After an email request for an update to my “What We Say We’re Doing” page, I decided it was indeed time to figure out what the heck we’re doing come fall. I have plenty kicking around in my head, but that’s only the start of the real work. Planning for my 10-year-old is the easier of the two jobs this year, so I’ll start with him.
Math: Last year, more independent mathematical work was one of my goals. My younger still has a fair amount of panic about getting problems wrong, so generally he checks in with me after each problem. This drives me nuts, honestly, and while he’s sometimes willing to forgo that pattern when he’s feeling super-confident, he has a long way to go. We slowed math down last year when his panic at the word “math” began to mount. He’s mathematically talented, and I really struggle with his aversion to something he does so well. We added some of Theoni Pappas‘ work for fun, and Penrose the Cat is a hit. Anything with a cat is a hit, but I have yet to find the all-cat math curriculum. We’ll continue with Pappas and similar material as we finish up Singapore 6B and Singapore Challenging Word Problems 6, a project that shouldn’t take long. Upon his request, we’ll work through Pre-Algebra I and II from Life of Fred. (He saw a friend’s copy and thought it looked okay.)I didn’t bother with pre-algebra with my older, heading straight to Jacob’s Algebra after Singapore 6, but this child needs confidence despite his obvious talent, and I hope time and some diversions into other aspects of math provides that.
Science: We’re all on to Earth Science this year, using CPO Middle School Earth Science for my younger. It’s an inquiry-based curriculum, which means that questioning comes before vocabulary and scientific thinking trumps rote comprehension questions. I’m a fan of the inquiry method and excited to try this well-reviewed curriculum. It’s not designed for homeschoolers, and I’ll try to keep track of changes we make and materials we need so others might benefit later. We have a bit of Middle School Chemistry to finish still, but hopefully we’ll finish that up this summer.
History: After a highly successful semester with Online G3‘s History of US 2B (1899 to the present), my younger’s eager to take the rest of her offerings. First semester, he’ll take the corresponding 1A course, covering the first three books of the History of US series by Joy Hakim. He’s likely to pick up another in the series come spring. History is in Headmistress’ Guinevere’s hands. Whew.
Language Arts: My younger devoured two levels of Michael Clay Thompson’s Grammar and Vocabulary books, so this year he hits the big leagues with Word Within the Word I and Magic Lens I. As did his brother, he’ll do these with Online G3, but while I left his brother does his own devices and kept my nose (mostly) out of the class, I’ll keep tighter reign on my younger son. We’ll read the books together, and I plan on more outside work on the vocabulary for him. I probably should have done the latter with his older brother last year, but it just didn’t happen. We’re only half-way through Paragraph Town’s 20 lessons, meaning the book has been read but that other activities are left to be done. At the end of last school year, typing skills sharp from Online G3 classes, he started a blog (Bertram’s Blog). He’s abandoned it so far this summer, but it’s built his confidence as a writer. Hopefully, we’ll move into Essay Voyage as the year progresses. For the fall, he’ll take Lightening Literature 7, again with Online G3. Can you tell we adore Headmistress Guinevere and her classes?
The Rest: As a family, we’re trying Rosetta Stone Spanish I in hopes of providing all of us with some exposure to the language before someone takes Spanish in a classroom (likely my older son, who needs two years of it before college). Karate continues to be our main source of PE, and we may be up for our black belts in March. Piano study for my younger also continues. Spelling with Steck-Vaughn materials was a wild success. Who knew we just needed a traditional old workbook approach for that subject? He’ll move onto the 5th level this year, and he’s delighted. Handwriting issues have hit and hit hard. A year and a half of cursive via Handwriting Without Tears has produced many tears and no usable cursive. His older brother fared no better, so, like his older brother did, we’ll move him back to print and finish out Handwriting Without Tears Can-Do Print. His printing is far better than his older brother’s who has some serious dysgraphia issues, but it is still a work in progress. Thankfully, both boys type quite well.
Of course, these plans are all subject to change, but this is one year for one child that I feel I’m looking at plans that could really work. As always, suggestions and “been there, done that” stories are welcome.