Thursday, August 21, 2014

2014-2015 Homeschool Reveal

Here we are, at the planning stage of a new school year!
Actually, my planning probably started last March, when I had tax refund money in my pocket and catalogs arriving in my mailbox.  But in another sense, I'm making very few changes this year, so there wasn't as much "plan" to it as usual.  Nevertheless, here it is:

The Sleeping Giant is the one who is this year.  I'm being cheated of my last year at home with her as well as her last year of school, because she's decided to finish early *and* she's doing half her stuff in dual enrollment.  I'm teaching her hardly anything!  :(

At the start of the year in July she had two English credits left to get, both of which will be taken at the College.  Intro to College Writing happens soon, in Summer Session 2 which starts in two weeks.  She'll take another English credit in her Spring semester at the college.
She also has two History/Social Studies credits left to get.  One of these is the combination of Economics & Government, which she'll take at our local co-op, whether she wants to or not!  I'm thankful that this teacher makes this class available, and I enjoyed the one I sat in on (I didn't help) last year, so I think that will be great.  Her books for that aren't shown in the picture, because I don't have them yet.  The second History class is going to be a Western Civ. class in the Fall semester at the college.
That takes care of the things others are teaching her and her requirements.  I was going to let her stop taking Math and Science now that she has accomplished what the State of NY requires, but she decided on her own that colleges would want more, so she's taking more.  Teaching Textbooks Math has worked really well for her and for me; I don't do anything, which is in an improvement over re-learning algebra so I could discuss it with her a 10 pm, which is when she likes to do math.  That arrangement just wasn't working for me!  This series allows her to work at her own pace and on her own, and her grades are better.  Special thanks to my friends, Katrina for allowing us to try hers and Susan, for selling me the next one in exchange for Chinese lessons.
For Science, the Giant has also decided on her own to take a shot at Physics.  We picked Lifepacs.   I have some experience with Lifepacs and I while I didn't love it, I feel like it would be ok to use for a self-motivated older student for some electives, which is what this is at this point.  I had to spend some money on materials for experiments, but I didn't mind doing that because experiments are what makes Science fun.
And finally, because she realized that colleges want 2-3 semester of language credits, and because every year we try to do Latin and don't, she's doing German by herself with Duolingo and other resources we're picking up at the library.  Her goal here is to eventually take a CLEP test.
Hannah will be continuing with Violin lessons for music credits, and needs two half credits of gym this year.  Her Hapkido commitment has always been enough for her to get the half credit each year, but since she's trying to do two years at once, she applied for some financial help to get a Y membership so she can take up Yoga or some other classes.  

Just for fun She's also doing PSAT and SAT prep books as time allows, because those tests are looming in the fall of this year.  The idea of graduating a year early and doing two years at once came upon us just this spring, otherwise we probably would have taken the PSAT last year.  Live and learn, this kid is my experimental one.

The Girls who Loves to Be Blogged has a light load this year.  Her interest in athletics (soccer and tae Kwin do- she'll be a 2nd degree black belt by spring) made it hard for her to get her classes done last year, so I made this first year of high school a no-electives year.  She will be playing soccer with a local Christian school Aug.- Oct., and the rest of the time spends 6-10 hours a week at her do-jang.  I'm all for letting them focus on things that they love, but some coursework is required and I want to see her be successful in the classes she does take.  So, her load this year is English, History, Science, Math, and Gym.  That's it.  If she's doing well, I might throw in her Health course in the second half of the year (another NYS requirement sometime in high school).

Let me just say here that when I decided to switch to Tapestry of Grace as the core of our homeschool, I envisioned having everyone do it together all the way through.  Just as it makes me sad that The Giant is doing her History and English credits at the college this year, it also makes me sad to say that Tapestry just isn't quite working out for The Girl.  Tapestry is a literature-based curriculum; the Girl is not a big reader.  More importantly, she's not an independent learner. She's a social learner.  What?  And, worse for me, she doesn't like history.  *Sigh.*  Anyway, this past year she participated in an on-line co-op via Tapestry for History, Literature and Writing.  We've been with this co-op for three years.  By the end of the year I became convinced that she wasn't learning much.  I don't mean to criticize any of the other families in our co-op; this is just a learning style issue.  If they were here live and in person, she probably would have done better, but it was just too easy for her to tune out in the on-line environment.  And so, I'm making some adjustments to my beloved Tapestry.

