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Time for: If I knew then what I know now about LA...


PeterPan
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Anyone want to jump in? I'm not as far along as some of the vets, but I have a little hindsight:

 

-I would have encouraged more conciseness in the narrations, rather than letting her go on and on so much. Years of that habit are hard to break when you try to teach summarizing. :)

 

-I should have used narrower-ruled paper and been more flexible about her personal adaptations (more skinny, more slanted, etc.).

 

-I wish I hadn't procrastinated on outlining so long or assumed it would be boring. It's actually really fun and a helpful way to work through a spine!

 

There you go. Anyone else!

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-I would have encouraged more conciseness in the narrations, rather than letting her go on and on so much. Years of that habit are hard to break when you try to teach summarizing. :)

 

 

I have nothing to offer...yet...but I want to thank you for this insight. It is very helpful and gives me something to think about. :001_smile:

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I should have kept up our dictation. I let it fall off and we had reached the point where dd could have a paragraph dictated to her and hear each sentence only once and then one more overall reading of the paragraph to catch the subtleness of commas, etc. I'm adding it back in this year-for her it was also our best spelling tool.

 

I should have given grammar more serious attention a little sooner than I have.

 

I should have added across the curriculum writing and outlining sooner too.

 

I should have been more consistent about not letting hurried work get by.

 

 

Here's a shouldn't-

I should not have worried about when and how much independent reading she was doing. As long as the really necessary books for elementary are being covered the rest is just extra. My dd was a late bloomer (she still is:001_smile:) and I worried about independent reading so much and added so much stress that wasn't needed. She was required to read 6 books this year on her own (and I know that number would be low for some of you for a 6th grader but coming from the agony of 5th grade it needed to be reasonable) and she is on book #14 already for this year alone. These are not her required school books but books for independent reading. Sometimes space and breathing room can go a long way.

 

HTH

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... copywork, dictation, and narration are deceivingly rich and thorough, covering so many facets of language arts.

 

I've also discovered that intense, formal grammar can wait. My 12yo ds is thriving and retaining with Winston Grammar. He has even deemed it his favorite subject. :w00t:

 

And finally, that the unconventional can work wonders. We've found this with Winston and First Language Lessons. Dc need not fill out endless amounts of workbook pages. (Although they definitely have their place!) At times, that can be counterproductive when it amounts to frustration on the part of the parent and/or child.

 

My 2 cents,

Edited by angela&4boys
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I should have given grammar more serious attention a little sooner than I have.

 

I should have added across the curriculum writing and outlining sooner too.

 

I should have been more consistent about not letting hurried work get by.

 

:iagree: Those are things I would've written if she hadn't! :) We FINALLY got going with grammar only a couple of years ago, and it's been a tough row, since we didn't get a good base earlier!

 

We never really did dictation and narration--wish I would've!

 

I would've done handwriting longer than I did. ds15's handwriting was so good when he was younger! I think I cut it off a year or so too early. He mostly writes very sloppy now :glare: I am going to have dd do one more year of handwriting next year. She's done the Getty-Dubay Italic handwriting, and does well, but writes slowly. I think one more year with it will give her the practice enough to make it her writing, and she'll be quicker and stronger with it, and it will last! :001_smile:

 

We only did 2 books of Latin (from www.greeknstuff.com ) with the boys when they were younger, and have done none with my dd. She's going into 7th grade, ds15 will be in 10th, so I keep thinking about doing Latin.......

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I would have stuck to Rod and Staff English, been more consistent with outlining, actually do dictation, and never have played with the separate writing curricula out there. I feel like at the end of our 4th year of homeschooling that we are finally getting it. I hope that my 6yo and 4yo at least get to benefit from all the trial and error that the older 2 boys have endured.

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1. The phonics program is not always the problem...sometimes they just aren't ready.

 

2. I wish I would have had Writing With Ease from the beginning. I keep saying "Yes!" as I read it. I can really see why my oldest is having such problems, and hopefully we can fix it now!

 

3. Read, read, read aloud. Good stuff, not Babysitters Club! All books are not created equal. :D

 

4. FLL rocks.

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Mine are still pretty young, but here's my only change:

 

I would do no formal LA up to about 2nd grade-just phonics, FLL, copywork, and reading aloud TONS of really good lit rather than picture books. The reading aloud stores the language in their minds which later transfers over to their writing-I didn't realize that early enough!

