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  1. I recently listened to SWB's audio lecture 'The Joy of Classical Education' in which she spoke about allowing the student to develop an area of specialty in the high school years. She said that it's a good time and opportunity to drop some things from the curriculum to allow the child time to pour some time and energy into area/s of strength as this is what then helps him or her develop as an individual. I've been thinking about this and love the idea. Has anyone here done this? Have you dropped some things in favor of a special skill or interest? If so, how did you go about it? What did you drop? I'm just interested in hearing some real-life scenarios :001_smile: .
  2. You might be interested in Paul Tough's new book, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiousity and the Hidden Power of Character. NPR had an interview with the author this week. You can read more or listen to the story by going here. Among the good qualities that I believe homeschooling high school can help develop are grit and curiosity. So maybe Mr. Tough is preaching to the choir??
  3. Here's the thread it came from and below that is the post you made. http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?p=3351201&highlight=rabbit#post3351201 That post was in Nov. of this past year, and I've been wondering how the rest of the year went for you. When we met at the convention you seemed very happy about your year. Did you make a shift toward more rabbit trails or interest-driven? Did you find another way to get peace? Anything you plan to do differently for this coming year based on what you learned this year?
  4. My dd is getting close to high school, in 8th this year. She is definitely an out of the box thinker, creative child, kinesthetic, visual spatial, loves art, hates most everything else about school. A lot of high school involves the use of textbooks (which we have not used in the past). Is it possible to get through at least most of high school without using textbooks? Learning from textbooks is just not appealing to her at all. She does not mind reading chapter books or other topical nonfiction books, just has a problem with the overwhelming dense quality of material in textbooks. I think the visual nature of them does not appeal to her as well because they distract her too much. Has anyone completed history, science, etc through some other method, reading books, doing experiments, etc and been successful in learning the material in high school? I guess I need examples of curriculum or accredited schools that might appeal to her style of learning more. We have done one year of Winter Promise in the past and I was thinking maybe I need to go back to that method for her. Any other ideas? I really want to have her graduate from an accredited school so have been looking at Kolbe and a few others. I like that Kolbe is flexible. Anyone have any ideas for an accredited school that would be a better fit?
  5. This is sort of a spin off from this thread. http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?t=381936 Nan's post #10 has stuck with me today. I printed it off and the "teaching oneself or being taught" hit me. An article I read this morning, also in this vein, struck me too. I'm still digesting it, so I have no comments. The Unteachables. http://pjmedia.com/blog/the-unteachables-a-generation-that-cannot-learn/ So do you differentiate between the skill of being taught and teaching oneself? Do you consciously prepare your children for both of these scenarios? My son is not an independent worker, he loves interacting and me being his active teacher, but he's not always responsive to being told what to do. However, in an area where he has vast interest, like computers, he'll spend hours exploring and being self taught. I think being teachable is a valuable trait and we're not quite there yet. I hadn't really given much thought the actual "being teachable" as a skill. So I have another adjustment to work on. I'm not sure I have a questions, but would love to see how others approach these differences. Thanks.
  6. If you have a student for whom you have to plan very carefully and realistically due to whatever (ADHD, dyslexia, low processing speed, vision problem, just being a very alternative learner, whatever), have you found it better for the high school level planning to plan 4 days a week and let the 5th help it all work out, thus keeping on track with a weekly lesson plan set-up OR write your lesson plans for 5 days a week, however many weeks in a year (36, pick your number), and just let the year get longer with what doesn't get done? I hope people understand what I'm asking. I can think up answers myself, but I wanted to hear what others had done. The labels don't matter to me. There are some kids for whom a day missed, at this level of material, is not a day doubled up to catch up. So how are you lesson planning? Plan 5 days and it rolls over to Saturday? Plan 4 days so you know it all gets done? Something else? And do you tend to do year-round or only regular school year? One of the ideas I've tossed around is planning that summer as a 3rd semester and using that to lighten the load slightly the other two. Through elementary we just did our normal thing, year round, just slightly lighter in the summer. This would be slightly different, because instead of taking a full calendar year to do chemistry or whatever, I'm saying we would do 4 classes a semester times three semesters, thus getting the full 6 credits when you're done. Just one of those ideas I was trying to sort out. And yes I know I'm oddball posting here. Several of the things we're doing for this coming year are 9th grade stuff, and I want to try to develop some patterns that will hold us well for high school. Thanks for putting up with me. :)
  7. If you had to choose a wide variety of X amount of books from the WTM ancient lit. list for your high schooler to read/study via TWEM/WTM study suggestions, which would you choose and why? - Choose eight - Choose twelve - Choose sixteen (I know, I know, this last bit is probably ambitious, but humour me so I can think things through...) Thank you.
  8. My son will be starting pre-algebra in 5th, so that means (probably) Algebra in 6th, algebra 2 in 7th, Geometry in 8th, trig in 9th, pre calc in 10th, Calc in 11th, and ?.. In 12th. While thinking this through, i began to think about what other subjects would benefit from "thinking backwards" about....ie. where do i want to end up, and work backwards from there.....science would be one, i guess, but we do a fairly rigorous science approach around here, one that i think will prepare him well for high school. History sequence would be another...i think it would depend on whether one was taking AP History...... What subjects do you wish you had "thought backwards" about for high school, particularly if you have an accelerated child thatwould like to attend a competitive school?
