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CuriousMomof3

Thoughts for my 4th grader

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We had a really good first week of homeschooling with my 9 year old.  He and I got about 2.25 hours together every weekday morning, and used it to do some math, some writing, and some reading.  We also spent about about 45 minutes reading aloud as a family every day, mostly history stuff.  In addition to that formal instruction he did some cooking, some LEGO robotics, some woodworking, and a lot of running around and playing sports outside with Dad or his brother or the kids in the neighborhood, and he went to ice hockey three times.   I know there are people who do way more, but it felt like enough.  
 

This last week, however, that structure fell apart, because his brother was needing a lot of parental time.  My in laws stepped in and made sure my other kids had  love and supervision and attention, but right now the way we have things set up all the official home schooling is by me or DH so if we aren’t available it doesn’t happen.   
 

I think we need some kind of piece to our homeschooling that he can either do independently or with an adult acting more as cheerleader than teacher.  We’re using Math in Focus and Voyages in English, because that’s what his school where he attended this fall and will return next fall uses, but I don’t feel like I can just hand those off to another adult.  Something that aligns with them that’s more independent would be good.  
 

Ideas?  
 

I should add that I have posted a lot about wanting ideas for a very gifted 9 year old with disabilities.  That is my other kid, who is now 10. This is my youngest who is bright but not gifted or particularly interested in academics,  Things designed for average fourth graders are probably an excellent fit.  

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What kind of work do you think he'd like doing independently? Does he like writing or math or anything in particular more than other things? 

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46 minutes ago, square_25 said:

What kind of work do you think he'd like doing independently? Does he like writing or math or anything in particular more than other things? 

 

Honestly, he's not a kid who seeks out anything that resembles formal academics.  He loves sports, and he loves making things whether that's with legos, or wood, or in the kitchen, and he sees academics as either something to get to those things (e.g. he'll read something like a Sports Illustrated for Kids, or a recipe, or he'll measure in the context of building or a recipe) or as something he gets over with so he can get back to those things.  He doesn't hate academics, they just aren't his thing.  

He does like video games or computer games, so I feel like he could enjoy a math game on the computer.  

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4 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

 

Honestly, he's not a kid who seeks out anything that resembles formal academics.  He loves sports, and he loves making things whether that's with legos, or wood, or in the kitchen, and he sees academics as either something to get to those things (e.g. he'll read something like a Sports Illustrated for Kids, or a recipe, or he'll measure in the context of building or a recipe) or as something he gets over with so he can get back to those things.  He doesn't hate academics, they just aren't his thing.  

He does like video games or computer games, so I feel like he could enjoy a math game on the computer.  


Why not make more time for him to build stuff, then? 🙂 See if you can work some lessons into those activities, maybe. Like, do science with a focus on engineering, or math with a focus on measurement or experiments. 

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10 minutes ago, square_25 said:


Why not make more time for him to build stuff, then? 🙂 See if you can work some lessons into those activities, maybe. Like, do science with a focus on engineering, or math with a focus on measurement or experiments. 


He spends a lot of time on legos right now, because it's what he chooses when he needs to amuse himself alone. He's spending a lot of time cooking because his great-grandfather has been here almost every day, picking up the slack when DH and I are tied up with his brother, and great-grandpa likes to cook and includes him in the process. 

But, I'm not sure how to work lessons into those things without an adult in the activity facilitating, and that's what we're lacking.  

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To be clear, you are looking for something to fill the times when you and dad are not available?  There are lots of workbooks that would be great for this.  Spectrum, Critical Thinking Company or even some picked up at Walmart for 4th graders would all be fine.  Some other ideas are educational apps or Kindle games.  Make a list of interesting documentaries and educational videos that would interest him- Modern Marvels maybe?  

Math would really be the only thing I would want to keep up with the school on.  All the English stuff is repeated year after year, so dont fe pressured to keep with the school on those.  Take some time to read what he wants, write what he wants, and watch lots of science and history shows.

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4 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:


He spends a lot of time on legos right now, because it's what he chooses when he needs to amuse himself alone. He's spending a lot of time cooking because his great-grandfather has been here almost every day, picking up the slack when DH and I are tied up with his brother, and great-grandpa likes to cook and includes him in the process. 

