Schedule - Help if EX1850 is taking longer

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Julie in MN
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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Schedule - Help if EX1850 is taking longer

Unread post by Julie in MN »

CarolG wrote:We are halfway through the second week of Explorers to 1850, and this week, and a couple days last week, it literally took us from 8 or 9 in the morning until 4:30 pm to get almost everything done. Granted I am dealing with preschooling (less than an hour) a four year old, and a vocal 21 month old, but this is really wearing me out! Please tell me that after the first couple of weeks the workload lessens a bit and the school days will be shorter! I'm not even doing the music appreciation!
I would NOT school until 4:30! None of the public or private schools do that. When school time is over (2:30 at our house this year), then it's over. Things must be put off sometimes...

There are a few posts from experienced folks around the boards. Here's one that looks potentially helpful:

Some thoughts from my experience last year:

* Are you doing too much writing? Remember that since we know our students better than a public school teacher, we don't need all that written work to evaluate. A lot of PLL/ILL can be done orally. The Singapore textbook is to be done with your child. Not sure if you've started HWT yet, but that can be spread out a lot.

* Skip all the extras at first. Agreeing with Crystal that the music can wait. Art & foreign language, too.

* There are a lot of history summaries this year. Tailor them to your child's age. Look at the notebooking pages & notice how little space is actually provided for writing. Just a few thoughts at an elementary level are needed.

* The manual will tell you things are optional sometimes (projects, for instance), or things don't have to be done in their entirety (Bldg. a City on a Hill, for instance). Those notes result from the experiences of all the pilot families and what is doable in some family situations such as yours.

* Some things will be done over a long period of time, such as the hymns which last 2 weeks. Spend more time when you have it & less when you don't.

And YES, EVERY year gets into a rhythm and runs itself after a few weeks. But keep posting or calling until then!

Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

Unread post by cbollin »

Julie in MN wrote: * The manual will tell you things are optional sometimes (projects, for instance), or things don't have to be done in their entirety (Bldg. a City on a Hill, for instance). Those notes result from the experiences of all the pilot families and what is doable in some family situations such as yours.
Bldg a City on a Hill --- don't try to read the whole thing out loud. and it's only used for 10 weeks of the program to add in a bit more information about the life and culture in the colonies. Jr. high kids can probably read it to themselves. I found it easier to use if I didn't try to the whole thing out loud to my 5th grader. I'd read it and narrate it back to my daughter. :-)

If it makes you feel any better.... when I did EX1850, I started crying on the phone to the mfw office somewhere about week 3. By week 5 it definitely settled down. Those first couple of weeks of that year were overwhelming and kicked up a notch. But seriously, around week 5 it felt normal and doable in my real world again. and then the tears (and phone call) showed back up around week 28-29. I thought those were very fast.

Even though the workload increased, I wasn't going all the way to 4 pm.

EX1850 was the first year that we were doing all and only MFW recommendations for LA and math. going back to your sig line for who is using what.... to help with some other ideas..... oh my.... no wonder you feel overwhelmed.

hmmm...... your oldest is 10 and you're using EX1850 and new to MFW. uuhmmm..... Did you do ECC last year? Why are your reasons for jumping into EX1850, if I may pry into your decision a bit.

Music appreciation we ended up putting that on in the van on the way to dance class.

Unread post by cbollin »

Michele in WA wrote:Crystal,
I would be interested in your tips on adding the younger supplement reading in ex-1850! Thanks!
Usually I ended up spread it out a bit more than what was in the grid. some weeks you end up reading a lot from American Pioneers and Patriots and we just spread it out in smaller sections even to Friday. Worked better for my middle child and for me too. Also, we got "behind" in those first couple of weeks with "2 sets" of read alouds. So I gave myself "permission" to play catch up on week 5 when supplemental reading was not scheduled in the younger kid supplement. And my dh did the read alouds from regular EX1850 in the evening.

nothing too fancy -- just spread it out a bit and looked up for natural "catch up points" in the younger sib grid.

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Thanks for the comments.