  9. I find myself feeling a little blue reading many of the posts here, for I always feel inadequate and wonder if anyone else out there feels the same way. We have a 7th grader heading into 8th, and high school planning looms. He is bright and a capable student, if he were in public he'd be in the lower end of the top group. Not brilliant, but a hard worker, and most adults view him as quite bright. As we look toward high school planning, I find myself quite conflicted. When we first started homeschooling 2 1/2 years ago, one of our goals was to make sure our kids weren't stuck learning the garbage they would never use or apply, the time wasters, the "box checker" material. We want them to be well rounded, and didn't want to "teach to college" anymore than we wanted to "teach to the test". We want real life skills to be foremost and well cemented, but without neglecting college prep at a basic level in case they decide to head that direction. Right now, we aren't sure about any of our five, and I also am concerned these days about the value of the college education versus the income potential/job potential out there. We have not a drop to put towards college, and our kids are not academic superstars nor athletes at all for scholarship opportunities. I know they can get some, but they won't stand out...and we aren't even sure if that is the direction they ought to go or if technical/trades route wouldn't be a wiser way to invest post-high school funds. I guess I don't even have a real question here, other than wondering if anyone else feels sort of "caught in the middle" and wondering how to best direct their children. Cindy
  10. Please bear with me - I'm still new here, still in the early years of homeschooling, and using the term "accelerated" instead of "gifted" for my kids because I don't know where they fit. I'm trying to decide on a long-term curriculum path for our four kids, ages 1 through 4. The older two are capable learners, and I suspect that the younger two will be, too. I'm just getting ready to order WTM. I also planned to order a couple of the What Your x-Grader Needs to Know guides. It would be nice if I could dispense with latter, if WTM covers the goals for accelerated kids better than What Your x-Grader Needs to Know. Before I ran across this site, I had planned to order RightStart Math, Handwriting Without Tears (the kids' fine motor skills are not advanced), Explode the Code, and maybe some of the books on the Sonlight list. I didn't know what to do for science. Some of the kids are saying they want to be doctors. (I'm sure some will automatically assume I'm pushing them, but I'm also sure that others on this board are in the medical field - and may have chosen that path at an early age - so I'm just going to present it as it is.) I've read that WTM is weak in science. It's also my weakness, but my husband's strength. How do you supplement? I don't want them to resent homeschooling if I fail to give them a solid foundation for whatever they want to do later. Are there other areas of weakness, or can I just follow the WTM recommendations all the way through and feel like they're getting a strong start? We plan to send them to a different school for high school, FWIW. Thanks so much. We start our school years in the spring, so I hope to get all this sorted out by then. :tongue_smilie:
  11. I've been reading Myrtle's blog for most of the afternoon, so that may give you an idea of where my thoughts are coming from. :001_smile: I have both the 1965 (1962) and 1970 (1967) Dolciani Algebra 1 texts. The 1970 text is the one written by Dolciani and Wooton, Beckenbach, Jurgensen, Donnelly. The authors of the earlier edition are Dolciani, Berman, and Freilich. I also own an 80's edition of the algebra text. (I have been searching for teacher's editions for these books, but have not been successful yet, so I'm hanging onto these copies and not selling them at this time. ;)) After looking through them today, I notice that the 1970 edition seems to introduce proofs in more detail than the earlier edition. (I wonder if this is due to the addition of Beckenbach as an author to the text.) As a student, I remember using the red and green text (1962, most likely). However, I also remember writing many proofs through my time in Algebra I. It was required for much of the year on tests, and we had to be able to *back up* our work in this way, or receive only half credit. It was this work with proofs that helped me to sail through Geometry the next year using, most likely, the Jurgensen text. I have found a copy of the Frank B. Allen Modern Algebra, A Logical Approach. According to what I've read on Myrtle's blog, it is a very *proofy* text. That is attractive to me, and I am excited to see how it compares to the Dolciani texts I own. If you are still following me, then I thank you for your patience. :) The reason I'm posting all of this is because I would like to insert more of the *proof* type of work into our lessons with MEP. In our current structure, I illustrate the problems on the big dry-erase board. I try to make sure that as we are working through steps that I am reminding him of which property allows us to do the work in those steps. I will ask, "What property allows us to do this?" and I expect the little guy to answer appropriately. So, to make a long story short, I'd like to know if I am on the right track, so to speak, for laying the groundwork for our approach into algebra in a couple of years. We are using MEP, some of the SMSG texts, and also a Dolciani Pre-Algebra (1977) text. We are also using a1970 elementary math text series, and word problems from David Bates Towers' Intellectual Algebra at google books. One more book we are working with is the Giant Golden Book of Mathematics, by Irving Adler. Am I aiming in the right direction so far? Thanks for any thoughts you have, and also for your time in reading this long and rambling post.
