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    Considering changes for next school year...

    Happy New Year! We are getting right back to work today to get a jump on the semester. Yay for really quiet school days with no interruptions!

    My husband and I are currently discussing and considering next school year, and I would love to hear from others who have considered the same things/etc. for feedback/things to consider.

    What we are doing this year:

    · Daughter in 5A Core with Well-Trained Mind Grammar and Writing substituted for MP materials. SFL Online. Lots of music through violin lessons and additional classes and a children’s choir. Additionally, she has nearly a full day of fun classes (chess, science experiments, choir, P.E., cooking). She is really enjoying this year.

    · Son in full Kindergarten Core. He also has a full day of fun classes.

    I was planning to keep going with all of the above into the next year, with a couple more online classes added in for my daughter for her 6A year. We love Memoria Press materials, and I have not really considered any options that would require me to give them up. However, my husband and I have been talking about our daughter’s specific spiritual and personality growth needs and think she might need a little more interaction in learning. Her greatest challenges right now have to do with being able to interact with others in a competitive/discussion setting and maintain self-control when she is saddened, angered, etc. (She is very bright and very sensitive; very mature in some ways and very immature in other ways.) She also freaks out (that’s the technical term, right?) when she is taking an online Latin quiz and misses a question and doesn’t immediately know why. The computer is often blamed with many tears, and when we uncover what the confusion was (on the midterm in December, she was a little confused about the difference between direct object and indirect objects), I explain to her that the test was doing it’s job—pointing out to us what she needed more work on. But we repeat this drama over and over, and, even though she is getting an A in the class, any time her grade on a quiz is not a high A, she will become quite self-depreciative.

    All of that to say—my husband and I are currently stepping back to consider what is best for her whole development. One thing we definitely think will help next year is that she will be a part of the youth group. We go to a very small church, and the teen girls are pretty amazing in their care for one another and respect of adults and generally all-around good role models. They look out for the youngers moving up. They memorize whole books or several chapters of the Bible each year together and encourage each other in that. They attend our ladies’ studies and events and interact and participate and are overall more mature than average. So I do think this will help a lot. But this doesn’t address all of her development needs.

    So here are the two options (so far) we have for next year:

    (Note: unfortunately, a Highlands Latin Cottage School is not an option because the closest one is a little over an hour away (and that’s if the traffic conditions are absolutely perfect). I am not in a position to start one as I have to work several hours per week for my husband, but if anyone starts one in Knoxville, that would be grand and I would be super-supportive and help as I could!)

    Option 1:

    · Keep going with some additions. So daughter would do the same as this year (of course, 6A instead of 5A), taking several classes online through MPOA, including TFL, math, possibly composition, and possibly literature. She would take a science with lab class through the one-day CO-OP and perhaps one other “for grades” class and continue with fun electives and P.E. Music would stay the same. We would also look to add *something.* Some group, some class, some sport, something in person with other children in a constructive, appropriately managed environment in which she can be challenged and given opportunities to mature in the ways discussed.

    · Son would do MP 1 Core and continue with fun classes day.



    Option 2:

    · Daughter would continue with TFL online, and we would continue to do Christian and classical studies. We would probably do American studies and Book of Trees over the summer. She would attend a hybrid school 3 days/ week from 8:30-1:10. She would have one-hour classes per day for math, science, history, and language arts. Electives and Bible are at the parents’ discretion. We would continue with everything related to violin lessons/classes but would have to give up the Thursday fun classes, of course.

    · Son would also attend 1st grade at the hybrid school, with classes from 8:30-12:30ish 3 days/week. Again, it covers only the core subjects, so I would do MP read-alouds, enrichment, etc. and probably have classical phonics and MP spelling on hand as supplements/to do over summer. They use Abeka for phonics, which is not my first choice but I know it’s solid since as it is what my Christian school used and I think I have phonics ingrained into my soul as a result.

