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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. I am interested in hearing a follow up on how the past couple years have gone. For me, reading that thread was a turning point in our homeschool. Before then, I was all about curriculum and worrying about if I'd chosen the right one and if I could cover it all before 12th grade was completed. There were so many good books and programs and skills to study! My desire to give a comprehensive education led to a frazzled schoolday of jumping from one thing to another with all the joy sucked out. Upper grades as well as adding more students was looking ever more grim. Then along came the thread. I felt like someone had removed me from my cluttered life and took me up in a plane to 35,000 feet. All of a sudden I could see what was important, where I wanted to go, and how I needed to simplify. Previously, I had been torn between focusing our education toward college, or focusing toward "life." Now I knew what I wanted to do. I pared back our subject load big time. I knew I wanted to concentrate on the 3R's, with plenty of good literature and discussion. We reinstated read-aloud time. I dropped all the time-consuming history projects and other "busywork." The next time I went to a HS conference, I brought home stacks of classics, rather than stacks of curriculum. Another change: writing across the curriculum-- gone! Here's why. Our days are not necessarily easy, but they are peaceful. DS is making solid progress. Reading with him has given me a positive role in his day. I have had time to focus on the sweet stage of K and 1st grade with my second DS. What changes did you make? What have you hung onto all this time? One of the complaints in the wake of the thread was how hard it was to translate all that inspiration into the nuts and bolts of a regular schoolday. Do you have seasoned wisdom to share? I'm also interested in materials that you've found that mesh with your goals of nurturing your students on truth, goodness, and beauty. . . or whatever new direction that discussion sent you. Be specific with curriculum choices you are liking. Since literature was a main theme in the discussion, please list favorite anthologies. Book lists are somewhat prevalent, but an anthology is so easy to grab and go! Some current favorites of mine: Caesar's English: a vocab program for reading while snuggling on the couch! Not to mention placing the words in context using classic literature. Not to mention the tie-ins with history and Spanish (which we also study.) I've had both my mom and DH read some lessons to DS and they enjoyed it as well as being impressed. :D Daily Grammar Practice: Amazingly thorough while only taking 5 min a day, thus leaving more time for other things! The new revised versions also use sentences from quality literature. Systematic Mathematics: Math taught by an experienced math teacher at a blackboard in the old way (before 60s reform math). Then a worksheet or two with plenty of white space. It is completely hands-off for me yet DS has been making amazing progress. I don't know if this particularly ties into the thread, but we discovered it at the same time and it meshed well with our 3R focus. Teaching the Classics: Another discussion-based, snuggle-on-the-couch program. Also very simple and efficient. Music: We dropped piano lessons and let DS choose something to study. He picked ukelele. :) Now our house sounds like Hawaii. The Usborne Book of Famous Paintings: just a little bit of beauty in our curriculum! This goes into a clear cookbook holder on a desk. Books: The classics have been so great. When we got bookshelves put in last year, I made sure to put the classics at eye-level to encourage them. I didn't even need to. DS pulls them down much more often than all the historical fiction we had accumulated previously. One gem we stumbled upon in a Goodwill were the original Hardy Boys books from the 20's, now published by Applewood Books. (I didn't know Hardy Boys went back that far!) The language in these is amazingly rich and complex. If you don't mind dealing with the fact that they are "unsanitized," they make fine read-alouds for boys. They look like this. For the 1st grader: My Book House, Volumes 2 & 3 Beatrix Potter Treasury What your 1st Grader Needs to Know Children's Book of Virtues An 8Fill rec: Winter Moon (going to get Spring next) Just got Fifty Famous Stories Retold, and it looks great. My 1st-grader and I also have learned how to knit this year, as well as play three notes on the recorder! Life is good.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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. : )
