need encouragement


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  • winzfam10

    I am not sure where to begin.  I am trying to re-evaluate and plan for this coming school year and am feeling really confused and overwhelmed.  I have 8 children and it gets more and more challenging as 3 are going to be high school level.  It’s so confusing with them let alone the other 5 children I have.  We have touched on History chronologically with the older 4 up to the Civil War, but the younger 4 have only briefly as they were just “sitting in and listening” most of the time.  They will be 11,10,9 and 8 in the fall.  My dd will be 13 in the fall.  She really likes Mystery of History.  She completed vol. 2 this year and would like to do vol 3.  So in enters a problem, I would like to keep her with us, but because I feel like the younger 4 haven’t received much history at all (especially American).   I thought we would do Early American, I have both of the guides to early American and then the next one.  But what do I do with the dd that wants to do Ren and reformation time.  I have the SCM guide for that as well.  I don’t know.  History decision is just the tip of the iceberg for me.  I would like to follow a CM approach to language arts, but I have a hard time with so many.  I guess I just don’t know how.  I like to have them doing some form of a workbook, just so I know they are covering things that maybe I don’t get to.  It also helps because I have several dr appts and can’t always be sitting there “doing” school.  Do you have any suggestions?  I really want this to be a more successful year.  Thank you for your time.


    Welcome to the challenges of the large family!  LOL  I’m momma to eight going on nine children.  I will be honest, we don’t currently use SCM history, though we have in the past, but we DO keep the family together for history.  It just saves my sanity.  However, for a high schooler I would consider letting them do a different history era independently if they were really self motivated (some kids are, some aren’t). My family this fall will be 14yo (9th), 10yo (5th), 9yo (4th), 7yo (2nd), 6yo (1st), 4yo, 3yo, 2yo, and new baby.  And I understand doctor’s appointments, my 3 year old has tons.  He was born with Spina Bifida among other things and has already had 14 surgeries and hundreds of doctors and therapy appointments. So here is a brief overview of what we’re doing (some we already have started as we do a little bit of work during the summer, some won’t begin until fall). History for the whole family: History Revealed by Diana Waring, we’re using the first volume, Ancient Civilizations and the Bible.  This can be worked similarly to SCM history with family readings/discussion and individual readings by age grouping.  It also has a large creative research and hands on component that my bunch enjoys. Science for the 9th grader: Apologia’s Biology done mostly independently. Science for everyone else: God’s Design for Science.  We’ll do the green books this time around, so life science.  I read it aloud, we do the simple activities, and the kids do nature study and read books they are interested in.  The 4th and 5th grader can take things further with the Apologia Elementary books when they want to, my kids tend to grab those to read for fun. Literature for the whole family: We do read alouds for book club, for fun, and for history when it fits well. Literature for individual kids: They each read and narrate or discuss books with me or with each other, as well as our homeschool book club. We use a variety of book lists including the SCM ones.  My 9th grader also does lit studies with friends, online, etc.  It just depends on the book what she does. Writing for the 9th grader: She chose One Year Adventure Novel for this year.  It has dvd lessons, writing assignments, literature to read and study, an online forum, etc.  I will do this with her (I’m excited!).  We will integrate grammar in the editing process.  She will also do Spelling Wisdom from SCM for spelling. Writing for the rest of the kids: We use Brave Writer methods, which is surprisingly CM friendly.  Young writers narrate and you jot it down for them.  Then you partner and do some of the writing while they take turns as they get older.  Eventually they take ownership of all writing as they are ready developmentally.  Copywork is encouraged (we use Spelling Wisdom for our copywork and dictation passages).  So an example for Brave Writer with my 5th, 4th, 2nd, and 1st:  We may be reading about Ancient Egyptians or studying fairy tales.  So then each child is asked to make a writing project related to that.  Let’s say they retell their favorite fairy tale.  For the 1st and 2nd graders I would write their narrations down.  They might illustrate them.  For the 4th and 5th grader we’ll brainstorm together.  Then they’ll work over several days to write out their story.  The next week I’ll read it to them as I type it up on the computer and they’re welcome to make changes as they want to.  (Hearing your story often makes you think of better wording or gives you ideas for adding to the story.)  I will sometimes suggest changes by asking them to “Tell me more about…..”  They may illustrate, make a book, etc. Our goal is to take 1 writing project from start to finish each month.  Outside of that they’re still narrating (oral or written). Math – All the kids use Math U See.  I have 2 that are in the same level (the 4th and 5th grader) and the rest are in separate levels. Art, Picture Study, and Music happen naturally here and are integrated into History Revealed as well. We’ll begin Latin this year for all ages – or that is the plan.  We’ll use Song School Latin for younger elementary, Latin for Children for upper elementary, and Latin Alive for the high schooler.  I took several years of Latin in High school so I’m not too worried about teaching it, other than the time involved around having a new baby.  😉 Scripture study – we read together and independent readers read daily on their own as well. The high schooler also has an hour seminary class each morning at 5:50 am with other high schoolers from church during the school year, this fall they begin studying the Old Testament. The high schooler will also take a class each semester online from Landry Academy.  Fall semester she chose Graphic Design with GIMP. The 1st grader and I use All About Reading as he’s still learning to read. Does that help at all?  Does it bring up any more questions for you?  Ask away!



    Thanks for such a detailed reply.  It sounds like you have a great plan.  I appreciate your time and pray you have a wonderful birth!

    I believe I will follow the early american guide “loosely” with my 11,10,9, and 8yro.  I love God’s Design for Science and want to finish it this year.  We took a detour. 🙂  I believe my dd that is going to be 13 would really enjoy doing her own History this year.  She just does better reading to herself than being read to.

    Thank you again for your time.  If I have more questions I will definately ask!


    I was just thinking about your LA dilemma. In “baby years” (when we had a new child in the family, irregular sleep for mama, nursing can be demanding on personal energy etc…) I had a little LA helper. I used Queen Homeschool Language Lessons to help my olders have independant Charlotte Mason lessons that they could do each day. Something they had to do well and with focus, and good effort. If things got sloppy, the freedom to do it on their own was lost for a bit, and if copywork had to happen beside the changing of a poopy dipe, so be it. They did do well, they did keep up with their grammar skills, etc. because of it. On days life got, well, lifey, it was good to have a program they could pull out of their basket do, and then begin their silent reading time.  I believe the series was actually written to aid Michelle with her large family and child who needed health attensions. It is not everyone’s top choice for thoroughness I know, but it was a good friend to me.

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