    · Pros/Cons to option 2: The leadership is solid and trustworthy, the school is moving in a good direction, the school has a healthy culture, and we already have close friends there. However, it is not classical, there are teachers who implement classical elements, but there are also teachers who come from all sorts of teaching backgrounds. I think eventually the school will move in a more classical direction, but that won’t be anytime soon. The curriculum has been chosen based on what works best for their model (mostly Bob Jones with Abeka for phonics and Glencoe McGraw-Hill for middle school math), and that has been the factor that has kept us away so far. But, I do like that with the short days and electives left up to me, I can implement a lot of classical elements and keep Latin as our key subject. I would do recitation still, probably both MP’s official recitation and adding in stuff from their school studies.


    I am going to shadow a day of sixth grade later this month. I will also be talking to my friends with 6th graders in the school.

    Okay, so that’s long enough. Anything I'm missing? We are praying for a lot of wisdom right now that we make a decision based upon godly priorities and what is best for each child and our family overall.

    Thanks in advance for any advice or help!

    Michaela



    Michaela
    Daughter: Age 11 MP 6A (MPOA for TFL, 6th grade math, and composition)
    Son: Age 6 1st Grade MP Traditional Spelling, Literature, Math, and Handwriting
    for 2019/2020 school year

    #2
    I made a similar decision this year with my 3rd grader. She is extremely social, the only girl among three brothers, and also very emotional about EVERYTHING. Most school days involved tears at some point. I was dreading every day of school and close to giving up homeschooling altogether. We decided at the last minute to put her in a lovely, nurturing Christian 3 day school that is not classical, but includes some classical elements. It has been AMAZING for her. She is currently off for the month of January so we’ are re doing 100% homeschool - which is fun in some ways, but also makes me realize how good her school is for her socially and emotionally.
    DS13: Mix of MP 7/8
    DS11: MP 5M
    DD9: MP 2/3 mix
    DS6: Public school 1/2 day kindergarten, plus outside OT, PT and speech

    Comment


      #3
      Michaela,
      This is definitely a big decision, and I can only imagine how much it weighs on your mind from day to day. What a blessing to have two very good options for continuing your children's education - but yet, wouldn't it be nice to have that printout from God of exactly what the plan is supposed to be? ha!

      A couple of things I am wondering after reading your thoughts. The first thing that strikes me - being the mother of six daughters - is that your daughter's emotional reactions to things are not anything out of the ordinary. Your concern over helping her mature and grow to soften the rough parts and to develop her coping skills is excellent, and indicate to me that no matter what you guys choose, you are going to be making a very good decision for your daughter because you are paying attention to her needs very carefully and wanting to see her mature into a healthy adult.

      That being said, I want to support you in knowing that you don't have to put her into a school environment or add more activities to help her develop what she needs to work on. Already, with a solid educational path, music, co-op day, and your idea of youth group, your daughter will be having a fantastic balance of home/outside-home life. That is actually a lot more that what my children have been able to have for their childhood years! We have navigated four children through this age your daughter is, with our fifth one stuck right in it. It is challenging. It is a huge change to try to help a young child reach up and become a pleasant adolescent. It is a mixture of desire for older child activities and privileges, mixed with the emotional strength of a still-young child! I want to encourage you that not only is it normal, but also that it sounds like you are on it and will do well to help her through simply by keeping on with what you are already doing. It does eventually pass - for girls, between twelve and thirteen, in my experience. They remain more emotional, but the confusing mixture of older child/younger child is over. They have settled into their new skin if you will and are not as difficult. Again, this is from my experience!

      So, this is a huge lifestyle change you are considering - going from being a full-time homeschooler, to being a mostly-schooler. It changes the content and avenue of your children's education, and brings A LOT more people into your educational life, and will do so not just for your daughter, but for your son too. Right now, your reasons for doing this center around your daughter's needs because of a temporary stage of development - one that will very naturally subside all on its own with what you are already doing. If you look down the road five years, and your children ask you whyyou put them in school, your answer would be that it was because of this stage. Is that what you want to tell your children?

      Because what I am wondering is if there is more to it than that. I am wondering if this school option appeals to you because it is simply what you really want - for yourself, as well as for your whole family. Trust me, I know that this homeschooling thing is hard, and very often, lonely. It is a huge responsibility to get up every day and get going again. And it can be hard to see others you know who have a whole school community to support their children's education while you are fending for yourself. You mentioned you have friends at this school, and it all sounds very positive. I am wondering if the big, driving force here is that you simply want a school environment for your entire family - that routine, that community, that involvement, that lifestyle, you know?

