Another year, another plan

Category : Blog

“School” starts this year on August 22. We follow the local school district’s calendar because my kids like to spend as much time as possible with their (public schooled) friends so they want to take days off when their friend’s have days off. Also, this year our youngest child will be attending public school Kindergarten (her idea, blah) so it makes sense to align our learning with her’s. I’ve been working hard to plan, purchase and organize everyone’s curriculum. This year there’s some added pressure. I have a child going into his final grade of highschool this year and another going into his first year of highschool. I had to work hard to fill in any learning gaps for my 12th grader and try to evaluate the last 3 years of homeschooling him to learn from any mistakes so my 9th grader starts his years of highschool on the right foot. Of course I also have a 4th grader to focus on who happens to have incredible gifts and also a few major challenges. Planning, this year, was harder than ever.

But I finally settled on the following:

4th Grade: we will still do a loosely structured school year since I believe in a mostly unschooled or at least highly hands-on approach to learning during elementary years. He is a total bookworm and loves projects so he’ll be reading a LOT and doing lots of experiments and projects. But the major goal this year is to work on his writing skills. He has some small motor weakness and challenges and although he’s reading at an adult level, it is challenging for him to write. Like the physical act of writing..not just figuring out how to get words from his head onto paper. I feel confident that if we can really work out the writing/small motor issues that he will quickly become an amazing writer as he does love to create stories.

Math: Teaching Textbooks - he’s been working on this over the summer and will continue next year, moving up to the next level as necessary.

ELA: Learning Language Arts through Literature: Orange. I’m excited to try this curriculum with my struggling writer. He’s already read some of the books but I figure that will leave more time to work on the writing/dictation. He also has an extensive reading list that I am sure he will knock out by Christmas :)

Science: NOEO biology II. Lots of experiments and great reference books.

History: Chester Comix. We are doing very laid back, fun-filled project-based history this year since none of us love studying history.

Piano: Simply Music Year 1 – we are already doing and love Simply Music. This has been such a good thing for my guy’s coordination

PE: TaeKwonDo. He started this over the summer and did not love it at all but, again, it will help with his large motor skills and overall muscle weakness. He seems to love it more each week so I’m hoping he’ll want to continue into the school year. We have a great homeschool TKD class, too!

We have talked about doing a World Religions course and joining a Robotics team, as well.

9th Grade: My 9th grader is academically gifted and extremely motivated. The name of the game this year is getting him to slow down and really balance his time and let go of his own internal pressure to compete with himself and everyone around him to finish and move on as quickly as possible.

Math: Teaching Textbooks Algebra 2. He took Geometry last year through a virtual academy but he forgot most of the Algebra he learned the year prior. So we’ll revisit Algebra through Teaching Textbook.

ELA: Help for Highschool from Bravewriter. However he tested into College Comp so I’m pretty sure this will be a blow-off class. I still like to do a real essay/comp class for 9th grader anyway. He also has an extensive book list of classics he’ll be reading.

Science: Biology w/ Labs from LabPaq. I’m excited about LabPaq. They seem so much more organized and user-friendly than Labs-in-a-box. I almost feel as if we wouldn’t even need our spine (Biology: Exploring Life) but my 12th grader loved this spine so we’ll stick with it.

History: World History using Glencoe World History. I LOVE this spine for it’s fairly well-balanced, less Euro-centric approach to World History. There’s actually three whole chapters devoted to Asian history and several others to other infrequently covered areas of the world. Since my kids are (mostly) Asian, it’s nice to be represented :)

Electives: Spanish (Learnables), Piano (Simply Music)

College Courses (these are technically electives too): Intro to Computing and Image Design I (7 credits total)(first semester)

12th Grade: Last year of highschool! I’m proud of how far he’s come! His goal for this year is to simply stay on track. He’s a procrastinator by nature and he’s spent all summer finishing off Pre-Calc because he blew it off half of last year. I would like to graduate him in May so no blowing things off this year! Also he’s maxed out on courses and electives. He has more than enough to graduate so he was limited to one dual credit course. Next semester he’ll have to enroll as exceptional admissions (early admission) to take another course.¬† Had I known this I would not have added some of his previous electives to his transcript. Ah well, live and learn.

Math: Thinkwell Calculus (and an Algebra refresher so he can test into College level Algebra)

ELA: World Lit using Lightning Lit

Science: College Physics (Thinkwell) w/ Labs from LabPaq. Nervous about this since Calculus is a pre-req but, if necessary, we can switch to a highschool physics spine.

History: American History. This is a repeat course, per his request, because he feels like he learned very little from the history course he took 2 years ago. Did I mention we are history haters? So we’ll try again using the Zinn books and online supplements as an alternative look at US history.

American Government/Economics (Thinkwell for both).

College Course: Intro to Computing (first semester)

Advanced  Open Water Diver PADI course (possibly next semester)

Piano (Simply Music)

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