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momee

So, if this is an option, why are we killing ourselves doing something harder?

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I'm really struggling with high school at the moment ladies, so bear with me.

 

I was searching through some old posts and came across this option for high school history -

 

Spievogel's Human Odyssey

Used, it's pretty cheap. I found a 1999 edition 2 years ago for $12 (which included shipping) and it was in new condition. It is a history textbook, covering ancient history through modern times, with lots of photos/illustrations, excerpts from writings from the time period, and sidebars of interesting side topics. There are 4-6 questions at the end of each 4-8 page section within a chapter, and then a 2-page spread of questions at the end of each chapter which you could use as a test.

 

The book is about 1100 pages long, but you would be reading that over 4 years; here's a suggested breakdown:

 

9th grade: ancients -- 200 pages (chapters 1-6)

10th grade: medieval -- 250 pages (chapters 7-15)

11th grade: empires/colonialism -- 300 pages (chapters 16-24)

12th grade: 20th century -- 320 pages (chapters 25-34)

 

 

Throw in:

- a few historical fiction books for "flavor of the times

- read/research/write a few papers on a person or event of that time period

- watch a few documentaries on that time period or movies set in that time period for fun

and you'd have a great full year credit history class!

 

See World History: The Human Odyssey by Jackson Spielvogel at: http://www.amazon.com/World-History-...9436959&sr=1-1

(There's a used one for $3 plus shipping in the used copies at Amazon right now!)

 

 

BEST of luck in finding what works for your family! Warmly, Lori D.

 

So, that sounds fun, easy and appealing even to me :)

 

But we're doing something harder because it's academically rigorous, will look good on the apps, includes worldview and biblical instruction and the like.

I am just sad ds is not as into school stuff as I am, maybe that's the whole issue right there...

thoughts appreciated

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I know how you feel. My oldest two are going into 8th and 9th grades so I'm also looking in high school level choices. We already have trouble getting done all I've planned (it fits nice on paper but ... ). So I also find myself debating between choices that offer the rigger I'd like to see them do in prep for college and ones that are good (still better then ps) but will not overload their schedule and thus give them some time to enjoy themselves before college.

 

The option you posted does sound easier then say Omnibus or at least should take less time to do. I've also considered something like that but with Streams of Civilization. This is a 2 volume world history (christian based) text. There is a free schedule online to do both books in one year but I'm thinking of doing it in two years. We could use the schedule and do it every other week while filling in the skipped weeks with additional history reading using books I have here (Guerber books and the old William Durant books). Throw in some Great Books study w/ Teaching the Classics to aide in socratic discussions and we might even have time for some related movies, plays or books on tape. We use Classical Writing so we could just do those type of writing assignment also for history and the Great Books or just follow what WTM suggests. Oh and this way we could make time to read the literature suggestions that come with the CW Diogenes and higher levels. So the big plan would be to do 2 yrs of world history, one year of Am Gov and then we'd have a year to do something like Finances or economics or something of personal interest.

 

But I'm still not sure. Debating on this, Omnibus I, History Odessey, and even the WTM guide! Now I'm probably even going to look into this suggestion you posted.

 

So, yep I know the feeling!

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Perhaps you mentioned this in another post, but what "rigorous" curriculum that looks good "on the apps" are you using?

 

What kind of conversations are you having with your son? Those of us who employ WTM techniques are thrilled with the level of conversation and critical thinking that we see in our children over time. It is clear that not every thirteen or fourteen year old is completely enthusiastic about every piece of academic minutia he encounters. A child who fights his way through logic may later enjoy finding logical failings in the letters to the editor in the newspaper. A student who struggles with his verb conjugations in Latin one week may have a Eureka moment the next. Your avid reader may just not be able to connect with a literary character in an assigned novel but enjoys the next.

 

What is so beautiful about TWTM (as many others have testified before me) is that one can make it work for ones particular situation.

 

What are you using, how flexible is it and in how much conversation have you and your son engaged during the process?

 

Best,

Jane

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Oh goodness, I really didn't want to say. Since you asked, it's TOG.

 

We're almost finished yr 1 rhetoric level. I can't say he's enjoyed it but he has learned a LOT. So have I. I just am bothered by the whole finish this, and move on to the next one type pace we've experienced.

 

Take the Odyssey. He read what was assigned, managed to show up fairly well prepared, but asking him now to give his thoughts on it - he just sort of stares.

 

Now, given, he is 14 but I would think even reading it for fun on his own, he'd come away with something lasting. What about all the people who've read it before now with no curricula. How did it become a classic, right? haha

 

I don't know what I'm asking exactly. I just know the way we've been doing school has been, um, rough. We need a change and I don't know what it is.

 

And to answer your question (which I should have done long ago), our discussions were very factual, filled with info from the discussion notes on the themes, character, worldview, etc.

 

Thanks for engaging in the conversation with me.

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I try to use the curriculum/approach that's right for the child -- his aptitude, his interests, his goals. Academics are important, but homeschooling allows us to adjust the academics to reflect the student's interests and abilities.

 

This means that one child of mine got a weak but entirely decent classical education.

 

One child didn't get a "classical" education but developed such enthusiasm for learning that he spend his free moments last semester in college reading Thomas Aquinas and Calvin (among others)!

 

Ds2 is definitely an engineer -- and his interest in books is nil. We will use yet a third approach with him, emphasizing math and science and approaching books carefully so he doesn't totally tune out.

 

And dd2 is involved in many many outside activities so we need a time-minimization approach with her.

 

The beauty of homeschooling is that we can tailor it to fit our kids' needs -- not only the need for academic rigor but also the need for an educational plan that takes into account their gifts, talents, and future plans.

