Friday, February 1, 2013

Midyear Homeschool Snapshot

Last semester Thalia took 2 classes at a local university as a dual-enrolled student.  One was a basic English class that included studying grammar, writing essays, and doing some presentations. She's done with English for the year (in general, a semester-long college class is equal to a full credit of high school -- there are exceptions, of course).  The other was Spanish 1; she's taking Spanish 2 this semester, so she'll have 2 full credits of Spanish by May.

She's taking a year-long Chemistry class that a retired chemist is teaching in his basement lab.  He's teaching 2 classes this school year, each one meeting one day per week.  A few of the kids dropped out at the end of the semester, saying it was too hard.  On the other hand, when he emailed Thalia her semester grade over Christmas he included something to the effect that he hoped he could make the class challenging enough for her.  Not that she's some super-genius in chemistry, but the Kinetic Physics - Principles of Physics she took last year was so rigorous that now chemistry seems easy-peasy.  Also, I have the impression that chemistry makes a lot more sense if you've already had physics (I took it the other way around in high school, but I can see the logic of physics first if you've taken enough math to accomplish it).

Health class is taught at the co-op we attend.  The woman teaching it is a nurse, and a believer in the more-is-more philosophy of homeschooling.  Quick background on why I say that: Missouri requires public schools to provide 7,830 minutes of instruction per credit, according to this pdf from the Dept. of Education and Secondary Education -- if you do the math, that's 130.5 hours.  On the other hand, the same website, different page tells us that a homeschool high school credit is 100 hours.  The co-op health teacher has decided to go with the higher standard, and cramming a LOT of info into the half-credit class.
The book they're using is Total Health.  Thalia's commentary yesterday while reading the book:
"Why is the word another even in this sentence - it doesn't make sense.  This reads like it was written by an English as Second Language student who had a dictionary but didn't really know what the words actually mean;"
[Reading this is] "like watching a trainwreck - you just can't bring yourself to look away;"
"This is why people don't want to become Christian - because they see stupid stuff like this and don't want to be involved."

So, in summary, she loves the teacher but scorns the book.  No word yet on whether it will replace Apologia as her most despised textbook, but it seems to be in the running.

We also purchased a Thinkwell AP Government course when they were on sale at Homeschool Buyer's Co-op, and she's working through that.  I'm not sure yet if she'll take the AP exam in May.  Thinkwell has 3 lecturers for the course, who have different presentation styles.  This works well from the standpoint that if you dislike one, that person is only there for part of the time.

Math is done here at home.  This year is Pre-Calc, using Lial's.  It's a long slog.

Annabeth is using Lial's Basic College Math as a pre-algebra text.  Sometimes the questions are about things she has no experience in, such as whether $18.76 seems like a plausible car payment.

She continues to work on History Odyssey Middle Ages Level 2, from Pandia Press.  Once this is done we will be done with History Odyssey -- she's developed an intense dislike for the program.  She finds the assignments to be lame.  I could go through and reformulate all of the assignments, but if I'm going to do that I might as well save my money and start from scratch with a different spine than Kingfisher History Encyclopedia.   She's quite close to the end, so we need to figure out the next thing soon.

One nice thing about History Odyssey is that it requires quite a few essays, and can count towards a writing class.  English for Annabeth is rounded out with Analytical Grammar.

Annabeth is taking ASL at co-op.  She really enjoys the class.  She's also taking Interior Design there, which she complains about constantly -- this is the spring segment of Home Ec, which covered sewing in the fall. The class has too much lecture and too few projects for her taste.

Her science class is CPO Earth Science, which I'm teaching at the co-op.  It's a reasonably fun class, and I think she's learning quite a bit.  I really like CPO, and I think she does, too.  But I really dislike teaching an entire class of middle schoolers.  There are only 9 kids.  I try to include things that are only doable with a group of 9 rather than home alone, but, still, gah.  I'd rather be home alone.

No comments: