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    Getting Back to What's Important

    Hello everyone! It's been a while since I have been on the forums! I hope you are all well

    I have to make a confession...I strayed. I was lured in by shiny new curriculum and rave reviews. I am a a bit of a recovering curriculum junkie. I had a moment of weakness!

    For those that suffer from this affliction like I do, any advice? We are only completing our second year, but I went so far as to buy some small pieces of another curriculum. I was sure this new thing was going to be the perfect fit! But then this morning, without being asked, my daughters sat down to do school and began their recitations, flashcards and review box without me! Just listening to the 2 of them, it hit just how much they had learned this year! This new curriculum is so different, in a good way, but very different. I thought it would work for my daughters because they are so art and music oriented, that it may be more interesting and relight that spark for learning.
    (The spark went out after returning from the holiday break. I now realize this happens to a lot of us! We should have pushed through, but instead I changed things up! This resulted in a lack luster performance this winter, but we are getting back to what it was before and things are improving!)

    I feel like I struggle because I am not a naturally creative person. My 12yo daughter wants to be an artist and my 10yo daughter wants to be a dancer. I feel like such a structured and rigorous curriculum like MP was not a good fit for two right brained girls. But then I realized something, there is a time for structure and learning and a time for free expression and creativity! I was trying to merge the 2 during the school day with curriculum changes and other things. Although I thought this would work for them, it actually set us back. We found it was way to hard to switch gears between completing core subjects and then getting into a creative mindset and then back to school again.

    I think what I need to hear, is some advice, affirmation, or suggestions from you on how you tailor your cores to work for your kiddos. I really do love MP, it is a truly amazing curriculum. We just find it to be dry at times. ALL the guides follow the SAME format the whole way through, and very little color is used. I know some may prefer this, we like a little spice over here Can you give me suggestions, tips, or examples of how your day goes? My daughters will be using the 5M and 7M cores next year. Thank you so much for listening to me ramble! Getting advice from you all grounds me and brings me such peace! I should have come on the forums when I was thinking about the other curriculum! It would have saved me some unnecessary spending hahaha!
    Beth
    DD12 - 7M
    DD10 - 5M

    "When you're good to others, you are best to yourself."
    -Benjamin Franklin

    #2
    Re: Getting Back to What's Important

    Hi!

    Most folks who have homeschooled for only a few years (less than 4) have probably experienced what you have. With so many options now, there is always something out there that seems more exciting (!), more fulfilling (!), a better fit for your kids (!). I learned the hard way myself that constantly chasing the best fit for each of my children was exhausting and never delivered a solid education.

    Well, you are where you are. So, here are my suggestions for making the solid, well constructed, quality education that MP provides work for your family.

    Short answer: break up your daily lessons with "bonus time". Bonus time is a short block consisting of a well considered addition that speak to you and your kids. I have always done this in my homeschool. That is how I handle what the K-2 levels now call the Enrichment time (music, art, poetry) for my 5M kid, although there are other areas I will include, too. Right now I am homeschooling only a 1 child, a late in life baby, so it's easy to cater to his interests right now. Greek mythology is a huge interest right now:


    Morning start: child does an hour of independent MP work with classical music in the background (a composer we are following)

    Mom time: Religion with a chapter book read aloud (this gives him a mental break while productively learning)

    Table Work: MP work (Latin, math, review the morning work)

    Independent work: finish Latin, Math

    BONUS TIME: Poetry (IEW product), Themes to Remember (classical music), Greek Mythology (not the MP guide, but a re-reading of other myths)

    Composition: MP's Classical Composition


    Now it is lunch time. All the MP core subjects are complete. I have alternated between his MP math, Latin, and LA subjects with short blocks of higher interest art, music, etc that HE likes.


    After lunch, we do Book Shark American history (love!), MP Recitation, and our MP subject of the day (Classical, Christian, science, geography).

    Done by 2pm.




    If I had more kids, I wouldn't be able to do this. However, with only 1 or 2 kids, it's definitely doable. We are done by 2pm every day, even with all the above (although his hour of independent work starts at 7am while I am still doing chores around the house). Although I find MP a COMPLETE CURRICULUM, I do add little bits around the edges for high interest. The 5M curriculum does not have art or music scheduled in it like the K-2 cores do, and unfortunately I do not own the K-2 resources, so I have added my own, ones I know my child likes.

