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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...)

 

Indy loves tea time. We need to do it more too. We've done it a few times and it was lovely. We had a tea party with all his friends once and had loads of goodies from the local British shop, scones we made ourselves, small sandwiches and three pots of different types of tea. We used the fancy tea cups and saucers and silver tea spoons. They all had a great time.

We also had tea for the royal wedding in April at his insistence.. Click here to see photos of our spread on my blog.

We have hot tea every morning. We like black tea. He takes 1 sugar cube, honey and a "splash" of milk.

He plays outside all afternoon right now with his friends, but maybe in the winter when it's too cold to go outside we'll institute afternoon tea again.

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starbuck12 can you tell me a bit more about how your day goes and what kind of changes took place that made such a difference this year?

 

Yeah, I have some special circumstances in my household and I'm wondering if that's not why our homeschool is running differently from everyone else's (and why I feel so strongly about it). :confused: It's a long story, but my 9 yro tested in the 99th percentile (thru our school district) and she is just very unusual. The 8 yro seems to always (ugh!) need a hands-on/action way to understand something. And, for the grand finale, the 6 yro has SPD and I'm starting to think she might be gifted in math. The 4 yro is, well...a 4 yro. Lol.

 

Anyway, we did start off homeschooling with a very traditional school-at-home approach. It obviously wasn't working for us. I felt guilty for pulling my kids out of school because they weren't being challenged...and then I wasn't challenging them. Also, my son hated schoolwork (like, REALLY hated it ;)).

 

I started last winter asking my 9 yro and 8 yro, "What EXACTLY do you want to learn." They came up with some really heavy stuff. My 9 yro wanted to work thru all these biology dissection labs. She wanted to study Botany. The 8 yro wanted to learn how to build bridges and do carpentry. I wrote it down and started organizing it into a chart with the month/subject. I also had them talk to me about what kind of books they were interested in...added those (and lots of others). We did this with ANY subject...any subject they wanted to learn.

 

My kids are also into foreign languages. We were already doing Latin, but my 9 yro wanted to add German. So, we've been doing that. The 8 yro wants to add Spanish...so I'm trying to figure out how to swing that.

 

I can't ditch curriculum with math and LA. Our math is Math Mammoth as a spine. We also spend Fridays going thru AoPS' Kitchen Table Math (which is awesome). They also work thru Miquon. My 9 yro is also working thru Singapore CWP and Life of Fred Fractions independently.

 

For spelling, we tried all the workbooks. I ditched them and we printed out Webster's Speller and a list of the most frequently-used words in English. We just go over that stuff with a dry-erase board. I've been having them compete with each other by spelling words.

 

Writing and LA...we really follow TWTM with those. My son keeps a diary, my kids are constantly googling animals and taking notes on pieces of computer paper (don't ask me why :confused:). They also watch YouTube videos and take notes (yeah, not sure where the notetaking is coming from). My son has been writing poems. My 9 yro has started some serious logic stage writing - outlining, literary essays, etc.

 

Doing all this...we still cover the traditional subjects. I think my chart says: Math, Reading, LA, Geography, History, Latin, German, Religion and Art. We fill up that chart every week with stuff.

 

I'm doing this on a lesser scale with the 1st grader.

 

Anyway, that's a lot of the stuff we do. I don't want to take over the thread. :o Sorry, Everybody, if I'm feeling ueber-opinionated right now. I just need a cup of coffee. :)

 

Here's the thread where I talked about ditching a lot of our curriculum:

http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?t=286345&highlight=considering+writing+own+curriculum

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I'm probably not going to post on the forums anymore. I think my form of homeschooling is so different from what everyone else on here is doing.

 

Starrbuck, unless you need to stay away from the boards for other reasons, will you please continue to share about your "different form of homeschooling" in some way? I see you've already been asked to share more by intrigued minds. I realize your situation and approach are different, but that is exactly why it is interesting to me. Your posts remind box-checkers like me to allow room for fun, creative learning. Please don't go! Not altogether, anyhow.

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I realize your situation and approach are different, but that is exactly why it is interesting to me.

 

:001_smile: Lol. I don't realize how weird our family is until I type out a post like that. :tongue_smilie:

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I don't want to be dramatic, but I'm probably not going to post on the forums anymore. I think my form of homeschooling is so different from what everyone else on here is doing.

 

... we spend a huge bulk of time on interest-driven education/discovery learning. ... So, my kids are doing some incredible things right now. I don't feel like I'm ruining their education with how we run our ship.

 

Also, learning should be a way of life...a natural part of their day... My kids love school. My 8 yro asked me today if we could build a solar car...:tongue_smilie: Sure, Buddy.

:iagree:

 

This is why I don't post here anymore either. Since I loosened the reins and started following my kids' interests, our homeschool has improved immeasurably, and I don't believe that interest-led learning has to come to a screeching halt as soon as a child reaches middle school, or even high school, age.

