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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:

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Just thought I'd mention how much my brother and I enjoyed afternoon tea (yes, *tea*, not some euphemism, lol) when we were young, home schooled students. It was usually just carrot sticks, grapes, graham crackers and peanut butter, or a piece of homemade bread and butter with a cup of tea. But we had it nearly every afternoon in our early school years.

 

We have tea time on occasion here too, but not as regularly as I had it in my childhood. I really should include it more regularly. It's a lovely time... (Popcorn is a frequent teatime snack for us...)

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My husband is a UK citizen and my daughter thus half-British; we have teatime every afternoon. My daughter grew up on a literary diet of so many Brit books that included a real tea spread: scones, fresh-baked bread and muffins, cakes, pastries, cookies. She dreams of living in Yorkshire where every time you visit anyone they magically seem to be pulling fresh-baked goods of some kind or other out of the oven. We don't have the variety, but we usually have something homemade: scones, bread, or cookies. Not particularly healthy... but hey, it's a cultural thing, and I can call that educational, right?

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Love the tea party idea!:001_smile:

 

When you have the older students write each week, do you tell them that this week we are going to write a friendly letter, teach them how, and then let them pretend for example, that they are a character in history writing to another character?

 

How do you make sure that you cover all of the different types of writing, mechanics, etc... without a specific curriculum?

 

I would love to do interest led, but worry that I wouldn't cover enough. Being tied to a textbook is driving me crazy, though.

 

Thanks,

Judy

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Love the tea party idea!:001_smile:

 

When you have the older students write each week, do you tell them that this week we are going to write a friendly letter, teach them how, and then let them pretend for example, that they are a character in history writing to another character?

 

How do you make sure that you cover all of the different types of writing, mechanics, etc... without a specific curriculum?

 

I would love to do interest led, but worry that I wouldn't cover enough. Being tied to a textbook is driving me crazy, though.

 

Thanks,

Judy

 

Yikesters!!! I just read my OP and goodness :tongue_smilie: That's what I get from typing, nursing, conversing, and dealing with utter chaos simultaneously!

 

First, for science and history you DO NOT NEED TO WORRY ABOUT GAPS. High school science and history courses are introductory level. They do not require any prior knowledge. Exposure is helpful but not absolutely necessary. So, if they are reading 30-45 mins/day for each science and history for grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.......do you realize just how much science and history they have been exposed to?

 

To give you an idea just how much they are introductory level, even college level sciences are taught on an introductory level. My oldest never took any high school physics prior to cal based engineering physics in college. I admit it was far from an ideal approach ;) but he did well (better than a lot of the kids in his class that had taken honors physics in high school! Several of them failed the course!)

 

For writing, I have taught it so many times I don't use any texts until they are older. However, when I first started, I used the 95 ed of Voyages in English as our guide. We covered its instructional content and then applied the ideas to my writing assignments. The example you gave is a perfect one if they are supposed to be learning about writing letters.

 

FWIW, there are only 2 textbooks I ever use until high school: math and catechism.

 

Once they are in high school, I do lose my completely free approach, though. I do use something with more structure and framework to make sure that they get through everything they need to. If I only had 1 or 2 kids, I might be more willing to ditch textbooks even at that level and approach it from whole books. (though I do mostly whole sources for history even in high school. Science is definitely a textbook.)

 

HTH

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Sweet post! My girls and I have tea parties every Friday, and have for years now. It is a precious time for me as I see them growing so fast. We try to set the table nicely, and my 16dd takes care of the kettle and tea pot. We are studying France right now, and just today we went shopping for fun goodies. We hit Goodwill and found some French-made canning jars that would look beautiful as flower vases, and some linen cloths to use as placemats. Then we went to Aldi's and they had croissants, pink lemonade bottled in France, and little raspberry tarts on sale. We're all set for our Friday tea (but this time we'll have cafe au lait). We'll put on thick French accents and have a grand time while we chat and listen to Saint Saens. A lovely way to wrap up the school week. Isn't homeschooling wonderful? :)

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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.

