Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Plans For the Next Homeschool Year ... Everyone is in High School Edition

You read that right: this coming fall I have two high schoolers learning here at home at the Living Oak Academy!

I know so many people who stop homeschool at or before high school; only one other family in our homeschool circle is planning to give it a go. I think it is because of clashing parent/adolescent personalities as well as fear that the harder subjects can't be effectively taught.

I try very hard not to parent from fear, and that especially extends to home learning. I believe that anyone who wants to learn will learn and that we don't have to take traditional paths to make that happen.

I was never afraid of teaching math; my own schooling only went as far as college algebra, but Papa minored in math so I knew we'd be okay. Except Papa doesn't really have time to teach the boys math in the evenings. So last year we tried Teaching Textbooks for algebra, and it worked fantastically. I was able to give support when needed, and Papa stepped in when even I was stumped, but overall the boys learned from the program. It was so cool to hear them throwing around words like coordinate and slope. So this year we are definitely moving forward with Teaching Textbooks!

The plan:

Texting Textbooks Geometry
Big History Project as our spine for history and science
A block on US Government incorporating our November election
A Greek history block to tie in with geometry
Literature to tie in with BHP
Time 4 Writing
Rosetta Stone Spanish
Piano for J
Guitar for T
Competitive mountain biking team for PE (also brings in some health and vocational arts work)

I've decided to give the Time 4 Writing high school courses a try; a friend had good success with the middle school courses. Although Brave Writer was fantastic, I think the boys need something that focuses more on the basics rather than the creative process. They are going back to the basics and taking one course in the fall semester and one in spring, with a plan to be finished well before we move into So Cal League finals and the state championships.

My main energies will be focused on the Big History Project as well as the two other social studies blocks. Everything else is pretty much taught for me, either with the programs or other teachers.

Last year competitive mountain biking threw us for a loop and we ended up scaling back our lessons until we settled into the routine of practices and races (which include travel). That was fine; home learning is all about flexibility, but it meant that the boys didn't finish up all their lesson work until late July, giving us only one full month off before we start up again. Hopefully we have a handle on things now and can start our year the day after Labor Day and end the Friday before Memorial Day, giving the boys a full three months off next summer.

7 comments:

Kerry said...

We had SUCH great results with Time4Writing! My sons each made large jumps in skills with the courses they took in both middle and high school. And it was LOVELY for them to get feedback on their writing from someone besides me. :)

Sunshine Alternative Mama said...

Thanks for telling me about your experience with Time4Writing, especially since you used it with older children!

Jamie Gaddy said...

Hi there! I just had to share about our great experience with T4W as well. We just finished up the Research Paper course in June. It was great to have immediate feedback from a qualified teacher. My daughter learned so much!

Linda said...

I just wanted to add my comment about Time4Writing. My daughter is about 4 lessons from finishing the High School Paragraphs course. I also saw a huge skills jump for my daughter. It was great to have someone else grade her work and make comments. The teacher is very positive and offers great suggestions. I can honestly say that having someone else teach "my" subject (I'm an English major!) meant less butting of heads and a more cooperative attitude from my daughter. Highly recommend!

Sunshine Alternative Mama said...

Thanks Jamie and Linda ... I'm getting excited to have my boys try T4W.Linda, my degree is in English as well (literature and composition) so I thought writing would be easy for me to teach, but it hasn't been.

Linda said...

I thought English would be easy to teach, but I think that my love of the subject causes me to be not only more strict but also to show my frustration more when my daughter doesn't to well. This is part of the reason I decided to "farm out" English this year. Honestly, my daughter took corrections and critiques of her writing much better from the T4W teacher. I hope it runs as smoothly for you!

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