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  1. This is pretty much how we've managed to use SL with 3 kids who are each 3 grades apart. The two years that were the easiest were the world history years. My oldest did Core G while we used Core B with the younger kids. My middle son did some of the readers from G but not all of them like his older brother did. My daughter did none of the harder readers. We did the same things with Core H/Core C. Also, for those two years, I read SOTW to all 3 kids and skipped the Core B/C history spine. The supplemental history books for those cores (Usborne, etc) were done separately so the kids got info on their own level. I think combining multi-age kids in a core is pretty easy when they are in elementary. Once they get a bit older (past core G/H) it is harder. But at that point they're much more independent so it works out fairly well to have the oldest working on their own. I think one of the strengths of SL is that you're able to adapt it to your needs. Don't feel you have to do every single activity or book. Try using all the books with your oldest and pick just some for the youngest. Give the youngest more time to work through a book while the older reads a couple. Generally, there are at least 2 books that cover each general topic/era of history so it isn't too hard to eliminate one of them. We don't use SL science or LA so I can't really speak to adapting those.
  2. I wouldn't say that we focus on working independently but it has just fallen into a pattern where all of mine do about 60% of their work independently. More on some days and less on others. :) My 12yo (7th grade) does math, spelling, literature, geography, and vocabulary on his own. We are doing Analytical Grammar this year so I go over the lesson with him and the previous day's work then he does the new assignment on his own. He's taking a science class this year so I'm not as involved in that. And we do Sonlight for history so I am heavily involved in the reading. I'm always nearby to help with questions from all the kids. I don't think it's that important to focus on working alone but I think it gradually begins to happen that way. Also, teaching 3 is impossible if I have to do actual lessons with all of them daily. And I've found that gradually getting them a bit more indpendent made the shift to high school work easier.
  3. Ditto! I can't imagine my life without Prime. I do wish I could share the Prime Kindle benefits with my family, though. Both my sons have Kindles now and I'd love for them to be able to get a free book each month. That would be a big improvement to prime, IMO.
  4. I did SL F with my boys when the older was in 6th (11yo) and the younger in 3rd (8yo). We were using the older version that had Eastern Hemisphere Explorer and I haven't used the revised version. We actually really enjoyed this core but there are definitely some books that have content that isn't appropriate for a younger child. I had them both do the work in the EHE but I allowed my younger son to abbreviate works and not use complete sentences. He just was unable to keep up with the volume of work. I carefully reviewed the read alouds and chose a few to skip because I thought the younger one wasn't ready for them. And there were some of the readers that I only had my older son read. I tried to find other books (some of them unrelated to the topic) for my younger son to read at the same time. It turned out to be a really good year but it did take a bit of modification. I would certainly say the amount of modifications I did were a small effort compared to doing 2 cores at once! The only time I've done 2 cores at the same time, I modified them as well. For instance, I didn't do all the read alouds but chose the ones I thought worked best for everyone and read them. The ones we didn't do, I gave to my older son to read on his own.
  5. We use Smart Start paper from Frog Street Press. I got it at our local school supply store but it's about the same price on Amazon. Occasionally my dd will draw on blank paper because she feels the drawing space won't be big enough for the picture. She doesn't really need the large writing lines anymore but we're still using up the pack of paper I bought. :)
  6. I can sympathize but can't offer a lot of help. Sorry. We're in the same situation. And it doesn't help that my oldest is easily distracted and s-l-o-w. The other two get done so much faster. The only thing I will say is that as my ds has gotten older, he's come to accept that he has more work and doesn't complain that much. But the youngers are whiny that they can't play games or watch tv until everyone is done. So they pester, "How much longer?" Ugh.
  7. Oops! Got that wrong! You can see how much I play with the ipad around here. :tongue_smilie:
  8. I agree, I think the younger kids (maybe 1st-5th?) do better with abridged versions. In elementary school, both my boys read abridged versions of books like Gulliver's Travels and Around the World in 80 Days. Now that they're older, their experience with those books is positive and they are excited about reading the "real" versions. I sometimes think that slogging through a lengthy unabridged version as a youngster can permanently turn kids off the classics.
