The New Academic Year

WHEW! Last week was a whirlwind of academics and getting off the ground for the new school year.

I found my previous blog: http://www.tallcarolhomeschool.blogspot.com/

I had lost it when there was a big glitch with blospot in 2004. So, I started this one, but somehow, I accidently found it in August; and as I have been reading it, I realize how I miss those days when the kids were younger and the exploration was so fun.

This week it has been as fun, but I want to regain that even though the academics are a bit more rigorous. I still want to have that "delight-directed" heart of a homeschooler while also challenging and pressing forward in things that will prepare my kids for the real world.

Lord, I don't want them to lose that love of learning! Please give me that balance!

With all that said, I am sure loving learning these days. :) Michael hit high school, and we are ALL involved with a Classical Literature class directed by http://www.thelmaslibrary.com/

Here is what we are learning about right now:

Biology 1.1 - http://www.coolschool.k12.or.us/

This is an online COOLSchool class in which the school district pays. I like it. It is a challenge for Michael in that is requires more writing, and I am not really good at challenging him in that area. So, I like the accountability. He also has to type a ton to his teacher. This is also challenging as he started lessons in June using Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. If he could hunt and peck, he would be much faster. Also, the software for posting answers on the discussion boards and communicating with your teacher is REALLY antiquated, and it is clunky. You have to reenter you password each time you post something. It really wastes a ton of time.

Paul is doing some of this Biology, and I am supplementing with some Life Science reading from Abeka. There are also comprehension checks; and since ABEKA books seems impossible to resale, I am letting him write the answers directly in the book. He seems to enjoy that. He is just a cute bug when he is over there reading. He got to excited about making a flower pot sill today!

Algebra I and Fundamentals of Math - Good Ol' Bob Jones!

They have been around for a LOOONG time, and they know what they are doing. I am so impressed with their organization, scope and sequence, simple explanations, etc. It is a good course for both the kids.

IF I begin to have problems with the Algebra I in terms of understanding how they got to what they got to, I will turn to George to solve problems with Michael. I don't anticipate this will really be an issue until Geometry. If it becomes too inconvenient to "wait until your father gets home." I will go to Teaching Textbooks. I am ULTRA impressed. It would be dream for someone who isn't math-oriented, but since I have a mathematician on call, I think we will stick with Bob for now. It is nice to know that they are waiting in the wings though.

http://www.teachingtextbooks.com/

They are spendier, but the personal tutoring is SO amazing!


Classical Literature - http://www.thelmaslibrary.com/

He will read Homer, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Aeschylus, Plato, Virgil, Shakespeare, and Augustine. We are getting the audio versions and reading with him. This Sherwood instructor (Thelma) has a study guide with questions and she also reads much through an online MP3. So, it isn't as hard core as it sounds. It is also a 1/2 credit of World History. He meets with the class on Thursday nights. There are study guide questions, short quizzes and exams. I also splurged and ordered The Teaching Company's DVD instuctions with a great instructor from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA teaching 24 lessons on Homer. See the Link HERE . Some day, I woud love to teach this to a group of homeschool high schoolers or even to Santiam Christian High School.

World History - http://www.k12freehomeschool.org/

Here we go again through the history of the world. The class is small change compared to our previous times through world history in 2000-2001 (Child's History of the World Interactive CD-Rom), 2001-2006 (Story of the World Volumes 1-4 and Usborne Internet-Linke Encyclopedia of World History), and 2006-2007 (Kingfisher World Encyclopedia, Story of the World Volumes 1-2), but it is good to have a "sweeping" overview, and it is also good to be light with literature having much history in it! Most of this class is review. There are quizzes and tests, but I am supplementing by vocabulary reviews and answering questions when we go through a lesson. They are taking notes. I really need to teach them this skill. :)

In His Image Art and Joyful Sound Music for 9-12th Grade - http://www.k12freehomeschool.org/

BORING! I thought this would supplement the World History as we get to periods in history we can study the different art, but they are, sadly, not coordinated even though it is the same online school. This Art/Music course is random, unorganized, and pretty NON VISUAL for an art class! The author went ON and ON about Opera in the Fine Art chapter, and I have no idea why? He also had an introduction about "Plagiarism," and while it was a very interesting internet link (we all learned a TON), I have no idea how it is even related to this course. We write no papers (only quizes and a bit of drawing). So, we didn't need to learn about citing references and not copying word for word out of books. It was bizarre.

I should also add that there are many spelling/typing errors, and it goes into these bizarre bunny trails and doesn't seem to stay focused. It sounds like a person who has ADD wrote it. I have to admit that I have not received the CD's that go with it. I would hope they have pictures and such because the text has no pictures to go along with it.

I miss the Usborne Introduction to Art!

If, when I receive the CD's, it doesn't seem to be any better, I will switch to Sister Wendy's: The Story of Painting book (we own) and her excellent PBS video series. In addition, we hope to make it to the Portland Art Gallery and down to the LA County Museum of Art in June. I also might have Michael take the drawing class offered through COOLSchool next semester and bag the biology course since I can basically take the whole course without getting the credit since it is all online anyway. This way, I can benefit from the accountability for writing and course. The drawing is so much more up Michael's ally another option is to have him take a drawing class right at the high school.

Writing

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). It is a great approach for organizing their thoughts by drawing and even writing poetry. I like it! Last week they wrote about their earliest memories. I am hoping to coach them through writing expository, narrative, persuasive, and descriptive styles using this book. Next week, we will write about their dad, and they already have talked about some fun things! I found it at the education store that was going out of business. It was 55% off of $13, but it is really fantastic.

Of course, Michael also has writing through his Biology (posting on discussion boards, emailing his teacher, writing papers, designing experiments, making a brochure or webpage for a Zoo, etc) and in his Classical Lit class.

Grammar

Michael is doing College English and Communication by Stewart, Lanhan, and Zimmer for grammar review. The exercises are simple. I may switch him back to Easy Grammar Red Book if this doesn't pan out or maybe I'll just have him to the Easy Grammar Purple Book.

Paul is continuing to do Daily Grams.

Bible

They are continuing to read through the New Testament, reading the devotional on the k12freehomeschool site, and journaling their thoughts. We will also have readings in several books of the Bible for the Classical Literature class.

Well that is enough for now!
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