Gavin, 9th Grade
I can't think of many things that have been as anxiety inducing as planning for high school has been. I have to admit that the idea terrifies me most days. Never have I been more indecisive & insecure, but I've also never been more prayerful about this endeavor. Several years ago, when we started homeschooling, my son was just 4 years old. Friends and family would often ask us how long we planned to homeschool. My answer then is the same as it is now: As long as it is working and we feel the Lord's leading we will continue. Yes, even through high school. And let me just tell you, 10 years ago homeschooling high school was such a far fetched idea in my head. But, here we are today, at the Lord's leading, embarking on a journey to homeschool high school. On my own, I'm not enough to get us through this. But HE is enough, and His Grace is Sufficient to see us through.
Gavin is confident that he wants to pursue a college education in the area of music, although he is not sure whether that will be music education, performance, or ministry. He is already heavily involved in music: 3 years of guitar lessons and he's continued learning on his own, he leads worship for the youth on Wednesdays and has been called on to play for the main worship service on Sunday mornings, he is currently co-writing music with a fellow guitarist, and will be starting his third year of piano. He also has a mentor (he refers to him as a producer ;)) who is helping him in the area of music. With that in mind, his 4 year high school plan consists of electives heavy in the arts, but also a rigorous college prep curriculum that will fulfill most university entrance requirements. I think with this path he is free to go just about any direction he plans.
I've used a variety of resources in planning his 9th grade year. The following are the four that I relied most heavily on:
RiseUp Mississippi (the Recommended College Prep Track)
University of Southern Mississippi Admission Requirements
MS State Admissions (as revised in 2012)
The Hinds County Secondary Curriculum Guide
I've also relied on the advice and experience of homeschooling moms who have "been in the trenches."
Here is our plan:
Math (1 math credit) ~ Geometry (taken through a local instructor)
Science (1 lab science credit) ~ Integrated Physics & Chemistry using DIVE CDs along with BJU Physical Science Text and the Integrated Physics & Chemistry supply set from Nature's Workshop.
English (1 English credit) ~ Switched on Schoolhouse English 9, enhanced with a selection of Classic Literature (and additional writing assignments to make this an honors course) to include titles such as: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Jane Eyre, Oliver Twist, Robinson Crusoe, Treasure Island, Pictures of Hollis Woods, and others as time permits (I am using Sonlight's Classics of Literature 200 as a reading list).
Bible (1 humanities/Bible credit) ~ Switched on Schoolhouse Bible 9
Social Studies (1 credit Social Studies) ~ Switched on Schoolhouse World Geography
Foreign Language (1 credit advanced elective) ~ Spanish II (Taken through a local instructor)
Music Theory (.5 credit) ~ Essentials of Music Theory
Health (.5 credit) ~ Switched on Schoolhouse High School Health
Private Piano Lessons (not counting for high school credit, although that could change)
Total: 7 credits
Ben, 6th Grade
Math ~ Teaching Textbooks 7
Science ~ Christian Kids Explore Earth and Space*
English ~ Switched on Schoolhouse Language Arts 6
Bible ~ Switched on Schoolhouse Bible 6
Social Studies ~ Mystery of History, enhanced with readers from Sonlight's World History Cores, which we already own.
Electives ~ Karate, Lamb's Book of Art
Luci, 3rd Grade
Math ~ Horizon's Math, finish Level 2 and begin Level 3.
Science ~ Christian Kids Explore Earth and Space*
English ~ Lifepac Language Arts 3, enhanced with a selection of Readers from Sonlight's Level 4 readers (utilizing the library).
Bible ~ Lifepac Bible 3
Social Studies ~ Mystery of History
Electives ~ begin private piano lessons, Lamb's Book of Art
I'd love to hear thoughts and opinions on our plans. Please leave a comment and if you've already made your plans for next year, I'd love to see those too!
*Revised to change Science for Ben and Luci. This is a subject that they can easily do together for at least a couple of more years, which will keep things simpler. Also revised to finalize plans for 9th grade science.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
2011-2012 Curriculum: How did it work for us?
Gavin Grade 8, Age 13
Easy Grammar (gr. 8) ~ This was perfect for Gavin's needs this year. Just enough grammar without being a heavy, burdensome course.
IEW Character Based Writing Lessons ~ I think this was a little advanced for Gavin. He required a lot of help interpreting some of the older writing, especially Lincoln's Temperance Address. He made it most of the way through the book, but we dropped it to tackle some of the writing assignments that go along with his Sonlight Literature.
Wordly Wise (bk. 8)http://www.sonlight.com/140-35.html ~ Once again, this is a great vocabulary text. This was Gavin's 6th year using this program.
Algebra I (outside the home) ~ Excellent! Gavin enjoys his algebra class, likes his teacher, and we plan to do this again for Geometry next year.