      Which, if it is the case, is a perfectly legitimate desire! If that is what lies at the heart of your thoughts, when you get right down to it, then I want to encourage you to embrace it! Face it head on and admit - I would rather be a schooling family instead of a homeschooling family. (I can't use quotation marks because they do not show up on this platform yet...one of the glitches I am sure they will fix soon!)

      I have had many friends who have realized at some point in their homeschooling journeys that an actual school is the right option either for one child, for all of their children, or for the mom! And they have had mixed experiences...some have realized it was the exact right decision, while others have realized that the reasons they thought a school would help are not really solved by the school...the problems remained even with the school. This is because your children will still go through stages of development - whether in a school or not. And your life will still be busy, sometimes chaotic, and filled with challenges, whether in a school or not. You simply trade one type of busy-ness for another.

      This is why I really want to support you in that this is a stage your daughter is going through. What you are already doing is going to help her grow through this stage and come out on the other side. You don't have to totally uproot your homeschooling life in order to address it. You can absolutely keep going on the path you are on.

      But if what you really want is to switch to a different path, make sure your reasons and long-term plans are clear on why you are doing it. Please don't tie it to just this one age/stage for your daughter. Make it a full-on family decision, and then embrace it as what you think is the right thing for your entire family. Does this make sense?

      AMDG,
      Sarah
      2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
      DD, 18, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
      DS, 16
      DD, 14
      DD, 12
      DD, 10
      DD, 7.5
      DD, 5.5
      +DS+
      DS, 18 months

      Comment


        #4
        A quick note: knowing Michaela a bit personally, I don't think that no longer wanting to be a homeschool family is at the root of her considerations, or even part of them at all.

        That being said, Michaela, I have two children in particular who struggle with how to handle being saddened, disappointed, angered, etc. One is a teen boy, the other is a young girl. While some of what you're seeing is a normal phase for your daughter's age, if she's always had these struggles, they will inevitably be worse at this point due to pre-teen hormones (puberty can start, hormonally, as early as 8 or 9 for girls!). That will make this seem like "more than a phase".

        As a fellow mom raising children who struggle to properly express negative emotions, I would highly recommend keeping your daughter home so that you can personally coach her when these moments arise. Both of my emotional children are also my black and white thinkers who need direct instruction and coaching in this kind of thing. If your daughter has the same tendency in her thinking (which it sounds like she might, given her test anxiety) then she is unlikely to learn proper emotional/social skills just from seeing how other kids do it.

        If you would like more details on how we've coached/instructed through this, just let me know. I'm happy to share if it will help other families/children who are working through these things!




        Jennifer
        Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

        DS16
        MP: Lit 10, VideoText Algebra
        MPOA: High School Comp. II
        HSC: Spanish I, Conceptual Physics, Modern European History, and electives

        DS15
        MP: Biology, Lit 10, VideoText Algebra, Greek Tragedies
        MPOA: High School Comp. II, Fourth Form Latin
        HSC: Modern European History

        DS12
        7M with:
        Second Form Latin, EGR III, and HSC for US History

        DS11
        SC Level 4

        DD9
        3A, with First Form Latin (long story!)

        DD7/8
        Still in SC Level 2

        DD 4/5
        SC Level C

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks to all for responding! Lots of good stuff/feedback to consider. Sarah and Jennifer--I personally don't want to introduce a school into our lives. I am very happy with the amount of social interaction our family gets (perhaps too content, as I should reach out to others more), and I like things simple and hate being in the car a lot. I also love the flexibility and control of homeschooling. I get overwhelmed when I have lots of different social circles to keep up with. Because of this, I have forced myself to step back and try to see the forest, so to speak, and make sure we are making the right decision for our kids. I wonder--am I selfishly keeping them from enjoying all the benefits of both worlds they could potentially get from this hybrid school? Especially one in which they already have some good friends? So, kind of like I did 3 years ago when we made the decision to switch to Latin-centered homeschooling from the neo-classical school are daughter attended for second grade, I am pulling back and analyzing everything. It's kind of painful (especially for my husband who gets to hear me rehash whatever I have researched, prayed about, or considered for the day), but I do think it's the right time to think through these things.

