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ksr5377
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Anyone ONLY use CC, phonics & math in grammar years?

I'm thinking of really simplifying next year and just doing CC memory work, Spell to Write & Read and Saxon math.  My concern is that it seems that everyone I talk to in CC does MORE.  They're using other grammar programs, other latin programs other history etc.  Has anyone really kept it this simple and found that their children were well prepared for Essentials and Challenge?

rickandmichelle
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For my 1st grader this is what we are doing, CC, phonics, SRW and Saxon. When in 4th grade I would think adding IEW and EEL would be enough, too. I use the tips in The CORE. I had to simplify and only do events and activities related to the cycle we are studying. This helped me say no to many events that sounded fun, but wasn't building on the current Cycle. I really want to go to Huntsville, AL and see the space center, but I am going to leave that for Cycle 2. This fall, Cycle 1, I will look into events at the Zoo for homeschoolers. I make my budget out before class starts, so I have to know what I am going to study "extra".  For Saxon, I took the vocab words and made flash cards. I think you can still download them from their site. This works well for building quick recognition for math terms. I have a 7th grader in Challenge and I see where this helped. I don't use anything but Challenge curriculum for her which includes Saxon.
jensenshelly
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Does anyone use Math-U-See?    
jensenshelly
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I was wondering if anyone could tell me which is better Spell to Write and Read or The Writing Road to Reading and what's the difference? I'm just starting out with my four-year-old so I am trying to understand everything.  
cdryden
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I also prefer to just keep it to the main three while the children are young: reading, writing, and arithmetic! (By the way we do use Math-U-See. We run our schedule based on what Leigh recommends in the Foundations guide. So "the big three," plus the memory work...and memory work can always be reviewed with the music during meal times, driving in the car, cleaning your room etc... To me we need to remember that keeping things simple makes time for other important things like reading together, doing chores or taking care of other important responsibilities, making nutritious meals, playing family games etc. I think that people that like to do so much more when the children are so young might not be trusting in the classical model. In my opinion (take it with a grain of salt), they are also at risk of burning themselves out. As far as Spell to Write and Read vs. Spalding: the woman who wrote Spell to Write and Read trained under Spalding and then eventually developed her program using that training plus more research. I could be wrong but from what I understand, Spell to Write and Read lays out the framework on how to use the method (breaks it down into lessons) whereas the Writing Road to Reading doesn't lay out how to specifically use the method in a given year of school days.
cdryden
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Just for clarification, when I say "writing" above, (for younger kids) that just means how to form their letters (so we like to use Prescripts for practice). That does NOT mean expecting them to invent and write sentences or paragraphs...they will be doing plenty of that in Essentials and Challenge, when they are developmentally ready to do so.
katherineingram
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Could anyone who uses Spelling Plus compare it to Spell to Write and Read?  I'm looking for something for my almost 2nd grader (7 years old).  We've used A Beka and like it but I wanted something classical since we've decided to stick with CC.
CarrieCausey
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Yep! CC memory work, Saxon Math & Saxon Phonics (seems to get a bad rap online, but we loved it!).  Adding spelling for second grade, dropping all phonics and just going on with reading. I think there are still a lot of parents who can't believe that CC + math + reading will be enough, but it is!!  I'm Directing a new community this year of all foundations families, and I'm encouraging them to REST in the Classical Model and trust that it works!!  
jenjen
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This will be my second year in CC and I will be focusing on Reading, Math and CC.  My daughter will be 6 years old in September.  It is a daily challenge to keep it simple, but I believe that is what is best.  I want to make sure I spend a lot of time with the Bible, developing healthy habits, routines, and character.  I use All About Reading and Math-U-See.
dwetlaufer
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Your curriculum list is an exact match to mine! Following!
