Sunday, July 18, 2010

How homeschooling plans change

This was going to be our year for American History. I had various resources lined up and was excited to spend an entire school year just on America. We had done the World History cycle, which included it, of course, and we did a fair bit of reading books on the topic anyway. Of course we've visited many Early American historic sites. But I wanted to really focus on it.

But I couldn't find a "spine." That's homeschool jargon for a textbook or other book to be the anchor, the main book used. Nothing looked that great. I checked all my favorite curriculum sources and my reaction to everything was "eh." Nothing made my heart sing. I was ready to settle for something pretty good, but not great.

And then I became reacquainted with Veritas Press Omnibus. This is a comprehensive History, Theology, and Western Civ program for middle and high schoolers. I'd seen it and wanted it a couple of years ago but had rejected it for various reasons. Too expensive, too hard, too something. But this time I couldn't stop looking at it in the catalog and on the website. I saw that we had many of the books already. I started talking with a friend about it. I even spoke with someone who teaches it at all levels. Everyone and everything said "do it."

But what about my American history year?

I took the "pretty good" Am Hist book out of my Amazon cart. I thought about what I really wanted to do. It hit me: the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. That was the main thing I wanted to get across to my kids right now. I still feel urgent about that.

So. The plan changed. We are not doing a year of American History.
We're doing a half(ish) year on the American Revolution, Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution. We'll read Albert Marrin's The War for Independence to get started. Next week! Then we'll go through those documents slowly, using The Heritage Guide to the Constitution (not at the level of detail offered in this book, this time around), and perhaps American Government, The Core, an old textbook someone gave me. I need to look that over in a little more detail before I know if I'll use it. There will be other books, I'm sure, to help us along. Library books, websites, DVD documentaries. We'll stick with my plan to use the Early American History* course by The Teaching Company just because it's so cool.

And then in January we'll dive back into ancient history with the Omnibus.

I love the flexibility of homeschooling. I love that I don't have to plan out a year in advance. I love that I can think about what it is I really, really want my kids to learn, and then figure out how to do it. I love that freedom.

And that's part of the reason why we are studying the documents of freedom this year.

*A note on The Teaching Company. Some people gasp at the price of that DVD course. I didn't pay that. The Teaching Company puts all their courses on sale at some point during the year, with greatly reduced prices. So plan ahead, and buy the course you want when it's on sale.


Mrs. Darling said...

You may have just saved my life! Ineed something like that for Tink next year and if I cant find it the state will. Since she is part of the charter school there are demands that need to be met in each subject starting in middle school. I think this teaching company ss might be the way to go! Thanks.

See Jamie blog said...

Exactly. The flexibility is one of the best things about homeschooling!

Sandy said...

We like and use Albert Marrin's titles, either love him...or Mom might need to read out loud. He can be a lot to get through if history isn't your passion. Glad to see you blogging again!