Encouragement - For homeschool teaching worries

Art, Foreign Language, Music, Nature Walks, as well as general ideas and encouragement
Julie in MN
Posts: 2909
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Testing and Placement

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Hi Karla,
Lots to worry about this morning. <hugs>

Okay, I see three things in there that you're worrying about, so I'll separate them out.

1. MFW grammar does NOT introduce formal names for parts of speech in 2nd grade. So ANY test on that will not appropriately evaluate your MFW student's progress. If you *want* to teach those things, then you could do something simple like Grammar Rock, or something more extensive like a grammar program.

Having taught a grammar-heavy tutoring program for several years, I would have *loved* to have spent time with those students in PLL and *observing* what is going ON when we translate spoken language into written language. Instead, they were memorizing the names of the parts of speech and not understanding how it related to their writing in any way. The *tool* of grammar vocabulary was of no value to them at the time, since they were not discussing why their sentences weren't working or weren't making sense - mostly because they didn't need it yet. 5 word sentences make sense even without punctuation LOL.

It's a philosophy, and if you're worried about public school, I'd say either you can add it in or you can let it go. My experience with public and private schooled students is that few remembered the grammar they had memorized the year before, anyways. But they might remember it if they had just memorized it within recent months.

2. Math topics were forgotten or were never introduced. Well, first of all, most tests take the questions just a notch above grade level, to make room for advanced students. You can still score "better than 98% of students in 2nd grade" on a test where you got lots of questions wrong, depending on how the test is set up. So I wouldn't worry too much about topics not being introduced.

As for topics being forgotten, that does happen. You can do a little test prep before the test, like most of the public school teachers are doing. Or you can keep up in more informal ways. In a mildly-mathy family here, we talk about math a lot. I tried to have my younger kids experience paying for something themselves, keeping an allowance notebook (rather than actual money), chatting about math topics in the car, doing oral challenges for fun.

Usually math tests have two parts, (1) computation speed and (2) math concepts. Be sure to do drill regularly if you want good scores on the speed section.

3. Testing skills. I do agree that this is a skill in itself. I felt it was a useful enough skill that I spent a week or two on some little topic some years. One year, we learned about filling in "bubbles." Another year, I wrote a sentence on the marker board each day for about 6 weeks, and my son had to find so many errors (ala Great Editing Adventure). This taught him that "the book" or "the test" can have an error in it, because that was not intuitive for him. These types of things depend on the child and don't need to take much time, IMHO.

Does that help at all?
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
cbollin

Re: Testing and Placement

Unread post by cbollin »

I believe it is Winston Churchill who is credited with saying something along the lines of "I hate tests. They do not show what I do know. And they only show what I do not know."


Without seeing how your child's writing is.... I can't agree with you completely that they didn't learn what they should have. Just because they didn't understand a question, doesn't indicate anything.

I give nationally normed achievement tests to homeschooled students (and receive money for that, so I guess I'm a professional test administrator.ha ha ) Not any of them have used MFW so far. Even students who used textbook and classroom approaches did not know all of the stuff on those tests. I wouldn't use a curriculum placement test as a guide for how a student will transfer to public school. kwim? It's really not a good basis to say that a curriculum placement test is "basics standards"..... is it? It's one thing to look for achievement tests (nationally normed)... but lifepacs placement tests are not one of those.

One of my recent clients was a 2nd grade girl who used all textbook approach. She had not learned all of the educator terms either. I sat there watching how she did on the test with questions that were hard for her and was surprised on some things she struggled on. In spite of all of that... when the normed scores were returned, she was average in some things, and below in others. This is common.

If you are worried about meeting placement for public school, then get some practice test for Standardized testing. Spectrum Tests are fine for that. check local teacher supply store. Grammar heavy identification is not the only way to teach. Do you know when you plan to quit homeschooling them? (as in.. which grade do you plan to enroll them in group school? that might help with your planning needs)

Many of the things you mentioned on the placement test will be covered in MFW scope and sequence, and more than that, students do forget these things at this age and it is taught over and over and over and over and over again each year.

All I know is that my oldest in 10th grade, who followed MFW language arts, did really well on her PSAT critical reading and writing (and math too). My middle daughter, who is slow to average in life, got 99th percentile on her language arts portions of Nationally Standardized Testing this year. She has only done MFW language arts from Preschool through now 7th grade. (unless you count taking speech therapy to learn how to talk. spoken grammar was worked on.... not prefixes, or suffixes, etc. ) Academically, she nailed it on Stanford-10 and only used Charlotte Mason/MFW approach.

You're talking 2nd graders. They don't necessarily remember everything and testing is very stressful. I've had students cry in the middle of testing.
Julie in MN wrote:Usually math tests have two parts, (1) computation speed and (2) math concepts. Be sure to do drill if you want good scores on those speed sections.
yep.... that's where one of my clients was in tears... and it was an untimed test! I had to let her regain composure and get a hug from mom and a snack. child got a nap at end of testing. wow... and they were testing just to find out what to work on this summer before starting public school in fall.

be diligent... don't judge your ability of what they learned based on a curriculum placement test. They are young.

If you prefer to switch language arts to be more classroom, grammar identification heavy, that's ok. but I'm tickled pink with my middle gals' progress.