          And it really is helpful to be reminded that we can work through these things at home. Sarah--I love to here about well-mannered young ladies who made it through this age! My daughter and I had similar personalities at her age, so I have spent much of the last year reminding my husband (and myself) that some of these behavior and personality issues can be extremely difficult on a child in a school setting, with school peers enforcing conformity rather than maturity. That we just need to keep training her in truth, etc. But we have had some really awkward/rough days recently, and that has been the catalyst of pushing me into this phase of analyzing and reconsidering.

          There are some other factors that are affecting this decision. They weren't the catalyst, so to speak, but once we started considering a change, we started discussing other pros and cons of both and how they would affect our family in various ways.

          Jennifer, I would like to hear about how you have "coached/instructed through this." We have been asking those we trust for advice and wisdom, and though we teach her and keep instructing, we are struggling to come up with appropriate discipline. Sometimes, natural consequences present themselves, and we often take away free reading (which, in her words, often makes for the worst day ever!), but I am trying to come up with ways to help her to choose a measured, self-controlled response over immediate release of any and all negative emotions when she is having a rough day. So, I would love to hear more!
          Michaela
          Daughter: Age 11 MP 6A (MPOA for TFL, 6th grade math, and composition)
          Son: Age 6 1st Grade MP Traditional Spelling, Literature, Math, and Handwriting
          for 2019/2020 school year

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by ClassicalFamily View Post
            Jennifer, I would like to hear about how you have "coached/instructed through this." We have been asking those we trust for advice and wisdom, and though we teach her and keep instructing, we are struggling to come up with appropriate discipline. Sometimes, natural consequences present themselves, and we often take away free reading (which, in her words, often makes for the worst day ever!), but I am trying to come up with ways to help her to choose a measured, self-controlled response over immediate release of any and all negative emotions when she is having a rough day. So, I would love to hear more!
            Yes -- it's so challenging trying to discipline when you know their actions aren't only stemming from "heart issues"!

            A little backstory of where we were coming from: my husband and I were both raised very traditionally when it came to discipline. My parents were constantly addressing my "pity parties", "selfishness", "strong will", etc. What they didn't understand was that a lot of what they were seeing was normal for my personality/temperament (introverted and idealist and prone to melancholy) and it needed to be addressed from a "You have this challenge to work through to become a woman of character" rather than a "You have some serious heart issues". In some ways, the actions will be the same but the attitude/perspective is completely different. Because everything my parents heard/read dealt with things in the latter approach, I grew up thinking I was just a bad person.

            Fast forward to my early twenties when I had a child throwing tantrums so severe that my mom suspected demonic influence. We even wondered about bipolar disorder (family history). He was four/five. If anything upset him the default response was either rage or a complete shut down. I still have marks in walls/doors that he threw things at. He shifted more towards shut downs as he got older but the tantrums continued until he was about 13.

            In the meantime, our sixth child was born and showed many of the same characteristics as her older brother. I had never had a child scream so badly when teething and once, after a long day, I put her to bed without changing her into pajamas; she screamed until I put her in PJ's as she was used to. Anytime either of these children got hurt they would either fly into a tantrum or shut down. If you tried to console/talk to them it only made matters worse. If anything unexpected came up, or if they felt they couldn't do what was expected of them, or if they felt they were being blamed for something, the tantrums/shut downs would ensue.

            Here's part of what changed our lives:

            I realized that, in my complete desperation, I had become resentful towards my son (NOT saying that you have come to this point with your daughter!). We woke up every day wondering what kind of tantrum we would deal with and how many of them. We all walked on eggshells. The first thing I did was to tell my son what I had realized about my feelings towards him, apologize for that, and tell him that I didn't want it to be "us vs. him" anymore. We needed to work as a team. I also explained to him what we had gradually come to learn (from watching his sister): he didn't know how to verbalize negative emotions. He looked at things very black/white and had trouble "shifting gears". He needed to know what the problem really was because, after 12-13 years of being viewed as a "difficult" or "strong-willed" or "defiant" child, he had come to the conclusion that he was a bad person and had pretty much given up (black and white thinkers tend to be very defeatist/all-or-nothing).

