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It's time to write....Hunter, I'm lost!!

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I don't even know where to begin.  I have been on a writing drought for months now and I think it is all about to come out.  This isn't going to be pretty.  I doubt any of it will make sense.  But I think somehow, Hunter, that you will have the clue yet again that I need to go forward.  Somehow you always do.


My son's leukemia treatment is over now minus monthly checkups and an antibiotic for a few more weeks.  I have been able to finally turn the corner in my health and I think it will only get better from here.  So I have so much to be thankful for.  


So many changes have taken place in me that I feel like I am having some sort of mid-life crisis inside.  In the last few months we have been unschooling after switching from a Robinson type layout, which I continued two months after having my baby at the end of June.  I was still fighting all the time to get them to do their work and my relationship with my oldest was a mess.  I knew that nothing academic could be as important as our relationship so that was part of what led into unschooling.  I read enough about it to be confident that many, many children turn out just fine without a curriculum and I came to believe that their education was really their responsibility in that no matter what I tried to shove down their throat, they were the only ones who could decide whether or not to swallow it.  And that I would rather feed them when asked and have a thankful child than one who was gagging or spitting back in my face what I had attempted to force feed them.   


Relationships began to be better and I had the space I needed to focus on the nutrition and exercise I needed to heal.  Things have been chaotic, but they have always been even when I tried to have structure.  There have been times that I have loved allowing two of my girls to sight read (GASP) and marveled at how much more pleasant it was to allow them to progress slowly this way with no pressure or forced lessons vs. the phonics lessons I did with the oldest three.  Allowing our days to unfold naturally with very little interference most days has been refreshing on what feels like some evil level.  As in, how is it that everyone else doesn't want to live this way and why is it "wrong" for us to enjoy our life this much?  Am I lazy?  Or is it a given that any mom of eight children can't possibly be lazy?  There was so much less fighting and forcing to get them to achieve MY academic goals for them.  It began to seem ridiculous that I had ever even tried.


BUT when we finally got paid (we'd been waiting for almost two months), I retested my oldest using a CAT test online.  She had progressed in almost every area, but she had sometimes not progressed as much as she "should have" and in some areas was 1-3 years behind.  Now, this is my child who has ALWAYS struggled and so this wasn't necessarily surprising.  Maybe I should just be glad that she had several scores that were on grade level considering how hard it is for her to learn.  We had bought her Teaching Textbooks to rescue her from years of Saxon and yet she got stuck on lesson 12 and never moved past it.  She just basically stopped all writing, grammar, and math work since it wasn't required of her.  She was in constant arguments with my husband (who works from home) about how unproductive her days were and she wanted to go to school (after being homeschooled her whole life).


So we finally gave in and we are sending her to the local ACE school that is a few minutes from our house.  It is run by two sweet elderly ladies who do it as a ministry.  There are about 14 other kids there, one of which is her age and is so excited she is coming to the school.  I really think this is the right thing for her right now and so does my husband.


In addition to the benefits for her, our thought is that when she is not around, perhaps I can get more done with the other children since the oldest has always had such extensive emotional or academic needs.  So for the first time in months I began to think about curriculum again.  Or about educational requirements (such as read for 2 hours, write/draw for 1 hour, math or language arts for 1 hour).  What would it look like to homeschool again instead of unschool?  Do I even need to homeschool again, or should I just keep unschooling?  


Because here is the thing.  They spend most of their time outside or watching something.  Now, they do "educational" things outside a lot and we do read alouds at night and some of what they watch would count as educational.  We do lots of board games.  My second child is a voracious reader, though a little less so the last few months (he is on a comic book spree right now which is a huge change from the advanced literature and history books he usually chooses to read).  My third and fourth children are very outdoorsy and I have to force them to read (mostly when I need quiet time or something).  My fifth one likes schoolwork, but only when she asks for it.  But it did bother me to see the grammar and math concepts on my daughter's testing (both standardized and for the school) that I knew my kids would not learn with unschooling or may be forgetting since we are not reviewing.  So there's that.


