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Everything posted by Amccracken

  1. We rented a beach home for a week. We had our own walkway to the beach. The beach wasn't crowded, so we didn't get close to any other families - well over 20 ft. apart. The house hadn't been rented since before the pandemic. I know this because I know those who work at the vacation rental company and I know the people who own the home. I spent the first two days cleaning the house - partly because COVID was still on my mind and partly because it was very, very dirty. We did grocery pick up from Walmart. The only outing we did was pier fishing one night and put-put one day. The put-put course was limiting participants and sanitizing everything. Other than that we cooked in and stayed-in. This was the only way we could think of having a vacation and feel like we were doing our best to social distance.
  2. I actually just bought Spelling Works! It was recommended on this forum. And I think combining it with vocab would make sense. And, yes, I will just use geography as a history lesson, instead of adding it on top of another lesson. these are great suggestions. Thanks!
  3. Lori D. Thank you so much for your detailed response. This gives me some new ways to think about our schedule. I've looked at it so long, I just needed to step away and get someone else's perspective. Thank you for taking the time.
  4. Yes, I think it's the total number of "things" that makes it feel like too much. Where, if they were integrated better, if would look like less. Like if, we could use our History lessons for writing lessons. But I need IEW, as I'm not confident in teaching writing without something. We need spelling help. Until this year, we've followed a Charlotte Mason approach and I kept thinking copywork and dictation was enough to improve his spelling. This year I realized he's going into high school and his spelling is not good at all. So this is kinda remedial. I could probably get rid of vocabulary. I thought of dropping Art of Argument and just adding it next year. But we could do it orally once a week. We've used Rosetta Stone for the past 2 years, so it's not a big transition. We go through it slowly, only 15 minutes or so a day. Thank you so much for your suggestions.
  5. The history and biography reader are books that go along with the history period we are studying. For example, this year we are studying Medieval history and he will read literature and biographies like Crispin and a Marco Polo biography. He reads them at his own pace and just picks up another when finished. Then we discuss it. I reserve the Literature read-aloud for more difficult books like Beowulf. Yes, my gut tells me it’s too much. I’ve got to decide what needs to go.
  6. Ladies, I need your opinion. I’m planning next year’s schedule for my 8th grade son. He’s a good reader and sometimes does his readings at night before in bed. He works independently for the most part, with a little help. But IEW is new for us and will take lots of assistance. As I put the schedule together I feel like it’s too much. I don’t want to stress him out and make him hate school. I need an outside opinion. I enjoy having him in our Circle Time activities because it’s the only thing we do together as a group during the day, but I guess I could give him that time off. See below and tell me what you think: Daily Subjects Circle Time (with Group Read Aloud) – approx. 45 min Literature Read Aloud (with 7th grade brother) – approx. 30 min Algebra 1 (online) History – Book of the Middle Ages by Dorothy Mills History reader Biography reader Bible Memory Work – 5 minutes 4 days a week Art of Argument Apologia Physical Science Writing – IEW Fix it Grammar – 15 min Spelling – 15 min Vocabulary – Wordly Wise – 10 min Other Art – 2 x week PE - 3 x week – basically soccer practice Rosetta Stone Spanish – 3 x week - Geography - Map work that goes along with history – 1 x per week
  7. We've always memorized poetry and scriptures. This past year I allowed the kids to choose their own poems and that brought new life into it. My oldest always chooses the shortest poem I will approve. My middle will always chose something funny. And the youngest will always choose a poem about animals. It's funny to see their personalities come out. :) Sometimes I'm sad when years later they don't remember poems we spent a lot of time on. I thought they would remember them forever. But then they will bring up one I had totally forgotten, as if it was yesterday when we last read it. We go over our poems during our Morning Time sessions and I've started using Fridays as a day to go back and review poems from the past.
  8. This is a very interesting topic to me. I've never even thought of blaming a university for being accepted but not being able to pass the classes. The article is interesting. I'll have to think about this more.
