Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Homeschool Plan, Part II

When I first started blogging, my intent was for this to be a homeschool blog. To be a journal of our homeschooling trials, tribulations. And successes. However. Things didn't turn out quite that way. This blog quickly became a blog about me. About my trials. Tribulations. Successes. And an occasionally about homeschooling.

I do appreciate that most of you do not homeschool. And have absolutely no interest in these posts. But maybe you'll peruse some of them. And see that not all homeschoolers are nut jobs. Or anything like those crazy people on that Wife Swap show. Or anything like the results of a google image search on homeschoolers.

I never set out to be a homeschooler. And I quite enjoyed dropping my girls off at pre-school. So that I could enjoy a precious few hours alone. Reading. Surfing. Meeting friends for lunch. And sometimes. Perhaps rarely. Doing something constructive.

When I realized that we would not be able to move out of our neighborhood. I rather reluctantly resigned myself to homeschooling. I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't know what books I would use. I didn't have a clue as to how to find other reluctant homeschoolers to commiserate with.

Then a friend gave me a copy of this book. Which I read from cover to cover. And I all of a sudden felt empowered. I KNEW that I could homeschool. Homeschool well. And willingly. (We use what is called the Classical method. Which...if you are wondering about...I explained it in this post.)

Next week we will begin our 6th year of homeschooling. Sometimes I can't believe we have lasted this long. Most days I can't imagine doing anything else. (Oh...and in case you are curious...I explain here why Katie is home. And Madalyn is in public school.) is the plan for the year:

MATH: Last year we finished Singapore math. It was a rarity to challenge Katie with math. She just has this intuitive sense about it. I on the other hand, had to relearn a lot of math. I handed this subject entirely over to Michael during his 4 month braincation. And that was a life saver. For me. And for Katie. But this year. Well. I have lost way too many brain cells to challenge myself with this level of mathematics. So we are outsourcing. Katie will take Algebra I with Derek Owens (and if you are not in the Atlanta area...he does offer distance learning classes). I am really excited to find a math class for her. And a teacher that can take her all the way through Calculus.

SCIENCE: This will be a change for us. We have used a "central" book for a lot of our homeschooling. But not a text book per se. I am pretty excited about science this year. The Earth Science book looks great (oh...and if you look at the link on Amazon - it has one review that is a one star review. Why? Because whoever they bought it from did not ship quickly. Amazon needs to cull these reviews!) And it's my favorite science subject. I loved learning about plate tectonics; how rocks formed; earthquakes; volcanoes. Maybe it has something to do with my disaster movie fascination.

GEOGRAPHY: Last year we covered 22 countries. Read LOTS of books. Went to the Greek Festival. Japan Fest. Oktoberfest. And the Highland games. We made a Danish apple pancake. Scotch eggs. Irish soda bread. Learned to eat with chopsticks. Visited a Hindu Temple. Watched "Bride and Prejudice." It was by far Katie's favorite subject. And I hope that adding a text bookto the mix will work. We can get a little more in depth. But still have fun. I got this book, too.Because. Eating your way around the world should always be a goal.

HISTORY: History is central to Classical education. It's always been one of my favorite subjects. And it was one of Katie's, too. Until this past year. In first through fourth grade we used "The Story of the World" which is authored by the same women who wrote "The Well Trained Mind." So, for fifth grade we were at loose ends. I decided to use History Odyssey. I was not excited about it. But rather resigned. I think I spent this year looking at any other options that were presented. Neither of us liked it. There was way too much busy work. The history pockets were boring. Pointless. And added nothing. I am not sure what she has retained from this year.

And then for some strange reason, I actually looked at History Odyssey again.And shocker of shockers. I liked what I saw. The busy work was gone. There was more outlining. More reading. More research. Still not enough assessment. But. I thought we'd give it another go.

I have A LOT of things to supplement our history curriculum. But when I found Memoria Press' "Famous Men of the Middle Ages" books. I thought they would be a great addition to History Odyssey. There are stories about Charlemagne, Robert Bruce, Alfred the Great. The illustrations are gorgeous. And even better. There is a student workbook. And a teacher's guide. We can assess to our heart's content. Or to Katie's chagrin.

LOGIC: Katie did Logic for the first time last year. In the beginning it was fun. Challenging. And as she grasped the concepts. It became rather easy for her. We completed the three Orbiting with Logic workbooks. I wasn't quite sure what we were going to do this year. Until Katie decided that she wanted to go to the Homeschool Expo with me. As we were pouring over all the different logic books there. I let her choose. She could see which ones wouldn't be too easy. Which ones would be interesting to do. I think we got enough for two years. Maybe I won't have to think about this next year!

LANGUAGE ARTS: Ahhhh. The spot with the most changes. Last year Katie blogged. Did Daily Grams a few days a week. And had a spectacular experience with the online program "Write at Home." So...again...why are we changing things?

With a classical approach, there is usually not a seperate literature program. It's included with the history. But. What we have been doing is helping Katie to become well read. But. It's quite short in the analysis department. That will be where Lightning Lit comes in.

There will be soooo much reading and writing required of her this year. I just couldn't see continuing with Write at Home. But I did find out that I can use them on a per paper basis. I can have them critique some of the writing that she will already be doing for literature and history. We'll see how that goes. And if things are not working out...we can always sign up for the second semester of Write at Home.

ART: We have always been sorely lacking. Or rather spotty in this department. But at the warehouse, I did manage to find an art text book. AND I signed up for the online version of "Meet the Masters." In this program, you learn about an artist and a technique. And then work to reproduce is. Our first project will be to do our own version of Van Gogh's "Starry Night."

