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Ok, here's what I want...suggestions? long


aprilsblessings
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sorry long

 

I have been hopping around curriculums this year and haven't really felt that we have found our groove. I like all of the below for different reasons, have them all infront of me :blush: and I am trying to figure out what to use for the rest of this year and going into next. My kids are 6 and 4 1/2 (3 and 1). The 4 1/2 year old is right with the 6 year old just a different math.

 

I am planning to keep math and language arts its own thing so it does not have to be integrated but could be depending on what is used.

 

Ok here is what I have in front of me:

 

HOD LHFHG

HOD BLHFHG

MFW K - just TM

FIAR Vol. 1-3 and Bible Supplement

 

What I want:

-Read picture books

-Read Chapter books

-Science Info/Topics with Activities

-Bible tie in or add on

-At least 1 craft/week

-Able to add in cooking - doesn't have to be part of the curriculum

 

I am questioning when we actually want to start focused history. I feel like there are other things (ex. science topics) I would rather have the focus on. Here is what I am thinking regarding the above curriculums and why I can't decide which would fit best into what I am hoping for.

 

HOD LHFHG

Things that I don't like:

-Read alouds - we are really picky on what we read to the kids and the attitudes of the characters are not what we want read to our kids right now.

-The activities are a lot of just movement/active/dramatic, not really us.

-The focus on history and not much for science topics.

-Bible devotional

-I feel like there isn't much actual sit down and read with the kids time. (a paragraph for history and page for storytime)

 

Things that I like:

-Bible Memory work.

-Planning is done for me.

 

HOD BLHFHG We haven't used this yet but looking at the guide.

Things that I don't like:

-History main focus.

-Activities (similiar to reason above with LHFHG)

-No additional picture books or other booklist to add in from.

-Maybe too advanced for my kids?

 

Things that I like:

-same as LHFHG

-Poetry study

 

MFW K

Things I don't like:

-seems light for the extras (I wouldn't be using the phonics or math.)

-maybe a little below for my kids

-I feel like I would have to add in a lot

-only really science studied (which I know is what I said I think I want - do you see why I am going crazy!!):001_huh:

-I don't want to use the 1st grade program so then where would I go:confused:

 

Things I like:

-science topics

-booklist in back

 

FIAR

Things I don't like:

-having to decide what to do/the layout

-where would I go after using it? I don't know much about BYFIAR

-having to add in too much with already having to pick what to do inorder to acheive what I am looking for

-doesn't really add in more books, just the one main picture book

 

Things I like:

-picture books

-learning about lots of different topics not having everything tie into history

 

I have also been looking at the Living Books Curriculum for 1st grade inorder to maybe get the more reading I am looking for. Has anyone had that in their hands and can tell me more of the activities in it?

 

I know it looks like I am looking for the "perfect" curriculum which of course I am. :tongue_smilie: Really I just need an outsiders perspective. I am trying to plan out not just for tomorrow but for the next couple years. I think all of the above curriculms look great but what would work the best for my family for what I am looking for??? If you have any words of advice I'm :bigear:.

 

TIA!

Edited by aprilsblessings
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A program you didn't mention that would give you more a science focus as well as geography, is Galloping the Globe. I found this to be a fun curriculum to do before we started the history cycle. It was easy to adapt for my boys and a lot of fun. We were able to do art projects and cooking when we wanted. They could be involved or quick and simple. I am looking at pulling this out again next year for my youngest who will be in K. I don't know that any of the things you have really fit what you are looking for. With Galloping the Globe you will still need to plan and go find the books but I think it is worth the effort to get the things you are looking for.

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A program you didn't mention that would give you more a science focus as well as geography, is Galloping the Globe. I found this to be a fun curriculum to do before we started the history cycle. It was easy to adapt for my boys and a lot of fun. We were able to do art projects and cooking when we wanted. They could be involved or quick and simple. I am looking at pulling this out again next year for my youngest who will be in K. I don't know that any of the things you have really fit what you are looking for. With Galloping the Globe you will still need to plan and go find the books but I think it is worth the effort to get the things you are looking for.

 

Thanks so much for the suggestion I will look into that!

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Have you looked at Galloping The Globe? It uses picture books (some are FIAR ones), some chapter books and some core non fiction books for a round the world study that includes all subjects (science is mostly animals). You can stretch it for a few years (it is for K-4). There are links to colouring pages, cooking and craft suggestions and a cd rom of notebooking pages, maps and flags to colour. It has the flexibility for you to choose which books on the list meet your requirements. The only downside is you have to set your own schedule but there is a suggested 1 or 2 week per country schedule and a yahoo group with a few extra links and resources. It's worth a look if you don't want to do history yet.

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I'm a little confused about your wants and dislikes in regards to books. You mention wanting picture books and chapter books, but you dislike read-alouds. Do you want the picture and chapter books for your dc to read, and you don't want any read-alouds?

 

I've used SL science for many years, and it is wonderful in having a combination of activities, a variety of topics with each topic covered in some depth. There are activity worksheets the dc can fill in, but these are optional. There is also a DVD of the various experiements, which my dc really enjoy. The instructor's guide is well laided out and very easy to use. It's basically just open and go. There are also extra activities suggested, in addition to the experiments.

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I'm a little confused about your wants and dislikes in regards to books. You mention wanting picture books and chapter books, but you dislike read-alouds. Do you want the picture and chapter books for your dc to read, and you don't want any read-alouds?

 

QUOTE]

 

Sorry, no we LOVE read-alouds. We didn't like the particular books used in LHFHG for read-alouds. I want more to read to the kids. Does that make sense?

 

I see in your siggie that you are using Sonlight. I have looked breifly into Sonlight but worried about the some of the books not being what we want to expose our kids to. We are more the wait until they are older to expose them to the things like greek myths and difficult topics. Would it be easy to just skip those books? Are there many activities, crafts, or cooking in the TMs?