            So we started talking. I would ask him on a Saturday morning: "So I noticed that when xyz happens, you react by abc. Can you tell me what is going through your mind when that happens?" My goal was to open communication and help him show me what was going on internally (which also helped him stop and think it through). He would often shrug his shoulders and say "I don't know." Sometimes I would ask another way, other times I would just nod and say in a relaxed way "Okay, let me know if something comes to mind." After about 3-4 weeks of this, he started opening up. As a team, we were able to figure out his triggers, coach on other ways to respond, etc.

            At the same time, we knew we couldn't let inappropriate behavior go by unaddressed. I was clear with him from the beginning that this was a challenge he had but that it was NOT a "pass" to act inappropriately. My husband and I learned that consequences needed to be specific, time-based, and involve a training in the needed habit. So things like: "You are not allowed to participate in _____ activity until [specific improvement] is achieved for [specific amount of time]." or "You are required to pay for [item they damaged] by ______ date or else [other specific consequence] will occur." or "You are required to do [wronged person's] chores for ___ day/days." The SUPER important thing here is that this has to be said WITHOUT emotion on your part. It has to be worded and spoken like you would in a business transaction. This completely revolutionized discipline in our house and our kids' behavior has vastly improved.

            Now on to my daughter...by age 4 we knew for sure that we were dealing with the exact same thing as my son. This was around the same time that he and I began working on his challenges so I started doing the same with her. I had always HATED it when people would talk about "labeling emotions" and whatnot. Then I realized that some kids actually NEED us to do that because they have NO IDEA how to do it themselves. So whenever we knew the actual source of her anger/frustration/tantrum, we would label it. "I know this is hard. You're feeling angry because they took your toy." or "I see that cut. The fall must have scared you."

            I knew we were making progress the day we were outside my parents' apartment and my daughter ran ahead and fell down on the sidewalk. I braced myself for the fallout and then watched in awe as she stood up, took a breath, looked at me, and walked calmly over to show what had happened. It was an Alleluia moment like no other.

            Another HUGE thing with discipline is to repeat ad nauseum: "This isn't about [what other child did, how stupid/hard your book is, etc]. This is about your response." They don't realize that they can control their responses so this keeps them from even trying.

            Right now I have a black/white thinker trying to direct house clean-up with an emotional 8yo girl overreacting to his very blunt instructions...I think I better intervene! But let me know if this helps or if it prompts more questions!!
            Jennifer
            Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

            DS16
            MP: Lit 10, VideoText Algebra
            MPOA: High School Comp. II
            HSC: Spanish I, Conceptual Physics, Modern European History, and electives

            DS15
            MP: Biology, Lit 10, VideoText Algebra, Greek Tragedies
            MPOA: High School Comp. II, Fourth Form Latin
            HSC: Modern European History

            DS12
            7M with:
            Second Form Latin, EGR III, and HSC for US History

            DS11
            SC Level 4

            DD9
            3A, with First Form Latin (long story!)

            DD7/8
            Still in SC Level 2

            DD 4/5
            SC Level C

            Comment


              #7
              Jen,
              We have so much more in common than I realized before. Thank you so much for sharing your response here. It hits home on so many levels for me.

              Michaela,
              We have one daughter who fits the description Jen offered, and she gets it naturally - iykwim. I am actually grateful that I can remember, relate, and redirect the pattern that I experienced myself. What Jen describes is very much what we have had to do in learning how to parent this child as well. It was definitely hardest in the toddler years, and we have seen great improvement over the years. But as Jen described, it requires patience, trust, personal discipline to keep your own cool - which my daughter sees on an occasional basis - mom does not have it perfectly perfected yet either. What she can see though is an adult who has learned to manage it MOST of the time, and who is humble and apologetic when she messes up. It still involves that ability to put yourself in your child’s shoes to figure out what has happened, be able to voice the emotions for them, and then help them discuss the options for how to handle it in order for them to come out of it. Our last time of doing this was two days before Christmas. But that is SO much better than when it was a daily, if not a many-times-per-day, thing.

