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Independent curriculum for 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade

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I am looking for independent curriculum for math, language arts,and Bible for these grades. History and science will be done as a family or coop. Something that I dont have to teach much or very little. More supervise and answer questions if needed. Teaching Textbooks was one option for math. Also they need to be offline options as we don't have the best internet service. Any ideas to add to my list?

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I think 2nd and 3rd grade are tough to do independently.  Very, very strong readers might be an exception, but they are really too young to "self-teach."

 

However, if what you need is a curriculum that is relatively independent, I recommend CLE English and Math.  My friend also added Daily 6-trait writing to these during a time that her dh had health problems.  It was fine as a stop-gap for a year, but her children really needed her to re-engage after a year.

 

Young kids are very uneven in their skills and often need you to re-explain in another way.  Older ones often can learn ways of searching for their own re-teaching or asking specific questions.  Younger kids often don't have those skills.

 

I'm sorry, I just don't see it working well, even for your 4th grader.

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CLE would be my first recommendation. We use it for LA, math and Reading for a 1st and 4th grader. We've also used their Bible in the past. It's all very conducive to a more independent approach.

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I agree that the age is too young to be done independently.  Even if all were reading well, there is still a lot of foundational work to be done in those ages.  I can't imagine trying to learn spelling and all the exceptions independently.  Math would be better served with some hands on activities.  You don't say why you don't want to teach them, but independent study is difficult for some teens, much less a child under age 10.  You have to teach them to learn before they strive to do it themselves.  Homeschooling doesn't have to be traditional school like either.  Just playing together and talking about things can teach so much.  Counting, drawing, writing, reading...you could give an excellent elementary education without a lot of curriculum for those ages and it would be just hanging out as mom with your kids instead of feeling like a teacher role.  

 

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Count me as one who thinks that's too young to work independently.

 

However, if you absolutely must, have you considered Lifepacs? I'm not really a huge fan of them, but it might be more in lines of what you're looking for.

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I had one child work independently that young - very bright, good reader, hard worker. I wouldn't even consider it as a general rule.

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I really don’t do math or reading independently at those ages. They really need someone to be teaching the concepts to them.

However, there are a number of workbooks that can be used to reinforce basic skills. Like, once you’ve taught them what addition means, workbooks can help them learn the facts. BrainQuest has some good ones.

I’ve just started using the EvanMoor Building Spelling Skills and Daily Science for my third grader. I like that the spelling gives him a lot of practice in seeing and working with the words, but I’m still involved throughout the week. The science is a good complement to what we do otherwise and a practice in different approaches to learning. It’s a bonus.

My one son was able to do History independently in third, but he’s an exception. He is highly visual and prefers to read the books and write summaries without me teaching it to him. He produced beautiful notebooks of summaries and outlines and loved reading on his own. But that’s an exception; my current third grader doesn’t learn like that, and that’s a content subject anyway. A skills-based subject like math or reading really needs teacher involvement.

Edited by happypamama
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Thanks for all of the advice. We are coming from Righstart and All About Spelling. I'm probably looking too much in the opposite direction now, but I have a kindergartener starting next year who will need hands on.

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Thanks for all of the advice. We are coming from Righstart and All About Spelling. I'm probably looking too much in the opposite direction now, but I have a kindergartener starting next year who will need hands on.

 

Understandable. It helps to have the background.  I think something like CLE would be good, bc there is a short lesson with a new concept and then review problems.  It's a lot less hands on than AAS or Rightstart.  And, with CLE, spelling, handwriting, grammar and some writing is built right in.

 

I would meet with each child for 30 minutes and present the new lessons (one after another).  Then send them to work independently.  That still gives you lots of time to meet with your K student (60 minutes which is plenty of one on one for a 5 year old--too much, actually!). And you still have time for group work in the morning.

 

Realistically, you might need some afternoon time for them to finish i-work or to finish group work.

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Agreeing with previous posters that elementary grades, esp. young elementary grades need a LOT of direct teaching and mentoring, and that the *average* student doesn't start moving into short periods of basic independent work (still with a lot prep time setting them up, and being close by for oversight and question-answering) until somewhere in grades 4-7, depending on the student.

 

It is the rare student who is ready and able — and does WELL — with almost all independent work at about grade 6. Usually it is more along grade 8-9.

 

And if there are any special needs or LDs, you are likely looking at a much more delayed time table all throughout the grades, as far as being able to do well with mostly independent work.