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What I want:

-Read picture books

-Read Chapter books

-Science Info/Topics with Activities

-Bible tie in or add on

-At least 1 craft/week

-Able to add in cooking - doesn't have to be part of the curriculum

 

 

 

This sounds exactly like what I've been looking for! I haven't found it yet...:001_unsure: I've looked at HOD a lot (my kids are close to your kids in age: mine are 5 and 3) and we have very similar thoughts about it!!! At this point, I think I'm going to do Truthquest (It is designed so that I can pick and choose which picture books I want to use and focus on history as much or as little as I want). For science, we are going to do something really untraditional, but it will be a lot of fun. I have the Sid the Science Kid DVDs. We are going to watch one episode a week, do the activity that the kids in the show do, write/draw in our own journals (like the kids on the show do), and read library books on that topic the rest of the week. PBS's website has the activities for each episode ready to print so all the materials, steps, etc. are already written out. Of course, we will continue with our phonics, math, handwriting, and Bible too. I also bought Honey for a Child's Heart that I'm going to use for read-aloud time. These are my plans for next year right now...I have no idea what we will do the year after! :tongue_smilie:

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Have you considered The Weaver curriculum? It is a multi-aged curriculum that gives you the history/science subjects that tie in with the Bible lesson of the day. It includes your Language Arts, History, Science, Writing and Vocabulary and Reading. You are expected to provide phonics and math into the mix. We tried it as a family but I didn't feel like I was good at following through in my preparations it would be a great curriculum if you are good with details. It works best if you go to the library and check out tons of books to go along with the subjects. It gives you a detailed list of items needed for each unit and recommended books, etc.

 

ETA: it mainly gives you the lesson plans and the recommended activities similar to SOTW but you are expected to actually teach the material from books you purchase against the recommended list or books from the library/encyclopedias, etc.

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Sounds like we're in the same boat!

 

This year I tried SL Core K(A). If you are very discerning about what your kids are reading I don't recommend going in that direction. We got about 6 months into it and had to scrap it (though if you want to try it, I have a hardly used copy for sale, LOL!). They have some really excellent books and some very heavy books.

 

While searching, I would recommend reading "Honey for a Child's Heart" and "The Read Alound Handbook" by Jim Trelease. Both books have extensive book lists for read-alouds and chapter books for children of all ages. They've been wonderful references for me as we try to find our 'right fit' in curriculum.

 

HTH! We may be heading the path of MFW Adventures this coming year. Mainly because there will be a newborn in the house and I need something laid out (since I don't mind adding to, or taking away from it).

 

Best of luck in your journey! This is why I spend copious amounts of time in the exhibit hall of our state convention. It helps me look through and physically see products I've been researching.

 

Monica

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This sounds exactly like what I've been looking for! I haven't found it yet...:001_unsure:

 

I'm glad I am not the only one!:001_smile:

 

I thought about just picking curri. for each subject instead of a "boxed curri." I think my lack of confidence is why I am hesitant. TQ is one I had thought of and adding in the BF early american history books that I have (picture books).

 

It is so hard when there are so many wonderful curriculum out there - but I am so picky!:lol:

 

Thank you for the encouragement I might just piece things together! It is so hard to give up the other curriculum above when I do like some things....

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Get a big stack of books about everything and read them. Then get another one. Then another.

 

Really, at this age, all you need beyond that is fun, educational field trips and nature outings, a learn to read program, an early math program, and (if it's your thing) daily devotions/Bible reading/hymn singing. That's it! Add FLL next year. Assign copywork starting when reading is reasonably fluent. Use fridge magnets to teach the little guy his letters.

 

Don't make this so hard, is what I say.

 

And wait a year or two to start SOTW. That way you can have the little guy on board with you from the start.

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Sounds like we're in the same boat!

 

This year I tried SL Core K(A). If you are very discerning about what your kids are reading I don't recommend going in that direction. We got about 6 months into it and had to scrap it (though if you want to try it, I have a hardly used copy for sale, LOL!). They have some really excellent books and some very heavy books.

 

While searching, I would recommend reading "Honey for a Child's Heart" and "The Read Alound Handbook" by Jim Trelease. Both books have extensive book lists for read-alouds and chapter books for children of all ages. They've been wonderful references for me as we try to find our 'right fit' in curriculum.

 

HTH! We may be heading the path of MFW Adventures this coming year. Mainly because there will be a newborn in the house and I need something laid out (since I don't mind adding to, or taking away from it).

 

Best of luck in your journey! This is why I spend copious amounts of time in the exhibit hall of our state convention. It helps me look through and physically see products I've been researching.

 

Monica

 

 

Ok, no Sonlight for us. That is exactly what I was worried about.

 

Monica - What ages are you going to do Adventures? Since MFW 1st is so heavily phonics I am not really interested in doing that but wonder if I can do Adventures with the ages I have? Would everything go over their heads?

 

I was just reading another post about Adventures and they were talking about

using the BF picture books that I have with the Adventures. I love the bible aspect too...thoughts if I could jump ahead a year???

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Get a big stack of books about everything and read them. Then get another one. Then another.

 

Really, at this age, all you need beyond that is fun, educational field trips and nature outings, a learn to read program, an early math program, and (if it's your thing) daily devotions/Bible reading/hymn singing. That's it! Add FLL next year. Assign copywork starting when reading is reasonably fluent. Use fridge magnets to teach the little guy his letters.

 

Don't make this so hard, is what I say.

 

And wait a year or two to start SOTW. That way you can have the little guy on board with you from the start.

 

This sounds so good! Yes, I make it waaaaay too hard!!

 

I am finding that if I don't have a "plan" to follow I don't do it....could it be the 3 yr old (in March) and 1 year old I am also chasing around???:lol:

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I third Honey for a Child's Heart. We have been reading through the book selections for the last five or six years, and they are wonderful. The titles are listed by age and type of book.

