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JinxieFox
03-22-2010, 10:49 PM
We have followed The Well-Trained Mind loosely for the first few years. I have to say that Story of the World was a total disaster in our home.

I'm thinking of following TWTM more closely next year (with the exception of SOTW). So I'm curious if anybody out there follows it fairly closely, and how it has worked for you.

We are entering year 3 of homeschooling, and as I've begun to gather TWTM's recommendations, I have been very happy with what I read and see.

Wendy

paojava
03-23-2010, 10:15 AM
I follow TWTM pretty closely and it is working for us! Granted, I only have one to teach--DS7. How old are your kids? What went wrong is SOTW?

JinxieFox
03-24-2010, 01:04 AM
One son, age 7. I find that the more closely we follow TWTM, the better!

SOTW was just too dry, and the activities bored us both to tears (especially coloring pages). So I am looking for an alternate for history. However, we are finding that "The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading" is a great success! I'm debating "First Language Lessons" and trying to determine what our history spine will be for the upcoming year(s).

I purchased the recommendations for Usborne books for 3rd grade for history and science. We just have to wait until we move to get any sort of Chemistry kit (the movers won't pack certain things, and better safe than sorry anyhow). So I'm slowly getting prepared for 2010-2011, going over "TWTM" and deciding to try more of the recommendations than usual now that my son is older. I am glad to hear that it is going well in your home!

Wendy

QueenBee
04-09-2010, 01:17 PM
Hi Wendy - I"m chiming in late.
First Language Lessons has been wonderful in our house! My oldest (now grade 4) was fine with doing grammar the "old-fashioned way" and it's actually one of her favorite subjects. She's a bookish kid that writes well. But my current second grader could not handle it at all. So I ordered FLL. This year I've used it for her (grade 2 - started in the middle) and my first grader (started at the beginning). I would say to ignore the grade level and start at the beginning. Overall, it's quick and painless; I usually don't do the enrichment activities (but that's because I have four kids I'm balancing and I usually run short on time). I was wondering in the beginning how much they would retain and I've been pleasantly surprised by just how much they have both learned. There's little writing (which is perfect for this age). AND - my youngest (kinder) who is usually sitting near us while we do the lessons has actually retained most of it as well. And she's memorized all of the poems they have, which leaves me wondering about next year. lol It's not an expensive book and worth it imho. And if you don't end up liking it, I know it's easy to re-sell. =)

Peter
04-09-2010, 02:36 PM
My wife -- who does the bulk of our "formal" homeschooling -- has been using "Story of the World" with our sons. She is also reading "The Well-Trained Mind" for a homeschooling book group. The selection of the book raised the hackles of some of the more anti-religion (as opposed to just secular) members of the group, who refused to read it. I found this rather amusing, given the extremely broad and inclusive stance the book takes on teaching about the significance of religion in world history and culture.

JinxieFox
04-09-2010, 08:24 PM
Thanks Queen Bee! I will probably focus on language once I get history figured out, and we're definitely going to try FLL.

Peter, we didn't mind the religious components of SOTW at all. I agree with what you said about the significance of religion in world history and culture! Our problem was that the books are so dry, and the activities are boring. However, I had great success this year creating a thrown-together history curriculum of Eyewitness and DK books. They have plenty of colorful pictures, which kept my son engaged. So we revisited ancient times, then moved on to medieval times, the Reformation, and early Renaissance times.

So my biggest challenge for the upcoming year is to find an interesting history spine. I'll definitely supplement it with Eyewitness and DK books!

dottieanna29
04-16-2010, 08:03 PM
Have you thought about History Odyssey? It does use parts of SOTW (doesn't use the overly Christian stuff) but I've seen on other boards that the activities are more interesting than the ones in SOTW. It also uses the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History.

JinxieFox
04-16-2010, 09:03 PM
Hi Dorothy and welcome,

I wrote a nice, long blog post about this, actually! LOL I have figured out what we will do. We are using the History Odyssey TOC as a guideline to organize our studies, their Book and Supply lists, and using The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History for our spine, supplemented with DK and Eyewitness books, plus a variety of other books.

The religious stuff doesn't bother us at all (I'm Pagan, hubby is Christian, and we are both UU). With SOTW, it just wasn't interesting to read. We use TWTM to organize our work, but Charlotte Mason in our approach - we try to find "living books", where the authors were writing about subjects about which they were passionate, and therefore that makes the book more interesting and engaging.

While I think Susan Wise Bauer is passionate about education, and TWTM is a very good read, I don't think she wrote that great a series of history books. But that's just us. I think their (Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise) books about phonics and language are just fabulous, though! They really know their stuff there.

So our only deviation from TWTM is going to be history, I think. But we'll still make use of the history reading list in TWTM. I've been creating our 2010-2011 history lesson plans based on the idea mentioned above, and have been feeling very successful in getting everything organized.