varnerfam
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Hello :) Yes. We'll be doing the same-focusing on our CC grammar work, Saxon math, and Horizon's phonics. This past year I really wanted to focus on keeping things simple and it proved to be fruitful-we rested in the model and I'm glad we did! In the past, we've simply listened to the audio work while in the car or when the kids were playing indoors (playing with legos etc) and it worked incredibly well. This year we'll have a 1st grader, Kindergartener, and Pre-schooler and plan to do much of the same. I'll drill more of the memory work (30 minutes or less each day) with my 1st grader and the k'er if she chooses. We'll also work on Geography more (we've not worked on this muc at home the past two years) with the whole family. I purchased the placemats for us to do additional tracing and playdoh sculpting.  The thing to remember is that CC really is a complete program. There is no reason to "supplement" the program with additional history, geography, science, etc. curriculum. Truly, this can overwhelm both child and instructor. If you desire, go to the library and grab a few age appropriate books on whatever subject. Dig deeper by exploring not by overwhelming. We are encouraged to do a math curriculum on our own at home but some moms choose to not introduce math curriculum until their children have their math facts down solid and can read well. It's a personal choice. Same thing with phonics-if you'd like to do a phonics program or spelling program you're free to! There's no "right" program or "wrong" program. By focusing on the basics, building that foundation, and using the classical method we really are preparing our children for Essentials and Challenge. Remember, Foundations was created just for that purpose-to prepare our kids for the Challenge years and the many years that lay ahead!
rhondaclouser
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Varnerfam:  I know you posted your comment a year ago but I am curious how you liked Horizons Phonics & Reading last year.  My son and I used Horizons P&R for kindergarten last year and LOVED it but I wasn't sure if it wasn't a classical choice...I'm still learning the ropes.  We are doing Horizons Math again for sure for first grade but I have not decided for sure about P&R.  What was your experience and are you using it again this year?
varnerfam
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Hi Rhonda :)  We enjoyed it! Our oldest was doing 1st grade and flew threw it. Workbook pages are significantly shorter and there's emphasis on creating sentences and short stories. We're looking forward to moving into the 2nd grade set with her this year! Our middle little will be heading into the 1st grade work and she's looking forward to it as well!
pegmages
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We will be this year.  This is also our first year doing CC but we did Saxon math last year (gr 2, gr 3) and was not a good fit for our family.  
KeshiaS
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This is great to hear. I'm a first time homeschooler, first time CCer, teaching 2 boys (K and 2nd) and have been planning just to do memory work, phonics and math. Thanks for the encouragement!
amynorris
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I did the extras (Story of the World, First Language Lessons, etc.) with my oldest, and then learned to keep it simple by my second child.  I will say that and unexpected benefit to keeping it simple during the Foundations/Essentials years is that my younger kids LOVE school.  They had these beautiful easy days of math, reading, and just playing CC games (to review memory work), until 4th grade, then we added Essentials which looked more like "quality time with Mom," because I passionately agree with the parent being the student in Essentials and Mr. Pudewa's "you can't help too much" mantra.  Now, my son is in Challenge, and I can say with confidence that my kids were 100% prepared by CC.  The Foundations and Essentials language portions come together beautifully in Challenge A Latin, the wonderful IEW writing training have made Research and Exposition a breeze, (despite the fact that Lost Tools of Learning is a whole different animal from TWSS).    People told me to trust the program when we started CC, but I didn't believe them until I had to. I wish I could go back to the beginning and truly trust it!  I also wish I had more kids, because my youngest will be out of Foundations soon.  I hope that this is an encouragement to you!        
silvagi
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I agree with KEEP IT SIMPLE. My children love our "lesson time." I literally have them asking me to do lessons. I hear them singing around the house, and my oldest grab his activities and starts to do it by himself. Crazy right? Well, they enjoy the activities and the songs. Grant, they are young (currently on Foundations), but I believe this will continue as long as you keep it fun and adjust to their learning style. As far as curriculum goes: SWR - WAAAAAY too much. I do not recommend for young children. They do teach the rules (which most curriculums lack), however, it's not engaging, and a young child quickly loses interest.  All About Learning - Easy for children, however, I found myself having to go research a lot of the questions my son would ask me. They had a lot of "most of the time, you will use this sound" but not tell you WHY. I couldn't tell my son, "most of the time" without explaining why. Learning the Alphabet by myteachingstation.com - That's what I ended up using it for phonics, my boys love it. My oldest is done with the program, but he still wants to do the activities when he sees his brother doing them. It's fun and easy to use.  Math-U-See - Easy for you to understand so that you can teach the concept yourself, however, I don't recommend. The worksheets are borrowing. I felt that for young children 3-6, you need to have more interactive worksheets like mazes, puzzles, etc. Also, they repeat the same exercise several times; the child quickly loses interest. Some exercises are also confusing, for instance: The exercises would be label like this: 1. 2 + 1  The exercise number does not stand out at all, causing confusing for a young child. My son would ask me, mom is this a 12? Keep in mind that I have boys and they are very active. Every child has their own learning style. I had to try different approaches before I discovered what works for my children. I hope this helps. 
