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Double Dwarfism Adoption - 6 under 7 - starting from scratch!!!

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Many of you have been kind enough to offer up suggestions as we added 2 children to our family by adoption from Ethiopia a few years ago, and then another we are currently in process for this Spring.  We have added another child to bring home with that one - both with dwarfism - so 2 more from China for a total of 6 under 7 years old.  That story is here:  http://roepnack.blogspot.com/2013/09/adopting-two-our-son-with-dwarfism.html


The ages of our children will be 6, 5, 4, 3, 3, and 2.  I am going to need open and go with the ages and medical needs, and I am now officially tossing all "preferences" I had about currics out the window and am open to ANY Christian core that is good for combining.  I hate switching around (don't we all!) but I cannot use the system we are using now (Sonlight, Abeka, & BJU combo) and would like to hear feedback on streamlined cycled combo cores like MFW or HOD or WHATEVER!  


I used to be a special needs and public/private school teacher, so I tend to overkill and recreate the wheel.  I have to let that go now and take a boxed or ready-made set - and SONLIGHT is NOT it!  I just do not like it - it's great but it is not for us.     :)  


Large families with close age kids - tell me your favorites!!!  









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I hear you about the desired 4yr cycle for the long run, but I have another idea for starters:


Think of your "school" in three levels.


Preschool through fourth grade -- do FIAR all together, with the 3Rs alongside to match their individual needs. If you use McGuffey Readers, Rod and Staff grammar and spelling, and appropriate math, this will be sufficient. Use all the FIAR volumes, and when you get to the end of the last one just start all over again. If your LA is rigorous enough they will be able to switch to something meatier at the logic stage.


The next level is fifth to eighth grade. Once your eldest hits fifth grade, start with the classical model using any of the combining curric. I would choose either MFW or TOG for your particular family (probably MFW). Stick to the four-year-cycle and just fold people in as they get old enough. When you finish the fourth year, start all over again. Just keep cycling through, as with the FIAR for the youngers.


The last level, 9th to 12th grade...I'm thinking about the ongoing challenges your family will be facing and I can picture three scenarios:


1. Switch to an online or DVD school for high school, such as BJU, so the older children can have teachers and work independently while still being home with the family. This frees you up from the challenge of learning to homeschool high school while you still have very young children with very extensive needs...you can just keep focusing on the two familiar cycles outlined above (or something similar)...



2. Consider private school for high school for the same reasons



3. Don't even worry about high school yet because it's a LONG ways away, and the classical method in the logic stage (5th to 8th) will prepare them for whatever you decide to do then.


If you go with this plan, you just need FIAR for several more years. I hope some of these ideas are helpful.


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I will look into Weaver!


TIBBY!  I copied and pasted this to a file for me to remember.  SUCH good advice and ideas here.  I kind of had what you said floating around in my head but could never have put it all together into a "plan".  


Question about all these cycled programs like HOD, MFW, and Tapestry - I have trouble seeing the "success stories" on them.  Sonlight gives these long testimonials about how educated the actual kids turn out who do the program - winning scholarships etc.  I have trouble feeling confident that the cycled programs "work" - I need to hear from some families who have used it and had kids go through this cycle and learn WELL.  I don't need scholarships or geniuses around here - we are missions minded and much of the kids education will come from travels and real life missions experience - but what I do need is confidence in the programs.  Anyone push kids through these programs with good results?  



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We are on our 6th year using My Father's World.  We are in the 5th year of the history cycle and have used their kindergarten program three times and are using the first grade program for the third time.  I really would be surprised if we ever used anything else.  I have three kids in the history cycle right now, plus one using the first grade program and one three year old.  (ages 12, 10, 7, 5.5 & 3 so not quite as challenging as your ages I'm guessing)


My kids have pretty much always enjoyed the Bible, history and science books and activities that they include in the program (as do I). I have been able to easily adjust the level of work required with reading book basket books and the writing required for different grade levels.  The daily grid format is a saving grace for me and is one of the best parts of the program.  I follow it pretty closely for most everything.  The exceptions would be art (God and the History of Art) and music.  We read the art history from God and the History of Art but haven't done the drawing lessons since the second year we used it. The music cd biographies usually get skipped until the end of the year and I hurry and do them all.  My kids don't really care for them but if you can't tell, they might be influenced a bit by me.   :o


My three middle kids have all learned to read using the kindergarten and first grade programs with no supplements other than extra crafts sometimes.  I have heard that some people think it is "not enough" but it is short and gentle while to the point.  It has worked for my kids with different learning styles.  


I have not gotten to the high school program yet (my oldest is in 7th grade) but I have seen success stories on the MFW message boards at their website.  


I actually have not tried any other curriculum because MFW is such a good fit for my family.

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Tibbie's advice to think of it in 3 chunks is brilliant.  Here's my advice, based on having 5 boys in 6 years.

I would not do grammar until logic stage (at that point I would start with Rod & Staff 4 or 5).  I would do math, Phonics Pathways and then Rod & Staff Spelling once they're reading fluently, and Writing With Ease.

At some points, FIAR would've overwhlemed me.  For completely open and go, I would buy SOTW on cd and just listen to a chapter as often as possible.  When the series is finished, start over until your oldest is in 5th grade.  

Get the Magic School Bus DVDs.  Use them to keep the buggers quiet when needed. 

Use your library card and just keep them stocked on books.  Let them read during quiet time and let them read before bed.  

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