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serendipitous journey

anybody else beginning Ursa Minor this year?

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I spent a few days hand-writing the Ursa Minor curriculum for years 7 - 12 on a couple sheets of huge art paper, annotating as I went.  Whew!  Now I'm just beginning to work on moving us toward Ursa Minor's Year 7, and thought it might be nice to see if anybody else is planning on using it. 

About Ursa Minor: it is a new Charlotte Mason curriculum, free in and of itself but employing some spendy resources (Michael Clay Thompson language arts, some pricey textbooks).  It has a STEM-y and secular focus.  Currently the booklists are available for years 7 - 12, and there are art/music selections made for each term as well as a handicrafts ideas page that goes from Year 1 - Year 12, I believe.  Here's the WTM thread that first mentioned it, and has lots of comments: CM people -- new resource.  The people who designed it have been busy with Life Circumstances lately, so they haven't been able to keep up with their release plans for weekly schedules/earlier years/etcetera. 

Looking at Year 7, there are a few things I'll need to change for us.  I've taken the Lepore King Philip's war book out and replaced it with two books: one authored by Lepore, Oxford University Press' "Ancient American World" (violence in "king Philip" is too explicit and central for my child) + one on the native American experience.  In world history I added a spine, the Cartoon Guide series, and am hoping to fit in some Egyptian history. 

BFSU drives me batty.  I'm subbing in Joy Hakim's history of science series, following the Build Your Library 8 schedule.

Ursa Minor has no living math: we'll finish the "Mathematicians are People Too" volume 2 and then ???  not sure.  Math will not be AoPS, instead we'll continue in Math-U-See, which my child likes well enough: given that he really detests everything else we've tried, and that I am satisfied with his math understanding and his proposed learning path, that is good enough for me.  We're paralleling it with a little each day from the "Calculus Without Tears" Series and we do some arithmetic drill. 

For literature, UM plans Gilgamesh, "Tun-huang" by Inoue, and "Watership Down".  I don't think Tun-huang looks awesome and will replace with The Art of War.  We may do Hesiod's Theogony & Works and Days instead of Watership Down, making Watership Down a free read.   

Our logic will be along the lines of WTM suggestions, not the UM Critical Thinking book. 

I'm adding Bible Studies/faith studies.  Materials that are easily usable by secular families include  The Bible and Its Influence , which a poster recommended downthread and we hope to spread across two or three years,  Teaching Company lectures by Amy LeVine and Asimov's Guide to the Bible: both of these are appropriate for secular families.  Regarding the text itself,  we'll read as much as we can in translation from Everett Fox (here's a link to his Torah) and the rest from the King James/Authorized Version.   We're reading from C.S. Lewis' Screwtape letters right now, and after that I'm planning "God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse". 

Anybody else tackling this?

 

 

Edited by serendipitous journey
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We're not, but I'm glad to see someone is. It's not the right program for us, but I think it's a fantastic option that has a great balance of older, classic works and modern literature, as well as good STEM stuff. I think Charlotte herself would approve, honestly. And that it's free is great.

Is there more of a schedule on the site than what you can see? It seems like right now it's just a list of the resources but without any sense of schedule.

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10 hours ago, serendipitous journey said:

 

BIBLE: UM is secular, so they don't schedule the Bible.  I wish they did, I'd love to have support for academic presentation of the Bible, which is a foundational work in our culture.  Full disclosure: I am Christian, the rest of my family is not.  I'm in the process of finding a good teaching guide for the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.  We may try the Teaching Company lectures by Amy LeVine (which I know I like very much) and I also have Asimov's Guide to the Bible: both of these are appropriate for secular families.  Regarding the text itself,  we'll read as much as we can in translation from Everett Fox (here's a link to his Torah) and the rest from the King James/Authorized Version.  

Anybody else tackling this?

 

Have you looked at The Bible and Its Influence?

10 hours ago, serendipitous journey said:

 

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No, but I am very curious how others are liking it. It's one of my top contenders for high school.

