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Combing Beautiful Feet, Notgrass America the Beautiful, and SL...think I can?


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Yes, I know my plan has been to simplify and as for what we do each day, I will.


For younger two, I want to use BF Early Am. and Geography. Plus, I want to add SL Read Alouds and Readers. I will skip the history books and other stuff. I qualify for the TG at half price on this one, so I may get it. We would do one read aloud per day from either of the BF guides or SL. Then each kid would do one reader. I would probably do everything that corresponds with SL Core D this year, and then move into E next year.


For my oldest, we are both really drawn to Notgrass America the Beautiful. I am also in love with BF Early American and World. Then there are some books from SL core 100 that I like. So, I would spread ATB out over two years, do most of BF reading and discussing only, and add in some SL titles. He would only be doing ONE history reading per day either from Notgrass or BF, then have one book going for lit.


My problem will be money and working out the details of meshing them. It just seems that the perfect curriculum doesn't exist and I want to pull different things from different ones.

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Just simplify it into one nice, neat package that you can do with all the children together, and be done with it. My recommendation is to use MFW as your "core", then add the books you like from SL and BF to use in lieu of Book Basket. If you try to combine three separate complete history programs, you're going to end up bonkers. :001_huh:


I've posted before that my 8th grader is doing Notgrass ATB and we're liking it. But it really is too light.... I could be doing it with my 4th grader (w/some help). It takes my 8th grader less than an hour most days to do ALL the assignments in ATB, including literature and writing assignments. In fact, I'm not even counting the lit part of it as Literature in our recordkeeping because it takes so little time, there would be almost nothing left to count for History! So I've got her doing additional reading and lit study besides what's in ATB.


The maps and timeline book in ATB are no-brainers... "circle this" and "trace that". There's no original mapwork with it. MFW is much more meaty as far as what they actually learn, but you wouldn't have to do ALL the "meat", either. If you just go right down the grid doing the next thing, MFW keeps the core daily lessons pretty streamlined so that there's something for all ages to participate in and learn from. But you can add to it or keep it as straightforward as time, energy, and interest allow. You also gets the hands-on activities to pick and choose from, depending on each child's interest level and needs.


Then every child does math and LA at their own level, of course.


But again, I *do* like the ATB books. They're beautiful, and I like the emphasis on God's wonderful works of creation here in this land. If I had it to do over again, I would keep my 8th grader in MFW, but have ATB on hand just to read through and enjoy sort of "book basket" style. It would even make a nice coffee table book for someone to pick up and browse here and there, as the lessons are short enough for a curious guest (or husband, LOL) to read while waiting on a cup of coffee.

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Thanks for your recommendation, but we just left MFW after two years. When we started, I loved it. But, I have found that the spines are not my favorite. My dc and I dislike SOTW. I wanted my oldest to do some different books for Bible this year that apply to his teenage era, but my younger two are too young for them. Combining just doesn't seem to be working. I didn't understand this criticism of MFW when I first started, but I find that I read aloud things that my oldest could read, and would prefer to read himself. He has a desire to be more independent, and he gets more out of it this way. Then, I have to stop to explain to my younger two what I just read. The younger two get bored because the books are over their heads, so they become fidgety. My oldest gets bored by having to stop and listen to me explain to the younger two. And, this year we were moving into Exp. to 1850 with the younger add-ons. I was going to be reading extra most days anyway. I considered having my oldest read most of the books himself, but after a few weeks of floundering with history, I realized he needs ONE history book per day.


So, the younger two and I have started BF Early American and we really like it. We will read the ONE history book per day together and do whatever activities are in the guide. One day per week we will do Geography instead. Each will have their own reader to do independently from our collection of titles from SL, HOD, and other reading lists. Some will be history related and some will just be good books. We will spread this out over two years if needed, but I already have the BF Western Expansion guide that we will continue with when we are done with the Early Am. one. These two are enjoying having history that targets their age.


My 7th grader is doing Notgrass America the Beautiful and BF Early American and World. He will only do a lesson from ONE of these per day for his history study, and it will be spread over two years. Then for his literature study each day, he will have titles that have been selected from the ATB recommendations, SL, HOD, or whatever other good literature I come across. He likes being able to get his list and get busy instead of waiting on me to read a stack of books each morning.


Then, at night or lunch, I read aloud something to everyone. Most of the time this will be related to history and will be chosen from my past favorites from when I did SL with my step-dd. Other times it will be something we just pick for fun.


My ultimate plan this year was to break away from a boxed curriculum. I have found that I need more freedom to individualize each kid's studies. We don't all need the same thing from our Bible study right now. One kid desires independence and others are getting more out of books that are targeted for them. The younger two are into interest-led science, not whatever is on the schedule for the day. My oldest needed to move on to a textbook approach in order to develop the skills I want to work on in science this year (study skills, test taking, etc.). I have very fond memories of my time with step-dd in SL, then I remember that we hated the spines. I love the thought of HOD, but my oldest gets overwhelmed with all of the boxes and needs a more stream-lined approach. I love the thought of family-style learning with MFW, but in reality we need individuality and fewer books per day. I love books from all of these curricula and MORE, but I also REALLY dislike books from each as well.


My oldest and I really like ATB as a spine. BF for him will be filler and if we really dislike something, then we will drop that book. I don't think it will be a problem because it is typically spines that we dislike and BF doesn't have a spine in this guide unless you consider the Foster books spines, which we love. We will do the discussion from the BF guide, but little else.


With my younger two, BF should be great because there are no spines. Again, that seems to be what we dislike about all of the other programs.


It has taken us some time to find our footing this year. TruthQuest was supposed to be IT for us this year, but I need more of a plan. I am still using it for a reference tool to fit readers and read alouds in at the appropriate time period.


So, everyone is being met where they are: elementary books for the elementary kids, independence with discussion for the one desiring that. Bible is tailor fit for the stage of life. Science is working where I want it to be. And, with a family read aloud, we are all still enjoying a story together. Honestly, our days are even more streamlined.


ETA: I know my original post stated three curricula, but I realized I was just missing some of those great SL books. I would still love to have the Core D and Core 100 guides as tools, but can't afford them right now. I wouldn't do everything in them if I did have them. I would simply pull titles and questions from them.

Edited by mothergooseofthree
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