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Regentrude, Monica, anyone else -- can we discuss hours per day?

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How do you manage to keep a fairly short school day and still do the whole bilingual education thing?  Regentrude, I know you've mentioned elsewhere that you don't do English grammar/spelling.  I'm guessing that worked out really well, but do you think you would have done some if you had homeschooled from the beginning?

 

Right now we have no problem keeping our days short.  But, next year we'll be doing Latin formally, we'll start Russian grammar/composition, and her English spelling is not at all good so we'll have to work on that regularly too.  The Russian math program is going to take about 45 min/day and I really want to supplement with Miquon.  We're not doing formal science or history (she listens to audiobooks, reads kids encyclopedias, etc entirely on her own).  But, it's still coming out to almost three hours of work + independent reading.  I don't want my 7 year old to be doing school for 3 hours.

 

How does the schedule look like in your home?

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How do you manage to keep a fairly short school day and still do the whole bilingual education thing?  Regentrude, I know you've mentioned elsewhere that you don't do English grammar/spelling.  I'm guessing that worked out really well, but do you think you would have done some if you had homeschooled from the beginning?

 

Right now we have no problem keeping our days short.  But, next year we'll be doing Latin formally, we'll start Russian grammar/composition, and her English spelling is not at all good so we'll have to work on that regularly too.  The Russian math program is going to take about 45 min/day and I really want to supplement with Miquon.  We're not doing formal science or history (she listens to audiobooks, reads kids encyclopedias, etc entirely on her own).  But, it's still coming out to almost three hours of work + independent reading.  I don't want my 7 year old to be doing school for 3 hours.

 

How does the schedule look like in your home?

 

Sorry to disappoint - but I do not do a full bilingual education. My kids are fluent in speaking, and I taught them to read. Writing... well, some, but not as good as English. We used to spend 3-6 weeks every year in Germany, deep immersion. That's it for the German part.

 

I did not start homeschooling until 5th/6th grade, so we started with 4 hour school days. I do not consider formal grammar in the native language necessary for kids who have a good intuitive grasp of language. So, I would not have done any English grammar had I homeschooled since the beginning - many concepts they learn in their foreign language studies, where grammar is a necessary part, translate, and a short overview of formal grammar rules at high school age suffices. I would have mentioned in passing what nouns and what verbs are, this sort of thing, but no worksheets, curricula, or drill or diagramming. And I believe that, for grammar, later is better than earlier - what has to be reviewed every.single.yer in elementary to stick can be retained by a 14 y/o after hearing it once.

 

At age 7, my kids would not have been able to concentrate on math for 45 minutes - my DS was able to do this in 5th grade. Our math lessons would have been way shorter.

 

Sorry to be of no help.

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Sorry to disappoint - but I do not do a full bilingual education. My kids are fluent in speaking, and I taught them to read. Writing... well, some, but not as good as English. We used to spend 3-6 weeks every year in Germany, deep immersion. That's it for the German part.

 

I did not start homeschooling until 5th/6th grade, so we started with 4 hour school days. I do not consider formal grammar in the native language necessary for kids who have a good intuitive grasp of language. So, I would not have done any English grammar had I homeschooled since the beginning - many concepts they learn in their foreign language studies, where grammar is a necessary part, translate, and a short overview of formal grammar rules at high school age suffices. I would have mentioned in passing what nouns and what verbs are, this sort of thing, but no worksheets, curricula, or drill or diagramming. And I believe that, for grammar, later is better than earlier - what has to be reviewed every.single.yer in elementary to stick can be retained by a 14 y/o after hearing it once.

 

At age 7, my kids would not have been able to concentrate on math for 45 minutes - my DS was able to do this in 5th grade. Our math lessons would have been way shorter.

 

Sorry to be of no help.

 

No this is actually very helpful.  A good reality check.  I always have these grand visions and need to be brought back down to earth.

 

Although our school schedule was similar to what you described for E Germany (surprise surprise) 45 minutes for math + homework was standard when I was a kid and the program has it scheduled as such (I'm using the teacher's book), I'm going to try to split that up into two sessions per day.  I wish I could just do deep immersion like you did, my life would be so much easier.  We're barely OPOL here (I try, really, but English is so easy to switch to here!) and no way will we have $ to go back and forth like that.  I do hope to visit home before I die, but that looks bleaker and bleaker each moment.  I do think, however, that a trip up to NYC is becoming more and more of a priority.

 

I'm going to trust your experience with the grammar.  Good grief, I'd hope between Russian and Latin they'd be fine.  Thankfully I only spent $6 on the grammar curriculum.

