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    Guidance needed for beginning MP with a large family

    I am currently using MODG with my kids but will be switching to MP next year. I have three high schoolers who will be doing a local co-op for writing, science, and math and will be using MP for the other subjects. They are pretty independent, so my question is more about my younger ones.

    Next year, I will have kids in grades 1, 2, 4, 6, and 7. I was thinking about doing the Story of the World with all of them together for history. Is that a good or bad idea? Should I stick with the MP curriculum and do the history that corresponds with each grade instead?

    I am a little overwhelmed by all the different packages. For instance, there is a grade one package, then an add on package for new users - both of which I assume I will need. But then there is the read aloud set and and enrichment set. Are these also needed?

    For my 4th grader, I notice that 4th grade is a continuation of 3rd grade - that she would have been expected to have already completed half the books in many of the subjects. What should I do here? Start her in third grade? I would hate to hold her back like that. On the other hand, she won't have any idea what is going on if she has missed the first part of the book.

    My first, second, and fourth graders have never done Latin before and the others have been using a completely different program. How do I figure out which lessons to do each day - I assume the lesson plans (for fourth grade anyway) assume the child is using a different book. And which Latin should I begin with for them?

    How much time a day does it take to sit down with each child? Is there a lot of hands on involvement for parents? I have a very busy toddler, so I do need to be able to have them work independently for at least part of the day.

    And finally, is it possible to shrink the five day schedule into a four or four and a half day routine?

    Thank you for your help in answering any or all of these many questions!!! I am starting to feel a little overwhelmed by it all.

    Sarah

    #2
    So for the 4th grader, you can get the 4th grade for new users - the link for it is here: https://www.memoriapress.com/curricu...a-press-users/

    For your 1st and 2nd graders, I'd pick one enrichment and do it with both of them. That could be the 1st this coming year and then the 2nd the following year for your then 2nd and 3rd graders. But only do one.

    If you want to start your 6th and 7th graders in First Form Latin (you could probably call MP and ask their recommendation for placement based on the previous program), you can get the FFL plans as a PDF and then you'd just sub those daily assignments for the ones in the 6th and 7th grade manuals.

    Are you 6th and 7th graders close enough academically that you could do the same core with them aside from math? That might help make the transition a little less overwhelming.

    MP is wonderful about helping you place your children and also with help with substitutions (like Latin level or composition level).

    Also, if you want to read a group history book, I'd recommend TAN's Story of Civilization (I hope I can say that here). It could be a great summer read aloud; it's also on Audible and you could listen in the car or during lunch.
    Brit

    Catholic mom to five
    2019-2020:
    Ds '01 - College freshman: Thomas Aquinas College
    Ds '03 - 10th grade: MPOA Algebra 2, and a bunch of other stuff
    Ds '06 - 8th: MP Tiner science (chemistry, physics, and astronomy), 8M lit, 8M Exploring Planet Earth, ancient history, OLVS 8 Catechism
    Dd '10 (Down syndrome) - JrK with little brother and BOB books
    Ds '15 - JrK with big sister

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you so much for this, Brit! You have been so helpful!

      Thank you for the TAN recommendation. I had never heard of it before. It looks great. What grades do you think this program would be for? Could I use it for all of them?

      I see that your son will be going to TAC. My husband and I both graduated from there many years ago! I will have a freshman and sophomore at Christendom this year.

      Sarah

      Comment


        #4
        My now 7th grader read Story of Civ 2 along with Famous Men of the Middle Ages; they went well together. On their own, I think they'd be best up until 6th grade. The workbooks are on the younger side, but the content is good. I'd recommend using them as supplements to MP's history rotation. It seems a bit odd going Greek Myths, Rome, Middle Ages, back to Greece, and then another Greece year (I've fought the sequence mentally for a while because I'm quite linear in thought), but there's good reason for it.

