If you do a packaged Elementary Curriculum (Bob Jones, Abeka, Sonlight, etc)-?? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 11 Old 01-10-2011, 11:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was wondering for those that use an entire curriculum from one source- such as Abeka or Bob Jones- for the early-middle grades.  How many hours a day does it take you children to complete their days work?  How much prep time and finish time is involved for you each day?  Is the workload pretty heavy for the kids?  Is it flexible in that you can skip some things, or work on mastering a difficult concept before moving on?  If I wanted to order say, the grade 4 package but with a different grade level of math, would most companies do that? 

 

I know several people who use Abeka Book curriculum and it seems like they spend so much time every day, even for their little kids, and the mom is always in her "office" marking papers and going over work.  Also, they seem to be so strict about missing days of school because the kids get so far behind so quickly , so they have to have a realllly good reason to skip a day.  Seems like they don't have time to drop everything and head to the park on a beautiful spring day, or take a snow day and chuck the books and break out the toboggans and hot chocolate, kwim?  It just seems so structured and inflexible to me, BUT perhaps it's just the way these particular families do school...? 

 

I'm sure I have other questions but this is all I can think of for now! Thanks :)


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#2 of 11 Old 01-10-2011, 05:27 PM
 
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We use Catholic Heritage Curricula which is a boxed program IMO but light. Takes us maybe a hour a day to do our work at the K level. I don't mark papers at all - maybe when DD is older and works more on her own I will but not now. We only do school 4 days a week, and there is no such thing as behind IMO.

 

 

I haven't seem any of the others to compare - it looks like they have more reading though which would increase the time.


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#3 of 11 Old 01-10-2011, 05:36 PM
 
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We are doing Sonlight 3 for a 1st and 4th grader. It takes us about 2.5 to 3.5 hours per day to get everything done, including all the reading out loud. I don't spend but maybe 1/2 hour per week on prep work. Sonlight is very flexible as to what you order. You can definitely order different math level than history or reading level. It's also pretty easy to skip a day and make it up later. You just may have a little more reading out loud to do...


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#4 of 11 Old 01-10-2011, 05:46 PM
 
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I use Sonlight for all mine.  We have grades 2 and 1 with a K4 and a 3yo tornado lol  Anyway, I'm doing core 1 with the oldest two, and my third girl is doing core P4/5.  I spend about 5-6 hours a day teaching BUT there's a lot involved in that number.

 

One, Sonlight cores are history and cover a decent age range.  With my oldest two girls, I spend maybe an hour or so doing the actual core with them.  That means me reading the read alouds to them and us discussing anything they have questions about, and any mapwork that they have assigned that I choose to do.  Then I work with them one on one in their readers, language arts (which I only do parts of that one), math, handwriting, and piano.  I do active teaching for the lesson at hand, then she does the assignment independently while I teach her sister the lesson she has.  That can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes total for a subject, depending on which kid and subject (my 7yo needs a full 30min for math, with the entire time being me actively teaching her, while she may only need 10 minutes for handwriting lesson, with the first half being instruction from me on what we are working on).  For my 4yo, I spent about 30 minutes or so, give or take, doing core P4/5 with her and then we spend another half hour to 45 minutes doing math, reading, and handwriting with me directly actively teaching her almost all of that time.

 

I find Sonlight to be very flexible for me, as we are really super relaxed.  Yes there is an IG for the cores and such, but they aren't listed as Mon-Fri with the weeks.  I'm in week uhhhhhhhhh crud I have to look, but I can tell you I'm going to be doing day 5 of that week tomorrow. LOL  With P4/5 I'm in week 1 since she just moved up to that core, and my 4yo is at an odd point in LA K.  Taking a day off doesn't put you "behind" in my opinion, that's just a mindset for the hyper-structured school-at-home types.  I'm way more relaxed than that with our lessons.

