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Doing too much or not enough?


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We started homeschooling our son this school year. He is 9 years old (very soon 10),  4th grade, accelerated learner and easy to teach in general. May not be able to convince my husband to continue this path after 4th so trying to enjoy all homeschooling has to offer and have generally chosen curriculum that is not reminiscent of public school. I oscillate between thoughts that I do not require enough, other times I think too much. I figure as long as he is moving forward and learning, if he needs to re-enter public, passing the previous year Starr test should not be an issue...I hope. We are in Texas so homeschoolers enjoy much freedom here. 

 

He is a great reader, reading comprehension and vocabulary seem great and I still see improvements as we move along. Math, he was supposedly advanced in public school but the teaching was no longer differentiated in 3rd grade from what I could see. 
 

Math -BA bought level 4 then bumped down to level 3B-3D because level 4 looked a bit too much. Finishing up 3D soon in the next 2-3 weeks. He seems to know most of the concepts already but maybe not the depth that BA does and does not need the repetition. I do occasionally make up a review “test” for lack of a better word. Give him a new concept and he takes off, we went to level 4D for fractions before Christmas vacation because he indicated obvious interest, which may be what I need to do for more of the math concepts....don’t want to blow through too fast though and leave gaps. The learning curve with this stuff is crazy. I have no friends using BA esp. as a stand alone curriculum so it is hard to determine if we are doing enough. 
 

LA is TGATB level 4- perfect fit except grammar, we do some Easy Grammar to cover grammar. I love TGATB for many reasons except they choose the reading which is great, but I like to choose my own so added in some good books that I read as well with just discussion, that my child reads independently. Also everything is just so crammed on the page, my son misses exercises all the time due to excessive clutter in the layout.  I want to do a less is more approach this next 6-8 weeks so purchased a TLP book based on Adam of the Road and will just do that and nix TGATB for a bit. I also don’t think my kid is ready for a research paper at the end of level 4 so I have MCT town level ready to go and may start grammar town after TLP and just do the rest of TGATB without their reading assignments as we ease into MCT. 

 

writing-I noticed he was not good at general mechanics (indenting, using margins, lots of spelling errors he should not be making, punctuation, capitalization) turns out he does know these things, he is just careless and maybe lazy because his 3rd grade teacher suggested he do these things but never required them done correctly. I chose to focus on more of that and use My Father’s World writing for today. Also to give tools for him to find writing easier, I recently added a gentle Interactive writing notebook, to help see strong verb choices and good descriptive adjectives are important. I do not feel great teaching writing. 

 

January loose schedule:

everyday: math (30 min solid work) LA 30-60 min) short bible reading (5 min) and duolingo spanish lesson. 
 

looped- just one subject a day history (SOTW set 2) science (apologia elementary A & P),  formal writing curriculum (some other subjects will have writing included) these take 30-60 min each

 

Daily looped- 30 min approximately...do 1-2 or even 3 if time allows....music, art, typing, handwriting, grammar, memory work (math facts, state capitals)

 

I know this is a lot to read and if you made it through, thank you. I have been reading all the posts, esp MCT posts, and I know there is a lot of great advice here. I know a lot of folks here seem to be curriculum enthusiasts, so if you see gaps or areas that need re-thinking, please call me out on that.

 

 


 


 

 

 


 


 

 

 

 

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Your schedule is similar to mine for my fourth grade boy.  I also have those "are we doing the right amount" moments; I think we all do 🙂  As I read your schedule and the order you've described things in, I interpret that math and language arts are the basic foundation subjects getting the most time and energy, history and science are a level out from that, and Spanish, art, music, typing are the gravy but you're getting to them regularly.  It sounds like you're clear on your goals and priorities and you're meeting them - well done!  Beast and MCT are both challenging programs, well suited to a bright kid, and although I haven't used Apologia science, SOTW is also a very solid choice for history.

Since you may only have another six months of homeschooling and you're looking to set this year apart from his normal bricks and mortar school day, perhaps you might consider doing something not academic or even school-adjacent with any extra energy/time you have available.  Would he love to learn some cooking skills with you?  Are there places you could regularly go hiking?  What about getting some of your weekend jobs out of the way during the week and having a regular board game night when your DH is available too?  A woodworking class?  Some hens to raise?  A photography course (or, given Covid, reading a book on photography and trying out the tips together)?  If/when gathering is okay in your area, would he like to create an exhibition of art he's made this year and invite some family members to come see it?  Pick one thing that sounds enjoyable to both of you and add it in.  If after a month or so you still have energy to burn, pick something else.  The relationship you build with him this year will be such a great foundation even if he is back at school next year, but seeing you both thriving and hearing him talk about how much he loves what you're doing together is surely the most likely path to convincing your DH that it's worth giving it another year.

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3 hours ago, caffeineandbooks said:

Your schedule is similar to mine for my fourth grade boy.  I also have those "are we doing the right amount" moments; I think we all do 🙂  As I read your schedule and the order you've described things in, I interpret that math and language arts are the basic foundation subjects getting the most time and energy, history and science are a level out from that, and Spanish, art, music, typing are the gravy but you're getting to them regularly.  It sounds like you're clear on your goals and priorities and you're meeting them - well done!  Beast and MCT are both challenging programs, well suited to a bright kid, and although I haven't used Apologia science, SOTW is also a very solid choice for history.

