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    Our days feel really long: What time do you start and stop school?

    Hi Everyone,

    (I want to preface this by saying that I'm not sure if I should post here or in the struggling learning section.
    Mainly because I'm not sure what the root cause of my problem is.)

    We are using our first MP core this year. Previously, we were using a combination of materials based on recommendations from TWTM. I love the MP curriculum, and I would love to be able to make it work long term. It would be kind of nice to relax and "trust" in a complete plan from now until graduation. I love the core plans and how perfectly balanced the workload is across the week. I also love the subjects and the books scheduled. And the method of instruction is wonderful too; There is truth, beauty, and goodness interwoven throughout our entire day. But most of all I love all of the depth we have in our studies. So I am highly motivated to make MP work.... if I can.

    The one bad thing about our change is that our days suddenly feel REALLY, REALLY long. We are all feeling burned out and exhausted at the end of the day. My children have been crying numerous times this year because their day feels too long. We start the day early around 8AM, but typically don't finish until 5:30PM. That entire time is not spent on school work, but it sort of feels that way since things are dragged out all day.

    I guess I am wondering....is this normal? My two oldest children have learning challenges. (They are both dyslexic and they both have ADHD. Maybe this is just what it feels like to homeschool three kids...two with learning challenges? Maybe the days are supposed to be this long.

    We are in week 6 by the way. And I have tweaked our schedule multiple times this year trying to make things run as efficiently as possible.

    Subjects they are working separately in:
    Latin -- I recently (today!) decided to split the kids apart in Latin.
    My dyslexic daughter was REALLY struggling with Latina Christiana. She was working so hard to get the spelling down, but could not do it. (She hasn't gotten over 60% on a single quiz yet even after studying really hard. And I let her take each quiz multiple times.) My 5th grade son is doing fine. So I decided to start my 4th grade daughter in Prima Latina, and let my 5th grade sone continue in Latina Christiana. This is what I feel like needs to happen, but it just made my day even longer.

    Math- Both kids are *very* close in math, but working at their own pace. They seem to need me to work elbow-to-elbow with them on their entire math lesson this year as their math gets more complicated. And this is also making my day very long since I have to work "in series" instead of "in parallel".

    Spelling- This is mostly done independently. I just assign and check and administer tests, etc. I let them work at their own level and at their own pace in this sujbect.

    Composition-Technically they are both doing fable. But my daughter again needs me to work elbow-to-elbow with her. My son is more independent. I explain, let him write independently, then just meet with him to edit/provide feedback. But that still all takes time.

    Combined Subjects:
    4th grade Literature - I tried having the kids take turns reading each page. But my oldest son is getting cranky listening to his younger sister read aloud because she is not the best oral reader....but she needs the practice. She has a tendency to guess and skip over larger words. Her comprehension goes way down too when she reads independently.
    English Grammar 1
    Cursive / Typing
    Christian Studies 1
    American Studies
    US Geography
    Astronomy
    Greek Myths
    Cathy aka The Attached Mama
    2019-2020
    DS 12, 7th Grade
    DD 11, 6th Grade
    DS 5, K

    #2
    Re: Our days feel really long: What time do you start and stop school?

    A few questions for you--

    -Can you let go of typing for now?
    -American Studies--what does this look like? This is a new inclusion and wasn't even there when my oldest did 4th. We just buy them and put them on the shelf for free reading.
    -Your DD9 sounds like a better fit for regular 3rd grade, not 4th for new users. Are they combined for efficiency? I'm sure there is some reason they are both placed in 4A, can you give us that background? Could she do the material better if she went at half-pace (which is what regular 3rd is for many of the subjects)? This would also mean that Fable might be too hard for her right now. The IEW is easy to do and can really inspire confidence.
    -Prima sounds great for your DD--can you let her do it mostly orally this year? Prima (and LC) are introductory classes. No need to make this a major spelling course for her at this point. Everything in PL and LC shows back up in First Form.
    -I'm not overly familiar with Singapore. Is it very mom-intensive by nature?
    -Could you use listening to the literature books an audio while both kids follow along in the text with their finger, just to speed that part up? They can read aloud portions, but no need to have them read 50% each. In a classroom this is spread among the entire room of students.
    -The extra Physical Science--what does that entail? Could Astronomy be enough for now?

    It sounds like you need to find a way to do less right now, move something (Geography? Greek Myths?) into the summer and possibly drop things for now (American studies? Typing?). Greek Myths is available on audio CD which can greatly improve retention if listened to again and again. That course can also be completed mostly orally. My goal for Greek Myths is to have those drill questions down cold at year's end. If they do, that's a win.

    Sending you a hug tonight. Yes, those are long days. Let's work together to bend them a little more into a shape that gives life and isn't robbing it from you all.
    Festina lentē,
    Jessica P

    2020-2021
    11th year HSing · 9th year MP
    @ Home, HLN, & Latin online
    11th, 9th, 6th, 3rd

    Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Our days feel really long: What time do you start and stop school?

