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  • KF2000
    replied
    Originally posted by Emilylovesbooks View Post

    Last year we did most of 3M, and the content is so much more enjoyable for me than K, 1, and 2! EGR was the only thing I did not really like (the memorization piece). If anyone's family loves this, spill your secrets! I like the exposure to the grammar rules and the practice work, but I found it hard to justify spending the time on memorization the rules. I love what you said: "what gets done will be amazing." From that perspective, I can see that even though we didn't finish 3M or grade 1 before summer, what got done was not wasted time and maybe even amazing You're very encouraging, Melissa! Thank you! It feels good to know that the thread has been helpful to you, too.

    *hushed whisper* We don't use EGR at all. We were using MP before EGR was written, so we were using the Rod and Staff English program that MP recommended and sold. I tried in more than one year and with more than one child to switch over to EGR because I really wanted to do MP the way I was "supposed to" - even though I always tell people to make adjustments to suit their families. I finally took my own advice and decided we were going to stick with R&S and I wasn't going to worry about it anymore. And no one took away my MP membership card. It's really, truly ok to adjust. Now, that doesn't mean to chuck EGR just yet. It's okay to have things in the curriculum that you don't necessarily like. No one in my house really likes doing English grammar at all, period. I chose the path of least resistance - my kids like R&S better, so it meant fewer battles for me to stick with that instead of trying to force them into EGR. But we're still doing the thing we don't like - which is to use a solid program to thoroughly learn English grammar. It's like having a green backpack instead of a red one; as long as they offer similar functionality, which one you choose is not that big of a deal, you know? It's still going to get the job done. With that mindset, you can make lots of adjustments to the curriculum to suit your family.

    This is inspiring, Christine! I say to myself that we do not need to complete the core before summer break, but deep down I DO want to get it done and keep up the pace. Pride, perhaps? And also another reason I wanted to homeschool was so that my kids would not be labeled as "ahead" or "behind." I will try to just focus on helping them move forward. We will have to pick up in the fall with 3M and 1st, even though I wanted to be starting with 4th and 2nd.

    You know what? We have to do this too. My two primary kids were going at a slower pace this spring out of a sense of necessity that had nothing to do with them. My plan was to continue over the summer and roll right into next year. But guess what - that didn't happen. My June was spent driving. Literally. My son was in driver's ed at the high school, which mean two hours of class plus one hour of behind the wheel every day. He also had OT twice a week, and other people had doctor's appointments. Then there were two different work schedules to contend with. Plus he had to have practice driving time. It was INSANE. And it got me out of any routine at home at all. No school for the two littles. And now I cannot believe how it is this far into July already. So, I threw in the towel. We will start a bit earlier, pick up where we left off, and yes, try to just move forward from where we are. It still frustrates my sense of "but that's not what I wanted!" which makes me sound just like my five year old. But the adult in me does win and I do choose to follow what I know to be true - it doesn't matter. I CAN actually use my judgment to say, "You know what, you are solid on this. You don't need to finish." OR "Yes, we are going to go to the very end." I have two older kids who both had subjects they worked on all summer because they are much like Bean's daughter - they need to have something every day. Plus, it's offering them valuable review, too.

    Sarah, I'm still reading I just meant that I would try to check in on this thread later and let people know how things are going.
    It is hard to spend time in negativity when the days seem to fly by so quickly. I want to remember these days with as few regrets as possible, as I'm sure everyone does....My favorite things to do with my kids are reading aloud to them or with them and going for walks or bike rides. No, these do not happen every day. I used to find it so easy to read lots of picture books to the kids, and now I have to plan time for it. Even bedtime does not work great for that anymore because the baby (who is not even so little anymore) can get quite loud at that time. And that is probably why I enjoy walking with the kids. Everyone is generally together, although this, too, is starting to shift as my oldest ones can be more independent while my 3-year old remains quite unpredictable and full of energy. What do you all enjoy doing with your kids??

    Emily, this is what I meant by my vision of homeschooling changing as the years went by and as more children joined our family, or as circumstances have changed. You are right that you have to become so much more purposeful about how you spend your days. I look back at the relaxed pace of our days of only have two or three kids with fondness, even though at the time I felt restless to "get to the good stuff" that I thought lay ahead.

    This is why it becomes necessary to resist the urge to compare. As your children age, and your family grows, you could compare to how things used to be when it was not so busy. You could compare your family to others who have fewer children, or who have children in school, or who do all sorts of activities. Or to some ideal vision you created for yourself. All these comparisons achieve exactly one thing: they leave you dissatisfied with the present. For this, I want to share a resource that I personally love:
    www.fatherhudgins.com

    This is a website where a dear priest friend of ours from Virginia posts his homilies from both his Sunday and daily Mass. He is a gifted preacher. His homily from this past Sunday was on Mary and Martha...and as I listened to it during my walk today, I thought often of how much it applied to what you have shared with us. You can even listen to him by subscribing to his Apple Podcast.

    And it is one of the things that keeps me able to make our days purposeful because I include it as part of my daily routine. I try to get up early before the kids so that I have quiet time to pray. I have to take walks so I listen to Fr. Hudgins while I walk. And it keeps my commitment directed where it should be - on serving God through our days. When I do this, suddenly it's not so hard to say, "ok, we'll save that for tomorrow" or to accept the slow pace of some of our work or the million and one interruptions. Another indispensable part of our day is our evening prayer time together. We shoot for a rosary, but sometimes shift to "short prayer" if the evening has gotten away from us. Other than that, since we don't have a lot of outside activities, we do have time to play games (card and board), read stories, watch movies, go to the park, etc. We sit around a lot and "shoot the breeze" with our older kids while the younger ones are playing. It was really, really hard to accept such a slow pace when our family was at your stage. It was not what I grew up with, and not what I was used to. But it has been so, so great for our family. We also like to going bowling because we can have separate lanes for different age groups. And we LOVE football season.

