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Multiple Cores - Read Aloud and Enrichment

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    Multiple Cores - Read Aloud and Enrichment

    I have 3 kids in back to back grades - K(DS5),1st (DS6 nearly 7), and 2nd(DS8). All boys are about 16-17 months apart. I am new to MP this year. When I selected it last summer, I spoke on the phone at length with a MP Rep. I was horrified that I would have to do 3 sets of RA and enrichments at the same time! On his advice, I selected one year (1st) and am doing that enrichment for all three kids at the same time. Here we are halfway in, and here is what I'm seeing and I have a few questions.

    My 5 yr old doesn't pay much attention to the read aloud stuff / enrichment stuff. He looks at it or listens for a couple of minutes and then we have the wiggles, giggles, squeals, and whatever else crosses his mind in that moment. Since he's barely taking the time out of his busy schedule of play to realize that Mom is reading this out loud on purpose for his benefit....I'm thinking of just repeating these books for him next year in his 1st grade year. He's doing fantastic in his phonics, and I have him doing the R&S1. All of these are working well. His maturity is lacking though. It's understandable as he is a Sept birthday so I'm technically asking a lot of him. Does it make sense to just re-do the exact same books for first grade to see if something sticks? Or get a whole new set of the K enrichment and read aloud books? I'm leaning towards just repeating the 1st grade level of enrichment. A few of them he really liked (A Visitor for Bear) And that way I'm on perfect track to continue. Any thoughts? (Side note: At some point, I'll be getting the K group too, because we had a surprise baby girl. She's only 2 now, so I have a few years before I'm doing...4 cores. Sheesh. That's a problem for another day. )

    Since I've done the 1st grade enrichment and RA books, what do I do with my 2nd grader for next year when he heads into 3rd? Just skip over those books and head into 3rd grade RA and Enrichment? Honestly, there is so much to the enrichment books that it seems more like curriculum rather than a nice add-on and I hate to miss out. He's a great "reader" sort of...he has a natural ability to decode the written word, but he has trouble with comprehending what he's read. He is kind of a spectrum-y kiddo but not exactly. He's hyperlexic which is a crazy word that describes a weird ability to read freakishly early, but compounded with an astounding problem of learning how to speak and understand the spoken word. Honestly, if I were to describe his first language, it would be the written word, with his second language being the spoken word. I've had to teach him verbal language the same way you would teach a foreign language. He's progressing beautifully and I'm not going to lie...I'm kind of a proud Mama. He's one of those that "recovers" from early traits that look like autism but I doubt he will ever fully be comfortable with the casual spoken word. He's a fascinating study actually, but he can make a Mama scratch her head trying to figure a way to making sure we are where we should be. I've had to conduct experiments with reading comprehension. I have to know whether he can't understand the passage, can't understand the question, or just can't formulate the answer even if he knows the answer. Anyways, I love the Lit guides by the way. It was a very slow start with Prairie School, and we are moving more slowly than the TM prescribes, but we will be finished by year's end (I have a lot of extra calendar days booked). So....shove on the 3rd enrichment and RA? Skip 2nd grade?

    Finally...there's the middle guy. He's amazing. If God ever gave a gift to his hyperlexic brother, it was this little guy. I kid you not, he's a verbal comprehension savant. Older kiddo get's to practice language with his younger brother without the stigma with being a slower verbal learner. This little guy is doing the 2nd grade math in 1st. His brother is good at math, but this guy is more than a little competitive and forces himself to be as good or better. He's not happy unless he earns an A+ when I check his math. He understands everything I read. He's studious. He is a self starter. I have to slow him down from answering all of the morning recitation questions before his brothers can think about it. Although he complains, he can fill in the Lit guides nearly by himself. It's almost like he's not challenged enough. I'm giving cautious but serious thought to bumping him ever so gently to the same level as his older brother. We are covering the literature for 1st a little fast actually and I may be able to finish both 1st and 2nd grade Lit before the new term in the fall. That could help me tremendously because I could give more focus to 2 cores rather than 3. I'm sort of doing that now. The only real difference is that his phonics is a lower level. But looking ahead, I think he might take more away from the Grammar Recitation of 3rd than moving at the pace he's at. If I could combine 2 grades...that would make things much easier because the older two would pull each other along. They like to compete a bit. Older is more motivated, and younger gets more challenge. I realize that 3rd grade is a game changer, and it could be a lot to ask for a 7 year old. I've read that 100 times on this forum if I've read it once. It may be a crazy notion though. Seems like it would help with the literature and reading if I had 2 kids on the same page. They could take turns reading with me moderating.