 

I have a dyslexic/ADD 7th grade boy who used to hate school and never read for pleasure, who now loves school and is a voracious reader. He has chosen far more difficult subjects than I would have chosen for him, but because he's interested, engaged, and invested in learning, he's working his butt off and doing incredibly well. For example, he chose to study Greek — not a language I would have ever chosen for an ADD dyslexic — but he's voluntarily putting in at least 1.5 hrs/day and often works weekends as well; he has straight As in that class.

 

In case anyone is interested in what that looks like:

 

7th Grade DS

 

Math: from a selection of about a dozen math programs, he chose Thinkwell, which I supplement w/extra challenge problems. He also does Khan Academy, Zome Geometry, plays with fractal software, does geometric paperfolding with the Hansen-Smith book, and other things.

 

Greek: Athenaze, online course with Lukeion

 

English: My own mix of things, much of it informal, including lots of discussion of the books he reads for pleasure (as opposed to assigned reading). He completed an intensive 4-week grammar course last summer and has retained all of it, so we don't do any formal grammar (he gets plenty in Greek anyway). He's asked to do LLfLotR as soon as he's done with The Hobbit, and he asked me to order some linguistics courses from TTC, which should be here tomorrow. He's writing a short story based on a civilization he invented, and is currently storyboarding a version of the Odyssey he's rewriting involving space pirates. He plans to make a comic book of that using lego minifigs and sets he builds himself.

 

History: He continues to watch TTC courses on Greek history, and recently asked me to teach him how to take notes, since the lectures he's currently watching are quite advanced and very dense and he wanted help remembering everything (lots of names and dates). We've also started watching DVDs on American History; my 4th grader is very interested in US history and is totally sick of Ancients, since DS has been obsessed for the last 3 years, so I figured we could do them simultaneously.

 

Science: We're watching TTC courses and documentaries on Geology, plus the kids do physics kits (Supercharged Science) with DH, and we always have tanks full of critters and biology experiments going on, plus we watch tons of nature & biology programs. DS also reads a LOT of paleontology on his own; he's currently reading a textbook on the evolution of amphibians (he has a particular interest in Triassic amphibians).

 

Technology: He is working his way through Virtual World Design & Creation for Teens, which teaches programming in Alice, and he does Mindstorms robotics.

 

Art: He's working on technical/biological illustration because he desperately wants to produce at least one illustration that's good enough for me to include in the paleo museum exhibits I'm designing. He'll also be learning a lot about graphic design & museum design in the process of my work.

 

 

4th Grade DD

 

Math: MM, Pet Shop Math, Khan, fractal software, Zome Geometry, and assorted "living math" activities

 

English: My own mix of things, plus lots of reading. She loves to write little reports, stories, and letters to grandparents, so I teach a lot of spelling, grammar, & mechanics in context as I help her correct & improve what she chooses to write.

 

Latin: She chose Latin and is doing GSWL. We'll add in Minimus and Lively Latin when she finishes GSWL.

 

History: She's more into US History than DS, and chooses to read biographies, watch documentaries & programs like Liberty's Kids, read American Girl books, etc. I also have some lapbooky things she can do when she wants.

 

Science: She watches the geology lectures/DVDs with the family, does physics kits with DH, and on her own has been studying the human body. I printed out a bunch of activities from a Scholastic Make-&-Learn book, which she's assembling into a lapbook. She chooses whatever videos & activities she wants from Discovery Streaming, BrainPop, and Adaptive Curriculum, as well as books & DVDs from our shelves (we have tons of books & DVDs on the body).

 

Art: She loves Mark Kistler. We also do nature journaling and she likes illustrating her stories and letters.

 

Technology: She's learning programming with Scratch and WeDo Robotics.

 

Generally the kids like to get Math, English, and Greek/Latin out of the way in the morning, then in the afternoons they watch TTC lectures or documentaries, read, do online activities (BrainPop, DS, Khan, etc.), draw, or do programming/robotics.

 

DS still doesn't like math much, but they both love all the other subjects and often choose to do them on weekends if nothing else is going on. We also do lots of hiking, geocaching, nature journaling, field trips, and other projects. We don't do video games and we watch very little commercial TV, so there is no distinction in our family between "school work" and "fun stuff" — it's all enjoyable and it's an integral part of life. I intend to keep it that way.

 

Jackie

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It is very hard to read all of the posts some days. I feel like a total loser in some areas. My kids don't want to open an encyclopedia and take notes. Encyclopedias are pretty but even I hate reading them. They are facts-BORING for us. They won't really remember half of this stuff sitting in front of a big encyclopedia, but they do remember the stuff they heard me read to them out of Birchbark House or Shadow Spinner. Living Books is a method that is really resonating with me. As much as I dreamed about having little Jr. SWBs in my house it just ain't gonna happen:tongue_smilie:. I have started to accept that and have been selling off a bunch of my stuff.:tongue_smilie:

I realize for HS that they will need to earn measurable credits in subjects and plan to look into some online stuff or perhaps borrowing some of the PS texts for guidance. I do NOT like science and think that a weekly nature walk and interest driven inquiry is the way to go with them until 9th. I just don't see where my 6th grader needs to dissect anything unless she asks to.

