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If you had 1 year to get some things caught up....what would you use?

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My head is spinning and I am hoping to get an "ah ha" moment here.


I am really wanting to take the next year and get my 4th and 5th graders really sound in spelling/LA/writing (grammar skills), have them focus more on math (mainly really fill in some gaps with the basics). I also want to work w/ my 8 and 6 year olds with reading/spelling/math and get my almost 4 year old doing a few things.


It has dawned on me that I have been focusing on History/Geography etc...and I really need to take time and get some kids on track.


I also want to have some great readers/read a louds in there.


I feel like I have hurried through the "important" stuff, trying to get to "other" stuff and I want to slow down and do the "important" stuff right.


What would you use?


I have: PAL, AAS, AAR (not sure if I will use this or PAL)


I am going to be purchasing TOG year 1 however...I imagine that will get done very, very slowly.


I had thought about: Writing Tales w/ Easy Grammar OR R & S Grammar, had considered Megawords.


With 7 children, 5 of whom I need to be actively working with. I am getting a headache. I want to simplify but I really, really need to work w/ my older of the bunch on getting a good solid foundation and making sure my younger ones have the same!


I know a lot of this is repititous to what I have been asking about, I look to much at posts and then think..wow..this looks good also.


I know me and I know that if I have too much, it won't get done. So...my main focus is on getting solid in the basic stuff, getting started in grammar/composition and having great readers/read a louds.


If there is anyone who has some insight I would love to hear it. I will say, my older son is quite a challenge for me, I can't go into everything but it has been difficult. He does NOT like to do school at all, feel like I have spent years tyring to get him to like it and now he just has to do it but I want to help him get a good strong foudation and work on him becoming more independent eventually.





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Take a look at CLE for Math and maybe LA/Reading. The LA/Reading is pretty religious but if you were considering R&S, it may not bother you. The good thing about CLE is it is intended to be independent as much as possible. The only area I see needing supplementing is writing.


I would NOT use Easy Grammar.


I feel your pain with difficult kids. My older two are...challenging... to say the least.

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I don't have much advice on what to use (though we do love AAS). Two things that help in my family (we aren't behind though):


We do best using two math programs each. For my oldest, we switch back and forth between the two programs. We switch when we get bored, stuck, or to a good switching point. I feel that this has really helped her understanding of math, which is her weakest subject.


I try to teach each child separately as much as possible. This is especially important for my oldest, who is very distractible.

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It's hard juggling multiple kids, I only have 5 and I totally get that!


My advice would be to make a list of skills you want to work on and set goals, break it down into steps and then work toward accomplishing each step. Take as long as they need, because rushing through won't help them to build that foundation.


Focus on the skills more than the curriculum. (And trust me, I still have my moments of thinking a new curriculum will make things easier or better and then I usually post here for a good reality check!) It's about the teaching, putting the time in, being consistent, being creative in how you present things if it's not clicking for them, etc. Most curricula is decent, which ones you pick matter less than just doing it and being consistent.


So pick whatever will make it easiest on you (maybe it would help since you have many kids if it's scripted or already planned out, or straight forward in its presentation, or easy to combine kids together), and whatever the kids seem to understand and learn from.


You may want to let history be very casual for the year so you can have the time for the skill subjects and review. Maybe go to the library once a week and give them a list of categories: pick 1 history, 1 science, 1 arts and crafts or music, etc and then they read through those for the week. Or set up baskets with history and science books and have 30 min of reading each day where they can pick from the baskets. That would be enough while they spend more time on LA and math. TOG sounds like a lot with your other concerns.


Maybe you could do a Rod and Staff grammar lesson orally 3 times a week and combine the ones with similar skills and teach them all, then let them go do the assignment while you work with a younger one. For spelling, I have struggled with getting AAS done with all my kids myself. I have resigned myself to workbooks, it's better than nothing. I find WWE quick and easy to teach.


But just do what seems simplest and most likely to get done.

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WOW...thank you guys so much, this is exactly what I am looking for..lots of advice.


