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Going down to a 4 day school day....whats really important....

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    Going down to a 4 day school day....whats really important....

    Hello everyone, this forum has been such a big help for this first year homeschooling 2. Here is some background info before I get to the specific questions. First, I honestly have no clue what I am doing! By the Lord's grace in so many different ways, we have had a rather successful year. Ive been able to stay on track, my girls are growing in truth, knowledge, and maturity, and we are loving this journey the Lord has called us to. I have zero background in education and yet, the Lord called me to this Classical style. We are loving MP for K and 1st grade and will be moving to full core next year minus math.. i just love Math-U-See and the girls respond to it so well. Here's my trouble. My husband works off-shore and our closest "helpful" family we have is 2 hours away. So I have a lot on my plate while he is gone. We have this program here called The Friday Program, (TFP) which was a branch off of a previous Veritas Classical school we had here before it closed a few years ago. There were many parents who had older kids in Veritas but did not want to be fully committed to the school for younger kids or just other people who didnt want full time classes. So they created TFP. It is an option we are considering for next year and possibily the upcoming years (just take it year by year). I have a type A personality when it comes to education for my girls and I am a box-checker. I am a big down-the-road big picture thinker and am always planning and thinking ahead. I am really intrigued by the program. My oldest struggles making friends and my girls are so attached to each other (which isnt a bad thing) that when we do have a play date with friends, my girls tend to play by themselves together. I believe it can be a healthy experience for them to have some time separated from each other and me. The program is all "enrichment" and runs through 6th grade. Here's what they do in this one day a week program: Music and Art (which also includes theory, composer/artist study, hymns to go along with the the time period they are studying in history), Story of the World History (Book 1 split over 1st and 2nd grade, Book 2 over 3rd and 4th, Book 3 5th, and Book 4 6th grade), Apologia Science (Physics and Chemistry, Zoology, Earth and Space Science, Marine Biology, A&P), Logic, Latin starting in 3rd (which must be very gentle since it is once a week-They do start with Prima Latina), and Geography (each grade covers a continent so that all continents are covered by the end of 6th grade) and Creative Writing. I know that with all of this and in 1 day, there isnt really a mastery of any of it. It's all just enrichment, its fun, fosters a love of learning, etc.

    Here are my hesitancies to commit to the program and where I could use some feedback from seasoned mommas:
    1. How doable is it to do MP in 4 days without extending the school year and significantly increasing the day? I do have strong readers so I think this could be a plus
    2. Is there anything that can easliy be cut out and isnt totally necessary or detrimental to their educational experience on MP Core if we cut it out while in this program? I dont want to cut something out that would leave them lacking in knowledge for upper years. My nature though is that it all seems so good and I want to do it all!! IDK, maybe there is a way I can move some MP history to go along with what they are doing at TFP??? Yikes! Their history experience is important to me. I had Public school textbook history and cant really recall much of anything, certainly not World History, Ancient/ Greece, etc.
    3. Although 2 years apart, my girls are 1 year apart in school grade due to my oldest having September bday and my youngest having an August bday. They are both really smart and great readers, but my oldest right now is struggling staying focused on her independent work if I am not right in front of her constantly reminding her to stay focused. Maybe I could combine certain studies for them after next year? I had already planned on delaying my oldest in Prima Latina until 3rd so that they could do it together starting when my youngest is in 2nd even though she is totally ready for it now.

    Also, as I was looking through things I noticed I cannot find the Book of Trees in the grade levels anymore. Did they take it out? I was thinking after this next year, maybe I could look into moving Trees, Insects, birds, etc over our summers??

    Thanks for the feedback and insight ladies.

    Book of Trees is in the sixth grade accelerated and seventh grade moderated complete core still. I'll.come back for more later (lunch needs getting on the table). I think many of your concerns about mastery are valid, yet the siren song of "togetherness" and socialization is real. When we started our journey, we were very much alone on our walk. I prayed three long years before we found anyone who was homeschooling Classically, and the friends I teach with I have laid the fruit myself and introduced them to MP. Next year, I'll be teaching SFL and CC Narrative to a pair of students, and I pray daily for more opportunities to increase our numbers. Be open to a different path if this one does not meet your needs. Create a path where there is none.
    Mama of 2, teacher of 3
    Summer: First Start French I
    SY 22/23
    6A, teaching TFL & CC Chreia/Maxim in group, and Koine Greek
    MP2 w/ R&S Arithmetic 3

    Completed MPK, MP1, MP2, 3A, 4A, 5A
    SC B, SC C, SC1 (Phonics/Math), SC2's Writing Book 1


      My top question would be this: "What does TFP expect of your children outside of attendance and participation Friday?"
      If the answer is "absolutely nothing!" then I think you could continue down the path of figuring out how to trim MP to work with that. 4 days is doable, but I would say that it will not be 4 short days at home if you want to keep within the bounds of a regular 9-month school year. If you are open to stretching out your school year some, you create more options. It does sound like TFP covers quite a bit each week.

