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    Need some outside eyes on this, please....HELP!

    Ok, mamas. I need to be reeled in, here. After being jolted by a Facebook post, I took a hard look at our day...I am asking WAY too much of DS, I think. He just turned 11 and wants to go into Robotics. Please bear with me and see if you can follow this:

    We do "fun" stuff on Mondays and regular subjects Tues-Fri.

    ***Every day***
    1. Gratitude list (10 things, like Mama, air, etc)
    2. Keys for Kids daily devotional
    3. Memorization box (helps him memorize verses easily)
    These things take 5-10 minutes, tops.

    ***Mondays***
    1. The Greek Alphabet book--I am doing this one, too!
    2. Classical Composition: Fable Stage--this is really helping him become a better writer and to not be afraid of the process--also done on Fridays
    3. Unit Studies--right now is "Pop Culture"--TV, movies, books, etc, to provide the background behind and understanding of lots of common references, done in a controlled setting. This will also include additional life skills besides everyday things (and girl things for my boy), a course that examines the book Swiss Family Robinson and teaches a lot of the cool skills in it (Prepare & Pray).
    4. Learn to draw--simple lessons using charcoal pencils.
    These can be short or long, depending on what we watch.

    ***Regular stuff***
    Tuesday-Friday
    1. Logic worksheet, can be 5 minutes-30 minutes depending on complexity
    2. 30 minutes of reading in current novel (now is The Time Machine, H.G. Wells) and a few minutes completing the reading journal and a couple questions. At the end of each book will be additional comprehension questions & possibly a book report.
    3. First Form Latin--takes about 30 minutes without distractions.
    4. D'Aulaire's Greek Myths alternates with Famous Men of the Middle Ages. Takes 30-45 minutes.
    5. History--read an article in the huge History: A Definitive Visual Guide book & write down 6 interesting things from it. 30 minutes, max.
    6. Add dates and cut & paste figurines from History reading to a big timeline binder we are keeping--alternates with completing a geography page from Map Trek appropriate to the time period. 15 minutes
    7. Twice per week--Art History--read about 4 pages from giant Art History book, time period appropriate. Happens on the same day as the timeline binder so dates can be added there, too.
    8. Christian Studies 1--takes 30 minutes or less. Skipped on Friday to do Classical Composition instead.
    9. Saxon Math 8/7--1 lesson (or test, or investigation) per day. Can take as long as 4 hours with feet dragging!! We have recently backed up and we are repeating some lessons to solidify skills. He does like math, believe it or not!
    10. Science--Apologia Flying Creatures (Zoology 1) with notebooking journal. One "day" = a lesson for us. Sometimes we skip some things in this, he just wants an overview until we get to "real" science 30-45 minutes.
    11. Hake Grammar 5, 1 lesson per day. 30 minutes

    We have arts & crafts fun all the time, I do not feel the need to truly add it as a "subject", aside from the drawing on Mondays. P.E. is outside play + YMCA time, when we are awake & prepared to leave the house at the right time.

    ******************
    This really and truly doesn't SEEM like much to us when we list it out like this. It's the added-in feet dragging, whining, fingernail-picking, reading-the-funny-books-in-the-bathroom, time that gets added in that really s-t-r-e-t-c-h out our days. Once in a while he will be motivated to knuckle down and REALLY CAN finish it in roughly 4-5 hours (or less, on easier math days).

    Start asking questions so I can clarify what I am sure is muddled. LOL

    #2
    I am nooo expert buy my 11 yr old follows Memoria Press and has about 6 hours/day plus extra study time for recitation, tests. It turns out to be about an hour+ for each: Latin, math, English (spelling, grammar & composition) **we could spend all day on just these if I let it drag on**, American studies & science, classical Christian studies (ancient Greece and New Testament), and literature.

    Good luck!

    Comment


      #3
      I didn't do as much written work with my son at that age (he goest to MIT now... aerospace...), but we did mostly those subjects. I read aloud to him with Sonlight to promote disussions because, boylike, he was "handwriting phobic". He did write out his Latin, we did Logic (mostly discussion), and I allowed him to type his compositions (spellcheck!!).

      Another big difference: I never used Saxon math with him after he finished 5/4 in the fourth grade... in about 4 months. At 11yrs, he did Jacobs Algebra which is "funny" and can have shorter, directed lessons.

      In case this might sound undisciplined, that isn't really so. He was capable of so much more than his fine motor, 11yo hands could accomplish. I was very choosy about what I *needed* him to write out and I chose discussion over written work where possible. This worked well for him because he remembers nearly everything he's ever learned!!
      DS, 26 yrs, graduated from MIT (Aerospace), recently completed the design and execution of unhackable military software... in his spare time.