  9. I don't think that mp3 files can be uploaded to an ipad. You have to get your music into the itunes format. So if you're specifically looking to use mp3 format, an ipad isn't the device you need. The Kindle Fire definitely does use the mp3 format. I haven't uploaded any music to mine but both my sons have them and quickly learned how to upload mp3 songs that were made from cds we ripped to the computer. BTW, my husband told me that Amazon is about to put a limit on the number of songs they'll let you have in your cloud without paying. He said he thinks it's either 250 or 350 songs.
  10. Agree with all the above answers! How to write in cursive and diagram sentences. ;)
  11. I've used them both (at different times) and generally, I'd say I prefer GWG. Even though my dd was quite young when we used FLL, she quickly found it to be too repetitive. We ended up skipping lessons because she'd give me the "again?!" face when we'd start the next lesson. :) She hates writing just like your son and I often didn't force the issue with GWG. I'd have her write the answers to part of the sheet and let her dictate the rest of the answers to me. I feel like she learned a good bit with GWG but I'm not sure how well it stuck. I guess we'll see when we begin grammar again in the next week or so. BTW, I don't think you'd call anything in AAS a "chant". It's more like just repeating a few phrases..."Every word has at least one vowel", "A vowel's first sound is short", etc. Once you feel they've learned those concepts, you move on and don't continue repeating them daily. Occasionally the lesson tells you to review previously learned key points but that's about it. I've used AAS with all 3 kids and none of them seemed annoyed by the key point memorization aspect.
  12. We are Christian and I feel that my kids get a lot of character building lessons from the things we do at church. In particular they get the desire to help those who are less fortunate than we are. I think developing that one core value is really a building block to many others. So I suggest trying to get your kids involved in some sort of project or mission that helps them learn that helping others is an important part of life. For really young kids, this could be as simple as collecting can tabs for the Ronald McDonald House. And I have another totally oddball suggestion but here it is: Choose some of the old tv shows and watch episodes with them. The one that springs to mind immediately for the elementary set is The Andy Griffith Show. I know this isn't a curriculum at all but I swear that watching it with my kids (all of us as a family) has been a great way to teach them so many values. There are lessons in telling the truth, being kind to others, not being judgmental, and so on. For middle school kids, I've found that The Waltons is a great show that teaches a lot of character lessons (plus Depression and WWII history! :) ). I know this suggestion is completely outside of the realm of character curriculum but it's a fun way to study character and values as a family. :)
  13. I just realized that my 9yo doesn't know how to spell our last name! Granted, it isn't the easiest name because it has both a silent 'h' and a silent 'e' but still! LOL! I guess not having to put her name on papers in school has created that gap. I can't say that she's terrific with our phone # and address too. I do know that it all works out over time, though. My oldest is in high school and he knows all the things my youngest seems to be failing to pick up...the patriotic stuff, telling time, etc.
  14. This was going to be my biggest advice! If you already understand that, you're halfway there. :) My first year of homeschooling, I bought the Lifepacs for History and Science. I was only homeschooling my oldest at the time and he was coming out of public school. I was overwhelmed and desperate just to have *something*. We both hated the Lifepacs with a passion (I know they have their place but they just weren't for us). The frugal side of me wanted to just stick with them since we had already started them. But my son was quickly starting to think homeschooling was no better than sitting in a classroom all day. So I started looking again and settled on Sonlight. It was the best decision I made that year. We are still using (and loving) Sonlight more than 5 years later. I agree with the others that if your son has mastered phonics, you don't need a reading program. Just keep him with a great book in his hands and he'll continue to progress. Also, IMO you don't necessarily need a science program for a 4th grader. Ask him what he's interested in learning...does he want to learn about the planets? does he wish he knew more about bugs? or plants? or weather? Take his passions and find great library books that you can read together. If you can find a few experiments to do or keep a nature journal or another hands-on activity, all the better! Have fun with science! The hardcore stuff will come soon enough.
  15. How funny...I'm hating the new format! :) We typically get behind, reschedule books, do them slower or faster than the schedule, etc. So having the notes integrated into the weekly schedule is pretty inconvenient. As far as I know, for all recent versions prior to 2012, the weekly schedule is a page or two with very few notes. But you go to the history, readers, and read aloud sections and pull the notes for each specific book you're reading. I usually keep the current week's schedule, and the notes for all the history books, reader, and read aloud in a smaller separate binder for easy use during the week. I change them out on Monday morning to the new week. I'm not sure about colored pages. I don't have any pages that aren't white.
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