2016-2017 School Year Update

So hey.

I can’t believe it’s been months since I utterly destroyed accidentally wiped out my site.

I’ve ached to come back here and at the same time have been completely tongue tied.  Sometimes I love Facebook and Instagram for the “one sentence and done” availability of updating. Doesn’t fly so well in a blog, although I’ve thought about blogging how I used to so many years ago – simply telling a joke, or writing a short paragraph, interspersed with much longer posts of substance.  I think it’s more like real life, and more like how my head works, but not exactly “how blogging is done” these days.  Maybe I’ll be a trailblazer again. πŸ˜€

There’s also a million “life things” I want to update on, but I’m going to leave that for another post…to many Big Serious things to tack onto a post about curriculum, ykwim?

And what did I ever do before internet acronyms and emojis?  πŸ˜‰  This is how I think. πŸ™‚

Halfway through our 2016-2017 school year, and I’ve shaken a few things up. I’ll explain what I was using and what I’ve moved to where that is the case.

This is the first year I won’t have my oldest on my homeschool curriculum posts!  She’s off at college, doing excellently I might add (*pats self on back for being such a great homeschool mom*)


Seriously though, she is doing great. God’s been with her, some strange happenings have made things so much easier on her than they could have been.  She got a scholarship she didn’t even apply for with a lower GPA requirement than the one she was given by the school.  Such a load of worry off her back to not have to keep a super high GPA.  She did well enough that it didn’t matter, but anxiety makes her studying suffer, so this was better overall. Also, she never got a roommate! The girl never showed up. This has allowed my dd to keep an early sleep schedule that has worked really well for her, plus she has all the quiet study time she needs and doesn’t have to take everything to the library.  My dd makes friends very easily so there’s been no worry of isolation.

DD #2 is a junior, happy at her school, studying for ACT/SATs and planning her college choices.  I can’t believe I have a junior and a kid in college.

(I was 12 when I had them.)

Moving along, on to my homeschool sweeties.

Juliet is in 8th grade and will most likely be going to the school dd #2 goes to next year.  So her work is more textbook oriented and school-y to prepare her for life in high school. This was as much her choice as mine.

(most links are affiliate links πŸ™‚ )

Math: We started with Algebra Structure and Method Book 1 and worked in it until mid-term time at my other daughter’s school.   I’m decent at algebra but brain fog has been an annoying companion and I couldn’t always articulate more difficult concepts. Their descriptions didn’t help.   Nor did I like the flow of the book.  My high school daughter said her teacher had them skip all over the place but didn’t remember in what order. Ugh.  So when I saw Holt Algebra at a friends house, I fell in love.  OK, well, not really, but I liked it’s clearer descriptions, good flow of concepts from easy to hard, and standardized test practice. The chapters themselves cover similar topics, and we are starting near the beginning of the book (because our current book was so backwards, lol) so it should work to switch into this book pretty seamlessly.

Photo Jan 30, 1 40 58 PM

Science:  All three of my homeschooled children spent a summer geocaching and learning about foraging and survival skills with me.   We played this game and these cards, and looked through and learned from the Idiot’s Guide to Foraging and  Hawke’s Special Forces Survival Handbook.  The last one is a little scary and graphic in places so I read and passed along ideas on certain “light” topics.  My youngest two are especially sensitive, so I didn’t want to scare them.  It was more of a fun “let’s pretend we are lost in the woods, what should we do” kind of thing and not “the world is ending we are all going to die in a heap what should we do” kind of thing.  πŸ™‚  Now why *I* was learning it, I’ll leave up to your imagination. Or more like my over active imagination, LOL.

To round out Juliet’s year  we are doing selected chapters from Environmental Science.  Why did I pick this one over other textbooks? I think it was because one of the reviewers said it was “on the easy side” for a high school text and that is exactly what I wanted for my 8th grader.  I’m not teaching an AP class here, I’m just trying to introduce her to the subject because it’s not something we’ve really covered any other time.

Language Arts:  I think this is my favorite thing this year. She is doing Oak Meadow’s Introduction to Literature and Composition: The Hero’s Journey.  I love how Oak Meadow brings art and creativity into things and allows for choice of topics and projects, while still remaining a solid course. That being said, I saw this at a friends house (the same enabler who showed me the Holt Algebra, LOL) and thought it was really great for a textbook. I bought a few levels to look at and will most likely incorporate one or more next year in some way.  When your brain is fried, sometimes a textbook can be your best homeschooling friend.

Photo Jan 30, 1 39 59 PM

Social Studies: We are doing Geography this year with an old Oak Meadow high school world geography syllabus.  I thought geography would go well with the environmental science and foraging studies.  I like teaching along a theme. πŸ™‚

Spanish: She’s doing Visual Link Spanish that I had left over from my now college girl and watching the Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids videos with my younger two.

Extras: In our state we need to do “health.” I have no idea what we are doing yet! I’ll pick something and do an intensive unit on it.  We are always cooking, talking about medical issues, nutrition, taking care of oneself, but we need something to show for it.   Music has been church choir and an almost constant singing of the Hamilton soundtrack, LOL.  Art is a class a friend is teaching, plus things like crocheting and designing sets for their many impromptu plays.

**I think this is a good place to say that when I say I’m using a textbook or syllabus, I’m using IT, I’m not letting it use ME.  We never do everything, and we bring in other things spontaneously as we see fit.**

Didn’t want anyone to think I was losing my relaxed homeschooler vibe. πŸ˜‰

6th Grade: Lydia

Math – Reviewing pre-algebra concepts with Teaching Textbooks. She used Saxon last year for the same level but does not feel confident. Saxon was a bad fit for both of us. Β She’s also fallen in love with Life of Fred so is reading those (from Fractions on up) in her spare time.

Photo Jan 30, 1 42 17 PM

Science – She was part of our geocaching/foraging/survival crew, and is now working from library books on animal behavior and habitats

Language Arts and Social Studies – Lydia loves Oak Meadow and chose their combined Ancient History/English 6th grade syllabus.   (looks like they are not selling it anymore at OM, I did NOT spend this much…yikes)

Spanish – Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids with James T.

Extras – Just like with Juliet (and James T.) I need to pick something for health!  She’s doing art with our friends, choir with Juliet.

Last but certainly not least: James T. – 3rd grade

Math – Right now we are doing Life of Fred Elementary Series.  We will probably be done in about 3 weeks, and he wants to go back to Beast Academy for awhile because things are getting hard.  I don’t think he remembers how hard Beast Academy was! πŸ™‚

Language Arts – He’s reading for fun and doing My Catholic Speller Level C and Wordly Wise Level A.

Science – What Lydia is doing more or less. Same with most of the rest of it!

Honestly though, teaching James T. this year has been hard.  Arthritis and life and medications and their side-effects have turned the two of us into more of an unschooling pair. More on that in my next post. :/

I guess that is it, although it doesn’t at all paint a picture of what life is like here on any given day.  Just picture Juliet doing her work (while singing Hamilton lyrics, LOL) diligently like a good little school child and the rest getting exponentially less schooly as you get down to James T. πŸ™‚