-crystal
Cyndi (AZ)
Posts: 543
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:22 pm

Re: Testing and Placement

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

karlafoisy wrote:Because MFW doesn't have achievement testing, I downloaded Lifepac's placement test, to assure that our kids had learned the basic standards of education.
Forgive me for being really, really blunt, but placement tests are not achievement tests. Lifepacs are designed to teach sentence diagramming at a very young age. If you switched to them, then your dc would start over at the beginning and learn parts of speech. By Jr High, they would be in the same boat as a student who did only MFW's recommendations for LA. IMO, they might even be behind the other student because they wouldn't have had as good of a foundation in language usage. (My opinion!)

Math is subjective as well. Those placement tests aren't there to see if your dc are at national average -- they are there to see where your dc would start their particular curriculum. Again, by Jr High, all programs have taught the same things - they just take different routes to get there. Think about all the 6th graders who take Singapore placement tests and have to start at 2A or 3A.

I think if you picked up some Spectrum materials and went through them with your kids, you'd be much happier with the results. The Critical Thinking Company has some great materials for improving thinking skills and ability to take standardized tests. Just some suggestions.

It's hard being a homeschooling mom and wondering how your dc are doing. It's even harder when your homeschooling group is full of people who like to talk about what level their dc are or how they scored on such-and-such test. It's even harder when friends and family question your choices and you don't have any printed evidence to show that they are progressing. You didn't say all that in your OP, but that's how I feel about the whole deal. I would be shocked and upset if I did a placement test and saw the results that you did, too. I'd be really upset and question myself and cry to my dh and generally freak-out about it. So, I don't blame you. But I honestly think that you didn't give your dc a fair shake at it. It wasn't the right test, and they didn't have any test prep before taking it. I'd throw out the results and start over. (That's what a public school would do!!!)
2018/19: US1877
used MFW from K through WHL
cbollin

Re: Testing and Placement

Unread post by cbollin »

karlafoisy wrote:We were so disappointed, because there were many concepts our kids never even went over in 2nd grade (defining prefix, suffix, adjectives, nouns, verbs, guide words in a dictionary, dictionary spelling, adding fractions)
I can't help but say (((hugs) and that some of this is not necessarily something to be disappointed in with PLL in 2nd/3rd grade.

adding fractions is not a common 2nd grade thing in many programs. ;)

and the dictionary skills in MFW sequence... that starts in 3rd grade with "hands on activities" in Spelling Power. It can be done. Yes, there is an assumption that you'll help your child learn to look up words. I don't know where my autistic child figured it out. But she knows how to do that... it is introduced in 2nd or 3rd grade reading eggs.

definitions of parts of grammar? I can remember in 2nd grade singing School House Rock. Some of us got it. Others didn't get it. So.. even in classroom, you will find a wide variety on this. Some scope and sequences do not focus on identification over application when this young.

Did you use PLL by chance? You did lessons on nouns, adjectives, verbs..... it just doesn't say "now tell your student all of those parts you just named in lesson 76 are classified into a group known as nouns... people places and things"

and in ILL - early in 4th grade... several more advanced dictionary lessons...

so much of stuff on tests is there for advanced learners.... not all students learn all of it the same time. many of those skills are taught in many programs over and over and over and over....

(((hugs))) I guess I just disagree that the placement test is a reason for disappointment in PLL, and don't agree it is a way to gauge learning in your children.

how did your children do on a nationally normed achievement test, by the way? I agree with Cyndi that you've compared apples and oranges here and that is causing some of the need for hugs

-crystal
gratitude
Posts: 675
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 11:50 am

Re: Testing and Placement

Unread post by gratitude »

I added Rod and Staff English 2 to PLL for the reasons that you mentioned. Rod and Staff is known for being a rigorous English program, and I have been very pleased with it. Singapore does do a good job with the math. It even includes Bible stories as part of the English lessons!

As someone else mentioned the standardized tests primarily test LA and math. You can choose to do the LA and math that works BEST for your family. I LOVE David Hazel's CDs; but I happen to disagree with him in the area of grammar, and that is OK. I taught my ds8 noun in first grade for one month and he easily remembered it a year later. No tears over Rod and Staff; it is a special part of our school time. It may depend on the kids, but do what is right for you. We don't plan to send our kids to public school ever, but this is an area that was very important to me to have a thorough education. The PLL adds some nice qualities to it by the way.

As someone else mentioned placement tests are different than standardized tests. Bob Jones University will certify parents with a college degree with the ability to administer standardized tests if you want to do one to see where you are at. We have to for Washington, so for us it was something we needed to do and we did. I haven't received the results yet, but I was very pleased with how he did from my grading. It didn't test for writing though, and that is one area I am concerned about for his grade level.

Lets see what else to say....

Well real life education we need for marriage, parenting, being a good citizen, being a good church member, treating others with kindness, knowing Christ as Lord and Savior is in my mind more important than academics. HOWEVER, I also have to prepare them to survive in a complex, competitive culture that is a high information society. This requires academic preparation. I have recently come to the conclusion that is important too, extremely important, or I am doing a great disservice to my kids. I would not personally want to enter this particular society unprepared on any level: academic or spiritual or moral.