Meanwhile, during this unschooling time I became infatuated with studying the positions of another religion (not completely different, but different enough that it could cause us to lose friends or upset my family).  But because of this, my family often perceived my constant studying (though I was trying to set a good example) as selfish or reclusive.  And my husband, who is reluctantly researching these positions about once a week with me, is not on board yet so I can't change anything in my life yet to align with what I am embracing intellectually.  So I am sort of stuck there.  And my husband doesn't even want me to discuss these things with my children so as not to confuse them so I am essentially silenced.  This has made it hard for me to feel comfortable teaching them anything spiritual, even though I want to and even though I feel it is my duty to.  It is why I wanted to homeschool in the first place.


My husband, who was ok with us unschooling (but reluctant and skeptical at the same time), now wants there to be more structure (more like TJEd or Robinson) and more hands on with them.  But inside I am feeling distant from them because I can't share what I am learning about and I don't feel like going back to forcing them to do schoolwork.  Today I sat them down for a short time and reviewed our old CC memory work and we read a chapter of the Bible aloud together which is the same chapter my daughter read at school today in order to keep our family doing the same passage.  They were bothered by the fact that it was the KJV since we don't usually use that.  And they were just not fun to work with because the longer I don't require things of them, the more entitled they feel and resentful when I do "make" them come to the table for a learning activity.


I'll just come right out and say that at this point I am thinking about putting the oldest three or four in that school as soon as we have the money and the openings.  My husband just told me he doesn't want to put them in school.  He is bothered by the fact that I am in my room typing right now, but this is the first time in months that I have felt like really writing and I don't feel like going out there to the chaos and noise while all of this swirls around in my head.  The idea of just being with my little ones during the day and just teaching them to read and preparing them for school sounds nice right now.  But I would have a few things I wanted to add to their education (and most days they wouldn't have homework anyway), and I am not sure they would do this without issue.


And sometimes I think we just need to increase the discipline in this house.  But is silencing them right?  Unschooling philosophies have me so confused.  But I also was watching as several other large family moms who have teenagers were going on and on about how difficult their oldest child or children are and I know they had raised them similarly.  I was at the point of thinking we've maybe done too much disciplining and not enough accommodating.  But now I wonder if accommodating leads to entitlement?


You have to understand that this is coming from a mom who never thought I would ever put my kids in any school.  


And also, we live in the country now, but we have tried to keep our life in the city to some degree.  We have only recently started to mingle a little more with the people who live close to us.  I like these people, but they are definitely less educated and I am wondering what my own family would look like in a few generations of living here.  I LOVE our land.  All of us do.  I want to grow old here.  Our kids are starting baseball for the first time this spring and we will be able to meet more families here.  We tried to find a church to attend here and all of them were not a good fit for us.  Maybe through sports and maybe through this school we will find more people to connect with.  I am sort of picturing it being nice to pick up my kids from school, have some time together, and then heading over to the ball fields to hang out with each other and other families whereas before this seemed like nowhere near enough time with them in a day.  


One other thing is that the women who run the school are elderly and I'm not sure who plans to take up the school after them or if the school will just die.  Maybe that is something I could see myself doing in the future, but I don't think they make much, if any, money doing it.  They literally chart $160/month.  It's crazy cheap.  Of course, I would need to wait for my little ones to get bigger first.


And one last issue is that we are broke and owe so much money.  We can't afford to put more kids in right now no matter what I want.  I fantasize about being able to help out financially so we can get out of debt quicker.  The last three years of health issues just did us in.  


Whoever responds to this, please know that this is just an explosion of my thoughts at this moment and please be kind.  And please don't insult ACE.  I know all about the negatives.  It won't be helpful right now.  I don't even have an actual question right now.  I'm just......lost.