    This last one is something I will highlight for a minute because it hits on is something specific I want to share. One thing I have learned over the years is to be comfortable in my own skin - and to try to help all our children gain that as well. I don't try to sugarcoat myself or gloss over my imperfections with them. Just like Mrs. Bee described in her beautiful post above. And all this comes out when we watch a football game together. They see all my reactions - highs and lows - to what is happening in the game. Yelling, grumbling, cheering, arguing - it's all there. And guess what? They have learned to join in! We usually do not have a very rowdy house. But that all changes when football season starts. We watch all the teams, we keep track of changes and players. We compare from what we remember from year to year. We argue about who's great and who's a drag. We are not passively staring at the tube, but engaged in a family activity. And it's one of our favorite things to do. Everyone gets to loosen up and have fun. And having that spark does eventually cross over into their ability to debate each other on other things too.

    But this family activity evolved out of the fact that we were constantly on the move and had nothing to do on Sundays. In the beginning, we would go walk the mall just to get out of the house together. I can remember Sunday being my least favorite day of the week for YEARS because they always seemed like such a drag. So much time to fill up, and so much of a reminder of how lonely we were. So, we started watching football because that was something both dh and I enjoyed. Over time, something that we did "because there was nothing better to do" became something that we treasure as a family activity. Isn't that strange?

    From what you have shared, it seems as though you guys are hitting a very natural transition. You have had a very young family, and have had a lifestyle appropriate to it. But your family is growing up, and it is a time of change for everyone. As my children have grown, I have felt the need to "grow up" too. I am a very different mom from the one I was back then. But it's good - more seasoned, more patient, more confident. It always feels uncomfortable to change and grow. But it's all for the best, you know?


    I felt much better after reading through everyone's comments Friday evening. I am now looking forward to starting a new school year with the kids!

    Yay! I am so happy to hear that!
    Prayers and hugs to you, Emily!
    AMDG,
    ​​​​​​​Sarah

    Leave a comment:


  • Emilylovesbooks
    replied
    Originally posted by tanya View Post
    Emily,

    Homeschooling is hard - classically or not classically. It's the hardest thing I've done. But now that my children are grown, I would go back and do it again. And this is my advice: Relax and enjoy it as much as you can. That is the thing I would do differently. I was so caught up in getting all the boxes checked off and making sure I was getting enough done that I didn't take the time to really enjoy this precious time I had with my children. If I had it to do over, I would worry less, not stress over what I didn't get done, and spend more time talking to my children rather than checking off the boxes. In the end, they would still be better educated than most of the students they went to college with, and we would have had more fun.

    Tanya
    This is the balance I'd love to achieve!

    MBentley

    The kids are very young. Repeat. These kids are very young. This is not the fun part. It just isn't. Grammar? Who would call Grammar fun? Basic arithmetic? I will be so glad when I don't have to do this. I want to get to the cool stuff too - and it's just not at this level. Although....I did love the Greek myths in high school. I just finished lining out the schedule for the kids next year (and I'm still finishing this year) and I'm honest to God...overwhelmed. No white space on the calendar...anywhere. I am also "adding" to the program even though I swore I wouldn't. I'm kicking out the Intro to Comp and the ATF&F for the IEW Student Writing Intensive program. I am so excited about it too. Rather than sum up several pages of a novel in a few sentences, the program will start with summing up every sentence in 3 words, sentence by sentence, for a single paragraph - not several pages of text. And there's DVD instruction. WIN! Then...the package I received had an "extra" thing for Fix it! Grammar. That looked good too. I threw that in. Then while I was going through the main core curriculum schedule, I realized that there was no copybook for the Bible Verses being memorized. I found it, and for some reason they threw it into 4th grade only when half the book would have easily fit into the Christian Studies section every other day as it is practicing the exact same memory verse 3 times - covers the books of the Bible too. So...Somehow I've managed to sink my kiddo into 12-13 different "items" every day. And that's just 3rd. Between my oldest 2, there are no less than about 17 different things happening on most days. That doesn't even cover the K kiddo.

    Let's face it. I have clearly, unquestioningly, bitten off more than I can chew. Something is going to fall behind. Something is going to slip. I don't know which one it is yet. I may have to force the read-aloud to all be on Audible. I may have to do something with the American studies during the summer. I may not get all the Literature done. The real question is...so what? What actually gets done will be amazing. I have so much peace from that.

    The only way to learn to "love a challenge" is when you have overcome enough of them to know that it is within your abilities to do so. Overcoming challenges isn't "innate". It's learned. One thing I see with MP is that they provide very real challenges to the kids very early- memorize stuff that doesn't yet make sense, start learning a foreign language before you've mastered your own, try to learn a new way to write (cursive) even while you are still trying to learn the basic print, and read real novels before the end of 2nd grade. It looks impossible. Yet, the program goes one step at a time. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, right?

    I sometimes have to demonstrate more confidence than I feel - but boys must need that. Just envision the Patton speech and go with it. Your post just sounds...down. I just want to give you a hug because it is this thread - your thread - that really helped me. I love the questions you have. They are wonderful, thought provoking and they make a person dig deep. I can't think of a better person to be a teacher for a kid - someone who still braves the questions. That's a lesson in and of itself. Ask impossible questions - the kind with more than one answer. I think it's brave to let a bit of fear show here. How do you know you are getting this right? How do you know if they are getting "enriched" or "enraged"? Is the resistance the signal of a bigger problem? Do you have to "enjoy" something to "love" it? Can you truly love something without recognizing the work that goes into it?

    Please know that your classroom is better than anything else out there - anywhere. Seriously. It couldn't have a more motivated teacher.

    Let's just crack our knuckles, pop our neck, and grin at the crazy schedule next year...One way or another...we've got this!

