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I will be homeschooling all four, grades K, 2nd, 4th, and 5th. I did choose a 2nd grade Memoria Press enrichment program that has Bible, History, and a little Science. My eldest son’s vocabulary from MCT appears to be full of Roman history. But I didn’t choose a formal science or history… or a Bible course (I really wanted to continue with MP Christian Studies). . I was planning to build good habits by not overdoing it and using a habit training book with lessons for the kids before we add more.  I am not a casual person when it comes to education, and even without these subjects, I’m starting to get worried about long tiring days. Maybe it’s just the anticipation, and maybe it won’t be too bad. I feel like math alone could take 4 hours a day. Since these are all cores for kids at different levels and abilities, I can’t combine. I do feel like the last two years everyday has been an assembly line and exhausting. I don’t know how bigger families do it. I still think I’m doing better than our public school. I wish I could have less tiring days, and I’m hoping the habit training helps. Anyone else? 

Edited by Ting Tang
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Big caveat: I only have two, and they are one grade apart. So I don't have experience with four.

I have seen this done so I know it can be done. I am not certain of the particulars and hopefully others will chime in. Here are some thoughts I have based on my experience with my two.

You should be able to combine the two youngers and the two olders for subjects like science and history and even read alouds. For science and history, can you read the content aloud?  I was able to have my kids work together for writing also (they are only a grade apart in school).  So that might be a possibility for your two oldest.   

Sometimes there is something you can have a child do while the other is busy.  Copywork, a pile of library books to explore, a puzzle, a game, drawing, educational comics, a tinker box, a math facts app, stack the states, etc.  

When my kids got to about 4th/5th we were using Prodigy math as a fun supplement.  We did eventually get a subscription (there are group buys which make it much cheaper) because they really loved it and the subscription opens up more aspects of the game.  That might buy you 10 minutes with your youngers, and it will provide some other review for math.  

Is nature study an option for your kids? I have a friend that  has four boys from 5th to K and their science is a lot of hiking in the woods, exploring, and asking questions about nature. There is nothing wrong with that. 

For math, I would not attempt to do an hour a day with a Kindergartener. I hope that someone can comment on how long you are supposed to spend but my memory is about three or four pages of a workbook a day which was maybe 20 minutes.  2nd grade also will not be an hour.  

@Lori D.

Edited by cintinative
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I'm not sure what you chose for math, but it should not take an hr per child for math at those grade levels, not even for instruction and completion of problems.  K in total should be able to be completed in under an hr.  2nd grade in total in around 2.  Math for K should take maybe 15 mins of your direct time and maybe 5 additional minutes for the student.  2nd grade maybe 15-20 of your time and maybe 5-10 mins more for the student or vice versa (5 mins instruction and 15-20 mins independent....I am trying to picture an hour on math and just can't.).  Even for 4th and 5th grade, your direct instruction time should not be an hr but in terms of minutes (again, less than 15 to 20, but student time should increase to maybe 30-45 mins total.)

Even when teaching high school math, I have never spent an hour with my kids.  

Edited by 8filltheheart
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33 minutes ago, cintinative said:

Big caveat: I only have two, and they are one grade apart. So I don't have experience with four.

I have seen this done so I know it can be done. I am not certain of the particulars and hopefully others will chime in. Here are some thoughts I have based on my experience with my two.

You should be able to combine the two youngers and the two olders for subjects like science and history and even read alouds. For science and history, can you read the content aloud?  I was able to have my kids work together for writing also (they are only a grade apart in school).  So that might be a possibility for your two oldest.   

Sometimes there is something you can have a child do while the other is busy.  Copywork, a pile of library books to explore, a puzzle, a game, drawing, educational comics, a tinker box, a math facts app, stack the states, etc.  

When my kids got to about 4th/5th we were using Prodigy math as a fun supplement.  We did eventually get a subscription (there are group buys which make it much cheaper) because they really loved it and the subscription opens up more aspects of the game.  That might buy you 10 minutes with your youngers, and it will provide some other review for math.  

Is nature study an option for your kids? I have a friend that  has four boys from 5th to K and their science is a lot of hiking in the woods, exploring, and asking questions about nature. There is nothing wrong with that. 

For math, I would not attempt to do an hour a day with a Kindergartener. I hope that someone can comment on how long you are supposed to spend but my memory is about three or four pages of a workbook a day which was maybe 20 minutes.  2nd grade also will not be an hour.  

@Lori D.

 

33 minutes ago, 8filltheheart said:

I'm not sure what you chose for math, but it should not take an hr per child for math at those grade levels, not even for instruction and completion of problems.  K in total should be able to be completed in under an hr.  2nd grade in total in around 2.  Math for K should take maybe 15 mins of your direct time and maybe 5 additional minutes for the student.  2nd grade maybe 15-20 of your time and maybe 5-10 mins more for the student or vice versa (5 mins instruction and 15-20 mins independent....I am trying to picture an hour on math and just can't.).  Even for 4th and 5th grade, your direct instruction time should not be an hr but in terms of minutes (again, less than 15 to 20, but student time should increase to maybe 30-45 mins total.)

Even when teaching high school math, I have never spent an hour with my kids.  