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Although our school schedule was similar to what you described for E Germany (surprise surprise) 45 minutes for math + homework was standard when I was a kid and the program has it scheduled as such (I'm using the teacher's book), I'm going to try to split that up into two sessions per day.

 

45 minutes in school is not the same as 45 minutes at home. During these 45 minutes in school, the kids put in only a small portion of this as focused time-on-task. A period in school, even in an efficient school, involves passing out and collecting of stuff, waiting till everybody is ready, teacher talking, teacher repeating until the last kids got it - none of this needs to happen at home.

 

Good luck! I am sorry it is so difficult for you to visit home. Where exactly are you from?

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I am sorry.

For us it is difficult in a different way: we are the only ones who are in the US. All our extended families, our old friends, everybody is back home. So, we try to go home every year because that is where our parents are. It is difficult to be so far away as they age and seeing them only once a year.

 

 

 

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I probably have no business being in this thread, so take what I say with a large saltshaker of salt, ok?  My youngest is 20 and I did some bilingual homeschooling with him.  Or tried.  I was limited because I am not fluent in anything but English.  Mostly, I wanted to back up some things that Regentrude said.  I think you can safely forget about English grammar.  If you expose your child to plenty of correct English, she will automatically speak and write almost 100% correctly.  There will be a few sticky spots, like lay/lie (because these are commonly confused now) and the tendency of children to say "Molly and me went to the store" or "She gave it to Molly and I", which you can fix easily without spending time on English grammar every day.  She probably will only need English grammar when she is writing more sophisticated compositions in high school and you are trying to explain to her how to simplify overly complicated sentences.  For that purpose, Latin grammar terminology (or for that matter, your Russian terminology) will work fine.  It did for us.  And Regentrude.  English is not particularly easy to spell, so most 6yo's do not spell well.  They haven't yet seen enough English words for their visual memory to help and they haven't yet learned the common spelling rules and their exceptions.  You don't need to do a spelling program next year.  You can work on spelling with her informally until she is older and has a longer school day.  Many, many homeschoolers do this.  Her Russian and Latin will give her the ability to spell phonetically, and you can help with the more difficult words by correcting a word or two every time she writes something for school in English and having her copy the word a few times.  Keep working on a few words until she is spelling them correctly, ignoring the rest of the mistakes, then pick another few.  When she is older, you can "fix" her spelling by having her work on this set of spelling rules: http://www.dyslexia.org/spelling_rules.shtml.  Or you can work through a spelling book when she is older and has time.  Are you doing anything during your school day which involves writing in English?  If not, you could add English dictation a few times a week.  For a 7yo, you would start by having her copy a single short sentence correctly, erasing and fixing any errors that you find.  When she can do that, you can start reading her a short sentence, perhaps one that involves one of the spelling rules on the list.  If you stick to one short sentence, the process should take about fifteen minutes.  There is no need to do it every day.  You can make up silly sentences to make it more fun.  Dictation is a super powerful tool that covers many skills very efficiently - punctuation, spelling, listening skills, handwriting, ... 

 

I know you are probably worried about what will happen later, when you need to add more subjects.  I found that in elementary school, it worked well to schedule the skill subjects (dictation, Latin, music, math, etc.) Monday - Thursday mornings, reading and composition Monday - Thursday afternoons, and then on Fridays, have a slightly longer day (no gymnastics that day so this was possible) and do just math and Latin in the morning (which we had to do every day) and then spend the rest of the day on science and history.  You could do science in Russian and history in English one year, and then switch the next year, so vocabulary would be built evenly in both languages.  Or you could pick a language for one subject and keep using that language all the way along.  If you plan on doing textbook-based science and history, I suspect you will find that US textbooks, especially in the younger years, are inferior to European textbooks, so you might wind up doing science and history mostly in a foreign language.  You will want to stick with your Russian math program, probably, so math will be in Russian.  You can have a subject that you call literature which involves reading, discussing, and writing about books, and not worry about mixing languages.  We did this.

 

Just to give you some idea of what high school might look like: My youngest's high school literature "class" (at home with me) read books in both French and English.  If the book was read in French, he wrote about it in French.  If it was in English, he wrote about it in English.  So - one time slot, two languages.  He did his science in English only.  He did all his high school history in French, using textbooks from France, one each year, and to supplement for US history, during one summer, I had him read an overview and the logic-stage US history extra reading list from TWTM.  His math he did in English.  He did a variety of independent projects, mostly techical, in English, as elective classes.  Each year, he did some sort of language arts in addition to his literature.  Some years, it was English composition.  One year, it was a French language arts book.  One year, he did a French grammar book.  He also had some Latin, some music, and some art in high school.  He worked pretty hard but it was doable and he had lots of time for his own projects and gymanstics, and some time to spend with family or friends.