kandacalef
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I used to use it, but realized it is a mastery course and does not review from one textbook to the next.  That isn't great for long-term memory.  If it was used as a supplement to a spiraling methodology of math, such as Saxon, it would be great. 
kandacalef
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I used to use Math-U-See, but realized it is a mastery course and does not review from one textbook to the next.  That isn't great for long-term memory.  If it was used as a supplement to a spiraling methodology of math, such as Saxon, it would be great. 
HeatherBarker
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I use Math U See for my two kiddos, ages 6 & 4. I like the kinesthetic approach for this stage, but will switch to Saxon for the Essentials stage. 
amygrothe
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We have used it for Kindergarten (Primer) through pre-Algebra so far with 3 kids. It has worked well for us. We tried Saxon for one of our kids last year but have switched back to math-u-see (too much reading to learn the lesson since we do a lot of other reading, and my son would skip through to get the problems done instead of learning the whole lesson). Another of our kids had a hard time doing a whole year of one topic with some Math-U-See (like fractions - not his strength) and we have the Alpha Omega Lifepac math for him that seems good as it touches on several different areas.  But overall we have really liked the manipulative blocks and teaching videos with Math-U-See to help explain the lessons. A lot of curriculum choice depends on your teaching style and your child's learning style. 
amygrothe
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I don't know about SWR or WRR, but we used Sing, Spell, Read, and Write (SSRW) for K-2nd. You can buy it through Rainbow Resources website. It was engaging, taught the foundational skills, and included cursive. 
Katbowie
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I'm really leaning towards this too. I keep pulling other programs out and thinking...gosh, I wish this work wre more intergrated with the CC memory work. So, instead of doing FLL....just do Prescripts and have them pick out all of the prepositions they are learning that week?    
Aftonmb
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We keep it simple.  My kids are 6 and 8 and this our first year doing CC.  We came home from school craziness and I've found much more learning and desire to learn by keeping things slower, less stressful, and simpler.  We use CC, and currently doing Drops in the Bucket for math and vocabulary.  Reading is where it's at (and combines comprehension, vocab, grammar, spelling, etc and family time)!  And I continue to try to encourage more and more of that.  We also do a bible memory verse and read from "The Gospel Story Bible", which my 8 year old reads to us and loves.  About once a week I introduce 5 new "site" words (I literally printed a list online) to my 6yo and she uses those for her spelling & writing and they've helped so much in her reading.  I give 10 words to my 8yo and we work on them randomly for a couple days, then she writes a story w/ them - because she loves making up stories so it's fun for us.  So all in all it's really not a lot, and the more we do our little "schedule" the better we get at narrowing it down to what's most important to us, and what really workds for us as a family.  I say start as simple as you can and add when you feel you need to.  You'll know! :)  We did ONLY CC (and reading books) for our first 6-ish months of CC and my husband and myself were amazed at what they were learning and retaining.  We spent that time focusing on slowing our family down, cutting out activities, learning our kids personalities better, and teaching them that being HOME was relaxing and enjoyable and that we don't have to be GO GO GO all the time.  That time was the most valuable to us!  Now I don't feel bad if we have a busy week and all we accomplish is CC.  It's fun, and easy to do on the go.
kattybbatty
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This year is the first year I have lessened the load on what we are doing with language arts in order to achieve the goal of learning the grammar.  So with that being said and my children still 1st grade and under, I am very curious in other answers on the Essential and Challenge component.  :)  
ronandkris
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Thank you for sharing this.  I have one in Challenge 1 now that didnt' start CC until Challenge B and my only other one is only 3.  So, I am already wondering if it really is  enough to do just CC in grammar stage or when we get there should I be prepared to add to it.  "Is it really enough?"  This is encouraging.
ronandkris
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amynorris  my post was meant as a reply to you
TricieW
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We do! Love it! Our daughter has special needs due to fetal alcohol and drug exposure, and this really helps. She still struggles, but we can spend as much time as needs on a subject, use the online worksheet generator if we need more, and of course, use the blocks! 