The big test will be how my son does with everything! History is his least favorite subject. On the flip side, it was always one of my very favorites. So, instead of approaching history in a very "This is what happened" way, I want to remember what fascinates ME, and try to convey that to him. He also enjoys hands-on work, so I've been very busy trying to find crafts, activities and interactive games for him. I'm feeling quite proud of my lesson plans for 2010-2011! :-D

dottieanna29
04-18-2010, 06:58 PM
Thank you for the Welcome. :-)

I just took a look at your blog and I really like your idea for History. I have the free download "Try Before You Buy" for History Odyssey (I'm big into planning ahead) and have already put the topic list from the Table of Contents into a spreadsheet plan for 2011-2012. I'm not real sure how SOTW is going to go over for us. DS is very visual and not great with long read-alouds but I wasn't seeing anything else I really liked (considering I definitely want secular). I like your idea of using the HO outline but with an assortment of other books. I already have the Usborne ILE of World History and DS already likes looking through it, I've also used a variety of DK books (we have a Learning Resource Center which is like a lending library for teachers and they have all of them) and he likes those as well. My kids are very hands-on so activities would be important but I wonder if it would be worth buying the HO guide for the activities and book lists and adjusting it to replace SOTW with other things.

You've definitely given me something to think about. :-)

Shoe
04-19-2010, 12:15 PM
I recently purchased The Well-Trained Mind after hearing nothing but good things from this forum and others who have read and used it. I find it quite interesting and like the classical approach it details, but it seems to me that it would not be easy to jump into in the middle, so to speak.That is, my children are both (by age and grade level) in the logic stage, but with a public education through the grammar stage, it is difficult to see how to mesh their prior learning and this classical approach into some kind of workable and seamless program. I do plan to use some of the readings this program references, as well as using a time line to help synthesize and coordinate knowledge from a variety of different courses-I think it will be very helpful for them to see what was happening where around the same time in different parts of the world in terms of historical events, scientific discoveries, the "important" people, cultural trends, etc.

Had I started home schooling my children when they were much younger and I had been aware of this book, then I think I would have followed it quite closely. As it is, I'll just use bits and pieces of it.

JinxieFox
04-20-2010, 02:17 AM
Aw, thanks Dottie! Glad you like my ideas. I hope they work for others. :)

Shoe, it will be interesting to know how you incorporate portions of TWTM into your children's education, and your experiences with it. I, too, would wonder how to jump into the middle of it after having followed a different style or a public school education. The reading lists are definitely useful!

AlishaYouch
04-20-2010, 07:23 AM
Shoe, I will be trying to implement some of the methods and lessons from TWTM into our cyberschool curriculum, as well. (We have "supplemental hours" we are permitted to use for whatever educational activities or lessons we wish.) I'll be interested to see how your experience with using TWTM as a supplemental goes. Good luck!

Topsy
04-20-2010, 10:15 AM
Bumped this thread to a front page article today...

reversemigration
04-20-2010, 10:41 AM
I, too, have been wondering how to implement TWTM partway through. The sections in the book on doing so are a bit skimpy, although they all seem to strike the same chord: make sure the basic foundations are firm before moving on. I share Shoe's misgivings about how well old and new will integrate; however, I'm hoping Max will adapt to it without too many problems. He has the advantage of getting into it in the first year of the logic stage, which makes the four-year cycle easier to manage. The main reason I suspect he'll adapt is that he reads well above his grade level, and given how language-intensive TWTM appears to be, this ought to serve him well.

Wendy, I have the opposite concern when it comes to history - I worry that if I don't stay on top of him he'll slight his other studies in favor of history. He proudly came up to me yesterday and declared, "I've read every book in the school library and in the classroom on World War II." Now I'm waiting for a similar sort of declaration of mastery when it comes to math!

So, thus far I've planned on doing:

Mind Benders for logic
Singapore Math (testing him at the end of this school year to see where to begin)
National Geographic Almanac of the World as the core history spine...our local library system is absolutely excellent, plus we're within walking distance of the state university library...both of which have good primary sources.
Handwriting Without Tears - his handwriting is nearly illegible at times!
Rosetta Latin, hopefully supplemented with some tutoring with a classics grad student

...and I'm still mulling over Science and Language options. I'd love to hear advice!

crstarlette
04-20-2010, 12:09 PM
A quick thought: using books other than the recommendations in WTM is not deviating from WTM. WTM is a method, not a list of materials. They do give recommendations for materials, but those are just suggestions. If you do a chronological 4 year history cycle with materials other than those that are listed, you are still doing history the WTM way. If the specific materials were super important, then how would they justify revising their book to include different recommendations every so often? They would have to say, "You have to use *this* book, so find an out of print copy." The recommendations are there to make life easier (and to make money, I suppose, in the case of their own materials, which is fine), not to create a rigid schedule of readings and activities. Just my .02.