 


 

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14 hours ago, Farrar said:

We're not, but I'm glad to see someone is. It's not the right program for us, but I think it's a fantastic option that has a great balance of older, classic works and modern literature, as well as good STEM stuff. I think Charlotte herself would approve, honestly. And that it's free is great.

Is there more of a schedule on the site than what you can see? It seems like right now it's just a list of the resources but without any sense of schedule.

?  I value your opinion & am glad it looks good to you!  

There is no schedule yet (unless I'm badly mistaken).  This is one place where the Life Circumstances are delaying the authors' ideal progress.  One of the main things I'm doing now is sketching out a pacing for the books.  Quick question, if you don't mind and have an opinion: I'm trying to decide whether to string book bundles out along the whole year, or do them sequentially.  One example: Blackwell's History of the Near East + Li Feng's Early China history + optional Blackwell History of Ancient Egypt: one per term, or some each week all year?  Another: if we use two main science texts, do Anthropology for half the year and then Geology, or do both all year? 

I'm planning to do the literature triad sequentially, one each term. 

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13 hours ago, Sherry in OH said:

 

Have you looked at The Bible and Its Influence?

No!  What a great resource!  Thank you for that link, which has the "Look Inside" feature.  There is a second edition, but I cannot easily find what the changes between editions are.  Thanks so much! 

For others who might want to include reading the Bible: there are a variety of Bible reading plans/schedules.  One of my favorites is the Bible as scheduled by Ambleside Online, but for various reasons we've had a hard time sticking the AO schedule (mainly because there is so much they schedule that doesn't fit us well).  This blog links two other plans that seem worth considering: one is a plan to read the Bible in 52 weeks, 5 days per week, reading the Old Testament, Psalms and New Testament in parallel; another is under the heading "Pseudo-Chronological" and seems to have the interesting feature of reading the stories of the Bible along with the poetic/prophetic material that is bound to them traditionally/theologically.  I think that might be especially helpful for readers outside a religious tradition, in terms of highlighting resonances and echoes of the books, but am not sure. 

Naturally, most of us are not going to be assigning these to our children 5 days/week, 52 weeks/year.  But they are a great point of departure, and the whole-Bible plan could easily be split into Hebrew Bible for a couple of years followed by New Testament if one wished. 

DK's Illustrated Bible Story by Story is another excellent Bible resource suited for general use, with a good deal of scholarly material and beautiful images of art, artifacts, maps, etcetera.  I borrowed this book & DK's Illustrated Family Bible from our library system and preferred the story-by-story one, which seemed more academic and analytical to me when I looked through them briefly.   Neither have the scope of the book Sherry in OH suggested, in terms of understanding the Bible in its own terms and through history, but might be worthwhile for some folks.  And the Family Bible could be a good presentation for early years, as a read-aloud with great pictures and without the theology most children's Bibles have (and which I often have to undo explicitly, having a non-orthodox theology myself). 

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A Request for Feedback on a Writing Plan:  I looked at the samples of the MCT Literature Level materials, and don't want to use it.  So I'll do Grammar for the Well-Trained Mind + writing. 

My question is: shall we do Classical Writing or shall we do WTM-style writing across the curriculum, ramping up to the WTM rhetoric level writing in high school?  Let us assume these are the only two options ?This year is going to be busy, and I am daunted by the time commitment of Classical Writing.  Plus, my son doesn't like it (but he doesn't detest it) and his writings tend to have a common ironic (if not sarcastic) edge.  OTOH I definitely see wonderful skill built up by Classical Writing, and once he gets going with it he often gets caught up in it. 

As an aside: his response to Classical Writing is the opposite of how Writing With Skill went.  He tends to dread CW but is good once he gets going and enjoys reading what he writes.  He often seemed to dread WWS less, but really, really hated nearly every moment of the actual writing process and didn't like what he produced. 

ETA: Well, maybe we'll end up using MCT Literature Level.  I'm thinking it would be best to "tweak" UM as little as possible our first year.  But the $$$ is daunting.

