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A few questions

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    A few questions

    In reading Simply Classical, I see you did not always teach your kids together. How did you manage that? What did the other child do when you were busy teaching the other? What is the difference between classical education and a typical christian textbook approach? I take my low IQ daughter to a tutoring center for Math and Reading help. Recently the director approached me about how deep did I want to go in Math with this daughter? Does she really need to know fractions and decimals? I did not know how to answer. I did end up ordering the 2nd grade package for my girls. We start Aug 19. This is way more school than we have ever done. I am hoping it goes well. I want it to be an orderly and organized year. Any tips there? Thanks, Susan

    Good morning, Susan. To refresh everyone's memories, you previously described your two daughters this way:

    I have two girls with cognitive issues. Julie age 12 with a full scale IQ of 48. Verbal comprehension 63, perceptual reasoning 49, working memory 50, and processing speed 70. She has just learned to read and is doing Christian Light 2nd grade math. Grace, age 16 has a total achievement score of 50 from the Wechsler Individual Achievement test. On the Stanford Binet she received a full scale IQ of 42. She received a diagnosis of moderate mental retardation. Grace's testing is from a local hospital and Julie's is from the school district. Both girls attend a tutoring center for reading and math help. I was told by the psychologist that Grace does very well with Spelling. Grace is very visual. I am trying to do more auditory things with her and cut back screen time. Both girls have visual strengths, but do not enjoy being read to. Another thing Grace really enjoys writing. She is learning to write a paragraph and desires to learn to write an essay. Any suggestions for that? I so appreciate your help. I feel as if I have been walking in the dark with these girls. BTW, Grace loves school and works very hard at it. Julie is not a lover of school and is very hands on.

    You have four main questions:

    1. Occupying one child when teaching the other
    We accomplished this with a daily schedule on our large dry erase board. On the schedule I indicated “Mathematics with Mom” for one and a specific task to accomplish, such as “Spelling Beads” or “Science Basket,” for the other. In this way, both were productive. I usually set a timer for the 45-60 minutes. (Often the next item on the schedule was simply “Switch.” This saved me time re-writing! The child who had been working independently came to me, and the other worked independently.)

    For anyone interested in Spelling Beads, here is one source for them. You mentioned that Grace is already strong in spelling, so she might enjoy practicing her words this way. Similarly, Julie is hands-on, so she might appreciate a non-writing approach to practicing her words:

    The “Science Basket” was simply a basket filled with books about science. One child read these silently while I worked with the other. We made headphones available to block the noise.

    These are just two option. You could schedule any productive independent activity during your teaching time. For efficiency, you might utilize exercises already listed in your curriculum package.

    Another approach, especially by afternoon, is simply to allow the other child to rest or play freely when it is not her “turn.” This allows the child to refresh before you need to work with her again.

    2. Classical education vs. Christian textbook approach
    Great question! Some differences:
    Classical Christian education will often integrate the learning more effectively, rather than teach as isolated “subjects.” You'll see this in your Memoria Press lesson plans. Classical Christian education will emphasize beautiful elements, such as art, music, poetry, and literature. Classical Christian education will be more interactive between teacher and student, because discussion with Socratic questioning are so integral to the classical approach to learning. Classical Christian education will rely more on “living books” - real literature and original sources – rather than distilled information transferred through textbooks. Others may have more to add....

    3. How deeply to learn math? Does she need to know fractions and decimals?
    This question reflects the overly pragmatic approach to education. We hear it another way, “If she will not use this in her daily life, why does she need to know it?” However, the real value of learning mathematics is to strengthen and prepare the mind. She will need a strengthened mind her entire life. You can tell them that the discipline of mathematical study helps your daughter in ways far beyond fractions and decimals, so please take her as deeply into mathematics as she is able to continue learning!

    4. Being orderly and organized
    Others here may have suggestions for you, but my main recommendation comes from occasional mistakes of overcommitment: minimize outside activities and obligations. Homeschooling these girls in this new way will take time. Include enough socializing to refresh yourself and your children, but not so much as to take away from the cozy nurturing and “togetherness” of everything you are preparing to do with them.

    So happy for you. This is an exciting time of year. Full of promise!

    I hope everything goes very well for you. (But we're here if you need anything along the way!)


    Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child
    Cheryl Swope, M.Ed., with Foreword by Dr. Gene Edward Veith


      A few questions

      Thanks Cheryl! The suggestions look great. I have one more week to get organized before we start. susan


        Spelling beads

        I looked at the letters. Is it a problem that they are all caps. would it be better to find lower case?


          Good point! You could try this:

          For almost no cost, you can also use sidewalk chalk or simply have the child practice words on paper. But if you like the idea of spelling beads, one tip: invest in multiple laces or strands for stringing. Then you can check their "work", because all of the spelling-word "necklaces" can be placed side-by-side. (Otherwise, the child may need to un-string the beads before the timer sounds, and you cannot inspect so easily.)

          A side note -- my husband still keeps a touching strand my daughter made for him when she finished early one day: U-I-LOVE.

          He didn't mind that they were all caps.



            Thanks for this wonderfully worded reminder. Very helpful as I go about fall preparations for our school year.

            "Others here may have suggestions for you, but my main recommendation comes from occasional mistakes of overcommitment: minimize outside activities and obligations. Homeschooling these girls in this new way will take time. Include enough socializing to refresh yourself and your children, but not so much as to take away from the cozy nurturing and “togetherness” of everything you are preparing to do with them."