Thank you both!  I think I am going to have all the kids be involved in the enrichment.  It does include some nature study.  Except for the Kinder kid, I chose Singapore Dimensions and Primary for the three older kids.  Maybe I am way overestimating the time it will take to do the class/textbook activities plus the workbook?  In the past, they have not been very independent on doing the problems after a lesson.  I hope to work on this level of independence.  I would really love for our days to be over by 1 or 2.  Another issue in our home is I am the only one doing anything, and it is a feel bad disaster during the school year, so that is another reason for the habit training.  I am going to use the Laying Down the Rails Companion books that have lessons for them.  I just really needed help in that area. Singapore math is new for me, and I have been reading the Teacher Guide.  I am going to abandon my way of teaching math and make sure I am adhering to the methodology.  The kids have looked through their textbooks at length and are excited so far...so far...lol

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We're going into 6th, 4th, 1st and we have a 2 year old and I have Lupus.

I read content subjects during meal times and assign independent work and reading based on age. Over breakfast is Training Hearts; Teaching Minds, various poetry books and Daily Art which is an art appreciation app. Over Lunch will be Our 50 States transitioning to A Concise History of Us, and Classical Astronomy. I read, write down what I expect on post its and hand them out.

Both of my big students do math and writing independently and I correct their work. I have one doing Saxon and one doing Beast Academy online, both either have done or are doing Xtra Math. For writing we have only done IEW and only videos the past 2 years. My eldest is doing Cover Story next year but that's also videos.

DH teaches music in his free time. The kids and I do Artistic Pursuits in the evening when there is time.

Languages are my most intensive. Everyone is learning Spanish, Japanese and Ancient Greek at their own pace. And of course this year phonics, handwriting and math will be time consuming with my 1st grader.

In summary, content subjects are grouped together read alouds, skill subjects are mostly independent, the arts are casual and language is my biggest challenge.

I school year around about 40-45 weeks a year.

We are the epitome of festina lente in this house. We are slow, we are consistent, we try hard, we fall short frequently, we have beautiful results. Living books are the backbone of our curriculum.

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As far as the house being a disaster...

I have a weekly list done every Sunday. This means we start fresh. We pick up before every meal and don't eat until it's done. I have one big kid that does the kitchen after every meal and one kid that tends to laundry or larger tasks after every meal, so our meals are bookended by chores. My house is pretty clean.

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I wouldn't expect the K and 2nd grade student to work independently. I'd be next to them while they are working. With the Ker, I'd be supervising everything bc proper number/letter formation is easier to instill from the beginning and correcting on the spot is the easiest approach.  The 4th and 5th grader, yes, I'd expect them to complete problems on their own.  I do grade every few problems if necessary to keep my kids that age on task or to keep me accountable for grading (it's easier for me to know math is graded vs having sit there waiting to be graded.)

I don't just "sit" there with my kids, though.  I can be doing other things while they are working....fold laundry, clean the kitchen, prep meals, etc or working with another student calling out spelling or some simple instructional content, etc.  Being present does not mean sitting doing nothing.  (I have some blog posts on my blog about behind the scenes vs. currriculum selection bc knowing how to make your homeschool a lifestyle vs a school means long-term successful functioning.....at least for me.  If I couldn't do anything other than sit with the kids all day long and do nothing else, I would find homeschooling very stressful vs. enjoyable/ a pleasure.  I love homeschooling, so finding a rhythm would be vital for me vs feeling oppressed.)

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And another thought....NO WAY I'd "make sure that I adhere to a methodology" foe anything.  Seriously.  Methodologies exist to assist learning. Methodologies are NOT meant to be masters, but tools.  I personally hate the way SM teaches, so it would drive me crazy to teach that way.  I really don't like any single way anything I have ever touched  for teaching in my 28 yrs of homeschooling.  I cannot fathom being a slave to anyone else's ideas.  For guidance, absolutely.  As de fide, heck no.

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29 minutes ago, Slache said:

We're going into 6th, 4th, 1st and we have a 2 year old and I have Lupus.

I read content subjects during meal times and assign independent work and reading based on age. Over breakfast is Training Hearts; Teaching Minds, various poetry books and Daily Art which is an art appreciation app. Over Lunch will be Our 50 States transitioning to A Concise History of Us, and Classical Astronomy. I read, write down what I expect on post its and hand them out.

Both of my big students do math and writing independently and I correct their work. I have one doing Saxon and one doing Beast Academy online, both either have done or are doing Xtra Math. For writing we have only done IEW and only videos the past 2 years. My eldest is doing Cover Story next year but that's also videos.

DH teaches music in his free time. The kids and I do Artistic Pursuits in the evening when there is time.

Languages are my most intensive. Everyone is learning Spanish, Japanese and Ancient Greek at their own pace. And of course this year phonics, handwriting and math will be time consuming with my 1st grader.

In summary, content subjects are grouped together read alouds, skill subjects are mostly independent, the arts are casual and language is my biggest challenge.

I school year around about 40-45 weeks a year.

We are the epitome of festina lente in this house. We are slow, we are consistent, we try hard, we fall short frequently, we have beautiful results. Living books are the backbone of our curriculum.

Thank you for sharing!  I think we definitely need to work on independence with the older two---actually my oldest is the most challenging.  He will literally ask me, "can you watch me?"  lol  

23 minutes ago, Slache said:

As far as the house being a disaster...