 

So why do we pursue excellence? Because we're parents and we love our kids?

 

Do we pursue academic excellence? Yes -- but an excellence that reflects the child.

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So why do we pursue excellence? Because we're parents and we love our kids?

 

Do we pursue academic excellence? Yes -- but an excellence that reflects the child.

 

Beautifully stated, Gwen. Where is "rep" when we want it?

 

Jane

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I just am bothered by the whole finish this, and move on to the next one type pace we've experienced.

 

.....

 

And to answer your question (which I should have done long ago), our discussions were very factual, filled with info from the discussion notes on the themes, character, worldview, etc.

 

I can relate to this also. My kids are very smart (imho) and have great potential but they are still slow, spacy, and they (we) are getting tired of seeming to always have more to do. So we've also hit the just-get-it-done attitudes.

 

Our discussions also get a bit stuck to the factual (we are using SL core 100) at times (but other times they can get interesting... but usually when we are already close to the end of our history/lit time and feel the need to move on).

 

I think my main problem here is a conflict of what I want to use. On one hand I really want curriculum that lays out daily plans so we all know what to do on each day. No complaints that it is too much and no worries that it could be too little since it was designed my kids' age group/level of work. On the other hand I'd like to use something like WTM and just follow a basic guide on what to do. This way we are never "behind" so long as we work for the estimated time each day it is scheduled. {Getting behind is popular here as the unexpected arrives too often in the shape of deaths, illness, construction, moves, injury, etc.}

 

Wish I had advice but at least I can say that I know how you feel. Thanks for this post; I'll be watching it closely.

:bigear:

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Take the Odyssey. He read what was assigned, managed to show up fairly well prepared, but asking him now to give his thoughts on it - he just sort of stares.

 

Now, given, he is 14 but I would think even reading it for fun on his own, he'd come away with something lasting. What about all the people who've read it before now with no curricula. How did it become a classic, right? haha

 

 

 

My son thinks the Odyssey is boring and would have suggested that you had assigned the Iliad. Honor is an issue that resonates with fourteen year old boys, as does anger, hence the Iliad is a hands down winner.

 

My son read the Iliad several times in middle school but he read the Odyssey only once. (These were not assigned--this was his choice.) Thus in 9th grade, I assigned the Aeneid and I am so glad that I did. We spent two months going into depth with this work, a study that I think is fruitful in that the Aeneid returns again and again as an influence on other literary work. But he also knew that Vergil would be visited in Latin at a different level.

 

I think that the beauty of classical education is that threads are rarely left hanging--things are often connected, loose ends are eventually made tidy. No work ever seems to sit in isolation when included as part of the Great Conversation, although not everything appeals to everyone at a specific point in time. I don't think the Aeneid thrilled my then fourteen year old son when he read it. But when he read Inferno at age fifteen, there was homage to it. Perhaps when your son sees a movie like "O Brother, Where Art Thou" he'll recognize a retelling of Odysseus's story. Sometimes the benefits of exposure are not immediately apparent.

 

Best,

Jane

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I've been looking on the Donna Young website......she has schedules for Streams of Civ. Also Lightning Lit website has suggestions for extra living books to go with Streams of Civ.

 

We did Abeka Geography for 9th grade.....I added things to make it a 1 credit course. The next 2 years may just be Streams of Civ +.

 

I'm tired of planning for History, I need something simple that will work the whole year through. I always seem to have grand plans and then it falls apart mid-year.

 

 

 

I've also considered something like that but with Streams of Civilization. This is a 2 volume world history (christian based) text. There is a free schedule online to do both books in one year but I'm thinking of doing it in two years. We could use the schedule and do it every other week while filling in the skipped weeks with additional history reading using books I have here (Guerber books and the old William Durant books). Throw in some Great Books study w/ Teaching the Classics to aide in socratic discussions and we might even have time for some related movies, plays or books on tape. We use Classical Writing so we could just do those type of writing assignment also for history and the Great Books or just follow what WTM suggests. Oh and this way we could make time to read the literature suggestions that come with the CW Diogenes and higher levels. So the big plan would be to do 2 yrs of world history, one year of Am Gov and then we'd have a year to do something like Finances or economics or something of personal interest.

 

But I'm still not sure. Debating on this, Omnibus I, History Odessey, and even the WTM guide! Now I'm probably even going to look into this suggestion you posted.

 

So, yep I know the feeling!

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My thoughts....each child is different. You do what is best for the child, and only you know your child! In a perfect world, all high schoolers would love history, and would crave doing the Great Books. Reality, however, is different. Some students need something else. Really.

 

And you know what? It's okay.

 

Do what is best for your child. It might not be the easiest option. It might be an easier option. It might be the easiest. As long as it is best for that particular student, it will always be best.

 

Ria

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:I think that the beauty of classical education is that threads are rarely left hanging--things are often connected, loose ends are eventually made tidy. No work ever seems to sit in isolation when included as part of the Great Conversation, although not everything appeals to everyone at a specific point in time. I don't think the Aeneid thrilled my then fourteen year old son when he read it. But when he read Inferno at age fifteen, there was homage to it. Perhaps when your son sees a movie like "O Brother, Where Art Thou" he'll recognize a retelling of Odysseus's story. Sometimes the benefits of exposure are not immediately apparent.

 

Best,

Jane

 

:iagree: When we first started Omnibus and discussing great books, it was VERY rough going. But, I am glad we stuck with it. Now my son usually enjoys our discussions,and sometimes loves them. Now when he begins to see how the stories are all part of the Great Conversation. he is enjoying it. I asked him if he wanted to continue great books for his senior year and he said yes. True, it may have been easier another way, but we would have missed a lot of riches along the way.

