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Homeschool Wrap Up September 2019

As much as I truly want to share weekly updates, life has a way recently of flying by. My time on Instagram and Facebook has been limited. BUT our time with school has definitely been in high gear. 

We started our school year the first week of September. It’s the latest we have ever started, but after a crazy busy summer, two kids working, swim team, and still feeling behind from the rush of Laurianna’s graduation and then joining Mercy Ships – well, I personally needed to breathe a little. 

(Maybe you’ve noticed I’ve been a bit quiet here overall lately?)

I’m hoping to share a bit more on the whole “catching up” that I’ve been trying to do with life as we settle into a new year and adjust to a different season. 

But – how are YOU all doing this year so far? 

Despite my best intentions, we didn’t get a first day of school picture of the kids. So McKenna was more than happy to jump in and help out with that. She was even nice enough to include Laurianna – all the way in Africa. 

All that said – we have jumped back into school and managed to get into a fairly good groove overall. Most school days start rather early (M/W the boys are up at 4:45a and T/Th at 5:15a) for the boys’ swim practices. The boys have been doing really well with the early mornings (some days are a little harder than others). 

7th Grade Learning

Even though we have a school room, the boys often like to spend time working in the living room, especially since we have a new couch and can spread out a little more now. Kaleb is really enjoying the switches we made this year with his curriculum. It’s allowed him a bit more independence and he is working hard to do as much without my help. 

This is a HUGE step for him, especially with his reading. He is currently 7th grade and although he is still behind grade-level, he has been making some great strides – which has definitely been encouraging to both him and us, and helped tremendously with his confidence. 

Grammar and math are two of Kaleb’s “pocket” areas. Grammar is one subject he has always done well in. In years past, he has worked through the daily lessons alongside me, but this year it is another one that he has taken over independently (and is doing great). 

Kaleb has also been working slowly through Word Up Vocabulary – short video clips and then some online Quizlet work with the new words. 

Another area we’ve really been hitting hard is spelling. While there are days it seems we are going so slowly, we are really trying to make sure Kaleb really has it down firmly. This year has been a lot easier going (some things have “clicked” a little more for him as well as his willingness to jump in full force).

There are moments when I can sit and breathe as the boys work. Sometimes that means I can grab a little bit of reading time, but more often it’s catching up and trying to stay ahead (currently reading Homeschool Bravely, amongst other things). 

9th Grade Learning

Most of our days are spent with our puppy VERY close by. Sometimes more of a hinderance than a help. :) 

Zachary started North Star Geography  last year and we initially planned to work on it over the course of two full years. After he started back up with the program this year, he decided to wrap it up sooner, so he will hopefully be finished with that class at the end of October. 

Last year Zachary started Algebra 1 with Teaching Textbooks. While he did get a good chunk of the program completed, I will admit to not being on top of all of his work, especially once our year went a bit haywire at the end. We initially planned to work on the program over the summer – but that just didn’t happen. 

Admitting my shortcomings to you all – plain and simple. 

Now Zachary has had to step it up to finish the Algebra 1 lessons and then jump into Geometry as soon as he completes it – hopefully end of October as well!

A new-to-us class this year, Grammar for Writers, has been going really well also. This should be a one semester class (1/2 credit) for Zachary, so he has a little wiggle room with lessons if he needs to focus on another area. The video lessons have been engaging so far and Zachary and I work through the lesson quizzes together. 

One of the things I am so glad that we decided to do again this year is a small co-op for both biology and Personal Finance. Biology has been so much fun already – and quite honestly it’s been interesting to see how much Zachary really remembers (and how easily he can memorize – because let’s face it, sometimes I wonder about the teenage brain). When it’s something he ENJOYS, he is all in.

And personal finance, he absolutely LOVES. We were recently out with friends and the bulk of the time he spent explaining compound interest to all of the kids. It was rather hilarious to listen to, but again – when he loves it, he is ALL IN!