 

Other places that have nice lists of read allude are:

Epi Kardia

Veritas Press

Ambleside Online

 

I put my own curriculum together because I couldn't find everything I wanted in one box. I use the Core Knowledge K-8 Sequence as a guide for what to make sure I cover every year as a baseline. You can download it for free here:

http://books.coreknowledge.org/home.php?cat=314

 

I add extra things to our curriculum according to our interests and what we want to emphasize.

 

If I want opinions on my plans and what I may be missing, I list it on this board.

 

Just an idea...

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This sounds so good! Yes, I make it waaaaay too hard!!

 

I am finding that if I don't have a "plan" to follow I don't do it....could it be the 3 yr old (in March) and 1 year old I am also chasing around???:lol:

 

Here is a plan for you:

 

When the kids are breakfasted, read the Bible to all of them together. The littles can play with Kapla blocks quietly while you do this. Focus on the stories--the history narratives and the parables. Use a Bible story book sometimes, but read the actual Bible every day. Sing something seasonal and/or liturgical to them. If you do it every day for a while, they will learn it and start to join in.

 

After that, teach the 6yo his math lesson. Settle him at a table to do whatever written work he needs to to finish that while you play with the 3 and 4yo's.

 

Then pull out that big stack of books that you got at the library on your regular Friday trip. Read about 7 of them to the whole group. 4 picture books, 2 science picture books, 2 history picture books. If you are doing FLL, read that aloud at the end, focussing your attention on the 6 yo.

 

Then do your reading lesson with the 6 yo.

 

Then give the 6 yo a piece of large-lined paper that you have written some copywork neatly on, if he is ready for copywork. If not, teach him how to write one letter per day and have him practice it. Whatever.

 

Then have lunch.

 

Then put the babies down for their naps. Read more to the others. Maybe 45 minutes or so. This is when you read more advanced stuff--choose a chapter book that has no pictures, and read several chapters per day. Each time you start a section of it, tell them what happened so far and what the last thing that happened was--before you know it, they will be doing great summaries if you set that example! Read a little poetry, too. Then send the olders to their rooms for some quiet play time.

 

When everyone wakes up, go outside with them if the weather is bearable for it. Or let them use some craft materials or blocks to make something inside. Once week, open up an art book to a picture you think is beautiful, and just set it out for them to look at. Talk with them about it. Let them 'help' you make dinner. Sing some more while you're doing this and that.

 

At bedtime, read aloud again, all cuddled up. This is a great time for picture books. Talk about the day--best thing, worst thing. Pray together.

 

That's your routine, Monday through Thursday.

 

Friday is out and about day. Go to a local field trip site in the morning, after breakfast and Bible. This might be a nature walk, a natural history museum, a science museum, a children's museum, a zoo, an aquarium, or something else. Encourage the kids to hunt for 10 new things that they have never known or noticed before. (Join a couple of these places, for best results!) Go home for lunch--everyone will need a nap after this! When you all wake up, go to the library. Take out a ton of books, coordinating some of them with the field trip that morning. Come home and talk about the field trip, read some relevant books aloud, and maybe do an experiment to demonstrate something on the field trip, or assign a drawing of a historical figure or event from it, or something like that. Make dinner, read aloud some more, and then to bed.

 

Saturdays are for free play, catching up on house and garden work, having the kids start their own garden plots, and seasonal celebrations. Sunday is church and friends day.

 

Severely limit screen time. None is best at these ages.

 

There you go! A plan!

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I third Honey for a Child's Heart. We have been reading through the book selections for the last five or six years, and they are wonderful. The titles are listed by age and type of book.

 

Other places that have nice lists of read allude are:

Epi Kardia

Veritas Press

Ambleside Online

 

I put my own curriculum together because I couldn't find everything I wanted in one box. I use the Core Knowledge K-8 Sequence as a guide for what to make sure I cover every year as a baseline. You can download it for free here:

http://books.coreknowledge.org/home.php?cat=314

 

I add extra things to our curriculum according to our interests and what we want to emphasize.

 

If I want opinions on my plans and what I may be missing, I list it on this board.

 

Just an idea...

 

Thank you for the link. This is helpful to have something to follow when making out a plan if that is what I end up doing.:001_smile:

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Here is a plan for you:

 

When the kids are breakfasted, read the Bible to all of them together. The littles can play with Kapla blocks quietly while you do this. Focus on the stories--the history narratives and the parables. Use a Bible story book sometimes, but read the actual Bible every day. Sing something seasonal and/or liturgical to them. If you do it every day for a while, they will learn it and start to join in.

 

After that, teach the 6yo his math lesson. Settle him at a table to do whatever written work he needs to to finish that while you play with the 3 and 4yo's.

 

Then pull out that big stack of books that you got at the library on your regular Friday trip. Read about 7 of them to the whole group. 4 picture books, 2 science picture books, 2 history picture books. If you are doing FLL, read that aloud at the end, focussing your attention on the 6 yo.

 

Then do your reading lesson with the 6 yo.

 

Then give the 6 yo a piece of large-lined paper that you have written some copywork neatly on, if he is ready for copywork. If not, teach him how to write one letter per day and have him practice it. Whatever.

 

Then have lunch.

 

Then put the babies down for their naps. Read more to the others. Maybe 45 minutes or so. This is when you read more advanced stuff--choose a chapter book that has no pictures, and read several chapters per day. Each time you start a section of it, tell them what happened so far and what the last thing that happened was--before you know it, they will be doing great summaries if you set that example! Read a little poetry, too. Then send the olders to their rooms for some quiet play time.

 

When everyone wakes up, go outside with them if the weather is bearable for it. Or let them use some craft materials or blocks to make something inside. Once week, open up an art book to a picture you think is beautiful, and just set it out for them to look at. Talk with them about it. Let them 'help' you make dinner. Sing some more while you're doing this and that.

 

At bedtime, read aloud again, all cuddled up. This is a great time for picture books. Talk about the day--best thing, worst thing. Pray together.