  7. :tongue_smilie:I am in the middle of my annual breadth vs. depth struggle. Anyone else in there with me? I read the "What is your 5th, 6th, 7th...grader doing this year?" threads and I panic. My list is extensive (in my heart, I know it's too extensive) and yet it's considerably shorter than others. Somehow I just know I am going to miss this child's "gift" if I short-change him on music, art, a third language, logic, health, or geography in addition to his existing cores of language arts, math, science, history, Spanish, Japanese, technology, and philosophy. Oh! I forgot nature studies and current events.:svengo: Then, if you can get the subject list under control, then you need to focus on covering everything within a specific topic. I mean if a mom with a second grader is asking if two writing programs is enough, by extrapolation my 7th grader needs like 5 programs, right? MCT for academic writing, Brave Writer for creative writing, something for diagramming (never mind that many of us didn't do that until high school), Editor-in-Chief or Easy Grammar for everything else I am sure I missed. No. Actually that would be adding in copywork and dictation because it's...well...it's the foundation of a classical education. Or was that Latin? Which we are not doing. Which will keep Swimmer Dude from going to Harvard Law School...I just know it. <pant, pant, pant> One of my biggest gripes with "real" school has always been this attempt to cover everything. I now know the sad truth that there are people just like me (obsessed with the "perfect" plan) who write ps texts. You know the ones. For example, the lit analysis texts that give the child four pages of information including the plot, conflict, and resolution as a pre-reading assignment. At least it's efficient because the child no longer needs or wants to read the story. They are trying so hard to cover everything that they underwhelm the student. Why the panic on my part? I just spent six hours going through my MCT materials for next year. I realized if I buckled down and really taught the material in depth, my son would receive a better language arts education than most kids his age. It would also take me a good chunk of time to teach it that way. Focus is so much more demanding than doing a little here and a little there of everything. So, will kids be bored without the breadth of subjects or are they bored with them because they don't spend enough time on topics to fully comprehend and engage in them? ETA: My apologies in advance for the writing.:tongue_smilie:My brain and attitude are fried.
  8. I just read a book called skip high school and go to college. Or something along those lines. It's basically about unschooling for high school and still building an impressive enough portfolio to get into any college you want. It really challenged me to think about some of the drudgery we are currently experiencing in our schooling. But mainly, I just could not see how a child would ever be motivated enough on their own to do the sort of things required to move on in life successfully. I mean, they are so short sighted. If I just told my 14yo tomorrow that she only had to do what she felt like doing, it would be precious little academically, that's for sure! I think it would mainly involve knitting, sewing, reading, playing piano, and riding her bike. You can't go to college on that. She doesn't have any career goals. So I feel like it's my job to make her do the work that she doesn't see the point of now so she doesn't close doors that she might wish were available later on. But I am tired of the battle. So what do people do that actually unschool? Like math, mainly. What child just thinks, well, I'll learn algebra this year? Anyway, I hope I'm making sense. I'm wanting to make some changes, but I don't see how. Jen
  9. sorry long I have been hopping around curriculums this year and haven't really felt that we have found our groove. I like all of the below for different reasons, have them all infront of me :blush: and I am trying to figure out what to use for the rest of this year and going into next. My kids are 6 and 4 1/2 (3 and 1). The 4 1/2 year old is right with the 6 year old just a different math. I am planning to keep math and language arts its own thing so it does not have to be integrated but could be depending on what is used. Ok here is what I have in front of me: HOD LHFHG HOD BLHFHG MFW K - just TM FIAR Vol. 1-3 and Bible Supplement What I want: -Read picture books -Read Chapter books -Science Info/Topics with Activities -Bible tie in or add on -At least 1 craft/week -Able to add in cooking - doesn't have to be part of the curriculum I am questioning when we actually want to start focused history. I feel like there are other things (ex. science topics) I would rather have the focus on. Here is what I am thinking regarding the above curriculums and why I can't decide which would fit best into what I am hoping for. HOD LHFHG Things that I don't like: -Read alouds - we are really picky on what we read to the kids and the attitudes of the characters are not what we want read to our kids right now. -The activities are a lot of just movement/active/dramatic, not really us. -The focus on history and not much for science topics. -Bible devotional -I feel like there isn't much actual sit down and read with the kids time. (a paragraph for history and page for storytime) Things that I like: -Bible Memory work. -Planning is done for me. HOD BLHFHG We haven't used this yet but looking at the guide. Things that I don't like: -History main focus. -Activities (similiar to reason above with LHFHG) -No additional picture books or other booklist to add in from. -Maybe too advanced for my kids? Things that I like: -same as LHFHG -Poetry study MFW K Things I don't like: -seems light for the extras (I wouldn't be using the phonics or math.) -maybe a little below for my kids -I feel like I would have to add in a lot -only really science studied (which I know is what I said I think I want - do you see why I am going crazy!!):001_huh: -I don't want to use the 1st grade program so then where would I go:confused: Things I like: -science topics -booklist in back FIAR Things I don't like: -having to decide what to do/the layout -where