Unread post by CarolG »

Yes, I'm doing both the regular curriculum and the supplement. I did not choose the ECC because we had done Sonlight up till Core 3 and were needing more American History. The other stuff seemed redundant. I didn't realize there would be such a learning curve. What I read on the website was that every level could be used with ages 4th to 8th grade, and younger if you used the supplement. I am learning what things to cut out and how to make this better for is just taking some time.

Some days are better than others, but I'm not upset or anything. I know part of the problem is that I'm doing a lot of extras, and even plan more if I can find the resources (piano, for instance). We are enjoying the choices of read-alouds and history books, and I'm very pleased with the narrations my dd's are giving me - oral for my 3rd grader and written for my 5th grader.

The spelling is actually doing a catch up - two lists a day to catch up from where we got behind last year - and my 3rd grader is also doing Explode the Code, HWT, and two language arts programs - both short activities that she enjoys - PLL and SL LA3 (I can often do one or the other orally on a given day). So I guess I deserve to be overwhelmed.

What I really wanted to hear I heard...that things slow down in week 5. I'm thinking by about then we should be caught up with spelling too. subject too. I'm also glad that my little schooler is doing prek and not K this year as I adjust! She does demand my time a lot, for sure, but it doesn't take much to give her 5 -10 minutes for a fun math lesson, HWT prek song or activity or 20 minutes to do the reading. My 21 month old wanted in on the action again today too...I guess I need to think about baskets of puzzles and toys for them when I working with the others, so they can feel they are a part too.

1dd10: Exp1850, ILL, WS, HWT, RS Spanish, SM4A
2dd9: Exp1850, PLL, SL LA3, HWT, RS Spanish, SM2B
3dd4: SL P4/5, Shiller Math, HWT PreK, DEL
4ds1: MFW PreK toys and making messes.

Unread post by cbollin »

Yes you can use the things from the 5 year cycle in grades 4-8. BUT, EX1850 is not intended to be the first program that you use if your oldest is in 4th grade (or really even 5th). I can understand why you saw it that on the web. But also, MFW does recommend that you start with ECC as the first year of the program.

Well, it might be a little too late, but at least now you (and anyone else reading) realize that EX1850 was written in mind for when the oldest in the family is about 6th grade if they have come up through the MFW program and can be adjusted for younger sibs

So, let's just pretend the 5th grader is a younger sib and adjust it down. Summarize Bldg a City -- don't bother reading it out loud to 5th grader. Read it to yourself like it is book basket for you and share with the kids one or two little things.

(psst -- do ECC next year instead of year 5. wink wink nudge nudge)

Please give yourself lots of grace and realize that you are using a program harder than you thought for oldest who is 5th grade. Just pretend oldest is really the 2nd child. Get ready to feel overwhelmed again as you close around week 28 ish.

I don't think you "deserve" to be overwhelmed Instead I think you deserved to be
(((((hugged))))) for being a homeschooling mom!!!!

Julie in MN
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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Lots of reading in Exp to 1850

Unread post by Julie in MN »

MSmomof8 wrote:This is our 4th year of the geo/hist cycle w/ MFW and I am getting bogged down w/ all of the reading that is required for this year w/ the different history books.... I am also doing the 2nd grade supplement b/c I have a 8/6/4yo that really enjoy that. Then there's the read aloud and by the time we do all of that....we run out of time to do science and piano.

Any suggestions?? I am having a hard time fitting it all in by 2pm when I am schooling 6 children(2 of whom I need to teach reading to....using MFW K) and other children that need my help plus having a toddler and 6mo to care for. I am feeling like a slave driver and wondering if I am doing too much. My oldest is almost 13 and works all of his school independently, but is at it all day by the time he does all of MFW, Saxon Alg, Apologia Science and practices his piano for an hour. This doesn't seem right. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
Interesting. I didn't feel that way at all, but I remember Crystal feeling this way with EX1850, so maybe she'll pipe in. Maybe it's because you guys are doing the 2/3 supplement.

You are reading some the information from different angles. I figured the reasons were:
(a) More than one source prevents the bias and choices of one author from limiting your understanding of history, which is always multi-faceted -- like the the proverbial car accident viewed differently by each witness.
(b) Each book is used completely, so sometimes there is overlap but nothing is wasted.