        And how cool about TAC and now Christendom! My oldest is very excited. He did the summer program this last summer and he fell in love with the college (as did my current 9th grader and my current 7th grader - I have a feeling we might have a few going through).
        Last edited by MyLittleWonders; 05-18-2019, 05:08 PM.
        Brit

        Catholic mom to five
        2019-2020:
        Ds '01 - College freshman: Thomas Aquinas College
        Ds '03 - 10th grade: MPOA Algebra 2, and a bunch of other stuff
        Ds '06 - 8th: MP Tiner science (chemistry, physics, and astronomy), 8M lit, 8M Exploring Planet Earth, ancient history, OLVS 8 Catechism
        Dd '10 (Down syndrome) - JrK with little brother and BOB books
        Ds '15 - JrK with big sister

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by sarahmccb View Post

          How much time a day does it take to sit down with each child? Is there a lot of hands on involvement for parents? I have a very busy toddler, so I do need to be able to have them work independently for at least part of the day.

          And finally, is it possible to shrink the five day schedule into a four or four and a half day routine?

          Thank you for your help in answering any or all of these many questions!!! I am starting to feel a little overwhelmed by it all.

          Sarah
          Waving --- hi Sarah!

          I'm going to point you in the direction of the Sodalitas Gathering videos from last summer. (free for now) There's a couple of videos there that might be helpful in your case. (They are ALL helpful --- but if you don't have time to peruse all of them, this is where I'd start)

          Homeschooling with Multiple Cores
          Time to Get Started! (this gal talks kind of fast, so you might have to pause it or back up. )

          I'd recommend a slow start to your year, and even staggered a bit. If you scroll back through the forums, you'll see posts about staggered starts, etc. I *think* I talked about it in Time to Get Started, too.
          For us, what that means is we start with our older children first, before we kick off school with our littles, to get everyone in the groove. This looks different for different families.

          Another thought is to start with a pared down schedule --- meaning, just a few subjects, to get into the groove.

          I completely agree with MyLittleWonders ----- ONE enrichment for your littles. In our family this fall, we will have a K student and a 2nd grader. Since my 2nd grader has already been through the K and the 1st grade enrichment recently, we will do 2nd grade enrichment this fall. We will actually be starting with enrichment over the summer, so that I can get a handle on managing homeschooling 5 students, and to show my 2nd grader how much fun homeschooling is. (we brought her home from full time school)

          How much time per day per child is really dependent on a lot of variables. My (soon to be) 8th grader is fairly independent, and my twin boys are doing well in this realm too. Once I get my second grader going, she will power through things on her own. My K fellow will take the majority of my time.

          Our school is a juggling act --- I have to balance my brain power and energy level with that of my children. One thing that I have insisted on with my twins is that they aren't allowed to use the school day for independent work (copywork, reviewing flashcards, working on a rough draft, etc). They have access to me for a limited time, so they need to use that time wisely. After about 2:30 or 3, my brain is fried, and I can't teach effectively anymore.

          Also --- I don't know how much of the cores you're going to be using, but if your budget will allow, I would opt for the DVDs or streaming options if you can. That will free up instructional time for you.

          Trimming the 5 day schedule down --- you CAN do this, especially in the younger years. As the workload increases, it becomes a bit more difficult.

          As the fellow momma of a big family, I'd encourage you to look at the MP cores as a feast. Think of your Thanksgiving table. Can you eat every single thing there? Well, maybe. But you might be stuffed to the point of being miserable, too.

          We streamline MP in our home, and no one has revoked my MP card yet. There are classes that we shift to another year, or even eliminate all together. I take a look at the scope and sequence and contemplate the most important subjects for our family, then plan from there. Sometimes, I have to put on blinders to what other families are doing, because everyone's situation is unique. What works for you may not be best for me, and vice versa.