 

Could you explain more about this process? How you lead and direct your children in choosing their own studies? I'd love to hear more about how this all plays out.

 

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.

 

What age do your children usually start choosing their own topics? What kind of help do they need from you to choose topics? Do they choose HOW they are going to study the topic or do you?

 

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.

 

Basically, a mother would need some sort of overall knowledge of writing for this to work correctly, right? Hmmmm....

 

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. ;))

 

LOVE the idea of tea. How often do you do tea?

 

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:

 

Questions above in bold. Thank you so much for your ramblings!:tongue_smilie:

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Writing always follows the same pattern every yr.

 

Not using a separate writing program's assignments means writing is doing double duty.

 

no artist studies, no composer studies, no Latin, etc. Not until they are much older.

 

I enjoyed reading your whole post. About writing - I know you don't use SWB's methods, but the idea of a pattern to follow each year, and making the writing skills do double duty is what made her methods so appealing to me. This pattern/double duty business made my teaching so much easier!!

 

I'm wondering - do you avoid artist/composer studies and Latin until they are older, mostly because of the size of your family and your busyness? I'm just curious, because although we don't get to artists/composers much, when we do, I really like it.

 

One more question - how do your kids handle the transition from mostly their own directed learning to your directed learning in high school?

 

To give you an idea just how much they are introductory level, even college level sciences are taught on an introductory level. My oldest never took any high school physics prior to cal based engineering physics in college. I admit it was far from an ideal approach ;) but he did well (better than a lot of the kids in his class that had taken honors physics in high school! Several of them failed the course!)

 

I have a physics thread going on the high school board right now, and this is really helpful to my thinking about it!

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I'm going to try to answer all the questions, but ya know, this would be a whole lot easier if you all would just come over some coffee or tea!! :001_smile:

 

Could you explain more about this process? How you lead and direct your children in choosing their own studies? I'd love to hear more about how this all plays out.

 

For history, when they are really young like a 3rd grader, it is more my knowing their interests and asking them something like "would you rather read about knights or pyramids and mummies?" (those come to my mind after reading someone elses post the other day) Sometimes, they just don't care. Sometimes they have strong opinions. Say the choose knights. I would select a list of options on books they could read. They can choose the title among the list. Sometimes there is more than option for what I read aloud to them; sometimes there is only one and that is the one it is. ;)

 

When they older, their input is greater. For example, I have a 10th grader that loves classical studies and asked for an even harder yr of classical works this yr than what she did last yr. I have a rising 9th grader who asked if he could do world geography/world cultures next yr. I follow their lead.

 

This yr my 8th grade ds has loved history more than ever before. He has spent the entire yr reading through a series of American Heritage Junior Library books. He is thrilled with all of the off beaten topics the books cover and he says history is one of his favorite subjects. This is a math and science boy to the core so that comment is a huge testament!

 

What age do your children usually start choosing their own topics? What kind of help do they need from you to choose topics? Do they choose HOW they are going to study the topic or do you?

 

 

For science, it is in 3rd grade. Again, I might ask them if they want to learn about weather or dinosaurs or volcanoes, etc. As the get older, they pretty much know where they want to go next. I do make the decision on HOW they are going to study the topic. (That is why this in no way resembles unschooling. I do have control over everything they do during the day.)

 

Basically, a mother would need some sort of overall knowledge of writing for this to work correctly, right?

 

I addressed this in one of the other replies in this thread, but essentially I did use a textbook as a guide when I first started. We would go through the typical textbook instruction and then I would ignore all the textbook assignments and generate my own. Now I have done it so often that I simply teach them directly.

 

LOVE the idea of tea. How often do you do tea?

 

Not as often this yr as I would have liked. Between pregnancy, baby, my oldest being ill as well as his getting married.......this has been a less than an smooth flowing yr! We used to do it weekly. This yr it has been more like monthly. But, it is one thing I am determined to re-integrate into our weeks.

