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  1. Your schedule looks a lot like ours. I'm so thankful you posted it. We are in our second year, so I am certainly not an expert. My dd (7) and my ds (9) spend about the same amount of time doing their work. I do think it would be good to build in more break time. Last year I feel like I drove them on and on without breaks trying to get through everything and they got burned out and discouraged (so did I). It's more important that you have a good relationship with them and they feel a love of learning than to check all the things off the list. This year I'm going to try giving them 30 minutes each to use breaks throughout the morning whenever they need them (they can break up the 30 min however they like). Someone else I know has had success with this. Time is precious in our house too, I know. I have a part-time job that starts at 4 pm each Mon-Thur, which makes things more pressured. Are you following TWTM? If so, I have heard often that it's only an ideal guide and probably not practical to really do all of that every day. So, you'll have to see what works for your family and prioritize what's most important for those days you just can't do it all. I feel like we are interrupted often and sometimes they just need a break. Don't forget plenty of outdoor time. :) God's blessings on your year! :hurray:
  2. I'm so sorry for your situation. I can only imagine it must be devastating for your entire church, as well as your family. My heart goes out to all of you and I hope I can help with my words. I hope you will forgive my directness and because I don't know you, forgive me if I'm telling you things you already know. :) First, we are all sinners and always will be, so we are inclined to sin often. The only perfect person was Jesus. We all continue to sin, though we don't want to (just like Paul's words). What this man did was terrible and he will have to answer to God and our legal system for what he has done. God has his arms around your church and feels what you are feeling and he will take care of your church family and your family. It could happen at any church or any place, not just in church. I believe the devil does his best work in the church, to tear it apart. I would encourage you to talk with your pastor about this. If your church is like mine, they are really like my extended family and it would be devastating for me to leave them. As a family, you will go through good times and bad times together. You will get through it together and pray together. Second, I would continue to pray for those families involved. I think if they are good friends, I would call them and let them know you are thinking of them and praying for them. If they want to talk more about it with you, they will. If you don't know them that well, you will probably help the most by not discussing it with others and praying for them. Third, what do you tell your kids? I don't think I would bring it up to my kids unless they hear it from someone else. If they ask about it, I would discuss it in an age appropriate way. I would just be honest and tell them all people are sinful and are always being tempted to sin. That's why we need God's help on a daily basis (by reading his word, prayer, and being careful about what we feed our eyes, ears and heart). I would tell them he did something to hurt those children that was very wrong and use your discretion on how much info. is needed. I tell my children that an adult should never ask a child for help (that's not normal or necessary) nor should an adult ask a child to "keep a secret" unless it involves a surprise party or gift. I always think it's a good idea to educate your kids on how to keep themselves safe and to know how to get help in a bad situation. You can't protect them from everything (which breaks my heart), but you can try to give them the tools to stay safe as best they can. We've taught our kids about what adults should and shouldn't do and how to break the typical "talk quietly and be polite" rules when they feel uncomfortable and to get away, run away or scream if need be to get out of a bad situation. I tell my kids it's ok to break any of the usual rules if you feel you are in danger and need to be what is normally considered rude or run away. I know it sounds weird, but we train our kids to be polite to adults and not to question them, so this is really important that they know how to stand up to someone if it's necessary. And, yes definitely reassure your kids that you will do everything in your power to keep them safe. Help them to see that it was important that those children told their parents so they could help. Hopefully your church already has a procedure in place for all volunteers, teachers, etc. to have a background screening prior to overseeing children. This isn't foolproof because that only helps with people who have already committed a crime, but it's one step in the whole process. I'm sure this is stuff you already know well. I pray your church family and your family will recover from this. God will care for all of you. People do horrible things all the time and we can't shield ourselves from it, unfortunately. But, we can rely on God to care for us and our family of believers to get through difficult things together. I'd really encourage you to stay with your church family and work through this with the help of the pastor. :) God's blessings to you all.
  3. Ok, you ladies have all been just awesome and so helpful with giving me a variety of viewpoints. Thank you so much. :) We are going to try staying with SM and also supplementing with MUS behind our SM lessons to solidify concepts already learned. I just really like them both and maybe during our year one will "win out" over the other. We're going to try this and see how it goes. If anyone else has experience with doing this, I would love to hear about how exactly you do this (what days of the week you do one or the other, how much time you spend on one and then the other, how far behind one curriculum is over the other, any way you correlate the two, whether you watch ALL the videos, etc.). Thank you! :)
  4. I'm so glad to hear you loved the program (or at least loved aspects of it). Do you know anything about their return policy from RFWP? I don't see anything on their website.
