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  1. I have been listening to Andrew Kern of Circe Institute speak at our homeschool conference for several years, and it is beginning to sink in. I am reconsidering everything I know about educating my children. I truly am at a loss. I have no idea where to begin, as far as curriculum is concerned. I beg of you, throw me a bone...where do I begin? If I want my children to love learning, become human, and above all other things, love the Lord, what in the world am I supposed to be teaching and how?
  2. Gosh......I have to remind myself where I hang out and get some minds out of the gutter! :tongue_smilie: I posted on a thread about tea time and got some PMs......YES, I mean actual tea parties!! :lol: (but I will get to that later) I have had several people ask me to explain what interest driven education looks like in our house and after KIN's burn-out post, I thought I'd attempt to describe it. I am a minimalist in the younger yrs. Academics is limited to math, phonics/reading, handwriting......I add in beginning grammar/mechanics via copywork for 1st and 2nd grade. Bedtime stories are typically classics like wizard of Oz, The Secret Garden, etc. alternated with historical fiction or biographies (my kids love the lives of the saints, etc) Nature study occurs but it is a free-flowing type of thing not associated with school or a schedule or specific time, etc. It is simply something we do b/c we enjoy hiking, etc Once they are in 3rd grade, I talk to them about what they want to study/read via guided discussion and limited selection. For example, this yr my 5th grader really didn't get to choose her history topic b/c last yr we did early American history through pre-Civil War, so this yr was already expected to be the rest of American history. However, the reason we got so far behind last yr was b/c of bunny trails and areas she wanted to explore more. We spent weeks learning about Roger's Rangers and the life of settlers near the Canadian border. We spent time reading about the New Orleans and Napoleon and the Louisiana Purchase from perspectives that I had never read before. We read about the animosity amongst the Founding Fathers of our country, the shenanigans of Aaron Burr, the life of John Adams overseas from Abigal's perspective, etc. We sort of went wherever an interesting topic lead her to want to pursue. It was one of the best early American history studies I have ever done and I learned tons that I had no idea about. Science is more in their hands. They can pick whatever topic they want. Then either off our shelves or on the library's website, we will investigate what titles we/they have on that topic. Then depending on the age, I will select the final title for them to read or let them. History in elementary school is a combination of my reading aloud to them for about 20-30 mins and their reading silently about the same from a different book. Science is 30-45 mins of reading. I don't use writing curricula when they are young and even when they are older, I never use canned writing assignments. Writing always follows the same pattern every yr. They write one paper per week on a topic selected by me from typically science or history when they are young and also from lit when they are older. Monday is topic and gather supporting info (or details when they are younger), Tues is organizing and outlining or first 1/2 of rough draft (depends on how much they actually accomplish on Mon), Wed is either 1st or 2nd 1/2 of rough draft, Thursday is finishing whatever they need to and meeting me for revising and improving, and Fri is final draft due. By making school interest driven, we all enjoy what we are doing. Not using a separate writing program's assignments means writing is doing double duty. We don't spend huge amts of time doing experiments, etc for science. They spend more time reading whole books on the topics instead. (and sometimes they do go overboard on a topic. One child had a fascination with bees and read every book our library, I think around 15, that were on his reading level. My 5th grader this reader spent months reading and drawing/classifying birds, etc) Academics is really limited to the basic subjects.......no artist studies, no composer studies, no Latin, etc. Not until they are much older. Fun.......something that I have to make sure I make myself schedule in our days now that I have so many older kids and outside activities. We love having tea time. It can be as simple or as complicated as we make it. Sometimes we just buy refridgerator sugar dough and roll it out and cut it into different shapes and decorate them with icing, shoe string licorice, and m&ms. Other times we might make little sandwiches or have fruit. But mostly it is a time to sit and talk and relax in a fun time during the school day. (This is not a daily activity. ;)) We also love family games. I have posted before that the value of strategy games is highly undervalued. I think they help form better critical thinking skills than any curricula. But most of all.......I think the most important decision anyone can make is decide what is really critical to their view of education. It simply can't be everything. I mean what goes to the core of your educational philosophy. Start there and work forward. Anything that isn't vital drop until you have the day you want that even has time to spare and gradually add in the bonus topics you want but aren't essential. Hope those ramblings help someone. :001_smile:
  3. Did anyone create an individual plan for his/her dc after reading this? Does anyone care to share how you tweaked things for your specific needs? I find myself more able to picture how to individualize things for myself after reading a handful of case studies. Especially, if the examples differ greatly. The nuts and bolts make the general more obvious to me for some reason. I'd love to hear what you did!