  12. I came across this article in my travels this morning. It seems like a good topic for discussion. Random Questions, Off the Cuff: If you separate your child from this world, do you render them socially unaware? Are the teen years formative or are they merely the next step in the journey? Reading is a private experience. Can a group of teens be exposed to this world one by one as individuals and remain unaffected? Do they have the skills to ferret out their questions? Do they have the strength/confidence to judge? What kinds of truths will be embraced unconsciously? What social/emotional/relational barriers will be created through these kinds of private experiences? Some? Many? None? Can barriers really be removed through such private exposure or are they merely fortified? Does reading create the life of the mind or does it only expose the life of the mind? http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303657404576357622592697038.html Peace, Janice Enjoy your little people Enjoy your journey
  13. I did an outloud cheer when I read this from the thread about which sort of hs'ing families are near you: "Only one other more rigorous hsing family here, and she put her older children into middle school and high school here. The others are either "relationships over academics" Christians or hippie-esque unschoolers, with a few boxed ABeka fans. We're too busy with college classes and orchestra to do much in the way of hsing groups any more. It's rather sad, actually. I miss those lovely days of trips to the lake..." I didn't know my style of hs'ing had a title and I'm thrilled to know there are others out there like me! :) My goal is to build a solid relationship with all three of my children *and* give them a great education . . . for me, that doesn't mean translating Homer by 12th grade ;) but I would certainly consider us a "going to university unless you have a much better idea" family. My hub tells the kids he'll only pay for a math or engineering degree and I'm pretty sure he's not joking. I wonder if the "relationship before academics" crowd would care to weigh in with their strategies to keep healthy relationship in tandem with careful academics? I refuse to make academics our family idol but I'm also of the mind that a solid academic foundation opens many doors. I'm interested! Warmly, Tricia
  14. Has this been discussed yet? Article Edited to cut out my intro paragraph. I think it was giving everyone a false talking point. The article is long, but I think it's really worth reading and discussing!
  15. I’m trying to turn upside down my previous mindset concerning school planning. Though I think I’m going to end up applying this from PreK-up, my first thoughts were about humanities in high school and particularly history and literature (English would fit here as well, but I’m outsourcing composition this year). My previous planning method was to figure out roughly what books to use and divide them up into approximate pages per week and then assign some kind of output. This year I have set out my goals in terms of skills needed and am trying to fit them into history/Lit and am planning with those in the forefront of my mind, content covered in the back. Maybe it is a change in mindset only and the final result will be the same, but I really don’t think so. In the past I have sacrificed output for content. Such as just read this week so we can stay on schedule and cover all of this time period, rather than covering less time period and doing more output. I’m sure there is a good balance, but if I am off balance this year it needs to be on the side of sacrificing content for output. This is my last year with my 2nd child and he does not remember things easily, write about them easily, nor even always comprehend them well. I guess I’d like to see if anyone has insight on planning this way. There was a thread recently in which several mentioned planning this way. I’m having trouble shaking the cover the time period, cover the works mentality. I’m not criticizing it! Just need to do something different this year to get my child ready for college work. He does very well on college entrance exams, but I know that with this child that won’t translate to A work in college unless I help him in a big way this year. Thanks for reading, Kendall
  16. Probably I'm going to get tomatoes thrown and maybe I'm just feeling grumpy with too much paperwork....and maybe I'm misunderstanding because I don't read every word in posts dealing with this... It seems like SWB wrote her books to propose to those interested a path, for them or their children, to a "well trained mind"..... Then she opened her forums so that interested parties could have a place to discuss how to do that in practical terms and even refine her recommendations (that last is an assumption and hope on my part) and as a generous move towards people interested in her ideas and purchasing her materials.... Then, since it is a forum that gets so many conversations going and the format is so user friendly, more and more people join in...even with posts that have nothing to do with the original goal... and some people even get angry with the person hosting these forums freely to all of us...or with people trying to stick to the original goal... And then "rigorous" even gets a bad name... Something doesn't seem right - why is rigorous sidelined? (ETD because I didn't meant to offend. It was a rhetorical question that some took literally.) Am I misunderstanding the purpose of these forums? How can people overlook the generosity of the owner???? Just asking, since I'm asking myself this question and there is no one here with whom to discuss it, Joan
  17. Or is that so generalized that it is impossible to answer? Maybe the full spectrum was available 10 or 15 years ago, and the full spectrum is available now? There are so many homeschool curriculums choices now. I was wondering if, in general, they are more or less rigorous than the original ones? (Not thinking original original here. Just thinking about the choices when I started homeschooling 12 years ago.) I can see how it might go either way. There was a strong rebel-against-the-establishment feeling among some of the older homeschoolers. That might lead to less academicly rigorous curriculums, especially among those who felt strongly that academic skills were over-rated. Or maybe those who don't want to do things in such an academic way don't buy curriculums anyway so there is no way of knowing. On the other hand, academic expectations in general might have been higher, leading to more academically rigorous curriculums even though they were more loosely structured in a non-classroom-like way. Now far more people are homeschooling, which might alter the spectrum. And there are many people who are homeschooling for reasons other than a profound distrust of the methods schools use (or used to use) to teach academic skills. And there is the whole classical movement. Or maybe it is stupid question and we should all be working on our must-get-done-for-summer-to-happen plans and not be procrastinating on the computer LOL. -Nan
  18. I thought of a way to summarize what I have been trying to say with all my mile-long posts: As your children get older, you try to get them to do higher level academic tasks, things like taking notes, studying, discussing something other than what happened in literature, writing longer, more complex papers about things that aren't clearcut, solving word problems, designing their own experiments, searching for information. These will be very difficult if your student isn't naturally good at academics or you haven't worked on those WTM foundational skills. Take the time now, when the student is younger, to work on the foundational skills if you haven't done so earlier. They are worth it. Take the time to teach the higher level academic tasks, even though your student is so very slow at doing them at first. Don't just say, "Aak! This is taking too long. We need a different curriculum." Consider whether you really do need a different curriculum (there are an awful lot of bad ones out there), or whether it is just that the level of academic skills needed has gone up and you need to take the time now to develop them, even if it means falling short content-wise at the end of the year. -Nan PS - The tricky part for some families is determining whether "long" really is "too long", in other words, longer than it would take the average child to master this, and learning differences are coming into play. If that is the case, the whole "mastering foundational academic skills" becomes a more complicated issue. This is difficult to determine if you are an inexperienced parent-teacher.
