Does anyone use LA along with another curriculum?
Can we use "The Well Trained Mind" along with LA?
Can we use the "Institute for Excellence in Writing" ideas along with LA?
Do you supplement the language arts?
Help, my kids are struggling with the writing assignments.
You can decide what type of co-op you want. You can do hands-on activities using some of the suggested books, such as Classical Kids. You can make the projects together. You could do the maps, the science experiments, the book could be read aloud and then do discussion/comprehension questions, and/or present the writing papers aloud.
We have a co-op of 6 families where most use Learning Adventures. We do related historical projects that we are not apt to do on our own. For Rome, we made togas, sandals, jewelry and head laurels. Some of the children made paper mache helmets and others made Hannibal’s elephants. We made pottery theater masks and mosaics. We built an aquaduct and made a simple catapult and flung mini-marshmallows. We had the children write scripts to act out and performed them at a toga party. We used Make it Work-Rome and Classical Kids as some of our resources. For Middle Ages, we are making a stained glass piece, writing in Illumination method, making a sand castle, designing a Coat of Arms, making a Book of Days, making a fur coat, etc. We are studying color theory for the art section using Teach Children Art. Science, we are covering fun aspects of Rocks and Minerals that we didn't get to during Rome; like making a Jello earth ball, the ice cream volcano and metamorphic rock bars, and then going into growing an herb garden, making poultices, using herbs to cook with and the study of plants. Some of these ideas we got from Knights and Castles activity book. (Christina in PA)
Barb and I are still co-oping and the festivals have been a hoot and the dads are having a blast with them. We are meeting one day a week together and doing the fine arts and sciences as well as extras we come across. (Amber)
I've been in a coop with two other families for a year. I was the only one using LA last year, but this year one person has already ordered it and hopefully the second one will soon! Smile
Anyway--we started last year in September and we were all studying history chronologically so we did units on Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. We met every other week for an hour and a half (sometimes two hours) and we three moms alternated teaching nine children, ranging in age from kindergarten to 7th grade. We tried to have one small part of each session a lecture so the older kids would have a chance to take notes (youngers colored theme-related sheets), and the rest of the time we would do hands-on things. Examples: during Egypt we made the Nile (per AWOA), during Greece we dramatized the fall of Troy and made and decorated Greek-style pottery, and for Rome we made and blew up a volcano in the back yard. At the end of each unit, we had some kind of a feast for all of the families (and Dads) where we made authentic food, wore costumes (the kids), had music, and did related activities. For Egypt, all the children did a presentation for the parents and the rest of the kids after we ate. For the Greek unit we did a mock-Olympics. I think we ran out of time and never really did anything together for Rome, although our family had a Roman "meal."
This year we are going to do the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation, and the Age of Exploration. We have planned 15 meetings (five for each unit), roughed out a lot of what we want to cover, and assigned weeks on a calendar. We try to choose activities that are more fun for a group and that are things we tend to hesitate to do at home--messy art stuff, science things and drama. We always make maps and cover the geography of each area, and this year we want to focus more on individual people (esp. for the R. and R. unit.) We plan to assign people to all of the kids and have them present a report with a visual aid to the others. (Dana)
We had participated in a co-op for the first time this last semester. We had a really good time and I did realized that it looked and was much easier than I had originally thought.
One meeting was put together just to brainstorm on what classes that the mom's wanted to teach. There was one mom and a helper per class. In this case though, we had about 20 moms and about 50plus kiddos. Since you would only using the LA classes, I would suggest a teacher for Literature, (which would include-grammar, writing, and possibly spelling-I would keep the actual reading of the book itself to home, only because of the length of chapters and how time can go by so fast). I would also suggest a teacher for Fine-Arts, History and also one for Science. You could have classes once a week , 45 mins. a class, with time-out for lunch. You could have two people help with babies and toddlers, and two people help teach Pre-K ans K doing phonics and such, and rotate. You could make lesson plans at the beginning of your semester so each mom would know what project would be taking place in the co-op classes and be prepared for that. If you wanted to include your own lessons to correlate with the LA book, that is an option too! There are so many possibilities. Of course, I am assuming everyone would be starting with the same unit. At the end of your semester, it would be fun to have everyone display their projects and do a food festival of sorts then. There are a lot of good kids cookbooks on ethical foods that they could also include with the ones in the LA book. You could do a mini play of the literature for that unit and make family presentations. There really is so much you can do with a group. At the beginning planning meeting, see what the other families would like to see taught. Many moms are gifted in areas we don't even know about unless we ask. Maybe there is a Sculpey mom out there like the sample sent over the internet [http://www.geocities.com/the100acrewood/Learning-Adventures.html], or a mom that teaches drama, or a mom that teaches sewing and can make costumes of the time period, or a basket weaver or such to show how crafts could have been made during the time period. We had a $20 per student-$30 family maximum per semester that went for materials (if needed), help to pay church for utilities, space and copy machine, and $ left over for out finale-paper goods, drinks etc. You don't have to make it a lot of $ either. You could have some of the teens take pictures of the classes and combine the pictures for a small yearbook, or do a newsletter and make it real time-period like! I would recommend taking a few days off to do a related field trip if it can be worked in. We went 10 weeks with one week a month for a field trip. That may be too long for some, that is where the planning meeting comes in and the families decide.
