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Question for Cheryl - SC 1 New to Memoria Press

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    Question for Cheryl - SC 1 New to Memoria Press

    I am new to Simply Classical Curriculum. I am homeschooling our six kids. We are doing SC 1 for several of them and I have a few questions and I hope someone can help answer them.
    Math: Felt board? I am not exactly sure what they are wanting us to make and I am not very crafty so I am hoping someone has some pictures they can show me on how to make it. This is the number line with red blocks and stuff they are talking about. We have base ten blocks and all kinds of things like that we have manipulatives that show 1s 10s 100s, so do we really need to make the felt board?
    Music: Ok so I am looking at the section for music and it is telling me that I should introduce these songs. I am excited about this but.... was I suppose to get a cd with all the music on it or a book explaining how to do all the music enrichment stuff that is in the lesson plan??
    Also,I am looking ahead at all the lesson plans and notice that in the music section later on around week 14 they start Christmas songs. Is there a recommended start time for the curriculum? We were planning on starting next week but I dont want us to be doing Christmas themed things in August. I guess I could spend the rest of the summer doing serious fine motor work to try to get them ready for writing more and start Simply Classical in Aug/Sept.
    Sorry one more question! Our two 6 year olds have Down syndrome. Gavyn is reading at a 2nd grade level. He is an amazing reader, and his memory skills are great, knows his days of the week, months of the year, pledge, etc. However fine motor skills are horrible. What have you guys done for kids who are not able to write letters yet, color in the lines, or anything like that. He has great attention and is very willing but his little fingers just are not ready to write in the copy book yet. Thoughts, suggestions?
    Our other six year old Veronika is reading at about a 1st grade level but she also struggles with fine motor. She does better with writing than Gavyn, but writing letters the size of the letters in the copy book would be very challenging and would likely not look much like letters.
    Up to this point we were using Handwriting without Tears with them in their earliest book (their prekindergarten book that has the letters really big and only asks them to trace 4 letters per page.) They are doing ok with that but still the letters are not great. But certainly easier than when we try to get to trace letters that are smaller. Do we stick with that or do we attempt to have them do the copybook work? I honestly can not say how much better it will get between now and then. We have been struggling with fine motor and doing OT for YEARS and are not seeing much improvement.
    With cutting for crafts they can open and close the scissors but cant cut any shapes out. I give them paper and have them cut up paper just for the practice of using the scissors but when I have tried to give them a shape such as a square to cut out, even if it is a large one it doesnt look like a square when they are done.

    #2
    Re: Question for Cheryl - SC 1 New to Memoria Press

    I'll take a stab at a few of these this morning...

    Felt board. Super easy. Are you doing math with multiple students at a time? Maybe everyone should have oneincluding you. These are easy to make. Head to Walmart or your local crafty supply. They sell felt in 8x11 pieces in every color imaginable. Choose two colors, one for the background, one for the pieces. Glue your background piece to something (we glued ours to the back of a lap sized white board, but cardboard would work too). Next, on the other piece, measure out three columns one inch wide and 10 inches high with marks at every inch. I cut two complete columns and the third I cut into 1 inch squares. Felt board= done.

    Music. No CD, just Google the music selection every week. My kids enjoyed seeing the orchestra video with some of them. Some mama may have made a Spotify list of these, but Google was easier for me.

    Enrichment timing. These are totally interchangeable. Our weeks got out of whack and I realized we were going to do the Easter stuff about 3 weeks too late. No biggie, I just jumped ahead in my guide (for enrichment only) and did that part closer to Easter. Afterwards we went back and did the three weeks we had skipped, it all works out in the end.

    Fine motor skills. Hand over hand might help here. For coloring, I found it helped to color the edge of one piece at a time in the color used. So, trace the squirrels tail with a fat brown line, then have the child fill it in. I always sit and color with my child. She's coloring in the traced brown tail and I quickly do the ears or something. We buddy color, it helps the end product to look nicer and moves the project along. I've seen dramatic improvement over time with this process.

    Copywork. If your children aren't there, skip it. It's really a memorization aid. So, work towards memorizing the copywork, but skip the writing. Maybe they copy a single key word instead with you hand over hand helping them along.

    Scissors. The cutting book has large fat lines to help. There's nothing intricate here, they usually cut out a box around the squirrel and cutting the actual squirrel out would be like honors work. It's really hard for kids to use scissors in one hand and move the paper with the other. Tricky. Just give it time.

    Hope that helps. We love SC and have seen amazing results. Kudos on your kiddos reading ability, that's great! Just keep asking away...we love being helpful and answering questions.
    Married to DH for 14 years. Living the rural life in the Colorado mountains

    DS11- Simply Classical 5/6
    DD9- Simply Classical 5/6 (neurotypical, but schooling with big brother to save mom's sanity)
    DD 6- Classic Core First Grade

    We've completed:
    Classic Core Jr. kindergarten, kindergarten, first grade, and second grade.
    Simply Classical levels B, C, 1, 2, 3, and 4.

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Question for Cheryl - SC 1 New to Memoria Press

      Originally posted by Colomama View Post
      I'll take a stab at a few of these this morning...

      Copywork. If your children aren't there, skip it. It's really a memorization aid. So, work towards memorizing the copywork, but skip the writing. Maybe they copy a single key word instead with you hand over hand helping them along.