  19. Why you should work on TWTM skills - copywork, narration, dictation, outlining, etc. A recent thread made me realize that if I could do one thing over again homeschooling (other than sending my oldest to community college instead of public high school) it would be to do more of TWTM language arts skills - copywork, dictation, narration, outlining, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, memory work, and logic. I didn't know why these were important (guess I didn't read TWTM carefully enough - sigh) so I tended to skip the ones that were hard for us, when in fact, those were the very ones we needed to work more on. I thought I'd just post this as a separate thread in case it helps even one person from making the same mistake I made. Caution: This might not have been true if I had had a child with strong learning style differences or slownesses, but mine were just engineering-bright/language-arts-dim or wired just a bit differently, not drastically different. Aquiring academic skills so they can learn something by academic means is more difficult than for most children, but not an unreasonable goal. TWTM is the key to that for us. It specifically teaches the skills that the more academically gifted children are just naturally good at. And that means that we needed to work on the ones that my children are not good at. I wish I had known this earlier. You may need to back way, way up to work on these. Follow the progression laid out in TWTM, and work through the progression. Don't just give up on the skill because your child is so far behind. And if your child is good at a skill, good enough that you decide you don't need to practise it, it is really important to keep checking every year and make sure that your child can still do that skill at the new, higher level. That is the mistake I made with one of mine with narration. The whys of doing TWTM skills even though they are hard, boring, and miserable: I think the key to being able to write well is to read tons of well-written material (like great books), to have the physical part down so you don't have to think about it (handwriting and typing), to have something to write about (good knowledge base and good research skills), to have a system of taking the mishmash of thought and putting them together in an organized way (find a method of putting them down in an unorganized way, organize them into a linear structure (outlining), and then rewrite - word processor is nice for this). You need to work on narration and logic for organization, vocabulary and grammar for style. Copywork and dictation deal with the mechanics of spelling and punctuation in a whole-to-parts way and spelling books and grammar books deal with it in a parts-to-whole way. You need to do the narration and the dicatation in order to put the pieces together and apply them. I think the key to being able to read well (once the phonics part is out of the way) is grammar (so you can understand non-standard word order - think Shakespeare and poetry) and vocabulary. That is the parts-to-whole part. And then I think you need to do tons of reading and narrating and discussing. That is the whole-to-parts, applying what you learned, part. I think the key to being able to learn the content subjects is study skills, and those depend on dictation (think note-taking), outlining (picking out the main points from the details), narration (summarizing), being able to read well at a variety of speeds from skimming to sentence-by-sentence reinterpreting, and being able to memorize (memory work). I think the key to being able to teach yourself things as an adult or the key to being able to survive college is reading well, writing well, test taking skills, some sort of knowledge base, good study skills, and good organizational skills - keeping an assignment book, keeping track of one's materials, efficiency (resisiting the temptation of the internet, games, cell phones, and whatever else one does for escape and socializing), prioritizing (skimp on this because that is more important), and dividing large projects into little ones. One also needs to understand the system, how to pay attention to what this particular prof wants, and how to get help if you don't understand something. That last is more important and harder than one might think so I recommend finding opportunities to practise approaching strangers and asking for help. Truly - this is one of those things that seem obvious and easy to grownups but turns out to be a practically insurmountable obsticle to young adults, one that causes them to flunk courses. Sigh. The advantage of this system is that if you get these academic skills down, high school content subjects are hard work but straight forward. For any subject, you pick a spine (doesn't have to be a textbook - it can be any sort of overview), study it (read, outline, summarize it), figure out what skills are involved and learn them (laboratory skills if it is a science), figure out which bits need to be memorized and memorize them, and then pick areas that are particularly interesting to you and investigate them further by doing research - reading and writing about them about them, and doing experiments. This is the pattern that adults follow when they learn anything using an academic way. It is scary to concentrate so much on skills at the expense of content when you are homeschooling. What worked for us when the children were small was to do skills Mon-Thurs (along with reading aloud) and history and science on Friday (along with math and foreign languages, skills+content subjects that we couldn't skip or we forgot everything, and piano). It is important to apply the skills to the content areas, once you can do them a little, in order to improve and speed up, and in order to make the skills truly useful rather than just separate skills. I hope this helps someone, -Nan (My credentials GRIN: two sons in college, one 16yo still homeschooling at home and taking community college classes for two and a half more years before going (hopefully) off to 4-year college) PS - I did do some of these WTM skills. I just can see now, as I have two older children struggling their way through college, that they would have an easier time if their study skills were better, so I am trying to teach the youngest one better study skills and finding that those study skills depend on being able to narrate, outline, take dictation, etc.. Sigh. PPS - I am editing this to add that a lot of the credit for figuring this out should go to Colleen in NS. If you do a search for posts by her with the word "outline" in them, you should be able to find some more information.
