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    #61
    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!
    DS (14)
    DD (13)
    DS (6)

    Comment


      #62
      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!
      2019-20
      DS--9, 3M/4M
      DD--7, mix of 1 and 2
      DD--5, MP K
      DS--3
      DS--1

      Comment


        #63
        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
        2020-2021
        16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
        DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
        DS, 16
        DD, 14
        DD, 12
        DD, 10
        DD, 8
        DD, 6
        +DS+
        DS, 2

        Comment


          #64
          Originally posted by KF2000 View Post
          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?
          THIS!! When I read Emily's latest post, I thought it sounded like her family is experiencing "growing pains" I find times of transitions very difficult to navigate too. I just told my best friend I feel like I'm always behind, compared to where my kids are - I'm stuck in the previous phase, and haven't realized they've moved on and need something different from me! It can get quite complicated when there are kids of very different ages in the family. It seems silly, but I had no idea I would have to "evolve" in my motherhood, and that it would take quite some thinking on my part, and even some sacrifice: as a super introverted person, I find the needs of my young teens quite stressful!

          And... we don't particularly like EGR either: I thought that series, combined with Latin, would teach my kids English grammar in a systematic way, and it hasn't happened. They know some grammar, but they don't have in their minds the solid edifice I'd like them to have: I'm afraid it's more of a collection of notions. I'm not sure how to fix this, but I know we're done with EGR. I'm hoping Henle will be helpful: we slowed down during Third Form because I thought there should be a lot more said about prepositions, for instance, but maybe Henle will fix that. It's coming in the mail, and after I take a look, I'll decide what to do.

          I have to say, it's been a minor shock to discover many homeschoolers haven't finished everything by the time June arrives: I thought I was an awful slacker, and everyone else OF COURSE did everything better! Emily, maybe you suffer from my same delusions!!

          DS (14)
          DD (13)
          DS (6)

          Comment


            #65
            Hello everyone, I am hoping to resurrect this thread and ask a couple questions. This thread has been so helpful to me! I have gone through so many of the same thoughts and struggles with classical education as Emily.

            Question 1: How would/has YOUR conversation gone with a six year-old (K or 1st grader) when you talk to them about the value of hard work, why you have to do school, etc? My six year-old is definitely not quite at the age of reason...

            I think it might have been Sarah who was commenting about bright children in one of the posts above...

            "People give them credit for having a maturity level to match their intelligence level, and this is not usually the case. The higher you go on the gifted side of the spectrum, the more emotional issues you have to deal with. We have found that the clear structure and daily routine is the antidote to the anxiety that is created when children are left to their own devices too long."

            This is EXACTLY my six-year old son. He reads at a very high level and is very intuitive with math, but complains about having to do just about anything I ask him in his daily life like it is a severe punishment. He is a natural melancholic, always longs for what's next or something better or more interesting, and uses the word bored about fifty times a day. I am convinced that a classical education is best for him but we just started this fall (1st grade core) and I have been getting extreme, whiny pushback from him.

            I know what he needs but I still have an unhealthy and unproductive fear that I will "break his spirit" or he will "lose his motivation and desire to learn". I put those ideas in quotation marks because they are not my original thoughts, but fears I have been fed and have had ingrained in my mind from my training to be a public school teacher and my own education!

            Spin-off/philosophical question: With my 11 month old son, I have found myself sort of jokingly giving him responsibility he is not ready for... Such as "Well, you shouldn't have climbed that chair and you wouldn't have fallen!" or "You played in the tub water on the floor of the bathroom and got your clothes wet, that's what happens!". LOL. Obviously I am totally responsible for keeping my 11 month old safe and dry. Neither of these things are remotely his responsibility and he is not at all ready to be expected to handle these things.

            What about children and education? At what age/stage should we expect a child to be able, and be expected to sit down and do written schoolwork daily? Obviously not two or three years old. But when? Will any harm come if they are one or two years late with that beginning? Is there a sweet spot to begin the grammar stage for best learning? I have an acquaintance who totally unschools her children until middle school (a family of nine children). I am sure you know people like this! Her young boys are some of the most respectful, helpful and kind I have met. This puts fear and doubt in my mind as I'm sure you can imagine!