    Last year we did most of 3M, and the content is so much more enjoyable for me than K, 1, and 2! EGR was the only thing I did not really like (the memorization piece). If anyone's family loves this, spill your secrets! I like the exposure to the grammar rules and the practice work, but I found it hard to justify spending the time on memorization the rules. I love what you said: "what gets done will be amazing." From that perspective, I can see that even though we didn't finish 3M or grade 1 before summer, what got done was not wasted time and maybe even amazing You're very encouraging, Melissa! Thank you! It feels good to know that the thread has been helpful to you, too.

    howiecram

    I have told this story before (and maybe to you), but I feel like I need to shout it from the roof tops, because this past year, I finally saw what slowing down did for her. We did grade 3 arithmetic (R&S) and I had read enough 3rd grade math posts to know what people recommended. However, I went against the grain and did NOT have her write in the student book. This was not about saving the book for future kids, it was about giving her skills to help her in the future. At the start of the year, the math is easy, but the skill of carefully copying problems from the book to her paper, then solving the problem was new. She struggles with multi-step tasks in her every.day.life. This was just a small thing that I felt was necessary for her growth. Yes, there were tears. However, I sat with her for several weeks while she did it. Literally, I just sat there. It really only took about 2 weeks of this, before she could do this by herself. We also did ALLLL the work assigned. We did the fact forms, the workbook, the textbooks, speed drills, etc. However, I set a time limit on math. She only did math for 30 mins, no more. The first several weeks, it took her 3 days to do 1 math lesson. (again, this is ALL review, she knows how to do it!) It would take her 20 minutes to do ONE fact form. Then, finally, all the hard work paid off. She completed the fact form in the 5 minutes that is the goal of the form! The look on her face when the timer went off and she was done was worth every.single.tear before that. She was BEAMING! She actually said "wow, I never thought I would ever be able to do that in 5 minutes"! We now do 1 fact form every.single.day. She is doing every.single one in 5 minutes. Those monumental double addition problems she was literally crying about at the end of last school year, easy peasy! Once we got to the 7 facts, she had the other so well memorized that adding the few additional facts from 7x7-7x12 was a breeze and we could skip some lessons. In the end, it is July 19th and she is mostly done with the 3rd grade math book, but not totally. My point, if you want to be done with school at 1pm, be done! It might mean it takes you longer to complete a core, but no one says you have to complete a core from Sept-May/June. I finally accepted that we needed to move much slower than the curriculum guide (we are actually using Simply Classical..we tried 3x to move at the MP pace and it was a different kind of tear......it's hard to explain, but the mom gut said this was not right). Also keep in mind that even MP acknowledged that the pace set at Highlands Latin was not necessarily for the homeschool market and adapted the homeschool materials. I love the MP guides, but there has not been 1 subject I have been able to do exactly what it says on the exact days it says to do it. Occasionally we can combine lessons, occasionally, we have to take more than 1 day to complete everything listed in the days work. There are times we spend the whole lesson simply reviewing (and that was not even scheduled!) . I now use the curriculum manuals to order the lessons, but not do it verbatim.
    This is inspiring, Christine! I say to myself that we do not need to complete the core before summer break, but deep down I DO want to get it done and keep up the pace. Pride, perhaps? And also another reason I wanted to homeschool was so that my kids would not be labeled as "ahead" or "behind." I will try to just focus on helping them move forward. We will have to pick up in the fall with 3M and 1st, even though I wanted to be starting with 4th and 2nd.


    I hope you are still reading...even though you said you were going to disappear for a while. I agree as the others have said - you have shared a part of yourself here that is vulnerable, and makes us all want to smother you in support and love because we all know how hard this daily grind is. I love Tanya's advice to relax and enjoy what you have. I know, perhaps in a way different from most, that every single minute of your time with your children is precious. Every. Single. Minute. It is hard to spend any single one of them in anger, frustration, desperation, or feeling helpless.

    You started out this thread with the question of motivating your children to do their work - which is an excellent question. But here is one that I will return and pose to you - we have talked a lot about work, routines, discipline and structure. But what part of your days/weeks/months is fun to you? How do you make time to just "be" with your kids? Do you do that every day? What are the parts of the life that you pass along to your kids that are really "you"? What provides "levity"?

    Perhaps that is a direction we could take this thread and add in some helpful suggestions.
    Sarah, I'm still reading I just meant that I would try to check in on this thread later and let people know how things are going.
    It is hard to spend time in negativity when the days seem to fly by so quickly. I want to remember these days with as few regrets as possible, as I'm sure everyone does....My favorite things to do with my kids are reading aloud to them or with them and going for walks or bike rides. No, these do not happen every day. I used to find it so easy to read lots of picture books to the kids, and now I have to plan time for it. Even bedtime does not work great for that anymore because the baby (who is not even so little anymore) can get quite loud at that time. And that is probably why I enjoy walking with the kids. Everyone is generally together, although this, too, is starting to shift as my oldest ones can be more independent while my 3-year old remains quite unpredictable and full of energy. What do you all enjoy doing with your kids??


    I don't know what to say to people who wonder whether homeschooling is really what they should be doing with their children - you are right that it's something to take to prayer and to conversations with one's husband. Just know this: homeschooling is not a choice made wrong by our fallen human nature. If we can do it, it's not because we're perfect, and not even because we're uniquely fit for it. The worst thing someone can tell me is, "Oh, you homeschool: you must be so patient! I am so impatient I could never do it!" Well... no. That's not how it works. I once heard a clever thing: God equips the called, He doesn't call the equipped. It was said about having many children, but it works in every context. If we're strongly pulled towards homeschooling, we need to seek the graces that will let us do it well, and we shouldn't be surprised that our own nature and character, left to themselves, will tend to make a mess of it. I find that homeschooling "works" when I let it work on myself first, when I am willing to accept the humiliations that come with it: the realization I'm far from perfect, that I lose my patience every day for small matters, that I am vain and proud... Any form of human relationship can teach us humbling lessons, but I think nothing is as powerful as what we learn about ourselves as parents. But that's not the end of the story, and every day is fresh with love, forgiveness, and good intentions! Never lose sight of that, dear Emily!
    This is so good to keep in mind! Thank you for your kindness!

