It’s that time again. No sooner do we finish one homeschool year (the formal stuff, that is) than it’s time to peruse web sites, consider curriculum, and start again. I’m a continual planner, honestly, so June planning never means starting from scratch. However, June marks the time to make some more concrete decisions and (gulp) financial commitments. So here’s the rough plans for Fall 2010 for my older son (13 years old, 8th grade).
Math: If the practice ACT he took was any indicator, he needs some additional Algebra II to go with precalculus and trigonometry. However, my understanding of precalculus is that it’s whatever hasn’t been done previously that’s needed before Calculus, so this doesn’t really change his or my plans. He’ll use the Art of Problem Solving’s Intermediate Algebra and Precalculus books, with me at the helm and a great tutor to make the math really sing.
Science: I’ll lead my older and his buddy from biology in a high school level chemistry course this fall. Wish me luck on this one: chemistry is not my domain in the way biology is. I’m delighted to have a family friend and university chemistry professor willing to back me up in this endeavor, although we’ve yet to define what that support means. I do know I’ll need the help. For texts, we’ll be using one of Chang’s titles: either Chemistry or General Chemistry: The Essential Concepts, which is a bit shorter and simpler. We’re not attempting AP chem, here. For labs, I’ll be using Robert Thompson’s Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture. While we’ll need a bit more glassware and a few additional chemicals to pull those experiments off, we’re already embarrassingly well equipped for a home. No calls to homeland security please. For more chemistry resources, peek back to this post.
History: We leaving war behind, thank goodness, and delving into music history with Discovering Music: 300 Years of Interaction in Western Music, Arts, History, and Culture. That move was my older’s choice and will be a welcome change.
Language Arts: We’ll continue with Michael Clay Thompson, moving to the fourth level (Magic Lens I, Academic Writing I, and Word Within the Word I). He’s not done any of the poetics books yet, much to my shame, since they’re beautiful parts of the program, so we’ll be using a few of the earlier poetics books in his series. I love this series, and my boys enjoy it greatly. For my review of the first three books, here are posts one, two, and three on the topic.
For reading, he’s trying a course by Online G3: Literary Lessons of Lord of the Rings. My older’s not a huge fiction fan, but I do have his buy-in for this online course with Jamie Linehan Smith aimed at gifted kids. I’ve heard fantastic reviews from families whose children who have participated in G3 courses and am excited to have my older participate.
Latin: After three years of kinda-sorta-but-not-so-much-lately studying Latin, I’m turning this subject over to a qualified Latin teacher. My older will take Latin 100 through Lone Pine Classical School, an online course that, again, has received great reviews from trusted families. Finally my older will be in the hands of someone who actually knows the language. Wild, huh?
Others: Piano study continues, with an hour of practice a day expected and weekly lessons. Karate (Tang Soo Do, a Korean martial art) also continues, with classes at least twice a week. We’re all progressing toward our black belts, so the intensity of this work steadily increases.
I’d yet to write this plan out, and I’m finding that it appears quite rigorous. Appropriate but rigorous. As he ages, I’m looking for more time of instruction from other voices, somewhat because he needs to learn from those with expertise beyond what I have in some areas and somewhat so he can learn to follow the schedule of someone other than me (Read: someone who won’t cut him some slack because he didn’t sleep well for a few nights or because the moon is full. He hasn’t used the latter as an excuse. Yet.) My next post will be shorter, as my younger’s course of study is more flexible and, as of this writing, less predetermined. Stay tuned, and do share what you’re planning for fall.