  20. Why you should work on TWTM skills - copywork, narration, dictation, outlining, etc. A recent thread made me realize that if I could do one thing over again homeschooling (other than sending my oldest to community college instead of public high school) it would be to do more of TWTM language arts skills - copywork, dictation, narration, outlining, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, memory work, and logic. I didn't know why these were important (guess I didn't read TWTM carefully enough - sigh) so I tended to skip the ones that were hard for us, when in fact, those were the very ones we needed to work more on. I thought I'd just post this as a separate thread in case it helps even one person from making the same mistake I made. Caution: This might not have been true if I had had a child with strong learning style differences or slownesses, but mine were just engineering-bright/language-arts-dim or wired just a bit differently, not drastically different. Aquiring academic skills so they can learn something by academic means is more difficult than for most children, but not an unreasonable goal. TWTM is the key to that for us. It specifically teaches the skills that the more academically gifted children are just naturally good at. And that means that we needed to work on the ones that my children are not good at. I wish I had known this earlier. You may need to back way, way up to work on these. Follow the progression laid out in TWTM, and work through the progression. Don't just give up on the skill because your child is so far behind. And if your child is good at a skill, good enough that you decide you don't need to practise it, it is really important to keep checking every year and make sure that your child can still do that skill at the new, higher level. That is the mistake I made with one of mine with narration. The whys of doing TWTM skills even though they are hard, boring, and miserable: I think the key to being able to write well is to read tons of well-written material (like great books), to have the physical part down so you don't have to think about it (handwriting and typing), to have something to write about (good knowledge base and good research skills), to have a system of taking the mishmash of thought and putting them together in an organized way (find a method of putting them down in an unorganized way, organize them into a linear structure (outlining), and then rewrite - word processor is nice for this). You need to work on narration and logic for organization, vocabulary and grammar for style. Copywork and dictation deal with the mechanics of spelling and punctuation in a whole-to-parts way and spelling books and grammar books deal with it in a parts-to-whole way. You need to do the narration and the dicatation in order to put the pieces together and apply them. I think the key to being able to read well (once the phonics part is out of the way) is grammar (so you can understand non-standard word order - think Shakespeare and poetry) and vocabulary. That is the parts-to-whole part. And then I think you need to do tons of reading and narrating and discussing. That is the whole-to-parts, applying what you learned, part. I think the key to being able to learn the content subjects is study skills, and those depend on dictation (think note-taking), outlining (picking out the main points from the details), narration (summarizing), being able to read well at a variety of speeds from skimming to sentence-by-sentence reinterpreting, and being able to memorize (memory work). I think the key to being able to teach yourself things as an adult or the key to being able to survive college is reading well, writing well, test taking skills, some sort of knowledge base, good study skills, and good organizational skills - keeping an assignment book, keeping track of one's materials, efficiency (resisiting the temptation of the internet, games, cell phones, and whatever else one does for escape and socializing), prioritizing (skimp on this because that is more important), and dividing large projects into little ones. One also needs to understand the system, how to pay attention to what this particular prof wants, and how to get help if you don't understand something. That last is more important and harder than one might think so I recommend finding opportunities to practise approaching strangers and asking for help. Truly - this is one of those things that seem obvious and easy to grownups but turns out to be a practically insurmountable obsticle to young adults, one that causes them to flunk courses. Sigh. The advantage of this system is that if you get these academic skills down, high school content subjects are hard work but straight forward. For any subject, you pick a spine (doesn't have to be a textbook - it can be any sort of overview), study it (read, outline, summarize it), figure out what skills are involved and learn them (laboratory skills if it is a science), figure out which bits need to be memorized and memorize them, and then pick areas that are particularly interesting to you and investigate them further by doing research - reading and writing about them about them, and doing experiments. This is the pattern that adults follow when they learn anything using an academic way. It is scary to concentrate so much on skills at the expense of content when you are homeschooling. What worked for us when the children were small was to do skills Mon-Thurs (along with reading aloud) and history and science on Friday (along with math and foreign languages, skills+content subjects that we couldn't skip or we forgot everything, and piano). It is important to apply the skills to the content areas, once you can do them a little, in order to improve and speed up, and in order to make the skills truly useful rather than just separate skills. I hope this helps someone, -Nan (My credentials GRIN: two sons in college, one 16yo still homeschooling at home and taking community college classes for two and a half more years before going (hopefully) off to 4-year college) PS - I did do some of these WTM skills. I just can see now, as I have two older children struggling their way through college, that they would have an easier time if their study skills were better, so I am trying to teach the youngest one better study skills and finding that those study skills depend on being able to narrate, outline, take dictation, etc.. Sigh. PPS - I am editing this to add that a lot of the credit for figuring this out should go to Colleen in NS. If you do a search for posts by her with the word "outline" in them, you should be able to find some more information.
