Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What We're Doing This Year

We are actually at day 27 in our little homeschool for the 2010/2011 school year.  I wrote on the Store Spotlight blog about how I planned our year using The Schoolhouse Planner.  I'm tickled because we are WAY ahead of where we were last year at this time.  But of course, last year at this time we were shuttling the Big Dog to doctor's appts. and hospitals on a regular basis.  Praise God for a new year!

Anyway, I think now is a great time to tell you about what we're using this year and what we will be learning.

Language arts is a full subject this year.  Each boys is going to be required to read from a specific booklist I culled from www.amblesideonline.org.  Right now, T-bone is reading The Peterkin Papers and Big Mac is reading Huck Finn. For writing we are using Write with the Best from EduDPS.  We did Write with the Best volume 1 last year and will complete volume 2 this year.  I really love this writing curriculum.  It uses excellent writing as a guide and employs Charlotte Mason's techniques of keeping the work to short lessons each day.  At the end of the unit we are left with a portfolio of beautiful well-tought-out  writing.

We are also hitting up EduDPS for our vocabulary lessons each day.  Roots and Fruits gives the boys a Greek or Latin root word each day with several examples.  The boys copy the words into their notebooks and then look them up in the dictionary and copy the definitions.  Once a week we play a game or use flash cards to reinforce learning the words and their definitions.  Oh, and they're learning the Greek and Latin roots as well!

Our copywork is being taken from Presidential Penmanship.  I reviewed this product at the end of last year from Zeezok Publishing.  So far the boys are really enjoying these quotes from past presidents.  They can't wait to read them to me when they finish copying them.  The quotes are really valuable, and their penmanship is already improving.

For Math both boys are back to Saxon.  I'm sure we will have some review products to supplement.  Last year there was a plethora of math products!  But for our core, we are back to Saxon.  Algebra 1 for Big Mac and Algebra 1/2 for T-bone.

In science we are using Christian Kids Explore Chemistry.  We have finished the first unit and I really love it.  It starts with the basics but I know that the boys will really grasp the concepts of chemistry from this year's study.  We are supplementing with the Elements Newsletter from How to Teach Science where we are working our way through each element on the periodic table.  When I read about an element, the boys color it on their periodic table and then make an element trading card for it.

For art we are finishing Artistic Pursuits Jr. High Book1.  We began it last year and then set it aside because I really wanted to complete it in its entirety this year.  So that's what we did.  Each unit has four days of lessons with four drawing assignments.  I really like this curriculum a lot.

We are learning French this year!  I took a few years of French and have a passing knowledge, so the boys have always been interested in it.  We got an old copy of Powerglide French with a book and audio tapes.  The boys are really doing well with it!  I love Powerglide's approach.  It is not dry at all.  As a matter of fact they are using an adventure story where the boys pretend to be secret agents in a French-speaking country.  This was made for our boys!  And we got to make quiche Lorraine...which makes is a good fit for me :)

We're going to build our history from reading good books and biographies.  We will work our way through the time period from the Revolutionary to the Civil War and then begin a Civil War unit in the new year.

For Geography and a bit more American History we'll use the Star-Spangled State Book and the companion workbook.  I still need to order one more workbook so we haven't started this yet.  At the end of this study the boys should be able to recite all the states and their capitals.

Later in the year we are going to use The Body Book to do a health science unit.  And an old book with biographies of the composers to complete a music unit.  The book is called Stories of Great Musicians by Kathrine Lois Scobey and Olive Brown Horne.  I can't find it on-line anywhere, but there is a similar book at project Gutenberg here.  I plan to read to the boys about a composer and listen to his music on CD. 

Last but always first, we are continuing our memory verses for Bible each day.  I've lost count at the number of verses the boys have memorized.  I used Simply Charlotte Mason's method of reviewing verses with the boys each day.  We have used this system for a few years and it works best for us.  We are also reading each day from the One-Year Book of Christian History.  The boys aren't crazy about these readings because they are often sad.  But I want the boys to know the heritage of believers that came before them.  We are finishing up the last of the worksheets from Your Story Hour and will be earning our final CDs and the case to go with them.  And I read a spiritual book over breakfast each day.  Right now we are reading The Prayer of Jabez.  Afterward, I think we're going to try The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel.

And I always read to the boys over lunch as well.  Right now we're reading The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood.  I'm supplementing that with William Shakespeare and The Globe by Aliki.  I've been wanting to introduce Shakespeare to the boys for a while now.  I have Charles and Mary Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare that I've wanted to read to them.  So this might spiral off into a whole other thing!!!

Ok this has been long.  But plans are long, aren't they?  I hope you enjoyed this curriculum stroll.  I'd love to know your plans.  What are you doing this year?

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