      A dozen years ago when I was homeschooling my first time through the elementary years, we combined every subject that wasn't math and LAs. Even then, Sonlight allowed there to be multiple LA levels within some of the Cores. That was how I was able to get my days to run from 8am to about 2:30pm with a decent lunch break with three kids spaced 5 years among them.

      However, if you are going to enjoy using MP, it seems to me that the kids *need* to be more independent learners sooner. In fact, much of the work is written to be student-directed. I have to agree with Jessica that if you are having to massage and administer nearly constantly for a child, the level is probably set too high. One thing I have learned around here is that in MP's learning paradigm, the CHILD leads the charge, not the parent.

      Coming into MP, most parents are still operating under the prevalent, wide-spread mindset that is out there in the homeschooling world, "Oh my child can handle that!" Nearly every other curriculum company out there is selling "recognition" not mastery. That alone makes the biggest difference. A child *can* master the names of Greeks and Romans, but only with enough time and self-drive. BUT, in order for the child to lead the charge in her education, she has to be in the lead. If the level is set too high, she cannot. You are still the leader of the charge. Of course, parents will still be setting schedules, etc, but the child has to be the one who can manage to work.

      I have mentioned this next comment too many times to count. When I came to MP and was seeking a full core for my late in life baby, I (typically) placed him too high. I looked at his "3R's" and I made his placement based on his HIGHEST abilities. What I eventually came to realize is that with an MP Core, parents should place at the LOWEST ABILITY R. There is enough richness and depth in every core to support the higher R's, but a child will end up under water if she is placed too high.


      If this advice doesn't feel right to you, then please ignore. That is the danger of this type of communication: I might be glomming onto something that is your lesser concern, rather than your greater concern.



      Jen



      PS: you asked when we start and stop school. My 5th grader does an hour of independent work from 7am to 8am while I am getting ready for the day. Just because I am not ready to begin does not mean that he cannot copy his spelling words, etc. We break and do Religion together at 8am (official start of our day). At 8:45am, we resume MP subjects: Latin, math, and independent work. We are done with everything LA related by an 11:30am lunch, take an hour for lunch, then cover the daily subject (Classical, Christian, science, geography) and read aloud. We are done by 2pm for the day. Hope that helps.
      DS, 27 yrs, graduated from MIT (Aerospace)

      DS, 25 yrs, graduated from SIU's School of Business, ENGAGED!

      DD, 22 yrs, graduated from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC; 2nd grade teacher.

      DS, 12 yrs, 8th grade; attends a private classical school, 7th - 12th.

      All homeschooled for some/all of their K-12 education.

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

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Our days feel really long: What time do you start and stop school?

        Quickly:
        Your school day is far too long, sweetie. No wonder your family is crying. I have three strugglers and a toddler. The best thing I ever did for our homeschool was block scheduling. We start at 8 and end a little after lunch. Period. Whatever doesn’t get done gets pushed to the next school day. My kids are in MP1 and MPJrK, so our workload is lighter. But here are some things that might help:
        * Plan a good morning opening (opening prayer, recitation, pledge of allegiance, a song and some movement, a short preview of the day) and then buckle down to the hardest subject first.
        * Ease or alternate the harder work as the day progresses, leaving the easiest, most enjoyable subjects for last (I use story time and art until last as a carrot for finishing). And then STOP. Clean up. Put things away.
        * Leave the rest for the next day. Then go rest. And mandate either play time or quiet time for your kids.

        Hope this helps (?)
        Last edited by Anita; 10-12-2017, 08:00 AM.
        Boy Wonder: 10, MP2/SC4 (Special Needs)
        Joy Bubble: 8, MP2 (Special Needs)
        Snuggly Cowboy: 6, MPK
        Sweet Lightness: 2, Reverse-Engineering Specialist

        “Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”
        ~Pope St John Paul II

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Our days feel really long: What time do you start and stop school?

          Cathy,
          You have gotten great advice from Jenn and Anita, and I think Jessica has given you some great questions to think about.

          I will say that the subjects your children need you the most for seem to be Latin, Math, Composition, and Literature - and this is your first year doing all of them in a Core. To me, honestly, I am not surprised that they really need your help in these areas right now. These are the "core of the Core" after all, and if they have not had experience in them with MP in the past, it is going to take time to get them comfortable with them. You want their foundation in these areas to be strong so that as they go forward, they will be able to be more independent - but for now, you are doing the hard work of laying that foundation. Think of it like building a house - the top rows of the foundation bricks would go a lot faster than smoothing and leveling the ground, right? But if that ground is not leveled perfectly, the entire wall could crack and collapse. You are taking the time right now tondo all that leveling and preparing to build. It is harder now than it will be later - especially because it doesn't "look" like you are doing very much.

          I would say that if you want to keep working with the materials you have, then maybe break up your days a bit more. Maybe plan that you will complete a week of work in 8 days, or something like that so you have more breathing room. High schools use "A" and "B" days, and that might be a good way to work it. So on one day, you have a math lesson with one, but the next day you just have that child do drills - flashcards and whatnot, while you give a new lesson to the other child. Same with Latin- teach a lesson to one on the first day, then have him practice while you teach your daughter on the next day.

