Planning Time: What’s Happening for My Older

I have a high schooler.  Academically, I’ve had one in many subjects for several years.  It seems this year, it’s official.  This year, so say those in the know, I should keep track of credits and classes.  I should create a transcript and map out the next four years.  Coming from a state requiring no paperwork from their homeschoolers, this is a bit of a stretch for me.  We’ll see how that goes.

First, however, I need a plan for Fall 2011.  His friend down the street starts school next week, so I’m sure it’s time to get these plans out of my head and onto screen or paper.  Input is welcome, as always.

Study Skills:  This year, study skills, note taking, and organization top the list of goals for him.  His dysgraphia makes note taking a serious challenge, and we’ll more actively explore ways to take effective notes this year, looking for the best answer for him.  He’ll try a few tried and true methods, including Cornell and concept mapping, but nothing’s stuck.  This year, we’ll bring out his Livescribe Pen again and try note taking on the computer as well.  Studying for tests offers challenges, too, so that’s on the list, although I’ve yet to figure out what tests he’ll study for, since the materials we’re using don’t have many.  Time organization, our constant challenge, also needs addressing.  We’re likely starting with the white boardand moving today a notebook.  Too sketchy?  It is for me, too.

The Livescribe pen: Take notes as the pen records the lecture. Later, touch any part of your notes, and listen to what was said when you wrote the notes.

Math:  He’s still finishing ALEKS Precalculus, so that will fill the first several months.  After that, we’ll wander down some math sidetracks, perhaps using some Teaching Co. videos as launch pads.  I’d like to cover a bit of stats and probability this year as well.  I’m open to him taking Calculus (in a classroom), although I don’t think his study skills are ready for that yet.  (see above)

Piano:  Yes, with an hour a day of practice, Piano is a course of study for him.  He’ll change teachers again (his recent and marvelous teacher is moving), and that’s feeling a bit rough to him.  He’s entering fine hands, however, and I’m confident the transfer will be smooth.  He has some specific goals for Achievement Testing and Federation for Fall, and I hope he can make those goals happen this year.  (Insert gush over son’s ability and hard work here.)

Grammar and Vocabulary:  We’re still Michael Clay Thompson fans, so he’ll continue this fall and next spring with Online G3 for Magic Lens II and Word Within the Word II.  I’ll be testing him regularly on the vocabulary as a way to keep him on task and to develop study skills.

Science, History, Composition, and Literature:  These are together this year.  My older adores meteorology, so he’ll using two Teaching Company titles, Meteorology and How The Earth Works.  These serve a dual purpose, first as science material and second as note taking practice opportunities.  We’ll also use a few meteorology and earth science texts for some book study experience (again, some note taking and effective reading of potentially boring material purposes).  Additional reading of literature associated to meteorological events (and a handful of natural disasters) will include Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Good Earth, and  The Snows of Kilimanjaro, among others.  Using Academic Writing I, he’ll start writing about literature, a new experience for him.  And the history?  He wants to study the weather’s influence on history.  Fortunately, others have also found that fascinating, and we’re accumulating a pile of nonfiction reading of that ilk.   I’ve spent a fair amount of time this summer gathering resources, and while I have a rough idea how I’d like this rather massive unit study to work, I still have work to do.  I’ll post our syllabus (or at least resources and some rough plans) on a page at the top of this blog as they take shape.

Spanish:  No formal study, just a year with Rosetta Stone’s Spanish I for all of us.  The goal is to give my older enough confidence to formally study Spanish in the classroom (high school or college) next year.  My younger and I are along for the ride.

Physical Education:  Hopefully, we’ll all be testing for our Black Belt in Tang Soo Do in early 2012.  At this writing, that’s likely just a mark in time, with study continuing, at least for them.  My body could use a less, um, painful sport.

All the Rest:  My older also plans to join the theater club at our local public high school, which has a reputation of quality productions and openness to homeschoolers.  He’ll take two classes with six to eight other teenaged homeschoolers this fall:  NIH Science Supplements (Bioethics, Infectious Disease, Sleep, and more) taught by yours truly and a Film as Literature course taught by Not His Mom.

Too much?  I hope not. We’re going easy on the math this year, and I hope by our unit study approach to the other major subjects that the year feels more integrated.  We’re still almost four weeks from our school start, with two vacations between now and then.  I guess I’ll be traveling with curricula and a notebook.

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