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Ktgrok

Anyone looked at Gather Round yet?

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16 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

I've posted one error and it stayed up, and I have seen multiple posts about the viet cong issue on there, those are still up. 

 

Well that's good. Back when I was in it, complaints, discussion of issues etc.... wasn't allowed. 

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She made a video recently talking about how she didn’t like seeing negative reviews on her page about her own curriculum. As far as I’ve seen, they cracked down on them. 
 

Another thing that confuses me is that they say (unless you are pre or early reader) you do not need to do units in order. Language arts builds on itself, yes? So you would theoretically want to follow a well thought-out scope and sequence. If you’re saying that’s “all you need”, there should be a specific order in my opinion.

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21 hours ago, Allie said:

She made a video recently talking about how she didn’t like seeing negative reviews on her page about her own curriculum. As far as I’ve seen, they cracked down on them. 
 

Another thing that confuses me is that they say (unless you are pre or early reader) you do not need to do units in order. Language arts builds on itself, yes? So you would theoretically want to follow a well thought-out scope and sequence. If you’re saying that’s “all you need”, there should be a specific order in my opinion.

Yeah, I THINK how that is worked around is that the language arts is mostly copywork and studied dictation, and the writing is pretty open ended, so there is room to improve and add more as they get stronger through the year? 

So far we've just used the first unit, and not all of it. And we have continued to use LLFLE as I do want more explicit grammar than LLFLE does. 

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Which comes back to the point of who decided the scope and sequence? The content? Has anyone successfully used the same approach long-term? Is there any evidence supporting it is a sound academic program? What is her academic background? How old is her oldest?  Other than marketing and artwork, what are her qualifications for people trusting her materials?

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2 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Which comes back to the point of who decided the scope and sequence? The content? Has anyone successfully used the same approach long-term? Is there any evidence supporting it is a sound academic program? What is her academic background? How old is her oldest?  Other than marketing and artwork, what are her qualifications for people trusting her materials?

 

I mean, unit studies have been around for a long time, and have been used successfully. So, there is that. However, every single unit study I've ever looked at has not encompassed Language Arts. You've always needed to add your own spelling and grammar, and for good reason - because to be successful, they need to follow a logical scope/sequence. The skills build upon each other. As far as her background - her oldest is still young, grade 7. So she has no experience with high school at all (which would explain why she lists an elementary school level book as suggested literature for high school 🤷‍♀️) As far as I know she has no other qualifications whatsoever. She has never been a teacher, I've never heard that she has a degree in anything etc...

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3 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Which comes back to the point of who decided the scope and sequence? The content? Has anyone successfully used the same approach long-term? Is there any evidence supporting it is a sound academic program? What is her academic background? How old is her oldest?  Other than marketing and artwork, what are her qualifications for people trusting her materials?

 

Usually I'd breeze over these types of questions, trusting that a homeschooling parent would be willing and able to determine what materials fit into the scope and sequence of their homeschool, but I am coming to realize that the proportion of the homeschool community with which I am familiar is rather small, and perhaps not representative of the community as a whole. With self-publishing easier than ever, and so many people deciding that expertise is bunk, I can only see this problem growing in the future, and not just for homeschoolers. Wasn't there a recent thread about how many public school teachers cobble together lesson plans from questionable materials on Teachers Pay Teachers? 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, mellifera33 said:

 

Usually I'd breeze over these types of questions, trusting that a homeschooling parent would be willing and able to determine what materials fit into the scope and sequence of their homeschool, but I am coming to realize that the proportion of the homeschool community with which I am familiar is rather small, and perhaps not representative of the community as a whole. With self-publishing easier than ever, and so many people deciding that expertise is bunk, I can only see this problem growing in the future, and not just for homeschoolers. Wasn't there a recent thread about how many public school teachers cobble together lesson plans from questionable materials on Teachers Pay Teachers? 

 

 

 

Honestly, the scope and sequence thing is the least problematic to me. But I'm not big on the whole idea that kids should learn certain things certain years or a certain order, other than math. And even then, only sort of. If my kids learned SOMETHING about social studies and Something about science I don't care if it was the "right" thing to learn. As long as they are learning and enjoying it. 

But, factual errors do matter, as I don't want them learning misinformation. 

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31 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

Honestly, the scope and sequence thing is the least problematic to me. But I'm not big on the whole idea that kids should learn certain things certain years or a certain order, other than math. And even then, only sort of. If my kids learned SOMETHING about social studies and Something about science I don't care if it was the "right" thing to learn. As long as they are learning and enjoying it. 

But, factual errors do matter, as I don't want them learning misinformation. 

Do you hold that view for college bound high school students? 

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31 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Do you hold that view for college bound high school students? 

Yes and no. 

What kind of college? What are the entrance requirements for that school? 

If the entrance requirements mean they have to study certain subjects taht still doesn't mean they have to study a particular set of information in that subject, unless they plan to take SAT subject tests. If they don't, then something like Biology is a broad field, with lots of options for topics as well as methods of learning. I'd want to be sure we cover some basics, so yes ...but would be pretty open to how we do it, and what areas we go in depth, etc. 

And if they are going to go to a school that doesn't require that - maybe a CC which are a great deal - I'd be even more open. 

But - that doesn't mean this curriclum should say they are "enough" for any kid with any goals. It's ludicrous to think ANY curriculum is going to be a great fit for EVERY kid. That they try to claim it is is crazy talk - and I've said so on their facebook group, lol. 

 

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28 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

Yes and no. 

What kind of college? What are the entrance requirements for that school? 

If the entrance requirements mean they have to study certain subjects taht still doesn't mean they have to study a particular set of information in that subject, unless they plan to take SAT subject tests. If they don't, then something like Biology is a broad field, with lots of options for topics as well as methods of learning. I'd want to be sure we cover some basics, so yes ...but would be pretty open to how we do it, and what areas we go in depth, etc. 

