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Confessions to Encourage Each Other

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    Confessions to Encourage Each Other

    Reading on several trending topics, I am coming to this idea that even in this environment, we all feel the pinch of insecurity from something.

    Everyone else has all of their ducks in a row. Their kids are super geniuses destined to rule the world. They have interesting friends, fascinating hobbies, and every time the church doors are open, all of the kids are in their pew sitting quietly and not fidgeting/talking and listening intently. Our homes are clean, the laundry is done, the dishes are washed, the meals are balanced and amazingly healthy ...okay.... Those are insecurities that every family gets, homeschooled or not.

    Here, in this environment, we get our own special selection of insecurities and these are the ones I am speaking to.

    For example: Lately, I've read several times how people are surprised (shocked even) about how many others haven't finished the school year by June....or even by Fall. This surprise is not a criticism of others - it's a revelation. It's easy to think that since there are 52 weeks in the year and 33 weeks of scheduled assignments. Surely it isn't possible to get behind with that much leeway...right? Somehow, every other homeschool family can make this time frame work, right? Wrong....so wrong, wrong, wrong....and still, very wrong.

    I hope everyone remembers that those guides, truly, are just that. They are "guidelines". It's been said many times before, and still bears repeating. They are guides. They tell us generally "what to do", and approximately "when to do it". They do not specify how long it should take to finish. This is especially true if you have more than one child, which could imply more than one Core. It doesn't take into account the challenges and setbacks and interruptions. For that matter, they don't take into account the material that can move faster either. It doesn't take long for one real day in the homeschool class to get out of sync with the guide. Subjects may begin to move at their own rhythm. If the goal is mastery, and mastery of each subject takes a different amount of time, then there is no way to plan for this. It may be 30 weeks, 33 weeks, or 60 weeks.

    Those of us who came from public/private school have a hard time wrapping our heads around this. School started on one day and ended on another. The timing was concrete. I challenge anyone to remember getting to the "end" of the material by the last day of class. In fact, do you EVER remember finishing everything in the text. I honestly can't remember a single time I made it to the last page, having thoroughly covered everything. How much did I miss out on? Well...for starters, I never took a history class that made it past 1935. Seriously. All I know of the previous century has come from sources outside of school....(television...mostly). Being "done" on that hard date tells nothing about finishing masterfully.

    Some of us have modified the Core curriculum for various reasons - even major subjects!

    This may be silly but what if we started a list of "confessions" to show that to others. I only hope to squash that insecurity bug. I believe we are doing an amazing job here. We have incredible tools to work with from MP. However, each of our kids is a unique creation of God. For that matter, so are we! Mastery will vary for each kid and each parent in each given environment. I want to show that there isn't an "Honor Roll" of homeschool families who use MP precisely and explicitly as it is laid out, who finish in the 33 weeks of allotted time.

    "No battle plan survives contact with the enemy."

    Confessions to Encourage Others:

    MBentley - Not finished yet (as of July 22). 7 weeks to go...at least... Modifying next year curriculum to eliminate ATF&F and Intro to Comp and replace with IEW Student Writing Intensive. Adding Fix It! Grammar and may or may not prioritize EGR depending on how the year progresses.
    Melissa

    DS (MP4M) - 10
    DS (MP3A) - 8
    DS (1) - 7
    DD (Adorable distraction) 4

    #2
    Melissa,

    Great idea! Peeling back the curtain a bit more, eh?

    Let's see...There's so much, simply given our #'s. I guess I will hit the highlights (or, I guess these are actually low-points. )

    KF2000
    Had a senior who finished homeschooling. Our mistake with her was that we allowed her to be too focused on one particular college choice before we really understood what the full picture of going anywhere would be like. First-time parent fail. Should have counseled her with more equanimity so that when decision-time came, it was not emotional for her. She handled it well, but we could have prevented any difficulty at all if we had handled it differently.

    2nd child had three subjects to finish by the time his younger sisters were done. One was math and was totally my fault. All year he had been frustrated by problems showing up on his tests that he had not learned. It took me UNTIL JUNE to realize that I had scheduled his math WRONG. We had skipped several sections in each chapter because they were not listed explicitly in the quizzes. HUGE Mom-fail there. He - without complaining once - forgave his mother, and has been going back through his ENTIRE BOOK to make sure he covers everything, and then using the Chapter Summaries as new tests. Good thing he likes math!