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Oh, and I became almost vegan (for health reasons mostly) and I'm doing yoga.....neither of which I am sure I actually agree with philosophically when lined up with my scriptural beliefs, but they are making a huge difference in my health.  


And I think I have always wanted to be a mom of a large family and a teacher and since we are supposedly done having children now and I am not really homeschooling in the traditional sense of the word, I think I am feeling lost as to who I am or what I am meant to do exactly.  And for me that feel sort of crisisish.  


I realize that I can't be everything for my kids and that no matter what we do, they might wish we had done things differently or choose to do things differently with their own children.  And that all my picturesque views of homeschooling were never reality except in snapshots of our life here and there.  I wouldn't change one moment of the time I have spent with them, but I just can't see the way ahead right now without either daily battles or surrendering to the idea that they'll probably never learn grammar or be very good at math unless they want it enough to pursue it themselves.  And somehow I need to take into consideration my husband's desires for their education, which seem so very black and white to him.  Tell them what to do and make them do it.  Easy peasy.  But that is draining when you have so many kids and I don't want to do that every day for the next 18 years all day every day.  

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Welcome back! I've been wondering what you were up to.


I cannot imagine a large family without a schedule. Never mind school, but maybe get a schedule going to start? Get the kids started on some spring cleaning and getting the house ready for productive learning no matter what method you use, or religion you study?


:party: about your boy being over his treatments!!!

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I would consider public school. It might help your family get plugged in (definitely more than a small church school would). You can take care of your baby and clean your house and bake cookies before they get home from school. It won't be perfect, but nothing ever is.


I'm sorry if I'm not gentle enough, but I do GET it. Honestly, that's why I am being so blunt. I can't tell you how many times I've seen this play out, and how close I came to being in a very similar situation.

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What do you mean by "seen this play out"?  Which part?  You are being gentle enough but I just don't know exactly what you are referring to and I want to understand your point.


Hunter, I can't tell you how many schedules I have written up over the years.  The trouble is that when you are usually pregnant or nursing (or both), following an exact schedule is so hard.  It sometimes made me a tense mom because I was trying so hard to follow the clock rather than focusing on their hearts and individual needs mine.  I was putting the ideal over the reality in my head and therefore I always felt like a failure because the day didn't look like it "should".  Rather than being satisfied that I addressed the needs that came up, I beat myself up over falling behind.  I have tried to make rest a priority for healing purposes, and that isn't conducive to early mornings for me since I have never been a morning person.  And yet not getting up early can make the day start off in a somewhat chaotic way if your goal is to start some structured learning.  My husband usually runs the morning around here, but he doesn't really seem to want to get them on track with studying or chores.  And since they know how to make their own breakfast he sometimes isn't even involved in that.  


All of my kids love to cook so part of the constant mess around here is their cooking mess.  But it is so awesome to see them be creative in the kitchen and sometimes I think I undervalue how educational that is.....especially if their future involves something in the culinary world perhaps.  So I could change that and have less mess, but I'd also be losing the opportunity to allow them to continue to grow in that area.  I don't often feel like cleaning up after it, though, and feel it should be their responsibility.  But often "Somebody did it and Nobody knows who", you know?  We actually don't have that much clutter in our house.  The only unorganized areas are in my boys' closet and our school closet.  Those would be a 2 hour job combined so not that big of a deal.  I do have some papers to sort through since I am a recovering paperholic, but I am making progress there.  Maybe three more hours to go with the papers still in my house not counting any scanning if I choose to deal with it that way.  I DO have oodles of paper and books in storage, though, but that is a long term project.  I can't seem to let go of my library, but there is nowhere to store it on shelves right now and we don't even have money for the kind of shelves we would need in this house to put up 1/3 of the books.  I'm thinking maybe a library shed at some point in our future?  We do use the local library a lot and I find things at Goodwill about once a week or so.