I don't need to churn out little Einsteins. My kids are probably average to slightly above average. I am okay with that and have started to relax. I want interested, lifelong learners, not walking encyclopedias.

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Yeah, I'm glad this thread was resurrected. I don't want to be dramatic, but I'm probably not going to post on the forums anymore. I think my form of homeschooling is so different from what everyone else on here is doing. I get very frustrated when people think the only way to successfully homeschool is to recreate a ps environment and schedule (and everyone else is lackadaisical).

 

I would be sad to see you leave. :( I've seen others that seem to school like you do, and I think there's certainly room for that. I don't often see anyone saying you HAVE to school a certain way? :confused: People just say what works for them. All kids and parents are different. Also, the family dynamics change when you have babies or toddlers in the house (you are past that stage just barely ;) ). I look so forward to a couple years from now when I can actually sit down and do a read-aloud. I just can't right now unless it's my 2 year old's nap time. :glare: I have 3 boys who are WILD when together (they're all fine separated), and they're very young. I tried interest led science, but my oldest just wasn't old enough to pick something without me spoon feeding him, and he hasn't had exposure to all the sciences or all of history, etc., so he couldn't really choose what he wanted to learn deeper. When he's 9, I think that would be totally different.

 

Also, learning should be a way of life...a natural part of their day...not some scheduled 8-12 time slot where the whole family is miserable and stressed out.

And again, I think family dynamics change as the kids are more capable of doing the interest led stuff. My 7 year old would LOVE to do more things, but with the tag along 2 and 4 year old, I just can't do the work for him, and he's not ready to do it independently. I can let him read independently, but experiments and projects? Nope. So right now, I'm trying to get him some exposure. Later on, we could probably do something like you're doing. We're just not at that stage of life though. I have a 2 year old. School IS hectic with a 2 year old, and a schedule IS required in my house for school to get done, or the 2 year old will be wreaking havoc and my 7 year old can't concentrate on learning. He already complains about the noise while he's trying to do math.

 

Most of the folks that have strict schedules seem to either a) have babies and/or toddlers and the oldest child is very young (too young to have extra hands to entertain baby/toddler), or b) have very large families. Obviously, 8 has made it work with a large family, so it CAN be done of course. She's also a more experienced teacher than many of us. I love the way she teaches writing. I just don't feel confident enough to implement it that way in MY home, because I don't have the experience to know what to teach, which is why I use WWE. By the third kid, I might be able to go off-grid in a subject like that. Right now with the first kid, absolutely not. So I found someone whose philosophy I agree with on that (SWB) and follow that so I can learn.

 

As far as history/science go, I see people here all the time leaving SWB-recs and going their own path. I see nothing wrong with that, especially in the elementary years when it's all about exposure. I've seen very few people recommending "school at home" or that you MUST be on the 4 year cycle. Some people want to be on a 4 year cycle, so they get recommendations on how to do that because they asked for it. :)

 

Anyway, I'd love to see you post more about what you do, because we can all learn from it. Some of us are still relatively new to homeschooling and finding our way. Posts like 8's are soooooo helpful (in fact, I sent this thread's link to a friend just a week ago, as I thought it'd be helpful for her to get out of the brick-and-mortar-school mindset).

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Boscopup, we must be twins!

 

Well, you have boys and I have girls, but other than that :D, I could have written your post, right down to the wanting to do read alouds and interest led science & history, and thinking that 'maybe when I'm doing this with my third kid I might be able to go off-grid'.

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See, here's the thing--I have read and bookmarked and even printed out portions of this thread. I have pondered how to institute interest led learning here in our house. I took a tiny leap and set up interest led Fridays--the idea being that all our longer rabbit trails, all the children's special interests, all the project and crafts etc could have a day. I would have a few days lead time to gather materials, and screw my courage to the sticking point. So, we have done this for 4 weeks and honestly, it is ugly. DS rereads one of 2 or 3 books he's read weekly since he was 5. He will not write a thing, nor read anything new, nor tell me what he'd like to learn about. (A standard exchange: "DS, what would you like to learn about?" "Animals." "Great! What is it about animals that you would like to learn?" Blank stare. "Ok, would you like to learn about a specific animal?" Shrug. GAAHHHH.) DD brings me "Pinkalicious" or some awful Disney Princess book to re read.

 

So is it just that my kids are unmotivated? They are both average--not geniuses, not behind. He only voluntarily reads video game manuals and Lego Magazines. When he shows an interest in something I try to subtly "strew" library books and other resources, which almost universally fails. I am really trying here, but I am unsure of how to let my child lead when he seems unwilling to. I am not so far gone that I think gaming and lego are subjects. What am I doing wrong?

