Updated for the 2014-2015 school year
This is quite a different year for me. I have graduated our oldest, leaving me with one middle school student and one high school student. I find that I am approaching what I’ve been referring to as High School Round 2 with a great deal more confidence than I did the first time around. I’m rather excited about the adventure we’ll be embarking on this year.
This year we’ll be studying ancient history with Diana Waring’s History Revealed: Ancient Civilization and the Bible. I’m really excited about using this material. Each unit lasts four weeks with each of the four weeks covering a different learning style: the feeler, the thinker, the intuitor, and the sensor. In addition, there are activities to appeal to each of the three main learning modalities: visual, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic.
For each unit, students have an opportunity to do their own research and create a presentation to share what they’ve learned. I’ll be sharing much more after we get into and get a feel for how it works, but I’ve very excited about the possibilities.
Study Skills and Time Management Tools
Because of the self-directed projects the kids will be doing with history and the fact that I want to move them toward much greater autonomy with their schoolwork, I want to make sure that they have all the tools they need to work well on their own. One such tool about which I’m very excited is Victus Study Skills. It’s a quick study skills course that teaches kids things like: note-taking skills (including how to develop their own shorthand), goal-setting and time management. We’re going to complete it during the first few light weeks of school, so we’ll be ready to hit the ground running once we start on our full schedule.
I also bought the kids student planners so that they can put their planning and time management skills to work, keeping track of their assignments and planning out their projects.
We will continue using WriteShop I. We began working our way through it very slowly last year, which worked well for us. I like the ease-of-use that comes with having the suggested lesson plans and the assignments written out. I also appreciate the grading forms which make it easy for me to objectively grade the kids’ written work. The student checklists help keep their writing on track and provide valuable self-editing tools.
We’ll also be continuing (and most likely finishing) All About Spelling. I can’t recommend this program highly enough. With its basis in Orton- Gillingham methods, which are highly recognized for their effectiveness with dyslexics, and its hands-on, multi-sensory approach, it’s been just what my dyslexic needs. Of course, it works just as effectively for my non-dyslexic, as well.
Teaching Textbooks will continue to be our math program of choice. I love the video instruction method and the fact that the grading is done for me. The kids like it because it explains things well and they can work independently on their laptops.
We’ll continue to use the SOAP method of Bible study as a family with everyone continuing to have their own personal Bible study each day. I really want to spend some time teaching the kids (and learning alongside them) a variety of Bible study skills (topical study, inductive study, etc.). I’m still looking for the best tools to accomplish that. And, of course, our Scripture memory box will continue to be a well-loved constant in our family Bible time.
We began – and loved – REAL Science Odyssey Biology 2 last year. We’ll finish it this year, supplementing with the Apologia dissection kit and Biology 101 to bring it up to high school level for Josh.
Another tried and true favorite in our home is the Easy Grammar and Daily Grams combo. My kids love grammar. There is no greater endorsement than that. We’re working our way slowly through Easy Grammar Plus since it’s the last Easy Grammar level. Once we complete that and finish up the last little bit of the Grade 7 Daily Grams student books left over from last year, I’ll continue to have the kids to daily practice with the appropriate level of the Ultimate Series, which goes through high school.
Health and P.E.
Both of my younger kids have expressed an interest in getting healthier and starting to work out, including wanting to run with me. So, I plan to start the Couch to 5K program with them in mid-August, once our schedule gets more regulated. I’ve already jotted a local 5K on my calendar. It’s 9 weeks out from our start date and features a simple out and back course. I’ve found that there’s no better motivation to run than having a race coming up.
Additionally, I want to go through Nutrition 101: Choose Life with the kids. We started it years ago, but abandoned it when life and school got busy. It’s always been in the back of my mind, though, and I think it will make an excellent health course for high school credit.
And, of course, we’ll be reading lots of great books throughout the year. I’ve got a list for both Josh and Megan and would like to do a mix of assigned reading and student choice. Megan will be continuing gymnastics and I’ll be tracking Josh’s music instruction hours for performing arts credit.
I’ll sure we’ll probably add and drop things throughout the year, but that’s my plan, as of this moment.
The following materials were provided to me at no charge for the purpose of reviewing: History Revealed, WriteShop, Victus Study Skills System, REAL Science Odyssey Biology 2, Easy Grammar and Daily Grams. The others were purchased by me for our family’s personal use. This post contains affiliate links. All statements made in this post are my true and honest opinions. Your experience may vary.