Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Mid-Year Curriculum Review
So, we are about halfway through our school year. Our quadruplets are in 10th grade, and Little Miss (loosely) in 3rd grade.
This year has been a year of change, as we changed almost everything about our homeschool curricula. Change is scary. I was fairly confident it would all work out (blog post from August), but you never know until you try.
I am thrilled we made the leap, as the changes have been very good for us.
Everyone is using Sonlight as their core curriculum. We have really enjoyed the books in our curricula, both our teens, as well as Little Miss and I. The teens would argue they haven't liked every single book, but I think overall everyone has been happy about switching to Sonlight. All my students enjoy reading (or in Little Miss' case, she enjoys being read to), so this change made a lot of sense.
Of course, the Mothership is heavily loaded with books these days.. Less room for... anything else ;-)
Switching to Sonlight was the biggest change, yet the one that has given us most satisfaction was switching to Mr. D Math for our teens' geometry curriculum. Mr. D offers live and recorded math classes online, extra tutoring, quizzes, tests and grading - it's a full high school curriculum. When I needed to enter grades for Homelife Academy earlier this month, I logged into my parent account, and quickly found my students' grades.
Since I am busy homeschooling Little Miss, I am relieved to have a high school math curriculum which allows my students to study independently. And the best part? All four of my high schoolers with various learning styles are getting their math and feeling confident! Thanks, Mr. D!!!
Figuring out homeschool high school science classes with lab credit can be difficult, especially to a non-science type of a mom. I was thrilled to discover Catie Frates' online science classes, and we signed up for high school biology, with labs. Catie Frates uses Apologia material, and has recorded biology classes your student(s) watch from home at their own time. The class does the required lab work in detail, and if your student isn't headed to a medical field, this is perfectly adequate for high school biology lab. The students are required to write lab write-ups.
This has been a perfect fit for us, although I have a student (or two) who really do not care for biology. But we are working through it, and I feel the curriculum is excellent. The videos help a lot. Also, I have to confess I have hired Missy to grade the boys' work - it was a lot for me to grade four students' papers. She's happy to get some spending money, and the material is being reinforced to her when she checks her brothers' work. We are both quite happy with this arrangement:)
We have some various high school electives going on, too. Mr D, Mr A and Missy are learning to fly, and Mr D and Mr A are working on their driver's licenses, as well.
(We have an amazing homeschool opportunity coming up in this area, too, but more on that later.)
Missy is studying art with KnoodleU Drawing on History curriculum, and has really enjoyed it. This curriculum covers art from 1830–1970. Such a neat way to study art and history! It is designed to give the student a basic understanding of what was happening in the art world during major events in history. Perfect for homeschoolers!
Our boys also took study skills and speed reading through CollegePlus in the fall semester. We're hoping these skills will help them in high school, college and beyond.
Mr T started an AP U.S. Government and Politics class with Patrick Henry College Preparatory Academy. It has a heavy workload, but Mr T is enjoying the challenge, and likes the class very much.
For math Little Miss is using Math-U-See, and it has been a good program for her. She also does XtraMath drills online. We started supplementing Sonlight language arts with Explode The Code online. She has been learning cursive this year with Handwriting Without Tears, but I am looking into switching to a more traditional cursive. Any suggestions?
We are having a full year this year. Since we are traveling a lot this school year, we have done a lot of field trips, and continue to do so. It is so much fun to learn as we go! It has helped to have a bulk of our school work in books (instead of online), so school goes on wherever we are, by bringing a book or two along. We also add PE to most of our days, and try to learn practical skills as much as we can.
If you have any questions for us about any of the curricula we use, don't hesitate to ask!