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MamaHill

Have you ONLY used Memoria Press for history?

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As I understand it from studying the MP site, Christian/Classical/Geography all constitute their history curriculum.  They add in supplemental American history books until 7th grade, where they add in the 13 colonies and 200 Questions books.

Have any of you ever used ONLY this for history? The Christian/Classical/Geography studies?

I started a thread a few weeks ago about altering the 4-year history cycle, and I'm still really undecided over history for next year.  It consumes a LOT of our time.  We all love it, but we'd also love to study other things - composers, our state history, etc.  If we switched to MP for a year, it would give us time to work those things in without overburdening us.

I'm considering using MP's history, but it's so ... different from anything we've done in the past.  I loosely used TOG for 5+ years and we're currently finishing up BP Year 3.  So MP's history seems fairly foreign to what I'm used to.

If you used only MP's classical studies (and didn't supplement with something else), did you find it was truly enough? Did your kiddos retain it?  In hindsight, are you glad you chose it?

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A bit of background.

I grew up homeschooled by a mom whose philosophy is something like: if you can do reading, writing, and math you can learn anything. All history, geography, and science before high school were: choose a book about something in science and write a paper about it.

So what does "enough" mean for my family or your family when it comes to history?

We did Memoria Press last year for Kindergarten and 3rd. I like it enough that we are continuing this next year with 1st and 4th. Classical Studies was a major hit with my 3rd grader. There are a series of drill questions at the back of the teacher's manual that when reviewed every week, make sure the most relevant facts stick. We spent an entire year covering states and capitols by region. My son mostly had the states before he started 3rd, but they became solid over the past year.

I liked the list of American history books. They were at a lower reading level, so I just had my son read through the books when we got there each week. The curriculum manual also had us memorize the list of POTUS. We also listened to Story of the World audio CDs in the car.

I have been very happy with how engaged my kids are with the MP materials, and how well they are retaining the things they are learning. Looking at the grades going forward, I think we will have a really strong foundation in history and geography for high school and beyond.

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We use MP history (including classical studies, geography/modern studies & Christian studies). The only thing we will add to this is the history of the Catholic Church. We love it, and it gets done. My oldest has used MP History for grades 4-8. She will be taking APUSH with MPOA next year. My younger two have been using MP history for two years now. My kids retain it quite well as it is mastery-based and concentrates on depth over breadth. It is very focused on western civilization. SOTW is assigned as summer reading to expand on the breadth. 

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I am interested in these replies too.  We are just starting our MP journey.  We just completed our first complete core this year and we had an amazing year.  Their history is very focused on Western civilization.   (See this thread for more debate about MP history:  https://forum.memoriapress.com/showthread.php?17062-Still-pretty-new-to-MP-BIG-question).   Their history is also very biographical in nature in the early years.    

For this reason, I do supplement their history slightly with audiobooks.    We listen to them in the car or while we are doing chores or while the kids are playing quietly.   This doesn't really feel like work, but I have found it helpful for our study of history.     We listened to all of the SOTW books on audiobooks.  We also listened to CHOW .    Next year, we will also listen to the Hakim US history series on audible.    And I will have my son listen to the Oxford university press ancient rome  book before he starts FMOR.    Do  we have to add all of this in?   No!  But we enjoy history and listening to these audiobooks really isn't too much extra work.  

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I tried using it for a year or so, but I was frustrated because the Famous Men series seems problematic in so many ways.  There are inaccuracies that are really foundational, and there really is a consistent bias toward Romans & Greeks and members of Christendom being more brave and more worthy than their adversaries. 

So the trouble was not at all that it was Western-centric: it was that it was riddled with fairly substantial errors, and also that it teaches a dismissive view of other cultures when they are encountered.  If you read Aristotle, Herodotus, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and so on, you will find that the great Greeks and Romans did not take a generally dismissive view of of other cultures.  They valued understanding other nations/cultures and had a very humanist (remembering that humanism was originally a non-secular philosophy, iirc) understanding that there are brave, brilliant, loyal, and good people in other cultures as well as cowardly, foolish, treacherous, and evil people within their own cultures.  The Famous Men series makes nods in this direction, but this isn't where its heart is. 

