It’s a week or two past the half-way point in our 2019-2020 school year! Time to give you a run-down of how things are going!
It’s hard to believe we have completed half our school year already! That must mean we are having so much fun that the time is flying by. I would hope my two teenagers would say the same, but I won’t hold my breath on that one!
Last August, I revealed my curriculum choices for the upcoming school year. You can check out what I chose for my 10th grader and 8th grader in a previous blog post. As always, I make careful, meaningful, and prayerful decisions regarding what we will be learning. I’ve been at this homeschooling gig long enough to know there is no perfect curriculum. It has taken several years for me to learn that the curriculum is not the master – you are. You’re the boss, applesauce!
I am one who likes to complete the book. I also like to check off boxes. Sometimes my boxes don’t get checked, and we may have a chapter or two (or three) left undone. Curriculum is great, and when used to guide you along the year, the curriculum becomes your friend, not an enemy. It took me years to figure that out! I’m pleased to say we are happy with most of this year’s choices, so not a lot has changed.
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Things that are working well for us:
Math: Although I was reluctant, my switch from Teaching Textbooks to CTC Math has been a good fit for my 10th grader. Personally, I still prefer TT for ease of use, but there are other elements of CTC that just works better for my daughter. Keeping my 8th grader with Teaching Textbooks has continued to work very well for him, and will likely remain the same for next year.
Science: I chose a couple of winners this year! For my 8th grader, General Science I from Master Books has been perfect for him. He is able to do it on his own, and thanks to the layout, has even retained a lot of the information he’s read. It is lacking in hands-on activities, but I have been able to add a project, documentary, field trip, or an experiment when the opportunity arises.
BJU Biology has been more like a college course, but we both really like it. There is a lot of text reading, so in order to get through it, we have hit the highlights of a few chapters. The experiments are in depth. As recommended by the publisher, it is not necessary to do them all. We often pick one we are most interested in, and others we have viewed the experiments via YouTube.
History: They both do All American History by Bright Ideas Press together. The book is nothing flashy, but it is very well written to hold their attention. There are many projects to choose from, as well as a worksheet that has helped them with note taking and map reading with each lesson. Time restraints have kept us from doing a lot of the projects because of my block scheduling, but I feel overall, they are getting a quality history course.
Bible: I have been blown away by my daughter’s success with Grace School of the Bible. I too, am taking the 3 year course, and it is quite challenging! My son and I are going through Route 66. Just as described, it’s a good overview of the Bible at a fast pace.
Grammar/English: So far, so good with Fix-It Grammar for my daughter, and Easy Grammar Plus for my son. Not a big favorite for either child, but it gets the job done. The Vocabulary Cartoons have been a hit. We enjoy playing various games to keep it from just being a “list of words”. I plan on sharing those in a future post.
Typing – Typing.com has been a great tool for them both. They recently completed the beginner keyboarding course. There are several more courses and features than I wasn’t aware of, so we will be revisiting this one in the coming years.
A change in plans
My original plan using BJU Literature has changed. I stumbled upon a course, American Folklore, on SchoolhouseTeachers.com that all of us can enjoy. It has been a great compliment to our American History class. That, combined with reading aloud is working well for now. We will keep the BJU Lit on the shelf for perhaps another time.
Our writing plans have changed from Wordsmith Craftsman to The Power is in Your Hands for now. I felt my daughter needed the format of Power for now. I may use parts of Wordsmith as well. We’re just beginning so we shall see. We have recently started another section of Jump In for my 8th grader that we will work through this year. We have not done writing as much as I have intended, so this half of the year we will be more consistent.
One of the many benefits of homeschooling is tailoring and using curriculum to teach each child as an individual. When something is not working as planned, there are always options. Perhaps the need might be to change the time of day of some subjects, or tweak in some other way. Others just need to be abandoned if everyone is miserable. Some things may just need setting aside for a time. It is a huge benefit for everyone by taking a few hours or a day to re-evaluate and plan to finish the year strong and happy!