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Fell off the Wagon!

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    Fell off the Wagon!

    I admit I haven't been on the forum in months and it is partly due to all the circumstances our family is going through right now. We started the year off excited to jump into Memoria press and I think I had not gotten ll my materials early enough as I didn't really feel completely prepared. I will say my husband really wanted to do one more year of Classical Conversations as it is a 3-year cycle and we had done 2 already and my kids loved the community aspect of it. So, I complicated matters by keeping that on the dockett. I will try to bullet point where we are at to see if we can get some tips and suggestions:


    My husband accepted a new job out of state in December. He moved out at the end of January and we are now going to be starting our 7th week without him. He comes home every other weekend for now. It has been tough on all of us. Shortly after New Years and just 2 weeks before he had to go, we found out we were expecting our 5th child. Wow! A bit unexpected as my youngest will be 6 in April. So, a bit of a shocker there. So, combined with homeschooling and having to keep a house "show-ready", I have been dealing with a lot of fun nausea and general yuck for the past month and a half.


    I started off like this:

    DS13 - SC3 (Bible-based writing)
    DS10 - SC3 (Bible-based writing, but put him into Spelling with my daughter)
    DD8 - MP1 (we placed her here based on her prior AAR phonics instruction)
    DS5 - MPK

    I started off trying to combine kiddos and such. I quickly learned that my eldest was a huge distraction for the other two and that whatever kind of day he was having was going to heavily impact our learning for the day.

    Secondly, my DS10 was frustrated because the material was too easy. He struggles with spelling and writing a lot, but was in the Barton Program with a tutor and had already covered a lot of the general material. So, he was growing a bit grumpy.

    My daughter kept asking me why we stopped using AAR/AAS. She liked the games and enjoyed the program. OK...

    My DS5 started into MPK and I did not realize how writing intensive it was. He had barely put pen to paper before because the prior year we did salt tray writing for letters instead of paper and pencil. I will say, he really got up to speed on how to hold the pencil so I was pleased. I also realized he didn't quite know all of his letters, especially the lowercase ones.


    I kept my eldest in SC3 and I am still trying to find my groove on some things. He can actually read quite well. Most of the words in FSRE he already knew, but it is more challenging for him to spell them. So, his hang-up is more spelling than reading.

    My DS10 went back to a Barton Tutor and we are still using the SC3 Cursive and Copywork. For writing, we are doing IEW SWI-A and I scribe. He still doesn't like to write and seems to struggle with some dysgraphia. I was thinking of letting him choose a book from MP2 or MP3 to read with me so we can get some Literature going. He has already heard most of those stories via Audio or me. I thought maybe we could read together and then we could just chose a question to answer together and he could copy it into his work as additional writing practice as well as Literature discussion.

    MY DD8 went back to AAR/AAS and she enjoys that. I still utilize the CSP2 book and use whichever pages seem to "fit". She still uses the NAC and the Copybook.

    My DS5 finished up the AAR Pre-Reading and I was going to put him into AAR1 to finish out the year. He uses MathUSee Primer in addition to the MP Number Books.

    For all my children, they listen in on the Bible story and I am following the SC3 schedule for that so it stays on track with the SC3 program. All of my children except my youngest are currently using Teaching Textbooks because I was having a hard time doing MathUSee for everyone. It seems to be working fine for my middle two, and my eldest isn't doing too bad either, but I think he might have to combine TT and MUS so he can get that deep understanding.

    So, now we are faced with moving to Wisconsin, a new baby coming in September and figuring out what we are going to do next year. It has been crazy and I haven't gotten through the material as far as I had hoped. We are contemplating all options at this point.

    We still struggle with behavioral issues and I am working on that as best I can. It is hard when I am alone right now. My husband is living out of a hotel room right now and there is no way we can do that for an extended period of time as a family of 6. Praying we can find a house over there that is reasonable enough to buy even if we end up with two mortgages so we can just get settled and figure this all out.

    Feeling a bit unsure of where we go from here...

    #2 have a very full plate and not much respite.

    Which weeks are you on in their respective guides?

    My quick thoughts, shooting from the hip here...

    Bale on kindergarten for the little one. Let him continue with what he's doing, AAR, MP numbers book and MUS Primer. Light and simple.

    The 8 year old, she's completing reading and spelling with All About Learning, she's doing Copybook and cursive with MP materials, Teaching Textbooks for math and listening to a Bible story. She's seems to have all the necessary bases covered. Score.

    The 10 year old, completing reading with Barton and Copybook and cursive with MP materials. Is working on writing with IEW, but not actually writing. Is doing Teaching Textbooks for math. Now, I'm not familiar with Barton and I know different levels increase in complexity, but is there any writing? Seems this child needs to spend more time putting pencil to paper possibly. I think a grade 2 literature book would be good, but Barton doesn't want him reading anything outside of their course. Is he doing well with SWI-A or overwhelmed? If he's struggling, I would ditch IEW and do a grade 2 literature book as a read aloud (to avoid Barton drama) working through the lit guide together. I would have him write 1 vocabulary definition in his own words and copy 1 comprehension question answer that you work through together to start. By the end of the guide, maybe your goal is 2 vocabs and 3 comprehension answers.