    I felt much better after reading through everyone's comments Friday evening. I am now looking forward to starting a new school year with the kids!

    Leave a comment:


  • Mrs Bee
    replied
    Originally posted by Emilylovesbooks View Post
    Jennifer, Sarah, Mrs. Bee, I will take to heart your encouragement and just stay with and trust this process longer. Like I said, I already bought everything for next year back in February.....It has been so frustrating because I decided on MP from when my son started kindergarten and I followed along on here as much as possible and actually have been doing suggested reading. I’m not unaware of many of the arguments for classical education. I really wanted this path to work and I’ve stuck with it so far. And please don’t feel bad about anything you’ve said! I don’t want to ask questions that come off as discouraging of classical education either. It’s just that it feels like I cannot execute the plans properly and am making a mess of something you have all found to be so good. Knowing that I shouldn’t compare, I do want to be the best version of me, but I just don’t see it. I started homeschooling for the reasons you did, Mrs. Bee. And when it starts to seem like there would be better relationships if we weren’t around each other all day, then that is when I question whether I can do this well enough to not make them want to turn away from classical education as soon as possible. I really have no excuse for this not to work because I know many of you have had very difficult life circumstances while homeschooling and yet it is possible to stay with it. I feel rather ridiculous.
    Thanks again! There are few places around where I can ask these questions and get responses from people who are both well read and Christian. I’ll try to check in again here some time next school year.
    I don't know what to say to people who wonder whether homeschooling is really what they should be doing with their children - you are right that it's something to take to prayer and to conversations with one's husband. Just know this: homeschooling is not a choice made wrong by our fallen human nature. If we can do it, it's not because we're perfect, and not even because we're uniquely fit for it. The worst thing someone can tell me is, "Oh, you homeschool: you must be so patient! I am so impatient I could never do it!" Well... no. That's not how it works. I once heard a clever thing: God equips the called, He doesn't call the equipped. It was said about having many children, but it works in every context. If we're strongly pulled towards homeschooling, we need to seek the graces that will let us do it well, and we shouldn't be surprised that our own nature and character, left to themselves, will tend to make a mess of it. I find that homeschooling "works" when I let it work on myself first, when I am willing to accept the humiliations that come with it: the realization I'm far from perfect, that I lose my patience every day for small matters, that I am vain and proud... Any form of human relationship can teach us humbling lessons, but I think nothing is as powerful as what we learn about ourselves as parents. But that's not the end of the story, and every day is fresh with love, forgiveness, and good intentions! Never lose sight of that, dear Emily!

    Leave a comment:


  • KF2000
    replied
    Emily,
    I hope you are still reading...even though you said you were going to disappear for a while. I agree as the others have said - you have shared a part of yourself here that is vulnerable, and makes us all want to smother you in support and love because we all know how hard this daily grind is. I love Tanya's advice to relax and enjoy what you have. I know, perhaps in a way different from most, that every single minute of your time with your children is precious. Every. Single. Minute. It is hard to spend any single one of them in anger, frustration, desperation, or feeling helpless.

    You started out this thread with the question of motivating your children to do their work - which is an excellent question. But here is one that I will return and pose to you - we have talked a lot about work, routines, discipline and structure. But what part of your days/weeks/months is fun to you? How do you make time to just "be" with your kids? Do you do that every day? What are the parts of the life that you pass along to your kids that are really "you"? What provides "levity"?

    Perhaps that is a direction we could take this thread and add in some helpful suggestions.

    AMDG,
    Sarah

    Leave a comment:


  • howiecram
    replied
    Originally posted by tanya View Post
    Emily,

    Homeschooling is hard - classically or not classically. It's the hardest thing I've done. But now that my children are grown, I would go back and do it again. And this is my advice: Relax and enjoy it as much as you can. That is the thing I would do differently. I was so caught up in getting all the boxes checked off and making sure I was getting enough done that I didn't take the time to really enjoy this precious time I had with my children. If I had it to do over, I would worry less, not stress over what I didn't get done, and spend more time talking to my children rather than checking off the boxes. In the end, they would still be better educated than most of the students they went to college with, and we would have had more fun.

    Tanya
    ^^^ That is pretty much was I was trying to convey up above, but she said it so much better!

    Leave a comment:


  • howiecram
    replied
    Originally posted by Emilylovesbooks View Post
    Jennifer, Sarah, Mrs. Bee, I will take to heart your encouragement and just stay with and trust this process longer. Like I said, I already bought everything for next year back in February.....It has been so frustrating because I decided on MP from when my son started kindergarten and I followed along on here as much as possible and actually have been doing suggested reading. I’m not unaware of many of the arguments for classical education. I really wanted this path to work and I’ve stuck with it so far. And please don’t feel bad about anything you’ve said! I don’t want to ask questions that come off as discouraging of classical education either. It’s just that it feels like I cannot execute the plans properly and am making a mess of something you have all found to be so good. Knowing that I shouldn’t compare, I do want to be the best version of me, but I just don’t see it. I started homeschooling for the reasons you did, Mrs. Bee. And when it starts to seem like there would be better relationships if we weren’t around each other all day, then that is when I question whether I can do this well enough to not make them want to turn away from classical education as soon as possible. I really have no excuse for this not to work because I know many of you have had very difficult life circumstances while homeschooling and yet it is possible to stay with it. I feel rather ridiculous.
    Thanks again! There are few places around where I can ask these questions and get responses from people who are both well read and Christian. I’ll try to check in again here some time next school year.
    We have been with MP since "MPK" with my oldest (she appears similarly aged as your oldest). The first year we checked many, many boxes, but I did not understand the mastery of the curriculum and we only checked boxes. I never began each lesson with a little review. The recitations we started strong, but only did probably 10-12 weeks. At that point, I actually enrolled my oldest in our local Catholic School! She never went. She has a severe peanut allergy, and we went to the school to meet with the teacher and principal about measure we could take to keep her safe. She was in the classroom playing with toys, etc while we met. When we came home, she had a minor reaction. In hindsight, we probably simply needed her to wash her hands before dinner, but at that moment, we opted to not send her. I had offered a prayer before the meeting "are we doing this because "I" want it or because it is right for this child"? I felt like that little reaction was the answer to my prayer. Here we are 3.5 years later and we are still in this homeschool journey. We did discover some learning differences and because of that, she will "only" be doing the equivalent of MP3M this upcoming school year, despite turning 10 at the end of August and despite the fact that our first year we did MPK!.

