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New and drowning

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    New and drowning

    First of all, I would like to say that I am so excited to be a part of this community! My husband and I decided very last minute to switch to a classical learning curriculum and Memoria Press came highly recommended. We have a k/1 (we are doing the Kindergarten curriculum) and we seem to be catching on well with her curriculum and workload!

    Our second child is doing a mixture of things, but mainly the 8th grade curriculum (subbing first form latin, 6th grade rod and staff, and reading trojan war, as well as doing the accelerated fable/narrative classical comp)

    As I have been teaching and reading everything that I need to be aware of in instructing my 8th grade student, I am feeling EXTREMELY overwhelmed and unqualified.

    I feeling there are ample resources, but also not specific instruction how and when to use them (i.e, we "taught" the first latin lesson from the student text and then decided to pop in the DVD and see what that was about and discovered we didnt need to teach the lesson 😅)

    I also popped in the Novare science resource CD and the author suggests doing a coop and many experiments and hands on activites to give the student the richest education, as well as reading another of his books(which I cannot find to purchase).

    We obviously dont have a coop to do this with (and would have needed much advanced planning to put one together), although there is a Classical Conversations group locally, but I'm assuming curriculum doesnt line up? I also have a 1 year old running around, so it has felt so chaotic!

    How can I thoroughly teach my children with the rigorous curriculum (that we do love), and do it well. How can I possibly teach everything effectively as stated in the manuals?! I know......breath 😅😭

    It's an excellent curriculum, and it's so good, it's ok if you flounder a bit! :-) Have you watched the Sodalitas videos from years past? I have found that the 2019 ones are amazingly helpful. They really teach you how to teach the curriculum. I just watched the Phonics one (I have a K'er) and I felt so much more prepared than I did the first time I attempted to teach that!

    Do you have time or the inclination to do FFL with your 8th grader? I bought myself the workbook and tests/quizzes packet. I took four years of Latin in high school, but that was a while ago and still not as thorough as MP, so while I am catching on faster and remembering what I was vaguely taught, she still feels like we are doing it together. I may watch the DVD lesson on my own the night before, and then teach it myself; either way, you may find that pre-watching it, then watching it with your daughter, gives you an added boost! I'm afraid that I can't speak to the science portion of your struggles; hopefully someone else here can chime in!

    CC doesn't match up, and while some people love it, I found it took time and energy away from our mission at home, kwim?

    I think a lot of the struggle at first is just juggling all the curriculum pieces and people. I've redone our schedule multiple times, trying to slot everyone into the most optimal time and mom-time spot. I can take a photo of that if it would be helpful to give you an idea.

    And I'm going to echo the wonderful advice of the Forum: give it a solid six weeks, and then things will be humming least most of the time! Once you know what to expect from each subject, it takes less effort to make it happen.

    Also, one of my favorite "hacks" is to use cardboard magazine holders for each subject. So when you get to the block that says, "Classical Studies" you just grab the classical studies holder and it's got your text book, workbook, and teacher manual all in there ready to go. I had to use a regular box, though, for all of our FFL materials!

    Emily…a hunter who prefers coffee to chocolate and dreams of the mountains

    Beech Tree Boarding School, 2021-2022
    DD (age 10): MP 5
    DD (age 8): MP 2
    DS (age 5): MP K
    "Maybe stalking the woods is as vital to the human condition as making music or putting words to paper. Maybe hunting has as much of a claim on our civilized selves as anything else.” Steven Rinella


      S.O.S. It's going to be okay. That sounds so trite, doesn't it? But it is.

      I have had to really seek the Lord in prayer for when I am hitting the balance between good enough and optimal. It sounds like the Novare Physical Science class might need to be text-based until you can carve out some breathing room in your schedule to think about an experiment. Plenty of parents do the text alone, but hopefully someone will jump in to give your more experienced wisdom. If needed, look to slow down your first few weeks or scale back to your version of the basics. Get Latin, math, and literature up and running well, then add in the electives like Classical studies, science, geography, Classical Composition, poetry, etc. It is okay to omit a subject, table a subject, or postpone a subject until summer.

      Your first year in any curriculum is going to come with some sputtering. Think back to when you went to school. You had to get to know the goals and expectations, the rhythm of the lesson. You are like a first-year teacher in a new school! Give yourself some grace. God designed the human brain to get faster and more efficient at almost everything we do by just doing it over and over. No one stays a newbie forever. The consistent format of the workbooks and material will soon be your friend.