But, I'm not sure how to work lessons into those things without an adult in the activity facilitating, and that's what we're lacking.  


Hmmm, interesting question. What math and writing skills is he currently working on?

Also, I’m realizing any ideas I come up with may wind up requiring some work to design. Is that perhaps not going to be what you’re looking for, since you have your hands full?

I do think that cooking and building are great things for him to do, too! If that’s how he’s occupying himself, he could do a lot worse. 

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And mama- Legos and cooking are very educational!  Our kids are like sponges, and they will learn even when no one is "teaching" them.  I would be tempted to get him some Snap Circuits, too.  And Magic School bus videos!

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1 minute ago, BusyMom5 said:

To be clear, you are looking for something to fill the times when you and dad are not available?  There are lots of workbooks that would be great for this.  Spectrum, Critical Thinking Company or even some picked up at Walmart for 4th graders would all be fine.  Some other ideas are educational apps or Kindle games.  Make a list of interesting documentaries and educational videos that would interest him- Modern Marvels maybe?  

Math would really be the only thing I would want to keep up with the school on.  All the English stuff is repeated year after year, so dont fe pressured to keep with the school on those.  Take some time to read what he wants, write what he wants, and watch lots of science and history shows.

 

Yeah, I'm looking for things that he can do alone, or with an adult to help kind of generally, but not specifically instruct.  This week is a good example, DH and I will be at a medical or therapy appointment with DS2 for a big block each day.  My other two kids can't come, because the hospital has rules against kids under 14 during flu season.  So, my kids are home with their great-grandfather who is great at loving and caring for them, and teaching DS3 to cook.  But, he hasn't been in school since the late 1940's.  He's not going to pick up a math text and instruct them.  

 

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4 minutes ago, BusyMom5 said:

And mama- Legos and cooking are very educational!  Our kids are like sponges, and they will learn even when no one is "teaching" them.  I would be tempted to get him some Snap Circuits, too.  And Magic School bus videos!

Oh, we LOVE Snap Circuits!!

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Would he play a math game with them? I’ve collected some really excellent ones for my  homeschool classes.

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20 minutes ago, square_25 said:

Would he play a math game with them? I’ve collected some really excellent ones for my  homeschool classes.

 

Not if it required him to model the math himself or get the right answer. 

I might be able to get my 12 year old to play with the 9 year old, if it was the right game.  My 12 year old definitely has more math skills than his great grandfather.  

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31 minutes ago, BusyMom5 said:

And mama- Legos and cooking are very educational!  Our kids are like sponges, and they will learn even when no one is "teaching" them.  I would be tempted to get him some Snap Circuits, too.  And Magic School bus videos!

 

Magic School bus is a good idea.  One of the things that all three of my kids have been doing together is watching Mythbusters.  That seems kind of sciency to me too.

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33 minutes ago, square_25 said:


Hmmm, interesting question. What math and writing skills is he currently working on?

Also, I’m realizing any ideas I come up with may wind up requiring some work to design. Is that perhaps not going to be what you’re looking for, since you have your hands full?

I do think that cooking and building are great things for him to do, too! If that’s how he’s occupying himself, he could do a lot worse. 

 

I have a fair amount of time, because DS2 needs an awake parent in his room 24/7.  So, I've got a number of hours in the middle of the night when I could design something.  

With my 12 year old, one of the reasons why I'm not posting something similar, is that he's more flexible about when he'll work.  For example, I can have him come sit with me after his brother is asleep and do something.  But realistically, if my 9 year old is going to do something academic, it will have to be in the morning or early afternoon when he's fresh.  If I tried to convince him to work on fractions at 9 p.m., it wouldn't go well, and we don't need that added stress.  

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12 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

 

Not if it required him to model the math himself or get the right answer. 

I might be able to get my 12 year old to play with the 9 year old, if it was the right game.  My 12 year old definitely has more math skills than his great grandfather.  


Hmmm. We play things like blackjack and addition war a bunch, and if you play with “place value” poker chips, that’s excellent practice for both place value and addition (and some rudimentary probability.) We also play Blockout, which is a multiplication game. However, I don’t know if these are too basic? What are the skills he’s working on?