It was also difficult for my child to see the value of Roman culture when presented with a series of biographies of powerful Romans.  He needed to understand the improvements in justice and in the quality of life (improved access to food, water, goods and ideas) of the citizens in order to understand what Rome meant and accomplished.  Similar critiques apply to Greece and the Middle Ages books. 

If you really wish to use these, do at least supplement with SOTW audiobooks and/or the Guerber books on the same periods (as read-alouds or audiobooks).  Or the wonderful OUP series referenced above: this is a great option. 

You could maintain a strong Western Civ. focus with Guerber for your supplement (she is a much, much better historian than the authors of the Famous Men series: more accurate, and with a better understanding of the people she writes about -- she's even more faithful to ancient authors such as Herodotus) or with the OUP books for Greece, Rome, and Europe in the Middle Ages. 

That said, the MP program will give a lot of historical hooks and good understanding of the geography.  But it does a terrible job of teaching real history or building historical thinking skills. 

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1 hour ago, serendipitous journey said:

I tried using it for a year or so, but I was frustrated because the Famous Men series seems problematic in so many ways.  There are inaccuracies that are really foundational, and there really is a consistent bias toward Romans & Greeks and members of Christendom being more brave and more worthy than their adversaries. 

So the trouble was not at all that it was Western-centric: it was that it was riddled with fairly substantial errors, and also that it teaches a dismissive view of other cultures when they are encountered.  If you read Aristotle, Herodotus, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and so on, you will find that the great Greeks and Romans did not take a generally dismissive view of of other cultures.  They valued understanding other nations/cultures and had a very humanist (remembering that humanism was originally a non-secular philosophy, iirc) understanding that there are brave, brilliant, loyal, and good people in other cultures as well as cowardly, foolish, treacherous, and evil people within their own cultures.  The Famous Men series makes nods in this direction, but this isn't where its heart is. 

It was also difficult for my child to see the value of Roman culture when presented with a series of biographies of powerful Romans.  He needed to understand the improvements in justice and in the quality of life (improved access to food, water, goods and ideas) of the citizens in order to understand what Rome meant and accomplished.  Similar critiques apply to Greece and the Middle Ages books. 

If you really wish to use these, do at least supplement with SOTW audiobooks and/or the Guerber books on the same periods (as read-alouds or audiobooks).  Or the wonderful OUP series referenced above: this is a great option. 

You could maintain a strong Western Civ. focus with Guerber for your supplement (she is a much, much better historian than the authors of the Famous Men series: more accurate, and with a better understanding of the people she writes about -- she's even more faithful to ancient authors such as Herodotus) or with the OUP books for Greece, Rome, and Europe in the Middle Ages. 

That said, the MP program will give a lot of historical hooks and good understanding of the geography.  But it does a terrible job of teaching real history or building historical thinking skills. 

Can you elaborate on the substantial errors you have found in the Famous Men series? How do you know they are inaccurate? What makes Guerber (which MP also uses) a better source than the Famous Men series? I have been through both and have not picked up on any major discrepancies between the two. Maybe I am not paying good enough attention.

In general, how do you know that one source is accurate and another is not? I really struggle with this. Isn't all history biased by nature? I feel like I can find a history to support any view I choose to hold. How is one to know which is true and which is not?

What do you mean by MP history not building historical thinking?

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3 hours ago, SevenDaisies said:

Can you elaborate on the substantial errors you have found in the Famous Men series? How do you know they are inaccurate? What makes Guerber (which MP also uses) a better source than the Famous Men series? I have been through both and have not picked up on any major discrepancies between the two. Maybe I am not paying good enough attention.

In general, how do you know that one source is accurate and another is not? I really struggle with this. Isn't all history biased by nature? I feel like I can find a history to support any view I choose to hold. How is one to know which is true and which is not?

What do you mean by MP history not building historical thinking?

Great questions!  I will work on them; it will take me a few days to respond well. 

Meanwhile, may I ask what your own goals in teaching history are?  Even roughly, WHY are you teaching history?

And here are two sources for thinking about historical truth & historical thinking; I have points of agreement & disagreement with both (iirc), but find them worthy sources and think they've helped me improve my thinking about teaching history.

