Monday, August 01, 2011

Curriculum Week! at Heart of the Matter Online

It's Curriculum Week at Heart of the Matter Online's Not Back to School Blog Hop and this year I am ready!   Last year I missed this week because I didn't have my plans together.  I'm doing a little better this time around. 

This year I have a 7th grader and an 8th/9th grader.   So it's time to start thinking about high school a little more seriously.  My kids have done a lot of their schooling together and I'm trying to keep it that way as much as possible, while not shortchanging the new highschooler or overwhelming the new middleschooler. 

Last winter we started Veritas Press Omnibus I, which covers Ancient History, Theology, and Literature, and we'll continue with that, moving into Omnibus II sometime in early 2012.  I'm hoping it will work for us for the duration; it's hard to find a history curriculum that fits us.  I don't do well with "just reading" - I need a plan.  Since my kids still love to be read to, we'll do a combination of reading together and reading separately.

I'm excited yet a little nervous about Science this year.  Taking a cue from The Well-Trained Mind, we're using Biology: A Self-Teaching Guide by Steven Daniel Garber (Wiley Self-Teaching Guides) as our main text, and supplementing with activities from Janice Van Cleave's A+ Projects in Biology.  I'm not sure how well this will work for my 7th grader, so if it is too burdensome, I've keyed sections of the Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of Science and David Macaulay's The Way We Work for her.  I'll just be watching to see how it goes.  It's nice to be ready with an alternate plan for once. 

We've never used a specific all-inclusive curriculum for English and we're not starting now.  My 7th grader will continue with Our Mother Tongue by Nancy Davis (published by Canon Press).  We'll also do Writing Strands 4, which is our first encounter with this curriculum, and weekly writing from various prompts.  My 9th grader does not like to write and needs a lot of practice; along with the Writing Strands work,  he will be working on several Boy Scout merit badges this year that require short essays and such.  He'll also continue using AVKO Sequential Spelling.    In November both kids will do NaNoWriMo again, but I don't think I'll be doing it this year.  They get to pick their word counts; I don't, and I don't have time to throw together 50,000 in a month!

Math is one area my kids are not working together.  James will start Algebra I with Life of Fred, Khan Academy, and Dad.  Eleanor is working in fractions, also via Life of Fred, Khan, and Key To Fractions.  

We'll continue to do Bible Study via Starr Meade's The Most Important Thing You'll Ever Study Latin  via Getting Started with Latin, which we have been stuck in for a long, long time; we should finish in a few months and then I'm not sure where to go next. They get their PE at the YMCA and our backyard and neighborhood.

Eleanor takes piano lessons but James needs something for Music.  I have tried doing "Composer of the Month" a la Charlotte Mason before and it never works well for us.  This year I'm thinking of "Genre of the Month" where we explore different forms of music, from classical to blues to show tunes to pop/rock.  This might work better, or at least be a little more fun.

 Last year we had some great Art lessons from a teacher who lost her job when her school closed.  She is planning to teach homeschoolers again this year, so we'll probably do that again.   I also found (via Pinterest; who says it's a waste of time?) some art lessons put together by Concordia University. They are listed for 1st - 6th grades, but look like they could work for older kids too.  I have to admit I have not studied them in great detail yet.

Like Sandy, I decided not to put links in; most of the materials are easy to find online. You can also check the left sidebar under "Educational Materials We Like" for links to some of the books and programs we're using.  Leave a comment if you have a question or can't find something you're interested in.

I am joining hundreds of other bloggers linking up to Heart of the Matter Online.  Come join us!


Sandy said...

We also use Our Mother Tongue, I forgot to include it.

A Complete Thought said...

We're Life of Fred fans as well. My 8th grader has taken to it so well and I want to start my 5th grader on the Fractions, Decimals & Percents book next year. Maybe this year if Saxon continues to frustrate me. Good to meet you through the HOTM Curriculum Blog Hop. My thoughts are greatly turned to the high school needs. Glad to know I'm not alone.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I found your blog on the Not back to school blog hop and I am now one of your new followers. Please hop on over to our blog and check it out as well...

wayside wanderer said...

High School is my favorite time of all to homeschool!

Tiffany said...

I love the idea of a "Genre of the Month." I might be stealing that!

Hope you guys have a great year!!

See Jamie blog said...

Sounds like you have a great year ahead of you!