    3rd child down had ANOTHER year of flailing around in Latin. She had done Second Form in our cottage school back in Virginia. Last year she tried to do Third Form...but I was so busy with dr. appointments for me and baby (difficult pregnancy) that I could not keep up with her lessons. So I switched her to Henle. Our older two had done it, it seemed like they self-studied it very well, and plus, they could help her, or so I thought. Well, not a lot of progress was made because what she really needed was MOM. Fast forward to this year...when she again hit a wall that I did not realize until too far into the year to really help. So, we scrapped where she was, and she has been doing a thorough review of Second Form for the last month. She will finish that up in about three weeks, and then we will start Third Form TOGETHER. Not me trying to keep up with learning it, but at least with me setting time aside every single day to stare at her while she does it. That's the only way it is going to happen, and I have made that a priority for next year.

    The rest of the kids had good school years - nothing too huge to remark about their school work at all. Having the little girls not finish yet was not a huge surprise, given that I cut them back to give more time to other things that needed to get done. And that is even with only doing Language Arts, Math, and Religion. That's all I expect to cover, and it is enough of a challenge!

    But EVERYONE has asked to have a more structured schedule so that they know when to do everything. That has been my biggest confession for the last two years is how chaotic our days have felt. No week looked the same the whole year. Constant feeling of flying by the seat of our pants. Some things were from choices we made, but others were simply unavoidable circumstances. This year, my biggest resolution is to make up a realistic schedule for everyone (especially me!) and then praying for the fortitude to stick with it. Ugh. Still feeling trepidatious. Starting to think that we might need to have a two-week schedule rather than a one-week. Wondering if that can be done. There's just not enough time to go around. Thinking we need to add in more wiggle-room, but planned, not haphazard.

    Anyway, that's it for us.
    AMDG,
    Sarah
    2020-2021
    16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
    DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
    DS, 17
    DD, 15
    DD, 13
    DD, 11
    DD, 9
    DD, 7
    +DS+
    DS, 2

    Comment


      #3
      “But EVERYONE has asked to have a more structured schedule so that they know when to do everything. That has been my biggest confession for the last two years is how chaotic our days have felt. No week looked the same the whole year. Constant feeling of flying by the seat of our pants. Some things were from choices we made, but others were simply unavoidable circumstances. This year, my biggest resolution is to make up a realistic schedule for everyone (especially me!) and then praying for the fortitude to stick with it. Ugh. Still feeling trepidatious. Starting to think that we might need to have a two-week schedule rather than a one-week. Wondering if that can be done. There's just not enough time to go around. Thinking we need to add in more wiggle-room, but planned, not haphazard.”

      KF2000, yes! This was us last year! Haphazard, unplanned, needing fortitude, constant flying... It is unsettling and I must face my own shortcomings in it. I’m intrigued by your two week schedule. Please share if/when you figure it out.

      Other than us still working on last year’s stuff, my big confessions is my kids hate school. They groan when it’s time to start for the day and don’t enjoy their lessons. I’ve accepted it isn’t me or MP but still feel demoralized at their attitudes. I welcome any advice on how to address this.
      Heidi

      For 2021-22
      dd- 6th
      ds- 3rd
      dd- 1st
      ds- adding smiles and distractions

      Comment


        #4
        VAmom
        For me it goes hand-in-hand. The more distracted and busy I am, the less motivated everyone feels. I don’t add as much levity and mirth when I’m rushing to get something done. So yes, the grumbles get worse too. One whole package, you know?
        AMDG,
        Sarah
        Last edited by KF2000; 07-22-2019, 09:03 PM.
        2020-2021
        16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
        DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
        DS, 17
        DD, 15
        DD, 13
        DD, 11
        DD, 9
        DD, 7
        +DS+
        DS, 2

        Comment


          #5
          I so appreciate this!! As a parent of one student, we "should" have everything in order. But alas, not so. Having a well structured schedule is a definite need for my son, who does not like to "fly by the seat of his pants", which unfortunately I can put up with. So this Mom is going to start living by a schedule, meal planning, curriculum scheduling, etc NOW, so that when the end of August rolls around I can present a well ordered plan to my son. Praying and praying, and working and working.

          Comment


            #6
            Momjean VAmom

            ​​​​​​​I just finished my monstrosity of a 3rd grade plan. Should I just write "Seriously?" across the top of it?
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            At least it's "pretty". It only took 4 weeks to build. Sheesh....

