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hands-on-mama

Help me Figure Things Out

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It’s been a heck of a couple we’ll-intentioned years. I’ve got to figure out what to do to get us back to where we need to be. I have girls in 4th and 6th. My youngest is turning 10 next week and my oldest will be 12 in January. We started this year using MB for about a month and then tried out a public hybrid school. We hated it and pulled right back out. We started using Power Homeschool since we were about to go on vacation and I didn’t have time for any other plans. We went on vacation and then came home to find out my mom is in kidney failure with stage 5 chronic kidney disease. On top of that, I ended up in the ER where they found a softball sized mass on my ovary. I had my surgery about 4 weeks ago and am now getting antsy about school. I feel like they are just on screens so much. It’s not what I wanted for school at all. We’ve always homeschooled minus the 3 days at the hybrid school. Lol! I

So here’s what we are doing:

6th grader: Acellus for various subjects (including coding), Teaching Textbooks 6, and Essentials in Writing 6. I do like EIW and I feel like TT works for this child well. She is very math phobic and finally seems to be getting things.

4th grader: Acellus for main subjects and Teaching Textbooks 4 (honestly, TT seems to be way below her level, but she seems to enjoy it. I would be open to be math options for her. She has pretty much done well with any math put in front of her. I do have spelling here that she could use.)

Okay, so my initial thoughts were to finish RSO Chemistry with both of them unless Physics would be more suited for my oldest. I have most of the components of SOTW 2. Is there anything I could use to beef that up for my oldest? After that, I need some suggestions on some math and LA please and thank you. Is EIW enough?? If it is, I will gladly buy EIW 4 or 5 for my youngest. She said she will use whatever I buy though.

Sidenote: My oldest really struggles with workload. I have to be very careful to not overwhelm her. She is ADHD. CLE would most certainly bring on a crying fit that could be heard around the world. 😂

 

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Wow, you've had a lot on your plate!

I am not familiar with Acellus so I can't speak to that. But I can share what my 6th grader is doing and what we're working towards with her. She does not have any learning disabilities but she is kind of immature and lazy in her work, and we are working on that 😉

She does Math Mammoth 6. She doesn't necessarily like it and she makes lots of silly errors but she understands the concepts. My goal with 6th grade math is to have fractions and decimals down cold by the end of the year so they are ready to tackle prealgebra in 7th.

For language arts we are finishing up the first season of Analytical Grammar, then we will start IEW for writing. We do not do both grammar and composition at the same time. With composition we are working towards more sophistication in her paragraphs and getting better at tying paragraphs together to form a cohesive whole. Her thinking is still pretty simplistic at this point. I'm not seeing consistent logic stage thinking yet, and it shows in her writing. She uses All About Spelling and does well with it. Also she is starting to use Marie's Words to work with vocabulary. This is our first week so I don't know yet how well it will work.

For history she reads K12 Human Odyssey and keeps a timeline and writes weekly summaries (as I responded on your other thread). Next year in 7th I will have her do a little more output.

For science she does God's Design. She reads me the lesson out loud, then writes out the answers to the questions and does the experiment on her own. I am trying to keep her love for science alive and simultaneously prepare her for a definite increase in difficulty next year in 7th when she starts Apologia General Science.

She reads 45 min per day from a list that includes lit and nonfiction related to her history and science studies. I don't require any output on her reading.

She also does misc logic puzzles and a geography workbook and practices piano.

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If your kids have a math that works, I'd stick with it unless there's a reason to change.  We used Singapore Math through 6th and then picked a prealgebra (I'll make different choices for my 2 kids, who are very different personalities).  

If you wanted to combine SOTW with the K-12 HO so that both kids cover the same topic, that should be doable - one is a 4 year cycle and the other is 3, but you can align content.  We actually use SOTW as one of our other resources when using K-12.

I don't know your writing program.  My older kid is advanced in most subjects but struggled with writing, so I didn't push it until middle school.  For him, one thing that helped was combining history and writing because it was 'double dipping'. Around that age we found the Michael Clay Thompson series and it's been a great fit (I'm not advising you to change - just letting you know where some of the assignments come from).  If the writing program said to write an essay about a specific topic, I'd modify it to fit with something in history and we'd write about that.  Some history writing assignments are things that I design, but others are adaptations of assignments in our ELA curriculum.  Is your program adaptable like that?  It might help an overwhelmed kid to have fewer subjects to do.  At this point (older in 8th grade) it's not as big of an issue, but I've already started doing it with my 5th grader (although those assignments are shorter -  a sentence or 2 or maybe a paragraph).  

Alternatively, when writing for history doesn't fit, I've been known to go minimalist - to compare things, fold paper into 2, 3, 8, or more sections and have the kiddo compare things like Native American tribes, world religions, Athens and Sparta, etc with words, phrases, or even drawings.  It can be less daunting than an essay.  

If you wanted to go in a different direction, the Critical Thinking Company has a workbook called World History Detective.  It's pretty comprehensive, and the workbook format might be less overwhelming.  

Prior to 6th, science for my older was mostly picking a topic (we used Hirsh's Core Knowledge series to get suggestions) and then checking out a bunch of library books to read.  That approach did not work for my younger, so last year in desperation I got the Critical Thinking Company Science Detective for her grade level and this year added their book of science experiments.  Either would be a good choice, but they are very different.  My older has used his studies in preparation for Science Olympiad, so, while it's worked for us, it's definitely not a traditional approach that I'd advise people to try.  🙂  

We also use an assortment of puzzle books, analogy books, etc, depending on our schedule.  

I'm not sure that I addressed everything that you were asking about, but maybe some of this will help.  

