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Anything major you're changing next year?


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I'm changing morning time. DH and I were talking about encouraging the kids to begin taking charge of their own spiritual lives, and MT is frustrating for me these days because they are distractible, cranky, etc. So we're going to start each day with a quick prayer together and then about 45 minutes of individual reading--they can read anything they want, school-related, Bible, or independent--and/or silent prayer. The only rules are that they have to be silently reading an ink-and-paper book, and that we will all be sitting together as "family time." I will be reading my own stuff with them. We'll see how it works.

The other big thing that I'm adding is for DS15, a "weekly research journal." I want him to come up with a question each week--big or small--record the process he went through to find the answer, and then try to investigate two related questions each week. He's a curious kid, likes to learn new info, but every research project so far has involved essays/research papers, and he hates them and finds the whole process overwhelming. I want to offer him more of an opportunity to pursue his interests with a less intense output requirement.

Oh, and no phones, even during lunch break. They can have 'em back when they're done with their work.

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I'm switching out curriculums which is huge for us but we've been doing a very history-heavy curriculum for years and are going to move to something a bit lighter in order to give us more time to focus on other subjects.  We have a lot of short days due to sports commitments (which may not happen in the same form next year) so we have had years of always feeling behind.  I'm trying to alleviate that feeling.  We need some cushion in our days!

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2 hours ago, JanOH said:

I'm switching out curriculums which is huge for us but we've been doing a very history-heavy curriculum for years and are going to move to something a bit lighter in order to give us more time to focus on other subjects.  We have a lot of short days due to sports commitments (which may not happen in the same form next year) so we have had years of always feeling behind.  I'm trying to alleviate that feeling.  We need some cushion in our days!


Heh, I second the bolded. Our short days are more from me working a lot of hours so the kids can't always come to me with their questions. They are supposed to be primarily self-directed, but it's hard for them to know what to do next if they run into an obstacle and I'm not available to help. So one kid got away with doing almost no writing assignments for 4 months... This year though, thanks to Google Classroom, I was able to see that she'd never submitted them and, well, now she's catching up by doing multiple weeks of Writing With Skill per day. Not exactly the goal of WWS, but she decided she'd rather do it that way than spend all summer catching up the usual way 😂

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I'm down to just 3 in school next year (+ the baby) which feels weird. I'm hoping to do math with my high schooler first thing, then spend time with the 7th and 3rd graders, then at the end of the day circle back with my 11th grader to discuss the day's work. Since they're all so spread out in age, I think this will be the first year I don't have anybody doing any subjects together except for morning meeting.

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DS is going to do several dual enrollment classes at the large local university. We've done most of our classes at home or online and, as of now, the university is planning to have in-person classes. DD is giving up gymnastics which had a significant influence on our schedule, but I'll need to find more social outlets for her since she got that from all her time at the gym.

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11 hours ago, mom2scouts said:

DS is going to do several dual enrollment classes at the large local university. We've done most of our classes at home or online and, as of now, the university is planning to have in-person classes. DD is giving up gymnastics which had a significant influence on our schedule, but I'll need to find more social outlets for her since she got that from all her time at the gym.


We are trying DE next year too, for DS. I'm a little worried, because he's not very responsible when it comes to school. But he really wants to learn American Sign Language because he has an aunt and uncle who are Deaf, and learning via online (self-paced) courses hasn't been effective. So we'll try ASL at the local college. Most homeschoolers around here try to achieve the Associate's degree by high school graduation, but I don't expect my kiddo to do that. Just going to throw in like 1-2 classes per semester.

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We’re moving away from a CM/classical approach to building our own courses based on my kid’s interests.  We’ll continue to read plenty of great literature, but I’m simplifying history down to one spine book to give us more time for hands on math and science.  We’ll delve into architecture, engineering, circuits and physics.  After years of nature study, we’re all looking forward to it.

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1 hour ago, WoolC said:

We’re moving away from a CM/classical approach to building our own courses based on my kid’s interests.  We’ll continue to read plenty of great literature, but I’m simplifying history down to one spine book to give us more time for hands on math and science.  We’ll delve into architecture, engineering, circuits and physics.  After years of nature study, we’re all looking forward to it.