And if they are going to go to a school that doesn't require that - maybe a CC which are a great deal - I'd be even more open. 

But - that doesn't mean this curriclum should say they are "enough" for any kid with any goals. It's ludicrous to think ANY curriculum is going to be a great fit for EVERY kid. That they try to claim it is is crazy talk - and I've said so on their facebook group, lol. 

 

Thanks for sharing.  Your post clarifies the appeal.  

I personally cannot fathom using any science or history units at the high school level put together by just anyone without a background in the field.  I can't imagine approaching high school science in random units b/c I cannot fathom mastering chemistry or physics without logically designed sequencing.  Ecology, yes, I can see units working for ecology.  But, no, not biology as taught today focused on cellular biology and biochem.

I hope parents who have kids who think they want to pursue a STEM field or a 4 yr U recognize the weaknesses.

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37 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Thanks for sharing.  Your post clarifies the appeal.  

I personally cannot fathom using any science or history units at the high school level put together by just anyone without a background in the field.  I can't imagine approaching high school science in random units b/c I cannot fathom mastering chemistry or physics without logically designed sequencing.  Ecology, yes, I can see units working for ecology.  But, no, not biology as taught today focused on cellular biology and biochem.

I hope parents who have kids who think they want to pursue a STEM field or a 4 yr U recognize the weaknesses.

I THINK (and can't swear to it as I'm not using it for highschool, just as a jumping off place for elementary kids 10 and under), that in highschool they use the topics in the guide just as a starting point - they do their own research (starting maybe in middle school) on the topics and write reports, do projects, etc all using outside sources. Even the elementary age kids you are supposed to be using outside books, videos, etc alongside the actual guide. 

So not just relying on the info put together by the non expert curriculum writer - using actual books/resources/etc. 

And mastering chemistry or physics is not a goal all homeschoolers have for highschool. And there is much to be said for the argument that the shift to focusing on cellular biology and biochemistry was a bad idea - at least for some students, possibly for the majority of them. 

But I agree, I hope those who have kids wanting a particular path do the research to see what that requires. 

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2 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Thanks for sharing.  Your post clarifies the appeal.  

I personally cannot fathom using any science or history units at the high school level put together by just anyone without a background in the field.  I can't imagine approaching high school science in random units b/c I cannot fathom mastering chemistry or physics without logically designed sequencing.  Ecology, yes, I can see units working for ecology.  But, no, not biology as taught today focused on cellular biology and biochem.

I hope parents who have kids who think they want to pursue a STEM field or a 4 yr U recognize the weaknesses.

 

Looking at the curric in question, it's obviously not for stem-y high school kids. But I think that a series of unit studies for high school could work. There would have to be a flowchart to show which classes were absolute prerequisites for others, but there would be some choice. History units would go along with the science units, and would be non-chronological. For example, one unit might be classical mechanics, Newton, the English Civil Wars, Pope, Dryden, and Pilgrim's Progress. Another might be atoms, elements, the periodic table, Mendeleev, 19th century Russian history, and selections from the golden age of Russian literature--Gogol, Chekhov, Pushkin, Tolstoy. The elements unit would have to precede stoichiometry, Jeremias Benjamin Richter, Holy Roman Empire/Prussia, and The Sorrows of Young Werther. Astronomy/Mayan history/Popol Vuh. Botany/the role of plants in Ancient literature--Gilgamesh, the Bible, Greek Myths. Microbiology--story of Cholera in Victorian England, class system, workhouses, Dickens. Just spitballing. lol.

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14 minutes ago, mellifera33 said:

 

Looking at the curric in question, it's obviously not for stem-y high school kids. But I think that a series of unit studies for high school could work. There would have to be a flowchart to show which classes were absolute prerequisites for others, but there would be some choice. History units would go along with the science units, and would be non-chronological. For example, one unit might be classical mechanics, Newton, the English Civil Wars, Pope, Dryden, and Pilgrim's Progress. Another might be atoms, elements, the periodic table, Mendeleev, 19th century Russian history, and selections from the golden age of Russian literature--Gogol, Chekhov, Pushkin, Tolstoy. The elements unit would have to precede stoichiometry, Jeremias Benjamin Richter, Holy Roman Empire/Prussia, and The Sorrows of Young Werther. Astronomy/Mayan history/Popol Vuh. Botany/the role of plants in Ancient literature--Gilgamesh, the Bible, Greek Myths. Microbiology--story of Cholera in Victorian England, class system, workhouses, Dickens. Just spitballing. lol.

I am going to bail on engaging in this conversation bc in no way do I agree even though I am an advocate of unit studies and non-textbook education. 

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9 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

I am going to bail on engaging in this conversation bc in no way do I agree even though I am an advocate of unit studies and non-textbook education. 

Conversations in which everyone agrees are not very interesting. 🙂  But yeah, my five minutes of daiquiri-inspired brainstorming isn’t really the basis for a high school curriculum. It seemed like a good idea at the time. 😄

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Ok, so I glanced at the highschool level of NAB and ok, yeah, that's even lighter than I thought. Not saying it wouldn't be the right fit for some kids - it likely would be. But again, the claim it is all things for everyone is just ludicrous. 

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6 hours ago, mellifera33 said:

But yeah, my five minutes of daiquiri-inspired brainstorming .... seemed like a good idea at the time. 😄

Lol!! I've made quite a few of those before!!!! 🤣

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48 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

Ok, so I glanced at the highschool level of NAB and ok, yeah, that's even lighter than I thought. Not saying it wouldn't be the right fit for some kids - it likely would be. But again, the claim it is all things for everyone is just ludicrous. 

 

The book list is very unacceptable for the units I bought. She literally suggests books from an average 4-6th grade reading list, for high school literature selections. 

IMO, someone who has absolutely NO experience with high school, should not be writing high school curriculum. 

