It kind of startles me that we've been doing this homeschooling thing for that long. If you're doing the math you'll realize that our boys - well, two of them anyway - started out in public school. Wyatt completed fourth grade, and Tate second before we pulled them out. Gunnar is the only one that has been exclusively home educated. And that first year? Kind of a zoo. Well, the boys were littler, so there was a lot less pressure to "achieve" academically. And I was determined that we would have FUN and go on FIELD TRIPS and be CREATIVE. And we did. We were all about freshwater clams and Mt. St. Helens and the fire department and baking and Vikings and salt-dough models of the sea-floor and Dino-opolis and riding the Amtrak. And the boys learned a lot :D
The years have gone by and we've changed the way we homeschool. As the boys have gotten older we've gotten a lot more organized and focused. I even wrote an official-looking transcript this year, for the first time. Thank you, HSLDA, for the examples and templates :D Since keeping records is, you know, kind of important, I'll throw out my annual disclaimer:
For most of you, this post will definitely fall into the category of over-sharing. For me, this is record-keeping. If you're interested in the nitty-gritty details of What We Do For Homeschool, here's your fix. If not? Nothing to see here - move along ;D
Also, as I thought about the boys going to the Community College or Tech College on Running Start, I became convinced it would be better for them to be OLDER rather than YOUNGER, so we've "red-shirted" them - labeling them down a grade on paper so they'll be eligible for Running Start when they're a little older than they would otherwise. We're NOT taking advantage of the system in any way (not getting "more" somehow, than other people), just giving our boys an extra year to mature and become responsible and independent before starting college. Make sense? Moving on...
Wyatt - Grade 10
Wyatt decided to double up on math this year, thus taking four classes at the public high school - Second Year Spanish, Grade 10 English, Geometry, and Second Year Algebra. He did GREAT :D Invited to join the Honor Society and everything. He also had the opportunity to go sailing for a weekend on the Zodiac, with a school club - lots of fun :D
At home, he studied Chemistry, using Apologia materials, along with reading and summarizing a couple of related books - What Is Creation Science? by Gary E. Parker, and Environmental Overkill: Whatever Happened to Common Sense? by Dixy Lee Ray (former governor of Washington state, and a fairly conservative Democrat... how things change!)
Wyatt also divided the year between American Government and Economics.
And with that, I'm done teaching Wyatt. ACK! I mean, in an official, homeschool capacity anyway. Wow.
Tate and Gunnar together
Tate and Gunnar (and I) worked through these books together. We've been using (and re-using) Daily Grams for years - just a few minutes a day covers a lot of ground! And the Sequential Spelling has been awesome - wish I'd discovered them sooner.
We also did another year of Art Appreciation, using materials from Picturing America. LOVE this set of prints. We loan them out to lots of others, so they've been in continuous use. What a great resource. They went along very nicely with Tate's study of American history.
Tate - Grade 8
Tate just finished his last year of full-time homeschool. He'll be following in Wyatt's footsteps and will divide his time between public school and homeschool next year. They grow so fast! And he has had a very full year.
The language work... I'm determined that my boys know how to think and write coherently. And yes, we really did all of this.
A Beka's Grammar and Composition II, Wordly Wise (that's not a grade 4 book - the numbering on the older editions is... different), Writing Strands 4, Red Hot Root Words, Vocabulary From Classical Roots, and penmanship practice from Getty-Dubay.
Much to the dismay of the older generation, I'm not teaching them cursive writing. I have no idea whether they do or don't in the public schools - has no bearing on my decision. Cursive? No reason - no purpose - no need. They need to write legibly, smoothly, and quickly. Hello Getty-Dubay Italic.
Tate also worked through Apologia's Physical Science and finished Jacob's Elementary Algebra. Well, actually, I think we ditched the last chapter. He'll be taking Algebra again at the high school next year, so NBD (no big deal).
Sonlight's American History core was a GREAT fit for Tate - who loves history and reads voraciously. The History of US books form the spine, while he read all the other books along the shelf.
Gunnar - Grade 6
At least I think he's grade 6. He hasn't been "red-shirted" yet, and I'm still debating whether he has two years or three before launching into high school. Decisions, decisions. Meanwhile...
Like Tate, Gunnar is getting lots of varied practice with language. He worked through A Beka's Language B, Wordly Wise, Vocabulary from Classical Roots, and Words on the Vine. He wants to take his penmanship books to the rifle range and shoot them ;D
Gunnar is off-cycle for math, as I've mentioned every year. He finished Saxon's grade 6 math, and is about halfway through Pre-Algebra. Math and science are the main reasons I'm debating what grade to call him. I want to give him plenty of time to really understand the concepts and to handle them independently.
You may recall that Gunnar really wanted to do a year of chemistry. That enthusiasm lasted most of the year, flagging only when he grew tired of recording all the experiments and labs. Because mean old mom thinks that's kind of important. We had fun :D
With no real curriculum to work from, I pulled together a lot of things. We read through a two-page spread in Eyewitness Chemistry every week, keeping track of important scientists, definitions of terms, and new discoveries in a notebook. We used Usborne's Illustrated Dictionary of Chemistry (younger level) and the Kingfisher Science Encyclopedia (older level) to help us understand concepts and find definitions. Then I pulled experiments from LOTS of sources...
We used a couple of Adventures with Atoms and Molecules books, a couple of our favorite Janice van Cleave books, Fizz, Bubble and Flash (aimed for younger kids, but still helpful and fun), and the Chemistry C500 kit. The test tubes, vials of chemicals, and all the tools - pipettes, pincers, etc. - fulfilled his mad scientist dreams. I call it a success :D
While Gunnar may not love history quite as much as Tate, he is also a voracious reader and really enjoys Sonlight's literature approach to history. He just finished the first year of a two year walk through World History. And he has read...
... and is looking forward to next year.
Not pictured - all the boys are working on their keyboarding with Mavis Beacon.
I think that wraps it up. Well done, boys!