Since my oldest will be beginning high school next year, I think I have been more proactive about planning what we will be doing ahead of time. It is not that we are making huge changes, but I guess I just feel the need to make sure all our bases are covered. I usually do one or two posts before the new school year on how we will be doing things. This time I am planning three posts: one on my high schooler, one on the middle schooler, and one on the two in the elementary grades. Which is a nice segway into one of the changes we are making this year: I am having my oldest do more of his work on his own. He will not be entirely on his own; I really value our “together” time, but he also just has more work to do overall so I want to make sure he gets enough time for that without school taking all day. My goal is still for him to be done in about 4 hours. Four hours of real concentrated work seems enough to me even in high school (just think about how much time in the public schools is occupied by actual intense work; it is not much). My general plan for all my kids is to do work four days a week for about thirty weeks. This is what we have done in the past as well though I have never really counted how many weeks we go. I realize this makes a somewhat short school year (120 days versus the usual 180), but, again, the time we spend working is not wasted on busy work or getting in line, getting kids’ attention, etc., and a lot of our other hours are spent on school-y things too. This 120 hours does not include PE (weekly gymnastics classes, park days, tennis camp) or music lessons (1 hour a week year round actually gets us another 50+ hours right there) or any field trips we do, not to mention things like church and Sunday school which I also consider educational. So I am fairly confident that we make 180 hours (though it is a grey area in our state whether we even have to).
Here is what he will be doing:
Math: This kid whizzes through math. He did three math curricula last year: geometry, algebra 2, and linear algebra, all using Life of Fred as our main curriculum. In the past I have also had him do the test booklets from Math-U-See just to make sure he does not have any gaps but I think I will drop this requirement. This year he will be doing Life of Fred Trigonometry. Knowing him, I will have to let him go on to calculus or else find him something else to do too.
Computer Programming: This is the one area that is my husband’s domain. They have been working through a book on Java.
Foreign Language: Up until now he had been doing Koine Greek with Open Texture which we really liked, but he is through their 3 volumes so I gave him the choice to continue with Greek or pick another language. He chose Latin. We will be using the Cambridge Latin Course. I got the first book and CD, but I am really pleased with what is available online from them; it is really their whole text. I also like that the book includes a lot of cultural stuff about life in ancient Rome.
Science: This is where we are making the big change this year. We have always done science all together with the older kids maybe doing some additional reading on their own. This year my oldest will be doing science completely separately from the rest of the family. I got DIVE into Biology for him. It is primarily a video based curriculum but there is also what they call an internet textbook (basically links to relevant articles) to do along with it. We are not going to be doing their labs (though I will have him watch them) but will instead do a Landry Academy intensive lab course at the end of the year.
Language Arts: I was really excited to see that Life of Fred now has a high school language arts curriculum so I bought that for him. It is four thin volumes of 19 chapters each which are meant to be done all in one year (and repeated yearly but I am not sure of we will do that). I am very excited about this because we love Fred. He will also be continuing with prepared dictation using Spelling Wisdom from the Simply Charlotte Mason website.
Literature: I have selected 10 short story writers and poets to study this year. Washington Irving is the first one we will tackle. My plan is to spend a month on each. We will read some of their works together and my son will read additional works on his own. Our goal here is mainly familiarity. I don’t have any particular resources or plans for literary analysis. We will also study one Shakespeare play together.
History: History is still family-based for us. As we are doing this year, I will read to all the kids from a “spine” book and then have them do more in-depth reading at their own levels. We had been doing the settlement of the Americas so in the fall we will begin with the build up to the Revolution, continue with the American Revolution, and then spend a brief time on the Constitution and the French Revolution. I hope that all that will take about half the year and that we will be able to make it most of the way to the Civil War this year. My high schooler will be reading The War for Independence by Albert Marrin (he had a book on oil we used when we studied geology that I really liked) and The Year of the Hangman by Gary Blackwood (we really liked his books on Shakespeare). Though we did so once in the past I think we will try to listen to Johnny Tremain as an audio book and hopefully a number of others. Our family spine will continue to be This Country of Ours by H.E. Marshall.
Social Studies: My goal for high school is to build up a credit or two over the course of the years so we don’t need to do all our social studies in one year. My son had read the first Uncle Eric books which is on economics last year; this year I will have him continue with the second one which is on government. This will alternate with his literature reading so that he does each one twice a week. We will also be doing geography as a family using SCM’s Visits to North America. I am hoping to substitute a more difficult book for the Holling books they recommend. I also generally have my kids do some sort of map drill, usually online, once a week.
Fine Arts: My son is taking bagpipe lessons which will continue year round. We will also continue with art and music study as a family. This is also the sort of thing where he will acquire one credit over a number of years.
Other subjects: His schedule already seems pretty full but I am hoping to squeeze in a few more books, one on the history of science and some on the Bible or theology. We do do Bible together and they all read their Bibles independently as well.
So in terms of a daily/weekly schedule, this is what my 9th grader will be doing:
Bible or theology reading -4x/week
Math – 4x/week
History – 4x/week
Science – 4x/week
Latin – 4x/week
Bagpipe practice – 5x/week (and lesson 1x/week)
Literature -2x /week alternating with social studies 2x/week
Language arts – LOF language arts 3x/week and prepared dictation – 1 passage per week
Map drill – 1x/week
Together with the family: Bible, history spine, Shakespeare, Literature reading, artist and music study
And that’s our plan. It seems like a lot. I hope it is not too much.