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Hi - hack my curriculum plan, please! - update


SarahW
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TOTALLY NEW STUFF AT THE BOTTOM OF PAGE

 

As a background, I have a (just turned) 6yo son who is currently in an advanced kindergarten class at a charter school. He hates it. He likes his teacher, the work is a breeze for him, he has friends there, but.... As his teacher says "He's really bright, when he pays attention!!!" He's a very kinesthetic and inductive learner, and when he is done with something he is D.O.N.E. done. We'll be moving before the end of the school year (to Georgia), and rather than try to place him in a different school and try to figure out his grade level (he's currently doing 1st grade work, and will be moving into 2nd grade reading within the next few months), we have decided to homeschool next year.

 

I was homeschooled as a child, so it's not entirely new to me. But when I was homeschooled (in the 90's) I just did BJU, ABeka, and various other random textbooks. My mom wasn't hands-on, so I was pretty much unschooled, but with textbooks (yeah, didn't really work out). I have been doing some reading, and love the approach of both Well-Trained Mind and When Children Love to Learn, and agree with unschooling insofar as I don't think grades and scores are helpful, especially for the bright child (for me they just turned me into a prig, bah!).

 

I have been making a curriculum list and this is what I have come up with so far: (We're Continuing Anglicans, so that's why there's a mix of Catholic and Protestant things, yes, sometimes it's confusing!)

 

 

Math : Making Math Meaningful – Level 2 & Math worksheets as needed [http://www.cimt.plym...ault.htm#year1]

Latin : Song School Latin

Writing : Handwriting Without Tears - Printing Power Plus

Language Arts : First Language Lessons – Level 1

Religion : Faith and Life by Ignatius Press – Level 1 and for reading Stories from the Old Testament by Frances Lincoln & Stories From the New Testament by Frances Lincoln

Science : Noeo Science – Biology 1

History : The Story of the World – Volume 1 and Supplement with texts : http://www.fordham.e...kfull.asp#Human Origins or ANET

Art – Artistic Pursuits – Book 1

Music : Classical Composers Monthly

Spelling : My Catholic Speller – Level A

Geography – Trail Guide to World Geography

Philosophy : Learning to Think by Jacob Abbott

Aesop’s Fables : Aesop's Fables by Living Books Press

Logic : Mind Benders – Book 2

 

Additional:

 

The Harp and the Laurel Wreath : (supplemental to First Language Lessons, good resource for more poetry. Includes dictation work)

Book of Centuries : http://simplycharlot...k-of-centuries/ [http://www.homeschoo...jContents2.html ]Can use Ancient History Portfolio Junior

Nature walks : http://simplycharlot...cmguide/nature/ Can use Nature Portfolio [http://www.homeschoo.../aNature2.html]

 

 

Extra-curricular:

Swimming lessons

Piano lessons

Additional homeschool activities - the county in GA we will be moving to runs various homeschool enrichment activities through the Parks&Rec.

 

The schedule looks like this right now; (On Mon/Tues material is introduced, and first half completed. On Wed/Thurs previous material is reviewed, and second half completed.)

 

Mon Language Arts Writing Art Math History Philosophy Aesop's Fables

 

Tue Latin Spelling Music Science Religion Geography Logic

 

Wed Language Arts Writing Art Math History Philosophy Extra Activity

 

Thu Latin Spelling Music Science Religion Geography Extra Activity

 

Fri Nature Walk OR Field Trip

 

 

I think that there is a lot of overlap between the curriculum choices (the only book I've completely reviewed is Faith&Life). As I understand it, CM encourages lots of subjects to learn the same thing in many different ways. The thing I am worried about is whether all the texts are consistent with each other.

 

For example, HWT uses double lines, but every other handwriting exercise in the Speller and Latin (and maybe others) uses triple lines. DS likes consistency, a lot. Things must be the SAME or else it is WRONG ( :willy_nilly:). Is this going to be a big problem?

 

As far as supporting activities - is there too much overlap between the activity book of SOTW and the Ancient History Portfolio Junior? Or can they just be combined -activities from SOTW just inserted into appropriate place in the Portfolio? I know the Portfolio isn't necessary to make a timeline, but as this is all new I think it may help give us direction.

 

I have the same concern with Geography - SOTW also does mapping, yes? Is having the subjects on different days enough to keep this from getting confusing/repetitive?

 

I tried to mix up the subjects for each day, and I want each day of instruction to be about three hours total (9am - 12 pm). Does this look like a good mix that can be accomplished in that time?

 

Also, given the curriculum list, can you complete a year just doing the subject twice a week? Like I said, ds is an advanced reader, so I think we can accomplish a good amount each day. But if the logistics of that schedule just won't work anyways, please let me know.

 

Is it all too much? Is it missing anything? Any advice would be great!