  21. Why you should work on TWTM skills - copywork, narration, dictation, outlining, etc. A recent thread made me realize that if I could do one thing over again homeschooling (other than sending my oldest to community college instead of public high school) it would be to do more of TWTM language arts skills - copywork, dictation, narration, outlining, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, memory work, and logic. I didn't know why these were important (guess I didn't read TWTM carefully enough - sigh) so I tended to skip the ones that were hard for us, when in fact, those were the very ones we needed to work on more. I thought I'd just post this as a separate thread in case it helps even one person from making the same mistake I made. Caution: This might not have been true if I had had a child with strong learning style differences or slownesses, but mine were just engineering-bright/language-arts-dim or wired just a bit differently; they were not drastically different. Aquiring academic skills so they can learn something by academic means is more difficult than for most children, but not an unreasonable goal. TWTM is the key to that for us. It specifically teaches the skills that the more academically gifted children are just naturally good at. And that means that we needed to work on the ones that my children are not good at. I wish I had known this earlier. You may need to back way, way up to work on these. Follow the progression laid out in TWTM, and work through the progression. Don't just give up on the skill because your child is so far behind. And if your child is good at a skill, good enough that you decide you don't need to practise it, it is really important to keep checking every year and make sure that your child can still do that skill at the new, higher level. That is the mistake I made with one of mine with narration. The whys of doing TWTM skills even though they are hard, boring, and miserable: I think the key to being able to write well is to read tons of well-written material (like great books), to have the physical part down so you don't have to think about it (handwriting and typing), to have something to write about (good knowledge base and good research skills), to have a system of taking the mishmash of thought and putting them together in an organized way (find a method of putting them down in an unorganized way, organize them, organize that into a linear structure (outlining), and then rewrite - a word processor is nice for this). You need to work on narration and logic for organization, vocabulary and grammar for style. Copywork and dictation deal with the mechanics of spelling and punctuation in a whole-to-parts way and spelling books and grammar books deal with it in a parts-to-whole way. You need to do the narration and the dicatation in order to put the pieces together and apply them. I think the key to being able to read well (once the phonics part is out of the way) is grammar (so you can understand non-standard word order - think Shakespeare and poetry) and vocabulary. That is the parts-to-whole part. And then I think you need to do tons of reading and narrating and discussing. That is the whole-to-parts, applying what you learned, part. I think the key to being able to learn the content subjects is study skills, and those depend on dictation (think note-taking), outlining (picking out the main points from the details), narration (summarizing), being able to read well at a variety of speeds from skimming to sentence-by-sentence reinterpreting (grammar helps with this), and being able to memorize (memory work). I think the key to being able to teach yourself things as an adult or the key to being able to survive college is reading well, writing well, test taking skills, some sort of knowledge base, good study skills, and good organizational skills - keeping an assignment book, keeping track of one's materials, efficiency (resisiting the temptation of the internet, games, cell phones, and whatever else one does for escape and socializing), prioritizing (skimp on this because that is more important), and dividing large projects into little ones. One also needs to understand the system, how to pay attention to what this particular prof wants, and how to get help if you don't understand something. That last is more important and harder than one might think so I recommend finding opportunities to practise approaching strangers and asking for help. Truly - this is one of those things that seems obvious and easy to grownups but turns out to be a practically insurmountable obsticle to young adults, one that causes them to flunk courses. Sigh. The advantage of this system is that if you get these academic skills down, high school content subjects are hard work but straight forward. (Some of the logic stage works this way also.) For any subject, you pick a spine (doesn't have to be a textbook - it can be any sort of overview), study it (read, outline, summarize it), figure out what skills are involved and learn them (laboratory skills if it is a science), figure out which bits need to be memorized and memorize them, and then pick areas that are particularly interesting to you and investigate them further by doing research - reading and writing about them and doing experiments. This is the pattern that adults follow when they learn anything using an academic way. This method encourages love of learning because the choice of what to investigate further is left to the student. Remember the old Kingfisher directions? Read a spread. Outline it. Pick a few things to put on the timeline. Pick something on the page that interested you and research it and write a short report about it. The recent threads about the tiger mom are a reminder that people often are inclined to like to do things that they are good at and that aren't too hard. If academic work is a struggle because you don't have the foundational skills, you are unlikely to enjoy learning things in an academic way. It is scary to concentrate so much on skills at the expense of content when you are homeschooling. What worked for us when the children were small was to do skills Mon-Thurs (along with reading aloud) and history and science on Friday (along with math and foreign languages, skills+content subjects that we couldn't skip or we forgot everything, and piano). It is important to apply the skills to the content areas, once you can do them a little, in order to improve and speed up, and in order to make the skills truly useful rather than just separate skills. I hope this helps someone, -Nan (My credentials GRIN: two sons in college, one 16yo still homeschooling at home and taking community college classes for two and a half more years before going (hopefully) off to 4-year college) PS - I did do some of these WTM skills. I just can see now, as I have two older children struggling their way through college, that they would have an easier time if their study skills were better, so I am trying to teach the youngest one better study skills and finding that those study skills depend on being able to narrate, outline, take dictation, etc.. Sigh. PPS - I am editing this to add that a lot of the credit for figuring this out should go to Colleen in NS. If you do a search for posts by her with the word "outline" in them, you should be able to find some more information. PPPS - Now that I see how many people have read this thread, I am having nightmares thinking that I have doomed some children to long boring days of drill. TWTM has lots of good ideas for making things less dry. TWTM says that what content you do should be allowed to go down bunny trails following your children's interests. Let the child, especially the older child and high schooler, choose what to add to the spine, which things to investigate further, what to write about. TWTM recommends heavily illustrated spines, ones that my family, at least, found interesting even when we thought we weren't interested in the material. All the reading-to-oneself is a pleasant chore once one has learned to escape into a book, and TWTM has lots of reading time built into it, both reading aloud and reading silently and listening to audio books. Reading is still one of those foundation skills. Those fairy tales and folk tales and myths lighten the load. The grammar and logic stage science recs are hands-on and active. Your day should have lots of nice parts, too. TWTM says the skills should be attacked in a "nibbled to death by ducks" manner, a little bit consistently over time. If you do something like Kalmia suggested and establish some sort of routine for working on the skills, then you can just plug through your routine and everyone will know that it isn't forever until a nicer part of the day comes, and nobody will have to think about it except when they are actually doing it. School is hard work, but it doesn't have all have to be hour upon hour of unpleasant drudgery at one thing. Think nibble nibble nibble, once the initial explanation is gone through. Cut the task down until it is not taking too long. Yllek says not more, but more consistently. That is a good thing to keep in mind. And Lisa (swimmermom) says to emphasize working hard, not being good at something. That is a good thing to keep in mind, too, if you want children who can rise to a challenge instead of being afraid to fail. : ) See PPPPS LLLLOL below.
