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Opinions welcomed

Unread post by jinscore »

Next year, our current 7th grader (in PS until this year) will be switching from Monarch to MFW with the rest of our little ones (one is only 19 months, one will be in K, and one in 2nd). Can I run my plan by others who have more experience in the MFW family cycle?
Although he is technically a rising 8th grader, his year at home has opened my eyes to some significant deficiencies in spelling, grammar and writing. I also feel like he probably didn't get as much out of this year as I would have liked as Monarch is largely independent and he is not super self motivated (although it is multitudes better than what he would have received in PS). I'm also concerned about his lack of motivation (although I'm sure that's the age). My plan for next year is to begin ECC with this child and with our rising 2nd grader, using the time to remediate the LA areas mentioned. I then plan to keep him in the cycle an extra year rather than moving him to the 9th grade materials for the 19/20 school year. I am hoping that this time will allow me to work on the deficient areas. I figure that if it ever starts to bother him that he won't graduate at the "expected" time, that it will only motivate him to do better work and pick up the pace himself....and if it doesn't ever bother him (and I hope it doesn't), than we have lost nothing and gained an extra year of solid family learning.
I don't want him to feel like he's being "left back"....but I can't justify plowing ahead without correcting what was missed in PS. Is my thinking correct?

**I may add that I am currently not at home during the day (my husband is). I am still teaching full time, but am praying about being able to finally be home next year.
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Re: Opinions welcomed

Unread post by manyblessings »

I think you have a great plan, to have him do ECC this coming year. It is a wonderful year in the cycle, and less intense than other years, so you will be able to focus on getting him where he needs to be in language arts. However, I don't think any of the investigate cycle years would be appropriate for 9th grade without a lot of tweaking and adding, and that would be more work for you. What you can do for his 9th grade year is continue to catch him up in language arts while he is doing Ancient History and Literature. Even though it is intended to be largely independent, you should work alongside him to be sure he gets into the rhythm of things, and then have regular meetings/review thereafter. Perhaps by that time he will already be caught up in language arts. But if not, MFW has the following suggestion on their webstite regarding 9th graders who need to work on language arts: "NOTE: An incoming student weak in formal grammar should complete Easy Grammar Ultimate Series: Grade 8. Likewise, a student weak in composition skills should complete Writing with Skill Level 1 (at least half of the book)."
4 adults, 1 in 2nd
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Re: Opinions welcomed

Unread post by jinscore »

This is exactly the kind of information I was hoping for. Thank you for your input. I think these are valid points and something I need to consider. Maybe I need to look more closely at the 9th grade curriculum so I know what's coming.
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Re: Opinions welcomed

Unread post by ruthamelia »

Hi! I just have a few ideas for you while you are contemplating plans:

1- The goal is learning, not grade levels. You didn't mention what age your son is? There can be a huge difference between a September birthday and a July birthday, although they may be assigned to the same grade level. (But, you're a teacher, so I'm probably preaching to the choir!) So I prefer to make learning choices that fit the child. It sounds like you have a good handle on what his learning needs are right now, and when he is 9th grade age, you will still have a good idea of what his learning needs are. It also sounds like you are already thinking this way some, since you are ok with your son completing high school when he is ready, regardless of how old he is.
2- Sept 2019 is a long ways off. It is difficult to predict where your son will be at after completing this year of Monarch, followed by a year of ECC. Don't get me wrong, I love to plan ahead- :) But allow yourself some flexibility in what you *think* you will do by 2019-2020.
3- I think you can expect tremendous growth next year if you use ECC and the MFW language arts recommendations. Writing With Skill is a great skill developer, in my opinion. Spelling Power can easily be used with an older student and only takes 10-15 minutes a day. Easy Grammar Ultimate is great daily reinforcement, although if he is weak in grammar you may consider starting with Applications of Grammar. All of these have the benefit of short, effective lessons, which sounds appropriate for your less-motivated student.
4- Last- when you do get ready to decide for sure on using CTG or AHL for 2019-2020 (when he would be '9th grade'), I agree that you might want to look closely at AHL (haven't used it yet but we will next year!), and just consider continuing more of WWS and Easy Grammar if he still needs LA support.
Kids in school: 15, 13, 11, 8, 6, 4, 4
We have used: K, First, all Investigate years
2018-2019: First, ECC, AHL
Julie - Staff
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Re: Opinions welcomed

Unread post by Julie - Staff »

Hi and welcome!

You've already received so many good points that I won't repeat them all. I just thought I'd brainstorm about a language-arts focus for the next year and a half or so before high school.

If it turns out that you delay high school a year, I personally don't have a problem with that. I always point out that my oldest graduated at almost 19 and is an engineer. But since your son is already placed as a 7th grader, I thought you could begin with a plan to keep him on that track, and evaluate as you get closer, as Ruth mentioned.

So, first I wonder if you can begin language arts now. You could just pick up with our recommendations for 7th graders starting this year.

(1) For grammar, that would mean beginning Language Lessons For Today-6 now and using it 5 days a week over the next 8 weeks. As a teacher, you might be able to scan through the table of contents and skip over a few of the lessons he has already been exposed to, making it go even faster. There is also guidance in the Teacher's Manual about which types of lessons to omit. After completing LLFT-6, he should have the basic parts of speech mastered (nouns, adverbs, etc.).

After that, begin Applications of Grammar daily and continue until finished. Then if needed, you can begin the 8th grade grammar book, possibly extending part of it into 9th grade. At my house, Applications didn't need to be mastered at 100%, but it was important to introduce my son to all the details of grammar that explain why a sentence gets confusing at times; the 8th grade book goes over everything one more time.

(2) For writing, plan to complete Writing With Skill, our 7th-8th grade recommendation. Begin now and do one lesson per day. If you need to condense, then we have recommendations for 8th graders using this book in one year, but for a struggling students it may be best to just proceed through the book in order. (You can take a look at the 8th grade recommendations in this post: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=15728&p=102692#p102692 )

So there is one possible plan.

And finally, as Lourdes mentioned,
manyblessings wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 5:07 pm
Even though it is intended to be largely independent, you should work alongside him to be sure he gets into the rhythm of things, and then have regular meetings/review thereafter.
In high school, the goal is to spend a few weeks with the student at the beginning of the year. But until he is ready for high school, he will still need a parent to sit with him and help him understand, guide him in what to focus on in the lessons, and encourage him.

Working together will also help you understand where he's getting hung up. I tutored students for several years in a Kumon center and probably got more one-on-one time than you get in a classroom. I would notice small things that helped explain why kids weren't writing well - lack of focus, pressure to get the "right" answer, what I called "spinning facts" that students were trying to remember without understanding, and so on. Encourage him that his brain knows how to put together sentences correctly at an amazing rate when he is talking; it's just a matter of doing the same thing on paper, and focusing on that for a while may mean it all is much easier later, or at the very least he has time now to figure out what strategies will help things go smoothly later.

Blessings as you figure this out,
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