 

That's your routine, Monday through Thursday.

 

Friday is out and about day. Go to a local field trip site in the morning, after breakfast and Bible. This might be a nature walk, a natural history museum, a science museum, a children's museum, a zoo, an aquarium, or something else. Encourage the kids to hunt for 10 new things that they have never known or noticed before. (Join a couple of these places, for best results!) Go home for lunch--everyone will need a nap after this! When you all wake up, go to the library. Take out a ton of books, coordinating some of them with the field trip that morning. Come home and talk about the field trip, read some relevant books aloud, and maybe do an experiment to demonstrate something on the field trip, or assign a drawing of a historical figure or event from it, or something like that. Make dinner, read aloud some more, and then to bed.

 

Saturdays are for free play, catching up on house and garden work, having the kids start their own garden plots, and seasonal celebrations. Sunday is church and friends day.

 

Severely limit screen time. None is best at these ages.

 

There you go! A plan!

 

Carol, this is genius! I wish I had had that when my two oldest were little, but I'm going to print it out for my youngest!

 

Do you have a plan for my two middle schoolers? Pretty please?

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For everything you said you want, plus the ages of your kids, I would say FIAR would be great. You can add in a regular chapter book read aloud. I would suggest looking at some FIAR blogs or the FIAR forum for ideas on how to plan it and make the layout work better for you.

 

:iagree::iagree::iagree:

 

FIAR has all you are talking about. It is not hard to plan it out at all. There are nature study and holiday digital supplements, lots of lapbooks....Check on the FIAR forums for ideas and express your concerns. You will get some wonderful ideas and help.

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What about unit studies where you add in the phonics and math? We've started using the Amanda Bennet unit studies, which take MUCH longer than advertised (I will be using the "one week" Passport: Germany for almost a month, I'd estimate--it's 128 pages packed with stuff). They have writing, Bible verses, grammar (a bit), vocabulary, history, geography, science, recipes/food history, art/crafty things, lapbook elements, and a long book list to choose from for every day. I've heard good things about Intellego and KONOS unit studies as well.

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Carol, this is genius! I wish I had had that when my two oldest were little, but I'm going to print it out for my youngest!

 

Do you have a plan for my two middle schoolers? Pretty please?

 

So middle school is more varied--what level are your children?

 

Really the point of my 'plan' was

1. Using the best part of the day for each thing. Math and learning to read are HARD, and so it's important during the early years to do those in the morning. Using naptime for reading more complicated stuff aloud is so helpful because you can focus longer at a stretch.

2. Sort of surfing through the day. You don't have a schedule, but you do have a routine. So you have structure that is easy to keep in mind, but not the anxiety of a 'to the minute' type schedule to make you feel frantic and/or guilty.

3. Focussing on the oldest while still paying attention to the littles.

 

For middle school, I think that routines are still helpful but not as crucial. By then kids can learn math at 2PM if necessary. So what I like for middle school is to have a minimum weekly requirement. That means that I chose to feel good if we did:

5 math lessons

5 Bible/religion

4 grammar

4 writing sessions

4 literature

2 science

1 history

3 foreign language

1 art

1 music

 

Almost always we did more than that. We were covering three Saxon books in 2 years (long story, but anyway, it worked out), and we usually did writing 5-8 times per week (if you count assigned writing plus some sort of subject area writing), and grammar 5-6 times (if you count grammar and Editor in Chief).

 

But the good thing about the MWR was that if tickets to a play cropped up, I counted it as literature, and built some writing around it, and maybe also some history and/or science. If a science field trip popped up, I counted it as several sciences, and we always seemed to be ahead enough of the MWR to be able to skip doing much else that day.

 

This also freed me up not to feel bound to a big massive multi-program, which saved us a lot of money in theory (although I think I ended up buying so many books that it may have been a wash), and also that enabled me to be flexible in making use of great and unexpected opportunities--one of the much touted benefits of homeschooling that I think people tend to lose sight of when they obsess over curricula too much. (I say this as a total curriculum junkie.) I used Writing Strands and other materials to teach writing, and used WTM methods for history, subject area writing, literature, and grammar. This is so much easier for someone like me than checking a million boxes. About twice a year I would stop and think about where we were and what really needed to happen next, and by when, and adjust accordingly. For instance, I decided that public speaking/presentation was lacking at one point, and that helped me to justify participation in a Toastmasters' Junior course that I probably wouldn't have considered otherwise.

 

Motto: Teach the child, not the curriculum.

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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Hi April,

 

Have you heard of the Noah Plan/Principle Approach? I have little ones like you and have also been researching curriculum and using some. Sonlight is not for us as well because of the reasons you have stated. Anyway, in my research, I came across the Principle Approach and I think that it will be a great fit for our family so far. I love how the Bible is the central theme of every subject and not just a separate subject mixed in with all the rest. I think that it is pretty teacher intensive, especially learning everything at first. But, I am so grateful that I have found it and it has been so worth all of the effort I have put in so far! My own education has been advanced so much! One of the main website for it is here. The Noah Plan is their "Boxed" curriculum. To me, their website was a little daunting but don't worry!

The other option is to make your own curriculum using the Principle Approach, which is probably what I will do. I have a lot more sources I can give that will be great help. But, right now I have to finish up dinner. If you are interested you can PM me and I can send you more information. I don't know if this will help you a all but I thought you might want to look at it.:001_smile:

 

Lauren

 

P.S. Right now I am planning on doing FIAR with other go along books. Have you seen the Delightful Learning blog? She has lovely ideas and great go-alongs!

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You've had some great suggestions. I just wanted to add that Tanglewood Education has been invaluable to me in planning my hs studies from the start. Don't worry that the site is not active or maintained anymore. It's an amazing resource, and one I return to year after year.

 

http://www.tanglewoodeducation.com - Click on Create Your Own Curriculum

 

Winterpromise may be worth a look too, as would be Living Books Curriculum.

