My homeschool is making a dramatic shift this year as my oldest two sons have graduated high school. So instead of homeschooling 3 or 4 older children with preschoolers tagging along behind, I’m homeschooling 2 older kids and 2 little kids.
And the needs of 8th and 11th graders are dramatically different from the needs of a kindergartner and first-grader. As a result, I’m dividing my homeschool in half to focus on one group or another.
My 2016-2017 homeschool plans.
Saxon Math has been my family’s preferred math program for many years. The kids slowly work through the books aiming for mastery rather than speed.
This year we’re adding the Art Reed lectures for the teenagers. They read the textbook, listen to the lecture, and do the practice problems before completing the lesson.
I do insist the kids correct their homework to find any mistakes they’re making. It’s one thing to have a brain glitch and multiply 3X4=7…. oops, another to think you understand how to do the problem when you really don’t.
The younger children are using Saxon K and Saxon 1. In these books, each lesson begins with a meeting. The meeting covers calendar work, counting money, patterns, etc.
I decided to combine the two meetings into one customized package for my K and 1st grader. It’s easier if we do math together.
Language Arts or English
This year English for my older kids is simple. They’re using Tapestry of Grace for English. This means they’re reading through the literature and completing the writing suggestions for the appropriate level, either dialectic or rhetoric.
The dialectic level has a weekly worksheet to fill out while the rhetoric level has accountability and thinking questions to answer. Both kids also have a weekly discussion with me.
To review grammar I purchased the Jr. & Sr. High Daily Grams. Each day it reviews capitalization, punctuation, grammar, and sentence combining.
My first grader is still working her way through Phonics Pathways despite having taken off reading this summer. We’ll finish the book. She’s using Pentime Penmanship for handwriting and Spelling Workout A for spelling.
In addition, she’s also going to cover Tapestry of Grace’s literature and writing suggestions for her level. We’ll work on sentences, copy work, dictation, and read good books together. Grammar will wait a year or two, although Tapestry of Grace does introduce the parts of speech as part of the writing program.
My kindergartner is combining Saxon Phonics K with Phonics Pathways. He loves worksheets and I adore Phonics Pathways. It should be a great combination.
Latin is one of those subjects we move through like a snail. My oldest daughter is slowly making her way through Henle Latin.
My 8th-grade son stalled out last year yet again, so I decided to try Memoria Press’ First Form Latin this year with the lesson plan. I’ll let you know how it’s going in a couple of months.
Despite my 7-year-old begging to start Latin, I’m holding off for a year or so. The plan is to combine the youngest two children in Latin once they’re through phonics.
This year the family is using Tapestry of Grace Year 3 at the appropriate levels. This means my high school student is completing the rhetoric assignments, my middle school student is completing the dialectic assignments, and my little ones are tagging along with lower grammar.
Everyone completes the history assignment as well as the geography assignment. I’ve always enjoyed combining history and geography. It simply makes a lot of sense.
After some thought, even though I adore the Story of the World Series, I decided not to use Story of the World this year or next year. We’ll use Tapestry of Grace’s lower grammar suggestions as written.
In general, my kids use Apologia Science once they reach 7th or 8th grade. My 8th grader started the Apologia sequence last year and loves it.
Well, he loves the fact there are so many experiments in the textbook. Experiments are his favorite part of science. Speaking of experiments, the science kits from Home Science Tools are wonderful. They carry kits for many different curricula and have great prices.
I’ve combined the Apologia textbook with Knowledge Box Central’s Lapbook Journal. It walks him through the On Your Own questions and the study guide as well as giving him lap reports to fill out.
My little ones are using Elemental Science’s Intro to Science which was written for K5 and 1st graders. We had fun talking about liquids and solids this week, and the kids adored melting crayons. Even my 8th grader wandered into the kitchen to watch the fun.
I’m still working through my morning time plans, but right now we’re doing ‘morning time’ over lunch. I’m reading Tapestry of Grace’s recommended read-aloud to the kids.
Next week I’ll add poetry memorization and a rotating subject. Right now my high school teen has quite a bit of work lined up and doesn’t have time for a long morning time. My 5yo …, well he has the attention span of an active 5yo.
This year a short, sweet, and simple morning time works best for my family.
My high school teenager is also working through Rosetta Stone’s Japanese program and typing. She’s also practicing the guitar and piano. And she’s working her way through our great books collection.
School is keeping her very busy this year.
After some thought and realization that my older children don’t need me hanging over their shoulders every minute of the day, I’m trying a new system. This year I’ll concentrate on a subject a day.
On Mondays, I’ll sit down and discuss math with both of them. We’ll grade tests, review problems, and answer questions. I am available to answer questions at another time, but this is a day to focus on math.
Tuesdays will be devoted to foreign languages such as Latin. My daughter is studying independently and this is a time to touch base. I suspect I’ll be touching base and teaching Latin to my 8th-grade son daily though.
Wednesdays are for the history discussion. Tapestry of Grace advocates the approach of Read, Think, Write. The kids read their history assignments on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday we’ll hold our discussion. They’ll complete their writing assignment on Thursday and Friday.
Thursdays will be for a review of science. I’ll touch base and make certain the kids are on schedule, understanding what they’re studying, and answer any questions that come up.
Friday’s focus will be on literature and English. We’ll discuss literature, review daily grams, and edit their writing assignment.
Just because each day is assigned to one subject doesn’t mean I’m not available to answer questions daily. It’s simply the day we sit down and cover each subject thoroughly while the youngest kids are down for a quiet time.
The little ones will be working with me in the mornings. It looks like I should plan about 1.5 hours for math, language arts, and their extra subject.
The extra subject will either be history, literature, science, or art. I may even add a weekly project to our schedule and keep the youngsters busy.
We also started early for us, in August rather than September. The goal is to be halfway through the school year by Christmas.
My 11th-grade daughter did her calculations. With this schedule, we’ll finish her 12th-grade education in May. The college she plans to attend doesn’t start until the end of September. She’s going to have a long, long summer break in 2018.
Did I mention she’s enthusiastic about our new schedule?
What are your plans for the 2016-2017 school year?