Archive for Curriculum

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In full swing

We are in full swing of the homeschool year here.  With a 13 year old boy this is proving to be quite a challenge.Perhaps it is because he is the youngest that he is also more difficult at this age than I recall any of the others being.

We are again using an eclectic mixture of curricula.  We are finishing up Connecting With History volume 2 and will soon begin volume 3.  For Science we have Holt Earth Science.  DS has begun Algebra this year with Systematic Mathematics Introducing Algebra. We are using the eighth grade Seton readers and Adventures in American Literature from Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich.  This last is an older literature book and contains some great stories. I really prefer using the older books for literature because they contain actual literature.  So many of the newer books contain drivel.

Our history program also contains great literature. Our homeschool adventure is heavy on reading. Historical fiction takes us back in time to the periods we are studying and helps to put the way of life into perspective.  I know DS is looking forward to getting into the medieval literature all about knights and squires.  The very subjects his sister abhorred are a great draw on his interest.

Dear Lord,

Please help me to be the mother and teacher you desire me to be. May I seek Your guidance in all I do and may I see Your face in my children.

Amen.

A Big Change

This past school year was a difficult one.  My dear daughter and I seemed to clash over lesson assigned.  She was capable of so much more than what she turned in for work.  Add to that the constant bickering between dear daughter and dear son and it is amazing that I have any hair left on my head.

I have thrown up my hands in defeat.  I have signed up dear daughter for public school.  I hope and pray that this is a good decision and that she will perform to her ability when she is accountable to someone other than mom.

While sitting with the guidance counselor we discussed foreign language.  Dear daughter has had one year each of Latin and Spanish.  The guidance counselor recommended she take a second year of Spanish in case she decides to attend a four year college.  He recommended Spanish because they NO LONGER TEACH LATIN AT ALL in this school.  I was shocked to hear that they had no Latin program.  It is, to me, another example of the dumbing down of American schools.

Latin is the base of all of the “romance languages.”  These include French, Spanish and Italian.  Learning Latin builds a bridge to easier understanding of the English language, as well, since many of our English words have a root in Latin.

Latin is also the language of the Church.  Of course, the public school doesn’t care that Latin is the language of the Church, but as a Catholic mother, I do.  Dear daughter and dear son have both had Latin.  I know that Latin increased my knowledge and understanding of language when I was a student.  I have tried to give my youngest two children that same advantage.

All of the older children attended public school.  They chose whatever language they wanted to try to learn.  I am not even sure if Latin was offered.

Dear Lord,

The continual dumbing down in our public schools and the indoctrination into secular belief systems are reasons that I have homeschooled.  Please protect dear daughter as she enters the shark infested waters of the public high school.  May her foundation be built on rock, not on sand.

Amen.

Unschooling?

I just listened to a talk given by John Taylor Gatto.  He has written several books about schooling and its goals.  If you have never heard of Mr. Gatto, you can read about him here: http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/aboutus/john.htm.

This particular talk I will probably be the introduction to Mr. Gatto’s new book.  He talked about the greatest innovations and inventions of the last fifty years and mentioned such names as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Michael Dell.  He spoke about the fact that none of these men completed college.  He also spoke of the college “bubble” which I have heard mentioned in other places as well.  I learned several things that I did not know about Ancient Athens and Ancient Sparta and the forms of government in each.  It was really quite interesting.

Since listening to this particular talk, I am thinking more about delight or interest centered learning and unschooling.  I have been loath to let go of the control of subjects in our homeschool.  I did try to engage my daughter in choosing subjects to study, but she never voiced any opinion other than “that’s boring” to every subject mentioned.  I do intend to continue our study of history in the same way as we have studied it over the last several years, but I am leaning toward allowing my son to choose whichever science topics he is interested in as his course of study.  I do have a science textbook purchased for this year, but I am wondering if it will just bore the boy.

We have always been eclectic homeschoolers using a little of this and a little of that according to what seemed to fit at the time or what we had been given by others.  We have studied in a classical manner with living books making up the majority of our studies in history rather than textbooks.  My son has always been great about reading whatever has been assigned.  He enjoys discussing things after he has read them.

I will be putting some prayer and time into the upcoming school year.  I have registered my daughter at the local high school for her junior year.  My son will technically be seventh grade.  He has the aptitude of a high school student, but not the maturity level to read literature at that level.  It appears the next few years will be challenging.

 

Dear Lord,

Please give me wisdom to discern Your will for my children going forward into the school year.  Guide us along the paths you would have us take.

Amen.

Curriculum Choices

I had mixed success this year with some of our curriculum choices.  My DS made it only half way through Voyages in English 6. It was not really through any fault of his own, but rather through my inability to properly plan. Many things affected our year.

In October we had a blizzard which caused a great deal of damage to trees in our yard and took out our power for 6 days.  It has been called the “storm that ate halloween.”

We then had numerous stomach bugs throughout the winter.  In the spring DS had pneumonia, got braces on his teeth, had four teeth pulled, and most recently had strep throat.  All of these things had an effect on our ability to get things done.  Couple that with a bad attitude from DS for a couple of months, and we are behind where I had hoped to be.  We will finish 20 of 25 lessons in Latin.  We will finish all of the math curriculum.  We did finish 2 entire science books.  We did finish an entire year and a review of grammar.  We will finish This is Our Heritage (Faith and Freedom series).  We finished Famous Men of Greece and began Famous Men of Rome.  Our history studies were interspersed with various historical fiction and biographical works.  We will finish the Faith and Life series book Following Christ.  We also completed a geography workbook and studied Bible History through the Old testament.  DS played basketball on an organized team and we did some swimming of laps together.  We listened to different types of music and DS and DD both studied guitar.  DS also did several books in the Draw Write Now series.  The written content is below his level, but they contain step by step directions for drawing different things.

 

For next year, we will continue with the Systematic Mathematics series  we have been using.  We will use Applying Mathematics.  We will add in BigIQKids.com for spelling and vocabulary and continue to use Grammarlogues.com.  I purchased Science and Living In God’s World 7 for science.  We will work on Connecting with History volume 2 for history.  DS will be reading the Chronicles of Narnia and some junior great books.  I have a curriculum to go with the Narnia books.  I also have Exercises in English 7 which we probably use.  Lingua Mater is on my list for this coming year, but we will see if I actually use it.

We will continue our study of Latin with First Form Latin from Memoria Press.  Religion will include the use of Faith Life series book The Life of Grace, Benziger Brothers Bible History, and a study of the Acts of the Apostles.  Questions on the Acts of the Apostles will come from Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum by Laura Berquist.  We will use copywork for handwriting practice.  I just need to figure out the schedule.

 

Lord,

I will need your guidance in planning for the coming year.  Please give me the wisdom to see where You would lead and the sense to follow You.

Amen.