 

I made LA (and everything else) way too complicated with my first dd. My new mantra is simplify, simplify, simplify, and then streamline!

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I don't have much hindsight but...I would have made my dd do one narration on books she/we read each week. I sooo have to make her do this in gr. 4. She hated doing it so I let it slide.

 

I would have also been more diligent with copywork and dictation. At the end of 3rd I'm beginning to see the incredible value in doing it and I worried soo much in 1st and 2nd wondering if it would be enough. :willy_nilly:

 

I am happy we did FLL and I have no regrets with it. My kids are doing well with it and find it easy.

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I would have moved in next door to SWB and become her very best friend, and she my one on one mentor. :D

 

But would you have put up with the smell of the chickens? Might be easier just to install a hotline, your own red phone, to her bat, oops, chicken cave. :)

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I have to concur with all the regrets as to not doing narration, dictation, and copywork. I thought we were doing some copywork w/their handwriting books, but I should have used more variety. Now I've got to backtrack a little and bring my 3 olders up to speed in these skills. WWE will be my new friend! I wish this had been around for me before!!

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I regret not starting my son out in cursive rather than print. He has issues with his fine motor skills and continues to really have to think about which way d and b go every time he writes anything. He's learning cursive this year and doing great. It eliminates the reversals. It's just like the Cursive First people said though -- just when he is becoming fluent in print, I'm switching things on him and now it will probably take a couple of years for him to become fluent in cursive. I didn't feel confident enough to do something so "different" when we were first starting out.

 

Lisa

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reading aloud TONS of really good lit rather than picture books. The reading aloud stores the language in their minds which later transfers over to their writing-I didn't realize that early enough!
I have to disagree. There are plenty of picture books that are at high reading levels with rich vocabulary.
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I have nothing to offer...yet...but I want to thank you for this insight. It is very helpful and gives me something to think about. :001_smile:

 

Exactly. Something tells me that this will come in handy for me, too, in a few years.... adorable little chatterbox daughters that I have! :001_smile:

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About Happy Grace's comment about wishing she had done better read alouds and LovedtoDeath's suggestion that picture books can be good: While I don't have a problem with good picture books (and have wonderful ones), I know what Happy means too. I read my dd the Lang Fairy tales when she was very young (3-4) while she would play outside. At first I didn't know if she understood them, but later, when she started reading, I realized all that language had been stored in her head. She recognized words and took to reading advanced material so readily.

 

My rule of thumb was to read her stuff *I* enjoyed. Anything, um, meant for kids, I left for dh to read in the evening, hehe. And beyond that, we listened to lots of books on tape to pick up when the voice gave out... Input, input, input. I definitely think it makes a difference in what comes out later!

 

And for what it's worth, I'm doing the same thing with my 7 month old as I did with dd, reading nursery rhymes every day.

Edited by OhElizabeth
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That is one thing I *definitely* wish I could re-do with the boys. My dd learns *so* *much* from listening to us all day. And, we do read-alouds that are obviously geared for them! I know she's a girl, and girls are "more verbal", but ...well, it's just something you have to experience, I guess.

 

******

ETA: Yes, she has her own "Story Time" with picture books, too. But, I never would have thought when my ds's were 3yo that they *would* or even *could* be interested in listening to me read out loud from a book without pictures. You know, sometimes she listens, sometimes she doesn't. And, if I didn't have the boys, I doubt I would do it with her. But, I think it's a good thing.

******

 

I was telling my younger ds the other day that if I had known how much a very young child can learn - basically by osmosis - I would have rented some older children to come over to my house to do homeschool when the boys were still in preschool. Then I could have made all my egregious errors on *other* people's kids!!!! (Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha. - yeah, I know. They call that "public school" - LOL!)

Edited by Rhondabee
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Thanks, OhE-that's exactly what I meant. I probably should have said "in addition to picture books" or "in equal or even greater measure than picture books."

 

I'm not dissing picture books-love them, still use them even with my rising 4th grader, esp in history/sci when we need to cover a subject but are short on time-helps her get the gist of it quickly and memorably! And of course I love them for the younger years too-just wish I hadn't used them almost exclusively.