Snoopy
04-20-2010, 12:24 PM
A quick thought: using books other than the recommendations in WTM is not deviating from WTM. WTM is a method, not a list of materials. They do give recommendations for materials, but those are just suggestions. If you do a chronological 4 year history cycle with materials other than those that are listed, you are still doing history the WTM way. If the specific materials were super important, then how would they justify revising their book to include different recommendations every so often? They would have to say, "You have to use *this* book, so find an out of print copy." The recommendations are there to make life easier (and to make money, I suppose, in the case of their own materials, which is fine), not to create a rigid schedule of readings and activities. Just my .02.
I agree, especially when it comes to SOTW. I do research which of the additional resources recommendations are available through my library but I frequently find books that are more interesting and more of Noah's level while researching them so I substitute for the books/websites that I have found on my own quite often. For science, I don't even use what she recommends, I follow the recommendations as far as which scientific discipline in what year but I find my own curriculum and again, supplement as I see fit. My library's copy of TWTM is quite old anyway so I don't even know what the latest recommendations are. For Language Lessons, we have totally given up on First Language Lessons (we're close to the end of level 2) because we were bored with it and we're using a hodge-podge of resources and methods to practice what we've learned so far (blogging, exercises, dictation, etc.)

Wilma
04-20-2010, 03:28 PM
We used WTM when it first came out, and it was very difficult to implement. Come to find out Susan Wise Bauer doesn't use it they way it is written. Her publisher wanted her to include all that stuff. It is helpful to go to the website and read some of her life in our house posts. There are many people on that board who are militant in following the program; others have not even read the book.

I do want to put in a plug for History Odyssey. I love that program! My oldest is using Level 2 in co-op. I like that it is designed to develop an independent learner and worker. I love the book selections with the exception of the Van Loon book, which I don't hate but it tends to tell a meandering tale. The books you need to use are not obscure but very easy to find. We have Christians and atheists in our co-op and have had no complaints about the religion or lack thereof. Religious conflicts and issues are treated as such, not evangelizing. I have not seen the lower grades aside from a cursory review, but it looks very good. The try it before you buy it is very generous; they give you a few weeks worth of lessons so you can really get a feel for the program.

We are using A World of Adventure with my 2 youngest. Because of outside commitments and their personalities, especially my youngest, I have decided to hold off on doing HO, That is a Chrisitian program, but, aside from a Bible reading daily, it is not preachy. It follows history chronologically but at a somewhat different pace, is not so rigorous in language arts and is very hands on. Unfortunately for us, the author has had some issues crop up and seems unable or unwilling to finish the final 2 volumes (there are supposed to be 5).

As for SOTW, it was not a big hit here. My girls enjoyed listening to the first book on cd, but, despite all the people who love Jim Weiss' reading of the subsequent books, my family finds his style annoying.

Snoopy
04-20-2010, 07:22 PM
"My girls enjoyed listening to the first book on cd, but, despite all the people who love Jim Weiss' reading of the subsequent books, my family finds his style annoying." Oh thank you for saying that. I bought the CD for The Ancients and it was the most boring narration ever. We only listened to a couple of chapters because we couldn't take it! However Noah loves it when I read it to him :)

Wilma
04-20-2010, 08:55 PM
Whenever I hear Jim Weiss' voice, I picture some guy who looks like Paul Lynde wearing some sixties suit with an ascot walking around his penthouse drinking his third martini. Don't know where I got that image. I have probably ruined those cds for anyone reading this thread.;)

ginnyjf
04-20-2010, 09:21 PM
Ann, you have totally ruined the CDs for me. You've also ruined my computer monitor because I spit tea all over it while I was laughing!

Wilma
04-20-2010, 10:12 PM
Sorry (but it's true!)

HoodOrnament
04-20-2010, 11:00 PM
Oh, Dear Wilma! You are right about WTM and the fact that there is no need to follow it to the letter.

But, Jim Weiss?! His voice is so soooooothing! Ascot or not, that guy can read me a story anytime, although I'd prefer Mike Rowe.

Hubba, .....hubba!

reversemigration
04-21-2010, 08:55 AM
Whenever I hear Jim Weiss' voice, I picture some guy who looks like Paul Lynde wearing some sixties suit with an ascot walking around his penthouse drinking his third martini. Don't know where I got that image. I have probably ruined those cds for anyone reading this thread.;)

Is it wrong that this makes me WANT to hear it? I mean...Paul Lynde!