    Bonus time consists of well considered additions, sprinkled throughout the day, to break up the core work, and which give your family the feeling of customizing to the children's interests.




    Hope that helps.


    Jen


    Edited to add: my bonus subjects are considered "also". I feel no pressure that I MUST complete them every school day. For instance, today our puppy has a vet appointment, so I will flex the bonus block so that my son completes his MP work, but the bonus work will simply be picked up tomorrow. I felt I should clarify that.
    Last edited by Jen (formerly) in Japan; 04-10-2018, 06:50 AM.
    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, 11 yrs, 6M: complete!

    All homeschooled.

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Getting Back to What's Important

      Hi there, and welcome back! Try not to be too hard on yourself - we have all been there and I know I *still* get tempted when things get dull and monotonous! Because they do...I don’t think there is a real way around hitting some patches of doldrums now and then. The difference is how we handle them - as you discovered!

      Personally, I find it difficult to manage much of the enrichment that is, first of all, a valuable part of a Classical education (training in appreciating beauty and all that), but also helps ward off some of those feelings. I *just don’t get to it.* I still have mom-guilt over that, but for all my years of wanting to fix it, it has become that nagging “one more thing” that never seems to get done. *sigh*. And we are not crafty around here apart from drawing and watercolors that they pull out on their own. And we just moved this fall and barely know anyone here at all. The kids have just met a couple neighbor kids, but we have not had family social time in ages. *double sigh.*

      This is my huge preface to say: I “get it.” Days get so monotonous when it is just school, all the time, with nothing to break it up.

      What I do is..,
      1). Remember these are seasons of our lives just like the seasons of the year. February usually hits everyone pretty hard. But it can happen other times too, depending on what’s going on in your life. This is when I usually start trying to figure out if there is a class, a sport, or a place we can all go once or twice a week to break things up. For Lent we started going to an extra daily Mass each week, which has been great, and then we also recently ventured into our local library - which I haven’t done in years (long story). It has not “fixed” anything, but it has helped perk everyone up a bit! And sometimes there isn’t anything that will work - either because of timing or money. But I look, nonetheless.

      2). I try to watch everyone’s schedules more closely. When people are feeling lackluster, they usually start working more slowly, which drags out their days and makes the problem worse! So I start being *more* on top of them, rather than less, to keep them from drowning.

      3) I give everyone space to be frustrated. It’s usually a general mood that begins to infect everyone, so it’s not hard to pick up on. So I hit it head on and let everyone get it out in the open. They get to vent a bit, and we get to talk about whether they have any ideas that would help. Sometimes, that’s all they need. Sometimes they have a real idea that is something we can actually try. Other times, I am completely surprised by what the real issue is and it is not at all what I thought was bugging them. So be careful; sometimes we moms jump right to the, “it must be school” conclusion, but when pressed, they share what it really is, and it’s not actually school at all!

      4). Keep in mind that *everything* can get *old.*. No matter what your kids are interested in, it gets old. Sports, music, art - all their pursuits, if they are really trying to improve and excel - involve hard work and mastery. Which means they all have the potential for periods of burn-out. I have a daughter who did years of ballet, who is now an artist, and then a son who did a ton of soccer and is now a musician. And a gaggle of girls who are still finding their talents. No matter what the interest has been, there have been regular periods of frustration. It’s natural. So we should not be surprised by it - whether it is an activity or school - and use it for what it is: an opportunity to build character.

      The basic thread here is to get away from the knee-jerk reaction of changing things up too much when these periods hit. Talk about it, find a new outlet if possible, but keep going without making huge changes. Once you resist a time or two, you will probably find (as I did) that it gets easier the more times you face it.

      Those are my thoughts on it...(along with the suggestion of letting your artistic daughter decorate her books after she has done the work. I have several daughters who like to add decorative flourishes along the margins.) . Hopefully others who are more creative than I will have some specific suggestions for you!