 

 

 

I'm wondering - do you avoid artist/composer studies and Latin until they are older, mostly because of the size of your family and your busyness? I'm just curious, because although we don't get to artists/composers much, when we do, I really like it.

 

One more question - how do your kids handle the transition from mostly their own directed learning to your directed learning in high school?

 

 

Art/composer, etc is simply b/c there are not enough hrs in the day. I use the Teaching Co dvds with them when they are older and we own the VOX classical cds that they listen too. It is part of that matter of priorities. For some families music is a cornerstone subject. It just isn't one of mine. Everyone needs to work out their own goals/objectives to reflect their own values.

 

As far as high school, it still isn't completely me directed. Their high school course loads reflect their abilities and interests. My 10th grade dd wants a lit heavy and science heavy load. For this last yr we looked at several different options together and she choose Kolbe for lit. My rising 9th grader would absolutely flounder taking Kolbe's lit. It is beyond not only his interests but his abilities. He simply can't read fast enough to keep up that pace. I ordered OM English 9 to use with him next yr. Where it is a good fit for him, my dd would have absolutely had a fit if I had given her something so light.

 

There are only so many hrs in the day and just so much they can do. My oldest never took physics b/c he wanted to take anatomy/physiology and both semesters of college chemistry. We just can't worry about getting it *all* right. We need to make sure that they are well grounded and have the skills it takes to accomplish their goals. But the goals are in the future......we don't fulfill the goal. We walk them to the beginning of the path and then it is their turn to start down the path with their tool box in hand. :)

 

 

I'm not sure if I am clearing this up or just getting you more confused!

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Thank you for your posts. I have been struggling lately with how to have both structure and more freedom. You have given me some great ideas to consider.

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Thanks for typing this all out! So, what age or grade specifically ("when they are older") do you start Latin, artist & music composer studies?

 

Well, I am a dismal failure when it comes to teaching Latin. I have tried repeatedly to incorporate it into our day, but I never have managed beyond rudimentary Latin. My kids do have the benefit of being Catholic and attending a church where ~60% of our service is in Latin, so they know quite a bit of Latin from an immersion type approach, but not from a grammarian approach. My oldest was completely fluent in Portuguese b/c we lived in Brazil for a few yrs. He and #2 all mastered Spanish quite easily. The younger crew are all taking French instead. :D

 

Music and art.....that is really more child dependent. My senior is a very good artist. He started studying art in middle school. Same with my oldest ds an music (he is an excellent guitar player). My senior used books like Sister Wendy's , etc when he was younger. But, for the most part, on average they don't study it seriously until high school and then they do for art and music appreciation.

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Michele, I understand why that can seem intimidating. However, having an educational background, I can assure you that those goals can be met in a very generalized way. I am not sure what your examples are that the state expects, but I can fill in what generalized responses I might give for my 2nd grader:

 

If you lived in a high regulatory state, what would your paperwork look like? Here we have to have a scope & sequence for each child, each year, then send in a quarterly report, again for each child, stating what we taught them.

 

I find it's the paperwork and reporting aspect that has me feeling like I must follow a more traditional approach.

 

This is what we are required for K-6:

Arithmetic: mastery of 3 digit addition and subtraction, beginning multiplication tables

 

Reading: continued progression through ~3rd-4th grade readers. She reads approx 1 novel every 2-3 weeks.

 

Spelling: just list whatever phonics/spelling/morpheme type exposure that has been covered

 

Writing and the English Language: mastery of what comprises a complete sentence through identifying the subject and its verb. Learning to identify adjs and advs. Mastery of beginning capitals and ending punctuation marks

 

Geography: basic mapping skills including house, street, direction

History: (including patriotism, citizenship, and American culture) role of citizens and gov't, how a bill becomes law and that has occurred just through conversation about current events

 

Science: bird migration, seeds, germination, and how plants grow/eat/drink

Health: (including substance abuse, traffic safety, and fire safety) fire escape plan, role of diet and exercise

 

Music: rhythm, movement, and choreography (she is competing in an ice skating competition ;) )

 

Visual Arts: 3D art (playdough, box decoration, collages, etc.....normal daily activity here!) or play production or drama

these are natural ways of playing here. I would need to see what the listed objectives are to determine how I would word it. ;)

 

Physical Education: ice skating, gymnasitcs

or if they have specific objectives listed, that could be written flexibility training, balance skills, hand/eye coordination, etc

I wish I could just teach, what they were interested in, where they are, when they are there, follow trails, etc., but I have these reporting requirements hanging over my head.

