“Ready are you? What know you of ready? For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained. A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind.” – Yoda, Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back
As I mentioned in the previous post, we are starting back up with our regular homeschooling schedule in three weeks. Typing that it sounds so far away, but I remember making plans to meet up with MT’s family several months ago and I cannot, even now, believe that the visit is already past.
To get my mind back in gear, I am opening up the homeschooling binder and am going to lay out the curriculum plan for all to see. Basically, we loosely follow the Well Trained Mind sequence, albeit with a bit more focus on science, less of a focus on ancient languages (sorry, no Greek) and not surprisingly without the religious weave.
In history, he is covering The Renaissance through the Early Modern Era, roughly from 1500 through 1860 and with an emphasis on European and North American history. We will include historical events, people and cultures of Africa, the Middle East, Asia and South America, but I am not going to make myself crazy in the process. I provide the historical overview, Padawan Learner takes it further as his interests dictate. Our primary text is The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History, but we pull in so many related books, websites and materials that it really is hard to call it that.
In science, we’re both learning about the basics of chemistry, so we’re sure to be calling on Uncle D, WineChris and Simone for assistance and clarity throughout the year. It’s good to know and love a few PhD chemists when you’re homeschooling. Prentice Hall has a nice series of middle school texts that we’re using for chemistry and physics (next year). Chemical Building Blocks and Chemical Interactions will be our guides for the next several months, as well as a more delicious book about chemical bonds and interactions, Chemistry Experiments You Can Eat. Now that’s science I can get behind.
Oh, math. Ask Padawan Learner and he will quickly tell you that he is terrible at math, but in reality he is not. He’s math insecure, to be sure, but deep down he knows his stuff and then some. Actually, he tests well above his “grade level” but that is another story. He is moving along, building his confidence and shattering those I can’t-s on a day by day basis. This fall, he’s continuing with introductory Algebra and Geometry work. We’ll be pulling Saxon’s Algebra 1/2 off the shelf and incorporating the weekly tests into the schedule. He is also finishing up some workbooks from last year that already began introducing him to these concepts. He works best with a layered approach to math. Introduce, reinforce, leave, revisit.
English is a real blend of activities this year. Not his favorite subject, Padawan Learner is beginning to at least not dread writing anymore. He’s continuing with the Handwriting Without Tears series, aiming for speed and ease. He learned two distinctly different handwriting styles at the two schools he attended, which resulted in both inefficient and (frankly) illegible handwriting. When you can’t read your own writing, you know there’s a problem. He will also be practicing more advanced grammar skills with some fun editing workbooks he likes (so much better to correct someone else’s mistakes). He’s going to be topping off his spelling skills with Spelling Smart!and learn about the world of sentence diagraming, in all his languages. Poor kid. Ultimately, he will be tying it all together is his writing assignments from Comprehensive Narrative Writing. Spelling, grammar, handwriting and full, lush descriptive writing will all roll together to create something interesting for his readers – most likely Obi-Mom and Dad Windu.
Did I mention languages? He will be continuing his Dutch lessons, using Beginner’s Dutch for the basic grammar, with weekly lessons from a native Dutch speaker plus lots of conversations and reading to cement the vocabulary. We’re both going to start learning some Latin this fall, using the oh so gentle Latin for Children A as our stepping off point. It’s a video language program intended for much younger students but I think it’ll be a nice step into a world that seems, literally, quite foreign to both of us right now.
Oh, and a course in logic called the Art of Argument from the people that made Latin for Children and assorted reading across the literature spectrum and piano lessons and drawing and a rather impressive physical fitness regiment and just hanging out and playing with friends and talking about the issues as a family and being silly and more as needed or desired.
So there you have it. Our year in a nutshell. Ancillary books will be borrowed (time to do a book swap with Jake’s mom and MT’s mom, as soon as we are all back in the same place again) or come from the library.