Encouragement - Making ECC work in a large family

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BHelf
Posts: 119
Joined: Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:58 pm

Encouragement - Making ECC work in a large family

Unread post by BHelf » Sun Jul 12, 2009 1:19 pm

blessedwith4 wrote:I received the new ECC package on Friday and have looked through the manual quite a few times. Not as thoroughly as I'd like to because my 9.5 month old is just so demanding. I have never done any type of unit study before because, truthfully and as much as I wish things were different, I'm just not that type of mom. :-( I don't like crafty things at all.

I would be teaching a 3rd grader, 6th grader, and 8th grader all while tending to the baby, who is sooo demanding of my time. If I can't even look through the materials at peace, how will I ever have time to sit with them and go over all the stuff in ECC? I'm so upset over this! I really wanted to this to work, especially because I love how they spend so much time developing a Biblical worldview. I can tell the authors of MFW put their whole heart into this. But, at what point do I just say, "this won't work"?

My two daughters think it looks fun. Others said they managed but I'm feeling like it's too much for me. I don't even know what I'm asking here; just wanting to know if I should just return it and stop beating myself up over this.
I know the overwhelmed feeling with things and a baby taking your attention. My baby is 2 now, but I remember those days.) I would encourage you to take some time and pray about it and over it.

I've never taught a 6th or 8th grader, but I would think there's a lot of things they could do independently if need be. Also most of the stuff will be done together--in other words all your school age children can sit in on the history/geography/science/bible time together (as opposed to doing everyone separately therefore taking less mom time)--perhaps during baby's nap times?

Read alouds can be done during breakfast/lunch/after dinner/at bedtime...we like to do read alouds as the kids play in the sandbox but we obviously have younger kids than you, but perhaps during something else that's quiet that they enjoy doing. Maybe Dad can do read alouds or science or something while you attend to baby in the evenings. Maybe you could do school completely untraditionally for awhile and school the older kids in the evenings while Dad takes care of the baby?
For other subjects that require one on one mom time (math, spelling, language arts) have one of the older kids take care of the baby while you work with another kid and then switch off kids taking care of baby and another kid getting mom time for school.

Try to think outside the box a little as well. If you stick with MFW, your 3rd grader will get ECC again in 8th grade so don't expect too much from him/her this year. Don't feel like you have to do every craft or activity that ECC has to offer if that's what is stressing you out. Pick the ones you think your children would like the best or benefit from the most. Could your two older ones help the 3rd grader with math/language arts or even doing some of the read alouds?

I just want to encourage you that you can, in fact, do it. Think outside the "school" box. Fit school around baby's naptime and other scheduled activities.

Getting the box with all those books at once is overwhelming but they aren't all used at the same time.

Oh one more thing---some people have found the first 2 weeks (or 3 or 4 weeks) of ECC to be more full than the others. There have been suggestions for the first 2 weeks to maybe JUST do the ECC things on the grid for those 2 weeks and then add in math, spelling, and language arts during week 3...or gradually add in those things during the first 2 weeks if you feel you can.

Pray about it and come here for encouragement!
Wife to DH for almost 13 years
Mommy to Eileen-9, Merrick-6, Adalynn-5 and Karis--19 months
http://www.asimplewalk.wordpress.com

Julie in MN
Posts: 2925
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Encouragement - Making ECC work in a large family

Unread post by Julie in MN » Sun Jul 12, 2009 1:24 pm

(I see some great ideas have already been posted while I was typing! These aren't as practical but general "thinking" ideas here...)

Oh, you sound stressed. You need some hugs first <hug>

I couldn't begin to know what your final decision should be, but maybe some of us on the boards can add some things to help you think it through.

1. "I'm feeling like it's too much for me." You don't say what you did before or what you'd do instead, if you don't use the ECC set that you now have. I'm just guessing here, but it sounds like you've used textbooks. If so, I'd like you to picture in your mind if your textbook package had just arrived, and you had a living room full of textbooks for 3 different age groups and all different subjects. You'd still feel overwhelmed, right? Beginning of the year overwhelmed-ness is not uncommon. Even if you were sending them off on the yellow school bus, you'd still have different supply lists, lunch systems, calendars, meetings, and more. It's hard being a mom of 4 in any circumstance.

