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kellyhoxworth

Transitioning from Montessori School to Homeschool Academy (need to catch up in LA/math)

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Hello! Sorry in advance that this is SO long!

 

After three years at a lovely Montessori school, we will begin homeschooling at a homeschool academy this fall. One of the reasons (among many) that we have made this decision is because our current 5th and 3rd grader are 1-2 grade levels behind in math and language arts. We expected this - to some degree - understanding that Montessori schools do not follow the same schedule as more traditional options. However, it's still a bit of a shock to discover how behind they are in these subjects. (To be fair, I should mention that they are way ahead in science and history and I could make a very long list of the intangible benefits of their time spent at this school.)

​But back to math/LA. My very brainy 5th grade son (who was in the gifted/enrichment program in public school), still has not been introduced to fractions/decimals/percents. Even though he is in the "advanced" math group. He's been doing 4th grade Mammoth Math at home for about a month. He keeps saying it feels like he's never used his brain this way before. I think he's referring to mental/conceptual math. He loves writing, and has learned what I would consider somewhat advanced grammar (transitive vs. intransitive verbs, for example). But his papers are only self or student edited, and full of run-on and fragment sentences and missing capitalization.  

My head-in-the-clouds 3rd grade daughter has been attempting to work through the 2nd grade Mammoth Math book at home. The concepts in the beginning review section (so 1st grade problems) were very challenging for her. She had no concept of place value. If you asked what 20 + 5 was, she'd have to count it on her fingers. She has not memorized any math facts. I'm talking basic addition. She has to count on fingers or draw dots. Mammoth Math is not a good fit for her at all. It's just conceptually too advanced.

Now that I realize how much basic ground they need to cover between now and September, I'm looking for a math and LA arts program for afterschooling and this summer. I think CLE math will be a really good fit for us. I don't mind if they are still behind in math when they start in September. I am not necessarily in a rush to catch up in math. Slow and steady is fine, especially since they are used to and will continue to school year round.

​I'm more stuck with LA. My daughter doesn't know what a verb is, what to capitalize, etc. Her spelling is very phonetic (not sure if that's the right word - I mean she writes what she hears). She is an advanced reader. Her handwriting is okay. She has learned cursive.

​My son has a ton of grammar knowledge, but lacks writing basics. His spelling and reading are way advanced. His handwriting is below par. Both have been doing daily Handwriting Without Tears for years and years. 

​So my questions are:
 

  1. Does using CLE math now and for the foreseeable future seem like a solid plan for math? We get to choose math curricula for this homeschool academy, so they don't NEED to be at grade level by September, although being on grade level (or possibly ahead, in my son's case) is the eventual goal.
     
  2. Do you have any recommendations for a basic language arts program that will cover the things they've missed and help prepare them for the language arts/writing curricula they'll be jumping into in September? I like the look of CLE's LA workbooks, but my son hasn't done any sentence diagramming before. Would you start them at 200 and 400? Or 300 and 500, since they are strong readers? Or something else altogether?

Thank you!

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I will jump in about the math having worked in Montessori for many years. CLE is great but they will probably be used to a heavy manipulative based math. My kids still use Montessori materials along with their current curriculums. If you went to keep on the same math trajectory they are used to then Rightstart math or Math U See would fit the bill. If you are hoping to switch gears and get them set for more worksheet based math then CLE, Singspore or the like will suffice. CLE is nice since it has packets and the child will feel accomplished as they finish up a workbook and move on to the next. It is easy to feel like you are covering group. Singspore was used in our Montessori school when kids needed to fill gaps. It is basically Montessori on paper.

 

I wouldn't stress grammar, it will come. The great thing about grammar is whether you start young or start older it is easy to gain ground. I am surprised they are behind in grammar. Montessori usually excels in teaching grammar.

 

Regardless, I am sure their Montessori foundation will have prepared them well for this next stage of their education :)

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Thank you for responding, nixpix 5. :)

I'll check out Singapore before ordering the CLE books. All the varieties and books confuse me a bit. :) Thank you for the advice. If I was starting over, I think I'd use Rightstart math.