 

Any suggestions?

 

If you saw the list of objectives being met by what is being done in a typical classroom lesson, it would build your confidence. Daily life skills can meet a lot of listed objectives. They do not have to be met via classroom academic type approaches.

 

I don't live in a high regulatory state, so I have never had to turn anything like that in. But in a classroom, you do have to meet "objective criteria." They sound intimidating, but they are just complicated education speak for very simple concepts.

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I definitely wouldn't worry about gaps especially for Science and History in the younger years. What the public schools do in these two areas is pretty pitiful - even the good schools. I was a Science "major" starting in high school (I wanted to be a veterinarian since I was 12). HS and College Science start at the beginning. College moves much faster and goes in much more detail - but it still starts at the beginning. I also took Physics for the first time in college - they didn't offer it at my high school.

 

Edited to add: I love the tea time idea. We periodically do picnics on the floor of the living room and the kids love it. I could see this graduating to tea time as they get older. I also love the idea to have writing tied into the history/science topics - much more meaningful that way.

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those goals can be met in a very generalized way.

 

Daily life skills can meet a lot of listed objectives. They do not have to be met via classroom academic type approaches.

 

They sound intimidating, but they are just complicated education speak for very simple concepts.

 

I love it. This is all the same type of thing my p.s. teacher mother told me when I was first starting homeschooling. She helped me think of things to write when I first started having to send (yearly) reports. Hey, it could be fun if someone started a thread on "How do I word things to my DOE to prove I met their criteria in different areas????" It could be a hilarious thread/course on creative writing using edu-speak!!:lol:

 

I have another question for you specifically - Do you have your high school writers continue the same weekly writing pattern as the youngers, with just folding in current history/science/literature topics? If so, do you have them do *extra* writing assignments during the week, too? What has been your end-of-high-school result, if you haven't added extra composition on top of your weekly pattern?

 

I just ask because, like I said, I love SWB's way of explaining a weekly pattern and teaching different skills through this, and I plan to continue, but sometimes there is a very tiny part of me that still thinks I *should* add an extra "history" or a "science" composition during the week, on top of their daily writing assignment which most likely included a history or science composition. I guess what I really want to know is, if I continue to use just this simple, wonderful pattern method that she outlines, folding in content reading, will I regret later on not having my kids do extra on top of this pattern. I'm very happy so far with the results and progression of using a pattern, and can see it continuing. But there is sometimes that nagging...yet my kids read a lot of history and science and literature, so I know they are learning.

 

Anyway, what does your high school writing teaching look like, and why?

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How do you handle your scheduling? I can't seem to get to a year long lesson plan so I just do week to week. Sometimes I feel lost because I dont have a detailed schedule laid out in front of me. This has been our first year HS and we have switched things around alot. I also have a hard time moving away from something that is structured for me. I am divorced and Exh is always quizzing dd9 to see how much she knows I worry that without something laid out for me that we will miss something important. However, I can also see that HS has not been exactly what me and the kiddos wanted when we started this. The day has become more tedious and academic and a lot less fun.

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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.

 

8FillstheHeart - can you flesh this out more? If you've answered this already, just tell me lol and I'll take a look when I have more time later. Can you be more specific about the ages? And the length of the writing?

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not to diminish what you are doing...it sounds perfectly wonderful, but it basically sounds like a combination of CM and unschooling...or am I missing something?

 

I love the idea of tea, and I know my children would as well. I really struggle with the interest-driven concept. I tend to emphasize mastery of basics so much that I tend to forget that mastery will come with time. This was very timely. I need to let go a little...actually, a lot.

