Curriculum delays

Ugh. After waiting 6 weeks for our homeschool order to arrive, I finally was able to get in touch with our district’s homeschool coordinator and find out what was going on. Apparently they had some confusion about what items they could and could not order so they didn’t order anything, nor did they notify me about the problem 😦

Anyway, we decided it would be best if I would place the Sonlight order myself then sort  out reimbursement with the district after items arrived so our school year won’t be delayed any longer (we actually started last Monday, planning for these items to be here by now). So I  submitted the order today. Unfortunately, that meant paying $150 for 2-day Fed Ex shipping since we’re in Alaska. Oh well, at least I know we’ll have all the items soon.

The Rainbow Resource order did finally go through this morning. I recently found out that the chemistry textbook is available as an e-book, but only for I-pads. I’m hoping to find someone to lend me one until the regular textbook arrives so he can begin science sooner.

EDIT: After searching more, I found a pdf of the entire chemistry book. My son needs to download it and make sure it will run on his computer. If it does, that will save hauling around another heavy textbook this year.

Saxon geometry initial impressions

As I wrote in an earlier post, we have decided to switch to Saxon geometry for our son. This was done for several reasons. First, he struggled a lot last year with Christian Light Education’s Algebra 1. The explanations were confusing and often included unnecessary steps for him. Second, they did not have the updated Sonrise editions for the math curriculum beyond Algebra 1, which was a preliminary Sonrise edition anyway. We used non-Sonrise editions for some of their other subjects and it didn’t go well. So after several happy years, we went searching for something else.

After viewing several math programs this last spring at the local curriculum fair, he decided to try Saxon geometry. It’s a traditional math textbook without a lot of distracting diagrams, cartoons, etc. Just straightforward explanations, lesson practice sprinkled with enough review so he won’t forget what he learned 2 days ago like some curriculum we have tried.

This was our first week with the Saxon geometry. It started out a bit rough as he got used to the new format as well as the daily school schedule. However, by the end of the week he was getting decent scores on the assignments. Best thing is no more arguing about doing math.

Sneaking math

All of my daughter’s school books have arrived. Not all my son’s have arrived, but his math and carpentry have. The high school items from Sonlight haven’t come in yet. (They were very slow arriving last time we ordered from them too. So keep in mind if you plan on using anything from Sonlight to order early as possible.) We still plan to start school on Monday, August 1 and will just catch up on the late subjects as they arrive.

However, the kids’ have both been literally begging to start their math. This is surprising considering how much my son struggled last year and my daughter usually does not like to do it. Night before last I saw my son’s bedroom light still on late so I went to see what he was up to. I was expecting him to be reading or perhaps drawing. Nope! He was doing the second lesson of his geometry at nearly 11pm LOL

When I told him to quit and get to bed, he begged to finish. He says he likes the Saxon math better than the other programs we have used. Hopefully that means less trouble this year with math. However, I knew he needed sleep more than geometry so I praised his enthusiasm for what he had done but told him to finish it at a more appropriate time.

 

 

2016-17 curriculum plans

Sorry, it’s been too long since I last wrote. Already it’s July and we hope to start our new school year next month. Last week was rainy so I took the time to do much over due organizing of old school work and finalize our curriculum plans for the upcoming school year.

RICHARD:

  • MATH: Saxon geometry
  • SCIENCE: Holt Modern Chemistry (AP?)
  • CARPENTRY
  • HISTORY/BIBLE: Sonlight 320-20th Century World history
  • LITERATURE/ENGLISH: Sonlight 230-Classical Literature
  • PE: FXC Prep running & ski team

KAREN:

  • MATH: CLE math 700
  • READING: CLE reading 700
  • LANGUAGE ARTS: CLE LA 700
  • SPANISH: Speedy Spanish (CLE)
  • HISTORY: CLE Social Studies 700 (world history)
  • PE: FXC Jr. Devo running & ski team

Richard will officially be in high school. I say officially because he has been working a year ahead so already did one year of high school level work. The good thing is that we have an extra year to play with so we can explore more things he is interested in before college.

Richard’s science homework, tests, and quizzes are online this year. We found a great deal on a used computer. It’s a 2013 Alienware laptop that he’s been wanting. Our friend picked it up for us and set it up for him. Then we surprised him with it Thursday as a welcome to high school present. Needless to say, he loves it.

