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Long-time hsers: what are your tried-and-true programs/methods?


Annabel Lee

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Well, I do agree with the bolded for sure. I first logged onto the boards in 8/08 (took a year long break from 2010-2011) and I miss some of the more philosophical discussions. They have surely decreased in number. People around even longer were probably noticing the decline in 2008...perhaps due to my own inane ramblings. :tongue_smilie:

 

I do agree that a big part of the problem is how many choices there are. And, yes, blanket recommendations are only useful insofar as they are not contradictory (which is to say not at all :lol:). It's hard to navigate, as a newbie. To separate the wheat from the chaff when you don't even remember learning to read and now you're trying to pick the perfect phonics program for your darling wee one and there are 1000 choices and dozens of people review them, loving or hating them for myriad reasons which you can't even relate to because OMG you have never taught anyone to read!!! So you ask for help here and a dozen people tell you a dozen different things. Where is the smiley who hyperventilates into a paper bag? :lol: (And I used *gasp* books to teach my kids to read--no phonics program--even though some here said it was a bad idea... Maybe I'm oldschool too. :lol:)

 

I remember a few years ago, a good friend who was considering homeschooling asked me, "But what do you use?" Like :confused:. She really had no idea what was out there. I didn't want to influence her too much by telling her what I used because I do think you should choose things that resonate with you. (I am an INTJ so researching and making decisions is second nature for me.) I suggested that she read up on this, that, and the other for herself before making any decisions. I loaned her some books. Oh. No. She called me back shortly thereafter and asked me, "OK, but what do you use?!?!" Like :willy_nilly::svengo: It is overwhelming and new homeschoolers are on here all the time like this --> :001_unsure: because of that. And older ones who have been stumbling along making other people's mistakes without thinking about their own goals, values, strengths and weaknesses are right there too. Of course, sometimes everyone just flat out needs opinions, reviews, advice, BTDT discussions, etc.

 

I agree with what another poster said before about more people homeschooling these days who are not fully convicted (for whatever reason). I personally have had three good friends dabble in homeschooling and then get out when it was harder than they thought. Or not as much fun. Or too exhausting. For whatever reason. The oldschoolers paved the way, smoothed the roads, so that people can make the choice to homeschool fairly easily by comparison. Maybe too easily. Now, that is waaaaay off-topic so I'll stop.

 

What happened to the dogs picture...I think it was you who had the lovely looking labrador. We want a dog like that. Never mind curriculum. I miss at least seeing the dog picture.

 

I think when people are absolutely new, not just newish, it helps to know what someone else uses just as a place to start. I know I did that too when I first started. I no longer use those things I then learned about, but it was a place to begin, and not until I got started did I see what worked or did not for my own situation.

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This has been so nice to read.:001_smile: I do miss the many "voices" that are contributing to this thread.

 

We've been very standard with these choices:

 

Singapore Math

R&S Math

some MP products (First Form Latin, etc.)

Our Roman Roots (catholic based latin but both girls enjoy(ed) it...)

Italics handwriting

studied dictation, copybooks, narration and other CM methods for language

books, books and more books (by great and timeless authors)

love the history books by Dorothy Mills

living books for science, geography, etc.

 

Also:

creating an environment which focuses on a love of learning...no matter what the topic

every day, every moment is a chance to learn something new and cherish the amazing world in which we live

taking your time to do something well

finding something to love or finding something beautiful or finding something which changes or reinforces what we know to be true in everything we see, read or learn

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Jumping back in to mention that 2 of my very best tried and trues are Read-Alouds and Drawing lessons.

We have a read-aloud going almost all of the time. We've read for years, for hours on end.. Last spring we read History of the Medieval World, this year we'll be doing Christain Studies together using 2 history books.

 

I also teach my kids to draw using Bruce McIntyre's Drawing Textbook, Draw Right Now, Mark Kistler, etc. It's a form a communication, and a simple pleasure that they can refine and hone their entire lives.