I have a weekly list done every Sunday. This means we start fresh. We pick up before every meal and don't eat until it's done. I have one big kid that does the kitchen after every meal and one kid that tends to laundry or larger tasks after every meal, so our meals are bookended by chores. My house is pretty clean.

I love the idea of not eating until this is done.  lol  I may use this. Thank you!

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12 minutes ago, 8filltheheart said:

I wouldn't expect the K and 2nd grade student to work independently. I'd be next to them while they are working. With the Ker, I'd be supervising everything bc proper number/letter formation is easier to instill from the beginning and correcting on the spot is the easiest approach.  The 4th and 5th grader, yes, I'd expect them to complete problems on their own.  I do grade every few problems if necessary to keep my kids that age on task or to keep me accountable for grading (it's easier for me to know math is graded vs having sit there waiting to be graded.)

I don't just "sit" there with my kids, though.  I can be doing other things while they are working....fold laundry, clean the kitchen, prep meals, etc or working with another student calling out spelling or some simple instructional content, etc.  Being present does not mean sitting doing nothing.  (I have some blog posts on my blog about behind the scenes vs. currriculum selection bc knowing how to make your homeschool a lifestyle vs a school means long-term successful functioning.....at least for me.  If I couldn't do anything other than sit with the kids all day long and do nothing else, I would find homeschooling very stressful vs. enjoyable/ a pleasure.  I love homeschooling, so finding a rhythm would be vital for me vs feeling oppressed.)

Oh yes, I do not expect the little to go solo.  But I would like my older two to be a bit more independent.  Honestly, I feel we've had more stress than enjoyment from homeschooling.  But I really fear sending them to our local school.  If it did better and had more to offer, it'd be a different story.  They let go of teachers, many left...the principal is leaving...  It is a small school with a bad school board.  😞  But I cannot live in chaos, either, so yes... it needs to be a better lifestyle for us!

8 minutes ago, 8filltheheart said:

And another thought....NO WAY I'd "make sure that I adhere to a methodology" foe anything.  Seriously.  Methodologies exist to assist learning. Methodologies are NOT meant to be masters, but tools.  I personally hate the way SM teaches, so it would drive me crazy to teach that way.  I really don't like any single way anything I have ever touched  for teaching in my 28 yrs of homeschooling.  I cannot fathom being a slave to anyone else's ideas.  For guidance, absolutely.  As de fide, heck no.

I initially thought I couldn't teach more conceptual math, but I do feel the guides are going to be helpful.  The line about adhering to the methodology comes from me reading something about being careful not to show it just your way if you want the benefit of the conceptual approach.  I also think the kids will benefit from it after what I've observed from them, but I am just a bit worried about the time it might take to use manipulatives, work through the book, and the workbook.  However, I know other math curriculums have a lot, too.  It is what led us to Master Books this past year, and it ended up being a big mistake.  I don't want to be a slave, either, that is for sure!  Thank you so much. The few homeschoolers I have talked to in person around here where I live use mostly online programs for everything.  And we are not ready for that!

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As I remember, it often seemed like I had so much (maybe too much) at the start of each year, and the first few weeks definitely seemed to support that.  Then suddenly everyone fell into a groove and it went much faster and easier!  Of course I learned too how to skim down on some things, realized some things only needed to be covered once or twice a week, and that it was okay to not actually finish some curriculums.  You sometimes need to first dive in and then figure out how to work with it as you go.

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I agree re: not adhering to a methodology. Find out what works for you.

I have 8 kids, but 2 have graduated homeschooling and 1 is in high school and totally independent via co-op and DE courses.  So I’m teaching 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and I have a toddler.  We focus on the 3R’s in the younger years, and we keep things simple - just a couple of hours of formal work per day.

My 5th and 7th grader are combined for language arts, and I’ll eventually combine the 1st and 3rd graders.

Each kid does math individually, but requiring no more than 15-20 minutes each from me for teaching the littles or grading and explaining things the big kids don’t understand.

One thing that has worked for us during some seasons over the years is a circle time where we do Bible, memory work, etc. as a group.

During the elementary years, my kids do science and history by reading picture books - no formal curriculum.  They also do some science kits, documentaries, etc., but nothing requiring a lot of teaching and supervision from me.  This did not seem to hurt my older kids at all.  They all did extremely well in upper level science.

Story of the World on audio worked well for us for history for a bit - just listening as a group while the kids did the coloring pages.  This is something they look back on and say they enjoyed.

We do a lot of audiobooks in the car, or while they play legos, draw, etc.

We can give ideas, but you have to sort through them and find what works for you.  Personally, it doesn’t work for me to just sit and teach all day.  It does not fit my personality, and the busyness of our lives (newborns, nursing, activities for various kids, etc.) does not allow for it.

Edited by JazzyMom
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A couple of thoughts...I only had 2 (although one demands an unusual amount of attention).  When they were in K, they were done quickly - a little math, a little phonics/reading and handwriting, a bit of Bible, and a bit of unit work (units were our history, science, arts, etc).  I spent more time with my older, but it was in part because kid loves learning and that I had to do something with the kids, so I might spend more time reading aloud from classic lit or doing hands-on projects (but both kids participated).  If I had been just doing school and then letting kid play, it wouldn't have taken long at all.  Math, start-to-finish, was 30 minutes or less.  Once I had 2 kids, I would identify things that they could do independently - after the first month, even my K kids could do handwriting with me just checking in sporadically, maybe once a week, to make sure that they were following the models properly.  Once they got older, they could do reading (lit or for a unit) or maybe something like a spelling exercise on their own.  I could help the other kid with math while their sibling was working independently.  I would also sometimes do math first or last with a kid so that the sibling hadn't started yet or was done and on to play.  Sometimes we would have a plan that involved doing highly interactive subjects while waiting somewhere - like, if a kid had a weekly practice then other kid and I might plan to always do math or have me call out spelling words or discuss MCT work while we were waiting.  