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On the website under FAQ she talks about high school and scope/sequence. Both answers are concerning, in my opinion. It is clear she has no true understanding of how High School courses work.

“If I don’t use the units in order, won’t my kids miss things? Gather ‘Round is both spiral and mastery, so nothing will be missed. Different concepts are covered in different units. One unit we might focus on adjectives and then the next unit sentence structure (which reminds them about adjectives but if they haven’t covered that, it isn’t critical) then another unit might be types of sentences, etc. We'll cover it all again in the years to come so that it gives your child lots of practice to master topics. By the time they have mastered a concept they will be moving up to a higher notebook level where new things will be taught and eventually mastered!”

 

”How would you list this for High School credits?

From what I read credits are based from hours. If you are going on the system of 1 credit for a 1 year course (as opposed to New Jersey's system or California, etc.) then you would get the following if you did the full year for High School:

  • 1 LA Credit
  • 1 General Sciences credit
  • 1/2 history credit
  • 1/2 social studies credit (humanities, government, social issues, etc.)
  • 1/2 Geography credit
  • 1/2 an art credit

And if you give credit for Bible then 1/2 Bible credit. (I would personally add More Than Words so that would be a full credit for that then.)”

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I do think it would be possible to take a unit studies approach to something like high school biology and still cover all the standard material, but it would take someone very familiar with the material in question to craft the units.

I'm trying to pull together more of a living books approach right now for chemistry and microbiology for my oldest. I'm doing this both because I feel I learned much better that way myself (we had lots of books on scientific topics in the home, written by researchers and subject matter experts and I read many of them) and because trying to get her to focus for more than ten minutes at a time on textbook work is like pulling teeth but she will sit and read a more interesting book.

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@Allie I looked at that yesterday.  It was clearly evident that she has no idea about high school transcripts, credits, and college admissions requirements.  "General  science" credit would not meet the legal requirements in many states for a high school science credit if the state stipulates what science credits are required for a high school diploma.  Not all states specify such requirements, but some do.  Colleges most definitely do (standard requirements are a physical science and biological science plus at least one additional in either category or at an advanced level, at least 2 lab science.....and those are definitely the requirements on the weaker side.)

ETA: Most states and Us also require a foreign language.

3 hours ago, maize said:

I do think it would be possible to take a unit studies approach to something like high school biology and still cover all the standard material, but it would take someone very familiar with the material in question to craft the units.

I'm trying to pull together more of a living books approach right now for chemistry and microbiology for my oldest. I'm doing this both because I feel I learned much better that way myself (we had lots of books on scientific topics in the home, written by researchers and subject matter experts and I read many of them) and because trying to get her to focus for more than ten minutes at a time on textbook work is like pulling teeth but she will sit and read a more interesting book.

A well-planned design meeting the needs of the individual is doable.  Mass marketing random units claiming that meet the needs of all students is absurd. I've designed ecology, astronomy, meteorology, geology units for my kids. I designed them around science books written by experts in the field, Great Courses lectures, and college-level textbooks.  But, in no way would I sell those plans to anyone let alone sell them claiming they would meet the needs of any student.  I am not a science expert and it would be irresponsible for me to claim what I designed would meet the needs of any/all students.  Yikes.  That is hubris in the extreme.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
shouldn't type while walking on a treadmill :)
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On 3/6/2020 at 8:42 AM, Allie said:

On the website under FAQ she talks about high school and scope/sequence. Both answers are concerning, in my opinion. It is clear she has no true understanding of how High School courses work.

“If I don’t use the units in order, won’t my kids miss things? Gather ‘Round is both spiral and mastery, so nothing will be missed. Different concepts are covered in different units. One unit we might focus on adjectives and then the next unit sentence structure (which reminds them about adjectives but if they haven’t covered that, it isn’t critical) then another unit might be types of sentences, etc. We'll cover it all again in the years to come so that it gives your child lots of practice to master topics. By the time they have mastered a concept they will be moving up to a higher notebook level where new things will be taught and eventually mastered!”

 

”How would you list this for High School credits?

From what I read credits are based from hours. If you are going on the system of 1 credit for a 1 year course (as opposed to New Jersey's system or California, etc.) then you would get the following if you did the full year for High School:

  • 1 LA Credit
  • 1 General Sciences credit
  • 1/2 history credit
  • 1/2 social studies credit (humanities, government, social issues, etc.)
  • 1/2 Geography credit
  • 1/2 an art credit

And if you give credit for Bible then 1/2 Bible credit. (I would personally add More Than Words so that would be a full credit for that then.)”

Where to start.

So in her world, history wouldn't be a social studies credit. 

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As a former lawyer, one thing I haven't seen mentioned yet is how problematic that "expert" comment was. If the owner claimed her curriculum was written by an "expert" in the field, that is a representation of fact (contradicted in writing by the alleged expert herself). And if that representation was made for commercial gain, that is, to convince people to buy the curriculum on that basis, they may have a lawsuit on their hands for fraud. (Edited to stress: I'm not accusing the company or owner of anything! Just saying they might consider these types of concerns.) I think this person is in over her head. How is her company structured? Has she protected her assets properly? This isn't an area where I have any expertise at all, but I wouldn't be surprised if some enterprising young lawyer trying to drum up business might not make something of this. It's just too tempting with so much good paper trail out there already, and there's a lot of surplus lawyers out there looking for someone to sue. (Of course, nothing I have said here should constitute legal advice for anyone. Consult a licensed attorney. I am not personally making any accusations against this company.)

