It’s that time of year. Clear out the old, bring in the new. Figure out what works, eliminate what doesn’t work. A new ‘school year’ is ready to begin!
Since it’s back-to-school time around the country and parents are making plans for the year, I decided to update our curriculum choice on the blog. It’s not a comprehensive list. It doesn’t include a lot of stuff that we do that isn’t traditional learning. And as always, it’s not set in stone. We are known to stop programs that don’t work for us.
Calvin is transitioning between 10th and 11th grade this year. We took a very relaxed transition from middle school into high school. This fall we are working on increasing the quality and quantity of his high school work. I really enjoy having the flexibility to enter these last years of learning at our own pace. It’s allowed us to figure out what works for our family and our son. In the last few months he’s been able to narrow his long-term life goals; that’s given a focus to our learning plans.
We chose to complete Algebra 2 instead of Geometry after finishing Algebra 1. I’m really happy with that decision. Any concerns about Teaching Textbooks being too easy has been erased. This has been a tough program and he’s spent at least an hour or more each day completing the lessons. A few lessons he’s had to repeat simply because the score was too low. At this point, we both are looking forward to a new math discipline!
We have been trying to figure out how to keep science hands-on and exciting for Calvin. He did not enjoy the traditional textbook style of Apologia for Biology. Since his plans do not include the traditional, academic college track, we have some flexibility. This year we are focusing on Chemistry. The core of his learning comes from the Chemistry 101 DVD. So far we’ve enjoyed learning the history of Chemistry. The experiments have been less-than-exciting. Luckily we have the CHEM C1000 (2010 Edition) chemistry kit for supplementation. We’ve always unschooled science and I’m determined to let this happen while making sure he gets a solid education in Chemistry. When researching, I found the PERFECT applied chemistry program for our son. MIT Education offers a free Kitchen Chemistry course. It’s an undergraduate level so it should be in-depth enough for high school study.
History, Bible, Writing, Literature, Geography
We chose Illuminations from Bright Ideas Press as a core for learning. After much deliberation we are keeping it for Calvin, but not the girls. We do not use the entire program.
History uses All American History Volume 1. We are choosing to supplement with videos, historical books and original documents and use the book as a spine.
The Bible schedule covers the early history of the Hebrew people as well as memorization. It’s easy and we simply require him to read and comment. I do not want Bible to become a school subject, but something that is part of his daily life.
The Writing class uses The Truth About the New Rules of Business Writing. This has been a fun and practical class that he’s enjoyed. I appreciate that I can actually get him to write, something we’ve struggled with since he started school.
The one piece I do like about Illuminations is the literature. The study guides give us discussion questions and other activities. So far we’ve enjoyed some amazing poetry and a not-so-fun book.
We opted for a different grammar, vocabulary and spelling program.
We’ve enjoyed the easy-to-implement Geography lesson plans using Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide 2nd Edition.
We chose four different electives this year: Welding, Debate, Auto Upkeep and Philosophy.
Illuminations incorporates Auto Upkeep into their Life 101 electives. We chose to purchase the Auto Upkeep Homeschool Kit and use the publisher’s suggested lesson plan. This program is awesome! In-depth, independent and easy-to-understand. HIGHLY recommend this program!
I was introduced to Philosophy Adventure at the 2:1 Conference in May. I prayed about it and finally made the investment recently. When I mentioned the course to my son I was surprised to find him excited. Apparently, he likes philosophy — who knew!
The last two electives are going to be outside of our home. This spring we applied to transfer our son from our local high school to another high school in the district for the sole purpose of taking a welding course. Welding is his career goal. In Oregon he cannot enroll in the welding program at PCC until he is 18. The only alternative we could find was the local high school. And although the pressure is on to enroll him full-time in the high school, we are thankful to the school district for allowing him to take this class.
He just recently mentioned taking debate. I am in the process of seeing how to meet this need or maybe seeing if he can take this at the high school.
Calvin will continue training for a black belt in MMA. He has recently earned his driver’s license and we are all praying that he gets some responses to the applications he’s put in at various places.
This should keep him busy and active!
I am linking up with iHomeschool Network 6th Annual Not Back to School Blog Hop Curriculum Week.