Friday, May 19, 2017

Home School Year 2016-2017: What Worked and What was Scrubbed

This year marked our 19th year of home schooling.  I spent a lot of time driving Olivia back and forth to school this year, and so I wasn't nearly as available as I wanted to be, but all in all we had a pretty good year.

Angela was a senior and just recently finished the bulk of her assigned material.  After finding out she was going to miss the cut off age for NET Ministries this year, she applied and was accepted to Weber State University.  She has decided to pursue studies in psychology and criminology. She is planning to reapply to NET for next year and if accepted will take a break from her studies.

Angela's Senior Year Curriculum

Religion--Religion and Apologetics using Mother of Divine Grace's syllabus

Math--Having completed Saxon Advanced Mathematics Angela opted to forgo Calculus. She really had an easy year of it ;)

Science--Using Hewitt's Conceptual Physics I wrote a year long basic conceptual physics syllabus that incorporated week long hands on labs at the end of each unit.

History--US Government and Economics using Mother of Divine Grace's syllabus; Geography using Trail Guide to World Geography

Literature--Christian Writers-- This was a co-op class with discussions, papers, and projects taught by my very talented homeschool buddy.  Works included: The Man Who Was Thursday by GK Chesterton; Warrior Scarlet and Bonnie Dundee byRosemary Sutcliff;  The Story of Roland by James Baldwin;  The King of Ireland's Son by Padraic Colum; Message to Hadrian by Geoffrey Trease; Between the Forest and the Hills by Ann Lawerence; The Silmarillion,  The Children of Hurin, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien

Life Prep--Using Life Prep for Homeschooled Teenagers, Angela worked on several projects.  This book has really become outdated since first purchasing for my oldest children!  We ended up scraping most of it.  If I ever offer this course again to my kids, I may have to write my own syllabus.

Art--Drawing for Older Children by Mona Brookes


Katerina has really come into her own the last couple years.  We've discovered she is definitely an artist.  She took up the violin last June and surprised us, her teacher, and her orchestra instructor.  She practiced for hours a day, and even began devoting more time to practicing the piano.  She learned amazing pieces on both instruments by ear.  Her violin teacher is working on getting her to read music more fluently.  Drawing is probably her second great love and her abilities there have also shone through and improved.  Her bedroom is strewn with drawings, paintings, and sheet music.

Katerina's Freshman Year Curriculum

Religion--K began the year reading A Biblical Defense of Catholicism by Dave Armstrong. She managed to finish it, but around Christmas we decided to table formal religion study at home for the time being. She is a very slow reader and struggles with comprehension. She was completely overwhelmed with the amount of reading material she had for history and literature and I felt she was getting enough religious instruction in the awesome high school apologetics class taught in our parish.

Math--K started out the year using Saxon Algebra I, but by Christmas was failing miserably.  We switched to Mathhelp.com which has instructors, shorter lessons, and fewer problems to complete.  She still struggles, but has improved greatly.  Unfortunately for her, she needs to continue algebra through the summer.  I'm not sure where we'll go from there.

Science--Apologia's Physical Science

History--RC History's Connecting with History: A Guide to Salvation History Old Testament and Ancient Cultures--I love this curriculum.  It is reading intensive but I love how it integrates the study of cultures side by side as they co-existed in history.  It is also one that can be used for the whole family.  The syllabus contains tracks for each classical level of education.  We also love the "real" books vs. text book approach to history.  There is so much more flexibility studying history in this format and it can be matched to the strengths and interests of each individual student. The end of each unit includes ideas for all sorts of enrichment projects, including research papers, creative writing, and art projects, which can also be matched to each student.

Literature--See under Angela's Senior Year Curriculum (this is why K struggled so much.  We pushed her to join the Christian Lit class in co-op.  She surprised us all with her depth of understanding and ability to hang in there for the most part)

Language Arts--Vocabulary from Classical Roots B, All In One Straightforward English Series Master Book

Music--Piano lessons, violin lessons, and orchestra

Art--Drawing For Older Children by Mona Brookes

Benedict's 5th Grade Year

Ben is such a great student.  He's enthusiastic and seems to genuinely enjoy learning.  Every free moment he has a book in his hand.

Religion--Seton Religion 5

Math--Saxon 7/6

Science--I taught a simple machines and large structure engineering class in co-op using: The Kids' Book of Simple Machines: Cool Projects & Activities that Make Science Fun! by Kelly Doudna; Bridges and Tunnels by Donna Latham; Bridges! Amazing Structures to Design, Build & Test by Carol A. Johmann and Elizabeth J. Rich; and Building Big by David Macaulay

Literature--This was a co-op class taught by my talented homeschooling buddy.  Works included the entire Amazons and Swallows series by Arthur Ransome; Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle;  The Black Fox of Lorne by Marguerite de Angeli; The Red Keep by Allen French; The Treasure of Glaston by Elenor M. Jewett; and Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray

History--See Katerina's Freshman Year Curriculum above

Language Arts--Vocabulary from Classical Roots 5; Language Lessons for the Elementary Child Vol. 1 from Queen Homeschooling (I've been using this series since finishing all four volumes of Elementary Grammar from A Well-Trained Mind.  I haven't found anything I love as much as Elementary Grammar and unfortunately, I don't believe A Well-Trained Mind has any plans to expand the series. Boo-hoo!); Spelling Power by Beverly L. Adams-Gordan, Classically Cursive Book 2: The Ten Commandments by B. J. Jordan (I won't be using this resource again as the next in the series is entitled The Shorter Catechism and I fear likely contradicts Catholic teaching)

Music--piano lessons


Mr. Leo spent the first half of the year complaining about how much he hated the 30 minutes of school he had 4 days a week.  After Christmas break, we started reading lessons and when he realized he could finally read a short little reader all by himself he started to love school.  We also discovered he has a real head for math.  He knows all his addition facts through 20, many of his subtraction facts, and demonstrated an uncanny understanding of negative numbers.


Mr. Leo's Kindergarten Year

Religion--Bible stories using our children's picture bible

Math--Leo worked diligently through 4 math workbooks this year in this order: Essential Math A by Singapore Math; Star Wars Workbook: Preschool Number Fun by Workman Publishing; Star Wars Workbook: Kindergarten Math by Workman Publishing; and Essential Math B by Singapore Math

Handwriting--Handwriting Without Tears Kindergarten: Letters and Numbers for Me

Reading--Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Engelmann; BOB Books  Set 1 Beginning Readers by Bobby Lynn Maslen

Literature-Children's Traditional Literature Unit Study (I wrote this syllabus for our co-op)


Next school year we'll be down to three students at home. Yikes! I'm deep in the trenches putting together our plan for next year.  There is no rest for the homeschool mom!




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