 

We also take long/regular walks together. The older kids often take the youngersto play by the river, observe the wildlife, etc. We live in the county and our kids are true naturalists, partly due to the walks, the time that they've had to observe and BE IN nature.

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What happened to the dogs picture...I think it was you who had the lovely looking labrador. We want a dog like that. Never mind curriculum. I miss at least seeing the dog picture.

 

:001_smile: How sweet! Yes, my chocolate lab used to be my avatar. I replaced it with my cat's picture for a while. Then one day I did a Google search looking for an old thread and both pics popped up in Google images. Not my kids or anything, but it freaked me out. I'm easy to freak out. :lol: Also, the tortoise has become our school mascot this year.

 

You should get a lab though. They're wonderful dogs. Our chocolate is our second lab and I doubt we'll ever have another breed.

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Jumping back in to mention that 2 of my very best tried and trues are Read-Alouds and Drawing lessons.

We have a read-aloud going almost all of the time. We've read for years, for hours on end.. Last spring we read History of the Medieval World, this year we'll be doing Christain Studies together using 2 history books.

 

I also teach my kids to draw using Bruce McIntyre's Drawing Textbook, Draw Right Now, Mark Kistler, etc. It's a form a communication, and a simple pleasure that they can refine and hone their entire lives.

 

We also take long/regular walks together. The older kids often take the youngersto play by the river, observe the wildlife, etc. We live in the county and our kids are true naturalists, partly due to the walks, the time that they've had to observe and BE IN nature.

I'm not an old timer but I've been contemplating and the 2 things I've enjoyed best about schooling are read-alouds and walks together. We done some drawing together here but not as much as I would like. Coincidentally I just got Draw, Write, Now in the mail as I was wanting a drawing book for ds and as a bonus he can practice writing as well. We've done some other things in the past and ds especially always loves drawing and I need something easy for me right now.

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The resources/methods that I have found to be the most valuable are:

 

- Story of the World which led to writing narrations, drawing pictures, lovely notebook pages etc. I think it gave my older kids a great grounding for further history studies and a good general knowledge of the world.

 

- Read-alouds. We still do them and they are still one of our favorite times of the day.

 

- Free-writing times. I know this is not very WTM but I never felt comfortable about being locked into a writing program. When my older kids were younger I made freewriting part of their school schedule twice a week. Some wonderful writing came out of those times. Those kids are now confident, fluent, and creative writers. I'm seeing the same trend now with my younger kids as they continue the twice-a-week free writing routine. In fact, my 10yo asked me today if she can have free writing every day :001_smile:.

 

- Lots of reading.

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I think most of us do. Why would you think we do not?

 

Years and years of experience. :001_smile: Most of the new homeschoolers I have seen have been very concerned with picking curriculum, but very few have been talking about learning how to be a better teacher instead. It's not something you hear in the homeschool community a lot to begin with, I think because it comes to close to the cliche of "How can you teach when aren't a certified teacher?" It has nothing to do with that, but there is a certain taboo in discussing whether moms (or dads) are doing a good job teaching or not.

 

It's not that I think that young homeschoolers care *less*, it's that I think many people don't think about it at all. There is precious little discussion abot self ed, teaching methods, etc. here, and almost none among the IRL homeschoolers I have known over the years. It's just that it's especially exciting to me when young homeschoolers are thinking about it, because they have so much time ahead of them to make it happen.

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Jumping back in to mention that 2 of my very best tried and trues are Read-Alouds and Drawing lessons.

We have a read-aloud going almost all of the time. We've read for years, for hours on end.. Last spring we read History of the Medieval World, this year we'll be doing Christain Studies together using 2 history books.

 

I also teach my kids to draw using Bruce McIntyre's Drawing Textbook, Draw Right Now, Mark Kistler, etc. It's a form a communication, and a simple pleasure that they can refine and hone their entire lives.

 

We also take long/regular walks together. The older kids often take the youngersto play by the river, observe the wildlife, etc. We live in the county and our kids are true naturalists, partly due to the walks, the time that they've had to observe and BE IN nature.