          It will seem like you are losing ground right now because you will be going more slowly, but what I suspect will happen is that it will get you over this current hump, give your kids time to get more confident, and then within a few months, you guys will be back up to a faster pace. And because you will have laid a good foundation, you will not have such a difficult beginning in any of your years to come.

          AMDG,
          Sarah
          2020-2021
          16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
          DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
          DS, 16
          DD, 14
          DD, 12
          DD, 10
          DD, 8
          DD, 6
          +DS+
          DS, 2

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Our days feel really long: What time do you start and stop school?

            Are you using the DVDs for Latin and Comp? If not, then once your kids get more comfortable in these subjects and used to the repetition week after week, it works quite well to put the dvd on with their workbook in front of them,and let them learn the lesson and complete the exercises that way while you go and do other things. Mine are at the point where they are mostly using the dvds to teach themselves Latin and Comp, and only need me for the parts they want to skimp out on- but granted, that wouldn't have worked our first year- until the later part of it. Just a thought.

            I would also try having an "end time." This depends on your kids though. For me it works because it pushes me to try to get as much done as possible in that time frame, knowing that at 3:00 the books have to go away. Takes some getting used to, but you learn how to cut corners on the things that aren't as important. (says the mom who is only doing two cores )
            DD 12, using 6M core with 7th Grade COTR
            DS 10, using 5M core

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Our days feel really long: What time do you start and stop school?

              I just wanted to thank you all for taking time out of your schedule to help me out. I really need the help this year, I feel like our days are a mess!
              My hope is that there is a simple solution (or even a complicated solution!) staring me in the face and I am not seeing it.

              I am replying to each post separately since there were so many questions.
              Originally posted by pickandgrin View Post
              A few questions for you--
              -Can you let go of typing for now?
              -American Studies--what does this look like? This is a new inclusion and wasn't even there when my oldest did 4th. We just buy them and put them on the shelf for free reading.
              -Your DD9 sounds like a better fit for regular 3rd grade, not 4th for new users. Are they combined for efficiency? I'm sure there is some reason they are both placed in 4A, can you give us that background? Could she do the material better if she went at half-pace (which is what regular 3rd is for many of the subjects)? This would also mean that Fable might be too hard for her right now. The IEW is easy to do and can really inspire confidence.
              Yes, I can let go of typing. The only reason I was doing it was because I think I may try to outsource writing at some point with MPOA---and I wanted to make sure that they would be able to type up their final drafts without it taking forever. But I question if putting off typing is just delaying the inevitable. Is next year going to be any better? In fact, my youngest will be needing even more from me next year, so typing might be even harder. We only do typing 2 days per week when cursive is not scheduled in the guide. It takes 15 mins on those days, and can be done completly independently by the kids. Of course...every minute adds up!

              Concerning American Studies, right now I am simply having the kids read through the books. (They read about a chapter per day.) I am not discussing or having the kids narrate or anything. I decided to let that go a few weeks ago trying to troubleshoot our long days. (Even though I purchased the discussion guide....and even though my DD9 really struggles with comprehension and probably should be discussing. And even though my DD9 will sometimes be dishonest and "say" she read something when I find out later she was just pretending to read so she could check it off the list. And knowing she might have to discuss would motivate her to be more honest about this.) But a few weeks ago, I decided to just let the kids absorb what they can and will and let it go. (Long story short...American studies is just a read a chapter on your own type thing.)

              Concerning 3rd grade core vs 4th grade core---I've looked at the samples of the 3rd grade core, and it really doesn't look that different skill wise from the 4th grade new users. Am I wrong? It is the nearly the same material, just slowed down to half pace. Right? She isn't having problems keeping up with the 4th grade content subjects (Christian studies, Greek Myths, US Geography, etc.) She has her drill questions down, etc. And I'm not sure it makes sense to teach TWO of all of the same subjects per day just at two different paces. (Christian Studies, Greek Myths, US Geography, Timeline, etc.). Maybe I am wrong, but I feel like it would make our days even longer not shorter. I then would be working "in series" again as opposed to "in parallel" and probably adding another 2 hours to our day. Am I wrong? At least now, they can quiz each other for tests using the flashcards, etc.

              Concerning putting DD9 in IEW as oppsoed to Fable--- She actually went through IEW SWI A last year with her older brother. (The DVD program.) She did well with IEW. I think it is a good progam if you have langauge learning challenges because everything is so clearly spelled out. We haven't acutally started the CC fable program yet. (I don't think it starts until week 9 or 10 or soemthing like that in 4th grade NU.) My plan is to TRY fable with her, but if it doesn't seem to be working out, I will then switch her back over to the IEW path. I do feel sort of discouraged about that possibility too because I feel like teaching through two different composition programs will also lengthen our day. But if she can't do Fable, she can't do it. We won't have much of a choice. (My DD10 is also dyslexic, but doesn't struggle with articulating his thoughts verbally or in writing as much as my DD9 does. I think he will do fine in Fable and it will actually be very light and easy for him. He has already done a year of fable with Classical accademic press, but I am planning on having him redo CC Fable.)