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I haven't seen anyone mention the Memoria Press Kindergarten lesson plans yet. I'm on week 3 of this with my 6yo, but from what I've seen it would fit your criteria quite well. There's memory work, read aloud, Bible story time, and some activities. Neither a science or history focus at this point. Most of the focus is on the 3 Rs. I'm really pleased with it so far. :)

 

http://www.memoriapress.com/descriptions/K_Curriculum.html

 

(You don't have to buy the complete set. I think many of the elements are cheaper at Rainbow Resource, and I've been able to find most of the read-alouds at the library.)

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This sounds so good! Yes, I make it waaaaay too hard!!

 

I am finding that if I don't have a "plan" to follow I don't do it....could it be the 3 yr old (in March) and 1 year old I am also chasing around???:lol:

 

Here's a thought. (and I've been where you are so I'm preaching to myself too) Instead of having a plan like MFW or HOD, why not have a read-aloud time slot, and a craft time-slot, science-slot, etc. You don't have to make it as strict as 10:00 a.m. but right after math or right after lunch. Call that read-aloud time. Pick what you think is appropriate for you kids. Set the timer for 15-30min. and just read (or craft) Interject your thoughts, questions, opinions, whenever it seems necessary or relevant. Easy, cheap (if you don't mind the library),fits your family to a T. And if you keep your time-slot sacred I can almost guarantee that you will get more done AND enjoy it more than if you followed someone else's plan. The hard part can be keeping your time-slots. Move them around in the day until you find the spot that gets it done. And as the seasons change and the kids grow those spots will always need to be rearranged.

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Here is a plan for you:

 

When the kids are breakfasted, read the Bible to all of them together. The littles can play with Kapla blocks quietly while you do this. Focus on the stories--the history narratives and the parables. Use a Bible story book sometimes, but read the actual Bible every day. Sing something seasonal and/or liturgical to them. If you do it every day for a while, they will learn it and start to join in.

 

After that, teach the 6yo his math lesson. Settle him at a table to do whatever written work he needs to to finish that while you play with the 3 and 4yo's.

 

Then pull out that big stack of books that you got at the library on your regular Friday trip. Read about 7 of them to the whole group. 4 picture books, 2 science picture books, 2 history picture books. If you are doing FLL, read that aloud at the end, focussing your attention on the 6 yo.

 

Then do your reading lesson with the 6 yo.

 

Then give the 6 yo a piece of large-lined paper that you have written some copywork neatly on, if he is ready for copywork. If not, teach him how to write one letter per day and have him practice it. Whatever.

 

Then have lunch.

 

Then put the babies down for their naps. Read more to the others. Maybe 45 minutes or so. This is when you read more advanced stuff--choose a chapter book that has no pictures, and read several chapters per day. Each time you start a section of it, tell them what happened so far and what the last thing that happened was--before you know it, they will be doing great summaries if you set that example! Read a little poetry, too. Then send the olders to their rooms for some quiet play time.

 

When everyone wakes up, go outside with them if the weather is bearable for it. Or let them use some craft materials or blocks to make something inside. Once week, open up an art book to a picture you think is beautiful, and just set it out for them to look at. Talk with them about it. Let them 'help' you make dinner. Sing some more while you're doing this and that.

 

At bedtime, read aloud again, all cuddled up. This is a great time for picture books. Talk about the day--best thing, worst thing. Pray together.

 

That's your routine, Monday through Thursday.

 

Friday is out and about day. Go to a local field trip site in the morning, after breakfast and Bible. This might be a nature walk, a natural history museum, a science museum, a children's museum, a zoo, an aquarium, or something else. Encourage the kids to hunt for 10 new things that they have never known or noticed before. (Join a couple of these places, for best results!) Go home for lunch--everyone will need a nap after this! When you all wake up, go to the library. Take out a ton of books, coordinating some of them with the field trip that morning. Come home and talk about the field trip, read some relevant books aloud, and maybe do an experiment to demonstrate something on the field trip, or assign a drawing of a historical figure or event from it, or something like that. Make dinner, read aloud some more, and then to bed.

 

Saturdays are for free play, catching up on house and garden work, having the kids start their own garden plots, and seasonal celebrations. Sunday is church and friends day.

 

Severely limit screen time. None is best at these ages.

 

There you go! A plan!

 

:iagree: Well Done!!

 

I 2nd this plan. :D

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So middle school is more varied--what level are your children?

 

Really the point of my 'plan' was

1. Using the best part of the day for each thing. Math and learning to read are HARD, and so it's important during the early years to do those in the morning. Using naptime for reading more complicated stuff aloud is so helpful because you can focus longer at a stretch.

2. Sort of surfing through the day. You don't have a schedule, but you do have a routine. So you have structure that is easy to keep in mind, but not the anxiety of a 'to the minute' type schedule to make you feel frantic and/or guilty.

3. Focussing on the oldest while still paying attention to the littles.

 

For middle school, I think that routines are still helpful but not as crucial. By then kids can learn math at 2PM if necessary. So what I like for middle school is to have a minimum weekly requirement. That means that I chose to feel good if we did:

5 math lessons

5 Bible/religion

4 grammar

4 writing sessions

4 literature

2 science

1 history

3 foreign language

1 art

1 music

 

Almost always we did more than that. We were covering three Saxon books in 2 years (long story, but anyway, it worked out), and we usually did writing 5-8 times per week (if you count assigned writing plus some sort of subject area writing), and grammar 5-6 times (if you count grammar and Editor in Chief).

 

But the good thing about the MWR was that if tickets to a play cropped up, I counted it as literature, and built some writing around it, and maybe also some history and/or science. If a science field trip popped up, I counted it as several sciences, and we always seemed to be ahead enough of the MWR to be able to skip doing much else that day.