With Singapore, we found that we didn't need to do the problems in the text most of the time.  I didn't even always use the text unless I found that it explained things particularly well and kid needed it - I might use the illustration that it gave and then have kid do 1 problem, and if they understood then on to the workbook.  Singapore's methods mostly made intuitive sense to me and both kids.  We didn't use a ton of manipulatives - I have a bucket of 100 1 inch cube blocks, and other than some toy pizza/pie/cake pieces that we used to help with introducing fractions, that was all that we used.  Usually I'd only pull them out a couple of times a year when we'd introduce new concepts in the earliest grades, and they might use them occasionally to see how to do volume on a 3-D shape.  Most of the time once kid was working I could say 'If you need help ask, but otherwise I'll check back in a few minutes/after you do 1 line/3 problems, whatever was appropriate.  Singapore also adds a small bit each year for some topics - like, if you learn to add 2 digit numbers one year, then the next year you might learn to add 3 and 4 digit numbers.  Some kids find this challenging, but other kids just say 'Oh, adding bigger numbers' and don't need much instruction at all - maybe just a quick bit that, just like you regroup the tens, you can also regroup hundreds and thousands.  This isn't to say that you won't need to teach - you will - but you won't need to spend even 30 minutes most days.  I would look ahead and see when kid was about to hit a topic that looked like it would involve more teaching vs when they were just doing a day of practice for a concept that they understand and plan around that.  

When they were in K-3, we were pretty much always done with seatwork at/before lunchtime (we started at 9).  Somewhere between 4th and middle school it started taking longer but we were still done by 2.  Different things were time intensive at different ages - phonics was 1:1, math was sometimes that way, much of MCT was done together, but in small chunks.  Spelling exercises might be independent while the test required that I call out the words.  Once I saw what they could do and how they interacted with the materials that I'd chosen for that year, I'd make a schedule that spread out the me-intensive work (like no MCT on Friday if there was also a spelling test, or I'd try to time the start of a math section that they'd need help with so that it landed on a more empty day).  I'd sometimes rearrange the book to make that happen - my kids thought the geometry at the end of most Singapore book Bs was fun, so sometiems we'd just toss a lesson in somehwere else - that section wasn't dependent on having done everything else first.  The same with spelling - if they aced the pre-test then we'd skip the exercises or only do the ones that I wanted them to do for other reasons (perhaps learning to alphabetize) and that would be off both of our plates for the week.  

One other thing that has worked for us - I sometimes do a quick check to make sure that they are setting up math problems correctly (esp in pre-A/algebra) but we check it orally.  They call out answers and I stop them if they have a wrong one.  It has worked well for us - it caused older to be more tidy with work and labelling once they had to find the answers, it give us time to interact, and if they miss something we can sort it out right then.  When they were younger or doing something new, sometimes I'd check after they'd done the first few problems or we'd check at the end of every line so that I could find mistakes before they did a lot of the work incorrectly.  

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What about starting math now or a few weeks before your regular school year?  just do math and get a feel for how it flows. Iron out kinks. Set expectations for the kids.  Try to make it fun and special (some kids love manipulatives).  I think you will find it doesn’t take as much time as you imagined once you get comfortable with the material and once the kids get into a routine. Don’t do other school during this time. Then you can add in the other subjects and avoid the stress of starting everything all at once.

 Just an idea…

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If not math, I'd definitely start developing some sort of routine now.  Get up, dressed, make bed, gather laundry, eat breakfast, etc.  I would start a chore routine now (and with the ages of your kids, that could mean emptying the silverware out of the dishwasher for the Ker, high/glass things for the older, etc.  Folding towels/wash cloths for the 2nd grader, t-shirts/shorts for the 4th grader, etc)

I would establish a quiet time for reading for the older 3 and a quiet play time for the younger.

I would create meal plans for myself and establish a prep-time routine.  

Training the will now during the summer would be my #1 objective.

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2 hours ago, Ting Tang said:

1. Thank you for sharing!  I think we definitely need to work on independence with the older two---actually my oldest is the most challenging.

2. He will literally ask me, "can you watch me?"  lol  

3. I love the idea of not eating until this is done.  lol  I may use this. Thank you!

1. I think the transition started in 2nd/3rd. My 5th is completely independent.

2. No. 🤣

3. They were slow at first. They learned.

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2 hours ago, J-rap said:

As I remember, it often seemed like I had so much (maybe too much) at the start of each year, and the first few weeks definitely seemed to support that.  Then suddenly everyone fell into a groove and it went much faster and easier!  Of course I learned too how to skim down on some things, realized some things only needed to be covered once or twice a week, and that it was okay to not actually finish some curriculums.  You sometimes need to first dive in and then figure out how to work with it as you go.