      Scissors. The cutting book has large fat lines to help. There's nothing intricate here, they usually cut out a box around the squirrel and cutting the actual squirrel out would be like honors work. It's really hard for kids to use scissors in one hand and move the paper with the other. Tricky. Just give it time.
      We are homeschooling six kids, all have special needs. Four of them have Down syndrome and two have other learning challenges, one of which has global delays related to FASD. We are using SC 1 with four of our kids.
      When you mention copywork, Are you talking about SC B or C? We are doing SC level 1, it doesnt have a cutting book and the copy work seems to be a very big part of SC 1 so I am worried about just skipping it. Also there is no coloring work, so not sure about the squirrel? Because of the math work where it expects a child to be able to write their numbers and has speed drills and such, I worry about the fine motor a lot. We have been taking them to private OT for years and they still struggle with it.
      We ended up going with SC 1 because they are doing so well with reading and memory and their math skills matched with the assessment. However the fine motor is a struggle.

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Question for Cheryl - SC 1 New to Memoria Press

        Originally posted by RebeccaJ View Post
        We are homeschooling six kids, all have special needs. Four of them have Down syndrome and two have other learning challenges, one of which has global delays related to FASD. We are using SC 1 with four of our kids.
        When you mention copywork, Are you talking about SC B or C? We are doing SC level 1, it doesnt have a cutting book and the copy work seems to be a very big part of SC 1 so I am worried about just skipping it. Also there is no coloring work, so not sure about the squirrel? Because of the math work where it expects a child to be able to write their numbers and has speed drills and such, I worry about the fine motor a lot. We have been taking them to private OT for years and they still struggle with it.
        We ended up going with SC 1 because they are doing so well with reading and memory and their math skills matched with the assessment. However the fine motor is a struggle.
        Writing/Fine-Motor
        I understand! If you have read Simply Classical, you may have noticed my daughter's handwriting. She received competent OT services from age 18 months onward, but her handwriting did not really improve until about age 9. She remained at the 2-4%ile for years. It was discouraging at the time, but I'm thankful we persevered. Her fine-motor skills never caught up with her other abilities, and she is now 23! That's okay. At least she has the ability to write well when she needs it. Today when she feels compelled to jot down a poem or a new story that pops into her head, she may grab the nearest napkin and write (in her words) like "a chicken scratched out his thoughts!" However, when Michelle is very intent on writing something thoughtful, like a thank-you note, is seated properly at a table, and has good lines on the paper, she now has beautiful handwriting. Cursive helped us, by the way. Your children will learn cursive when the time comes. In the meantime...

        You will want to do two things for them, always:
        1) Address the weak area.
        Don't give up! For fine-motor, this will include OT, extra practice, hand-strengthening or other OT-type leisure activities (stringing beads, play dough, puzzles, fine-motor). You will find specific suggestions by age and skill (e.g., fine-motor) at the front of your SC Curriculum Manual. Add the Scissors Books for any of your children with fine-motor needs. Start with the first one. We cut only thick, straight lines initially. These were created based on my OT's work with my daughter.

        2) Accommodate for the weak area.
        Don't let the weak area hold back her education! With fine-motor, this will include providing alternative means of writing. You might issue each child a slate with edges or a mini white board with lines. Allow tracing by having them erase what you have written vertically on a mounted white board. Allow large-motor writing with sidewalk chalk. Sometimes your accommodations will be simply to omit the writing!

        However, as you mentioned, you will not want to omit the writing ALL of the time. This would be detrimental. Just give yourself the freedom to be creative.

        An index finger on trays of cornmeal will suffice when learning FSR. Hand-over-hand, trace the "m" several times. Whether in cornmeal or on the board or on their own mini-white boards, you can do this instead of having them attempt to write in the FSR student book. Use the FSR student book to show you what to have them "write." They can write in the air with an index finger as a group, if individual work is difficult to accomplish.

        Attached is a photo from a kindergarten class using FSR. When I visited recently, I noticed that each child has a white board, a good black marker, and a sock. Some kept the sock on the desk for erasing. The little girl in the foreground seemed to want hers a little more accessible, so she wore it like a mitten! Like these children, my daughter was initially far more successful when allowed to write on something smooth and forgiving, rather than trying to write with a small font on paper and pencil.

        Arithmetic
        You also asked about the flannelboard. Yes! Take the time to create this. Because you are teaching a "class," you might want a larger one for everyone to see. You will find an assortment of tips in this thread:
        https://forum.memoriapress.com/showt...hlight=flannel

        As for speed drills, in the K class I observed the children were studying R&S 1, just as your children do, yet their fine-motor skills are K age. The teacher conducted speed drills orally, both in a slow-and-careful way and then in a fun, fast-paced race. Drill, drill, drill for mastery but do not feel bound to written drills.


        It will take some organizing on your part, but feel free to save some of the FSR writing, R&S written speed drills, or any other writing exercises for next year or for the year after that. They will make excellent review. We used MP Copybooks for good writing practice long after they were scheduled for other students.

        For the crafts, you can work them together! We did this. I completed the parts they could not manage, but then I saved the "finishing touches" for my children to complete. Think of it as when you loosen a jar lid a little bit before letting the child open it. "You did it!" You're giving a little bit of help, but you're letting them be part of the accomplishment. Then display the crafts for all to see. They can be group crafts.

        Summary
        Remember that we place everything in one convenient package, but this in NO way precludes the fun of teacher creativity, the art of adapting for your children, or the freedom to use SC materials in any way that best suits your children! If they are learning to read and write and become increasingly capable students despite the challenges they face, you are in the right place.
        Attached Files
        Last edited by cherylswope; 05-07-2018, 10:08 AM.

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Question for Cheryl - SC 1 New to Memoria Press

          Originally posted by cherylswope View Post
          Writing/Fine-Motor

          Summary
          Remember that we place everything in one convenient package, but this in NO way precludes the fun of teacher creativity, the art of adapting for your children, or the freedom to use SC materials in any way that best suits your children! If they are learning to read and write and become increasingly capable students despite the challenges they face, you are in the right place.
          Thank you so much this is exactly what I needed to hear!! Thank you for taking the time to reply!
          God Bless,
          Rebecca

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