  5. I would love feedback on how these programs compare. If you have used one or any, please let me know your thoughts. We have used FLL for one year. I personally find level 1 to be great and level 3 makes me want to gnaw my arm off slowly. My dh likes them both, so he does that work and he would like to continue FLL because of the repetition, copy work, poetry, and memorization. My kids don't mind them, but I wouldn't say they look forward to them with anticipation. I do like the poems, memorization, and copy work. We haven't used WWE or IEW. What do you like or dislike? If you combine any of them, how do you do it? MCT looks so visually appealing, inspiring and simple. It's way more expensive than it should be, IMO but maybe worth it. Another post indicated the MCT program was great at explaining good writing, but not at showing how to write. Is IEW supposed to be combined with another LA program? Well, I've asked enough questions. ;)
  6. Great thoughts ladies. I'm bumping this to see if there are any other thoughts on Michael Clay Thompson's LA program. It looks very inspiring and simple, understandable. Also, if we did go with a WWE/FLL plan, is doing IEW on top of this overkill or would they work well together?
  7. Wow. You all have been so very helpful and supportive with your thorough explanations. I'm thankful to be on this board. Thanks everyone for your help. I realize now I have definitely gone too fast in the name of getting the lessons "checked off" and I totally skimped on the "concrete" demonstrations because I thought it would take too long. If I had taken the time to explain the concept thoroughly, our lessons probably would have actually been faster (not that being fast is the main thing, but my 9-year-old ds takes about an hour and half to do his math work-this makes it very hard to get all our work done). I think we need to take SM in smaller chunks, making sure to go through the steps of concrete, pictoral and then abstract like Jen said (thank you Jen for your incredibly thorough explanation of how to teach math!). We need to really emphasize hands-on materials. I wish I were more creative and on-the-ball with these ideas. Do these ideas all come from the HIG?? I would like to use MUS too, but I'm not yet sure how to work with both properly. I want to emphasize the one as the main program and supplement with the other. Gratitude so beautifully suggested using MUS as a review that is behind what we are doing to solidify math concepts previously learned (do two MUS worksheets, then do the MUS test-as a break from SM math for each week). I really like the MUS videos and would like to incorporate them somehow. Is this too much? My kids like watching the MUS videos. I like the way each concept builds on the next. Does anyone else use both SM and MUS together? I would love to hear more about how they might work together.
  8. Very good thoughts. If we go with SWB's materials, I think we'll start my ds at WWE 3/FLL 4. My dd will have WWE 2 anyway, so we can always back up even more if necessary. I'm glad we can eliminate MCP Phonics since AAS will cover that already. One less thing to do. Does anyone else have any thoughts on MCT language arts vs. Bauer's WWE/FLL combo? MCT looks so inspiring. I guess I'm very visual. But, it's one thing to be inspired and another thing to actually learn to write well. We'd still like to give IEW a look too. I wish I understood how it works better. :confused1: Thank you both for your helpful posts.
  9. We are going on our second year of HSing and I am still very confused about language arts. We have completed FLL level 1 (dd age 7) and 3 (ds age 9). My ds is left-handed and struggles with his penmanship. We also completed AAS level 1 and MCP plaid phonics levels A and C. I supplemented a little with OPGTR with my dd. We have done very little writing. Cathy Duffy seems to have a low opinion of WWE as just "supplemental" for composition. Is her opinion well-founded? Last year I just felt we were doing so much and this year I had hoped to put together a simple, stream-lined LA program that doesn't duplicate and isn't so complicated and multifaceted. Is our plan for next year for each child enough, too much or too little? dd (age 7) FLL level 2 MCP Plaid Phonics level b (not sure if we'd do this or OPGTR-I'd love your thoughts on this too) AAS level 2 WWE2? Or, should we begin IEW instead? She's a quick learner. do I really need the Plaid Phonics? ds (age 9) FLL level 4 MCP Plaid Phonics level d AAS level 2 (he's behind and struggles with spelling) WWE4? Or, should we begin IEW instead? do I really need the Plaid Phonics? He really struggles with phonics and spelling rules If we do WWE, do I need the TG or just the workbooks? Even though neither has been exposed to WWE, should we start them at grade level? My dh and I have also considered doing Classical Conversations Essentials for my son (without foundations), which would involve Essentials of English Grammar and IEW. I don't really like the look of the Essentials book. It just seems complicated and boring. I recently looked at MCT and that looks very inspiring, but not sure if it's enough to really "teach them" the mechanics of writing. I'm just not a language arts expert so it's hard for me to compare programs. I want this year to be less stressful and more time to enjoy each other, but also thorough, academically. Is that impossible? H-E-L-P!!!!