For some field trips, in Ft. Worth now, we have one of the round dome theaters that is showing an Egyptian movie. I can't remember the title at the moment, but it is like a documentary. Also sometimes the museums have traveling expo's of Egyptian artifacts. You could call a museum near you and see if they know of an exhibit around. During the year around us we also have Medieval festivals and there is a restaurant that serves a medieval fare and also has a live tournament-all for fun. It is quite expensive, like $35 a plate, but I think that during the day they have school groups that can go into the place and see some of their things and a mini museum of such. Maybe a get together at a restaurant that serves the food of that time period. It would be great if a restaurant could serve up sample plates to a group and talk about their country!
Instead of actually going anywhere, you could have a missionary from the country you are studying and come and talk to your group. Maybe during the Egyptian Passover study, you could visit a place that teaches Jewish dancing or every other year a homeschool group I had been in would invite a rabbi in to share with us the meaning of Passover. Again, an endless list. It's all up to your imagination.................
Have fun- the options are limitless! (Terri)
Does anyone use LA along with another curriculum?
We're planning on M-Th of LA and Fri for all those other things I don't want to let go of - Thinking Skills, God's World for current events, more in-depth foreign language session, real-life math and if necessary completion of any fine arts sections of LA (like fine tuning the Nile). (Linda in CA)
…our days are pretty full with just LA and our math and stuff. You may be able to incorporate some of the books and ideas from FIAR if it's from the same time period - but LA is a complete course (except for math) - so I wouldn't suggest trying to do them both. (Peggy)
Just remember, that to make the most out of a unit study - you will need to participate in as many of the integrated features as possible – because that is how learning is reinforced in a unit study. Each time you replace a subject in LA with your own different program - you are moving farther away from the benefits of the unit study approach. Each time you ADD something to the program according to your own philosophy of education, you are adding length (and pressure) to your school day. If you feel the need to do this, just make sure to adjust the curriculum accordingly, but know that you will be sacrificing one thing for another. This is not to say that combining two philosophies cannot be done very successfully - you just need to know that you'll have to pick and choose carefully - and then not be stressed about what you chose to exclude. The good news is that you really can do what you want - and you can make adjustments slowly, over time - according to how the needs of your family might change.
It is in our zeal to provide the best possible education for our children that we sometimes get overwhelmed with how much we want to pack into their brains. But even though the things we sometimes want to add are VERY good things - they are no longer good if we cram too much into our school days and teach our kids to hate learning because it is too overwhelming for them! (Dorian – author)
I would like to answer the question on why I chose to include a textbook with LA. It is certainly NOT necessary but I felt because we would be reading many secular books from the library and I wanted a book to give a Christian worldview to my children. In secular books we are bombarded by "billions of years ago..." or When cavemen first started to use language..." or my personal favorite (sarcasm here) the Bible is a fable. I wanted to arm myself and my children with the Christian answer to humanist views. I always give my kids my opinion and worldview of a subject
I am going to use the chapter or chapters that correlate with each unit during our read aloud time first to give us an overview of the period we are about to study. We will then dig in to other books which I have gotten from the library and my own home library. It looks like the text will take one session of our reading time, which is not much in a 30 day unit. I also will have the children make some kind of notebook page for each reading we do.