Our house becomes a mess everyday, but we clean it up almost every night after dinner and it only takes about 30 minutes for the living areas to be clean if we all work together.  The problem is that when baseball starts our evenings will be in the ball fields unless I stay home and clean up, which I may decide to do.  But it may be better to move the clean up time to earlier in the day.  I just prefer to do it when my husband is not focused on work because there is far less messing around when he is involved.  


Our life has been more of a situation where I have a list of 10 things every day that I want to get done and I go about my day doing those things and interact with my children as they join with me or as they invite me to do something with them.  I try as much as possible to always stop what I am doing and do whatever it is they want me to do with them whether that is a picnic, a story, a game, or a conversation.  And they often want to join me to cook meals or do yoga or run errands.  In case you are curious, the ten things I try to get done are:


1. yoga

2. chores (laundry, make my bed, clean my bathroom)

3. hygiene (including brushing their hair and teeth)

4. one to do item or errand

5.personal study or hobby time

6. devotional

7. prayer

8. family time

9. read aloud

10. time with my husband


Public school is not an option.  I don't need to be plugged in with lots of families, but a few like-minded ones would be nice.  The high school is like 15 miles away and the schools here are not doing well.  The teachers may be very nice and the families might be ok (I don't want to judge since I don't know them), but academically it isn't a good situation.  There is actually a classical charter school nearby that I think goes up to 8th grade, but we'd have to get them in there (lottery system) and it would probably have very high expectations and lots of homework.  The reason I am not as interested in that (besides all the homework) is that my kids would be separated all day.  At the little ACE school they would all be together and have breaks and lunch and PE together.  It is like a little family there.  I don't want my children to lose their bond with each other.  There is nothing more precious than that to me.  

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Also, if my older kids were in school, I would still have to teach my 6 year old and 4 year old and maybe even my 7 year old because I'm not sure she reads well enough to start there.  She would have to pass their reading test to get in.  Plus I would be taking care of my 2 year old.  So my hands would still be full at home with the oldest three or four gone most of the day.  Money and my husband's thoughts are the real barrier.  

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I talked to my husband more about all of this last night.  He told me to just start slowly.  So I think we will begin by having all of us copy what the oldest will be doing first thing in the morning, even if we are in our pjs.  We will do the pledges and read aloud together the chapter of the Bible her school is doing and then pray together.  Then my two boys will sit down and do their Teaching Textbooks lesson and read a classic (they'll have to take turns with the computer).  Eventually we will add a music theory program for them.  And I want to do Reading Master Plus which works on spelling, reading comprehension and speed, math drills, and typing.  And Rosetta Stone Hebrew and Reading.  These are all on the computer so they won't need me to do much.  We can try to follow the school schedule little by little with break times and work times.  When we add Reading Master Plus we can add in my fourth child and when we get Rosetta Stone Reading we can add in my fifth and maybe sixth child.  That will give them Bible, math, reading, spelling, typing, foreign language, and music.  ACE has an art elective for elementary that we can do, too.  Once all of that is going smoothly, we can think about adding paces.  The computer programs obviously don't include writing, so I will have them do some copywork or a written narration from their current classic when they finish it (or if it has stories they can do one for each story), or a journal entry or letter to someone.  My six and seven year old already know how to write their letters and how to write lowercase in cursive, though they may need a refresher.  I only have my 4 year old to teach handwriting to.  If/when we do paces we can have them give us an oral report or a written narration and we may keep their tests for reviewing what they learned in previous paces.  I think I can handle a slow ramping up like this.....

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Whoever responds to this, please know that this is just an explosion of my thoughts at this moment and please be kind.  And please don't insult ACE.  I know all about the negatives.  It won't be helpful right now.  I don't even have an actual question right now.  I'm just......lost.


