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If you used the WTM during the elementary years...

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Will you please tell me about your experience? Would you do it any differently if given the chance to do it over? What worked? What didn't? What was the best/worst thing about following all, some or most of the WTM's recommendations?

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Most of what we did following the WTM plan worked beautifully. I especially appreciated (and still do!) the methodical way of approaching history & literature. Only a few things didn't work for us: if I had to do it again, I would buy some kind of science programme. Maybe this was because I'm not a "sciency" person, but we floundered a lot. I also found that Latin did not work for us until much later (around grade 6 or 7) but this may have been because we had Russian and French going at the same time (we chose to do this because these are the languages spoken in our extended family) and it was just too much.


The only other things I would do differently are to read aloud consistently to my boys every day and engage them in discussions about the book (the few times we did it worked beautifully), and also to be very diligent in marking their work every day. I got lax and didn't pick up on a few things on time, and some bad habits got established. We're correcting them, but it would have been less painful if I'd been on top of it straight away :glare:

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I followed WTM loosely in elementary. I loved the idea of literaure, wiritng, art ,music etc based on the history we were studying. It was may favorite part of homeschooling (and I'm an engineer). I did singapore for math. I too was did science on my own. I wasn't happy with the depth of sciene I found. I think my kids got a great education becuase of it.


Coffee Bean

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After this upcoming school year is over I will be starting my 3rd rotation of the WTM style of chronological studies. I would not change a thing about history and literature. And every time we go through a time period we do it better than we did it before.


We have floundered with science quite a bit. I wish Peace Hill Press would come out with a science course that matches WTM.


We are Latin failures. I just can't seem to wrap my mind around Latin. I would like to change that!


I would, and did, and continue to, do it the WTM way again and again!!

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Will you please tell me about your experience? Would you do it any differently if given the chance to do it over? What worked? What didn't? What was the best/worst thing about following all, some or most of the WTM's recommendations?




Anyone else? It'd be great to hear from more high school Moms.

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I'll try to offer something here, but I'm remembering as I go so keep that in mind. Our hs'ed dc are now ages 15, 17, 20, 23, and 25. (youngest 3 are daughters and oldest 2 are sons)


We began WTM back around 1999-2000 (?). So our dd's were spared the hodge podge of things we had been doing for the boys. They've been pretty much WTM the whole way.


We did pretty much the exact books on the hist/lit lists, summaries, etc., for all of it. They're still in the GB's for the rhetoric stage. That worked beautifully. In fact, 15yod and 17yod were commenting a couple weeks ago about how well it worked to read those children's versions of the GB's and then the logic versions and finally the rhetoric versions. I have to agree with them on that.


For science, we had always used library books anyway, so we kept on doing that and added summaries and such to that process. I didn't do much else there other than the occasional experiment. They did decide to do those rhetoric-stage books in WTM (I don't care for them, but they said they were OK). And for what it's worth, our now 20yod wanted to take a standardized test a year or so ago, so I gave her the IOWA from BJU and was very surprised that her science scores were in the high 90's. So if I had it to do over, I'd check out tons and tons of library books (children AND adult books) centered around the 4 general areas as outlined in WTM. Have'em read, write, experiment, etc., all the way through as far as you can take'em (without the math).


I also had them read some kind of history of sci. and some of the GB's as they got older. To keep it all in context.


For reading, I used WRTR because I already knew how to use it. To that, I used the R&S Pathway readers (K-4th or 5th) and Phonics Pathways. And all the library books I could find worth reading plus WTM lists.


For grammar, we used ABeka and are now using Moutoux's Diagramming books. I was very happy with this program. The only thing I would do differently here would be to have them do the grammar sections separately from the writing sections (=2 subjects). Most of our dc said the ABeka writing was the best of all the writing programs they had done. Better than WS, IEW, and I can't remember what else. Said it was clearly organized and made sense.


For languages, I'd completely redo that. Start as soon as they could talk, do MANY foreign languages while having the mastery of Latin as the goal by the high school years. I'd use Henle as soon as they could read and add various things to keep it interesting. I'd skip all the kiddie programs. Check out other foreign lang. programs galore from the library and let them 'play' with them, play them while they're playing, etc. Have one main program but take them through many, loosely.


I'd also have them start Biblical Greek and Hebrew as early as possible, the goal being to read their Bibles in the original languages.