Wilma
04-21-2010, 08:59 AM
He doesn't sound like Paul Lynde, but that is just the mental picture I have. He sounds like he's had enough to drink to slur his words but not be drunk, KWIM? Sometimes I picture Roddy MicDowell at about age 35. Weird, I know. I am obviously a very visual person who watches too much old tv and movies.

reversemigration
04-21-2010, 09:11 AM
A quick thought: using books other than the recommendations in WTM is not deviating from WTM. WTM is a method, not a list of materials. They do give recommendations for materials, but those are just suggestions. (snip)

I'm sure this is true. On my own part, I'm probably hewing more closely to the recommendations from being a noob homeschooler, with all the uncertainty and insecurity that entails. As I progress (and get some good advice from folks here) and find other things that work well, I'm sure I'll branch out. Or when Max looks at me with one of his cynical-beyond-his-years looks. Those, too, are motivating.

QueenBee
04-21-2010, 09:15 AM
Whenever I hear Jim Weiss' voice, I picture some guy who looks like Paul Lynde wearing some sixties suit with an ascot walking around his penthouse drinking his third martini. Don't know where I got that image. I have probably ruined those cds for anyone reading this thread.;)

Ha!!! I think of a very similar image! I see him sitting in a darkish room with a fire, in a leather arm chair, wearing a smoking jacket, with a cigar and a tumbler of brandy. Too funny!!!

reversemigration
04-21-2010, 09:17 AM
Maybe, but you're watching the right sort of movies and TV! Plus, it's the right period of time for a tipsy, well-dressed, somewhat louche history lecturer, doubtlessly in a velvet-draped room. Somehow I'm still not completely discouraged from the idea.

Museling
04-21-2010, 09:45 AM
Ha!!! I think of a very similar image! I see him sitting in a darkish room with a fire, in a leather arm chair, wearing a smoking jacket, with a cigar and a tumbler of brandy. Too funny!!!

Is it like this Orson Welles Outtake???? A friend showed this to me awhile ago and this is the picture I've got in my head now!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5LkDNu8bVU

QueenBee
04-23-2010, 01:16 PM
Is it like this Orson Welles Outtake???? A friend showed this to me awhile ago and this is the picture I've got in my head now!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5LkDNu8bVU

HA HA HA!!!! Not quite as drunk sounding, but that's close! =D This is totally going to be in my head now. lol

Museling
04-23-2010, 04:22 PM
I love that outtake....lol! "MaaaHaaa!"

StartingOver
05-27-2010, 09:23 PM
I have closely followed WTM since 1999, but am starting all over again with two little ones. I adore OPGTR, FLL & SOTW.

Robin5kids
05-28-2010, 08:40 AM
I am rather late to reply to this thread, but i just wanted to add, how different each child is. My son LOVES Story of the World. He can't get enough of it. I don't make him do much extra stuff with it. If he wants to color then he can, but I would never make him. That is too close to "busy work". (Like they do in school.) My son is also 7 and he just loves hearing about the battles and all the myths. He even has created his own Story of the World game and tries to play with a couple of his school going friends. They never want to play it, because they don't learn history in school and so have no background knowledge.:(

hockeymom
05-28-2010, 01:27 PM
We are about to start Prehistory in the Usborne Internet Linked Book of World History; we're going with that instead of SOTW (SOTW was a bit religious for us). We can't get into the extra stuff that TWTM suggests either--I agree that for us, it's too much like busy work.

I'm wondering, how quickly do you all go through the books? I think we'll do Prehistory this summer (because at 7 my son is FINALLY interested in dinosaurs--what great timing!), but I can see covering Ancient History and Medieval History in one year starting in the fall. Has anyone else done this?

Snoopy
05-28-2010, 02:14 PM
I am rather late to reply to this thread, but i just wanted to add, how different each child is. My son LOVES Story of the World. He can't get enough of it. I don't make him do much extra stuff with it. If he wants to color then he can, but I would never make him. That is too close to "busy work". (Like they do in school.) My son is also 7 and he just loves hearing about the battles and all the myths. He even has created his own Story of the World game and tries to play with a couple of his school going friends. They never want to play it, because they don't learn history in school and so have no background knowledge.:(

Noah would play with him! He loves SOTW (we just finished SOTW2). He is currently sharing a room with his sister but he told me that once he gets his own room, he's going to have history books all over the place, including on the floor! Right now he is into making movies with his toys. I got a cheapie Flip camera with my last Office Depot online order and yesterday he made about 20 movies, including his masterpiece "Religion Wars Part 1" (350 MB) and the sequel "Religion Wars Part 2". He had toys representing monks attacking non-believers (other toys) and killing everyone in the name of religion. I winced because my hubby was watching and he's a believer, but he laughed and laughed... phew!

We don't do the SOTW busywork either. Noah started hating coloring last year. We use the maps to follow the lesson but we don't do the mapwork either.