  10. Thank you Jen Nittany for your thorough explanation of SM, which helps quite a bit. Can you further clarify a few things? What does concrete pictorial abstract mean when applied to teaching SM? It's a bit confusing for me, not having a teaching background. Also, when you went through the steps for instruction (which look excellent), can you clarify the first step "introduce the material using the concrete hands-on lessons". I am not aware of any manipulatively SM offers. I have a whiteboard, balance scale, cuis. rods, charts, number line, clock, and that's about it. How can I make the instruction concrete and hands-on? I have typically drawn pics on the whiteboard of what the HIG is wanting me to demonstrate, then we use problems from the text on the board to practice, then I have him do the wb pages and some a mental math sheet from the HIG. Definitely to much seat time for one sitting with an active boy. I definitely plan to slow down this year and go at his pace and resist the urge to just "get through it on schedule". I'm such a type A perfectionist. My poor kids. ;) We will definitely use the web, HIG, text and extra practice if we do SM. Do you think it's confusing to supplement with the Math U See videos for each concept? I'm not sure they line up well, but I love the way he presents concepts, it's so understandable.
  11. Thank you for all the helpful replies. We have not tried the extra or intensive practice workbooks (or the challenging word problems). I was thinking of ordering those for this next year if we do SM. I do have the HIG and I find it difficult to use. I probably need to spend 10-15 min the day before looking over the concept for the next day. I don't like how they insist on presenting concepts in several different ways, seems confusing and overkill. Maybe it's because I was rushing through things because we started SM later last year and we were always trying to "catch up". Both my kids said they felt math was rushed. :thumbdown: That answers part of the frustration my son probably feels. I looked at Math Mammoth and printed out some sample pages. It doesn't look like there is any instruction on how to teach the concepts effectively. Is there really enough there? My son immediately dug in his heels when I had him look at it (probably because it doesn't look as "fun" as SM), but after trying out a little of it, he said he could do it. Am I right that it does NOT include a TG, or text, just basically a workbook? Sounds like most people think MM has more practice and presents the info in smaller steps than SM. Is that accurate? I'm also intrigued by Saxon's teaching CDs. Has anyone used Saxon 5/4 with the teaching CDs? My son loves the idea of doing his work on the computer, but I wonder if the novelty will wear off on that quickly. We may send him back to the private school he was at in the next year or two (maybe) and they use Saxon, so I wonder if using Saxon makes the most sense in that regard. It's such a hard choice (as my 4-year-old dd always says)!! :lol:
  12. I know this is a difficult topic with many opinions. We are going into our second year of HSing and I just don't have a tried and true math curriculum. My son did Saxon k-2 math when he was at a private school. Last year we started HSing with Saxon 3, switched to math u see briefly (because Saxon seemed so boring and repetitive to me), then went back to Saxon when math u see didn't seem to cover nearly as much as Saxon, then my son declared he hated Saxon so we finally switched to SM. SM has been difficult but we finally have him in the right level according to his placement test. But, he is still struggling to remember what we learned. He forgets very quickly and gets frustrated super easily (so do I, unfortunately). He's 9 years old and doing fourth grade level work. His Iowa basics composite was an 87, but math was quite low, around the 30% range. He wants to do Singapore again this next year, but I think he needs smaller steps with more repetition. SM seems to go really fast and I don't care for the teacher manual. I could use some help teaching whatever math we choose. I understand the material fine, but find it difficult to explain in a way he will understand. I'm debating on getting Saxon 5/4 with the Saxon teaching CDs. I have researched this for probably 50+ hours and can't come to a conclusion. I want to begin preparing for fall. I would love opinions on this. :)
  13. Thank you all. Very helpful info. I think I might try their sample during summer. Not sure yet. :)
  14. I recently saw a few people mention Winter Promise. I looked through their page some and ordered the catalog. It's a bit confusing. What are the pros and conns to this program and what subjects does it cover? Is it really Classical?
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