In July (because of our year-round homeschool schedule) we will begin our 11th year of homeschooling. That is hard to believe until I look over and see two young men taller than I am at the table.
For one of those tall young men, this will be his last year under my educational charge. Our plan is for him to do full-time dual enrollment at the community college (our state has a program for it that both my husband and I did 20 years ago) his junior and senior year. Then he will be a transfer student wherever he ends up going after that.
So it is a last year for one and a first year for another. Sort of. My youngest will be 6 in November, and she will have phonics and books to practice reading (she’s just starting to sound out words and want to know what things say on her own time apart from lessons, so I think she’ll be reading before she’s 6). She will have math and handwriting. She’ll be a part of Morning Time – with her own binder this year. But her whim and openness will still dictate much of her learning this year – she is not at compulsory school age yet in our homeschool.
No, the new compulsory one will be the 8 1/2 year old who needs more challenge in his life. As is appropriate for a 7-year-old, his school work was basic and short. He joined Elementary Lessons and participated well, but the only part that stretched him was that I made him sit properly in his chair and not interrupt others. He did expand his reading horizons, which was one of my goals, and he does pick up books more often, but they are never nonfiction and rarely non-fantasy at that. He’s not resistant (anymore) to other books, but won’t pick them up of his own accord. So he’ll need both more accountability for reading selections and also enough work to challenge him so that school is not always easy (which breeds complacency and laziness in my experience).
My 10-year-old made many subtle leaps this last year that would have been easy to overlook. I was glad for the time I took to audit our homeschool year and see that she met the goals I set and grew in maturity over the year. She’s growing into a responsible, self-conscious, motivated student who still needs plenty of encouragement and hugs along the way (I’m better at challenge and direction than encouragement and hugs).
K/1st Grade Overview
My youngest will turn 6 in November and is a budding reader, doing her best to sound out words she encounters here and there. So we need to continue with phonics, have math available when she wants to do it, and make sure she’s read to.
Her big excitement this year is getting her own binder during Morning Time with everything in it just like everyone else.
3rd & 5th Grade Overview
My two middle kids continue on in what they’ve been doing with no big changes. We’ll be in ancient history; we’ll go through the Old Testament story line in Bible; we’ll do a few different science/nature topics with the All About series; and of course we’ll do some picture study and Shakespeare – all that is in Elementary Lessons with friends that doesn’t begin until late August.
On their own, they’ll continue in math, practice spelling and handwriting with studied dictation, learn geography with map work, and read aloud to their sister and read silently to themselves. We’ll also continue with Latin, moving into grammar and translation and not simply vocabulary and chants.
8th Grade Overview
I now have two teenagers! Woohoo!
Jaeger will read Churchill’s History of the English-Speaking Peoples, volume 1 and 1/3 of volume 2 (to go from fall of Rome to Reformation), plus a few other shorter history books to get a feel for European medieval history and not only British. For science he’ll study Earth Science using Novare’s textbook, which looks excellent, pairing some library research assignments alongside it. We’ll work on writing, starting with paragraphs and moving into 5-paragraph papers. He’ll start Introductory Logic, continue in Spanish with online (self-paced) classes, and finish The Most Important Thing You’ve Ever Studied series.
10th Grade Overview
For his last year in our homeschool, Hans has an awesome book line up. We’ll be using 2000 Years of Christ’s Power for both history and theology, and he’ll also watch the lectures from Wes Callihan’s Christendom series and practice note taking with those. For science he’ll be using Novare’s Introduction to Physics, which is written for high school freshman and sophomores, along with 6 Easy Pieces by Feynman and Drawing Physics.
He’ll continue in math, picking back up where he left off in Algebra 2 and I have Pre-Calc on the shelf just in case. He’ll also work through the Math-U-See Stewardship lessons to learn basic consumer economics/finances. He’ll study economics with Economics for Everyone from Compass Classroom and the book Economics in One Easy Lesson. He’ll also continue in his German studies with self-paced online classes.
It’s a great round-up, and it will keep his mind occupied, but he should still be done by 1 or 1:30 with a lunch break if he stays on task (perhaps excluding piano practice time).
Oh, and he’ll learn to drive!
Put all that together and clearly it will be a full year. Without the accountability of classes with friends on the calendar, I don’t think it’d get done. But it will.
I’ll be fleshing out each student’s plan in more detail this week and next, so stay tuned.
However, I’d be remiss not to mention a tool that has kept me on track for years, and came again to my rescue this year in a fresh new way.
I admit it. I started school planning by jotting notes and buying books an even starting my spreadsheet lesson-plan-lists. I started in the middle, not at the beginning.
But, I started Pam Barnhill’s Put Your Homeschool Year on Autopilot course and instead of nodding and skipping the “vision” and “goals” steps, I watched them and actually did them. I’m glad I did. Her guidance through those steps in the videos was super helpful and clarifying and after working through that process and putting those goals down in writing on paper, I was able to cross off some things on my lists with confidence and also switch around some people’s work so that it emphasized the goals I had rather than just “stuff they should probably do.”
It’s tempting to skip the foundational steps, but if we want a rock-solid plan and confidence as we put it into action, we’d do best to have our vision and goals in writing, in our face.
Pam’s the best person to help with that process.