Done with day one of our home portion of our homeschooling! Don't want to get hugely behind on this, so... Rather than write out full reports on what's what this year, I'm just going to make comments on my curriculum list (as updated now over to the left under each boy's name). If you have questions or want more details, please just tell me...very happy to discuss. But, in the interest of time and preventing potential boredom, I'm gonna go shorter this year and just get it all out of the way in one shot. ;)
First off, in general...continuing to homeschool both Asher and Micah. At present, Asher wants to just continue homeschooling with me through high school, so that's our plan. Micah wants to do high school at CEC like Noah but needs to wait till he turns 14. In our homeschooling, we continue with our mostly six weeks on, one week off approach...so six sessions throughout the year with a bit of a summer break. On a daily level, we tend to do independent work in the mornings (things like math and language arts primarily) and group work in the afternoons.
Now. For the specific plan...
So, for math this year, I'm splitting the boys up. I've tried various combinations of this over the years but decided last year that they're using each other as crutches too much so am separating them this year. :) Asher will be working on algebra with me (using the first item there--I've used it with Noah and like it) and Micah will be reinforcing middle school math mostly on his own (using the last three). I'm not married to this plan, so we'll see if this is still what we're doing in a month.
Since we're "done" with a formal spelling curriculum, I switched to vocabulary (Wordly Wise). I also added in a reading comprehension dealio (Reading Detective). For that, I'm starting with the Rx workbook because I like how it tackles one specific thing at a time. Once they finish those, I'll see where things stand. I've not really done anything specific to reading after having taught, well, how to read (aside from lots of talking about things) but am realizing that maybe we need a bit more focus on that.
For writing, the main goal this year is to actually do it. ;) I found this book (Don't Forget to Write) at a used book fair and like that it simply has a collection of favorite lesson plans from classrooms. I'm going to pick and choose which interest us from the middle school portion of the book. I'm *hoping* that the less structured approach will be more likely to keep our interest. (We didn't do a good job of following through with any of the writing programs I tried last year, for various reasons.)
For grammar, I took a look at my long term plan and decided that next year is the year to really push grammar. (You may recall that with Noah I decided that grammar in general is very often just repeated year after year with not much new being introduced. So. With him, I waited until just before he started high school and hit grammar pretty hard for a solid year.) In the meantime, I'm planning to try the Caught Ya plan and see how that goes, just to keep up some practice and such. (The approach is similar to things like Easy Grammar...just a sentence or two a day that needs correcting. But, Caught Ya follows a silly story, making it much more entertaining.)
And, for reading, we'll continue with required but self-selected reading. Boys each need to read at least 600 pages per six week session on their own time. Usually they end up reading much more than that, particularly since I offer an incentive of $10 per 1000 pages. :) There are a few books for history that I'd like us all to read...I'm toying around with whether to read them aloud or have each boy read a copy of his own.
I feel like we've really covered middle school science already, both formally and through life. This year, then, I'm just reading from the Story of Science books...as they're fun and educational. I like that it offers a different perspective by telling the history behind the science.
Further, and especially since Micah continues in his self-directed cooking instruction, I'm going to cover nutrition. :)
Also, we're going to do Science Olympiad with a local group. I'll add more about that when I know more about that.
- creating our own timeline for early modern & modern times
- supplementary readings, including Shakespeare
Last year we worked through ancient and medieval times, creating timelines and picking out significant inventions or people or buildings or battles for each time period. We'll continue that this year with the next two time periods.
- Around the World in 180 Days
This is another used book fair find and I'm pretty happy with it after our first day. We'll take a continent each session (our sessions are roughly 6 weeks on, one week off). Within that, there are lessons on geography, history, religion/culture, and important people and books.
- Karate (twice a week throughout the year)
- Karate demo team (1-2 practices/week plus roughly monthly performances)
- swimming laps (once a week)
- gymnastics (once a week for just Asher)
Um, yeah. We've got physical education covered. ;)
- Signing Online program to learn ASL
- US government (unit study)
We're continuing our pursuit of learning sign language. Through a homeschool buyer co-op, I found this online curriculum and am pretty stoked. It nicely lays out lesson conversations, offers additional vocabulary and quizzes for retention. I know there are LOTS of resources out there (and many for free) but needed the structure of this so as to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
This US government thing is part of my "grand plan" to cover what I'm calling "skills" throughout the year. For this first session, I'm covering US government. Later plans include things like personal finance and household chores. I don't have any specific materials for this since I'm not planning a full course (that will be later during high school). I figure my bachelors in political science and Duke law degree and masters in public policy should do the trick, lol.
In an ongoing attempt to improve handwriting, I've got just a simple cursive workbook for each boy to work through. This year, I'm also requiring more written responses through geography and reading comprehension and vocabulary and such.
OPTIONS (one day a week enrichment program)
We just started our eighth year of Options and continue to be happy with the program and the opportunity for boys to see their friends regularly.
And that, I think, pretty much covers our homeschool plan for the year. Whew.