Back to School 2016!!
I can’t believe summer is over. I am unusually unready for the start of the school year–and my favorite season of the year (fall.) I don’t mean I’m not ready with curriculum or books or an organized school space (though, I’m not exactly prepared there, either.)
I’ve been resting my heart and my mind this summer, taking an abnormally long summer break, delaying our start back to school, eliminating excess activities and tasks, and healing from a burnout. I’m not quite ready to dive back in to the chaos of the school year,.. and yet I must. Violin starts this week, dance began last week, and my oldest has been going to the class at the community college for a full two weeks now.
No one can stop the calendar.
The school year is here, and it’s time to get busy, but not TOO busy. So how shall we do that?
11th Grade – Plan for Greater Independence
— Catie is 16, working on 11th grade, but with a wide range of materials. Last year she was working largely independently but we still had a lot of group teaching that she participated in, and this year I’m releasing her from some of that to be able to have more time to work on her own. The beginning Spanish class that she is taking at the community college (dual credit) is beginner level but fast-paced and intensive. She’s been doing a great job of staying on top of her homework on her own, and I don’t want to sabotage that. I don’t want to completely exclude her, either, so she will still sit in on read-alouds, be part of group Bible/worldview study, and participate in some experiments and projects.
Language Arts – A Beka Grammar & Composition IV
The bulk of Catie’s language arts work will be from the A Beka Grammar & Composition IV worktext. This year we are switching her from LifePac (her choice) to A Beka (her choice now.) This is actually their 10th grade level book, but upon further research, this has the material that I want her to learn this year so we will use this one, along with its quizzes, tests, and vocabulary/spelling book. We also have the A Beka World Literature book, which we will be pulling material from as we see fit. She will complete one Fortuigence essay course in the fall, and one in the spring, to help her continue working on her essay writing skills.
Catie is nearly done with her Algebra 1 book, so she’ll need to finish that first, but then she will move on to the Algebra 2 book. She’s not the most mathematically advanced child, and that’s okay. After struggling with math to varying extents for most of our homeschool experience, she has finally become confident and strong in math, thanks entirely to the Life of Fred math series–which helps math make sense to her. After going through two different pre-algebra courses, we switched her over to the Life of Fred Pre-Algebra series and she has spent the past couple of years catching up and gaining ground in the math department.
Science is another area where we aren’t following the normal scope and sequence, and so this year her science study will be a mash-up of general science and physical science. She has had the Apologia general science book for several years now, but we have spent more time on the other Apologia books we’ve had and done as a group (Zoology, etc.) It was difficult for her to do the science on her own, and she didn’t want to leave behind the group science with her siblings. This year she will do just that, though. There is a lot of overlap between the general science book, the physical science book, material in her geography book, and some other studies that we have done, so I have chosen specific chapters from the general science book, and specific chapters from the physical science book, to create her science plan for the year. Looking ahead, she will likely do Chemistry 1 and Biology 1 as dual credit courses from the community college next year, which will complete her science requirements for high school.
We have been going through The Mystery of History at a slightly slower pace together as a group for several years now. We have nearly completed the 3rd volume and will finish that before beginning the 4th volume. We will actually continue doing this one as a group, and Catie will do it with us.
Extracurricular and Other:
- Foreign Language – Spanish 1, dual credit, fall semester only
- Economics – Institute for Faith, Work & Economics, spring semester only
- Texas History Unit, fall semester – I really want to do a Texas history unit with the kids because it’s been a while. Catie will do this with us, and she’ll do government next year.
- Dance – both semesters
- Violin – all year
- Theater – participating in a local theatrical show for the fall semester only
- Graphic Design – utilizing youtube tutorials and websites for now, hoping for a dual credit course in the Spring
8th Grade Curriculum – For Increasing Independence
–Arielle has been doing math and language arts independently, self-checking her work, but with a fair amount of oversight and accountability. This year we’ll keep working toward better independent study, and I’ll be asking her to be responsible over self-managing parts of her day.
Language Arts – a Beka Grammar & Composition II
Arielle has been using a Beka for a couple of years now and she likes it, so we’ll stick with it. She largely does this independently already, we mostly just need to work on time management and diligence. I also plan to sign her up for her first ever Fortuigence course, in the spring, to strengthen her essay skills as well.
Arielle has already completed the first two of the the 5 book pre-algebra series, so after some review, she’ll launch into the “real” pre-algebra books, pre-algebra 0, 1, and 2.
We’ve done the Apologia zoology books backwards, so now that we have done land animals and swimming creatures, we’ll move on to flying creatures to finish the set. Instead of asking Arielle to do General science this year, next year I’ll have her do the same General Science/Physical Science plan that I’m using with Catie this year.
Mystery of History, Volume 4
As I mentioned above, we will be continuing history as a group, wrapping up volume 3 and then moving on to volume 4.
Extracurriculars and Other:
- Dance, both semesters
- Theater, fall semester
- Choir, fall semester
- Texas History Unit, fall semester only
- (Working on spring extras…)
5th Grade Curriculum – Beginning Independence
–So far, Buddy has only dipped his toes in the independent study pool. He has completed most of his work with a large amount of supervision, and completed some of his assignments independently sometimes. He still needs a lot of instruction for language arts, but he should be able to have some free reign with math this year. We’ll give it a try and see how it goes.
Language Arts – A Beka Language A and Language B
He’ll do some more work in the 4th grade book before moving on to the 5th grade book.
Math – Life of Fred: Ice Cream, Jelly Beans, and probably Kidneys
He really likes math and he can speed through this pretty quickly. I’ve been spacing them out and having him do some extra practice in between but at this point, I’m going to let him advance through them at his pace as long as he’s getting it. =)
Science – Apologia, Flying Creatures
Buddy and Arielle will be doing this together while Catie is in her Spanish class, since she won’t be doing this science with this this year. Buddy also has a subscription to Tinker Crates for supplemental science learning (because he REALLY likes science!)
History – The Mystery of History, Volume 4
He’ll be doing this with the other two also. He’s not a big fan of history, but I keep hoping it will grow on him. 😉
Extracurricular and Other:
- Texas history unit (fall)
- Minecraft computer coding class (looking for suggestions!)
- Possibly: Upwards basketball in the Spring? Currently looking for extracurricular options for him.
Homeschool Plan For Mom
I really want to stay on top of things better this year than we did last year. And there are some extra challenges this year, with part of our day devoted to driving to and from the class at the community college. But we can do this!
I’ve got my Erin Condren planner to help me stay on top of our schedule. I’m making some bi-weekly planning sheets to help us schedule and plan our school days half a week at a time (link coming soon.) And I’ve given the girls some student planners to use this year.
I’m also determined to block off and protect our school hours from nine to three, from almost any kind of interruption (births of babies, family emergencies, and doctor appointments are a few possible exceptions.) One thing we let get out of hand last year was allowing interruptions to the school day, from errand running, to visiting friends, to phone calls, to working on other projects. Returning to a simple daily routine and using our planning sheets will help with this.
We start back to school on Monday!! I’m not quite ready, but I’ve got a few more days to get there. =)
–For more curriculum posts, hop over to the iHomeschool Network Back to School Blog Hop for Curriculum Week.