I don't know, that's just how I look at it. But I don't have to teach a large family. Teaching one has its own challenges, but running out of time isn't always one of them :o)

It sounds like time needs to be whittled down. Are you:

1. Leaving out all the bold headings in Exploring American History? That is redundant stuff that Marie instructs you to skip.
2. Mainly teaching City on a Hill to grades 6-8? I think the teacher manual explains about that in the first week or so. And I'd even say a "thorough" reading can be saved for grades 7-8. Youngers will enjoy the photos, a couple tidbits, & maybe a summary on occasion.
3. Skipping all the "optional" reading. In your case, that's just a given.
4. Remember the Deluxe is optional. Our house gets busy so we've skipped the composer reviews so far, & can fit those reviews in later when I see a time slot open up.
5. This is totally a luxury, but we listen to Story of the World on audio. I'd guess that many of the read-alouds could be found on audio at some libraries?

I'm not sure what "all day" is, nor when you start, but my 7th grader schools from about 8 to 2:30 this year. I think this is reasonable. 7th grade is a step up. Often he has an hour or more of independent activity time in the afternoon, but not always. But again, I don't have your exact situation to deal with, although we have a sick dad & a happy/terror of a grandson in the mix :o)
Last edited by Julie in MN on Tue Sep 23, 2008 3:42 pm, edited 5 times in total.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

Unread post by cbollin »

Julie in MN wrote:I remember Crystal feeling this way with EX1850, so maybe she'll pipe in.
Julie is right. Around week 4 of EX1850, I was in tears and on the phone with the MFW staff people asking what in the world was up. I felt like it was a freight train that hit me. The kind folks at MFW just let me cry on the phone and yell at them (thanks David) and I tweaked one or two little things and by week 5 it was fine. I had a rough spot in weeks 28 and 29 too. But it was temporary.

That year I had: 5th grader, 2nd grader and autistic preschooler who was attending 2 different outside schools. Lots to juggle.

Things that I tweaked:
Music (composer stuff) was done in the van on the way to dance class. Maybe in your family it isn’t even needed if someone is studying piano?

Art history – moved to afternoons for fun time. Didn’t do all of it either.

Building a City on a Hill --- I didn’t read it out loud. I read to myself, summarized here and there. If I had been doing EX1850 with a 7th or 8th grader, I would have read it to myself and let them read it to themselves maybe on Fridays and then plan to discuss for 10-15 minutes afterward with them. It’s only used for part of the year and you don’t have to learn everything in it either. It adds some what I call color commentary of the political and religious views of the time. So, it was a good book to use, but I stopped letting it stress me and kept the perspective.

Read Alouds from regular program in the evening with husband.

The 2nd/3rd grade supplement readings – I spread those out during the week. And looking ahead in some weeks, it was obvious that we could “fall behind in those readings” and seeing that in the supplement grid took the pressure off of me to get it all done in the day.

Bible memory work – we did that in about 5 minute segments about 3 times per day. I just typed it out and taped in on the kitchen wall.

Typical routine to my day
Started with middle child to get some math and language arts done
Take preschooler to classes and come home
Do together work from EX1850 with older two (Bible, history, and science)
Sent oldest to do some work, while working with middle on supplement readings
Go get youngest
Finish other stuff
Read alouds at night with dad.

Ok.. this year, I have a 7th grader who is the oldest. It took us a learning curve time to get use to the new materials this year in 7th grade and still get it all done. It’s ok to spread out the Apologia Science a bit. I think that book suggests about 30 minutes per day and to take 2 weeks to cover a module. Some modules are hard (that first module is the hardest one of all). I have my oldest do her lab reports in bunches. Usually the MFW lesson plans for Apologia are 4 day plans. She uses Fridays to get done with written work and such. She’s using Saxon math and the MFW plans. Again – those are usually four day a week plans.

I think the first four weeks of EX1850 are very fast and heavy. It really got easier by week 5. I had a lot of "off the board" conversations with others that year and many of us got to the end of week 5 and said “oh, that wasn’t so bad.”

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Unread post by my3boys »

I just wanted to chime in and say that I don't think it is unrealistic to think that it would take until 2 or 3pm to teach school to 6 children of varying ages. I also don't think it is unrealistic to expect a seventh or eighth grade student to spend that much time on school most days. I have friends using Abeka and they expect their children to work longer than that at a much younger age.