      Some people really need an overview before diving into a subject. The Sodalitas and Teacher Training Videos might be helpful from years past. I find that in MP3 and up, I need to take a few weeks to pre-read material over the summer, glance at the guides and sample answers and do some thinking about where my child will delight and struggle. Summaries and audible books are your friend if you're pressed for time. I have had that same humbling experience while working through SFL on my own, getting my tail handed to me because it requires constant work to do it well. Whenever I struggled in a lesson, I thought about the trick or clue that helped me commit the detail to memory and shared it when teaching it to my student. Or, if I missed a key idea in a story, I highlighted the passage in the text and drew attention to it when we went through the reading. That panicky feeling goes away when you are even one week ahead and can rattle off declensions...or characters, setting and theme.

      The rest of the subjects I do along with my child. You are not required to have a Master's Degree in history or literature or science and be able to organically come up with every relevant thought on the subject. If your child has a good question that is not addressed in the guide or that you can't explain, come ask us here. I ask Latin questions all.the.time. You can also call MP directly. They are an amazing resource for when you've read through the guide and feel like you're missing something...even if you did miss the 13 pages of SFL introduction.

      If your student feels unequipped to produce an answer close to the teacher's guide and you do not feel confident to judge whether your student's output is sufficient, the forum is also your friend. The forum is filled with mamas posting: My child said X, but the teacher guide said Y. What are we missing?

      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


        Hm, in the same boat except I didn't buy the Latin DVDs I think they are only ecclesiastical and we are doing classical. I even have a 9 month old, starting to walk! What state are you in?
        I'm doing grades 7 and 4 and recitation and enrichment for grade 1. It's going OK, but the main takeaway from this first week is that I must start building a lesson plan on the weekends. There are just too many unfamiliar pieces for me to get it together during the day. The last 2 days, I've made a list for the next morning so the kids could see what needed doing and could then get some work done when I was with another child. This helped a lot. I think I'm going to be happy with MP, though it is a bit early to tell. I am so excited about about content and my kids seem engaged. I do not think its format is very user friendly going between lesson plans and teacher manuals. The lessons could be more clearly outlined, what exactly are we supposed to do. But, I'm willing to work on figuring it out. I just discovered the recitation in back of curriculum guide. I thought it was only for early elementary students! So, I'm sure there's much more to discover and I will look at the Soladitas vids mentioned above.
        I know 4 families in CC, and I looked into it. I'm not at all impressed. It is so expensive to be in the coop, and it's just taught by other homeschool parents. Not a good value.


          It is normal and totally okay to feel overwhelmed. We’ve all been there — most of us (even veterans) are “there” at the start of every school year. The learning curve can be steep. But, as many others have said, you’re going to be fine ❤️. Show up every day and follow the directions. If something is suggested that doesn’t fit your family dynamic (we don’t have time for co-op either, even if we could find one out here in the country) chuck it.

          My husband is ex-military and he reminds me, “If the minimum weren’t good enough, they wouldn’t call it the minimum”. If you’re cleaning your house, you probably don’t scrub all the baseboards every time to mop and vacuum, do you? Same here. Do the “meat” of the assignments and save the “dessert” for when you aren’t “full”. After 6 weeks or so, your “appetite” will adjust and you’ll find you are handling things with much more ease.

          Just give yourself time.
          “If I should fall even a thousand times a day, a thousand times, with peaceful repentance, I will say immediately, Nunc Coepi, ‘Now, I begin.’.”

          ~Venerable Bruno Lanteri
          Boy Wonder 13 ...SC7/8 + MP4 + Rod & Staff 4/5 + Seton 5
          Joy Bubble 11 ...SC7/8 + MP4 + Rod & Staff 4/5 + Seton 5
          Cuddly Cowboy 9 ...SC7/8 + MP4 + Rod & Staff 3/4/5 + Seton 4
          Sassafras 5 ...MPK + Seton K


            Yes, breathe. ❤

            Next: you are concerned about teaching your 8th grader well, following every instruction in the teacher manuals. That is, of course, the goal, and a good goal! But it takes time to make it a reality, and it will never be "perfect." Take the time to read through all your teacher manuals to get oriented in each subject. Make a lesson plan over the weekend that allows enough time for each subject, distinguishing what your student can do mostly independently (maybe math, spelling, reading literature assignments) and what you need to be present for as the teacher. In those time blocks, do your best to teach the lesson, using the teacher manual or any instructional DVDs you purchased. You AND your child will begin to find a rhythm within a few weeks. You will also learn as you go, both about the subjects themselves, and also the most effective way to teach them. Perhaps the DVD is the best way to learn each new Latin lesson, perhaps you prefer to teach it yourself from the book. We have a child in 8th grade this year, too, and I'm preparing to teach the Novare Physical Science course. MP does not schedule the experiments, so you have official permission to just work through the text. However, I think the experiments are the part my son would actually enjoy, so I plan to add them in. We live in a rural area and also don't have time for a co-op, so I hope to generate a bit of group enthusiasm by doing the experiments with Dad and any interested siblings on the weekends, as my husband loves that kind of hands-on stuff and is sure to start spin-off discussions with my son.

