2017-18 school plans

The days are starting to get cooler and wet. That means fall up here in Alaska isn’t too far away. Time to plan and order school stuff!
To hopefully avoid the long delays we’ve had in the past from Sonlight, I decided to do something different. I ordered the reading books through Amazon, and only got the 2 guides directly from Sonlight. Unfortunately, Amazon broke the invoice into 25 different orders! Ugh. Oh well, there’s a lot of books. I was able to get decent free shipping on about half the items. Plus, since they were mostly used books, it was a lot cheaper than buying from Sonlight. I had to make a spreadsheet to put the books into the correct courses again from the different sellers to figure out total costs. The disadvantage is we won’t have a nice, study box for it all, but that’s not worth the extra cost.
Both kids want to continue FXC skiing. Richard’s coach convinced him to join the high school XC running team to get ready for ski season. Practice starts this afternoon and is 2 hours every day. There are 2 groups of people in FXC: skiers and runners. The skiers run to stay in shape for skiing. The runners ski to stay in shape for running. Yet, it’s the same big group of kids in both. Just different attitudes. Richard says he’s a skier. Hopefully this will help, since he didn’t make the top level summer training team like he was hoping.
They are both still finishing last school year’s work. They took too many days off between me and Richard being gone when my dad died, and Ray’s business trip when I had to run things here by myself. So, they used up their summer. We plan to start the next school year September 1. If they finish before then, they get that time off until we start again.
RICHARD, officially a sophomore:
US Gov’t/Econ: $143.10 & 23.49 ship, 29.69 guide  Total spent $196.28.  The Sonlight package price was $507! The Econ was supposed to have a Thinkwell internet course. I did not order that. I’d like to try to find it cheaper. Sonlight was $150. Even if we get it from them, we’ll still have saved $150.
Amer Lit: $134.54 & 43.67 ship, 25.19 guide Total spent $203.40. The Sonlight package price was $387.66! Again, well over $150 in savings.
Math: I found a kit that includes Saxon textbook, answer key, tests, and video explanation of lessons for $117. It’s algebra 2. That’s getting beyond what I can help him with, which is why I think the video will be a good resource. $7 shipping, plus lower cost than the store in Anchorage we got his math from last year!
KAREN, 8th grade:
I ordered math, US history, reading, and Language Arts from Christian Light for $167.30 plus $15 shipping. Total spent $182.36.
Science: Apologia General Science we already have.
Time to get the kids up. I couldn’t sleep, so took care of this. May need a nap this afternoon. We’ll see.

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.

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.

 

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.

Plan for 2013-14 school year

It’s that time again. Time to think about and plan curriculum for next school year. We have the added complication this year of going on vacation from mid-August to mid-September. That means we need to order at least the items we will use at the start of the school year in time to have them by July so we aren’t a month behind when we get back.

So here’s what I’ve come up with. I will be ordering from several different companies again including Sonlight, Veritas Press, Christian Light Education, Winter Promise, and Rainbow Resource. For science I want to finish up the physics programs from last year then move on to geology and astronomy. They will continue with Christian Light Education for Bible, Reading, and Language Arts. Richard needs some basic geometry so I will take a break from Math-U-See and do Math 700 from Christian Light instead. That means both of them will be using CLE for math. Richard will be using a few of the programs from Institute for Excellence in Writing.

SCIENCE will be the same for both of them this year. Start off with physics finishing Exploration Education from last year. Geology and astronomy will be 2 textbooks and several fun add-ons.

(God’s Design for) Our Planet Earth: Rainbow Resource: $19.95 textbook, $8 guide

(God’s Design for) Our Universe: Rainbow Resource: $19.75 textbook, $8 guide

Heaven & Earth worksheets: Rainbow Resource: $8

Pompeii Buried Alive: Veritas Press (3rd grade), $4

Cool Stuff 2.0: Sonlight science G, $25

Bell & Science of Telescopes: Sonlight science E, $9

Planet Earth: Sonlight science C, $5

Magic School Bus Inside Earth: Sonlight science C, $7

Magic School Bus Solar System: Sonlight science C, $7

Geology Rocks: Winter Promise, $13

Volcanoes & Earthquakes: Winter Promise, $16

R: 7th grade

MATH- Math 700: Christian Light Education: $3.35×10 workbooks, $6.70×2 answers

LANGUAGE ARTS- LA 700: Christian Light Education: $3.35×10 workbooks, $7 guidebook, $3.35×2 answers, But Not Forsaken (novel) $9

READING- Reading 700: Christian Light Education: The Road Less Traveled (reader) $10.50, $2.75×5 workbooks, $2.75×2 answers

HISTORY- God’s World His Story: Christian Light Education: textbook $25, $2.75×10 workbooks, $2.75×5 answers, Illuminated Lettering: Winter Promise $18, Ancient Egypt Projects: Winter Promise $15, Medieval Game Pack: Winter Promise $15

BIBLE- Bible 700: Christian Light Education: $3.35×10 workbooks, $3.35×2 answers

LITERATURE- Great Physicists from Galileo to Einstein $6 Veritas Press (grade 7), Science Detectives $9 Veritas Press (grade 7), Michael Faraday Father of Electronics $11 Veritas Press (grade 7), Call of the Wild/White Fang Guide $12 Veritas Press (grade 7), Fahrenheit 451 Guide $12 Veritas Press (grade 6)

CRITICAL THINKING- The Fallacy Detective: $22, Veritas Press (grade 7)

WRITING- “Teaching the Classics” and “Fix It! Grammer and Editing made easy with the Classics”: Institute for Excellence in Writing. I have the workbooks but need to figure out how to order just the DVD’s.