Oh yes!  Last year, we chose mostly Memoria Press for the older two.  I did end up doing away with a lot or not doing all the things, but then I felt like we didn't do it "right."  Now we're doing less of MP, but I like what I chose at least!  I think I skimmed down this year, but I am still feeling overwhelmed.  Maybe it is because it has been nice to be on an extended break, lol.

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2 hours ago, JazzyMom said:

I agree re: not adhering to a methodology. Find out what works for you.

I have 8 kids, but 2 have graduated homeschooling and 1 is in high school and totally independent via co-op and DE courses.  So I’m teaching 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and I have a toddler.  We focus on the 3R’s in the younger years, and we keep things simple - just a couple of hours of formal work per day.

My 5th and 7th grader are combined for language arts, and I’ll eventually combine the 1st and 3rd graders.

Each kid does math individually, but requiring no more than 15-20 minutes each from me for teaching the littles or grading and explaining things the big kids don’t understand.

One thing that has worked for us during some seasons over the years is a circle time where we do Bible, memory work, etc. as a group.

During the elementary years, my kids do science and history by reading picture books - no formal curriculum.  They also do some science kits, documentaries, etc., but nothing requiring a lot of teaching and supervision from me.  This did not seem to hurt my older kids at all.  They all did extremely well in upper level science.

Story of the World on audio worked well for us for history for a bit - just listening as a group while the kids did the coloring pages.  This is something they look back on and say they enjoyed.

We do a lot of audiobooks in the car, or while they play legos, draw, etc.

We can give ideas, but you have to sort through them and find what works for you.  Personally, it doesn’t work for me to just sit and teach all day.  It does not fit my personality, and the busyness of our lives (newborns, nursing, activities for various kids, etc.) does not allow for it.

Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts.  I think we should do the enrichment program altogether as a family, and that way, I will get some things covered, even if it is light.  I wish I could combine more of them.  My oldest is very bright, but the next in line is a struggling reader and is completing All About Reading. Then we have my 2nd grader, also very bright---so I thought she and the second oldest could do a bit together.  The little one has to learn to read.  I don't think I can sit and teach for several hours a day straight, and I guess that is what I am feeling might happen right now.  😞  I want to give them the best education possible.  

 

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1 hour ago, Clemsondana said:

A couple of thoughts...I only had 2 (although one demands an unusual amount of attention).  When they were in K, they were done quickly - a little math, a little phonics/reading and handwriting, a bit of Bible, and a bit of unit work (units were our history, science, arts, etc).  I spent more time with my older, but it was in part because kid loves learning and that I had to do something with the kids, so I might spend more time reading aloud from classic lit or doing hands-on projects (but both kids participated).  If I had been just doing school and then letting kid play, it wouldn't have taken long at all.  Math, start-to-finish, was 30 minutes or less.  Once I had 2 kids, I would identify things that they could do independently - after the first month, even my K kids could do handwriting with me just checking in sporadically, maybe once a week, to make sure that they were following the models properly.  Once they got older, they could do reading (lit or for a unit) or maybe something like a spelling exercise on their own.  I could help the other kid with math while their sibling was working independently.  I would also sometimes do math first or last with a kid so that the sibling hadn't started yet or was done and on to play.  Sometimes we would have a plan that involved doing highly interactive subjects while waiting somewhere - like, if a kid had a weekly practice then other kid and I might plan to always do math or have me call out spelling words or discuss MCT work while we were waiting.  

With Singapore, we found that we didn't need to do the problems in the text most of the time.  I didn't even always use the text unless I found that it explained things particularly well and kid needed it - I might use the illustration that it gave and then have kid do 1 problem, and if they understood then on to the workbook.  Singapore's methods mostly made intuitive sense to me and both kids.  We didn't use a ton of manipulatives - I have a bucket of 100 1 inch cube blocks, and other than some toy pizza/pie/cake pieces that we used to help with introducing fractions, that was all that we used.  Usually I'd only pull them out a couple of times a year when we'd introduce new concepts in the earliest grades, and they might use them occasionally to see how to do volume on a 3-D shape.  Most of the time once kid was working I could say 'If you need help ask, but otherwise I'll check back in a few minutes/after you do 1 line/3 problems, whatever was appropriate.  Singapore also adds a small bit each year for some topics - like, if you learn to add 2 digit numbers one year, then the next year you might learn to add 3 and 4 digit numbers.  Some kids find this challenging, but other kids just say 'Oh, adding bigger numbers' and don't need much instruction at all - maybe just a quick bit that, just like you regroup the tens, you can also regroup hundreds and thousands.  This isn't to say that you won't need to teach - you will - but you won't need to spend even 30 minutes most days.  I would look ahead and see when kid was about to hit a topic that looked like it would involve more teaching vs when they were just doing a day of practice for a concept that they understand and plan around that.  

When they were in K-3, we were pretty much always done with seatwork at/before lunchtime (we started at 9).  Somewhere between 4th and middle school it started taking longer but we were still done by 2.  Different things were time intensive at different ages - phonics was 1:1, math was sometimes that way, much of MCT was done together, but in small chunks.  Spelling exercises might be independent while the test required that I call out the words.  Once I saw what they could do and how they interacted with the materials that I'd chosen for that year, I'd make a schedule that spread out the me-intensive work (like no MCT on Friday if there was also a spelling test, or I'd try to time the start of a math section that they'd need help with so that it landed on a more empty day).  I'd sometimes rearrange the book to make that happen - my kids thought the geometry at the end of most Singapore book Bs was fun, so sometiems we'd just toss a lesson in somehwere else - that section wasn't dependent on having done everything else first.  The same with spelling - if they aced the pre-test then we'd skip the exercises or only do the ones that I wanted them to do for other reasons (perhaps learning to alphabetize) and that would be off both of our plates for the week.  