((Hugs)) I understand. I have been looking at a lot of expectations for 2nd grade level writing lately and have been very disappointed by the expectations in writing in ADV. This is a personal take though. Yes, he did writing for science and additional writing even beyond ADV.
Julie in MN
Posts: 2909
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Testing and Placement

Unread post by Julie in MN »

gratitude wrote:I have been looking at a lot of expectations for 2nd grade level writing lately and have been very disappointed by the expectations in writing in ADV. This is a personal take though. Yes, he did writing for science and additional writing even beyond ADV.
Hi Carin,
This is just a quick note to you, for your situation in particular. My son did Writing Strands 3 in 3rd grade, because MFW recommended it at the time. So if you are anxious to develop writing further next year, that's one option. I didn't feel WS was too hard for my 3rd grader, although he's always been fairly mature having much older siblings. Of course he didn't do a lot with a pencil, though (he typed, discussed, dictated to me sometimes). But I thought it might be a nice option to help you with your concerns.
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
cbollin

Re: Testing and Placement

Unread post by cbollin »

gratitude wrote:I would not personally want to enter this particular society unprepared on any level: academic or spiritual or moral.

((Hugs)) I understand. I have been looking at a lot of expectations for 2nd grade level writing lately and have been very disappointed by the expectations in writing in ADV. This is a personal take though. Yes, he did writing for science and additional writing even beyond ADV.
Can you say what you are using to assess that he is "far below 2nd grade writing?" How are you determining that?

I personally experienced public school growing up. I did not write pages and pages and pages and pages in 2nd grade. I was top of my high school class. Graduated from one of the top ranked universities in the world. My dh didn't begin to bloom in writing until 12th grade and these days writes grants and lectures, etc....
I never diagrammed a sentence. I could identify a lot of parts of speech..... didn't mean I could write.

like Julie said.... you can start WS early.

I wonder if you did the extra dictations as well as suggested in ADV.... I can't remember if ADV has the letter writing on Fridays or not... some of the programs in MFW have them writing real life stuff on Fridays as well...

overall,..... Carin... you're talking to a strong academic nerd family here.... :)
gratitude wrote: I LOVE David Hazel's CDs; but I happen to disagree with him in the area of grammar, and that is OK. I taught my ds8 noun in first grade for one month and he easily remembered it a year later. No tears over Rod and Staff; it is a special part of our school time. It may depend on the kids,.
I only sorta like MFW's workshops....but agree on the generalization about it and also agree that are are exceptions...(I may have been one of the exceptions and learned the definitions fast)
As you said, it does depend on the child. As a child, I learned parts of speech from singing School House Rock songs on Saturday morning cartoons. This was in the 70's. no Beta max. no vhs.. no dvr.. once a week, turn on ABC and hope to catch it..
in 2nd grade, I can remember our teacher being in a panic that many of us could sing the songs and got it. I had no problem identifying and grouping words by function... (conjunction junctions what's your function...) I remember a lot of things about that teacher.... shudder........ this is why I homeschool. LOL OL LOL LOL LOL

So, when my oldest was 1st and 2nd grade... I thought "this is what to do... parts of speech parts of speech".... I know.. we'll get the DVD of School House Rock and a bunch of easy grammar workbooks. This help her learn how NOT to write a sentence on her own. gr................... what?!?!? I felt like I had failed her. ruined her at age 8....... could read at high school level and circle all of her grammar, but couldn't write a sentence on her own?!?! oh dear.... what a failure I must have been... (oh no.. crystal don't admit it out loud that you also got Easy Writing, jr. high book with her when she was in 4th grade... Julie will faint on you..... ok..... Easy Writing, didn't teach her how to write either....)

Then, I got First Language Lessons.. you know...... Jessie Wise, WTM... and in that book, lo and behold.... Jessie Wise and David Hazell agree?!?!?! what?! no way! sure 'nuf in the intro of the FLL I had a long time ago it said you have to drill that parts of speech over and over in the summer or those first graders will forget it.
so.... you might have the exception....
Ruth Beechik... who used to be a big name in homeschooling circles use to say "wait on parts of speech"
Andrew Pudewa - the IEW guy... use to say relax on this stuff...

anyway.... She (my oldest child) writes a lot in high school.

all of that to say "don't panic yet"... (((Hugs)))
seriously........ don't panic based on 8 y.o's writing ability.....

-crystal
mdarce
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue May 11, 2010 8:35 am

Re: Testing and Placement

Unread post by mdarce »

It's very easy to get consumed with placement test results and comparing one program to another. I have done it myself.
But a placement test for a particular curriculum is just that.. A placement test. It is not an accurates assessment of what the child knows. And each curriculum placement test will test on different things. My 3rd grader uses a language curricula that is heavy on grammar and excels with it , but having looked at another grammar rich curriculum placement test, she would not do well.. Different curriculums presenting concepts at different times .

One more thing to keep in mind.. Even with national standardized testing like the CAT, IOWA or SAT, while it is true it may show how a child compares to national standards, it is also for you, as parent and/ or teacher, to use as a tool for areas of improvement as well as ( which i think is very important) to see how your child compares to his or her own self each year . If the same named standardized test is given each year, you get an excellent record of your child's academic progress and growth from year to year by comparing your child to...your child ! Hope that makes sense. I have seen it with both my kids with their SAT results . Each year, without fail, both have steadily improved in all areas of the test . So even if math computation this year was lower than I thought it should be, it was higher than last year which was higher than the year before! Progress! :-)

Obviously, had there been a big decline, we would have to assess that area.. Did the child have a bad testing day or is there an area we need to focus on .
Hope I didn't get too off track .
Try not to worry too much.
Hugs!!
Michelle
karlafoisy
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:11 am

Re: Testing and Placement

Unread post by karlafoisy »

I am much more calm now. I will breathe (10 times in, 10 times out, slowly) :) and choose to relax.....
I really am excited about ECC next year. Looks fun, but may still veer (aaaaaah, I've never done that yet!) some from the LA and math recommendations.