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Just go for it - use what you have. TOG is fine. In it's original form it was designed to be tweaked/played-with/goofed with/modified-to-fit-the-kid! It's one of the downfalls of the Redesigned version - folks who haven't been around with TOG don't have a handle on its roots, so they might not "get" that the program wasn't always so tightly constructed. All of the limits that you might be feeling with TOG came about as more and more parents wanted to know exactly what to do when. Exactly. Which book - in which edition. Which mapping assignments. Quizzes. Charts. Exact writing assignments. Etc. etc. etc. etc. (get the picture?) TOO MANY ETC's for any one child. It's a buffet.

 

And all those nicely printed "Redesigned" pages look so "official"; we feel like we should be using all of them. THAT was one of the cool things about the copied pages. They didn't speak with quite as much authority. In fact I can't even remember where mine are. Collecting dust around here somewhere. It's what we learned that matters. And the little people only started learning when the momma stopped trying to do it all. :001_smile:

 

TOG's model is Read, Think, Write. It sounds to me like you're ready to mix it up a bit, momma! So go for it. Shoot for the model that you listed with the textbook - only use what you have. Read some history. Talk about it. No "discussion or accountability" questions. Just talk. (You have the teacher's notes so just read through some of the background and the discussion scripts to generate some questions. If he can't answer the questions, ask him what he remembers from the reading. You'll be able to navigate your way through an appropriate response if you've read the script. OR you could read the same book so you could discuss it. :001_smile:) Watch some movies. Read some historical fiction. Read a library book on a topic of interest. Talk some more. And then write about something that you read about. Read. Think. Write.

 

TOG is just a list of reading assignments. A TON of "thinking" assignments - ways to interact with the material. And a writing assignment. (In fact it's a bit like the textbook model that you asked about. Same idea. Just lots of different books with lots of different ways of looking at things. Which can be good when studying history - variety of voice.)

 

I'll bet that if you sat down with your year-plan and read the teacher's notes for the last unit - Rome (I'm guessing that's where you are) ALL in one sitting, I'm betting that you would feel like you could teach without ANYTHING. I've learned so much about the connections in history by just reading those teacher pages. Ah. I see where we're heading here. Oh. Cool. I CAN do this. Then I just need to pick materials and go. I'm ready to use my curriculum to teach.

 

It sounds like you need to start using TOG and let it stop using you! :001_smile:

 

I really don't think that TOG makes the best driver. The parent makes the best driver. For me TOG has proven itself to be a terrific servant. But it's not my only servant. EVERYONE gets cranky around here when I let go of the wheel though and let "programs" take over. Yuck! The momma keeps it fresh! Not the materials! It's the face-to-face that keeps our homeschool alive. The curriculum just provides rails to ride on - ways to interact with ideas. It makes a terrible driver!

 

Does that help? If not, pick up a textbook and study Rome with another method. Mix it up. Keep it fresh. It's not only OK, sometimes it's very, very good! Sometimes it's the BEST thing rather than the second-best thing. :001_smile: Just go, go, go momma! Rock ON! You know what is best for your babes. You do. Now just have to have the courage to act on it.

 

Tame that curriculum and make it SERVE YOU! No matter WHAT you use. :001_smile:

 

Peace to you and yours,

Janice

 

Enjoy your little people

Enjoy your journey

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Tame that curriculum and make it SERVE YOU! No matter WHAT you use. :001_smile:

 

Peace to you and yours,

Janice

 

Enjoy your little people

Enjoy your journey

 

 

Janice,

I wish you lived round these here parts and I could be your buddy and hang out with you every time I am feeling a wee bit stressed.

 

You rock.

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Here is what I tell the ladies in my support group....Sometimes we just get the cart before the horse....

 

FIRST, I tell them to make GOALS for their student for the year....What do you want to accomplish with that student that year.....In each subject.....This takes time, thought, and prayer...And I even suggest that spend time discussing this with their husbands..... So, what are your GOALS for your student this year in History???

 

SECOND, Curriculum should be chosen to FIT your goals......So, if you have very heavy goals in math and science with your child that year, you might NOT want a heavy history too.....There has to be a balance.

 

I think a lot of times we start picking curriculum "around the boards" because "everybody's doing it". But it doesn't fit our child at all.....We have to FIRST look at that child and their needs....And pick curriclum based on them, not what others are doing.....

 

Every child has his/her own "bent". God made them that way. Look at that very carefully, and pick your curriculum around that.

 

Just my two cents this morning,

 

Blessings,

 

Brenda

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Wouldn't that be cool? LOVE the boards. But face time would be awesome! I long for it - actually the homeschooling folks that I know in real life tend to comment that I MAKE them stressed when they hang out with me. (Then they laugh and take it back, but it does make one wonder. Sigh & Yikes!) So maybe you wouldn't LIKE me in real life. :001_smile::001_smile::001_smile:

 

Isn't life grand?!!?

Janice :001_smile:

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:iagree:, Brenda. Yup!

 

If those goals are in place and we keep our eyes on goals, we are less likely to get distracted and/or discouraged.