Edited by Emily ZL
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52 minutes ago, Emily ZL said:

As a former lawyer, one thing I haven't seen mentioned yet is how problematic that "expert" comment was. If the owner claimed her curriculum was written by an "expert" in the field, that is a representation of fact (contradicted in writing by the alleged expert herself). And if that representation was made for commercial gain, that is, to convince people to buy the curriculum on that basis, they may have a lawsuit on their hands for fraud. (Edited to stress: I'm not accusing the company or owner of anything! Just saying they might consider these types of concerns.) I think this person is in over her head. How is her company structured? Has she protected her assets properly? This isn't an area where I have any expertise at all, but I wouldn't be surprised if some enterprising young lawyer trying to drum up business might not make something of this. It's just too tempting with so much good paper trail out there already, and there's a lot of surplus lawyers out there looking for someone to sue. (Of course, nothing I have said here should constitute legal advice for anyone. Consult a licensed attorney. I am not personally making any accusations against this company.)

I actually wondered about that and the claim that it meets the need of all students. 

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I was surprised to see this thread resurface so of course I had to read it again from start to finish. I will continue to choose thoroughly researched, well edited, time proven curriculum even if it turns out not to be the perfect curriculum for us. It's sad to see a company that is clearly in over their head, because it looks like they mean well and are trying hard, but it's also quite validating for me to know my gut instinct was accurate. 

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Well, if it is this easy to make money selling a curriculum maybe I should give it a try. 😂 

She seems to bypass talking about her qualifications. So I can only assume she has none. I have nothing wrong with moms designing and writting curriculum for their own families without any qualifications. But selling it to others is a problem. 

I think this is a symptom of people wanting to make an easy dollar. It really just feels like she wants to make money easily. It really might be best for her to just get an established part time job. Making and selling curriculum is not this easy. It takes work and time lots of time, and knowledge. 

 

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4 minutes ago, lulalu said:

Well, if it is this easy to make money selling a curriculum maybe I should give it a try. 😂 

She seems to bypass talking about her qualifications. So I can only assume she has none. I have nothing wrong with moms designing and writting curriculum for their own families without any qualifications. But selling it to others is a problem. 

I think this is a symptom of people wanting to make an easy dollar. It really just feels like she wants to make money easily. It really might be best for her to just get an established part time job. Making and selling curriculum is not this easy. It takes work and time lots of time, and knowledge. 

 

Someday someone’s going to make a killing with a homeschool curriculum MLM...

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1 hour ago, mellifera33 said:

Someday someone’s going to make a killing with a homeschool curriculum MLM...

I'll start it and get in at the top! 

I promise everyone can make the same amount of money. 

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8 hours ago, lulalu said:

Well, if it is this easy to make money selling a curriculum maybe I should give it a try. 😂 

She seems to bypass talking about her qualifications. So I can only assume she has none. I have nothing wrong with moms designing and writting curriculum for their own families without any qualifications. But selling it to others is a problem. 

I think this is a symptom of people wanting to make an easy dollar. It really just feels like she wants to make money easily. It really might be best for her to just get an established part time job. Making and selling curriculum is not this easy. It takes work and time lots of time, and knowledge. 

 

I don't think it's crazy to have a side hustle going as a homeschool mom, especially if you are already putting together plans from scratch for your own family. The devil is in the details, though. When SCM or Pam Barnhill sells their plans, they are mostly using credible outside resources for the actual info. They aren't claiming to have the expertise to literally write the curriculum from scratch and be the primary resources too. There's a huge difference between GR telling you "here's all you need to know about this subject and you can trust that it's accurate" and the morning time plans that say "read this book by Demi" and "play this CD from maestro classics."

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10 hours ago, lulalu said:

I'll start it and get in at the top! 

I promise everyone can make the same amount of money. 

I think I have this figured out with a plan- after all, imitation is the sincerest form flattery, right?! 

The secret to success appears to be appealing to the insecurities of a bunch of homeschool moms, telling them they can't do it alone,  and then getting them to pay you vast sums of money (which a large percentage struggle to afford)  to let them all join together in a Community™ (make sure you get that ™!)  with equally insecure mothers on a weekly basis so they can be insecure together, and make them also do all the work of reserving the space, planning the meetings, collecting the dues due to you, providing the materials, and doing the actual teachings.

It will also be advantageous if you make up some catchy songs, yet spend vast amounts of time hire some lawyers for the purpose of keeping said songs off of YouTube, because heaven forbid someone hear your songs without paying through the nose to do so. Threatening legal action is highly effective. Then you get the Moms to spend money to go to workshops to learn the  singing of The Songs™ complete with Hand Motions™. Definitely, prohibit them from using any materials other than yours, or those sanctioned by you and your top MLM members (who also conveniently curriculum publishers!) while said Mothers are meeting in the Community™ they paid vast sums of money to enter into. This while also then slowly bringing in other curriculum publishers over the years that are *required* purchases they also can also pay to use within your MLM (joint exploitation!) and aren't allowed to buy used.

 And yes, you can have all of this income while no one actually produces any leadership or service value on your end whatsoever! Oh, and then the last step is you block anyone from your websites/forums who suggest these same mothers could do this all for FREE if they wanted, were one of them to do something so daring as buy a used Manual™ online for $7 and then meet up with some local friends at the park or library. You should pretty much banish anyone who suggests that. Through those steps, voila. You will have a highly successful MLM, even perhaps Cult,  before you know it! At least from what I can tell where I live. Maybe start in Texas. 

ETA- If you can get a Cooking Magnate to also endorse your MLM on her blog for several years, that also seems to ensure further success. 😁

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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2 hours ago, Emily ZL said:

I don't think it's crazy to have a side hustle going as a homeschool mom, especially if you are already putting together plans from scratch for your own family. The devil is in the details, though. When SCM or Pam Barnhill sells their plans, they are mostly using credible outside resources for the actual info. They aren't claiming to have the expertise to literally write the curriculum from scratch and be the primary resources too. There's a huge difference between GR telling you "here's all you need to know about this subject and you can trust that it's accurate" and the morning time plans that say "read this book by Demi" and "play this CD from maestro classics."

 

Yes, I am organizationally challenged and I happily pay for a nice schedule and booklist that helps me stay on track. 

7 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I think I have this figured out with a plan- after all, imitation is the sincerest form flattery, right?! 