 

Nan

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I homeschooled my oldest bilingually from the beginning and agree with a lot that is said above. I did not do English grammar until around 4th grade. In fact, I didn't even concentrate on English reading until 3rd. We dabbled in English reading, but it was not my focus. We did everything reading and math in Spanish, science in both depending on resources available, and history with English spine and Spanish supps if available. She was diagnosed with dyslexia in 3rd (I suspected it from 1st), we started English spelling in 4th.

 

Now, I've forgotten what the question was...

 

Ok. I got distracted with my 4yo and don't remember where I was going with this, lol!

 

Since you're doing Russian and Latin grammar, I'd say that would be plenty.

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I am not bilingual myself, but am teaching/facilitating two languages in my home, so hopefully my experience is somewhat relevant.

 

I am taking a slightly different approach.  I did intensive English grammar with my oldest (now a 5th grader) and waited until she had a pretty good grasp of it before we jumped into Latin in 4th grade.  I am continuing with English grammar through sixth grade and at that point I am hoping she will get what she needs through writing and foreign language study.  I think with Latin you have to get to a point where they really understand the grammar before they can start making good progress.  It was very helpful for her to be able to differentiate between all of the different verb tenses (simple vs. perfect) in English, as well as understand emphatic and progressive forms... and other things like understanding how modifiers work, how to use the infinitive, etc.   A good background in diagramming in English has been very helpful for her as well.  All of that to say that if you are in a position where you want to be efficient with your time, my advice would be to choose English grammar over Latin in the younger years and then make a switch once a solid foundation has been built. 

 

On the other hand, I think that spending time on a living language in the younger years is definitely something to prioritize time for.  My oldest spent a few years acquiring a vocabulary of about 300-400 words in Chinese, most of which she was able to read as well, and some basic sentence structures.  In 4th grade she started taking a class using middle school level curriculum that is writing intensive, and the work we put in during the early years has helped her tremendously. 

 

We spent about 20 minutes 2-3 times a week on Chinese from grades K-3, with some breaks here and there.  Starting in 4th grade she had about 3 hours of class time a week and 3 hours of homework, so about an hour a day (she does a little on Saturday). We added Latin that year too, about 30 minutes a day.  So for the last two years we have been spending about 1.5 hours a day on foreign language, and this will probably continue for the next year.  Then we will probably bump up to 2 hours a day starting in 7th grade - I'm assuming she will be ready for a high school level Latin course at that point.  When we get there, we will drop English grammar to give us some extra space.  Right now, in addition to foreign language, we spend about an hour a day on math and 30 minutes on writing.  Science, history, and literature are kept informal at this point (read-alouds, independent reading, videos), which enables us to spend about four hours a day on schoolwork.  By 7th I imagine we will probably be up to 5-6 hours a day. 

 

With my youngest I am taking things more slowly.  She has a harder time with language acquisition.  She also needs more time to solidify her basic skills like spelling, handwriting, etc. than my oldest did.  We are working on Chinese vocabulary right now, but I have a feeling that I won't do anything intensive with her until she is in middle school, and I won't be adding Latin grammar until we get to that point either.  My goal with her is for her to have a basic fluency in these two languages at the end of high school, but my oldest could possibly even study a third language by that point.  I am curious to see how things develop as we go.  :D

 

 

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Renai - did you drop the bilingual homeschooling after your first?  I'm fairly certain that I can do this with my first, because she is so easy and eager to please.  But her little sister is the polar opposite  :scared: and really resents the Russian.  ETA: Never mind, I just realized your second is a toddler, I don't know how I missed that part.

 

 

You edited just as I was about to answer. I'll answer anyway though, as my youngest is also polar opposite. She just turned 4 last month and at this age, my oldest was completely fluent in Spanish, and strong in English. Spanish was her stronger language. I've been going back and forth with whether to take the same path with my youngest even though English is her stronger language. She also sometimes is resistant to Spanish, but she doesn't have much choice as my dh only speaks Spanish to her. She's getting better.

 

I've decided that my goals have remained the same. I want bilingual and biliterate children. To accomplish this in an English-majority environment, I must teach the Spanish first. She is open to it, as she wants to learn to read - in any language at this point. So, I will teach reading in Spanish first, just as I did with my oldest. I also translate math into Spanish (I'll be using MEP and Shiller. I've had Shiller since oldest was 4-5!). I've bought more picture books in Spanish, even translations, because at this point anything helps. I'm buying Spanish audio picture books from Scholastic. Anything that will encourage her speaking Spanish to me (she speaks it with dad).