ETA: for teaching the classics, this is a great article on teaching classical Greek language/culture.  It embodies many principles of good historiography from the above two references, imho (I'll add more if I find them):

 

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12 hours ago, serendipitous journey said:

Great questions!  I will work on them; it will take me a few days to respond well. 

Meanwhile, may I ask what your own goals in teaching history are?  Even roughly, WHY are you teaching history?

And here are two sources for thinking about historical truth & historical thinking; I have points of agreement & disagreement with both (iirc), but find them worthy sources and think they've helped me improve my thinking about teaching history.

ETA: for teaching the classics, this is a great article on teaching classical Greek language/culture.  It embodies many principles of good historiography from the above two references, imho (I'll add more if I find them):

 

Thanks for your thoughtful response. Those were interesting reads. I have purchased the SWB lecture but have not listened to that yet.

Regarding historical thinking, MP history is certainly not taught as the teacher in that article teaches history, but I don't think that means MP doesn't teach kids to think. I think the MP philosophy is quite different in that they do believe in mastering the material, but as students get older they are taught to think and respond thoughtfully. 

I am interested in your response to Famous Men, and appreciate you taking the time to respond thoughtfully. Is Famous Men perfect? No, it is not. Is it a cohesive history of Rome? No, it is not. It is a series of mini-biographies or short stories. Is it an age appropriate introduction to the people and places of Rome? I believe it is. Are details left out? Yes, they are, but there is still time to fill in those details. Famous Men is used by young students and is followed up in the middle grades by Guerber, which is a more cohesive history, and I think having done Famous Men, my daughter was better able to use the Guerber histories. She was already familiar with the people and places, and so she could add more detail to what she had already learned. What about the Famous Men flash cards? Do you find fault with those? Those are the bulk of what the students are expected to remember, so I am interested in what you have to say about those as well as an errors you have identified in the text. 

Thank you!

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SevenDaisies, I also appreciate the time & thought you are taking! 

Briefly -- not addressing the core concerns:

  • The current MP program schedules Famous Men solidly in the logic stage: grades 5, 6, and 7.  The "accelerated" track gives them in 4, 5, and 6.  My point here is that the histories are being used for ages/levels in which students are often taught to begin reading more critically and comparatively. 
  • I myself am not criticizing the biographical nature of the history.  Let us assume that mini-biographies and short stories are one suitable platform for teaching history to these ages/levels. 
  • Memoria Press doesn't schedule the Guerber histories of Greece, Rome, and the Middle Ages (they do use a shortened Guerber for American History): they use Mills, in an edited/redacted form (though I myself often confound Mills and Guerber with each other).  I agree that Mills is solidly logic-stage reading and reading her if the child is already familiar with the essentials.
  • I agree that many details are left out in any first (or second, or even third) pass through history!

Finally: what do you want from your history studies?  I'm asking because I don't really think that taking a position of me attacking the Famous Men books is going to, ultimately, be helpful.  (Ask me how I know!) It would be great if we can shift the ground to thinking about common goals and values.  You've already begun this when you mentioned that your daughter was better able to learn from the more-advanced books because of hear earlier exposure.  I like to see this in my children, too!  and find it so valuable. 

I'll do my best to answer the questions about Famous Men you asked, ideally in terms that are worthwhile for you.  I can imagine, for example, that mastery of basic information from classical Western cultures could be a goal for you.  And/or using a history that fits well into the MP plan so that you take advantage of the cross-curriculum elements (ie, the way classical studies may be reflected in literature or even grammar).  Or using a history that supports your faith.  Or a history that will prepare your children to be just and wise self-governors in this democracy of ours.  What is it that you hope for in history studies, or that you already have & value? 

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3 hours ago, serendipitous journey said:

SevenDaisies, I also appreciate the time & thought you are taking! 

Briefly -- not addressing the core concerns:

  • The current MP program schedules Famous Men solidly in the logic stage: grades 5, 6, and 7.  The "accelerated" track gives them in 4, 5, and 6.  My point here is that the histories are being used for ages/levels in which students are often taught to begin reading more critically and comparatively. 
  • I myself am not criticizing the biographical nature of the history.  Let us assume that mini-biographies and short stories are one suitable platform for teaching history to these ages/levels. 
  • Memoria Press doesn't schedule the Guerber histories of Greece, Rome, and the Middle Ages (they do use a shortened Guerber for American History): they use Mills, in an edited/redacted form (though I myself often confound Mills and Guerber with each other).  I agree that Mills is solidly logic-stage reading and reading her if the child is already familiar with the essentials.
  • I agree that many details are left out in any first (or second, or even third) pass through history!