11th Grade Learning

The bulk of McKenna’s work has been independent, and she checks in with me with papers she has written, etc… but overall she is falling into her own routine for the new year. She started a new job and works two afternoons a week, and her fall drama/musical class started at the beginning of October. 

The Kid in Africa

Laurianna is adjusting to life on the Africa Mercy and doing really well. Since flying to Guinea, Africa at the end of May, she has since sailed to the Canary Islands (while the ship was in dry dock and getting prepped for Senegal) and then on to Senegal.

She has already decided to extend her time with Mercy Ships. Her initial return would have been in March, but at this point she has pushed the date into May. We’re still waiting on a specific date, but thankful she is settling in. :) 

You can follow along with her trip via her blog here: https://deeplyrooted.blog/

One thing we are thankful for is the opportunity to Facetime with her. The ship has wifi, and we sometimes have a spotty connection, but it’s good to be able to SEE her, even though she is so far away. 

It’s rather strange adjusting to life with one less kiddo in the house – and being a parent of one that is technically an adult – and learning how to parent from a different place in life. But it’s also a good adjustment too. :) 

What We’re Using

If you’d like a peek at our curriculum choices (because we did switch some things up this year), feel free to click on any of the below links. 

 

 

 

10th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Picks (2018-2019)

So far, McKenna has earned a total of 13.5 credits toward high school diploma. At the end of her 10th grade year she will have completed 6.5 more credits, making a total of 20.5 credits toward her diploma. Several of her classes will require a bit more from her (hello, we’re looking at you chemistry).

McKenna did a fairly good job establishing her own routine last year, but this year we are going to tweak it a little bit and set it up together. McKenna has a tendency to over-plan and over-do and be very thorough in her work. Sometimes a little too much (gotta love the girl). This year I’m hoping to help her establish a little more balance so she isn’t quite as hard on herself, since she tends to stress herself (and those around her) out. 

Rule #1 for the year though is to make sure her cell phone (and mine) are put aside during our school time. Distraction can be a huge impediment to our day, so the phone will disappear fairly early in the day and provide incentive for her to get through her work. :) 

We will be working with one other family in a small co-op to complete our chemistry review and labs as well as our literature class.

10th Grade Curriculum Choices

Credits to earn: 6.5

Algebra 2

We’ve used Teaching Textbooks in past years and this year we will be continuing, but instead of using the typical textbook/CD-rom we are switching to the Algebra 2 3.0 online version. I’m really excited about this switch since I can log into the account at the same time and view the lesson, and we can access from any computer, not just one specific (which we had to do with CD-rom version).  

Government/Economics

Each of these classes will take place over a semester (each a 1/2 credit). We’re planning to start with government and will then move into economics. We’ve used Notgrass other years (for different subjects), but haven’t used the Government or Economics specifically. McKenna really enjoyed the format of the books last year, so we’re looking forward to the continuity and familiarity of the layout. 

Spanish

We’re switching to a new Spanish curriculum this year. I did a lot of research over the last year trying to figure out what to use with McKenna (Spanish with Laurianna wasn’t one of our favorite subjects at all and we really disliked the format of what we started with – and that the program had no support since it was bought out by another company). 

A few friends recommended Breaking the Barrier, and while it is not online, we’re hoping the workbook format will be a little more user friendly for us overall and easier to follow. 

Chemistry

This is another new-to-us curriculum. After Carisa’s son used it last year, we sat down and reviewed it with her and decided to make the switch to this program. Truthfully, I’m a little nervous about this class since Laurianna went through chemistry in a co-op setting. BUT, if anything, we have a great teacher’s manual and will have fun working on experiments/labs together. :) 

Literature

The last few years we have used two of the literature programs by Janice Campbell and love the format of them. This year we are using her British Literature program. It isn’t one we’ve used before, but has a few books I can’t wait to dig into with McKenna. 