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2 hours ago, serendipitous journey said:

?  I value your opinion & am glad it looks good to you!  

There is no schedule yet (unless I'm badly mistaken).  This is one place where the Life Circumstances are delaying the authors' ideal progress.  One of the main things I'm doing now is sketching out a pacing for the books.  Quick question, if you don't mind and have an opinion: I'm trying to decide whether to string book bundles out along the whole year, or do them sequentially.  One example: Blackwell's History of the Near East + Li Feng's Early China history + optional Blackwell History of Ancient Egypt: one per term, or some each week all year?  Another: if we use two main science texts, do Anthropology for half the year and then Geology, or do both all year? 

I'm planning to do the literature triad sequentially, one each term. 

I would personally do one per term because I think kids get more out of doing some depth on something. The basic idea behind Ursa Minor is already that you're doing multiple strands of stuff at once - adding to that would be too much for me, not to mention that scheduling them one by one would be easier... though I don't think there's a right or wrong answer. After all, the multiple threads thing is part of the program.

The lit choices are great, I think. 

Too bad they haven't proposed a schedule yet (I thought they hadn't, but I wasn't sure). I feel like there's really a place for CM in the current homeschool movement and I don't like the way Ambleside, who chooses these very problematic books and has a very specific Christian agenda (as in, not even one that's welcoming to all Christians, like Catholics) sort of "owns" CM online. I'm hopeful that Ursa Minor will get some ground there. If nothing else, borrowing from the book lists is a great idea for anyone who wants a more diverse literature year that's also a bit rigorous.

I hope you'll update and say how it goes and what you ended up tweaking.

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22 hours ago, Farrar said:

I would personally do one per term because I think kids get more out of doing some depth on something. The basic idea behind Ursa Minor is already that you're doing multiple strands of stuff at once - adding to that would be too much for me, not to mention that scheduling them one by one would be easier... though I don't think there's a right or wrong answer. After all, the multiple threads thing is part of the program.

This is great feedback.  My obsessive self wants to string everything along all year for theoretically better retention.  My intuitive self likes the one-per-term idea: I'll take your advice on this! 

The lit choices are great, I think. 

When you have time, can you tell me if you especially like Inoue's "Tun-Huang"?  I was not at all sure it was so marvelous as to represent Asian/non-Western literature for the year.  And/or could you offer a critique (short as you'd like) on my alternate plan of Gilgamesh/Iliad/non-Western selections from World Masterpieces?

Too bad they haven't proposed a schedule yet (I thought they hadn't, but I wasn't sure). I feel like there's really a place for CM in the current homeschool movement and I don't like the way Ambleside, who chooses these very problematic books and has a very specific Christian agenda (as in, not even one that's welcoming to all Christians, like Catholics) sort of "owns" CM online. I'm hopeful that Ursa Minor will get some ground there. If nothing else, borrowing from the book lists is a great idea for anyone who wants a more diverse literature year that's also a bit rigorous.

I agree that a strong alternative to Ambleside would be a great gift.  I'm so grateful to the Ambleside folks for the work they have done and continue to do, but also know that we ourselves need to strongly adjust it.  Aside from content, the writing and math aren't what I'd for my curriculum's standard to be.  We'll be tweaking UM for math and writing but I am quite satisfied that their selections are rigorous. 

I hope you'll update and say how it goes and what you ended up tweaking.

Will do my best!  I learn so much on this forum and will be glad if our guinea-pigging help other folks. 

 

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10 minutes ago, serendipitous journey said:

When you have time, can you tell me if you especially like Inoue's "Tun-Huang"?  I was not at all sure it was so marvelous as to represent Asian/non-Western literature for the year.  And/or could you offer a critique (short as you'd like) on my alternate plan of Gilgamesh/Iliad/non-Western selections from World Masterpieces?

Huh, the quote came up blank. Ah, added it.

When I said lit, I definitely meant the English and the Free Reads books together, which make a nice synthesis. I'm not totally sure what the distinction is, but I'm guessing you'd spend time studying and writing about the lit choices, but the free reads are just required and maybe discussed a little, but not focused on.

