Sunday, August 4, 2013

{Not} Back-to-School Blog Hop: Curriculum!

If you've been reading SmallWorld at Home for awhile, you know I desperately dislike the Southern system of starting school in the summer. (Phew! That was a lot of alliteration. Say that 5 times fast.) In the past few years I don't even like to think about what we're doing for the upcoming school year until as late as possible—and I guess this is about as late as possible since our co-op starts in just two weeks.

So here goes!

To keep things in order, our oldest will be a senior in college. He's spending the first half of the year in Florence, Italy, doing a study abroad program. Yeah. At the university in Florence he'll be taking Intro to Art History, Intermediate Italian, Contemporary Italian Lit, and Lit of the Renaissance. They have classes on Monday-Wednesday, giving them Thursday-Sunday to immerse themselves in the culture. He'll pretty much be taking trips with the program almost every weekend. I am so happy for him that he can have this awesome experience!

Our daughter will be a junior in high school. She is taking the majority of her classes at our co-op:
Algebra 2. They'll be using an older textbook called Algebra and Trigonometry, Structure and Method Book 2.
World Lit and World Geography. I teach this at co-op. It's going to be a big class with 21 students—bigger than I prefer—but I have a really hard time turning people down. We'll be reading novels, plays, poetry, and short stories from around the world, as well as writing essays, journaling, etc. I like to teach world geography along with the literature because they enhance each other so well. I  write my own lesson plans for these classes, perusing the internet for all kinds of fabulous ideas and resources. Books we'll read for sure (but not in this order) are: Funny in Farsi; Cry the Beloved Country; Nectar in a Sieve; The Book Thief; Jane Eyre; and The Good Earth. I may add another one as we go along, depending on what the spring line-up of plays looks like in area theatres.
Chemistry. Sigh. Apologia it is. Not my favorite by any stretch of the imagination, but we have a fantastic teacher at our co-op that Laurel loves.
Economics. Again, this will be teacher-created materials taught in sort of a Socratic circle with a group of high schoolers. This is just one semester.
• German. I'm actually teaching this to Laurel and her friend. I lived in Germany during my junior year of high school and took two years in college, so I think I can teach the basics. Her senior year she'll take it as dual enrollment at the college, so this will give her a head start. I'm using all kinds of free online materials for this as well as an older German textbook I found at a used book store.
• Bible. This year I'm going to have my kids begin writing a kind of summary about each book of the Bible (starting with the New Testament), kind of hitting key points and events, as well as choosing favorite verses. I'd like them to have a thorough overview rather than just stories and devotions here and there. I read this on someone's blog and thought it was a great idea. I figure it will take two years to get done.
• Stars and Stripes (leadership): Laurel will spend a lot of time in the next few months working on her Stars and Stripes project, which is the American Heritage Girls equivalent of the Eagle Scout. She'll be having a couple of work days in which her fellow troop members make blankets and sleepers and assemble care packages for Newborns in Need.

Halfway through last year we decided that we'd go ahead and move Duncan up a grade. He'd been straddling two grades for the past two years, and we feel pretty confident that he can handle 8th grade this year. I'm just not sure I am mentally and emotionally ready for him to be an eighth grader because that means he'll be in high school next year.  This year he's taking his first high school credit through co-op, and the rest are solidly middle school classes.
• Algebra 1: He'll be taking this at co-op, using Algebra 1: Expressions, Equations, and Applications. He finished Teaching Textbooks pre-algebra midyear last year and began  TT algebra, so I'm hoping he'll be ready for this. I looked at the first few chapters and I know  he'll be familiar with the concepts, once he gets back into school mode.
• English Prep: I'm teaching this class at co-op this year for the first time. My goal is to have these middle school kids ready to take high school English. I'll be essentially combining my literature circle, grammar, 5-paragraph essay, and research paper class into one class that teaches the basics of all these. I want the kids to be able to write essay comfortably, have experience with writing a short research paper, and be able to discuss literary concepts. I think it will be really fun!
• French Revolution: This will be a co-op class for just one semester, focusing on the French Revolution. The teacher is an absolute history whiz and a wonderful, enthusiastic teacher. Duncan and I have been reading A Tale of Two Cities this summer in preparation for the class.
• French: After our trip to France, Duncan really wanted to take French. We have a great opportunity at co-op with a native French speaker, so bingo! I'm pretty excited about this for him. I had three years of French in high school, so hopefully I can at least help him a bit at home.
History and literature: We'll be doing Sonlight World History (Core G). I'm so excited to get back to Sonlight! We spent last year doing an intense study of World War II, which was awesome, but I miss Sonlight.
• Science: We are going to continue with the Elemental Science biology that we never finished last year. This is a fantastic program, and we're both excited to continue it.
• Art: I've been compiling art lessons on Pinterest, and I'm determined to spend a lot of time nurturing this passion  in Duncan. Again, this is something that came out of our trip to France: Duncan really wants to learn more technique and tools. I am also trying to arrange art lessons with a local woman for him.
• Boy Scouts: This continues to be a huge part of Duncan's life. Several troop members will be going to Sea Base next spring, so nearly every weekend in September will be devoted to certifying for scuba diving. They'll also be doing an amazing climbing adventure/Via Ferrata at Torrent Falls in Kentucky. I have no idea what merit badges they'll be working on throughout the year, but it's always a great learning experience.

 Linked up with the {Not} Back-to-School Blog Hop at iHomeschool Network.  Learn what others are using. Share your plans. See what works, or what doesn’t, for others. Share your photos. It’s a Not-Back-to-School blog hop for homeschoolers, afterschoolers, preschoolers, carschoolers, anyone – anyone at all – who teaches at home and wants to share or needs a little encouragement. Meet new bloggers, get to know homeschoolers near you and nowhere near you.

Anyone can link up with this blog hop and the more the merrier!

Learn what others are using. Share your plans. See what works, or what doesn’t, for others. Share your photos. It’s a Not-Back-to-School blog hop for homeschoolers, afterschoolers, preschoolers, carschoolers, anyone – anyone at all – who teaches at home and wants to share or needs a little encouragement. Meet new bloggers, get to know homeschoolers near you and nowhere near you.
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  1. Sarah,
    I have no idea how I found your blog many years ago when I first started homeschooling, but I wanted (at last) to let you know that yours is one of the very few homeschooling blogs to which I still subscribe. I think we share similar sensibilities (science, acceleration, etc.). Thanks for being a companion on the journey!
    Karen DV

  2. I love reading about your adventures in these higher grades. My daughter Sarah is starting her eighth-grade year this year and it's really helpful to me to see different ways of tackling high school (and beyond!)


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