              Originally posted by pickandgrin View Post
              -Prima sounds great for your DD--can you let her do it mostly orally this year? Prima (and LC) are introductory classes. No need to make this a major spelling course for her at this point. Everything in PL and LC shows back up in First Form.
              -I'm not overly familiar with Singapore. Is it very mom-intensive by nature?
              -Could you use listening to the literature books an audio while both kids follow along in the text with their finger, just to speed that part up? They can read aloud portions, but no need to have them read 50% each. In a classroom this is spread among the entire room of students.
              -The extra Physical Science--what does that entail? Could Astronomy be enough for now?
              Switching her to Prima does seem to be the right choice. The entire prima course has about two words that she hasn’t seen before. (We did Latin with CAP products previous to this.) But I feel like she needs a lighter year while she focuses on good study habits, etc. I have the “Monday” Latin-teaching-days staggered between children so I am not trying to teach them both the new lesson each day. That is helping some with not adding too much extra time to our day.

              Singapore is not mom-intensive by nature. However, my daughter has gotten into some poor work habits. She is intuitively/conceptually very good in math. BUT--She has the type of personality where she does the very bare minimum to get by. She is being really sloppy and racing through her math work and not showing work. (And with her learning challenges, she really needs to write down steps because she can't hold the numbers and information in her memory.) This is causing her to miss about half the problems each day. I tried using the natural consequences and insisting that she fix any missed problems at the end of the day until she gets 100%. I thought eventually she would learn that rushing through wasn’t really saving her any time. The whole “festina lente” concept and all that. I've also had her redo several assignments because they were so, so, sloppy. (And trust me, I was not being overly picky.) But, she is still being really sloppy and careless in math. We’ve had this problem for about two years now. She is essentially doing every math page twice. I posted about this problem on TWTM forum, and the consensus was that she might need me to sit by her and lovingly help encourage her over and over again to write neater, show work, erase all of the way, etc. TWTM ladies seem to think that a few weeks invested in walking her through erasing properly, writing things neatly might help it to become a habit.

              Concerning Literature—I think she really needs the practice of reading aloud. Even though it is not easy, it is important and something worth investing time in this year. In order to continue to get her reading level up, I need to make sure she isn’t skipping over “big words” in her mind when reading. She needs the practice of breaking the words into syllables and sounding them out. And the only way I can make sure she is doing that is by having her read aloud.

              Originally posted by pickandgrin View Post
              It sounds like you need to find a way to do less right now, move something (Geography? Greek Myths?) into the summer and possibly drop things for now (American studies? Typing?). Greek Myths is available on audio CD which can greatly improve retention if listened to again and again. That course can also be completed mostly orally. My goal for Greek Myths is to have those drill questions down cold at year's end. If they do, that's a win.

              Sending you a hug tonight. Yes, those are long days. Let's work together to bend them a little more into a shape that gives life and isn't robbing it from you all.
              We also already use the Greek myth audiobook. (It is really well done, and helps me with those Greek names!) We are pretty much doing Greek Myths as scheduled in the guide except using the audiobook instead of me reading. The kids define vocab terms independently. Then we listen together. Then we answer the comprehension questions together. My son (DD10) is REALLY, REALLY into Greek mythology and probably knows the drill questions already…even for the subjects we haven’t studied. (hahaha) He would kill me if we dropped that subject though and just read the book. He says that is his favorite subject this year. He is just bummed that we aren’t doing Norse Mythology next year.

              BUT---Yes, I think I do need to drop a few things. The bad thing is that we are out of the house one day per week for their speech/debate club, so we are on a 4-day-per week schedule. (To compensate for this, I just ignore the days of the week heading in the guide and do the next day.) I say that because it means if we do drop things, we might really be dropping them, not just postponing them for the summer. We might not have a very long summer break.

              I am thinking that if we drop anything it would probably be astronomy. The kids already studied astronomy in 2nd/3rd grade using a different curriculum. (Not so much the constellations, but the planets, etc.) I was honestly only doing it because I thought it went so well with Greek mythology and Latin. We are also already doing physics this year at my son’s request. (He is really into science!) So we don't really need another science.

              Both kids also enjoy that subject and would probably pick physics over astronomy if given the choice.
              Cathy aka The Attached Mama
              2019-2020
              DS 12, 7th Grade
              DD 11, 6th Grade
              DS 5, K

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Our days feel really long: What time do you start and stop school?

                Originally posted by TheAttachedMama View Post
                We are also already doing physics this year at my son’s request. (He is really into science!) So we don't really need another science.
                I just have to ask- is this with your ten year old?

