Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Teaching Textbooks is the BOMB!

I have had the Teaching Textbooks Algebra II for a year now, and I have been chomping at the bit to use it. It is so COMPLETE!

Michael took his first closed book exam, and he got a 92%. He was correcting some homework in Chapter 2 today, and I asked him how he compares it to Bob Jones University Math - Is is more or less work? Harder or easier?

His response: "It seems like it takes more time to watch the lecture and understand the concepts, but the problems are easier, and you get more out of it. Also, If you get something wrong, they explain the concept."

There are also less lessons overall with 130 for the whole year. At this rate, he will be able to finish it before spring break.

The switch was worth it then! I am going to have Michael retake the Algebra Placement Exam at LBCC when he is done with Algebra II. I know he will do better.

So, It is two thumbs up for Algebra II, and I think I am going to switch Paul to it for Geometry. I am excited!

Algebra 2 TextbookGeometry Textbook
I might even switch him to Algebra I right now!Algebra 1 Textbook

Monday, September 14, 2009

Our Homeschool Year Shaping Up and Changing

We like it, but I gave the kids the option of not watching the Biography of America videos and spending more time in reviewing their US History through this wonderful site:

This is an awesome site for reinforcement and something I failed miserably at last year. I was trying to keep in step with Thelma's pace, and she was so slow through the "Early Settlement" phase of US History that they would not read for quite some time in their text. Then, we had to FLY through the last part because she spent very little time on that. So, we are reviewing everything they learned last year at an even pace. When they finish a period, they are taking the quiz. Biography of America was an excellent "color" commentary on the events, dealing more with principles, but it wasn't hard core fact reinforcement. I think this is what they need at this point in time. So, their time will be allocated more wisely with this.

They just might feel confident enough to take the CLEP exam at the close of the review, but Paul may be too young, and Michael really lacks confidence. I will pray for him in all of that.


I don't think all this American History review will be in conflict with our moving on to British Literature. I spent HOURS this weekend working on the course that starts tomorrow. I am sure that it will get much quicker once I get into the swing of editing Thelma's lectures for our use.

She got the wrong lecture up for the second half of the class. So, I had to wait for her to get it out later last night. So, I am working on editing that last 56 minutes today.

I am thinking I will need to have my Mondays during the day be reserved for class prep since we will have TOAG ministry on Monday nights now (at least that is what we are leaning toward).

Here is our reading list for British Literature:

Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan ISBN: 0486426750

Everyman, Anonymous ISBN: 0486287262

The Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis ISBN: 0486431851

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, editor Jessie Weston ISBN: 0486431916

As You Like It, Shakespeare ISBN: 0486404323

Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare ISBN:0486282724

Complete Sonnets, Shakespeare ISBN: 0486266869

Selected Poems, John Donne ISBN: 0486277887

She Stoops to Conquer, Oliver Goldsmith ISBN: 0486268675

English Romantic Poetry: An Anthology, ISBN: 0486292827

The Kreutzer Sonata, Tolstoy- (translation) ISBN: 0486278050

Favorite Father Brown Stories, G.K. Chesterton ISBN: 0486275450

Non-Dover titles:

Beowulf: A Verse Translation, Frederick Rebsamen ISBN: 9780060573782 (old editions okay)

Paradise Lost John Milton –– Norton Critical Edition ISBN: 13: 9780393924282 (old editions okay)

One novel of choice from this selection: Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe (1819); Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813); or Cooper’s The Last Mohican (1826) ; other titles by instructor approval. This novel is not needed until March 2010. Students may delay making their choice or check out a copy from a local library.

They will have 8 quizzes, 4 papers (3 for Paul), 2 exams, 4 study guides, 2 vocabulary sheets, and 1 explication worksheet. It seems more straightforward than the American Literature class with less that last year's 17 writing assignments, 20 quizzes, and 4 exams (no study guides last year). The exams are both open book and take homes whereas last year's were all closed book exams. So that is very nice. :)

I am so into this. It is a TON of work, but I really like it! Maybe someday, I will develop my own literature courses for homeschoolers. I think I would do well at the lecture part of it. I am still learning, but I have learned much over the last two years through The Well-Educated Mind reading and Thelma's classes.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


It is hard to believe it has been eight days since I posted, but I am going from summer to school mode. So, it means less time for TWEM books but still time to educate my mind. After all, this whole blog started as a way to express what we were learning in our schooling!

So, what are we learning?


Review of last year's US History because I did a horrible job of quizzing them as they went along. The American Literature and American Government classes at Co-op took so much of our time that we just read without proper review. They remember everything from Thelma's American Literature, and I realized that it is because they had their reading reinforced by lecture, discussion, quizzes, writing, and exams.

We are daily doing history in an interactive way for at least one hour, four days a week. Since they did all the reading up through reconstruction, we are simply reviewing the AP US History Flash Cards. We are reading twenty a day. Then, they split the cards up and quiz each other on the contents. Every two days, I am having them take quizzzes here:

Fabulous website with interactive quizzes! Love it.

Doing 20 cards a week, we can finish our review by next month and continue with our regular history that involves listening to this:

A History of US: 11-Volume Set Joy Hakim's History of US on cassette

In addition, we will continue with Biography of America

A Biography of America.  The companion website to the video series and telecourse.


I bit the bullet and switched to Apologia Biology for Paul

Biology 2nd Ed. Exploring Creation with 2-Book Set I still think the BJU Biology is much more rigorous, but it was too dry and tedious for Paul last year (Michael dutifully did every single study guide question and excelled on the test, but I don't think he particularly enjoyed it). I have heard that BJU is the best, and I got it for $5! Yet, I also had to buy the tests and answer keys and lab notebook for probably more than the $35 I spent on all of those things for the used Apologia plus I got a multimedia CD with it. In addition, I found a website with much of the book vocabulary lists on flash cards! So cool:

I just wished I had switched him last year when the co-op class was doing Apologia Biology Lab! I was just so overwhelmed with starting a new co-op with all these people I didn't know and had been together for a long time. It was a pretty miserable start for me all around. People didn't really reach out to me or my kids except the Biology lab teacher, Sheri! So, it was a relief to drop that and just do government even though I clicked the most with the Biology lab teacher. But I digress (which I can do on this blog!)

So, I really love it, and I think that Paul loves it too! I love the CD. I love the emphasis on the Lord, and who gives a rip if it isn't as rigorous?

Michael is going to finish out this:

book_open The Cornell Bird Biology Home Study Course.

He read the whole book last year, but to get the certificate, you must pay $200 and complete ten open book exams, but we were so uncertain about our finances with George having just lost his job (another reasons why the Co-op was just too much for me). In retrospect, we probably could have afforded it! So, I wished I had done it then. He is going back through the chapters he already read and completing the exams. I bet he retained a ton though. So, it shouldn't be too much for him.

When he completes this, I will have him do Human Anatomy and Physiology. Possibly through the community college.

Speaking of Science, I have to go on to that for the kids! To be continued tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

My life in Poems

It was a fun journey through poetry. I am coming down to earth, but I tend to think in poetry these days. Claudia said yesterday at lunch that she has written poems all her life. She does this more than journaling.

Then I got to thinking that I have written songs, and they are poetry. The nice thing about poetry is that you don't have to think up a tune.

Light bulb.

So, I am looking at my day to day in poetic terms.



Here I go for fifteen minutes. I did not do the fifteen-minute freewrite Friday as I thought. And I totally missed this last Friday. So, I a...