 

I'm hardly using any of the TOG materials with my youngest. (11 year-old boy; 6th grader). He NEEDS more literature and historical fiction in his weeks and WAY less history - he gets a TON of that just by living in this house. OUR face time together this year has largely been a Sonlight experience. We've dipped in and out of SL 6 for the fall, and in January we started working our way through SL 7; we're scheduled to finish the first half before we break for the summer. The 4-day schedule was perfect for me - he has a VERY music-intense Monday with lessons. The history parallels what my two older kids are doing with TOG. There is a pick-up-n-go literature read-aloud schedule for me and it gets done because of those four little boxes. Yea! I'm reading aloud to this boy; I've neglected one-on-one read aloud time with him and THAT was NOT good! I'm fixing that. Goals and all. AND this little man did NOT like reading lit/historical fiction on his own. He was becoming an "I don't really like reading kid." What? NOT on my watch. :001_smile::001_smile: I knew that those SL books on my shelf would suck him in. Great fiction! AND those day-to-day notes set me up. I don't have to read the books. AND they provide enough info/ideas for me to teach with. All kinds of great "look this up, write a paragraph about this, the story is going to mention ______ tomorrow - find out what that was and then you can tell me about it tomorrow before we read, who was this? find out what you can about him and then come tell me, where is this place - go look it up on Google Earth, why would the story take place THERE?, etc!" The poetry book is perfect - exactly what I want to cover. And it's at his level, and it's alllllll face-time. Perfect!

 

He's my youngest. I just don't have time to pre-read his read-alone books, but from his perspective I'm totally engaged! (Thanks to the great notes.) And we have that carved-out face-time four afternoons a week. Without that SL schedule barking at my heels it wasn't getting done. Now it is. And I'm satisfied. I'm meeting my goals with this kid. And the laid out program with the youngest allows me to meet goals with the other two older kids. Perfect! Win-win!

 

I love TOG; I use it so, so much. (And it has taught me SO much about teaching and learning and homeschooling.) But I use LOTS of materials. Lots. Lots. Lots. And I always start with goals first. I head toward those, and to do that I've learned to use a machete on curriculum.

 

Peace,

Janice

 

Enjoy your little people

Enjoy your journey

 

P.S. I think the reason that I rave about TOG more than other things that I use is that it helped ME more than the other programs. That curriculum has opened up more content/connection doors for me than any other. It's that K-Mom aspect of it that has been crucial to me. It has put the most tools in my momma-bag-o-tricks. But we are all different; I truly, truly respect that.

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Keeping our goals in mind can help us decide when NOT to use the most rigorous time-consuming program out there! :tongue_smilie:

 

Keeping our goals in mind can help provide balance as we seek to juggle not only our child's myriad academic needs but also the personal and extracurricular ones.

 

And thanks for the reminder that curricula are merely our tools!

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I like how this conversation has morphed into a conversation about setting goals first!

 

I think setting goals is essential. I call it casting the vision. I have to know my longterm goals for each child before I can determine my short term goals. Now in the elementary years this pretty simple; readin' writin' 'rithmetic relationship make up the bare essentials. Enough history and science so that when we get to high school they can say "Ah, I remember that dude, we read that book about him." or "Oh, I remember this, we did an experiment in the kitchen about it."

 

About seventh grade I start to really get a feel for what a kid is about and then I can take my long range vision that covers all of my kids, and fine tune it for that one. I don't eliminate things, for instance my 13 year old wants to be a chef, but he will still have a WTM inspired high school. But we will schedule things and work around his interests as well.

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...doing almost exactly what the post you referenced is describing, lol.

 

I bought TOG and sold it. It was *not* the awesome resource for me that it is for many others.

 

Human Odyssey *is*. It's served as a wonderful spine for our study of history, and the questions/sidebars are more than anything I could think up for discussion, myself...and less confusing than TOG, for someone like *me*.

 

My kids have been able to easily practice outlining, using HO. (It's set up to encourage that). We've had great discussions (one of the things I'd hoped for with TOG), and it's dovetailed wonderfully with the WTM-esque literature course I've had going, alongside it. (We've also read some correlating chapters for the time we're studying--Ancient History--from SWB's History of the Ancient World, to supplement).

 

I'm not having them read "a few historical fiction books", as the post you referenced suggested, but rather building a Great Books list from what we've studied in HO (there's plenty to provide a wonderful context for several selections from the Ancients). Thus far, my ninth-graders have read Gilgamesh, parts of The Iliad and Coolidge's Greek Myths, Euripides, selections from Thucydides, Herodotus, and Xenophon, as well as the Analects of Confucius and Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. They write papers on the literature selections and every once in a while, expand one of their review questions from HO into an essay.

 

It's been a fantastic resource for us, and while it's not exactly what's lined out in TWTM, I believe it provides a great spine for history study, and wonderful context for many of the Great (and simply Good) Books.

 

JMO. YMMV.

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But face time would be awesome! I long for it

 

Then come to the conference! I wanna meet you! I won't be stressed by you! I know I'll be inspired by you, to keep rockin' on! :D I'm serious!

 

EDIT: Oops, didn't mean to hijack the thread.

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I would LOVE to come, Colleen. ;)

I just have all this silly parenting to do.

 

Sometimes I swear that I would be capable of doing a MUCH better job at homeschooling if it weren't for all these needy children running around... needing things. :001_smile:

 

I am so jealous of you folks who are booking rooms and planning your trip. We had a short two-night stop over at Williamsburg a couple of years ago. Loved it! And promised ourselves that we would be back; but that weekend doesn't look like it's gonna happen for us. Has anyone heard - will there be recordings?

 

I hope that you're having a terrific weekend, Colleen!

Peace,

Janice

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What I really love about the WTM is that a curriculum package is really not needed. That is what Susan laid out for those wanting to follow a more classical path. There are a ton of similar books written for folks following a more C Mason path or...... If you have not read the WTM there is a new edition coming out this spring and it might be something to fit into the budget.