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It is very obvious that you have done a fantastic amount of research:) With a 6yo that is just beginning homeschool I would start with the absolute basics (reading, writing, math) and add in as you feel comfortable. Read lots of books together and do just basics for at least a month. My fear for you is if you try to do everything on your list you will get burned out pretty quickly, especially if you are going to be moving. And yes, there are some subjects that do overlap, but that is ok as long as you and your child are not feeling overwhelmed. If I were you I would start with math, handwriting, and first language lessons. Then if you are ready for more slowly add in more subjects.

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Welcome to homeschooling (the parent/teacher side!), and welcome to the WTM Board! :)

 

 

It is very obvious that you have done a fantastic amount of research:) With a 6yo that is just beginning homeschool I would start with the absolute basics (reading, writing, math) and add in as you feel comfortable. Read lots of books together and do just basics for at least a month. My fear for you is if you try to do everything on your list you will get burned out pretty quickly, especially if you are going to be moving. And yes, there are some subjects that do overlap, but that is ok as long as you and your child are not feeling overwhelmed. If I were you I would start with math, handwriting, and first language lessons. Then if you are ready for more slowly add in more subjects.

 

 

 

:iagree:

 

 

Remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint! :) Trying to sprint out of the starting blocks with that much of a load on your back and then keep it up at sprint pace is definitely a recipe for burnout!

 

You'll have lots of time over the next years to work in those extras! One way to ease some of them in is have a short (10-15 min) "together time" right after starting your morning with your Bible time. One day do 1 page from your logic/critical thinking puzzles. Another day, read a page or two from your Learning to Think book. Another day have a poem and tea (or hot chocolate).

 

Also realize that there will be melt-down days, or times you or your child are sick or crabby. ESP. in these early years, it is GOOD to toss your schedule and carefully-made plans aside and just curl up together and read all day, play games, go out of the house and do something spontaneous and fun, or watch an educational video or documentary, or just play and bake all day, or -- :gasp: -- not do ANY school at all.

 

Also, don't feel you have to do some sort of formal schoolwork for proof or justification for everything you do. Keep alive that love of learning and joy of discovery. What I mean is, when you go on a nature walk once a week -- just go and enjoy, don't feel you "must" use your educational nature supplements. If you have a child who is really interested in your nature walk supplements, great! And if something educational comes up during your walk, fine. But don't feel you have to make it an "instructive" time, or have to write or draw about it afterwards. You can end up with a rebellious child if they feel you are making *everything* into school. (At least, my DSs rebelled at that attempt. ;))

 

 

You've done loads of research; you've got a great plan; now RELAX and ENJOY! You are setting out on a wonderful family adventure! BEST of luck! Warmly, Lori D.

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It's great that you know which curriculums you are wanting to use -- you've really given it a lot of thought. But it looks to me like a lot to jump into all at once.

 

I think math might be a little under represented in your schedule. Math retention tends to work better when done frequently. For us, it is a subject that is always done daily. We try to do spelling and handwriting daily too because they are very quick (and fun). Science for us usually requires a much larger time block than other subjects, so it gets done once a week.

 

We started off with three subjects at the beginning of the year and slowly added in others as the original subjects became familiar and routine.

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My schedule looked so similar to yours when I was first starting out. I quickly discovered what was really.important to cover and what could "fall off" with no problem. It is so exciting to plan it all out, but execution was entirely different (everything took so much longer than I thought!). I also learned along the way that my dd needed different materials than I thought she'd like/need, so I ended doing a lot of changing things up. We are all on a journey, and learning by doing is also what we parents need to do sometimes. If you discover you bit off more than you can chew, you can cut things back and change them to fit your needs. That's what I love about hs- flexibility.

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First, :iagree: with edeemarie & Lori D.

 

I also have some comments. (I had to look up "inductive learner." Learn something new every day.) Part of homeschooling is learning about your kid and yourself. Ask any homeschool mom on here how much of her 1st year picks were a success & find that most of us changed (or wanted to change) because things didn't work out like we thought they would. (I researched Megawords for years & thought it was what I wanted for oldest this year. I was oh-so-wrong.) So, expect things to be different than your ideal. And don't let that get you down!

 

I think you have Too Much right now. Pare down. I know CM loves oodles of subjects, but .... I haven't seen it work well in Real Life.

 

Specific comments:

I think your son will be bored to tears by FLL1 unless you are planning on skipping quite a few lessons & accelerating through it. (I have the old combo FLL1/2 book & we did all of 1 in a semester & only did it 3 days per week.) Perhaps Primary Language Lessons might be a better pick? Or Grammar-Land? Or skipping formal grammar this year. Or FLL2 instead of 1. Just consider.

 

Consider adding Latin, Art, Music, Philosophy, & Logic in after a semester of the 3Rs or just pick one or two of them to rotate through once per week. (Some people successfully do Art/Music on Fridays.)

 

(I'm biased against Faith & Life because I had to use it when I was young & I was bored to tears/hated it. Many families like it. Check into the online version as some families say it is much better than the text itself. I have no experience with the online component, FWIW.)

 

Pick one -- either History or Geography. Don't try to do both. I would wait on the Book of Centuries at your son's age.