  22. A recent thread made me realize that if I could do one thing over again homeschooling (other than sending my oldest to community college instead of public high school) it would be to do more of TWTM language arts skills - copywork, dictation, narration, outlining, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, memory work, and logic. I didn't know why these were important (guess I didn't read TWTM carefully enough - sigh) so I tended to skip the ones that were hard for us, when in fact, those were the very ones we needed to work more on. I thought I'd just post this as a separate thread in case it helps even one person from making the same mistake I made. Caution: This might not have been true if I had had a child with strong learning style differences or slownesses, but mine were just engineering-bright/language-arts-dim or wired just a bit differently, not drastically different. Aquiring academic skills so they can learn something by academic means is more difficult than for most children, but not an unreasonable goal. TWTM is the key to that for us. It specifically teaches the skills that the more academically gifted children are just naturally good at. And that means that we needed to work on the ones that my children are not good at. I wish I had known this earlier. You may need to back way, way up to work on these. Follow the progression laid out in TWTM, and work through the progression. Don't just give up on the skill because your child is so far behind. And if your child is good at a skill, good enough that you decide you don't need to practise it, it is really important to keep checking every year and make sure that your child can still do that skill at the new, higher level. That is the mistake I made with one of mine with narration. The whys of doing TWTM skills even though they are hard, boring, and miserable: I think the key to being able to write well is to read tons of well-written material (like great books), to have the physical part down so you don't have to think about it (handwriting and typing), to have something to write about (good knowledge base and good research skills), to have a system of taking the mishmash of thought and putting them together in an organized way (find a method of putting them down in an unorganized way, organize them into a linear structure (outlining), and then rewrite - word processor is nice for this). You need to work on narration and logic for organization, vocabulary and grammar for style. Copywork and dictation deal with the mechanics of spelling and punctuation in a whole-to-parts way and spelling books and grammar books deal with it in a parts-to-whole way. You need to do the narration and the dicatation in order to put the pieces together and apply them. I think the key to being able to read well (once the phonics part is out of the way) is grammar (so you can understand non-standard word order - think Shakespeare and poetry) and vocabulary. That is the parts-to-whole part. And then I think you need to do tons of reading and narrating and discussing. That is the whole-to-parts, applying what you learned, part. I think the key to being able to learn the content subjects is study skills, and those depend on dictation (think note-taking), outlining (picking out the main points from the details), narration (summarizing), being able to read well at a variety of speeds from skimming to sentence-by-sentence reinterpreting, and being able to memorize (memory work). I think the key to being able to teach yourself things as an adult or the key to being able to survive college is reading well, writing well, test taking skills, some sort of knowledge base, good study skills, and good organizational skills - keeping an assignment book, keeping track of one's materials, efficiency (resisiting the temptation of the internet, games, cell phones, and whatever else one does for escape and socializing), prioritizing (skimp on this because that is more important), and dividing large projects into little ones. One also needs to understand the system, how to pay attention to what this particular prof wants, and how to get help if you don't understand something. That last is more important and harder than one might think so I recommend finding opportunities to practise approaching strangers and asking for help. Truly - this is one of those things that seem obvious and easy to grownups but turns out to be a practically insurmountable obsticle to young adults, one that causes them to flunk courses. Sigh. The advantage of this system is that if you get these academic skills down, high school content subjects are hard work but straight forward. For any subject, you pick a spine (doesn't have to be a textbook - it can be any sort of overview), study it (read, outline, summarize it), figure out what skills are involved and learn them (laboratory skills if it is a science), figure out which bits need to be memorized and memorize them, and then pick areas that are particularly interesting to you and investigate them further by doing research - reading and writing about them about them, and doing experiments. This is the pattern that adults follow when they learn anything using an academic way. It is scary to concentrate so much on skills at the expense of content when you are homeschooling. What worked for us when the children were small was to do skills Mon-Thurs (along with reading aloud) and history and science on Friday (along with math and foreign languages, skills+content subjects that we couldn't skip or we forgot everything, and piano). It is important to apply the skills to the content areas, once you can do them a little, in order to improve and speed up, and in order to make the skills truly useful rather than just separate skills. I hope this helps someone, -Nan (My credentials GRIN: two sons in college, one 16yo still homeschooling at home and taking community college classes for two and a half more years before going (hopefully) off to 4-year college) PS - I did do some of these WTM skills. I just can see now, as I have two older children struggling their way through college, that they