My best friend homeschooled all three of her kids using ACE. All three are productive adults now pursuing various careers, two with college degrees (The youngest has not yet finished)

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Ace is an extremely popular form of homeschooling in australia because the first private distance education school here uses it


It has its flaws but it is a good, solid education for the most part. One family of 7 that i know used it exclusively and they are lawyers, accountants, etc. Dh was friends with a few ace families growing up, they are all doing well, and their relationships with their parents are great too. So don't let stress about the program add to your uncertainty. It might not be perfect, we both know it's not, but perfect can be the enemy of the good. If it's working for you right now then it's good right now

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It sounds like sending your daughter to the ACE school might be a good idea. If money is tight, I wouldn't try and switch over the other kids, though. At least not yet.


If they like to cook, long slow mornings in the kitchen followed by group clean up is a schedule. I didn't mean a tight schedule. I just meant rhythm and a plan.

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ACE, unless it has been drastically and fundamentally revised in the last couple decades, is racist. I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole for my kids even if I was Christian.


I think what Hunter is talking about isn't so much a schedule as establishing routines. Flylady does a good job of explaining the difference, iirc.

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So you saved the day again, Hunter.  I implemented the same schedule as the school at home and it is working very well except for the fact that I keep ending up in my pjs until the afternoon.  7:00 seems to be a bad time for me to wake up in my sleep cycle or I just need to get up earlier to have time to wake up.  I'm not one of those people who can just hop out of bed unless there is an emergency (needing to make sure her uniform was washed counts as an emergency).


So we are doing this:


7:00 Wake up and do our B's (bathroom, bedroom, body, breakfast, brush)

8:00 Blitz (we attack the living areas together) while husband drops off daughter

8:30 Pledges and read a chapter of the Bible together that we are memorizing, prayer, sit for school

11:30 Lunch

3:00 Whatever we want the rest of the day: free time, errands/to dos, yoga, family time, read aloud, etc.

9:00 Blitz, then bed


We spent the week doing testing for the ACE curriculum, which gave me an idea of where they were weak.  We continued with Teaching Textbooks, which both boys love and my oldest is doing as her homework since most nights she will not have homework.  


Since money is tight, I think we will just start by ordering Reading Master Plus software which has typing, spelling/vocabulary, reading comprehension/speed, and math drills and Alfred's Music Theory software program that I've been wanting since my kids are not doing any music lessons right now.  I may also subscribe to the Rosetta Stone Reading to help keep my 6 and 4 year olds busy during school time.  That is much cheaper than the ACE reading programs, though I would like to order those, too eventually. Other than that, they will have the freedom to continue studying what they would like to during school time.  Since we have only one computer that can do software right now they will have to take turns.  The Rosetta Stone Reading can be done on our chromebooks, so the little girls probably won't have to take turns because we purchased a few used chromebooks a year ago when we were trying out Monarch.  They will all need a pair of headphones, but I think we have two already to get us started.  


I have a set of The Book of Knowledge and a set of Childcraft from craigslist, so I will have them read or draw from those if they get bored.  Right now we are using the Epic app and I absolutely love it because we have it on the tablet and ipad and it has audiobook and read aloud options that are wonderful.  We have 4 different profiles going and only pay $5/month for it.  It's great!  


Thank you, Hunter, for your words of wisdom.  I underestimated how well I am doing.  Tonight I even cooked dinner for probably the first time in two years or more!!  With three short clean up sessions each day the house is staying pretty nice, which is good since our baby is crawling all over the floors now.  My oldest mops when she gets home from school.  My husband is really blown away with how productive our days our now and he is getting more work done.  He is working on possibly handing over the majority of his business from our former state over to a large brokerage to manage for him and we are praying that that will generate a more steady income and allow him to put more focus on his business in our state.  Having enough money to pay our bills AND purchase curriculum will be wonderful.  But for now we can make due with what we have and still do our schedule.


Tomorrow we are taking off to do some deep cleaning for guests that are staying for the weekend from out of town.  I don't feel guilty at all because we had 4 solid days of school and I plan to do that Tuesday-Friday next week as well.  (Monday our guests will be leaving, it's my husband's birthday, and my son has a checkup so we are going to just take off that day, too).  I even got to do quite a bit of reading during school time since they were working pretty well independently.  