2. "If I can't even look through the materials at peace, how will I ever have time ..." If you choose another program, remember that mom time will be needed for assignments and correcting the work and correcting the corrections and so on. And remember that in ECC, you're looking at all the mom time on one page. There's no hidden agenda with corrections and planning and all of that. I imagine that every program requires some teaching or follow-up from mom, but in ECC the mom time is with the kids, not with the workbooks.

3. "...all while tending to the baby, who is sooo demanding " As far as keeping that young 'un happy during school, there are other moms on the boards & in the archives that will be much more help than I since I wasn't homeschooling at the time. But I will say that when I had my youngest, I also had a very busy 11 year old and 8 year old, and I always say that my youngest spent his early years in the carseat, going to hockey games and Girl Scout meetings and piano lessons and class field trips. However, on the flip side of that, my youngest learned to be flexible and happy in his early years because there was always someone there to smile at him and something different to look at. Nothing's perfect, but there's usually a balance of benefits & drawbacks with each position in the family.

4. "I don't like crafty things at all." Me neither -- what do you do with all that stuff anyways :-) But sometimes my kids like it, so I at least present it to them as an option. I'd hate to have a high school graduate who had never heard of any of the traditional childhood crafts such as making a collage or a string of paperdolls. Sometimes we skip it or save until optional weekend time. In ECC, you could even just allow for one craft in each continent -- which is maybe one per month or less.

5. "I really wanted to this to work." I imagine you chose this because you want a good education for your older 3, and you want them to learn to love God, and you want them to be together. You only have one year for your oldest before high school, so maybe you were concerned that you spend some time with him before he gets even more independent. I imagine you wanted to be a mom for all 4, not just the wee one. I might spend some time looking back at your original goals.

6. "I love how they spend so much time developing a Biblical worldview." Well, that says a lot, doesn't it? Makes the other stuff seem less important. If you keep this goal primary in your mind as you plan your week, you will realize what can be dropped if necessary, or what could be done without you. Oldest can even learn some "leadership" skills here. But time spent with your children building a Biblical worldview -- priceless, as they say :)

Blessings as you sort through this,
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

Jenn in NC
Posts: 144
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2006 2:00 pm

Re: Encouragement - Making ECC work in a large family

Unread post by Jenn in NC » Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:57 am

I don't have time right now to read through your other replies -- so someone may have already mentioned this, but I wanted to post it really quick just in case no one thought of it so far. I really, really encourage you to call the MFW office. Really really really! I am going to put the number at the end of my post so you won't even have to click over to the main site to look for it. :-) They have helped me work through exactly what you're talking about more than once.

I have been right where you are. Babies, preschoolers, and school-age kids all over the board in terms of ability. We have successfully done ADV and the 5-year cycle up through the end of Rome to the Reformation (we start year 4 this year). ECC is very doable. And so worth it!

Anyway, later I will try to get time to type out some of the specific things that made ECC so doable and fun for us -- but in the mean time, here is the number:
573.426.4600
mommy to four boys & two girls... and another boy on the way :)
completed K, 1st, ADV, ECC, CTG and RTR
2009--2010 Enjoying Exploration to 1850

RachelT
Posts: 352
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:45 pm

Re: Encouragement - Making ECC work in a large family

Unread post by RachelT » Mon Jul 13, 2009 2:11 pm

Hi! You have already received so much great advice! I wanted to say that calling the MFW office would be very helpful! I called them a week or 2 ago when I panicked and went away from my conversation feeling encouraged! My situation is different (I don't have a baby and I only have 2 children) but I was feeling overwhelmed because my child is not able to to a lot of indepenedent work, yet, because of his learning challenges. David called me back and we talked. He gave me some ideas for using my time creatively.

Have you ever seen or used the book "Managers of their Homes"? It is a great resource for scheduling and planning how to get everything done. This book has lots of sample schedules of different families in the back and it might help you to look over those schedules and see how other families with multiple kids, including little ones, get everything accomplished. They also have a new book called "Managers of their Schools" that I have not read, yet. The Maxwell family has a website at Titus2 dot com. I think there are some sample schedules that you can see right there on the website.