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See, here's the thing--I have read and bookmarked and even printed out portions of this thread. I have pondered how to institute interest led learning here in our house. I took a tiny leap and set up interest led Fridays--the idea being that all our longer rabbit trails, all the children's special interests, all the project and crafts etc could have a day. I would have a few days lead time to gather materials, and screw my courage to the sticking point. So, we have done this for 4 weeks and honestly, it is ugly. DS rereads one of 2 or 3 books he's read weekly since he was 5. He will not write a thing, nor read anything new, nor tell me what he'd like to learn about. (A standard exchange: "DS, what would you like to learn about?" "Animals." "Great! What is it about animals that you would like to learn?" Blank stare. "Ok, would you like to learn about a specific animal?" Shrug. GAAHHHH.) DD brings me "Pinkalicious" or some awful Disney Princess book to re read.

 

So is it just that my kids are unmotivated? They are both average--not geniuses, not behind. He only voluntarily reads video game manuals and Lego Magazines. When he shows an interest in something I try to subtly "strew" library books and other resources, which almost universally fails. I am really trying here, but I am unsure of how to let my child lead when he seems unwilling to. I am not so far gone that I think gaming and lego are subjects. What am I doing wrong?

 

That is not how it works here. It is more along the lines of discussing what they want to learn about, and if the answer is animals, I would sit w/an 8 yr old and look through various titles available at the library, select several, and then go to Amazon and read reviews. Then, the child would be able to select a title from what we reduced the selection to. The reading is not optional. A third grader would be reading science at least 30 mins every day (or if it is a child that doesn't read voraciously, but stares into space instead, the number of pages I assign that I believe is the equivalent of 30+ mins.)

 

An 8 yr old really doesn't have enough exposure or self-control (imho.....I am definitely not an unschooler, so they would obviously disagree w/me) for strewing books around and expect them to jump on-board w/the idea, especially if this is a new concept for them. However, my 12 yr old is capable of doing precisely that b/c she has been doing it for 4 yrs......she is on self-select auto-pilot. ;)

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Thank you for the reply. Would you/do you require any written work after the reading? Never mind. I'll just go back and re read the thread.:D

 

 

 

( I guess I am just always reading about kids who have some deep desire to do things--write novels at age 6 and do grad. level research at 13 or write, stage and costume thier own original plays, or whatever, and it makes me doubt myself and my kids--are we really so dull as that?:001_huh:)

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Thank you for the reply. Would you/do you require any written work after the reading? Never mind. I'll just go back and re read the thread.:D

 

I have the 9 yro complete a literary essay (per TWTM) after she completes a book. For example, she's reading Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. She chose the book. She's really enjoying the book, but when she's finished with the book, I'll ask her to write a half-page literary essay on the book. This will turn into a 2 page paper (she's really long-winded - LOL). We proofread the paper together and she rewrites a final draft. Right now, we're concentrating on using a thesaurus and focusing on powerful, descriptive words.

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So is it just that my kids are unmotivated? They are both average--not geniuses, not behind. He only voluntarily reads video game manuals and Lego Magazines. When he shows an interest in something I try to subtly "strew" library books and other resources, which almost universally fails. I am really trying here, but I am unsure of how to let my child lead when he seems unwilling to. I am not so far gone that I think gaming and lego are subjects. What am I doing wrong?

 

Your kids are little and maybe not used to it. My 6 yro isn't interested in anything but playing right now. I spend about an hour a day working with her, but it's mostly OPGTR, FLL, Miquon and reading to her.

 

Most of our interest-led education started because my son needed hands-on explanations for everything. I mean, it got really tiring for me. I couldn't get him to read, either. Sometime in the last year, tho...he really changed. He started to read on his own and asked me to buy him a book everytime we went to Kroger (and I would buy it for him). Also, one of the grandmas sent him a poetry book with a CD that had the author (who was a dude) reading the poetry. My son was hooked. He has read three poetry books written by that guy. He's also been writing poems in his diary.

 

Edited to say: No form of homeschooling is going to be a fit for everyone. You should definitely just choose what is right for your kids, family and situation at home.

Edited by starrbuck12

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Yeah, I'm glad this thread was resurrected. I don't want to be dramatic, but I'm probably not going to post on the forums anymore. I think my form of homeschooling is so different from what everyone else on here is doing. I get very frustrated when people think the only way to successfully homeschool is to recreate a ps environment and schedule (and everyone else is lackadaisical).

Now I'm really confused. You're using curriculum for math, language arts, and Latin, right? And you're putting together your own ideas for geography, literature, science, and history.

 

That's about what we're doing, and I don't plan to change in the next few years -- just increase the level of depth and the amount of written output.