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If you lived in a high regulatory state, what would your paperwork look like? Here we have to have a scope & sequence for each child, each year, then send in a quarterly report, again for each child, stating what we taught them.

 

I find it's the paperwork and reporting aspect that has me feeling like I must follow a more traditional approach.

 

 

I wish I could just teach, what they were interested in, where they are, when they are there, follow trails, etc., but I have these reporting requirements hanging over my head.

 

Any suggestions?

 

Michele, we have similar requirements. This year, after I had sent in the IHIP listing all the subjects and topics and curriculum by quarter for the entire year, my boys really wanted to do chemistry. So for my first quarterly report, I merely stated that the boys wanted to do chemistry so we are used this curriculum and read these books. No one batted an eyelid. It merely states that if you don't do 70% of what you stated in IHIP, you have to give a reason.

 

the IHIP helps to give some some structure but can also feel like a 3ft leash!

 

 

My boys love tea time. We do it ala Bravewriter. I bake cookies or banana bread or sometimes Entemann's donuts, I have hot tea, the boys have hot chocolate or water or juice and we sit and read poetry to each other. More often than not, my oldest goes off and writes a poem right out of his head and brings it back to read to us.

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Do you have your high school writers continue the same weekly writing pattern as the youngers, with just folding in current history/science/literature topics? If so, do you have them do *extra* writing assignments during the week, too? What has been your end-of-high-school result, if you haven't added extra composition on top of your weekly pattern?

 

I just ask because, like I said, I love SWB's way of explaining a weekly pattern and teaching different skills through this, and I plan to continue, but sometimes there is a very tiny part of me that still thinks I *should* add an extra "history" or a "science" composition during the week, on top of their daily writing assignment which most likely included a history or science composition. I guess what I really want to know is, if I continue to use just this simple, wonderful pattern method that she outlines, folding in content reading, will I regret later on not having my kids do extra on top of this pattern. I'm very happy so far with the results and progression of using a pattern, and can see it continuing. But there is sometimes that nagging...yet my kids read a lot of history and science and literature, so I know they are learning.

 

Anyway, what does your high school writing teaching look like, and why?

 

Typically, no. It is usually just one essay per week. Obviously the assignments become more difficult, etc, but I still just expect the one well written paper.

 

Sometimes, they might have a couple of overlapping assignments if they are working on a larger project like a research paper and I have them writing an essay simultaneously. Typically I expect a shorter essay during that time.

 

It has worked well here so far. My oldest has managed As on his writing assignments at uni and felt fully prepared for what he needed to be able to do. Of course, he is majoring in a tech field vs. liberal arts, so he might have felt differently if his humanities courses outweighed his math/science.

 

My dd is taking AP English comp next yr....it will require more writing than she is used to.

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How do you handle your scheduling? I can't seem to get to a year long lesson plan so I just do week to week. Sometimes I feel lost because I dont have a detailed schedule laid out in front of me. This has been our first year HS and we have switched things around alot. I also have a hard time moving away from something that is structured for me. I am divorced and Exh is always quizzing dd9 to see how much she knows I worry that without something laid out for me that we will miss something important. However, I can also see that HS has not been exactly what me and the kiddos wanted when we started this. The day has become more tedious and academic and a lot less fun.

 

I have a general idea in my head for the yr when it comes to history. But, b/c it changes if we want to delve deeper in a topic, even that is fluid.

 

I write 6-7 weeks worth of lesson plans at a time. Those plans are pretty inflexible. I schedule what we need to get accomplished daily, create writing assignments, assign reading, etc.

 

This is one reason why I don't see our approach resembling unschooling in any way. Our days are structured. The influence occurs prior to my planning and breaking our assignments down to daily expectations. The only levels I don't plan for are K-2. Those are constantly adjusted due to bursts and lags in understanding. So I just deal with each day accordingly at those levels.

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8FillstheHeart - can you flesh this out more? If you've answered this already, just tell me lol and I'll take a look when I have more time later. Can you be more specific about the ages? And the length of the writing?