Each family is different and not every curriculum is a right fit for my family, but like someone else said above, you ordered ECC because you did want a Biblical worldview as a foundation for your children. Maybe God will help you to shift how you have been doing school for this curriculum that is new to you, but is honoring Him!

Rachel
Rachel, wife to Doug ~ 1995, mom to J (17) and B (15)
MFW K (twice), 1st (twice), Adv., ECC, & CtG 2006-2010,
Classical Conversations 2010-2016,
ECC/AHL 2016-17, eclectic 2017-18, WHL & US1 2018-19

http://rachelsreflections-rachelt.blogspot.com/

HSmommi2mine
Posts: 159
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 5:59 pm

Re: Encouragement - Making ECC work in a large family

Unread post by HSmommi2mine » Mon Jul 13, 2009 3:25 pm

Well, I understand. You need to use something that will work for you. You have to use something for school though and will the alternative be less work? Pray about it and consider creative solutions like having your 8th grader in charge of all projects and crafts. That leaves you to do the reading aloud unless the kids are old enough to read things on their own.

We did ECC when ds was in 5th grade. He did most of the history and geography reading on his own. I copied the weekly assignment grid for him so that he knew what was going on. For a number of reasons that was a personally difficult year for me and he managed to do the vast majority of ECC with very little guidance. I am actually disappointed that I missed so much of it, but he managed to get a good education anyway!
~Christina

Wife to my favorite guy
Mom to 3 great kids

RobinF
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 10:52 pm

Re: Encouragement - Making ECC work in a large family

Unread post by RobinF » Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:55 am

As a mom to four I know how stressful it can be. I know that I am just now (baby will be 3 in Sept) getting to the point where I think I "might" have a handle on having four children, maybe! :-) The first year I kept thinking "I can't do this, it is so hard, was God sure we were supposed to have four children?" So I just want to say hugs and be gentle with yourself.

Everyone else gave good advice and I just want to encourage you that it will get easier. It really will.

Robin
http://www.robindfowler.blogspot.com

tiffany
Posts: 160
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 9:56 am

Re: Encouragement - Making ECC work in a large family

Unread post by tiffany » Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:56 am

After reading Christina's post, I was prompted to respond. She is right about you having to use something. The alternative may not be better workload wise. I think many of us can empathize with the challenges a larger family brings as well as the blessings and challenges of babies and toddlers. I actually chose to do ECC and MFWK when we had 5 kids, including a 1 year old, for those exact reasons. I needed more structure and a way to include all my kids. When I thought about pulling together all the subjects myself... talk about stress!!! For us, MFW actually offered more peace and stability to our homeschool. We still have crazy days, and we still get behind- but there is always a plan and something to come back to. I think we would really be floundering without it. We have learned so many wonderful things as a family too. I can understand you feeling overwhelmed. Next year scares me a bit too, to be honest. My box included the first year of high school, Exp.-1850 and materials for yet another first grader. Should be interesting. ;)

By the way ECC was great fun for all of us and I AM NOT a crafty type at all. Don't feel like you have to do all the crafts. We always did the food for the country- well, because we love to eat. Both my husband and I are foodie types. We saved that for the weekend. I probably did 60% of the crafts and 50% of the science experiments. There is so much more to it than hands on stuff, so don't be afraid of that. Don't feel that you have to check off every box to have a successful and rewarding experience. You are not a slave to your curriculum. You are in charge. :)
Tiffany
Wife to Tim ('88)
Mother to Sophie 16, Jonathan 14, Joey 12, Noah 10, Matthew 8, Eli 4
Have completed MFWK, MFW 1st grade, ECC, CTG, RTR, Exp.-1850,1850-Mod., HS Ancients, HS World
Fall of '11 ECC,HS Ancients, HS U.S. History to 1877

blessedwith4
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:36 pm

Re: Encouragement - Making ECC work in a large family

Unread post by blessedwith4 » Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:34 pm

Thank you all SO MUCH! I have looked over ECC over and over again and am fairly certain I'll be keeping it. I will need to keep this issue in prayer because I realized I feel so inadequate and just not smart enough to teach this kind of curriculum. To me, this is for the fun, creative, hard-to-stress-out moms---not someone like me who has a baby that never seems to sleep. DH keeps reminding me "it won't be like this for long" (this is a country song, LOL)

Thank you all so much!

cbollin

Re: Encouragement - Making ECC work in a large family

Unread post by cbollin » Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:12 pm

I have some tips for using ecc to share:

The first 2 weeks are very full. Then it lightens up.

stagger the start times for the oldest kid to start "independent" subjects (math, science. etc) a week ahead of the other kids, then they are ahead of that and able to help you a bit more during the start up time. don't feel the need to have a full plate of all 10-13 subjects those first two weeks -- you can skip spelling or english, etc for that learning curve, back to school, foggy brain syndrome.

