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Msweetpea2
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This will be my third year homeschooling and I'm switching things up a little bit.  I have a DD who just turned 8yo in June (so she could be entering 2nd or 3rd grade) and DD who will be 7yo at the end of Oct (and is starting 1st grade). I also have a DS 4.5 yo and DS almost 3yo. In the past I've kind of done a hodge podge of different things - utilizing some memory (I've been making up ridiculous songs since they were babies -before I had any idea that was a 'thing' with schooling), some workbook stuff, some spine books for history/science, lots of random arts and crafts (my kids love to draw, sketch and paint on their own), some flashcards and math hands on, some unit style/interest led studies, and lots (and lots) of reading. 

 

The problem is that with 4 small kids and my husband and I both with alternative work schedules I feel like I get hopelessly off track. I'm one of those weird mixes of type A perfectionist with laid back, creative spontaneity.  I need something with structure, but not something that will make me feel suffocated... If I have to check off too many boxes and stick to a strict schedule, I will internally rebel or feel like I'm failing if I miss anything.  I definitely tend to fall under the classical style but lean more towards charlotte mason side than CC style of classical. I need and want SOME repetition and memorization, but both my daughters and I will lose our minds without other (read: deeper/newer/interesting) things thrown in the mix.

 

I've spent so many hours researching that my husband asks if I want to switch up my job to 'professional researcher' (ha!).  I just read through a 3rd grade planning thread and started to get some anxiety... I see why Moms are pairing certain things together, but I look at their subject/curriculum lists and have NO idea how they plan out their mixing and matching into a functioning, lesson-planned schedule. Ideally I would love to mix and match some of my top faves and create my own, but I just don't know if I'm there yet this year. 

 

Here's a little list of what I'm leaning towards:

(for reference, my 8yo is incredibly advanced with reading and really wants heavy on history and science. My 6yo is super artsy and not a strong reader yet but super great with math and loves geography)

 

Aquinas Learning - I've almost pulled the trigger but feel I would need to supplement. I like the layout of the samples they provide and like the idea of  some core subjects being taught together, but am worried about the separate needs / skills in LA

 

Latin from Memoria Press

 

St. Thomas Aquinas Academy - Since they require enrollment and sending in weekly work, this wont work for me, but I like a lot of their book choices (would sub religion, penmanship, reading skills)

 

AAR/AAS or Voyages in English (second newer edition) -trying to figure out more differences between them. I don't mind some workbook stuff when it comes to spelling/grammar practice. (I have no experience with Explode the Code)

 

IEW - any thoughts? I feel like the heavier stuff is geared for kids a little older than mine.

 

I need a good helper for learning to read for my 6yo - she understands phonics and is capable of reading early readers very slowly.. I feel like she's on track, but my 8yo is such an advanced reader that I have no fair basis for comparison.

 

Math Mammoth - we have successfully been using this so for now I'll stick with it

 

Science - I like what I've seen from Harcourt. My 8yo devours science books so I need something substantial. (I'm not a fan of Apologia science) and I need something with experiments but maybe weekly ones? I mostly need a variety of science subjects as my kids alternate between wanting to study animals, to weather patterns, to the earth's crust, to human bodies to astronomy. :eek:

 

History is my hardest to figure out. I've been reading from CHOW and using Usborne Internet Linked. I also have SOTW but haven't gotten into it yet. I'd like to do US history this year so they can have a connection with geography (we are working on US states and capitols). I've heard great things about Adventures in America

 

I'd also like to incorporate maybe Veritas press timeline, and Living Memory by Andrew Campbell.

 

I'd love to hear of any favorite music and art stuff (stories of Great Composers, How to Draw - are these good?)

 

Any other fun memorizing favorites?

 

 

Thank you for reading if you've made it this far! I'm the first person on both sides of our families to homeschool. My side is supportive (even if they think I'm a little crazy) but my husband's side of the family thinks I'm damaging my children's education and entire childhood. :001_huh:  I don't doubt my decision, or my ability to teach my kids... I just want to make sure I'm giving them the best I can, and my DD 8yo needs to be challenged more than I have the past 2 years, so hence my changing things up and reaching out for help. :seeya:

 

 

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Honestly?  I don't think you need a "program" so to speak.  

 

You read lots of good books.  If you want to take that deeper, consider buying the Teaching The Classics seminar dvds.  This will give you the skills to make any book into your literature curriculum.  

 

Math- good to go

 

Science- skip the curriculum and just let your kids check out books form the library on whatever catches their interest.  They will learn better and retain better this way.  IMO, elementary school experiments are pretty over-rated.  Give your kids a corner of the yard to grow a garden.  Catch some bugs.  Done.  We have been really enjoying Destination Imagination Instant Challenges in our family.  I think these are way better than any science experiment!  

 

History- give SOTW a try.  

 

Language Arts- Personally, I'm a brave writer person, but I've read so much on LA at this point that I don't have any sort of pure method.  Start with orally telling back stories/history/science, move to writing it down, then writing it down in an organized way.  Pick something for grammar and spelling, I don't think there's any real miracle programs in this department unless your kids have special needs.  

 

Learning to read- I really like the McGuffey readers for early reading practice.  

 

In our house, it doesn't make sense to match things up to a given level.  For example, in composition, my kid hits the ball outta the park, but in spelling, it's a total disaster.  It would be silly to hold back one skill because another is weak, or alternatively, to push too quickly on a skill that needs more time to develop.  

 

Those are just some thoughts after a quick read of your post.  

 

Good luck! 

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This will be my third year homeschooling and I'm switching things up a little bit.  I have a DD who just turned 8yo in June (so she could be entering 2nd or 3rd grade) and DD who will be 7yo at the end of Oct (and is starting 1st grade). I also have a DS 4.5 yo and DS almost 3yo. In the past I've kind of done a hodge podge of different things - utilizing some memory (I've been making up ridiculous songs since they were babies -before I had any idea that was a 'thing' with schooling), some workbook stuff, some spine books for history/science, lots of random arts and crafts (my kids love to draw, sketch and paint on their own), some flashcards and math hands on, some unit style/interest led studies, and lots (and lots) of reading. 

 

The problem is that with 4 small kids and my husband and I both with alternative work schedules I feel like I get hopelessly off track. I'm one of those weird mixes of type A perfectionist with laid back, creative spontaneity.  I need something with structure, but not something that will make me feel suffocated... If I have to check off too many boxes and stick to a strict schedule, I will internally rebel or feel like I'm failing if I miss anything.  I definitely tend to fall under the classical style but lean more towards charlotte mason side than CC style of classical. I need and want SOME repetition and memorization, but both my daughters and I will lose our minds without other (read: deeper/newer/interesting) things thrown in the mix.

 

I've spent so many hours researching that my husband asks if I want to switch up my job to 'professional researcher' (ha!).  I just read through a 3rd grade planning thread and started to get some anxiety... I see why Moms are pairing certain things together, but I look at their subject/curriculum lists and have NO idea how they plan out their mixing and matching into a functioning, lesson-planned schedule. Ideally I would love to mix and match some of my top faves and create my own, but I just don't know if I'm there yet this year. 

 

Here's a little list of what I'm leaning towards:

(for reference, my 8yo is incredibly advanced with reading and really wants heavy on history and science. My 6yo is super artsy and not a strong reader yet but super great with math and loves geography)

 

Aquinas Learning - I've almost pulled the trigger but feel I would need to supplement. I like the layout of the samples they provide and like the idea of  some core subjects being taught together, but am worried about the separate needs / skills in LA

 

Latin from Memoria Press

 

St. Thomas Aquinas Academy - Since they require enrollment and sending in weekly work, this wont work for me, but I like a lot of their book choices (would sub religion, penmanship, reading skills)

 

AAR/AAS or Voyages in English (second newer edition) -trying to figure out more differences between them. I don't mind some workbook stuff when it comes to spelling/grammar practice. (I have no experience with Explode the Code)

 

IEW - any thoughts? I feel like the heavier stuff is geared for kids a little older than mine.