            Comment


              #66
              Gosh, what a way to resurrect a thread! Great, great questions, and not ones that have single, perfect, correct answers. I think there are general principles that a lot of us on here agree about as we have seen them play out in our own families, but from the experience of visiting with a lot of folks here, there are also different ways of handling things that all seem to work. It really does depend a lot on the relationship you have with your children, and on the culture you and your husband are creating in your own home. That will involve a lot more than just your school choice.

              With that being said, here is what I think about your questions. First, boys are different than girls. I have six girls and two boys. Since you are asking about your son, I will say that he sounds exactly like my 16 year old. He has pretty much hated school since day one. And I don't mean that every day has been a struggle or a battle. It hasn't. But it's more of just a general "this is NOT what I WANT to be doing with my time." And yet he has learned that school is a necessary part of his life, he does understand the value of it, and he has come to realize there are PARTS of it that he really enjoys. How long did it take him to realize the parts he enjoys? Oh, about 8 years! Yes, I am not kidding. He only started to really "enjoy" Latin and Greek when he got up to a translation level, and he only started to really LOVE math once he got to the really hard stuff that most folks never worry about getting to. And that's the lightbulb that went off recently for us about gifted kids. He disliked much of what he had to do for his early schooling *I think* because it was boring. No, he did not know it all beforehand, and therefore did have to actually go through learning it. But nothing we ever presented him with gave him any trouble. It was like he did know it, he just had never heard it before. But all it took was hearing it and then it was like he had always known it - does that make sense? And so therefore nothing ever seemed worth the time spent on it. To him, everything we did was just busywork. Like literature. He does not like to read - I think because it takes too long to get to anything interesting. And when we do the literature guides together, he does in fact understand it at a deep level. He just dislikes how long it takes for an author to reveal everything.

              So, the only thing I can say that I think will be helpful is....that you have to expect this sort of a course, and not be put off by the complaining. Understanding your situation, and accepting it, are going to have keep you going through the years. Because even though it is "easy," they still need to go through everything. And yes, you are right - classical education will be super for him. Don't skip anything...but let him go at his pace. If he can do an entire literature lesson in a day rather than four, fine. Take that as a win - and maybe only do literature three days a week so you don't get TOO far ahead too fast. Math is something you can let him loose and go at whatever pace he wants. But again - don't skip anything! I have a 6 year old right now who is blasting through the second grade curriculum on three days a week of school.

              And then remember - all kids complain. It's part of their job. They will test, push, whine, and try to weasel out of everything just to see if they can. They don't want to grow up and change - that's why Peter Pan is such a good book for kids. So is Pinocchio. Those books are excellent ones to use to read because they give great opportunities for kids to see other kids who actually get what they want and the bad consequences that follow. These are things that we try to bring up and talk about whenever possible - naturally, so that it doesn't always sound like a lecture, or so that it doesn't always follow misbehavior. Kids do not learn well when they are frightened by an upset parent - especially bright ones who are acutely attuned to the emotions of others. They will shut down like a turtle crawling into its shell. (this image is one we have used with my son since he was about 3) So you have to be able to talk things through rather than yell them out. They need to know over and over that all of the things you have rules about or that you stress as expectations are because you love them and you are trying to do what is best for them. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Years and years of this will eventually bring you to the point at which your son finds his sweet spot of being challenged. We have only recently reached it with our boy, and he cannot get enough. He has always been impatient for his life to start, but realizing that he really likes learning things now is making it even worse!!!

              And for your little guy, well...what I see in your explanation is a bit of impatience on your part. It can be tough to have older children with the expectations you have for them, and then turn around and remember that this next little person has so much farther to go to get to where the older one is. It can be hard on everyone to let the little one still be little. It causes you to have to stretch, sometimes more than you want, to remember you still have to guide, protect, nurture, and help this little one - when what you really want is for them to be self-sufficient already! Again, it takes a lot of reminders to yourself to slow down, to pay attention, to give of yourself so that he gets everything he needs too. This is where a daily examination of conscience comes into play, and has always been something helpful to me. A chance to look back over the day, see where you have messed up or done well, seek forgiveness, and then pray over how things should go the next day. And then when you wake up, remember to have those thoughts be first in your mind so that you can set forth and try again. We are Catholic and this is actually what the season of Advent helps us do - reflect on how we are doing to welcome Christ into our lives, to ask forgiveness for those areas we don't do so well, and then make plans to welcome Him into those areas so His grace can change us.