            I've been using the K curriculum guide "As -IS" for the past couple of weeks with my 5 year old. I know I raved and raved...and raved...about Homeschool Planet (digital planner). However, at the end of the day, having everything together, on paper, than can move from desk to room to desk, that allows me to make notes, scribble, etc... I love paper. I finally finished creating 3rd. Had to go to Legal size no less. But I've rolled the dice and printed out all weeks and bound them nice and pretty. At least this way, I have my own planned breaks. Since Dad is off every other Friday, I have to plan for no school that day. With the Friday's On, I plan for a light day, and I'm going to create a note that it's a "Finish Uncompleted Work" day. I'm hoping that something printed out and bound like this will hold MY feet to the fire.

            I created a similar one for my 2nd grader. I printed all of the assignments and bound them. (I love that binder!) I feel like I finally have the "complete" picture at my fingertips now that it's all printed out like it is the the CM from MP. I can't tell you how much more mentally comfortable this is compared to the online planner. Worst case scenario, we get way off - I'll go back and re-print stuff. Creating it was the hard part. Printing it - not so bad.

            That schedule scares me. But now I can see the monster. Hopefully, it will help me stay on task a little better.

            yeah...yeah...I know..."Seriously", right?!

            Fine. At least it's pretty.
            Melissa

            DS (MP4M) - 10
            DS (MP3A) - 8
            DS (1) - 7
            DD (Adorable distraction) 4

            Comment


              #7
              I'm one of those who recently wrote about being shocked to discover I wasn't the only one not done by June. It's true that likely 99% of us experienced "regular" school, so we're not sure when it's ok for homeschooling to feel so different. Most of our children are still young, and we feel the weight of this educational experiment: the mothers in this forum who sometimes write about their college-age children have no idea how much weight their experience carries with us in the younger years.

              My memory of school is definitely one of finishing the books by early June: where I come from there used to be a national exam at the end of 5th, 8th, and 13th grade (5-year high school), so teachers were accustomed to a swift pace: the exam looming meant that not much could be carried over into the following year. So, a lot of efficiency. That I can't accomplish that with just 3 children is baffling, and definitely bothers me: I know I am doing something wrong somewhere, but I find it hard to pinpoint where the problem might be. One thing that I have *finally* understood is that I need to talk more with my husband about school-related things: when we discuss things together, the plan that takes shape is much better than what I'd have done by myself. Honestly, at the beginning of this I sort of had to force him into these discussions, but now he loves being a partner in planning, and he loves understanding what we're doing and giving his inputs. So, ladies, don't discount your husband's practical contributions!

              But I also have different school memories: because of the pace, individual attention to specific problems with specific students was non-existent. You don't understand this or that? You're out of luck, the teacher has to move on: every three weeks there were tests, and those scores would go into your report card. So my school memories are also memories of long phone calls among classmates, trying to figure things out on the side. When I reflect on my classmates, I can count on one hand those who bloomed, who grew, who obviously improved and developed their abilities. Most of them just stayed the same, only with some more notions in their heads. One thing I've come to see is that this is obviously NOT the homeschooling experience: taking more than one week to do a Latin lesson is not necessarily caused by dawdling, but by the focused attention we give our kids and their difficulties. One homeschooling mother I know, who's sending her 6th child to college this fall, told me about having to prepare the high school transcript of one of her daughters, and having to figure out what grades to give her for the subjects she had done at home. She said, "Well, she's an A student... it just took some time for her to become one!" I thought this encapsulated so well the spirit of homeschooling: perhaps not every student can be coached into becoming an A student, but that's what we work on - not the A for the A's sake, but for the understanding and the mastery it represents. So that's one reason why homeschooling can look so inefficient when compared to a school.

              As for my own personal confessions, my kids have no idea how much it costs ME to keep at it, day after day! I don't particularly enjoy teaching in itself... This has been a hard lesson to accept: I was a stellar student, and yet I think I am a mediocre teacher. I love ALL the subjects, I love our books, I love to see my kids learn at home, and I wouldn't have it any other way, but my goodness, teaching is exhausting! Some evenings I could just cry! Never in my pre-kids career days did I experience such exhaustion, and I used to work very long hours. And... did I mention I only have three kids?? Oh yeah It sounds ridiculous, when there are such big families in this forum, but the idea of adding my youngest to our homeschool is daunting! Plus, English is not my native language, and teaching the foundations is scary! I still call my husband on the phone sometimes, so he can answer my own questions

