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The First Two Weeks of Homeschool (or when the computer and pencil sharpener decided to stop working)

Grand plans, people. You know what they say about those? Yes. Well, then. Let’s sum up the first day, shall we? 

A computer went kaputz (battery=dead, but under warranty, so shipped back to manufacturer). That in turn meant we couldn’t use the computer for math, which set one child off in a panic. (FULL BLOWN, mind you). Said child may also have a wee bit of a love for very well-sharpened pencils, so when the pencil sharpener also decided to STOP WORKING, the world may have almost come to an end. 

Drama, anyone? Anyone? 

I promise, I was about ready to go back to bed within the first hour. Overall, the bulk of the day (and kids) ended up cooperating, but it definitely wasn’t the start I envisioned. And we never got around to first day of school pictures. 

Second Day of School

Instead, we settled for the second day of school pictures. Because really? The kids hadn’t changed that much in 24 hours (unless you count cooperation), so we took pictures and called it good. And while Zachary appears taller than his oldest sister, she vehemently disagrees and says she was slouching. He still has several inches to go before he can call it even.

We all managed to survive almost two weeks without the before mentioned computer (and one child is happily sharpening all the pencils in the schoolroom ad naseum now that the most amazing pencil sharpener showed up in our house just in the nick of time). As much as I hate to admit it, we have become very connected to our laptops. From math to writing (for the olders), and a few textbooks online, it was a bit of a juggling act to get it all balanced. Now that the one is back, there may be an issue with the much older laptop coming unhinged.  I do believe I may give up. 

First Week of School-6

Did I mention too that we are suckers for butterflies in our house? It doesn’t matter how many times I see it, I’m still fascinated and could watch them for hours. The kids took a bike ride one afternoon and five minutes later returned with four caterpillars for us to watch. Two of them are already in the chrysalis and the other two are munching away, growing like crazy. The entire process just boggles my mind and is completely amazing.

Other than that, here’s a quick sum-up of our first two weeks by kiddos…

Kaleb – 4th Grade

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We’ve started the year off hitting reading hard. Kaleb is using All About Reading Level 3 and we are working at the pace of one lesson every two days.  At this point we are through four full lessons and while it’s still slow going most days, every day is a little more progress. 

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When Laurianna is working on chemistry, the boys have a chance to do some fun go-along history projects with two of our friends (don’t tell the other mom, but I think I’m getting the better end of this deal). Both of our families are working through the same history lessons together and right now we are learning about Native Americans. This week the kids all work on petrooglyphs – and the results were hilarious. The kids tried to guess what the others had ‘written’ using pictures. 

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Although we don’t have a formal science curriculum this year, we have been using an engineering kit from Insight to Learning and Kaleb is loving it. The first project was to build an 18″ parking garage that could house four cars – which was going along well until a certain mother accidentally knocked down a 16″ structure and it needed to be rebuilt. Oops.

First Week of School-7

Building a house with a slanted roof was another project in the Insight to Learning kit, and Kaleb had a BLAST with this one. That boy is particular to the core, so it took him quite a bit of time to complete it, but it was well worth the time. 

View our 4th grade curriculum choices HERE. 

Zachary – 6th Grade

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On the eighth day, the computer was returned and all of the children and the mother did a happy dance. Math was back on track and everyone was happy to stop using the go-along textbooks. We are a rather happy Teaching Textbooks family. :) And headphones. Thank the Lord for headphones that help keep distracted children on task. 

First Week of School-5

A new project from EEME arrived in our home recently too – Q the Robot! Zachary has been looking forward to another electronics project and jumped right in to start on it. We’ll be posting a full review on it soon and sharing our thoughts. 

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Two of our newer subjects for Zachary, Who is God and Writers in Residence, are keeping the boy rather busy. His love for reading doesn’t help with the workload, but he is enjoying both of the programs. We are still working on pacing and focus (someone is a bit distractible), but otherwise sixth grade is looking good on the boy.  

First Week of School-2

Science is definitely Zachary’s favorite area of study. Between building projects or running experiments, he manages to find the time to work on them. Always. He is loving the two lessons and one lab layout of Rainbow Science and spent time setting up several tests to measure distance traveled from acceleration. 

View our 6th grade curriculum HERE

McKenna – 8th Grade

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Figuring out how to balance the new workload and classes has been a bit of a challenge for McKenna. She is trying to find her groove for the classes and not having a laptop made it a bit difficult, especially because she had four papers due for literature class the first 2 weeks. (Yeah. That was fun. I only have myself to blame for that one.)

Science and Latin are so far proving to be her two favorite classes, although geography is right up there as well. She has some basic experiments to run at home, but has also been working on building a race car and a glider for her science class. The hands on part of it is something she loves MUCH!