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5 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

 

I have a fair amount of time, because DS2 needs an awake parent in his room 24/7.  So, I've got a number of hours in the middle of the night when I could design something.  

With my 12 year old, one of the reasons why I'm not posting something similar, is that he's more flexible about when he'll work.  For example, I can have him come sit with me after his brother is asleep and do something.  But realistically, if my 9 year old is going to do something academic, it will have to be in the morning or early afternoon when he's fresh.  If I tried to convince him to work on fractions at 9 p.m., it wouldn't go well, and we don't need that added stress.  


Let me ponder, then :-). Do you manage to get enough sleep?? That sounds grueling.

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Just now, square_25 said:


Hmmm. We play things like blackjack and addition war a bunch, and if you play with “place value” poker chips, that’s excellent practice for both place value and addition (and some rudimentary probability.) We also play Blockout, which is a multiplication game. However, I don’t know if these are too basic? What are the skills he’s working on?

 

Yeah, he's past that.  

This fall at school he covered multi digit multiplication, dividing larger numbers by a one digit numbers, mean/median/mode, reading charts and graphs, adding and subtracting numbers with unlike denominators, and working with improper fractions and some other things.  We spent the first week reviewing those things.  The next unit in his text book is decimals, which we would have started last week if we'd done much math.  

We played fraction war, which he liked, where we'd each turn up two numbers, and make a fraction, and then figure out a common denominator so he could compare them.  And we did a game where I'd make a chart for a multiplication or division problem (e.g. 4 boxes for digits across the top, and 2 on the bottom) and then I'd deal cards one at a time and he'd need to pick where to write them to try and make the biggest or smallest answer.  So, for example, if he drew an 8, would it have more power in the 100's place of the top number of the 10's place of the bottom number?  Should he hold out for a 9 for the 1,000's place, what were the chances?  That sort of thinking.

 

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2 minutes ago, Lisa in the UP of MI said:

Would he be interested in computer programming? Scratch would be good for a 9yo.  My boys learned from project books that we got from the library.


Maybe.  We could look into that!  Thank you!

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13 minutes ago, square_25 said:


Let me ponder, then :-). Do you manage to get enough sleep?? That sounds grueling.


We have it worked out where DH goes to sleep before the kids, and gets up in the middle of the night, and then I sleep until everyone is ready for breakfast, so we each get about 6 hours.  DH is home from work right now, so we're actually doing better as far as adult sleep than we were for much of last year.  

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10 hours ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

We had a really good first week of homeschooling with my 9 year old.  He and I got about 2.25 hours together every weekday morning, and used it to do some math, some writing, and some reading.  We also spent about about 45 minutes reading aloud as a family every day, mostly history stuff.  In addition to that formal instruction he did some cooking, some LEGO robotics, some woodworking, and a lot of running around and playing sports outside with Dad or his brother or the kids in the neighborhood, and he went to ice hockey three times.   I know there are people who do way more, but it felt like enough.  
 

This last week, however, that structure fell apart, because his brother was needing a lot of parental time.  My in laws stepped in and made sure my other kids had  love and supervision and attention, but right now the way we have things set up all the official home schooling is by me or DH so if we aren’t available it doesn’t happen.   
 

I think we need some kind of piece to our homeschooling that he can either do independently or with an adult acting more as cheerleader than teacher.  We’re using Math in Focus and Voyages in English, because that’s what his school where he attended this fall and will return next fall uses, but I don’t feel like I can just hand those off to another adult.  Something that aligns with them that’s more independent would be good.  
 

Ideas?  
 

I should add that I have posted a lot about wanting ideas for a very gifted 9 year old with disabilities.  That is my other kid, who is now 10. This is my youngest who is bright but not gifted or particularly interested in academics,  Things designed for average fourth graders are probably an excellent fit.  

I find that it is best to have a portion of the day be independent work.  Also, in math, I work ahead on the lessons so I have spare review sheets and such to pull out on days I cannot spend time teaching. For example, if there are a few small practice reviews and then an end of chapter review for chapter one, I will put them aside as we come up on them and I will keep moving to chapter two. Then, on a day where I do not have the time to teach, I will give him the practice or review to do. I also might give free reading time or other independent work when I get busy with something else. This does not solve all, but it helps!