 

 

I am looking for independent curriculum for math, language arts,and Bible for these grades. History and science will be done as a family or coop. Something that I dont have to teach much or very little. More supervise and answer questions if needed. Teaching Textbooks was one option for math. Also they need to be offline options as we don't have the best internet service. Any ideas to add to my list?

 

Gently, without any details of your situation, and not knowing your students or your educational goals, this seems backwards. The focused teacher time needs to be on the core subjects (Math and Language Arts), and then any time spent on the content subjects (History, Geography, Science, Art/Music, Logic) is a fun bonus.

 

If your time is super-crunched, use what time you do have to in rotating through your students with focused 1-on-1 time for Math, Reading, and Writing. Grammar could be delayed until 5th grade. And Spelling could be practiced as a out-loud back and forth spelling of the week's list of 10-15 words in 5-10 minutes per student, while doing dishes, prepping dinner or other work.

 

Then History and Science (which are "supplemental" subjects) can be the independent work — educational videos, books at their level as assigned solo reading, and hands-on kits/activities. A family read-aloud time would also work — for example, listen to Story of the World as an audiobook all together in the car, or at lunch.

 

 

...I have a kindergartener starting next year who will need hands on.

 

A kinder student at most only needs maybe 30 minutes of 1-on-1 for phonics and very beginning to read lesson, and very basic math. The kinder can enjoy doing hands-on activities with the older children, which passes the kinder student from sibling to sibling while you rotate through 1-on-1 time with the older children.

 

You can establish a routine with everyone at the table together, all doing Math, but rotating through giving instruction to one student while the others do a supplement, or a "workbox" activity, and then once they understand what they're doing, they can be working at the table and you're doing 1-on-1 with the next child. If the first child gets stuck, they set it aside and move to doing a workbox activity until mom is free to answer their question.

 

"Workboxes" are supplemental materials that don't require mom attention or setting up, and are based on age level :

- a page or two in a supplemental Math booklet with go-along manipulative such as pattern blocks, geoboard, multi-link cubes, etc

- read in a solo reading book, or listen to a book on tape

- a few pages of mazes, simple word search, logic puzzle, ken-ken- puzzle or other printable page

- handwriting / copywork practice

- box of art supplies and create something

- science kit for independent exploration

- watch an educational video

- several children at one time play an educational board game or card game

- 4th grader reads aloud their assigned reading to 2 of the 3 younger siblings (while you work with the remaining child)

- card that says "do a chore" — child dusts, sweeps, vacuums, washes dishes (or plays in the sink with soapy water and dishes, lol), etc.

- card that says "exercise for 10 minutes" with a timer; child goes to another room with the timer and does something active — jump rope, mini-trampoline, run around the backyard, dance to music, etc.

 

 

BEST of luck in finding what works best for your family! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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If I wanted a solely independent curriculum at that age it would be:

 

BJU math with dvds or MUS with DVD

CLE language arts or BJU English with dvds

Evan Moor for Geography with a book from the Draw series

Spelling you See for spelling and copywork

 

I agree, that is a tough age to be totally independent.

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Unsolicited two cents: if you are spread too thin don’t even worry about science, history, or much of anything else really with these kids and spend your time and energies on parent taught math and language arts. It will set the foundation for successful independent work *later*

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If it’s helpful we had rotations: working one:one with mom, working independently, playing with or reading to younger sibling, reading to self. This way I was able to do one:one, they had little breaks, and they had short stints independently to develop that ability. The independent work was things like finishing the problems after the math lesson, copywork, or spelling practice on the iPad. We did a morning basket/read aloud all together that incorporated some history, biography, fine arts, vocabulary, and a short devotional. It wasn’t until the oldest was about 11 that she began having independent work (and it was scaffolded by me checking in regularly).

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CLE--we switched to it recently and I can't get over how much easier it is to teach than the Charlotte Mason materials we were using.  I also feel like they are getting an amazing foundation! I do have some teaching to do, but I can generally have everyone working on a subject at one time, with me helping as needed.  My younger ones need more help, but their lessons are shorter, so it all works out in the end.

 

I also agree with Targhee about focusing on skill subjects.  History and science are not essential at these ages.  Learning to read, write, and work basic math problems are essential.  For Bible, reading from a basic children's Bible would be plenty.  My kids that read lots of Bible stories at a young age now have more Bible knowledge than most adults. 

