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x-post: Work level for well-trained logic-stage kids (history in particular)?

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I posted this on the General Ed board, but then I realized this is probably be a better spot for it. If anyone can share their experience, I would really appreciate it.


So I finally got around to re-reading the logic stage section of TWTM this week, and I'm panicking a little. Oldest DD is 10, and around here she'd be in 5th grade (but one of the youngest in the class--she would have barely made the October 1 cutoff). She's a hard and willing worker, but I just don't see how she could ever fit in everything the WTM says she should be doing. For history alone, she should be:


1) reading a section from the core text and listing important facts (I read aloud from SOTW2 for both kids)

2) marking all dates on the time line (we add things here and there as we can)

3) finding the region under study on the globe, on the wall map, and in the atlas

4) doing additional reading (I try to assign something for each chapter, but the longer books sometimes take more time than the chapter takes us)

5) preparing summaries of information on one or more of the above topics

6) outlining one to four pages of text per week (she's outlining the corresponding pages from the white KIHW for each chapter)


Does everyone really have their logic stage kids doing all of this, just for history? Right now, we do about 3 hours of seatwork together daily: Latin, Singapore math (without any of the extra stuff, even), grammar, science, history, Killgallon Sentence Composing, and the very occasional Daily Paragraph Editing and other extra stuff. Then she does an hour or two of independent work, plus assigned reading (either lit reading or history reading). We're not fitting in any logic or Spanish like I want to, or any of the extra math I wish we could fit in, and I still have no idea what to do about writing other than Killgallon, which I love but which I know is not enough at this point.


What am I doing wrong here? Is there something that is absolutely crucial that we're missing? Is there something I can dump? Or should I really expect a 5th grader to be working an intense 6-hour day to fit all this stuff in? I honestly don't think she can handle much more than she's doing now.


*sigh* I'm sorry if I sound like I'm freaking out. I was feeling really good about this school year until I re-read the logic stage portion of the book. Now I feel like we're falling behind, but I don't know how to correct that without burning us both out!


Thanks for any thoughts you might have.

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Don't Panic!


Do you have the 3rd edition of TWTM? That looks more like second ed.


The reading, SWB doesn't recommend SOTW for outlining/logic stage. So, for history she would be doing history approx 3 days a week.


Day 1:

1. Read a page or two from a history encyclopedia and make a list of 6-8 facts, using complete sentences, that she finds interesting

2. Put dates on a timeline

3. find the location on a map. Make a mental note of it's new name


Day two:

5. read something in a text book or a history type book. It could be a biography. I use the K12 History Odyssey text books, but people use different things.

6. Write a brief 3-5 sentence narration about a point she finds interesting. It could be a battle or a very brief biography or an invention etc. But 3-5 sentences isn't that long.


Day 3:

6. Write a one point narration (main topic of a paragraph) of approx 250 word section. It is fine to use the same reading material she read on day two. Just don't have her outline the same section she wrote about. Or do.It is up to you. A one point narration is 'what is this paragraph about' and she writes that in a complete sentence. 250 words is a page or a subchapter of a textbook.


It really isn't that long. It can take the place of her regular composition program. She can use her history reading as long as it is non fiction and can be outlined easily. It shouldn't be too narrative in nature. That is why SWB doesn't want students outlining SOTW 1-3.


She can also do the narration and outlining with science reading if you prefer.

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We don't get that much writing done in history (outline and narration in history every week, plus all the extra notebooking pages), because we're using WWS which takes quite a bit of time. We do a little bit of the summaries, some timeline dates, the geography, and use a different history spine.


Not everyone follows the exact pattern from TWTM for history, so it's okay. But even if that is your goal, there's another way to look at it. I look at it more as a pattern for the entire four years of the logic stage. Meaning that, we work up to that level of work over the first couple of years. I expect to be "there" before or by 7th grade, and for 7th and 8th to concentrate more on the "logic" of the logic stage. By that I don't mean logic curriculum per se (I plan to use Art of Argument next year and a more formal logic program after that), but more of the incorporation of logical thinking into history and science, like discussion of bias, more primary sources, comparing different sources, and all those types of things that are outlined in TWTM. That's my take on it, anyway.


Could you work on adding one thing at a time? The geography piece is pretty easy to do, and maybe can be done independently once the pattern is established, and then you can quiz her every now and then to make sure she's looking things up. The summary writing is a great way to add some writing. Writing seems like one of those things that's good to ramp up gradually. If you're not doing any, maybe one good summary per week would be a start. Or maybe she'd like to do a more creative spin on a written narration?

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We are a STEM family, so history for us is read alouds done by my dh at night with a map and a globe. There is lots of discussion and connection to current events. Some oral review of dates and important people, and the occasional study of a time line. My kids sometimes read fiction or nonfiction or biographies related to the topic under study, and sometimes write about historical topics when it interests them. They LOVE watching documentaries, so I get out lots from the library on the topic we are covering each month. We have no tests, no outlining, no primary documents, and no general "output" requirements. They do about 5 hours per week not counting documentaries. I have just finished my modern history book list if you want to see it.


This approach works for us!


Ruth in NZ

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  • 3 weeks later...

I wanted to come back and make sure I said thanks to everyone for your input. It helped me a lot, to both calm me down and make me see that not everyone does it exactly the same way, so I could tweak it too if I needed to. I took a few days to let everything sink in, then I did some switching around in our schedule and plans to see what I could fit in. Ultimately, it was a lot more manageable (and less panic-inducing!) when I looked at it as something that I could bend to fit our needs, rather than us bending our whole week to fit around the plans.


Regentrude, I do actually have the third edition. It just took me a few reads of the section and the info people shared here to start to see how I could make it work. Of course, now I think I want to add WWS in now instead of waiting until September, so I have to see how that's going to change everything again. I didn't think she was ready for it when we started the current school year (her birthday is in mid-September), but now she is, so...more tweaking!


And I read aloud from SOTW because I'm folding in a 7-year-old as well, and DD10 loves the SOTW books, so she sits in for that. She's not outlining from it, it's just sort of our starting point--then she goes and reads from Kingfisher, plus any additional books we might have picked up from the library. I had her outlining Kingfisher until all this happened. Now I'm not sure how I'll adjust everything.


Anyway, thank you all for the input, it helped a LOT. I appreciate it.

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I am definitely a history slacker. My kids are not that interested, all of them have been VERY reluctant writers, and ds this year is doing WWS. Right now, he reads a section of an encyclopedia, we discuss, he colors a map from the Geography Coloring Book, he does a bit of additional reading (his choice from several options I give him) and some weeks, he does a short (I mean, 1-2 paragraphs) composition. That's hard enough. We also substitute liberally with movies, documentaries or fiction, and call it good. He's an 11 yo sixth grader and that's enough for him.

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