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July 13, 2017 by mshokie
I am gearing up to start our third year homeschooling in September. By that I mean that I am now planning out the overall structure of the year and the specifics for the first several weeks. I have bought all of the materials, but there are still some decisions I will have to make along the way. I am not the kind of person who can just use a scripted, pre-planned curriculum as is. I like to tie subjects together, if possible, and align topics to events in our lives. That said, I am using more pre-packaged curriculum than I did the other two years.
Living in Maryland, I am required to teach all 8 subjects listed below. I do not have specific time requirements for number of school days or hours in a day. The law just says that I have to cover them all regularly and thoroughly.
We are going to use Art of Problem Solving’s Introduction to Algebra. This past year, we did the Prealgebra book (actually, we are finishing the last chapter now.) That went better than I had expected, considering the rigor of the content. Therefore, we are going to continue the series. The Algebra book contains a lot more than what an honors Algebra I course in school covers. So, I will have to figure out at what point we call Algebra I done. However, for the most part of the year, I will just be working through the next section ahead of assigning it and make up tests along the way. I am considering having my son take the PARCC test for Algebra I in the spring, but I have to look more into it.
We are going to use RSO Biology 2. I was a little hesitant about doing life science again because we had spent a large part of 5th grade on it. However, I have been piecing together science materials for the last two years and will likely have to do it again the following year, so this will be one year where I have a ready-made science curriculum. I will just need to supply the lab materials as needed along the way. I am reading ahead, however, to use some of the supplementary books suggested either as literature or as health topics.
I settled on History Odyssey Early Modern 2. I like that it incorporates a lot of literature, which I will use as significant portion of my Language Arts curriculum. I also appreciate the note-taking, summarizing, and writing assignments. I had difficulty making those a priority when I was creating my own history assignments during the previous years. Reading through this curriculum, I am on the lookout for artists and art history to count for our art class.
I don’t have a curriculum for this class and it is kind of a work-in-progress hinging on other classes. I am teasing out the literature suggestions from History Odyssey and RSO Biology and are making those English assignments concurrent with the relevant history or science topics. In between those readings, I am sprinkling in Wordly Wise 3000 Book 7 for vocabulary, as well as the software version of Editor in Chief B2. I am also working my way through The Writer’s Jungle, so I will be mixing in other writing activities.
This is my weakest subject but my son’s passion, so I am outsourcing. He has a weekly piano lesson. In addition, he has a piano and a drum set at home and he tinkers around with electronic music on apps and websites. He easily fills a few hours per week doing his own musical thing.
Neither my son nor I care about doing art, but we have to do something to log for portfolio reviews. So, again, I have outsourced a large chunk. He is doing a computer animation class and a co-op art class. In between, I am going to point out some art-related topics that come up in the other subjects.
This one is also tough because my son is not interested in playing any sports. He is active riding his bike, climbing trees, etc. He will likely do another session of the homeschool gymnastics class that he did last spring. It is low-key, non-competitive, just teaches kids some gymnastics skills. Beyond that, I will just log whatever he does on his own.
Our biology curriculum has several chapters that are directly health-related, so I will just count that. Some other chapter have suggested additional reading that related a topic to personal health, so I can use that if the course seems a little sparse.
I am not required by the state to teach a foreign language, however, since we are a bilingual family, it is a requirement in our house. I found a fantastic video series at dw-world.com that also has tons of teacher resources. It is called Das Bandtagebuch mit EinsHoch6 and chronicles the life of a hip-hop band while also covering cultural aspects of the German-speaking world. So, we will use that for part of the year. We are also finishing Das neue Deutschmobil 3 and I am planning to use “easy reader” versions of Das Niebelungenlied and Wilhelm Tell. My son will take the National German Exam Level 2 in the winter.