Edited by Holly

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Thanks for all of the advice. We are coming from Righstart and All About Spelling. I'm probably looking too much in the opposite direction now, but I have a kindergartener starting next year who will need hands on.

 

Yabbut surely he won't need several hours a day of your direct attention such that your older three have to do three major subjects all by their onesies?

 

R&S English and spelling can be done independently, if the children are all working pretty much at grade level. The second and third grade texts are very simple, and even I would not be opposed to the children doing those. :-) Your oldest could do R&S English, spelling, and math independently, but R&S's second and third grade math require 10 to 15 minutes of your time to teach, and then the children do their seatwork. It might work out for you, as your 5yo could play while you teach, then you could work with the 5yo while the 7yo and 8yo do their seatwork.

 

I would not give such young children Bible work to do independently.

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I have my 4th grader doing CLE Language Arts and Math. It has been so great, it’s a solid foundation and he likes it. Most importantly, it gets done!

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I agree with CLE. After working with 4 kids doing RightStart, AAS, and Charlotte Mason, I moved to CLE for Math, and recently LA this year. My kids are able to do these subjects now almost on their own. I plan to add their Reading in soon. I hear their Bible is good too.

 

I have been looking at Ace Paces (I don't think it fits my family) and Lifepacs too.

 

Sent from my SM-T530NU using Tapatalk

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CLE or math mammoth. My oldest has been independent with MM from the beginning (4yo), but he was a very early and advanced reader. My 1st grader has transitioned to independence with CLE over the course of this school year. I do the oral activities and new teaching with her in less than 5 minutes and then she is good to go. She uses Reflex Math in place of the flashcards and speed drills. My current 4 yo is in MM 1A. He is not able to read the directions or words problems himself, but once I read them to him, he is able to complete the section without me at his side. He is eager and fast, though I realize that’s not the norm. Nonetheless, I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect the grades you list to work without you at their side after you have gone over new material with them, so long as you are available for questions.

 

I see a lot of people recommending CLE LA, which I agree with, but you should know that the 2nd grade level is a bit different. It includes a lot of use of diacritical marks, which could be annoying if coming from AAS. You might want something different for the 2nd grader. I also wanted to mention that writing may need supplementation if you use CLE for LA. Also note that you may combine the kids for writing with some of the materials from IEW. Perhaps 3rd and 4th grader could do swi a with the DVD and cle la for the rest.

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Soaring with Spelling, Growing with Grammar, and Winning with Writing are very independent if the child can follow the text and directions. This depends on reading level, though. 

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I have to respectfully disagree that CLE or Growing with Grammar or math mammoth or any of these other workbook-type programs mentioned are independent.   I mean, they are "independent" in that you could probably fold a basket of laundry while you are right there helping, checking, and correcting.   If you define "independent" as not requiring 100% of your devoted attention 100% the time, then sure.   But don't be fooled into thinking that you can hand a CLE LA workbook  and Math Mammoth off to a child this age and expect them to self-teach at 9 years old.    Expect that you will still have to invest a lot of time and energy checking, follow through, reminding, assisting, and even teaching when they need help.   That all adds up to a lot of time, energy, and work.    (Even older kids who are working independently, still need a lot of frequent and consistent feedback on their work or they get into trouble too!)

 

I only mention this because I know a lot of homeschoolers (IRL) who have gotten into trouble thinking that kids this age can self-teach.    Maybe there are a few precocious children out there who ARE able to do that this young, but they are the RARE, RARE exception.   And even those children are still human beings.   Even the smartest human being might be tempted to cut corners and get out of a little work now and then.   I know of people who have handed a grammar workbook to their child.  Their child has faithfully done the workbook each day, but then they find out their child has not understood a thing from the book.   I'm just saying....be careful!  :) 

 

I was going to suggest that you try to find an online charter school.    The subjects you have listed are your most important subjects.   They are your "main course" in homeschooling.   History and Science are your icing on your cake.    Teach reading, writing, and arithmetic really, really well at this age (so that your child *can* self teach at some point in the future.)    If you can't provide the teaching in those areas, then I would try to outsource it.   In our area, online schools will even pay for an adequate internet connection.   That would be probably be the best 100% (or mostly) independent solution.