    The oldest seems overall well placed in SC3. Phonics and spelling go hand in hand. I would suggest allowing him more advanced reading material in his free time or to fill in gaps where you're working with another child. SC does have some summer reading lists in some of the guides, I'm not quite sure whether there's one in SC3. They're scheduled out in the extension lessons in the back.
    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.


      Thanks Colomama:

      I can get a little more specific. I think I got a bit overwhelmed by all the Syllabi as they read as if they are for a classroom and I was trying to figure out how to do it all. I think I overwhelmed myself trying to figure out all the games and such and since AAR/AAS already has so many games, I just figured it was easier to stick with that. I don't have to make anything. I kept everything in a binder and in page protectors so it is easy and fun. Plus, my daughter can get through a fluency sheet in 1-2 sittings if I play a quick game like Candyland and then have her read a section before each turn.

      Another thing that really threw me was trying to make everything line up. My eldest has some very big attention issues. Sometimes he is looking at the wall or into the distance and I can say his name over and over again and he doesn't even realize I'm talking to him. So, these things do not go "quickly" and I cannot always get through everything for the day.

      Here are my thoughts going forward:

      Phonics: He is ready to start AAR1. I am going to get him started on this and see how we do. Alternatively, I could switch back to MPK and basically start over again now that I am confident he knows his letters and sounds. (I do read the Nature Alphabet book to him. I am trying to incorporate the read aloud recommended in the enrichment manual, but just as read alouds and not digging in.)
      Math: I am continuing with the MathUSee and we will just go as far as we can in the Primer Book.
      Handwriting: He puts pencil/marker to paper everyday so far using Zaner-Bloser Handwriting practice pages (that was what I had from one of my kids awhile ago) as well as the Numbers Books from MPK.
      Bible: He listens in to the stories I read from SC3. It is a bit expedited and I am wondering if I should separate his out so I can slow down and do his as a one on one.

      DD(8) -
      Phonics/Spelling: She is more than halfway through AAR Level 2, then we will move on to Level 3. She just started AAS Level 2. I am also coordinating the Core Skills Phonics (Gr.2) book to what we are doing in AAR. So, I choose a page for her to do each day.
      Reading: We have done some of the Storytime Treasures. We are still on the Little Bear book. Sometimes it is hard to fit this in along with AAR/AAS.
      Math: Teaching Textbooks (I put her into Math3 and so far she is doing well with it. I imagine we will have to slow down slightly as we reach multiple-digit addition with rounding, but we shall see. (Any suggestions for Fact Fluency?
      Copybook: I was using this as strictly a copybook and wasn't memorizing. Now I wish I had. Maybe I will do it more as written now.
      Cursive: She already did the NAC1 last year, but I am working through it once more to make sure she has the letters down.
      Bible: SC3 Bible stories

      DS(11) -
      Phonics/Spelling - Barton Program Book 6 (Silent E rules). They don't recommend having him read outside of the program until finished with this Level, but I will sometimes buddy read with him anyway and just give him words he gets stuck on. In addition, they have these controlled texts for the program that the tutor has been giving me so I have him read 1 chapter a day (which is only 2 pages). He hates it. I try to remind him that this is just practice for fluency. Doesn't make it easier, but oh well. Tutoring is 2X/week for 1hr each session. He does write words and sentences in the lessons. They are obviously related to the level. There are also spelling lists I have requested from her so I can be doing Spelling with him during the week. I asked for the pages from Book 5 so he can get review in and keep working at the rules he has learned.
      Reading/Lit - Audiobooks. He does like to listen to audiobooks so I try to take full advantage of that. I do have the Prairie School Set with the Literature Guide so we could try starting with that one and I am thinking he might even be able to read it fairly easily. So, I think I will try that and use it as a way to get him to put pen to paper more.
      Math - Teaching Textbooks (so far so good)
      Typing - Touch Type Read and Spell is a special typing program that teaches kids to type while also strengthening spelling. I have a 30% off coupon if anyone looks at it and wants to try it. I am hoping it will help strengthen his confidence in spelling.
      Copybook - He has the SC3 Copybook and again I was just having him do the copy work without the memorization. We are actually memorizing Exodus 20:1-17 as a family. So, I had dropped all other Bible verse memory work. I considered getting the NAC software so I could make my own Copywork using that Bible verse. I have an Apple MAC, though, and it looked like I needed a PC. Now, we have an additional laptop so I could probably do it.
      Cursive - We did NAC2 last year, but we ended right at the end of the alphabet review so I am just continuing the book and working at having him do some of the harder pages that are more open ended as opposed to just copying letters. He doesn't like it and I think I will have to write his sentence and he can copy below for the "story ones".
      Writing - IEW Student Writing Intensive A (I chose this because last year when we were in Classical Conversations Essentials, we had used IEW and so it is familiar to him. The early lessons focus on creating a Key Word outline from a very short source text and then creating your own paragraph based on your key words to "retell" the info. I was trying to have him copy from my writing and he fought me on it. At one point, I told him to do his own KWO and we would discuss. The Key words are words you pull right from the text so it is basically copywork. He got mad about that too. Then I would write his paragraph and we would edit and such and then I wanted to use that as his Copywork and he just melts down saying it is going to take FOREVER and such. I told him to set a timer and work hard at it for 10 minutes. I told him I didn't care how far he got if he would focus on doing his very best for just 10 minutes. Still a battle. He hates writing. Poor kid. Sometimes it is hard to tell what is part of the dysgraphia and learning issues versus what is just him being stubborn. This program is the one recommended by Susan Barton as it teaches very incrementally and such. So, somehow I still overwhelmed him, but I feel like he may just be battling me. I am trying to get him to have more of a growth mindset as he is one to get frustrated very easily and shuts down. He would spend all day playing Legos and listening to audiobooks if he could.
      Bible: SC3 Bible stories