The longer I've homeschooled, the more confident I've felt that the classical approach is really just a useful framework that should guide the way I teach rather than a curriculum as such. In particular, as I've shepherded my kids through the straight WTM approach (particularly the 4-4-4 breakdown), I've come to believe that for my particular kids, I should have kept them in Grammar Stage for longer. The Japanese approach is 6-3-3, considering middle school to begin in 7th and high school in 10th. If I could do it over again, I wouldn't have been so desperate to meet every WTM benchmark at the ages/grades the WTM says they should be ready for them. Spreading the Grammar Stage stuff out over 6 years, beginning and ending Logic later, and compressing Rhetoric would have served them better. If we ever adopt more kids, I think that's what I'll plan to do.

The fact is, I spent too many years comparing my kiddos to where I was at their age. My kids had a rough, disadvantaged early childhood that has affected them, particularly academically, more profoundly than what appears on the surface. Beyond that, over the past few years of tutoring other people's kids, I've come to realize that I was actually more exceptional than my parents ever let on. I confronted my mom about this at one point recently, and she said, "Yes, you were very bright and we knew that. You already had a streak of egotism and I didn't want you to get more arrogant by having the "gifted" label. Your brother [4 years older] was having terrible self-esteem issues about how easily you could compete with him and you would have held it over his head." That sort of backfired, though, because I've spent years and years believing that first my peers and then my kids were just slackers and if they'd just put in the tiniest bit more effort, they'd understand/ get good grades/ etc. Discovering that I really do learn quicker (and that I have eidetic memory) has actually made me more humble and cut others more slack. (Although, to be honest, I probably would have treated my brother badly. She's right about that.)

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45 minutes ago, egao_gakari said:


If I could do it over again, I wouldn't have been so desperate to meet every WTM benchmark at the ages/grades the WTM says they should be ready for them. Spreading the Grammar Stage stuff out over 6 years, beginning and ending Logic later, and compressing Rhetoric would have served them better. If we ever adopt more kids, I think that's what I'll plan to do.

I love WTM as a framework and as an inspiration and encouragement that I can, in fact, give my kids a rigorous and meaningful high school education all on my own, but I found this to be true too. My kids are all bright and possibly a few of them are even gifted (1 maybe even profoundly so) but they were in no way shape or form ready for rhetoric in 9th grade. Maaaaaaaybe 11th. And most weren't ready for logic stage stuff til 7th. 

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1 hour ago, Momto6inIN said:

I love WTM as a framework and as an inspiration and encouragement that I can, in fact, give my kids a rigorous and meaningful high school education all on my own, but I found this to be true too. My kids are all bright and possibly a few of them are even gifted (1 maybe even profoundly so) but they were in no way shape or form ready for rhetoric in 9th grade. Maaaaaaaybe 11th. And most weren't ready for logic stage stuff til 7th. 

That's encouraging to hear that it isn't just my experience!!

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I'm not ready to start planning the actual schedule or flow to the day yet. But our biggest difference is that my senior is graduating. Since ydd was born, my focus has been on high school- figuring out what to teach, how to do it, how to handle school counselor responsibilities and testing, etc. I had two olders and Lo who learned by osmosis and from preschool co-op times. Next year she's moving into 1st grade! So I'll have one high schooler and one 1st grader. Much of the stress is gone from the high school stuff since I've survived it once (though graduation during Covid has been an adventure!) I've been able to dedicate more time with the lo this semester and she's now reading. I'm remembering how intensive my elem WTM years were. So I'm seeing the focus shifting to more attention to her. I'll still need to help dd15 with math and foreign language. I'm going to include lo in the foreign language to start Spanish with her a little. Our days are going to be full! I'll be back when I'm ready to start planning!

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This year we didn't have as much time for field trips like we took in Kindy and 1st grade. And now with us being stuck inside, I really really feel how much we have missed field trips each week. So we will be back to taking a field trip each week, even if no museums open up, we will go to the sea and learn there. 

I want to move math to first thing after family devotions. We did our language arts first this year, so I feel the need to alternate each year. This way we will always get to math no matter what the day brings. 

 

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4 hours ago, egao_gakari said:

The Japanese approach is 6-3-3, considering middle school to begin in 7th and high school in 10th. If I could do it over again, I wouldn't have been so desperate to meet every WTM benchmark at the ages/grades the WTM says they should be ready for them. Spreading the Grammar Stage stuff out over 6 years, beginning and ending Logic later, and compressing Rhetoric would have served them better. If we ever adopt more kids, I think that's what I'll plan to do.