K Grade 4

MATH- Math 400: Christian Light Education: $3.35×10 workbooks, $6.70×2 answers

LANGUAGE ARTS- LA 400: Christian Light Education: $3.35×10 workbooks

READING- Reading 400: Christian Light Education: Beyond Bridges (reader), $2.75×5 workbooks

HISTORY- American Story 2: Winter Promise

BIBLE- Bible 400: Christian Light Education: $3.35×10 workbooks

LITERATURE- Tom Sawyer Guide $12 Veritas Press (grade 4), Robin Hood Guide $12 Veritas Press (grade 4), Brothers Grim Fairy Tales Guide $12 Veritas Press (grade 3)

Curriculum recomendations

I’ve included websites for these companies below.

SCIENCE: Apologia science is good for high school. They offer several different subjects like biology, general science, and chemistry. I’ve also used science books in the God’s Design series. You can get both online from Rainbow Resource.

If you want to do physics, Exploration Education is fun. They do a lesson the computer then a hands-on activity and answer a few questions. There are 3 levels, but level 2 and 3 are similar but with more in-depth questions for level 3. This year my son is doing a science program from Sonlight (Core F science) focusing on anatomy and nutrition.

WRITING: For writing, the Institute for Excellence in Writing is very good. They offer many different programs for several different levels from elementary through high school.

For handwriting, Christian Light Education offers supplementary workbooks that are good (I Can Write Manuscript and I Can Write Cursive) that can be used independently. They take students from the basic stroke formation to writing letters, sentences, and finally short paragraphs or poems. We like them much better than the Abeka writing workbooks.

MATH: Math-U-See is good for hands-on learners. Each workbook has 30 lessons. Each lesson has 3 practice pages and 3 mixed review. You do as many pages as needed. The books are topical (single digit add/subtract, multi digit add/subtract, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, etc) rather than spiral. They go up through high school calculus. There is a video the student watches before doing the lesson. There is a manipulative system for all books to help understanding. They use the same system for all books, so they don’t have to keep switching once they are used to it. There is a test book with lesson tests and unit tests as needed. Some people find it useful to do a page a day. My son does math only 2-3 times/week and is doing great.

My daughter does math using Christian Light Education. It is a spiral approach so you cover a broader range of topics in each year, but not as in depth. There are 10 workbooks per grade. Each lesson has an explanation at the start, then practice and mixed review. It is designed to do a lesson each day. There are also daily timed drills. Each workbook has 2 quizzes and a unit exam. Christian Light Education also offers a full range of other subjects for all grades.

READING: A good list of age appropriate literature books for each grade can be found on Ambleside Online. It’s a good resource but can be adjusted as needed. We also use Christian Light Education for reading. There are readers and workbook questions to improve reading skills and comprehension. The stories are old fashioned, but keep my kids interest.

HISTORY: For history, I use programs from WinterPromise. They are rather expensive, but include lots of quality literature and activities instead of textbooks and workbooks.

 

Plans for 2012-2013 school year

Where has the school year gone? Between Richard being sick and our vacation this spring, we have fallen rather behind. That means we will be doing summer school to finish up. If everything goes well, we will be living on our boat which means fewer distractions demanding our attention. Hopefully that will allow us the time needed to get everything done.

Even if we don’t quite manage to finish up, I still need to decide what they will be doing for next year. They will be in 3rd and 6th grade. Hard to believe Richard will be half done with school.

They will continue with Christian Light Education for reading, language arts, and Bible. Karen will probably also use them for math since she is doing better since I switched her into it. Richard will do Math-U-See level Zeta which covers decimals and percents. I always struggled with that so it will be good for me to review it with him.

They will be doing health for science. As part of that, we need to do a physical fitness test. Karen will use Health, Safety, & Manners 3 from Abeka which is a basic introduction to good health. Richard enjoyed going through it and I think she will too. This is only one semester so I’m not sure what else to do the rest of the year.

I will order Science F from Sonlight which covers health, medicine, and human anatomy for Richard. He’s already done the Abeka Health 3, so this will cover many of those topics in more detail as well as others. I can’t decide if I want to get the 4 or 5 day package. The 5 day has four more books than the 4 day. I just don’t want to get overwhelmed. On the other hand, those 4 books seem like things he is interested in like DNA and fossils. I’ve given up trying to do my own unit studies or cobble together related books. I’m just not organized enough to get through a full year like that.

I just added it all up. Richard’s will be $335 or $375 depending which science package we get (4 or 5 day). His is more expensive because of the Sonlight science. Karen’s will be less because we can use Richard’s old reader and teacher guides. It will be $145. That’s a total of about $500 for both of them.