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I've been thinking about this.  I think the most important thing to keep up with on a daily basis is the math.  My friend, when her dh had a medical crises, switched her children to Christian Light Education.  It is very clear about what you do and has teaching in the texts so any adult could help him go over the new lesson.  There are placement tests to help you place him.  Otherwise, I'd consider having him do Khan Academy fourth grade math online on the days you can't work with him.  There is a way you get a teacher account and can assign him what to work on.  I would still do math in focus on the days you can, but use Khan days to review and reinforce (or even to work on a unit like geometry or statistics that are less dependent on "where you are in the book.")

Having taught fourth and fifth grade in schools (and now with my fourth fifth grader at home), I can guarantee that even if you dropped grammar completely this term, he'd be okay in fifth because there is always a lot of review at this level and some children don't get grammar until fifth anyway because of developmental stages.  Alternatively, consider Christian Light which has spelling, handwriting, grammar and even some writing.  The friend I referenced above use CLE and Daily 6 trait writing (which she felt had more/better writing) during their long-term medical "emergency."  After looking at them, I decided that would be my back up plan, also.

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26 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

 

Yeah, he's past that.  

This fall at school he covered multi digit multiplication, dividing larger numbers by a one digit numbers, mean/median/mode, reading charts and graphs, adding and subtracting numbers with unlike denominators, and working with improper fractions and some other things.  We spent the first week reviewing those things.  The next unit in his text book is decimals, which we would have started last week if we'd done much math.  

We played fraction war, which he liked, where we'd each turn up two numbers, and make a fraction, and then figure out a common denominator so he could compare them.  And we did a game where I'd make a chart for a multiplication or division problem (e.g. 4 boxes for digits across the top, and 2 on the bottom) and then I'd deal cards one at a time and he'd need to pick where to write them to try and make the biggest or smallest answer.  So, for example, if he drew an 8, would it have more power in the 100's place of the top number of the 10's place of the bottom number?  Should he hold out for a 9 for the 1,000's place, what were the chances?  That sort of thinking.

 


And you’re sure he’s solid on all the things he’s covered? He can do things he’s covered already both mentally and algorithmically?

Just making sure so I can think about what games might be good!!

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1 minute ago, square_25 said:


And you’re sure he’s solid on all the things he’s covered? He can do things he’s covered already both mentally and algorithmically?

Just making sure so I can think about what games might be good!!

 

I would say he's solid enough for a fourth grader.  A lot of these things will come back in 5th and later grades, and I'm sure his understanding will deepen.  If I was homeschooling indefinitely, then I might decide to stick with fractions until he's completely mastered them (or not, I'm not losing sleep over what I'd do if I planned to homeschool forever), and then move on, but because he's going back to a curriculum that's going to assume that he has had some of these things, and some of decimals, I want to keep pace with that.  

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Just now, CuriousMomof3 said:

 

I would say he's solid enough for a fourth grader.  A lot of these things will come back in 5th and later grades, and I'm sure his understanding will deepen.  If I was homeschooling indefinitely, then I might decide to stick with fractions until he's completely mastered them (or not, I'm not losing sleep over what I'd do if I planned to homeschool forever), and then move on, but because he's going back to a curriculum that's going to assume that he has had some of these things, and some of decimals, I want to keep pace with that.  


Some games will deepen understanding, and frankly, I think that’s a more important thing to focus on than keeping up with school. Being really solid on place value, for instance, will be invaluable for decimals.

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3 minutes ago, square_25 said:


Some games will deepen understanding, and frankly, I think that’s a more important thing to focus on than keeping up with school. Being really solid on place value, for instance, will be invaluable for decimals.

 

I hear you in theory.     He's always been a solid math kid.  He's got one brother who is way ahead, and one who sometimes struggles, but this kid has always been solid.  Generally if there's a unit that comes up at school, he's ready to begin it at the beginning (e.g. has the skills he needs but also doesn't know the new content) and he's meeting or exceeding expectations at the end).  I'm confident that he's got enough skills in place value and fractions, both based on how he was doing when he was in school, and what he showed me in the first week of homeschooling, that he is ready to move on to decimals.  Will his understanding of place value and fractions continue to grow in the context of work with decimals?  Yes, there's absolutely roo for that growth, but I think he'll be better served by going into fifth grade having hit all the concepts from fourth grade, then he would be with an even better understanding of place value and not having been introduced to the idea of decimals.  