  4. I just want to thank you for giving us all that wonderful information on writing instruction in your home. It makes the process seem a bit more attainable. Can you tell us what writing program you used to get you started with teaching writing to your children. I know it was mentioned in an old thread from last year, but I can't find that information now. My biggest problem is getting started. I know what needs to be done, but I just can't in gear to really do it. My ds13 can write. He often writes some wonderful narrations/summaries of history or literature. I just can't seem to move from that type of writing to something more...if that makes sense...? I guess I need a jump-start or something. I use WTM/WWE suggestions for writing with him, but wonder if there is something else that would better "guide" me? I would also love to know what you have used curricula-wise with your middle grades/high school students. You seem so sure of yourself and your choices with your dc whereas I am always second-guessing...it is a great source of worry for me, even though my 18 yo will graduate this June, has been accepted to the college of her choice and will be playing soccer with a scholarship...I still doubt my abilities to do this with my ds13...sigh... Thanks for any help you can give. P.S. I printed out your writing plan and have read it twice so far...I'm hoping it will sink in and I will miraculously begin to teach my ds writing skills...
  5. Is the prominence of essay-writing in younger and younger grades (6th, 7th, etc.) because of a spiraling, keep trying so sooner or later they figure it out, kind of thing? Or is it because there's actually VALUE to doing it? That's really hard for me to sort out. For instance someone on the hs board was discussing needing her students to do weekly 5 paragraph essays to do Omnibus 1 (curriculum aimed at 7th+). So if we WAIT, under Karen's premise that not all children are ready at such and such age, do we do harm or good? Mercy, I'm not trying to destabilize Karen. I'm saying I had so BOUGHT INTO the level of assignments (me and my "do a good job" goal) that it had never occurred to me that it wouldn't matter a flying fig if she does them now or later. So what say you? What are the potential holes in that logic? I could see both sides. It seems to me WTM has a delayed approach to longer essay writing and stays at the paragraph level a long time. I need to go read those sections for the higher grades and see. I know I didn't have much worth saying at certain grades. In fact, I think the most kids would be doing is parroting what they have been told. (We discussed this in class, you decided what you think based on the spin I gave you through the discussion and the way I steered things, now go write an essay on your oh-so-informed opinion.) Yes, I guess that's cynical. But seriously, what are the things to consider here? If you do something like the upper level CW stuff or get into a rhetoric study, yes you're doing some thinking and analysis. But really, after watching lots and lots of posts on the boards over the last how many years, I'm not sure how many people do that. I'm not sure that *most* people ever do more than basically trying to get their dc to write a logical multi-paragraph essay with an outline and clear thesis. If they get that far, they praise the saints. At least that's how it looks to me, just watching things. So if that's the case, then maybe Karen's assertion is accurate? In fact, there was a noble voice on the boards years ago (Kpzzz) who maintained that discussion was the foundation for writing and would cover a host of ills. Very interesting, as it seems to flow from the same point. Then I bring this full-circle to the out of the box thread. (And my apologies for making this long!) If the imperative need is for discussion and thought, NOT extreme or detailed writing tasks, then I think people might feel more comfortable getting out of the box. So there, clear as mud? Anyone have any thoughts?
  6. The thread about 5th grade work load and ps homework load got me kind of nervous. I think my ds(almost 10) should have heavier workload now. I find that he works very slowly for math and often makes careless mistakes. For example, he takes an hour to finish two pages of Singapore 5A post test and makes some very careless mistakes. He does WWS 1 fine. I used to ask him to write narration for SOTW 3 once a week and he did some narration for science, too. Now We are doing SOTW 4, I have not asked him to narrate because it is a lot of info to organize and he is not ready to do the outlines in the AG. So he ends up not having enough writing. Reading that ps 5th are expected to do lots of lots of written work and Ots of homework makes me wonder if I am too easy on him. I would like some ideas about giving him homework, meaning I teach a new concept, he practices some and leave 20 to 30 minutes homework for math and 30 minutes homework for another subject. If you give your dc homework, why and how do you do it? How much work do your homeschooled 5th grader do? Thanks!
