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    Mom to six monkeys (two graduated), seamstress, drinker of coffee
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  1. Guesthollow has a free chemistry schedule that uses lots of lower level books. You might find some pieces there you like. If I recall correctly I used it with 5th/6th graders, subbing out some of the easier books for more challenging options.
  2. I really enjoyed using Writing With a Thesis with younger high school kids. Patterns for College Writing was a good follow up. My recent graduate really enjoyed They Say I Say this year. He's a classic "why use five paragraphs when I can sum it up in five syllables" kind of kid. He grinned big when he saw fill in the blanks. 😆 (This one is or was a strong recommendation in TWTM.)
  3. I'm in that stage with my youngest. He just finished the last volume of Story of the World. (*sniff) For fifth grade this year he'll use Oh Freedom from Woke Homeschooling (US history from the non-euro perspective). Loosely planning he'll do Build Your Library level 7 (world geography) for 6th and level 8 (history of science) for 7th. Or if he has a random strong interest for next year or one of those years we could bump these levels around as needed.
  4. There aren't any that I'm aware of, but I found them fairly obvious if I'd read the book beforehand.
  5. An average kid with previous exposure to basic grammar would be fine in FLL level 4. If this is his first grammar year or you're worried about 4 moving too fast he could totally start at 3. There's really no reason to need literary terms in 5th grade but that one is more gentle. It's a Scholastic book. If you're leaning toward more organic literature with them, maybe instead get the book Deconstructing Penguins for you to read. 🙂
  6. I'll just jump into Build Your Library since others have covered the rest well. Build Your Library level 8 has a fabulous and rigorous reading load, but mostly expects you do have regular conversations with the readings. There are basic comprehension questions for just the literature books, a list of vocab words pulled from the books, and some dictation pieces pulled from the books. It's very Charlotte Mason flavored and does not have any of the typical modern assignments that would go with a literature study. I'm currently wrapping up level 8 for the second time through with my 13yo so it's fresh if you have specific questions. She's read every single book on the schedule and we discuss them regularly. She's had an amazing year. I haven't once glanced at the comprehension questions or vocab but just go off my knowledge of the books and experience with the older kids. If a kid were 9th grade doing this course I'd confidently give them the lit portion of their English 9 credit (as well as a world history and non-lab general science). Midsummer Night's Dream, Fahrenheit 451, How to Kill a Mockingbird, Frankenstein, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and more are easily high school level if you do more than just read.
  7. I think I'd reach for Writing With Skill level 1, which is a four days a week book. Then I'd use the unscheduled fifth day to do basic prompts and maybe Wordsmith.
  8. I don't use reading curricula with mine beyond learning how to read. We just read high quality children's literature and discuss it. If you really must use something, Teaching Literary Elements by Tara McCarthy is a better fit for a fifth grader than Figuratively Speaking. 🙂 I use Figuratively Speaking with my 7th and 8th graders generally. A younger kid surely could do the activities, but they'll get more out of it at an older age. Mine also don't have a separate vocabulary work. My oldest kids had some but it felt like busywork combined with everything else they did. We did enjoy English From the Roots Up, but it was the catalyst that had us starting Latin and it was shelved. 😄 My rising 5th grader will use: Spelling: Megawords Grammar: First Language Lessons 4 (we skipped it this year in favor of light review, so now we're going back to it) Writing: Writing & Rhetoric from Classical Academic Press Literature: a pile of really good books to read and discuss, many tied to his history and his science but plenty are just good books He will be starting his first year of Latin with Latin for Children level A. I did consider Junior Analytical Grammar instead of FLL, but I'd rather have the small lessons throughout the year for this boy this year. JAG takes a bit longer daily, but only lasts for 11 weeks (22 I think if you do both levels). (Otherwise he'll be in Beast Academy for math, Oh Freedom for history, and a homemade zoology course for science.)
  9. Math: when she finishes precalc, something for calc that doesn't involve me ✌️ English: diy, another Shakespeare and... no lit ideas yet 😆 She's already done British, US, and world. She's hinted that she wouldn't mind a Shakespeare based year. They Say I Say for composition. Economics: Crash Course with the workbook and extra readers on the side (very "git'r done") Half her days will be dual enrolled at the culinary program she's had her sights on for years. That's it. I'll be going from five kids home full time to two and a half next year. I might need my own classes. 😄
  10. Mine all came from Amazon and eBay. There are bum sellers on any of them though. In general avoiding sellers with low counts and low ratings helps. I also avoid sellers with cut and pasted descriptions of what may or may not be wrong with the item and favor the descriptions that appear to have been custom written for that exact copy. Obviously this isn't foolproof, but I buy loads of books this way and total duds aren't common. 🙂
  11. I'd start by ruling out a learning disability too. ✌️ Otherwise, I did use Writing Road to Reading on a fast track with an 8th grader (older... 4th edition maybe). It's very phonics based. There are flashcards to memorize and then we worked down the spelling lists, marking each word as we went. I jotted down any words he didn't do well on and we started every day with that list before starting down the big list again. I let his ability set the speed and ignored the suggested schedule. After a few months his spelling was light-years better and he cared more about getting them right. It was parent intensive the entire time but so worthwhile for that kid.
  12. I can't think of a full program with both of those, but I don't use literature courses below high school. We read and discuss high quality children's literature. The elementary Don't Forget to Write book has fun creative writing assignments. Each lesson stands alone so you could easily pick and choose your favorites. STEM to Story from the same publisher could likely work for those ages too.
  13. Also, those kids are old enough to help cook. Mine get assigned one night a week that's their responsibility to get dinner on the table. Of course I'm right there to help as needed and they can ask siblings. They tell me what they want to cook before I go grocery shopping so all the ingredients are there. They can all fix their own breakfast and lunch as needed as well. (My ten year old does most days.) And household chores are clearly assigned and finished before anyone gets free time after school. 👍
  14. This year has been quite a ride around here. I'm homeschooling 4th, 7th, 11th, 12th, and have an extra distance learning 12th home too. Thanks to COVID we've done it almost entirely without the community we're used to having. (Dropping them all off at a class wasn't just for them!) Next year will only have the little two and three courses with the current 11th (she'll dual enroll the rest). I keep practicing my Little Engine That Could as often as needed. 😂 There are already some great posts above. I'll add, make this summer YOUR schooling. Dig into the books, teacher's guides, student books, print and organize all the worksheets, make schedules if needed, read the literature, and just pour yourself into getting to know everything they're going to use. When the fall hits you'll be a more efficient and confident teacher ready to hit the ground running.
  15. It was just that, a list of plots. What if these guys faced this type of villain in this setting. Some had fine details like specific weapons and others were just a sentence or two. He only actually wrote up a few of them but collecting the ideas was his joy. 🙂 Finding his voice... we were using Classical Writing then, which had them analyzing a fable, myth, fairy tale, etc, and then rewriting it. At a certain level it said they could start changing details in their final rewrite as long as they stayed true to the moral and skeleton of the original. At first his were really cheesy, like just replacing characters with cartoon characters, but it sparked something. As his rewrites improved he started getting irritated with the boundaries of the curriculum, which had him making his own on the side. It was a process.
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