    So..I'm leaning towards repeating 1st grade enrichment and RA for youngest and that way we are moving as prescribed in the TM. Then, starting 3rd cores as written for the older 2.

    Any thoughts?

    I don't think I would put a 7yo in MP3 unless his phonics/reading, writing stamina AND comprehension were far above grade level. Plus, with your older son needing a little extra time to work out comprehension despite being hyperlexile, it seems even less like the right fit to have them both there. My eldest is quite gifted, and I have kept her right on grade level in MP2. I've been able to witness firsthand how time and maturity, two things over which I have no control, make all the difference between frustration and ease. Now, with that said, a lot can happen in 7 months for your 2nd child. Even with math being a year ahead, you get into issues with Latin and science and Classical studies later that really require a level of maturity not present in a young for grade AND full year younger student.

    Cheryl Swope has a great Sodalitas 2018 video on working at your children's independent level. It was so convicting. I'm curious if she would have anything to add about a Simply Classical approach for both of them. My youngest is finishing SC B, so I don't have anything meaningful to add about SC2 or 3.

    For the K-er, definitely do 1st Enrichment over next fall. My 5yo needs books at his level or up to 2 levels above for listening, but that doesn't mean grade levels.


      Wouldn't that mean doing 1st grade enrichment/RA, 2nd grade enrichment/RA, and 3rd grade enrichment/RA? Because I can't repeat 1st for middle and older kiddo. And that was the problem: If I do the 2nd grade only, sure that would be of benefit to the middle kiddo, but then my third grader (next year third grader that is) will never fully get on track for the MP program. And that just seems like a lot to juggle for early grades. I don't have an older kid that can help a younger one.


        Ahhh, the five-year-old wiggles and giggles. I had two of my three go through that phase! In our case, I used to set aside read-aloud time right after lunch. I told my little wiggle worms that read aloud time is time to fold hands in laps, sit nicely on the couch (or the floor) and listen to Mommy. The first several times, I would sit and go through each motion with them. "First we sit down nicely - like we fold our hands, like this. Show Mommy how you fold your hands..." Then they'd do it and would need occasional reminders to sit nicely. Of course, after our read-aloud, we would discuss and they could move a bit more...and then I'd go right into a Hap Palmer bean bag session, or something like it, to get our wiggles out. I only started this because I wanted my littles to understand that school time is not play time. I wanted to build a foundation for appropriate behavior in appropriate venues - especially since we were also fans of library story time. I wanted my children to know that when a book is pulled out and someone starts to read, it's time to sit quietly. *weary laugh* Boy, was THAT a lot of work! All this is to say that you could absolutely do the same enrichment books with him next year and you can introduce the idea that reading time is sitting and listening time. He'll have the rest of this year and the summer to mature a bit and, by next fall, he'll likely be better able to sit and absorb what you're reading. )

        Now, as for your 1st grader, it really sounds as though he is a smart little guy! I would caution you, as enbateau has, that pushing ahead can come back to bite you. I did this with my oldest, as she was very much as you describe your middle guy. Some kiddos really, truly are just super talented and can go forth -and continue at- a much faster, pace (I think Jen in Japan has one or two of those!). However, a lot of kiddos start off hot and fast but then begin to experience issues with material when it becomes to weighty or abstract and they don't have the mental maturity to keep up. It's not at all an issue of the child being "smart" enough; rather, it's that their neurological processes just aren't well developed enough to handle the material they're now being asked to absorb. In our case, that smart-as-a-whip little girl raced through Latin...then hit translation in 6th grade. Cicero in 6th grade. It nearly killed her. Same with literature - she could absolutely read the Hobbit in 4th grade but she was not ready for the very weighty discussion and abstract ideas presented. I reined her back to her appropriate level in literature and she flourished. She needed material that was appropriate both for her reading and comprehension level.