Farrell1
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  YES!!!! And I am soooooo thankful I did! After having my 2 oldest children try everything other than this simple approach, I finally took a leap of faith with my last child and broke free of all the pressures of the schooling and homeschooling worlds by ONLY using CC memory work, math drills, basic computation practice, a little phonics, and regular daily read-a-louds; and the results have been miraclulous. I finally trusted the model of CC by using the true Classical Model of education (with is NOT doing all the other stuff and worksheets and loading them down) and the Lord has blessed our efforts. Life/homeschool is more simple, more enjoyable and rewarding, focused, filled with loads of rich discussion, as well as discilpined in the few things that require perserveance (ie: The Essentials program), and my son has simply flourished! He can read, he can write fabulously, he knows how to question and use his "tools for learning",  he is beginnning to have rich discussions as he finishes his final year in Foundations and moves into Challenge A, and overall he has a deep love for learning. The model works! Trust it. These younger years (ages tiny to twelve) whizzzzz by! The Lord has created their brains to do wonderful things, so take full advantage of the parrot stage while you can. It really does end! They really do grow up, and there is plenty of time. Take time to live and learn simply with them; and enjoy the process!  But one must take the time to model this for our children, and learn alongside them. That is something I regret I resisited for quite sometime with my older two, who are now grown. I didn't trust the Lord would equip me. I didn't believe life could be enriching and simple at the same time. But the Lord was gracious to walk alongside of me and wait for me to come around. Eventually, I got there and I have been blessed beyond belief! And so has my family. The Lord wants us to "enjoy Him forever". So my encouragement to you is simplify and trust the model, keeping God at the center of all you do and live out. You can do it Mama!  Surrender. 
RobynPetersen
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Thank you Farrell1- Just what I needed to hear as we head into our 4th year of CC, 3rd grade for my oldest and Kindergarten for the one under her... I am nervous to keep it simple, but will be trying hard to remember The Core and all it's advice. We may work harder in some areas we avoided before, and ease up on the nonessentials in others!  
hall.sarah
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My cousin actually helped design and develop much of the CC worksheets. She was trained to be a director by Leigh Bortins back when it all was just starting out. Her advice to me as I embark on this journey with my 6 year old, is to keep it simple and fun. She said every family is different. If you want to do a curriculum, do a curriculum. If you want to strictly do CC and coops this year, just do that and supplement with lots of reading and library trips and math. It doesn't have to be super formal. The most important thing at this stage is to get them excited about learning and keep it fun. Make library trips a big fun deal. Don't make reading a chore. I hold my cousins advice to the highest regard. She is about to graduate her 3rd child from her homeschool. They are all brilliant, happy, secure children, even fluent in 5 languages. I'm very impressed with them. After speaking with her, I'm much less stressed about the whole ordeal. I hope this helps!
Kdlsavoie
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Hi Keshia! I'm going to be in the same boat with first time homeschooling and CC AND with 2 boys (K and 2nd)!  Just wanted to reach out and see what curriculum for phonics and math you're thinking of.    
boelan
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Our family uses Math-U-See and loves it!  It is very clear and easy to use (video lessons along with a very clear teacher reference book).  Also, I had called a math professor at a local, good Christian University near us and asked for suggestions with curriculum.  He suggested using Math-U-See all the way through to the end (and I don't think I had told him we were already using it).  We have a daughter now taking Calculus with Math-U-See, and at the upper levels there are also classes with instructors that students can take through Math-U-See.  (We have a high schooler, middle schooler, and grade schooler using the program.  It utilizes visual, auditory, and kinesthetic modes for learning math- so is an effective way for children to learn whichever learning method works best for them.)
boelan
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I saw your response and wanted to say that we have reviewed subjects by using the online worksheet generator and also keeping a couple books down to go over the concepts that need to be reviewed.  The second half of the lessons are also devoted to review with concepts.
boelan
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We have used SWR (our daughter is in high school), and it is challenging though a very great program.  All our kids learned to read well and early or on time.  My two that are not detail kids eventually have really gained spelling skills!  I have heard that the Writing Road to Reading is potentially not as easily laid out to use.  But I have not used it before.
