Friday, December 3, 2010

Homeschool Update -- what we're doing


Thalia is working on Jacob's Geometry. We're using the syllabus at Ask Dr. Callahan (I think -- actually, when I try to open the pdf from the website now all I get is a blank page, so it's either disappeared from the internet or I printed out something else from somewhere else, but either way I can't link it. Or maybe my pdf reader is messed up. Which I'm beginning to think is the case). At one point she was severely behind on the semester, at which time smoke started pouring out of my ears and DRAMA OCCURRED. But, lo, she has worked hard for the past couple of weeks, and is actually a bit ahead of schedule now. Which has given her the idea that she could keep up this pace and finish early. Possible, but I'm thinking not probable, since now that she's caught up she's allowed to use Facebook, etc., again, and that's apparently more interesting than whipping through Geometry assignments.

Anyway, this course is like a walk down memory lane -- I loved Geometry, and still remember quite a bit of it.

In th meantime, Annabeth has been alternating RightStart Geometry with Life of Fred Fractions. Things were going well for her until she hit one of "those" spots -- and if you're familiar with LIfe of Fred, you know what I'm talking about -- the spots where they expect the student to pick a concept up out of the ether. Life of Fred, if you're not familiar with it, is written directly to the student. But, alas, occasionally they give the student the questions without explaining how to figure it out. Some kids will thrive in this sort of challenge. Others will start screaming and throw the book down the stairway, declaring that they'll never use this stupid curriculum again. I imagine there are those that fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, but we were solidly in the latter extreme. Thankfully we're alternating curriculum, so it was just a matter of using the OTHER program while cooling off about Life of Fred.


When we're all home and have time, I read Story of the World vol.4: the Modern Age at lunch, then we discuss the questions in the study guide. Our current schedule allows this to happen once or twice a week -- very slow going. Vietnam was just divided into north and south, and I think next we're going to divvy up Korea. And we shall all remember Ho Chi Minh's admonition to not take live chickens into houses in the mountains (why? why did he say this?).

Thalia is also working through Susan Wise Bauer's History of the Ancient World. She reads 3 chapters per week; she selects one of them to summarize on paper. She's quite charmed with this so far. SWB likened the planned cities of some ancient culture to the Borg (of Star Trek), and Thalia was totally smitten. We're going to start going through the Iliad -- we have The Teaching Company's 12 lecture series by Elizabeth Vandiver, of which we've listened to lecture #1, we have the Fagle's translation, we have CDs of Derek Jocobi reading the Fagles version. I think we'll just listen to the lectures and CDs, and might not do much more with it. Thalia's interest in the Iliad is fairly minimal, but she considered it the lead-in to the Odyssey, and she likes to read things IN ORDER. So we'll zip through it.


Annabeth is taking a creative writing class at a co-op. I need to come up with something more for her, but I'm still not sure if she'd do better with MCT, Killgallon, or Junior Analytical Grammar.

Thalia is taking a composition class at a learning center. It's worth a credit by itself, but I'd like a quick grammar review for her to keep the skills sharp. She went through all of Analytical Grammar (it's supposed to last for years and years, but she likes grammar so she did it all). I just figured out that they have review books that cover Homer, and also that cover Shakespeare (next June they'll be doing Comedy of Errors for Shakespeare camp). Very, very cool.


Thalia is in a co-op art class. To bring it up to a half-credit class we're using the Well Trained Mind suggestions of Annotated Mona Lisa and Sister Wendy's Story of Painting to give us some art history.

Annabeth does random art from the Junior Girls Scout badge book, along with various projects from her co-op classes.


Thalia continues with Apologia science, using the Biology text at a learning center. She really likes her teacher, who seems quite knowledgeable about biology (possibly because she has a PhD in Microbiology); she still thinks the writing in Apologia books is abysmal, and continues to write commentary in the margins when she comes to parts she finds particularly poorly written.

Annabeth is doing a Zoology course in co-op, loosely based on the Apologia Land Animals book for upper elementary. We've been beefing that up with, yes, the Girl Scout Junior Badge Book. Love that book! It's so perfect for girls this age looking for things to do and things to learn about.


Annabeth is also taking geography and a Prairie Primer class based on the Little House books. These are both through the homeschool co-op.

Thalia takes a computer class through the co-op also, learning about Word, Power Point, and Excel (which is handy since these days she's typing up all of her papers for composition, and her biology lab reports on a laptop).

Musical theatre classes, piano, dance (down to only one day per week), voice lessons ... and other stuff I've undoubtably forgotten ... round out our current homeschool experience.


Henry Cate said...

Please consider submitting something about homeschooling to the Carnival of Homeschooling. If you are interested, here are the instructions.

If this week is bad for you, you are always welcome to submit to future carnivals.

If a "blog carnival" is a new term, this might help.

Here is the archive of previous carnivals

Participating in a blog carnvial is a good way to get more exposure for your blog.

Thank you for your consideration.

Teaching Microbiology in Class said...

Homeschool is a great option for kids and parents. It allows parents to create a curriculum that is geared around what their kids are interested in, such as microbiology or electronics, and it allows parents the opportunity to enhance the quality of their kids' education.