      DS, 24 yrs, graduated from SIU's School of Business, ENGAGED!

      DD, 21 yrs, Senior in Education at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC

      DS, 12 yrs, currently attending a classical school which would give HLS a run for its money.

      All homeschooled.

      Me: retired after 16 years of continuous homeschooling. Ahhh....

      Comment


        #4
        Hi there,

        Every family is different, of course, and within families, each child is different ... I've always homeschooled my kids (currently aged 10-23), and from the outside peeking in? This doesn't look like "too much".

        Or at least, it looks very similar to what I do every day with my 10yo and 13yo, who study the same subjects at the same level (except for maths, but they do maths at the same time, and a topic or two just for my daughter, which she and I do at another time). We do lessons for about five hours a day, Monday through Friday, sometimes with a half day on Saturday if there were a couple of half days during the week (say for example there were medical appointments, which we have a lot of).

        Every day we study: Second Form Latin, Greek (about to start year 2), Botany, Maths, Piano & Organ practice or Art (depending on the child, one does music, the other art), US History, Science/Exploration (we're studying various scientists and explorers from 1500-1800), Bible Study, History of Botany, Literature & Composition. We'll be adding French back in, after I finish revamping it ....

        So that's daily. Is it a lot? Is it too much? Honestly, I don't think so, for my kids, for this phase of their education. Sometimes they want more, but I'm the one who is a bit tired!
        homeschooling mother to a 16yo boy & 18yo girl, both learning at the high school level, and an adult son whom I homeschooled all the way through. You are welcome to read more about our homeschooling life at my blog: link via my username. Please forgive any typos in my comments here! I'm disabled and can't always type clearly.

        Comment


          #5
          Personally I think it sounds about right. My 11 yr old has about 6 hrs of work a day. The only thing that is making your ds day longer is the math but if he is happy where is the problem? If he is okay and you are okay then I wouldn't worry too much about what others think. Are they even homeschoolers that comment or people who don't know the day to day of what homeschooling looks like? Having said that I know other homeschoolers that don't really do anything! They claim to be following the "Charlotte Mason" method but seem to be more unschoolers to me. They probably think we do to much. Different strokes.

          Good luck,
          Catherine

          please note....... I am also not an expert
          Catholic mama of 2 somewhere in the world on our sailboat:)
          dd 7th grade 12 yrs old
          ds 5th grade, 10 yrs old

          Comment


            #6
            Thank you all sooooo much!! I slept on it, read replies here and elsewhere, and I do feel better about it all. It isn't so much other people commenting on what/how much we do, but the fact that it can take from the time he gets out of bed to the time he gets back in it to do all of it. He whines about not getting as much outdoor play as he would like & his foot-dragging can really mess up a day if I have errands to run or whatever. It's beginning to sound more like a character issue than an academic issue.

            I appreciate all the responses and support, thank you

            Comment


              #7
              WoW! I have a really different perspective than the others who responded. Not to throw a wrench in your plans, but you asked because something wasn't working, and I think your intuition was telling you this was way too much. I've been homeschooling my two since the start- they are in 5th and 6th now, so that's all the experience I have, but here are my thoughts...

              Most of the hs moms I've talked to (myself included) look back on the elementary years and say they wish they had done LESS, not more academically, and spent more time enjoying their kids, letting them play and develop a love of learning. I read a statistic that said we only remember 10% of what we learned before 7th grade, so that has really changed my perspective on things. What kids do remember from their childhood is that Mom was always yelling, we were always rushing everywhere, etc....not, which composer died in 1856.

              I do not mean any condemnation at all, by the way...I am by far the most structured, most ambitious of the homeschool moms I know, and it has been a battle to control myself not to try to teach everything in the entire world to my kids every year. This last year, we used MP 5th grade curriculum, and I was doubtful that it would be "enough." Where's the 20 historical fiction books, the timeline, the artists and composers for the time period, the drawing, the daily journal, the 20 lb science book, the health workbook, the dozen history texts??? I seriously did not think we could stretch Famous Men of Rome out for more than a month, let alone a whole year! But, truly, this was our best year ever. My kids actually remember all of the facts that they learned last year in history.....we have been through the 4 year history cycle using every curriculum under the sun, and they remember almost nothing from those first 6 years! All those composers/artists? I wish I had just let them enjoy the art museum and the symphony once in a while. I am convinced now that less is more.

              I would encourage you to lighten the load a bit...4 full days should really be enough for one-on-one tutoring as homeschoolers are getting.