Speaking of Tapestry, we're coming back to Year 1 this year.  This will be my first repeat of a year.  I will have one LG student and 2 dialectics, which is also a first for me.  I'm already getting a little confused checking over my book lists because I am so used to getting ALL the books for every level, but that's all changed up this year.  The books you see are just a sampling of the ones I have purchased and currently have out from the library. As you can see, those stay the same when I switch from The Girl to The Mayor.

So, for History we are continuing with Tapestry of Grace, but I will lead the discussions at home with The Mayor.  They will both be in dialectic.  In the picture are some of the books that are part of our history studies.  The Girl will be doing her Writing/Literature at our local co-op with the same teacher that teaches The Giant's Econ & Govt class.  We had a chat and she said that I can sub in some books from Tapestry lit when the kids have a choice.  We will also start our Tapestry year about a month sooner than co-op begins, so The Girl can start and finish the year with my selections from ancient history.  I am hopeful that a live class full of her friends will be beneficial for keeping The Girl on track this year.  This is my plan for doing Tapestry but seeing her get a little more work done.  For Science, she'll be doing Apologia Physical Science at local co-op.  For Math, I've got the Saxon Algebra 1/2 book but I've also got some concerns about finding time to sit with her every day while she works through it.  If someone wants to volunteer for that job, they can have it.  This year that we've just finished was a tough one for math, and that's all I am going to say about that.
Gym class is more than satisfied by the hours she spends in soccer and tae kwon do.

The Mayor, as I already said, is moving from Upper Grammar to Dialectic this year.  He's a big reader so I'm hopeful this will not be a big deal for him.  We'll have weekly History discussions with The Girl. He's also doing the on-line co-op for Literature at the Dialectic level.  To round out his English class, we will be using Rod & Staff English 6, and we'll use that for Writing as well.  I have been skipping the Writing portion of Rod & Staff or using it only to supplement the Writing assignments in Tapestry, but he finds Writing such a struggle that I am just going to stick with Rod & Staff Writing this year.  Even if he just has the impression that it's easier, because I am not sure that it is, it might help his attitude.  The final piece of his Language Arts pie is Spelling Power.  Tapestry also includes a Church History component that he will do, but I'm also teaching a church history class in local co-op that he wants to participate in.
For Math, he'll be in Saxon 8/7 (we use older versions, I believe Math is Math and I'm too cheap to worry about the newest edition).  What else?  For Science he will be doing the new Apologia Chemistry and Physics for Elementary ages.  This will likely be his last year in the Elementary series and he has done all of the Apologia series except Land Animals.  He'll be doing General Science next year.  Finally, The Mayor will continue Chinese Studies with the Go! Series 200 book.  I teach that, and this year we had another student come study with us, but that student is going to a private Christian School this year and won't have time for this.

The Little Princess is getting serious in her studies now that she's in second grade.  We are about 1/3 of the way through the Saxon 2 Math book.  She finished Explode the Code 4 this year and is a pretty stellar reader at this point, so I don't plan to continue with Phonics.  She's also about halfway or more through Rod and Staff Spelling 2, so once she finishes that we will move to Spelling Power.  She's very excited to be in the Rod & Staff 2nd grade English book this year.  (As an aside, I think starting from the beginning is the only way to do Rod & Staff- it's a pretty intense series, although I will admit we skip some of the lessons that seem to be geared toward addressing redneck grammar issues like double negatives, etc.  You could possibly start it in 5th grade, but no later than that if you want to use the upper level books.  Some people I know also recommend doing half a book per year after 5th grade.)  She definitely needs to do more writing this year, and I also got her a handwriting book.  In addition she will participate a bit more with Tapestry this year, completing maps and reading in her Bible.  I think I will be using Story of the World, which is an Upper Grammar alternate resource, with her for much of it because my library system is short on ancient history resources for her level.  For Science, The Little Princess will use Apologia Botany, which dovetails nicely with Tapestry Year One, as well as taking part in a Science class at local co-op.  That reminds me, she's also participating in a US Geography class, a missionary heroes class and God's World News class at co-op.

Finally, just for balance I am including a picture of all the teacher's aids and guides that I will have on my desk.
It's missing the math guide for The Mayor because we're still using it for The Girl, and after I took the picture I turned around and saw it on the hutch.  Perfectionist, I ain't.
The purple binder is where I store about three weeks at a time of Tapestry notes that I'm using for planning and discussions. It goes back and forth to the library with me because it has the book lists in it.
For my next post, I might show you my color-coding madness.