        At this early age, my gut feeling would be to keep him in the 2nd grade core and let him have an "easy" year, if that's what it will feel like to him. It is nice to combine cores or even subjects but, in the end, you are teaching two very different children. Your middle guy may need to learn to rein in his pride just a bit and allow his older sibling to answer questions - that in itself can be a very good lesson. Also, this early on, it might be quite a blow to your oldest to see the middler gaining ground by leaps and bounds while he struggles.

        Now, as time goes by and you continue to see that he excels and goes beyond in areas like math, you may need to accelerate in those areas. But that will really begin to show itself more clearly as he matures. If you find he just speeds through 2nd grade next year, then you'll likely want to consider accelerating his 3rd grade core - and MP can accommodate that! Starting in 3rd grade, you can opt to do a faster-paced core (or just accelerate any subject), but if you give your middle guy one more year to mature, he'll likely do far better in later grades, no matter at what pace he goes.

        ***I hope this made sense. I have 2 with the flu and I've pieced this together in short sessions between making tea, dosing meds and answering the phone.*** :-)

        DD14 - 8M (Core/MPOA mashup)
        DS12 - 6th - full core
        DD7 - 1st - full core


          I just saw that you posted while I was muddling through mine.

          Enrichment is just that: enrichment. If you start using 1st grade with all three, then you'd use 2nd grade the next year and K for the final year (or k for the middle - the order isn't terribly important). With three kids, each would get a dose of it, even if the "year" doesn't correspond to their current grade level.

          However, it is not mandatory and not central to the curriculum. It is a lovely addition, but some of us have had to forego enrichment for various reasons and our kiddos have turned out wonderfully. (There I go with my own proud mama moment!)

          DD14 - 8M (Core/MPOA mashup)
          DS12 - 6th - full core
          DD7 - 1st - full core


            I would also not bump / push the middle child a year ahead. The maturity factor may not be huge not right now, but it will be in a year or two when you have a very young child reading about naughty Greek gods.

            For read-aloud, how did the older two do with them this year? You could repeat this year's or move to second grade (if you have a child doing second grade). Maybe offer the youngest student a coloring page or Play-Doh during reading time to cut down on the sillies.

            I would honestly keep the middle child on track and consider slowing the pace for the older child. You could just slow down, as you're doing, or you could check into Simply Classical level 4 or 5/6. There are some placement questions that will help you decide which level is best.

            From personal experience, my middle child is always nipping at her older brothers heels school-wise. She's very competitive to catch him, but the older child doesn't like that competitive side. At the end of first grade she moved into second grade in the fall, like normal. She's already done with her lit guides. So, we're reading other books together (Pathway Readers) with me asking comprehension questions. I plan to move her to 3 Accelerated in the fall. That will up her challenge level.
            Married to DH for 13 years. Living the rural life in the Colorado mountains

            DS10- Simply Classical 4 / Grade 3 Classic Core,
            DD8- Grade 2 Classic Core,
            DD 6- Classic Core Kindergarten


              Enrichment. Choose one set from K through 2 and do it with everyone. There are read-aloud picture books, chapter books, and American History Supplemental Readers for third. I would honestly flat out skip those with your group (three school-wise and a wee one). If, a few months into the school year, you feel compelled to add something in I would add a chapter book to your day/week.