If homeschooling was a long term plan, or if we were homeschooling because school wasn't going well, or if I had lots of time to get into the weeds with him, then I might well make a different choice.  

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Honestly, I think I would get the CLE light units for math and use them.  I probably would ask that the "adult in charge" have him do the next lesson and read something (anything) for 45 minutes.  I might encourage him to listen to audiobooks while he's playing legos and sort of curate some documentaries for the kids to watch on their own.  I think Mythbusters is absolutely sciency.  My kid has self taught an amazing amount of stuff from YouTube.  I'm honestly not sure what she's watching, but for years she's been coming up with amazing factoids and detailed knowledge of literary classics that she got through watching some YouTube show where someone built them on Minecraft or something.  But you need incredibly open and go.  Math is the only thing I'd really worry about for a fourth grader, and I think CLE is the best for your situation.  Saxon would be another alternative, but I think CLE is a bit more user friendly.  

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@Terabith, and @freesia you both suggest CLE, I am not opposed to switching math programs but I’d love I understand how that program is better for our situation than what we’re doing now.  Is there something about it that makes it require less teacher support?

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9 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

@Terabith, and @freesia you both suggest CLE, I am not opposed to switching math programs but I’d love I understand how that program is better for our situation than what we’re doing now.  Is there something about it that makes it require less teacher support?

I never used Math in Focus, but I used Singapore Primary Mathematics, which is similar.  I loved the approach, but it required active teaching on my part.  It was conceptual, and focused on one topic at a time, so if a kid was trying to do it on their own and didn't get it, they were stuck.  CLE is in thin little booklets that are very unintimidating.  They are written to the student, and a fourth grader can do them completely independently.  Just like anything, it's better if there's teacher instruction, but most of the time, kids can read it and teach it themselves.  It's spiral, so the whole concept isn't taught at the same time.  The bites are a bit smaller, and there's lots of review, so even if a kid doesn't understand something in the lesson, there's lots of other stuff they CAN do completely independently.  I used CLE for one year only (and while supplementing with Beast Academy), but it was my kid's favorite year because she was able to do it totally on her own.  Fourth grade was the year we did, by the way.  It's not my favorite curriculum in terms of depth of teaching, but it's definitely solid and it's good enough.  It really built up my kid's confidence.  There are timed drills and stuff that you're supposed to do to practice facts, and we skipped those, because my kids really don't do timed tests.  But it's just a solid program that's very independent and super open and go.  It's a workbook, so the kid doesn't have to rewrite the problems.  There's enough white space to make it unintimidating.   It just seems tailor made for your situation. 

For what it's worth, they have a language arts program, too, but I never used it so I can't speak for it.  And it's a Protestant program.  The math has very limited religious content.  I'm not sure if that's true of the language arts or reading programs.  

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Editor's in Chief can be completed independently.  Editor in Chief There are 4 books total.  

Horizon's math might be an option for days you cannot work with him.  The instructional material is written in the student book, so he could read it independently and complete the assignments on his own.  It is not ideal to use the books that way, but it can be done.  I have taught Horizons 4 alongside of MiF 4 before.  Horizons is spiral vs. MiF's mastery approach.  So much of the material will be review, but some might be topics not yet covered in MiF.

Maybe Jr Analytical Grammar or Winston Grammar?  Not sure if you want some independent grammar outside of VIE.

I would just get history and science books from the library for him to read. 