For math, which was the "worst" of WTM, I'd completely redo that. I'd do R&S for the arithmetic and add in plenty of more 'thinking'-type problems from other books. Charon or Myrtle could probably offer better suggestions than I can for the little kids. (We use Charon's list for math now, but our dc are much older than yours.) We did mostly Saxon, but I wouldn't do that at all. I'd focus on one main program and add in MANY other kinds of things form many other books. Also, I've had our dc do math history, bios, make voc. cards and memory sheets, etc. It's a subject just like history or science, not a bunch of random facts strewn together like so many math curr. present it. The goal is to give it back its 'cohesiveness' and flow. You'll see this as you get into it more.


For art and music, I think of them in terms of the skill, the history & bios, the listening/looking, etc. I'd use WTM books and lots of other resources, too - constantly. Once they get into the 'habit' of doing art/music, they take off on their own. The idea is to help them make it a habit when they're young.



The "best thing about following" WTM has been the effect it's had on their ability to understand their Bibles. They know their history and they're not afraid to look things up and dig deep and research things they don't know. This is invaluable when it comes time to find a good church/preacher, etc. ...... they can 'think'. :)


A couple of other things you might need to know about all this though. I'm pretty sure none of this would have worked as well had we not ditched the TV and other electronic distractions ages ago. We also stopped all outside activities. In fact, I was thinking not long ago about how much time we wasted on running from one sporting event to another; sitting through shallow, poorly prepared sermons in shallow activity-oriented churches; attending stupid events for the 'socialization value'; and on and on. If I had it to do over I would love to get back all that TIME. What a waste it all was. What our dc really needed most of all was good solid Biblical training and US. It really is just that simple, IMHO.





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Will you please tell me about your experience? Would you do it any differently if given the chance to do it over? What worked? What didn't? What was the best/worst thing about following all, some or most of the WTM's recommendations?


He'll be going into 10th next month. Some years we did better than others. I agree with the others that science seemed to us to be the weakest point and except for the first year we went to straight textbooks for most of it, while my science-loving sons also read non-fiction science for fun. We got pretty out of sequence for history for a few years there because I kept thinking we needed to add a year of American History, so we'd throw in American history books in every now and then. We threw in one year of Geography (Around the World in 180 Days) instead of a history.


We did Latin, but I don't know if I could have without a local co-op.


I never bought the updated version of WTM. Since I've been on these boards as long as I've been homeschooling, I would take the suggestions (often there were multiple book choices for subjects like math and grammar) in WTM and the suggestions here (especially for math textbooks) and occasionally the suggestions of friends or vendors at a homeschool conference, and pick the one that worked best.


One year I wondered if I could even call what I was doing "classical" education, because we were following so little of WTM's suggestions.


I don't really have any regrets with the path we've followed, because I've considered each year so carefully. That's not to say that I haven't made mistakes in choosing books or subjects! I think mistakes are inevitable. One of the joys of following a loose model like WTM is the freedom to "switch horses in the middle of the stream." Since there are no overschools watching my choices I have the freedom to make math book adjustments anytime my children need them. On the flip side, the book (and community) allow for some support to prod me along toward the goal -- support that I wouldn't have if I was merely making up my own curricula as an unaffiliated homeschooler or unschooler.


Not following WTM suggestions to memorize things in the earlier years is my biggest regret. Saxon math is my second biggest regret... I don't know what it is about that program, but it makes me nuts, and my kids even more nuts! :banghead: Falling away from the sequence in history is another regret, because now we have a huge hole where the medieval and renaissance period should be. My 13 and 11 year olds will see that period twice more, but my oldest will really have only one shot to get through it.

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Falling away from the sequence in history is another regret, because now we have a huge hole where the medieval and renaissance period should be. My 13 and 11 year olds will see that period twice more, but my oldest will really have only one shot to get through it.


Take heart, Laura K! Even if your oldest son only studies the Middle Ages one time during his homeschool years, he will have the rest of his life to come back to it.


I grew up in church and always heard the same "Bible stories" over and over again, without ever having them put into a timeline or Big Picture. We were not taught world history in public school, so I had no framework for any history, not even the Bible stories. As I grew older, I wondered about how it all fit together, what had happened in between the Old and New Testaments, and what had happened after the final chapter of the book of Revelation. I asked my pastors, but they said that it didn't matter, because all we needed to know about anything was in the Bible.


This didn't make sense to me, to not know the context for the Bible itself. I asked my pastors, again, and politely, to teach this, but they said that nobody wanted to hear about history or church history, so they didn't preach or teach it. Then, I asked an older friend, and she told me to start studying on my own, beginning with the juvenile non-fiction section of the library.