The secret to success appears to be appealing to the insecurities of a bunch of homeschool moms, telling them they can't do it alone,  and then getting them to pay you vast sums of money (which a large percentage struggle to afford)  to let them all join together in a Community™ (make sure you get that ™!)  with equally insecure mothers on a weekly basis so they can be insecure together, and make them also do all the work of reserving the space, planning the meetings, collecting the dues due to you, providing the materials, and doing the actual teachings.

It will also be advantageous if you make up some catchy songs, yet spend vast amounts of time hire some lawyers for the purpose of keeping said songs off of YouTube, because heaven forbid someone hear your songs without paying through the nose to do so. Threatening legal action is highly effective. Then you get the Moms to spend money to go to workshops to learn the  singing of The Songs™ complete with Hand Motions™. Definitely, prohibit them from using any materials other than yours, or those sanctioned by you and your top MLM members (who also conveniently curriculum publishers!) while said Mothers are meeting in the Community™ they paid vast sums of money to enter into. This while also then slowly bringing in other curriculum publishers over the years that are *required* purchases they also can also pay to use within your MLM (joint exploitation!) and aren't allowed to buy used.

 And yes, you can have all of this income while no one actually produces any leadership or service value on your end whatsoever! Oh, and then the last step is you block anyone from your websites/forums who suggest these same mothers could do this all for FREE if they wanted, were one of them to do something so daring as buy a used Manual™ used online for $7 and then meet up with some local friends at the park of library. You should pretty much banish anyone who suggests that. Through those steps, voila. You will have a highly successful MLM, even perhaps Cult,  before you know it! At least from what I can tell where I live. Maybe start in Texas. 

 

Expect a cease and desist letter in your mailbox tomorrow...👩‍💼 Does that emoji look like a lawyer? She's supposed to be a lawyer.

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32 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I think I have this figured out with a plan- after all, imitation is the sincerest form flattery, right?! 

The secret to success appears to be appealing to the insecurities of a bunch of homeschool moms, telling them they can't do it alone,  and then getting them to pay you vast sums of money (which a large percentage struggle to afford)  to let them all join together in a Community™ (make sure you get that ™!)  with equally insecure mothers on a weekly basis so they can be insecure together, and make them also do all the work of reserving the space, planning the meetings, collecting the dues due to you, providing the materials, and doing the actual teachings.

It will also be advantageous if you make up some catchy songs, yet spend vast amounts of time hire some lawyers for the purpose of keeping said songs off of YouTube, because heaven forbid someone hear your songs without paying through the nose to do so. Threatening legal action is highly effective. Then you get the Moms to spend money to go to workshops to learn the  singing of The Songs™ complete with Hand Motions™. Definitely, prohibit them from using any materials other than yours, or those sanctioned by you and your top MLM members (who also conveniently curriculum publishers!) while said Mothers are meeting in the Community™ they paid vast sums of money to enter into. This while also then slowly bringing in other curriculum publishers over the years that are *required* purchases they also can also pay to use within your MLM (joint exploitation!) and aren't allowed to buy used.

 And yes, you can have all of this income while no one actually produces any leadership or service value on your end whatsoever! Oh, and then the last step is you block anyone from your websites/forums who suggest these same mothers could do this all for FREE if they wanted, were one of them to do something so daring as buy a used Manual™ online for $7 and then meet up with some local friends at the park or library. You should pretty much banish anyone who suggests that. Through those steps, voila. You will have a highly successful MLM, even perhaps Cult,  before you know it! At least from what I can tell where I live. Maybe start in Texas. 

ETA- If you can get a Cooking Magnate to also endorse your MLM on her blog for several years, that also seems to ensure further success. 😁

Yep. Telling moms they can do this doesnt pay nearly as well bc you destroy the purchasing base.

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2 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I think I have this figured out with a plan- after all, imitation is the sincerest form flattery, right?! 

The secret to success appears to be appealing to the insecurities of a bunch of homeschool moms, telling them they can't do it alone,  and then getting them to pay you vast sums of money (which a large percentage struggle to afford)  to let them all join together in a Community™ (make sure you get that ™!)  with equally insecure mothers on a weekly basis so they can be insecure together, and make them also do all the work of reserving the space, planning the meetings, collecting the dues due to you, providing the materials, and doing the actual teachings.

It will also be advantageous if you make up some catchy songs, yet spend vast amounts of time hire some lawyers for the purpose of keeping said songs off of YouTube, because heaven forbid someone hear your songs without paying through the nose to do so. Threatening legal action is highly effective. Then you get the Moms to spend money to go to workshops to learn the  singing of The Songs™ complete with Hand Motions™. Definitely, prohibit them from using any materials other than yours, or those sanctioned by you and your top MLM members (who also conveniently curriculum publishers!) while said Mothers are meeting in the Community™ they paid vast sums of money to enter into. This while also then slowly bringing in other curriculum publishers over the years that are *required* purchases they also can also pay to use within your MLM (joint exploitation!) and aren't allowed to buy used.

 And yes, you can have all of this income while no one actually produces any leadership or service value on your end whatsoever! Oh, and then the last step is you block anyone from your websites/forums who suggest these same mothers could do this all for FREE if they wanted, were one of them to do something so daring as buy a used Manual™ online for $7 and then meet up with some local friends at the park or library. You should pretty much banish anyone who suggests that. Through those steps, voila. You will have a highly successful MLM, even perhaps Cult,  before you know it! At least from what I can tell where I live. Maybe start in Texas. 

ETA- If you can get a Cooking Magnate to also endorse your MLM on her blog for several years, that also seems to ensure further success. 😁

This. Is. Epic. 

I have difficulty choosing between the laughing and crying responses, but I'll go with the laugh.