I have written about it other places, but I am too swamped today to look where.

 

A brief overview:

 

teach writing through copywork until ready for independent writing.

 

Start independent writing by providing the topic sentence and let them construct the paragraph and vice versa.

 

Move to independent writing via very narrowed topic assignments.

 

Typically around 4th grade I just generate writing assignments based on specific topics I want them to have greater greater retention.

 

Assignments vary in length according to ability and age level. 3rd grade might be a paragraph and high school might be 5-8 pages.

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Sorry if this is off-topic, but ever since I saw this thread, I've been wondering, what is a "tea-time" that isn't *real* ????

 

What would a fake teatime be? Does a tea-time have to have actual tea in order to be real, or is it okay to subsitute hot chocolate, lemonade, water, soda, etc? If we have a planned activity at teatime (we read poetry) does it cease to be a *real* teatime?

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not to diminish what you are doing...it sounds perfectly wonderful, but it basically sounds like a combination of CM and unschooling...or am I missing something?

 

.

 

Nothing magical, unique, or special going on though it really is just more CMish with greater focus on individual interests. There really isn't any unschooling aspects at all. Daily work is structured and controlled. I do control how they learn.

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Sorry if this is off-topic, but ever since I saw this thread, I've been wondering, what is a "tea-time" that isn't *real* ????

 

What would a fake teatime be? Does a tea-time have to have actual tea in order to be real, or is it okay to subsitute hot chocolate, lemonade, water, soda, etc? If we have a planned activity at teatime (we read poetry) does it cease to be a *real* teatime?

 

LOL!!! I didn't know about it either. Apparently on the general board there is a completely different definition of tea time. I don't read the general board mostly b/c the conversation over there is, ummmmm, not my cuppa tea! :lol:

 

You are completely on my level here. Tea-time is drinking something and eating snacks while conversing! :D

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"Assignments vary in length according to ability and age level. 3rd grade might be a paragraph and high school might be 5-8 pages."

 

That's the type of info I was looking for and how you change it for ability etc. Thank you so much. This has been a wonderful thread! Thank you for taking the time to write this stuff up for us.

 

 

Capt_Uhura

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This thread has been totally inspiring!!:D

 

I wish that there was a place designated for a more CM-leaning education around here....I would love to have more virtual conversations about what's been working/ not working for everyone else. To be totally honest, sometimes I read some of the "classical" posts and feel totally inferior!:D (especially now that I've been visiting the high school area ;))

 

BTW, I'm not attracted to a CM type education for my boys because I think it's lighter or easier...It's just that the more I read on the philosophy the more I realize that those are the thoughts that drew me to homeschooling in the first place.

 

Thanks again for your posts and sharing your homeschool experience with us! My boys said that they would actually enjoy a tea time!!

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For those of you that do "tea time" do you also have "quiet time"? I'm thinking that quiet time maybe fulfills the same function for us (except for all being together) with less prep work.

 

Tea time and quiet time are two different things at our house. We have a daily quiet time for 1 1/2 to 2 hours in the afternoon. My dd is free to read quietly, play with toys, any sort of quiet activity like that. We have tea time when quiet time is over (not every day, more like three times a week). We have a small snack and listen to classical music, look at art books, or read poetry.

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Typically, no. It is usually just one essay per week. Obviously the assignments become more difficult, etc, but I still just expect the one well written paper.

 

My oldest has managed As on his writing assignments at uni and felt fully prepared for what he needed to be able to do.

 

Good to hear this.

 

ever since I saw this thread, I've been wondering, what is a "tea-time" that isn't *real* ????

 

It's a silly WTM-board euphemism about marital relations.

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he is majoring in a tech field vs. liberal arts, so he might have felt differently if his humanities courses outweighed his math/science.