Over the years (from around 18 years old to today at 41), I have studied the broad outline of history and church history. It's been a work in progress. Sometimes I stand back and survey the timeline in my head, to find the weakest area, then I work on that spot. At other times, I dig deeper to fill in some more details, to think through what some aspect of history means for us today, or to tie it together with what came before and what came after.


Your son will have more opportunities to study the medieval and renaissance periods, because as you have followed the WTM approach, he has learned to be a life-long learner.

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I started using WTM with my oldest when he was going into 4th grade (also had a 2nd grader and kindergartener). We have really enjoyed the 4-year history cycle. Reading literature and books tied to history have helped keep our focus. (Previously I was using CM methods, and it always felt too "loose".)


Doing oral narrations and drawing pictures of the readings helped cement what we were learning. I kept a 3-ring notebook for each child with sections for reading, writing, latin, and history. All the narrations and pictures I saved are precious.


We never used the SOTW activity guide, but then I'm not much of a "hands-on" project kind of mom. I did find blackline maps on CD that I could print out to go with the history readings. I thought they were great, but found out last year the kids don't like "doing maps" at all! Go figure.


We switched to R&S Math when oldest was in 5th grade. (He had to start at 3rd grade level, and we worked really hard every year and every summer, and he finished 8th grade book at the end of 8th grade!! He's very excited to have this summer off from math!) I really like R&S math.


We use R&S English from 4th grade-8th grade. Really like it!


I probably wouldn't spend the money on Spelling Workout if I were starting over. It may cement a few things, but it's mostly busy-work (of course, it's busy-work they can do independently, which isn't all bad!)


I thought Prima Latina was too easy. Would just start LC1 in 3rd or 4th grade and aim to start Henle in 6th or 7th grade. I had no Latin background, so LCI/II was a real boon.


We did a smattering of piano lessons and listening to music for "music", and a smattering of art classes for "art". That was enough for us.


I think reading together and talking about what we read have been the best things in our home-school. Do enough math and writing to progress (I really like SWB's "Writing Without Fear" tape/CD - it was a great help to get my reluctant writers going!)


We don't do all the writing/outlining of history and science that WTM recommends for the logic stage. I ensure they learn outlining in their R&S English lessons - that's enough IMO.


I loved WTM suggestions for science, but in practice we just read a lot of science-y books from the library, studied nature (walks, visited the nature center, did some local programs), and tried to do as many "hands-on" kitchen-type science experiments as possible. My experience is that elementary kids love science and will soak up an unbelievable amount of information about the world around them, especially if they are exposed to real experiences: camping, cooking, gardening, fishing, etc. Ruth Beechick says those real experiences go a long way toward improving reading comprehension, and math understanding (and I say writing as well, because it gives them something to write about). In 7th and 8th grade we use the Apologia General and Physical Science classes, to get used to taking tests and writing up experiments in preparation for high school work.


In summary, I would use the structure of WTM, but wouldn't give up "real experiences" for book work in the early years. Keep it simple, especially 1st-6th grade: use the 4-year cycle to connect history and read-alouds, learn handwriting and copywork in 1-3 grades, learn writing skills and grammar using R&S English 4th-8th grades, practical math 1-3rd grades, R&S math 4th-8th grade (or your preferred curriculum - everyone is different when it comes to math). We always did Bible reading and memory work. Include that if it is important to your faith and family goals.




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We followed the WTM for elementary school, and I think it prepared my kids very well for high school work. We definitely supplemented quite a bit, particularly in science, but everything else was pretty much as described in WTM. They really have a great foundation for approaching high school level work, in all fields. Broad based and yet very detailed understanding of all major disciplines (English, Math, Science, Latin, History, etc).

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I will just add a couple of things - what I'm glad we did was take seriously the whole idea of getting the facts and basics down BEFORE trying to be too analytical.


We did spend time every day getting that spelling and learning those math facts. It was worth it!


And kids do need to know the basics of writing - the grammar of it - copying, dictation, just getting things down on paper correctly BEFORE they have to start thinking of things on their own to put down.

That was such valuable advice to me.


Taking the time to read aloud - there's no substitute. And making the most of every book possible. Take the time to go copy those coloring pages and do all the extra work to help your child have resources from which to make a really nice notebook. He will be proud of it and he will be motivated when he has new things constantly to show for what he has been studying.


I really do believe that one of the greatest things you give them as far as science at this early level is like SWB says, "that you get knowledge from books." Armfuls of books from the library on all the bugs and creatures and phenomena that intrique your children. They really are discovering when reading through these.

I probably should have believed this more and not worried that we weren't learning by only reading some of these enjoyable masterpieces.


Well, there are a few thoughts. There are already so many great posts here.


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