would I go after using it? I don't know much about BYFIAR -having to add in too much with already having to pick what to do inorder to acheive what I am looking for -doesn't really add in more books, just the one main picture book Things I like: -picture books -learning about lots of different topics not having everything tie into history I have also been looking at the Living Books Curriculum for 1st grade inorder to maybe get the more reading I am looking for. Has anyone had that in their hands and can tell me more of the activities in it? I know it looks like I am looking for the "perfect" curriculum which of course I am. :tongue_smilie: Really I just need an outsiders perspective. I am trying to plan out not just for tomorrow but for the next couple years. I think all of the above curriculms look great but what would work the best for my family for what I am looking for??? If you have any words of advice I'm :bigear:. TIA!
  10. Maybe it's partly because I've been watching Biggest Loser lately, but one thought has been going over and over in my mind the last few days. (I know, one thought isn't very impressive, but I just picked up four prescriptions for antibiotics yesterday for conjunctivitis, strep, bronchitis, and double ear infections (three kids and myself), so I've been a little rummy this week. :tongue_smilie:) I'm even embarrassed to say where I first heard the comment, but it is this in a nutshell: "Not many people show up for their own lives." So, the swirling questions: Do you think it is true that many people aren't showing up for their own lives? What does showing up for one's own life look like? What does one need to do to show up? How would you define 'showing up?' Do you think you've shown up for your life? Was it a natural thing? Did you have an epiphany somewhere in the middle of your life when you thought, 'Hey, this isn't a real life. Something has to change.' Anyone want to chime in with their thoughts on the subject? :001_smile:
  11. Hi, I am wondering what all of you experienced high school homeschool parents would have approached 7th and 8th grade looking back on it now? What would your ideal approach? What would have been your focus? What would you have let go? What resources would you have definitely used, what would you have passed on? Just any thoughts in general you could share. I am going to have a 7th grader next year and would love to get the insights of folks who have BTDT! Thanks! :)
  12. As a newbie, I have already learned a lot, but would love to hear what other newbies and veteran homeschoolers have to say!!!!! 1. How long have you been homeschooling? 2. Which homeschool philosophy(ies) do you use? 3. Why do you homeschool? 4. What was your biggest waste of money in homeschooling? 5. What was the best money you have ever spent? 6. Which curriculum/curricula did you want to love, but didn't work for you? 7. Which curriculum/curricula did you end up loving that you thought you wouldn't? 8. What is your best advice to anyone just starting out? 9. Which mistakes have you made with your olders that you will not repeat with your littles? 10. Anything else you want to share? This isn't a "real" poll, but I still feel compelled to have an other!!!! :lol:
  13. This may be one of those threads where there are no real answers, just dialogue. I'd love that, btw. I'm working on our schedule for next year (8th grade) and I'm having a hard time balancing the whole content and skill issue. I'm not sure that's the whole issue though. My son has very high comprehension, he has a mind like a steel trap, and can remember minute details of everything. His reading level lags behind. I have no problem reading to him. I've also picked some sources for next year, for instance history, where I can read one book to him while he reads another book, more on his level and works on skills via that book. His output also lags behind. Some of that is due to be being a delayed reader and writing skills have lagged behind. I asked him if he wanted a harder history spine for next year (Churchill) or if he wanted to do something at his reading level that he might understand better. He chose Churchill. However, he's also like a sponge, absorbing way more. I feel like I have to wring him out to receive the required output. Again, I don't require a lot of traditional output (reports, essay, written tests) yet, but we're using next year a trial run for grading (more pressure). Also this talk about keep working on the basics has my brain spinning. I know it's all good and we're working on it, but then he kind of shuts down. It's boring and repetitive to him. I feel the release to be creative in how we approach these things, but then I feel shaky wondering if we're going to reach those place by rewriting Shakespearean sonnets. We worked on adjectives by doing mad libs with Shakespearean sonnets last week, but that was a whim. *I* feel the need to plan a little more and at least have a framework. Maybe I just need to schedule *do something creative here* and see what happens at the time. In my personal writings I do better that way, but I teach in a more scheduled fashion. Maybe I just need to let go of everything conventional I think is normal and allow the wind to blow the clouds around. What do you do with these kids that really understand most of what you throw at them, but struggle to do more than simply absorb? Do I keep filling the sponge? Wow, this got long, maybe it's just a vent, maybe I need sleep.