            In general, I would like to reassure you (from 9 years of experience using MP materials, both in a school setting and at home), that you are right to be excited about the beauty and rich content of this curriculum. The implementation will get easier as you go. It does take time to become familiar with all of it, and you're jumping in the deep end of the pool with an 8th grader. But MP designed this curriculum to be taught by homeschoolers, and if you persevere I'm certain that you will find plenty of help in the teacher materials and on this forum to enable you to give all your children a solid education. By the end of the school year I expect you will be sharing advice with others!

            DS 13 MP8
            DD 11 MP6
            DS 9 MP4
            DD 6 MP1
            DS 4 R&S Pre-k books
            DS 1


              Considering the day we are having, I am very thankful to be able to come here and read all this encouragement for myself too! 💕
              Emily…a hunter who prefers coffee to chocolate and dreams of the mountains

              Beech Tree Boarding School, 2021-2022
              DD (age 10): MP 5
              DD (age 8): MP 2
              DS (age 5): MP K
              "Maybe stalking the woods is as vital to the human condition as making music or putting words to paper. Maybe hunting has as much of a claim on our civilized selves as anything else.” Steven Rinella


                Oh I can tell you’ve so got this!!! You care. That is obvious. That is the biggest factor here. You will get through it and figure it out. It won’t be perfect- it never is. None of us do it perfectly, even in the schools! Do your best to learn as you go and adjust from mistakes you have made and don’t fret about what you might have messed up.
                Regarding science specifically- reading all of John May’s stuff is scary! He writes about the ideal. He really seems to be caught up in the “school is best” mentality and wants his homeschool families to mimic school, yet he does give advice for accommodation. My best advice- you are not a formal school. You are a mom teaching her children. You can do it, but it doesn’t have to look like he says. Sure, hands on labs in a class setting are great experience. So is flubbing through the lab manual with mom. Sure, his way might be the “richest” as he claims, but what you do will be “richer” than not doing it. I have a son who is a junior in college majoring in physics and math. He never did “labs” in high school other than two virtual labs, one for biology and one for chemistry. He took a General Chemistry class senior year at a community college and that was his first actual lab experience. He has straight A’s in college and is research assistant for his professor. I don’t give him the “richest” education. He did great anyway!
                Deep breath. Quietly pray and think about why you are homeschooling. You had a reason or reasons to choose this. Focus on those reasons and try not to think about doing it perfectly. Just do it. G.K. Chesterton said that if a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly ( You have decided it is worth homeschooling your children. Do your best, but it is ok if it doesn’t look the same as a professional teacher doing it. Your son may not get the same experience as if he were at a school, but he will have an equally good, yet different, experience.
                Hugs! We’ve all been there. You will land on your feet and so will your children.
                Debbie- mom of 7, civil engineering grad, married to mechanical engineer
                DD, 26, BFA '17 graphic design and illustration
                DS, 24, BS '18 mechanical engineering
                DS, 22, BS '20 Chemsitry, pursuing phd at Wash U
                (DDIL married #3 in 2020, MPOA grad, BA '20 philosophy, pusrsing phd at SLU)
                DS, 20, Physics major
                DD, 17, dyslexic, 11th grade customizednMP plus co-op
                DS, 13, future engineer/scientist/ world conquerer 8A
                DD, 7 , 1ST Future astronaut, robot building space artist


                  I think for me what really helped is deciding what I needed to prep ahead of time and what we could just do right there together. Last year in 8th grade we watched the Latin videos together, we watched the Video Text Math videos together, we watched the Logic video together, we read books together. I honestly didn't prep these ahead of time.

                  The class I'm spending the most upfront time prepping is the Novare Chemistry. I do have an engineering degree so I feel reasonably qualified to teach the chemistry. It is an advanced class in the Novare sequence, so I wouldn't recommend starting there.

                  You might consider having your 8th grader work through the Novare text and then make the actual lab part easier. You could purchase some science kits with pre-built science experiments that match up in content with the text. Or have your 8th grader pop onto science buddies and pick a project to do for each chapter (or section or something like that). Science buddies has descriptions, directions and a number of their projects have kits for purchase on HomeScienceTools. If your 8th grader enjoys science it might be a fun way for him/her to take the 'lead' on what I want to do for any given topic. There are also lots of experiments you can 'watch' on you-tube.

                  Then you could save the advanced lab science for down the road in Highschool or as someone said above for a dual enrollment class in later high school. I personally don't think a rigorous lab experience needs to be taught in 8th grade if it's going to tip the scale.
                  DS 14 (9th grade)