Drama

McKenna is really excited to be taking another theatre class at our local community college. Each week she is participating in workshops, vocal training, and at the end of the semester the group will be performing the musical, Urinetown (I know it sounds crazy, but it looks hilarious). Because this is an intense class with a lot of in-class and out of class hours (and she will be one of the leads!!), she will earn 1/2 credit for the class. If she decides to participate in the spring semester class as well, we will bump it up to a full credit. 

Poetry

This year we will also be working through the Grammar of Poetry from Compass Classroom. There is a local workshop that will tie-in with what we are learning in the program, and McKenna will earn .5 a high school credit for this class. 

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 McKenna the past few years:

Planning the Middle and High School Years

Overview planning pages for middle and high school

One thing that has been a huge help to me in mapping out the upcoming years with our kids  is this middle school and high school planner. Essentially I am able to get an extended view and map out the future years to see what we need to work on and when it might fit in best -and make sure we aren’t missing anything overall. 

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! Check out the entire Homeschool Basics series for answers to more frequently asked homeschool questions.

Homeschool Teaching Styles and Philosphies.png Identifying Children's Learning Styles copy How to Choose Homeschool Curriculum

See What the Other Kids Are Up To…

Click one of the images below to see curriculum picks for our other children.

9th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

9th Grade Curriculum Choices

Credits to earn: 7.5

 

While the bulk of our classes for 9th grade are the same ones Laurianna took a few years ago, we have changed up the order a little for McKenna and are using a few different things with her. McKenna really took ownership of her classwork last year and earned 5.5 credits toward her high school diploma (8th grade). This year she will be earning an additional 7.5, possibly 8 depending on her class decision in the spring semester. 

We are switching the order of math for her (Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2) where we did it a little differently for Laurianna (Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry), partly based on feedback from Laurianna on how they tied in with her other classes (chemistry, etc..). 

Also, McKenna is really excited to be taking a theatre class at our local community college. Each week she is participating in workshops, vocal training, and at the end of the semester the group will be performing Les Miserables (cannot wait!). Because this is an intense class with a lot of in-class and out of class hours, she will earn 1/2 credit for it. If she decides to participate in the spring semester class as well, we will bump it up to a full credit. 

The Joys of Independent Learning

Last year we did have a few issues with McKenna putting aside subjects she was “less enthusiastic” about, creating a bit of a back log in some areas (and then some added stress on her part). This year we are going to have to be on top of her a little more to make sure she is staying on target and we will be putting markers in her Student Planner so she can be sure she is where she needs to be in each subject at various points of the year (i.e. if there are 32 lessons in Latin, she should be at lesson ___ by Christmas break).  She and I may have butt heads a bit about this throughout the year. :) 

Hint: my idea of how things should be scheduled may be a little different than hers, and since this is a life skill, we think it’s important to master this now.

Co-op Learning

We have a small group of high schoolers that will be meeting weekly to work on literature and personal finance. McKenna will also be getting together with one friend to do the lab part of biology (because any dissection is better with a friend, right?). 

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 McKenna 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!

5th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2017

 

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.

 

Save 20% THURSDAY ONLY – Online Middle & High School Classes

If you are looking for classes for middle school and high school, be sure to check out The Academy from Bright Ideas Press. For ONE DAY ONLY (Thursday, June 15th) you can save 20% off your purchase
 
 
Use code SUMMERTIME at checkout and receive 20% off your total purchase. Note: This offer is not valid on Student Newspaper and may not be combined with other offers.
 
They are offering 100+ classes for high school and middle school taught by some of the top-notch teachers in their field.  Whether you need pre-algebra or calculus, Spanish or American Sign Language,  public speaking or essay writing, Renaissance history or mythology, The Academy has you covered. And all these classes will be taught from a solidly Christian worldview.  We have loved their North Star Geography.
 
Click HERE to view the course catalog for The Academy at Bright Ideas Press. 
 
Spots are filling quickly in many of these classes, so make plans now to secure your spot on Thursday and receive 20% off.

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