Snoopy
05-28-2010, 02:18 PM
Hmm, we took 36 weeks to do SOTW1 and 32 weeks to do SOTW2 and I felt that we were rushing through it. We didn't skip any chapters, although we did do quite a bit more supplemental reading on the secular chapters than on the religious ones. We do history twice a week, usually read 1 chapter 1 day and do some type of a project the 2nd day (or finish our supplemental reading on the 2nd day). But since we'll be revisiting those time periods in 5th and then again 9th grade, I'm not worried.

hockeymom
05-28-2010, 03:30 PM
Nathalie, do you mind if I ask how much time you spend on each history lesson ? Do you spend an hour twice a week, or...? Because it seems to me that we could get through a ton of reading in entire hour. What's your experience? I like the idea of twice a week; I think our natural inclination is to formally do a 4 day week, so then other two days of our "school week" could then be spent on science.

And do you mind if I ask what kind of supplemental projects you do? That's the kind of stuff that makes me nervous and stressed out, because I do want to do more than "just" (ha) read, but I also want the "extra" stuff to make logical sense and not just be busy work. I'm glad that I'm not the only one with a boy who hates to color (although...he is JUST now starting to get a small glimmer of interest in drawing, but we literally couldn't have forced a pencil crayon into his hands before last week).

Snoopy
05-28-2010, 05:40 PM
Hey, I usually block 2 hours for history 2 times a week (Mon-Tue) and then we block Science for 2 hrs 2 times a week (Wed-Thu) BUT, since Noah takes longer than I thought to do his math, and I don't want to rush him along, usually we're left with 1 hour each day.

Supplemental "projects" for us might include making a craft from another book (or website) than the SOTW activity book (Noah especially likes making weapons with cardboard and tape!), watching a documentary or a fiction movie about the subject being studied, a field trip, watching Brainpop videos or other online videos. I'm not the crafty type so I tend to avoid the projects where I have to do something, lol. However, I really need to get better that that. Oh, and we play games. We love the Professor Noggin's card games, and sometimes I can find online games or games that we can print (there was a good one about Viking Explorations that we enjoyed playing). Noah also enjoys playing Age of Empires and Age of Empires II on the computer.

Yes, I agree, you can go through a lot of reading in 1 hour!

I had ambitious plans to list all the activities and links that I had found for each chapter of SOTW2 this year on my blog, but that puttered out. I might still do it if I ever get off THIS site, lol.

StartingOver
05-28-2010, 06:07 PM
A quick thought: using books other than the recommendations in WTM is not deviating from WTM. WTM is a method, not a list of materials. They do give recommendations for materials, but those are just suggestions. If you do a chronological 4 year history cycle with materials other than those that are listed, you are still doing history the WTM way. If the specific materials were super important, then how would they justify revising their book to include different recommendations every so often? They would have to say, "You have to use *this* book, so find an out of print copy." The recommendations are there to make life easier (and to make money, I suppose, in the case of their own materials, which is fine), not to create a rigid schedule of readings and activities. Just my .02.


I agree ! In the 1999 there weren't many specific recommendations, it was more about what to study. I was suprised to see so much had changed when I bought the latest version. Although I must say so far I am enjoying her selections, but we are just working on the early stuff. K - 1st. In all my years of homeschooling I have never seen a phonics program more put together than OPGTR !! It isnt' fun, but it is very effective. I think the choice of FLL and WWE is better than anything I had the first time around. SOTW is much better than A Child's History of the World ( which is what many parents used in Grammar Stage many years ago ). I do miss the Kingfischer History Encyclopedia !! I still use tons of literature to reinforce the lessons, which seems to be working for my little ones too. I don't do the color pages, and we have a wall map and globe. I adore All About Spelling which isn't her recommendation, but is phonics based spelling ( which she does recommend ).

WTM is a method, not a strict set of curriculum. I even fit Sonlight ( secularly ) into my WTM 4 year history cycle. There are just to many great books to miss in the Cores in my opinion. Cores 1 - 4 line up pretty darn well with the 4 year cycle in Grammar Stage too.

I jumped in with both feet with my older kids the first time around. It wasn't so bad, I just changed on subject at a time. Giving them time to adjust to the changes. In the end they were all strictly WTM. in 1999 I had a 2nd, 4th and 5th grader, the transition wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.

Snoopy
05-28-2010, 06:34 PM
Jana, I'm sorry I'm not thinking straight right now. What's OPGTR?

StartingOver
05-28-2010, 06:52 PM
Jana, I'm sorry I'm not thinking straight right now. What's OPGTR?

Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading. I love it !

Snoopy
05-28-2010, 08:52 PM
Wow, I've never heard of it, I don't think, and it was written by Jessie Wise too! I guess when I discovered WTM Noah already knew how to read so I didn't bother with that part of the book? We should add this to our acronym list. As a matter of fact, I'll go do that.