StaceyBlevins
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I use Christian Light Education for LA, reading, and math. We do CC and Bible and that is what I am doing. Outside of that we read or listen to correlating history and science books as we can, but not for every sentence and not always right on the week. Most days my main goals are the core subjects, Bible, and CC. Other days (once or twice a week) we expand to learning about a history or science fact or take a related field trip. When we do I briefly remind them of the correlating memory peg and then we read the book or do the activity. Also art and nature exploring as often as we can. For Bible we use the Truth and Grace memory book and other Bible based children's books.My oldest starts essentials this year, and I feel like she is ready. Hope it helps.
rozie1978
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Very nice thread. Need advice. We have been in CC for a few years. LOVE it. Have a third, first, and pre-k. My husband and I are self employeed and I also work in our home office. We have been consistent in getting all our CC material completed in past years. Where we struggle is consistent reading, math, and spelling. My 8 year old was tested last month, and our lack of dilengce showed up in her testing and she is borderline behind in math and spelling. Our business is getting more busy so Im feeling like I need to delegate/oursource the math, spelling, and reading. My husband and I are leaning toward Abeka online streaming for these subjects. Other than that, we keep CC simple and I do not add a lot of outside material, just use CC connect and listen to audio a lot at home and in the car.
kose0019
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Hey all!! Thanks for all of this beautiful knowledge and input!! I was wondering if anyone uses Logic of English. We have been using it the last year and I like it overall. It is quite labor intensive and it is tough to get my daughter through the lessons due to some attention issues. I'm wondering if it is similar to other curriculums out there and they would all carry a similar struggle for her, or if switching to something else may be worth a try. She looooooves stories and being read to but dreads trying to read and spell. She can sound most things out and can "read" but very slowly. I guess I'm trying to figure out if it is a curriculum thing or if I need to slow down with the same one. We have been going at the recommended pace. Thanks!! 
tristanjkitch
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We are going to try it this year with our first grader.  I like that I can let my student watch the DVD to reinforce what I'm going to teach.  I also like the intruction manual is half the size of Saxon ;-)
amymlindquist@y...
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I have been using Logic of English to teach my 5 year old how to read. I love the program. It's clear, easy to use, and has gotten my daughter off to a great start.
erooney
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We simplified years ago, and I think my kids are better for it.  To be sure, we have Story of the World and listened to it incessantly at stages.  But we have not sustained any additional studies.  We did some spelling, some greek and latin roots at times, but no science program, no extra classes, no history.  We take time for conversations, I intentionally engage them to pursue answers, we watch crash course videos, etc., but only here and there.  And I have found that the busy moms in our group also scaled back as they went along.  We are happier for it, and my kids can pursue their own interests, both academically and otherwise.  The down time is play time and explore on your own time, and read books you want to time, make crafts and throw a ball.  I highly recommend scaling back and focusing on what's really important.  Now that we have started in Challenge, the work load is INTENSE!  But there's nothing that my son is not prepared for.  In fact, I could have stressed Essentials more and he would have been more prepared for challenge, but if you work the CC program, it will really work for you.
cherylfaye
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I was thinking about whether anybody could reveal to me which is better Spell to Write and Read or The Writing Road to Reading and what's the distinction? I'm recently beginning with my four-year-old so I am endeavoring to comprehend everything.
melissaolmscheid
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  This is our 8th year of CC.  With my youngers we have done only our reading/writing program, math and CC.  I have found it to be just right.  It is amazing what they pick up on their own and how they incorporate memory work into their play and their everyday language.  They are also listening  to what the olders are learning and seem to pick up information faster than their older siblings because they have been listening as they play  - and I didn't do a thing to facilitate that!!   As they have gone into Essentials and then into Challenge, it is amazing what they have retained.   What fun it is to have our third child starting Essentials by saying, "Do I get to do that fun sentence thing now?"     He's done the memory work and now gets to see it in action.   It's a good plan and has simplified my homeschooling.  
mandebabb
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Yes! It is plenty. I would also recommend read alouds. In my experience, by the time they get to Essentials they are ready to learn! I have 3 children in challnege and my youngest is in F/E. Stick to the program and they will be more than prepared. 