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So, I've emailed Gather Round to ask if they at least have a list of Errata so that those who have current units can look and check and make notes of any changes/fix any mistakes in their own copy until a new version comes out. I'll let you know what they say. Such a list seems like the LEAST they could do, so that at least the crowd sourced edits would be out there rather than having people have to figure it out themselves. It seems like a standard practice to me - right? Like, generally a company will fix the errors in the next printing, but until then you use that list to note the corrections in the old text. 

Also, they are pushing out updated versions right now, with corrections made, but here is the thing - I already have printed everything. I don't want to reprint every page AGAIN if there are corrections or new stuff only on a few pages. When I asked if she could tell me what the changes were, so I'd know what pages to reprint, she said no, no list of changes, but off the top of her head she knew of two actual errors that were fixed, aside from general typos. One of the two was one I had told them about myself, lol. 

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3 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

So, I've emailed Gather Round to ask if they at least have a list of Errata so that those who have current units can look and check and make notes of any changes/fix any mistakes in their own copy until a new version comes out. I'll let you know what they say. Such a list seems like the LEAST they could do, so that at least the crowd sourced edits would be out there rather than having people have to figure it out themselves. It seems like a standard practice to me - right? Like, generally a company will fix the errors in the next printing, but until then you use that list to note the corrections in the old text. 

Also, they are pushing out updated versions right now, with corrections made, but here is the thing - I already have printed everything. I don't want to reprint every page AGAIN if there are corrections or new stuff only on a few pages. When I asked if she could tell me what the changes were, so I'd know what pages to reprint, she said no, no list of changes, but off the top of her head she knew of two actual errors that were fixed, aside from general typos. One of the two was one I had told them about myself, lol. 

Posting errata on their website would be normal so people can print them out themselves.

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And...they said they have considered publishing errata and decided not to, but will consider my request. 

Um, huh? 

Why on EARTH would you want multiple customers struggling with a mistake when you could publish the correction?

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5 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

And...they said they have considered publishing errata and decided not to, but will consider my request. 

Um, huh? 

Why on EARTH would you want multiple customers struggling with a mistake when you could publish the correction?

Red flags.  Seriously.  Do they want people to have purchase updated material due their errors?

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Not to mention, updates within a few months?  That screams rushed publication with zero planning/forethought.

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24 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

So, I've emailed Gather Round to ask if they at least have a list of Errata so that those who have current units can look and check and make notes of any changes/fix any mistakes in their own copy until a new version comes out. I'll let you know what they say. Such a list seems like the LEAST they could do, so that at least the crowd sourced edits would be out there rather than having people have to figure it out themselves. It seems like a standard practice to me - right? Like, generally a company will fix the errors in the next printing, but until then you use that list to note the corrections in the old text. 

Also, they are pushing out updated versions right now, with corrections made, but here is the thing - I already have printed everything. I don't want to reprint every page AGAIN if there are corrections or new stuff only on a few pages. When I asked if she could tell me what the changes were, so I'd know what pages to reprint, she said no, no list of changes, but off the top of her head she knew of two actual errors that were fixed, aside from general typos. One of the two was one I had told them about myself, lol. 

 

20 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Posting errata on their website would be normal so people can print them out themselves.

 

I agree. Notgrass was the first curriculum company I had ever seen do this and at the time I thought, "That's just plain smart and soooo awesome!" I've since noticed many companies do this in some form or other so I actually look for it now with all curriculum purchases because let's face it: Everyone is human and we all make mistakes. How they choose to handle them will shine a light on what they really are and stand for as a company.

I like the concept this company is attempting, but to really be successful (and respected within the homeschool community), you have to know your strengths and limitations. If you excel at curriculum planning, graphic design, and marketing that's wonderful. Your next step should be addressing where you do not excel. Find a qualified company or partnership to help with fact checking, editing, ect. You need to know the educational standards/regulations of those you intend to market your product to so you can be sure to meet and/or exceed them. Your facts need to be checked and rechecked for accuracy and properly cited and you need someone to professionally edit your material before even considering putting them on the market. Constructive criticism can help you. It's not the same as complaining, which really doesn't benefit anyone.

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2 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Red flags.  Seriously.  Do they want people to have purchase updated material due their errors?

So, they actually send out the updates for free when they redo the unit - if you have the digital version. So I got the newest version of North American Birds sent to me for free yesterday, since I own the old version. So it's not the money. 

I finally got an answer back that when there are any significant corrections they put the new, fixed page up in the files section of the facebook group. So that's something at least. 

And she laid out the changes in the new version of North American Birds in a post on the facebook group today. 

Still a simple list would make so much more sense. 

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4 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

So, they actually send out the updates for free when they redo the unit - if you have the digital version. So I got the newest version of North American Birds sent to me for free yesterday, since I own the old version. So it's not the money. 

I finally got an answer back that when there are any significant corrections they put the new, fixed page up in the files section of the facebook group. So that's something at least. 

And she laid out the changes in the new version of North American Birds in a post on the facebook group today. 

Still a simple list would make so much more sense. 

Thanks for sharing that.  That is much better!

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23 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

So, they actually send out the updates for free when they redo the unit - if you have the digital version. So I got the newest version of North American Birds sent to me for free yesterday, since I own the old version. So it's not the money. 

I finally got an answer back that when there are any significant corrections they put the new, fixed page up in the files section of the facebook group. So that's something at least. 

And she laid out the changes in the new version of North American Birds in a post on the facebook group today. 

Still a simple list would make so much more sense. 

 

19 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Thanks for sharing that.  That is much better!

 

A simple list does make sense, but I'm glad you got a positive response and result. I personally feel that any changes really should be given on the actual Gather Round website for better accessibility to those who are not on Facebook, but that's a whole other pet peeve of mine that isn't exclusive to Gather Round. Lol

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What happens to those that didn’t purchase the digital file? Do they have to purchase the new edition in order to have access to the updates?

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21 minutes ago, Allie said:

What happens to those that didn’t purchase the digital file? Do they have to purchase the new edition in order to have access to the updates?