At this particular Montessori School, Lower El is pretty... self-directed? My daughter spends most of her time researching, writing research reports, and presenting said research reports. Which I love. She just doesn't choose to spend much time on the language arts materials. (She's a big reader, so she's probably picking up a fair amount.) However, Upper El is much more structured and spends lots of time on grammar presentations. It's the writing instruction that seems lacking with Upper El. Each program has its strengths and weaknesses.

I agree that the Montessori foundation has prepared them well for this next chapter. They are both extremely enthusiastic about learning. They are self-directed, motivated, and focused. (Even my dreamy ADHD daughter is super serious during the work cycles.) Both children have plenty of confidence. It's a huge difference from where they started three years ago (coming from public school). My daughter was constantly in trouble for tipping her chair, looking out the window, swinging her arms in the hall, etc. And my competitive son was stressed out about staying on top of every academic chart posted on the wall in his classroom. Add in the social pressure, first graders with smart phones, over-the-top recess and PE rules, and homework. Ugh.

​I'm so grateful for the time we had at Montessori school, and that we have this amazing homeschool academy in our town!

Edited by kellyhoxworth
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I am currently looking into CLE LA for one of my kids as well. Diagramming looks like it begins midway through yr 2. It is hard to tell. Maybe you can jump on my thread about CLE and ask as I kind of want to know this myself.

 

Sorry for all the typos in my previous post. I always post via phone and I have a liberal and confusing word correct. Sometimes it takes creative license :)

 

We use Singspore U.S edition. It is not overwhelming, no flashy colors and gets the job done. It makes a great supplement. It is what we used in Montessori and kids used to Montessori math transitioned to it easily.

 

I wish I could be more help with LA. We piece ours together so I am not as familiar with all encompassing LA programs. Your DD though may enjoy Beowulf Grammar. I recently asked about it too and it looks so cute and fun based on samples. For someone not drawn to the mechanics sometimes those more fun options are appealing :)

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Fwiw, math is always the hardest thing to get a good fit on. You might try buying a bit of each and just trying them, 1-2 weeks per thing. So one book of Horizons ($14), one book of Singapore, a workbook from BJU, just a bunch of different things. 

 

Personally, I think CLE is a terrible choice for a gifted child. Like chuck that if you like it, but I'm just saying, it's counter to what you'd normally do. It's incremental, slow, without any challenging application. Almost ANY other math curriculum you could chose would be more compelling. I definitely would not buy a whole year of it. If you call, they'll give you one light unit for free to sample. They also have sample books by grade, so you can sample all the subjects for that grade. Much better than buying a whole year of something and realizing it's not a good fit.

 

Have you done any placement tests? That's another way to see differences in publishers and get a sense of what might fit.

 

Then, just as a suggestion, I would get Abeka for grammar and use a lit-based approach for your history. The Abeka would give you open and go, which you seem to be looking for. It's standard, solid, and easy to cut out half of to fit them. Like just have them do 3 on the page or in each section, and let them move forward more quickly. It will be much better than being bogged down in a spiral/incremental curriculum that has more practice than they need. Abeka grammar was the original recommendation in WTM years ago. It's fine. I went to it for my dd in high school, and my dd is that bright with ADHD profile. It would be efficient.

 

For the math, yeah, just try things. BJU is really solid. Given how eclectic their background is, they would be easy to slide into MUS. Don't listen to the detractors. Right now you have kids who've been taught topically for years, so teaching them topically would be a way to fill in the holes. You could do that, get them through the basics (through 6th grade math) and then decide where to go after that for pre-algebra and algebra. 

 

If you happen to like MUS for them and want to kick it up to be a little more satisfying or challenging on the gifted side, add in some living math books and brain teaser books. I get ebooks of brain teasers and more challenging problems, graphing art, etc. from places like Carson-Dellosa, Teacher Created Resources, Evan Moor, etc.