Get the 8th grader to help. :)

I know box day can feel like a lot. You're taking in a year's worth of stuff all at once. It covers everything.
blessedwith4 wrote: I will need to keep this issue in prayer because I realized I feel so inadequate and just not smart enough to teach this kind of curriculum. To me, this is for the fun, creative, hard-to-stress-out moms---not someone like me who has a baby that never seems to sleep. !
nah.... if that were the case, I would have given up MFW years ago.

I'm very easy to stress out. very easy to stress! kids that fight. one that is "blonde" (a sweetie and a half though.) and the youngest has autism! eek! did I mention I stress out easily. last 3 weeks were doozies.

I simplify when needed on the crafts to get it done. One ECC example was this craft with the Kenya unit -- we used pipe cleaners to make the design.

We did sand painting (week 3 or 4) --- but scaled down. we bought "desert colored" sand at Michaels and for $1 picked up these peel off templates for sand painting. You simply peel back the paper, leaving the sticky, pour sand onto of the sticky and a colorful design is there. It looks awesome, but that's the story behind it. $1 sticky things and colored sand in the same aisle.

One optional idea in global art was to make a story quilt --- we used scrap paper glued onto cardstock to represent a quilt.
I know I can find a link to my pics for that...
http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/mfwfriend/581231/

Our soap carvings were funny. but we had fun with it. no picture from it. we used the soap. And not all of our stuff turned out as well as we wanted it to. still had fun.


So, if you get all nervous about a project, just ask out loud. More than likely we (the collective we of everyone who posts here) will find a post together in the Ideas forum for ECC, or a link to a blog picture, or a quick idea to scale back.

MFW can be a wonderful fit for those creative types as they'll have time and opportunity to display their talents in that area. But God gives us all talents and with the way MFW presents stuff, you'll be able to shine with who HE made you to be.


other things...
We bought carry out if needed or moved the food item to be on Saturday so hubby could help.

-crystal

hsmom
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2008 9:58 am

Re: Possibly returning ECC :-(

Unread post by hsmom » Wed Jul 15, 2009 1:10 pm

You've already gotten some great replies, and I haven't done ECC yet( we're hoping to be able to do that this year), but just had to say that I chose MFW because I am not crafty. If I have to come up with a crafty idea, it will never happen. My poor kids would never see construction paper or glue if it were up to my creativity. I love the idea that MFW comes up with the idea, tells me when it fits in and often even tells the supply list. All that I have to do is have the kids do it, and I even have the freedom to decide I don't want to do it!

blessedwith4
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:36 pm

Re: Encouragement - Making ECC work in a large family

Unread post by blessedwith4 » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:26 pm

What a blessing this site is! I caught myself today---getting excited about ECC! I've been going through the weeks and organizing a shopping list for each week---crafty stuff and ingredients for recipes. I think if I'm prepared ahead of time, it will go much more smoothly.

Something someone here said that I'm realizing to be true is, this is good for those who AREN'T crafty because all of the ideas are pulled together for you! I realized that today while making my list.

I'm really getting excited about this! :-)

Keer
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:21 pm

Re: Encouragement - Making ECC work in a large family

Unread post by Keer » Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:26 am

Coming in late, but I'm glad to see you are feeling less overwhelmed!

Next year I will be doing ECC with 7th, 5th, and 4th graders. I will also be doing the phonics, math, and Bible portions of MFW 1st with a 1st grader, and I'll be doing MFW K with a Ker. The 1st grader will sit in on the Ker's science stuff.

I ALSO have a VERY "into things" 2yo. And come January, I will have a newborn.