                ETA: I just noticed your signature and see that it is. I think if you are trying to do this and Memoria, plus any additional programs like typing, and trying to get it all into 4 days- it makes sense that your days would be reeeeeeeallly long. I can't imagine being able to do more than my core manual with my kids, and that is with only two. I know how tempting it is to do *all the things* but making time for rest and play and just living- is so, so, important. Maybe even more important, because it lets us process the learning we have done. I'd cut not just a couple things, but a lot of things. and then take a nice summer break without guilt.
                Last edited by Girlnumber20; 10-12-2017, 10:18 AM.
                DD 12, using 6M core with 7th Grade COTR
                DS 10, using 5M core

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: Our days feel really long: What time do you start and stop school?

                  Originally posted by Jen in Japan View Post
                  However, if you are going to enjoy using MP, it seems to me that the kids *need* to be more independent learners sooner. In fact, much of the work is written to be student-directed. I have to agree with Jessica that if you are having to massage and administer nearly constantly for a child, the level is probably set too high. One thing I have learned around here is that in MP's learning paradigm, the CHILD leads the charge, not the parent.

                  Coming into MP, most parents are still operating under the prevalent, wide-spread mindset that is out there in the homeschooling world, "Oh my child can handle that!" Nearly every other curriculum company out there is selling "recognition" not mastery. That alone makes the biggest difference. A child *can* master the names of Greeks and Romans, but only with enough time and self-drive. BUT, in order for the child to lead the charge in her education, she has to be in the lead. If the level is set too high, she cannot. You are still the leader of the charge. Of course, parents will still be setting schedules, etc, but the child has to be the one who can manage to work.

                  I have mentioned this next comment too many times to count. When I came to MP and was seeking a full core for my late in life baby, I (typically) placed him too high. I looked at his "3R's" and I made his placement based on his HIGHEST abilities. What I eventually came to realize is that with an MP Core, parents should place at the LOWEST ABILITY R. There is enough richness and depth in every core to support the higher R's, but a child will end up under water if she is placed too high.

                  If this advice doesn't feel right to you, then please ignore. That is the danger of this type of communication: I might be glomming onto something that is your lesser concern, rather than your greater concern.

                  Jen

                  PS: you asked when we start and stop school. My 5th grader does an hour of independent work from 7am to 8am while I am getting ready for the day. Just because I am not ready to begin does not mean that he cannot copy his spelling words, etc. We break and do Religion together at 8am (official start of our day). At 8:45am, we resume MP subjects: Latin, math, and independent work. We are done with everything LA related by an 11:30am lunch, take an hour for lunch, then cover the daily subject (Classical, Christian, science, geography) and read aloud. We are done by 2pm for the day. Hope that helps.
                  Hi Jen,
                  Thanks for the advice. I've actually been reading these older posts by you...before I posted my own call for help. But practically speaking, let's say that my DD9 is placed in too difficult of a core. Where would I hypothetically place her then? Like I said earlier, I'm not sure backing her up to the 3rd grade core would make much of a difference. (They are the same books and same skill level required, just a slower pace. I'm not sure that would make much of a difference.) Do I then put her in SC3? Or in 2nd grade?

                  I am not letting her do the guide books independently yet because anytime I have, she has done sort of a poor job. She writes really sloppy. Every other word is spelled incorrectly. (And I know she is dyslexic, but I worry when she practices spelling words wrong over and over again that it makes it hard for her.) Her answers are often vague or miss the point. She often answers with only one word, etc. She seems to need me to model on the board how to answer the question and then copy the answer.

                  My DD10 (grade 5) seems perfectly paced in the 4th grade core. It is actually an easy year for him. He could honestly do all of the literature, greek mythology, christian studies, etc. independently. A few times I have given him the chance to do the guide by himself, and he has done a pretty good job. And he actually enjoys doing it by himeslf. But is that good for him? Again, practically speaking...what does doing MP independently look like? Do I let him answer the questions, and then just schedule a time to meet with him to discuss (using the guide) and read his answers aloud? Do I proof read his answers so there is more writing across the curriculum? (and help him learn better to answer things in writing?)
                  Cathy aka The Attached Mama
                  2019-2020
                  DS 12, 7th Grade
                  DD 11, 6th Grade
                  DS 5, K

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: Our days feel really long: What time do you start and stop school?

                    Originally posted by Anita View Post
                    Quickly:
                    Your school day is far too long, sweetie. No wonder your family is crying. I have three strugglers and a toddler. The best thing I ever did for our homeschool was block scheduling. We start at 8 and end a little after lunch. Period. Whatever doesn’t get done gets pushed to the next school day. My kids are in MP1 and MPJrK, so our workload is lighter. But here are some things that might help:
                    * Plan a good morning opening (opening prayer, recitation, pledge of allegiance, a song and some movement, a short preview of the day) and then buckle down to the hardest subject first.
                    * Ease or alternate the harder work as the day progresses, leaving the easiest, most enjoyable subjects for last (I use story time and art until last as a carrot for finishing). And then STOP. Clean up. Put things away.
                    * Leave the rest for the next day. Then go rest. And mandate either play time or quiet time for your kids.