So, this is one of the few books on their lists that I haven't read and don't know well. I am pretty familiar with Asian lit too. It sounds okay, but it wouldn't have been my first thought. I mean, it's a Japanese imagined ancient China. The description of the absurdist nature of missing the exam and having your whole life thrown off honestly does totally jibe with my sense of China - and I majored in Chinese history in college. Like, one of the greatest works of Chinese literature of all time - Dream of the Red Chamber - is basically a meandering narrative about a boy who hangs out in his grandparents' garden, gets the wrong marriage arranged, studies for his exams, takes them, and then wanders off to become a hermit, you know, like ya do. So I don't think its broad strokes will be wrong, if that's a worry for you. Several reviews say it's dry though.

Doing the Iliad instead doesn't really make sense though? Won't you do Greek and Roman focused stuff anyway in Year 8? Or am I missing something?

I'm not sure what you should switch it with though. If there was another book that covered ancient Asia on the Free Reads list, I'd do that. Like if you didn't want to do Watership Down, I'd say just bring Hatchet or Wizard of Earthsea or something that's there for general literary value off the Free Reads list. Maybe do Crystal Ribbon? Except... it's newish and I have heard it's good but not read that either! Plus, it really does look more like a supporting pleasure read and less like a meaty dig through kind of book?

Here's a totally different idea. Ursa Minor doesn't seem to cover India at all. Why not throw in Narayan's shortened version of The Ramayana instead? And then sub The Iliad for something next year. Like, maybe for some of the old sagas. Which are fine and I get why they're there and they're putting them alongside LoTR, which makes sense... but they're maybe not as essential as exposure to the Iliad, which would go well with the history for Year 8? Or maybe you could do shortened versions of both for Year 8?

I'm trying to think of other things for China since that's the focus. The thing is, most of that stuff is either for younger kids (like Monkey by Jili Jiang, which is great) or is just... let me be honest... not super fun and definitely not great for middle schoolers. Even in college, it's not like my Chinese history course required me to read Journey to the West or whatever. Chinese epics... I don't even think the Chinese read them anymore. They just watch all those historical dramas nonstop instead. And before there were historical dramas, there was opera. I especially think you'd struggle to find an #ownvoices kind of thing. Technically they didn't either (though it's obvious they were trying by choosing an Asian writer).

 

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In a general sense.. just as a sort of aside... I think this is where we get into trouble sometimes with curricula where we want everything to line up. Like, wouldn't it be great if the best books were distributed evenly through the world, particular among the places we feel it's most important to study the history of. But they're kinda not. I've seen this on the BYL lists a bit, especially as the high school lists have come out. She wants to align them so closely to the history that it has led to some odd choices.

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On 7/23/2018 at 1:10 PM, Farrar said:

In a general sense.. just as a sort of aside... I think this is where we get into trouble sometimes with curricula where we want everything to line up. Like, wouldn't it be great if the best books were distributed evenly through the world, particular among the places we feel it's most important to study the history of. But they're kinda not. I've seen this on the BYL lists a bit, especially as the high school lists have come out. She wants to align them so closely to the history that it has led to some odd choices.

I think you're right on about this. 

On 7/23/2018 at 1:07 PM, Farrar said:

Huh, the quote came up blank. Ah, added it.

When I said lit, I definitely meant the English and the Free Reads books together, which make a nice synthesis. I'm not totally sure what the distinction is, but I'm guessing you'd spend time studying and writing about the lit choices, but the free reads are just required and maybe discussed a little, but not focused on.

So, this is one of the few books on their lists that I haven't read and don't know well. I am pretty familiar with Asian lit too. It sounds okay, but it wouldn't have been my first thought. I mean, it's a Japanese imagined ancient China. The description of the absurdist nature of missing the exam and having your whole life thrown off honestly does totally jibe with my sense of China - and I majored in Chinese history in college. Like, one of the greatest works of Chinese literature of all time - Dream of the Red Chamber - is basically a meandering narrative about a boy who hangs out in his grandparents' garden, gets the wrong marriage arranged, studies for his exams, takes them, and then wanders off to become a hermit, you know, like ya do. So I don't think its broad strokes will be wrong, if that's a worry for you. Several reviews say it's dry though.