              Hope that is a helpful beginning, and I look forward to what others have to say too!
              AMDG,
              Sarah
              2020-2021
              16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
              DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
              DS, 16
              DD, 14
              DD, 12
              DD, 10
              DD, 8
              DD, 6
              +DS+
              DS, 2

              Comment


                #67
                Thank you, Sarah! I will respond tomorrow morning, but just want to let you know first that the description of my 11 month old was intended to be an example of attributing too much maturity or responsibility to a child who is obviously not ready for it - so just an example to lead in to my next question. I wasn't looking for help in that area, but thank you for response! Maybe I will amend my post to try to be clearer in case others read that part and want to respond in the same way.

                Comment


                  #68
                  Oh, goodness! Thank you for clarifying! Yes, that is helpful to realize what you really meant, and I apologize for misinterpreting your post!

                  There are lots of thoughts about when the right time is and how much to do with children who are home schooled. From my experience, it’s not really ever been a question. I started my oldest kids early because I was bored with our long days and was trying to fill them. We did things at their pace, but they always seemed ready so I never questioned it. And then as each one came along, they each wanted things to do to be included in the school day too. None of them ever complained prior to turning 6 or 7. And it was always 6/7 that it started - right at the same time that they suddenly make scowls about doing what they are told, start being particularly snarky with their siblings, and all the other signs of a young person who is suddenly choosing NOT to be good. We deal with it and move on, but we don’t let it affect our decisions about schooling. Like I said above, if I did, my 16 year old still would not have started! 😂.

                  AMDG,
                  Sarah
                  2020-2021
                  16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
                  DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
                  DS, 16
                  DD, 14
                  DD, 12
                  DD, 10
                  DD, 8
                  DD, 6
                  +DS+
                  DS, 2

                  Comment


                    #69
                    Abbie Howard There's one more thing that has been nagging at me from your original post, and is something I wanted to comment on separately. You mentioned an acquaintance who also has a large family, who takes a very relaxed approach to schooling in the early years, and whose children seem to be not only no worse for the wear, but are actually quite wonderful.

                    First things first - hooray! Anytime I hear of a large homeschooling family who has a) continued to homeschool, and b) has delightful children to show for it, I REJOICE because I understand quite well how monumentally huge of a task that is! Trust me, if she has found a way to make it work and stick with it, I am going to be the last person to question her on her methods.

                    That being said, I would also agree wholeheartedly that my house would not be a happy place if I adopted her viewpoint or methods. I am just not that way. I simply cannot be that relaxed about things. It is physically impossible for me to live that way. I would be a wreck, and so would my kids. They cannot stand more than two weeks without school. The summers are SO LONG to them that they come up with their own work to do, or they ask to start something for the next year. Or they treat some type of play as seriously as they take school. My dh and I were both cut from the same cloth, and the genes in this house run strong. So trust me when I say that God gives the right kids to the right parents. The intensity of my kids is something I am intrinsically familiar with because I live it everyday myself. And for this mother you mentioned, her path is probably the perfect one for her and her kids. And that is the key to this whole thing for you and your kids. Find what works for you! That is the advice we tried to give Emily when she was stressing so much over being a box-checker that it was stripping her of her joy. And it is something that I want for every single homeschooling mom - to embrace who YOU are personally, so that you can tailor your approach to home schooling to you and your family. THAT is when a home school truly becomes a beautiful thing, and is what makes for happy moms, happy kids, and happy families.

                    And just to add...if you were asking from a more philosophical standpoint, as to whether there was a universal truth that might apply to all children regardless of situation...from what I have seen with homeschool families, I would emphatically say no - it's really difficult to draw universal conclusions. That is why so many of us have found home schooling to be such a wonderful thing for us. We DO get to do what is right for our own children, regardless of what the neighbor down the street or the kids in the school around the block are doing. If there were universal standards that had to apply to everyone, then this other mother you mentioned and I would probably both be really unhappy - because her kids would have to start earlier than she thought they should, and mine would have to start later!

                    AMDG,
                    Sarah
                    Last edited by KF2000; 12-15-2019, 08:43 PM.
                    2020-2021
                    16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
                    DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
                    DS, 16
                    DD, 14
                    DD, 12
                    DD, 10
                    DD, 8
                    DD, 6
                    +DS+
                    DS, 2

                    Comment


                      #70
                      You have a great point about my 6 y/o son. He was an absolutely incredible toddler/preschooler: very calm, loved to sit around and look at books, not a SINGLE rolling around on the floor tantrum as a toddler. When he was 5 or 5.5 he suddenly realized he had a will, and the outrage and complaining commenced.