 

This also freed me up not to feel bound to a big massive multi-program, which saved us a lot of money in theory (although I think I ended up buying so many books that it may have been a wash), and also that enabled me to be flexible in making use of great and unexpected opportunities--one of the much touted benefits of homeschooling that I think people tend to lose sight of when they obsess over curricula too much. (I say this as a total curriculum junkie.) I used Writing Strands and other materials to teach writing, and used WTM methods for history, subject area writing, literature, and grammar. This is so much easier for someone like me than checking a million boxes. About twice a year I would stop and think about where we were and what really needed to happen next, and by when, and adjust accordingly. For instance, I decided that public speaking/presentation was lacking at one point, and that helped me to justify participation in a Toastmasters' Junior course that I probably wouldn't have considered otherwise.

 

Motto: Teach the child, not the curriculum.

 

This has helped a lot! I've got a 6th and a 7th grader, and I'm really struggling with finding a direction for next year. They have attended a weekly enrichment program throughout their elementary years, and many of their friends will be heading off to expensive 2-day a week tutorials next year. While we will be doing some outsourcing, that level of outsourcing just won't work for us. I'm trying to find the right balance I guess. Your post has given me new ideas and inspiration. I'm going to print it out and mull it over. Thank you!

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What I appreciated about using LHFHG in K was that it was so open-and-go, and the hands-on activities were so doable and actually got done by this non-craft-oriented mom. I also appreciated that my younger dd could participate in so many of the activities. I have read where parents have ruled out the rhymes in motion and dramatic play, etc., thinking their kids would not enjoy them at all or find them "babyish", only to later try them and find out their kids really enjoy them. You might give them a try. They tie into the lessons well and give the kids exercise and movement that you sometimes forget to do on your own if it's not scheduled. Carrie has a real knack for adding in things that you wouldn't think to do yourself. HOD is really strong in building skills, and some of them are pretty subtle.

 

I added in the Memoria Press K read-alouds to LHFHG and that worked well for us. I didn't find anything questionable in those. MFW K now has a book package as well that you could add in. You could also consider the Sonlight P4/5 books since there are still picture books in those. I found it easier to have a solid base program to work from that I could add to as I saw fit. I also added in the Memoria Press K art and music appreciation, poetry, and recitation to round out LHFHG.

 

HTH,

Kathy

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Here is a plan for you:

 

When the kids are breakfasted, read the Bible to all of them together. The littles can play with Kapla blocks quietly while you do this. Focus on the stories--the history narratives and the parables. Use a Bible story book sometimes, but read the actual Bible every day. Sing something seasonal and/or liturgical to them. If you do it every day for a while, they will learn it and start to join in.

 

After that, teach the 6yo his math lesson. Settle him at a table to do whatever written work he needs to to finish that while you play with the 3 and 4yo's.

 

Then pull out that big stack of books that you got at the library on your regular Friday trip. Read about 7 of them to the whole group. 4 picture books, 2 science picture books, 2 history picture books. If you are doing FLL, read that aloud at the end, focussing your attention on the 6 yo.

 

Then do your reading lesson with the 6 yo.

 

Then give the 6 yo a piece of large-lined paper that you have written some copywork neatly on, if he is ready for copywork. If not, teach him how to write one letter per day and have him practice it. Whatever.

 

Then have lunch.

 

Then put the babies down for their naps. Read more to the others. Maybe 45 minutes or so. This is when you read more advanced stuff--choose a chapter book that has no pictures, and read several chapters per day. Each time you start a section of it, tell them what happened so far and what the last thing that happened was--before you know it, they will be doing great summaries if you set that example! Read a little poetry, too. Then send the olders to their rooms for some quiet play time.

 

When everyone wakes up, go outside with them if the weather is bearable for it. Or let them use some craft materials or blocks to make something inside. Once week, open up an art book to a picture you think is beautiful, and just set it out for them to look at. Talk with them about it. Let them 'help' you make dinner. Sing some more while you're doing this and that.

 

At bedtime, read aloud again, all cuddled up. This is a great time for picture books. Talk about the day--best thing, worst thing. Pray together.

 

That's your routine, Monday through Thursday.

 

Friday is out and about day. Go to a local field trip site in the morning, after breakfast and Bible. This might be a nature walk, a natural history museum, a science museum, a children's museum, a zoo, an aquarium, or something else. Encourage the kids to hunt for 10 new things that they have never known or noticed before. (Join a couple of these places, for best results!) Go home for lunch--everyone will need a nap after this! When you all wake up, go to the library. Take out a ton of books, coordinating some of them with the field trip that morning. Come home and talk about the field trip, read some relevant books aloud, and maybe do an experiment to demonstrate something on the field trip, or assign a drawing of a historical figure or event from it, or something like that. Make dinner, read aloud some more, and then to bed.

 

Saturdays are for free play, catching up on house and garden work, having the kids start their own garden plots, and seasonal celebrations. Sunday is church and friends day.

 

Severely limit screen time. None is best at these ages.

 

There you go! A plan!

 

Oh my gosh, I love this!!! Can it really be this easy!!!

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You mention in your original post that you are very careful about your read-aloud material. We are also, and Sonlight did not work for us for that reason (even though I love their model of education).

 

Anyway, since I'm about to do LHFHG for the first time soon, would you be willing to share which books you are concerned about and why?

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You've gotten tons of great advice. I'm just going to suggest relaxing. They are little. It sounds trite but it's a marathon, not a sprint. K and 1st here are phonics/reading, math and handwriting. That takes about an hour total. We read tons of books. We play, play, play. Painting, messy crafts, play doh, cooking, gardening, puzzles, museums, zoos, etc often. It hasn't left my kids behind at all.

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You mention in your original post that you are very careful about your read-aloud material. We are also, and Sonlight did not work for us for that reason (even though I love their model of education).

 

Anyway, since I'm about to do LHFHG for the first time soon, would you be willing to share which books you are concerned about and why?

 

I just PM'd you about this. Hope it helps!

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Thank you for such great advice - I LOVE this board!!!