              And I wholeheartedly agree with Jen that in this type of situation, home is the best place to deal with it. I am so glad you are committed to homeschooling, and I would actually say that if there is too much going on, it might be good to ease up a bit on commitments - if that is a stressor - until she is able to handle things better.

              There’s another mom here with MP - Amy? Where are you? - and we have even spoken on the phone about our girls. Jen, maybe they need to all be in a delectare group together next year!

              AMDG,
              Sarah

              2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
              DD, 18, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
              DS, 16
              DD, 14
              DD, 12
              DD, 10
              DD, 7.5
              DD, 5.5
              +DS+
              DS, 18 months

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks again! Those are good suggestions. And I completely agree...I often tell her she will not be disciplined for her feelings but that she is responsible for what she chooses to do with her feelings and that it is our (parents') responsibility to train and help her with this. It is soooo helpful to hear different discipline and training strategies that can be used to reinforce the truth we are trying to teach her. Thanks!!

                And it occurred to me that I don't have to wait until next year to get some of those teen girls to help me out--if I just asked them, I know most of them would go ahead and make some effort to engage her in conversation more deeply. It takes effort on the other person's part, because until she is comfortable with the person, her body language, tone, and facial expressions would indicate that she is not interested in the conversation--in other words, her version of shy comes across as disinterested and quiet--which isn't her personality at all! She's actually quite a goofball with lots of interesting facts and corny jokes she would love to tell you.

                Anyways, thanks again!

                Michaela
                Michaela
                Daughter: Age 11 MP 6A (MPOA for TFL, 6th grade math, and composition)
                Son: Age 6 1st Grade MP Traditional Spelling, Literature, Math, and Handwriting
                for 2019/2020 school year

                Comment


                  #9
                  This thread is so educational for me!!
                  Margaret of Georgia, in west TN – Enginerd’s wife and Mama

                  2019-2020 · 8th MP Year, 9th Homeschooling
                  Trekking along at a student self-pace...
                  DD Summer 2009 · 5th
                  DD Summer 2011 · SC4
                  DS Summer 2014 · JrK/K
                  DD Summer 2017 · Pre
                  DS …EDD 11/2019

                  Memoria Scholé Academy
                  Blog: Creative Madness Mama
                  CherryBlossomMJ

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I've got a five year old firecracker emotional girl, and an eight year old beginning hormones girl, and this thread has been awesome to read! Thank you for all the wisdom shared here!
                    DD1: Third grade: reading, spelling, piano, and art along with MP Mammals, Lit Guides, LC yr 1, and R&S 3 so we are ready for 4NU next year
                    DD2: MP Kindergarten
                    DS 1: MP Preschool package
                    Me: Autoimmune Protocol athlete who loves chai tea with coconut milk, a good book, and the mountains

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Not that I mean that I am relishing the OP's position; just seeing that we might be there someday, too!
                      DD1: Third grade: reading, spelling, piano, and art along with MP Mammals, Lit Guides, LC yr 1, and R&S 3 so we are ready for 4NU next year
                      DD2: MP Kindergarten
                      DS 1: MP Preschool package
                      Me: Autoimmune Protocol athlete who loves chai tea with coconut milk, a good book, and the mountains

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Thought I would update with our decision to table this decision until next year. This had been my plan for a while--to stick with MP fully through at least 6th grade and then evaluate where we are going into 7th. We decided this a couple of weeks ago, but we had to travel for a funeral in the family last week, so I'm just now catching up and getting back on here. Thanks again for all the advice and feedback!
                        Michaela
                        Daughter: Age 11 MP 6A (MPOA for TFL, 6th grade math, and composition)
                        Son: Age 6 1st Grade MP Traditional Spelling, Literature, Math, and Handwriting
                        for 2019/2020 school year

                        Comment

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