              Anyway, we're not done here either: we took a break from routine in June to focus on the standardized tests we do for our county school system, and once that was out of the way we picked up loose ends, but not all at once: right now we're finishing Guerber, almost done, they're doing the Grammar Camp with MPOA (though it's a lot more work for *me* than I expected), and we're going over the CotR's pre-algebra, so that both my older kids will do Algebra I at the same time (they're one year apart, so my son is simply reviewing, and my daughter has already seen a lot of the concepts in her Singapore Math books.) Once history and grammar are done, we'll pick up Latin again (Third Form, I forgot which lesson we did last, I think it's around #20), and composition. Summer weather where we are is just awful, and no one is really complaining that, for the first time, we're doing serious work every day. It's just a small portion of the day, and then they're off to whatever they want to do. So far it's working decently... but I'm not resting much



              DS (15)
              DD (14)
              DS (7)

              Comment


                #8
                My simple confession is that we never finished the last 4 weeks of my little's guy's curriculum. The books were all review, and we were just supposed to go over the letters more specifically (W, X, Y and Z). Poor kid. We've finished every other part, every workbook, recitation, etc, but not the craft, Alphabet coloring and Big Thoughts book. Womp, womp. Maybe out of embarrassment we'll do it over the next few days.

                I am so stinkin' thankful and humbled that we finished every single thing for MP2. It came with great physical effort, but we pressed toward the goal. We're starting MP3 next week, over a month earlier than last year. I need to build in more rest time for me, more weeks off. We literally wound up taking 2 weeks off TOTAL from Sept-April. I was spent, but I am prone to laziness, sloth, and scattered disorganization. When the ball gets rolling, I am remiss to halt the momentum. And I hate the slipping away of knowledge that happens on weeks off where maintenance isn't done. It's demoralizing to me and my kids. They hate all the hard work they have to do to refresh the math, history, Latin and general knowledge facts when we don't adequately maintain the fact base.

                Also, I concur that I hate the attitude that I get from my eldest about persevering in difficult tasks. She is a joy with subjects she loves and a bear with subjects she finds challenging. Part of that is her early exposure to reading and a wide variety of books. But math is one of those things for her that was never drilled, hammered or enjoyed, so it remains hard effort, and she hates putting in the effort. That's okay.
                Mama to 2

                Spring start MP1
                Summer start 5A

                Completed MPK, MP1 Math & Enrichment, MP2, 3A, 4A, SC B, SC C,
                SC1 (Phonics/Math), SC2's Writing Book 1

                Comment


                  #9
                  The 7.2 billion concerns homeschool parents juggle as our kids progress from phonics to physics can quickly lead to insomnia. Combine that with a dash of anxiety and a fatalistic imagination and you’ve got a recipe for homeschool nightmares.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Enigma

                    If SWO didn't work out, I'm using one that goes about spelling an entirely different way. Spelling You See. There are no lists. No crossword puzzles. No short answer or fill in the blank. It's different but extremely effective. Level C Wild Tales (animal stuff) was a big hit this year. Spelling is a favorite for both 1st and 2nd grader. I asked MP if there was a "crossover" loss if I didn't use SWO - they told me that if I had an effective Spelling program, that it was one area where it wouldn't have an impact on other subjects since it didn't have a direct crossover.

                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDYbwt4o5ZQ This video is the one that sold me on the idea of giving it a shot. She compares Spelling Workout, BJU Spelling, and Spelling You See. I have seen the same results that this reviewer had.

                    Good luck Mama.
                    Melissa

                    DS (MP4M) - 10
                    DS (MP3A) - 8
                    DS (1) - 7
                    DD (Adorable distraction) 4

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I have been home educating for 15 years now. Confession...I have almost NEVER finished anything. I used to beat myself up, or turn into a slave driver, but I realized that is not good for anyone, so I gave that up. Most years, if we want to finish something, it takes us into the next year. For example, my 10 year old will finish Apologias Flying Creatures this year. I think she has 2 chapters left, before we move on to Anatomy. We never finish math...ever. We finished the MP literature guides this year (with our local co op) but near the end we were doing almost everything oral, and having GREAT discussions I am beginning school on Monday, and most of what we are doing is just picking up in the materiel from where we left off last year. And you know what, its OK ! I don't think I ever stood before God and promised solemnly that I would finish this or that lesson plan or book in one secular school year. Nope, I promised to raise my children for Him, and to do my best to expose them to truth and beauty, and enjoy the journey.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Last year we had to pull back to just phonics/reading/spelling for my younger guys until we found our groove. We then added math back in. My plan was to do cursive and Myself & Others over the summer but we only got to M&O because I completely FORGOT that I was supposed to sit them down for cursive afterwards. Yep. Forgot. Every time.

                        Our summer schedule is finally winding down (it feels like the world tries to cram everything into June and July each year!) and we aren't starting school until MPOA starts in September, so my hope is to pick up M&O and cursive in August, as a gentle lead-in to the school year.