I researched math curriculum today, and while I know you said MUS might not fit with my expectations, Crystal, I did really like that he explained the why and how of each concept in math. I am planning on trying that this year. I recognize it might be review for my kids, but I think review might be good for them. I feel like they understand HOW to do things without really understanding the WHY. It seems like MUS will help improve their understanding there.

Now....who has more LA ideas for me?! :)
Cyndi (AZ)
Posts: 543
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:22 pm

Re: Testing and Placement

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

I'm so happy to read that you're breathing in and out and relaxing! :) My heart was just breaking for you and it's so hard to "sound" encouraging with typing sometimes.

MUS works for a lot of people. If it's something you really feel led to try, then go for it. I do suggest praying about your choices, but they are *your* choices.

If you really want a different LA, I suggest looking at CLE. I think Anna mentioned them as well. We don't use their LA, but I do get some things from them (lots of folks around here use their readers) and I've seen their LA workbooks. It sounds like it might be what you're looking for. I still think PLL and ILL are terrific and what we use, but I thought I'd mention another resource since you're asking.
2018/19: US1877
used MFW from K through WHL
gratitude
Posts: 675
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 11:50 am

Re: Testing and Placement

Unread post by gratitude »

Great thoughts Julie & Crystal!! Thank you!!! :-)

To the OP: I am so GLAD to hear you sounding more encouraged too. Yeah!
Julie in MN
Posts: 2909
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

meaps TEST/learning styles/etc

Unread post by Julie in MN »

karlafoisy wrote:Hello,
I have been a faithful MFW parent for my three kids (now in 3rd grade) since Preschool. This year, however, I decided to do an online charter school, because we were adopting a little girl, and I thought online school would give the kids more independence (thus freeing up my time with our new arrival). That wasn't the case, necessarily, because the program was not written well. The "online textbook" was not written with a child's interest in mind, and I spent alot of time reading it TO the kids, in order to add things in to make it more interesting. Otherwise, it was SO boring. Additionally, I felt the curriculum did not guide parents in teaching methods. They would offer the information, not clearly, most of the time, and then if our kids didn't understand it, there were no guidelines on HOW to teach it with a different spin or with diff't learning styles in mind. It was mostly taught with a workbook focus.

I love, love, loved MFW, and we all (the kids and I) actually enjoyed the lessons. Another thing I loved about MFW is that I felt the things my kids learned were able to "sink in". In this current curriculum, I often feel like the learn something and then quickly move on before they have time to really absorb the concepts.

Now, this year, in trying to choose a curriculum, I am not sure what to do. It is true that my kids enjoyed MFW, but they took the MEAPS (state standardized testing) at the beginning of the school year (before starting the charter school) and two of my kids failed pretty miserably. The other one, the one I believe is really quite intelligent, did average.

What I did like about the charter school is that i knew the kids were learning what they needed to learn as far as state standards go, and that they were learning to take tests well. Most of you will frown on online charter school, because it does not instill Christian values, but I want to ask you to put that aside for now and focus only on the academic portion of my question. My husband and i feel we have and can continue to instill our values without having it written in the curriculum.
With all of that background information, here is my dilemma: I am unsure which way to go this year re: curriculum

Pros of MFW: the kids enjoy it, I enjoy it, they are learning important things about the world that they may not learn in charter online
Cons of MFW: I don't know how often it is updated to meet state standards (which is important to us, because we will eventually place our kids in public school and do not want them to be behind), the kids did terrible on their state testing
Pros of online: it is less work and one of the big pros for us is that it does not cost (our budget is really stretched when doing MFW with five kids)
Cons of online: It is boring and not written with kids' interest in mind. It is not written with the goal being that kids enjoy school , the information offered is SO much that the kids often do not have time to absorb it all.
Hi Karla,
I am wondering if your children tested this year, after using the public school materials? I was wondering if you noticed their scores were similar, or whether you saw a large difference. My first thought would be that maybe your children test similarly, whatever curriculum you use.

My other thought was that maybe they had never experienced testing before, and now they have experienced testing, so they will test better. I did do some brief coaching for my son over the years. In 3rd grade, I introduced him to filling in bubbles on a separate page before he started testing. In around 4th grade, I realized he was not used to "correcting the text," so he had a hard time expecting there to be errors in a printed test. If something looked funny, he figured it was his mistake, not theirs. Therefore, we did some "editing" on the marker board that year, in preparation for his catching errors on a test (ala Great Editing Adventure). Other things that can be done are math drill (1/2 of the math test is usually a speed test) and a little reading-above-comfort-level (a lot of the English and Science are simply reading tests). Those are standard parts of MFW, but sometimes they slip out of practice.