      DS(13) - SC3
      Phonics/Spelling - My son had completed AAS Level 1 last year so I am finding that some of the words are easy for him and others are a bit harder. The biggest difference I can see so far is the Words to Know. I bought SCSpelling 1 and then was looking at the list of words covered. He can do blends and CVC and such, so I put him into Spelling 2 because it said that it reviews the words to know again and reviews some of the same spelling rules as Spelling 1. Maybe that was a mistake? Now, because I have been struggling with consistency, we are only on week 4. I find this child to have an understanding of rules but he forgets them easily. However, he is very visual. I was almost contemplating whether or not something like Dianne Crafts words with pictures might work better for him. I don't know. He is doing ok with the spelling words and he struggles more with the words to know. We did start making the cards and doing Go Fish and such.
      Another challenge I am finding is that he already knows all the rules from FSR-E except for some of the vowel teams. He can read all the words very well, but the dictation exercise is much harder. Should I be going back and mastering this? For example, he has already learned soft C, but for some of the words in there he forgets. I am not sure what to do.
      Lit/Comp/Grammar - Storytime Treasures (we are almost done with Billy and Blaze) SC Writing we do right along with our Bible Stories. We just finished Jacob and Joseph, so we are at week 10. Cursive/Copybook - Same as DS11.
      Math - Teaching Textbooks (although I think he would benefit from using MathUSee as well)
      Typing - Touch-type read and spell.

      Here are some more specific questions:

      Recitation - Do you have your kids do all of these each week or do you just make flash cards and work on them slowly? I haven't done much with this at this point. I am leaning towards putting everyone onto the SC3 recitations and doing them together, but unsure. Will they be above my 5-yr old's level? We always did memory work for Classical Conversations so I can definitely see the benefit to these.

      Copywork - Am I correct that there is no actual writing with this until Thursday? This is more of a memorization exercise with Copywork at the end along with Illustration? I have just been having son (13) write a few of the words each day onto a separate piece of paper because sometimes his connections are tricky. That way I can address any connections issues during the first few days and then he can write the whole thing on Thursday or Friday. Other times, I have just been having him write in his book every day but doing a few words at a time. I wasn't working on memorization of the verses though.


        Welcome back!

        General -
        Despite everything, you sound good! It is good to hear from you.

        Curricular Cohesion -
        Be careful spreading yourself "too thin" with too many adaptations, because you can easily lose the benefits of SC's over-teaching and the overlap within SC if you drop key components. Just as important, be careful of giving the impression to your children that if a child does not "like" something, you will move mountains to try to find something he likes more, even though he has not moved mountains to attempt to complete his work. Your own confidence in your choices will go far, so choose what you think is best and then try to stay with it. No matter what you choose, the cohesion of any good program is built into it, so try to stay the course over time.

        Writing -
        It seems everyone could benefit from sequential writing exercises. You're already teaching SC Writing Bible edition with your 13yo. You might do the same with your 8yo and 11yo. Just teach the 8yo and 11yo apart from your 13yo. The format will be familiar to you, so this will streamline your teaching. For your older students, Copybook & NAC are not enough to develop good writing. Memorization of the verses may help your 13yo in ways beyond writing. If he cannot memorize all of them, work on a select verse or two.

        Recitations -
        Yes, you could combine everyone for SC 3 Recitations. These are intended to be oral, so do not feel as though you need to spend your time creating flash cards unless you truly want to do this. Just begin at the beginning, move incrementally, recite with them, and add the corresponding memory verse for Bible lesson you are already teaching to everyone. You will not expect your 5yo to master everything. He will learn much by overhearing and participating where he can. You might all recite while sitting around the table after breakfast, or you might all stand and recite as the first order of the day before you begin each day.

        Congratulations on your fall baby. Take good care of yourself!


          Just a comment on Recitation:

          Because they are all new to MP, we work on everyone's recitation together. The big boys learn the little boys' material very quickly and feel successful. We start standing around the table with MP Jr.K and then move on to MP3. When the littles run out of answers they just sit down and begin a quiet activity, sometimes coloring if I haven't had time to organize something from their curriculum.

          I did find MP overwhelming at the beginning, but as we keep at it (very imperfectly), it is becoming easier!

          DD16 MP11
          DS16 11th grade SPed charter, MP3
          DS9 MP 3
          DS7 MP Jr K
          DS4 MP Jr K