Well, last year I posted about how I was going to use a read-aloud that was more to my younger childrens' level wasn't listed by MFW (My Father's World) when reading about Cameron Townsend in ECC (Exploring Countries and Cultures). Well, THAT sure didn't work out. The book I chose read like a poem. I'm not too keen on living books being poems. So...I won't try that again. I don't know why I really sweated that whole idea, anyway.
I've since come to realize that it is not the end of the world if a younger child (say, fourth grade or younger...depending on their maturity level) isn't able to narrate back to me or answer questions about living books that we are reading. They'll get it someday. I still want them to sit in, though. They can be playing with Lego's, blocks, drawing, just about anything that isn't causing a disruption (a.k.a. "being too noisy"). They still need to get into the habit of listening in on a long story that doesn't necessarily have a lot of pictures, and I've come to realize that this is a gradual process. I've seen my now eighth grader go from not remembering a thing about what I've read to now remembering almost everything -- and asking for more! Yay! They will all learn to become better listeners...and appreciate listeners at that!
I'll still use "Book Basket" books in MFW (suggested books to borrow from the library that are listed at the back of MFW's teacher manuals) to use as "readers" for the younger ones to read to me during reading time...that way they will also be getting a book at their level on the subject/person we are studying.
This year I will also be switching the following:
Spelling Power (will just make personal spelling books/lists as well as vocabulary). Spelling Power does not seem to make my children better spellers. I think just experience will do that. I used Apples with my 7th grader last year, and that went well.
Rosetta Stone French did not work well with my 10th grader. After two years of her telling me that, I've finally decided to listen and ditch it. I am going to let her try either Learnables or The Easy French.
Teaching Textbooks math is not working as well with my 8th grader as I had hoped. Either that, or she just needed to back away from it for a while. We might try Math-U-See with her. We'll see after starting up the new year again. She really needs to see and get a hands-on view of math. I will still continue to use Teaching Textbooks with my 5th and 11th graders, though, as they are doing very well with it.