 

Yes, I need to relax...;)

 

I love some of the ideas for scheduling things and will be adding some of them into our day.

 

I think I am getting my plan in order now I'm just not sure I like my phonics...will it never end!!!!!:willy_nilly:

 

Not to keep this thread going by adding in another question but what do you like for phonics or maybe I don't want to know? :tongue_smilie:

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There is something I want to add...

 

One of the best pieces of advice that I got when DD was just a baby was to tell stories, not just read them. So I did, from very early on. I would make the day into a story, long before she could answer me (but she did understand pretty much.) We made up stories in the car, each person taking turns. I told Bible stories and fairy tales and history stories for years, and that meant that I could get things done while keeping everyone occupied with a story. This has been immeasurably helpful, and is a skill that has grown in everyone in our family because of it. It has helped with public speaking,vocabulary, and with working in groups as well as with homeschooling and academics.

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There is something I want to add...

 

One of the best pieces of advice that I got when DD was just a baby was to tell stories, not just read them. So I did, from very early on. I would make the day into a story, long before she could answer me (but she did understand pretty much.) We made up stories in the car, each person taking turns. I told Bible stories and fairy tales and history stories for years, and that meant that I could get things done while keeping everyone occupied with a story. This has been immeasurably helpful, and is a skill that has grown in everyone in our family because of it. It has helped with public speaking,vocabulary, and with working in groups as well as with homeschooling and academics.

 

Wow! What a great idea!

 

I think the art of storytelling has been largely lost in our time. With all the entertainment choices there are, I think most of us don't do this. The times I have, though, the children really love it ... especially when I make up a silly tale of some sort.

 

Thank you for the reminder!:001_smile:

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A program you didn't mention that would give you more a science focus as well as geography, is Galloping the Globe. I found this to be a fun curriculum to do before we started the history cycle. It was easy to adapt for my boys and a lot of fun. We were able to do art projects and cooking when we wanted. They could be involved or quick and simple. I am looking at pulling this out again next year for my youngest who will be in K. I don't know that any of the things you have really fit what you are looking for. With Galloping the Globe you will still need to plan and go find the books but I think it is worth the effort to get the things you are looking for.

 

This is exactly what I was going to recommend. It isn't open and go like MFW or some of the other programs you listed, but if you are willing to put in some time planning each week, you could have a wonderful year. When we did GTG, I'd hit the library once every week or two and pick up all our books for whatever country we were studying. I planned a craft, game and/or cooking project for each country. We usually watched a dvd about the country.

 

The year we used GTG was one of the best we ever had. There was a yahoo group where I got lots of great ideas for crafts and activities and extras, so it really wasn't hard to come up with those things. Some of them are recommended right in the GTG book.

 

Lisa

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My first year with ds he was 5 and dd was 2 we did something similiar to Carol's plan. At 9 am we started, first we did some circle time and songs from the wee sing book and then read books-10 or so for about an hour- we went to the library every week and picked out all kinds of books. Then we would play games for Math- like Candy Land, Shutes and Ladders or such have a snack and then do some kind of drawing- like outside with sticks or on the concrete with chalk or inside scribbling or such(he didn't develop the fine motor skills necessary for holding a pencil until halfway through the year and then I got HWoT and he just did some of that every day until he was tired of it). We tried to go outside and explore everyday that it was the least bit decent.

After that we would have lunch and do some more readaloud or watch some sort of doco or kid movie.

 

We have tried some things and dropped some things here since then but our current schedule is for ds (1st) dd(4) and dd(2). I do Math for 1 hr or so with ds (dd writes for a bit during this time but mostly her and dd2 play around. Then I read to everyone for about an hour- science, history, picture books, chapter books, you name it! Then ds does some reading practice and dd does some phonics work and by then it is time for a break and I clean up and then we do lunch. After lunch we do grammar and writing and then some Science and history sometimes. Science is also done as a family all the time and we have at least monthly nights of Science where we invite a bunch of boys for projects. We also do readalouds at night, usually picture books for the 2 youngest and some from a chapter book for ds and also some Bible and Saint stories as well.

 

I have to watch as sometimes I have let doing a curriculum get in the way of education. Our first year was a wonderful, wonderful year and the two years since I've keep trying to measure up to that but I keep adding and taking away and haven't quite captured it. However, as of late with our current reconfiguration I think we are in a good groove with everything except for Religious/Bible studies. I need to take up the suggestion of Carol and just make it breakfast time- I used to always read during breakfast and the kids loved that. We are currently taking more of a LCC approach. Next year I plan more of the same but adding in Latin as well and want our Science nights to be weekly.

Edited by soror
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] Sorry, no we LOVE read-alouds. We didn't like the particular books used in LHFHG for read-alouds. I want more to read to the kids. Does that make sense?

 

I see in your siggie that you are using Sonlight. I have looked breifly into Sonlight but worried about the some of the books not being what we want to expose our kids to. We are more the wait until they are older to expose them to the things like greek myths and difficult topics. Would it be easy to just skip those books? Are there many activities, crafts, or cooking in the TMs?

 

Sorry it took me a while to get back. We've used all the Sonlight cores from P 3/4 up to core E. For your aged dc I'd look at the P 4/5 core, especially the science books. They are so awesome! You can probably get most of them from your local library.

 

The core A, previously core K, is much better for grade 1 and up. I'm doing it with my 5 and 7 yo boys, and the 7 yo loves all the books. The SL science K books are great, but the P 4/5 books I find even better.

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Here is a plan for you:

 

When the kids are breakfasted, read the Bible to all of them together. The littles can play with Kapla blocks quietly while you do this. Focus on the stories--the history narratives and the parables. Use a Bible story book sometimes, but read the actual Bible every day. Sing something seasonal and/or liturgical to them. If you do it every day for a while, they will learn it and start to join in.

 

After that, teach the 6yo his math lesson. Settle him at a table to do whatever written work he needs to to finish that while you play with the 3 and 4yo's.