 

I need a good helper for learning to read for my 6yo - she understands phonics and is capable of reading early readers very slowly.. I feel like she's on track, but my 8yo is such an advanced reader that I have no fair basis for comparison.

 

Math Mammoth - we have successfully been using this so for now I'll stick with it

 

Science - I like what I've seen from Harcourt. My 8yo devours science books so I need something substantial. (I'm not a fan of Apologia science) and I need something with experiments but maybe weekly ones? I mostly need a variety of science subjects as my kids alternate between wanting to study animals, to weather patterns, to the earth's crust, to human bodies to astronomy. :eek:

 

History is my hardest to figure out. I've been reading from CHOW and using Usborne Internet Linked. I also have SOTW but haven't gotten into it yet. I'd like to do US history this year so they can have a connection with geography (we are working on US states and capitols). I've heard great things about Adventures in America

 

I'd also like to incorporate maybe Veritas press timeline, and Living Memory by Andrew Campbell.

 

I'd love to hear of any favorite music and art stuff (stories of Great Composers, How to Draw - are these good?)

 

Any other fun memorizing favorites?

 

 

Thank you for reading if you've made it this far! I'm the first person on both sides of our families to homeschool. My side is supportive (even if they think I'm a little crazy) but my husband's side of the family thinks I'm damaging my children's education and entire childhood. :001_huh:  I don't doubt my decision, or my ability to teach my kids... I just want to make sure I'm giving them the best I can, and my DD 8yo needs to be challenged more than I have the past 2 years, so hence my changing things up and reaching out for help. :seeya:

 

Grade level for your older children is irrelevant :-) but if they were going to school, your older would be entering third grade.

 

Why not stick to CM and call it good? AmblesideOnline has everything scheduled. You'd add math for each of your children, and something for phonics for your 6yo; your littles can hang with y'all for most things; your 8yo can play with the littles while you do phonics with the 6yo.

 

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You are doing a great job mama! Homeschooling with 4 small kids is HARD. It is okay to admit that. Try not to get overwhelmed with doing it all. I can relate to your personality description and yes, homeschooling is a constant source of soaring hope and crushing frustration! That gets easier with time, you find your groove and confidence.

 

I'm not familiar with aquinas, it looks interesting. I wouldn't want to add a lot to it though. If your older child is an advanced reader, then is AAR necessary?

 

Maybe look at planning from another perspective, what are your main goals for the year for each child? What are your priorities?

 

A lot of the stuff you seem to want to incorporate could work well in a 'morning time' routine.

 

https://edsnapshots.com/morning-time-and-how-it-can-change-your-homeschool/

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First of all cut yourself some slack! You have a lot of kids and you're choosing to educate them yourselves which is a big deal, and a lot of work! Plus you are working too! Does your DH help out when you are working? If so, then you might want to plan for those days. Something that's easy for him to do but won't be confusing for either of you if you're switching off and/or play to his strengths and plan on him doing something more to his liking on those days.

 

I love AAR so I don't think you can go wrong with it. It's super easy to use and with your busy life it's going to be really easy for you since there's no prep work, just open and go. Plus it teaches really well and systematically. I can't say enough how excited I am to have my oldest always begging to read another chapter before he has to do something else, or sleep, which is all thanks to AAR. We are using AAS too and it's also great. It does a great job with rules and my son remembers those when he is thinking of spelling things at other times, like how English rules don't end in I. Neither one are really workbooks. You read out a scripted lesson and then there are activities in AAR or writing for AAS which would be done on separate paper. The teacher's manual in AAR and all the books in AAS are reuseable to which is a great cost savings. There's placement tests online if you're wondering about where to place your second oldest. For AAS they recommend starting at the beginning which your oldest will do quickly. Your second oldest could then start it too depending on her readiness.

 

Have you like looked at First Language Lessons (FLL) or Writing With Ease (WWE) for language arts (LA)? Both are great and complement each other well. Both are open and go and FLL is also reuseable. WWE has the student pages in the back so you could do a couple of different things if you wanted to reuse them, like copy in advance. The both will be effective and uncomplicated. Since you like CM check out English Lessons Through Literature (ELTL) which is a similar type of curriculum but is a CM style and does slow readings of classic books. I think with these and AAS you'd really have LA completed.

 

For Latin I was planning on trying Song School Latin in the fall which might also suit your style of song learning. Memoria Press (MP) also has a catchy cd of Geography Songs. I have t used it but I know people rave about Classical Conversations songs for facts, I know it's history but maybe they also do others.

 

I love Science in the Beginning of you want something to check out for science. In can easily be done with a variety of ages and best of all it's well done and easy to use. Just open and go. There's even a supply kit if you want to have everything on hand when you need it.

 

Have you seen Memoria Press (MP) Enrichment? It would be great for your wanting to add in composers. They have ones for K-2 which you might like to give you some structure and extras. We've used k-1 and will use 2 this year so I can only speak to the earlier books. There is usually a theme for the week, like frogs or it could be seasonal, and a book to read with comprehension questions. Then an art piece and classic music and poetry. Sometimes there is also science. It follows a traditional school calendar from fall to spring. It's a great way to focus a week and hit extras, like for me I'd never me good at doing music and a poem every week. If the themes appeal to you or your kids you could do it more in depth which we've done on topics or artists. Even my youngest loves the books and wants to answer questions. It's fun to hear their different opinions about art and watch them develop their preferences. I liked it so much I started the junior K with my youngest and it's really great if you want something to consider for your third born. It doesn't take long and is only meant to be used twice a week.

 

SOTW would help simplify things for you since your two oldest can do it together and your younger ones can tag along as much as they want.

 

We are doing Galloping The Globe now for geography which might appeal to your second born and it's something you can do with everyone. Your older two might be interested in the non-fiction books about the countries but everyone could enjoy pictures books and stories from the countries. We also enjoy the cookbook and do that with every lesson. It's also something that's easy to tailor to your schedule. You could do a country a week or a month or whatever works. Your geography lover gets geography and your oldest would have a lot of books.

 

For art what about Artistic Pursuits? Your art lover would definitely like it but it's also something everyone can do together. My 4 year old loves doing it with my 7 year old. Never would have thought of having them do still life's or pastels but they love it. Rainbow Resources also has great supply kits that are cheaper bundled than individual.

 

It's definitely pricey but check out A Year Of Playing Skillfully. It's recommended for young children like 3 up to 8 and I read a lot of blogs with older children happily tagging a long. It's not so bad if you consider that you will be reusing it. I just bought it but I'm excited about it. It has a month of fun activities from I think September to June. It would have a lot of fun learning activities for your youngest and fun art and projects for everyone. I'm never going to actually do all that stuff on Pinterest so having this laid out will mean I actually get around to letting my kids do the fun messy things.

 

Everyone, including my husband, thought I was crazy to homeschool but people get converted when they see the results. My husband has no idea how we'd ever send our oldest to a school. He's too advanced now and I'm pretty laid back and he doesn't do actual seat work very long. You are raising your kids and they will be smart and well rounded and well mannered and you will prove the doubters wrong!

 

Don't feel like you have to do everything at once! Cathyduffyreviews.com is a great place to see lists of different curriculum under different categories. Rainbow Resources is the best place to buy anything and they have great reviews of everything. Read this board until all the acronyms make sense and you'll get a great idea what's popular so you'll know what you might want to check out.

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I am the exact mix of perfectionist/w/that creative side that you describe too. 