 

My other suggestion was to consider unschooling for a bit.   I know know your specific situation, but let's say you are going through a temporary health problem or other temporary family emergency (move, difficult pregnancy, job change, etc. etc.)   If what is sapping your time is just a temporary thing, you might consider taking a sabbatical.   Spend your limited time and energy providing interests and rabbit trails for your kids to explore while you take care of whatever you need to.   Then, when things settle down, you can go back to homeschooling and maybe just skip summer break.   However, if you find that your situation is more than just a short, temporary thing, that you really ought to consider outsourcing the teaching to someone who can do it.    This might just be for a year or several months or whatever you need.   Sometimes we can feel a lot of pressure to homeschool no matter what.   However, that isn't the best solution for every family and for ever child.   Sometimes it can even do more harm than good, you know?   

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I have been homeschooling for 20+ years and have always had my children work independently as much as possible. With a bunch of kids to teach and a bunch of little ones underfoot that was the only way homeschooling was going to happen. Now working independently doesn't mean there wasn't supervision. I would have all the children sit at the table and I was there to keep everyone on task and help if needed, but I didn't have to explicitly teach every lesson. 

 

Christian Light is designed to be used by the child independently. It was written for Mennonite schools that are often one or two room schools with one teacher teaching multiple grades. It is an excellent homeschool curriculum. It starts out with quite a bit of teacher involvement in first grade and slowly becomes more and more independent as the child progresses. 

 

I have also used Rod and Staff English and Spelling independently and Developmental Math is also designed to be used independently. I used Developmental Math with my four oldest children. We have also had great success learning Latin with Memoria Press materials: Prima Latina and Latina Christiana. The dvds make it much less teacher intensive.

 

Susan in TX

 

 

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I am looking for independent curriculum for math, language arts,and Bible for these grades. History and science will be done as a family or coop. Something that I dont have to teach much or very little. More supervise and answer questions if needed. Teaching Textbooks was one option for math. Also they need to be offline options as we don't have the best internet service. Any ideas to add to my list?

BJU Press Distance Learning

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I was going to suggest that you try to find an online charter school. 

 

I cannot think of a good reason for the OP to enroll her children in an on-line charter school; charter schools, on-line or campus-based, are public schools. I see no reason to do that.

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I cannot think of a good reason for the OP to enroll her children in an on-line charter school; charter schools, on-line or campus-based, are public schools. I see no reason to do that.

 

My first instinct after reading the OP was to say online schooling, because it seemed that she did not want to be their teacher for the most foundational and important subjects.  But she also said internet access was limited so that is a problem. 

 

After reading the update thread, I'm wondering if she just doesn't want things that are so parent intensive.  My kids complete GwG and SwS mostly on their own, with me supervising.  We are actually switching to a more teacher intensive LA program and independent science and history though.  I always do their math lessons with them, unless they completely understand it without my help.  

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The only independent Bible I can think of appropriate at these ages would be different type story bibles on CD. Maybe the Jesus Story Book Bible? We also have NIVlive, which is a dramatized reading of the Bible, but as far as curricula, most programs are designed to have input from an adult. I guess it depends on how much of a Bible curriculum you want. What exactly are you wanting out of it? But why couldn't you just read a Bible story to all of them at once as part of a Morning Time sort of routing? There's no reason to have a separate course for each kid according to grade level. I'd save my $$$ and just read the Bible together for 15 minutes, and they'll get far more out of it than some workbook with a coloring page. At least imho. 

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The only independent Bible I can think of appropriate at these ages would be different type story bibles on CD. Maybe the Jesus Story Book Bible? We also have NIVlive, which is a dramatized reading of the Bible, but as far as curricula, most programs are designed to have input from an adult. I guess it depends on how much of a Bible curriculum you want. What exactly are you wanting out of it? But why couldn't you just read a Bible story to all of them at once as part of a Morning Time sort of routing? There's no reason to have a separate course for each kid according to grade level. I'd save my $$$ and just read the Bible together for 15 minutes, and they'll get far more out of it than some workbook with a coloring page. At least imho.

Yes. And of all things, I would not want to make this independent and miss those foundational conversations about God, faith, truth, life, choices... the list goes on. Reading and discussing the Bible together is the foundation of our day. So important, yet very simple - we read a section and talk about it to start morning time. Same thing together at suppertime. (Somewhere in the day, someone usually reads a story from a children's Bible to the 4yo.) Most of our best conversations spring out of those times.

Edited by indigoellen@gmail.com
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My first instinct after reading the OP was to say online schooling, because it seemed that she did not want to be their teacher for the most foundational and important subjects.  But she also said internet access was limited so that is a problem. 