 

Science & History/Geography at this age are gravy. Don't feel like you have to rush through a bunch of material. Pick out interesting books at the library & read through them with him. Find a book of experiments (or buy an experiment kit) & work through one or two each week. My kids have fond memories of the year(s) we used Mudpies to Magnets. You don't have to spend $$$ at that age. If you have a good library system where you move, use it. Good libraries are GOLDEN!

 

Don't try to overplan. Let him play some each day & let him know that is when he has free time.

 

Read To Him. Read With Him (buddy read). Enjoy your time with him. :hurray:

Don't freak out that you are not doing enough or that you need to be doing more. Pace yourself.

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I agree with pp. You have picked out some great stuff to use, but at that age I would not attempt the schedule you have planned out.

 

You are going to have to do a bit of deschooling. He will have to get used to the idea of school at home rather than away. You will also have to adjust to the move and settling down in your new home. It's great that you have a homeschool outlet to meet other people.

 

In 1st grade (gifted or otherwise) I would just focus on relaxed academics and play. And the basics. You want to do a math lesson daily. You want to practice phonics and have him practice reading aloud to you daily. (I don't see anything in your list for his reading skills?) You want to read great books (all kinds of picture books and longer chapter books) to him daily. You want him doing some sort of writing daily. I personally love HWT and I don't even stress about the lined paper issue. From the very get go I give my kids regular notebook paper to write on. No triple lined or special HWT double lined etc. We use the HWT workbook and for everything else we just use plain Jane notebook paper.

 

I also don't think you would need to review so much during the week. I really don't. You'll know when you have to and when you don't. So I wouldn't worry about scheduling it. I plan on using FLL with my Kinder next year. Just drop it if he seems bored, it's really not that important. IMO you can pick up grammar in 3rd and just make it play based in the beginning. I wonder if something like WWE 1 would be more challenging or interesting to your ds?

 

Also you can finish some things in a few weeks to a semester. HWT for instance. Just work along every day until you're done and then use free writing time and copywork to keep writing skills sharp the rest of the year. A handwriting book won't take all year. So just introduce it, work through it, get 'er done, move on.

 

I also use SOTW. Don't even attempt to do every project or to read every extra book. Do the map, coloring page if he wants to (that's not even necessary), your timeline work, and maybe one activity each chapter. You can even get by reading a chapter and doing no activity at all. You can even read a whole chapter in one sitting if he's interested. The extra books I may read aloud, just have around to look at freely. I rarely ask for narrations or any kind of school type stuff with the extra books. For geography I would just keep it light. Keep a map on the wall and a globe, learn the states and the continents, the oceans. Read some books. I like to read folktale from each culture and then point that place out on the map. Read some Holling C Holling books.

 

I also use Artistic Pursuits. I really wouldn't try to do it twice a week. I have Fridays as our art day and we just do one lesson in ArtPur and picture study with Harmony Fine Arts. We may listen to music and read a biography about our composer or artist of the month. All of that really only takes about an hour or two.

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I don't think you can do math two days a week. I was trying to do it 3 or 4 days a week and we didn't move nearly as quickly as we should have with my eldest DD.

 

We use MEP (which you have as "supplemental") as our math curriculum and I would find it hard to pick and choose it as "extras" although if you stuck with just working on the logic puzzles, maybe. The meat of MEP is not in the worksheets, but in the lesson plans. MEP starts off deceptively simply. I mean, there's a little counting and a little coloring and it looks like it isn't enough. It ramps up quickly, though. It looks very easy, but using the lesson plans with the worksheets makes it a challenging program that gives pupils an excellent number sense - dealing with inequalities, algebra-like problems, an introduction to negative numbers, and a solid grasp of addition between 1-20. Don't let that fool you either, my eldest is just about to start 2B and we'll be doing multiplication after we worked on addition and subtraction up to 100 in 2A.

 

I have learned so much about math from MEP.

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Thanks for all the advice everyone!

 

To respond to specifics, but in general:

 

Son's handwriting is really terrible. I have already tried pulling out alphabet copy sheets and chanting "top to bottom, left to right" over and over, but after doing two nice letters he just goes back to whatever-lazy style. He also has a problem with "basement" letters, he doesn't want to go below the line! He has already caused tears on this issue, so I'm drawn to something which promises to be tear-free. Given his learning style, is there a good hands-on approach that answers the "why" of writing nice letters?

 

I picked FLL 1 because I saw the first lesson is about nouns, something he hasn't covered yet. I don't know how he can have a spelling list of nearly 40 words (tested every Friday) and be expected to write sentences and stories by himself, and not have been exposed to the basic parts of speech (I guess that's not on the FCAT, ugh, definitely moving out of Florida before he has to take that this Spring!). If it's easy I guess I'll just have to be flexible and just do the lessons that contain new material for him?

 

I'll look into WWE. With having a Latin course I was thinking that he should be exposed to English grammar too. At least, to have an explanation given for him to "hang" things on. I'm not really interested in drilling grammar for a while!