I am so encouraged about this coming year!


I also want to say that the more I look at ACE the more I think it is misjudged based on former versions of it.  I think if one adds in book reports/oral reports (which I saw mentioned in an article they have on their website) and uses the software and art supplements they offer it can be pretty well-rounded.  I only Teaching Textbooks because I am nervous to switch from spiral to mastery and the Rosetta Stone Reading is just to have something the little girls can do for fun that is educational when I am not available or for extra reinforcement.  It keeps them focused and quiet so that the others can study in our small house when the weather is too cold for extended outdoor time.  7th grade is supposed to contain 1/2 a year of state history and I may decide to just use Switched on Schoolhouse for that instead of the extensive research project ACE suggests.  Also, they have a lengthy project suggested for Computer Science and I may decide to use SOS for that as well.  SOS electives may be an option depending on what the kids are interested in, but I am pretty impressed with the ones ACE has in the homeschool catalog.  They even have some they are calling Advanced Highschool/College and so if our kids finished things up early they would still have plenty of credits they can earn beyond the normal.  I like the idea that I will know exactly what credits have been earned and that the grading will all be objective minus the writing assignments.  It takes a lot of weight off of my shoulders that way.  I love knowing that they can be done at 2:30 and have the rest of the day to play.  Other things we have done have made school last all day and that was just exhausting.  


homeschoolhowtos.com is going to be my new favorite website I think.  It actually addresses many of the things I am researching out with my faith and advocates ACE as a base to build on.  She talked about reading The Bible Story and Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories to your little ones each night and it reminded me of how I have neglected to spend enough time reading Bible stories at their level and short devotionals like I did with my older ones.  I have been so focused on whether they are getting a steady diet of the classics that I have neglected some of their spiritual education.  It is amazing to see how she addresses so many of the things I have been wrestling with on her website and I am excited to learn from her. (I know others think she is over the top, but I find it amusing and convicting and practical, actually.)




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  • 2 weeks later...

You mentioned Robinson, and I wanted to say that we used this when we first began home schooling, and it was a life saver. We didn't have money for lots of materials, and our children were all over the map in terms of needs - one learning to read and two home from p.s. (8th & 11th) with weak core skills. We did the following:


Math - first subject of the day, Saxon, one lesson per day, 5 lessons per week, test on Saturday, year round


Reading - RC books, 30 minutes to start, 1 hour when ready, 2nd reading time with other books when ready


Composition - 1/2 page to 1 page of copy work, then reading journals (written form of narration) when copy work was good, then essay instruction when ready


Vocabulary - RC sets, definition + spelling + sentence, began with 3 words & added words each day until entire set completed


Grammar - RC


Handwriting - RC


All of this took until lunch time or after when we added a second reading time. We followed the above routine for many, many months. In the afternoons/evenings, we did household work, read the Bible, and did lots of reading aloud.


When everyone was working smoothly with the above, I taught the older children to take notes using Cornell method. They practiced by taking sermon notes. Since I was taking the same notes, it was easy for me to check their progress. When they were good at taking notes, we added Apologia science. When they were doing well with that, we added a foreign language. When they were doing well with that, we added a BJU textbook course, so they could get familiar with textbooks for college. We also added ACT prep. All of this took years, but it worked well. We did not follow this approach with youngest dc, and I regret it. Taking the time to master 3R skills and gradually learning discipline made independent work possible and successful.


I want to add that checking work is time consuming for Mom, so focusing on 3R basics was enough for me. I checked their copy work, sentences, math, grammar, and quizzed them on vocabulary. I wrote suggestions, and they corrected their work.  Fwiw, I would definitely add oral narration to the mix, and I would do the written narrations a bit differently.


Also, while the older children were doing their work around the kitchen table, youngest dc worked on math flash cards and then reading with me. We also did lots of reading aloud.  


