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too long of school days!! aagghh!!

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    too long of school days!! aagghh!!

    Hi everyone!! As I am writing, we have just finished up our 7th day of school this year. This is my first time homeschooling and already I feel as though I'm in way over my head. I am trying to do everything and need some help figuring out what "ya'll" do. I have a 4th, 2nd and 1st grader (this is our first year homeschooling) and have been following the MP curriculums, almost to the "T". But the school days are lloonngg (one day we started at 8 and ended at 5:30!!!--granted there were a few breaks in between). However, I thought the days would be shorter???? Maybe even schooling only 4 days per week???? Anyway, I'm really reaching out to all you seasoned moms/dads and asking what is it you do??? Anyone out there teaching multiple different grades at once (I'm sure there are) or even 1st, 2nd, and 4th???? Anyone willing to show me what your schedule is like???? Any help is greatly appreciated!!


    Feeling defeated and exhausted,
    Kara

    #2
    With my Vast Wealth of Inexperience

    I have been doing this since the beginning of summer and just got my First Curriculum yesterday. So, keep that in mind. Pick the Most important things. Which I would say is the reading, Latin and math. Get them squared away so that you know what you are doing and then add the rest in one or two subjects at a time.

    It takes time and practice to get better at doing things. Just give you and your kids a break. Take a mental health day and go to a park or museum or on a picnic. Something fun and talk to them about how to make things go more smoothly. I bet they have some ideas too. They may or may not work, but including them in finding a solution usually encourages them to be more cooperative.

    Mostly, I would say take a deep breath, relax and look at this as knowing what doesn't work now find how to reconfigure it so it does. You are not a failure. You are a work in progress. Have some chocolate. It will all look better tomorrow.

    Comment


      #3
      Hi Kara,

      We also just finished our seventh day of school. I have a 7th, 3rd, 1st and Jr.K. I am also running a Memoria Press Coop on Fridays, so we must accomplish our work in four days. My 3rd and 1st get some of their subjects done at coop, which does help shorten the days somewhat for them. Even with that advantage last week was extremely tough.

      This is my third year with Memoria Press. Starting out homeschooling with three MP cores as your first homeschool experience is without question a huge undertaking. The great news is that you have made the right choice. You have gone straight to the best of the best, and you will see the fruits of your labor very quickly.

      Now, for the nitty gritty. I would place a time limit on your school day for each grade level and then adapt your curriculum to fit that. The kids will begin to speed up, as the weeks go by, and you can adapt your expectations accordingly. You need to give first priority to Latin and Math. The Latin Centered Curriculum focuses on these two along with music. Everything else can be adapted to fit the remaining time. Comprehension questions and vocabulary can be done orally. Extra practice sheets for phonics and math should only be done if your child needs the practice. I have never done the extra phonics and spelling games. We have also elected to do my third grader's Christian Studies One as a family study on our Monday evening "Family Night".

      Another issue is that the lesson plans schedule several R&S math lessons in a single day FOR REVIEW. The plans do explicitly say that you need to pick and choose what to do, and not try to do it all when so much is scheduled. In first grade, the black lines are to be done in place of workbook one (not in addition to it). I realized that I was having my boys do too many math pages last week, after reading the math teaching guidelines in the front of the lesson plan. Whoops! This week is going much more smoothly. Thank heaven.

      My other recommendation is not to aim for multiple breaks in your daily schedule. I am striving to get my children to use their time wisely, and we pretty much work until our lessons are done (other than a break for lunch or PE). I have found that multiple breaks drags the day out too much. I wouldn't allow the children (grade three and younger) to work more than four hours (give or take). For fourth to sixth graders I would strive to have them done in five hours (or so). I am not counting breaks in those time estimates. Those would be hours of actual academic work. I realize that this is a challenging goal, but as the children become more proficient more will get accomplished in less time, and you can require more written work etc.

      Please feel encouraged. Memoria Press is the best education available today, and all the work you are doing is going to bear such wonderful fruit. Own the curriculum, and make it work for you. Don't feel like you must accomplish everything right away. You will get there, and you will be so pleased with the progress your children make.

      Anastasia Heder

      daughter MP7
      son MP 3 accel.
      son MP 1
      daughter MP Jr.K
      son 2yo
      Last edited by anastasia5; 09-16-2014, 06:23 PM.

      Comment


        #4
        Kara,

        I am schooling a 2nd and 4th grader and while we have been homeschooling since my oldest started Kindergarten, this is our first full MP curriculum. It is hard. There is no doubt about it, but what I have found is that we can make it work in about 4-1/2 days with VERY diligent work from 8:00 - 3:30 or so. Here's kind of a rundown of what we do:


        1st class for both 2nd and 4th - Latin: It only takes a couple of minutes to review Prima with my 2nd grader. He then writes his Latin words and does some cursive in his Latin copy book. I then spend about an hour or sometimes a little more with my 4th grader on FFI. We are doing everything that MP suggests in FFI because I want to make sure we are strong in this subject. I also stay a week ahead of her in the lessons so that I can more easily teach it. That means some night work for me as I am learning Latin also.

        2nd class for both kids - Math - I shuffle between the two of them. While one works on a drill or the lesson, I'm flash carding with the other and vice versa.
        This also takes about an hour.

        3rd class -Spelling for everybody. Writing words/reviewing verbally/doing work in workbook, etc. Takes about 30 minutes.

        By now the second grader needs a break. He wanders off or stays in the schoolroom and colors, reads books, or something.

