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Beginner @ Classical Education

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    Beginner @ Classical Education

    This is our first year homeschooling, I have one daughter in 1st grade and one in Kindergarten, as well as a 2 year old. We also have a 14 year old son who has never been homeschooled and attends a STEM high school that he loves!

    It has taken us about half the school year to figure out what kind of approach works best for my kids. We started out with My Father's World and my 1st grader hated it. I think mostly because she is reading on a 4th grade level and it just wasn't interesting to her to be going over stuff she already knew. We finally stumbled onto literature based learning, like Five in a Row and we really enjoy unit studies. I've been just kind of fumbling along with my 1st grader, but found some great stuff for my Kindergartner. I found Memoria Press and really feel like it's what will work best for my 1st grader. However, I am a little confused by a few things and hope you can help me!

    Since she is already reading at a 4th grade level, can I start the curriculum mid year? I was thinking of starting on week 18, as that's pretty much where we are here in our school year.

    I'm confused about recitation. Do I ask the questions in the recitation pages and they just give the answers? Do they build on each other? So week 7 they would actually do weeks 1 through 6 and then week 7? Or pick and choose? Do you make flashcards to help with this?

    With "Read-Aloud" books for the week - am I reading these out loud to them or are they reading them to me?

    We have already been using All About Spelling for our spelling curriculum. Do you see any reason I can't just continue with AAS and skip the spelling in MP?

    Thank you!

    Hi Tracee! Welcome aboard. I have a first grader as well, so while I'm not expert by any means, I'm happy to share from our experiences. I think you certainly "could" pick up midway through the curriculum, but I think what might be even more beneficial is to perhaps do a condensed version, or move very quickliy through the material in the curriculum. It would serve to confirm your daughter has mastered the concepts being presented in the different subject areas before moving on. It would be a good review for material she has already covered and would give you a chance to get a solid grasp on how working with Memoria goes for your family. Here would be my thoughts for each area....

    Phonics - SRA 2 usually has 2-3 pages for each concept, a review page for several concepts at a time, as well as some very short "stories" throughout. You could have your daughter do a page or two for each concept and move quickly.

    Math - My first grader has sailed through R/S Math this year, so sometimes we shorten the math lessons because she doesn't need the work. We also supplement with some other Math workbooks that present first grade math differently...she is a whiz at memorization but struggles with applying what she's memorized. Perhaps you could have her move through the book, doing all the lessons, skipping occasional lessons that only involve review or doing "half" of the work given in a lesson.

    Cursive - does your daughter know cursive already? If not, this might be one area to take your time with so she can be ready to jump into NAC2 in 2nd grade.

    Copybook - You could jump in here anywhere, or pick your favorites for the rest of the year and focus on those.

    Reading - The books will be very easy for her to read, but the Story Time Treasures books are so valuable. They introduce a number of various concepts that your daughter may or may not be familiar with. You could also move through these at an accelerated pace, or spend more of your day focused on this material.

    Spelling - Someone else might have more insight here, but I would think you could do any spelling program you like.

    Enrichment - you could start with any of the read alouds you like. Either start in week 18 or pick your favorites for the remainder of the year. And as for who does the reading, we like to switch it up. Sometimes I read to the kids, sometimes my first grader reads to her younger sisters, sometimes she reads to me.

    Recitation - I would start at the beginning with recitation because it is cumulative and does build on itself even from year to year. however, you can move at whatever pace you and your daughter are comfortable with.

    Hope this helps!

    Mom to 6 sweet girls and finally a boy!
    SB - 9 - starting MP 5M
    A - 7 - starting MP 3rd
    M - 5 - starting MP 1st
    F & SG - 4 year old identical twinners
    CJ - a rascally, busy 2 year old
    GH - 4/17/2017, much adored, baby brother!


      We do All About Spelling. It compliments MP nicely. Depending on your child's skill level you probably don't need to do the SRA phonics books because AAS is phonics based. There are some non phonics skills in the phonics books like alphabitizing and dictionary skills but you could add those skills on your own. I have not used MP's spelling but I believe it has students write sentences from dictation- well so does AAS so you are good there.
      I haven't used MP first grade plans but we did second grade. They do combine their phonics across their phonics books, classical phonics reading list book and their spelling. So your spelling will be studying different sounds at different times than theirs. We found this wasn't a problem at all as she had usually already learned it in spelling when she did the phonics book/reader. But my daughter was a 3rd grader using MP 2nd due to struggles with reading. She had advanced to AAS 3 by the start of that year. We just used the SRA phonics and reading lists to solidify her reading skills.
      Last edited by momgineer; 02-02-2014, 07:54 AM.
      Debbie- mom of 7, civil engineering grad, married to mechanical engineer
      DD, 27, BFA '17 graphic design and illustration
      DS, 25, BS '18 mechanical engineering
      DS, 23, BS '20 Chemsitry, pursuing phd at Wash U
      (DDIL married #3 in 2020, MPOA grad, BA '20 philosophy, pusrsing phd at SLU)
      DS, 21, Physics and math major
      DD, 18, dyslexic, 12th grade dual enrolled
      DS, 14, future engineer/scientist/ world conquerer 9th MPOA diploma student
      DD, 8 , 2nd Future astronaut, robot building space artist


        A quick note about the literature and read-alouds. The weekly read-alouds are for you to read to her (and whoever else happens to be around) while the literature is for her to read aloud to you and to study. I say "study" on purpose. She will be able to whip through them for pleasure, but that isn't the point. The books themselves are delightfully age appropriate in content and beautifully illustrated. Your student will read and re-read the texts and analyze the vocabulary & content, do comprehension exercises and enrichment all centered around these books. My second grader started Memoria Press as a first grader and could read very well (she read a year of Sonlight Grade 3 readers for fun in a month or two while doing MP 1st grade). She still loved the MP choices and working through them slowly. Having an older student I really see the value in the gentle progression of literature study starting with these treasured classics. I guess the course is well named as "Storytime Treasures!" I'd never thought about that before.
        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 all so much for the thoughts and help! I really appreciate all the great advice.

          We still haven't decided if we're going to do cursive this year or wait until next. I also will be keeping our Horizon Math for this year, but I am not sure if we will stick wit it next year or do R&S. We're already half way through the year so there wasn't any reason to switch, and they're doing well with it.


            I wanted to echo what pickandgrin said about literature. When MP first started coming out with their lit guides, I was a bit surprised at some of their selections, because my kids had read them way ahead of the grade level assigned. But now having my kids do them, I have had an epiphany as well. My seventh grader is doing Wind in the Willows, a book which I love reading to my very young ones (we have a gorgeous edition). It is the first lit guide I have had her do and we are loving it! It has been amazing to see such depth to a book that I always had in my "younger kid" category. Just another moment for me to realize there are wiser minds than mine out there making these choices....praise God

            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, 2