Week In Review 2019: Week 4

Our first month of school is under our belts, and crazily enough the first month of 2019 is also under our belts. This also means that in less than 2 weeks our eldest turns 18, where on earth did the time go?!

This week we had a public holiday on Monday to recognise Australia Day, which was a little silly because Australia Day fell on Saturday, but alas the government felt need to be sure we all had a day off from work.. or something like that.

While we didn’t attend to all our studies on Monday we did attend to a few things, amongst which was math. Most of the rest of our day was spent putting the house back in order and stacking up wood from the shrubs we trimmed.

Ahh, the story of our shrubs is a long one and best saved for another day, but they are very very tall and need much taming. We opted to thin them out just a little bit to prevent the neighbour doing further damage to them, and it took us nearly the whole weekend!

There were some groans about having to attend to math on a “public holiday” so I attempted to woo them with leftover {allergy friend} brownies I’d made for Australia Day. One child was delighted, the other snubbed them. Ahh well, you simply can’t win them all with brownies, but a good Pavlova often does the trick. 
One of the boys has been watching the new Carmen SanDiego shows on Netflix and in one episode “Carmen” jumped on a snowmobile to make her escape, the detective in pursuit caught up with her in a matter of seconds to which someone was overheard muttering, “Clearly the writers didn’t do enough Algebra problems.” Oh goodness did I laugh!

The crazy racoon will pop up every so many lessons with TT, or some other encouraging note or joke, and each time it’s happened I’ve tried to snag a photo with 0 luck. This week I managed one and sent the photo through our Family Chat which confused poor Mr S who was at work and had 0 clues what was going on.

Another full week of history, which felt a considerably heavier load this week with not attending to it on Monday. We will likely have a day or two to catch-up with in our final week of term, but that’s all right, I’d rather enjoy the journey then spend the days rushing through them.

We’re still working our way through The Cat Of Bubastes, and will wrap that up next week. I opted to slow the pace for a variety of reasons, which is lovely but also means we will likely have to scrap a few of the Living Library books in order to be able to do that with future books, but that’s fine. We’ve previously read a few that were planned.

We have 8 chapters left in our first PAC booklet, which actually surprised me because it looked like a lot less. I can only presume that a few of the chapters ahead will be short, not that any of the chapters have been super long yet. We’re still enjoying the little booklets and feel they give a more balanced view of things than Unveiling The Kings Of Israel does.

We continued our voyage with Unveiling The Kings Of Israel this week, we still found small issues with it, but it was much less than in previous weeks. However the author spent more time speaking to his personal travels, history {from his changed date system}, and other author’s writings which were all interesting to read.

We also found that we had more timeline figures to add to our Portrait Gallery, but it was also stated that if you no longer had room {we didn’t} to put them on the actual timeline lines. We did, but I have to confess they seem big and clunky there. Had we known we could have printed them at a slightly smaller size to help it fit better. Oh well, perfection is not the goal!

We had a lot more mapping in our notebooking pages this week, which the boys enjoyed, compared to writing. Not that they don’t like the writing aspect, although they felt slightly frustrated by this weeks written narration as the information provided was very skimpy. We’ve read about Hammurabi in previous trips through World History, so they weren’t lacking for knowledge, but sticking with the assignment they tried to draw from the information provided.

If you’re astute you’ll notice that the above photo strip is the same as last week.. that’s not from a lack of attending to our Language Arts, but more the lack of Mamma remembering to take photos. We’re still enjoying our time with Just David, although honestly I’d like to snatch the book and go curl up somewhere with it because I want to see where it’s taking us! One of my boys isn’t as impressed but he confessed he’s struggling with the narrator of the book, so I read it aloud a few days.

They’ve made enough progress on their first poem that they were able to use the “missing words” side of the card to practice with this week, one still has a bit of work to do with his geography card, but the other has them down pat. Not a huge shocker. They both have the Latin/Greek down too.

This week we read about Ralph Waldo Emerson, and discussed some of his poetry’s deeper meanings. The kids also had their first dose of sentence diagramming which they didn’t bat an eye out after years of IEW which gave them the confidence to recognise parts of speech. They still need to attend to an annotation lesson, but it will keep for another day. They also worked on a few other small writing projects with the curriculum, there’s a bit more meat in there than it appears upon first glance.

