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Placement Advice, Please

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    Placement Advice, Please

    I have quite a few placement questions, but today it is my 13yo son's turn.

    I am trying to determine a programme for my 13yo son for next year, as I am looking at switching to MP/SC (our school year starts in the new year). I am not sure whether MP or SC would be a better fit for him. As a general question, is there advice somewhere on deciding between the two programmes?

    My DS is currently working through mostly year seven books, as his comprehension and understanding is good. However his writing skills are far behind. He suffers from anxiety and mild dyslexia. I believe the MP year 7 or 8 workloads would be a lot more than he can handle because of this. He would be above SC 5/6. I am wondering how I can adjust a programme to meet his needs. Does anyone have any advice, please?

    Thank you,


    Cheryl Swope will answer in the morning I'm guessing. I know she's currently working on the next level, SC 7/8. So, she may be able to give you some guidance as she's planning.

    The key difference is the pace and writing in the SC curriculum. If you're afraid that the traditional load of writing would be too much, SC might be a better fit.

    One thing you could do is to give your child the level 5/6 assessment. See if he placed at that level for writing or spelling. That will give us a little more knowledge of his skills and help us to help you figure placement.
    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.


      He placed quite high in the level 5/6 placement test. In writing and spelling he is ~80% Spelling is a big issue around here, not just for him. He is working on learning grammar. He scores around 80% in the Social, Emotional, Attention and Work Habits section. These are his weakest areas on this assessment.



        Generally we recommend SC in these situations:

        1. Long-term
        When a student has moderare to severe special needs and will require an adapted curriculum throughout his education, we recommend SC. These needs include but are not limited to intellectual disability, emotional or cognitive difficulties (adhd, mental illness, fasd, trauma), specific learning disabilities, autism, or medical conditions.

        2. One-Year-at-a-Time
        Sometimes we know little more than that a student's needs require the step-by-step, explicit, multimodal approach and gentler pacing *this* year. We do not yet know the student's future needs. Perhaps the student does not yet have a diagnosis or is coming to MP/SC for the first time. Sometimes it is simply too soon to tell what he will need long-term. In such cases we reassess as we go and make decisions one year at a time.

        3. Short-term Full Package
        When a student needs work in weaker areas with a view to transitioning to MP, we recommend SC as a bridge. For example, our full SC C package provides extra ear training (phonological awareness) prior to beginning First Start Reading. This is especially important for students with memory, speech, or language difficulties. Our full SC 2 package serves as a bridge to MP when decoding, reading fluency, and writing need more work or more time.

        4. Short-Term Intensives
        Sometimes, as in your 13yo's case, we customize an "Intensive" -- usually reading, writing, and/or spelling -- for concentrated study when an entire package would not be necessary. For example, we have a Phonics & Reading Intensive for younger students.

        Your school year does not begin until January 1, correct? Would you be able to teach him from SC 5&6's Traditional Spelling II and English Grammar Practice (composition, grammar) until then?


          Thank you, Cheryl. I will have a look into them. I think I will need to use Traditional Spelling with him. I will have a look at the English Grammar Practice, too. We have been trying to focus on formal composition this year as it is.

          I guess, I also feel that there is no way that he could cope with the daily load expected in MP 7 or 8 with his anxiety. He could probably manage many of the individual items, but not the load. I am not sure what would be best to leave out. I can look at it over the coming months in comparison with how he is doing. (His brother has several special needs and SLDs and will most likely be using SC4, 5 or 5&6. I am waiting to get a better idea of how he places later in the year.)




            We will try to have SC 7&8 ready in time for you, as this might be an option. Some of our students with the combination of higher intelligence and higher anxiety will do well with MP Classical Core but with fewer subjects at a time, so you might consider this as well.

            If his brother begins SC5&6, that might be a good time to start your 13yo in Latin, as they could do this together. Sometimes our SC Latin has the surprising effect of building both word awareness and linguistic confidence at the same time!

            Blessings to you. I remember when my son was 13-14 turning that corner from boyhood to manhood. We had so many questions about this future! Focus on good literature selections, keep instilling a good work ethic, and consider adding Myself & Others Three & Four for both of your students. Each is only 14 weeks and can help tremendously.
             Not sure where to start? Take these Readiness Assessments: Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3  | Book 4  Book One Sample Book Two Sample Book Three Sample Book Fou



              Thank you, Cheryl. You are right! It is a little confronting to suddenly have a young man about the place. I will certainly take this advice on board, I can see how it could be a good fit for us.



                Originally posted by Naxi View Post

                I guess, I also feel that there is no way that he could cope with the daily load expected in MP 7 or 8 with his anxiety. He could probably manage many of the individual items, but not the load. I am not sure what would be best to leave out.
                Dear Natalie,

                When my family switched to MP, my oldest son was 13 years old and entering 7th grade. He also has anxiety, which seems to increase a lot during adolescence in kids who are prone to it. I had the exact same thought you expressed here when I was looking at the Core Curriculum. SC 7/8 might be a great fit, and I would absolutely encourage you to look at that when it comes out. But if it doesn't seem like that will work, Cheryl and others here can help you adjust the MP Core packages to something manageable for your son but still providing a fantastic classical education. That's what we've done for my son, and it's worked really well.

                What helped me when looking at the vast array of material covered in the middle school packages was just to take it down to 5 or 6 basic courses and fill those with the MP core materials. Also, you can pace the classes slower than the curriculum manual or individual lesson plans. I was not able to hand the curriculum manual to my son to work from independently at that time because it was an overwhelming amount of assignments for him to look at.

                If you really want to focus on composition, you can choose to go really light on the Science/Classical/Christian/Modern studies portion of the curriculum for middle school. Those books can be covered with the read and discuss method (no writing in the student guide), or you can go in depth on just a couple of those areas.

                Another thing to consider is that the MP selections for 8th grade in Literature, History, Geography and Christian studies are books and subjects that are great for 8th graders who are strong readers and writers, but they are also totally appropriate for high school. Delaying those books until 9th or 10th grade won't compromise your son's education at all and can give you the extra time needed to shore up his spelling, grammar, and composition skills.

                Latin is the center of the curriculum, so start with First Form if he hasn't studied Latin before. We did First Form over 3 semesters for my son. By Second Form, he was ready to follow the lesson plans as written.

                Math--wherever he is there

                English--English Grammar Recitation is excellent, but it is a complement to the First Form Latin series, where most of the grammar instruction takes place. EGR should only take 10-15 minutes a day, if that. With Classical Composition, you want to start at the beginning level, although you don't need to spend an entire year on each level. You mentioned Traditional Spelling too; you could also look at Spelling Workout for the higher levels.

                In our case, my son couldn't handle much more than this in 7th grade. We were also spending a lot of time working on his anxiety with cognitive behavior therapy and daily aerobic exercise. I did Christian Studies with him without the student guide, and for science he kept a garden and read a ton of gardening and natural history books on his own. We did one Literature selection and the Famous Men of Rome book for Classical Studies.

                Each successive year he has been able to take on more work, especially as he's gotten a feel for the MP process. He is entering 10th grade now and is able to follow MP lesson plans without too much anxiety at this point.

                I hope that helps, and please share more if you have more specific questions.

                DS 2.5

                Homeschooling 4 with MP
                2 in classical school


                  Thank you, Catherine. There is a lot of helpful, and even better, encouraging advice in your reply. It is good to hear of someone else switching to MP at this late stage and that it worked out, as well. You make it feel doable!