          Plans for 2020-21

          Year 10 of homeschooling with MP

          DD1 - 25 - Small Business owner with a STOREFRONT
          DD2 - 14 - 9th grade - HLS Cottage School/MPOA - equestrian
          DS3 - 12 - 5A Cottage School - soccer
          DS4 - 12 - 5A Cottage School -soccer
          DD5 - 8 - 3A, Cottage School -equestrian and Irish dance
          DS6 - 6 - MP K - home with Momma

          Comment


            #6
            Hi Sarah! Welcome to MP! Sounds like you have so many needs to juggle with your large spread between college and littles. You have asked some really great questions that I have answered them inline below. Since you are an experienced homeschool/large family mom, you already know that your day will basically be spent keeping all the plates spinning, but I will say from our experience that MP has been the best way to manage it by far!


            Originally posted by sarahmccb View Post
            I am currently using MODG with my kids but will be switching to MP next year. I have three high schoolers who will be doing a local co-op for writing, science, and math and will be using MP for the other subjects. They are pretty independent, so my question is more about my younger ones.

            Next year, I will have kids in grades 1, 2, 4, 6, and 7. I was thinking about doing the Story of the World with all of them together for history. Is that a good or bad idea? Should I stick with the MP curriculum and do the history that corresponds with each grade instead?

            I know it is tempting to think that combining all your children into a single time slot for a subject will be easier, but in my experience, it never is. Even though you may have the same core text for them all, the fact is, each child is still at a much different level of understanding from all his/her siblings...which means to make sure that any one of them is actually taking something valuable away from the lesson, you still have to tailor it to each different child. To me, that is actually harder than simply allowing each child to have his own subject, that he studies thoroughly, and that gives him the irreplaceable feeling of satisfaction for having really mastered something. With that being said though, I am a big fan of reading aloud to my kids from the same book over breakfast. We do a Saint of the day, and then we have some history books we use for a read aloud while everyone is mulling about getting going for the day. I keep it short, and sometimes we discuss, sometimes we don't. But whenever we have dropped it for a time, we do miss it. We usually rotate between a world history, a Bible history, and this year I will throw in an American history day too. It still gives you the feel of doing something together, without all the pressure of making sure it "goes well" for actual school.

            I am a little overwhelmed by all the different packages. For instance, there is a grade one package, then an add on package for new users - both of which I assume I will need. But then there is the read aloud set and and enrichment set. Are these also needed?

            The read aloud sets are optional, as are the enrichment sets. As others have mentioned they choose one enrichment set to do for all their kids. Or, if you are anything like me and are seriously pinched for time, enrichment can be one of those things that you adore that other people do even though you don't manage to get it done. And the read aloud books are listed in each child's curriculum guide as a helpful reminder to do this with your children. You can pick one child's list and work through it over the year, or pick one book at a time from each child's different lists. Or you can totally go rogue and simply read whatever book you want to your children. The whole point is to remind you to read aloud as much as you can - whether that is 15 minutes before bed, during lunch, over tea, or an audio book in the car - keep the goal in mind, and be flexible with how you achieve that goal.

            For my 4th grader, I notice that 4th grade is a continuation of 3rd grade - that she would have been expected to have already completed half the books in many of the subjects. What should I do here? Start her in third grade? I would hate to hold her back like that. On the other hand, she won't have any idea what is going on if she has missed the first part of the book.

            This was answered above in that you would just use the Fourth Grade for New Users. No problem at all.

            My first, second, and fourth graders have never done Latin before and the others have been using a completely different program. How do I figure out which lessons to do each day - I assume the lesson plans (for fourth grade anyway) assume the child is using a different book. And which Latin should I begin with for them?

            My guess is that your kids have been using the MODG Latin program? I would not worry at all. First graders do not do Latin so that is a good year to just take a breather and not worry about it. Second grade uses Prima Latina, a gentle introduction to Latin, which includes memorizing Latin prayers and is really cool. Your fourth grader would have Latina Christiana in the set, which I think no matter the level of Latin experience you have, it would be great to leave it as is and do it. It will help your child prepare for First Form Latin the following year by starting to learn the vocabulary and some of the grammar forms he or she will need. If some of it is review or familiar, that's great. But MP has a much different level of expectation of mastery than other programs, so starting with LC and laying down good study habits to prepare for the Forms will be valuable as well. It might be tempting to think of skipping either of those to focus on the older kids, but they are really so easy to implement that it's not really going to save you much time to skip them. Just follow the lesson plans as is, and it will be great.