 

There really is no need for TOG or Sonlight or WP, Greenleaf Press, BF, or ________. I suppose I am of the old his mind set. I create my own units and have a few spines around to be used like encyclopedias. It is great books that flesh out a study and then the conversations about the concepts I want them to learn from those books or concepts they want to know more about or are struggling with. The icing on the cake is documentaries and other media that help flesh the study out.

 

Not only do I make goals for my sons but I look at their learning styles and the way they learn. Most boxed curriculum would not fit their learning style or the goals I have for then. Every time I buy boxed set for history I regret it and no longer waste my money.

 

I use WTM, Sonlight, TOG, WP, Greenleaf Press, ect.... as places to find book lists. It is the books that teach and then the conversation. All of the many boxed curriculum were written for some one else' kids; learning styles, interest, educational theory, schedule, ect.... I prefer to tailor make our studies to fit my unique students. I look at the boxed stuff like handing down adult used shoes that have already been formed around someone else' feet and might not reform around my kids feet. This is just my opinion and experience.... but first thought that comes to my mind any more about a boxed curriculum for history is ewwwe, yuck! And I am not in the mood to be fleeced yet again. Did I mention my dislike for boxed curriculum ;) when it comes to history......

 

How deep we go depends on how much my boys want. We have spent about 4 weeks on the Civil War and the 1860s looking at all kinds of angles because they loved it and we will probably spend another month yet. We have covered and are covering; pacifism, slavery, racism, military strategies, the birth of photography, the birth and use of anesthesia, journalism, state rights, abolition movement, military technology of the time, every battle, the anti war movement in the north, the Democratic and Republican parties, ect......

 

I also do not allow my self to be tied to a time table as in a 4 year history cycle. If I did there is no way we could spend the time we are on the Civil war. I scheduled at the beginning of the year 3 weeks for this study but my boys want more and so more they will get, because the goal that chumps all others, is depth when they want it and skimming other wise. In other words I would rather my boys delved deep when they wanted and really learned/knew a time period or subject. They will never forget the Civil War or the 1860s. They have fallen in love with Grant, Lee, Jackson, Sherman, Chamberlain, and Lincoln. On their own they made the connection with how Lincoln was treated during his war and how similarly Bush was treated, ect... That was one of my goals that my boys would be able to study a time period and then on their own see the parallel if any to what is happening today. I suppose a deep study of the 1920s and 30s should be next :001_huh:

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Has anyone heard - will there be recordings?

 

Yeah, needs schmeeds, what's up with that? :D

 

Haven't heard yet if it's yay or nay about recordings. I hope they do record everything, because I will still buy every recording.

 

Sorry about all the exclamation points in my last post. :D Got a little overly enthusiastic.

 

BTW, this is yet another interesting thread.

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What I really love about the WTM is that a curriculum package is really not needed. That is what Susan laid out for those wanting to follow a more classical path.

 

 

 

This is very similar to what I told a friend a couple of weeks ago as I pressed my dog-eared 1st edition WTM into her hands. I told her to ignore the schedules, don't worry about the curriculum recommendations. Just catch the vision. I told her that once she had the overall vision, most any decent curriculum could be tweaked to work.

 

Last week she shared her renewed vision for her children and laughed about how she had been chattering at her husband until his eyes rolled back in his head since reading WTM.

 

I like to purchase some things to ease my planning (I like Smarr for example for the lit recommendations and tests and such) but they are just tools to help me along. I use Western Civ and A Short History of West. Civ (per the 1st ed. of WTM) plus stuff I see at the library for history.

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My goodness ladies! You all just make it sound so easy :)

 

There is sooo much to digest. So much to read. I can't even comment thoughtfully right now. I just know we've got to get some love of learning back in our days or we'll all be hopping on the yellow bus (screams from dh in the background - noooooooooooo).

 

Anyway, didn't want another second to go by without saying thank you for responding. I look forward to reading and re-reading this one.

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TOG... was designed to be tweaked/played-with/goofed with/modified-to-fit-the-kid!...

 

Read. Think. Write....

 

It sounds like you need to start using TOG and let it stop using you! :001_smile:...

 

It's the face-to-face that keeps our homeschool alive. The curriculum just provides rails to ride on - ways to interact with ideas.

 

Janice, thanks for these words. I really needed to hear them today!

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Hugs.

Homeschooling is hard work. Especially at the beginning of each stage, when one's expectations of one's children shift to a higher level. Or the expectations of a curriculum shift to a higher level. As much as everyone and everything tries to make homeschooling a smooth continuum, I think all of us who switched school buildings between middle school and high school are bound to make some sort of leap in our expectations at that point. And it doesn't help that 9th grade is where we begin to be "judged" by colleges looking at our curriculum choices. It all makes for rather a disconnect between us and our children. The good news is that making a leap up at that point does still work. It is just as Jane pointed out: you probably won't see the results for awhile.