              So, next year I would do 2nd grade enrichment for everyone. The kindie this year will re-experience this year's books when the little girl gets a few years older.
              Married to DH for 13 years. Living the rural life in the Colorado mountains

              DS10- Simply Classical 4 / Grade 3 Classic Core,
              DD8- Grade 2 Classic Core,
              DD 6- Classic Core Kindergarten


                I have kids ages 6 (just turned on Saturday), 7 and 9. (The 7 and 9 year old will be 8 and 10 late aug/early Sep). My oldest has had some learning issues and my middle child is a slow processor, but very bright. You mentioned your 5 year old has a Sep b-day? In your state would he even be a K’er? I know as homeschoolers we are not bound to this, but it might give you some more wiggle room to attack the cores with your older two. You are doing 1st grade phonics/Storytime treasures, etc with a child. Do you envision the 5 year old able to do this next year? If not, if you feel he has adequately completed the K core, I would consider breaking MP1 into 2 years. (Do whatever with math, just move forward). Do you see this child doing cursive next year? You might save that for “year two”. Do Storytime treasures over 1 year, instead of 1 semester.

                As for the read aloud, another approach is the “morning time” approach (it does not actually have to be in the morning) . You all sit at a table, but you give them art, playdough, etc while you read. Little boys do in fact need to wiggle! He is so young! If you want to save $$ I do not see any problem repeating the 1st RA, but do not do it because you feel anyone missed out. The child probably is getting more than you think! I read the book over several days, dividing the vocabulary + questions up over several days. We do not do them all. Play the classical music selection at the end of this, while they are doing their art or playdough, etc, show them the art card, talk a little bit about it. Display it, refer to it by name a few more times. I keep mine in a photo album, and we review previous weeks (just a few). This is plenty for all 3!

                Next year your oldest moves out of the Primary stage and into the Grammar, This child could participate in enrichment if he would like, but he has his own work now. I would not bump 1st grader to 3rd. Now, that child could do 3A after 2nd and then do 4A, which has the same literature as 5M. I would say this would be the better year to combine for lit. They would also have Christian Studies 2, Classical Studies and geography together.

                This means 2 more years of focusing on skills for everyone. The “extras” really are just that!

                I would consider slowing down the youngest, keep middle in 2nd next year, 3rd for the oldest. You could skip the American History readers this year. Save them and the following year, perhaps he could read them, or over the summer. I divided Mammals up over 4 days, instead of two. My daughter reads the first day, we answer 1/2 the questionsthe second, the other half the 3rd and she does the drawings on the 4th. It keeps this subject to 15ish minutes. The 3rd grade read aloud, have your husband read them to the oldest at bedtime. I asked my husband to start doing this in May last year. At some point my daughter asked if we (the parents) could alternate reading to her. My husband said “no!” He was reliving his childhood and enjoyed the stories too much! So, I read the other books to the younger set, My middle child does go listen to the chapter books sometimes. While we do not want to think we need to school all day, reading aloud can be anytime and does not have to be “school” time!

                DD1 8/23/09 - SC4
                DS2 9/1/11 - SC2
                DD3 2/9/13 - MPK

                Previous Years
                DD 1 (MPK, SC2 (with AAR), SC3)
                DS2 (SCB, SCC, MPK)
                DD3 (SCA, SCB, Jr. K workbooks, soaking up from the others!)


                  Yikes....the naughty Greek gods....Sheesh. Just how far down that rabbit hole do we go? I loved studying mythology but I did it as a 9th grader so that wasn't an issue then. And what about Oedipus/Medea/Vengeful Hera? Oh please tell me that is much much later.

                  I'm taking all of this to heart. Truly. I really appreciating all of the advice.


                    I agree with the other ladies that I would be hesitant to skip a grade for all the reasons they shared.

                    I have great beauty and freedom in the enrichment component of MP. I have a 4 year old, K and 3rd grader this year. Mine like to do things together, especially enrichment so I got a little creative.
                    I bought all of the JrK-3rd grade read aloud books and put them in our school room. We do the K (SC 1) enrichment together during the day. My 4 year old participates if she wants and my 3rd grader is grateful for the break. We read the 3rd grade read aloud as a bedtime read aloud. I tried it as a lunch time read aloud but the chapters were too long and frankly I needed a break.

                    Purchasing the books have helped cement the read aloud books as a part of our family culture. We’ve read them more often than we ever could when we checked them out from the library. I used Thriftbooks for many of them but it was still an investment.

