Preliminary Planning for 2012/13: My Younger

It’s that time of year. May. The time of year when I can’t stand one more minute of homeschooling and just want to be done. It’s the point when we’re almost done with most of the books and classes we started the semester with and have even moved on to new material in some, vamping a bit for the last few months of the school year. (This always seems to happen with math.) It’s also the time to set the fall schedule for the classes and events that happen outside of our walls, and given that’s going on, I might as well make some selections for home, too. Here’s what I have so far.

A.B. (11, 6th grade)

Math: After a fair amount of angst, we settled on continuing with Singapore Math for secondary mathematics study.  We’re a few chapters into Discovering Mathematics 1A, which contains a fair amount of review for him on subjects covered in The Algebra Survival Guide but with far more depth and extensions. Our pace is a lesson a day, with a day at the end of each chapter to play with the more challenging problems in the workbook and a day for the end of chapter test.  Taking tests is new for him, and he’s still pretty anxious about that process, but since that’s the only hiccup thus far, I’m giving DM a thumbs up.  We’re still plugging away at Singapore Challenging Word Problems 6 as well, and I keep a stack of alternative math options on the shelf for his more anxious days when “regular” math just isn’t doable.

Language Arts:  A.B. will continue with Michael Clay Thompson’s Word Within the Word and Magic Lens series via Online G3, this year studying the second level. This program of study (both the books and online class) work wonderfully for him. For literature, he’ll pick one the Hewitt Lightning Literature classes Online G3 offers, most likely Mid to Late 19th Century American Literature.  That course’s reading selections seem accessible given his age (and I’m fairly sure some of the selections in British Lit, like Jane Eyre, would not be enjoyable reads for him). He’s determined to participate in NaNoWriMo 2012 and plans to continue to write on his blog. I’ll likely try to broaden his writing beyond these forums, but he’s a strong enough writer that I’m willing to largely follow his lead and work my agenda into his.  I’m considering signing him up for WriteGuide for the second half of the school year with the aim of strengthening his fiction writing.  Finally, since he enjoys Steck Vaughn Spelling, he’ll proceed to level six in that series.

History: In fall, he’ll take the last of the American History classes from Online G3 this fall. This course covers the Civil War and the rest of the last half of the 19th century using Joy Hakim’s History of US books.  He has his eyes on her Government class for the following spring. The first semester, he’ll also take Coursera’s A History of the World Since 1300, a free online class from Princeton University.  History is his favorite subject and one of his career aspirations (historian and college professor vs lawyer), so plenty of new ideas in this area are key to his happiness.

Science: This year is physical science with a focus on physics. Middle School Chemistry provided a sound base in that portion of the physical sciences, so I’d like not to belabor that end of the subject. He’ll be studying with a friend, although what text or supports we’ll use are to be determined. Any suggestions for a text are welcome!

The Rest: He’ll continue piano lessons and daily practice, and at this point, he’d like to attend Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in the summer of 2013 for further piano study. We’ll see where that drive goes come the new year. For physical education, he’ll continue to fence, a sport that replaces karate for him as of the last five months. Lessons are twice a week, and eventually, he should be ready for a few tournaments. He’s interested in becoming a fencing director (think ref), which is a path open to him as well. He loves rules and the enforcement of them, so this seems a reasonable pursuit. We’re still discussing foreign language options. He’s interested in German. I know none and have no desire to learn it. He might play with it via Rosetta Stone this summer and see if that mode of learning works for him. It was not a good match with my older son, but these boys are wired completely differently, so I’m willing to give it a try.

As always, we’re working on communication and social skills. I’m not using any formal materials for this but rather continually discussing the nuances of the conversation, friendships, and general relations between people. We have a few resources on the shelves for this purpose, but they just seem to sit. We do post-mortems on situations, with a mix of trouble-shooting and celebration of successes and will continue this process.

As always, ideas are welcome. What are your plans for fall?


7 thoughts on “Preliminary Planning for 2012/13: My Younger

  1. My son and I are taking our first ever Coursera class through Stanford right now. I am also looking at the history class in the fall.

    You might want to explore Mango for language learning, if you haven’t already. My local library now offers free access with a library account. I’m planning to have both of my boys use it next year.

  2. For science, you might want to consider the book Science Matters (no, not the Singapore series) for a chunk of your science. It’s a totally different approach than a textbook. Science Matters contains 19 chapters on topics which help to understand science in the world today.

    We’ve used Mango Languages a fair bit for French, but it hasn’t been too successful for my 10-year old son. It might just be him, but he’s already bilingual Spanish-English. As a foreign language, I’d strongly recommend Spanish; I took German as a kid, but it’s much harder than Spanish and much less useful for most purposes here.

    • Science Matters is a fine book, and at some point, I’ll add that in. My younger isn’t a big “science guy,” however, so we’re sticking with a more straightforward approach. He’ll use CPO’s Physical Science (the first half, with extensions and additions to be named later). I will look at Science Matters again and see what might fit. “Physics for Future Presidents” is a possible addition for both boys.

      Language is up in the air, but likely, he’ll use The Percales Group’s Latin program (Latin meets well-designed, pedagogically-sound role-playing game.) A spoken foreign will likely wait until he can attend the local CC or University. Spoken languages are more than I can muster. I’m not sure what the appeal German holds. Spanish is far more useful here and easier to learn, as you mentioned.


      • Another possible science supplement, if you haven’t done it already, is Joy Hakim’s Story of Science. I saw your younger likes history. In the first volume, of three, there’s a fair bit of discussion of math and its importance in history.

      • We gave that one a go a few years back. Here’s my review: Story of Science. That may be a good addition for reading this fall, along with the Coursera. We’re too tightly scheduled to run through the books. It would make a fine homeschoolers class at some point, however. Thanks for the reminder, Brad!

  3. Reading your description amazed me at the similarities in our choices for the coming year! My 11-yo dd will start MCT’s level 4 after having enjoyed the Town and Voyage levels; LL7 at Online G3; Rosetta Stone Spanish (after a full free year of Mango Spanish last year); LAPIS Latin (she’s a few months in already); physics (probably a living science approach with some hands-on projects to complement historical discoveries); History of US (Civil War-WWI) via audio books; and piano. She loves LoF (it made math pleasant again) and time for creative writing, and would like to sign up for an online web design class (maybe through CTD). We may drop dictation as it was our sole battleground last year but I’m infatuated with one moment each week when she listens to me and writes what I say! Perhaps the most gratifying part of our homeschooling life is knowing how engaged and pleased she is with these choices (well, other than dictation). The research, networking, and reflection that goes into these decisions pays off when we get to see our kids so engaged in learning! Thank you for blogging.

    • Sounds like a great year, Karin, and yes, our schedules do sound similar. Dictation never made it past the first two weeks my guys, although the idea of being heard even for a sentence a week is rather tempting.

      Thank you for reading. I enjoy sharing our journey.

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