I know we are doing CM style and all that, but perhaps you are expecting too much of yourself and your family to think you should get it all in by lunch or whenever. I teach my older child before lunch and my younger children after lunch - I only have 3 children (K and ECC) and it takes me until 2 or 3pm to finish with everyone at a reasonable pace allowing for interruptions - and even then we do read-alouds in the evenings.
Mom to 3 busy boys ages 11, 8, and 6
finished K, First, ECC, and CtG - currently using RtR
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Unread post by dhudson »

I am right there with you! We are in week 5 of EXP to 1850 which seem to be a little lighter than last week and it has some hands on projects - Yeah!

I think Building a City on a Hill is going to be mostly read by my oldest in 6th because my 7 yr old twins don't have the stamina to read all of the history and Science. I have also made the World of Animals mostly book basket. I may read a paragraph here and there in the assigned pages but again my 7yr olds start glazing over.

It's 2:00 here and my oldest is finishing piano and Rosetta Stone and my twins finished piano and Rosetta Stone just a while ago and are playing outside. This is the first year that we have had to continue subjects after lunch and I only have three!

Oh, and my own humble opinion is that memorizing the entire book of James is a great way to advance into the middle and teen years.
God Bless,
blessed Mom of three - 16, 13 & 13
happy user of MFW since 2002
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Unread post by MSmomof8 »

Thanks so much for all of your replies and I welcome any others to continue to offer suggestions or encouragement. Maybe once I get past week 4, I will feel more on top of things.

We all do Bible together for approx 30min in am. That's the way we have always done it and all can memorize together...even the smaller children. I, then read In God We Trust or Trial & Tri. if it's listed. During history time I read the history selections SOTW, COAH and Exp Am just seemed to be getting long.

I try to do the supplemental part at naptime while the little ones are dozing off to sleep which is around 2-3pm.

Almost Home has been at various times depending on our schedule...I think I will see if we can switch that to our night reading before we do Bible.

We, too, do our composer CDs on the way to town. That's all we do of music since we take piano. I am skipping art right now unless they do it independently. Science has not been getting done b/c it's been another thing to read. This week we are staying on week 4 until I get science where it should be. I am skipping the optional.

What bogs me down a little is the written work(summaries, science) which I want them to do, but I have a 9 year old that still is having problems reading and I still have to help him a lot as well as the 8yo son that has to dictate to me. I think I will also just use the pix or extra tidbits out of COAH to help w/ the history selections.

James 1 is just what I need right now....various trials and asking God for! Ya'll are a blessing!! Thanks!
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Unread post by kellybell »

Don't forget that it's okay to save the read alouds for:
1. In the car (look for them on CD or casette)
2. The weekends, curled up in front of a fire or on the couch. And, you can always have a half-hour book time on Saturdays or Sundays or Friday nights.
4. Bedtimes.

We did a lot of that. I would check my library and see that a certain books were on CD. If so, I'd put a note on my calendar to check out that from the library in time for a long road trip or whatever. Captive audience, right?

It's okay to skip stuff. And it's okay to slow the pace.

We also break some manners to get school done. This AM, my oldest was doing math during breakfast. I'm sure Emily Post would disapprove but it worked for us! Nobody feels much like talking at breakfast anyway (dh is already at work and the kids are very quiet then).

Another few ideas:

1. Play with the order of the day. Put math first today and reading first tomorrow. Which works better? We do better with a quick prayer time followed by chores, music practice, and quiet time. Then a little independent work, then getting-together work, then more independent work with lunch happening sometime in there. At about 2 or 3 PM we're all done.

2. If you find that you are consistently skipping a subject you wish to cover, then once a month or so have a "music day" or "art day" or "cooking day." Even a reading day. Take turns reading from a book. Even if you own a particular book, you can check out a few copies from the library (use each family member's card) and read in a circle, taking turns being the out-loud reader (the others read along in the book silently).

3. Don't be a slave to busy work at all. MFW is basically free of busy work but if you find that the PLL/ILL lesson isn't needed, SKIP IT. If a child is really ahead in math or spelling, decrease it by cutting out a day a week of that subject.