  7. I go through this debate in my mind every year but as my children go up in the grades, it seems more difficult to resolve. The two that concern me most right now are my 11yr olds. They are advanced 3-4 yrs in reading. Most of their readings from this past year consisted of works from 9-10th grade reading lists. They both love to read and they seem to comprehend not only the surface material but deeper characteristics of the stories, though at their age, I have to introduce the discussion and then they are able to bring forth the details. I guess my internal debate comes from remembering my public schooling, sitting in lit class and painstakingly tearing the stories apart for every little piece of meaning. (honors and AP level classes). I loved to read. It wasn't something I really minded and I found it relatively easy, but looking back I question whether it was necessary... Do I have a better understanding of lit today because of those courses? Do I read books differently now than if I didn't have that background? So, for those who have already been there or are going through it now - how much do we need to "teach" in literature? Is this something that natural readers will just develop in their own time or is it something that truly has to be taught? Do I need to begin setting lesson plans for specific story analysis (guided or independent) or will the simple discussions we have about the meaning, history, setting of the texts be enough to guide them in their own development? And how much of this is needed in terms of college preparation?
  8. Which AP exams are most widely recognized by colleges in terms of getting college credits? There is a list at http://about.myedu.com/data-and-infographs/2011/3/22/top-10-ap-classes-most-widely-accepted-at-colleges-and-unive.html , but I don't know how they arrived at the numbers. My guess is that high scores on the older, single-discipline exams, such as calculus, physics, or U.S. History are more likely to earn credit than high scores on newer, inter-disciplinary subjects such as environment science of human geography. The College Board has online data on how many students take each exam, which is likely correlated to widely accepted the exam is accepted by colleges.
  9. Can we talk yet again about what is appropriate level/amount/number of hours chuldren should do seatwork daily? As i plan my rising 5th grader's schedule for next year, i am still struggling with hiw much is too much, or how much is enough. I know "it depends" on the student, the curriculum, the teaching style. But can we talk a bit about this subject agaian? Please share your opinion.
  10. Both of my dc wanted to take a year off from history and focus on geography/world missions/cultures. So my original thought was to do earth science/astronomy at the same time with both kids, just at different levels. I've bought the Tarbuck text (have HS & college level) for dd and she is already enjoying reading and looking at the beautiful pictures/illustrations/graphs. So, why do I keep hearing this little voice in my head saying...."You're wasting your time studying earth science; she'll never use it. She should be moving on with biology, chemistry, & physics." I have already been making plans for earth science and I've come up with some fun stuff to do. Plus, dd will be prepping for the AP Human Geography exam AND taking 2 online courses (geometry & french), which will be new for her. I really wanted to build other skill areas this year (writing/researching/math) before moving on to heavier science. So far, she's interested in a health science profession, but in 9th grade, I'm not sure how much weight that has in the whole situation. So please, help me either calm my nerves and go with my original plan OR tell me that I REALLY SHOULD listen to that voice. OH, how I wish I could be as confident as you guys! Desperately seeking advice and prayers! Jennifer
  11. 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?
  12. 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?
  13. 8 Fill the heart said this: "For my older kids, I want them to develop strong presentation w/topics in science, history, and lit w/evidence in MLA format. I want them to be able to not only write persuasive essays but also research papers......" I need help finding this for my rising 8th grader! I like WWS and I will use it with my younger son for 6th-9th... But, for my daughter I need something like the above quote. The publication schedule alone is one reason. I don't like working with the pdfs. She has a lot of additional language arts and writes in history daily. 7th: -She has done 21 lessons in WWS. It takes a lot of time for both of us and I'm not sure it is her level. One level outlining leading to 2 level by the end of the year etc. -Remedia Outlining 5-8 -Extensive summaries and 3 & 4 level outlining for history notebook. Well done. -Scott Foresman online writing and grammar grade 6. Just a quick run through to see if she has any gaps -Sat writing prep and practice I'm thinking: 8th: Duke Tip SAT essay online class Lively Art of Writing Elements of Style with printable workbook 9th: Purdue Owl MLA Formatting and Style Guide online Debra Bell writing class 10th: Purdue Owl MLA Formatting and Style Guide another online writing or AP Lang 11th: Ap Lang 12th: Ap Lit I'm looking for help for me as her teacher and programs for her to work through. I can't abide complicated. I was an english major, but most of these classical programs for writing just don't keep it simple enough for me. She needs help with advanced sentence structure. Would Killgallon help? Thanks for any advice.
  14. Dd and I were reading The Green Gables Letters and came to this description of fall. Dd was enthralled w/it, so I thought I would share it in case anyone else's child might be inspired by it: I hied me away to the woods--away back into the sun-washed alleys carpeted with fallen gold and glades where the moss is green and vivid yet. THe woods are getting ready to sleep--they are not yet asleep but they are disrobing and are having all sorts of little bed-time conferences and whisperings and good-nights.
  15. I am very much enjoying the experiential and philosophical discussion on the current state of education in the other thread. I would love to start this new thread to discuss practical application. Please share strategies and/or examples of how you support and require excellence in your homeschool.