 

I have found following the WTM gives us exactly that type of freedom. I have a general idea of what we are doing for each classical and skill subject, but I don't plan most subjects completely. I have never been super tempted by premade curricula with the days all planned out. It wouldn't work for our field trips, co-ops, take advantage of the opportunties we see around us, selves. 

 

But with WTM I can say ok, we are going to do this math book. That just means aim for an average of 3 lessons a week, and we will finish the majority of the book in the 10-11 months a year we do school. I do keep track of the lesson numbers in math. We have more time at home different times of the year. So in August all of our activities are on break. We may take a week off in August for a family vacation, leaving us about 3 weeks to actually get 5 days of math done a week. When activities start back up, we aim for 4, but sometimes can only get in 3 when a lesson is tough, etc. But it all evens out. 

 

With English or writing we do it the days we are home. I don't even plan out our reading lists in full for the year. I have the WTM on hand. But we might switch from the ones I originally picked. DD might be interested in a different from the lists. Or I might get insight to one I hadn't considered reading online sometime and go ahead and order that instead. We never read as many as I hope, but we just keep going. I read some aloud. Each reads on their own. And we read year round, even during our month off from school. 

 

For our interest led selves, I have always found a way to work that in. If co-op is doing a class that interests us, we fit it in and integrate it into our plans as best as possible. If my kids get into photography in scouts, we research it and use it as part of other projects we are working (notebooks that we are creating around co-op classes will be full of photography from our field trips, if the kids have to write a report on state history, they will look up early photographers and how cameras work and write on that, etc.) 

 

WTM really promotes self directed learning within its structure. I wouldn't give that freedom up to do a CC type schedule anyday. If we are in modern history and studying the Civil War, my kids read about something in there that interests them and write on that. One year, one of mine seemed to always be interested in how languages work. So her notebook was full of summaries about the things she learned about that. Another year, my girls seemed to be really interested in what women were doing in each time period. So they would look up famous women from the Civil War or read literature or diaries written by women during the western expansion, things like that. 

 

And last year my 7th graders official science was a co-op class. She had to read that book weekly on a schedule and do experiments on a schedule. But for her science topic, she wanted to learn about ocean animals. So we made a time every morning that she could work in a Thinking Tree journal. They are meant for "delight directed learning." We allowed dd13 to do her "delight directed learning" for about 45 minutes a day 3x a week. She designed her own little course using a video series on Ocean Animals, an animal encyclopedia, the internet, and some other books and followed the guided pages in her journal.  This was so successful, we are doing one together this year as our morning time with all of us. 

 

I like some CM stuff and fit that into our WTM classical curric. Our journals work some of that in easily for us giving us space for copywork and nature study. We keep nature notebooks and do at least a few entries each season and have since they were very little.  

 

 

 

 

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That's a challenging situation! I've only had 1-2 kids at a time to teach, and I've been challenged! :)

 

I'll tell you a secret, since maybe I've been around long enough. Don't look at other people's lists. Most people tend to try to do overmuch, and they often don't stick to what they SAY they're going to do. In a couple months, stuff gets sold off and people change stuff. Think SIMPLE. You're doing it right going through each goal, each subject. Think simple. Don't overdo and don't do things now that could be done just as well (or even better!) later. 

 

So me, I'd be looking at your mixing going ok, where do I want to be in a couple years? What is the convergence where some of these kids start to work together and x curriculum that you KNOW you want to use becomes a good option and worth the effort? Then you can work backwards and figure out how long you're filling in for.

 

My dd was a very advanced reader like that, very into history, and by that age she was driving a lot of her own content acquisition. You might try to view yourself with her as a *facilitator* rather than limiting it to teacher. You're going to go crazy if you try to TEACH everyone. Some things you need to FACILITATE. Math, LA, these things you teach. History, art, etc. sometimes you facilitate. You might try to think through those things and have looser structures, like you buy the book and it's just do the next thing. My dd had a weekly list (or daily, I forget) around that age. It would give you some of that structure you're wanting. Lists are a powerful tool when you have a lot of people going a lot of directions. And the list doesn't have to be nitpicky! Around that age I did a "diversified reading" checklist with my dd, where I would put a number of genres and she just had to read across the genres each week and log what she read. So she could pick her own science, her own poetry, etc., etc., and she just logged it on the form. Those logs then can become response journals as you approach high school. It's a really flexible format for advanced learners where you're facilitating more than specifying.

 

Some of her most interesting learning will be what she does to herself. You don't want to get in the way of that. You want to make sure the foundations are covered, but don't keep her so busy that she doesn't have time to pursue her own things. That's what I'm calling facilitating, when we nurture that. My goal with my dd was to provide a rich environment to nurture and facilitate her own things. I made sure the basics got done.

 

As far as US History at that age, have you looked at the redacted Guerber sold by MP? It would fit her reading level. The Abeka4 text isn't too bad, but it might not suit a catholic, dunno. I would still read her the Guerber text, btw. I'm just saying it would make a good spine. Then she could rabbit trail and do crafts. She's also at a really great age to do the American Girl doll books. There are books of crafts, cooking, World of, etc. for each doll. If ever this was a year for it, this would be the year. :D

 

Don't try too hard. Do a few things well and let something go. Like intentionally let something go. That's what summer is for, to go oops we didn't do that and do it for a few weeks. :)

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Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful replies! I really appreciate your encouragement and suggestions (especially to just breathe and not beat myself up too much). I love the idea of a Morning Basket but never really understood exactly how to incorporate into 'school' stuff (but singing/reading/memorization would be a very fun and natural way for my kids to start the day). I'm definitely focusing homeschooling on my 6yo and 8yo DD.  My 4yo DS likes to do some art stuff here and there and loves when I read to him but mostly he's doing great playing legos and superheroes and building train sets with my almost 3yo DS.

 

I'm going to look into a few of the ideas you all threw out.  Is there a resource or guide that helps with lesson planning? Or is that included with most curriculum's Teacher Guides? I think my biggest struggle is finding that balance between keeping a healthy list AND being spontaneous.  I can def go down rabbit trails and forget the original point.  My DD 8yo would do 5 days worth of 'work' in one day if she is extra interested in what she is learning. (She loves learning and proclaims school is 'the best thing ever') So maybe I'm doing okay after all?

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That's a challenging situation! I've only had 1-2 kids at a time to teach, and I've been challenged! :)

 

I'll tell you a secret, since maybe I've been around long enough. Don't look at other people's lists. Most people tend to try to do overmuch, and they often don't stick to what they SAY they're going to do. In a couple months, stuff gets sold off and people change stuff. Think SIMPLE. You're doing it right going through each goal, each subject. Think simple. Don't overdo and don't do things now that could be done just as well (or even better!) later. 

 

So me, I'd be looking at your mixing going ok, where do I want to be in a couple years? What is the convergence where some of these kids start to work together and x curriculum that you KNOW you want to use becomes a good option and worth the effort? Then you can work backwards and figure out how long you're filling in for.

 

My dd was a very advanced reader like that, very into history, and by that age she was driving a lot of her own content acquisition. You might try to view yourself with her as a *facilitator* rather than limiting it to teacher. You're going to go crazy if you try to TEACH everyone. Some things you need to FACILITATE. Math, LA, these things you teach. History, art, etc. sometimes you facilitate. You might try to think through those things and have looser structures, like you buy the book and it's just do the next thing. My dd had a weekly list (or daily, I forget) around that age. It would give you some of that structure you're wanting. Lists are a powerful tool when you have a lot of people going a lot of directions. And the list doesn't have to be nitpicky! Around that age I did a "diversified reading" checklist with my dd, where I would put a number of genres and she just had to read across the genres each week and log what she read. So she could pick her own science, her own poetry, etc., etc., and she just logged it on the form. Those logs then can become response journals as you approach high school. It's a really flexible format for advanced learners where you're facilitating more than specifying.