 

I picked Faith&Life because I already own it. I got it to help plan my Sunday School materials. But, well, I think it is the best comprehensive curriculum out there, but it is pretty terrible sometimes. Not CM or WTM or anything like it. My plan was to first read a relevant part from the Lincoln books and then read the chapter in the student's book and discuss. Twice a week, and, eh, ok. Can't believe the books were written with the intention to have a full hour lesson 5x a week, though. That's just torture.

 

Son really likes science - he watches Bill Nye the Science Guy dvd's for fun when he comes home from school (and tries to repeat the experiments himself). So that's why I'm leaning to a heavy science program like Noeo, he'll do science pretty much every single day. From what I saw of the sample of Trail Guide it has a science focus (figuring out latitude and longitude and the like, thinking about geological elements), does this continue throughout the books? If it does, son will just think it's fun. If it's a lot of putting names on a map - he'll refuse to do it.

 

I actually haven't looked into MEP that much. Some of the reviews of MMM said that sometimes students need a "worksheet" to lay everything out, and MEP looked like it had a good selection to choose from. I'll look into MEP some more, but I like the see and touch and know approach of MMM, so I'll have to see if you can do that with MEP.

 

I didn't pick a separate reading book because it seemed like so many of the subjects already included a lot of reading.

 

Yes, flexibility is key - :) . Ds's teacher has shifted how she does class a few times already this year, and she's been teaching for over 25 years! Since we're probably moving before the end of the school year maybe I can try to print out the sample pages and give it a trial run before I order the books - make sure I don't spend money on something he deems "nonsense!"

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We're in the same boat (age wise) as you and reading your post made me very overwhelmed. We try to focus on LA and math. About 45 minutes a day on LA and 15 on math is about all he can sit still for. We do come back and revisit to try to get in a bit of extra each day (and we do weekends) but overall it's still less than 2 hours and that feels appropriate for his age and (IMO) he's doing really well with that amount of work. I know we need to add in some history at some point but for now we're comfortable with this pace. I think at this age they need more downtime and your plans appear to me to take quite a bit of time each day?

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My advice :)

 

I would say math needs to be done daily or at least 4 times a week if you plan on Friday being an off day.

I would start out with half of the extra stuff and work into it

I wouldn't run a geography program and a history program, I tried and failed.

FLL will probably be boring to him, but I would still plan on using it and going through it at a faster pace starting off. I'd plan on buying level 2 at least to have on hand. My first grade son that isn't advanced flew through level 1. It also works on memoriazation.

We do not like HWOT, it causes confusion if things do not line up. My son hated it. I would look into another program and even maybe starting him in cursive if he is doing well enough already.

 

And no matter what do what works best for your family. If you can get all this done, great! But do not feel like a failure when you realize math, LA, writing, and one other thing a day get done :) We build a lot of things, play games, go to the park, and learn through life. We are still way ahead than most kids in a PS system that work all day. Let your child lead the way and try not to burn yourself out!

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I like your program. I'm about to start doing a similar amount of work with my 6yo when she starts 1st grade in a week. I just posted my plans on our blog if you want to take a look.

 

Although it looks like a lot listed out it only takes 3.5 hours a day which my child can handle fine. Lessons are only 15 minutes each -short and sweet.

 

We do science twice a week because my kids love it.

 

We used Hwot -my dd hated writing as well. It worked fine for her with all the issues she was having. We aren't using the cursive though. She has finished book 2 and now we will use a regular book for our state.

 

I agree with the math though -its better to do short lessons everyday rather then two longer chunks a week.

 

Really you know your son best and if you think he can manage that schedule then try it. Drop things or change things as you need to. Since he has been going to school he is already used to a longer day.

 

Have fun.

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I agree with other posters to start with the basics and add other subjects when you see that things are going well with your basic subjects.

 

We like Rod and Staff for Bible/Reading.

 

I highly recommend Life of Fred for math and MCT Grammar Island as fun ways (but both solid programs) to begin your home school adventure.

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I like your program. I'm about to start doing a similar amount of work with my 6yo when she starts 1st grade in a week. I just posted my plans on our blog if you want to take a look. Although it looks like a lot listed out it only takes 3.5 hours a day which my child can handle fine. Lessons are only 15 minutes each -short and sweet. We do science twice a week because my kids love it. We used Hwot -my dd hated writing as well. It worked fine for her with all the issues she was having. We aren't using the cursive though. She has finished book 2 and now we will use a regular book for our state. I agree with the math though -its better to do short lessons everyday rather then two longer chunks a week. Really you know your son best and if you think he can manage that schedule then try it. Drop things or change things as you need to. Since he has been going to school he is already used to a longer day. Have fun.

 

We do have pretty much the same curriculum!

 

Yes, he already goes to school for 6.5 hours every day. I know he's not in the classroom all of those hours, but it's too much for him. He would be thrilled with 3 hours, which is what I'm hoping would be the max amount of "work" hours every day. 15 mins per subject and then move on seems best - that's how ds already does his homework (sometimes he has a lot of homework). Do you take "breaks" after a few subjects, or do you just let a lesson activity or discussion cause a few minutes of mental relaxation?