I was going to just order a bunch of stuff (we get our school money soon), then look at all of it and decide when I get it. I don't have an opportunity to go and "look" at stuff so...


Anyway...one area of mine that I want to change is to really get focused with the kids and not worry about what we "aren't" getting to, just for this year...really be consistent in the basics and getting solid. I find I am easily distracted, but looking at this or that and I need to really focus this next year, even if that means getting stuff, doing it whether we are "enjoying" it or not...and stop "searching" for something better.



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You may want to let history be very casual for the year so you can have the time for the skill subjects and review. Maybe go to the library once a week and give them a list of categories: pick 1 history, 1 science, 1 arts and crafts or music, etc and then they read through those for the week. Or set up baskets with history and science books and have 30 min of reading each day where they can pick from the baskets. That would be enough while they spend more time on LA and math. TOG sounds like a lot with your other concerns.



I agree that TOG sounds like too much when your main goal is the basics. If you really want more structure than just going to the library, then pick a good spine or two, like CHOW for history, and just read a chapter once or twice a week.

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Well, here's my opinion. Take what you can use and discard the rest. Your 4th and 5th grader can probably work together on the same level in most things. Your 8 and 6 year old can do the same. Here's what I think I would do, and am doing some of this because we're playing a little catch up too. Only my kids are a little older.


5th/4th grader:

Math: Math Mammoth. I would jump them into their grade levels, or if you think they need work on just particular subjects buy those subjects. My son is currently working through the multiplication books. If you buy the download version her pdfs can be typed on, so all the work is done on the computer and no handwriting is necessary. This works for my son because the handwriting slows him down. I would work through the books doing 2-3 pages a day.


Writing: Since you have PAL, I would use it for everyone. Level 3 in the writing is where I would start. Your 8 and 6 year old can come along too. I would work through that giving the olders more requirements. IEW also has source texts for $5 a set so you could use some of those if there aren't enough sources in PAL to write from. I would take the PAL lesson and do the key word outline with everyone. Then the older ones can write a paragraph from the outline and the youngers can just recite a paragraph from the outline. If the olders need more, have them use the source texts at IEW. If you want something a little meatier and more laid out for the older IEW's All Things Fun and Fascinating is great for that age. If you have access to Teaching Writing with Structure & Style I HIGHLY recommend it. It'll teach you how to teach writing at all different levels. Try to borrow it from someone if you can. If you aren't familiar with IEW and need a little more direction, join the IEW yahoo group. You'll get a lot of good, useable information.

They'll get a lot of grammar from just doing the IEW writing. You could through in a grammar program but I don't think it's absolutely necessary at this point. My kiddos weren't ready for formal grammar until they were a little older. I know that opinion differs greatly on these boards.


History: You said you wanted to do more read-alouds. So I would make history just be about reading good historical literature. I'd check sonlight or TOG booklists and draw from them. We read during school and right before bed - especially when we have a book we can't put down. We are also reading from Mystery Of History but aren't doing anything other than reading it. My oldest (15) outlines the daily reading and writes a summary. I would choose a read-aloud at the 4th/5th graders level and let everyone else listen in. They can color or play with legos while they listen.


For your four year old, let the olders read books to him/her. I might use ideas from here



or here




The preschooler should be read to and allowed to play - directed play like the things in these books are good. She/he could do something like Letter of the Week if you have time. Use your older kids to help out too.


Whatever you decide I wish you luck. It can be difficult, but be easy on yourself, plugging away each day will get you where you want to be. Chip away at it one day at day and try not to be overwhelmed by the "bigness" of it all.

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I am behind this year too! My health has been horrid. Now after surgery in August, and a year of extreme pain, I am expecting our 8th child in May!

I have trouble with our oldest child most of all, and don't see any other option than Home education for him.


I am using ACHOW this year to ease up on History, and ordered a new Foundations Guide to do Memory work 1 day a week (and Math, Reading).