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I think (not sure) that there's actually a Bed and Breakfast on the other side, so you really could stay there. ;)

 

Google "Orange Hill Bed and Breakfast."

I looked it up. It looks like a neat place to stay!

 

BUT, it doesn't say anywhere that SWB lives nearby!:001_huh::001_smile:

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I looked it up. It looks like a neat place to stay!

 

BUT, it doesn't say anywhere that SWB lives nearby!:001_huh::001_smile:

 

I know, I'm just guessin'. :001_smile:

 

Orange Hill B & B = 18401 The Glebe Lane

Peacehill Press = 18021 The Glebe Lane

 

Could be neighbors, maybe? Don't really know, but you'll notice that the owner is the same (again, I'm guessing) "Mark Russo" who's the voice on the First Language Lessons audio CD. Coincidence?

 

Okay, now back to the original question....

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I know, I'm just guessin'. :001_smile:

 

Orange Hill B & B = 18401 The Glebe Lane

Peacehill Press = 18021 The Glebe Lane

 

Could be neighbors, maybe? Don't really know, but you'll notice that the owner is the same (again, I'm guessing) "Mark Russo" who's the voice on the First Language Lessons audio CD. Coincidence?

 

Okay, now back to the original question....

Ohhhh, I didn't catch that! Interesting! You get an A in sleuthing for the day! :001_smile:
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I know, I'm just guessin'. :001_smile:

 

Orange Hill B & B = 18401 The Glebe Lane

Peacehill Press = 18021 The Glebe Lane

 

Could be neighbors, maybe? Don't really know, but you'll notice that the owner is the same (again, I'm guessing) "Mark Russo" who's the voice on the First Language Lessons audio CD. Coincidence?

 

Okay, now back to the original question....

 

VERY good sleuthing! LOL

 

The Orange Hill B&B would probably get more business if they mentioned who their neighbors are:o)

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I feel like I am missing something b/c all I have gotten out of it is more copywork and dictation. :confused:

 

On other threads, I have seen people say that curriculum jumping is very detrimental, and that they would stick to a school curriculum (BJU, Abeka, R & S), rather than a curriculum written for homeschool. (I would assume that FLL and Analytical Grammar pass muster, since Susan is a grammar stickler, and she recommends those.)

Edited by Lovedtodeath
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Melissa, I was really looking forward to what you would have to say, considering your thoughts in other threads.

 

You mean people actually read my posts? :lol:

 

To be honest, the only things that come to mind that I would have done differently is start the progym earlier. I feel like we are getting a late start, though according to SWB's WWE book, she doesn't start it until 9th...so maybe I'm doing OK. :confused: And I wish I had started Latin earlier. I did try but we kept crashing and burning.

 

I made A LOT of mistakes with my older boys. A LOT! But thankfully, I haven't completely messed up my youngest...yet. ;) I had him doing lots of copywork and dictation using Sonlight's old LA Activity Sheets starting in 2nd grade. We did it a bit differently than SL scheduled and I liked my way of doing it better. It worked great for not only handwriting practice, but my ds's spelling for the week as well. On Friday I would dictate his week's copywork assignment and he would be required to get all of it spot-on perfect; punctuation and spelling. It worked like a CHARM! After M-Thurs of copying the same passage, he was bound to learn all the spelling and punctuation. He loved it too.

 

We continued that until 4th and then started dropping the ball with dictation; I have recently picked that back up. I also began Sequential Spelling and cut back on the copywork required. Narrations were hit and miss, so I could have done better there. I never could really figure out how they were to be done.:confused: WWE has helped me in that respect (Thanks OhE for recommending I buy the text book...it's really helping to see the whole picture).

 

I have always read aloud to my youngest whereas my older boys didn't get that pleasure until jr. high/high school when I discovered Sonlight. They never asked me to read when they were young, so I never did. My youngest, from a very early age has loved books and was always wanting me to read to him.

 

Due to the grammar deficiency in my older boys, I have always made grammar study an important part of youngest ds's school. I now consider that a very important aspect of schooling and completely agree with the rigor of a Classical education in that regard.