This is really what I love about this unit study. We are free to use whatever books we choose (and God leads us to,) and can combine teaching methods to get the subject across to our children. I love the unit study approach with a Classical bend and a little Charlotte Mason/ Literature base. I call this the smorgasboard approach. Takes what works for you and your children and discard the rest. I do not have an aversion to using textbooks as a spine and I often find material in them that leads us to wonderful discussion and research. Is a textbook necessary? No. But books on Ancient History from a Christian Perspective are not widely available from the Public Library and I found these to fill the gap nicely… I plan to use the sections of the text as read aloud material during our first and/or second read aloud session of each unit. I also plan on using the wonderful maps and continent studies because they are beautiful and I think my kids will like them. We always do the comprehension questions orally or even skip them and go over them at the end of the entire unit as conversation starters. (Faithe)
Can we use "The Well Trained Mind" along with LA?
I love the notebooking ideas in WTM and also the Chronological History. I am finding LA fits right in there. LA does not have specific books for History or science but has a history and science lesson followed by a reading time. That is where I fill in with WTM and also suggested reading from Beautiful Feet. The Books I have used recommended from LA go with their Literature lessons. These are wonderful. I am only in the Greece unit so I am not sure if their is a "required" reading for Hx or science in further units, but my point is WTM goes very nicely with LA. (Faithe)
The Well Trained Mind is very seductive and it is a wonderful way to teach and learn. But it is very time intensive and requires a huge amount of parental involvement. Not that either of these is a bad thing, just not practical for everyone. The Well Trained Mind approach is my ideal, but my reality is Learning Adventures! I am trying to blend what I feel most strongly about from the WTM approach with LA. For me, it is the notebooking, narration and living books, along with the chronological study of history and science as it relates to history. Learning Adventures can be adapted to this very easily. It is already literature based, it presents history chronologically, and the science follows logically. It teaches Latin and Greek roots, has very good writing exercises, what more could you ask for? The notebooking and timelines are very easy to incorporate. I like to think of Learning Adventures as Well Trained Mind lite! Seriously, LA is an excellent program. (Francie)
See the notebooking section for more on how people incorporate ideas from the Well Trained Mind.
I wanted to respond about using LA with WTM and
Highschoolers since I plan on doing just that.
For my highschooler I plan on including her in all our LA reading and studies. I
have added a (eek!) textbook, (Streams of Civilization) to make sure she covers the
bases and also receives a Christian perspective to some of the secular history we
will be reading. I also added Abeka's Old World History and Geography to my 4th and
6th graders program to do the same. I am including Introductory Logic/
Intermediate Logic, Apologia Biology and 2 term papers(1 on a historical theme and
one on a science theme.) I am also using Ancient Literature such as: The Holy
Bible, the Epic of Gilgamesh and other Sumerian writings, The Iliad and the Odessey
etc. I am using books from Sonlight, Beautiful Feet and the Elijah Company as a
guide to her reading. We will be creating a time line and also note book pages. We
will be doing map work etc.
It seems to me that WTM will work beautifully with LA.
an we use the "Institute for Excellence in Writing" ideas along with LA?
We use IEW for our writing, and it is a PERFECT match for LA! My children have had no problem with the LA writing assignments, and to be honest, I add more writing than LA assigns. My children write paragraphs on whatever topic we are studying in history, and since we are learning about Ancient Greece now, they have been re-writing Aesop's fables… (unknown)
My third daughter and I just took the Institute for Excellence in Writing Workshop last fall, and Dorian's writing assignments are extremely similar in scope, so I'm very pleased with that. LA is quite strong in history and science… As far as art and music, some of that is included (and what I've seen is very good), but that's not LA’s major emphasis. (Joni in TX)
Do you supplement the language arts?
I have done some research on their grammar content. I have found that the 180 days of work contains grammar that is comparable to the first level of Winston Grammar. Language arts is covered every day but not every aspect of it. You might do spelling and writing for a bit then vocabulary and literature for a bit. It rotates so you are not overloaded with subjects in one day. Every subject builds upon the others and all tie together. The books are easy to find. The writing instruction is excellent and is the first writing my kids have really taken to and been able to follow. We are seeing very good results. I have used some of the WTM principles and the children write down grammar rules etc. We keep notebooks.