 

I see the point of math every day. I tried to have the subjects switch up because ds is sensitive to repetitive things getting boring ("hey, wait a minute! didn't I just do this yesterday!!"). I'll have to think of ways of mixing it up a bit. Maybe doing it in a different place in the order would help?

 

------

 

My new thought is, since we are probably pulling him out of school here before the end of this school year, I could start doing just HWT a bit over May-June so that he gets that straightened out. Then the three-line writing he's exposed to in the Fall would just be reinforcement. But one of the above comments about "deschooling" piqued my interest. Right now he is thrilled with the idea of homeschooling, and I don't think kindergarten has yet killed his interest in doing "work" so I'm not sure how much he would need to "decompress" from public school life before starting any homeschooling. Every kid's different, I suppose. Every kid is also full of surprises.....

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I see the point of math every day. I tried to have the subjects switch up because ds is sensitive to repetitive things getting boring ("hey, wait a minute! didn't I just do this yesterday!!"). I'll have to think of ways of mixing it up a bit. Maybe doing it in a different place in the order would help?

 

 

Every morning I tell ds what subjects are on the schedule that day. I get him to choose the subject order. If he doesn't want to choose that day I say I will choose, after which he quickly picks something. Most days he wants to start with HWT.

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Do you take "breaks" after a few subjects, or do you just let a lesson activity or discussion cause a few minutes of mental relaxation?

 

 

I'll be posting a schedule on my blog in the new future after I finish tweaking it. We do our work in blocks -about 45 minutes long then a 20 minute break. After the 3rd block is lunch. I also alternate the subjects so that we have one that requires RA after one that requires a lot of effort like handwriting.

 

We do the lighter subjects that my kids love last in the day so that they are still motivated to keep working eg. Science, art, literature read alouds.

 

As for math -it's very easy to keep that interesting. One day worksheets, one day math manipulatives, one day online review and a few days of the main curriculum interspersed.

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My thoughts...

 

Focus on the basics first - Math, Language Arts, Reading 4-5x's week

 

If time, add in the secondary subjects - Religion, History, Science, Latin 2-3x's week

 

If you still have time, add in - art, music, field trips 1x week

 

 

Modified Schedule

 

Mon Language Arts Math History Aesop's Fables Religion

 

Tue Latin Reading Spelling Music Math

 

Wed Language Arts Art Math History Religion

 

Thu Latin Reading Spelling Math Science

 

Fri Nature Walk OR Field Trip (add in any extras here)

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Another thought would be to use two different math curriculums and then you'd be switching it up. Or maybe buy the RightStart Math games and you could play those. I just am not sure I would be willing to do math only two times a week this early in his education :)

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I looked into Life of Fred - I think the name confused me before so I overlooked it. But it looks like it's something that could be added in two days, then MM or MEP the other two days. Not sure how they would all combine - or if that will mean progressing too slowly. But since he is already a grade level ahead, maybe making sure he has the basic theory down pat wouldn't be a bad thing?

 

I've spent most of the day looking at free curriculum, various lesson plans, and old Google books of more-than-a-century-old textbooks. Amazing! Things have come a long way since 1993. What is this creature called "lapbooks"?! And on the Smithsonian website you can get lesson plans that have videos and all sorts of things! The whole world looks very different now, lol.

 

I downloaded the free Mr. Q Life Science curriculum. Someone mentioned it's a lot like Bill Nye, and since ds loves Bill Nye, I think it might work. And if he hates it, it's just the cost of printing a few pages, yes? Much cheaper than Noeo.

 

I also downloaded some handwriting packets. Will try those out before HWT or something else. I also discovered the sight word list that ds's teacher is using for his weekly spelling. Interesting.

 

Writing, grammar, etc. I'm changing my mind all the time with it. The thing I like about Harp and Laurel Wreath are the Stevenson poems. I already read some of those to ds at bedtime, and he finds them interesting and challenging (but his favorite poem is the "silly dog" one - Old Mother Hubbard, I should just have him memorize that one, he's almost there already, but it's, what, 10 stanzas? lol). Do people use HLW for more than just memorization/dictation? If I make up a handwriting sheet for the poems and do some discussion questions, then there would be no need for something like WWE, right? I'm hoping reading comprehension would be learned through the narration work of the other subjects, because I don't think WWE will work for us. Laura Ingalls Wilder is nice and all, but she's not a ninja, or a knight, or even a paleontologist!

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  • 3 weeks later...

UPDATE:

 

I was going to start a new thread, but there's enough spelling threads, and I didn't want to bore everyone with my life story again.

 

Suffice to say, I realized that the above plan would cost over $500 and that's too much (granted, that's going on list price, but that doesn't count supplementary reading/history books. When we move we'll also be taking a big pay cut, and we're not rolling in dough right now either). I've been following the free curriculum bunny trail and got the price down to just over $100, but that means my whole plan underwent a complete overhaul.