 

 

:001_wub:

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I have to put effort into figuring out how to make it work and what words to call out. I would far rather do that for $30 for all grade levels than follow what is in the AAS manuals for $17-22/level teacher's bk.)

 

Actually, it's up to $30-$40 per level now. :glare: If you were to get all 7 levels, with shipping, it would cost you $285.60. If you add on the phonograms CD-ROM ($15), card boxes ($10 each), dividers ($5), stickers, tile magnets ($5), extra tiles, stickers, and a magnetic dry erase board ($30), that's additional cost, some of which is optional. You do need the board, though.

 

So, for about $300-$350, you could use AAS for as many students as needed, for as many years as needed, then either resell it or use it for tutoring. Or keep it for your grandkids. :D IDK... somehow that's worth it to me, to not have to figure out what words to call each day of spelling for each student for years and years and years.

 

But we'll see how the next few years go. I have Spelling Power out in the garage. That's what I used when I tutored, and it works well for 3rd grade and up.

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Years and years of experience. :001_smile: Most of the new homeschoolers I have seen have been very concerned with picking curriculum, but very few have been talking about learning how to be a better teacher instead. It's not something you hear in the homeschool community a lot to begin with, I think because it comes to close to the cliche of "How can you teach when aren't a certified teacher?" It has nothing to do with that, but there is a certain taboo in discussing whether moms (or dads) are doing a good job teaching or not.

 

It's not that I think that young homeschoolers care *less*, it's that I think many people don't think about it at all. There is precious little discussion abot self ed, teaching methods, etc. here, and almost none among the IRL homeschoolers I have known over the years. It's just that it's especially exciting to me when young homeschoolers are thinking about it, because they have so much time ahead of them to make it happen.

 

Angela,

 

This is what I crave and what I believe is missing at most homeschool conferences and homeschool group meetings. When I listened to SWB and just a few others speak, it is like a breath of fresh air. While I value parenting and character, I really need teaching inspiration and knowledge. That alone could have saved me a lot of problems in years past.

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Years and years of experience. :001_smile: Most of the new homeschoolers I have seen have been very concerned with picking curriculum, but very few have been talking about learning how to be a better teacher instead. It's not something you hear in the homeschool community a lot to begin with, I think because it comes to close to the cliche of "How can you teach when aren't a certified teacher?" It has nothing to do with that, but there is a certain taboo in discussing whether moms (or dads) are doing a good job teaching or not.

 

It's not that I think that young homeschoolers care *less*, it's that I think many people don't think about it at all. There is precious little discussion abot self ed, teaching methods, etc. here, and almost none among the IRL homeschoolers I have known over the years. It's just that it's especially exciting to me when young homeschoolers are thinking about it, because they have so much time ahead of them to make it happen.

 

 

Yes, please share some sources for teacher education! This is what I would love- I think so many of us would feel more confident in using our own things for teaching if we were more confident in ourselves as teachers.

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Years and years of experience. :001_smile: Most of the new homeschoolers I have seen have been very concerned with picking curriculum, but very few have been talking about learning how to be a better teacher instead.

 

It's not that I think that young homeschoolers care *less*, it's that I think many people don't think about it at all. There is precious little discussion about self ed, teaching methods, etc. here, and almost none among the IRL homeschoolers I have known over the years. It's just that it's especially exciting to me when young homeschoolers are thinking about it, because they have so much time ahead of them to make it happen.

 

:iagree:

 

It's what I've thirsted for, and why I've read so many books for self-ed and self-help. It's also what draws me to this board---to hear from so many of you--including you, Angela--who have been at this so long and know what's at the end of the path we're traveling.

 

I would love to attend a gathering or conference which covered just these very things.

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Most of the new homeschoolers I have seen have been very concerned with picking curriculum, but very few have been talking about learning how to be a better teacher instead.