        4th grader - We now pick a subject (usually English Grammar or Literature) Something that we can finish my lunch.

        We take about an hour for lunch and reconvene on the family room couch for religion class. We are Catholic so I teach our catechism at home. During lunch, I read something. Sometimes its a read aloud for everybody and sometimes I use this time to read the second grade enrichment book.

        The afternoon is filled with the other subjects (Classical Comp., Classical Studies, and either EGR or Literature - whatever we didn't finish before lunch.) My second grader spends the afternoon reading literature and working on his copybook and memorization. Both kids take turns leaving the school room to practice their violin.

        It is a very, very full day. By 3:30 we are all ready to be finished, but the good news is we are done and nobody has homework. Some days it doesn't work like this. We have days where we don't finish and I just carry it over until we are caught up. If we really get behind, I might take a week and call it review. This way we can get caught up and a few days or simply reviewing material has never hurt us.

        I hope this helps. I know it is a big learning curve for you and your children, but what a beautiful decision you made to travel this road with them. You will find your groove. It may take a while, but it will come.

        Melisa
        Melisa

        Homeschooling mom for 11 years

        dd - 11th grade using MP
        ds - 9th grade using MP and Kolbe Academy

        Comment


          #5
          Kara,
          There are so many great moms who have chimed in already....you can see by how quickly you have gotten encouragement that we all are pulling for you....mostly because of where we have all been before, and how much better things are with MP!

          Adjusting to so many new things at once is definitely challenging, and as many have mentioned, prioritizing is important. I would even offer to maybe focus in on your oldest, and really spend your "learning capital" on the fourth grader. This choice will lead to the ability to have more independence as you both get the hang of things. Your younger ones will always need more handholding for the whole year. If you take a break with them for even two weeks, you can give yourself more time to learn one thing better than trying to learn three at once. In the grand scheme of things, having the younger ones two weeks or three weeks behind your older one is going to matter little, but it will help your sanity a ton right now.

          Within that piece of advice is the nugget to keep the big picture in mind. You have a lot of time to teach your children, but not all of what you want to cover is in the books. Teaching them to be patient as they learn new things will mean a lot when they see you being patient with yourself.

          Also, keep track of that time. I used to be terrible about going over our "allotted" time in our schedule, because I really wanted to finish. So what I was teaching them was to actually work slower....because we would just keep working til it was done. This year I feel like I am breaking that cycle. I accepted a school mentality, finally, and said that we have specific times for things, and if they don't get done, too bad, we stop anyway and deal with the consequences. But the kids see me following through on that, and we all finish well!
          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


            #6
            many thanks!

            Thank you all for your wonderful insight. There are some great suggestions and words of wisdom!! I realize I must look at the bigger picture and perhaps focusing more on my 4th grader for a week or two might help her to be able to work more independently. I'm going to also focus more on the core subjects: Latin, math, and reading.

            Comment


              #7
              I would echo much of what has been said above. I have 3 in 5th, 4th, and 2nd grades. My last couple of years have been much as you described in your post, and a lot breaks were inserted. This year I am guarding and scheduling our time much more strictly. I pretty much ignore the phone during the school day, unless it is an emergency or lunch time. I wrote out a schedule of what each child should be doing at different times through the day so that they can begin to take ownership of their own education. Each time slot is designated with IL or IS for instructor-led or independent study. Instructor-led is for times that I have to teach them, and I can only be in one place at a time. Independent study is for things that they can do on their own at any time during the day. For my older two, there are now several things they can work on independently, once my teaching time is done, and they are responsible for making sure that work is accomplished each day. I also do combine a few things from different grade levels, like science. That does free up some time. If you are feeling overwhelmed, take heart. We have all been there, and there is a learning curve to all of this. And it is not an exact science, despite all the best schedules and plans. Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed or like I am not doing this well, or that I can't do it, I have to stop and remind myself that it is not all up to me. God called me to this, and He will equip me. He loves my kiddos far more than I ever could, and He will fill in for my inabilities.

              Melissa

              DS-10, DD-8, DS-7

              Comment


                #8
                I agree, we take minimal breaks this year as compared to previous years. I've also just fully embraced the school mentality Sarah! I have been giving them homework to complete at night because they are dilly dallying during school hours and they are using planners to keep track of their subjects.

                For the 4th grader I would recommend picking which Comp questions you want them to write out(maybe 3) and do the rest orally. If you want the 4th grader to do well on the tests coming up, make sure they know everything that will be on the test.

                There is no way I can get to everything in first grade unfortunately and the enrichment is the first thing to go. Just make sure you read the read aloud maybe a couple times and read the poetry. If you can't do more with it don't worry about that.
                Courtney
                Mom to 5 boys-14,13,10,8,5 and the girls- 3 and 1

                Comment


                  #9
                  One of the things I did for Enrichment this year, since it is new to us, is that I followed the advice of some other forum folks and picked one for all my Primary grade kids. Then I blocked off an hour on our least busy day (for us is Thursday), and while I do a weekly check-in drill with my older ones in Latin, my 9 and 7 year olds "do" enrichment time with their K age sister and the toddler. They do all of it together....read the story, listen to the music, talk about the artwork, all with my 9 year old following the E. guide. It has been so fun for them (talk about "playing school"!) I figure, it is not the same as my doing it, but they are doing more than if we just skipped it. And I still bring it up the rest of the week during their drill times.

                  Just another idea, especially for those with a range of ages.
                  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

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