                        On the upside: my 10yo became fairly fluent in reading this past year, my 7yo is becoming less and less overwhelmed by a full lesson (she actually started insisting on doing a full lesson instead of breaking it up over two days!), and all the kids are excited about next year's studies
                        Jennifer
                        Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

                        2021-2022
                        DS18: Almost done!
                        DS17: MP, MPOA
                        DS15: MP, MPOA
                        DS12: Mix of SC 5/6 & SC 7/8
                        DD11: Mix of 5M and SC7/8
                        DD9: SC3
                        DD6: MPK

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by MBentley View Post
                          Enigma

                          If SWO didn't work out, I'm using one that goes about spelling an entirely different way. Spelling You See. There are no lists. No crossword puzzles. No short answer or fill in the blank. It's different but extremely effective. Level C Wild Tales (animal stuff) was a big hit this year. Spelling is a favorite for both 1st and 2nd grader. I asked MP if there was a "crossover" loss if I didn't use SWO - they told me that if I had an effective Spelling program, that it was one area where it wouldn't have an impact on other subjects since it didn't have a direct crossover.

                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDYbwt4o5ZQ This video is the one that sold me on the idea of giving it a shot. She compares Spelling Workout, BJU Spelling, and Spelling You See. I have seen the same results that this reviewer had.

                          Good luck Mama.
                          This is the only spelling book we ever finished: http://www.susancanthony.com/bk/sw.html
                          I did ad lib some of the dictation sentences, but otherwise did it as written. Dd had a firm foundation in phonics, and this seems to have solidified the rest. Shortly after we finished this up, I found my grandmother's 100 year old high school spelling book, and it was essentially the same, complete with cursive lists!
                          Last edited by bean; 07-24-2019, 11:09 AM.
                          Bean. Long time MP user. I usually post before my coffee is finished. I apologize in advance for my typos and grammatical mishaps.

                          2021-2022

                          DD (16) Appling to college. Mostly DE with a little MP to finish up homeschooling.

                          "School Administrator" to Bonus Kid (9): MP 3A

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by bean View Post

                            This is the only spelling book we ever finished: http://www.susancanthony.com/bk/sw.html
                            I did ad lib some of the dictation sentences, but otherwise did it as written. Dd had a firm foundation in phonics, and this seems to have solidified the rest. Shortly after we finished this up, I found my grandmother's 100 year old high school spelling book, and it was essentially the same, complete with cursive lists!
                            Is it just me or is this really similar to MP's Traditional Spelling?? At first glance it looks like it would provide greater continuity instead of SWO. Can you share more about how it works day to day?
                            Jennifer
                            Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

                            2021-2022
                            DS18: Almost done!
                            DS17: MP, MPOA
                            DS15: MP, MPOA
                            DS12: Mix of SC 5/6 & SC 7/8
                            DD11: Mix of 5M and SC7/8
                            DD9: SC3
                            DD6: MPK

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Enigma- Cheryl Lowe chose SWO after researching most programs on the market. Spelling You See was not on the market at that time as it is a newer product. You are correct there are some similarities between it and the TS program. However, SYS does not have word lists so how can the student know the benchmark he must reach? The colored chunking of phonograms is similar though different colors are used which would mean re-training. It also was a little disconcerting that at level 4 they were covering simple words with -ed, -er, and -s. Memoria Press still advocates for SWO with grammar school students because Cheryl's research determined it matched more of the things she was looking for in a program. Spelling is hard work and there is no program out there that will make it easy for students. Teachers must be consistent in their expectation of correct spelling in all work especially of words that have been covered in previous lessons. Students will always need to enforce this expectation regardless of the spelling program they use. This has been a woe of teachers through the ages! SYS has interesting stories that students copy which is excellent since we know writing and reading aid in the visual memory needed for spelling. For classrooms it would be challenging to dictate such a large section for assessment.

                              Jennifer-If the Susan Anthony spelling follows the Spelling Plus format basically you are doing a say,spell, say activity as in TS and copying the words several times. Since I couldn't see inside the book, all I could see were the lists, I didn't see any activities. The lists were taken from the top misspelled words rather than lists of words with common phonograms though, like I said, I am not familiar with the program and couldn't see lessons. SWO really studies words with similar spellings and incorporates reading of their words. As I mentioned in the previous paragraph after lists are covered in a spelling lesson requiring students to spell those words correctly in other subjects must be the expectation, complete with making students correct all words spelled wrong.

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