 

 

 

 

This has been my main concern from the start. This is why I searched used bookstore shelves for curricula obsessively for several years. (OK - I still do it sometimes.) I gleaned what I needed to glean and maybe used the curric, maybe resold it.

 

 

Maybe I'm an odd duck. Maybe I was pushed into the great search for learning how to be a better teacher by having an oldest with some interesting learning quirks.;) But, for me, the Great Curriculum Search has always been about gleaning the authors wisdom. At this point, I think I could teach any child how to read without any bought-curricula at all...but that's b/c I have searched the brains of many talented reading teachers via their curricula. (I'm sure I'll be able to say the same about middle school math in several years, after doing it 3 times in a row.:tongue_smilie:)

 

(I'm still a new HSer, right? My oldest is 9 and HSed from the start.)

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I think it's kind of funny to be considered a new homeschooler when my kids have never seen the inside of a school and I'm 40 years old.

 

:iagree:Same here, only I'm 45 and my kids have never seen the inside of a school or preschool. And I tutored for years before I had children. And I had a career before children, too. So I suppose we're "sort of new" to homeschooling, but not exactly new to life. :tongue_smilie:

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:iagree:Same here, only I'm 45 and my kids have never seen the inside of a school or preschool. And I tutored for years before I had children. And I had a career before children, too. So I suppose we're "sort of new" to homeschooling, but not exactly new to life. :tongue_smilie:

 

This struck me funny and made me laugh! I am not really "old" either. ;) I have been doing this a long time, but I am the same age as you (well, a yr older.) So, the terms are arbitrary, aren't they.:001_smile: (I really don't like being thought of as old.:lol: (though the joke in our house is to call me granny (in pure Bev Hillbilly style)---which I can't stand! :D Yes, I am a grandma 2x over, but my dd is still in diapers!!)

 

Well, I am on my way to a board break b/c these threads have inspired me to step back and re-evaluate myself! Cheers to a successful school beginning everyone.

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This struck me funny and made me laugh! I am not really "old" either. ;) I have been doing this a long time, but I am the same age as you (well, a yr older.) So, the terms are arbitrary, aren't they.:001_smile: (I really don't like being thought of as old.:lol: (though the joke in our house is to call me granny (in pure Bev Hillbilly style)---which I can't stand! :D Yes, I am a grandma 2x over, but my dd is still in diapers!!)

 

Well, I am on my way to a board break b/c these threads have inspired me to step back and re-evaluate myself! Cheers to a successful school beginning everyone.

 

Oh no!!! NOT RE-EVALUATION TIME!!!!!! I hate re-evaluation time. Sob!

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This struck me funny and made me laugh! I am not really "old" either. ;) I have been doing this a long time, but I am the same age as you (well, a yr older.) So, the terms are arbitrary, aren't they.:001_smile: (I really don't like being thought of as old.:lol:

 

Oh, Honey, if you're 46 you are old, old, OLD! :D Actually, I'm 45 and a HALF. :tongue_smilie: That's why I laugh when I see "young/new homeschooler" as an assumption, just because I have TWO five year olds. :willy_nilly::willy_nilly:

 

A few things happened in my life before they came, ya know?

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I've really enjoyed this thread, ladies! I just had an epiphany a few days ago as I realized I've gotten so caught up in the curriculum search that I'd lost sight of our vision. Without a vision... the people perish. Without knowing WHY you're homeschooling in the first place, and which methods and tools will help you achieve your family's goals, and how to use them.... it's an endless and futile search. :confused:

 

That whole "learning how to teach" thing.... yep. I wish I had read Ruth Beechick's book You Can Teach Your Child Successfully several years earlier than I did. It would've saved us a whole lot of math grief. :tongue_smilie:

 

I'm 49 :eek: and just started year 12 of homeschooling. Am I a veteran yet? I'm not sure. It seems that with each of my children, I've had to figure out how to teach all over again. :001_huh: I do think I'm getting better at it, though. At THIS point, I'm pretty certain I could teach my children with very little curriculum if I had to (and wanted to).