I don't think it is as simple as picking a rigorous curriculum and doing all of it. You are trying to change the way your children think about things. That means that they need to understand the new way of thinking well enough that they can do it for themselves. Some children/adults seem to be able to read a books, answer questions specific to each book, and from that form some sort of pattern of what sort of questions they are supposed to be considering for each book they read so that in the end, they are able to make a "curriculum" for themselves and come up with questions to consider for each book they read. My children find this difficult. They do better with something like TWEM, which teaches general questions for each genre of book. (And TWTM, which teaches a procedure for learning a subject.) After going through a genre a few times, they know what they are supposed to be looking for as they read a book because it is the same each time. But whether your curriculum teaches your children by showing them how to take a set of general questions and apply it to a specific book, or by using lots of specific questions for each book and helping them to see the pattern, you have to go through MANY BOOKS before your children will be able to remember and apply the pattern for themselves. Also, when they apply the pattern, they will apply it not only FOR themselves, but TO themselves. This means that their application won't sound the same as that of a 70yo English prof. Their application will be a teenager's application, from a teenager's point of view. And that is right and good. Once they are applying the pattern for themselves, they will continue to apply it their whole lives, and when they become 70yo English profs, THEN they will sound like 70yo English profs. Meanwhile, their own application will make them thoughtful teenagers who question what they see and hear and do, instead of ones who can be pulled and pushed around by words. What you want is one who says, "But wait a minute... Wouldn't that mean that ... or lead to ... ?" and one who says, "That is just like ... " and "That came from ...".

 

I think this form of thinking can be taught through the medium of math or history or literature or science or technology or logic or philosophy or whatever. Ideally, this sort of thinking would be taught through all the subjects at once, and I suspect this is what most people mean by "rigorous", but I don't have ideal students and you probably don't either. My students have their own interests and talents. Teaching them this level of thinking works better if I don't pick a subject in which their eyes glaze over or which makes them angry and depressed (history) or one they aren't good at (we do geometry instead of logic - pictures instead of words). Besides, they have their own interests that they want to teach themselves in their own way. So I just pick a few things to do "rigorously" and the rest we do in a more efficient way. But I don't have to worry because once people learn to think, they usually think, unless they are too tired or distracted or something.

 

My family isn't a history-oriented family, and my older one has other interests that fit into the social studies catagory, so he is reading Spielvogel's Western Civ broken up into 4 years, reading some historical fiction on his own, doing great books (primary sources), writing a few papers, watching some documentaries, and we are counting four years of this as 1 credit of World History. I'm amazed at how much history my children know by doing it this way - certainly more than I do.

 

This is an interesting thread. Thank you for raising the issue.

-Nan

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I only have a few minutes because my children need me :) However right now, they're quiet.

 

So after reading all these thoughtful responses, I am left with one thing on my mind. The question that haunted me at the beginning of homeschooling. What about gaps???

 

Like Nan's great post previously about one world history credit. So if you're taking 4 years to do that, when do you go gov't, philosophy, us history, etc.

 

Or if we're doing WEM, when does he learn all those pesky poetry terms, or "officially" learn to do a comparison paper.

 

These are specifics and I'm not talking specifics in this thread, although this post sounds like it.

 

I think the thing holding me back from branching out on our own is looking at our curriculum,

seeing ALL the things it addresses (which is THE thing that is bogging us down) and realizing we would not get to all that if ds were the one picking the text and we were the ones discussing it. What if we totally forgot geography for two months?

Again, not specifics. I'm speaking general gaps.

 

I am sincerely blessed by your outpouring of experiences and knowledge. ANd most of all the encouragement. Neither of us are enjoying things right now and that's soooo sad.

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I don't think, after much relaxing thought this weekend, that I want to stop doing what we're doing altogether. He is learning ALOT, I just want to add more - pleasureable learning - in. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against hard work. But a love of learning is one of my goals. For a 14 yr old boy is that even possible? I say yes it is. But how???

 

Maybe that will help you all help me think through a plan to combat this.

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I know exactly what you are talking about GRIN. The gaps are very worrisome. Until I remember how many gaps I have and how nicely I've survived with them. I was taught NO geography, for example, and when I was in my early twenties, home with a small baby, and wanting to make the world a better place for him, I decided to have pen pals (world peace one person at at time LOL). I then needed some geography, so I got out a few library books and looked at them as best I could while nursing, and learned some geography. In retrospect, this was a much nicer way of learning it than if I'd had it in school. School taught me how to read and how to find the information in the library. And it managed, by not teaching it in a horrible dry way, not to ruin the subject for me. But I don't think that is the sort of gap you are talking about. I think what you are envisioning is your child going to his first college literature class and not even understanding what the teacher is talking about let alone writing that 10 page research paper about it that is due by the next lecture? Or him getting a job that requires he be aware of the potential problems refugees from Cartixoziquort will face when they become citizens and try to participate in our form of government instead of theirs? Or him discovering in the middle of his college biology midterm that in order to answer the questions, he has to know to which order all the species mentioned belong? Those are the things that haunt me, anyway. But in reality, those scenarios aren't very likely. There is a lot of knowledge out there in the universe. Your child can't learn everything in the childhood years devoted to education, not even close. What really happens is that as the high school years go by, you discover what your child is more likely to need to know in detail, and what he is more likely to just need a taste of so that you know what to concentrate on. As time goes by, you will know how much your children like poetry, because you will read some poetry with them and discuss what it sounds like and what decisions the writer made and why. You don't need poetry terms to do this. If it turns out that you have a child who loves poetry, then you will try to find out how to do poetry in more detail. You will open your WTM book and look for poetry. And you will find that TWTM recommends Reading Strands for parents who aren't very secure about how to discuss literature with children. Reading Strands has sample conversations and in the back, a very nice list of literature terms and their definitions. Writing Strands works with the choices authors make (like person and knowledge), so my children have met those things. The Harp and the Laurel Wreath (another WTM recommendation) has questions that help you focus different aspects of poetry. If your child isn't particularly interested in poetry, then you can just read TWEM poetry section along with reading a few poems every year. The same with philosophy and US History and government. TWTM suggests ways to cover these subjects. It usually suggests extra things you can do if you want to dwell on them. In our particular case, I saved the logic stage US history readings for high school and had my son read a spine (I picked one that would approach history from a point of view like his own, so he would read it rather than throw it out the car window in disgust), The Cartoon History of the US, and those. For government, we're following the directions in TWTM. I, too, worried a lot about the gaps, and from time to time I read things like Rupp's Home Learning Year by Year (think I got the name right) which is basically a list of what your child should know in each subject. Or you can look online. In some schools, the teachers post their syllabi, including reading lists, study guides, and assignments. Or you can look at that encyclopaedia that has lists of what should be covered in each subject for high school. Maybe it is called World Book of Knowledge? Someone here would know. Or get a textbook from the library and see if you have covered the material. I no longer do much double checking, but I did at the beginning. Eventually, I realized that we were covering most of the material, just in a different way or at a different time. Or sometimes, we were covering different material, material that was either more in line with our family or my sons' interests or with what my own experience with life told me they needed. Or definately didn't need LOL.

