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Fitting it all in...how do you do it? Help me streamline!!

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Sometimes I feel like we do "school at home" and that was never my intention with homeschooling.  This year, I have tried to relax and not worry about "finishing the book," but since my oldest is in middle school, I do feel pressure to make sure he's on target and ready for high school. 

 

My focus for my oldest is to work on his writing, but I also know that all of the other good parts of a classical education are important, too!  I want to have time to slow down and work on writing, but sometimes, I feel like we need to push through other subjects just to keep from falling behind...so I want to streamline things to help our week run smoother. 

 

For example, if he's taking Latin and Spanish, do I really "need" to do Wordly Wise vocabulary???  He uses and likes R&S Grammar, but surely there is a way that he can get good grammar coverage in a shorter lesson??  And I've seen others say that if we're doing Latin, he doesn't really need English Grammar, but I'm afraid to let it go...I guess for fear that the Latin grammar won't transfer??  I don't know...

 

If I streamline one area, I'm hoping to make more time for history and science reading and our writing instruction...without those subjects becoming "just get it done" time.  I also want to add a literature guide (we usually just read and talk about the books, but I want to do ONE lit guide this year to fully dig into a book.), but can't seem to find time to add that in without making our school day longer...or eliminating a subject for a couple of weeks.

 

Not sure if I'm making sense, but how do you streamline subjects?  What is "flexible" in your house?  What is non-negotiable and must get done/finish the book stuff??

 

Maybe it's just February funk??

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Sometimes I feel like we do "school at home" and that was never my intention with homeschooling.  This year, I have tried to relax and not worry about "finishing the book," but since my oldest is in middle school, I do feel pressure to make sure he's on target and ready for high school. 

 

My focus for my oldest is to work on his writing, but I also know that all of the other good parts of a classical education are important, too!  I want to have time to slow down and work on writing, but sometimes, I feel like we need to push through other subjects just to keep from falling behind...so I want to streamline things to help our week run smoother. 

 

For example, if he's taking Latin and Spanish, do I really "need" to do Wordly Wise vocabulary???  He uses and likes R&S Grammar, but surely there is a way that he can get good grammar coverage in a shorter lesson??  And I've seen others say that if we're doing Latin, he doesn't really need English Grammar, but I'm afraid to let it go...I guess for fear that the Latin grammar won't transfer??  I don't know...

 

If I streamline one area, I'm hoping to make more time for history and science reading and our writing instruction...without those subjects becoming "just get it done" time.  I also want to add a literature guide (we usually just read and talk about the books, but I want to do ONE lit guide this year to fully dig into a book.), but can't seem to find time to add that in without making our school day longer...or eliminating a subject for a couple of weeks.

 

Not sure if I'm making sense, but how do you streamline subjects?  What is "flexible" in your house?  What is non-negotiable and must get done/finish the book stuff??

 

Maybe it's just February funk??

 

 

A couple of things. I am in about the same stage so I hope someone else will comment after me who has been "through" this stage.  

 

First off, drop Worldly Wise if you are doing Latin.  That's just my opinion but I don't think you need vocabulary and Latin. WTM says once you finish spelling you can do Vocab from Classical Roots. My impression is that WW is more workbooky but I have not used it and we are not done with AAS7 so I guess we'll see when we get there.

 

For R&S, are you doing it orally or on paper? Would it be faster to do it orally?  Are you skipping the composition (WTM says to do this)? One option if you want to switch is to try Fix-It. It really is only about 10-15 minutes a day. However, I have heard great things about R&S so I am hoping someone will comment here on how they do it. Maybe there is something everyone else skips.  =)

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I agree w/ dropping Wordly Wise w/ the Latin study. 

 

Grammar quickly? Analytical Grammar is popular here for getting it done w/o dragging it out. Search the boards for more info.

 

I will say that I am about to launch my last child and my biggest regret for both of mine is that I did not outsource writing starting slowly in middle school. If I could do it over again, I'd start the outsourcing gently with something like Brave Writer online classes and then beef it up with something else, and then, some time in high school, I'd have my child take a community college class (online or in person) that had a lot of writing assignments. 

 

As for streamlining subjects, we went year-round taking breaks when we needed/wanted, sometimes up to a month. I think math, music, and foreign language should be done daily and year-round as much as possible to keep skills sharp. Going year-round allowed for too many a ton of outside activities. Lastly, some subjects were saved for summer and when I  eased up on some other subjects. Very satisfying to get it out of the way quickly. 

 

 

 

 

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I think you need to decide how much time you are willing to commit to school and also how fast a student he is. Another dynamic is how often can you teach and correct. I say that because I school 7 currently and am pregnant. Life situations are all factors. Some people do one hour per grade as a guide. My middle schoolers spend 6-8 hours depending on grade but at the same time they built up to that stamina which might something else to consider. My bare minimum has been math, foreign language, writing and free reading. Then I build up from there. I add subjects, choose curriculum that meets my standard of rigor, appropriate repetition and self-study.