I cannot stress enough just how helpful the books Managers of Their Homes is for me. There is no way I'd be able to homeschool this many children without it!!!!!

Also, (and someone may have mentioned this earlier...I skimmed so forgive me if I'm repeating) don't be afraid to let your 9mo entertain himself. At that age, while yes, they can be demanding and do have needs, they can also be taught how to play by themselves. Playpens are so wonderful LOL. Another thing I'm wanting to start doing with my new baby is blanket time. That way I can do school with the olders without the littles constantly interrupting.

AND another idea you may want to consider is to schedule times where the olders play with the baby. That has been a huge help around here.

I know I'm repeating this, but definitely keep it in prayer. God will give you the wisdom you need!
Kirstin
teaching ds (10th), ds (8th), dd (7th), ds (4th), dd (3rd), and dd (K)
keeping ds (3yo) and dd (1yo) out of trouble

Jenn in NC
Posts: 144
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2006 2:00 pm

Re: Encouragement - Making ECC work in a large family

Unread post by Jenn in NC » Thu Jul 16, 2009 1:30 pm

Keer wrote:At that age, while yes, they can be demanding and do have needs, they can also be taught how to play by themselves. Playpens are so wonderful LOL.
I have to second this. Used in shorts bursts and with some gentle training, playpens are a really good way to give mom a little needed time, and keep baby safe while playing alone for a bit. My baby loves his playpen time! And so do I ;)
mommy to four boys & two girls... and another boy on the way :)
completed K, 1st, ADV, ECC, CTG and RTR
2009--2010 Enjoying Exploration to 1850

Mommyto3boys
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 12:24 pm

Re: Encouragement - Making ECC work in a large family

Unread post by Mommyto3boys » Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:23 pm

I understand how you feel. I started ECC when my dd was 5 months. I planned out the crafts in advance for the year when the baby was in bed or someone else (for me dh) was watching the little one. Then I bought the craft supplies in advance so I would have them when needed(I picked the easiest crafts I could since my other dc were 8, 5.5, and 3).
You could let your dc since they are older look over and pick 1 craft per country. They could be very independent with this aspect.

Also, the older dc could do the readings of the history and geography to the 3rd grader if you were busy with the baby. Or I do readings while the little one is eating or playing in the high chair.

I do try to have my dc rotate with my little one while I do one on one 3R teachings. MOTH is a good resource to look at for scheduling.

HTH,

Debbie in NC
Mom to 3 ds (10, 7.5, and 5) and 1 dd (2)
Done MFW Adventures, ECC and K, and CTG
Starting RTR and K in August

blessedwith4
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:36 pm

Re: Encouragement - Making ECC work in a large family

Unread post by blessedwith4 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:43 pm

Next year I will be doing ECC with 7th, 5th, and 4th graders. I will also be doing the phonics, math, and Bible portions of MFW 1st with a 1st grader, and I'll be doing MFW K with a Ker. The 1st grader will sit in on the Ker's science stuff.

I ALSO have a VERY "into things" 2yo. And come January, I will have a newborn.
Wow! You are brave. :-)

Ladies, I am feeling fantastic about my decision to try MFW. I keep getting more and more excited the more I read through the manual. We probably won't start til the end of August but I'm trying to get everything ready. The more prepared I am, the more smoothly things will run.

Thank you so much for all of your encouragement!

momxnine
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:09 pm

ECC Passport ?

Unread post by momxnine » Fri Aug 24, 2012 1:08 pm

BusyMom2Many wrote:I'm working on a limited budget and will have 6 students in ECC this year. Has anyone just used 1 passport/stickerbook and just added a sticker as a group? I haven't started ECC yet, so I'm not completely sure how it all works. Just thinking about how to cut back.
You might be able to find something online about making your own passport book and then find a site that has free printable flags that you could use. Each time you "travel" to a new country, you "stamp" the passport page and put in a flag sticker (from the Flag of the World sticker book). The other thing that you do with that sticker book is that throughout the year when you go to a new continent, you find all the flag stickers for that continent and match them to the country. It's just another way of learning where all the countries are.
Blessings,
Vicki in SW MO.

Mom to 9, ages 10 - 31, Grammy to 4
Married 32 years, homeschooled for 25 years; 6 graduated, 3 to go

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