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Need help with Lang Arts & Science, looking at Cottage Press, Mystery Science & Noeo

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We have a pretty full schedule and I was, as usual, trying to pare down to save time.  My children will work together (only 2 years apart in age, old 1st grader and young 4th grader) doing Story of the World 2 (mystery of history 2 audio in car), private Spanish lessons with some review from me, Getting Started with Latin, Drawing with Children (daily, I hope), Artistic Pursuits (weekly, I hope), daily Bible devotion, and Science (undecided!).   My daughter in 4th grade will do Language Arts (undecided!)  Abeka math, Spanish Rosetta Stone, Suzuki violin (book 3), and Pathway Readers.  My son in 1st grade will use Abeka math, LOE C-D, Suzuki Cello (book 2), Pathway Readers.

I had planned on using a TGTB language arts this year, but found it will not work for us (on ebay, if interested).  I am now at the last minute trying to replace with something else.  I am already running late as I was undecided also on science and could not find a Bible curriculum I liked. Choosing a curriculum is always so hard for me.  I also bought Spelling Power and Wordly Wise to supplement language arts.

For 4th grade Language Arts:  We used LOE Foundations A-D in K-1, Bookshark in grade 2, and First Language Lessons 3 and Writing with Ease 1 last year (she was a reluctant writer, so I started at a lower level but it was probably too low).  In grade 4 this year.  I am considering using FLL 4 and WWE 3 or 4, just for the sake of consistency.  However, last year was somewhat dry and boring, though I was impressed with the memorization.  I definitely want something that includes diagramming but I feel my daughter wasn't retaining that at all last year.  I am also considering Cottage Press Fable & Song, which looks so lovely.  It looks similar to IEW that outlines are created before re-writing a story.  I love the literature based method, and my daughter used to love when I read Aesop fables.  There just aren't a lot of user reviews.  Cathy Duffy hasn't reviewed it either.  I have looked at so many others, Shurley English was recommended to me but that looks pretty boring, and along with IEW seems like a lot of work.  FLL ends at level 4, so can't continue it anyway, but is Cottage Press a good option to continue through upper grades?  I wonder if it will have enough meat to the content.  Real users, please share!

Science:  We have done Bookshark science for K-2 and like it.  However, level 3 was too advanced for my son in K last year, so I just bought the books and read them to the kids informally (no activity guide).  I tried to also add in Science in the Beginning but it was too text heavy, and so it didn't work out.  This year, I'll have the same problem with Bookshark 4 being too advanced for my son.  I had wanted to do faith based science (or at least supplement with some faith based products), but if Cottage Press is considered faith based by my school, we will need secular science (need 4 secular courses).  I have actually put Mystery Science on our learning plan, which seems easy and fun and secular.  I had a trial for it last year, but did not do more than peruse the program.  I had thought this would be a quick and easy option, but see now that the lesson times are estimated at 40 minutes, and I would need to start and stop video and have discussions.  Did you find this easy to use, and fun, and with good content?  The other option I've recently found is Noeo science, perhaps would use Physics I or Chemistry I since we have had a lot of biology.  I love the living books approach, like Bookshark.  My kids love the variety.  But I wonder about the variety for course content, if physics for an entire year is too much at this age.  I think this would qualify as secular since the company (though religious) says there is no religious content or scripture in the books.  Again, I can't find a lot of user reviews.  Can you share your experience?  If I use FLL as my secular course, I could use religious science like Apologia, but it really doesn't appeal to me because it seems so text heavy.

So, I'm basically at Cottage Press vs FLL and Mystery Science vs. Noeo.  But I'm open to other suggestions!  I'm so disappointed that I don't have everything ready in hand now. 

 

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We looked at CP and FLL last year and ultimately went with ELTL.  They both looked fine, but I liked the literature selections in ELTL and having everything tied together.  There was also plenty of practice with diagramming in book 3 (now secular alphabetical, but I'm not sure what C stands for).

Mystery Science - fun, easy to use, and definitely good content.  It was a great year for us.
Noeo - didn't like the included experiments but thought the books were great.  It was more of a open-and-go, get it done program since so much is notebooking.  We did all three of level 2, back when the company was self-owned and they had the statement on their site that yes, they are Christian, but they didn't feel it was their place to sprinkle bible verses throughout and that it was the parent's job to see God's beauty in everything without help from them.  They were they to present the information, not filter it for you.

 

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Is ELTL at grade level? I downloaded the sample, but the sample is in numbered levels and books are alphabetical so I'm confused.  I have not looked at this one at all before.  How is it more "tied together" than Cottage Press. There are no youtube reviews.  Wow, it does look interesting though.  How lengthy were the lessons?

I am leaning towards Mystery Science in part because I don't have to wait for materials to arrive.  I am glad to hear you enjoyed it!  How lengthy were the lessons for you?  I hoped it would make my life easier.  Perhaps Noeo is a good choice for later years.

I feel so frantic trying to figure this out ?

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Did you feel there was enough memorization in ELTL?  FLL had memorization of parts of speech, and my daughter also memorized 9 or 10 poems and can still recite them all.