 

I guess that was all a very long way of telling you that yes, you need to do a little cross-checking if you want to customize your children's education to them, that TWTM does a pretty good job of filling the gaps if you actually follow it, and that as you gain experience, you will gain confidence that the gaps are the right gaps for your children.

 

HTH

-Nan

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Oh, Nan. I adore your posts!

 

About those gaps... I think that all of us have gaps in part because of our own interests. We can all use the same text in the course of our studies, hear the same lectures, etc., but certain issues (novels, events, paintings, philosophical notions, etc.) just resonate more with one person than another. Or just resonate at one time more than at another time.

 

In my History of the Novel class in undergraduate, I read Austen's Emma and could not understand for the life of me why my English major roommate adored Austen's work. It was not until my late twenties that I returned to Austen and then fell in love. I essentially discovered the pleasure of Austen's writing on my own.

 

The problem with lists is that they are limiting. Back in logic stage English, TWTM recommended a Kipling novel (Jungle Book? Kim?) Does anyone remember a woman in Britain who used to participate on the old board until her eyesight deteriorated? She recommended a different Kipling novel, Puck of Pook's Hill, which was a huge hit with my son. It was a perfect fit for a boy who loves fantasy novels. Is my son less educated to have not read Jungle Book or Kim? I don't think so. Further, there is nothing that prevents him from reading those books at a later date, now having a warm and fuzzy feeling for the work of Kipling via Puck.

 

My friend the English major may see gaps in my son's education that I cannot even find because she brings a different perspective of a Well Educated Person to the table. Her field is English Literature. What about French literature? How many of our kids read Czech literature? Indian? There are not enough hours in the day so we must all have some limits and an understanding that one definition of a well educated person is not another's.

 

The greatest educational gaps that I see are in math and science. Unfortunately these are not quick to remedy with a dictionary, atlas and Wikipedia, yet the same skills that Nan mentions in her post can lead one to study even challenging material on one's own.

 

And shall we address the issue of foreign language? How many of our children are proficient in a second language? But a grounding in grammar will help facilitate learning at least enough bits and pieces to be a polite tourist on a vacation visit to another country or to allow for an immersion course if an off shore job transfer is in the cards.

 

Jane (who is suddenly feeling that she has more gaps than knowledge!)

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More food for thought - interesting. Same thing I'm dealing with now, I was dealing with then.

 

I cannot move on to year 2 in this position. See, I feel better now. It has been a while, we have been plowing through, and we are still not enjoying things.

 

Off to the library for some good books, coffee and hot chocolate for the kids, then home to simply read and decompress.

 

All wisdom sincerely appreciated! I too, am printing all this out.

 

http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?t=68973

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Off to the library for some good books, coffee and hot chocolate for the kids, then home to simply read and decompress.

 

 

 

Don't forget the chocolate chip cookies!

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I think it would be helpful if SWB (or the collective hive-mind) could come up with "history questions" much like the generic literature questions that are in the logic stage lit section of WTM. General questions.

 

Or, maybe what we need are "history" questions that apply to different "genres" of history. For example, questions about wars - wouldn't those be different than questions about art? Or science? Or religion/worldview?

 

But, surely there are general questions that could be explored no matter what text or topic or culture you are studying. (And, just like *all* the questions in WEM don't apply to every single work - the same here. But you can at least read the question and say, "Well, in this case, I don't think that applies.")

 

It would certainly go a long way toward easing my own "9th-grade jitters"! =) I've gotten used to not knowing the answers, but it would be nice if I at least knew the questions - LOL!

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I didn't connect your posts together into a person. : )