            For the older two, I would still start them in First Form Latin, with the whole set, including the DVDs. Whatever baseline they already have is fine, and might make some of First Form easy, but it's probably not going to help to try to skip anything. If the MODG course was what you were using before, there will have been a different order of presentation of topics. Whatever they remember may help them move more quickly, which is fine, but I would simply start at the beginning and treat it as a brand new program. Learn the weekly routine of study so that as new things appear, they make sure everything along the way is being mastered. I have looked at the MODG program before, and in my opinion, the presentation of topics is not as logical as the Forms, and the expectation of mastery is not present the way it is in the Forms. Your children will not lose any ground in the long run because most children need a huge chunk of review, or even a complete revisit of their progress, at some point in their Latin career. Seventh grader in First Form who sticks with Latin all the way through will still be a Junior able to translate Caesar, which is something to be excited about.

            How much time a day does it take to sit down with each child? Is there a lot of hands on involvement for parents? I have a very busy toddler, so I do need to be able to have them work independently for at least part of the day.

            For my children from primary through fifth grade, I shoot for getting about an hour per child per day. This hour includes the subjects for which they need my direct teaching, while then also going over and checking the work they have done independently. This maxes out at about 4-5 children, just given the nature of life in a big, busy family day. So with my older children, I shoot for trying to get one to two longer sessions per week rather than every single day. We batch stuff up and try to really make those times count. If that doesn't work out, that is when I end up having to do stuff with them after dinner, on weekends, or some other time that is not during the regular school day. Each year is a battle trying to cram in as much as we can, but I don't see any way around that with so many children, you know?

            And finally, is it possible to shrink the five day schedule into a four or four and a half day routine?

            I do shrink my younger crew into four days so that I can have one day to try and have time with older children. This spring, because of how our year was going I even squeezed my two youngest schoolers into just three days, with the expectation that they will keep going over the summer (which I don't really mind because they are young and need to not have a long break anyway!).

            The biggest thing I would say is to look at your guides, guess at the time each person will need for each thing, figure out how all the pieces will go together, and write up a schedule. This first one will just be a guesstimate of how things will go. Then try it out for a week or two. Make adjustments. Write a new one. Then stick with it kinda rigidly until you develop a routine that works. I personally hate being tied to a strict time schedule, but I always find it necessary in the beginning of the year. And then once we all hit our rhythm, I don't find it as necessary after that. It's hard core at the outset, but then it eases up once we know how to make it work.


            Thank you for your help in answering any or all of these many questions!!! I am starting to feel a little overwhelmed by it all.

            Sarah

            Even with 8 years with MP under my belt, I still feel an extreme sense of trepidation as I look ahead to each next year. I usually feel as though we made it through the previous year by the skin of our teeth, and I wonder how on earth are we going to do it again next year. This past year we moved in two weeks before we started school. I had no real plan ready, and no good schedule set up. For a lot of reasons, it was a really hard year. But yet, somehow, through God's grace, we still made it. This is where MP has been such a blessing for us. Everyone loves homeschooling in the beginning, or at the beginning of a new program, when things are fresh and exciting. But for us, our MP schooling has seen us through some pretty hard times - still able to keep homeschooling, still able to look back on a rough year, still able to praise God that we had our guides to keep us plugging along, and still able to look forward to the next year with hope. That is huge to me.

            Take heart that this will be a good change for your family. Give yourself the permission to have a "just okay" year while you guys are learning the ropes. Start the year at half-pace. Give yourself two weeks to do the first week, and then again for the second week if you still need it. Come back to the forum and ask advice. You do not have to have this all figured out right now. You will learn as you go and it will be great. Deep breaths, small steps, pray, hope, and don't worry!

            AMDG,
            Sarah
            Last edited by KF2000; 05-19-2019, 01:28 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

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