 

My major concern is with spelling. At DS's charter school he has done about 40 of the "sight words" and I was thinking about finishing the sequence with the packets made by Confessions of a Homeschooler. His school's approach is otherwise sort-of phonics based. Since it's an advanced class they do a lot of original writing, and it seems that he is encouraged to just write out words how they sound, and there's no correction for spelling words wrong. The thought seems to be that the practice is more important than the mechanics. But I see this creating a boat-load of trouble. I see that he often confuses "th" for the "f" sound, for example. We also got into a massive argument last Thanksgiving because he insisted that "pink" was spelled "p-i-n-g-k." On the one hand, I admired his phonics skills, on the other hand, I was not amused when he insisted that the dictionary entry was Wrong.

 

If you've read any of my other rambling posts on these boards, you'll know that I'm a believer in teaching the "rules" early, so I'm mildly worried about his spelling ability and the fact that he seems to be picking up bad habits. I was thinking about using Spelling Connections since it groups words by sound, but it gives no explanation for why the words are spelled the way they are (maybe there's a Teacher's Manual somewhere to go with these that explains that?). So, I've been seriously looking at AAS. I think it will meet ds need for kinesthetic learning, while also explaining to him why "pink" doesn't have a "g" in it! (He has, in fact, acquiesced himself to this fact by now, but I think he still finds it irrational).

 

The problem with AAS, then, is that it will increase the curriculum costs by nearly 50%. sigh, sometimes I hate being poor :banghead:

 

For grammar/reading, btw, I think I've decided on KISS, going very slowly through the concepts and using the stories to build comprehension skills. And shelve writing other than copywork for a little bit, at least until spelling gets straightened out some. At this point the kid can sometimes dictate to the adult, yes?

 

I think I'm rambling, I don't know what I'm looking for advice on, exactly, other than: Would AAS solve his spelling issues? is it worth the money? is there a cheaper program that uses a multi-sensory approach and also teaches the rules of why?

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UPDATE: ... I realized that the above plan would cost over $500 and that's too much... I've been following the free curriculum bunny trail and got the price down to just over $100, but that means my whole plan underwent a complete overhaul....

 

Hurray! It's always great to have a final PLAN. Hope it will work well for you. And sometimes, being on a forced budget, really does help you keep you within a reasonable time limit for homeschooling as well -- if you don't have 20 programs to do, you won't be tempted to try and school for 8 hours a day. ;) I think you will find this to be much more helpful, realistic, do-able, enjoyable, and SUCCESSFUL as you transition into the homeschooling.

 

 

 

Would AAS solve his spelling issues? is it worth the money? is there a cheaper program that uses a multi-sensory approach and also teaches the rules of why?

 

You probably can't answer those first two questions -- "Would AAS solve his spelling issues?" and "Is it worth the money"-- until you and DS have used the program for a month or two. If is solves his spelling issues, then yes it is worth the money.

 

And as a side note about costs -- when you are done with it, AAS is a "hot" curriculum right now with high resale-ability, so while it may cost a lot up front, you can likely recover about half the cost at the back end. And if AAS DOESN'T work for your DS after a giving it a good trial of several months, you can return it for a full refund:

 

"Our 'Go Ahead and Use It' Guarantee: You have a full year to try out the All About Spelling program. If you find that it does not meet your needs, simply return the materials at any time within one year for a full refund of your purchase price."

 

 

 

As for your last question, "Is there a cheaper program?"

Not a cheaper program, but yes, there is a cheaper option dollar-wise. However, it requires a ton of research and then a lot of weekly prep time. That is what I ultimately ended up doing for our younger (struggling speller) .... BUT, it required ME putting together elements from about half a dozen different spelling resources that we had tried ... AND I had learned how to implement over about a 4 year period of time. I would NOT recommend that to anyone who was starting off new to homeschooling, or even to someone who had homeschooled for several years, but was new to figuring out how to combine/adapt multiple programs to create an individualized program for a student with LDs...

 

So, my answer to your last question is: for your first year of homeschooling, YES, I think it is WORTH investing in the programs you truly believe will work for both your DS AND you, and will help you and DS focus on making a smooth transition into schooling at home.

 

 

BEST of luck, and have an enjoyable family adventure in homeschooling! :) Warmest regards, Lori D.

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It is possible to find gently used sets of AAS at good prices. You just have to know what you want, check often, and be ready to buy immediately due to high demand.

 

You do not get the one-year guarantee, but you can resell it easily if you do not like it.

 

We really like AAS. For us, it is worth it.

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I have read that Rod and Staff's Spelling by Sound and Structure is the workbook equivalent to AAS but super cheap. Why couldn't you just make your own letter tiles on cardstock, laminate them and magnetize them? You could use them with Spelling by Sound and Structure. Another option would be to purchase the letters from AAS only or these letters from Rainbow.

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I have read that Rod and Staff's Spelling by Sound and Structure is the workbook equivalent to AAS but super cheap. Why couldn't you just make your own letter tiles on cardstock, laminate them and magnetize them? You could use them with Spelling by Sound and Structure. Another option would be to purchase the letters from AAS only or theseletters from Rainbow.