    I have told this story before (and maybe to you), but I feel like I need to shout it from the roof tops, because this past year, I finally saw what slowing down did for her. We did grade 3 arithmetic (R&S) and I had read enough 3rd grade math posts to know what people recommended. However, I went against the grain and did NOT have her write in the student book. This was not about saving the book for future kids, it was about giving her skills to help her in the future. At the start of the year, the math is easy, but the skill of carefully copying problems from the book to her paper, then solving the problem was new. She struggles with multi-step tasks in her every.day.life. This was just a small thing that I felt was necessary for her growth. Yes, there were tears. However, I sat with her for several weeks while she did it. Literally, I just sat there. It really only took about 2 weeks of this, before she could do this by herself. We also did ALLLL the work assigned. We did the fact forms, the workbook, the textbooks, speed drills, etc. However, I set a time limit on math. She only did math for 30 mins, no more. The first several weeks, it took her 3 days to do 1 math lesson. (again, this is ALL review, she knows how to do it!) It would take her 20 minutes to do ONE fact form. Then, finally, all the hard work paid off. She completed the fact form in the 5 minutes that is the goal of the form! The look on her face when the timer went off and she was done was worth every.single.tear before that. She was BEAMING! She actually said "wow, I never thought I would ever be able to do that in 5 minutes"! We now do 1 fact form every.single.day. She is doing every.single one in 5 minutes. Those monumental double addition problems she was literally crying about at the end of last school year, easy peasy! Once we got to the 7 facts, she had the other so well memorized that adding the few additional facts from 7x7-7x12 was a breeze and we could skip some lessons. In the end, it is July 19th and she is mostly done with the 3rd grade math book, but not totally. My point, if you want to be done with school at 1pm, be done! It might mean it takes you longer to complete a core, but no one says you have to complete a core from Sept-May/June. I finally accepted that we needed to move much slower than the curriculum guide (we are actually using Simply Classical..we tried 3x to move at the MP pace and it was a different kind of tear......it's hard to explain, but the mom gut said this was not right). Also keep in mind that even MP acknowledged that the pace set at Highlands Latin was not necessarily for the homeschool market and adapted the homeschool materials. I love the MP guides, but there has not been 1 subject I have been able to do exactly what it says on the exact days it says to do it. Occasionally we can combine lessons, occasionally, we have to take more than 1 day to complete everything listed in the days work. There are times we spend the whole lesson simply reviewing (and that was not even scheduled!) . I now use the curriculum manuals to order the lessons, but not do it verbatim.

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  • MBentley
    replied
    Emilylovesbooks

    The kids are very young. Repeat. These kids are very young. This is not the fun part. It just isn't. Grammar? Who would call Grammar fun? Basic arithmetic? I will be so glad when I don't have to do this. I want to get to the cool stuff too - and it's just not at this level. Although....I did love the Greek myths in high school. I just finished lining out the schedule for the kids next year (and I'm still finishing this year) and I'm honest to God...overwhelmed. No white space on the calendar...anywhere. I am also "adding" to the program even though I swore I wouldn't. I'm kicking out the Intro to Comp and the ATF&F for the IEW Student Writing Intensive program. I am so excited about it too. Rather than sum up several pages of a novel in a few sentences, the program will start with summing up every sentence in 3 words, sentence by sentence, for a single paragraph - not several pages of text. And there's DVD instruction. WIN! Then...the package I received had an "extra" thing for Fix it! Grammar. That looked good too. I threw that in. Then while I was going through the main core curriculum schedule, I realized that there was no copybook for the Bible Verses being memorized. I found it, and for some reason they threw it into 4th grade only when half the book would have easily fit into the Christian Studies section every other day as it is practicing the exact same memory verse 3 times - covers the books of the Bible too. So...Somehow I've managed to sink my kiddo into 12-13 different "items" every day. And that's just 3rd. Between my oldest 2, there are no less than about 17 different things happening on most days. That doesn't even cover the K kiddo.

    Let's face it. I have clearly, unquestioningly, bitten off more than I can chew. Something is going to fall behind. Something is going to slip. I don't know which one it is yet. I may have to force the read-aloud to all be on Audible. I may have to do something with the American studies during the summer. I may not get all the Literature done. The real question is...so what? What actually gets done will be amazing. I have so much peace from that.

    bean You know that article that was added earlier? I printed it off this morning for each of the kids and put it on their desk. I wrote the question on the board "Why is school so hard?" We read through that article together. I basically did a life-talk lecture. Much of it, they didn't understand. I pulled out some key elements to it and really zeroed in on what we were doing, why we were doing it. We used real examples of what responsibility looks like from their own lives, time management, setting challenging goals. This talk took well over an hour. It wasn't easy, but I had their attention - the "hard" of school is the training ground. I told them the phrase "train like you are going to fight, because you will fight like you trained". Our school room is the training ground. It's SUPPOSED to be hard because what was hard 6 months ago isn't hard anymore. I grabbed the 2 books - Prairie School and Little House in the Big Woods. I asked my son what he remembers of Prairie School...easy or hard. He told me "super challenging". Doing the comparison between the 2 showed everyone in the room that what used to be super challenging is now easy. Then I picked up all of the Lit novels for 3rd. I asked, "Does this look easy or super-challenging". Of course, he said they looked super challenging. They can see the growth of their brother - their brother who has some special challenges no less.