If your child is in the 4th-8th grade my personal opinion is not to add anything to what Dorian does for grammar and language arts. I will only be using EFTTC and PLL,ILL with my 2nd grader until he is able to do LA language arts. If the LA language arts gets tough for him next year, I am going to use PLL to replace the language arts from LA until he can do it with us. (Stephanie)
While I do not feel that LA lacks anything, my dear 11 year old son, really needs help with grammar, punctuation, etc. so we are using daily grams and easy grammar as a supplement. That does not bother him, he actually likes those anyways. (Christina)
We are working on Day 5 and loving the writing assignments included with LA plus the instruction before the assignment. So often, in other unit studies, there is no prior instruction, just a topic to write about. I must say that my dc are reluctant writers. They are used to lots of oral narration but very little writing. This is even with a 14, and a 12 year old. I can't imagine having them write more than what is called for in the LA manual!! (Ruan)
Well - as far as the writing - it is excellent! The very best! The instructions are clear and the topics are interesting. Last year I stated off using another grammar program, but then I noticed a couple things. The grammar really does meet the objectives. Also, it reinforces what we have been learning in science, history and the literature we've been reading. That's sort of like getting a two for one deal!! Surprised) My oldest remembers all of it (grammar and the other topics) longer and better because it ties in with everything else.
The spelling also isn't just memorized for the week and forgotten -- it really becomes part of his knowledge base -- I think because it was learned in context. The lessons cover such a wide variety of writing forms also -- better than most programs I have looked at -- from writing plays - fables - taking notes - business & personal letters -- essays and biographies ...... It truly is the best program I've ever used -- textbook or no.
As far as dictating and narration - there are all kinds of different activities in LA. They do a lot of comprehension questions/discussion - which could be used for narration. They do have some exercises in which they specifically asked the student to recall the events of the story in order and that kind of thing... We do oral narration all the time with this. Now dictation could also easily be done if you read the grammar sections to them - or read the history or science sections and have them write them down. We haven't done this - my son HATES to write - so I don't make him do it any more than he has to. He is learning to type and that will help hopefully. Surprised)
(Peggy in KS)
We don't supplement at all and are finding AWoA to be quite fulfilling in terms of content and practice. Dorian provides the basics for the assignment and it is up to you to add or take away from each according to the needs of your children. I am working with an 8 year old dd and a 10 (almost 11) year old ds. This is the best curriculum we've used so far. We're hooked. The grammar in LA is geared to be a spine. I just use the kids' own writing to build on each area. I know several in this group do supplement and that is very appropriate if you feel you want more structured grammar instruction. (Margot)
Once you start using LA, you'll gain a better idea of what supplements (if any) are needed and how much. Get a feel of what you believe they will need in addition and what your schedule allows, then it should work just fine. But if you overcrowd it with supplements then you and the girls will not enjoy the curriculum. (Dorothy)
Regarding grammar and spelling - and the question of whether to supplement or not - our approach is that children can master skills by doing grammar and spelling exercises each day, but when they cannot speak or write with clarity and accuracy - all the grammar and spelling "exercises" that they have done every day have not been put to good USE! Children need to WRITE every day so that they can practice USING spelling and grammar. This is why we provide grammar and spelling rules and exercises, but try not to over-emphasize their importance in and of themselves. Instead - we try to emphasize the WRITING part in LA - by providing daily opportunities for the student to write and then edit his own work. (Dorian – author)
So, what seems to be the never-ending question - the one that must have been asked at least a thousand times already - remains: should I supplement or not - and if so, where. Only YOU can decide that! If you haven’t purchased AWOA yet, but are planning to use it - please try it first and then decide if you want to supplement! No one else can make that decision for you! If you are using AWOA and supplementing in certain areas – and everything is running smoothly - then you should continue if you are happy. If you are not supplementing and you feel the need to - then try it for awhile and see how it works. If you are not supplementing and do not feel you need to start - then don’t - and DON’T let anyone make you feel guilty for not doing it! For those of you who are supplementing, PLEASE be careful not to burn your kids out on learning in your zeal to make sure they get everything you think they need. (Dorian – author)
See http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Learning_Adventures/message/3584 for the rest of this message.
See http://www.learning-adventures.org/Sample_Lesson_Plans/sample_lesson_plans.html for examples from the sample lessons.
Help, my kids are struggling with the writing assignments.
Have a look at this file (in the "language arts" directory of the group’s files) for encouragement and advice on writing problems:
Tips for the writing assignments
Look also in this forum - all of the files and archives are here.....