 

After teaching 5 kids, 1 graduated and 1 graduates this December, I completely agree with this.  Someone else said that a couple of years ago - was it a homeschooler from Canada??  They were saying that high school where they lived was actually 10th grade+ and junior high was 7th-9th.  I've noticed an enormous leap in abilities when my kids reach 17.  Like even standard high school stuff looks too easy/not the right level for my 17 year-old.  It seems like some magical number in development.  I don't know if anyone else has noticed this?   

As far as changing things - we're about halfway through our school year right now.  Here's some changes this year: 

  • I tried Morning Basket/Morning Time at the beginning of the year and we only lasted about 8 weeks.  It was just way too weird to have so many moving parts that weren't tied to the other subjects I was teaching.  I just couldn't make it work.  
  • I started teaching Elements of Style (Strunk & White) to the high schoolers.  This was strange/awkward at first, because we basically sat in a triangle and I read through a section and we discussed it.  But, I quickly discovered that the teenagers had great input on what I was reading and even I disagreed with a few things in the book - which led to interesting discussions on writing style.  So far, this has been really worthwhile.
  • Daily ACT Math Problem - I never thought I would stick with this, but boy, this has been awesome.  I have an ACT Prep book and every day, I write an ACT math problem on the dry erase board in the school room.  It was supposed to be for ds17 to practice before he takes the college placement tests next spring, but the other kids have been trying to solve them too.  If ds17 gets the problem wrong, I solve the problem with him on the board.  Absolutely wonderful.  And he's getting most of them right anyway, which is boosting his confidence.
  • Daily prealgebra review problem for dd12 - everyday, I post 1-4 problems from Lial's Basic College Math on the dry erase board for dd12 to solve.  She's using Dimensions Math, but having a review problem every day has helped.
  • Read-alouds for the teens - yeah, this is weird, but I started reading aloud to the 17 year-old and 15 year-old.  They're enjoying it and we're reading The Cat of Bubastes right now, so yay...lol.

Our school year will probably be finished around late October/early November.  I don't even have our plans for the next year, yet.  I need to get planning.

 

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22 minutes ago, Slache said:

Streamlining foreign language because we have Greek and Japanese and a baby due in September. Help.

Starting a timeline.

 

Eh, yeah, we're managing Latin and German.  Yuck.  It's almost too much.  I've told dd15 she can drop Latin if she wants, but she's continuing.  DD12 dropped Latin (she hated it - like I thought she was going to cry every time I got the book out).

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With DS is a change (already started because we go year-round) that is making me laugh at myself. I have read posts on here from people who use more than one math program at a time, and I've always wondered why. With my girls, I've always found something that worked, and when it didn't work any more, I found something else that did and we switched completely to that. I knew people had reasons for using multiple programs, obviously, but I didn't really get it. Well, now I get it. 😂 My third child needs certain things from one math program and certain things from another, and no matter how I tried to JUST DO ONE, it wasn't working. Switching between the two programs? Works GREAT. It may be that this is just for a season and after a while we'll get back to my one-program comfort zone, but at least for this season, we're using two. 

DD#2 and foreign language - I'm not sure what the plan is, but starting a new language is not out of the realm of possibility. Trying to figure out how to balance her desire to Learn! All! The! Languages! and my need to protect my sanity (and hers). I have until September/October-ish to figure this one out.

The girls have taken a break from grammar for the past year; DD#2 will start that back up, at her request. At the request of both girls, we'll be adding logic (we had previously done the Logic Liftoff series but after they finished those I didn't start anything else). Those subjects will start up in July, or maybe late June.

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7 hours ago, egao_gakari said:


The longer I've homeschooled, the more confident I've felt that the classical approach is really just a useful framework that should guide the way I teach rather than a curriculum as such. In particular, as I've shepherded my kids through the straight WTM approach (particularly the 4-4-4 breakdown), I've come to believe that for my particular kids, I should have kept them in Grammar Stage for longer. The Japanese approach is 6-3-3, considering middle school to begin in 7th and high school in 10th. If I could do it over again, I wouldn't have been so desperate to meet every WTM benchmark at the ages/grades the WTM says they should be ready for them. Spreading the Grammar Stage stuff out over 6 years, beginning and ending Logic later, and compressing Rhetoric would have served them better. If we ever adopt more kids, I think that's what I'll plan to do.


This is really helpful to hear!  My boys are entering 4th and 5th grade and we’e definitely not ready for logic stage writing/output.  My oldest is autistic and has several learning differences, so I had to give up on comparing with others and keeping up with the WTM program pretty quickly.  We’ll get there when we get there, and probably through unconventional means. The 6-3-3 model does sound much more realistic for the average kid.