Since you may only have another six months of homeschooling and you're looking to set this year apart from his normal bricks and mortar school day, perhaps you might consider doing something not academic or even school-adjacent with any extra energy/time you have available.  Would he love to learn some cooking skills with you?  Are there places you could regularly go hiking?  What about getting some of your weekend jobs out of the way during the week and having a regular board game night when your DH is available too?  A woodworking class?  Some hens to raise?  A photography course (or, given Covid, reading a book on photography and trying out the tips together)?  If/when gathering is okay in your area, would he like to create an exhibition of art he's made this year and invite some family members to come see it?  Pick one thing that sounds enjoyable to both of you and add it in.  If after a month or so you still have energy to burn, pick something else.  The relationship you build with him this year will be such a great foundation even if he is back at school next year, but seeing you both thriving and hearing him talk about how much he loves what you're doing together is surely the most likely path to convincing your DH that it's worth giving it another year.

You summed it up perfectly. 😊
I also really value history, I just chose to do TX history the first semester and I was not enthused (would much rather cover it in our travels), also my library did not have 99% of the recommended books in Gentle Tour of TX History. So I am looking forward to SOTW. He wants to learn about medieval times, hence starting with the second set. I have the activity guide for hand on fun activities and we are both excited to start. The science is good, he enjoys it. I know history and science will be covered again later on. 
 

Those are great ideas to add!  We do already cook some together, he is learning to make some of his favorites. I will definitely add photography. Covid means there are less homeschool group activities, but I am trying to hit homeschool swim, park days, skate days and do things during the regular school day that normally we could not do. We do 6 weeks on and 1 week off, took all of December off to enjoy the season, focus on faith and family and learned a bit about Christmas traditions around the world. I liked the year round homeschool option so we will go through June, take a 3 week break and finish anything needing finished to prep for a 5th grade public school ☹️ or hopefully just truck on with homeschool 5th 🙏🤞

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4 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

Sounds pretty reasonable, although I'd do more like an hour of math a day. 

Also, what exactly is he learning in Language Arts? What concepts are in there? 

The Good and the Beautiful has grammar (diagramming sentences), geography, art, punctuation, spelling, vocabulary, literature and writing. We do not do any sentence diagramming or writing or memorization of geography cards (I have previously purchased grammar and writing that I use instead). The spelling seems to stick better than what I additionally use which is spellwell.

 

I am in love with MCT and intend to start at least the grammar soon. I live TGATB but I think he can get more from MCT 

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Sounds like you are doing the right amount. If he is improving and handling everything well, it sounds just right. 

It is easy to sway back and forth in the mind about how much we should do. This is the planting season. All done in faith that the harvest will be bountiful! 

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Is he bored? How is he using his time when you're not working with him? 

You want to leave him some free time and reserves so he can pursue his own things. 

On 12/23/2020 at 11:28 AM, Kezia said:

writing-I noticed he was not good at general mechanics (indenting, using margins, lots of spelling errors he should not be making, punctuation, capitalization) turns out he does know these things, he is just careless and maybe lazy

You could throw in a basic editing workbook. Around that age my dd used https://www.teachercreated.com/products/take-five-minutes-a-history-fact-a-day-for-editing-3051

 

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On 12/25/2020 at 1:17 AM, PeterPan said:

Is he bored?

He has so much he could be doing like Legos, kinex, art supplies, curiosity stream, books, 16 acres to freely discover and more. 

How is he using his time when you're not working with him? 
 

If he had it his way, Legend of Zelda or Minecraft for any and all down time with a super eager 6 am school start time so he could get to the video games. 

You want to leave him some free time and reserves so he can pursue his own things. 
 

We do school 2.5-3.5 hours daily at most, he has 2 martial arts classes a week. He has a lot more free time than he ever had in public school with 8.5 hours away from home and learned much less in that time. 

You could throw in a basic editing workbook. Around that age my dd used https://www.teachercreated.com/products/take-five-minutes-a-history-fact-a-day-for-editing-3051

I will check that out! I also grabbed WWE and W&R just to try them out a couple times a week, since both programs have copywork/dictation/narration. He seems like a natural writer who just doesn’t like to put pencil to paper (and refuses margins, makes his own 1.5” inside of the pink ones that are already there). He also says he can’t think of what to write, unless I tell him to write a story about Zelda....that story was over 100 pages. 

 

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1 hour ago, Kezia said:

I also grabbed WWE and W&R just to try them out a couple times a week, since both programs have copywork/dictation/narration. He seems like a natural writer who just doesn’t like to put pencil to paper (and refuses margins, makes his own 1.5” inside of the pink ones that are already there). He also says he can’t think of what to write, unless I tell him to write a story about Zelda....that story was over 100 pages. 

That's amazing! Maybe he'd like to research and write little nonfiction narrations/reports on topics that interest him? If he *types* his dictations and narrations, does that make a difference!

It sounds like you're doing a really good job connecting with him as a learner. :smile:

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