I am not familiar with the MEAPS test at all. In Minnesota, we are required to test each year, and my children have mostly used the Iowa Basic test in elementary, whether they were homeschooled or public schooled. My youngest has used MFW from 3rd grade through 11th grade so far, and he has tested well. He has his weak area, but I feel confident he would have a weak area whatever curriculum we used. And whether he tests well or not, his knowledge of the Bible and of his own faith and beliefs is far superior to that which his older siblings had by being public schooled and me teaching them the rest in between.

Just some thoughts to start the conversation,
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
MelissaB
Posts: 364
Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 10:01 pm

Re: meaps/learning styles/etc

Unread post by MelissaB »

Hi, Karla,
Just thinking with you ... 8]

The first thing I think I would do would be to contact the MEAPS test headquarters (that's the Michigan exam, right?) or your state's Department of Education to request a copy of the state's standards for each grade. (Do you know if your state's public school system is apart of Common Core? If so, those guidelines are available online.) Once you know exactly what's expected of each of your children in the grade they're in, you can better get an idea of whether or not MFW can work within that framework.
karlafoisy wrote:I love, love, loved MFW, and we all (the kids and I) actually enjoyed the lessons. Another thing I loved about MFW is that I felt the things my kids learned were able to "sink in". In this current curriculum, I often feel like the learn something and then quickly move on before they have time to really absorb the concepts.
I totally understand. That's the same effect we experienced when we changed from our other curriculum to MFW. And, like you, I take our children's test scores very seriously. (Homeschooling's a privilege. Only three decades ago it was unheard of and illegal to homeschool in our state.)

I wonder... If MFW is working better for your children, could you -- and more importantly: do you have the time to?? -- use MFW for Bible/History/Science and pull in other resources to cover any history/science test topics that might not be covered by MFW that year? Utilize Friday's light days to cover those topics? There are amazing videos and websites online that cover every science and history topic imaginable. And there are several British sites with online video games to reinforce science/history subjects, too.

Most importantly, of course, as I'm sure you already know, don't forget to spend time with the Lord concerning this decision. As Creator of the whole universe, He's pretty smart. He knows exactly what to do. ;) And ask your sweet husband what he thinks. It's amazing the solutions our men come up with when we take the time to ask.

Hope some of that is helpful ... :)

Oh! and Congratulations on your new little one! Sweet blessings to you & your family.
Melissa B. (Arkansas)
Girls ages 16 & 13
Completed K, 1st, and Investigate {ECC; CTG; RTR; Expl.-1850; and 1850-Mod. Times}
"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,.." Titus 2:4
dhudson
Posts: 320
Joined: Thu May 10, 2007 5:46 pm

Re: meaps/learning styles/etc

Unread post by dhudson »

I have found that standardized testing is more about math and language arts than the majority of MFW subjects. I can't think of a time when my kids Bible, History or Science was on a test. I know they say science but we found that it was more reading comprehension than actual scientific knowledge. As for K & 1st, teaching good foundational phonics, math and writing will hold them in good stead.

I also think that if you are planning on putting your kids into a traditional school setting then math and language arts will be again the highest priorities.

That being said, I have always found that they joy of learning that MFW has built in has encouraged my kids to learn more and go farther.
God Bless,
Dawn
http://www.shiningexamples.blogspot.com
blessed Mom of three - 16, 13 & 13
happy user of MFW since 2002
TriciaMR
Posts: 987
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:43 am

Re: meaps/learning styles/etc

Unread post by TriciaMR »

One thing I always do (because we are required to tests in 3rd/5th/7th/9th/11th - using a nationally normed test - like the CAT5 or Iowa Basics), is get the Spectrum Test Practice books. I do this for several reasons:

1. To teach my kids *how* to take tests. Really, there is a skill in this. (Like reading the questions before reading the passages to see what kinds of things the questions are looking for.)

2. Sometimes there are things on the tests that the "world" considers fact (Evolution, Ice Ages), that we either haven't taught our kids yet or we disagree with. For example, the 3rd grade Test Prep book showed 4 short passages, and then you were suppose to identify which genre each passage was (biography, fact, poetry, etc). My kids thought the passage about the Ice Age was fiction... So, it's a good opportunity to cover little things like that, but not go into overwhelming detail.

3. Shows me some gaps, that I may or may not want to in-fill. We all have gaps in our education. This gives me some ideas of "extras" I might want to include. Or, it might show something I don't think matters in the grand scheme of things. For example, on one of the tests, the question was about what type of dwelling a Native American Tribe lived in. I really don't think that it really matters whether or not my kids know that. (I really couldn't believe that question was on the test. It was one of two questions like that. The rest were reading comprehension.)

4. Tests don't measure everything. They don't measure character. They don't take into account learning disabilities.

My suggestion would be to get a nationally normed test like the CAT-5 or Iowa Basics and see how they do on that. Also, was the MEAPS hand done or done on a computer? I have a friend whose kid failed a computer given test, but when he did a traditional fill-in-the-bubbles test, he aced it. Why? He just liked randomly clicking on the screen - it was fun. He didn't really understand the purpose of the test. (Also, once he answered, he couldn't go back and fix it. You know, how sometimes you realize after you've given an answer that one of the other answers is better?)

Just some thoughts. Use MFW and then throw in a Test Prep book a couple of days a week. I bet they do better next time.
Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
2018-2019 - College, AHL
My blog
sbbrown425
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2009 7:01 pm

Will I be in over my head?