    I asked them to follow me. Just trust me and follow me. However this year ends, we will have covered a great deal. I don't know if this inspired them at all - it seemed to. School is the training ground. There is beauty in it - but the presence of beauty does not mean that it is effortless. In fact, I know of few things in life where the beauty was effortless. My husband can destroy the kitchen, having spent 5 hours on a single dish - but you will never find more intricate and complex flavors. It's a thing of beauty. He loves the challenge. How do you get someone to the point where they "love" a challenge?

    The only way to learn to "love a challenge" is when you have overcome enough of them to know that it is within your abilities to do so. Overcoming challenges isn't "innate". It's learned. One thing I see with MP is that they provide very real challenges to the kids very early- memorize stuff that doesn't yet make sense, start learning a foreign language before you've mastered your own, try to learn a new way to write (cursive) even while you are still trying to learn the basic print, and read real novels before the end of 2nd grade. It looks impossible. Yet, the program goes one step at a time. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, right?

    I sometimes have to demonstrate more confidence than I feel - but boys must need that. Just envision the Patton speech and go with it. Your post just sounds...down. I just want to give you a hug because it is this thread - your thread - that really helped me. I love the questions you have. They are wonderful, thought provoking and they make a person dig deep. I can't think of a better person to be a teacher for a kid - someone who still braves the questions. That's a lesson in and of itself. Ask impossible questions - the kind with more than one answer. I think it's brave to let a bit of fear show here. How do you know you are getting this right? How do you know if they are getting "enriched" or "enraged"? Is the resistance the signal of a bigger problem? Do you have to "enjoy" something to "love" it? Can you truly love something without recognizing the work that goes into it?

    Please know that your classroom is better than anything else out there - anywhere. Seriously. It couldn't have a more motivated teacher.

    Let's just crack our knuckles, pop our neck, and grin at the crazy schedule next year...One way or another...we've got this!

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  • tanya
    replied
    Emily,

    Homeschooling is hard - classically or not classically. It's the hardest thing I've done. But now that my children are grown, I would go back and do it again. And this is my advice: Relax and enjoy it as much as you can. That is the thing I would do differently. I was so caught up in getting all the boxes checked off and making sure I was getting enough done that I didn't take the time to really enjoy this precious time I had with my children. If I had it to do over, I would worry less, not stress over what I didn't get done, and spend more time talking to my children rather than checking off the boxes. In the end, they would still be better educated than most of the students they went to college with, and we would have had more fun.

    Tanya

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  • Emilylovesbooks
    replied
    Jennifer, Sarah, Mrs. Bee, I will take to heart your encouragement and just stay with and trust this process longer. Like I said, I already bought everything for next year back in February.....It has been so frustrating because I decided on MP from when my son started kindergarten and I followed along on here as much as possible and actually have been doing suggested reading. I’m not unaware of many of the arguments for classical education. I really wanted this path to work and I’ve stuck with it so far. And please don’t feel bad about anything you’ve said! I don’t want to ask questions that come off as discouraging of classical education either. It’s just that it feels like I cannot execute the plans properly and am making a mess of something you have all found to be so good. Knowing that I shouldn’t compare, I do want to be the best version of me, but I just don’t see it. I started homeschooling for the reasons you did, Mrs. Bee. And when it starts to seem like there would be better relationships if we weren’t around each other all day, then that is when I question whether I can do this well enough to not make them want to turn away from classical education as soon as possible. I really have no excuse for this not to work because I know many of you have had very difficult life circumstances while homeschooling and yet it is possible to stay with it. I feel rather ridiculous.
    Thanks again! There are few places around where I can ask these questions and get responses from people who are both well read and Christian. I’ll try to check in again here some time next school year.

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  • Mrs Bee
    replied
    Originally posted by Emilylovesbooks View Post
    Mrs. Bee and Sarah, these last posts get right to the point. I did not have the term educational capital ready to use, but that was something I had thought of—maybe some unschoolers are successful because their parents were well educated. But if that education cannot be modeled and passed on, maybe they aren’t really going to get an education, especially in today’s world.
    I am not yet totally in agreement with every last part of school being necessary and valuable, but we don’t have to keep pushing the conversation. I don’t think I can convey my ideas clearly enough. I was hoping for a way to somehow combine what I’ve learned about self-directed and classical education, but it doesn’t seem possible from what you all are saying. Or even worth trying to figure out. Maybe I’m too uneducated myself to be in this place of home education! Perhaps supplementing at home with classical pieces and sending the kids to away school would be wisest for my family. I’ll keep praying about it. I think you are heroically able to combine aspects of your life and parent well and therefore experience satisfaction with this path. I tend to have too high of expectations in general and this may be an area where it’s gotten out of hand. Thank you again for helping me reflect on education!
    ETA: I do already have materials for next year and feel the pressure to use them, so I kind of feel like I have a little while to figure it out.
    Well, dear Emily, real life is hard on everyone, and we all struggle mightily. I am not a good teacher, for one thing. I, too, struggle a lot with the anxiety of high expectations, and with a vision that real life always messes with. Every single day I think perhaps I'm making my kids miserable If you want to laugh, I was very tempted by Charlotte Mason's methods when my older kids were younger, as a way to "tame" myself... I *very* often ask myself, if we had the money and opportunity to make use of a great classical school, would I send my children there? And my answer is always no, even though I can't hide from my own shortcomings. That's because deep down I know this: I don't homeschool my kids because I think I know a lot, and I can do it better than anyone else. For me, homeschooling started as something having to do with love and family life, before it also became something about formal education. I wanted my kids around me, and to be around them, and not miss a single thing. All the rest came later. Why am I not really making my kids miserable? Because love covers a multitude of sins! Classical education will not, alas, eliminate sin from our lives
    So, keep praying and loving, and the answers will become clear for you. I will only add this: it will take a lot of life experience for kids to come to understand what they've been given through a classical education. It won't happen while you're at it: while they're at it they will enjoy some things, and struggle with others, and dislike others. The kids will just focus on the short term, because they can't see the big picture yet. They're told there is such a thing, and they hope it's worth it, but it's an act of faith and disciplined obedience for them to keep at it. Did I know why I was made to spend 10th grade studying how Greek verbs work? Golly, no. I just took it as a sort of game, a challenge, and trusted my parents and teachers, who said, just wait: I myself much preferred reading and daydreaming, thank you, and it cost me a lot to study. But we do this a lot with our children, all of us: tell them, just wait, then you'll understand. It's usually because worthy things mean very hard work, and we know hard work can be unpleasant, but we keep our eyes on the reward. If you don't trust yourself to know enough about classical education quite yet, so that you can't in good conscience tell your kids, just wait, it's worth it, then, as Sarah says, keep working on this. There's a reason why you're tempted by it!