              Your issue with Saxon is very very common...the spiraling-out-of-control method, as I call it, just doesn't work for most kids. Your son is right to be frustrated. I don't know anyone who can learn one tiny step in a math topic one day and then not learn the next tiny step until a week later. Could I encourage you to take a month off Saxon and try a mastery approach math curriculum? The student gets to fully learn a topic before moving on, and they continue to review previous lessons each day, so they really cement things in their memory. Rod and Staff is great, so you could try 7th or 8th grade. Or Bob Jones uses a mastery approach, too. There are others. Please don't be too quick to attribute the problems to behavior or character issues...you are the mom, so only you know whether that is the case. But, from my perspective, that is really a lot of ground to cover and it may not be accomplishing the goal of teaching your son to love learning.

              Blessings,
              Liz

              Comment


                #8
                Well, like I said in my first comment, every family is different :-)

                My kids are both learning at the 8th-9th grade level: studying at a certain depth and breadth is very important to them, as well as to me, so that's why – for us – we're in the more intensive academic zone. (my grown son unschooled through high school, he's doing fantastically well now in college, but unschooling definitely wouldn't work for my younger ones, and I will share that my older son now really regrets those unschooling years. Which neither here nor there, I suppose! *smile*)

                When my kids were younger, for sure, it didn't look like this: I'm a strong proponent of free-play, being in woods, moving at the child's pace, and simply focussing on family, literature, play, nature, and God throughout those early years. (really, it's not so different now that they're a little older *smile*)

                Abbey ~ part of the issue may well be self-discipline and a respectful attitude (having to work on that is really normal! People aren't born self-disciplined); or the schedule; or the subject matter/curricula not being the best fit for right now. Maybe it's a combination of all ... You're the one in the best position to discern that. I hope this thread has been supportive for you. One of the gifts of homeschooling is that it grows with the child: tweaks and adjustments aren't a bad thing.
                homeschooling mother to a 16yo boy & 18yo girl, both learning at the high school level, and an adult son whom I homeschooled all the way through. You are welcome to read more about our homeschooling life at my blog: link via my username. Please forgive any typos in my comments here! I'm disabled and can't always type clearly.

                Comment


                  #9
                  multum non multa

                  I am one of those moms that could easily fill up my kids schedule with every subject under the sun. There's just so much out there. Every year when putting together my curriculum I re-read the "multum non multa" chapter in Andrew Campbell's 'Latin Centered Curriculum'. It helps to 'reign' me in and streamline my program. Since we started following this 'less is more' approach, my ds is learning more and retaining what he learns.

                  When looking at your schedule, it looks like a lot to me. However, to be fair, my kids are a couple years younger so I'm not familiar with that grade level and what's expected. And, as a homeschool mom, I know that we tailor our programs to fit our children. What works for one won't necessarily work for another.

                  I would follow your instinct as a mom. If you think your child can handle this schedule then go for it. But if it's not working, don't be afraid to streamline your program and just focus on the core subjects for awhile.........Reading, Writing, Arithmetic.........and Latin...

                  Good Luck and Blessings!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I've noticed (for myself) that I can knuckle down and work hard/fast for a while. But I can't do it everyday, day after day. Education is a marathon, not a sprint.

                    Since we are asking opinions, I think waking to bedtime is way too much school - I personally wouldn't do that even if MOST of the problems were my child's attitude (doesn't sound like that's the case for your son). I would cut to the essentials and work on work habits. And I would add in more physical labor & chores to also enforce good work habits. I seek balance & feel that time outdoors and free play are very important to develop a person. (I did do the above with my 8yo last year - he did many extra chores to learn how to work hard. Still working on fast, LOL.)

                    I looked at your schedule and had a few ideas/questions. Do you need both an intensive Latin course and 30 minutes of grammar? Perhaps a lighter grammar program will do. I noticed you have 2 MP guides for classical studies, as well as Christian studies. And you also have 2 other history resources plus timeline work (#5,6,7). I second the idea of trying a different math approach.

                    But overall, trust yourself. Step back and look at your long-term goals (academic and non-academic). I've been cutting good programs, just because I know I need to streamline our days. I've also cut a LOT of writing answers to questions when we can do them orally. (And be aware of who is advising you on facebook - they might mean well but know nothing about homeschooling. I don't take any advice from facebook - great friends, but none anywhere close to my situation.)
                    ~~~Amy~~~~
                    Self-educating focusing on Latin & good books. John 8:32
                    Homeschooling: Jonathan (10), David (9), Andrew (7), and Anna (3)

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Going to reply to what struck me in each comment....My comments prefaced with **
                      _______________________________________
                      GraceLikeRain---Most of the hs moms I've talked to (myself included) look back on the elementary years and say they wish they had done LESS, not more academically, and spent more time enjoying their kids, letting them play and develop a love of learning.

                      **This is one of the reasons I decided to solicit opinions! You say much moer clearly, however.

                      I would encourage you to lighten the load a bit...4 full days should really be enough for one-on-one tutoring as homeschoolers are getting.

