This is our third full week of schooling, and I think I am finally relaxing! This COOLSchool is not what we expected. I think I will go ahead and evaluate all the things that I wrote about for school when we first started. Let me find that post . . . .
Biology 1.1 - http://www.coolschool.k12.or.us/
This is an online COOLSchool class in which the school district pays.
Michael completed the first module, and I just don't like the clunky software that makes you have to reenter your password everytime you enter things. He completed a table and submitted it only to find out that the software made you enter it all again. THANK THE LORD that we had printed off the copy of the web page so that he didn't have to do all the calculations over again. BTW, I found the exact same table and experiment on line, and the COOLSchool teacher did NOT attribute it to the teacher that she got it from.
Also, Michael was instructed to submit a 300-400 word essay, and the teacher specifically instructed the students to NOT go on and post it to the discussion board until she had turned it back with her suggestions. We waited nine days, and Michael politely asked if she had gotten around to correcting it. She curtly replied that she had done so and please put the Module number and activity on each inquiry. She never turned back the paper, but we got the impression that Michael was just supposed to go on anyway.
The activities for the first week were a ton. It also involved going back and forth among many different websites. All that to say is: we will do the second half of Biology using the Bob Jone Biology book I picked up at the homeschool used book sale. If it weren't too late, I would drop the class. I am impressed with most of her fun activities, but I am not impressed with her communication and the clunky software. I will use her activities for Biology 1.2 though when I used the Bob Jones book.
One a brighter note, A'Beka Science has been a blast for Paul! He really likes the colorful books. I do too! I am so enjoying having him read and relate to me what he is reading! It has been a joy. When we first started I was just letting him fend for himself while I helped and encouraged Michael in Biology, but we all three had a "heart felt" talk about homeschool this year and Paul confessed he was a little lonely while Michael did his work. We are all three so used to doing science together. So, I make the time for Paul to relate to me what he is learning. It is a "cozy up on the couch and let Paul blab" time!
Algebra I and Fundamentals of Math - Good Ol' Bob Jones!
These are both going very well. Again, my only caveat is that I may forget how to teach Algebra when the year progresses. It is nice to know that I have Teaching Textbooks as a backup though. I may order it anyway since I will probably switch Paul into them if he is still homeschooled in high school. http://www.teachingtextbooks.com/
Classical Literature - http://www.thelmaslibrary.com/
Now, this is what I am talking about: a teacher who is PASSIONATE for her subject and her students. Thelma is a dream. I can't wait until her lectures and her class can go national so that other homeschoolers all over the country will be able to have her as their teacher! She sends out OODLES of emails that help with the study guide questions. She responds to emails super quickly, and we aren't even in her "official" classes! We only paid $115 dollars for her lectures, answers to questions, study guide, and a 350 page notebook PACKED with history, bible, and literature background. Such a deal!
The nice thing about this class is that George has pretty much taken over sole responsibility for it. I am reading along with them. I heard Thelma reading The Iliad last night, and all three of my men were down there listening and interacting on it. I love this. George reads the history portion during one of their read-aloud times each week too. He is also going to the classes. I have access to her lectures on the internet though, and I also have the VanDiver DVD's.(See the Link HERE ) So, I am getting an education right along with them.
Michael is new to the class though. It appears to George that all the other homeschoolers in the class know each other. They are mostly North Albany people. So, Michael is the new kids on the block there. So, I am praying for relationships to come out of it.
World History - http://www.k12freehomeschool.org/
I like it, and you can't beat the price. I am the teacher, and I am basically "borrowing" their books. The CD-roms that I got in the mail never work though. So, I am eliminating them from the curriculum. I like the software that they have to log hours of PE and extra-curricular stuff too. The history is sound, and the "free responses" that you submit are great writing practice for my kids. Overall, I like it. If they charged, I wouldn't pay for it though.
They are also getting an extra .5 credit in World History for the Classical Lit class. There is a ton of reading from the study guide that covers Greek culture to the nines!
In His Image Art and Joyful Sound Music for 9-12th Grade - http://www.k12freehomeschool.org/
I had said it was boring, but it has gotten better. I decided to just read when we covered that part of history. So, we will be going through it very slowly since it has very little information about Ancient Art. I won't sign up for it again, but I also realized that Sister Wendy can come along next year.
I did get a replica of Grecian Potter through Art in History. It was cheap, and it has a Greek lesson. Since we are really emphasizing Greek literature through the classical lit class, I thought this would be a nice and fun addition.
I am using this really fun book called Four Square: The Personal Writing Coach for Grades 7-9! It has thirteen different fun writing activities using the Four Square Method. I also have the Four Square Writing Method for Grades 7-9 (ISBN: 1573101907).
I still love this! It has really given me some structure for teaching the kids! I can't believe I just picked it up on a whim and it has made teaching writing very fun!
Michael was doing College English and Communication by Stewart, Lanhan, and Zimmer for grammar review. I realized I don't have the answer key! So, in order to correct, I really have to sit down and go through each exercise, and this is too labor intensive for me. I have Easy Grammar purple book and Nitty Gritty Grammar. So, I am just going to cover grammar through Michael's writing and touch on points he needs to grow in. I will definitely use this as a reference, but I won't make him to all the exercises. He has enough with is writing and classical lit class to cover grammar as we go!
Paul still flies with Daily Grams. Katrina, is there a Daily Grams for high schoolers? I might use it next year for Michael if they do.
These have been my "saving grace" in terms of my sanity. We went to homeschool days for Gilbert House Kids Museum in Salem and the Oregon Gardens. It is just nice to be around other homeschoolers for the day. We had a blast at both places, and there was much learning that took place. This Wednesday, our group takes a hike up to the top of Chip Ross park. Reminds me why I homeschool!
Pleasantly surprised at how great the devotionals are on the k12free site. I like them. Paul is reading 1 Cor and Michael is reading Job (for his classical lit class too). Paul is journaling, but Michael is not, and I am just fine with this.
Well, I have to go. It is time to start this thing I have been blogging about for the last half hour!
Continued because I have a short break from school:
There was a study between a group that was taught in-depth grammar and a group that was given that same time to pleasure read. In the end, the PLEASURE READING group had more grammatical writing in the end. So, I am still setting aside time for pleasure reading every day with these kids. Michael is reading Oz books and Paul is reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.