                      I LOVE what you said about this... "We deal with it and move on, but we don’t let it affect our decisions about schooling." His complaining is really just how he acts most of the time right now, so I shouldn't take it personally when it happens during his school work.

                      About the large family, you are so right. My friend seems to have found the way that works for herself, and the way that will help her large family be successful and thriving day to day. And it sounds like MP has helped your family do the same! How will I know which way is for our family? Did you go through many years of trial and error? Is that unavoidable? How do you tell the difference between "We just need to push through the transitions, or hard days/years, or complaining children" and knowing that what you are doing is not the method for you and you need to make a large change?

                      What I really want is to grow together and love each other as a family, get each other to Heaven if you will (we are Catholic too), and teach my children to love and know God and grow in the virtues, and equip them to think logically and critically about what is true and good and beautiful so that they can thrive in whatever their vocations end up being in this crazy modern world. I am sure there is more than one educational path for this.

                      A very practical question for you... We are doing Storytime Treasures right now, and my son was able to read Little Bear and Frog and Toad approx. 2 years ago. He enjoys the stories still, and the writing in the workbooks is very much at his level (he was late getting the pencil grip and having any kind of writing stamina). I have been told to stay with his writing level. We are doing one lesson a week but he gets bored that it is a small amount of the story that we are talking about. He is not able to do four or five pages of writing in one day, but he is able to answer the comprehension questions very easily without going back to the story, most of the time. Should I do a lot more of the questions with him just verbally, and switch to maybe doing a lesson in a day, 3 lessons in a week until we get to something that is a little more at his level for comprehension?

                      Comment


                        #71
                        Abbie,
                        Sarah has given you some good advice. Question. What MP level is your six year old doing? I sat down with a friend of mine who has an advanced first grader and helped her "right size" the core for their family. There is a lot of repetition in the first grade core both from kindergarten and to insure mastery. It was way too much repetition for them. They haven't skipped any lessons, but determined what was needed for mastery so they could work 3 days a week and have the other two for other things. It was completely appropriate for this kiddo who can usually pass the spelling tests before she sees the words and has nice penmanship for a first grader.
                        Bean. Long time MP user. I usually post before my coffee is finished. I apologize in advance for my typos and grammatical mishaps.

                        DD 10th: Aerospace enthusiast. All AP & dual enrollment courses for 20-21.

                        Comment


                          #72
                          Bean, he is doing 1st grade core. I chose this level because he just turned six in August and could technically be a public school Kindergartener. He just learned the correct pencil grip at this end of this past summer and his letters are neat but still large. He does not have a lot of fine motor strength or writing stamina. 1st Grade math is appropriate for him, so really the only area that he is quite advanced in is the reading and spelling. Like you said, he can spell most of the words before he sees the lists. The 1st grade literature is much too easy for him as far as reading and comprehension questions.

                          I am not sure if maybe I should do a lot of the reading questions orally with him and move through it faster?

                          Also, he enjoys the simplicity of the R&S math workbook, but absolutely hates how repetitive it is. He feels like he has learned the concept the first time it is introduced, and would like to move on. I am sure he doesn't have completely mastery after the first time with a concept, but I am wondering whether a different approach would be less frustrating.. he likes timed practice sheets, and maybe I could move at a faster pace and incorporate these for memorization.

                          Sarah, it was a little eerie for me to read your description of your son and your experience with bright students in your first post. "It was like he already knew it, but had never heard it before". This is very much like my son, and after reading a little bit of your description to my husband, both he and I identified with it as well! We both were in G/T programs when we were younger and my husband is an engineer. It's very comforting to me to read about your experiences with a child like this, and how your son has been successful.
                          Last edited by Abbie Howard; 12-16-2019, 07:52 AM.

                          Comment


                            #73
                            Originally posted by Abbie Howard View Post
                            Bean, he is doing 1st grade core. I chose this level because he just turned six in August and could technically be a public school Kindergartener. He just learned the correct pencil grip at this end of this past summer and his letters are neat but still large. He does not have a lot of fine motor strength or writing stamina. 1st Grade math is appropriate for him, so really the only area that he is quite advanced in is the reading and spelling. Like you said, he can spell most of the words before he sees the lists. The 1st grade literature is much too easy for him as far as reading and comprehension questions.

                            I am not sure if maybe I should do a lot of the reading questions orally with him and move through it faster?

                            Also, he enjoys the simplicity of the R&S math workbook, but absolutely hates how repetitive it is. He feels like he has learned the concept the first time it is introduced, and would like to move on. I am sure he doesn't have completely mastery after the first time with a concept, but I am wondering whether a different approach would be less frustrating.. he likes timed practice sheets, and maybe I could move at a faster pace and incorporate these for memorization.

                            Sarah, it was a little eerie for me to read your description of your son and your experience with bright students in your first post. "It was like he already knew it, but had never heard it before". This is very much like my son, and after reading a little bit of your description to my husband, both he and I identified with it as well! We both were in G/T programs when we were younger and my husband is an engineer. It's very comforting to me to read about your experiences with a child like this, and how your son has been successful.
                            HI! I have a bright, but "asynchronous" learner. Her IQ is high, but not "gifted" I believe due to the "holes" in her learning. In our first attempt at MP, we started MP K when she was 6 (she missed the cut-off for K by 23 days) because she could only read CVC words. We had her race through the A-C books, but stumbled once we got to the D books. When I taught her the lesson "she got it" so we rolled right along combining days. At the end of book D, she was so confused she couldn't even read CVC words anymore (inserting consonants that weren't there...etc - making blend words in CVC words). So, we basically did K for 3.straight.years with her. I am not remotely suggesting for you clearly able son that you should go backwards or anything. I just caution you on the math, that maybe a little repetition doesn't hurt. He doesn't have to do all the problems though. You could take a highlighter and say "these are the problems you are doing today". If they are all correct, you don't have to do anymore. If the work is sloppy, he puts up an attitude or they are incorrect, then another row might be assigned. I do find with the R&S math at the 1st grade level, doing the work from the teacher's manual every other day was helpful. (we could do 2 lessons in a sitting- skipping some of the stuff I knew my child knew/knows).

                            As for the Storytime Treasures....I say do as much of the writing as he can in one sitting. So, maybe it's 2 days worth of work? If his writing stamina is not up to that, I would stick to the lesson plan for THESE books only. Then, choose other stories at a higher level for him to read as fast as he wants! You will not be sorry you worked on the writing. It only gets harder each year. Having the foundation and build up of the writing will help him in the later years. It can be tempting to just do the questions orally, but so many skills are gained by forming a sentence orally, then writing it down. An oral answer from my kids (without the writing) is not concise and is rather long and drawn out. When we focus on trying to compose a "good" sentence to respond to the answer so many skills are developing and requires more thought. There are some questions that lend themselves to oral discussion for sure and we don't write those. (A description question I typically allow them an oral answer) So, for the Storytime Treasures, you want him to form a good oral, concise answer. You then write his answer, with proper spelling and punctuation, somewhere he can copy it. (on a white board, in the space above where he writes his answers, another piece of paper, etc).

                            Good luck!!
                            Christine

                            (2019/2020)
                            DD1 8/23/09 - SC5/6
                            DS2 9/1/11 - SC3,4, 5/6 combo
                            DD3 2/9/13 -SC2 to start, MP1 second semester

                            Previous Years
                            DD 1 (MPK, SC2 (with AAR), SC3, SC4’
                            DS2 (SCB, SCC, MPK, SC2)
                            DD3 (SCA, SCB, Jr. K workbooks, soaking up from the others, MPK)

                            Comment


                              #74
                              Yes, I'll echo what howiecram is saying about not doing all of Story Time Treasures orally.

                              The place where my friend needed to compact things a bit was mostly Traditional Spelling. There is a lot of material there that I think was added as reinforcement. They do all of the main TS program as it's written in the Teacher's guide, but not all of the additional available workbooks, sheets, etc. This kid took to phonics like a duck to water. Her recreational reading is easily 3rd grade +. She also turned 7 after the school year started, so she's got the fine motor skill a younger kid would not have.

                              The first part of first grade math repeats a great deal of what is covered in kindergarten, which this kid knew cold BECAUSE they had done MP kindergarten every part, chapter and verse. They just took that time to drill math facts and play math games and do some story problems until the CM caught up with them rather than speeding ahead in math.
                              Bean. Long time MP user. I usually post before my coffee is finished. I apologize in advance for my typos and grammatical mishaps.

                              DD 10th: Aerospace enthusiast. All AP & dual enrollment courses for 20-21.

                              Comment


                                #75
                                Abbie, you have several more great questions, so I wanted to answer a couple of them directly and then get to some suggestions afterward.

                                [QUOTE=Abbie Howard;n118008]You have a great point about my 6 y/o son. He was an absolutely incredible toddler/preschooler: very calm, loved to sit around and look at books, not a SINGLE rolling around on the floor tantrum as a toddler. When he was 5 or 5.5 he suddenly realized he had a will, and the outrage and complaining commenced.

                                I LOVE what you said about this... "We deal with it and move on, but we don’t let it affect our decisions about schooling." His complaining is really just how he acts most of the time right now, so I shouldn't take it personally when it happens during his school work.

                                And since you mentioned you are Catholic, I will also point out that we take this change in behavior as a signal to start talking to them about Confession. They still do a lot of things that are naughty simply without thinking, and that is totally normal. But for those times that it's obvious there was a choice to be naughty, we have the conversations about good choices and bad choices, and how our bad choices make everyone very unhappy - even God. We point out how yucky it makes us feel inside, and how that is a sign that we have sinned. We talk about selfishness vs selflessness, that making the right choice is usually harder than making the wrong choice, and that when we do mess up, we need to make it right by apologizing (which leads into Confession). And then watch how quickly he takes to understanding all of this. It might become obvious that he is ready to receive Penance early. And it is amazing how much of a help that is!

                                About the large family, you are so right. My friend seems to have found the way that works for herself, and the way that will help her large family be successful and thriving day to day. And it sounds like MP has helped your family do the same! How will I know which way is for our family? Did you go through many years of trial and error? Is that unavoidable? How do you tell the difference between "We just need to push through the transitions, or hard days/years, or complaining children" and knowing that what you are doing is not the method for you and you need to make a large change?

                                We did have many years of trial and error, but I firmly believe that that is only because Memoria Press did not have their curriculum written yet! I read a lot when my kids were still little - Well Trained Mind, Charlotte Mason's writings, For the Children's Sake, and a long list of others I can't think of right now...but I was set that we wanted something traditional and most likely Classical. I also wanted something cohesive. I knew from WTM that I could piece things together, and that tons of people find that to be a successful route. If you have ever visited the WTM forum, you will see that there are tons of things people use and call "classical." But I wanted a guide to follow, and putting them together myself was too much work every summer. So I stuck with major curricula providers but was always disappointed in two ways: 1) the teaching methods were not actually classical; and 2) their products were just as "pieced together" as anything I did myself. When Memoria Press started coming out with their curriculum, my oldest was in fifth grade. Since then, we have been avid fans, and we have not had to keep looking.

                                So yes, there was trial and error on our part. But I have many friends who learned about MP from us, used it right out of the gate, were spared the jumping around that we did, and have been so grateful! That being said, I do remember one friend who started with MP, but then after a year or two, felt that twinge of, "But I never looked around...how do I know this is really the best?" So, she started looking anyway. Guess what - she still uses MP! And just to reemphasize that folks find what works for them and stick with it even with other programs - I also have a dear, long-time friend who started out with Seton in the very beginning and stuck with it through all four of her boys. She is ten years older than me - so Seton was one of the first things I tried in the hopes that our family would end up as wonderful as her family was. But it drove me and my kids nuts!

                                That brings me to your comment below...


                                What I really want is to grow together and love each other as a family, get each other to Heaven if you will (we are Catholic too), and teach my children to love and know God and grow in the virtues, and equip them to think logically and critically about what is true and good and beautiful so that they can thrive in whatever their vocations end up being in this crazy modern world. I am sure there is more than one educational path for this.

                                You have just described our priorities as well. What a curriculum needs to do is to support you in those priorities, and it has to be something that guides you along in that educational path. Think of yourself walking a trail with an experienced hiker. That guide is going to have a personality that you either find helpful and enjoyable, or that you find tiresome and irritating. Curriculum is the same way. But you won't be able to distinguish that personality until you give it a try and set out with it for a while. Which means you do your research, read the rhetoric each program offers about itself, talk to folks who use it and see if they have achieved what you hope to achieve, and then take that risk of ordering it and trying it. Once you start, you will be able to tell if it is a good guide that is making your life better, or if it is something that you dread to pull out each day. For me, it only took 4-5 weeks of using something for me to tell if it was going to work for us or not. It is natural to want to know ahead of time what the outcome will be, but that's not really realistic. You have to gain experience and there's no way of doing that except by starting out and seeing how things go.

                                But I will give you credit for what you are doing already. You have the MP materials, and you are not questioning the goodness of them, but rather how to make them work better in your particular situation. That's so great! And that is a huge difference with MP as well. This forum, the customer service, the Sodalitas Gathering each summer, and even Facebook groups - taken all together, these are things that no other program offers its families. It provides a community that we each turn to with these same sorts of quandaries and questions. I believe that's a big part in helping us all have greater stability in our home schools, which is itself something that makes us be more successful over the long haul.


                                A very practical question for you... We are doing Storytime Treasures right now, and my son was able to read Little Bear and Frog and Toad approx. 2 years ago. He enjoys the stories still, and the writing in the workbooks is very much at his level (he was late getting the pencil grip and having any kind of writing stamina). I have been told to stay with his writing level. We are doing one lesson a week but he gets bored that it is a small amount of the story that we are talking about. He is not able to do four or five pages of writing in one day, but he is able to answer the comprehension questions very easily without going back to the story, most of the time. Should I do a lot more of the questions with him just verbally, and switch to maybe doing a lesson in a day, 3 lessons in a week until we get to something that is a little more at his level for comprehension?

                                Most of the time, we tell folks to not skip the writing, and both Christine and Bean have mentioned that in their suggestions to you. There is definitely an important skill set of learning how to formulate a correct answer and physically write it down that is extremely important to develop, and is why we usually suggest keeping a child at the level of their weakest skill - which in this case is definitely the writing. But there are also times when that can be such a drawback for a child that real discouragement starts to set in - which is why we also recommend using your own judgment about what is right for your child. So, here's what I would suggest. You have a very young six year old, who could have technically been in the kindergarten curriculum this year. I can tell you, there is no "constructing sentences and writing them down" in the K curriculum because that is not where they expect children to be yet. The fact that your child will be working on it at all is a sign that you are still moving his writing skills along. Your idea of doing a full lesson every other day sounds great to me. Even having him write one complete answer and doing the others orally would be a good way to go. But keep moving the bar too. If he starts out in January doing one sentence every lesson, then maybe in February make it two sentences per lesson, and in March, make it three. This is what I mean by "move at his pace." Put him where he is comfortable now, and then give him increasing amounts of challenge so that he keeps making progress. He's also writing in math, and handwriting, and copybook - that stamina will be increasing. So let literature be an area where he gets to move fast, and be patient while the stamina catches up.

                                You asked another couple of questions about spelling and math too, so I will address those below.

                                [/QUOTEBean, he is doing 1st grade core. I chose this level because he just turned six in August and could technically be a public school Kindergartener. He just learned the correct pencil grip at this end of this past summer and his letters are neat but still large. He does not have a lot of fine motor strength or writing stamina. 1st Grade math is appropriate for him, so really the only area that he is quite advanced in is the reading and spelling. Like you said, he can spell most of the words before he sees the lists. The 1st grade literature is much too easy for him as far as reading and comprehension questions.

                                I am not sure if maybe I should do a lot of the reading questions orally with him and move through it faster?

                                Also, he enjoys the simplicity of the R&S math workbook, but absolutely hates how repetitive it is. He feels like he has learned the concept the first time it is introduced, and would like to move on. I am sure he doesn't have completely mastery after the first time with a concept, but I am wondering whether a different approach would be less frustrating.. he likes timed practice sheets, and maybe I could move at a faster pace and incorporate these for memorization.

                                First I will get one thing out of the way - not everyone who uses MP faithfully uses Rod and Staff math. There are many folks around here who use Saxon, RightStart, Singapore, Math-U-See, and Math Mammoth (those are the biggies). So there is no commitment that you have to use Rod and Staff. Others don't, and they find them to be good fits for their families/children.

                                But the other thing I would offer is that there is no real reason not to use Rod and Staff either. The thing I have learned through experience about math is that you have a set number of years to learn the basics. Between K and 6th, your child needs to master (in this order): addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Once those are mastered, then you learn how to apply them in a variety of ways: fractions, long division, ratios, percents, and such. All of these basic processes need to be mastered so that then children can use them to do....something completely new and different? No - so that they can CONTINUE to learn more advanced processes!!!! That is all algebra, geometry, and even calculus are - more advanced versions of applying basic mathematical principles. There is no great, looming divide between grade school and high school math that they gradually have to build a bridge across. It's just MORE OF THE SAME.