  9. This ^, I really think this is where I am right now. It started with writing in April. I came to a point where I thought my oldest wasn't where he needed to be going into the 8th. I started looking into writing programs, then methods of teaching writing. From there I basically determined we had homeschooled "incorrectly" for 9 years!! :) It so easy to jump ship from fear and self-doubt. I made an elaborate plan to get my boys "back on track" and now with a summer break I'm finally able to look at the situation with a clearer mind. We have an area we need to work on, I've not completely neglected my children's education.
  10. I can't speak for others but this is what I have in mind.
  11. Thank you!! This is very helpful. Can't wait to check it out.
  12. The discussion in this thread has put into words many of the thoughts I've been wrestling with lately. I've tried enough boxed curriculum that I know nothing is going to fit us perfectly. I rather enjoy making it our own. This past year was the first year I've been confident enough to just choose my own history and literature books to just read and discuss. And it was very freeing and satisfying. It was our best year by far. My middle DS (a slow reader) told me it was his favorite year because he loved his books. That was all the encouragement I needed to continue making my own. It is soooo much work and I understand some families do not have the time or desire to do so. I've only been homeschooling for 8 years. I'm no expert, but I feel like I could help a newbie, if only with encouragement. At the same time, High School is just around the corner and I wish I had someone who has walked that walk before who I could discuss ideas with. We are mostly homeschool loners. Closest co-op is 45 minutes away. I do have one other homeschool family in our church. I've joined a few FB groups for community but they often leave me feeling disappointed and uninterested. It seems that just a few years ago (maybe 5?) I could find far more encouraging homeschool mama blogs that were not just about curriculum choices or box days but about the ins & outs of homeschooling. Maybe it's my imagination.
  13. K12 has free online summer courses on coding: https://www.k12.com/virtual-school-offerings/dca-summer-programs.html#summer-school-faqs My rising 8th grader is considering them.
  14. Thank you for the suggestions. This is very helpful. I will check these out.
  15. History: Fall of Rome through Reformation - Reading Dorothy Mills Books for spine and other supplements Literature: Reading historical fiction, classics, and biographies from same time period as history Grammar: Grammar for WTMVocabulary/Spelling: Sequential Spelling Online, English from the Roots Up 2, Wordly Wise Writing: Written narrations from history and literature readings, starting WWS1 Latin: we may try an online option offered through our local school district. still not sure.Spanish: Rosetta StoneMath: Saxon Pre-AlgebraScience: Apologia General ScienceMusic: Violin LessonsArt: ?Religion: Selected Bible Readings, Bob Schultz books for boys (Boyhood & Beyond, Created for Work)
  16. I’m bumping this because it’s such a good resource and I don’t know another way to tag it for future reference. 😁
  17. Thank you all for taking the time to reply. These are all very helpful. I have a lot to think about over the summer. I'm just going to have to jump in and see where it leads. :) This is really what I need to do also. I'm actually looking forward to planning for the first time in a long time. We all need a change. I've been homeschooling for almost 8 years and I've been having serious doubts in my ability to tackle high school successfully. My husband is a high school principal and would love to have our boys at his school - and they may end up there one day. But I started homeschooling because I truly believed it was the best educational choice for us. I still do. Thanks again!
