*Updated plans here*
For the past three years I have used Memoria Press Core Curriculum, either fully or almost fully. I’m generally torn between MP and a Well-Trained Mind approach. They’re really very similar and there’s plenty of overlap (Susan Wise Bauer recommends many MP products).
MP is workbook-heavy, and sometimes I get tired of all the workbooks. I start to think I can go free-wheelin’, making up my own lesson plans, Reading ALL the Books, and having the kids write about what they read. It sounds so simple — until I try to plan it. Trying to do everything in WTM is like trying to get a sip of water from a fire hydrant. Every time I try to plan with that approach I start to drown. Just check out one mom’s reading list for the Medieval period.
Invariably, I come back to my senses and acknowledge that the workbooks and the lesson plans I get with my Core are extremely helpful as I try to teach three full grade levels and keep my sanity. Multum non multa.
In short, I love MP. Last year I swore that I was doing MP henceforth and forever, amen.
However. This year I have to tweak some things, for the following reasons:
- After the Reenlistment Debacle, I find myself on a shoestring budget for this year. I can’t just place an order for grades 8, 6, and 3. (And that would actually be 9, 7, and 3; more on that in a moment.) I have quite a bit of curriculum in my basement and I need to use what I have instead of buying new. (Thanks again, Navy!)
- When we first started using MP, Emma was in 3rd grade. The next year, MP made some curriculum changes which essentially pushed everything after 3rd grade up a grade. So what Abby used for 5th grade was suddenly 6th grade. In order to go on with the sequence, she had to use the Core labeled 7th for 6th grade, and so on. We don’t necessarily need to stay a year ahead, and I’m not actually sure where that will leave us when we hit the 12th grade Core in 11th grade? Taking a break from MP this year will put us back on track for high school. Emma, also, is sort of a year ahead. She did parts from two Cores last year. It’s confusing.
- MP is a Latin-centered curriculum. Abby quit Latin after 6th grade. If you take the center out of a curriculum, you have a hole. Like a donut, but less enjoyable. I have to adjust her curriculum to fill the hole. I’m sad that I promised Abby she could quit Latin (it was during one of my WTM readings, sigh), but I made no such promises to the other two! Latin-centered for them!
- Abby has not yet covered the modern age in history. Because of various adjustments I made here and there, she hasn’t studied history past about 1900. I think it’s important that she cover the last century before she hits high school, so I’m putting a bigger focus on history and related literature for her. Her plans are definitely more WTM.
This turned into a long post! Here are my current plans for next year:
Abby, 8th grade
Classical – The Aeneid for Boys and Girls; Horatius at the Bridge
Bible – MP Christian Studies IV
Math – Saxon Algebra 1/2
Writing – IEW at co-op
History/Literature – Story of the World 4, done the WTM way
French – with a French tutor
Grammar – Rod and Staff 8
Science – Apologia Physical Science at co-op
I’m creating a classical track for this in-between year. She didn’t do Horatius when she did Famous Men of Greece, and I plan for her to read the Aeneid in 9th grade, so we’ll read an easier version this year to prepare. Last year was a tough math year, so she’s taking pre-algebra again. I hear plenty of 7th graders struggle with the transition to algebra, so I’m not worried. I’m super excited about the French tutor!
Emma, 6th grade
Classical – Famous Men of the Middle Ages
Bible – MP Christian Studies II
Math – Saxon 7/6
Writing – IEW at co-op
History/Literature – SOTW 2, done the WTM way
Geography – MP Geography II
Latin – Second Form Latin
Spelling – Spelling Workout G
Grammar – new grammar by Susan Wise Bauer, coming out this fall
Science -Elemental Science: Biology? or MP Trees/Biology
This is about half MP. I don’t want her to go on to the seventh grade literature yet, and she’s done the sixth grade set, so I decided to have her do History/Literature the WTM way. She didn’t finish FMMA, and it fits what we’re doing in History, so we’ll continue with that. Again, that helps put her on track to be in ONE core the following year. She started Second Form Latin towards the end of last school year, but we didn’t get that far so we’ll probably just start over. I’m still deciding on Science: WTM recommends this Elemental Science course, but it looks sort of overwhelming, and I already own the MP Trees/Biology. Emma wants to be a vet so I am aware that we need to amp up our science work as she moves closer to high school. But…maybe not this year. Shoestring budget, remember? I’m looking forward to using SWB’s new grammar book.
Ben, 3rd grade
Bible – MP Christian Studies I
Classical – MP Greek Myths
Math – Saxon 3
Writing – Writing with Ease? or IEW?
Grammar – First Language Lessons? or MP grammar?
Latin – Latina Christiana
Geography – MP States and Capitals; co-op U.S. geography
Handwriting – Zaner-Bloser
Spelling – Spelling Workout D
Science – MP Mammals
Lit – MP 3rd grade guides (we’ve already read some of the books, may need to substitute?)
This is almost entirely the MP 3rd grade plan. I don’t like their cursive program, so I’m definitely using Zaner-Bloser to review cursive. I’m sticking with Saxon math. But I’m still deciding about grammar and writing; I love SWB’s programs and I already own them. (Shoestring!) BUT using the full Core makes things so easy – it won’t cost that much to stick with MP for those two subjects and I feel like it will be worth it.
I’ll be looking to buy used as much as possible. Hopefully the following year I will be able to buy Cores, easy-peasy. And go to the MP summer conference. And be involved at the Highlands Cottage School I’m hoping to start by then…