 

And I thought we were on the more rigorous, traditional, and scheduled side. :tongue_smilie: :001_huh: :confused:

 

Apparently we've been reading different threads. Or I'm just muddling along in blissful ignorance.

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I'm also a fan. I don't know where this writing post from 8filltheheart is located on this board, but here it is from my notes.

 

Part 1

 

Pre-independent writing skills:

 

At some point after my kids are reading confidently and are ready to move beyond copying simple sentences for letter practice, I start using their copywork as a teaching tool. The key here is that the children don’t have to focus on sounding out words or on letter formation. If they have not mastered those 2 skills, they need to work on those before you progress. My approach is that it is expecting too much for children to learn anything from reading/writing until they no longer have to focus on the reading itself.

 

I begin by selecting copywork that is very basic and we focus on mechanics (capitalization, punctuation) and grammar. Then we play with the structure of the copywork. For example,

 

The dog ran.

 

I teach subject, verb, as well as capitalization and punctuation. Then we spend time coming up with parallel sentence structures and identify the parts of speech.

The baby crawled.

The cat climbed.

The pig snorted.

 

Once that concept is mastered, I add in another part of speech for focus….adjectives or adverbs, for example. (I don’t have any set pattern….basically, it is whatever I am in the mood for.  )

 

The baby crawled quickly.

The cat climbed high.

The pig snorted loudly.

 

After mastery, I add other parts of speech. (I do not use the same base sentences with my kids. I am only doing that for the sake of illustrating my point. I don’t want them to learn the parts of speech from memorization, but from context.)

The chunky baby crawled quickly. (I would not use that as an example unless they were struggling and we needed to go back for a refresher. I would actually use a unique sentence…..The rambunctious child twirled rapidly.)

 

I continue this process adding more and more parts of speech: possessives, direct objects, indirect objects, and pronouns.

 

Julie’s baby wanted more food.

Henry threw the Frisbee.

Henry threw Jack the Frisbee.

He threw him the Frisbee.

 

I work with them to come up with about 10-15 similarly structured sentences.

We work on this for about 10-15 minutes a day until they master the concept. Some concepts they master quickly (subject + action verb). They may do it in a day or a week. Some may take longer. Just work where they are.

 

After they have conquered the basic parts of speech, I assign copywork from their reading, our read alouds, or some other source. We take these sentences (eventually progressing to paragraphs) and study them. I ask them to identify all the nouns, verbs, etc. Can they identify the function of the nouns? Some they will already know (subject, DO, etc….some they won’t: appositives, complements, obj. of prep. etc) We don’t worry about the words they haven’t studied yet. We just focus on the ones they do. Gradually we start incorporating more and more complex grammar.

 

For example, this was my 2nd graders copywork today: (From the Family Under the Bridge…..

 

Nikki raced down the narrow streets and shouted insults at pedestrians and cars that got in his way. His own car sputtered and rattled and clanked as if it would fall apart any moment. But it didn’t.

 

My daughter had no trouble identifying any of the parts of speech except for that and as if.

 

Learning them in the context of their work makes grammar, mechanics, and writing all connected and not isolated concepts that don’t have intertwined applications.

 

 

Paragraphs for copywork:

 

We start analyzing paragraph structure from copywork in the same way we began our study of grammar. We discuss what the paragraph is describing. What is the main idea? What do we learn about the main idea? From that, they learn about topic sentences and supporting details. We do this for weeks!

 

We play games with paragraphs. I print up logically ordered paragraphs that I have typed into individual lines and cut them apart. I mix them up and they have to unscramble the sentences and put the paragraph back together correctly. This is an enormous skill to master. It means they understand topic sentence and logical sequencing. We continue working on this until they are able to do it fairly easily. (Some paragraphs are easier than others….how-tos are the easiest, descriptives are harder, etc. Gradually increase the difficulty level. The key is to let them experience success while still learning.

 

After basic paragraph reconstruction is mastered, I start to add a twist….I will add “misfit” sentences into the mix. For example, if the paragraph is about a bear stealing a cake from a camper’s picnic table, I might add a sentence like, “I love to eat cake.” This skill helps them learn to focus on the topic sentence and make sure the information belongs. This is an essential writing skill that is really better developed in the pre-writing skill phase. If they can identify misfit sentences in other people’s paragraphs, it makes it easier to help them find them in their own.

 

Using the early grades to focus on developing pre-writing skills enables children to move into the writing stage with the tools they need in order to progress with confidence. You wouldn’t give a child a bunch of word problems in math to complete without giving them a foundation in basic arithmetic. Writing is similar. You shouldn’t expect them to start writing independently without understanding the fundamentals of how writing is structured.

 

Independent how-tos, re-tells, or parallel writing:

 

What type of paragraphs I start my children on is really child dependent. I have had at least one child that could not write any “re-tells” in logical order. This child and I spent a considerable amount of time on how-to paragraphs. (Updating this: Yrs later, this child still has trouble with logical order. Writing an outline is a must for her. If she doesn't, her writing meanders. When she takes time to write an outline, her writing is usually solid.) Most of my kids have been able to start with “re-telling.” Do whatever works.

