Freshman year is behind us and sophomore year is looming directly ahead.
You’ve been researching, planning, and revising options for months. It’s the weekend of the homeschooling convention and you’re ready to start buying books. So it’s only natural to freak out when you realize one of the main programs you picked simply will.not.work for your child this year. Right?
Yep, that’s how I spent my weekend. The American Literature curriculum I had so diligently researched and selected turned out to be entirely writing based, and there was just no way I could have reduced it enough to fit my still struggling writer and felt comfortable calling it enough for a full high school credit. So I freaked out trying to find something to replace it with.
Can I just say that a convention expo hall is NOT the best place to do that? There were too many options and not enough time. I was even dazzled by the pretty colors and maps in a US History textbook even though I know from past experience that particular curriculum isn’t a good fit for our family. I decided that the 4th trip back to a particular vendor – one I hadn’t even seriously considered previously – should maybe be taken as a bit of divine decision making and talked with the vendors before buying a copy. Some days I just need extra time to remind myself that it’s okay to change things up.
I’m homeschooling two this year; Ashley decided she wants to finish high school and get her diploma instead of a GED. Here’s what we’ll be using for both kids this year.
We’ll be using Power Basics Geometry for math. It teaches core concepts without all the bells and whistles. I hope that focusing on the specifics help rebuild self-confidence in their math skills.
I chose Notgrass’ Exploring America for our US History curriculum. I liked it’s more independent learning style and the conversational tone it has. The daily lessons will make it easier for me to keep track of to ensure we’re staying on schedule.
This was my problem child. First I was going to follow the Notgrass recommendations for English, but felt it wasn’t strong enough because it was pretty much ‘read book a and answer these questions’ for each novel. Then I found Excellence in Literature, which included almost all the novels we wanted to cover. All I’d have to do is supplement for poetry, short stories, and plays. Easy, peazy, right? Not once I realized EIL is almost entirely writing based and won’t work for us this year. I’m still not sure how I missed that, but I guess I thought there was some sort of non-essay-based lit analysis in the book that wasn’t visible in the samples.
True to my nature at dealing with unexpected change, I freaked out a bit. Manny kept telling me that it’s okay; it doesn’t have to be decided *today* because school starts when we want it to. I think he must have missed that part of the time management workshop that talked about setting calendar goals. LOL I (once again) realized just how difficult it is to find an all-in-one “American literature” curriculum in the homeschool world and found myself wandering between BJU and CLE. Neither were what I wanted though. I had already planned on using some singular study guides, but not everything we wanted to study was available in a guide.
I finally went with Total Language Plus and their American Literature Short Stories book. I’ll pair it with TLP’s Am Lit Poetry book and several Progeny Press study guides for the lit analysis component. The rest of our books will be mostly for discussion, with a few short writing assignments for some of them. We’ll also continue using Writing With Skill Level 1 with Andy along with daily grammar reinforcement.
Integrated Chemistry and Physics
I went with DIVE for science this year since I’ve heard good things about it. It’s video-based, and is set up so students read on day 1, watch a lecture/take notes/complete worksheet on days 2-3, then do a video lab with a written lab report on day 4. We’ll probably add in home labs here and there as we find ones we can do without a lot of science equipment. We’ll be using an internet textbook with the CD.
Introduction to Logic
I think it’s important the kids understand the importance of identifying logical fallacies and propaganda techniques, especially in today’s world. We’ll be using The Fallacy Detective and The Thinking Toolbox for this. With short, fun lessons, this is one course I’m looking forward to teaching myself.
Both kids will also be doing some sort of Bible study throughout the year. Manny is in charge of whatever it is Andy will be doing. My only caveat was that he reads at least one book and has some writing assignments as part of the course. Ashley will be working independently on various Bible studies I’ve collected over the years.
American Sign Language
Andy will also be continuing his work with ASL. The third session of this year’s classes starts in September, which will be combined with the free self-study lessons and quizzes from ASL University. As part of his course, he’ll be required to write a research paper on a topic of his choice relating to Deaf culture or history, and I’m looking for someone that can provide some type of final exam for him in the spring.
There you have it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to my lesson plans!
This post is part of the iHomeschool Network Not Back-to-School Blog Hop.
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