  14. For me it is the full realization that "inch by inch it's a cinch, but by the yard it is hard" or "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!" I am a person who has traditionally been impulsive and wants to see change NOW! Budget overhaul..make it happen yesterday! Weight loss- jump in feet first change up my whole life, run myself ragged, and....within a week I give up. It has been so revolutionary for me that small, incremental changes do add up and they are nothing to fear. The other thing for me, is that time really is too short and it has caused me to evaluate relationships and what is most important within them. It has also allowed me to disengage from toxic people in my life. This lesson was learned by my dad dying of cancer when I was 22, my mom dying of cancer last year when I was 33, and my brother dying of cancer a year before my mom when he was only 58. It also made me realize I might not live till Im 80 and I need to make the most out of my life now. What has it been for you?
  15. I've been debating about posting this for a couple of days. I have been thinking about high school level homeschooling. As an illustration, one of my dds has wanted to learn Swedish for several years. She had done some on her own, and I had gotten a couple of books also because I have always wanted to learn it too. We floundered around and made essentially no progress, despite the fact that I am a language teacher (just not Swedish). We just took a class in it, and after the first class, my dd turned to me and said, "No offense, Mom, but I just learned more Swedish in that hour and a half than I learned in all the time with you." And I said, "None taken. I guess that's what having a teacher who actually can speak the language does for you!" So this got me wondering. What benefit would there be for my children in having a teacher that has the average knowledge of a high school teacher in that area, but in all areas? That is a lot more than staying one lesson ahead of the student. I guess in the last few years I've been seeing the breadth and depth of a language teacher's knowledge, and I know that this is replicated across fields. I also recently read Liping Ma's book about elementary math, and about the Chinese teachers' total knowledge of the curriculum. I've been homeschooling since 1997. I never worried about tackling any high school subjects with my dc. I don't have any math phobias and had considered majoring in math at one point. I've done a lot of history and science reading over the years, although I have definite holes in my knowledge in science. I'm not saying that we shouldn't homeschool high school. But I am rethinking how much a high school student can reasonably do on his or her own, without a teacher who has that level of knowledge in the area. I'm aware that this is why many people outsource. Due to our finances, this will not be possible for us. I'm also aware that there are high school teachers in schools who do not possess this level of knowledge and are not passionate about their fields, but that isn't the issue here. I'm feeling like, if I want to truly help my dc achieve their potential, I need to master the entire high school curriculum so that I could teach it all. What do you all think?