We decided to move away from Christian Light Education for Richard this year. While we’ve had good success with most of Christian Light Education’s courses, many of the high school ones are not the updated Sonrise editions yet and so do not fit his learning style very well. He will switch to Sonlight for history, bible, literature, and English this year after he struggled last year.  Plus, he now knows his facts well so more drill won’t be useful. Instead, I’m hoping Sonlight’s literature based programs will give him more of a chance to apply what he’s already learned. Plus, Sonlight uses real novels rather than an anthology textbook for literature study. Sonlight is a LOT more expensive but I’m hoping it will spark his love of learning again. He’s also using Saxon math instead.

If Sonlight works out, I hope to also do Literature 400-American Literature next year then Literature 600-British Literature the next along with their economics course. He probably will skip Literature 500-World Literature. This is mostly ancient classics and tragedies that don’t interest him. He’s really excited about the other 2 courses though.

One of the standards he needs to complete is reading a book and watching the movie version then comparing them. I would like to use Great Gatsby and do this over Christmas break as a family or perhaps Weeks 6-7 of history since that covers the 1920’s. I’d substitute it instead of All Quiet on the Western Front.

Karen is continuing with Christian Light Education again. However, considering how much Richard struggled with Bible 700 & 800, she’s not doing them. For us, the focus on using a concordance and other Bible reference books isn’t as important to know. Not sure what, if anything, she will do for Bible instead. She will be learning Spanish this year. When Richard was in 7th grade, we did a combined study with her that covered astronomy and geology so this was a empty year of science for her.

Both of them will continue with the FXC running & cross country skiing program. Richard moved up to the Prep level. Most of the others his age did Prep last year and will do Comp this year, but since he started skiing later and had a lower overall fitness level it was decided he should do Jr Devo last year then Prep this year and finally Comp next year. Karen will remain in the Jr Devo level for another year.

Monday I ordered everything, so we are now eagerly awaiting Box Day when the orders arrive.

 

Finalizing 2014-15 school plans

Well it’s almost that time of year. Time to get organize all the homeschool stuff for this upcoming year. I’ve made a few changes from my initial plan. Mostly those are curriculum changes instead of major subject swaps.

I bought the Apologia General Science used for $15 for my son. After looking it over, we decided it just wasn’t what we needed after all. A tenant had left behind a Life Science book from Holt Science & Technology. He liked the format, but like the Apologia general science, it would have been mostly review of stuff he already knows. However, I looked online and they have 2 other books in the series: Physical Science and Earth Science. Since we did geology and astronomy last year, that just left physical science still to cover to have a good science base going into high school sciences, so I’m ordering the physical science books. It’s a bit expensive ($132), but unlike Apologia, it is fundable with out state allotment.

The other change is Karen’s social studies. I didn’t really like what Christian Light has for 4th or 5th grade. I looked on Rainbow Resource and found several world history workbooks and narrowed it down to my top 3 choices then let Karen pick which seemed most interesting to her. She decided on 2, which is ok since one is a bit light to use by itself.

I asked at our school district what they do for Alaska studies and they told me about a website which is a complete curriculum. So I’m going to have him go through that in addition to the Judy Fergesson books I already picked out.

So here’s the revised plan for how this year will go:

RICHARD 8TH GRADE

Language Arts– LA800: CLE $40,

Writing– Rockets Radar & Robotics: Institute for Excellence in Writing $29

Literature- (All Veritas Press Guidebooks $12) Call of the Wild & White Fang, Fahrenheit 451, Around the World in 80 Days

Math– Math 800: CLE $52

Reading– Reading 800: CLE $27

Bible– Bible 800: CLE $70

Science-Holt Science & Technology: Physical Science homeschool pkg & CD: Rainbow Resource $132

Social Studies– AK state study online (www.akhistorycourse.org), Judy Fergusson books

Spanish

KAREN 5TH GRADE

Language Arts– LA500: CLE $50

Math– Math 500: CLE $52

Reading– Reading 500: CLE $27

Literature– (All Veritas Press Guidebooks $12) Heidi, Anne of Green Gables, Secret Garden, Where Red Fern Grows

Bible– Bible 500: CLE $26

Social Studies– 2 world geography workbooks from Rainbow Resource $12 & $16

Writing– Student Writing Intensive A & Continuation Course A: Institute for Excellence in Writing