We continued with our Art History lessons this week wrapping up Disc 2 with Mr Stebbing and jumping into Short Lessons In Art History which has small bios about various authors. This meant we also reached a new section of our Art Gallery Notebooking Pages which made for a nice change. These are the only pages we aren’t typing on, the kids took turns labelling the art work this week. Morgan is still working on his Tiffany Window, I’m excited to see the finished project! 
We found that some of the description of the Madonna with Child and Virtues were difficult to see in the small, but beautiful, art work on the notebooking page so I had a quick google search and found a lovely large photo of it on Wikimedia which allowed us to see all the wonderful details that were being described to us. 
We made a small switch, yes already, to our curriculum. We were given the opportunity to try out Guest Hollow Chemistry, which had me thrilled to bits as his was something I’d intended to go with in the first place, and yet didn’t originally run with. The curriculum is put together with lots of lovely book choices, videos, and a hefty workbook for the students.

It comes with gobs of videos suggestions and link, practical kitchen experiments {okay, cooking!}, and the ability to make this curriculum cover a few credits that the boys need for high school so I was  beyond excited to give this a whirl. I know we’re still in what’s often dubbed “the honeymoon” period, but my goodness did we have fun! My science hater didn’t complain once, and may have chuckled, oohed, and ahhed.

We’re loving Dr Joe And What You Didn’t Know which is loaded with fun questions that have surprising answers. While I really do prefer physical books for most things we are relying on an Audible copy merely because we wanted to dig into this programme NOW and that was the quickest way to get the book as our library doesn’t have it. We’re also digging into Culinary Reactions, which is also in audio format for the same reason. We learned about weighing and measuring ingredients and why it matters and affects the outcome from a chemical reaction, we learned about calories, and foams.. With the big experiment this week being to make bread, we made our traditional Buckwheat Bread recipe which we turned into pizza crust, my science hating child was over the moon giddy.

We watched a load of small clips on YouTube which I put together on watch lists on YouTube to make it easier to pull them up each day and mirror them from a device to our tv. It also cuts down on the race to find the right link, and allows an auto-play feature to work on the playlists. We watched Mr Brady with the crazy hair get very excited about all kinds of elements, and his helper blow up bubbles made of helium. We also watched a Mythbusters Episode about the Hindenburg and possibilities of how/why it might have blown up.

Honestly, it was one of the best weeks of science we’ve had in a while, mostly because everyone was keen to attend to the lessons!

We also decided to take our own route with health.. after much prayer, internal debates, and some research we’ve decided to take a much different route with health. The reality is that we had a very thorough year of biology last year which covered reproduction on an absurdly crazy amount of levels, as well as different functions of the body. Frankly we’re not interested in a health curriculum that is repeating everything we learned last year. So after coming up with a plan of action I sat the boys down and explained that amongst a few other requirements for the year I would be emailing them articles that they’d be required to read and then we’d be discussing them the following day. They were pretty excited about it, I may or may not share the articles and other requirements as we attempt this voyage.

All up we had a good week despite the interruption on Monday. We decided that we like it better when interruptions and holidays happen on Fridays vs Mondays. We spent the week feeling far less rushed to accomplish things than we do when they occur on Mondays, and yet it’s all the same amount of time really isn’t it? 

Week In Review 2019: Week 3

Our third week of school is all wrapped up, we had a few minor bumps this week in our studies and schedule, but nothing major that can’t be ironed out in the weeks ahead. We also had some insane weather here that had us melting where we stood, man do I miss central air conditioning on crazy humid days like that! By the end of the week the air was smoky and the smell of it burns the eyes and throats, our poor little island is on fire and we are in desperate need of rain to help combat it.
We are nearly up to our full schedule; we didn’t have health this week due to how it was oddly scheduled, and we may change tactics with that in the future. One of the boys wants to do a seperate writing curriculum which is not in hand yet either, but excluding those I think we’re up to full speed here which is nice. It gives us an idea of where those bumps are and how to iron them out for the remainder of the term.

It’s always a small challenge to see how our new term will unfold compared to previous ones as we work towards new goals and create new schedules to aid us along that path.

We began Unit 2 this week in HOD’s World History, I’m not really sure why they are called units instead of weeks to be honest. In fact in our home we generally just say week. Ahh, anyway, we had some issues with further readings in Unveiling The Kings Of Israel this week, it’s left us very disappointing as the book is nothing like the description. Sadly, it’s more of a distorted retelling of OT Bible happenings with the very rare and occasional insight into customs at that time. It ends up resulting in far more time being taken on this book as people scramble for Bible saying, “Wait didn’t… really happen?”