 

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33 minutes ago, Terabith said:

I never used Math in Focus, but I used Singapore Primary Mathematics, which is similar.  I loved the approach, but it required active teaching on my part.  It was conceptual, and focused on one topic at a time, so if a kid was trying to do it on their own and didn't get it, they were stuck.  CLE is in thin little booklets that are very unintimidating.  They are written to the student, and a fourth grader can do them completely independently.  Just like anything, it's better if there's teacher instruction, but most of the time, kids can read it and teach it themselves.  It's spiral, so the whole concept isn't taught at the same time.  The bites are a bit smaller, and there's lots of review, so even if a kid doesn't understand something in the lesson, there's lots of other stuff they CAN do completely independently.  I used CLE for one year only (and while supplementing with Beast Academy), but it was my kid's favorite year because she was able to do it totally on her own.  Fourth grade was the year we did, by the way.  It's not my favorite curriculum in terms of depth of teaching, but it's definitely solid and it's good enough.  It really built up my kid's confidence.  There are timed drills and stuff that you're supposed to do to practice facts, and we skipped those, because my kids really don't do timed tests.  But it's just a solid program that's very independent and super open and go.  It's a workbook, so the kid doesn't have to rewrite the problems.  There's enough white space to make it unintimidating.   It just seems tailor made for your situation. 

 

Thanks, I'll look into it.  It sounds promising. 

Quote

For what it's worth, they have a language arts program, too, but I never used it so I can't speak for it.  And it's a Protestant program.  The math has very limited religious content.  I'm not sure if that's true of the language arts or reading programs.  


I am now trying to figure out the difference between a Protestant math program and a Catholic one.

There are 92 pieces of bread in the ciborium before the priest consecrates them.  How many pieces of bread are there after the priest consecrates them? 

Protestant answer: 92

Catholic answer: 0

I'm guessing my kid would be fine with Protestant math.  Or Hindu math, or atheist math.   My other two kids learn math from an orthodox Jew without issue.  

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28 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Editor's in Chief can be completed independently.  Editor in Chief There are 4 books total.  

I will look into this.

28 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Horizon's math might be an option for days you cannot work with him.  The instructional material is written in the student book, so he could read it independently and complete the assignments on his own.  It is not ideal to use the books that way, but it can be done.  I have taught Horizons 4 alongside of MiF 4 before.  Horizons is spiral vs. MiF's mastery approach.  So much of the material will be review, but some might be topics not yet covered in MiF.

Maybe Jr Analytical Grammar or Winston Grammar?  Not sure if you want some independent grammar outside of VIE.

I would just get history and science books from the library for him to read. 

 

 

If you were doing Horizons and MiF together how did you structure it?  I'm trying to picture how it would work.  

I'm not sure I care that much about the grammar.  I feel like he's had a lot of grammar, and there is always review.  

We're doing OK for History and Science.  Read alouds are one thing that is going well with all three kids together, so we've been doing a lot of stuff about the Middle Ages.  I'm not asking for output beyond some conversations, but I'm OK with that.  He's also doing a lot of woodworking, and cooking, and lego robotics, and I think I'm just going to count that as enough science.  I feel as though elementary science doesn't build on itself in quite the same way as math, so if he returns to school and doesn't know whatever they studied while he was gone, he'll likely be OK. 

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3 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

If you were doing Horizons and MiF together how did you structure it?  I'm trying to picture how it would work.  

I did not attempt to coordinate them at all.  She just progressed through each book independently of the other.  Horizons does not take much time at all, so doing both  is easily manageable.  (Long story as to why I made her complete both books.  It had more to do with obstinancy than anything else.  Call it mom's retribution for too much complaining if you like.  She was warned.  She didn't stop.  THis was the consequence.  Anyway, she ended up completing both series simultaneously through 6th grade.  😉 )

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59 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

@Terabith, and @freesia you both suggest CLE, I am not opposed to switching math programs but I’d love I understand how that program is better for our situation than what we’re doing now.  Is there something about it that makes it require less teacher support?

I think it would be more straightforward for either your son to do on his own, or for someone to help him with each lesson.  The lesson is in the student book and then there is review practice.  While I do think math is best taught by an adult most of the time, I have seen students self-teach from CLE successfully as long as an adult is grading the work and catching any misunderstanding quickly. 

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BTW, I have used Horizons and it also has teaching in the text book.  The fact practice assignments are in a teacher's book, though, and it is a little less set up for self teaching than CLE.