 

 

It was the "charter school" comment that I disagreed with, as "charter schools" are public schools.

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It was the "charter school" comment that I disagreed with, as "charter schools" are public schools.

That is fine to disagree with me.  :)   And yes, I know that charter schools are public schools.   However, they are usually the ones who will pay for fast internet access and computers.   Plus, they are often free.  And they will teach your kids all of these basic subjects if you are not able to do it yourself.   And sometimes, that might be a better option than just handing a 9-year-old a workbook and asking them to self-teach.   (Not saying always, just saying sometimes.)   

 

I, personally, don't think public schools are some big "evil" thing to be avoided at all cost.   And I would recommend them in lots of situations.  (And there are lots of homeschoolers who might disagree with me and that is totally fine.)   I, again personally, don't choose to send my own kids to public schools, but I think they are a great option for lots of families in lots of situations.

 

Examples:

Let's say a homeschooling mama is REALLY burned out.  Perhaps it is affecting her health or causing her to lose her temper constantly with her husband and children.   Perhaps she is depressed, or really angry all of the time, or sleeping all of the time, or whatever.   She might want (or dare I say NEED) to outsource school for a bit just for her own sanity.  It might be the best thing for that particular family.  Perhaps what the kids would benefit more is a happier, less stressed mother as opposed to a perfectly taught spelling program by a harried mother who is at her wit's end.

 

OR, let's say that a mama has lots of long-term health problems, and she doesn't see them going away in the future.   And she just isn't able to give her kids the type of education that she may want to give them at home.

 

OR, let's say that a mama is having a hard time balancing her job with homeschooling.  (Living on a single family income is a luxury.)   She may not be able to give her kids an adequate education at home even though she really wants to.

 

OR, let's say a mama is a caregiver for a very sick child.   That might be taking away so much of her time that she isn't able to give her other children the type of education she wants to give.   (This happened to me for a time, so I can totally relate.)

 

I'm not saying that the OP is experiencing any of these problems.  (Or maybe she is...I don't know.   We are all dealing with our own individual puzzles in life.) 

 

My point is that exploring other educational options may be worth looking into depending on her particular circumstances.   Even if it is a temporary solution during a difficult time.  :) :)  

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That is fine to disagree with me.  :)   And yes, I know that charter schools are public schools.   However, they are usually the ones who will pay for fast internet access and computers.   Plus, they are often free.  And they will teach your kids all of these basic subjects if you are not able to do it yourself.   And sometimes, that might be a better option than just handing a 9-year-old a workbook and asking them to self-teach.   (Not saying always, just saying sometimes.)   

 

I, personally, don't think public schools are some big "evil" thing to be avoided at all cost.   And I would recommend them in lots of situations.  (And there are lots of homeschoolers who might disagree with me and that is totally fine.)   I, again personally, don't choose to send my own kids to public schools, but I think they are a great option for lots of families in lots of situations.

 

Examples:

Let's say a homeschooling mama is REALLY burned out.  Perhaps it is affecting her health or causing her to lose her temper constantly with her husband and children.   Perhaps she is depressed, or really angry all of the time, or sleeping all of the time, or whatever.   She might want (or dare I say NEED) to outsource school for a bit just for her own sanity.  It might be the best thing for that particular family.  Perhaps what the kids would benefit more is a happier, less stressed mother as opposed to a perfectly taught spelling program by a harried mother who is at her wit's end.

 

OR, let's say that a mama has lots of long-term health problems, and she doesn't see them going away in the future.   And she just isn't able to give her kids the type of education that she may want to give them at home.

 

OR, let's say that a mama is having a hard time balancing her job with homeschooling.  (Living on a single family income is a luxury.)   She may not be able to give her kids an adequate education at home even though she really wants to.

 

OR, let's say a mama is a caregiver for a very sick child.   That might be taking away so much of her time that she isn't able to give her other children the type of education she wants to give.   (This happened to me for a time, so I can totally relate.)

 

I'm not saying that the OP is experiencing any of these problems.  (Or maybe she is...I don't know.   We are all dealing with our own individual puzzles in life.) 

 

My point is that exploring other educational options may be worth looking into depending on her particular circumstances.   Even if it is a temporary solution during a difficult time.  :) :)  

 

But the OP didn't say that she had any of those issues.

 

There are many reasons *not* to choose a public charter school, and it's not because public charter schools are "evil." I would have to know someone's whole story before I recommended a public home-based charter school.

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