One other thing that has worked for us - I sometimes do a quick check to make sure that they are setting up math problems correctly (esp in pre-A/algebra) but we check it orally.  They call out answers and I stop them if they have a wrong one.  It has worked well for us - it caused older to be more tidy with work and labelling once they had to find the answers, it give us time to interact, and if they miss something we can sort it out right then.  When they were younger or doing something new, sometimes I'd check after they'd done the first few problems or we'd check at the end of every line so that I could find mistakes before they did a lot of the work incorrectly.  

Thank you for sharing so much, especially since you've used Singapore and MCT.  This helps.  I was wondering that about Singapore, if I could just pick and choose.  It seems like there is just a lot, and it was that way with Abeka, too.  But I think "a lot" works better for my kids with math.  I bought the manipulatives that I could see are used a lot across the grades but certainly not all.  I am hoping the class time will help them be able to complete their workbooks on their own better.  Attention is one habit we need to work on, though, in order for that to happen.  I figure spelling and penmanship can be independent.  

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1 hour ago, WTM said:

What about starting math now or a few weeks before your regular school year?  just do math and get a feel for how it flows. Iron out kinks. Set expectations for the kids.  Try to make it fun and special (some kids love manipulatives).  I think you will find it doesn’t take as much time as you imagined once you get comfortable with the material and once the kids get into a routine. Don’t do other school during this time. Then you can add in the other subjects and avoid the stress of starting everything all at once.

 Just an idea…

Yes, thank you!  I think that is part of my plan.  We are going to do a rolling start because the Singapore and MCT stuff is new to me this year.  I sure hope it take less time than I am imagining, lol!

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Here is how our day worked when I was homeschooling K, 2nd, 4th and 6th:

We had three school blocks: 8 - 10am, 11 - 1pm, and 2 - 4pm.
We are an early to rise family, so all the kids start waking up around 5:30. By 8am everyone has had an hour of free reading/looking at books/audiobooks (while their meds kick in), showered, dressed, and eaten breakfast while watching CNN10 and Brainpop videos in English and Spanish. 

I found one of the hardest thing that year to be keeping the K'er from distracting everyone else once she was done with her work. When my older kiddos were in K, they tended to do their work in one chunk (of 45ish minutes) during the preschooler's independent play time. Then they would both go off and play together. But when my youngest was in K, there wasn't anyone for her to go off and play with after work time...and that caused all sorts of chaos. So, I started breaking up her work into small bursts and allowing them to spread out and fill the first school block.

So from 8 - 10 everyone would be working...sort of. My youngest would work for 15-20 minutes and then wander off to play for a bit. Once she was bored playing by herself and started to be a pest, then I would sit her down for her next subject (or set her up with something else productive like scooping muffin batter, reading the 2nd grader's spelling sentence to him, sorting dirty laundry, stringing beads, etc.) The rest of the kids more or less worked for those two hours, but there were many short brain/stretching breaks and I made sure they had a mix of writing/non-writing, sedentary/active, independent/collaborative subjects to keep them engaged.

By 10am, the K'er was completely done with "school", and the 2nd grader was mostly done. Everyone had a break and snack from 10 to 11, and then the youngest two would play together while the older two did another school block from 11 to 1. At 1 they all ate lunch while I read aloud to them.

After lunch, the K'er had some quiet play time in her room (which occasionalyl turned into a nap), the 4th grader (who has a lot of mental health challenges) had time alone in the lego room since he couldn't handle playing down there with the other kids, the 2nd grader finished up any school odds and ends he needed to do and practiced the piano, and the 6th grader spent one more block working on "school". These would be things like his online drawing class, his Spanish tutor that he loves, science experiments, etc...so technically mandatory educational activities, but he never saw them as school work.

Then everyone had free time until dinner when I would read aloud again. More free time, and then everyone would have another block of free reading before lights out.

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Just so you don't have a panic attack, what Wendy described is way more than I have ever done with my kids, ever.   My kids aren't spending 6 hrs on school until 6th grade and 2/3 of that would be independent reading/writing.  

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6 hours ago, Ting Tang said:

I initially thought I couldn't teach more conceptual math, but I do feel the guides are going to be helpful.  The line about adhering to the methodology comes from me reading something about being careful not to show it just your way if you want the benefit of the conceptual approach.  I also think the kids will benefit from it after what I've observed from them, but I am just a bit worried about the time it might take to use manipulatives, work through the book, and the workbook. 

I'm only commenting on K.

If I recall you got the Teachers guide instead of the Home educator guide for Singapore Math. You don't do all the activities in the teacher's guide and sometimes you wouldn't even do all the activities in the home educator guide either. (I did Dimension PreK, Earlybird Kindergarten and started Singapore Standards Level 1A.) A lot of the writing in the guides is for the teacher it's not really scripted so all those words in there aren't words you would say to the child. When you present you would only say a few things and do 1-3 examples depending on how much your child is having fun with it, whether they understand, etc. 

