Setting the Course(s) for 2019-2020

I am not sure how we became so intrigued with foreign missions. To be honest, as a child, “missions” to me meant helping Sister So-And-So down the street who was older and on a fixed income. Of course, the  scriptures do not distinguish in Matthew 25 between the location of the least of them; we are just told to serve. Early in our homeschooling journey, I posted two maps on the wall: a United States map, and a world map. Between them, I posted several scriptures about going out into the world.

We had a dream, and I will freely admit that it was perhaps for some of the wrong reasons in the early days (read bragging rights). But one of the right reasons was that we wanted our children to understand how much privilege they operate in on a daily basis. Beyond the “children are starving over in __________” said in frustration over an empty plate, we wanted them to see life in other countries, and other regions of the world. So we set as a goal that each child would visit another country on a missions trip. And it pleases me to say that as I write, we are three for three.

What the experience our daughter had will do for her long-term remains to be seen. But what it did for her immediately was to help her in defining her goals and passions. She returned even more committed to making her mark in the nutrition and health industry, and getting more education and better food out to people who are also among the least of them–people who are sick because of poor food choices and availability, people who are unaware of the consequences of their choices, and/or people who just need to be motivated to do better. Of course, she also wants to dance.

So we begin to plan our 2019-2020 school year.

She will continue to complete her general education courses, and will add a basic nutrition class as an elective.

She is also moving into chemistry. I think that a chemistry for a non-math major will be more meaningful for her, so I have purchased Greenhollow Chemistry. Yet, the engineer in me believes that some math is necessary to truly understand chemistry concepts. So I am considering going back to Time4Learning, or elsewhere, in order to supplement all that kitchen fun about which Greenhollow boasts. We will also use Napoleon’s Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History by Penny Le Couteur as our living book to accompany our studies.

Another area I like to approach practically is Economics, addressing national and international money issues as they relate to individual people. I enjoy Thomas Sowell’s Basic Economics as our living book for this area, even though his thinking challenges me. So does “Stossel in the Classroom,” whose resources have also been useful to us. But over the years, I have even pulled in more entertaining videos like that episode of “Everybody Hates Chris” where young Chris walks away from a good job because it did not pay minimum wage (no spoiler alert here).   Now to blow the dust off my old lesson plan and make sure that all my links are up to date.

These are the pieces of our overall plan that require the most up-front work. We will also continue Geometry, as well as Current Events. Our reading list will transition as we finally move into the Medieval period. It took us seemingly forever to get through Homer’s Iliad, and I am saddened to say that I had to break out a horrible movie rendition of the Odyssey in order to redeem some time. But we are moving into classics that I think will be more enjoyable for her, ones that I will enjoy reading again, like Dante’s Inferno and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. As always, I have to dig for those gems that lend understanding of what was happening in Africa and Asia.

As with each year, my hope and prayer is that it will be our best year ever. But what I can say is that we are entering this third year of high school with an increased level of clarity about where we want to go, and perhaps even how to get there. That is a solid start.

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