 

 

The grade 2 R&S Spelling book is not as phonetic, but one thing I now wish I'd done is gone through R&S Phonics 2 at that stage when I pulled my son out of school (he was reading at a 4th grade level). I think that would have benefited him. The grade 3 spelling book starts teaching more phonics, and grade 4 is teaching basically the same rules we were learning in AAS, including phonograms and rules that we wouldn't have gotten to for a while if we'd stuck with AAS.

 

Don't freak out about the inventive spelling. You can correct it. It's not the end of the world. My son's school also encouraged it, and then my son went through a phase of not wanting to write for fear of misspelling a word, and now he's spelling reasonably well but not freaking out about misspelled words. :)

 

On the original plan... I'd say FLL1 might be a bad fit, though you *can* use it and just skip repetitive things. There are something like 45 lessons on common vs. proper nouns. My son understood that concept after one lesson. We spent 3 weeks on FLL1 (completed it), then moved to FLL2. One thing I found with grammar at that stage was that all first and second grade programs were too slow/easy for my son who understands grammar easily. I needed a 3rd grade program to get to some more interesting parts of speech, diagramming, etc. We used KISS level 1 last year and part of this year and really liked it. I'm using R&S English now, as I like that it has him physically writing a lot more (he does about half the written exercises). My son hates copywork and seemed to always tune out, so now using R&S, he's essentially doing copywork, but he gets to do something with the sentence - fill in a blank, change something, etc. That works better for him.

 

As far as 3 hours for school... Remember that homeschooling does not take nearly as long as a classroom school takes. In a homeschool, your child is getting 100% of the focus and having to focus 100% of the time - it's much more intense. Our first grade, complete with reading, writing, math, grammar, spelling, history, and science took about 1.5 hours. I can't imagine him doing 3 hours of school in first grade. He would have keeled over and/or hated school pretty quickly. :D Now in third grade, with that full load plus handwriting (cursive) and Latin added in, and working at higher levels in each subject, it's still only about 3.5 hours. Doing hands on things might stretch your school out some, but do watch that you're not taking all day for first grade. I personally believe that time is better spent letting him free play and use his imagination.

 

I agree with the others to start with the basics, then gradually add in other things as you have time. My 2nd son will be doing first grade next year, and his schedule will be similar to this year, except I might add in some FLL and WWE.

 

Oh, and for writing, I highly recommend WWE. It *is* boy friendly. My son LOVES WWE stories (he hates writing, but he loves doing the narrations). WWE is also challenging, which would be good for your son. ;) There is no original writing in WWE1, so your son could safely do it in first grade. He would only be doing copywork that year. Listen to SWB's audio lecture on teaching writing in the elementary years. I'll bet it will help you a lot.

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Hurray! It's always great to have a final PLAN. Hope it will work well for you. And sometimes, being on a forced budget, really does help you keep you within a reasonable time limit for homeschooling as well -- if you don't have 20 programs to do, you won't be tempted to try and school for 8 hours a day. ;) I think you will find this to be much more helpful, realistic, do-able, enjoyable, and SUCCESSFUL as you transition into the homeschooling.

 

Well, I'm finding that free curriculum to be a bit of a double-edged sword. I have an enormous file folder on my computer bursting at the seams with science labs, random notebooking pages, e-books, and sundry unit studies. :eek:

 

I'll have to go through it all, give it some organization, and start chucking a lot of it.

 

 

 

 

 

You probably can't answer those first two questions -- "Would AAS solve his spelling issues?" and "Is it worth the money"-- until you and DS have used the program for a month or two. If is solves his spelling issues, then yes it is worth the money.

 

And as a side note about costs -- when you are done with it, AAS is a "hot" curriculum right now with high resale-ability, so while it may cost a lot up front, you can likely recover about half the cost at the back end. And if AAS DOESN'T work for your DS after a giving it a good trial of several months, you can return it for a full refund:

 

"Our 'Go Ahead and Use It' Guarantee: You have a full year to try out the All About Spelling program. If you find that it does not meet your needs, simply return the materials at any time within one year for a full refund of your purchase price."

 

 

 

As for your last question, "Is there a cheaper program?"

Not a cheaper program, but yes, there is a cheaper option dollar-wise. However, it requires a ton of research and then a lot of weekly prep time. That is what I ultimately ended up doing for our younger (struggling speller) .... BUT, it required ME putting together elements from about half a dozen different spelling resources that we had tried ... AND I had learned how to implement over about a 4 year period of time. I would NOT recommend that to anyone who was starting off new to homeschooling, or even to someone who had homeschooled for several years, but was new to figuring out how to combine/adapt multiple programs to create an individualized program for a student with LDs...

 

So, my answer to your last question is: for your first year of homeschooling, YES, I think it is WORTH investing in the programs you truly believe will work for both your DS AND you, and will help you and DS focus on making a smooth transition into schooling at home.

 

 

BEST of luck, and have an enjoyable family adventure in homeschooling! :) Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

 

Thanks! The money-back guarantee is very attractive. I know some money has to be spent on this venture, but my biggest worry is to spend most of the money on one thing and then find that it doesn't work, when something else more essential got fudged.