Finally: what do you want from your history studies?  I'm asking because I don't really think that taking a position of me attacking the Famous Men books is going to, ultimately, be helpful.  (Ask me how I know!) It would be great if we can shift the ground to thinking about common goals and values.  You've already begun this when you mentioned that your daughter was better able to learn from the more-advanced books because of hear earlier exposure.  I like to see this in my children, too!  and find it so valuable. 

I'll do my best to answer the questions about Famous Men you asked, ideally in terms that are worthwhile for you.  I can imagine, for example, that mastery of basic information from classical Western cultures could be a goal for you.  And/or using a history that fits well into the MP plan so that you take advantage of the cross-curriculum elements (ie, the way classical studies may be reflected in literature or even grammar).  Or using a history that supports your faith.  Or a history that will prepare your children to be just and wise self-governors in this democracy of ours.  What is it that you hope for in history studies, or that you already have & value? 

Mea culpa....you are correct. I do often interchange Guerber and Mills. Yes, MP uses Guerber for US, and Mills in 7A/8M and 8A/9M. Mills Rome & Greece are used in their entirety, and chapters of Middle Ages are intermixed with lit in 8A/9M. I suppose that explains why I did not see the discrepancies ?

Honestly, I'm not sure I've ever given much thought to my goals for history study, although clearly I must have some or I wouldn't be giving it so much thought. One of the things I love about MP is the balance they strike between Catholic and Protestant, so I suppose faith is a factor. I don't need an explicitly Catholic source, but I do wish to avoid anti-Catholic bias. And, I do love how nicely classical studies are woven together with literature. All the reasons you mention seem like worthy goals. Perhaps I should give some thought to articulating those goals. Off to ponder a bit more. 

 

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We will be using MP for Christian studies, classical studies & modern studies next year (plus their Latin).  I'm pairing it with Biblioplan/SOTW to give them more of a balanced approach.  I will likely stick to Biblioplan & WTM book lists and skipping MP's American supplemental books.

I feel like MP & SOTW balance things out...one is strong on memorizing basic facts and the other is strong on giving a big picture of the larger world.  I'm mainly adding Biblioplan to give me more options for my oldest two kids and keeping us all on the same page. 

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Can I jump in here, lol? My goals are twofold. 1 - a basic grasp of historical knowledge to be part of the larger culture, to understand cultural references, etc. Basically, to be able to participate in the conversation around them and  2. hopefully see comparisons between previous events and our own time. 

 

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On 6/15/2018 at 12:52 PM, TheAttachedMama said:

I am interested in these replies too.  We are just starting our MP journey.  We just completed our first complete core this year and we had an amazing year.  Their history is very focused on Western civilization.   (See this thread for more debate about MP history:  https://forum.memoriapress.com/showthread.php?17062-Still-pretty-new-to-MP-BIG-question).   Their history is also very biographical in nature in the early years.    

For this reason, I do supplement their history slightly with audiobooks.    We listen to them in the car or while we are doing chores or while the kids are playing quietly.   This doesn't really feel like work, but I have found it helpful for our study of history.     We listened to all of the SOTW books on audiobooks.  We also listened to CHOW .    Next year, we will also listen to the Hakim US history series on audible.    And I will have my son listen to the Oxford university press ancient rome  book before he starts FMOR.    Do  we have to add all of this in?   No!  But we enjoy history and listening to these audiobooks really isn't too much extra work.  

 

Thank you so much for linking to that thread at the MP forums!  So much food for thought there.

An audiobook of some variety or genre is almost always on at our house.  It would be easy to add a scheduled title in here or there.  Thank you for that suggestion!

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8 hours ago, serendipitous journey said:

SevenDaisies, I also appreciate the time & thought you are taking! 