ACTIVITIES: Katie is going to be on our neighborhood ALTA team. Which means practice three days a week. Plus matches on Saturdays. She is still in girl scouts. Will begin her 6th year of piano. And begins a three year confirmation class at church. I don't think that socialization is an issue at all.

So...what about you? Do you remember your favorite subject when you were in 6th grade? If you homeschooled - what subject would you have to outsource?

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Jane In The Jungle said...

Ok where did you get the "Eat Around the World"? That is so down our alley. Derek is starting HS this year and I must say I was preety nervous until a friend who just graduated 1 son came over and talked. And of course Tn decided to change their requirements this year also!! If I outsourced anything, it would be math. And believe me, somedays I wish I could!!

Heather said...

I always stand in awe of homeschooling moms. I think it's so amazing and admirable! It looks like you guys are all set up for an amazing year!!

Brandy said...

Eat Around the World? Can I attend that class?! LOL!

Heather said...

I can't wait to hear more about your homeschooling efforts; you make it sound so interesting and manageable.

I wasn't too fond of sixth grade. Hormones, a not so great teacher, drama at home with my older sis...made this a year I have obviously tried to block out. I have always loved math and science, though, so it was probably that at that age, as well.

Hmmm, if I homeschooled, I would have to outsource sports. I sucked at gym class. I don't have the innate knowledge of football or soccer that you need to understand the game.

Here's to a great year! And please make sure you share some of your recipes again!

Together We Save said...

I am very impressed by home schoolers. I could not do it but for those who can, Bravo!!

Lula! said...

It amazes me how smart and bright and beautiful your girls are. They have a great mother...and teacher!

Katie is smarter than me, I swear. Reading through all the curriculum choices made my head spin. And realize that I'm not smarter than a 6th grader! HA!

6th grade...hmm...I don't remember much about it. 5th grade always stands out in my mind because that's the year I read both Gone With the Wind and The Westing Game, my 2 most beloved books. I'm homeschooling Caroline this year--for Pre-K, as I did with Libbey. I'll not outsource anything. I love coloring too much.


Angie's Spot said...

That google search picture is a riot! I'm trying to remember what my favorite subject in 6th grade was. Probably math because it was my best subject by far. I hated English because of the forced reading and book reports and I didn't like history (boy am I totally different on both subjects now!) Science wasn't terribly easy for me. Yeah, we'll go with math.

Elena said...

Aaaack...steer clear of any homeschoolers with creepy eyes! LOL! Please don't forget to continue to post the eating around the world lessons. I SO loved those last year. And what in the world is ALTA?

Science was my favorite in 6th grade, and I loved to diagram sentences. (But maybe that was b/c I got to write on the chalk board.) I would most certainly have to outsource math. Me and math, yah, we kind of hate each other.

Jill said...

Wow - that's a lot of subjects and a hefty curriculum to tackle this year.

I'm no homeschooler, though I can appreciate the reasons for doing so.

And how cool are you to go through this as well... you smarty smart pants! All the stuff you may have forgotten you get to go over again. I find that very cool.

Samantha said...

Thank you so much for the great post! I love to see what other homeschoolers are using for curriculum. I was doing just fine but as my oldest gets older, I find that choosing curriculum gets harder and harder. Thank you so much for the posts on my blog! I will check out the link you sent me. I'll also tell my daughter that somebody enjoyed seeing the pictures of our organized pantry! That was a HUGE and rather mind-numbing job but it is done!
Thanks again,

Samantha said...

Wow! Thanks again so much for the link to the high school science curriculum. It really may be exactly what I'm looking for. I have taken an extremely hands-on approach to science over the past 6 years with my kids and would love to continue when my daughter starts high school at home in two years. Thanks again - I don't think I ever would have found that site by myself.

Denise Grover Swank said...

I home schooled one year. It's kind of a long story why, and maybe if you're ever really bored sometime, I'll fill you in. It was a total eye opening revelation. My second grade daughter sped through her curriculum. Her class time took about an hour and a half to 2 hours, and we were often doing more than one days work in that time. My 8th grade son had a tough curriculum but honestly loved being home schooled. My kids were terrible, and I mean terrible at math. I can not stress this enough. So for several weeks I completely stopped the math text books and created my own worksheets going over basic math skills. Ross took a high school placement exam as we started home schooling and scored a 18% in math. Two months later he took the Iowa basic skills test and scored a 67%.

My daughter Julia, starting 7th grade this year, begs me to home school her again. After reading your post, I'm highly tempted.

Ruthanne said...

I love Susan Bauer's writing as well - I was able to hear her speak at the convention in Cinn. this year. She was, by far, the best speaker. Loads of great, practical tips.

It looks like you guys have a FULL year ahead of you!

Putting the FUN in DysFUNctional said...

I have nothing but respect for those who homeschool! I couldn't do it, but we're lucky to have good public schools where I am.

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Mariah said...

I am REALLY thinking about homeschooling my 10 y/o so I love your homeschooling posts.

Linda said...

Ok, I have the Famous Men series of books ... but they must have new editions out, mine are not in color and there were no workbooks available. Oooooo ... that Lightning Lit and Comp ... I've gotta check that out! And Meet the Masters ... I've heard of it ... must check into that more too. It's hard to tell if it's a blessing or a curse to find out what other homeschoolers are doing. LOL I have book envy and think I need to try just one more thing when we were blissfully unaware before. Eat You Way Around the World ... LOVE IT!