 

Some of her most interesting learning will be what she does to herself. You don't want to get in the way of that. You want to make sure the foundations are covered, but don't keep her so busy that she doesn't have time to pursue her own things. That's what I'm calling facilitating, when we nurture that. My goal with my dd was to provide a rich environment to nurture and facilitate her own things. I made sure the basics got done.

 

As far as US History at that age, have you looked at the redacted Guerber sold by MP? It would fit her reading level. The Abeka4 text isn't too bad, but it might not suit a catholic, dunno. I would still read her the Guerber text, btw. I'm just saying it would make a good spine. Then she could rabbit trail and do crafts. She's also at a really great age to do the American Girl doll books. There are books of crafts, cooking, World of, etc. for each doll. If ever this was a year for it, this would be the year. :D

 

Don't try too hard. Do a few things well and let something go. Like intentionally let something go. That's what summer is for, to go oops we didn't do that and do it for a few weeks. :)

 

Thank you for this. I am embarrassed to admit that I've told my oldest to stop reading a book because it was a 'school' book that I was going to teach her. She is VERY self directed and maybe that's where I feel like I'm failing her. I really want to nail down grammar so she can write as beautifully as she narrates. Also - she loves to cook and I didn't realize American Girl's had that! (she just read her first one a few days). Facilitate is what I needed to hear. She's very bright and excited to learn - I don't want to squash that by controlling too much. Thanks!

 

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Morning time really does work! It's a great place to park all those extras that get missed otherwise. When we first started, we did a morning board - I pinned pictures from our Artist of the term, map of the country/continent we were studying, the hymn we were studying and memory work. Then we had daily stuff and rotated through the rest (loop schedules - look it up!!!). So, we might do bible reading, then recite memory work, then one or two other things. Once a week or twice a month is better than a perfect curriculum that never gets done - small but consistent steps.

 

Now, my kids are 12,10,7 & nearly 4. A School day is much easier to get through. Our morning time at the moment has bible, songs (days of the week for my preschooler, Russian and Latin for everyone), watercolor, SOTW with narration. Then my olders have 'drill' - memory work, maths facts, geography fill a blank map - while I do something with the preschooler. We take about an hour but it is a lovely, enriching way to start. There are heaps of blogs about morning time, cindy rollins is the matriarch of morning time, I think pam Barnhill has some morning time planning stuff...

 

Trust your gut, you're on the right track and sound like you're doing a brilliant job. *hugs*

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For a few years we did "together time" after lunch instead of morning time. That is where we did all of our read alouds, memory work, looked at art, discussed projects, read bits and pieces from miscellaneous books that had to do with things we were covering in other subjects and such. 

 

This year I have put it back to the beginning of the day for morning basket time, and I see a huge difference in attitudes and ability to focus on the rest of the day's work after this. 

 

 

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Thank you for this. I am embarrassed to admit that I've told my oldest to stop reading a book because it was a 'school' book that I was going to teach her. She is VERY self directed and maybe that's where I feel like I'm failing her. I really want to nail down grammar so she can write as beautifully as she narrates. Also - she loves to cook and I didn't realize American Girl's had that! (she just read her first one a few days). Facilitate is what I needed to hear. She's very bright and excited to learn - I don't want to squash that by controlling too much. Thanks!

 

 

And you're not going to do that any more, are you? Don't make me come over there! :D

 

If she is self-directed, you'll need to do less than you  think you do. Repeat your own words to yourself: "I don't want to squash that by controlling too much."

 

Children can learn to write well without studying grammar. I don't think you need to worry so much about nailing down the grammar at such a young age. :-) If she already narrates beautifully, she can learn to write what she says, without studying all the intricacies of grammar, at this age. She can study grammar later.

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Cindy Rawlins has some great stuff on "The Mason Jar" on Morning Time, and tons of other useful tidbits. Look on the Circe website and on their podcasts. You will find lots of her suggestions on how to implement Morning time and generally how to homeschool lots of kids. And her perspective after graduating a bunch of homeschoolers (which I desperately need) Also, I second the suggestion of don't try to do too much. Your kids are little (I know your 8 year old seems huge but she's not). You can get the basics covered in an hour or two (phonics, math, writing, grammar and spelling if necessary or desired) and spend the rest of the time reading, exploring, chanting, looking at stuff, etc. 

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Have you looked at the science interactive notebooks on Etsy?  Those might help you fill the need for artsy and science together?  My kids really like them, they also like History Pockets and notebooking using a spine like Usborne or Kingfisher.    You do not need a specific science or history for the younger one- but my  year old has joined in since she was 3 in those subjects b/c she likes them.  The notebooking makes it fun and easy to print a page for her to color, too.  Your younger 2 could join in for those subjects :)   I admit since I have 9th and 7th graders, our subjects are much more planned out, but since your oldest is only going into 3rd grade, I think you can wait a few more years before worrying about it.  Your oldest may like Interactive Science if she wants to be independent and the younger isn't quite as ready for science.  

 

I would first stop and write out your specific goals for each child- sounds like the 6 year old's focus needs to be on learning to read, so I'd get AAR for that, and not do much else LA-wise apart from reading extra books and read alouds.  If you pick your few things to focus on, you can then just sort of jump around with the other subjects as needed through the year.  It also helps you schedule your day, so that you are focusing on the few things that need to be worked on, then sprinkling in the fun things to lighten it up.  My current 1st grader has LOE, spelling, handwriting (that's our focus this year- reading and writing!), and math daily.  She does science and history with the rest of us- we are doing biology and US geography.  If she didn't want to, or if the subject is really over her head, then I'd have her read about an animal and write a short paper just using science books I already have.  Same goes for my 4th graders- I did not buy them a history or science, but instead made a list of the topics I thought they could cover, and will have them fill in with books when it gets over their heads.  All kids participate in experiments ;)

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Thank you so much for continuing to chime in! I think I needed to hear that its okay to let my oldest self direct on certain things (and yes, 8 is SO young in the grand scheme, but since she's so bright and independent she seems much older academically). Its a good reminder that even if I don't do perfect grammar or cover ALL the things in science, she'll be just fine ;)

 

I'm checking into all your many helpful suggestions and I def think simpler is better. My biggest challenge is lesson planning. I start out with great intentions and 'perfect' details and end up feeling lost and defeated. Probably in part because I have one child who wants to keep charging ahead and the other who likes to take their sweet time. I think if I can find a way to create a decent guideline (to make sure I'm keeping on track with the general goals) then I won't feel like I'm 'failing' them by not covering enough ground, or not challenging them enough. My DD 8yo will have to take a state exam at the end of this upcoming school year (right around when she turns 9yo) and I'm trying to find out the expectations for that. From what I've seen so far, she should have no trouble, but I just want to remain aware and stay on track so she doesn't feel overwhelmed. (We don't really do tests at home - at least not like standardized ones.) This is the other reason why I have been looking at something that was a little more like a put together 'curriculum' (like Aquinas Learning or certain parts of Build Your Library and aspects of Memoria Press) so that I felt like all bases were covered and I wouldn't have to lesson plan and stress myself out. On the other hand, if I start something and dislike it, I'm apt to just toss and start over. :scared:

 

Morning time seems ideal for us - a great way for my younger guys to be exposed to classical music, art cards, history timeline cards and (geography?), along with some rich stories and poems. We're big fans of songs and prayers too.

 

Thanks again for the encouragement! Its been so helpful to hear you all support me in giving myself permission to figure it out, while also telling myself I'm not sucking at life! lol :thumbup:

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And you're not going to do that any more, are you? Don't make me come over there! :D

 

If she is self-directed, you'll need to do less than you  think you do. Repeat your own words to yourself: "I don't want to squash that by controlling too much."

 

Children can learn to write well without studying grammar. I don't think you need to worry so much about nailing down the grammar at such a young age. :-) If she already narrates beautifully, she can learn to write what she says, without studying all the intricacies of grammar, at this age. She can study grammar later.

Promise I won't! I already apologized to her and she just laughed and said, 'Mommy I know you are a good teacher - sometimes I just like to read ahead' :blush:

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I like the online Read, Write, Type as a fun phonics supplement for your 6 year old. You could also add in some of my phonics videos as a supplement, and they can play my phonics concentration game together to get in practice in a fun way.

 

http://www.talkingfingers.com/read-write-type/

 

https://m.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJLxBWdK_5l0Z941Cy1INrADEO9Sy4ZWz

 

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On%20Phonics/concentrationgam.html

Edited by ElizabethB
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Not really a curriculum suggestion here, so much as a sanity suggestion...

 

With lots of littles at the same time, I've discovered keeping a log of what we do each day (after the fact) to be far more encouraging and useful than planning in advance what we will do each day (because that's guaranteed to fail). Most of our curriculum is open-and-go so I don't have lots of prep. I combine kids as much as possible, but then adjust my demands based on their ages. And SOTW audio for those "desperately-need-coffee--and-a-car-nap-for-the-toddler" moments. That SOTW audio was sooooo worth the price tag!!!!

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Oh- and rereading the OP reminded me:

 

CCHappyMom on YouTube has great US geography songs (the CC Cycle 3 videos she's posted). We do tons of memory songs in the van (toddler car naps!) and it's been such an easy way to get in memory work without lots of drill. (We are part of a CC community, but really as far as memory work goes we do songs in the car, period. Nothing else at home.)

 

If I had to pick the memory work we've gotten the most mileage out of, it would be the timeline, the English grammar, the math skip-counting, and the geography. Timeline and math songs are on the CC audio CDs, and grammar and geography are either YouTube or from the file share on CCconnected (which has a hefty monthly fee for non-CCers, but if you really like memory work via songs, you could download a heck of a lot in one months time and probably make it worth the cost. These are parent-created so some aren't great, but some are fantastic. My kids are breezing through FLL because they've already memorized everything via cc connected songs.).

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First of all cut yourself some slack! You have a lot of kids and you're choosing to educate them yourselves which is a big deal, and a lot of work! Plus you are working too! Does your DH help out when you are working? If so, then you might want to plan for those days. Something that's easy for him to do but won't be confusing for either of you if you're switching off and/or play to his strengths and plan on him doing something more to his liking on those days.

 

I love AAR so I don't think you can go wrong with it. It's super easy to use and with your busy life it's going to be really easy for you since there's no prep work, just open and go. Plus it teaches really well and systematically. I can't say enough how excited I am to have my oldest always begging to read another chapter before he has to do something else, or sleep, which is all thanks to AAR. We are using AAS too and it's also great. It does a great job with rules and my son remembers those when he is thinking of spelling things at other times, like how English rules don't end in I. Neither one are really workbooks. You read out a scripted lesson and then there are activities in AAR or writing for AAS which would be done on separate paper. The teacher's manual in AAR and all the books in AAS are reuseable to which is a great cost savings. There's placement tests online if you're wondering about where to place your second oldest. For AAS they recommend starting at the beginning which your oldest will do quickly. Your second oldest could then start it too depending on her readiness.

 

Have you like looked at First Language Lessons (FLL) or Writing With Ease (WWE) for language arts (LA)? Both are great and complement each other well. Both are open and go and FLL is also reuseable. WWE has the student pages in the back so you could do a couple of different things if you wanted to reuse them, like copy in advance. The both will be effective and uncomplicated. Since you like CM check out English Lessons Through Literature (ELTL) which is a similar type of curriculum but is a CM style and does slow readings of classic books. I think with these and AAS you'd really have LA completed.

 

For Latin I was planning on trying Song School Latin in the fall which might also suit your style of song learning. Memoria Press (MP) also has a catchy cd of Geography Songs. I have t used it but I know people rave about Classical Conversations songs for facts, I know it's history but maybe they also do others.

 

I love Science in the Beginning of you want something to check out for science. In can easily be done with a variety of ages and best of all it's well done and easy to use. Just open and go. There's even a supply kit if you want to have everything on hand when you need it.

 

Have you seen Memoria Press (MP) Enrichment? It would be great for your wanting to add in composers. They have ones for K-2 which you might like to give you some structure and extras. We've used k-1 and will use 2 this year so I can only speak to the earlier books. There is usually a theme for the week, like frogs or it could be seasonal, and a book to read with comprehension questions. Then an art piece and classic music and poetry. Sometimes there is also science. It follows a traditional school calendar from fall to spring. It's a great way to focus a week and hit extras, like for me I'd never me good at doing music and a poem every week. If the themes appeal to you or your kids you could do it more in depth which we've done on topics or artists. Even my youngest loves the books and wants to answer questions. It's fun to hear their different opinions about art and watch them develop their preferences. I liked it so much I started the junior K with my youngest and it's really great if you want something to consider for your third born. It doesn't take long and is only meant to be used twice a week.

 

SOTW would help simplify things for you since your two oldest can do it together and your younger ones can tag along as much as they want.

 

We are doing Galloping The Globe now for geography which might appeal to your second born and it's something you can do with everyone. Your older two might be interested in the non-fiction books about the countries but everyone could enjoy pictures books and stories from the countries. We also enjoy the cookbook and do that with every lesson. It's also something that's easy to tailor to your schedule. You could do a country a week or a month or whatever works. Your geography lover gets geography and your oldest would have a lot of books.

 

For art what about Artistic Pursuits? Your art lover would definitely like it but it's also something everyone can do together. My 4 year old loves doing it with my 7 year old. Never would have thought of having them do still life's or pastels but they love it. Rainbow Resources also has great supply kits that are cheaper bundled than individual.

 

It's definitely pricey but check out A Year Of Playing Skillfully. It's recommended for young children like 3 up to 8 and I read a lot of blogs with older children happily tagging a long. It's not so bad if you consider that you will be reusing it. I just bought it but I'm excited about it. It has a month of fun activities from I think September to June. It would have a lot of fun learning activities for your youngest and fun art and projects for everyone. I'm never going to actually do all that stuff on Pinterest so having this laid out will mean I actually get around to letting my kids do the fun messy things.

 

Everyone, including my husband, thought I was crazy to homeschool but people get converted when they see the results. My husband has no idea how we'd ever send our oldest to a school. He's too advanced now and I'm pretty laid back and he doesn't do actual seat work very long. You are raising your kids and they will be smart and well rounded and well mannered and you will prove the doubters wrong!

 

Don't feel like you have to do everything at once! Cathyduffyreviews.com is a great place to see lists of different curriculum under different categories. Rainbow Resources is the best place to buy anything and they have great reviews of everything. Read this board until all the acronyms make sense and you'll get a great idea what's popular so you'll know what you might want to check out.

 

Thank you so much for this. I love a lot of these suggestions! Have you found AAS difficult to implement? It looks like a lot of prep work with cut outs and stuff. At this point, I'm more concerned with helping my second oldest's confidence in reading so I would lean towards AAR, but I'm not sure about prep level for that as well.  So glad your family is all on board! My husband is actually a professional musician, so he has instrument and theory covered over here! :) He also loves doing any type of calendar of saints and practicing prayers with the kids.  Hope your planning is going well, and thanks again for replying!

 

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Not really a curriculum suggestion here, so much as a sanity suggestion...

 

With lots of littles at the same time, I've discovered keeping a log of what we do each day (after the fact) to be far more encouraging and useful than planning in advance what we will do each day (because that's guaranteed to fail). Most of our curriculum is open-and-go so I don't have lots of prep. I combine kids as much as possible, but then adjust my demands based on their ages. And SOTW audio for those "desperately-need-coffee--and-a-car-nap-for-the-toddler" moments. That SOTW audio was sooooo worth the price tag!!!!

 

yes! thank you for this suggestion. I was recently telling my husband a list of what I had done last year and realized it was more than I really thought, but writing it down is SO good since I'm so visual. Do you use CC as your curriculum? the reason I'm drawn towards Aquinas Learning is it takes all the prep work out of the way for me and is open and go... then there is that side of me that feels like maybe I'm missing out on some of the other awesome individual curriculum out there I really like. Car audio coffee nap sessions sound GENIUS!! thanks again

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You sound a lot like how I felt 20 some yrs ago when my oldest was in 3rd. Preplanned curriculum made me feel trapped. It was never quite what I wanted, and yet at the same time I felt like it controlled me. The absolute best decision I ever made for both my sanity's sake and for our family's joy in homeschooling was to leave preplanned curriculum behind.

 

I have described at length on the forums how I plan and how I teach writing. And one hint, first and foremost, never look at people's lists. The length of the list absolutely does not equate to the qualify of the education being provided bc learning is so much more than knowledge. It is also about critical thinking, imagination, and creativity. My 6 and 8 yr old's "lists" are very short, but my kids graduate from high school with high levels of achievement. (Eta: Unplanned time with self-entertainment and self-regulation as actual goals is part of life in our household. I expect my kids to entertain themselves with their imaginations, playing for hours on their own.)

 

Here is a link where I give a general description of how we do things: http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/173293-interest-driven-education-and-real-tea-time/

 

Here are some of my thoughts on teaching writing: http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/239259-bringing-karens-mention-of-essay-writing-to-a-new-thread/?p=2363133

 

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/239259-bringing-karens-mention-of-essay-writing-to-a-new-thread/?p=2363522

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/239259-bringing-karens-mention-of-essay-writing-to-a-new-thread/?p=2363523

 

To give you an idea of what my 8th (and last) 7 yr old 2nd grader (and I call my kids by grade level regardless of what level work they are completing) will be doing this yr:

 

Math will be a combo of Horizons and Beast Academy 2 (Beast is a maybe. It depends on if it is actually completely published this yr, and on if she enjoys it. If not, it will just be Horizons. Combining math programs is absolutely not necessary. Not a single one of my older kids did anything other than Horizons through 3rd grade. If you read the forums long enough, you'd think that decision alone would be enough to destroy their academic futures. ;) It really is shocking that I have had a student who only used Horizons through the 6th grade text before he reached alg (though he did accelerate through them ***on his own*** and started alg at age 10) graduate from high school having taken 300 level college math courses.). My 7 yod is very much like her older brother, and I think she will like the cartoony approach of Beast. I'll just have to wait and see. Either way, she will be fine. :)

 

Writing, grammar, and mechanics will be taught through copywork selected from her reading.

 

Spelling: Apples and Pears

 

For my older kids, reading, math, and writing were pretty much the only subjects they did until 3rd grade. This one is my youngest and I have more time. She wants to do geography, so I am going to put together a sort of detective game between us where my clues are going to have to be solved for her to find different locations.

 

I read my kids bedtime stories. My 7yr old will give up other activities before she will give up her bedtime stories. So, lots of different things being read here. Right now we are reading The Mysterious Benedict Society. I have read her everything from The Wizard of Oz to The Princess and the Goblin to picture books.

 

It isn't until 3rd grade that I add science and history daily. For your third grader, as a strong reader and wanting American history, I would read books like the Landmark books. This link has a list https://oldscrolls.wordpress.com/2012/01/07/landmark-books-first-rate-history-series-for-readers-and-collectors/ Some of them have been reprinted. Some can be found used very cheaply. You can also take the idea and find current in-print books to use. It is the reading of the big ideas in books vs using the snippets in textbook approach that can really help you find your feet and break out of the school-at-home mold.

 

The same approach can be used for science. Scientists in the Field series, books on different topics accompanied by nature study (ants, bees...any topic that they are curious about that is right in your backyard) is a great starting place. Read, study, sketch/create a journal, etc.

 

Then you start to let their interests direct your studies. Bunny trails become treasures.

 

Eta: I wanted to share that if you feel overwhelmed by adding Latin this yr, don't feel like you need to. Latin, especially Latin grammar, is easier to master when they are a few yrs older. 5th or 6th grade is a great time to start. No worries about having to start in elementary school.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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This will be my third year homeschooling and I'm switching things up a little bit. I have a DD who just turned 8yo in June (so she could be entering 2nd or 3rd grade) and DD who will be 7yo at the end of Oct (and is starting 1st grade). I also have a DS 4.5 yo and DS almost 3yo. In the past I've kind of done a hodge podge of different things - utilizing some memory (I've been making up ridiculous songs since they were babies -before I had any idea that was a 'thing' with schooling), some workbook stuff, some spine books for history/science, lots of random arts and crafts (my kids love to draw, sketch and paint on their own), some flashcards and math hands on, some unit style/interest led studies, and lots (and lots) of reading.

 

The problem is that with 4 small kids and my husband and I both with alternative work schedules I feel like I get hopelessly off track. I'm one of those weird mixes of type A perfectionist with laid back, creative spontaneity. I need something with structure, but not something that will make me feel suffocated... If I have to check off too many boxes and stick to a strict schedule, I will internally rebel or feel like I'm failing if I miss anything. I definitely tend to fall under the classical style but lean more towards charlotte mason side than CC style of classical. I need and want SOME repetition and memorization, but both my daughters and I will lose our minds without other (read: deeper/newer/interesting) things thrown in the mix.

 

I've spent so many hours researching that my husband asks if I want to switch up my job to 'professional researcher' (ha!). I just read through a 3rd grade planning thread and started to get some anxiety... I see why Moms are pairing certain things together, but I look at their subject/curriculum lists and have NO idea how they plan out their mixing and matching into a functioning, lesson-planned schedule. Ideally I would love to mix and match some of my top faves and create my own, but I just don't know if I'm there yet this year.

 

Here's a little list of what I'm leaning towards:

(for reference, my 8yo is incredibly advanced with reading and really wants heavy on history and science. My 6yo is super artsy and not a strong reader yet but super great with math and loves geography)

 

Aquinas Learning - I've almost pulled the trigger but feel I would need to supplement. I like the layout of the samples they provide and like the idea of some core subjects being taught together, but am worried about the separate needs / skills in LA

 

Latin from Memoria Press

 

St. Thomas Aquinas Academy - Since they require enrollment and sending in weekly work, this wont work for me, but I like a lot of their book choices (would sub religion, penmanship, reading skills)

 

AAR/AAS or Voyages in English (second newer edition) -trying to figure out more differences between them. I don't mind some workbook stuff when it comes to spelling/grammar practice. (I have no experience with Explode the Code)

 

IEW - any thoughts? I feel like the heavier stuff is geared for kids a little older than mine.

 

I need a good helper for learning to read for my 6yo - she understands phonics and is capable of reading early readers very slowly.. I feel like she's on track, but my 8yo is such an advanced reader that I have no fair basis for comparison.

 

Math Mammoth - we have successfully been using this so for now I'll stick with it

 

Science - I like what I've seen from Harcourt. My 8yo devours science books so I need something substantial. (I'm not a fan of Apologia science) and I need something with experiments but maybe weekly ones? I mostly need a variety of science subjects as my kids alternate between wanting to study animals, to weather patterns, to the earth's crust, to human bodies to astronomy. :eek:

 

History is my hardest to figure out. I've been reading from CHOW and using Usborne Internet Linked. I also have SOTW but haven't gotten into it yet. I'd like to do US history this year so they can have a connection with geography (we are working on US states and capitols). I've heard great things about Adventures in America

 

I'd also like to incorporate maybe Veritas press timeline, and Living Memory by Andrew Campbell.

 

I'd love to hear of any favorite music and art stuff (stories of Great Composers, How to Draw - are these good?)

 

Any other fun memorizing favorites?

 

 

Thank you for reading if you've made it this far! I'm the first person on both sides of our families to homeschool. My side is supportive (even if they think I'm a little crazy) but my husband's side of the family thinks I'm damaging my children's education and entire childhood. :001_huh: I don't doubt my decision, or my ability to teach my kids... I just want to make sure I'm giving them the best I can, and my DD 8yo needs to be challenged more than I have the past 2 years, so hence my changing things up and reaching out for help. :seeya:

You sound like you are doing pretty well for having so many kids and working!

 

Do you have the well trained mind book? I found it helpful for pulling together a somewhat coherent plan for the family. One way to keep going with the memory work but also keep some flexibility might be to look into the morning basket approach (google it and Cindy Rollins) if you aren't familiar.

 

For science, maybe you could do some unit studies or something if you want to cover a lot of different areas?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Okay, I took a little break to breathe and enjoy summer and not stress and just focus on other fun things like switching out seasonal clothes and rearranging bedrooms ;) A few days ago I started researching again in depth. I'm still trying to figure out the whole morning basket thing - I understand the concept and we have a lot of beautiful choices to read from, I just don't know how the heck to 'structure' it or make any sort of memorization coincide with whatever else we are learning. I'm not worried about it too much since I can utilize some of those sing songy resources for memorizing basic facts (and I can keep singing the ones I have made up over the years - wish I could upload audio to give you all a good laugh about our days of the week and months of the year song).  Audio books = yes and brilliant for the car. I know that one of my kids is super visual like I am, but they are all incredibly gifted with listening and auditory skills courtesy of their dad and his crazy talented musical genes.

 

Thank you again for all the wonderful suggestions and encouragement! I think after some reflection (and loads of research) I need to A) calm down and remember that my kids LOVE to learn so I haven't done a total crap job thus far and B) focus on specific ways to help with foundational skills (like reading) and go from there. I realized in all my researching that the minute any particular curriculum started getting super authoritarian in tone I was OUT. Like, no. I need structure and guidance, but I also need freedom and grace.

 

Here's what I'm loving at this point and I would absolutely appreciate knowing if anything seems duplicated or non-matchy since I don't have actual hands on experience with most of these resources and I'm basing my ideas on samples, prayers and other Mom's reviews. (Seriously though, honest reviews with specific examples are the best and give such a good feel to those of us waiting to pull the trigger on spending money - bless you awesome ladies for taking time of out your days to write them!)

 

DD 3rd grade (8yo)

Math - Math Mammoth (thinking of also adding Beast Academy as fun practice)

LA - thinking of just combining it and going with Cottage Press (I probably would get CP primer one and two). I like Apples and Pears but not sure if it would bore this sweet, super advanced reader out of her mind. TBH I don't care as much about my kids spelling things perfectly at this point as I do about comprehension and sentence structure. I feel like Voyages in English (the newer second edition NOT the old one) might be a good supplement here for the grammar practice because it lays out the rules and gives some practice.  My kids def like a blend of artsy stuff AND workbook stuff. That may be my fault but whatever. They like gold stars and stickers as much as snuggling and reading a good book so I think we'll be okay.

History- I'll probably start SOTW and Adventures in America

Geography - will be tied into history and I'll use the fun maps and stuff that are included (or find some downloads.. freedom ladies, I'm reminding myself I'm not a prisoner to any one thing)

Science - haven't nailed it down but really liking the looks of Mystery Science as a fun supplement

 

DD 1st grade (6yo - will be 7 in oct)

Math - Math Mammoth (also possibly Beast Academy)

LA - this is toughest for me to confirm as my main focus is helping her with learning to read and having confidence with reading. Again, I like the idea of combining, and I really like LOE foundations (I think my 3rd grader might even benefit from some of the rules, but it looks like she would be level D or just straight to Essentials) since it covers reading, spelling, grammar too? I don't think the Dancing Bear book will work with her, although I do like Apples and Pears for spelling.  I really need a gentle, but straightforward (and repetitive until mastered) help for her with reading. She knows basic phonics really well but gets overwhelmed stringing them together AND with seeing a lot of words on the page. AAS is a solid no for me, but I'm still open to AAR.

History and Geography will be same as DD8

Science - Exploring Nature with Children looks awesome and is affordable and almost has a lot of the same concepts as Cottage Press (go figure since they are both CM based). I'll be using this with all 4 of my kids as a fun way to get outside and breathe in life.

 

I'm going to do read alouds, ask questions/engage conversations, figure out this whole morning basket thing (which will cover music and arts, which ARE really important to us as a family), do some fun and random and unit based arts/crafts, and possibly throw in some Latin and a latin based language (we have resources for Spanish, French and Portuguese). The good thing about most of the choices I've narrowed it down to are they seem pretty open and go and have lesson plans built in. That's a HUGE plus for me because I just can't with mapping that all out right now. I want to in theory, but I also want to nap (and that's sadly in theory too at this time in my life). Lesson plans already included = winner winner, thumbs up and all that jazz.

 

Any holes? Any duplicates? Am I totally crazy?? (that's possible :willy_nilly:)

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Crum. I also wanted to add that at the end of this school year my DD8 will have to take a test to make sure she's tracking. Since she is naturally bright and has a great memory I'm not overly worried BUT it's also why I want to make sure she has some extra of those rules/foundations for writing/grammar.

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I'll tell you a secret, since maybe I've been around long enough. Don't look at other people's lists. Most people tend to try to do overmuch, and they often don't stick to what they SAY they're going to do. In a couple months, stuff gets sold off and people change stuff. Think SIMPLE.

 

SO TRUE!  This is great advice!  I will admit to doing this same thing.  I "plan" a great year using tons of great resources.  I post my yearly "plan" on the forum, but 3 weeks in - things change.

 

You'll probably be adding in extra-curriculuar activities.  Think about those while you're planning your curriculum.  If you're going to do dance, scouts, athletics - you'll need to plan for the effect of these activities on your family's schedule.  This is where you need to determine what you "need" to do this year.  For example, you don't need to teach creative writing until later in elementary, or close to middle school.  (I would not be looking at IEW, but rather at WWE for these younger years).  Simplifying your school schedule will allow for these rich, out of the house, activities. 

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Crum. I also wanted to add that at the end of this school year my DD8 will have to take a test to make sure she's tracking. Since she is naturally bright and has a great memory I'm not overly worried BUT it's also why I want to make sure she has some extra of those rules/foundations for writing/grammar.

 

Don't worry about this test.  We have not done a serious grammar/writing study until this year (4th grade).  My daughter has always done exceptionally well on the standardized test.  (We live in NC, and we have to take the test each spring).  If she has a basic understanding of what a noun, verb, and adjective is, where to put basic punctuation, and when to capitalize, she'll do great!

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I like the online Read, Write, Type as a fun phonics supplement for your 6 year old. You could also add in some of my phonics videos as a supplement, and they can play my phonics concentration game together to get in practice in a fun way.

 

http://www.talkingfingers.com/read-write-type/

 

 

 

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On%20Phonics/concentrationgam.html

 

Thank you!! As someone who likes being spontaneous and go exploring - these are awesome resources to letting her review and play and stay 'on track' if we aren't home. <3

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You sound a lot like how I felt 20 some yrs ago when my oldest was in 3rd. Preplanned curriculum made me feel trapped. It was never quite what I wanted, and yet at the same time I felt like it controlled me. The absolute best decision I ever made for both my sanity's sake and for our family's joy in homeschooling was to leave preplanned curriculum behind.