                                Therefore, the BEST HELP you can give a child at each level of schooling is to allow them to master what needs to be mastered in order to understand the next level of concepts. Without mastery, your child ends up having to think about basic things each time he wants to do something more advanced - which is a ridiculously slow way of going about things. Imagine if your husband had to stop and think his way through basic processes each time he had to do a calculation of some sort! It would take him a lifetime to complete any project he was assigned. Therefore, the real goal is to choose a math program that will help set the foundation a child needs at each level of development. Rod and Staff does that extremely well, in my experience. For a child who understand math at a deep level, you still don't need a lot of bells and whistles or a ton of advanced problems. For example, my son wanted to understand why each of the processes he learned in Rod and Staff worked. So for the lessons in which a completely new concept was introduced, like adding fractions, in addition to his actual assignment he would need to "prove" it worked. Since he was only my second child, I just thought this was normal. ha!

                                If your child has the mental ability to fully understand addition, then all you are really working on is memorizing the facts so that he doesn't have to think about addition each time he has to do it. If you feel that he is able, cut down on the number of problems he does in each lesson. Those full pages of problems? Have him do half of them. Or cover two lessons per day, but have him answer some of it orally to you. Make sure you are using flash cards. And as long as his mastery of the facts is keeping up with the pace you are using in the workbook, keep going. And what do we mean by mastery? He needs to be able to do things quickly, without pauses, as though it's as natural to him as saying his "a, b, c's." That is - anything he does orally. If his writing stamina is still holding him back from writing his answers down quickly, that's different than him having to pause and think about the answers. For him to display mastery of math facts at this age, take his oral answer speed until his writing speed catches up.

                                And for spelling...I would echo what Bean said above. My bright kids do not need any of the extras for Traditional Spelling or for Spelling Workout. They know how to spell them on day one of the lesson. My six year old has been correcting her sister's spelling for at least 2 years now. We do the basic things listed in the book and call it a day.


                                Sarah, it was a little eerie for me to read your description of your son and your experience with bright students in your first post. "It was like he already knew it, but had never heard it before". This is very much like my son, and after reading a little bit of your description to my husband, both he and I identified with it as well! We both were in G/T programs when we were younger and my husband is an engineer. It's very comforting to me to read about your experiences with a child like this, and how your son has been successful.

                                Yes, this has been the saving grace with our family as well. Every single challenging behavior our kids display is something that either dh or I recognize from our own personalities. We can't really fault them for simply being apples that have fallen close to the tree. And lest anyone ever confuse the matter, having kids for whom school is pretty easy does not in any way get us off the hook in the parenting department. If anything, it is the gifts they each have that make raising them incredibly hard. As babies my kids slept less than all my friends' kids (45 minute naps were the norm - and only if I was holding them; only staying asleep at night after frequent checks to make sure mom was still within touching range - for three years apiece!); being acutely attentive to every single detail of what is going on around them, making attention to their work incredibly hard; being acutely aware of the emotional state of everyone else, raising their anxiety level as they try to accept the things they cannot control....I could go on and on.

                                So, my final word to you is that you may find that you spend more of your day on character and emotional issues than you do actually teaching them - and that is appropriate. Kids like these don't really need you to "teach" them anything. What they need is for you to help them become well-rounded people who are able to function well in society, and who are able to set up boundaries for themselves over what they care about and what they can/cannot control, how much perfection is possible and how to deal with the imperfections, how to protect themselves from trying to please everyone around them, etc. If you truly have a bright, advanced kid, read up on the subject. Their brightness is not just a school thing. It is a whole-person thing, and it does affect how you have to parent them. I learned a lot out of necessity, and by comparing it to my and my husband's childhoods. It has only been recently that another mom gave me some books to read on the subject that put all the pieces together into a clear picture for me. Like what you experienced when you read my description of my son, most likely!

                                I hope this has been helpful, and I'm so glad you have been asking your questions. Keep it up! This is a fantastic community of families with amazing moms who each has valuable things to offer!

                                AMDG,
                                Sarah

                                2020-2021
                                16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
                                DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
                                DS, 16
                                DD, 14
                                DD, 12
                                DD, 10
                                DD, 8
                                DD, 6
                                +DS+
                                DS, 2

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