 

I thought of another question. What do you think of what you wrote above? Do you think that the type of instruction you give *would* adequately prepare him if he had chosen a humanities path instead? (Of course, I think your answer will and should be "yes," but I guess you are going on what he is actually doing and what he has reported back to you - I'd imagine you expect that your instruction would prepare someone for humanities as well as science/tech paths - I guess the part about "he might have felt differently" made me wonder)

 

Colleen - thanks for clearing that up for me. I guess by 8FillstheHeart's mention of the "gutter" it was a euphemism for something along those lines.

 

:rofl: Dear me. I had no idea. I don't hang out on the general board. :rofl:

 

It's one of those things I caught wind of on the General Board, but never delved into it. Then it becomes one of those "insider" jokes to the point where poor 8FilltheHeart felt she needed to clarify in her title! So I felt bad that someone was wondering, on a very academic thread talking about perfectly wonderful activities to do with your children! I felt compelled to answer. :D:lol:

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I thought of another question. What do you think of what you wrote above? Do you think that the type of instruction you give *would* adequately prepare him if he had chosen a humanities path instead? (Of course, I think your answer will and should be "yes," but I guess you are going on what he is actually doing and what he has reported back to you - I'd imagine you expect that your instruction would prepare someone for humanities as well as science/tech paths - I guess the part about "he might have felt differently" made me wonder)

 

 

Skill-wise, absolutely he was prepared. The only thing that might have been difficult for him would be multiple simultaneous papers. However, he is a pure math and science guy, so that would have been the case regardless (though really he does regularly have that experience; the difference is that they are technical papers vs. literary papers). Either way, I am sure he would have coped.

 

I have no intention of altering my way of teaching. For example, my dd is taking AP English Language and Comp next yr. Her writing instruction has been essentially the same as his. I am not worried about her and the heavy writing load associated with the course b/c she likes writing and lit anyway. So for her, it feeds to her strength.

 

Does that help?

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Skill-wise, absolutely he was prepared. The only thing that might have been difficult for him would be multiple simultaneous papers. However, he is a pure math and science guy, so that would have been the case regardless (though really he does regularly have that experience; the difference is that they are technical papers vs. literary papers). Either way, I am sure he would have coped.

 

I have no intention of altering my way of teaching. For example, my dd is taking AP English Language and Comp next yr. Her writing instruction has been essentially the same as his. I am not worried about her and the heavy writing load associated with the course b/c she likes writing and lit anyway. So for her, it feeds to her strength.

 

Does that help?

 

Yes, this totally makes sense now. It pretty much says the same idea that I think SWB was trying to convey in her high school writing lecture - if you teach these certain skills and have kids practice them regularly throughout their hist/sci/lit, then they will be prepared to take on writing assignments in university and beyond, with whatever specialized training they might need then (such as how to manage multiple simultaneous papers, or maybe something more course-specific in specialized courses). Thank you!

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I write 6-7 weeks worth of lesson plans at a time. Those plans are pretty inflexible. I schedule what we need to get accomplished daily, create writing assignments, assign reading, etc.

 

This is one reason why I don't see our approach resembling unschooling in any way. Our days are structured. The influence occurs prior to my planning and breaking our assignments down to daily expectations. The only levels I don't plan for are K-2. Those are constantly adjusted due to bursts and lags in understanding. So I just deal with each day accordingly at those levels.

 

This is from the old WTM boards. Some of us were asking you questions, and you gave us very helpful answers!

 

Q: I have been trying without success for years to put together my own TM. I get frazzled with my materials and then buy a prepared curriculum or tweak the heck out of the Ambleside Online schedules. I always end up tossing the tm I bought and then flying by the seat of my pants because I find that my family does not mesh with someone else's idea of how our day should look...

 

So, can you please tell me the method you use to put your stuff together and what you include in your teacher notes?

 

A: My kids would say that my process is to go utterly berserk and trash the area around my desk!! ;) While I agree with the external assessment, much more is going on!!