 

I have described at length on the forums how I plan and how I teach writing. And one hint, first and foremost, never look at people's lists. The length of the list absolutely does not equate to the qualify of the education being provided bc learning is so much more than knowledge. It is also about critical thinking, imagination, and creativity. My 6 and 8 yr old's "lists" are very short, but my kids graduate from high school with high levels of achievement. (Eta: Unplanned time with self-entertainment and self-regulation as actual goals is part of life in our household. I expect my kids to entertain themselves with their imaginations, playing for hours on their own.)

 

Here is a link where I give a general description of how we do things: http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/173293-interest-driven-education-and-real-tea-time/

 

Here are some of my thoughts on teaching writing: http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/239259-bringing-karens-mention-of-essay-writing-to-a-new-thread/?p=2363133

 

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/239259-bringing-karens-mention-of-essay-writing-to-a-new-thread/?p=2363522

http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/239259-bringing-karens-mention-of-essay-writing-to-a-new-thread/?p=2363523

 

To give you an idea of what my 8th (and last) 7 yr old 2nd grader (and I call my kids by grade level regardless of what level work they are completing) will be doing this yr:

 

Math will be a combo of Horizons and Beast Academy 2 (Beast is a maybe. It depends on if it is actually completely published this yr, and on if she enjoys it. If not, it will just be Horizons. Combining math programs is absolutely not necessary. Not a single one of my older kids did anything other than Horizons through 3rd grade. If you read the forums long enough, you'd think that decision alone would be enough to destroy their academic futures. ;) It really is shocking that I have had a student who only used Horizons through the 6th grade text before he reached alg (though he did accelerate through them ***on his own*** and started alg at age 10) graduate from high school having taken 300 level college math courses.). My 7 yod is very much like her older brother, and I think she will like the cartoony approach of Beast. I'll just have to wait and see. Either way, she will be fine. :)

 

Writing, grammar, and mechanics will be taught through copywork selected from her reading.

 

Spelling: Apples and Pears

 

For my older kids, reading, math, and writing were pretty much the only subjects they did until 3rd grade. This one is my youngest and I have more time. She wants to do geography, so I am going to put together a sort of detective game between us where my clues are going to have to be solved for her to find different locations.

 

I read my kids bedtime stories. My 7yr old will give up other activities before she will give up her bedtime stories. So, lots of different things being read here. Right now we are reading The Mysterious Benedict Society. I have read her everything from The Wizard of Oz to The Princess and the Goblin to picture books.

 

It isn't until 3rd grade that I add science and history daily. For your third grader, as a strong reader and wanting American history, I would read books like the Landmark books. This link has a list https://oldscrolls.wordpress.com/2012/01/07/landmark-books-first-rate-history-series-for-readers-and-collectors/ Some of them have been reprinted. Some can be found used very cheaply. You can also take the idea and find current in-print books to use. It is the reading of the big ideas in books vs using the snippets in textbook approach that can really help you find your feet and break out of the school-at-home mold.

 

The same approach can be used for science. Scientists in the Field series, books on different topics accompanied by nature study (ants, bees...any topic that they are curious about that is right in your backyard) is a great starting place. Read, study, sketch/create a journal, etc.

 

Then you start to let their interests direct your studies. Bunny trails become treasures.

 

Eta: I wanted to share that if you feel overwhelmed by adding Latin this yr, don't feel like you need to. Latin, especially Latin grammar, is easier to master when they are a few yrs older. 5th or 6th grade is a great time to start. No worries about having to start in elementary school.

 

Thank you for sharing those links! I have a little extra benefit of living super close to Powell's Bookstore which carries a surprisingly awesome number of older and out of print books. I SO appreciate 'bunny trails become treasures'.... thank you. Its incredibly helpful and reassuring since I often feel like I am on an island alone. My heart is happiest when my kids are learning by just being (pumpkin patch trips, discussions while cuddling on the couch, car ride songs, etc) - thanks for the encouragement.

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Crum. I also wanted to add that at the end of this school year my DD8 will have to take a test to make sure she's tracking. Since she is naturally bright and has a great memory I'm not overly worried BUT it's also why I want to make sure she has some extra of those rules/foundations for writing/grammar.

 

So, annual testing is required in your state? Not to worry. There's not that much for little third-grade children at that level. :-) Also, does your state have a requirement for achievement? like a composite score? or do y'all just have to test? and do you have to submit the results?

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So, annual testing is required in your state? Not to worry. There's not that much for little third-grade children at that level. :-) Also, does your state have a requirement for achievement? like a composite score? or do y'all just have to test? and do you have to submit the results?

 

They just updated requirements (I'm in OR). It's not annual - they have to take an approved standardized test by August 15th of the year they complete grades 3, 5, 8, and 10. I have to find and pay for a 3rd party tester (they have an list) and then choose which test.

 

"Approved tests are the two most recent versions of the following:

  • California Achievement Test (now TerraNova)
  • Comprehensive Tests of Basic Skills
  • Iowa Tests of Basic Skills/Tests of Achievement and Proficiency
  • Metropolitan Achievement Battery
  • Stanford Achievement Test Battery OAR 581-021-0026 (1)(a)"

I'll obviously look into those in a few months, but it basically has to have a math and verbal section so they can combine the scores and make sure your child is 'on track'.  They have to be above the 15 percentile to pass and above the 23 percentile if they want to join school funded extracurriculars. Some school districts don't request the results at the younger levels (at least that's what it says on the website)?

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I am glad you found my posts helpful. I am very low key when my kids are little. I emphasize imaginative play. I want them to have lots of opportunities for exploring, getting messy, and learning from their playing. It has worked well for my kids.

 

They have to be above the 15 percentile to pass and above the 23 percentile if they want to join school funded extracurriculars.

For a student without disabilities who is actually being taught, 15% is a very, very, very low threshold to surpass.

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yes! thank you for this suggestion. I was recently telling my husband a list of what I had done last year and realized it was more than I really thought, but writing it down is SO good since I'm so visual. Do you use CC as your curriculum? the reason I'm drawn towards Aquinas Learning is it takes all the prep work out of the way for me and is open and go... then there is that side of me that feels like maybe I'm missing out on some of the other awesome individual curriculum out there I really like. Car audio coffee nap sessions sound GENIUS!! thanks again

 

We are part of a CC Community now, but for a couple of years we just used the materials at home.  I don't think of it as a sole curriculum (because it really isn't) but it's been a fantastic memory spine for us across all subjects.  During difficult weeks, we can still at least practice our memory work, and I'm really beginning to appreciate the incredible benefits of it as they make connections across subjects in our non-CC reading and schoolwork.  

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We are part of a CC Community now, but for a couple of years we just used the materials at home.  I don't think of it as a sole curriculum (because it really isn't) but it's been a fantastic memory spine for us across all subjects.  During difficult weeks, we can still at least practice our memory work, and I'm really beginning to appreciate the incredible benefits of it as they make connections across subjects in our non-CC reading and schoolwork.  

 

That's actually really helpful - the reason I was looking at Aquinas Learning AL is specifically for the whole memorization/classical style with a broad overview. I like the concept of open and go, but realized it wasn't a 'sole' curriculum and I was worried about 'overloading' by incorporating it into the other subjects (Math, LA, Science and History). But I DO love the idea of memorizing baseline facts with fun songs while they are young so that they become second nature as they grow... I'm realizing I can probably find a happy way to blend my CM mom vibes with my classical persuasions. Thank you!

 

p.s. I would be just using materials at home, as Aquinas Learning only has 'communities/co-ops' on the east coast. Apparently they are the 'catholic' CC... My husband is Catholic. I'm not, but we'll be throwing in some Saints book into morning time as I lean towards the ecclesiastical/mystical side of the church (I guess I don't really fit in any box :party: )

 

Hope this year goes great for you! :thumbup1:

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