  16. While MCT continues to be one of my favorite curriculum, I now have some reservations about the effectiveness of the grammar portion, at least with my own son. Perhaps I am still smarting from the fact that he scored a 52% on the language skills portion of the K12 placement test for 6th grade and he is in 7th grade. My son seldom makes glaring usage or punctuation errors in his writing, yet that test score raises red flags for me. He may know intuitively how language works but he has certainly not mastered the appropriate terminology. Again, this could be problematic for specifically our family, but since I have been one of the vocal MCT proponents on the board, I thought it fair to bring up this issue. I do not speak the language of grammar as specifically and knowledgeably as those of you who have debated this issue before. I can tell you what I saw over ds's shoulder. He was asked frequently to identify a specific type of word or phrase and he did not have the name for it. I usually look at our curricula at mid-year and ask myself if it is doing the job I need it to do at the level I expect. This was a painful analysis. I am not exactly sure how we will proceed from here.
  17. Admittedly, one of the first things I do as part of my morning routine is log onto these boards, my user manual, if you will. As a new homeschooler (in practice, not in spirit :)) with a new logic stage student just coming out of ps, I've still a lot to learn with, seemingly, little room for error. I would greatly appreciate ANY advice regarding curriculum, planning & organization, time management, skill vs. content, homeschooling resources, or anything else that comes to the mind of you seasoned teachers, with far more experience. Without mentioning names, there are quite a number of you (who post here regularly) whose imparted knowledge I seek and gleaned soooooooo much from already!! Hopefully, your responses will help others in the same boat too! Thank you in advance!
  18. (Oops...just realized it's "swimmermom3"..sorry about that) You posted this in the thread about what's the best age to homeschool: I don't know if other posters would agree but I do know if I could do it over for my middle child that was home for two years, I would use that precious time to focus primarily on skills and not worry nearly so much about content. I would make sure he could take notes, create outlines, write essays, research and process information, construct lab reports, answer questions, ask questions, seek out help when needed, keep track of his work, meet deadlines, memorize facts, work hard, and follow rabbit trails while balancing the must-do work. Content is much easier to acquire if the basic skills are there. Yes, they will hopefully cover those skills more in-depth in high school, but don't count on it. I let this son spend more time acquiring information and less time writing. That is a mistake I hope not to repeat with his younger brother. ...and I printed it off and have been re-thinking our approach to things. I had my dh read it last night and we both agreed it makes so much sense. Anyhow, I just wanted to thank you for posting that and for saying it so succintly!
  19. I am a little early, lol. My eldest is a 5th grader. We are just entering the logic stage and I am getting glimmers of where we are headed. I just finished listening to SWB's MP3 "The Joys of Classical Education" and I realize I know the least about the rhetoric stage..about teaching kids at that level. I have been very comfortable teaching the grammar stage. I'm pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. I am feeling like I have a grasp of what is needed from my for the logic stage. I am getting there and I am not anxious. But I don't have a handle on the rhetoric stage. I am not just talking about teaching "rhetoric" as a subject (but that also). I mean the person my kid will be, his needs. I am not sure what is needed from me as his teacher. I knew when I was starting the grammar stage where we were headed. I had a long term picture in my head of what I needed him to be doing in second and third grade so he would be ready for 5th and 6th. I am not feeling the same certainty now. Part of it is that SO MANY homeschoolers send their kids off to public high school. I have few role models. My boys have really thrived under the whole ages and stages WTM method. It works for them and I want to continue. What should I be doing in these middle years to best prepare for high school? Wow, I have a question about what I don't know and I don't even know what to ask! :lol:
  20. Can you help me make a list of things to be considered when deciding where this balance point lies for each child? For my family, there is a delicate balance between emphasizing academics so much that the child finishes school "full up", uncurious, unenthusiastic, and deciding never to learn anything in an academic way again; and downplaying academics so much that the child becomes frustrated and is incapable of learning anything at an adult academic level because he doesn't have the skills. Both are a handicap. Fortunately, there are many other ways to expand one's knowledge, but academics are a nice way of doing this, one I want for my children on top of the other ways to learn things. I've been trying for years to get help figuring out this balance and it is only just recently that the board seems to have understood what I was trying to talk about, so I am going to try to get more information out of everyone before the hive moves on to