 

You're going to want to be diligent on math to get them on track. I know for me, with my ds with disabilities, the LA stuff is so sexy, so easy to make happen. The math is what is harder because it's just one thing and not something where you want to do a whole hour daily. And not that you have to do a whole hour, but maybe have your normal time (35 minutes, whatever works with their attention level), and then have a short session of drill or time on apps, and then have another short session where they read living math books or do brain teasers. Try to bring math into your games/recreation time during the day. That will be HUGE. Fractions, this kind of stuff is VERY conducive to games. You could schedule a games time together daily to get in more work.

 

Welcome to homeschooling. Have fun. It's ok to make mistakes as you find your way. :)

Edited by PeterPan

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Hello! Sorry in advance that this is SO long!

 

After three years at a lovely Montessori school, we will begin homeschooling at a homeschool academy this fall. One of the reasons (among many) that we have made this decision is because our current 5th and 3rd grader are 1-2 grade levels behind in math and language arts. We expected this - to some degree - understanding that Montessori schools do not follow the same schedule as more traditional options. However, it's still a bit of a shock to discover how behind they are in these subjects. (To be fair, I should mention that they are way ahead in science and history and I could make a very long list of the intangible benefits of their time spent at this school.)

 

​But back to math/LA. My very brainy 5th grade son (who was in the gifted/enrichment program in public school), still has not been introduced to fractions/decimals/percents. Even though he is in the "advanced" math group. He's been doing 4th grade Mammoth Math at home for about a month. He keeps saying it feels like he's never used his brain this way before. I think he's referring to mental/conceptual math. He loves writing, and has learned what I would consider somewhat advanced grammar (transitive vs. intransitive verbs, for example). But his papers are only self or student edited, and full of run-on and fragment sentences and missing capitalization.  

 

My head-in-the-clouds 3rd grade daughter has been attempting to work through the 2nd grade Mammoth Math book at home. The concepts in the beginning review section (so 1st grade problems) were very challenging for her. She had no concept of place value. If you asked what 20 + 5 was, she'd have to count it on her fingers. She has not memorized any math facts. I'm talking basic addition. She has to count on fingers or draw dots. Mammoth Math is not a good fit for her at all. It's just conceptually too advanced.

 

Now that I realize how much basic ground they need to cover between now and September, I'm looking for a math and LA arts program for afterschooling and this summer. I think CLE math will be a really good fit for us. I don't mind if they are still behind in math when they start in September. I am not necessarily in a rush to catch up in math. Slow and steady is fine, especially since they are used to and will continue to school year round.

 

​I'm more stuck with LA. My daughter doesn't know what a verb is, what to capitalize, etc. Her spelling is very phonetic (not sure if that's the right word - I mean she writes what she hears). She is an advanced reader. Her handwriting is okay. She has learned cursive.

 

​My son has a ton of grammar knowledge, but lacks writing basics. His spelling and reading are way advanced. His handwriting is below par. Both have been doing daily Handwriting Without Tears for years and years. 

 

​So my questions are:

 

  1. Does using CLE math now and for the foreseeable future seem like a solid plan for math? We get to choose math curricula for this homeschool academy, so they don't NEED to be at grade level by September, although being on grade level (or possibly ahead, in my son's case) is the eventual goal.

     

  2. Do you have any recommendations for a basic language arts program that will cover the things they've missed and help prepare them for the language arts/writing curricula they'll be jumping into in September? I like the look of CLE's LA workbooks, but my son hasn't done any sentence diagramming before. Would you start them at 200 and 400? Or 300 and 500, since they are strong readers? Or something else altogether?

Thank you!

 

Could you define what a "homeschool academy" is?

 

Spalding could help your daughter with spelling, capitalization and punctuation, penmanship, and simple writing.

 

As far as "language arts," sounds as if you're really looking for grammar ("language arts" includes phonics/beginning reading instruction, reading/literature, spelling/vocabulary, composition, grammar, penmanship). My favorite grammar instruction is Easy Grammar.

 

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