 

How-to paragraphs are wonderfully non-threatening paragraphs. Every child knows how to give directions on some task, whether it is baking a cake or making their bed. Creating a list of logically ordered steps, developing a topic sentence, and using transition words are very “visual” or “concrete” in how-to paragraphs. Write a couple together. Take them apart. Study how they work. Then help them write their own. The child I described above wrote NUMEROUS how-tos. But they worked. The idea of logical sequencing started to flow into her writing.

 

Re-tells are another way to learn to write in a non-threatening way. Give your child a short example….a fable, a definition paragraph (like a very brief encyclopedia article), etc. Have them make a key word outline. Help them organize their ideas and create a topic sentence. Then have them re-tell the information in their own words in a paragraph. Then, using all the skills that you have learned together from pre-writing, edit/revise the paragraph…..is there a topic sentence? Does all the information belong? Are your sentences complete thoughts? Do all your verbs stay in the same tense? Etc.

 

We spend months on re-tells or in parallel writing. (Parallel writing is taking a story and re-telling it in similar story line…..the boy who cried wolf becomes the mouse who cried cat, etc)

 

We also begin studying grammar independently. Yet, we continue to study grammar in the context of their writing. We spend as much time on our revisions/edits as we did on our pre-writing skills and as on the initial writing itself. Our editing time becomes a time for studying grammar, mechanics, as well as content. From editing their own work, grammar/mechanics show their inherent value because the children see them in context.

Edited by lewelma
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Part 2

 

Independent writing across curriculum:

 

This stage begins when re-tells and parallel writing have been mastered and the child is ready to start synthesizing greater amounts of information. Because of their ages (meaning concrete vs abstract thinkers) and the need of the child to still concentrate on the writing process itself, etc., I try to keep these assignments purely factual in nature. This is a great time to start writing research books or reports. I usually start out with research books because there is no need for a formal introductory paragraph, body, conclusion, and all the transitions that go along with them.

 

I let my children choose a broad topic of interest and we make a trip to the library. I look through the books before they start reading them and then I point out different topics that they might encounter in their reading. We discuss how to take notes on note cards by giving the cards a common heading for common topics, etc. We discuss which subtopics within the topic they might want to write about. I let them spend about a week reading information and taking note cards. After they have collected their note cards, we sit together and organize all their information. Some topics they may have to eliminate b/c there simply isn’t enough info. Others may need to be broken into further sub-categories b/c they have too much info. I do not expect them to be able to do this by themselves when they first start. Just like all the other writing skills….they need guidance in the beginning. This is a skill that they need to learn with your help.

 

After the note cards are organized, I have them write a paragraph on each sub-topic and compile them altogether in a chapter book complete with title page and table of contents. Some of my kids like art and I let them illustrate them. I don’t make them do this if they don’t want to. ;)

 

This project may take a few weeks. We review each paragraph together just like we have been all along. Over the course of this year (or two years….depends on how the child’s skills progress), I do expect them to start doing an initial edit/revision on their own.

 

After a few chapter books, most kids are able to start writing reports quite painlessly. Creating a topic paragraph really isn’t a big deal when you know how to write the body…..isn’t that all the “chapters†in their books are?? Transitions are easily taught because the foundation is there and all they need to do is incorporate them. The same goes for a concluding paragraph.

Updating: They spend the rest of elementary school (or middle school, depending on the child) writing across curriculum. I give one paper assignment per week. I pick a topic from either history, science, or lit. They follow the pattern I posted earlier in this thread:

Monday- gather info on topic and organize

Tuesday- write 1/2 rough draft

Wednesday- write 2nd 1/2 rough draft'

Thursday-meet for revising and editing

Friday-final draft due

 

Analysis and essay writing:

 

Once children have mastered basic report writing, essays analyzing literature, scientific processes, etc are the next logical progression. I like to start my kids on analytical essays where the analysis is easy. Writing about allegories like Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe are easy analytical papers for beginners. Finding supporting ideas for Aslan representing Christ, etc is simple. Once they are at this point, I start asking them to incorporate supporting quotes and I start teaching MLS documentation.

 

I assign progressively more difficult types of analysis. A simple essay on an allegory is much easier for the child to develop than a comparison/contrast paper on the lives of two different political leaders. Cause and effect papers are more concrete, so for a child teetering on the edge of concrete vs abstract thought, a cause/effect paper might be a good compromise for an assignment. (For example….how did the crash of the stock market impact world economies….this is more factual than having to form their own view on 2 different world leaders and then taking those opinions and comparing them to each other.)