ValHomeschool
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I agree with mandebabb.  We have 5 kiddos (3,6,8,11,13.)  We have just come out of a decade of toddlers.  I didn't have time to do a lot more with my older two prior to Essentials other than the basics, read aloud or audio books, and field trips.  My oldest didn't even write or read much prior to entering Essentials.  She is doing very well in Challenge B and scores very well on standardized test.  My younger kids have the benefit of a many years of trial, so they do get a lot more now.  
eternalcc
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Can you ask your Cousin which programs she uses for the 5  languages you mentioned.-- please
honorat
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Yes, we are using Math U See and loving it. It really majors on basic skills until they get them and is a great tool for building upon each level. Way simpler than other programs we have used in the past- Horizons Math was great, colorful, but we found too many concepts taught at once.   
jcasebolt
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I use Math U See with my kiddos. I love it! The main reason i chose it is because I also used it myself through highschool. I found it easy to understand and grasp the new concepts as Mr. Demme teaches them. My kids are 4th, 2nd and K (hasn't started Primer yet) my 4th and 2nd are understanding and quickly grasping each new concept as it is taught!
jcasebolt
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Yes! Keeping things simple is wonderful! Don't worry about adding in a bunch of extra. Focus on really getting the memory work stuck in their heads. Make MM a goal. It helps!!
Farrell1
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Joined: 08/17/2014
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YES!!! I totally worked the very simple, stick in the sand approach to learning with my now Challenge A student, and I don't regret it one bit!  In fact, it was the best experience thus far in my schooling journey with my kids.  I finally trusted the model, and it works beautifully.  In the early Foundation years, I focused on daily memory work for 20-30 min a day, simple math drills for 5-10 min per day and simple math conversations while exploring cooking and other things, simple math lessons for 20-30 min per day (depending on his ability & capability),  and reading great literature. Then by age 9, I added the Essentials program, diligently working that program by starting simply and scaling up each year.  This simple appraoch was so awesome for him, and it blessed our family. We dug deep instead of wide, and continue to do so now. He has continued to grow and excel as a student and has a love for learning. In my expereicne and observation, those who do more do too much and add "more" end up exaserbating themselves and their children. Even I did that with my first born. I strongly believe less has been more, especially in the early years. It allowed time for his imagination to develope. It allowed for pleasure and enjoyment in the process. We were disciplined with little; we went deep instead of wide; and this definatley cultivated a love for learning as well as equipped with thte tools for learning. He is now thriving in Challenge A and loves digging deeper into his questions because he is developmentally ready and has the solid pegs in his memory bank that gives him a connection to what he is reading, learning, and now indepentantly questioning. He has the tools for learning, and is now using them to build!!! The simple approach in the Foundation years built a solid foundation, as well as created a desire to learn as he developed naturally with age and time, becoming a dialectic learner who is eager to know more, as opposed to a burnt out little boy.  It has been a joy and a blessing keeping things simple, and he is demostrating success in taking ownership of his learning currently.  I wish you well as you explore this simple, classical approach to learning yourself. I know it can be scary when so many around you are seeming to not catch the drift. But sister, its a precious time and the rewards are great. You can do it!  Enjoy these youngers years, simply. They fly by!           
Priscillabengtson
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Last seen: 6 days 2 hours ago
Joined: 10/08/2016
Posts: 0
We have a first grader, and all we do is SWR, Saxon 1 Math, and CC Memory Work. Of course, he isn't old enough for me to tell you how he did in Essentials and Challenge, but I feel like he is being very well prepared for the future. SWR is very beefy!!! So comprehensive!

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