 

I also wish I had really, really listened and DONE what SWB taught me when I heard her speak in CA several years ago. I listened, but it overwhelmed me. I took a zillion notes, but when I got home I could not decipher them. :001_huh: Had she had her WWE book written back then I would have completely understood and had something concrete to walk me through her method. I think I've done OK though, not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but no huge regrets...yet. ;)

 

My advice to those beginning their homeschool journey...get WWE, it's a fantastic pain free method. Follow it and you'll be way ahead of the game in writing. I wish it had been available when my ds was young. I made due, but WWE is wonderful. My advice after WWE 4, would be to start CW or WT.

 

Read-aloud...read, read, read! Not twaddle, but quality literature. If you don't know what that is....ask. There are ladies on this board who are extremely helpful in recommending books. SL's catty is a good resource as well. And please don't just read historical fiction. There is a place for that, of course, but there are too many great books out there and you'll miss them if you think everything you read has to fit in your "history cycle."

 

Also, make sure your dc are reading quality literature as well. Daily. It's that important.

 

Do not. I repeat, do not take English grammar lightly. Just don't. I'm not talking about making it drudgery, but this homeschool mindset that your children only need a couple years of grammar study in Jr. high and their set, is ridiculous. That was not our experience. Listen to SWB...she knows what she is talking about.

 

That's all I can think of off hand. Spelling, of course is an individual thing. I think any spelling curriculum that works well for your child is a good one.

 

Sorry this got so wordy...I am usually much more concise! Ha! :D

 

By the way, I have had so many wonderful online mentors, between here and SL's forum, that I don't know what I would have done without you all! I have gleaned so much from those of you who've gone before me, and those of you so, so much smarter than I. It is a wonderful blessing to have a place like this.

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On other threads, I have seen people say that curriculum jumping is very detrimental, and that they would stick to a school curriculum (BJU, Abeka, R & S), rather than a curriculum written for homeschool. (I would assume that FLL and Analytical Grammar pass muster, since Susan is a grammar stickler, and she recommends those.)

 

Yeah, I would be one of those people saying that. ;) Pick an English curriculum and stick with it if you possibly can. I also think all those you've listed are good choices, minus AG. Not that AG is not a good choice, it is, but it's not something you can do in 2nd grade, KWIM? I have used a lot of BJU, but should I decide in 9th grade that my son is pretty solid in his grammar, I would not hesitate to use AG with him spread out like they list on their site. Just to keep it fresh.

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Sorry this got so wordy...I am usually much more concise! Ha! :D

 

Very helpful! How about Ambleside or something else for literature? DD doesn't like SL, ::gasp::!

 

I am trying to decide on LA, but you talked me out of WT without separate grammar and Easy Grammar! I am checking out GUM now.

Edited by Lovedtodeath
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Very helpful! How about Ambleside or something else for literature? DD doesn't like SL, ::gasp::!

 

I personally don't know a lot about Ambleside, but I have heard it's good. As long as it's quality Lit...you're good to go.

 

I am trying to decide on LA, but you talked me out of WT and Easy Grammar! I am checking out GUM now.

 

Oh no, but I LOVE WT! :001_huh: WT is great!

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Sorry, I had a baby on me. I meant for grammar.

 

Oh, whew! You scared me for a second. :D When are you planning to start WT? I see your dd is only 6...you're not planning to start her so young are you?

 

I have to say that I really, really enjoyed R&S when my son was little. We did much of it orally at that age, but it was a good foundation. We used the first two books. Were you looking for something secular?

 

Also, I wouldn't have a problem using EG up until 4th grade. But around 4th I would want something more traditional that will teach diagramming, etc. I believe R&S begins their formal diagramming instruction in 4th.

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Oh, whew! You scared me for a second. :D When are you planning to start WT? I see your dd is only 6...you're not planning to start her so young are you?

 

I have to say that I really, really enjoyed R&S when my son was little. We did much of it orally at that age, but it was a good foundation. We used the first two books. Were you looking for something secular?

 

Also, I wouldn't have a problem using EG up until 4th grade. But around 4th I would want something more traditional that will teach diagramming, etc. I believe R&S begins their formal diagramming instruction in 4th.