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  • KF2000
    replied
    Originally posted by Emilylovesbooks View Post
    Mrs. Bee and Sarah, these last posts get right to the point. I did not have the term educational capital ready to use, but that was something I had thought of—maybe some unschoolers are successful because their parents were well educated. But if that education cannot be modeled and passed on, maybe they aren’t really going to get an education, especially in today’s world.
    I am not yet totally in agreement with every last part of school being necessary and valuable, but we don’t have to keep pushing the conversation. I don’t think I can convey my ideas clearly enough. I was hoping for a way to somehow combine what I’ve learned about self-directed and classical education, but it doesn’t seem possible from what you all are saying. Or even worth trying to figure out. Maybe I’m too uneducated myself to be in this place of home education! Perhaps supplementing at home with classical pieces and sending the kids to away school would be wisest for my family. I’ll keep praying about it. I think you are heroically able to combine aspects of your life and parent well and therefore experience satisfaction with this path. I tend to have too high of expectations in general and this may be an area where it’s gotten out of hand. Thank you again for helping me reflect on education!
    ETA: I do already have materials for next year and feel the pressure to use them, so I kind of feel like I have a little while to figure it out.
    Emily,

    This conclusion is the exact opposite of what I was hoping you would gain from this conversation. You have asked such great questions - this alone reflects that intellectual curiosity that is at the heart of education. You have been participating in our small version of the "great conversation" here, but a part of the tradition nonetheless. Don't discount that being in the position of asking questions is a valuable place to be too - even if it feels frustrating. Back when I first started homeschooling, I was doing the same thing; and again when I started with MP. I read every single article MP had on their website, and then started in on all the books that got mentioned in Forum threads and in classical education circles. (And yes, I read Montessori, Charlotte Mason, and others, too). I was like you - I wanted to know what this thing called "classical education" was such a big deal, and what it all meant. For me it has been a necessary part of establishing my commitment to the path we are on.

    But I certainly did not mean for any of this to make you question your ability to homeschool, and I feel really badly that I have done that. Just as we have talked about, folks are granted gifts by God to use for His purposes, and there is so much that goes into each person's life that we really need to remember not to compare ourselves. You do not need to be like me in order to homeschool your children. You simply need to strive to be the best version of you that you can, so that they receive the gifts God has given to you. Also, your children are still so young. It has been 9 years since my oldest was 9. That's a lot of time and experience doing this classical homeschooling thing, plus an awful lot of reading and questioning time of my own!

    If I could give you one suggestion it would be this: trust.

    For your kids, trust that this path you have chosen with MP is a good one. Take each day as one more step along the path and keep going. Try not to evaluate too much along the way; not until you have a bit more experience under your belt. Get through third, maybe fourth grades. See how things are at that point and then see if you want to make adjustments.

    For you, trust that the fact you have questions is not a problem; it's a great thing. Read. Great. Books. They don't have to be about education. But the more truth they contain about the human person, the more you will find yourself drawing conclusions of your own about your children and their paths in life - including their education. You are right - you cannot pass on what you do not have. So work on it. It's not over for you either, you know? Like I said - 6 or 60, it doesn't matter. Cheryl Lowe started learning Latin when she was 40. And look what she accomplished! We are all part of her legacy simply because she took the next step presented to her with the humility of a student. That's what I continue to try to do, and is what I hope everyone who reads this will take from it as well.

    AMDG,
    Sarah

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  • jen1134
    replied
    Originally posted by Emilylovesbooks View Post
    Mrs. Bee and Sarah, these last posts get right to the point. I did not have the term educational capital ready to use, but that was something I had thought of—maybe some unschoolers are successful because their parents were well educated. But if that education cannot be modeled and passed on, maybe they aren’t really going to get an education, especially in today’s world.
    I am not yet totally in agreement with every last part of school being necessary and valuable, but we don’t have to keep pushing the conversation. I don’t think I can convey my ideas clearly enough. I was hoping for a way to somehow combine what I’ve learned about self-directed and classical education, but it doesn’t seem possible from what you all are saying. Or even worth trying to figure out. Maybe I’m too uneducated myself to be in this place of home education! Perhaps supplementing at home with classical pieces and sending the kids to away school would be wisest for my family. I’ll keep praying about it. I think you are heroically able to combine aspects of your life and parent well and therefore experience satisfaction with this path. I tend to have too high of expectations in general and this may be an area where it’s gotten out of hand. Thank you again for helping me reflect on education!
    Emilylovesbooks I hear alot of fear in your posts. Fear that your children will repeat the less-appealing aspects of your own childhood, fear that you're not educated enough, fear that you will kill your children's love of learning. In my experience though, it's those fears that create the very problems we're trying to avoid.