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My 6th is graduating, so I will be down to only 2 of my kids in the fall, in 5th and 9th.  But, I am taking on more direct responsibility for homeschooling my 2 oldest grandkids, 3rd and 4th.  My ds and dil are ordering OM for them and I will be teaching them alternately MWF/TH and fliippng the next week.  Dil will be homeschooling their 1st grader and then working with whichever one of the 3rd/4th graders is at home on the alternating days.  Using a program like OM is the only way I could picture this working so that we are both on the same page as to what they should be doing.  It may end up being a complete disaster this way.  We'll see. I hope we can make it work.

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4 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

My 6th is graduating, so I will be down to only 2 of my kids in the fall, in 5th and 9th.  But, I am taking on more direct responsibility for homeschooling my 2 oldest grandkids, 3rd and 4th.  My ds and dil are ordering OM for them and I will be teaching them alternately MWF/TH and fliippng the next week.  Dil will be homeschooling their 1st grader and then working with whichever one of the 3rd/4th graders is at home on the alternating days.  Using a program like OM is the only way I could picture this working so that we are both on the same page as to what they should be doing.  It may end up being a complete disaster this way.  We'll see. I hope we can make it work.

That sounds complicated! Best of luck with it. (What does OM stand for?)

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4 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Oak Meadow 

 

I do hope you come back and tell us what it's like teaching with OM.  I've looked at that curriculum for years, but it's way out of our price range.  It's very expensive.

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I'm not sure if this counts as a major change but I'm not going to assign books in a CM way again. I'm not a CM person or expert but I used some CM curricula to gauge how many pages to assign on a daily basis. Reading several books at the same time, spread out over a long time was a drag for both of us. I know that's how AO does things but I don't get it. If DD really liked the book, she wanted to keep going. If she didn't like the book, it just drug out the misery. 

I also discovered that when I followed those guidelines about the number of pages to assign on a daily basis, sometimes DD would complete her reading so quickly that she didn't spend enough time on school for the day. There were a few times I wondered if she actually read the assignment because she finished so quickly but then I had her narrate and she had read the entire thing and remembered all of the important points. 

I'm working on the booklist now and I think I will assign less books at the same time but longer assignments. 

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47 minutes ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

I'm not sure if this counts as a major change but I'm not going to assign books in a CM way again. I'm not a CM person or expert but I used some CM curricula to gauge how many pages to assign on a daily basis. Reading several books at the same time, spread out over a long time was a drag for both of us. I know that's how AO does things but I don't get it. If DD really liked the book, she wanted to keep going. If she didn't like the book, it just drug out the misery. 

I also discovered that when I followed those guidelines about the number of pages to assign on a daily basis, sometimes DD would complete her reading so quickly that she didn't spend enough time on school for the day. There were a few times I wondered if she actually read the assignment because she finished so quickly but then I had her narrate and she had read the entire thing and remembered all of the important points. 

I'm working on the booklist now and I think I will assign less books at the same time but longer assignments. 

Depending on the child and/or age, I often assign books by time vs pages.  For some kids, I gauge how many pages for x amt of time and break it up that way.  

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3 hours ago, Evanthe said:

I do hope you come back and tell us what it's like teaching with OM.  I've looked at that curriculum for years, but it's way out of our price range.  It's very expensive.

Ds came over today and we went over what they need to order (they are on sale until tomorrow).  I own most of the books, so he didn't need to order whole packages.  I decided he needed  to order Horizons bc I didn't like their math and Apples and Pears spelling bc his dd is dyslexic.  But, I think it is going to be a good yr.  The program is very low key and very conversational--exactly how I teach.  Dd needs more handholding, so plans she can follow will work well for her.

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4 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

That sounds like a great plan, but isn't the first grader going to get jealous that siblings get Grandma time?  

Could you just do different subjects?  I've got two kids who will be going back and forth between Dad and Grandpa, and my plan is that they'll each have their own subjects so there is no confusion.

He is used to it.  Before the whole shelter at home order, I did math with the older 2 one day per week.  He comes over for Mimi time frequently.   Dil gets overwhelmed with all 4 kids at home, so this will provide more structure for them and give her fewer kids to focus on at a time.  She handle the 1st grader easily.  The 3rd grader is a handful, so not having to teach him at the same time as the 4th grader will be beneficial all around.  No way we could do this with only the 3rd grader coming over bc the 4th grader is my dd's best friend.