 

My first step is to find the book or main books I plan on using as spine(s). This year I am using 2 main books as spines.....The History of the Church and A Little History of the World. (We are doing a quick review of Augustine and Constantine and then covering the Middle Ages/Ren through 1600s) I pre-read (surface skim) my spines as I am going along. I make notes of people, battles, key events, etc as I read. I use these notes to help guide my literature decisions. I then generate a huge list of possible books to read to accompany them. I list everything chronologically. I then research my generated list and narrow it down to the titles that I like the most and are realistic to cover.

 

I do not write detailed plans like the ones you mentioned [e.g., SL, MFW, TOG, et al] for the full year ahead of time. I simply create my scope and sequence and booklist first. Then I write my plans in 5-6 week segments. (we tend to do school for 5-6 weeks followed by a week off. during that week off, I write my next set of plans) During my planning time, I focus specifically on what we are getting ready to cover (the notes I wrote earlier keep me targeted as we go through our sources) and make notes to the kids in their planners. For example...who/what to place on their timeline, what to map, questions to answer, or notes about X they need to take to write an essay, etc. This yr I am writing 3 different grade levels for the same time period. Each child's "notes" will be different b/c they will individualized for their skill level.

 

I literally had about 40 books scattered around me on the floor as I time-lined them and decided on the reading "grade" level (that was really arbitrary since it is based on their reading ability not real levels.) I added in some Time Life books on Islam, Byzantium, audio files I found on the internet, and Teaching Co DVDs.....and that completed my list.

 

I write their specific titles, pg #s, etc in their planners. I read aloud the spines to everyone. The older ones watch the TC DVDs (I don't have the younger ones do that.)

 

Q: When you prepare your kids' schedules for the next 5/6-week period, are they detailed, like what each student should do each day, or do they show the assignments for the week (not broken down into daily lessons/assignments)? What kind of planners do you use for your children? Do you have to read all the non-spine books ahead of time in order to schedule them? I'm not sure how I'd figure out how to pace ourselves.

 

And about how many hours does it take for you to do this planning every 5/6-week period (not including the initial set-up)?

 

A: I write our plans for daily assignments. I really don't have any choice b/c our life is so chaotic and busy that I need daily plans to stay on track. I know how to guage the abilities of my kids. (this is why I also only write 5-6 weeks at a time so that as skill levels change, so do their daily assignments.)

 

So, I know my 8th grader loves to read. She will be reading 3 books simultaneously. I do not write down her page numbers but simply write finish the books in 5 day or 10 days or whatever for the reading. For my 6th grader, who does not like to read, I write specific page numbers that I guage will take him 30-45 minutes to read.

 

For other subjects, I write down exact page numbers, "see me"s---(they come to me so that I can discuss specifics with them), read aloud pages w/ specific numbers for me, etc.

 

My summer planning is the longest. My first 5-6 weeks also takes longer than the rest of the year. Once I have a firm handle on our routine and their pace (which is being fudged the first 5-6 weeks b/c of summer vacation and getting back into a daily rhythm)....the plans get easier to write.

 

I would say on average it takes about 3 hrs to write my older kids plans for the 5-6 week period and less for the younger kids.

 

Q: Is this all just for history, or is this history and literature (not necessarily composition, though)? And do you fill in your kids' planners with assignments in other language arts as well?

 

A: I fill it out for evey subject. Keep in mind that I have been doing this for 13+yrs, have taught every grade level at least once, and have a degree in elementary ed :)

 

When I first started doing this, it *did* take me much longer.....but I was also recording How to Teach Spelling dictations for each individual child, too....so I am not quite clear as to how much longer it actually took b/c that took a HUGE chunk of time to do.

 

It really isn't that intimidating. Just plan for your children's abililities and realistic time goals. For example, don't schedule so much work that it will take 3 hrs to finish history. Make realistic goals and remember that you have through 12th grade to reach your objectives. :)

 

Thanks for taking the time to share your experience!

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Hope those ramblings help someone. :001_smile:

 

I swear to God, this post is like answered prayer in so many ways. I cannot thank you enough.

 

eta: I've been wanting to loosen up but not so much that I'm unschooling. This is the perfect balance of child directed yet structure enough for me because that's my need.

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