StartingOver
05-28-2010, 09:16 PM
Wow, I've never heard of it, I don't think, and it was written by Jessie Wise too! I guess when I discovered WTM Noah already knew how to read so I didn't bother with that part of the book? We should add this to our acronym list. As a matter of fact, I'll go do that.


Thanks, I didn't know that they had that page. LOL

archibael
09-25-2010, 03:06 AM
As always, late to the party. I actually really liked parts of TWTM, but IMO the author's biases were blatantly showing... and I don't mean about religion. I'm an engineer, and though she didn't come outright and say "math and science aren't as important as history and literature", I got the distinct vibe she either didn't care much for the subjects herself or just didn't know how to teach them. Her suggestions for teaching younger kids made some sense, but for the older grades (5th and beyond) it appeared entirely incoherent to me. And let's not even talk about how she completely denigrates computer programming.

For English, History, Latin, and (gods bless her!) Logic: I'm a fan of TWTM. For Math, Chemistry, Physics, and Biology... I think we'll use my wife's economics/accounting and my engineering background to tailor a curriculum instead of using the ones she cites.

elkhollow
09-25-2010, 09:22 AM
"math and science aren't as important as history and literature",
Archibael,
I picked up on that as well, not just with TWTM but with Charlotte Mason, also. I am rather disappointed in TWTM's stance on computer use and technology, among other things. I think it is outdated and wouldn't serve my children well in this digital age. It seems to me, and I may be wrong, but it seems that many of the hs curriculums are very heavy on literature and light on math and science. I appreciate a literature approach and the emphasis on reading, but our country needs mathematicans, engineers, scientists, computer programmers and the like. My dd is particularly interested in chemistry and although she's only 7 (nearly 8) her interest is intense and has been for over about 2 years. She may change her mind (and that's okay), but she really wants a science-heavy curriculum. If you find good (secular) science resources please let me know!

archibael
09-25-2010, 10:54 AM
I think I've found some good Visual Basic resources for programming.

For Chemistry my favorite so far is The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments (http://www.scribd.com/doc/24315478/The-Golden-Book-of-Chemistry-Experiments). I've reviewed it and I think the reports of it being "dangerous for kids" have been greatly exaggerated as long as the warnings inside are properly observed and supplemented by always wearing safety glasses and a "lab coat". But then I'm a scientist by trade-- using protective equipment is second nature to me; I'm probably biased away from the words "kids, don't try this at home". The experiments are cool and the BEST part is instructions on how to make equipment like a balance, test tube holder, etc. with basic household equipment like tin cans, wire coat hangers, and other stuff. I will recommend that any work be done supervised and in a well-ventilated area (garage or shed with open doors/windows), not in the house.

I'm still looking for a decent Physics book with the right mix of pure facts/equations and history of physics-- how scientists got there is often as important in teaching the method as the facts themselves.

I'll let you know.

elkhollow
09-25-2010, 02:26 PM
Thanks for the recommendation. I'll look into that one. Any pointers and suggestions are welcomed.

I actually looked into the Robinson Curriculum which is very heavily science based but it isn't secular so I've shied away from it. Do you know anything about it? Science and history are the two areas which are hardest to secularize so it concerns me. I did pretty well with high school science but my professional background is in history, so I strongly feel the need to have a good, solid science curriculum as my guide. She is already asking questions I am struggling to answer, like why the Corexit sprayed on the oil spill is causing the Gulf to be more toxic...she wants an in depth explanation of the chemical reaction and what impact it is having on living beings (she's interested in biology, also) and I am feeling very grateful for Google right now because my elementary explanation isn't cutting it.

I have another question for you, if you don't mind. Right now my dd is struggling in math and I know that she will not have much chance to succeed in science without solid math skills. I am trying to identify the cause. She did not get a very good foundation of math facts in school, which I believe is the main source of her frustration now. We have actually stopped the second grade math and dropped back into first to try to fix things. Math does not come easily for her but I suspect it's bc the textbooks remove math from real life. She finds just messing around with meaningless numbers to be very boring. Do you have opinions on math curricula that you would be willing to share? I noticed that Robinson highly recommends Saxon math but I have avoided it since discussing it with a high school math teacher who laid out very concrete reasons why he dislikes it. We just started using Horizons, year 1 book 2, and so far she is responding to it very well.