This thread hit me at just the right time and now I will hog it up! Yes, I was wanting something secular. Now that is an idea. Everyone goes on about Easy Grammar's method of separating out the phrases first so much that I wanted to try it at some point. I wonder how much of that comes into play before 4th though?

 

FLL is really scaring me. So much to do and memorize so early, plus I can't seem to do FLL and WWE both, and I feel like WWE is more important. I was planning on starting WT when she turns 8, and get our grammar from there. Adapting (probably letting her dictate some) the writing for her. Then I was thinking about doing FLL 3 after that and WT 2 after that. We school year round, so that gives me more time, and it will be easier when Jake isn't a toddler anymore (at least that is what I tell myself :lol:). I was going to do Easy Grammar at that point (but not now).

 

She is really strong in LA whenever I try anything with her and loves it. We have tried Queens, Engquist, FLL, WWE and Scott Foresman. She has a large vocabulary and very good oral grammar. We have struggled a bit with handwriting though. It seems like she is doing much better in that area. I hope it lasts.

 

Anyway... I am not sure now. After getting Abeka for math, it works so much better than other programs that I want that for LA! They conflict with my beliefs too much though. I feel like just going with K-12. :tongue_smilie: Maybe I should look at Rod and Staff... just to see if it would work.

 

And now I must apologize for not being concise.

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...actually, it's hard to add, but I'll try:

 

I wish I would have required my children to perfect their handwriting as they learned it -- I later learned that every child can make perfect letters (barring a bona fide disability). I let them be sloppy.

 

I wish I had held the bar higher in other areas, too. I ask more of them now, and they are able and feel accomplished when the work hard.

 

But much of this I had to learn as I went along -- trying to be "in charge" and yet keeping a good relationship with the children (I have NO regrets for abandoning school work during a time when my son and I began to have a terrible relationship -- we went to counseling and both received help and healing, and I'm glad I didn't make him die at the school table during all that).

 

For spelling -- someone asked -- just that it IS important, and children CAN learn to spell. Keep trying until you find a system that works. My ds was 9 and couldn't spell a 3-letter word -- until we started using All About Spelling. Now he is transformed into a wonderful speller.

 

HTH,

 

Sandy (homeschooling for 6 years now).

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Everyone goes on about Easy Grammar's method of separating out the phrases first so much that I wanted to try it at some point.

 

Yeah, I know. But you can separate the prepositional phrases all on your own using any program. Start now by teaching your dd her prepositions. Begin pointing them out in sentences and showing her how there has to be a noun connected to it to make it a prepositional phrase. For example here is a sample of our WT2 prep lesson: .

 

He put his hand inside.

He put his hand (inside the jar.)

 

Inside is a preposition, but only if there is a noun connected to it (the object of the preposition). And this noun will always come after the preposition.

In the 1st sentence inside is used as an adverb...it has no object, no noun connected to it.

In the 2nd sentence inside is used as a preposition...it is "connected" to the noun jar. So (inside the jar) is the prepositional phrase.

 

Very simple. Once you take out the prepositional phrases, it is easier to find the main subject, verb, and so on. You can teach this with any program. In fact, it is the very first thing we do when analyzing a sentence. We find the preps...it's like a game. :D

 

[ETA My dh is feeling neglected this evening! LOL So will will say goodnight for now.]

Edited by Melissa in CA
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Great thread ladies, thanks. I don't have anything to add or offer as my DC are really too little and i have no experience. I guess what i am getting is -

 

make sure your phonics is solid

narration, copywork, dictation

quality literature

make sure their handwriting is on track from the start

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I would have felt less guilty about all the books I bought if i could have looked ahead to their now dilapidated state!

Hard to believe, but I guess i wish I had worried less about cost.

I ended up with Sound Beginnings and WRTR which I love but am not sure that all those other phonics programs were bad, I wore them out too.

I love SG which is easier than the mish mash I used earlier but perhaps all that mishing and mashing was neccesary for me!

Since i hardly ever read aloud :o anymore, I guess i wish i had kept it up. I hire that out now on audio books but there is something i had then.

Spelling. Mmmm My elder children are all good spellers and none of the latter ones are. I used to do more oral drills. I had cool stickers.

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