                    The repetition of the art, music and read aloud has been good for all of us. It will be even richer a third time through!

                    I encourage you to get creative with the enrichment. I had a friend who did all the enrichment on Friday mornings with cups of tea and snacks. Listen to audio books in the car, study art at the breakfast table or however it works best for you. 😊

                    dd- 3m
                    ds- SC 1
                    dd- SC B


                      The nice thing about the Greek Mythology in 3rd grade is that the book by D'aulaire does a much better job of omitting the crazy stuff. Remember, the Bible is full of murder, jealousy, ****, incest, fratricide, selling folks into slavery, adultery, child sacrifice, Song of child has had it all read to her, but her understanding is limited, and if she doesn't ask the right question, I don't volunteer the answer. There is a good Sodalitas 18 video on the order of things that talks about how MP deliberately chooses translations/renditions of books that keep it age-appropriate (from Greek mythology to Shakespeare). It's what WE know as adults that give us pause. ;-)


                        From the perspective of someone who put their child in a higher level because they could do the work, I wish I hadn't. What I didn't realize at the time was that even though my 5 year old could read Little Bear and his math scores were wonderful so I decided to start him in 1st. This led to him being a young 7 year old when we started 3rd and it wasn't awful but was almost a wasted year. With MP you really need to make sure they're placed at their weakest "R" just because he was ready for the reading and math ('rithimic), his writing wasn't up to par and we struggled the entire 3rd grade year, so much writing, everything was a fight. In 4th grade I wound up using 4th for new users so he would repeat all of the material he had learned at a 1 year pace and it's been much more enjoyable for everyone involved.

                        If I were you I wouldn't worry to much about the read alouds and enrichment level. Treat them like they're on a three year rotation, years A, B, and C instead of K, 1, and 2. I wouldn't worry about repeating the same one next year, feel free to move on to the second grade one and he will get more out of it. That way you can use the same one with both of them next year, and your 3rd grader can listen in if he wants. In third grade there is a complete shift, so the RA and enrichment is no longer a central point, it's just a nice bonus if you have time. I have all (or almost all) of the read alouds on Audible and use them in the car or for quiet time during the day. My kids are eating breakfast now and listening to Farmer Giles of Ham, one of their favorites! I wouldn't stress the third grade RA at all. They're scheduled about a chapter a day, but we rarely are able to stick with that and instead listen when we have time in big chunks.

                        DD 10 (MP 5)
                        DS 8 (MP 4)
                        DS 2 - board books and causing chaos
                        DD Born 6/27/18


                          You guys have been so awesome to provide such good feedback. What sounded like a good idea in abstract will not work with reality. Last night, everyone, hubby included went to bed and I stayed up until midnight watching those Sodalitas videos for 2018. That cleared up a great deal. I took pages and pages of notes. Here is what I'm considering now.
                          Rising 3rd - 3M (which I think stands for the standard 3rd grade curriculum as opposed to 3A) Allows more maturity and reading practice time as we approach more difficult reading.
                          Rising 2nd - 2nd (with adjustment in Math. Slow when necessary). Then if he's still just not challenged enough, start him on 3A in his third grade year. As others pointed out, his classical studies would re-align in 5th grade with the oldest. But only....ONLY...if it's a good fit. Otherwise, be prepared to slow the classical studies. There is an extra year built in. At the end of the day, this only creates room for Metaphysics at the end.
                          Rising 1st - 1st (with adjustment in Math. Slow when necessary)
                          Do 2nd grade enrichment next year. If I have time, I'll do the 3rd grade also but one on one with the oldest. I think he may need me a little more. He'll still get to enjoy the primary readings anyways.
                          Following year, do K enrichment for the last little guy. Allow the others to listen in as they want, or let them use the time to work on other work. But pretty sure I know how that will go!

                          Thank you all again. You are truly a blessing.


                            Hi! I just pm'd you but the message would not go through. I too have the same age kids as you so I think we could have quite a conversation. Let me know how you'd like to communicate :-)


                              Sorry about that! I just reviewed my settings. Didn't know it was off. All fixed now! Sent you a note.