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  • KF2000
    replied
    Originally posted by Abbie Howard View Post
    Thank you, Sarah I am going to start following that literature plan. I think it will be a nice reward and something for him to look forward to a few days a week.

    Thanks for the comment about mastery in math being defined by oral answer speed and not written. I was a little fuzzy on this and that helps me a lot. We will keep going with R&S and I will try to reduce the number of problems I assign.

    Oh gosh, we are with you on difficult parenting. Sounds A LOT like our kids - and myself! I have done some reading about Highly Sensitive/Spirited people/children, and I identify with much of it myself, as do my children. A lot to do with being very very intuitive and taking in a huge amount of sensory input. My intense kids are so trying at times but also have beautiful, funny, creative, passionate personalities... hard to remember when I want to pull my hair out, though!

    And for your note about Confession - that is something I have not thought about! I will try to keep that in the front of my mind when I have opportunities to talk with him about good and bad choices. I tend to think in black and white terms, and so I have always assumed that the age of reason is something that probably happens overnight! Haha. But obviously it is a spectrum like anything else. And that age when he realized he could say no was the beginning of that transition.

    Thank you for all your help! It has been so valuable to have answers from real people and I will keep asking questions as I have them!
    Oh good! I am so glad everything was helpful!
    Have you thought about coming to Sodalitas in the summer? It’s a great couple of days to connect with other MP moms, swap stories and experiences, and learn great strategies of using MP. And you could meet a lot of us!

    Have a great Christmas break!
    AMDG,
    Sarah

    Leave a comment:


  • Abbie Howard
    replied
    Thank you for your help, Bean and Christine! I really appreciate your personal experiences with the curriculum and your advice. It is so much better than me, my son and the curriculum, trying to make it work alone! I definitely understand the importance of giving him plenty of writing experience and making sure he is mastering the math curriculum. I think he will do much better if we keep doing it thoroughly but maybe cut a couple things down to every other day.

    Leave a comment:


  • Abbie Howard
    replied
    Thank you, Sarah I am going to start following that literature plan. I think it will be a nice reward and something for him to look forward to a few days a week.

    Thanks for the comment about mastery in math being defined by oral answer speed and not written. I was a little fuzzy on this and that helps me a lot. We will keep going with R&S and I will try to reduce the number of problems I assign.

    Oh gosh, we are with you on difficult parenting. Sounds A LOT like our kids - and myself! I have done some reading about Highly Sensitive/Spirited people/children, and I identify with much of it myself, as do my children. A lot to do with being very very intuitive and taking in a huge amount of sensory input. My intense kids are so trying at times but also have beautiful, funny, creative, passionate personalities... hard to remember when I want to pull my hair out, though!

    And for your note about Confession - that is something I have not thought about! I will try to keep that in the front of my mind when I have opportunities to talk with him about good and bad choices. I tend to think in black and white terms, and so I have always assumed that the age of reason is something that probably happens overnight! Haha. But obviously it is a spectrum like anything else. And that age when he realized he could say no was the beginning of that transition.

    Thank you for all your help! It has been so valuable to have answers from real people and I will keep asking questions as I have them!

    Leave a comment:


  • KF2000
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • bean
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • howiecram
    replied
    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!!

    Leave a comment:


  • Abbie Howard
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • bean
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Abbie Howard
    replied
    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?

    Leave a comment:


  • KF2000
    replied
    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.

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  • KF2000
    replied
    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

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  • Abbie Howard
    replied
    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.

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  • KF2000
    replied
    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

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  • Abbie Howard
    replied
    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!

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  • Mrs Bee
    replied
    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!!

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