I guess they can see the updated pages on the files section and print just those pages, or make notes in their printed version, similar to other texts do. 

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5 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Red flags.  Seriously.  Do they want people to have purchase updated material due their errors?

 

They have this far been sending out the updates for free. I received notice on the two units I bought. I think 4 units have already been update. I'm sorry, but it's pathetic that a brand new curriculum would already have to update 4+ of their units due to factual errors and typos, both of which should have been caught before publishing. 

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So, little more of an update. The units with the known errors were done before hiring proof readers, seems since then they have not had the same issues. Time will tell. I haven't seen any in the bird one we have, and I've been double checking everything with outside sources. 

We are continuing to use it, alongside some extra phonics and handwriting for my 1st grader (instead of the tracing in GRH), although I do have him read the copywork even though he doesn't trace it, and I do have him search for digraphs, etc. (and I learned that I was wrong, vowel teams are digraphs, even though I'd learned them as something separate, lol)

At this point, we plan to continue using it, and I've shifted my opinion on it, mainly because after interacting with the company and others using it I've realized more who it is meant for and how it is designed to be used. It is NOT meant for those wanting a traditional scope and sequence, looking for a classical education at home, looking for the memoria press type experience, etc. It's for those who lean towards unschooling, or project schooling, and are looking for a framework to add on to - with library books, projects, research, etc. The goal being to inspire an interest in learning, and for the parents to work alongside the kids modeling research skills. Personally, I want more structured writing and grammar than the early elementary gives for my 4th grader, with more hand holding, so we add in or replace the language arts pages with LLFLE, but if someone was more unschooling minded they wouldn't. For highschool, if one was planning on an unschooling style this would be more structured than that, but will not replicate a traditional scope and sequence for highschool. It would absolutely require (and advises) the student do their own research with outside material on each topic, so what depth they go depends on what materials they use, what level those are, etc. I would think most kids would also need some more guided writing assignments depending on natural ability, past instruction, future goals, etc. But kids get into college in my area using zero formal curricula, so I can't say that they couldn't or wouldn't get in using this.   In Florida, kids can easily get into our community colleges (which are now offer four year degress as well as two year degrees) without any particular scope and sequence, and an associates degree from there guarantees you entrance into the bigger university system, so having had, say, a biochemistry based biology class with lab is not a requirement for getting into college. Other areas that will vary and what curriculum one uses should reflect that. And given that the owner hasn't educated kids in highschool I think anyone planning to use it for that should do their own research into what their kid needs. My kids are 4th and under right now, so not something I'm worried about currently. And with my oldest...we used regular materials and he just skated by when he did do/use them, so heck, he might have done better with something like this if he'd actually used and enjoyed it rather than blowing off the "right" stuff. 

But honestly? AT this point I am SO over the entire educational-industrial complex, the college board, the testing, the entire system of "do this so then you can go to this school so you can get into this major so you can have this job so that you can work 50-80 hours a week with no work life balance so that you can pay back your student loans and afford health insurance you can't afford to use"....so over it. That's not why I got into homeschooling. And of course, I had a kid that refused to participate in that system anyway, even when i still sort of believed in it, or felt I had to be part of it for his sake. So I think Gather Round is for people like that. I still think calling it "enough" is a bad idea because what "enough" is varies depending on your goals and your student's needs and abilities. But if your goal is to have interesting topics to research together, to go to the library and load up on books about those topics, watch videos and documentaries about them, find crafts and projects together, etc, it will do that. For right now, that's what we need and want, so we will continue until I either find something that makes it not usable for our purposes. Because when we use it my kids are excited to talk to DH about what they learned, and are having great discussions, and linking things together in a way they haven't before. And that's worth a lot. 

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I saw Rebecca announced she’s having a Gather Round retreat now? I just don’t understand how this thing has gotten so big.

In regards to editing as just mentioned above - she has on her website that “proofreaders don’t need to have a degree, but grammar knowledge helps.”

That is so alarming to me, along with the fact that the “experts” she is using are not all experts. Some are just using google. 
 

It is one thing to have a non-traditional curriculum. It’s another to have a company touting an all in one (except math) that works K-12 without supplementation needed when they (by their own admission) do not hire professional writers or editors or educators. Her background in flitting around from YouTube reviewer, to TGTB lover, to hating TGTB, to writing for masterbooks to this is also super concerning to me as that all happened in like twelve months. 

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4 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

So, little more of an update. The units with the known errors were done before hiring proof readers, seems since then they have not had the same issues. Time will tell. I haven't seen any in the bird one we have, and I've been double checking everything with outside sources. 

We are continuing to use it, alongside some extra phonics and handwriting for my 1st grader (instead of the tracing in GRH), although I do have him read the copywork even though he doesn't trace it, and I do have him search for digraphs, etc. (and I learned that I was wrong, vowel teams are digraphs, even though I'd learned them as something separate, lol)

At this point, we plan to continue using it, and I've shifted my opinion on it, mainly because after interacting with the company and others using it I've realized more who it is meant for and how it is designed to be used. It is NOT meant for those wanting a traditional scope and sequence, looking for a classical education at home, looking for the memoria press type experience, etc. It's for those who lean towards unschooling, or project schooling, and are looking for a framework to add on to - with library books, projects, research, etc. The goal being to inspire an interest in learning, and for the parents to work alongside the kids modeling research skills. Personally, I want more structured writing and grammar than the early elementary gives for my 4th grader, with more hand holding, so we add in or replace the language arts pages with LLFLE, but if someone was more unschooling minded they wouldn't. For highschool, if one was planning on an unschooling style this would be more structured than that, but will not replicate a traditional scope and sequence for highschool. It would absolutely require (and advises) the student do their own research with outside material on each topic, so what depth they go depends on what materials they use, what level those are, etc. I would think most kids would also need some more guided writing assignments depending on natural ability, past instruction, future goals, etc. But kids get into college in my area using zero formal curricula, so I can't say that they couldn't or wouldn't get in using this.   In Florida, kids can easily get into our community colleges (which are now offer four year degress as well as two year degrees) without any particular scope and sequence, and an associates degree from there guarantees you entrance into the bigger university system, so having had, say, a biochemistry based biology class with lab is not a requirement for getting into college. Other areas that will vary and what curriculum one uses should reflect that. And given that the owner hasn't educated kids in highschool I think anyone planning to use it for that should do their own research into what their kid needs. My kids are 4th and under right now, so not something I'm worried about currently. And with my oldest...we used regular materials and he just skated by when he did do/use them, so heck, he might have done better with something like this if he'd actually used and enjoyed it rather than blowing off the "right" stuff. 