  16. I'm thinking way far ahead, but would like some feedback about chemistry in 10th. This is what dd has done and what we're planning: 8th grade (This year): CPO Foundations of Physical Science 9th grade (Next year): Conceptual Physics 10th grade: Spectrum or Apologia Chemistry????? I want to follow the physics-first approach to science. This dd doen't think she wants to go into a science career, but she loves science. She will finish Alg. I this year in 8th grade. We're planning geometry for 9th. I see us either using Spectrum chemistry at home or Apologia Chemistry/Lab at a local home-school covering school. Would you all please compare/contrast these chemistry programs for me? The biggest difference I see is that Spectrum would be done independently, but Apologia would be taught by a chemistry teacher. Dd seems to want to be taught so that she can ask a REAL person questions, but I think she would *enjoy* more and learn as much with Spectrum. Can anyone help me compare Spectrum Chemistry to Apologia Chemistry? Thanks!
  17. Last yr I posted a sample about this time of yr when dd was in 6th grade. Here is a paper from about a yr later. (She hand writes her papers, so I typed it in. I am pasting it in from word, so I didn't format the poetry lines b/c I knew it would be lost anyway.) Here is a link to the one last yr if anyone is interested in how much progress I would expect to see over a yr......from simple single dimension analysis to a comparison paper. http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?t=228187&highlight=narnia Lucy M. Montgomery's beliefs were similar to those of Robert Browning's character who speaks in "Evelyn Hope." They both express beliefs in reincarnation. L.M. Montgomery tells Ephraim Weber in a letter she wrote to him that she prefers aspects of reincarnation over Christianity. The character from "Evelyn Hope" refers throughout the poem to living multiple lives. L.M. Montgomery believed that the idea of being able to continuously live different lifestyles was splendid. She thought that heaven did not seem nearly as wonderful: "It is fascinating to suppose that we go from one existence to another, with a restful sleep of so-called death between! To me the idea is a thousand fold [more] attractive than that of....heaven" (Eggleston 38). She also believed that humans are born with a natural instinct which makes them want to stay on earth and dread death: "I'd rather life as it is in this world...[Christians] don't seem in any hurry to go to [heaven]--far from it...It does seem to me that the instinct of humanity thus gives the lie to the conceptions of theologians" (38-39). Thus she thought that reincarnation was preferable. Similar to L. M. Montgomery, the character speaking in "Evelyn Hope" places hope in reincarnation as he speaks to Evelyn's corpse. He says that his and Evelyn's love was not meant to occur in their current life, but, instead, it is for one of their many lives to come: "Delayed [love] may be for our lives yet,/ Through the worlds I shall traverse, not a few:/Much to learn, much to forget/Ere the time be come for taking you" (29-32). The man also states his belief in reincarnation when he says his last farewell to Evelyn. He places a leaf in Evelyn's hand, because he thinks that doing this that she will remember and search for him in the next life: "See, I shut [the leaf] inside the sweet cold hand!/There, that is our secret: go to sleep!/You will wake, and remember, and understand" (54-56). Both of these examples express his desire for reincarnation. L. M. Montgomery and the speaker from "Evelyn Hope" both affirm beliefs in reincarnation. L. M. Montgomery wrote that reincarnation is more desirable and that most humans are born with the instinct that reincarnation exists. The man from "Evelyn Hope" also embraces reincarnation both when he says that he and Evelyn are supposed to love each other in a future life and when he shuts the leaf in Evelyn's hand trusting that the leaf will make her remember him in her next life.