                    Hope this helps (?)
                    Hi Anita,
                    I've actually thought of doing this exact thing. Working dilligently until 2:30PM--or whatever time---and then quiting and picking up where we left off the next day no matter how far we got. That way we could all just put away our books and be done! But we often can only get half way through the core day by 2:30PM.

                    My fear is that it might take me 18 months to get through a core! And if I am already backing them down to behind grade level, will they be really, really, really behind? I know, I know...I should just teach what I can why I have them at home. That is the right answer. But at the same time, they have state testing. Will I be doing them a diservice not hitting math, writing, spelling each day?

                    The thing stopping me is that my DD10 has been ***HIGHLY*** distractable this year. If I turn my back for a second, he is up out of his chair petting the cat. He is talking non-stop with his siblings or with me about stuff unrelated to school. (he talks a lot!) He can easily take a subject that should take 20 minutes and draw it out for 2 hours just by wasting time.

                    That is another issue that is making our school day really long. Just to give you an example, the other day I told him to do spelling while I did Latin with his sister. (Not too hard, right.) I left him alone, and went to teach his sister her Latin lesson. By the time she finihsed her lesson, he hadn't even started spelling. He was slowly finding a pencil, sharpening it, stopping to pet the cat---then to feed the cat again, then who knows what. But 30 minutes went by, and he was just starting on the task. That has caused me to lose my temper a lot with him this year which makes me feel SO guilty. I can patiently direct him back on task about 30 times in a morning. I patiently explain that all of this is time wasted, and if he wants to finish school, he needs to stop messing around. I even recite poetry to him, "Work while you work, Play while you play..." But eventually, I snap and yell, "Just get your *whatever* done and stop messing around!!" I hate it when I do that. But he talks SOOOOOOO much and gets distracted so eaily. Again, he isn't doing it to be bad. He has ADHD. I know he probably can't help it. But I am only human.

                    What does this have to do with stopping by 2:30PM each day? Well, a part of me is thinking that he nees the natural consequence of learning that if you mess around all day, you don't get to be done by lunch. In other words, you can't have your cake and eat it too. I am hoping he learns that if he wants to be done by early afternoon, he needs to work hard in the morning.

                    For awhile this year I was secluding him in a room with a desk with no other people in the room. (I would even draw the curtain...and I wouldn't let him bring the cat into the room!) That helped him, but only if he can work straight through. If he takes a break for a snack, or to have me check something, or to ask a question, he gets WAY off track again. I feel like I need to figure out a schedule that will maximize the time he can work quietly since that seems to be when he is most effecient.
                    Cathy aka The Attached Mama
                    2019-2020
                    DS 12, 7th Grade
                    DD 11, 6th Grade
                    DS 5, K

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: Our days feel really long: What time do you start and stop school?

                      I think I have asked this before, but how is dD9's phonics? What has she used in previous years? My daughter has exceptionally high comprehension, so it makes it seem like she can read at a higher level than she actually can. I tested her last spring...I thought for sure she would be close to 3rd grade. (Based on books she could read). She scored 1.7 for decoding! Her vocabulary and comprehension were much higher? She also has above average intelligence, so she "guesses" her way through passages fairly frequently. I learned this one by accident when I was looking for something to do one day. (Short day, wanted to do something). I pulled out word cards (what I thought were "easy") and she was inconsisistent in the "correct and "incorrect" pile. The piles were never the same! After an evaluation, we moved her to the SC curriculum. I feel like SC3, with MP2 phonics might be a better solution. Also, you have her in Singapore math 5? Singapore is already an advanced curriculum. If her math facts are sketchy, she has to use so much of her working memory, that these problems really are likely exhausting for her. Of course the recommendation is R&S, but I know many are resistant. I do wonder if she needs at least a lower level of Singapore! P.s. The SC spelling 2 would also likely be a huge help. Lastly, I highly recommend you post on the Special needs forum.
                      Christine

                      (2019/2020)
                      DD1 8/23/09 - SC5/6
                      DS2 9/1/11 - SC3,4, 5/6 combo
                      DD3 2/9/13 -SC2 to start, MP1 second semester

                      Previous Years
                      DD 1 (MPK, SC2 (with AAR), SC3, SC4’
                      DS2 (SCB, SCC, MPK, SC2)
                      DD3 (SCA, SCB, Jr. K workbooks, soaking up from the others, MPK)

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: Our days feel really long: What time do you start and stop school?

                        Originally posted by Maria2 View Post
                        Are you using the DVDs for Latin and Comp? If not, then once your kids get more comfortable in these subjects and used to the repetition week after week, it works quite well to put the dvd on with their workbook in front of them,and let them learn the lesson and complete the exercises that way while you go and do other things. Mine are at the point where they are mostly using the dvds to teach themselves Latin and Comp, and only need me for the parts they want to skimp out on- but granted, that wouldn't have worked our first year- until the later part of it. Just a thought.

