Curriculum Thoughts for the 2014-2015 School Year

Following the end of our regular school year in May, I deliberately took off from all the lesson plans, curriculum perusal, and gathering activities associated with the new school year such that I can breathe for a moment.   And that’s a good thing, given that we have struggled to execute even the most minimal plan that I put in place for the summer.   But now, I am back at the work of planning next year.

I will not alter the plan much for the youngest based upon what has worked last year and then what has worked in the past for the older children.  Planning is soooooo much easier now with two kids “under my belt,” so to speak!!!  (Ok, I just had to get that out!!)   I am still finalizing the reading list, but the rest of the plan for the budding 6th grader (where did time go??!!) looks like this:

Math:  Horizons

Grammar: Rod and Staff

History: Sonlight (Eastern hemisphere)

Science: Exploring Creation with Zoology 3

Latin: Latina Christina

Spanish: Spanish for You

Handwriting (cursive): the book of Psalms

 

I will make another crack at composer study after losing my way this spring semester.  I was feeling the rush to complete our history studies at a good place, and made a conscious decision to let certain other subjects go.   It is good that I already had a fantastic set of notebook pages for a number of the classic composers.

Our son will again split his time between home and college via our state’s dual enrollment opportunity.   Again, I have not finalized his readers, but his overall plan is as follows:

Spanish: Breaking the Barrier

Math: Teaching Textbooks (Algebra 2)

Economics (my own lesson plan with Sowell’s Basic Economics as a spine text)

College Courses:

      • American Literature/ History post-1866
      • Government 1

Science: ??? (Chemistry)

What chemistry course to offer him is truly a dilemma.   We started with Apologia for the oldest, and it was not a good fit for our family.   Somehow in the midst of teaching the math of chemistry and filling her head with dry theories, we forgot to offer resources that illustrated the practicality of chemistry in everyday life.  In fact, I probably squelched what fire might have been there for our closet scientist.   After slogging through as much of the text as we could, we wound up using several YouTube videos in order to be sure that she understood how to balance equations, and then we moved on.

I was comfortable (somewhat) as the oldest did not want to pursue science at a higher level.   Our son, however, will continue to study sciences at the college level, if the Lord says the same.   I feel the need to “get this right,” whether that sense of urgency is real or imagined.   So I have been looking for months to find the perfect (ha ha) curriculum for him—one that solidifies his knowledge of chemistry, offers him lab options, and does not take away from a genuine interest in the sciences by numbing the senses to everything else but math.   And therein lies the problem, folks.   NO curriculum is perfect.   I see what I believe to be good fits, with some being better fits than others.    The resource that has me most intrigued is Spectrum Chemistry, but its comparative product (according to Cathy Duffy’s review) is Apologia.  Is it potentially another misfit for us?   And did I mention the price??!!   Yikes!!!!!

I am leaning toward Chemistry 101, but there are also resources that I might pull from a Squidoo lens that I have bookmarked/ Pinned for several years now.   However, I am also mindful of not overwhelming our son given his reading load here and at college.

Decisions, decisions.   I remain sure of these two things:

1)      My role at this point is not necessarily to “teach” him, but instead to make the best possible resources available to him so that he can then own his own learning.   This is the essence of that atmosphere and environment that Miss Mason spoke of in one of her more famous quotes.

2)      Similarly, if I focus solely on how much the children remember, I have not truly educated them.   Instead, I stay dedicated to the process, and in helping them learn how to learn.  When they mentally manipulate information for themselves, that’s an education.

Are there home educators of high schoolers using something for science that they just absolutely LOVE?   I would love to hear about it.

 

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6 thoughts on “Curriculum Thoughts for the 2014-2015 School Year

  1. Belinda,

    I enjoyed reading the plans you have laid out for your family. While I did not grow up being home-schooled in NY, and was not introduced to the home-schooling lifestyle, if you will, until about 8 years ago, I can say that I did obtain a good education (private and public schooling), as did our children (Christian and public schooling). But things have changed and I am very concerned for what I’m seeing in public schools for our grandchildren. I have learned that what is offered in many home-schooling environments is so much better particularly when Christian values are the basis and academics is not just taught, but when varying styles of learning comes into play. In other words, the student is embraced within the lessons and as you said, “own” their learning. It’s also such great value to have our heritage included in the home-schooling curriculum that you are teaching.

    I especially loved #’s 1 and 2:

    1) My role at this point is not necessarily to “teach” him, but instead to make the best possible resources available to him so that he can then own his own learning. This is the essence of that atmosphere and environment that Miss Mason spoke of in one of her more famous quotes.

    2) Similarly, if I focus solely on how much the children remember, I have not truly educated them. Instead, I stay dedicated to the process, and in helping them learn how to learn. When they mentally manipulate information for themselves, that’s an education.

    Had home-schooling been introduced into my upbringing I would have wanted you to be my teacher. 🙂 Looking forward to following along here in this school year although my children are grown. 😉 Any good summer reading you can recommend for a grandchild going into 1st grade and the other into 2nd?

    Love and blessings!

    1. Lisa, you are a gem!! ‘Had home-schooling been introduced into my upbringing I would have wanted you to be my teacher. :)’ Ha ha!! I don’t know that our kids would say the same every day!! However, I can only add “Amen” to what you’ve said, and I would add that homeschooling, for me, at least, is first about HOME! What this method of education has done for our family is not explainable in words, but the intangibles in terms of our closeness to one another, our time spent together, and what we are able to pour into these kids as we sit around the table is nothing short of amazing!! Thank you, thank you, for your prayers and support. We love you dearly!

  2. I had not looked at Science Shepherd (Shepherd Science–are they one in the same?), though I have heard the name. Admittedly, I have had limited exposure to it. I will, however, be sure to look it over following your suggestion. This is exactly the help I need, and thanks.

  3. Oh man I wish I had some suggestions but my oldest is only nine and so I don’t have any experience with Chemistry in the older grades. Wishing you the best though. Since he is taking dual enrollment have you considered him taking Chemistry from the college?

    1. Tiffany, I have considered allowing him to take chemistry at the college level, but I know from my own background that chemistry is a math-intensive science. Right now he is working through Algebra 2, and if one subject causes him to struggle in another, at least I could control the pace moreso at home. At college, he’d be in sink or swim mode. Plus, as a potential kinesiology major, he NEEDS to have a solid grounding in chemistry and physics. Lord, help!!!!!!

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