I am grateful do have these discussions with my children, without doubt, but I’m really disappointed  in the book being scheduled and used because of the multiple gross errors within. When you know that the Bible is being distorted it leaves you wondering if the archeological and historical information is also being treated in the same manner. Monday was especially hard with this book because the boys had a written narration on the information within the book about Abram, and in the end they reread Abram’s life story from Genesis before attending to the writing. We are super grateful this book is only used for 8 weeks.

We also read a few chapters from the PAC booklet again, it’s amusing to us that we were worried those would be what we’d not enjoy, but thus far we haven’t minded them at all. They’ve shared more historical and/or custom information on the time periods than the previous book which has made it very enjoyable. And they completed their first official Portrait Gallery in their Book of Centuries, it only took 2 years as the BOC lasts for all 4 high school years.

We are still reading through The Cat Of Bubastes, but I confess it’s not one of my favourites. I much preferred the radio production we listened to of this book a couple of years ago by Heirloom Audio, in fact if I were to ever do this level again I’d use that in place of the book. I’m not sure why I’m not enjoying the story, it may be that the chapters are well over 30 minutes each and they are often scheduled ate the rate of 1.5 chapters per day. The boys are enjoying the book though, which is the important part. We also enjoyed this article to understand more about the birthright and blessing that is given to Jacob in Genesis.

We have just a few chapters left in But Don’t All Religions Lead To God, and it’s been sharing this book with my youngest, making it my second trip through myself. It’s funny how upon rereading books you notice things you didn’t previously or things that hit you before hit you harder this time.

I did share this article with my boys when the author claimed Jesus was a refugee, a very common, all be it entirely false, claim. For the nitty gritty to understand the why you’ll need to read the article, but for the quick version Egypt was ruled by Rome, and Roman citizens were not refugees within lands still ruled by them.

I’m excited to wrap up the book next week and jump into the other aspects of it and see how we go. My youngest has far more questions with our readings than the older did, and it’s been enjoyable to have those discussions with him. I’m also hopeful that the next book scheduled will help with some of the questions he’s been asking.

We started our new language arts programme, which thus far has been enjoyable. It’s a little light compared to what we used previously, but at the same time we’re only just starting so we’ll see if that remains the case all the way through or not. I purchased the Physical/Digital combo kit unaware that you would get EVERYTHING in both formats, I also didn’t expect the little booklets to be of such beautiful quality, had I known I’d have ordered 2 sets of booklets and skipped the digital version. I printed the kids out the worksheets they’d need and we’re working through Unit 1 together. With future units they may or may not work solo, but as it’s new they opted to work together for now.

We’re enjoying Just David by Eleanor H. Porter, we’ve read many of her other books and loved them all, but somehow I’d never heard of this one. We indulged ourselves in her mini biography in Unit 1 as well as the first 12 pages of the booklet. We were aiming for 15, but this was one of those minor blimps I was referring to.

The programme comes with Geography, Latin/Greek Roots, and Poetry cards. The objective is to select the ones in your unit and work on them. The Latin/Greek Roots are the same for the whole year, my kids already knew nearly all the words on there with only a half dozen or less being “newish” to them, but they still run through the list each day. The Geography card for the first unit is New England and one has the states down pat, the other just calls everything Rhode Island which cracks us up. They selected the poem Trees by Sergeant Joyce Kilmer and run through it each day as well.

They made it through Lesson 6 in the art history dvd as well, and had matching notebook pages to answer some questions about the information they heard. I find it interesting that my non artsy student was not looking forward to all the “art” this year, but has fully enjoyed watching these dvd and being a part of the daily discussion around them. I confess that I didn’t partake in many/much of the videos this week as I left them to it while I was dashing around dealing with other things, and we met up after they finished to work through the notebooking pages.

We are dragging our first science lesson out over two weeks, which is probably a little bit nutty, but Monday is a public holiday and Mr S will be home to do the first lab with the kids. It’s really a very simple one, but he wanted in on Chemistry this year so I figured it was a great way for him to be a part of things in a fun way. Although he did ask if he had a white lab coat.. I mean to say!

While waiting on the lab the kids finished off their element flash cards and continued to quiz each other. They do really well with the flash cards, but were really disappointed with their practice test results. It’s a practice test though, and I heard at least one of them practicing with the cards slightly differently after his practice run so it’ll be interesting to see how they go on the actual test.