                        I would also try having an "end time." This depends on your kids though. For me it works because it pushes me to try to get as much done as possible in that time frame, knowing that at 3:00 the books have to go away. Takes some getting used to, but you learn how to cut corners on the things that aren't as important. (says the mom who is only doing two cores )
                        Yes, we are using the DVDs for Latin and loving them. Fable hasn't started in our guides though, but we plan to use the DVDs when that starts up.
                        I am not sending the kids off with Latin and Composition DVDs though. I am watching them with them. That way I can help them if they need it. I don't know Latin, and the progymnasta is all new to me. I sort of feel like I need to do it with them.

                        And yes, I think I need to learn to cut corners. That is SO not my personality though. I am an all or nothing person. A stop time seems like it should be a good thing though. I guess I could prioritize my subjects, work through them in that order, and then near the end of my stop day--I could start just getting down what i can in the non-priority subjects.

                        What should be my priorities at this stage? I know Latin, Math, and Language arts? (Does that include literature?)
                        If you were to list out the subjects in the 4th grade core in order of most important to least important what would that look like?
                        Cathy aka The Attached Mama
                        2019-2020
                        DS 12, 7th Grade
                        DD 11, 6th Grade
                        DS 5, K

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Re: Our days feel really long: What time do you start and stop school?

                          Originally posted by howiecram View Post
                          I think I have asked this before, but how is dD9's phonics? What has she used in previous years? My daughter has exceptionally high comprehension, so it makes it seem like she can read at a higher level than she actually can. I tested her last spring...I thought for sure she would be close to 3rd grade. (Based on books she could read). She scored 1.7 for decoding! Her vocabulary and comprehension were much higher? She also has above average intelligence, so she "guesses" her way through passages fairly frequently. I learned this one by accident when I was looking for something to do one day. (Short day, wanted to do something). I pulled out word cards (what I thought were "easy") and she was inconsisistent in the "correct and "incorrect" pile. The piles were never the same! After an evaluation, we moved her to the SC curriculum. I feel like SC3, with MP2 phonics might be a better solution. Also, you have her in Singapore math 5? Singapore is already an advanced curriculum. If her math facts are sketchy, she has to use so much of her working memory, that these problems really are likely exhausting for her. Of course the recommendation is R&S, but I know many are resistant. I do wonder if she needs at least a lower level of Singapore! P.s. The SC spelling 2 would also likely be a huge help. Lastly, I highly recommend you post on the Special needs forum.
                          To teach her to read, we went through all 4 levels of All About Reading, and the first 3 levels of All About Spelling. She has also gone through Dancing Bears (a program for dyslexics) and the I See Sam readers. We continue to drill phonics and decoding though just because of her dyslexia. I want her to overlearn things so they become easier. This summer she went through "The Phonics Page" video lessons twice using Blend Phonics, Websters Speller, and nonsense words. Then we worked through a program called REWARDS by Sopris press---and she used the high school level. (I highly recomend REWARDS by the way.) So she can decode high school level words. So her knowledge of phonics is good. But I constantly have to get her to slow down and apply all of these decoding tools that we have taught her. When she is reading to herself, I think she skips any unknown words. When she is reading aloud, I have to actually make her stop and decode the word. I even have to make her read her vocabulary definitions and words aloud, because she will just copy them without trying to pronounce them or learn them.

                          Yes, she is in Singapore math 5. She has used Singapore math from the beginning. Math has been her one and only subject that she doesn't struggle in and actually does very well in. (Except for math facts. She understands the conceptual process almost naturally, but can't remember her math facts despite years of drill.) We actually put away the Singapore math books for a few weeks and started a math fact drill intensive. But she will probalby go back to them when we are finished.
                          Cathy aka The Attached Mama
                          2019-2020
                          DS 12, 7th Grade
                          DD 11, 6th Grade
                          DS 5, K

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Re: Our days feel really long: What time do you start and stop school?

                            Originally posted by TheAttachedMama View Post
                            Hi Anita,
                            I've actually thought of doing this exact thing. Working dilligently until 2:30PM--or whatever time---and then quiting and picking up where we left off the next day no matter how far we got. That way we could all just put away our books and be done! But we often can only get half way through the core day by 2:30PM.

                            My fear is that it might take me 18 months to get through a core! And if I am already backing them down to behind grade level, will they be really, really, really behind? I know, I know...I should just teach what I can why I have them at home. That is the right answer. But at the same time, they have state testing. Will I be doing them a diservice not hitting math, writing, spelling each day?

                            The thing stopping me is that my DD10 has been ***HIGHLY*** distractable this year. If I turn my back for a second, he is up out of his chair petting the cat. He is talking non-stop with his siblings or with me about stuff unrelated to school. (he talks a lot!) He can easily take a subject that should take 20 minutes and draw it out for 2 hours just by wasting time.