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The two of us sit down together once a week to go over her different subjects and plug in the information from her student planner (she l.o.v.e.s. the new design) into my main planner. This gives us a chance to also go over any questions she might have about the upcoming week and make sure she is staying on target with her lessons.  

View our 8th grade homeschool curriculum HERE. 

Laurianna – 10th Grade

Laurianna is trying something a little different this year with her schedule (and trying to convince McKenna to do the same. Rather than working on every subject every day and switching gears constantly, she has blocked out her schedule so she works on some classes two days a week and the rest the other two. That gives her a day to finish up anything not completed and otherwise have a little breather. With two afternoons of co-op classes, her week is fairly full and swim season starts this week as well, so evenings are going to be packed as well.  

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This year will be interesting to see where Laurianna’s interests truly are. She still has some time before figuring out a college path and major, but is contemplating a few different options, including nursing. Biology is under her belt, and this year we are moving on to chemistry, so it will be fun to see how it develops as we go along. 

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No matter what, art is still one of her favorite areas to spend time. Adding this class as an elective this year was a great choice and gives her some down time while doing something she adores (and can receive credit for). So far she has three sketches to put in her portfolio for the year – and I love the above one she worked on this past week (even if it makes me want to get my eyebrows done…grins). 

View our 10th grade homeschool curriculum choices HERE

 

That’s a quick peek at the first two weeks of our school time – how are things going in your house? 

  

Our Homeschool Curriculum Choices…

Click any of the images below to see our homeschool picks for the current school year. You’ll also find links to past year’s choices in each post. 

4th grade homeschool curriculum choices - from Homeschool Creations 6th grade homeschool curriculum choices 2016 from Homeschool Creations 8th grade homeschool curriculum choices 2016 10th grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations 2016

American Literature High School Reading List

American Literature high school reading list

Our American Literature reading list was compiled from two sources: our history program Exploring America from Notgrass and also American Lit program from Excellence in Literature. The last two years we have used the literature guides from Excellence in Literature and love the format of the program, but we also wanted to intertwine some of the recommended novels from the Notgrass history list. Let’s face it – there are so many wonderful books that tie into American culture and history, so there are many to choose. Overall the class will provide Laurianna with 1 high school credit. 

The typical pace is for reading (to stay on top of things) will be one book per month, which honestly will not be too difficult for her to work through. We are also adding a few books by C.S. Lewis to her pile and trying to squeeze in more ‘downtime’ reading, to balance out her workload. 

Our American Literature High School Reading List

American Literature high school reading list 2016_edited-1


 


For each of the above books, Laurianna will have a variety of papers to write (at least three per book). Papers and essays vary from author profiles (learning about the life of the author), approach papers (quick summary, discussion questions, and character profiles), and some lovely essays based on questions from both the American Lit program from Excellence in Literature and ones I have pulled together for the books we added in to our list. The books with an asterisk next to them are ones included in the EIL program, while the other three books tie in with the historical period we are studying in American History.


Several of the above books also have a movie to go along, so we are planning a monthly movie time together to compare the book with the movie version. In past years this has proven to be rather…interesting and prompted some great discussions with the kids as well. There are also a few we won’t be watching movies for, but plan to find a movie or documentary set in a similar time period.

The “Just for Fun” Additions

Much of Laurianna’s spare time will be taken up with her school reading and other fun hobbies, but we did want to add in a few books to read together – which we’ve already finished and loved! She does love to read though, so hopefully we’ll add a few more fun books in as the catch her attention.


This list also doesn’t include any of the family read-alouds or audio books we will be reading together. Overall not a huge list for the year, but several of the books are fairly hefty and will involve a lot of essay writing and discussion, so definitely enough to keep her busy for the year!

Homeschool Reading Lists for our Other Children

Check out our reading choices for this and past years by clicking on the links below. Stay tuned for our 4th, 6th, and 8th grade reading choices!

8th reading list 2016

10th grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations 2016

See all of our curriculum choices for this school year in our 10th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices post. It includes our lit program and several other wonderful programs we are loving!

What books are in your kid’s reading stack for this year?

 

10th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

10th grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations 2016

Our poor girl may not have found it humorous when I texted her a picture of her HUGE curriculum pile. Granted the textbooks seem to grow astronomically each year the kids progress in school, but it definitely can seem a little daunting – especially when there is no way she’d be able to fit them all into one backpack without tipping over backwards. I honestly think the pile of books might weigh about half as much as she does. (gulp)

Laurianna has matured so much this last year, especially over the summer as she took on her first real job as a lifeguard and swim coach, also teaching swim lessons and participating in swim team. Overall, she was rather busy, but it was wonderful to see her really step up to what was asked of her and step in when something needed to be done. She is anxiously waiting for the day in September when she will be able to start driving. Please pray for me. (deep breaths)

10th Grade Curriculum Choices

Credits to earn: 7

American Literature high school reading list 2016_edited-1

So far, Laurianna has earned a total of 13.5 credits, so at the end of her 10th grade year she will have completed a total of 20.5 credits toward her diploma – meaning a somewhat lighter year for her 11th grade year and the option of dual enrollment classes. 