Edited by ClemsonDana

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My 6th grader uses TT and EiW. I think EiW is perfectly acceptable. My DD also uses CLE Reading (I love it for grades 4-8 because it's 1 semester, so there's time for novels - we break between each light unit for a novel). We also are doing world geography, science, and Spanish as a family (all very informal and light).  Spelling and typing via TTRS.  Art - sporadic, at best. 

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18 minutes ago, alisoncooks said:

My 6th grader uses TT and EiW. I think EiW is perfectly acceptable. My DD also uses CLE Reading (I love it for grades 4-8 because it's 1 semester, so there's time for novels - we break between each light unit for a novel). We also are doing world geography, science, and Spanish as a family (all very informal and light).  Spelling and typing via TTRS.  Art - sporadic, at best. 

 

Is your child doing TT at grade level? Or a grade up?

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57 minutes ago, Momto6inIN said:

Wow, you've had a lot on your plate!

I am not familiar with Acellus so I can't speak to that. But I can share what my 6th grader is doing and what we're working towards with her. She does not have any learning disabilities but she is kind of immature and lazy in her work, and we are working on that 😉

She does Math Mammoth 6. She doesn't necessarily like it and she makes lots of silly errors but she understands the concepts. My goal with 6th grade math is to have fractions and decimals down cold by the end of the year so they are ready to tackle prealgebra in 7th.

For language arts we are finishing up the first season of Analytical Grammar, then we will start IEW for writing. We do not do both grammar and composition at the same time. With composition we are working towards more sophistication in her paragraphs and getting better at tying paragraphs together to form a cohesive whole. Her thinking is still pretty simplistic at this point. I'm not seeing consistent logic stage thinking yet, and it shows in her writing. She uses All About Spelling and does well with it. Also she is starting to use Marie's Words to work with vocabulary. This is our first week so I don't know yet how well it will work.

For history she reads K12 Human Odyssey and keeps a timeline and writes weekly summaries (as I responded on your other thread). Next year in 7th I will have her do a little more output.

For science she does God's Design. She reads me the lesson out loud, then writes out the answers to the questions and does the experiment on her own. I am trying to keep her love for science alive and simultaneously prepare her for a definite increase in difficulty next year in 7th when she starts Apologia General Science.

She reads 45 min per day from a list that includes lit and nonfiction related to her history and science studies. I don't require any output on her reading.

She also does misc logic puzzles and a geography workbook and practices piano.

 

My oldest may not be ready for pre-algebra in 7th. She is math phobic and has struggled,  but things are starting to click. She just recently started TT, but i’m Just not certain it’s the best option. I think there may be something else out there that could accomplish things in less problems. I don’t know though. She would fit in MM 5 or Singapore 5 to give you an idea. 

This is a big help. I’m not sure what I want to do with her science wise yet. I’m still trying to figure that out. 

We have EIW for LA and it only does grammar or writing. We may try AG next year. It was on my list. 

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TT is a fine choice. If it's clicking, don't switch it. Sidenote: did you have the kids take placement tests first? Do this daily.

EIW is an awesome choice for a kid who is overwhelmed because it focuses on one or the other. It is also nicely step-by-step. If it's clicking, don't switch it. Do this daily.

Everything else is content which can be accomplished however you wish.

SOTW is good. To keep it simple, why not just read, do the mapwork, narrate/summarize, maybe draw, or just color the review card? Try for 2 days a week. 

Science: RSO is a good choice. Finish up what you have than move to the next one. Try for 2 days a week.

So that is 1 extra so far each day. May I suggest some sort of arty thing for that last day? Let them go at it with what you have on hand. No need to be fancy pants about it. One year, we checked out a Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artist book each week, read it, talked about it, then each kid picked a painting to try their hand at. SImple and fun. My girl decided to paint some of the rocks in our front landscaping this summer. I now have a painted rock lined walkway. Easy to do, just don't use washable paints! Acrylic works. Get some sidewalk chalk and go draw on your driveway. Good tie in there with history OR science. Draw maps, molecules, etc.. Easy clean up the next time it rains.

Make Saturday a Library run. Get a rolling crate and fill 'er up. Five in a Row has a great list. Memoria Press is also another good place for ideas. Don't worry about "below level". Just enjoy reading. 

I try to remember this is all a process which cannot and should not be hurried. Go at the child's pace and ignore "should be's". Your kids are where they need to be for now. As long as you are moving forward, the pace does not matter.

HTH!

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9 hours ago, hands-on-mama said:

 

Is your child doing TT at grade level? Or a grade up?

They're both at grade level. My 6th grader is using TT6, and the 8th grader using pre-alg (she used TT7 last year). My goal was pre-a in 7th and algebra in 8th....but it just didn't work out. I'm considering making math year-round, at least until we're on track with what she'd be doing if she were in the local school. 

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3 hours ago, alisoncooks said:

They're both at grade level. My 6th grader is using TT6, and the 8th grader using pre-alg (she used TT7 last year). My goal was pre-a in 7th and algebra in 8th....but it just didn't work out. I'm considering making math year-round, at least until we're on track with what she'd be doing if she were in the local school. 

We school year round taking off when we want/need with no guilt. It makes way more sense for homeschooling. The longest break is about June/July. But the deal is they need to have finished curriculum first- no dangling few math lessons left. We don’t take off longer than 2 weeks otherwise it’s bedlam and boredom.

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I don't have a clue about most of the curriculum you mentioned but have you considered teaching them together with something like Trailguide to Learning? It covers everything but math and can be done as a family with each child working at their own grade level. It's neutral with an optional Bible component add-on. I'm still researching it myself for next year but it's looking promising.

Edited by Servant4Christ
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