P.S. Forgot to add that I taught the older children to outline about the same time as I taught them Cornell notes.


Edited by 1Togo
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  • 2 weeks later...

So, a month out from this and I am feeling much better I think.  At least about homeschooling.  


My oldest is doing well at the school though she doesn't really like it very much.  She does recognize that she is getting a lot done, so that is good and we have much more peace at home, which is also good.  She has been very responsible to get up on time, pack her lunch, get her uniforms ready, do her homework (when she has some, which isn't often), etc.  We are very proud of her.  We are still working on not talking back, but even that has gotten better.


We have been using some PACEs to fill in "gaps" and that has gone well.  They are doing well with checking their work.  Soon I think I will be ready to order one of each subject and really get them going.  Right now the one or two PACEs they are using is not filling up enough time, so the last few hours of the day (like right now) kind of drag on.  Our computer that can do software bit the dust so now we are not able to use our Teaching Textbooks.  Once we have a "new" computer I can't wait to begin adding software programs for them to work on.  I haven't decided if that will be something they use on rotation throughout the day or if they will be required to finish all of their other work before getting on the computer.  Probably a rotation would be needed for them to be able to fit in a Rosetta Stone lesson, a Teaching Textbooks lesson, and drill in one area (math, reading, spelling, typing, or music theory).  Once they test out of the drill they can choose a different elective from SOS.  


I read some awesome reviews about ACE that have me really excited despite all of the naysayers on here.  I just ordered the first grade manuals and the first workbook for each subject they start with (animal science, Bible reading, math, and word building) for my 6 year old.  Once she finishes the first 12 weeks I plan to order the K program for my 4 year old (who may be five by then).  I don't want to be doing intensive teaching with both at once.  I am also about to do the Review Manual (which takes 3 weeks to do) with my 7 year old.  She is going to go through the first grade science, social studies, and English paces because she needs to build up more stamina and the phonics clues help her.  She is ready for second grade math and word building, though.  I am having her eyes checked Monday to check on the stamina issue.


I have all our things so far in a small filing box.  I am hoping to only need one more.  I LOVE keeping things minimalist.  After each pace I tear off the front cover (which has the goals, character definitions, and new vocabulary) and save it with the test which is a good sample of the work covered.  I throw the rest of the pace away.  And except for math (which I bought as a set for one of my kiddos), I am just buying one pace at a time for each subject and that is helping it seem more affordable.  It also means that we don't have a ton of paces to store at any one time; just the score keys.  I am feeling good about the idea of donating the rest of my curriculum (minus anything resembling a living book).    


School and little ones and a trip I took last weekend have been keeping me busier than I was before so I have made very little progress on my religious studies; however, I am totally looking forward to tonight and tomorrow when I can totally focus on my own studies.  In the past, we used to not take Saturday off unless we had something specific to go do and I think that was part of burn out.  Having one day to myself to study is glorious!  Plus Sunday we go to church and I consider Sunday time to run errands or work on house projects.  This feels much more balanced.  Part of the reason for the evenings being scattered is because we just started baseball this week and we have practice 4 times a week.  This is tough but at least it is close by and only lasts a few weeks and doesn't interfere with weekends.  I am hoping to reserve Saturday nights for learning with my husband and discussing our views, etc.


We just got paid again though it was a small amount.  This allowed us to make a few orders of paces over the last month.  Now it is hold our breath time and see if we can make it to the next check (and since we don't know when the next check is coming this is especially hard).  This is the biggest part of my life that is still bothering me, but if there is any hope that I could make money at some point to help us get out of debt it would be a curriculum like ACE with software supplements.  Perhaps I could take on a part time job in the late afternoons/evenings after my youngest is done nursing.  Maybe my oldest will get a job within this year and begin to help out by paying her own expenses (which aren't much anyway).  Maybe the leads my husband is handing off now will prosper.


Anyway, the future is looking brighter :-)

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