Physical Science ~ Apologia's sciences are very good, and the fact that it's written to the student makes it a great course for mostly independent work.
Sonlight Core 100, second half (American History)~ Gavin loves American History, so he has really enjoyed the history books and literature selections.
Spanish (outside the home) ~ Spanish is one of those subjects that I don't have the knowledge to teach, so this was a great choice. Gavin likes the class & his teacher and will definitely move on to Spanish II next year. In fact, he's already said he want's to take as many years of Spanish as he can. (Are you ready Regina?)
Piano (outside the home) ~ This was Gavin's 2nd year of piano. He's had 3 performances so far, and will have a recital next month. There is definite improvement over last year! He's decided that music is where he wants to concentrate his attention, so we will definitely be taking piano again next year.
Ben Grade 5, Age 10
Easy Grammar (gr. 5) ~ Some days Ben groaned to see this book, other days he knocked out the work in a matter of just a few minutes. It's a good text, although overwhelming at first sight.
Wordly Wise (bk. 4) ~ Like I mentioned above, these are great books for vocabulary! They get a thumbs up from us!
Spelling Power ~ There were many times this year when spelling got put on the back-burner for Ben. Fortunately, he's generally a good speller and each time we picked back up he made very good progress.
IEW All Things Fun and Fascinating ~ This was a great choice for a busy boy who doesn't have desire or the inclination to write. The writing assignments were usually about topics that interested him and the formulaic approach worked well for Ben.
Saxon 6/5 w/Dive CD ~ This was Ben's 2nd year to use Saxon for math and it continues to be a good fit for him. He doesn't require nearly all of the mixed practice work assigned in the text, so he does all of the Lesson practice, and only a third of the mixed practice. Because of the spiral approach, it includes just the right amount of review for him.
Exploring Creation with Zoology 2 -- Swimming Creatures ~ It's so easy to let some things fizzle out at the end of the year, and that was the case this year with this text. We made it just over 3/4ths of the way through the book. The last couple of modules we completed just weren't as 'fascinating' as the others. Let's face it, sharks & whales are just more interesting than clams.
Sonlight Core E--American History pt. 2 ~ I greatly modified this Core to go along with Core 100, dropping most of the history readings, and picking and choosing from the read-alouds, but even still there are so many great books here.
Typing ~ Honestly, I don't even remember starting typing last year, so I'm a little baffled that it is listed here. Ben did a little keyboarding in 4th grade, so he already knew proper finger placement. Like his brother, I expect that as he begins using the keyboard more and more he will gain speed. I don't think a separate typing course holds the same importance that it once did.
Karate ~ This was a difficult transition year for Ben in karate. His Sensei moved away which resulted in about 3 or 4 months where he did not advance in karate at all. He even took a few steps backward. But after finding a new instructor he's made up for lost time and is now a Brown Belt in Uechi Ryu. Yay Ben!
Luci Grade 2, Age 7 (as of 8/2011)
Sonlight LA 2 ~ Luci read all of the readers from Level 2 in just a few weeks. She then moved on to the readers from Level 3 and a large selection of library books. As a result, what she's reading hasn't lined up very well with the LA portion of the materials. We've done a bit of picking & choosing on the dictations & writing assignments and have added in other things where appropriate.
Wordly Wise (bk. A) ~ Luci loves this book and enjoys the crosswords and puzzles, although most of the words were already familiar to her.
All About Spelling (beginning with Level 1) ~ Surprisingly, Luci did not like this program at all. The letter tiles were annoying to her and she thought it was too 'babyish'. We switched mid-year to Spelling Power, starting with Level A and she's doing pretty well.
Explode the Code (Bks 4, 5, & 6) ~ I'm a little sad that this is the last time one of my children will use Explode the Code books. We've all loved these books!
Singapore Math, (finish 1B, then 2A & 2B) ~ This was a big failure. Singapore math did not go along with Luci's learning style at all. She grew frustrated and teary eyed. Interestingly, Gavin had the same reaction to Singapore, but Ben LOVED it and did really well. I think it's great for kids who think the same way Singapore teaches and have an innate ability to do math mentally. I switched Luci to the second book of Horizons gr. 1. Horizons is very advanced, so I'm not particularly worried about her being a grade level 'behind' in this curriculum.
Exploring Creation with Zoology 2 -- Swimming Creatures ~ *See above
Social Studies/Bible/Read Alouds
Sonlight Core 1 -- Intro to World History pt. 1 ~ This did not happen. Luci was much more interested in the American History that the boys were doing, so after the first few weeks we dropped World History and incorporated her into American History. It was nice having everyone on the same subject.
Art Class (outside the home) ~ Luci loves her art class with Mrs. Nycole.
Next up, I'll show you what we are planning for next year. It's definitely different! As my children grow, our needs are changing.