Doing the Iliad instead doesn't really make sense though? Won't you do Greek and Roman focused stuff anyway in Year 8? Or am I missing something?

I'm not sure what you should switch it with though. If there was another book that covered ancient Asia on the Free Reads list, I'd do that. Like if you didn't want to do Watership Down, I'd say just bring Hatchet or Wizard of Earthsea or something that's there for general literary value off the Free Reads list. Maybe do Crystal Ribbon? Except... it's newish and I have heard it's good but not read that either! Plus, it really does look more like a supporting pleasure read and less like a meaty dig through kind of book?

Here's a totally different idea. Ursa Minor doesn't seem to cover India at all. Why not throw in Narayan's shortened version of The Ramayana instead? And then sub The Iliad for something next year. Like, maybe for some of the old sagas. Which are fine and I get why they're there and they're putting them alongside LoTR, which makes sense... but they're maybe not as essential as exposure to the Iliad, which would go well with the history for Year 8? Or maybe you could do shortened versions of both for Year 8?

I'm trying to think of other things for China since that's the focus. The thing is, most of that stuff is either for younger kids (like Monkey by Jili Jiang, which is great) or is just... let me be honest... not super fun and definitely not great for middle schoolers. Even in college, it's not like my Chinese history course required me to read Journey to the West or whatever. Chinese epics... I don't even think the Chinese read them anymore. They just watch all those historical dramas nonstop instead. And before there were historical dramas, there was opera. I especially think you'd struggle to find an #ownvoices kind of thing. Technically they didn't either (though it's obvious they were trying by choosing an Asian writer).

 

RE the English and the Free Reads together: I agree, the literature + poetry + Shakespeare + free reads make a great synthesis.

The place I'd really tend to go with the literature for Year 7 is Gilgamesh, Iliad, Odyssey (Ursa Minor does schedule the Odyssey as poetry in Y9, but no Iliad that I see).  Here's why.  Ursa Minor spends two years in ancient history, with histories of the Near East and China in the first year followed by Greece and Rome in the second year.  Of all the stories one can invent about why this makes sense, my favorite is to imagine the break that happened around the late Bronze Age collapse.  The histories that we mean by "ancient Greece" and "ancient Rome" begin with the re-emergence of written records after this collapse, and the bulk of the ancient Near Eastern history book scheduled in Y7 happens before it. 

The Homeric epics tell of events that happened during that collapse, in oral poetry composed during the historically dark age following the collapse, as recorded in the writing that re-emerged hundreds of years after the collapse.  In some sense it might be ideal to read them in the summer between Y7 and Y8, though that's not the kind of sense we are using at my house.  ?  But they are definitely not literature from the Greek culture we'll be studying in Year 8: they pre-date and inform that culture.  They also record all sorts of details of life that weave a vision of society before the emergence of the city-state.  So I'd prefer to bind them to Gilgamesh, another epic poem, and to cover them before we study the development of Greek and Roman societies. 

If I were not focused on a strong Western-culture heritage, then the split would happen differently.  The break in Chinese history would probably be the beginning or the end of the Han dynasty, which happens much later than the Bronze Age collapse.  Indian, maybe the end of the Vedic period.  And so on. 

At any rate, if I were to drop the rec'd Asian literature selections I'd want to have something to round out our Western focus.  I've found some good anthologies for Near Eastern and for Egyptian writing but am not sure they are what I want (for example, they are college anthologies and we will be doing seventh grade).  The Ramayana idea sounds fantastic: I'll look into that.  I'd also thought about bringing in Sun Tzu's "Art of War" which would move some of our literature East and also help my very non-militarily-inclined child develop a more nuanced understanding of warfare, using material written by a person of broad sympathies and deep understanding.  Much closer to the quality of thought in Homer than the Inoue book, I think. 