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31 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

I did not attempt to coordinate them at all.  She just progressed through each book independently of the other.  Horizons does not take much time at all, so doing both  is easily manageable.  (Long story as to why I made her complete both books.  It had more to do with obstinancy than anything else.  Call it mom's retribution for too much complaining if you like.  She was warned.  She didn't stop.  THis was the consequence.  Anyway, she ended up completing both series simultaneously through 6th grade.  😉 )

 

This is my kid who likes to complain.  

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reading: selection of kids magazines; library books of high interest to him and at his solo-reading level
writing: Wordsmith Apprentice
science: solo science kits -- examples: Snap Circuits, K'Nex challenges
science: watch documentaries (maybe give everyone a short oral report on what fun facts he learned at the dinner table -- he gets to be "teacher")
history: watch documentaries (maybe give everyone a short oral report on what fun facts he learned at the dinner table -- he gets to be "teacher")
history: watch a feature film set in the history period you are studying -- perfect for this age is the Liberty's Kids series
art: learn to draw with Mark Kistler's Draw Squad book (or watch Mark Kistler's videos)
logic: Puzzlemania books (collections of the "best of" logic and critical thinking puzzles from Highlights kids magazine); Tin Man Press "thinkable" and logic puzzle books; solo logic puzzles/games like Rush Hour Jr. etc.; print off simple crosswords, ken-ken, and sudoko puzzles for kids, mazes, hidden picture puzzles, etc.

various subjects:
- kids magazines
- educational computer games
- education TV series

Edited by Lori D.
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Thank you everyone for all of these suggestions.  I got a chance to talk with DH, and his feeling is that DS3 is processing a lot with everything going on with his brother, and that what he needs is time to be active, and to play, and to do things he enjoys with people he loves.  He says that if I'm feeling like he needs to keep up in math, then I should just double up on math on the days when I can spend time with him, and if we don't get to writing and grammar that's fine, but to let him spend his time when we're gone as he's been doing, with lots of legos and cooking and running around with DS1.  He's happy to buy things like snap circuits to see if DS3 chooses to do them, but he doesn't think we should assign things when neither of us is home to do them with him. 

His feeling is that both kids are doing pretty well, given everything, and that we shouldn't rock the boat.  

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I'm with your hubby on this one :-). 

And I'll also add that I think you'd surprised how much ownership of the math he's learning something like math games (or measurement for his projects, or really anything which feels like using math) will give him, even if technically he's covered the material already. Or you could buy him some "entertaining math," like Murderous Maths, and see if he finds any of it interesting (whether he learns it "properly" or not.) 

9 hours ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

Yes, there's absolutely roo for that growth, but I think he'll be better served by going into fifth grade having hit all the concepts from fourth grade, then he would be with an even better understanding of place value and not having been introduced to the idea of decimals.  

 

Well, I wasn't suggesting not introducing him to the idea ;-). I was suggesting not going in lockstep with the school and using this break to shore up whatever gaps he might have, while continuing to move ahead when you have time. The way our educational system is structured, we don't teach ideas, we teach algorithms, and as a result there's really a ton of review each year (because algorithms are hard to remember, so kids forget them.) 

I'd personally make sure he's seen all the ideas but not worry about covering exactly the same stuff the school is.  

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6 minutes ago, square_25 said:

I'm with your hubby on this one :-). 

And I'll also add that I think you'd surprised how much ownership of the math he's learning something like math games (or measurement for his projects, or really anything which feels like using math) will give him, even if technically he's covered the material already. Or you could buy him some "entertaining math," like Murderous Maths, and see if he finds any of it interesting (whether he learns it "properly" or not.) 

 

Well, I wasn't suggesting not introducing him to the idea ;-). I was suggesting not going in lockstep with the school and using this break to shore up whatever gaps he might have, while continuing to move ahead when you have time. The way our educational system is structured, we don't teach ideas, we teach algorithms, and as a result there's really a ton of review each year (because algorithms are hard to remember, so kids forget them.) 

I'd personally make sure he's seen all the ideas but not worry about covering exactly the same stuff the school is.  

 

I don't think that our educational system's approach to math serves every child well, but I do think he's one of those kids who has been served well by it.  Definitely better than his oldest brother, who does have some gaps, or his middle brother who has probably never learned anything in a math classroom because he came in so far ahead.  

