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6th grade placement help please!

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    6th grade placement help please!

    Hi! I could use some help figuring out how to customize MP to suit the needs of my daughter, who is currently in 5th grade but has a different learning profile than my other kids. She is going to have a developmental-behavioral evaluation next month (after a very long wait) for suspected autism spectrum disorder/aspergers. She did MP for 3rd and 4th grades but was never able to keep up with the pace of the lessons. She did great in Latin, and made it part of the way through First Form. She despised Famous Men of Rome, but then she can't stand most history. She is almost on grade level for math, and has been working really hard on that. One of her worst areas is composition. She panics at the thought of any writing curriculum, and I have tried several. Even a 3rd grade writing workbook is causing her difficulty. I even have the Fable DVDs but quit partway through. She enjoyed Greek Myths in 3rd, but as I said, she couldn't stand FMOR in 4th. Comprehension questions in any subject are a challenge, as she has trouble understanding what she's read sometimes, especially if it's more challenging. She can read very well though, and her spelling is excellent. She almost never reads to herself, unless it's about chickens So when we did MP before, I ended up reading aloud a lot to her and letting her answer questions orally.

    I really want to make MP work for her in the fall. She is just very easily overwhelmed, and I would have to change things around to make this work. Any suggestions are very welcome!


    DD 16
    DD 13
    DS 11
    DS 9

    Hi, Kristen.

    What if you create your own bridge year? Given your daughter's previous start-and-stop experiences, you could even create a motto for this year. Perhaps "Persevere!" (One set of definitions: to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly)

    We find it helpful to write such a motto in English or in Latin on the board for the year. I visited a classical school that has an elegantly-written Latin motto atop the blackboard of every classroom. This can inspire mom/teacher as well as students!

    Let's consider each area. For the sake of efficient learning while emphasizing depth of study, you will want to combine skills & content wherever possible:

    1. Classical Studies/Latin/History - she needs to finish First Form Latin this year, if only to prove to herself that she can do it!

    Feel free to omit the Famous Men of Rome questions. My own twins (autism/asperger-type tendencies) enjoyed the stories when lifted from the context of comprehension questions.

    If she does not want to hear the Famous Men stories any more, consider Story of the World, Volume 1: Ancient Times (audio CD available) to boost her knowledge of this period. Review D'Aulaires Greek Myths, if time permits, unless she already remembers all of the stories and personalities. You could also use the Famous Men flashcards. She might enjoy the mastery of these, even if she does not appreciate the stories.

    If you have not yet introduced the Timeline Program, this might begin to give her a good visual, chronological context for history. Perhaps this would help her enjoyment of such studies. You could use this throughout middle school, so she can better grasp the placement of people and events.

    2. Writing/Composition
    If you feel comfortable creating your own writing exercises, this might be best option for the first semester, given her current dread of such things!

    You can create simple writing exercises from books about chickens (seriously!) or any other topic she enjoys. Her strong spelling will assist you with this.

    You might even consider purchasing an especially intriguing, nicely illustrated book about chickens. Save this book for writing purposes only. Have her write only single sentences from the book as copywork or dictation initially, if needed to promote success.

    Alongside (or after) copywork/dictation exercises, you can ease her into writing paragraphs as simple reports on each chapter. You can do this by giving her a template:
    -Topic sentence introducing three points
    -Three sentences, one for each point
    -Concluding sentence

    If this is too daunting for her, create an actual lined template. Then fill in much of the template, such as the topic sentence and first sentence. She can fill in the remaining two sentences about each point. You write a concluding sentence. Continue in this way, until she can write all 3 sentences. After she masters this, help her write her own topic sentence. Eventually, have her write an entire paragraph.

    In this manner, you can create an easy path to a full 5-paragraph report. Some of our children on the autism spectrum write more effectively when addressing non-fiction topics, so her "chicken studies" may benefit this process.

    If you want something more formal for second semester, you might consider one of these: IEW/MP . If she has already tried these, consider a lower-level literature guide for practice with sentences, punctuation, and comprehension.

    Optional add-on:
    My Thankfulness Journal Series - start with Beginner & move to Intermediate. She could complete both in a single semester. This simple set of writing exercises can assist mood, writing, and personal devotion all at once.

    Optional combo course for all of the above:
    MP Latin Cursive Copybook, if she has not already completed this. This book will assist her Latin studies while giving her practice with handwriting.

    3. Math - seems to be working well; continue as planned, unless you would like to lower her current expected level a year

    4. Science:
    Consider the Astronomy course or other MP early science books, such as What's That Bird?

    For a more comprehensive science approach that might "feel" more like middle school to her, consider this wonderful new resource: Nature's Beautiful Order. Even at a slower pace, this could become a worthwhile and enjoyable course of study for her. You can even create copybook, dictation, & paragraph exercises from this. Eventually, the content could supply material for longer reports, as your daughter develops stronger composition skills.

    5. Overall: Cultivating Truth, Goodness, Beauty
    Consider an introduction to beautiful music and art, poetry, and Christian studies. You can do this through museums, symphony studies, MP Art Cards, Old & New Testament audio CD's. She might even enjoy one of the early MP Enrichment Guides. Continue to give her good MP literature & poetry as read-alouds. See also this easy-to-introduce resource: Lingua Angelica CD (CD only). With sacred music, Latin practice, and beauty, this is a nice accompaniment to car rides or quiet time at home.

    Just tossing out some initial ideas. Feel free to follow up if we need more information, or if you would like to whittle these options to a solid plan.

    You already know what your daughter needs, but you will likely know even more after your evaluation next month.


    Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child

    Simply Classical Curriculum


      A heartfelt thank you, Cheryl. I feel like you know my daughter from what you've said here. I really like the sounds of this. I want so badly to make education a positive experience for her. I will probably write more as I think of more questions. She did do the Astronomy course already, and I think she'll really enjoy What's That Bird. I like your idea as to how to approach FMOR. And the idea of using a motto is wonderful. She would love your ideas for writing. In fact, that's what I have been doing for writing assignments lately! I even had her write and illustrate a book telling about each of our chickens. I LOVE the idea of getting a great chicken book that is just for writing and starting very simple and working her up to a paragraph and then an essay.

      I cannot wait until UPS brings me Simply Classical on Wednesday

      Thanks again!


      DD 16
      DD 13
      DS 11
      DS 9