The teacher's guide has even more activities than the home educator's guide you probably only select one maybe two if your child is struggling or if one of them just seems really fun. When they have "Small Group" usually in a classroom that would mean the teacher sets up these stations and kids choose to do some stations in a limited time period so they wouldn't do all 5 in the classroom may pick 1 or 2. For 1 child it's really easy to see if they understand a concept so in PreK Dimensions they would give me 6 activities 1 group and 5 small and most of the time I'd do 1 of those 6 activities. A bunch of them will involve a bunch of kids so it may not be possible to do as stated and you know when your kid understands a concept so you don't have to keep doing more for no reason. 

Kindergarten math is 15min or less in my house because no matter where we are in the lesson there is no focus after that. Whatever we finish in 10-15 min that's it, everything else is tomorrow. Reading/Spelling is the same 10-15min, anything left is tomorrow. On someone's suggestion on the boards I only do one or the other of these per day. Handwriting is 2 min if I'm lucky (Sometimes after math and spelling we can't do the handwriting). Kindergarten is less than an hour here for the 3Rs with preschooler distraction and all. I don't count Science or History because K-er is willing to spend more time on that. Playing science and listening to history story.  

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Also, I read this article from Sonya Shaffer and implementing this a little has really helped with focus and attention during lessons. This was not something I ever thought about. We still have breaks for my kindergartener and preschooler (I think her school is playtime where I occasionally impart knowledge.)

https://simplycharlottemason.com/blog/the-secret-to-planning-your-homeschool-day/

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2 hours ago, Clarita said:

I'm only commenting on K.

If I recall you got the Teachers guide instead of the Home educator guide for Singapore Math. You don't do all the activities in the teacher's guide and sometimes you wouldn't even do all the activities in the home educator guide either. (I did Dimension PreK, Earlybird Kindergarten and started Singapore Standards Level 1A.) A lot of the writing in the guides is for the teacher it's not really scripted so all those words in there aren't words you would say to the child. When you present you would only say a few things and do 1-3 examples depending on how much your child is having fun with it, whether they understand, etc. 

The teacher's guide has even more activities than the home educator's guide you probably only select one maybe two if your child is struggling or if one of them just seems really fun. When they have "Small Group" usually in a classroom that would mean the teacher sets up these stations and kids choose to do some stations in a limited time period so they wouldn't do all 5 in the classroom may pick 1 or 2. For 1 child it's really easy to see if they understand a concept so in PreK Dimensions they would give me 6 activities 1 group and 5 small and most of the time I'd do 1 of those 6 activities. A bunch of them will involve a bunch of kids so it may not be possible to do as stated and you know when your kid understands a concept so you don't have to keep doing more for no reason. 

Kindergarten math is 15min or less in my house because no matter where we are in the lesson there is no focus after that. Whatever we finish in 10-15 min that's it, everything else is tomorrow. Reading/Spelling is the same 10-15min, anything left is tomorrow. On someone's suggestion on the boards I only do one or the other of these per day. Handwriting is 2 min if I'm lucky (Sometimes after math and spelling we can't do the handwriting). Kindergarten is less than an hour here for the 3Rs with preschooler distraction and all. I don't count Science or History because K-er is willing to spend more time on that. Playing science and listening to history story.  

Thank you so much!  He is actually going to do the math part of the Abeka curriculum I saved from his sister's kinder year.  I was thinking with the others that I might not have to do all the things with them.  Fortunately, my 4th and 5th graders are repeating levels in math they did with Master Books, so they have some understanding of some of the concepts, so I am hoping it won't be a huge leap for them just yet.  

1 hour ago, Clarita said:

Also, I read this article from Sonya Shaffer and implementing this a little has really helped with focus and attention during lessons. This was not something I ever thought about. We still have breaks for my kindergartener and preschooler (I think her school is playtime where I occasionally impart knowledge.)

https://simplycharlottemason.com/blog/the-secret-to-planning-your-homeschool-day/

I will read this!  I actually bought Laying Down the Rails plus the two companion books for this reason, to help our days go better.  I let go of a couple of things I did with my daughter from Kinder to just focus on math, handwriting, and phonics/reading with him.  Hoping our days won't be too burdensome.  I like Sonya.  I wish I could have her around my house to help me parent better, lol. I love her videos!

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I wouldn't consider doing all of the activities in a classroom teacher's guide unless your kid gets stuck on something and needs more exposure.  Teachers have educational activities set up because they have the kids for 6 hours and need things for them to do.  You might choose to set up some of those things, but you don't need to be leading them - it's just a craft, or a sorting activity, etc even though it may be reinforcing a concept.  Teacher's plans are also designed to fill an hour (or whatever time is allotted).  You don't have that goal.  Your goal is for your student to learn the skill or information.  If it takes 15 minutes, then that's all that you need to do.  If it takes 6 hours, then you'll have pulled out every activity that they have and spead it over a week.  You do whatever works.  One of my kids flew through all arithmetic, and then stalled on fractions.  The other had a blip with long division and then flew along with a slight slowing of pace when we rotated objects.  So, that's the pace that we used.  Some years we take the whole year, and other times we finish a few weeks early...and, one year, a kid needed part of the summer.  I only had the home instructor's guide, and I didn't even use everything in it.  