                      **We truly are just having fun on Mondays, although if I drop a few things elsewhere I can move Monday stuff into the other 4 days.

                      Your issue with Saxon is very very common...the spiraling-out-of-control method, as I call it, just doesn't work for most kids. Your son is right to be frustrated. I don't know anyone who can learn one tiny step in a math topic one day and then not learn the next tiny step until a week later. Could I encourage you to take a month off Saxon and try a mastery approach math curriculum? The student gets to fully learn a topic before moving on, and they continue to review previous lessons each day, so they really cement things in their memory.

                      **He actually does well with the spiral approach--we used CLE Math before Saxon and he liked it and learned very well from it. I switched to Saxon because I really like their progression and because if I HAD to switch from CLE (which I did, DS was outgrowing it quickly), I only wanted to do it once. He fusses about needing to copy the problem out of the book before solving it, he fusses about needing to show his work, etc. I don't think most of these things are really negotiable at this level of math & beyond. He is capable of math at this level and I KNOW he is....He *has* been doing better since we backed up & began redoing some of the earlier lessons to solidify those specific things for him. He is choosing which lessons to redo and has been quite a bit faster the last day or two. I will wait with bated breath to see if it lasts! LOL
                      __________________________________________________ _______

                      EllieCove---Abbey ~ part of the issue may well be self-discipline and a respectful attitude (having to work on that is really normal! People aren't born self-disciplined); (...)

                      **This would be me! LOL Part of the issue IS character. I am trying to detangle the character vs. curriculum snarl so i know which is which.

                      (...) or the schedule; or the subject matter/curricula not being the best fit for right now. Maybe it's a combination of all ... You're the one in the best position to discern that. I hope this thread has been supportive for you.

                      **This thread has been wonderful! I've received lots of ideas and different angles to consider!
                      _________________________________________________
                      marctoons--- (...) "multum non multa" chapter in Andrew Campbell's 'Latin Centered Curriculum'.

                      **Note to self: place hold at library!

                      I would follow your instinct as a mom. If you think your child can handle this schedule then go for it. But if it's not working, don't be afraid to streamline your program and just focus on the core subjects for awhile.........Reading, Writing, Arithmetic.........and Latin...

                      **A distinct possibility!
                      ________________________________________________

                      mtcougar832---I've noticed (for myself) that I can knuckle down and work hard/fast for a while. But I can't do it everyday, day after day. Education is a marathon, not a sprint.

                      **Wonderful point!!!

                      Since we are asking opinions, I think waking to bedtime is way too much school - I personally wouldn't do that even if MOST of the problems were my child's attitude (doesn't sound like that's the case for your son). I would cut to the essentials and work on work habits. And I would add in more physical labor & chores to also enforce good work habits. I seek balance & feel that time outdoors and free play are very important to develop a person. (I did do the above with my 8yo last year - he did many extra chores to learn how to work hard. Still working on fast, LOL.)

                      **How do I teach this to myself fist, so I can then teach him?!?! *I* have trouble with self-discipline, ay ay ay....

                      I looked at your schedule and had a few ideas/questions. Do you need both an intensive Latin course and 30 minutes of grammar? Perhaps a lighter grammar program will do. I noticed you have 2 MP guides for classical studies, as well as Christian studies. And you also have 2 other history resources plus timeline work (#5,6,7). I second the idea of trying a different math approach.

                      **I don't suppose I NEED both the grammar plus the Latin, but the grammar lessons take him all of 15 minutes (most days) and he truly enjoys them. I hesitate to take away things he likes, you know? The Christian Studies is our bible course, so it stays. We don't really need both classical studies courses, I suppose I could drop one of those. Really, though, I think we'd rather drop the massive History & Art History tomes and come back to them in a couple years. They were suggested in Well-Trained Mind and it worked fine last year...This year, not so much. Maybe I'll just have him read, read, read (a la Robinson or A2) and we'll chat about it in the car. The timeline binder angers him, maybe it won't be so bad without the door stops! LOL For the maps, he just colors & labels, so that's very little time.

                      But overall, trust yourself. Step back and look at your long-term goals (academic and non-academic).

                      **Gotta look at this again. Without updated goals, the journey can seem daunting.

                      I've also cut a LOT of writing answers to questions when we can do them orally. (And be aware of who is advising you on facebook - they might mean well but know nothing about homeschooling. I don't take any advice from facebook - great friends, but none anywhere close to my situation.)

                      **The Facebook friends are a group of homeschoolers I trust implicitly, not just random high school friends, but I know what you mean! LOL
                      __________________________________________________ _____

                      Hopefully that wasn't too hard to read.....
                      Last edited by AbbeyLehman; 08-30-2012, 11:26 PM.

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