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Yes, please share some sources for teacher education! This is what I would love- I think so many of us would feel more confident in using our own things for teaching if we were more confident in ourselves as teachers.

 

Here are some random thoughts on what has helped me so far.

 

Donna just mentioned a great one: Ruth Beechick's book.

 

My standard, which I mentioned up-thread is The Seven Law of Teaching. I know the Teaching Company has a series now on teaching, but I haven't seen it yet.

 

Obviously, WTM. :001_smile: If you're prone to classical education, then add Joseph's The Trivium, not so much for teaching skills, but more for learning about logic and rhetoric in order to be able to incorporate the foundation for them at a young age and to know where you are headed.

 

For specific subject help, especially the humanities, as well as general ideas for how to guide an education, you can't beat talks from Circe, Veritas teacher trainings, and Wordmp3.com. Also, articles on the Memoria Press website.

 

It is helpful to use programs that teach you to teach, like IEW's TWSS and Teaching the Classics.

 

Also, in smaller ways, I have found popular "teacher store" books like Teach Like Your Hair is On Fire, the books about the 6+1 writing method, and so on to be helpful.

 

But really, the *biggest* thing is just learning the actual material myself. This was especially important in the 3Rs when they were younger. By having a clear picture of what the entire realm of phonics, spelling, and reading looked like, for example, I was able to incorporate reading instruction and practice into many areas of our life and to evaluate materials effectively.

 

As my dc have become older, delegating and outsourcing have helped, too. I have passed off the tasks of teaching some science, most post-algebra math, and foreign language, because those are pretty straightforward. That gives me time to teach literature, history, etc., where there is room for discussion and shaping the way my young people think, in a worldview sense, but mostly in the way they think, learn, and respond.

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I would add to Angela's list of teacher resources the encouragement to learn the philosophy behind the curriculum you're choosing/considering. Who is the author is what is his/her background? Why are THEY doing what they're doing? This is where you need to know WHY you're homeschooling in the first place. What are you goals? Where do you want your children to end up? Is there a dh involved? Which subjects are most important to you, and why?

 

Also, the closer you can get to original writings, the better. Always. Reading about Charlotte Mason by modern writers is very different than reading HER writings. Reading Ruth Beechick's books is better than just listening to someone else's interpretation of her methods. Talking to Susan Wise Bauer and Marie Hazell (or listening to their conference talks) is going to leave you with a different impression than just reading message boards. What is your view of education? Do you think it can be neutral? Why or why not? Do you even WANT it to be neutral? Do you believe in tailoring a curriculum to each child's personality and preferences, or do you believe in finishing what you start whether the kids like it or not? Both positions have their positives, but they both have their negatives, too.

 

Bottom line is that to be a good teacher, it's going to require some work on your part. Know your kids. Know your curriculum and its author(s), and how the curriculum is supposed to work. Know yourself. Get some conviction about what you're doing and WHY. Otherwise you're going to be like the double minded man who is unstable in all his ways. (James 1:8)

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Years and years of experience. :001_smile: Most of the new homeschoolers I have seen have been very concerned with picking curriculum, but very few have been talking about learning how to be a better teacher instead.

 

So very true. The longer I homeschool, the more concerned I am about how to be consistent, to balance introduction of new material and review, scheduling etc. It's more about logistics than about the material itself. I'm also concerned on working on myself and my family as a person - prudence, moderation, restraint, fortitude, joy, curiousity. Life skills and study skills. The list goes on but these are the intangibles that makes a successful student and adult.

 

But then again, I think that's because I've pondered long and hard about what I want to accomplish in a subject matter. Take grammar for example. How in depth do I believe is useful? Do I believe in diagramming, parsing, both or neither? Implicit or explicit? Yearly review or once in a few years? Teach till 8th grade or through high school? And really most importantly which applies to all subjects, how must the material be presented that I can understand and make it workable for my different kids just because I know where the program is heading and also its strengths and weakness. Once I can think of a subject philosophically, it's easier to be convinced that my chosen material is good enough and to truly master the content and its application.