  18. I've always homeschooled my three boys (ages 9, 12, 13) using mostly a Charlotte Mason approach. This has seemed to serve us well. My boys are readers, they are at grade level with math and they enjoy science. But this year we hit a wall with writing/composition. I need explicit writing instruction for my children because this is not my area of strength. I found WWS and it has given me the help I need, which led me to read WTM. I'm sorry I did not read it earlier. So much of it resonated with me. As I read WTM I see areas where I want to change the way we homeschool but I’m afraid that we are coming to the party too late. 😃 For example, my oldest will be 8th grade next year. He started reading early. I stopped phonics with him as soon as he began reading. I wonder if that’s why he struggles with spelling. Would it be worth going through a spelling program with an 8th grader? I even wonder if spelling programs work, to be honest. I’ve always had trouble with spelling myself. They’ve all had some grammar, but not consistently. This year we worked slowly through Easy Grammar 6. And they’ve done fine, but I’m not sure how much they have internalized. I love the idea of writing through the curriculum, keeping a history notebook and reading Great Books for high school. This seems so much more meaningful than prefab discussion questions and textbooks. I love the idea of them finding topics that interest them to research on their own. Right now, they’ve not taken ownership of their learning. Don’t get me wrong, they are somewhat independent, starting their work on time and working till complete. But I’m the one who directs all of their learning. I’m not sure how much of this is possible for us now or how to pull it off, but I would like to move in that direction and try what we can. My oldest has one more year before high school. This year he and his brother worked through ancient history together, ending with the fall of Rome. Should we just continue this progression through (which was my original plan) and end up in the ancients again for 11th grade or should we start over with ancients in 9th Grade? I know you can’t answer this specifically for me, since you don’t know my kids, but what has your experience been? I think my boys are good readers but I am not sure they will be able to handle great books for high school. To give you an idea, this year my 7th grader has read To Kill a Mockingbird, Edith Hamilton’s Mythology and The Eagle of the Ninth. Have you done a mixture of good books and great books? Any suggestions? Please excuse this long post. I’m just trying to wrap my head around how we can incorporate these new ideas into our homeschool. I would appreciate any advice or suggestions you can offer. Thanks!
  19. I'm so sorry. We had the problem last year and now we are still paranoid if we see even a speck of dirt that looks like a flea. I'm very sensitive to flea bites. I tried all the natural things: diatomatous earth, vacuuming every single day (sometimes multiple times per day) for weeks, changing the vacuum bags, salt, water and vinegar. The diatomaceous earth is hard on a vacuum, btw. I had the pets treated. I felt like they were just laughing at me. :) Finally, I broke down and bought a flea spray (NOT a bomb) that I could spray on the worst areas. I used it on carpets, curtains, couches. Even with the flea spray it took a long time to completely get rid of them. Thought we were going to go crazy. They are hard to get rid of. But persistence will finally pay off.
  20. Ana & Wendy, Thank you both for your help. I explained to him that the first step is to write brief notes to help with the written narration, and, then, to use those notes to write the narration. This helped. I think we were both over-thinking it. Honestly, I believe he has the written narration part down. He's written 5 a week for a year. The other recent thread about using WWS for an 8th grader really helped. Someone shared that in the WWS2 book there are ideas for how to shorten WWS1 for older, more confident writers. I'm following those suggestions. I like WWS because I want him to learn the skill of outlining. This is something I've not felt confident to teach him without help. So far, I think it's going to be a good fit for us.
  21. Ed2go.com has a 6 weeks Intro to Interior Design class and a 6 months Interior Design Certification class. I've never taken them so I can't vouch for the quality of the courses. https://www.ed2go.com/courses/arts-and-design/graphic-arts/ilc/introduction-to-interior-design https://www.ed2go.com/courses/arts-and-design/graphic-arts/ctp/residential-interior-design
  22. Just a quick question. I decided to go ahead and start WWS with my 7th grader (soon to be 8th grader) with the free sample to see how he does before I invest into the program for next school year. He's very comfortable with written narration and has done one per day for this entire school year. But I thought I would start at the beginning to make sure he understands the directions and what's required for each lesson. On the first 3 lessons, his "notes" are almost identical to his narration. Actually, his notes may be better because he's trying to combine the sentences from his "notes" as the instructions suggest so his narration includes several run-on sentences. Should I just have him list bullet points for the notes and explain that his notes are to help him organize his thoughts for the narration? Or should I just have him narrate, skipping the step of keeping notes until the passages get longer? Or even take notes while reading the passage? Any suggestions?
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