 

As far as workload for me and the kids, well I'm doing 2 cores with 3 different levels of LA, math, and handwriting while maintaining a full time college courseload.  I spend maybe 30min at night or in the morning prepping for the next lessons, and I grade math and such as they do the work so that I can mark it off and move on OR take more time right then to work more on what they are struggling with.

 

I have an oldest who has multiple LDs and 2 middle kids who are accelerated learners.  Sonlight is the ONLY program I've found so far that I can EASILY adjust to fit everyone's needs at the same time.  I have my oldest combined in the same core as the quickest of my two middle girls right now, and I'm able to slow it down for my oldest while not holding back my second girl at the same time.  I add in tons of hands-on stuff (which comes naturally to me somehow) to give us more time for my oldest to grasp the material while also giving more depth for the second girl.  We spent a whole week on day 1 of week 1 just because the girls were really interested in all the material that was presented in that lesson (which I felt that book and the second book in the history portion of core 1 are just poor choices and that the core would be better without them so we dropped them and moved on in it, I think that puts us in week 7 or 8 I can't remember which) and they learned tons.  The best part of Sonlight for me personally is that it isn't normal textbooks.  Its REAL books.  My girls relate better with regular books than they do to textbooks (trust me we did k12 for a year before going back to Sonlight) and it doesn't really feel like doing school with them.  If I pull a book off the shelf to read and one sees me, she instantly tears off yelling that its school time and I get 4 kids swarming me and fighting for the best seats to see any pictures that may be on the pages (I solve this by having dd1 sit on the back of the sofa with her legs over my shoulders or laying across the back with a head on my shoulder, dd2 and dd3 on each side of me, and dd4 in my lap helping me hold the book).  I have this real love affair with Sonlight obviously.

 

Did I miss anything? I managed to misplace my meds bottle so I couldn't find them to take today, I'm a bit foggy and having a lot of trouble concentrating and staying focused more than 2 minutes.


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#5 of 11 Old 01-10-2011, 06:16 PM
 
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I am not using the entire ABeka curric but most of it.  I am using Letters and sounds, language, spelling, and math.  We are doing science and history via reading and a cool thing about the human body that I printed off from ?curriclick?.  We do reading with books, books and more books.  I have her read and tell me about it.  I find that it doesn't require a lot of prep work.  I just keep the planner open to that week and pull out the sheets for that day.  I think it takes about 2-2.5 hours every day to do work.  I explain the lesson and DD does it.  We do a lot of math a la cart as well.  We made cookies the other day and talked about fractions via 1 cup 1/2 cup 1/4 cup etc.  We are just getting into fractions in math in ABeka.  I also think it is flexable.  We can easily do 2 days in 1 day. 


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#6 of 11 Old 01-11-2011, 05:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for all the insight into what your days entail, really appreciate it!  So far I've just pulled different subjects from all sorts of places.  We use SOTW for history for both kids, Rod & Staff for Bible (with the accompanying workbooks for some LA), spelling, Teaching Texbooks for math for ds and dd just uses workbooks.  I make up a lot of my own stuff for LA, writing, reading, and geography.  I'm looking into adding Singapore math to give ds an added edge on math since he excels and enjoys math.  The only area I am really unhappy with is science, I really dislike the science curriculum I bought (thankfully it was cheap) for several reasons, it's very activity based.  I also hate textbooks, haven't bought any yet!  The homeschooling convention is coming up and I'm exploring my options again for next year.  Always figured I'd purchase a packaged curriculum once my oldest got to the older grades, but not sure if I will just yet.  :)


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#7 of 11 Old 01-11-2011, 07:38 AM
 
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i keep trying to find a one package curriculum (i have no idea why- i like the uniformity i guess), but i can't find anything that strikes my fancy. so for now i'm just putting stuff together. SOTW for history, with added reading, writing, and timeline activities (she likes history), HWOT and copywork for handwriting, singapore for math (want to find something else, singapore is just not suiting her learning style), and early readers for reading. she's only in 1st, so its pretty easy to put together. i keep meaning to go look through the resources to see if there's anything out there curriculum wise that i missed. hmmm.