      IF they require that you review, prepare, or bring things to TFP completed, this will eat into your 4 home days. I could see projects or papers or outside reading being required in an enrichment program like this. It will be important to ask not just what they say about this, but what the actual parent experience is in it. Maybe it truly is a "drop off and ask nothing of you at home" type option.

      Like enbateau, I would suggest you also consider other options that will meet your needs. Have you thought of combining your two girls into one level of enrichment (the bottom line in the guides--Read Aloud, poetry, music, etc.)? The enrichment line is loads easier to combine than the skills subjects of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Could you consider offering a Friday morning or afternoon enrichment gathering for any kiddos K-2, doing exactly what you'd normally be doing with them anyway? Do you know anyone from sports/extracurriculars/church that might fit into this group? I've seen a lot of "ISO homeschool pod" type posts lately--a few families intentionally looking to form a little homeschool community. From what I've seen, most parents are looking for their kids to go somewhere to someone who'll teach it. They are generally not offering to host/teach themselves.

      Personal anecdote: for the first 4 years of our family doing MP we got our social needs met outside of an academic setting--church and a local homeschool "Open Play" playgroup. There was nearly no one local doing MP at the time, and my kids were young and I needed the social part too, so this was a best option and sustained us for a long time. We would go most Fridays after lunch and hang out at a park.

      You may have already considered all these options! Just adding them here to help with the brainstorming. Sometimes you make decisions based on the curriculum you want your kids to have, and other times you make the curriculum you love flex a little to accommodate another need that is also important. If a big key to this situation is to secure some margin for you and some social time (without you), that is a valid priority. TFP may be a good option for that, or there may be other options as well. Hopefully the crew here can help you think it through!
      Festina lentē,
      Jessica P

      '22-'23 • 13th year HSing • 11th year MP
      DS Hillsdale College freshman
      DD 11th • HLN & Latin online
      DD 8th • HLN & Home
      DS 5th • HLN & Home
      Me • Memoria College, MPOA Fourth Form for Adults

      Teaching Third Form Latin and co-directing @
      Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School, est. 2016


        Thank you ladies for your feedback so far. TFP requires no additional work at home. They do have a career day, a history day (where each grade dresses up for the time period they are studying and they have fun games and such that would have been done by people in that time period, and another day like a science fair. Some parents will do some things at home to extend the lesson-most do not and I would not. It’s really a load back program. I do participate in a homeschool co-op once every other week or so but I have to be there so it doesn’t really provide an outlet for me. I do know a good bit of friends who homeschool, but they either do Abeka or use one of the 2 hybrid classical schools offered here in our area. So I’m all alone on the classical journey for the time being and my best friend has no intention of moving classical. It’s too rigorous and structured. ?


          I’ll also add that I combine enrichment for my 1st and 2nd grader and I had already planned to cut that out of the weekly curriculum. We are going to do it over this summer, school breaks (Christmas and such) and finish once this upcoming school year is finished over the summer. My Kinder learns the same registration and Christian Studies as my first grader. Learns the same poems, etc. They actually memorized and completed All of K and 1st grade memory and recitation work this year. They are excellent at memory work.


            I think you need to identify your motivation for wanting to join the group. If this were my only option for regular alone time, I would take it. I’m an introvert and I need my alone time, so this would be worth it for me. It wouldn’t really be for the children’s benefit although they may benefit from it.

            If you are looking for social connections for the children this group may not be the best fit. Free and unstructured play groups are best for facilitating friendships. It sounds like the students are going to be kept pretty busy and there will be quite a bit of instruction.

            Academically, you don’t really need anything extra with MP.

            You can absolutely cut down to 4 days a week if you desire, whether you choose to utilize this group or not. We read our enrichment books at bedtime. We take every other Friday off for library day, picnics, nature hikes, poetry tea time, and meal prep together. You can be an academically rigorous homeschooler and still not be school at home. The curriculum is your tool, not your master.