I can't thank you enough for your help in thinking through this!  I'm just very grateful.

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I've put a (sample? tentative?) term-by-term schedule up on the K-8 board, in case it is helpful to anybody else.  It is for the original, unmodified (I hope!) UM7 booklist.  I don't have a weekly schedule yet.

ETA: I'm re-thinking when to start this ... I think my son may not be ready, and we might end up doing an intermediate year.  Hmmm.

Edited by serendipitous journey
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On 7/23/2018 at 1:58 AM, serendipitous journey said:

A Request for Feedback on a Writing Plan:  I looked at the samples of the MCT Literature Level materials, and don't want to use it.  So I'll do Grammar for the Well-Trained Mind + writing. 

My question is: shall we do Classical Writing or shall we do WTM-style writing across the curriculum, ramping up to the WTM rhetoric level writing in high school?  Let us assume these are the only two options ?This year is going to be busy, and I am daunted by the time commitment of Classical Writing.  Plus, my son doesn't like it (but he doesn't detest it) and his writings tend to have a common ironic (if not sarcastic) edge.  OTOH I definitely see wonderful skill built up by Classical Writing, and once he gets going with it he often gets caught up in it. 

As an aside: his response to Classical Writing is the opposite of how Writing With Skill went.  He tends to dread CW but is good once he gets going and enjoys reading what he writes.  He often seemed to dread WWS less, but really, really hated nearly every moment of the actual writing process and didn't like what he produced. 

ETA: Well, maybe we'll end up using MCT Literature Level.  I'm thinking it would be best to "tweak" UM as little as possible our first year.  But the $$$ is daunting.

Not sure if you've decided on this but I'd love to hear your thoughts! Enjoying this thread, even though I'm not in planning mode yet (we school jan-dec)

Dd is finishing up CW Homer older beginners in 7th this year with grammar for the well trained mind (Harvey's didn't work for her after a lot of MCT!) She did MCT voyage + some of WWS and writing across the curriculum in 6th.

We will probably go back to MCT for 8th, probably lit level because I think it's beautiful.

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I was hoping to use UM Year 7 with my oldest this school year, but back when I was ready to start ordering resources and getting the plans down, Year 7 still wasn't released. So we opted for a year of BYL8 (my son loves science, so I thought this would be a nice year for him since BYL8 focuses on history of science) and I'm pretty glad we decided to go this way. I think I may move him into UM7 next year, but he wouldn't have been ready for it this year, I don't think. 

I'm hopeful that the authors of UM are able to get back at it soon. I'd love to see their schedules - but I do know that they've had some life stuff come up that has put the brakes on production for a while. I think, if I were ready to use it and the schedules weren't out yet, I would probably just use something like the A Delectable Education scheduling cards and slot in the titles from Ursa Minor. I saw the booklist for UM7 and thought it looked like an awful lot, but spread out over the terms I think it would actually be alright. I haven't sat down to figure out what that would look like, though, since we opted for another curric this year. 

I'm interested to see their recommendations for non-US families. I do remember seeing that they plan to offer alternatives to replace some things for those of us not living in the US. 

I LOVE the look of Ursa Minor, and when I saw their high school outline I practically begged my kids to keep homeschooling through high school (one of my kids is hoping to do an IB program at a local public school for his high school years, and I'm already sad about it and he's only in 7th grade lol).

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As we head into this summer's planning, I thought I'd update this! 

I started the school year with my version of Ursa Minor (some substitutions) scheduled to keep us going for the first trimester, plus enrollment in two Lukeion language courses.  This was an utter bust.  It took me a few weeks to figure out that my child was overloaded by his language classes (he could do the work well, but just barely, and had stopped learning math/was showing signs of anxiety), and after troubleshooting that, I found that he was not retaining what he read & narrated with our Ursa Minor plan. 

So mid-term we stepped into an essentially Well Trained Mind plan for seventh.  This year has also seen us needing to switch piano instructors; being pressed out of our church community; and having some semi-serious health issues ... all around things have not gone smoothly.  But -- in character and in academics -- we are farther along than we were when it started! 