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#8 of 11 Old 01-11-2011, 07:46 AM
 
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I do NOT like Sonlight science........... lol  I don't know why, I just don't like it.  We are reading the science books in P4/5 but honestly most of the science we do is hands-on practical application through me attempting to learn to keep plants alive, mixing chemicals for cleaning, baking, and watching Myth Busters on TV (I got the DVR set to record all episodes for the girls)


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Melissa 4/03, Lydia 5/04, Kimberly 1/06, and Jordan 9/07

And waiting impatiently on baby Isaiah ******* to appear around 3/12

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#9 of 11 Old 01-11-2011, 01:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittie313 View Post

I do NOT like Sonlight science........... lol  I don't know why, I just don't like it.  We are reading the science books in P4/5 but honestly most of the science we do is hands-on practical application through me attempting to learn to keep plants alive, mixing chemicals for cleaning, baking, and watching Myth Busters on TV (I got the DVR set to record all episodes for the girls)



mythbusters is a great idea! i don't think my older dd would get it quite yet, but its a great idea for the future.


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#10 of 11 Old 01-12-2011, 08:29 PM
 
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We're currently using Abeka language arts, the full LA program, which for K is only 2 books (2-3 worksheets a day with very little work on them) and for 1st is 4 workbooks (4 worksheets a day).  We also go over most of their phonics sounds each day and read from the readers.  My kids aren't catching onto reading naturally or easily though and I feel like my oldest especially (who has some LD's) needs the repetition that this curriculum provides.  My K child spends about 45 min. total on LA, my 1st grader spends more like 1-1.5 hours with all the phonics review/reading/studying spelling words.  And I don't like to miss a day because it is too much to make up on another day.  That said, however, if we don't finish the books this year, it's not the end of the world since the next grade level is heavy on review at the beginning.  So we do miss days now and then.  I think it's up to you how much you structure things regardless of the curriculum that you choose.  I've also used Sonlight, and found that it was very easy to "catch up" on other days, so I never worried about missing a day of school.  But I did not like their LA program at all and the science felt disjointed to me.  So now, I'm using a mishmash of curriculums, something different for every subject, which is the best way to go for most families.  


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#11 of 11 Old 01-12-2011, 10:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittie313 View Post

I do NOT like Sonlight science........... lol  I don't know why, I just don't like it.  We are reading the science books in P4/5 but honestly most of the science we do is hands-on practical application through me attempting to learn to keep plants alive, mixing chemicals for cleaning, baking, and watching Myth Busters on TV (I got the DVR set to record all episodes for the girls)


Yeah, I'm not 100% thrilled with the Sonlight science (while I like the idea of getting a caterpillar that will turn into a butterfly, I'm not going to set a butterfly loose anytime from Jan-Mar in my area!), but they're okay books to futz around with.  Probably going to just do the things in the Bernard Nebel book starting next year for the to-be 8yo and 5.5yo.  I'm totally all over things from the discovery and history channel... the other day all three of my olders got sucked into something I found on Netflix about underwater volcanoes.  They're visual, so it works.  Even if they're building tinkertoy trains/cars/pulleys while watching.  :)  Honestly, I've gotten sucked in by Pawn Stars - it's like a schitzo history lesson that can be really fun or really cringe inducing, but you always learn something.

I'm mostly into Sonlight because of the array of books in just the cores.  Gives me some direction/schedule, and mostly good books.  There's a few I've put aside, but really, my very active 7yo has asked [on more than one occasion] for 'just one more chapter?!' while actually sitting next to me.  As in, he's totally engrossed in the read alouds.  And most of them are not books I'd ever heard of before, either, but are very neat.  Anyway.  So I just plan to add on the little extras as/when I see fit.  Like when we decide to really delve more into math, when the 7yo picks up speed with All About Spelling, that kind of thing. 


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