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Guilt about combining my kids

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    Guilt about combining my kids

    I have some thoughts about the combining/not combing issue. I often read both on these boards (and Facebook) that it's best to keep your kids in their own grade level. My girls (3rd & 6th) are both working through 3A this year, with math and spelling at their own level.

    Here are some thoughts and concerns I have about moving the older girl into 7M next fall:
    -Subjects like math, spelling, etc. are at their own level anyway and easy to sub in and out of the guides no matter what. We are already doing this without issue.
    -Either way my girls will both be doing First Form Latin, EGR II, and CC Fable, all already scheduled in 4A
    -Either way they will be doing a Famous Men book (Rome or Greece)
    -I'm not sure I can handle another literature guide and I don't want my 7th grader to miss The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe or Heidi. I'd rather we skip some books at the upper levels than miss these two. I know this is one area where many recommend working at grade level, so I'm a bit torn here. She enjoys the 3rd grade books, even though they are a bit easy.
    -Christian studies is another area where I'd rather skip books in the upper years if we can't get to all of them. CS I is one of their favorite subjects, and I think learning Bible stories is essential.
    -If my 7th grader skips Geo I & II, that makes Geo III more challenging--my oldest two have started with Geo III and it's a lot to learn in one year!
    -they are both excited about the Book of Insects, so I'd likely combine here anyway.

    I just go back and forth when I look at the 7th grade core. I don't want to hold her back, and it seems like I will have to move her up at some point. But when I look at each individual subject, it seems like she' d be doing much of 4A/5M anyway.

    I appreciate any advice or suggestions.
    mom to:
    DD 16 & DS 13--8M
    DD 11 & DD 8--3A
    DS 4--jr. K

    I'll let someone else chime in with specifics, but I just wanted to encourage you. You know your kids best, and you should trust that. Please let go of the guilt and enjoy this beautiful journey with your children!
    Amanda - Mama to three crazy boys, teacher at St. Dominic Latin (FFL, TFL, 4FL, Traditional Logic 1&2), Memoria College student

    9th grade - a mix of MPOA, Vita Beata, Lukeion, and AOPS
    8th grade - 8M with modifications
    4th grade - 4A

    "Non nisi te, Domine. Non nisi te" - St. Thomas Aquinas


      It sounds like you have an excellent handle on your family, and your situation, which is awesome. I would not hesitate at all to follow your instincts and keep doing what is working for you guys. You are experiencing education at its best - so throw in whatever cliche you want here...”don’t rock the boat;” “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it;” “don’t go looking for trouble,” etc.

      The reason I often advise folks not to combine is because there seems to be an assumption (coming from other programs) that that is THE way to homeschool several children at once, but it very often becomes harder than just having each child at their own place. You have found that it works for you - and again, that is great! You are a perfect example of tailoring the curriculum to suit you and yours.

      Keep at it!
      16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
      DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
      DS, 17
      DD, 15
      DD, 13
      DD, 11
      DD, 9
      DD, 7
      DS, 2



        I agree with Sarah. You seem to have a realistic view of what each of your children need at their current levels. It is fine to allow them to keep moving forward as long as they are displaying mastery. In my experience students will naturally slow a bit due to workload as they rise in grade level. As you have ascertained by this point there are pros and cons to shared subjects. It sounds to me as if you have a solid plan. Since there is no school, or curriculum, utopia, trust your instincts. Start your childrend together and enjoy the camraderie of this while it works for both. When and if the time comes to separate or modify, you will know where to come and get help with that!



          One other thought.....I have a daughter this year in 8th grade (Physical Science year) and the science is a challenge but a necessary one for her to be prepared for the high school level sciences she will encounter next year. Book of Insects is a very low level science. We do that in 4th grade at HLS but it can be completed in 5th grade. It is not sufficient preparation for physical science. If you have the 7th grader do insects consider also having her complete The Book of Trees. I am just concered she will go into shock moving from insects directly to physical science!


            My youngest two have been combined in classical studies, Christian studies, Latin, geography, science and literature for 3 years. Most people here do seem to recommend separate cores, but I don’t think anyone would suggest that there aren’t situations where it does work - especially when it happens naturally. Some people try to force combining, and I think that is what people here recommend against. For us combining has worked well. When it ceases to work, they can work independently in the same core just as easily as they can in separate cores. Next year I will split them up in science because my son has the math to tackle a different science than my youngest. Do what works for you and don’t feel bad.
            DD18 | MPOA Graduate | Studying Music & Classical Languages
            DS 16 | 10th | MPOA & MP at home
            DD 14 | 9th | MPOA & MP at home


              I think too that some have discouraged combining when you are pushing one kiddo up rather than allowing an older one to move to a subject covered in an earlier grade. The thing about MP is that there are a lot more "cumulative" subjects in the classical studies so it's not like you can easily start in a standard core if you move into it from another program - which many people have. I was one who considered propping a younger child up to his older brother who moves slower, rather than the other way around and I can see how that thinking would create problems for me. Instead of having just one child needing more attention, I would create a situation where the younger would needlessly struggle with attention and stamina and maturity.

              Mastery is the real goal here for every single subject and the program is rich and thorough. I'm with you - I wouldn't miss a C.S. Lewis book for anything! I'm even thinking about adding in the rest of them if there is a teeny tiny fraction of time to get them in. I wish they had study guides for the other books. You are doing an amazing job and I doubt you are "holding one back" at all.

              DS - MP6 (11)
              DS - MP5A (10)
              DS - MP3 (9)
              DD - 5yo (K)​


                Thank you for all the encouraging comments! I will definitely look into adding to the science. I feel like this is the first science program we are actually enjoying, so an extra book shouldn’t be too terrible for her!
                mom to:
                DD 16 & DS 13--8M
                DD 11 & DD 8--3A
                DS 4--jr. K