I realized a few years ago that having babies, and being so busy, means having to be more organized. And I used to try to do too much, and never get it all done. So, we do have to rotate days of the week and study Science one day, History one, Math everyday, Reading everyday, writing 3 days ( need more work on that).

I bought my first SL core for World History and we are definitely going to take 2 years to complete it!

TT Math is best for my oldest

Saxon is best for my dd 12

MUS was what I was trying to do but not sure if I have time for that again. I will post anything else that works, but I am trying to figure it out here too!

There is no one curriculum that has everything I want.

I just have trouble deciding what is "realistic" and I don't want to set goals we can never obtain.

Reading Aloud is essential for building vocabulary, Latin DVD's help me out alot. And IEW along with Latin do teach some English Grammar. I do want to do more grammar and may use the Grammar Cd ( not sure yet, but popping in a cd is much easier right now if I can get them to listen!)

Morning chore time is best for cd's for us.

I feel like I am just starting to get back on track due to my health. Summer will be full of lessons again, and gardening, as well as a new baby!

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We are having this kind of year. Mainly having my ds 8 who is dyslexic, catch up with reading and the my ds 11 get a solid foundation with spelling and math. I love CLE math for this. It is very independant and I absolutely appreciated the placement test because it allowed me to see exactly where the holes were. I also like the built in flashcard drills done is small "chunks". This helped solidify his facts. I find that R&S english is pretty independant for the older grades as well, especially if you have them take the TM and correct their own work. The one thing I do find that takes some time is WWE, but it builds vital skils IMHO so it is worth the effort.

We happen to use Logic of English for spelling/reading to get a solid foundation and I find it works well to combine my older two dc.

We also use SOTW w/ activity guide for history and the older one does the additional history readings from kingfisher along with the recommended readers from biblioplan. This works really we because history is only done a couple of times per week, (sometimes once a week, sometimes we skip a week) and it does not consume our homeschool. If we are pressed for time we will sometimes only do the SOTW readings while they color the corresponding coloring page from the AG.


I think 4/5 year olds an under do well with just playing and absorbing their siblings lessons. :001_smile:

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Thank you everyone...


I am using TT for math w/ my older two. Would LOVE to do RS w/ my 6 year old and eventually my 4 year old, doing Horizons w/ my 8 year old. We have Capt. Jax Math Facts (anyone have a better way of doing math facts, my kids do NOT like this at all) Surely there is a better way or at least one not so boring...?


I had thought about Logic of English but honestly, right now, I don't want something "just coming out" AND I already own the WRTR manual, SWR and AAS..ha!


I eventually want to do History Chronologically, I had thought about getting "Preparing" from HOD and just do the History part/read a louds/readers but..again...am I just asking for it by trying to add something else.


I would love a program that says "on this day have them read....such and such". I had thought about just getting the Sonlight Readers Schedules so they have something that they can read from everyday and then have a read a loud?


I get so overwhelmed by all the options and, honestly, get caught up in trying to do it "perfectly", I get paralyzed.

Edited by Blessed with seven
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Have you ever read about the Robinson Curriculum? It is an approach which emphasizes the three R's with much of the reading, writing and arithmetic done independently by the student. Many users report a sense of relief at the simplicity of the approach as they transition their dc into taking more responsibility for their day. Most families modify it somewhat to meet their needs. You might glean something from the approach. http://www.robinsoncurriculum.com Many of the books are in the public domain which you could find online at Project Gutenberg. There is a Yahoo user's group.


I agree with several previous posts that teaching to meet skill objectives for your kids is a good way to go rather than focusing on the curriculum. A book I found so helpful in simplifying what we were doing along those lines is Trivium Mastery by Diane Lockwood.

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Have you ever read about the Robinson Curriculum? .


Hi..yes, I have heard of Robinson. I have owned it :001_smile:. I think for me it was the books, my kids tried to read them and just couldn't get into the older books, plus having older kids who already do not like to read...


Well..my two older girls love reading, my son does NOT! I use some of the ideas though...

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