But honestly? AT this point I am SO over the entire educational-industrial complex, the college board, the testing, the entire system of "do this so then you can go to this school so you can get into this major so you can have this job so that you can work 50-80 hours a week with no work life balance so that you can pay back your student loans and afford health insurance you can't afford to use"....so over it. That's not why I got into homeschooling. And of course, I had a kid that refused to participate in that system anyway, even when i still sort of believed in it, or felt I had to be part of it for his sake. So I think Gather Round is for people like that. I still think calling it "enough" is a bad idea because what "enough" is varies depending on your goals and your student's needs and abilities. But if your goal is to have interesting topics to research together, to go to the library and load up on books about those topics, watch videos and documentaries about them, find crafts and projects together, etc, it will do that. For right now, that's what we need and want, so we will continue until I either find something that makes it not usable for our purposes. Because when we use it my kids are excited to talk to DH about what they learned, and are having great discussions, and linking things together in a way they haven't before. And that's worth a lot. 

Thank you for the insight as to what type of homeschooler this curriculum is best suited for. We are definitely a more traditional homeschool family than anything else. Though I personally love the idea of classical, traditional works best for DS9. Unschoolers we are not, though one of my closest friend's family are.

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I actually love the idea of this . . . I am a bit too systematic to use it above elementary, but I am looking for something for a year long special situation homeschool year we will have next year and something along these lines would fit the bill. The reading selections for middle school and highschool are a bit of a joke. Mr. Popper's Penguins? We loved that for early elementary read aloud and a great reader for late elementary. There is no writing instruction and the grammar and spelling are not systematic enough for me. That said, I really like using unit studies just for history/literature usually and can see maybe using the birds and oceans ones for science with my 5 yo and 2 10yo's. However, I think the middle school notebooking/activities are more appropriate for the upper elementary kids. This looks very "BraveWriter" to me. The last few years we have done a history/literature BW type unit studies in a classical twist that works really well for us. I can see this being a good jumping off point for that. We would do separate grammar, spelling, and additional writing (about the topic but in a more systematic/ TC way). 

It seems expensive...for 4 weeks of material, $50? Then I think, I can just write my own. Which is what I usually end up doing . . . because I won't use over half of it anyway. Oh well, the idea is what I am looking for . . . perhaps just not the execution. 

8, if I remember correctly, you tend to take a topical approach in the early years as well? (not unit studies as in all LA included but integrating writing etc? I think I got a lot of my ideas of the last few years validated by many of your posts 🙂

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4 hours ago, ByGrace3 said:

I actually love the idea of this . . . I am a bit too systematic to use it above elementary, but I am looking for something for a year long special situation homeschool year we will have next year and something along these lines would fit the bill. The reading selections for middle school and highschool are a bit of a joke. Mr. Popper's Penguins? We loved that for early elementary read aloud and a great reader for late elementary. There is no writing instruction and the grammar and spelling are not systematic enough for me. That said, I really like using unit studies just for history/literature usually and can see maybe using the birds and oceans ones for science with my 5 yo and 2 10yo's. However, I think the middle school notebooking/activities are more appropriate for the upper elementary kids. This looks very "BraveWriter" to me. The last few years we have done a history/literature BW type unit studies in a classical twist that works really well for us. I can see this being a good jumping off point for that. We would do separate grammar, spelling, and additional writing (about the topic but in a more systematic/ TC way). 

It seems expensive...for 4 weeks of material, $50? Then I think, I can just write my own. Which is what I usually end up doing . . . because I won't use over half of it anyway. Oh well, the idea is what I am looking for . . . perhaps just not the execution. 

8, if I remember correctly, you tend to take a topical approach in the early years as well? (not unit studies as in all LA included but integrating writing etc? I think I got a lot of my ideas of the last few years validated by many of your posts 🙂

This sums up my thoughts pretty well.  The cost is exorbitant for what you receive.  Pulling together a unit study and integrating across subjects is simple, certainly not $500 worth of costs for a school yr (especially when all of the supplementation is still the responsibility of the parent???  Ridiculous.)  

Yes, I create simple (not 100% 1-to-1 correspondence) studies for my kids that integrate multiple subjects.  All it takes is a simple idea and plugging in resources.  (This yr we are reading Chronicles of Narnia and studying the history of England, oceanography, geography, astronomy, etc....writing is pulled from science and history topics with simple reports exploring whatever selected topic in more depth.  Cost? $0.  Everything is easily acquired from the library, internet, streaming documentaries, or books on our shelves.  Time necessary to pull things together?  Minimal, maybe a few hrs every 5-6 weeks.  

I do the same when they are older. The time commitment to pull together is longer bc the topics become more complex and more targeted resources are needed.  But, equally, everything is age/grade/ability appropriate vs. using completely inappropriate level materials. 

For parents who don't want to spend the time figuring it out on their own, there are QUALITY unit study materials available for a fraction of the price and with more complete assignments/suggestions.  Amanda Bennett's 4 week units are less than $19/mo.  https://unitstudy.com/collections/unit-study-adventures I have never used them, but just giving a brief look the resources are at least imbedded links.

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