Unread post by sbbrown425 »

My6Blessings wrote:I love the thought of MFW...the missionary emphasis, the hands-on learning, and being able to keep my boys together for a lot of the learning.

However, I worry that I won't be able to teach it as they get older, and the subjects get harder. I see that MFW is considered to be partly "classical education", and it seems that it may get overly complicated in later grades. I only went to public school (in Texas) as a kid, and received an A.A. degree in general education from a community college. I did not receive a "classical" education, and I've never read most of the classics. It seems to me that if I had a prestigious educational background, I'd be able to teach this with confidence. But, I'm just an average mom with an average intellect. Will I be in over my head eventually? How can I teach my boys something that I've never learned? Thanks in advance for your thoughts and suggestions!
Oh you indeed will not be over your head. Most of us homeschooling moms (and dads) are of average folks with average intellect but we have a more than average love for our children.

During our homeschooling years (just finishing our 7th year), we have been learning together and that has made it so special. For the tougher subjects, there are so many resources out there now that you do not have to go through it alone. Many curriculum vendors have help lines, tutors, DVD, CD-ROMS. Get with a good homeschool group and there will be others who can help steer you in the right direction. You CAN do this! (I can do ALL things through Christ Who strengthens me!)
DS4home
Posts: 266
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 11:32 pm

Re: Will I be in over my head?

Unread post by DS4home »

I think you will be just as fine as the rest of us! :)
That's what teacher manuals are for. They give us hints and help hold our hand through each day. Marie Hazel has done such an awesome job putting together this curriculum. It is very user friendly!!
History and science are the subjects that I find, most often, I don't remember a thing in. I am sooo glad to be homeschooling and having this opportunity to learn it again (or for the first time). This curriculum is designed for family learning together. What that looks like in our house is mom picking up the scheduled book for the day, and reading it out loud to the kids. I am reading the info for the first time as I'm reading it to the kids. Many times I have been known to say "Cool, I didn't know that!...." And we have some fun conversations then about what we just read.
So I just want you to know that, we don't have to know it all before we can teach it! It'll be an adventure that you all go on together. I've heard many moms say many, many times that they learn just as much as the kids do! :-)

Dawn
Celebrating our 30th Anniversary <3
Amber(HS Grad, Married), Carmen(HS+Col Grad, Married), Nathan(HS+College Grad), & Bethany(11th)
2020: high school US Hist.1
Completed the MFW cycle: Pre K-yr.5, AHL(pilot), WHL, US Hist.1
My6Blessings
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2015 5:17 pm

Re: Will I be in over my head?

Unread post by My6Blessings »

Thank you for the words of inspiration! :-)

It will certainly be a learning adventure for me! ;-) I like the thought of learning with my kids. I just worry that they will have questions, and I'll be spending too much time saying "Let me google that"... However, I do believe that God will give me wisdom, knowledge, and strength if I only ask Him! I imagine this upcoming school year will certainly strengthen my prayer life! :-) Thank you for the encouragement!
Poohbee
Posts: 392
Joined: Sat Feb 24, 2007 10:38 pm
Location: North Dakota

Teaching from Rest

Unread post by Poohbee »

allgrace wrote:
Thu Sep 15, 2016 5:57 am
Has anyone read Teaching from Rest by Sarah MacKenzie? I just started reading it.

I used to be a public school teacher and I find I have a hard time not checking off boxes and focusing on teaching the curriculum instead of my children. I am teaching Adventures and Kindergarten with a three year old and 11 month old. I so want to be flexible to take time and have my son explore facts about airplanes and incorporate that into his school and be ok with the fact that we don't usually get to art and Spanish. I want to be peaceful and not stressed and just wanting him to finish the assignment before the baby wakes up, but want him to learn and grow as my focus and not worry if a lesson takes us longer than the TM says.

Does anyone have any advice as how you teach from rest with My Father's World?
This is such a great topic to consider!

I am in my 11th year of homeschooling, and we have used MFW for nearly all of those years. I have learned that it is okay to make changes in the schedule based upon the needs of my child. I am doing MFW 1st grade for the 3rd time. Having done it with 2 daughters, I am now doing it with my autistic son. I am learning to adjust things to meet his needs. He is not able to accomplish all that is on the schedule for a day in 1st grade. It is just too much for him. So, I have to decide exactly what it is I want him to accomplish in a day. I have decided that a Bible lesson, reading, math, and read-aloud are the most important things for him, so those things are our focus from day to day. Just one day a week, we do science, art, and hands-on or exploratory math. I have dropped foreign language for my kids younger than high school because it was just one more thing in our day, and each thing makes the day that much longer.

I try to give us a break from our traditional learning now and then by having a day or week now and then to let my kids choose something fun to focus on that day or a fun unit study for a week...something different than the usual everyday lessons. I try to make sure I don't cut out the "fun" things in MFW...the hands-on things that tend to take time but tend to be most important in helping my kids really learn about a topic.

Those are just a few of the things I do to make my day more peaceful and restful. I certainly don't have all of the answers, though. Each year is a new learning experience for me, and I need to make changes and adjustments to how I do things each year. As my kids have gotten older, I have learned to ask them how things are going, what their thoughts are about their day, their subjects, their schedule. It really helps when the kids can have some ownership and some say in their education.