      AMDG,
      Sarah
      2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
      DD, 18, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
      DS, 16
      DD, 14
      DD, 12
      DD, 10
      DD, 7.5
      DD, 5.5
      +DS+
      DS, 18 months

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Getting Back to What's Important

        Good morning!

        You have already received good advice, but I just wanted to add a couple of comments. There has to be a reason they put conferences so early in the winter/spring because we all have hit lost the back to school excitement and are ready for that let's start something new feeling. That temptation to change is something we all feel from time to time. While visually dry, my kids do well with the consistent expectations that MP provides from day to day. They enjoy learning the material and being done with it so they can move on later in the day to things they really find exciting, No curriculum is likely to be as exciting as something that isn't school. I appreciate not having to research curriculum or spend lots of time trying to figure out a new program or prep the "creative stuff" like lapbooks that I tried to do when my older kids were little. My daughter at 15 still loves color and she has a couple of fountain pens loaded currently with pink and purple ink. Her homework is very colorful. I don't usually allow doodling in books because it seems to get my kids off track.
        Dorinda

        For 2019-2020
        DD 16 - 11th with MPOA(AP Latin), Lukeion (Greek4 & Adv. NT Greek), Thinkwell (Economics and Chemistry), plus Pre-Calculus, American G’ment, Early Church History set, and British Lit
        DS 14 - 8th with MPOA(Fourth Form), CLRC(Intro Lit and Comp), plus Algebra, Field Biology, Classical Studies 1
        DS 11 - 6th with Right Start Level G online class
        DS 6 - 1st with Prima Latina

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Getting Back to What's Important

          I, too, got sidetracked with other curriculum and did a bad deed by ordering an alternative Latin course. My son complains so much about Latin that I broke down and purchased something different during a February free shipping and 20% off sale. Now I am kicking myself for wasting the money, because when I look through this new Latin that is supposed to fix all our problems, it just doesn't seem as clear. You are not alone in veering from the path!
          DS, 13, 8th grade
          DS, 10, 5th grade

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Getting Back to What's Important

            Originally posted by Sugarbelle View Post
            I, too, got sidetracked with other curriculum and did a bad deed by ordering an alternative Latin course. My son complains so much about Latin that I broke down and purchased something different during a February free shipping and 20% off sale. Now I am kicking myself for wasting the money, because when I look through this new Latin that is supposed to fix all our problems, it just doesn't seem as clear. You are not alone in veering from the path!
            Thank you for your kind words! I feel so much more at peace after returning; I just wish that I had never left haha!

            Beth
            Beth
            DD12 - 7M
            DD10 - 5M

            "When you're good to others, you are best to yourself."
            -Benjamin Franklin

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Getting Back to What's Important

              Originally posted by Mom2mthj View Post
              Good morning!

              You have already received good advice, but I just wanted to add a couple of comments. There has to be a reason they put conferences so early in the winter/spring because we all have hit lost the back to school excitement and are ready for that let's start something new feeling. That temptation to change is something we all feel from time to time. While visually dry, my kids do well with the consistent expectations that MP provides from day to day. They enjoy learning the material and being done with it so they can move on later in the day to things they really find exciting, No curriculum is likely to be as exciting as something that isn't school. I appreciate not having to research curriculum or spend lots of time trying to figure out a new program or prep the "creative stuff" like lapbooks that I tried to do when my older kids were little. My daughter at 15 still loves color and she has a couple of fountain pens loaded currently with pink and purple ink. Her homework is very colorful. I don't usually allow doodling in books because it seems to get my kids off track.
              You are so very right about the conventions! And I appreciate you talking about the consistent expectations that MP provides. Even though it is dry at times, there is comfort to be had in a routine! I also went as far as to remove myself from the other FB groups and forums I belonged to. I am so much more at peace with my decision, and not constantly second guessing and doubting our path by reading other testimonials on other curriculum! Thank you for your help
              Beth
              DD12 - 7M
              DD10 - 5M

              "When you're good to others, you are best to yourself."
              -Benjamin Franklin

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Getting Back to What's Important

                Hi.

                Caveat: Guy Post!

                I would say, you should feel affirmed! You are doing a great job because you are CONCERNED about educating your children. You also get homeschooling because you can tailor it to your children! You're like amazing just because of those two things right there.

