Homeschooling

We homeschool year-round. Some seasons are more hectic than others. To give you an idea of where I invest the majority of my time, below is a list of activities each of my school aged children are perusing at the moment in the course of their home education. I’ll update it as our schedule changes, classes get wrapped up, or their interests shift.

The tallest is fifteen. He’s currently a high school sophomore.

For History, Literature, and Bible, AJ is currently using My Father’s World Ancient History and Literature. This is our first year with this curriculum, so maybe I’ll write up a review of what worked (and didn’t) for our family at the end of our academic year.

Biology – Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Biology

Algebra 1- Teaching Textbooks

English/Composition- Easy Grammar Plus and IEW Structure and Style (in addition to the grammar and composition included in the MFW curriculum.)

Foreign Language– He’s currently studying Cantonese online with a program called Transparent Language that we have free access to through our library on base. I’m not sure if that will change in the coming months. I’m considering switching to Rosetta Stone or allowing him to take a foreign language at the community college.

Our plan was to have our children explore an adult learning environment and more career interests during their junior and senior years, but then AJ and I attended an  open house at the community college last year. It was love at first sight. He was completely smitten. (And since his life goal prior to that point was to live in a van by a river and play Magic the Gathering with his every waking hour, I was excited that he was excited.) He has completed an art history course as well as Drawing 1.

Intro to Criminal Justice – Community college class for this fall semester. He’s leaning more toward the forensics field but wanted to give this class a try. As long as he’s willing to do the work and he’s learning, we’ll support the choice. Although I’ve threatened to make him get at least one basic class like the dreaded English/Composition out of the way, if he continues to do well, I’m content to let him choose his classes.

Shakespeare Drama- This class is new for us this year. Two hours a week is a big commitment but the boys were super syked. We’ll see how long that lasts.

Debate and Speech- T and I attended an exhibition of this debate and speech club’s members at the end of last year. As we drove home, T said, “If I could get even half as good as those kids, I definitely want to do it.” AJ decided to tag along. They meet twice a month in preparation for NCFCA tournaments in the spring.

AJ’s interests outside of school include Magic the Gathering, drawing, and making money to support his addiction to Magic cards, which he does by shoveling driveways and pet sitting.

T is thirteen  years old and in  eighth grade this year.

The bulk of his day is spent with My Father’s World Exploring Countries and Cultures and the recommended 7th/8th supplement package. This encompasses everything except grammar and math, although we choose to supplement farther when we feel the need. We will be finished with this series before Christmas. I have a few ideas of where we’ll head next, but nothing solid yet.

Grammar/CompositionEasy Grammar Plus and IEW’s Structure and Style with the tall one.

Algebra 1- Teaching Textbooks

Foreign Language-  Korean

Science- Exploring Creation with General Science is his science this year, although he will continue attending his 4H Agricultural club.

He attends Anime Club, Shakespeare Drama, Engineering Plus, and Speech/Debate Club with AJ.

T wants to be a game programmer/creator, so he’s also studying computer animation and code through Khan Academy and Kid Coder curriculum. HIs interests include drawing Manga and creating stop motion short films.

SJ is entering fifth this year.

Exploring Countries and Cultures with T serves as the core of his curriculum right now.

Math 5- Teaching Textbooks

Science- I had planned to keep him and Mr. Middle together for one more year, but SJ desperately wanted to study Astronomy. So that’s what we’re doing.

Foreign Language– Mandarin

Spelling- SJ has struggled with spelling every year, no matter which method we’ve used, and trust me, there’s been an exhaustive search for just the right one. After a very frustrating few months, we decided to take a break. The break restored his hope, if nothing else, and he began Phonics Zoo in May.

I originally included Khan Academy in his schedule for extra math practice. While avoiding that with all his might, he stumbled across the arts section on the website and discovered a love for classical music. He wants to learn to play the clarinet, but my husband and I haven’t pulled the trigger on that one yet. Primarily because I have to be available to take him and we like our kids to commit to lessons one year at a time, so it’s not a waste of our resources or time. It’s also not in our budget right now.

The youngest still wants to be a super hero vigilante when he gets older but promises he’s never leaving home (at least until Dad kicks him out) so it’s all good.

Extracurricular Activities

Science Fair– The boys are preparing to participate in our first science fair. It’s all very exciting.

4H-  T and SJ belong to an agricultural club that meets weekly at a local farm. Right now they tend to their own garden plots as well as do various service projects and art projects.

All three of my minimen will be participating in the Sea Perch challenge again through their local 4H club this spring. Basically, they build an underwater robot to complete certain obstacles and different challenges while learning the mechanics and principles behind the build such as buoyancy, vectors, electric circuits, etc. It’s been very time consuming and labor intensive, but I think the rewards of such a program far outweigh the investment on our behalf. Plus, robots are cool. To prepare for Sea Perch, we will be participating in a bimonthly engineering club.

(The youngest is really too young to participate in this competition, but since his brothers are involved he was grafted into the middle school team. He recently completed a presentation given at his club level on microcontrollers and is looking forward to taking over the world with his creations if that whole super hero thing falls through.)

Model UN– Another new-to-us club this year. AJ and T recently attended their first meeting and it was awesome. Although it did nothing for their opinion of France…

Anime Club– Once a month. Geek heaven on Earth. Nuff said.

Engineering Plus– Bimonthly engineering and robotics club, which I started as a precursor to the seaperch challenge this year.

Martial Arts- All three boys attend tang soo do lessons twice a week and study the form and codes of conduct daily.

Co-op – The middling and youngun attend co-op classes with a group of other homeschoolers every other Friday. This allows them to experience classroom learning with children their age under an instructor not me. In fact, that’s my favorite part . I work the nursery, so I get to play with my twinions and other adorable munchkins. It’s a good gig when you can get it .

We’re also very blessed to have a great local homeschool group who we plan field trips, classes, and different funtivities with, so there’s never a dull moment around here.

And that’s about it as far as our school schedule and current activities! The rest of my waking moments seem to be devoted to the twins and whining to my amazing husband.

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