 

Then pull out that big stack of books that you got at the library on your regular Friday trip. Read about 7 of them to the whole group. 4 picture books, 2 science picture books, 2 history picture books. If you are doing FLL, read that aloud at the end, focussing your attention on the 6 yo.

 

Then do your reading lesson with the 6 yo.

 

Then give the 6 yo a piece of large-lined paper that you have written some copywork neatly on, if he is ready for copywork. If not, teach him how to write one letter per day and have him practice it. Whatever.

 

Then have lunch.

 

Then put the babies down for their naps. Read more to the others. Maybe 45 minutes or so. This is when you read more advanced stuff--choose a chapter book that has no pictures, and read several chapters per day. Each time you start a section of it, tell them what happened so far and what the last thing that happened was--before you know it, they will be doing great summaries if you set that example! Read a little poetry, too. Then send the olders to their rooms for some quiet play time.

 

When everyone wakes up, go outside with them if the weather is bearable for it. Or let them use some craft materials or blocks to make something inside. Once week, open up an art book to a picture you think is beautiful, and just set it out for them to look at. Talk with them about it. Let them 'help' you make dinner. Sing some more while you're doing this and that.

 

At bedtime, read aloud again, all cuddled up. This is a great time for picture books. Talk about the day--best thing, worst thing. Pray together.

 

That's your routine, Monday through Thursday.

 

Friday is out and about day. Go to a local field trip site in the morning, after breakfast and Bible. This might be a nature walk, a natural history museum, a science museum, a children's museum, a zoo, an aquarium, or something else. Encourage the kids to hunt for 10 new things that they have never known or noticed before. (Join a couple of these places, for best results!) Go home for lunch--everyone will need a nap after this! When you all wake up, go to the library. Take out a ton of books, coordinating some of them with the field trip that morning. Come home and talk about the field trip, read some relevant books aloud, and maybe do an experiment to demonstrate something on the field trip, or assign a drawing of a historical figure or event from it, or something like that. Make dinner, read aloud some more, and then to bed.

 

Saturdays are for free play, catching up on house and garden work, having the kids start their own garden plots, and seasonal celebrations. Sunday is church and friends day.

 

Severely limit screen time. None is best at these ages.

 

There you go! A plan!

Carol,

 

This is beautiful. I wish I had done this when my oldest was 6..... How quickly those days pass. The little experience I have gained has taught me that this is a PERFECT Plan for a family with young ones. I wish it would work with a 4th grader in the house ...

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There is something I want to add...

 

One of the best pieces of advice that I got when DD was just a baby was to tell stories, not just read them. So I did, from very early on. I would make the day into a story, long before she could answer me (but she did understand pretty much.) We made up stories in the car, each person taking turns. I told Bible stories and fairy tales and history stories for years, and that meant that I could get things done while keeping everyone occupied with a story. This has been immeasurably helpful, and is a skill that has grown in everyone in our family because of it. It has helped with public speaking,vocabulary, and with working in groups as well as with homeschooling and academics.

 

Carol,

 

How can I learn to do this? Any suggestions?

 

Wow! What a great idea!

 

I think the art of storytelling has been largely lost in our time. With all the entertainment choices there are, I think most of us don't do this. The times I have, though, the children really love it ... especially when I make up a silly tale of some sort.

 

Thank you for the reminder!:001_smile:

 

:iagree:

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Carol,

 

How can I learn to do this? Any suggestions?

 

 

 

Well, in my case it was really helpful to start when DD was still madly in love with me and hung on my every word, at age 1 or so, LOL. I was not as self-conscious that way!

 

I would say that it's best to start with a story that you know really well, whether it is a Bible story or a fairy tale or a story about when you were a little girl. It is somewhat helpful to have a captive, bored audience at first, like when you are driving around in the car. You can announce that you're going to tell a story and just start telling it.

 

Don't worry if you don't get everything just right. One of my most successful streams of stories happened because I got so tired of telling DD's favorite. We watched a Christian video--the Puzzle Kids at Easter--on TV, and DD loved that story. I told it to her every night for so long that I started changing it. We had the version that put us into the story, the version that involved a bunch of other people we knew, the version where we learned the family history of each person in the original cartoon, etc. I just made up something new every night out of sheer boredom.

 

Don't be afraid to make up something using the bare bones of some well-known story as the starting point. For instance, I once heard a fairy tale that included a great ice mountain, and I don't remember anything else about it. So I made up a story about a great ice mountain and bunch of scientifically oriented kids who figured out how to get to the top when no one else could. And then there was the Willy Wonka spinoff where we talked about the origins of the Oompa Loompas (emigrating as they did from an obscure Central American country) and their unionization efforts in the chocolate factory, thus tieing in industrial relations homeschooling with the story.

 

Be silly and joke around. Be kind of enthralling. Be actually interested in the story as you are telling it, especially if you are making it up as you go along. You don't have to plan everything.

 

Start small, just talk for 5 minutes. Once you're comfortable, it will be easy to do this!

 

Give your children a chance to do this, too. Start a story and have each person tell a paragraph of it, to make it up on the fly. I have done this with a group of 5 graders recently, and they really, really enjoyed it. It's a great way to develop people's imaginations.

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Oh my goodness this thread is absolutely brilliant! I was just talking to my husband yesterday, while crying, about how our days are just not what I want them to be. I can't seem to strike a balance. It's either this rigid schedule where we end up checking off the next thing and being stressed if it doesn't get done OR we get nothing done. Why can't I find the balance that I want? :sad: I truly don't think it's the curriculum (obviously) but me and my whole mind set and attitude. I'm already regretting the loss of my K year with my 5 year old. I want to change the way things are done for my middle schooler and I want to start out differently with the almost 6 year old.

 

This thread gives me some serious food for thought. I've got a budget of $1400 for next year and I've got to give some serious thought to how I want to spend that money. I'm also off to PM Carol in Cal. I suspect I'm not the only one PMing her :D

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