 

These are ideas for the advanced late middle school student and for typical high school students. As they move toward senior status, the child should be encouraged to write papers that require multi-stages of development. Back to the examples that I have used….the comparison paper is a multi-stage paper. I would not ask my young analytical students to write a paper comparing democracy to communism. It requires too much analysis for them and then you must factor in the difficulty of incorporating those ideas into a paper.

 

I hope you find this information helpful. I learned from my children that writing is not really that difficult to teach. The difficulty comes from expecting too much without the proper foundational instruction. Teaching writing incrementally allows children to shrug “ok, no big deal†when asked to complete an assignment. Just expect to actually be there as teacher.

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:bigear:

 

I miss your posts, Jackie.

:iagree: I think we need all voices here...... and I don't find what you do or Starbuck all that out of the ordinary, strange, or odd. I think it's wonderful. I think everyone should feel comfortable posting here and answering questions. It's a sad day when folks feel like they can't do that. :sad:

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Now I'm really confused. You're using curriculum for math, language arts, and Latin, right? And you're putting together your own ideas for geography, literature, science, and history.

 

That's about what we're doing, and I don't plan to change in the next few years -- just increase the level of depth and the amount of written output.

 

And I thought we were on the more rigorous, traditional, and scheduled side. :tongue_smilie: :001_huh: :confused:

 

Apparently we've been reading different threads. Or I'm just muddling along in blissful ignorance.

 

:lol: lol. I think everything is just a matter of semantics and coffee.

 

Yes, we use curriculum for math. There's no way I can step outside that box. We would float off into space.

 

We use curriculum for grammar and writing, but I'm trying not to hold my kids to a set timetable. I feel like if they are ready to do more, then I should just let them move on.

 

Reading, science, geography, history and foreign languages are interest-led and I'm trying to ignore timetables in regards to what level they should be learning (if they want to move ahead). I also give them writing assignments, we do models or experiments in those subjects and I'm trying to start things like Socratic discussions.

 

I am trying to make learning a natural part of our day. We school year-round, I really am ok if they want to write an essay in pajamas and if my kids were massively struggling in a subject, I would be ok with stopping everything and concentrating on that one area.

 

You're right, there's probably lots of people who homeschool this way, but I do realize that it's probably not classical ed. This is a forum for classical ed. :D

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:lol: lol. I think everything is just a matter of semantics and coffee.

I'm starting to feel that way too. Although pancakes might also be a factor (referencing your old thread ;)).

 

You're right, there's probably lots of people who homeschool this way, but I do realize that it's probably not classical ed.

It seems to me to be somewhere in between neo-classical a la WTM (which has a lot of structured subjects) and traditional classical a la LCC (which emphasizes a few core subjects in the younger grades, and leaves everything else for free time). So I'd say it's got just as much claim to the "classical" title as what anyone else is doing.

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You're right, there's probably lots of people who homeschool this way, but I do realize that it's probably not classical ed. This is a forum for classical ed. :D

 

I'm starting to feel that way too. Although pancakes might also be a factor (referencing your old thread ;)).

 

 

It seems to me to be somewhere in between neo-classical a la WTM (which has a lot of structured subjects) and traditional classical a la LCC (which emphasizes a few core subjects in the younger grades, and leaves everything else for free time). So I'd say it's got just as much claim to the "classical" title as what anyone else is doing.

:iagree::iagree:

 

Yup.

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You're right, there's probably lots of people who homeschool this way, but I do realize that it's probably not classical ed. This is a forum for classical ed. :D

 

But why do you think it's not classical education? To me it is classical education.

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I'm also a fan. I don't know where this writing post from 8filltheheart is located on this board, but here it is from my notes.

 

Thanks for reposting this. I have read it before and felt totally overwhelmed at the thought of "doing my own thing". I'm just getting to the point where I can consider letting go of curricula and *teaching* my kids. I don't think I'm ready to do it yet, but I'm hoping I'll be able to step off that cliff eventually... :D

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... and traditional classical a la LCC (which emphasizes a few core subjects in the younger grades, and leaves everything else for free time).

 

My goodness. You are absolutely right. It sounds like we are actually following LCC without knowing it. :svengo: insert Twilight Zone music...

 

I guess I need to buy that book this weekend...sigh...

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:bigear:

 

I miss your posts, Jackie.

 

:iagree: I miss your posts as well. KarenAnne's as well.

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PSA- This is an old thread.

I thought that I would bump a few of my favorite old threads to encourage those that may be newer to the Hive and may not have already seen them. Enjoy!

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Thanks for reposting this... Someone had included the writing posts from 8ftheart and those are two of my favorites. Whenever I start to see shiny writing curricula, I read those and remember to take a deep breath before hauling out the charge card:lol:

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Thanks for bumping this.

 

8filltheheart---If you read this, can you jump in and tell us if things look like this this year or have you made some changes?

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8fill...I hope you are still reading this. I have a couple questions.