 

The answer isn't specific because everything depends. For example, the kids read rod and Staff grammar and complete the corresponding worksheet not the written exercises but that's because it's too much writing and I don't have time to do things orally with them. They take the chapter test closed book and I can gauge from there whether we need to redo certain lessons. I don't worry about completing the book within a year and I've been known to skip a grade. I discuss the grammar in context in their writing - errors and copia arrangements. I discuss their grammar and the differences in Chinese. I've even diagrammed Chinese sentences In my situation, I spend less time teaching but much more on correcting. So my materials either have well-written text with very explicit instructions directed at student - very parts-to- whole since my holistic learners can adjust but my sequential learners can't. And I correct, correct, correct.

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How long is your school day now? You said you don't want it to be longer, but what would longer actually mean?

 

Definitely don't need root word or vocab work with Latin and Spanish!

 

How often are you doing English Grammar?

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I do like above with R&S with my one who can handle it. She reads it on her own, does the workbook page if there is one. Other days that there isn't one, she and I look at it after she has read it. I decide if she understands the lesson and needs to do any written work that day or not. For my other student that has more trouble with language arts in general, we generally do the R&S together, but not a lesson a day. It may take us 3 days to thoroughly understand prepositional phrases and diagramming them. So with her I read the lesson, do the oral drill, assign some written work, either from the workbook or from the page, and check it carefully before she moves on.  FWIW, she is in 7th grade and still working from the 5th grade R&S English at this point. It is right on target for her. And I guarantee you I was not introduced to diagramming prep phrases until middle school in public school, so I do not think she is ill prepared for high school. (My 9th grader is using the R&S grade 8 book for part of her high school English right now. I think at a certain point, R&S does not need to be on grade level. She will still finish all the way through 9/10 before she graduates.) 

 

My older dd did do the R&S spelling which included vocab. work as well as doing Latin, but it was not priority. She is an excellent speller, so it was quick work. The intro to french and greek spellings and roots was something she wasn't getting from doing Spanish or Latin, so I liked having her do it. She could get it in, again finishing the 8th grade spelling midway through 9th grade. Now for 2nd semester she is only doing Latin. She will pick back up some vocab study as testing approaches later. 

 

My current middle schooler cannot get the R&S spelling and vocab work in. She works on Spanish daily, Latin daily, the R&S English with me a few times a week, writing, reading, etc. She has trouble with spelling and needs special attention in that area. But phonics based doesn't work with her. So we are doing a Dyslexia Games workbook and some practice skills for learning new words that I learned from a special ed teacher that worked with her. She may never get the vocab work or the highest levels of R&S English. We shall see. But she will continue to move forward. 

 

Other factors for us are our outside activities. My kids spend several days a week in their dance classes. WTM has an article somewhere that discusses this. They are heavy into writing in SWB's household, and do similar to what is in WTM. But if you have a kid that is doing gymnastics or piano for hours a day, then that amount of writing isn't possible. Every household will be different. We are focusing on writing this semester heavily. But last semester, my high school dd did Logic as an elective. We just couldn't put in the time on her writing curric. She continued writing in all areas like from her R&S English and for her Great Books study, but we couldn't put in the time for specific WWS lessons. Now that we finished Logic, we have more time in a day and get to much more intense writing instruction vs. just the assignments from across the curriculum. We can't always do them because we have to get out the door by a certain time each day. So I am very scheduled in what gets done each hour and rewrite our schedules as we finish things or when we are focusing on other things to get it all in. We just don't get it all in every day the full year if that makes sense. 

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You guys are always so helpful!  Actually, after hearing from all of you, I feel like I must be doing something right!! 

 

For R&S, we do some orally, some written.  Basically, I look at the lessons ahead of time and decide how I think he needs to do it.  Sometimes I assign odds, evens, or some other portion of the written work.  We have done some of the writing lessons, but again, only the ones I think he really needs.  We generally do it 4 days/week, but we were not doing it that frequently in the first half of the year, so I started to worry that we'd never finish the book...the book!!!  LOL!! I have been considering IEW Fix It for next year, though.  He likes R&S and I know it's solid, but it is a lot of work...and doesn't always transfer to his writing...

 

Our school day generally runs 9am to 3pm, with time before we start the day for reading aloud.  So, about 6 hours (including lunch and snack break).  If that's on the lower end of normal, I don't really feel too bad extending the day for sit down time with mom for writing or literature. 

 

At the beginning of the year, we used Vocab from Classical Roots, but we both hated it.  The only reason I felt we needed vocab (WW) is because SWB includes VfCR in TWTM...and she also includes the languages, so...

 

This child also takes 2 classes at a high school tutorial (geometry and Spanish), so these classes do expect a high school level time commitment and I guess I generally put other things aside to help make time for them.  On a good note, ds is very committed to these classes and has seen the level of work that high school with require! Next year, I'm debating the Socratic discussion class through WTMA, but I just worry about adding an additional "subject."  Oh, and more focused Logic studies!!  It all just keeps adding up and I know high school will magnify that...

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