There is so much I like about UM that I'm tempted to re-try it, but am still unsure about a few things:

  1. Support: UM is a labor of love, and the founders have had very busy lives with all the usual challenges (and then some) so the curriculum hasn't yet been finished. 
  2. Medieval history: I noticed this when I sketched out the upper years on art paper: there is no medieval year, and medieval history gets really short shrift, IMHO.  I want to spend significant time in this era and on its literature/art. 
  3. Classics: I realized that I really want more of the "great books" than UM schedules: I'd like to give my child a very very strong grounding in the Western canon.  It is possible I should, and maybe will, soften this goal, especially since including non-Western and contemporary works is a strength of UM and a value I share.  I wish there were time to do it all, and do it all well. 
  4. Retention: I am not sure what I'd need to do to increase retention for this child.  Maybe I can troubleshoot improving my child's retention of CM-style lessons ... this child (my older one) has never been in the CM sweet spot. 
  5. ETA: Another concern: the assigned history books for Year 7 felt strange to me when we tried using them.  The Lepore book (I mentioned this elsewhere) has really graphic violence and was a non-starter: my child never even saw it.  But the near-Eastern history book was not only college-level but was dry; I found a substitute I much preferred, but am wondering why this is the sort of history scheduled when the science is much more age-appropriate and accessible.  In general, I'd end up subbing out most or all of the main history texts in Year 7.

HTH somebody! 

Edited by serendipitous journey
grammar + clarity
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Thanks for the update!

In terms of retention... I think there's a grand vision in homeschooling, especially WTM and CM style, where reading + discussion/narration = retention. And that works for a lot of kids... but it does not work for mine either. I have found that targeted questions and actual quizzes are the only way to get a high level of retention from my kids. And I think this is true for a lot of kids. They need more structured activities, questions, and assignments around reading in order to retain. Discussion and summary or narration are not enough. That doesn't mean that sometimes that's not just what we do - I think exposure is okay, ya know? And if retention isn't high, that's okay. It's not a waste to read and discuss and process in the moment.

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50 minutes ago, Farrar said:

Thanks for the update!

In terms of retention... I think there's a grand vision in homeschooling, especially WTM and CM style, where reading + discussion/narration = retention. And that works for a lot of kids... but it does not work for mine either. I have found that targeted questions and actual quizzes are the only way to get a high level of retention from my kids. And I think this is true for a lot of kids. They need more structured activities, questions, and assignments around reading in order to retain. Discussion and summary or narration are not enough. That doesn't mean that sometimes that's not just what we do - I think exposure is okay, ya know? And if retention isn't high, that's okay. It's not a waste to read and discuss and process in the moment.

I'm so glad you relate! 

My experience echoes yours.  Solid retention requires more-focused study/drill, and retention is often not the best goal.  I don't fret about "retaining" the Shakespeare or great books we read together, for example, because I am wanting to build reading skills and a sort of mental patina. 

Right now I'm trying to pull out the things I really want retained and throw them into our Anki review. 

ETA #1: fwiw, the retention was abysmal and that caused me to re-orient.  As in, the child couldn't recall the general thread of the chapter previously read.  Zero, zilch, nada on the recall. 

ETA #2: Farrar, you reminded me of this quote from Rene Daumal's "Mount Analogue", with retention being a bit like seeing:

“You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.”

Edited by serendipitous journey
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7 minutes ago, serendipitous journey said:

ETA #2: Farrar, you reminded me of this quote from Rene Daumal's "Mount Analogue", with retention being a bit like seeing:

“You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.”

Oh wow, yeah. I even feel this for myself. Like, I'm a humanities gal at heart and I retain that stuff really well. But science... it's interesting to me, but I don't fully retain it most of the time. It does feel like that - like I get to the summit as I read something and I really understand it and see it. But then I descend again and it's like an echo of understanding - like a memory. I would love to think that's what this process looks like for my kids. Like, I really hope.

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