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20 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Depending on the child and/or age, I often assign books by time vs pages.  For some kids, I gauge how many pages for x amt of time and break it up that way.  

I've done both. Sometimes assigning a set amount of time is a big disaster because she will literally read just a couple of pages. I've learned that I have to do things differently for different books and also depending on how the day is going. 

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Great idea about the research journal, I'm going to tuck that idea away.

My younger three kids have been in public school for the last two years.  I'm really contemplating what pieces of my old homeschool life I want to pick back up again and what I want to live behind. I am also trying to find a way for us all to thrive, even though we're likely to be almost entirely at home this next year (or three).  

I think we're going to be doing a lot more art.

Beyond that, I'm not sure.

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On 5/23/2020 at 4:50 PM, Momto6inIN said:

I love WTM as a framework and as an inspiration and encouragement that I can, in fact, give my kids a rigorous and meaningful high school education all on my own, but I found this to be true too. My kids are all bright and possibly a few of them are even gifted (1 maybe even profoundly so) but they were in no way shape or form ready for rhetoric in 9th grade. Maaaaaaaybe 11th. And most weren't ready for logic stage stuff til 7th. 

It's so nice to know we are not the only ones! We are running at least a year behind for WTM language arts recommendations at our house. I didn't even attempt copywork for ds this year. We'll try it when he's in 2nd and see how it goes. Dd, in 5th,  just started writing summaries this year. Next year we'll begin more formal discussion of the literature recommended in WTM.

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I'm planning to try a schedule for this coming year. I'll have a 1st and 3rd grader along with a prek kid who loves having lessons and a toddler. I tried making a schedule once before, but the little ones were too unpredictable so it was more frustrating than helpful. This year, though, I need to at least have a strong idea of who I'm working with and have clear expectations for what the oldest is doing when I'm not right with her. I'm going to try to balance this by having the kids take turns playing with the little one. I'm thinking of having a list of activity ideas for them to do with him, and every activity they do gets a check mark. Then, if they get a certain number of these, they earn a weekly movie night for the family.

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Dd17 will hopefully be doing some DE classes this fall. If that happens, she'll so relatively little at home for me. I've spent a lot of time thinking about it, and I think the most effective way to feel like I am working with each child enough and have a cohesive feel to our homeschool is to actually split the kids up. I am going to be doing a separate read aloud/morning time for the little girls first thing in the morning. Then I will work with them for the things they need me for. After I am done working with them, I will read aloud to the boys and work with them on their individual subjects. If they are split, I won't have 4-5 kids wanting me to prioritize working with them at the same time. I'm looking forward to reading the little girls books that they are a great age for instead of an okay age for. Same with the boys.

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Our biggest change will be simply getting down to business with school work. This year went so sideways and I don't mean recently with covid related upset. We had a half-day co-op, they were in a two day a week hybrid program, and we had ABA from 1-5 three days a week. That left very little time to do work at home and we basically let everything but math go. Since Co op and hybrid school are on hold for the foreseeable future and we dropped ABA, I'm getting us back on a regular school routine. 

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11 hours ago, Paradox5 said:

To all those who spoke of delaying the WTM schedule- thank you.


It's especially important when starting in the middle, I think. My kids had learned the skill of faking understanding/ability--not in an intentionally deceitful manner but as a strategy, in order not to stand out as "dumb" in a high-performing charter school. DD was young enough when we pulled her out that she recovered from it pretty quickly, but DS has never shaken free from the impulse to pretend he understands rather than just to ask for help.

I now think that if I were to start from the beginning with a kid, I wouldn't start teaching handwriting or even math until at least 2nd grade, and we'd fill in the time with read-alouds and exploration of various types. My kids hate school and learning, and I keep thinking back on our first year of homeschooling and regretting that I didn't use that time differently. I imagine there are some kids who will never like learning, but I think my kids would have come to enjoy it if I hadn't been so rigid about making sure that the input and output matched what TWTM said a 4th grader and a 6th grader should be able to handle.

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I'm outsourcing less and I'm going to take more control of the curriculum. I thought having more online classes would help them feel more social during the day but I feel it's the opposite. I think having them do more classes with me and together will be better for accountability and keep them from spending all day in their rooms. I'm going to have to give us a college like schedule with classes and office hours (mine) to keep everyone on track. I'll still outsource some things but it will be more like half than 75-80%. Last year was my first year with high school and I think I was scared to mess it up.

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