 

I have read that Rod and Staff's Spelling by Sound and Structure is the workbook equivalent to AAS but super cheap. Why couldn't you just make your own letter tiles on cardstock, laminate them and magnetize them? You could use them with Spelling by Sound and Structure. Another option would be to purchase the letters from AAS only or theseletters from Rainbow.

 

 

Eh, I should have mentioned that I'm pretty committed to staying away from R&S, sorry. It's just a personal thing - Anabaptists make me twitch ;)

 

The grade 2 R&S Spelling book is not as phonetic, but one thing I now wish I'd done is gone through R&S Phonics 2 at that stage when I pulled my son out of school (he was reading at a 4th grade level). I think that would have benefited him. The grade 3 spelling book starts teaching more phonics, and grade 4 is teaching basically the same rules we were learning in AAS, including phonograms and rules that we wouldn't have gotten to for a while if we'd stuck with AAS.

 

Don't freak out about the inventive spelling. You can correct it. It's not the end of the world. My son's school also encouraged it, and then my son went through a phase of not wanting to write for fear of misspelling a word, and now he's spelling reasonably well but not freaking out about misspelled words. :)

 

On the original plan... I'd say FLL1 might be a bad fit, though you *can* use it and just skip repetitive things. There are something like 45 lessons on common vs. proper nouns. My son understood that concept after one lesson. We spent 3 weeks on FLL1 (completed it), then moved to FLL2. One thing I found with grammar at that stage was that all first and second grade programs were too slow/easy for my son who understands grammar easily. I needed a 3rd grade program to get to some more interesting parts of speech, diagramming, etc. We used KISS level 1 last year and part of this year and really liked it. I'm using R&S English now, as I like that it has him physically writing a lot more (he does about half the written exercises). My son hates copywork and seemed to always tune out, so now using R&S, he's essentially doing copywork, but he gets to do something with the sentence - fill in a blank, change something, etc. That works better for him.

 

As far as 3 hours for school... Remember that homeschooling does not take nearly as long as a classroom school takes. In a homeschool, your child is getting 100% of the focus and having to focus 100% of the time - it's much more intense. Our first grade, complete with reading, writing, math, grammar, spelling, history, and science took about 1.5 hours. I can't imagine him doing 3 hours of school in first grade. He would have keeled over and/or hated school pretty quickly. :D Now in third grade, with that full load plus handwriting (cursive) and Latin added in, and working at higher levels in each subject, it's still only about 3.5 hours. Doing hands on things might stretch your school out some, but do watch that you're not taking all day for first grade. I personally believe that time is better spent letting him free play and use his imagination.

 

I agree with the others to start with the basics, then gradually add in other things as you have time. My 2nd son will be doing first grade next year, and his schedule will be similar to this year, except I might add in some FLL and WWE.

 

Oh, and for writing, I highly recommend WWE. It *is* boy friendly. My son LOVES WWE stories (he hates writing, but he loves doing the narrations). WWE is also challenging, which would be good for your son. ;) There is no original writing in WWE1, so your son could safely do it in first grade. He would only be doing copywork that year. Listen to SWB's audio lecture on teaching writing in the elementary years. I'll bet it will help you a lot.

 

 

Thanks!

 

So, if I'm understanding you right - a spelling program (like AAS), a grammar program (like KISS) and writing (like in WWE) can all be done concurrently (though maybe on alternating days)? I guess this is where I feel most unsure - I know I don't want a complete boxed curriculum, but I'm having a hard time figuring out which components are necessary and then how they will fit together. I guess this is something I'll figure out with practice, but I really want to know now! :laugh:

 

Just a general observation, but it's been a surprise to me how much some of the reading lists I've found rely on Wilder and Alcott (and London too, which I find a little weird). I realize these have American historical value, but...my ds and european husband would look at these like : :confused1: . I know people just choose what they know and like and their kid liked, but I guess our tastes run more towards the minority opinion :leaving:

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I must start by saying that I have only read your original post but none of the comments yet.

I felt I needed to send you a quick reply.

It seems like way too much work daily...for any elementary student, regardless of how bright they may be.

I love that you have looked into so many resources and maybe you can buy them all but I don't recommend teaching all of them on a weekly basis.

My advice, at the end of the day your child needs to be happy. He doesn't have to LOVE every subject, but if he ends up hating the time spent sitting and doing endless hours of school work then that would just be sad :(

 

We spend anywhere from 2 hours to 4 hours per day doing school work at home. There are many breaks for each child because I teach to them and they are in different grades.

 

We use Noeo and love it! But we don't follow it to the letter and at this time my children are not required to produce copious amounts of writing for science.

We also use SOTW 1 and I love it! They like it :) We use the worksheets in the AG but rarely do any extra work.

We also use First Language Lessons 1 and like it. That is a very quick part of the day...10-15 max.

I have wanted to get some Mind Benders books for the kids to work on in the car or at restaurants.

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