                SO now, all we're concerned about is execution, which obviously is going well because they can sit and recite stuff without being asked.

                Wow. Can we come observe you for awhile to see how you do this? You must have serious skills!


                As to the second guessing and the desire to free them up for more expression. My understanding of classical curriculum is that it is very structured at the beginning, and then it lends itself to more rhetorical and expressive thought. First get the facts crammed in those little sponges of the brains, then using that platform, begin to correlate thoughts and ideas together. Examine the reasons why the characters of history make their decisions, etc.

                So I think they will yet be able to have plenty of time to give voice to their creativity! If there is something you feel they are doing very well at, you can ease off of it. If they take two years to do 1 year of Latin, and then you fill in the extra time with some art or creative writing, etc...will it hurt them? No. They'll still get plenty of Latin in before high school. They'll be farther than my children will get if they are doing it already.

                SO what are your goals for education? For them to take the Latin AP test and pass? Well, disregard the paragraph above. For them to learn great things, have a wonderful education, and it help them to be able to express themselves in their own ways? Well then, style your curriculum (Even MP) around that... ease up on something to provide the ability to add in what you feel will be best for them.

                One less year of anything will not hurt them!


                So, great job. Keep going! Keep the bar high and your children will meet and exceed your expectations!

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: Getting Back to What's Important

                  Originally posted by BroTrevor View Post
                  Hi.

                  Caveat: Guy Post!

                  I would say, you should feel affirmed! You are doing a great job because you are CONCERNED about educating your children. You also get homeschooling because you can tailor it to your children! You're like amazing just because of those two things right there.

                  SO now, all we're concerned about is execution, which obviously is going well because they can sit and recite stuff without being asked.

                  Wow. Can we come observe you for awhile to see how you do this? You must have serious skills!


                  As to the second guessing and the desire to free them up for more expression. My understanding of classical curriculum is that it is very structured at the beginning, and then it lends itself to more rhetorical and expressive thought. First get the facts crammed in those little sponges of the brains, then using that platform, begin to correlate thoughts and ideas together. Examine the reasons why the characters of history make their decisions, etc.

                  So I think they will yet be able to have plenty of time to give voice to their creativity! If there is something you feel they are doing very well at, you can ease off of it. If they take two years to do 1 year of Latin, and then you fill in the extra time with some art or creative writing, etc...will it hurt them? No. They'll still get plenty of Latin in before high school. They'll be farther than my children will get if they are doing it already.

                  SO what are your goals for education? For them to take the Latin AP test and pass? Well, disregard the paragraph above. For them to learn great things, have a wonderful education, and it help them to be able to express themselves in their own ways? Well then, style your curriculum (Even MP) around that... ease up on something to provide the ability to add in what you feel will be best for them.

                  One less year of anything will not hurt them!


                  So, great job. Keep going! Keep the bar high and your children will meet and exceed your expectations!
                  Thank you so much, I appreciate your point of view and your vote of confidence! I also appreciate the gentle reminders that its ok to deviate from the master plan to make this program work for my family.

                  Beth
                  Beth
                  DD12 - 7M
                  DD10 - 5M

                  "When you're good to others, you are best to yourself."
                  -Benjamin Franklin

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: Getting Back to What's Important

                    Originally posted by Sugarbelle View Post
                    I, too, got sidetracked with other curriculum and did a bad deed by ordering an alternative Latin course. My son complains so much about Latin that I broke down and purchased something different during a February free shipping and 20% off sale. Now I am kicking myself for wasting the money, because when I look through this new Latin that is supposed to fix all our problems, it just doesn't seem as clear. You are not alone in veering from the path!
                    Don't you hate it when that happens?! Thank you for sharing your experience! Whenever I do this, I am reminded that we learn the most about ourselves and what we like and don't like from our mistakes haha! So we can think of it this way, without making those choices, we wouldn't have come upon the decision of what is truly better and what we enjoy the most!

                    Beth
                    Beth
                    DD12 - 7M
                    DD10 - 5M

                    "When you're good to others, you are best to yourself."
                    -Benjamin Franklin

                    Comment

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