I do absolutely get, though, what you are saying about wanting him to finish the lesson in the time you have to work with him, and checking off that box so that it is done. I often get that way with my son, especially when he wants to do things that aren't on my schedule for him. It is hard to choose sometimes...whether it is important to stick to the schedule or whether it is important to let your child follow that rabbit trail. There is a time for each.

I think that me having a regular daily Bible reading and prayer time before we start school each morning really helps me get my eyes and my priorities on the right things.

You've really given me something to think about. I think I'll check out that book!
Jen
happily married to Vince (19 yrs)
blessed by MFW since 2006
have used every year K-1850MOD
2018-2019: Adventures with 9yo boy
TriciaMR
Posts: 987
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:43 am

Re: Teaching from Rest

Unread post by TriciaMR »

For me, it means adjusting to fit my kids' needs and our family's needs as a whole.

For example, 2 of my 3 kids are dyslexic. So, it means we often do things orally, rather than written. I still scribe for my 7th grade dyslexic boy (or writing would *never* happen for him). For my 11th grader (who is also dyslexic), that means sometimes throwing in a "catch-up" day, for her to get caught up on her work. If there were more than 3 writing assignments in a week, it might mean I decide that 2 of them will be discussion instead of writing, making sure she gets the main point. And sometimes if there are too many doctor's appointments (like, one of my boys broke their arm 6 weeks ago, and we had weekly appointments for him, plus physical therapy for the 11th grader's knee, plus orthodontic appointments for the other 7th grade boy), then we just scrap a day, and do it the next day.

It also means trusting God that he knows my kids' needs and will meet them, even when I don't.

I've not read the book, but I've heard great things about it.
Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
2018-2019 - College, AHL
My blog
tiffanys
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat May 24, 2014 3:02 pm

Re: Teaching from Rest

Unread post by tiffanys »

Funny enough, I taught in the style Teaching from Rest prescribes for several years. Morning time (I think her family calls it Symposium), a loop cycle, using curriculum as tools and not worrying about following it perfectly, etc. It stressed me out! It took me so long to choose the *perfect* books, to wade through a million activity ideas to choose the most valuable, to try to gauge my time on how long it would take me to actually loop through topics in real life so that I could make sure that we were still making progress, etc. We had several really great years, but I was just. so. tired. and always second guessing myself (and if I had to label myself, I would say that I am 99% a confident homeschooler.)

I was still making all of the decisions as to what was valuable and how to schedule it (even if on a loop cycle - how long or short should my loop be? What could a child the age of mine reasonably sit through? How many items a day? Where should I even begin?).

Deciding to finally just stick with MFW & use it as written IS teaching from rest *for me.* At this point I've used it enough years (we are starting our third year with it) that I see what the Hazel's are doing and where they are going. I sit back and kick my legs up and realize that THIS IS GOOD ENOUGH. And while I don't push my children beyond their own personal abilities and stress them out, there is an aspect I like of being able to see what children should be able to manage and I gauge myself accordingly.

I like the rest that comes from knowing that someone has so seamlessly created a curriculum that is so incredibly faith building. That they waded through so much to find the best of the best. To know that they tried to make it budget friendly (because that can be stressful, too!).

As for being a box-checker, I am. ;) But - we go day by day through MFW. Most weeks we fit in a whole week, but sometimes we roll over and a week covers the last half of one week and the first half of another. I try not to get too spread out being far ahead in history, but weeks behind in science. If we need to slow down to make sure we cover science and art, we do.

I may be the oddball, but for me, saving my brain cells and having someone else do the lesson planning is REST! ;)

(We still do "morning time" - we memorize poetry - the ONLY thing I decide on myself, although most selections still come from MFW's language lesson books, we do spelling & our Greek roots from MFW together then, and we do all of the history readings together then. We fit in our composer study here, too.)
Tiffany
Having a great year with Adventures with my two older boys - 3rd & 1st grades
With the world's chattiest 4 year old boy & his 2 year old sister tagging along
allgrace
Posts: 95
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:41 pm

Re: Teaching from Rest

Unread post by allgrace »

Thanks for your replies. Tiffany, it was very helpful to hear from you. I have not read the whole book, but I love my father's world and love that' it's planned out for me. I want to be more relaxed while we homeschool. I think having little ones means we can't stay on schedule.

My youngest has strep throat and my husband was out of town this week. So needless to say we didn't get much school done. Thanks everyone for sharing. When I read your posts it helps to encourage me! Right now we are just going to continue going through the curriculum at a pace we can and not stress out about a schedule. We school year round for this reason.
"Sanctify them by the Truth, your word is Truth" John 17:17
Ds11:RTR
Dd8:RTR
Dd6: MFW 1st
Ds 4: preschool workbooks
Ds. 2: preschool
tiffanys
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat May 24, 2014 3:02 pm

Re: Teaching from Rest

Unread post by tiffanys »

I should mention that I really loved the book Teaching from Rest, and in general I love Sarah McKenzie. It's just important for us all to remember that her teaching from rest (loop scheduling, morning time, etc.) may not ever be MY teaching from rest.

I think as long as we are trusting in God - that will help us teach from rest. I love what she said close to the beginning of the book about bring our loaves and fishes and letting God do the multiplying and the work with what we bring. For us, that means that we use MFW. It fits our family to a T, and because of it, I can sit back and enjoy the journey and the process. MFW IS my loaves & fishes in so many ways!