But I guess my feeling is that if the issue is that I feel like I don't have enough time to do our current curriculum, adding a second math program, or adding in games to go back and review, isn't going to solve that problem.  I think the idea of doubling up on math when we can do it, and then coming back to English if it's clear we're ahead of pace on math is probably the best.  Looking at the schedule for the week, we got in about 2 hours of homeschool time today, and we should do the same for the rest of the week, except maybe Friday, so we'll try doing a math lesson, reading aloud to each other, and then doing another math lesson, and see how he does with that much math for the rest of this week.  If it goes well, then that will be our plan moving forward.  

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1 minute ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

 

I don't think that our educational system's approach to math serves every child well, but I do think he's one of those kids who has been served well by it.  Definitely better than his oldest brother, who does have some gaps, or his middle brother who has probably never learned anything in a math classroom because he came in so far ahead.  

But I guess my feeling is that if the issue is that I feel like I don't have enough time to do our current curriculum, adding a second math program, or adding in games to go back and review, isn't going to solve that problem.  I think the idea of doubling up on math when we can do it, and then coming back to English if it's clear we're ahead of pace on math is probably the best.  Looking at the schedule for the week, we got in about 2 hours of homeschool time today, and we should do the same for the rest of the week, except maybe Friday, so we'll try doing a math lesson, reading aloud to each other, and then doing another math lesson, and see how he does with that much math for the rest of this week.  If it goes well, then that will be our plan moving forward.  

 

I was just suggesting he play some math games with someone else, even if they can't model anything :-). The nice thing about hands-on learning is that it kind of models itself. But that sounds like it's a stressful idea for you, and what's most important here is that the plan sound feasible to you! And what you have outlined sounds good to me, too. And I do think your husband is right that this is a good time for your son to just play and build and be with people he loves. 

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Just now, square_25 said:

 

I was just suggesting he play some math games with someone else, even if they can't model anything :-). The nice thing about hands-on learning is that it kind of models itself. But that sounds like it's a stressful idea for you, and what's most important here is that the plan sound feasible to you! And what you have outlined sounds good to me, too. And I do think your husband is right that this is a good time for your son to just play and build and be with people he loves. 


Our primary childcare provider is in his late 80's.  He's wonderful, and in really good shape for his 80's, but we're already leaning on him pretty heavily.  He comes whenever we need him, and does a fantastic job of keeping DS3, who is super extroverted and craving attention right now, close and busy, while simultaneously meeting the needs of DS1.   He and DS3 almost always cooks us a delicious dinner.  He is a major reason why our family is functioning at all.  But DH is hesitant to add one more thing to his plate, even something like a game, and after listening to his feelings, I think I agree.   

 

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1 minute ago, CuriousMomof3 said:


Our primary childcare provider is in his late 80's.  He's wonderful, and in really good shape for his 80's, but we're already leaning on him pretty heavily.  He comes whenever we need him, and does a fantastic job of keeping DS3, who is super extroverted and craving attention right now, close and busy, while simultaneously meeting the needs of DS1.   He and DS3 almost always cooks us a delicious dinner.  He is a major reason why our family is functioning at all.  But DH is hesitant to add one more thing to his plate, even something like a game, and after listening to his feelings, I think I agree.   

 

 

Yeah, I can totally see that! Maybe he could play with his brother or something at some point. But anyway, it sounds like you have enough to do without arranging games... maybe an idea for the future is all. 

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4 minutes ago, square_25 said:

 

Yeah, I can totally see that! Maybe he could play with his brother or something at some point. But anyway, it sounds like you have enough to do without arranging games... maybe an idea for the future is all. 

 

And to be clear, we play games.  If I open the math book, and I can think of a game for that skill, we're likely to skip most of the problems and play the game instead.  But coming up with the games and then teaching them to my 12 year old, so that he can then teach them to my 9 year old, that could be time consuming.

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Just now, CuriousMomof3 said:

 

And to be clear, we play games.  If I open the math book, and I can think of a game for that skill, we're likely to skip most of the problems and play the game instead.  But coming up with the games and then teaching them to my 12 year old, so that he can then teach them to my 9 year old, that could be time consuming.

It totally does. I'm really not arguing at this point :-). 

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