Laurianna did a great job figuring out her own routine last year (it may not have always been the way I liked it, but it worked for her). Learning to let go (on my part) is probably the hardest aspect of this, but we are encouraging her to take as much responsibility as possible to prepare her for dual credit classes in the upcoming future. 

Her dad and I are planning to sit down and go through the Constitutional Literacy class along with her. While we had considered putting that class off for another year, with her working through American History this year and also the election process, we figured it was the perfect time to jump in. 

Co-op Learning

We have a small group of high schoolers that will be meeting weekly to work on literature and American history this year. She will also be getting together once a week with a friend to go over Chemistry labs and assignments. 

In addition, one of the moms and I are planning some ‘girls only’ and family trips to a few historic places that will tie in with our history learning: Williamsburg, Biltmore (girls only), Washington, DC, and Philadelphia to name a few. We’ll see if we can squeeze in any more (maybe a trip to NYC??) but otherwise, those four will keep us plenty busy. 

Curriculum in Year’s Past

In case you are interested in seeing the curriculum that brought us to this point, here’s a peek at what we’ve used with Laurianna the past few years:

 

Does High School Have You Scared?

If homeschooling high school is worrying you, don’t miss the free middle and high school planning printables and map out your middle and high school years!

Homeschooling in High School Middle and High School Planning How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum

If you are new to homeschooling and aren’t sure where to begin in choosing homeschool curriculum, please don’t let this post overwhelm you! Here are a few posts that you might find helpful as you discover what is best for your family. Be sure to check out the entire Homeschool Basics series for answers to more frequently asked homeschool questions.

See What the Other Kids Are Up To…

Click any of the images below to see our homeschool picks for the current school year. You’ll also find links to past years choices in each post. 

4th grade homeschool curriculum choices - from Homeschool Creations 6th grade homeschool curriculum choices 2016 from Homeschool Creations 8th grade homeschool curriculum choices 2016 10th grade homeschool curriculum choices from Homeschool Creations 2016

Our 10th Grade Homeschool Reading List

10th grade homeschool reading list 2015 - Homeschool Creations

Our 10th grade homeschool reading list is largely based on the required reading for Literature and Composition by Janice Campbell. We added in four books to read together just because they were several we both wanted to read, and I wanted to have a grasp on what she was actually reading. You may remember that Laurianna is technically only in the 9th grade, but I suppose we could count this as one of the beautiful things about homeschooling! We can adjust our grade level and/or class load as it fits. Last year she completed the first literature class in the series we are working through from Janice Campell and earned a high school credit. This year’s Literature and Composition class will also earn her 1 high school credit.

The typical pace is for reading (to stay on top of things) is one book per month, but I have a feeling one of the books on her list may cause a little bit of angst (it’s causing me angst because I’m the teacher of the co-op class and I’m trying to figure out how to wiggle my way out of reading it again – I’m not afraid to admit that!).

10th grade homeschool reading and literature list - Homeschool Creations



Our 10th Grade Homeschool Reading List

For each of the above books, Laurianna will have a variety of papers to write (at least three per book). Papers and essays vary from author profiles (learning about the life of the author), approach papers (quick summary, discussion questions, and character profiles), and some lovely essays based on questions presented in the Literature and Composition text.

A few of these do have a video version, so we’ll be having fun comparing the text to the movie version. We also have plans to attend a local Shakespeare center and see Julius Caesar or The Importance of Being Earnest (leaning toward the latter).

The “Just for Fun” Additions

Sadly, much of Laurianna’s spare time will be taken up with her school reading and other fun hobbies, but we did want to add in a few books to read together – which we’ve already finished and loved! She does love to read though, so hopefully we’ll add a few more fun books in as the catch her attention.

This list also doesn’t include any of the family read-alouds that we will be working on together. Overall not a huge list for the year, but several of the books are fairly hefty and will involve a lot of essay writing and discussion, so definitely enough to keep her busy for the year!

Homeschool Reading Lists for our Other Children

Interested in seeing reading lists for our other kids as well? Check out our reading choices for this and past years by clicking on the links below. Stay tuned for our 3rd, 5th, and 7th grade reading choices!

9th-Grade-Homeschool-Curriculum-Choices.jpg

See all of our curriculum choices for this school year in our 9th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices post. It includes our lit program and several other wonderful programs we are loving!

What books are in your kid’s reading stack for this year?


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