other issues GRIN. I think many people do not have to worry about this. Perhaps their children are less fragile than mine, or more capable than mine, or they have a better understanding of their children, or they have a better understanding of how academics work, or they are better teachers and can manage to teach academic skills nicely enmeshed in content interesting to the child. My family is not like that. I struggle constantly to figure out which skills my children need, how to do skills things myself, how to teach them, what "basic" content consists of, how to learn it myself, how to teach it, and which things I actually need to teach and which things the child needs to teach himself. Obviously, some of this list can be taught, and obviously, we are all trying to teach some of it, since educating a child, even at home, generally is a large part teaching academic skills and content. And obviously, we are all trying to hit a moving target here - a growing, learning child. But student wiring, home environment, community environment, parents' goals for education, and what the student has already accomplished academically all have something to do with how one decides one's general approach from year to year. I just thought that if I had a list to run down, it might help... Maybe it is too complicated to make into a list, but even an incomplete list would help me to see which things I can change, which things I can aim for, which things are immutable, etc. Here are some things I've come up with. Could you add to the list? Correlano? KarenAnne? EsterMaria? Anyone else? So far I have: How willing is the student to work with you, the parent? How willing is the student to be taught by you? How willing is the student to be taught by other people? How willing is the student to teach himself? How willing is the student to work by himself? How willing is the student to work with other people? How much self discipline does the student have? How much natural curiosity does the student have? Is the student particularly interested in one or more academic areas? Do all the student's interests lie outside the academic realm? How long can the student stay still? How long can the student focus on something the student is interested in? How long can the student focus on something he is not interested in? Is the student "wired" in a way that allows him to do academics easily? Is the student frustrated or discouraged when he can't do something well right away? How good is the student at generating interesting questions about a topic? How good is the student at heirarchical structures? How good is the student at logical arguments? How good is the student at fine motor skills? How creative is the student with words? How creative is the student with ideas? Is the student especially talented at something? Is the student driven to develop that talent? How about the rest of the family? Where do they lie in this list? How about you? Are you especially good at academics yourself? How patient are you? How willing and able to teach? How much time to you yourself have to devote to academics? What other commitments or goals does your family have? Is your family academically oriented? Is your community academically oriented? Are you going to be able to find mentors when your child outgrows your own mentoring? What sorts of academic resources are easily available in your community (like libraries)? -Nan
  21. My son JUST turned four, so we're just preK/keeping it light this year, but I've begun to read/learn a BIT of what's available out there; it's overwhelming. Any advice you have for me? Any "I-wish-someone-would-have-told-me_______________"s? Or any "Boy!-I'm-glad-we_______"s? Any regrets? THANKS SO MUCH! This "larvae" needs some cooling down (isn't that what other bees do.....fan the larvae!:tongue_smilie:!" I COVET your advice and wisdom!
  22. Sort of a s/o topic from the banned/challenged books thread... How do you feel about graphic novels? Do they pander to the need for stimulus and entertainment? Do they dumb down reading? Do they keep people reading who might otherwise not read at all? Do you or your children like/prefer them? Other thoughts?
  23. We are just finishing up our first year. There are already things that I wish I knew when I started. I am not beating myself up or anything. I am just trying to glean all the wisdom I can from all you veterans out there. Most say they wish they had been more relaxed and enjoyed the ride more. I have seen people say they wish they had addressed specific concerns in areas like math, handwriting and spelling at an earlier age. So in hindsight, what specifically do you wish you had done differently? What program did you use with your youngers that you wish you had known about with your olders? What did you think was "no big deal" but later learned that it was?
  24. I wouldnt' have stressed so much when my dc were 6 yrs old. I would have enjoyed our days more(like so many of you told me to). I would have ditched certain curriculum earlier. I most definitely would not have spent so much time wondering if we should join a group or co-op...wondering if my kids were going to be antisocial if we didn't join one. Been there, done that...now I know. Now if I could only talk to my future self right now...so I wouldn't waste another year worrying about certain things. :glare: How about you....What do you know now that you wish you knew then? *I'm pretty sure that sentence doesn't make sense:001_huh:
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