 

But, just like your youngest, this one is a polar opposite and is not a pleaser. She thinks nothing of telling me, "I don't want to." And, "I'll think about it."  :huh:  I often wonder how homeschooling is going to go with her, except for the fact she loves doing "schoolwork" with me. 

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I think that sounds perfect.  When mine were young, we "did our folders" in the morning.  At the time, I sort of resented the time it took and I thought of it as an extra thing, not the foundational stuff it really was.  Each child had a folder with their memory work (a poem and a history chant or science facts liek the order of the rainbow, usually), a song we were learning, and anything else they were working on, like that list of spelling rules.  We sat around the table and said or sang our new stuff and one of the old things in the folder.  I clapped a pattern and they copied it.  We did dictation or copywork in whatever languages they were working on.  We ran over their Latin vocab flashcards.  Sometimes we worked on a bit of sight singing.  Some years they did a drawing out of the Draw Squad book.  Anyone who was learning cursive worked on that.  It was all the bits and pieces of skills and memorization.  We usually finished up with me reading aloud to them for a bit, as dessert.  It seemed like it took a huge chunk of our morning and I kept thinking that if I could just get rid of that, the way everyone else seemed to be doing, we would have time actually to do a science program or something.  Sometimes our day went something like math, nature journals, folders, read aloud, Latin, and then anyone who was doing a writing program would do the writing program (we did Writing Strands, which turned out to be not only a writing program but also the foundation of literary analysis).  Have you discovered the nice open ended questions in TWTM yet?  They made discussing books easy.  Later, doing the questions from TWEM worked well.  Anyway, I think your plan sounds very much like what we did.  If you want to add something more for science, a "doing" sort of something, you can add keeping a nature journal and looking things up in nature guides.  I sent mine into the yard with their journals to draw something and write about it and look it up, a bug or a plant or a bird or whatever.  It turned out to be another of those things like dictation and narration, something that seemed small but incorporated lots of skills that would be useful later in science.  Storytelling is fun to work on, fun enough to do in the car "for fun", but also helps for later.  The one thing I see missing from your plan is music.  That is one of those things like foreign languages that is easier to learn young than older.  It doesn't have to be formal piano lessons.  Lots of singing and imitating games are good, though.  But maybe you are just doing those for fun and don't need to include them in school.

: )

Nan

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Ooph. Being rooted and all that identity stuff is a whole other topic, one that I definitely struggle with, and one I hope every day my kids will not struggle with. I believe it is entirely inevitable they will, though. That is actually one of the reasons multilingualism is so important to me: by growing up in only one country, my kids are going to be third-culture kids by definition. (Yeah, they have some biological connection to where we live, but it's not a good one - ethnic tensions are still a huge deal here and we're stuck on the wrong side of them.) By speaking these languages, the kids will be able to integrate much more easily. I hope

 

Start a new thread!

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LOL, music is covered.  They grew up hearing their mama sing and their daddy pick at the banjo.  I've started teaching Ladybug to play on the recorder.  As soon as we can find a decent used piano we'll add that too (since I can teach that as well), but more than anything she really wants to fiddle if we could find someone to teach her.  Oh and as part of their Latin instruction, DH has been teaching her Latin hymns.  A homeschooling family that we're friends with ended up with their kids having their own Bluegrass band when they got to the teenage years and I wouldn't be surprised if that ended up happening here as well - we love making music as a family.

 

That's great!  I thought perhaps that might be the case, since you hadn't mentioned it at all.  We did songs because I discovered, to my horror, that once they were past 6 or 7, I was somehow not singing with them as much, and there were so many songs I wanted them to know.  We did tons of rounds, some in French and Latin.  We did recorder, too.  We started with a sopranino recorder, pretending it was a soprano and using the Sweet Pipes books.  If I wanted to play with them, I did it on an alto.  When their hands were big enough, they switched to a soprano so it wasn't quite so piercing. : )  The sopranino allowed my tiny children to start playing at the normal age.  They did piano, also.  Nothing except singing "stuck" with the middle one, but the older one learned to play guitar in a week one vacation (which I attribute to all those piano lessons) and has been playing and singing with friends ever since.  He does bluegrassy stuff, mostly.  The younger one stuck with the piano and is taking music classes for his electives in his engineering program.  My sisters' families have done something similar with similar results.  The one child does nothing but sing, but for the rest, music is a large part of their lives.

 

Nan

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