would have an easier time if their study skills were better, so I am trying to teach the youngest one better study skills and finding that those study skills depend on being able to narrate, outline, take dictation, etc.. Sigh. PPS - I am editing this to add that a lot of the credit for figuring this out should go to Colleen in NS. If you do a search for posts by her with the word "outline" in them, you should be able to find some more information. PPPS - Now that I see how many people have read this thread, I am having nightmares thinking that I have doomed some children to long boring days of drill. TWTM has lots of good ideas for making things less dry. TWTM says that what content you do should be allowed to go down bunny trails following your children's interests. TWTM recommends heavily illustrated spines, ones that my family, at least, found interesting even when we thought we weren't interested in the material. All the reading-to-oneself is a pleasant chore once one has learned to escape into a book, and TWTM has lots of reading time built into it, both reading aloud and reading silently and listening to audio books. Reading is still one of those foundation skills. Those fairy tales and folk tales and myths lighten the load. The grammar and logic stage science recs are hands-on and active. Your day should have lots of nice parts, too. TWTM says the skills should be attacked in a "nibbled to death by ducks" manner, a little bit consistently over time. If you do something like Kalmia suggested and establish some sort of routine for working on the skills, then you can just plug through your routine and everyone will know that it isn't forever until a nicer part of the day comes, and nobody has to think about it except when they are actually doing it. School is hard work, but it doesn't have all have to be hour upon hour of unpleasant drudgery at one thing. Think nibble nibble nibble, once the initial explanation is gone through. Cut the task down until it is taking too long. Yllek says not more, but more consistently. That is a good thing to keep in mind. And Lisa (swimmermom) says to emphasize working hard, not being good at something. That is a good thing to keep in mind, too. : )
  23. Nan in Mass said this: I wish most that I had understood better why TWTM does some of the things it does. Some things we couldn't do and never will need to do (or can learn later) and can be skipped, but others we couldn't do and need to be able to do. For those, we should have backed way, way up and learned how to do them. If I had known the difference, my children would have gotten a much better education. -Nan I am :bigear:! I would love a more specific description of this experience! Thank you!
  24. You can read my post in the logic stage board to get more info, but if your son isn't a math person...much more of a history, literature kind of person.. how do you do this. He is in 8th and totally frustrated with Algebra.. Ok, maybe he needs to wait, but I was hoping TT would be easier since it is behind Chalkdust.. That way he could do TT Algebra, Geometry and Alg II and be started on TT Precalc before the PSAT... But he starting making C's in Chalkdust Alg and is now making C's in TT and is totally frustrated. I'm not sure where to go.. Christine
  25. About 20 weeks into school, and really, I'm totally lost when it comes to History and Literature. I really, really, really wanted to do Literature with History. Because last year in PS I did U.S. I, I needed to do U.S. II this year. So, I was going to do 20th century American Literature this year, but it just never got done. I didn't have the money to buy a History/Lit. program for 11th grade, and I just figured I could throw it together myself. I stumbled upon Ambleside, and I thought it would be great to use. They went by time period though, so I would have had to use a bit of 19th century (Year 10) and a bit of 20th century (Year 11) and threw a list together from their suggested readings for History and Lit. Once again, it just never got done. I threw together a few lists, but they were never followed. I'm just going nuts trying to figure this out. I've looked through a few U.S. History books, but none seem to fit the bill for what I need. Right now, I am reading Frankenstein. This is seriously the first book I've read for Literature. I read half of The Great Gatsby and half of A Death in the Family. For History, I started Chapter 19 at this site today but idk if it will get continued. I know, it has to do with a lack of self-discipline, but I'm just so frustrated. I really don't want to do U.S. II. I think it is dumb that they split up U.S. History into 2 years in my school. I wouldn't be having this issue if they hadn't split it up. Every curriculum I have found was for U.S. History in 1 year. All the ones split in two years are for middle/elementary ages. I am just at a loss. At this point, Lit. and History don't match, I have no clue how to catch up or where to go from here. I really like Ambleside, but because of U.S. II and Ambleside only have a few things for U.S. II, I can't really use it. I would love to do Year 7 or 8 with Ambleside, but because I need to finish U.S. History, I don't really have that option. I'm just confused, at a loss, frustrated, disappointed and have no clue what to do from here. I hate how the U.S. History is set up that I'm doing now, but I guess I have no other options. I guess this was more of a vent than anything. My mother doesn't know how to help me. Getting mad at her isn't helping anything. Suggestions, advice, anything appreciated. Thanks. ETA: I understand there will be things I don't enjoy, but I just don't learn from textbooks. I retain nothing. That is why I like the living books approach, but I'm just so confused. How am I supposed to fit 100 years of History into a few books, you know? I don't know how to get the most from those books because I was always just taught to learn to take a test. That is no way to learn, and I know that, but really, what other options do I have so late in the game??
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