book 1 for all ages), so we will be re-attempting IEW Intensive Writing DVD programs next year. So, I guess it's not a complete miss, but I don't see it working out for us in the long run. English Grammar Recitation--lots of copywork and memory work, which my kids haven't really enjoyed. They like the exercise portion of the workbook just fine. We much prefer SWB's grammar programs (FLL & GftWTM). Upper level literature guides--My oldest two are not digging these. We are pretty much reading the materials and pulling a few questions from the guides for discussion. So not a total miss, but we really aren't using them as intended. Mixed: One of my kids went back to Christian Light Math, two are thriving with R&S math, and the third is doing well with Prentice Hall Algebra. One isn't a fan of R&S, but she didn't care for CLE either. I try to cut back on some of the writing for her, which is her main complaint. Geography has been so-so. We have adapted Geography III quite a bit and are really behind in the States & Capitals book (we school all summer). SWO--it's spelling, it's a workbook, it's just okay. Artistic Pursuits--This one's on me. I don't have time or energy to get to it. My kids now have free access to the manuals and supply kits, so at least two of them are getting some art.
  8. We have enjoyed Half Magic The Saturdays All of a Kind Family --These are all about families with several kids and are all set in the past--I guess that is a theme we enjoy. 🤣 The Hobbit has been another favorite!
  9. Prima Latina--My 3rd and 6th graders are working through the next book (Latina Christiana) this year. It's worked well to have them combined.
  10. My 8th grader is using Novare Earth Science. We just started, so I can't give much feedback, but I like the layout of it. No complaints about the readings. The science experiments look do-able and interesting.
  11. I just found a migraine topical oil at TJ Maxx that has really been helping me. It has a few essential oils and also lists Iris versicolor and Natrum muriaticum as active ingredients--Forces of Nature is the brand. I can't take most pain relievers due to liver/kidney issues, so I was thrilled to find this. I had a horrible headache yesterday and was able to fall asleep without much trouble after applying this to my temples. I mostly have stress headaches that get progressively worse throughout the day. Also, taking good vitamins has been another help. I'm pretty sure I have some deficiency that makes the headaches worse when I'm not taking vitamins regularly.
  12. I found a curriculum I like to teach and my kids also mostly like, so I refuse to switch again. I regret all the curriculum hopping I did over the years. If they have issues, I'll adjust their workload, try a different approach, or try scheduling it at a different time of day. There are many things we can do to work around a subject without actually changing the materials. I totally get customizing an education to your student--and that is a wonderful thing we can do as homeschoolers. However, for me, the frequent curriculum changes have caused their own set of problems. I feel I need to make it the absolute last resort from here on out. We actually use Memoria Press too. Since we've started, we've made several changes. My middle two hated English Grammar Recitation, so I dropped the copywork portion of the lesson and upped our recitation time. Problem pretty much solved--It's still not their favorite, but there is far much less complaining. My 3rd grader hates the math textbook, so I've cut some problems and lengthened the oral drill & flash card part of the lesson. Sometimes I have her dictate the answers for me to write. We mostly do the guides orally. We've done some other tweaks and changes, but what I haven't done is completely switch programs. I like that MP has been thoroughly tested and adjusted by professional teachers. After being published, it's been further adjusted to meet the specific needs of homeschoolers. I keep telling myself, if it's good enough for MP/Highlands Latin School, it's good enough for me. 🤣
  13. I like to put subjects into tiers. Tier one has daily "must do" subjects. At the moment, for us, it includes math, Latin, writing. Phonics would be included here if I had a younger elementary student. I can get through these in a couple hours if needed. So if we have dr. appointments, minor illness, or a co-op field trip, we'll just focus on these. Tier two includes subjects that need to be done multiple times per week. Handwriting, literature, spelling, science (for my older kids), history, grammar, etc. I aim to get to these daily, but I will cut them out if we run out of time. As long as we get to these 3-4 times per week, I'm happy. I can usually fit a weeks worth of lessons into fewer days when we need to, so it's not a big deal if we miss a day or two during the week. Tier three is our weekly subjects like geography, science (for my younger kids), Bible, composition (younger kids), etc. These are often dropped, because we can easily get through them at the end of the year. As other subjects are completed, we have more time to get to these and can make them daily subjects...or drop the workbook pages/assignments/etc. and just read through the material. Tier four is the "I'd like to get to these some day" subjects. Things like art, music/art appreciation, nature studies, projects, etc. I tend to pick one of these that we focus on at a time, and they usually happen outside of regular school hours. Currently, we are reading through Much Ado About Nothing before bed. Next will likely be the Artistic Pursuits program that I spent a small fortune on and haven't touched. 🤣 Each day, I do a quick run through of what we have going on that day and make a list of which subjects I think we can fit into our plans. If we haven't gotten to a subject in a couple days or weeks (depending on what tier it's in), I'll make it a priority.
  14. I just ordered their Music Appreciation book/cd set and it looks really good! I think it's for grades 3+.
  15. My 8th grader has read/is reading: Treasure Island Wind in the Willows As You Like It Tom Sawyer Iliad/Odyssey (Butler translation) And we're doing 3 Shakespeare plays with our co-op: King Lear, Much Ado About Nothing, Julius Caesar. We like Shakespeare at our house! 🤣
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