Thanks for taking the time to help.

archibael
09-26-2010, 04:08 AM
My eldest dislikes math (though she scores 99th percentile in it on standardized tests; go figure), but we have bludgeoned it into her brain that you can't be an inventor without math (at least, not these days) and her encounter with A Series of Unfortunate Events convinced her that an inventor is what she wants to be. How long that will last is anyone's guess, but in the meantime I'm milking it. :)

Math is a funny one, though, I will admit. My eldest had the Montessori curriculum for math, and it wasn't as effective as we would have liked (the fact that she had a terrible teacher for one out of three years didn't help); my middle daughter had the same and thrived, and even now is three years ahead in math in a fairly standard PS curriculum. At Ce Ce's age and even a bit older (8? 9?), my eldest was easily able to master the algorithmic process of getting math done, but had no interest in memorizing addition or multiplication facts-- her teachers pretty much ordered us to practice them with her over the summer and on breaks, and IMO they were right to do so. It was difficult, though: she has focus issues and visual tracking idiosyncracies, so the mere act of having 10 arithmetic problems on a page makes her take longer to solve them than if there were 10 pages with one problem each. Bizarre.

(A side anecdote about her occurs to me here that damn near breaks my heart every time I tell it, but I don't want to distract from the point)

Can you get Ce Ce into story problems? That can get her away from the pure abstraction and into seeing the value of why math is important (to solve real-world problems).

Mixing it in with things she cares about (Chemistry, for instance) can help. Seven might be a little young, but soon (8 or 9) introduce her to the concept of atoms and the periodic table... I am of the firm opinion that kids love the science of the very small and want to see how much smaller they can get. Then get a bunch of "tokens" together (we used three colors of cotton puffballs) and do a basic model of the atom ("At the center is the nucleus, and it contains little balls called 'protons' and 'neutrons'. There is a cloud of these little blue puffballs spinning around so fast you can't even see them move and they look like a hazy solid sphere...")...

This of course assumes that you feel qualified to be having this discussion with her; many parents don't. I couldn't find materials that seemed like they explained things simply enough for kids, so I developed my own materials which are too pathetic (and tailored to my kids' abilities of the time) to share.

My eldest understood it well enough, my middle child (who was 5 at the time) got the basic concepts, but I failed them by not sticking with the script and continuing further.

My main point is: I don't know of a curriculum, I'm pretty much going about this myself. But if I run across anything, I will of course share.

elkhollow
09-27-2010, 04:51 PM
Thanks so much for your response, Archibael!

hockeymom
09-27-2010, 06:28 PM
My seven year old is fascinated by atoms and elements and the fine details of how it all works, and can't wait to get to chemistry next year. We are using RSO (Earth and Space) this year and plan to use them next year for chemistry. Does anyone have experience with that particular workbook? So far he enjoys the Space, but it is pretty light on information. We supplement heavily with library books. I'm nervous because I have absolutely no background in science (my dad is an engineer, but lives on the opposite coast which doesn't help me much!) but it is clearly DS's leaning. I have no idea what we'd do without Google!

archibael
09-27-2010, 06:46 PM
If it indeed teaches what it says it does (I can't tell from the sample pages on Pandia's website) that Chemistry curriculum seems entirely appropriate to your son's age range.

JinxieFox
09-27-2010, 07:29 PM
We are doing very well since I originally posted this thread regarding TWTM. My son has really enjoyed learning about atoms and molecules so far this year (this is our third year of homeschooling, so by TWTM's science cycle, we're doing chemistry), and I hope that he will continue to love it.

I am *very* pleased with TWTM since choosing to follow it even more closely. Still avoiding "Story of the World"... Heh. My son is not a fan of the simplistic text, black-and-white illustrations, and activities. But we are using The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of History (as recommended in TWTM) and having a blast with the activities I have planned, the books I have chosen to supplement the topics, etc. All in all, TWTM is definitely working for us. :)

Clippership
03-15-2011, 08:48 PM
Hi--newbie on the forum here. We also use TWTM as the basis of our curriculum. I do find, with 3rd grade approaching, that I'm in a quandary over finding a good Chemistry curriculum that covers the basics. Experiment books I can find by the bucketload, but I want an actual textbook a 7-8 year old will be able to grasp. Is there such a creature out there? I'd even settle for a good children's encyclopedia on the subject. Any help here would be much appreciated.

jess
03-16-2011, 03:26 PM
Hi--newbie on the forum here. We also use TWTM as the basis of our curriculum. I do find, with 3rd grade approaching, that I'm in a quandary over finding a good Chemistry curriculum that covers the basics. Experiment books I can find by the bucketload, but I want an actual textbook a 7-8 year old will be able to grasp. Is there such a creature out there? I'd even settle for a good children's encyclopedia on the subject. Any help here would be much appreciated.
Real-Science-4-Kids has a good chemistry series. They have all their textbooks available in full online so you can view them and see if you like them. IMO, they explain things very very clearly.

They have 3 levels - pre-level-1 (early elementary), level 1 (mid-elementary), and level 2 (middle school). I've found my science-y 7 year old is just fine with understanding level 1 - sometimes we go up to level 2 if he wants more depth.

They do include Intelligent Design language in at least the pre-level-1 version - saying that atoms were designed to interact in a certain way, and I've heard complaints about lacking information in some of the other books due to Christian worldview, but I really like the Chemistry book and don't see any insurmountable problems with it, personally.