 

1. We have never stuck with history or science curriculums long enough to give them a solid knowledge of any particular area (a full year of the rotation, or a broad knowledge of biology in general, that kind of thing). My oldest is going into 6th grade, my next oldest is going into 3rd grade, so they are still relatively young. Do you still think that they get a solid education just from reading good books for science and history up until high school? They don't need to be following a certain structure (not even chronological???) or doing experiments or anything like that??

 

2. I clearly did not learn how to write well because I am unfamiliar with almost everything you wrote about writing. I love your idea of giving them assignments out of books they are reading and deconstructing the paragraphs, but I do not feel confident enough in my own ability to do that with them. Do you think we should just stick to a textbook grammar in that case (I was going to go with R&S for this next year). It all sounded very complicated from the posts that Lewelma copied, and my children are not skilled on writing yet.

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8fill...I hope you are still reading this. I have a couple questions.

 

1. We have never stuck with history or science curriculums long enough to give them a solid knowledge of any particular area (a full year of the rotation, or a broad knowledge of biology in general, that kind of thing). My oldest is going into 6th grade, my next oldest is going into 3rd grade, so they are still relatively young. Do you still think that they get a solid education just from reading good books for science and history up until high school? They don't need to be following a certain structure (not even chronological???) or doing experiments or anything like that??

 

2. I clearly did not learn how to write well because I am unfamiliar with almost everything you wrote about writing. I love your idea of giving them assignments out of books they are reading and deconstructing the paragraphs, but I do not feel confident enough in my own ability to do that with them. Do you think we should just stick to a textbook grammar in that case (I was going to go with R&S for this next year). It all sounded very complicated from the posts that Lewelma copied, and my children are not skilled on writing yet.

 

Thanks for the PM or I might not have seen your questions. I glad you asked them bc now I am afraid what I have written has been misinterpreted.

 

While we do not study history in a 4 yr chronological cycle or science via textbooks, I do not believe either of those equate with not sticking with a specific curriculum long enough for my children to master a solid knowledge of specific areas. They are actually " sticking to" topics longer and going in more depth than standard elementary/middle school materials, so their understanding/knowledge is more solid compared to snippet/surface explanations in most textbooks.

 

For history, their yrs are themed and their reading selections are controlled by me. Typically I give them multiple options to choose amg, but once the path is chosen, the yr is directed. Over the yrs, all major time periods are covered as well as world cultures. It just isn't based on a 4 yr repetitious cycle. We may spend a yr on American history followed by a yr on world cultures followed by a yr on Middle Ages followed by ancients. Again, we cover the histories/cultures thoroughly and they have no problem sorting out the timelines.

 

Science is the one area that they do get to decide on their own. But, if you read and an entire book on weather or matter or radio waves, etc, you have garnered a tremendous exposure to a specific field. The fact that they select different titles means that over 5-6 yrs they have been exposed to a broad range of topics in-depth.

 

As far as writing, absolutely find a source that enables you to get your children writing proficiently. Writing is one of the most fundamental skills they must master for success. Writing is foundational. Find something that works for you to teach from and make your kids write. My kids don't do worksheets or write narrations, but they do write and every writing assignment is also a writing "lesson." They learn how to revise and improve, how to gather info, how to synthesize multiple sources,etc. Their writing assignments are directly connected to their science and history studies so they are also researching the areas they are studying.

 

This approach is one that has definitely worked for our family. However, it is not haphazard. I apologize if it came across as just random reading with nothing else, bc that is not how it looks in reality. It is heavy in reading, there are no experiments, but there are lots of connections/discussions being made as well as their writing assignments which dig even deeper into what they are studying.

 

Hope that helps clarify.

 

(I typed this on my iPad, and didn't. Proofread, so if there are bizarre autocorrects, sorry. ;) )

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I need more coffee. I read this post as "Internet driver's education and *real* tea-time" with tea-time being the WTM definition despite the qualifier (because that's the real tea, right?), which really made me wonder where it was headed.

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Totally food for thought! And perfect timing for planning. I was just thinking about how much time I spent planning our history this year (Middle Ages-Reformation), only to have my 4th grader delve into Lincoln, Kennedy & WWII on his own accord. Random, I know, but he retained so much because he was so engaged. I finally gave up pushing for him to do *my* history and it has been fantastic!

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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.

This sentence produced for me an "Aha" moment. Thanks. :)

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Is am glad this was bumped. I like this approach. I really want to combine writing with history and science for my 3rd and 5th grader but I do want a curriculum to work with. I am looking for a writing curriculum that will work for that.

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Gosh, I just read that first post. That 5th grader is now a sr. I can't believe what an amazing young woman she has grown into. I'm going to cry. Homeschooling her has been pure joy. I am going to miss her so much next yr.

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Bumping this again. This has given me a lot of food for thought as I am in deep planning mode for next year. 8fill, your posts are always inspiring and full of wisdom and experience. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us!

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