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I only have 3 school age kiddos right now, but my oldest was very much like yours: wanting me to sit with him for things he could do by himself. Eventually he figured it out after I repeatedly told him for days, "Try it yourself. Do as much as you can and then go on to the next subject.". It was the constant interruption from him of, "I'm done. I don't know how to do this." that was take wearing on me while I was trying to work with another child. But, they do eventually figure it out-just be consistent.

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I only have two kids- 6th and 1st- and no one has ever spent an hour on math. Not even now doing Saxon Algebra. However, I do find it helpful many days to have them sit on either side of me at the table and both work on math at the same time. I keep both TMs in hand and take questions or give instruction simultaneously. If I am solving for y with big and little has a question, he might be instructed to do the next question while he waits for me. But otherwise it works well here. When I help a friend's kid, I have them all sit at the table and do math (6, 4, 1, K), and I just walk the perimeter of the table helping as needed. 

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I would also recommend to start the school year   very early with just one or two  subjects (one being  math) and then you  will be able to add in the other subjects  over the next few weeks so it is not overwhelming. 

If your kids like to be close to you as they finish their independent work, that is  fine; you  can  work with your other kiddos while the other  finishes. If he/she is distracted  by your  teaching the little ones, introduce headphones. Or if you  need   to work on something in the  kitchen -  get clipboards. 

I use the timer feature on  my phone a lot to help keep  track  of time  - if you have Alexa,  that would be easy,  too. 

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On 6/23/2022 at 9:00 PM, Clemsondana said:

I wouldn't consider doing all of the activities in a classroom teacher's guide unless your kid gets stuck on something and needs more exposure.  Teachers have educational activities set up because they have the kids for 6 hours and need things for them to do.  You might choose to set up some of those things, but you don't need to be leading them - it's just a craft, or a sorting activity, etc even though it may be reinforcing a concept.  Teacher's plans are also designed to fill an hour (or whatever time is allotted).  You don't have that goal.  Your goal is for your student to learn the skill or information.  If it takes 15 minutes, then that's all that you need to do.  If it takes 6 hours, then you'll have pulled out every activity that they have and spead it over a week.  You do whatever works.  One of my kids flew through all arithmetic, and then stalled on fractions.  The other had a blip with long division and then flew along with a slight slowing of pace when we rotated objects.  So, that's the pace that we used.  Some years we take the whole year, and other times we finish a few weeks early...and, one year, a kid needed part of the summer.  I only had the home instructor's guide, and I didn't even use everything in it.  

Thank you so much!  I think that will work for us with Singapore.  I've taken some time to go through a couple of the lessons.  The Dimensions Teacher Guides look absolutely wonderful and are just plain pleasant to look at, lol.  But....if they "get it,' they get it.  

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On 6/24/2022 at 8:29 AM, LauraClark said:

I only have 3 school age kiddos right now, but my oldest was very much like yours: wanting me to sit with him for things he could do by himself. Eventually he figured it out after I repeatedly told him for days, "Try it yourself. Do as much as you can and then go on to the next subject.". It was the constant interruption from him of, "I'm done. I don't know how to do this." that was take wearing on me while I was trying to work with another child. But, they do eventually figure it out-just be consistent.

Oh yes, this sounds very familiar!  I think our big issue is maintaining his attention in the home environment.  I do think it is worse than at school because there are not as wonderful of distractions at a school.  

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On 6/24/2022 at 9:13 AM, Brittany1116 said:

I only have two kids- 6th and 1st- and no one has ever spent an hour on math. Not even now doing Saxon Algebra. However, I do find it helpful many days to have them sit on either side of me at the table and both work on math at the same time. I keep both TMs in hand and take questions or give instruction simultaneously. If I am solving for y with big and little has a question, he might be instructed to do the next question while he waits for me. But otherwise it works well here. When I help a friend's kid, I have them all sit at the table and do math (6, 4, 1, K), and I just walk the perimeter of the table helping as needed. 

This is a good plan. I do think I will have a "math block" of time for the kids.  And we do have a couple of things they can do independently, such as spelling and handwriting (though I'll go over letters again this year).  Maybe having blocks of time will make me feel less crazy.

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On 6/24/2022 at 11:26 AM, lmrich said:

I would also recommend to start the school year   very early with just one or two  subjects (one being  math) and then you  will be able to add in the other subjects  over the next few weeks so it is not overwhelming. 

If your kids like to be close to you as they finish their independent work, that is  fine; you  can  work with your other kiddos while the other  finishes. If he/she is distracted  by your  teaching the little ones, introduce headphones. Or if you  need   to work on something in the  kitchen -  get clipboards. 

I use the timer feature on  my phone a lot to help keep  track  of time  - if you have Alexa,  that would be easy,  too. 

Thank you!  Yes, we will do a rolling start.  I love the idea of headphones.  I never thought about doing that at home!  

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On 6/28/2022 at 4:34 PM, Ting Tang said:

Oh yes, this sounds very familiar!  I think our big issue is maintaining his attention in the home environment.  I do think it is worse than at school because there are not as wonderful of distractions at a school.  

For sure! My oldest figured out this year that if he applies himself he can be done early (because I've NEVER told him that before 🙄). My friends with a son who is similar are all jealous. I have no advice for the distractions-they just figure it out when they figure it out and drive us crazy in the meantime. My other two are not at all this way (yet?), thankfully.

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