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10 hours ago, HomeAgain said:


Mystery Science - fun, easy to use, and definitely good content.  It was a great year for us.
Noeo - didn't like the included experiments but thought the books were great.  It was more of a open-and-go, get it done program since so much is notebooking.  We did all three of level 2, 
 

I would agree with most of this, mystery science was fun, but for some reason was harder for me to sit and actually do with him.

i love noeo , mostly because it was open and go and get it done. The biggest thing was it was doable and it got done. At times it felt light, but when my kids got through level 2 I was very pleased with their science knowledge. For the notebooking we focused on writing down definitions and drawing some pictures (when subject called for a picture). Towards 6th grade I was trying to get more of an outline or narrations. 

After a couple times through the program the experiments were less exciting, but again, they got done. Best thing about it. 

The books are much more visual friendly and interesting than a text book, we particularly liked the chem 2 and one year I had energy and paired it with middle school chemistry by ACS awesome! 

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16 hours ago, parent said:

Is ELTL at grade level? I downloaded the sample, but the sample is in numbered levels and books are alphabetical so I'm confused.  I have not looked at this one at all before.  How is it more "tied together" than Cottage Press. There are no youtube reviews.  Wow, it does look interesting though.  How lengthy were the lessons?

I am leaning towards Mystery Science in part because I don't have to wait for materials to arrive.  I am glad to hear you enjoyed it!  How lengthy were the lessons for you?  I hoped it would make my life easier.  Perhaps Noeo is a good choice for later years.

I feel so frantic trying to figure this out ?

No, it is not at grade level, not exactly.  The numbered and alphabetical are the same, but they took out the bible verses that were part of the copywork.  But you should pick the level that feels the right grade for you.  We did 3/C in 2nd grade and the amount of writing was just right for my kid, but I think it was recommended for closer to 4th.  However, we decided to take a year off this year (I was concerned about one of the books in Discerning and how the writing ramped up for a kid who would have more writing in other subjects this year) and do Writing Strands with Creek Edge Press recitation book 3 and a separate grammar.

Mystery Science - I used to allot about an hour for this.  20 minutes for the video with plenty of pauses, and then 40 minutes for the activity, with a few minutes at the end to wrap it back up.

16 hours ago, parent said:

Did you feel there was enough memorization in ELTL?  FLL had memorization of parts of speech, and my daughter also memorized 9 or 10 poems and can still recite them all.

It sounds about the same.  ELTL 3 worked on both of those.  The poetry was part of the copywork so as they are learning the pieces they're also reinforcing it with writing.

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Cottage Press is utterly lovely.  We've used Primer One, Primer 2, and Fable and Song.  Any particular questions?

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Cottage Press sounds good. Queens Homeschool also has a language course you might like. It's called Language Lessons. It has picture study, dictation, copy work etc.

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Occasionally, I'll be shopping and look everywhere for an item.  As soon as I ask an employee where it is, usually before they speak, I will spot it.  When I was working and had a computer issue, as soon as I called the IT guy, I figured it out myself.  Anyway, sometimes just articulating helps you understand better what you want.

I liked the idea of ELTL, but wasn't crazy about all the reading selections.  I didn't know if my daughter would love them.  I felt the same with the selections from Learning Lang Arts through Lit that my friend recommended.  So, I just took a risk, and ordered Fable and Song.  It has interested me for awhile.  I had a good conversation with the author.  I ordered it yesterday and it has shipped!  I am so excited to see it!  So glad to hear confirmation that it is lovely!  I'm going to post a youtube review a couple months into it, if I like it since I couldn't find any youtube reviews.

I don't think I can fit an hour of mystery science in our day, even though the kids would enjoy it.  My husband was out of town and coming home today.  On a whim, I searched "homeschool" on that craigslist board and found Noeo Chem I and Noeo Physics I for sale.  So I had my husband pick up both complete sets for $100.  I am so happy, and can't believe how well that worked out!  In addition, he bought a Winter Promise Geography Children Around the World curriculum, which looks amazing!!  Won't use this year, but was a wonderful buy.  I've never heard of Winter Promise before but the program looks really nice, supposed to be like Sonlight but with more hands on activities.  Also got many other homeschool items, some games and books and audio CDs, and 4 CDs of lapbooking templates.  I'm so happy with it all.  We live in a smaller area, and nothing like this ever shows up on craigslist.

I'm so excited to start the school year! Actually, we've started math this week, and have been doing history related read alouds, but I think I will receive Fable and Song by end of week so can start everything Monday!  What a great feeling!  Thank you all for helping me to confirm my path.

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Parent, you know that Mystery Science is set up to be about once a week, right?  A lot of the activities are exploration based, which is why they took about 40 minutes for us. A week with MS would look like this for us:
Day 1: MS video/activity or just video
Day 2: activity or free reading from library books
Day 3: free reading
Day 4: repeat activity or notebook conclusion/summary

But that's just the way science works in our house.  We're doing BFSU vol. 2 this year with the same set up: lesson activity, free read, regroup to lesson, summary.

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