Clippership
03-17-2011, 04:37 PM
Thanks, Jess. I'll look these up today. =)

jess
03-17-2011, 08:52 PM
Haven't checked them out much myself, but someone on my local group just recommended http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/content?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=PP_TRANSITIONMAIN&node_id=878&use_sec=false&sec_url_var=region1&__uuid=97f5fa75-0534-4f45-aec8-90b8187b24ec and http://www.middleschoolchemistry.com/. These are from the American Chemistry Society, so definitely secular!

Ariadne
03-21-2011, 08:03 PM
Real-Science-4-Kids has a good chemistry series. I second this series. They're all good.

PamelaMartinTN
03-22-2011, 12:39 PM
We're first-time HSers - about to start this summer after my son finished 1st grade at private school. (We're pulling him out. Ridiculous tuition & not much better than public school, except for safety issues.) I read TWTM and liked the philosophies. Made a lot of sense.

My problem is that I'm a work-at-home parent also, so I will really be jam-packed trying to work on the computer AND homeschool. Oy. So I'm really looking for a complete, boxed curriculum since there is no way I'll have time to piece together what he needs from the hundreds of sources out there. Does anyone know if there is a TWTM boxed complete curriculum...or at least one that adheres to similar principles?

Satori
03-27-2011, 08:24 PM
Pamela,
I don't think there's a TWTM complete boxed curriculum. You could go to their Peace Hill Press website and order their bundles (http://www.welltrainedmind.com/store/curriculum-guides/curriculum-bundles.html). That would take care of a few subjects. You'll still need science, math, and more.

Chiming in on this thread a bit late, but we mostly follow TWTM. We used OPG for reading, SOTW for history, and FLL for grammar. We've added Growing With Grammar because my daughter seems to like more workbooky programs for some subjects. We tried WWE (writing) but ditched it because we weren't getting much out of it and we were covering its methods in other subjects anyway. Although I'm not entirely convinced, we use a WTM-type science program - R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey. We're learning Latin and Logic. But aside from the Latin, we're doing everything I would have ended up doing even if I had not read WTM.

I just read the WTM book for the 5th time last week. It's probably the most influential resource that has steered our homeschool direction. But I don't mind straying from their suggestions in the least. I'm a techy person, so we probably will be doing more techy/computer stuff than they recommend.

mamachanse
05-07-2011, 03:03 AM
I am happy to find this thread! We follow TWTM here. We use FLL, WWE, SOTW, GWG, Singapore Math, and just added AAS. I adore the four year cycle idea and am having a great time with my second grader.

As for a boxed classical curriculum...that is tough. I've found much of the grammar stage is teacher intensive and you have to pick ad choose. I'd take a look at you LA curriculum from PHP, as Angela suggested. I find it takes little time to implement each day and it is effective. But you have to be willing to work with your student.

05-08-2011, 06:53 AM
I had aspirations of closely following WTM when I began homeschooling last fall. My 6 y.o. son was bored to tears with OPG, so we switched to Progressive Phonics. I let SOTW sit on my shelf all year because I think it is a great curriculum but wasn't sure if it would fly with my son, so we just did history as it came up with Five in a Row, a unit I cobbled together on pre-history and left it at that.

Now we are about to embark on SOTW Ancients this summer. My son has discovered this year that he loves history. He is currently obsessed with mummies. How convenient, as ancient Egypt will be one of the first things we study. I agree that SOTW is a little dry for young kids. Ds liked the first several chapters of the Jim Weiss recording so far and the independence of being able to listen to it on his ipod while I work with his sister.

We are going to skip the boring coloring pages and a number of other things in the activity guide. Instead we will watch IMAX movies, go to museum exhibits, read other books (there's a Magic Treehouse book about mummies, for example), and do fun crafts and projects, like making an Egyptian mask, building the Nile River in a baking dish, that type of thing. Because those are the things I think he will enjoy. And at age 7, he doesn't need to understand all the intricacies of ancient governments, politics, wars, etc. We are just introducing the topics, making history fun and laying a foundation for later.

What appeals to me about the WTM approach to history, whether or not one uses SOTW, is the chronological approach. So different from how I learned in public school. Makes so much more sense.

05-08-2011, 07:05 AM
Oops, didn't see the whole last page of this thread. We also use REAL Science Odyssey, although we intersperse it with lots of other things like Nature studies and other science experiments, as that's what my son really loves. Thus we only got through two units of the first volume this year.

We also use lots of technology in our learning, as Angela mentioned. BrainPop jr., internet-linked books from Usborne and whatever else we find that is interesting. Documentaries and IMAX movies, as well. WTM says television and computers are totally passive learning. I disagree. I think they are a valuable supplement.