Thinking through the new year

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  • beccawalker2000

    So even though I intended to school full time through the summer, things kinda came to a screeching halt due to some of my health problems and my need to get that under control before we can move forward again. Thankfully, the Lord has provided some answers in this area, and I feel like I can think and plan again. 🙂

    So since October last year, we made it through the 1st term of Middle Ages. So slow. But we did get that far, in spite of sickness. Yay.

    My biggest concern is for my 9 yo son who has struggled from the beginning to learn to read, and though he’s on the way in that area now, he isn’t writing on his own at all, just doing copywork and transcription from Spelling Wisdom.
    He’s also having a hard time with math. He is about 1/2 way through MUS Beta, and he very often gets tired after doing only a few problems.  He knows the process of adding/subtracting, but doing that with multiple numbers throw him off. I’m just wondering at what point do you try a different approach or curriculum in math? Or should I not be concerned and just see each day as a step forward for him, regardless of how slow he needs to go right now?
    **Insert Momma concern/worry here… 🙁

    Now my oldest is 12 now, totally on track in every subject. MY struggle is writing. I have asked before about what y’all use, but from a different perspective, what do you expect from your 12 yo boys when it comes to writing? At the end of 6th? and what do they learn throughout 7th?

    I’m looking forward to getting into the nitty gritty of planning and setting our books back in order to get back to it. And I’m just thankful that the Lord is helping me get my energy back, so that I can continue to home school my children!!


    I love questions like these because they make me think!  Here are my thoughts:

    1. Slow history is still history.  Go you!

    2. For 9yo son – I have found that independent writing doesn’t really develop until they’ve been reading solidly for a while.  So if reading has come slower then expect his writing on his own to begin a bit later too, just because the more exposure to reading on their own they get the more words they have stored in their head to write down (seeing how to spell them or at least come close).   In regards to math… how consistent were you in the last 9 months with daily math practice?  If you were very consistent despite illness then you may want to consider trying something different (may) or give it more time ( I would probably give it more time with daily practice).  If you were not at daily or near daily math practice each week in the last year then he’s probably fine with the curriculum but needs more time to finish the same amount of practice/repetition that he would have gotten doing daily math.  Ex: if he only did math 3 days a week for 25 weeks in the last year due to illness that is 75 days of practice.  If he had done 5 days a week for the traditional 34 or more weeks he would have had 170 days of math practice.  Do you see the difference?  That would have been more than DOUBLE the math practice.  Consistency, daily, regular consistency makes a huge difference in basic skills like math and learning to read.

    3. 12 year old boys.  I have not had one yet, (have a 15 yo girl) but my oldest son turns 12 in October.  He’s heading into 6th grade.  This is what I see he can do now (as a late reader, he didn’t really take off with reading until age 9-10):
    – He can sit down to write about a topic for 5-10 minutes and produce 1-3 paragraphs of a few sentences each.  Usually 2 unless he’s enthusiastic about the topic.  And there is a difference in writing by hand versus typing, as typing is easier for him.

    – He can spend a week or so researching and taking notes.  Ex: right now he’s reading a book about Albert Einstein and taking notes on each short chapter (what he learns or finds interesting).  He’ll take those in a different week and write a paper about Einstein, goal being 4 or more sentences per day.  Then we sit together to edit (he has weak spelling skills, but it’s getting a bit better each year.  We just use Spelling Wisdom from SCM, and are giving it time.).  He will expand (add info), rearrange sentences, and tweak the report during this too.

    – Our goal for this year is that by the end of 6th grade he chooses to edit his word choice to make it more interesting instead of limiting himself to words he can spell easily.  Also that he reads and learns widely so that he has lots of thoughts and information and ideas to feed his creativity and therefore his writing.  We won’t go near academic formats until high school unless he asks.


    Tristan! You have helped me SO much! I never would have thought of my son’s math in that way, but that’s exactly what has happened. He hasn’t had enough consistent practice…a total weight off me. We just need more consistency, and Lord willing, with my strength and health returning, I will be able to give that to him now. 🙂
    My 12 yo…hmm, good thoughts! I struggle with the CM approach to writing, but you  make good points and have given me ideas for him in the coming year.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

    Rachel White

    As someone with chronic problems, and with a husband with severe issues who needs caretaking, I had to reexamine my choices: dreams v/s reality

    My dd had the same problem you describe;  it didn’t matter how much practice, MUS wasn’t working

    I am very grateful for CLE(Christian Light Ed). Not only is it more independent, she GOT IT and she old check herself if need be, it gives her more repetition of everything-which was missing in MUS; she understands the WAY it teaches (MUS made basics more complicated in it’s instruction than CLE)

    As for writing, at 9, I agree about focusing on his reading more than his writing in this next year; copywork and SW is sufficient, IMO; however, after this next year, I would reanalyze and consider by 11 to get started on structural teachng materials you teach yourself (instead of just depending on the more teacher-intensive CM way), or online if you can (my route-those have saved my sanity). With my inconsistency in this area due to health issues and other commitments, this one got hit hard, too; and by their being late on developing writing skills, it as negatively affected their high school years

    You didn’t mention grammar instruction; for me, looking back, that – and math and writing – were the worst hit by or health issues

    I would say this is where Growing with Grammar has been a G-Dsend! Highly recommend it.

    It’s great that you got thru history, albeit slowly; however, when you’re not able to do as much as planned, I would recommend using history audios and also, just give them history books to read, without narration (because that reqiures you), to provide more historical background


    I’m glad to help!

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