I have a question for you: what sort of person is your son? Is he a literature type? An engineering type? A history buff? An outdoor person? More intellectual or more a hands-on type? An athlete? Does he like to travel? Is he interested in politics? Just naming a few ideas. Or doesn't he know? What does he do for fun? If you can narrow down what sort of person he is, then you can take a guess at what sort of subjects he might need to do rigorously to get where he might want to get. Much as we would all like to give our children rigorous courses in all subjects, there are practical limitations. A child is unlikely to apply himself well enough to like the rigorous version unless it is in an area where he is talented and interested, or at least interested. You are probably limited by time. Jane can teach math rigorously because she doesn't have to learn it all from scratch first. She has to work harder to manage French. She has time to do everything fairly rigorously because she doesn't have six other children and she is fairly well-educated herself. I'm limited by my own education and the inclination of my children. We are going farther than I ever imagined or intended to, but I only homeschool two, my household duties are almost nil, and I have extra help from my parents. My cousin, for example, has too many other obligations (like keeping her children safe and fed) to homeschool, much as she'd like to, and her daughter was miserable in high school, so she sent her to CC full-time as a junior. This is the best she can do. And it is working out much better than nothing. I guess what I'm trying to say is that you have to look at your own limitations, your family's limitations, and your son's limitations, pick a few subjects to do rigorously, and then just find some way to do the others as best you can. It seems like a basic part of that equation is deciding whether you are worried that you will lose your son if you just keep plugging away at a rigorous history/literature program. Or lose him even if you continue to homeschool in an easier way. If it is the latter, then you need to find a way to motivate him. Maybe aiming towards going to CC full-time would be that way. If you think you are in iminint (sp?) danger of losing him, then send him now and provide a ton of support for him to make sure he succeeds. If you think he'll be ok just aiming for a goal, then find a subject he is good at but doesn't want to teach himself and sign him up for just one, so his world gets a little bigger. If it is just that he is struggling with math and you don't have time to help him, and he doesn't like working as hard as he needs to to do TOG, then you have more choices. You can separate the issues and deal with them individually. If you are just worried that he will hate literature and history forever if you keep doing TOG, but not hate you, then switch to some other program. If you think he will survive not liking them and be grateful for the learning in the end, then carry on. If you think he is never going to be a literature person because he is only interested in taking things apart and fixing them, then perhaps find a more appealing and easier way to do literature and history. And find a different way to do math, one where he gets the help he needs and gets to go slower than he would at CC. If you think he is capable at math and would do fine if he had a live math teacher, then you can think about CC. I would have to be in desperate fear of losing my child altogether (which I can understand because I should have done this with my oldest and didn't) before I sent him off at that young age to CC full-time, but I would definately be willing to consider aiming for that for the second half of high school, if I thought it would be best for that particular child.

 

That is way too many if-then-s GRIN. But maybe something in all that will help narrow down your choices a bit. I'm trying to make the same sorts of choices as I try to make a tentative high school plan for my 8th grader, so I've been thinking about those if-thens a lot. A whole lot.

 

-Nan

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I would be most grateful if someone did. I might even be willing to discuss history with my children instead of just saying, "Here, hon. Read this."

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Maybe this would help with TOG. Or maybe it wouldn't. But I always focus on getting my sons to ask questions, not necessarily answer them. It seems like they need to think about things more to come up with questions than to come up with answers. Or at least differently.

-Nan

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And the nice thing is that you can change the decisions you make if they don't seem to be working out the way you want them to.

 

I was psyched at being able to offer ds2 the "real" education his older sibs didn't get because I learned so much teaching them. I had his classical education all planned out. Well, ds2 nearly died in an online lit class, has nearly flunked two Latin 1 classes, and finally we just plain held him back a year.

 

And then we started to focus on who HE is -- and he is not the classical academic kid my older two are. He is an engineer who designs, builds, and flies kites. School is merely something he does because he has to -- so I try to challenge him but at the same time not drive him crazy. So he is NOT doing Latin 1 - AP Latin Vergil in three years like his sister, he is NOT going to do three AP classes simultaneously (along with three other online classes) like his brother. But he IS taking some programming classes, and he will probably graduate having taken calculus 1, 2, & 3 at the local college. He just doesn't do history or literature.

 

Enjoy the challenge of trying to sketch out your son's high school years -- and remain flexible so when some things don't work out, you change what you are doing to something that works! :001_smile:

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We need a Gwen tag, too. I always love your posts. I've been through at least 8 plans with my oldest, and probably will go through at least that many with my younger one, considering that I've made and abandonned about 5 so far, and he hasn't even begun yet. : )

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We need a Gwen tag, too.

 

I cannot add any more tags to this thread, so could someone else do it? What should Gwen's tag read? "Success with Gwen"? "Muses with Gwen"? "Got Gwen?"

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I'll do it if I can figure out how. Gwen, do you like one better than the other? Or have a better idea? Personally, I associate Gwen with smashing success and coherence rather than musing, but musing sounds nicer.

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I'll do it if I can figure out how. Gwen, do you like one better than the other? Or have a better idea? Personally, I associate Gwen with smashing success and coherence rather than musing, but musing sounds nicer.

 

Just scroll below the last post and click on "edit tags" on the lower right. Enter the tag name you'd like in the box.

 

I too associate Gwen with success.

 

Jane

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FIRST, I tell them to make GOALS for their student for the year....

SECOND, Curriculum should be chosen to FIT your goals

 

I agree.

:iagree:

 

If Your Own Homeschool goals and priorities are determined first, then the answer to "what should we do" tends to present itself rather clearly.

 

:seeya:

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I think it would be helpful if SWB (or the collective hive-mind) could come up with "history questions" much like the generic literature questions that are in the logic stage lit section of WTM. General questions.

 

Or, maybe what we need are "history" questions that apply to different "genres" of history. For example, questions about wars - wouldn't those be different than questions about art? Or science? Or religion/worldview?

 

But, surely there are general questions that could be explored no matter what text or topic or culture you are studying. (And, just like *all* the questions in WEM don't apply to every single work - the same here. But you can at least read the question and say, "Well, in this case, I don't think that applies.")

 

It would certainly go a long way toward easing my own "9th-grade jitters"! =) I've gotten used to not knowing the answers, but it would be nice if I at least knew the questions - LOL!

 

Actually, that is the basis for the TRISMS curriculum.

 

If you join their yahoo group, there are even more of these "generic" type forms in the files section that are user generated.

 

Every semester, I say to myself "I want a new curriculum - something more ________"; but then I look at TRISMS again and realize that it is exactly what I want/need, and that it works well for us (when I don't get caught up in the whole "but what if you have gaps" thing, anyway).

 

 

asta

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