    My background is Montessori, Charlotte Mason and a good dose of unschooling. I worked for years to preserve my children's love of learning, but do you know what they call those years? Mayhem. Yep. Their word.

    Here's our story, I hope it helps. Feel free to post here, email or PM if you would like to chat more: https://seekingdelectare.com/how-we-...homeschooling/

    Also, my kids have tons of free time. My 16yo just started his own business selling his hand-turned bowls and pens, my 14yo spends hours a day writing stories, working on models, and drawing, the 13yo has taught himself how to hand-build pottery and is always building mechanical things with spare parts, and the 10yo does the same with spare parts plus draws all the time. The younger kids are still figuring out their interests but they currently include spinning wool (a friend offered to show them), making miniature cakes with modeling clay, drawing, etc. NONE of this involved paying for lessons or strewing ideas, or anything else. We just kept art supplies in the cabinet and allowed little/no TV and they became interested in various things from there. Interests came from things they've seen in other family members, or from experimenting with supplies we had on hand, or in my oldest's case from seeing a video I was watching about calligraphy pens!

    Leave a comment:


  • Emilylovesbooks
    replied
    Mrs. Bee and Sarah, these last posts get right to the point. I did not have the term educational capital ready to use, but that was something I had thought of—maybe some unschoolers are successful because their parents were well educated. But if that education cannot be modeled and passed on, maybe they aren’t really going to get an education, especially in today’s world.
    I am not yet totally in agreement with every last part of school being necessary and valuable, but we don’t have to keep pushing the conversation. I don’t think I can convey my ideas clearly enough. I was hoping for a way to somehow combine what I’ve learned about self-directed and classical education, but it doesn’t seem possible from what you all are saying. Or even worth trying to figure out. Maybe I’m too uneducated myself to be in this place of home education! Perhaps supplementing at home with classical pieces and sending the kids to away school would be wisest for my family. I’ll keep praying about it. I think you are heroically able to combine aspects of your life and parent well and therefore experience satisfaction with this path. I tend to have too high of expectations in general and this may be an area where it’s gotten out of hand. Thank you again for helping me reflect on education!
    ETA: I do already have materials for next year and feel the pressure to use them, so I kind of feel like I have a little while to figure it out.
    Last edited by Emilylovesbooks; 07-19-2019, 11:16 AM.

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  • Mrs Bee
    replied
    Originally posted by KF2000 View Post
    This is also what is described as “educational capital” in discussions about the history of education. As long as there were some in each generation who received a classical education, it helped preserve the culture for all. But because of progressive education’s pervasiveness, we are at risk of having that educational capital disappear altogether - unless we can “save Western Civilization.”

    AMDG,
    Sarah
    Yes! I always say we're living off our inheritance and we don't even know it, so we tinker and tinker, unaware it's all an experiment. It's like starting to work on the engine of a vintage Corvette, not knowing anything about engines or vintage cars: oh, this part looks superfluous, it is surely useless! Oh, that looks so rusty it must be doing more damage than good, let's take it out! We actually have no idea why the parts were put there in the first place, nor do we care to learn the reasons. The thing is, it becomes almost impossible to know *exactly* why some things have been arranged a certain way in a society: it takes the passing of centuries, the wisdom of collective experience and judgment... That's why I said that these things need to be approached in humility.
    Of course the risk is to mummify our traditions, even educational traditions, and make them into dry dictates. But I think that's only true if we don't take care to understand them, and we're only worried about passing them on like a hot potato. We must know they're a living thing that can be enriched. They're like the humus making the soil fertile: each generation adds its own bit to it, organically.

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  • KF2000
    replied
    Originally posted by Mrs Bee View Post

    No, I don't think ignorance is a sickness to be cured: it's simply a state to be brought out of. The analogy with health was more to illustrate the point that there are situations vital enough that we don't even dream of placing them in the hands of children, and for good reason: similarly, we should consider their minds and souls just as important as their health. I think the problem is that many people don't connect education with minds and souls; education is seen simply as a means to an end: to acquire the competence to get a job. Of course we have to support ourselves and others, but it's dangerous to see education in such a stripped, reductive way.
    As for those who do not receive a classical education, I suspect that the help comes (used to come) from society at large, and what the common life is (was) based upon. A society that upholds the truth about things is going to produce a healthy social environment that is like an intellectual safety net for people, no matter their educational achievements. It doesn't mean that life is wonderful and easy,and there is peace and harmony everywhere: but it does mean that some default modes of thinking happen even for the uneducated. The truth about man that our children absorb through literature, the truth about reality that can be studied through philosophy: all this can happen by osmosis in a society confident enough in the value of such things. Now we live in a society that doubts anything is true and real: there are only changeable opinions, so there can't be any standards; and guess who suffers the most, whose lives are the most chaotic: yes, the poor and uneducated, betrayed even by schools. For me, a classical education becomes even more imperative because I see that society isn't going to be of any help for my children... so maybe yes, classical education *is* some sort of medicine, but for a sick society, not for sick kids
    Love this! And, I think it also speaks to pathways that do not resemble classical - such as the anecdotes you mention, Emily - where children still flourish despite an alternate path. It is what I was grasping at when I said there is probably more to the story. Somewhat like a hive effect. This is also what is described as “educational capital” in discussions about the history of education. As long as there were some in each generation who received a classical education, it helped preserve the culture for all. But because of progressive education’s pervasiveness, we are at risk of having that educational capital disappear altogether - unless we can “save Western Civilization.”

    AMDG,
    Sarah
    Last edited by KF2000; 07-19-2019, 09:48 AM.

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