 

Then it's just a matter of putting on selective blinders. I really don't want to be tempted by another program. Most often the incremental return is not worth the effort of introducing a new program.

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So very true. The longer I homeschool, the more concerned I am about how to be consistent, to balance introduction of new material and review, scheduling etc. It's more about logistics than about the material itself. I'm also concerned on working on myself and my family as a person - prudence, moderation, restraint, fortitude, joy, curiousity. Life skills and study skills. The list goes on but these are the intangibles that makes a successful student and adult.

 

But then again, I think that's because I've pondered long and hard about what I want to accomplish in a subject matter. Take grammar for example. How in depth do I believe is useful? Do I believe in diagramming, parsing, both or neither? Implicit or explicit? Yearly review or once in a few years? Teach till 8th grade or through high school? And really most importantly which applies to all subjects, how must the material be presented that I can understand and make it workable for my different kids just because I know where the program is heading and also its strengths and weakness. Once I can think of a subject philosophically, it's easier to be convinced that my chosen material is good enough and to truly master the content and its application.

 

Then it's just a matter of putting on selective blinders. I really don't want to be tempted by another program. Most often the incremental return is not worth the effort of introducing a new program.

 

Blinders, yes! I think they need to be passed out as often as chocolate! I'm enjoying this thread and it is making me re-evaluate too. Also lamenting the loss of 8filltheheart to her re-evaluation. :crying:

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Great thread! Can we bring back some of those old conversations that will help us new teachers? Just because there are so many threads devoted to curriculum does not men they all have to be.

 

No oldies for me yet, but I find that staying away from certain threads helps. Reading so many opinions can leave me dizzy at times.

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Great thread! Can we bring back some of those old conversations that will help us new teachers? Just because there are so many threads devoted to curriculum does not men they all have to be.

 

No oldies for me yet, but I find that staying away from certain threads helps. Reading so many opinions can leave me dizzy at times.

 

I looked some up this morning to link and then got side-tracked. Maybe we should have a "Deep Thoughts of the Week" thread similar to Book a Week. :tongue_smilie:

 

For now, here. (I left one of my favorites up on my browser all day.) We used to be able to give a star rating to threads and then view them ranked, which allowed you to see all the awesome ones altogether. We can't anymore but one thing I have done is clicked on "views" or even "replies" in the K-8 title bar and it takes you to the most epic ones, which are often the best.

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I looked some up this morning to link and then got side-tracked. Maybe we should have a "Deep Thoughts of the Week" thread similar to Book a Week. :tongue_smilie:

 

For now, here. (I left one of my favorites up on my browser all day.) We used to be able to give a star rating to threads and then view them ranked, which allowed you to see all the awesome ones altogether. We can't anymore but one thing I have done is clicked on "views" or even "replies" in the K-8 title bar and it takes you to the most epic ones, which are often the best.

 

 

Faithr's post right at the top of page 2 there, specifically the first half, is exactly what I was thinking and praying on this morning. I need strength for this job. Working with the curriculum is so much easier for me than working with relationships but if it's their hearts that I ultimately want, I need to redirect my meager energies.

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I looked some up this morning to link and then got side-tracked. Maybe we should have a "Deep Thoughts of the Week" thread similar to Book a Week. :tongue_smilie:

 

For now, here. (I left one of my favorites up on my browser all day.) We used to be able to give a star rating to threads and then view them ranked, which allowed you to see all the awesome ones altogether. We can't anymore but one thing I have done is clicked on "views" or even "replies" in the K-8 title bar and it takes you to the most epic ones, which are often the best.

 

Thanks!

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I need strength for this job. Working with the curriculum is so much easier for me than working with relationships but if it's their hearts that I ultimately want, I need to redirect my meager energies.

 

No kidding. Just had a tough morning :glare: :(

Raising human beings is a lot of work.

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