Science- Real Science 4 Kids: middle school physics, chemistry, biology $65/subject Rainbow Resource

Spanish

Curriculum fair purchases

Just when I think I have it all planned out, the curriculum fair comes along with interesting things to tempt me (and the kids). I spent over $300 on items at our local curriculum fair. It’s not a bad thing since I had no idea what to do for Alaska history and that’s what most of it is. I also bought 2 items from the Institute for Excellence in Writing: Rockets, Radar, and Robotics for Richard and the student pages of Student Writing Intensive A for Karen. The other thing was from an Alaskan teacher who made a curriculum to help better understand words and spelling big words by breaking them into roots and their other parts. That will be good for both of them and they will do it together. I also picked up a flyer for Real Science 4 Kids. They didn’t have a representative, just the flyers so I couldn’t actually order anything yet from them. 😦

Now we wait until after July for next year’s allotment to come out so I can do purchase orders. The used curriculum fair is next month and the Christian Light Education booth will be there.

2013-2014 homeschool 6 week update

Despite starting school way back in July, we are only 6 weeks through. Why? Well, we took 4 weeks off to travel in the UK (primarily England and Scotland). While it was fun, we also managed to get some relaxed learning in. We saw one of the original copies of the Magna Carta, several castles and ruins including the WW2 tunnels at Dover Castle, Stonehenge, some geology, and even went bird watching on Scotland’s north coast. Not to mention learning geography, culture studies by immersion, and a little foreign language (Scottish). There were train schedules and subway routes to figure out. Oh, Richard learned to do a very good imitation of the sound peacocks make and we even saw some cute, fluffy, peacock chicks while we stayed at Pendley Manor.

So now we’ve just been back at the books for one full week.

How’s it going? Overall, I’d say great! We are on more of a fixed daily schedule. Last year our schedule kept getting thrown out as business problems arose even early on. This year we are doing much better. Today, we even managed to get in some art doing collages in the style of Klimt. We are finally doing the Collage It and Paint It art packs from Art Academy.

Also we switched our schedule earlier since returning from England. We are now getting up around 6am and bedtime is strictly 9pm for everyone. When hubby starts his MBA classes which don’t get out until 10pm, we’ll have to see how that goes, but for now this is working. We seem to feel we get more done each day when we get an early start despite neither of us being very early morning type people.

Yesterday we signed the kids up for swim lessons. They are very excited. It’s been 2 years since last swim lessons. Then it was just a month in the spring. Hopefully this year we can get more involved in activities like lessons. The swim lessons will on the 14th. I signed them up for Tuesday/Thursday. There were other families with kids their age & ability so hopefully Karen won’t get stuck with preschoolers again.

Our school day usually starts with science. Monday and Tuesday is geology. Wednesday and Thursday is astronomy. I read the sections in the books then help them with any activities and discussions. To my surprise, my daughter (4th grade) did better on the first test than my son (7th grade).

Richard is doing much better with Christian Light Education’s math 700. He’s actually enjoying math again! He even got mad when we told him he could skip doing math one day :LOL: He’s figured out a way to schedule his assignments each day that doesn’t stress him out.  He does a hard subject, then does an easy subject and then takes a short break. Repeat that 3 times and he’s done for the day. This is something he figured out on his own and so far it seems to be working.

Karen is doing American Story 2 from Winter Promise. She’s enjoying the readings like last year. Once again, I’ve substituted the book War Torn Valley for the civil war coloring book and paper soldiers. While the battles were an important part, it’s more important to understand how the common people lived and were impacted by the war. This is from an Anabaptist/Mennonite perspective so it is a slightly less known viewpoint, but one I think is very important.

Another thing that seems to be helping is we are eating more healthy. Breakfast is usually oatmeal with fruit. Lunch and dinners are home made with lots of veggies. Tonight is a bean and rice soup with the last bits of leftover rotisserie chicken. Snacks are fruit or veggies along with some protein such as a boiled egg, a small slice of cheese, a handful of nuts, a spoonful of peanut butter, or hummus. We have cut way back on processed foods, but so far don’t really miss them. I bought a box of Kids Z bars for Richard when he gets fussy due to low energy. However, we haven’t even opened them yet.