Briefly -- not addressing the core concerns:

  • The current MP program schedules Famous Men solidly in the logic stage: grades 5, 6, and 7.  The "accelerated" track gives them in 4, 5, and 6.  My point here is that the histories are being used for ages/levels in which students are often taught to begin reading more critically and comparatively. 
  • I myself am not criticizing the biographical nature of the history.  Let us assume that mini-biographies and short stories are one suitable platform for teaching history to these ages/levels. 
  • Memoria Press doesn't schedule the Guerber histories of Greece, Rome, and the Middle Ages (they do use a shortened Guerber for American History): they use Mills, in an edited/redacted form (though I myself often confound Mills and Guerber with each other).  I agree that Mills is solidly logic-stage reading and reading her if the child is already familiar with the essentials.
  • I agree that many details are left out in any first (or second, or even third) pass through history!

Finally: what do you want from your history studies?  I'm asking because I don't really think that taking a position of me attacking the Famous Men books is going to, ultimately, be helpful.  (Ask me how I know!) It would be great if we can shift the ground to thinking about common goals and values.  You've already begun this when you mentioned that your daughter was better able to learn from the more-advanced books because of hear earlier exposure.  I like to see this in my children, too!  and find it so valuable. 

I'll do my best to answer the questions about Famous Men you asked, ideally in terms that are worthwhile for you.  I can imagine, for example, that mastery of basic information from classical Western cultures could be a goal for you.  And/or using a history that fits well into the MP plan so that you take advantage of the cross-curriculum elements (ie, the way classical studies may be reflected in literature or even grammar).  Or using a history that supports your faith.  Or a history that will prepare your children to be just and wise self-governors in this democracy of ours.  What is it that you hope for in history studies, or that you already have & value? 

 

I really appreciate you asking these questions.  Wow, this thread just keeps getting better and better as I catch up.  So much for me to chew and think on!

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3 hours ago, Holly said:

We will be using MP for Christian studies, classical studies & modern studies next year (plus their Latin).  I'm pairing it with Biblioplan/SOTW to give them more of a balanced approach.  I will likely stick to Biblioplan & WTM book lists and skipping MP's American supplemental books.

I feel like MP & SOTW balance things out...one is strong on memorizing basic facts and the other is strong on giving a big picture of the larger world.  I'm mainly adding Biblioplan to give me more options for my oldest two kids and keeping us all on the same page. 

 

Holly, I saw you reference this in a different thread, and I'm so glad you brought it up here again. I just cannot wrap my brain around how to implement the MP Classical Studies with BP/SOTW.  I would absolutely LOVE to do this, but I don't know how practically implement it.

How do you choose the topics from SOTW and from MP so they line up well? Or do you just schedule topics separately?  I just don't know where to start with this and would love to hear what your thought process and planning process look like. Pretty please ?

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15 hours ago, MamaHill said:

 

Holly, I saw you reference this in a different thread, and I'm so glad you brought it up here again. I just cannot wrap my brain around how to implement the MP Classical Studies with BP/SOTW.  I would absolutely LOVE to do this, but I don't know how practically implement it.

How do you choose the topics from SOTW and from MP so they line up well? Or do you just schedule topics separately?  I just don't know where to start with this and would love to hear what your thought process and planning process look like. Pretty please ?

 

My disclaimer is that we just switched to Bibliplan a few months ago, so we are making adjustments as we go.  I have only added the classical studies from MP so far, and we are currently on a short summer break, so we are only 2-3 weeks into it.  We have used parts of MP in the past, so I am pretty familiar with their teacher guide layout.  We tend to use the guides as discussions, although I do see the importance of writing out answers to the questions, so sometimes we do that as well.  I have invested in the flashcards this year because I really want them to have those key facts well learned.

I am not lining up MP with BP/SOTW.  I plan on going through MP's lesson thoroughly, taking as much time as we need and not skipping anything.  I want them to really master that information, hence the flashcards!  I'm including Biblioplan & SOTW more as an enrichment, so we will spend a week on that week's lesson plans and move on, even if we don't get to everything. The exception being chapter books & family read alouds.  We continue those until they are finished, then pick a new one from the current week's Bibliplan book lists.  They have several graded book lists (K-2, 3-5, 5-8, 8-12).  We will just keep cycling through this and not bother to line it up with MP (that would drive me totally crazy)! 

BP schedules a family read aloud and lines up several spines (SOTW, MOH, Story of US, etc.) so much of my planning is just making selections from their lesson plans.  We currently use SOTW maps & coloring pages, so I print those out ahead of time.  We aren't really using any of the BP extras at this point, just their family guide and Companion textbook (my high schooler's spine).   I ordered & printed out MP's digital lesson plans for all the subjects we are covering, so I don't have much planning there either.  I like open & go! 

Our schedule will be Bible (Christian studies), flashcard/recitation, 3Rs & Latin in the morning.  Literature (alternating good books with MP's Classical Studies) will be in the morning or early afternoon (depending on how quickly our morning lessons go).  Afternoons have history (MWF) or science (T/TH) followed by 1-2 "extras" like geography, logic, art, picture study, or Shakespeare.  We have a Bible reading & family read aloud at bedtime.  We rarely get to everything each day, but I try to balance things out so we aren't skipping the same subjects all the time.  If we fall behind in one subject, I usually just move it earlier in the day.  We are coming from a Charlotte Mason background, and I don't worry too much if our books carry out over more than a year.

I decided to start my kids with MP's 3rd & 8th grade cores because they seemed like nice spots to jump in with the ages I have.  My 3rd & 6th graders will be doing Christian Studies I, Greek Myths, States & Capitals, and Prima Latina.  My 8th & 10th graders will use Book of the Ancient World, Book of the Ancient Greeks/Iliad/Odyssey, Geography III, and First Form Latin.  We also have MP's 200 American History Questions flashcards that I plan on incorporating to our morning recitation time.  My 6th & 3rd graders will use SOTW and A Child's First Book of American History as their spines for Biblioplan.  My 8th grader will use Hakim's History of US and Famous Men of Modern Times.  My 10th grader will continue with BP's Companion textbook. 

I have put a lot of thought and time into planning this out!  I hope this gives you some ideas.

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Holly, I'm sorry it's taken me a few days to get back to this.  I can't thank you enough for taking the time to share your plans!  I have a much better mental picture now.

My rising 8th grader isn't in the homeschool picture because he will go to a cottage school this year.  So I will only be teaching the rising 6th grader, 4th grader, and 2nd grader.  Plus the 16 month old tornado. (Mercy...he's destructive.)

My 6th grader will be doing FMof Rome, States and Capitals 1/2 of the year and hoping to start one of the Geographies after that, First Form Latin.

My 4th grader will be doing either Greek Myths or FMof Rome with my 6th grader, States and Capitals for half and then one of the Geographies, and Latina Christiana I.

We will be doing Zeezok Music fairly indepth 3 days/week and NC state history 1 day/week.  I'd love to add in Biblioplan to that, but I just can't fathom adding one more thing.  We are finishing up BP Year 3, and I can't figure out how to streamline it any more than we already do. We just read Remember the Days as the spine, do the mapwork and coloring pages from SOTW if they coordinate, and I assign a book for lit most weeks to be read independently based on ability.  Maybe we could only do Remember the Days together.  Hmmm.  Just thinking out loud here.

I'm intrigued (and impressed!) with all that you can accomplish in the morning!  As hard as I try, we just can only get to 2-3 subjects max each mornign.  My rising 4th grader isn't that independent yet, and my 2nd grader isn't reading well at all (testing her next month). We do history altogether when the baby takes a 1-hour nap in the afternoon (he's not much of a sleeper).  I sure do wish we could be as productive!!   

Thank you again for sharing your thought process! Very, very helpful!!                

 

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On 6/20/2018 at 1:09 PM, MamaHill said:

I'm intrigued (and impressed!) with all that you can accomplish in the morning!  As hard as I try, we just can only get to 2-3 subjects max each mornign.  My rising 4th grader isn't that independent yet, and my 2nd grader isn't reading well at all (testing her next month). We do history altogether when the baby takes a 1-hour nap in the afternoon (he's not much of a sleeper).  I sure do wish we could be as productive!!   

Thank you again for sharing your thought process! Very, very helpful!!               

 

I do have different ages than you.  Those toddler years are tough!  I am getting to the end of that and have 3 "big kids" to help and I'm not working with any new readers.  Those factors make a huge difference!  It does get easier.  :)

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