                            That is another issue that is making our school day really long. Just to give you an example, the other day I told him to do spelling while I did Latin with his sister. (Not too hard, right.) I left him alone, and went to teach his sister her Latin lesson. By the time she finihsed her lesson, he hadn't even started spelling. He was slowly finding a pencil, sharpening it, stopping to pet the cat---then to feed the cat again, then who knows what. But 30 minutes went by, and he was just starting on the task. That has caused me to lose my temper a lot with him this year which makes me feel SO guilty. I can patiently direct him back on task about 30 times in a morning. I patiently explain that all of this is time wasted, and if he wants to finish school, he needs to stop messing around. I even recite poetry to him, "Work while you work, Play while you play..." But eventually, I snap and yell, "Just get your *whatever* done and stop messing around!!" I hate it when I do that. But he talks SOOOOOOO much and gets distracted so eaily. Again, he isn't doing it to be bad. He has ADHD. I know he probably can't help it. But I am only human.

                            What does this have to do with stopping by 2:30PM each day? Well, a part of me is thinking that he nees the natural consequence of learning that if you mess around all day, you don't get to be done by lunch. In other words, you can't have your cake and eat it too. I am hoping he learns that if he wants to be done by early afternoon, he needs to work hard in the morning.

                            For awhile this year I was secluding him in a room with a desk with no other people in the room. (I would even draw the curtain...and I wouldn't let him bring the cat into the room!) That helped him, but only if he can work straight through. If he takes a break for a snack, or to have me check something, or to ask a question, he gets WAY off track again. I feel like I need to figure out a schedule that will maximize the time he can work quietly since that seems to be when he is most effecient.
                            My kids do this. Hence, block scheduling. My oldest is the worst offender, with his sister a close second. If he is in the groove, he is unstoppable. We have the BEST DAYS EVER. If he’s in never never land? Forget it. We get done what we can and leave the rest. Two thoughts:

                            1) I was worried about exactly what you described: if he goofs off until the school day is over, he figures out pretty quickly that he just has to eat up time doing something — anything — and he ends up never working, never progressing. Actually, the opposite has mostly been true since we started blocks. Our NEVERENDING SLOG THROUGH UNBEARABLY LONG DAYS was so disheartening and oppressive for all of us that we are actually getting more work done now in less time, simply because we are fresh and optimistic enough to work at it every day without fearing it will be (honestly) hell. This, added to my son’s naturally competitive, inquisitive and tidy drive, has meant school is a success. Not perfectly smooth with no bumps, but a pretty objective success. My son needs more one on one time. (I’m sorry. I know this is not what you want to hear.) But if my son is the only one at the table and everyone else is running around in their Halloween costumes singing songs and chasing the dog, that’s a win.
                            2) I teach my most distracted student in chunks. He gets one on one lessons and then I give him praise, hugs, high fives, sometimes a treat and then send him away to “get his sillies out”. He runs to the play room (right off the kitchen table where we school) and has physical movement, playing, independent reading time, until I call him back. During that time I school another of his siblings. When it’s his turn again, he’s fresh, less fidgety and more able to focus (usually!). We also have mid morning snack, an immovable lunch time, no gadgets or phone answering and the aforementioned daily rest built in to our day. But we do not have state testing. So ... take that FWIW.

                            ETA: If it takes 18 months to do one core, so be it! You are not giving your kids a “regular” education or the “standard” educational load. It takes as long as it takes. Mastery is more important than speed. Do you really want to reteach all these subjects because you went too fast on the first go?

                            And what Maria2 said (and you echoed) is SPOT. ON. We took an actually Summer this past year after four non stop years of constant schooling. We barely stopped for major holidays. I WILL NEVER DO THAT AGAIN. This school year, we started on the day after Labor Day, we end the Friday before Memorial Day and we take the same holidays as the public school system. I refuse to kill myself anymore. Resting has meant more productivity and joy, not less. Take this advice — PLEASE! I wish someone had sat me down years ago and explained that we weren’t “behind” and advised me to R.E.S.T.

                            Paying it forward to you, “REST, WOMAN!”
                            Last edited by Anita; 10-12-2017, 11:25 AM.
                            Boy Wonder: 10, MP2/SC4 (Special Needs)
                            Joy Bubble: 8, MP2 (Special Needs)
                            Snuggly Cowboy: 6, MPK
                            Sweet Lightness: 2, Reverse-Engineering Specialist

                            “Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”
                            ~Pope St John Paul II

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Re: Our days feel really long: What time do you start and stop school?

                              Originally posted by Maria2 View Post
                              I just have to ask- is this with your ten year old?

                              ETA: I just noticed your signature and see that it is. I think if you are trying to do this and Memoria, plus any additional programs like typing, and trying to get it all into 4 days- it makes sense that your days would be reeeeeeeallly long. I can't imagine being able to do more than my core manual with my kids, and that is with only two. I know how tempting it is to do *all the things* but making time for rest and play and just living- is so, so, important. Maybe even more important, because it lets us process the learning we have done. I'd cut not just a couple things, but a lot of things. and then take a nice summer break without guilt.
                              Again, sorry for the multiple replies to this thread. And thanks to everyone for the advice.
                              I think there is a lot of wisdom in the post above, and I am trying to get that message through my thick skull.
                              Cathy aka The Attached Mama
                              2019-2020
                              DS 12, 7th Grade
                              DD 11, 6th Grade
                              DS 5, K

                              Comment

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