4. Consider what else you are doing. My older two are in an orchestra and they are learning some music history there. They also take some co-op classes.

5. If you need to, swap with another mom. This isn't really my style, but a friend of mine was doing weekly literature with the teens while her neighbor did science with the elementary kids.

Yes, EX1850 kept us hopping too. And, yes, the school days get a little longer as the kids get older.
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).
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Unread post by LSH in MS »

I am right there with you. I have 1 child learning to read, a 3rd grader doing the supplement, and my 5th and 6th graders doing the older assignments. They are behind in writing so we are really trying to do several summaries per week (at least 2). This takes a while. I also have a 2 year old.

It takes us until 3 pm to do school with everyone. If we work on summaries after reading, we may not be finished until 4 pm

I only get the basics done for all four levels in the morning. 4 levels of basic skills is what is stressful for me so that's why I do that in the morning. The older boys do everything they can independently while I work with the younger ones.

Tues and Thurs we have a Spanish and art coop at 1:30 so we do not have time to do history and science on those days. So we do History and Science on M W and F afternoons. I look forward to the read aloud times where we can read and discuss. It does take a while to read all of the books. Thankfully this is our favorite part of school time and the boys are interested in the subjects.

They take piano so we are not doing the music and since they are in the coop we don't do any other Spanish or art.

I know this sounds like a long time but I can't seem to get it done any faster. I enjoy doing all of the reading while my 2 year old is asleep. So this has worked for me. We are on week 4 so I am glad to hear that it gets easier. I feel right now that it is going so fast, We haven't had time to read all of the book basket books on each subject. There are so many interesting books for this period of history.

wife to Clifford, mother to ds (17), ds (16), ds (15, ds (13), ds (8), and ds (3)
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Unread post by MJP »

I have several to teach too. It can be a challenge. We did year 4 last year.

Although it was probably my favorite book, I did have my oldest two read City on a Hill independently, and I discussed it with them later. I agree that there is some repetition between the books. I did start pre-reading a little, and if there were just one or two points, I just told them the one or two points.

Art was very optional, although I would have liked to have been more consistent. This year my art girl is taking private art lessons, so the rest of us are mainly just reading the art book. This may be my plan from now on (give lessons to those who are interested or show talent in this area, let the rest just have some exposure).

Memorizing James was the best thing that happened last year. We were so encouraged in this area that we are memorizing 1 Peter this year (not scheduled in MFW).

Like Dawn I struggled with the animal book last year. I like her idea of mainly using it for book basket. I wasn't even using the 2/3 supplement last year, but I was adding K. This year (year 5) has seemed easier (so far).
Wife of 1 for 18 yrs. Mom of 7--ages 1-15--1st, 2nd, 5th, 8th and 9th grades & (one on the way)
Psalm 16:8
Currently using--1850 to Modern Times
Previously--MFW K , 1st, CtoG, RTR, Exp. to 1850
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Wow! I am having the opposite problem...

Unread post by ilovemy4kids »

We are using Exploration to 1850 with a 10 and 12 year old, 5th and 7th grades. I think it just all depends on the individual family. We LOVE to read good books so even though we just started Almost Home, we finished it in 5 days. We are adding in lots more literature to sort of round things out. We do book basket for 30 minutes each day - their choice of books (I get almost everyone from the lists), and they do 30 minutes of reading the books from the grade level suggested classics.

We start at 8am, have snack at 10:30, lunch from 12-12:45 and they usually finish between 3 and 4 pm. Last year was the first year we EVER got everything done and that was with ECC. we jumped to this year because we already covered the time between. I left TOG because of brain surgery and just couldn't keep up with planning. MFW has been for us a godsend!

Honestly if you are feeling overwhelmed with the reading, see if you can get the SOTW on audio CD's. We did that and I confess, during SOTW time, I listen and correct their papers while they just listen and color or doodle. Audio books are awesome.

Also, are you reading building a city on a hill? Unless your children are 6th and up, you don't need to. It is an awesome book and we love it but if my kids were younger, I wouldn't do it. Also, if you don't have time to do something, unless it is important, skip it! I haven't had to do that yet with MFW but have in the past with my older children Anyway, hope you get in the groove and remember- YOU DON'T HAVE to DO EVERYTHING! :)
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