I think that getting caught up in doing it her way is doing the very thing that she warns against. Getting caught up in a prescribed method that doesn't work for your family, even if it is the method put forth in the book, is going against teaching from rest - it is forcing yourself to do something uncomfortable or ungratifying or what's not the best for your kids or family.

We all need to find what brings rest to us as the teachers and our families as a whole. Above all else, it is making decisions prayerfully and intentionally and following God's will. Whether means loop scheduling and choosing your own books or using a prescribed curriculum with boxes to check doesn't matter.
Tiffany
Having a great year with Adventures with my two older boys - 3rd & 1st grades
With the world's chattiest 4 year old boy & his 2 year old sister tagging along
Julie in MN
Posts: 2909
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Teaching from Rest

Unread post by Julie in MN »

I have been enjoying this thread and the thinking process that it sets in motion. I've seen so many comments that just stuck out to me and had me thinking over a day or more.
Poohbee wrote:It is hard to choose sometimes...whether it is important to stick to the schedule or whether it is important to let your child follow that rabbit trail. There is a time for each.
This is so true. And we always second-guess ourselves, don't we? Did we spend enough time on academics? Or the next minute, did we give enough freedom?

About that cute little boy who wants to study airplanes, I do love the MFW idea of teaching him to focus for 2 hours, teach him how exciting learning is, and then setting him free all afternoon to learn about airplanes. Of course, with busy toddlers and fussy babies, "afternoon" can be more like "an hour here and an hour there," but I think it helps to remember that there is free time in my schedule -- AND to be careful not to add to it.
Poohbee wrote:I think that me having a regular daily Bible reading and prayer time before we start school each morning really helps me get my eyes and my priorities on the right things.
I definitely agree. God first, and the day is do-able.

When we were busy at my house, that morning time of Bible and prayer might simply be the "school Bible time" spent with my children, and that was good, too.

I needed to remind myself not to just check the Bible box and race through, despite any craziness around me. To really talk with my children about the Bible and heroes and character traits and people groups in need etc. Sometimes I had to remind myself by putting an arrow on that part of the day or writing in "pray" each day, so I would take that seriously and spend the time with my children there, even if nothing else got accomplished.
TriciaMR wrote:and our family's needs as a whole.
I think this is a great point. That extra time we spent knowing one another and learning from each other is one of the greatest things I look back on from our homeschooling years.

Public schools put their group needs into the mix, too, so we don't need to feel we are outside of academia when we do that. As a teacher, graceandjerrod, you probably witnessed what I saw when my kids were in public schools -- tons of time spent on classroom and school needs as a whole, whether attending pep fests and programs by other classrooms, going over classroom rules, waiting for teachers and principles to attend to discipline issues, or my kids' least favorite -- standing in line.

I like setting goals or priorities, not only so I see our successes but also so I can make on-the-fly decisions about what to skip. Maybe during this season, major goals will include sibling relationships, patience, and progressing in reading.
TriciaMR wrote:If there were more than 3 writing assignments in a week, it might mean I decide that 2 of them will be discussion instead of writing, making sure she gets the main point.
Definitely did this at my house, and it was more restful for both parent and child :)
tiffanys wrote:Deciding to finally just stick with MFW & use it as written IS teaching from rest *for me.* At this point I've used it enough years (we are starting our third year with it) that I see what the Hazel's are doing and where they are going. I sit back and kick my legs up and realize that THIS IS GOOD ENOUGH.

... a curriculum that is so incredibly faith building. That they waded through so much to find the best of the best. To know that they tried to make it budget friendly (because that can be stressful, too!).

... saving my brain cells and having someone else do the lesson planning is REST! ;)
100% my experience. I didn't know much about curriculum when I started homeschooling (with a 10th grader). That was a recipe for zero rest, since I was re-planning each night -- things took way more or less time than expected, or my student didn't have the past understanding to even get what I was talking about, etc. MFW Teacher Manuals were a place of rest for me.
graceandjarrod wrote: I think having little ones means we can't stay on schedule. My youngest has strep throat and my husband was out of town this week. So needless to say we didn't get much school done.
I love the weekly grids for this reason. You can just change the date at the top. Or you can cross some things off based on seeing the whole picture laid out. You don't finish the day and say, woops, the most important thing wasn't on the list (like I did when I started on my own).


Enjoying this conversation during my little Dr. Pepper break :)
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
allgrace
Posts: 95
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:41 pm

Re: Teaching from Rest

Unread post by allgrace »

Thanks for your post, encouragement and ideas Julie. I was realizing today that my son is able to get his work done (although we usually don't get to art or Spanish, I am still trying to figure out how to fit that in, whether to do that during our off days, or just wait until next year) and have plenty of time to explore airplanes. He is great at creating and building with Legos and knex. I am glad he has time to explore and develop the talents God gave him. He wouldn't have as much time if he was in public school. And yes, a lot of time is spent lining up, transitions, waiting for all 30 students,etc. You are right about that.
"Sanctify them by the Truth, your word is Truth" John 17:17
Ds11:RTR
Dd8:RTR
Dd6: MFW 1st
Ds 4: preschool workbooks
Ds. 2: preschool
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