  18. So this is out first year homeschooling - we are half way through the year and I am feeling burned out a little. Don't get me wrong - I am still glad I did it and want to continue but I just find my patience is short lately and I am wondering if you folks have any advice. Here are my biggest issues: My ds 7 (almost 8) has ADHD and bounces around the house constanly. He is very loud all the time and so can be very distracting during group work (I do constantly try to correct his distruptive behaviour but it is often not intentional and he isn't aware he is even being disruptful until I ask him to stop). He can't sit still very long and has a hard time focusing. My ds 5 is just a typical 5 year old but generally compliant. He does however get distracted by his older brother easily. My ds 3 has some developmental delays. I have a lot of guilt because he often gets shhhh 'ed a lot during school time or just walks around the house causing problems until we have to stop what we are working on and address him. I find if I have to stop my lesson with my older boys even for a second to work on something with my 3 year old - my other sons go wild and get completely off track.I do have some time planned in the day to do some preschool activities with him and he enjoys this - but it is about 20 min a day - not much in an entire day!! I just find I am doing a lot more behaviour correcting (please sit down, please stop talking, please sit up, please pay attention etc. etc. a million times a day) than I thought would be necessary. I am also finding my patience is shot by the end of the day and I am nagging them or raising my voice at them - which I am always regretful about later. Does this get easier... I really want my boys to have a wonderful homeschooling experience and WANT to be home but I fear if it continues this way my oldest will ask to go back to school
  19. I'm v. interested to learn how to design theme-based studies like the ones done by Karen (8filltheheart), Jackie (corraleno), Karen Anne, etc. How do you start ? Go to amazon to find books ? How do you know the book is appropriate ? Where do you get the idea on what aspect to study ? Then how do you decide what the output will be ? Do you tell your child to read the book and then you discuss with the child ? Do you ask the child to write a report ? Or what ? How to make sure that the input/output is age-appropriate. My dd (3rd grade) wants to learn how number and letter (incl the writing) came about. And my son (4th grade) wants to learn how tv works. Thanks a bunch.
  20. What is your experience / opinion? If I teach my child a particular thing, whether a math fact or a story from history or whatever, only to find they have no recollection of it a year later, would you conclude... That they haven't really forgotten it, it must be still in there somewhere and will come back to them? That learning it the first time will make it faster and easier for them the next time around? That learning it has given them practice in the act of learning, even if they didn't retain that particular thing? That the learning was fun, and if they don't remember the thing, at least they'll remember that they had fun learning something? That I obviously didn't teach it properly, because if I had they would have retained everything? That they were too young to learn this thing, and it was a waste of time?
  21. I've posted before that my aspie rising 6th grader does NOT want to be homeschooled next year. That said, the only thing he found even slightly interesting at the FPEA conference was the Homeschool Tech booth. So dh, who is a network engineer agreed to sign him up for their computer science class (at a 50% discount as a Beta tester, which is awesome). Anyway, so he will be learning computer science and actually building a computer. We need a new computer for the living room anyway, so he is very excited that he will be creating something we need. So this is a good thing. My only issue is that I feel I also need to work in some other basic science stuff. I feel that in 6th grade his only science can't be computer science. Am I right about that? If so, how do I sneak in the extra science without bogging him down? He's smart, very smart, so he doesn't need a lot of work to pick things up. Can I just do some books, documentaries, and Brain Pop? Oh, and I bought the Thames and Kosmos Milestones in Science kit before we went to the conference, so I have that. I'm thinking maybe do some experiements with that over the summer, make sure he understands the scientific method well, and then let him focus on computer science during the school year??? I don't want to ruin the little enthusiasm he has, but I also don't want to neglect his education. He says he hates science, but he loves going to the science center (we have family passes), watching myth busters and animal planet, etc. And he retains everything he watches on documentaries and such. Any thoughts?
  22. I just wanted to tell you, that your posts hurt my head! :D It makes me wonder if my poor child will be educated, not just adequately, but to the level of a student that is "Classically Educated".:) I believe that to be fair, some of you should open up boarding schools. :lol: I know he will be as good with me as in public schools, because I have an incredible determination to provide an education, but when I read your posts, I realize that my head can't even wrap around what I want his education to be. So, if you open a school, and are accepting students from America, let me know :) I have one cute almost 8 year old to send your way :)
  23. I need a quick answer. I found several threads on this topic. One is a very long thread. ;) which I subbed and will read later. I have to go to work in about an hour. Background first: My son is a 7th grader. Right now he is taking a class at the co-op called the Human Body class using Jeannie Fulbright's human body book. All year he had to write an essay every other week. I am shocked that she is requiring essays and it is destroying my son's love of learning about the human body. This kid wants to be a dr so he really loves learning about human body. When it comes to write an essay I have to help him by pulling him out and talking him through this. WTM has a much delayed approach with writing than others do. (that is one of the things that I LOVE about WTM) We do use TOG but they are alot faster in the writing dept for younger kids which I do not like very well. I use the WTM writing and the TOG for history. I do not remember ever writing an essay when I was in middle school and that was back in the 1980s. (Yes I am old!! :D) My question: Is this the norm to start essay writing this young??What is a normal essay length for a 7th grader? I am concerned that my son is not enjoying the class due to essays. I haven't even approached the teacher yet because I am using this as an opportunity to teach him about essays however it is pulling his grade down due to him not getting a good grade on it. (I guess I am also a bad essay writer:confused:) (this kid is more of a science/math kid not a humanities kid like my older son is) I will read the other threads for more information. Thanks! Holly
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