Both boys are doing excelling with their math. One thing we’re enjoying about Teaching Textbook is that each problem can be watched with an explanation of how to work it out if someone gets in a jam, but one of the HUGE drawbacks of it is that the math problems are presented on a YELLOW notepad on the computer. This is a HUGE issue for my Irlen kids who have yellow and red on their no-no colors. {No-no colours, are colours that set their Irlen into hyperdrive..} and with TT’s colours being yellow and orange this can be a huge issue at times. We’d love to see future version of TT allow the student to change the notepad colour just like they can change their buddy and background.

Our struggling student has made huge headways by having him only do every other problem. He’s able to concentrate better on those problems because he’s not being over exposed to the crazy yellow and orange colours. Which in turn boosts the confidence and shows in the work. I’m grateful to have found a way to work with the problem, but man it’d be so awesome if Teaching Textbooks would fix that little notepad!

There was also some foreign language happening, but no pictorial proof, as well as hobbies and kitchen help. Our state is currently on fire which means a total fire ban. We are allowed to use gas grills/barbecues {thankfully} which we took liberty with due to the extreme heat and not wanting to overheat the kitchen. The kids watched the fajitas we cooked one night as well as baked potatoes another, and made the pasta to go with the goulash on a third night. So grateful who kids are who are capable in such matters!

Incoming School Gear

A package of more school gear arrived at our house this week, such excitement! This is a programme I stumbled upon while hunting down something else. I’m familiar with The Good And The Beautiful as a curriculum, but was unaware they’d branched out with gear for high school so I was pretty excited when I spotted it. I downloaded the very large sample and poured over it for quite a while, then spent some time in prayer about it, and finally put it on the list for our official LA curriculum for the year.

We waited until after the Christmas — New year shut down of our local post office before putting in an order and then waited. We actually ordered in the wee hours of the morning {USA Time} on their Tuesday, so when their Saturday rolled around and we still had no shipping notification I became a little bit concerned and reached out to the company.

If I’m SUPER honest I’d say that the feedback at that time was unsatisfactory and indicated that my items hadn’t shipped and would likely go out Monday from their warehouse. By our Thursday I was a tad frantic about the fact that I’d still not received any indication that our parcel had shipped, and reached out to the company yet again. This time they told me my item had shipped out on their Wednesday, are you confused by all these time frames yet?!, and then passed on my tracking number. Low and behold my package was out for delivery! 

One of the huge draws for our purchase with this curriculum was that there was only 5 books for the required reading. There are reading challenges within if you want to indulge in them, but for my student who could care less about excess reading 5 books was not overwhelming to him. In fact it was very normal sounding.

Interestingly enough, even though we use a literature rich curriculum I still have a child who’s not really keen on reading all the time, and you know what I’m totally okay with that. It’s always a treat to see him curled up with a book, which does happen, but I’m also content when it’s not his “thing”.

For my student who loves to read 5 books seemed crazy limited and he told me so. I reminded him that our literature based history curriculum would have LOTS of books in it, further he could easily take up ANY of the reading challenges within the LA programme, and that it would also leave him with plenty of time for the large stack of library books he often has on the shelf too.

Another huge deal about these books is that the author of the curriculum doesn’t pick books with language in them. Our non-reader had a situation where he was reading a book by a former favourite author and came to a scene where not only was God’s name used poorly, but a slew of curse words followed. He was very upset by the situation, and it took a lot to convince him to finish the book, which I finished pre-reading and blocked out words of offence for him.

The idea is that the students work through each of these Units at the rate of 2 weeks per each. Now my kids aren’t use to “lifepacs”, but this is the second set we have on the shelf this year {PAC from HOD being the other..} I actually think these will deeply appeal to at least one of mine because it’s very obvious at a glance how much more you have to go to “be done”

I’m actually so impressed with the quality of these little booklets. All the other booklets like this from other companies that I’ve seen are very cheap paper quality, but that’s not the case with these. The only suggestion I’d make is that the art work within be on a shinier paper and possibly even perforated to remove and “save”. 

Another component is the “cards”, now if I understand correctly you get all 4 years worth of cards at one time. There are poetry cards, latin root word cards, and geography cards. Yes, geography. I know when I was researching the programme some found the idea of geography worked into LA/English, but my kids love geography so it didn’t even phase me to be something to be concerned about.

The cards are perforated and have a sturdy cardboard laminated feel to them. It’s kinda what I wish the art work in each of the booklets above was like. I should probably clarify the artwork is for picture study.

Finally, it also came with this little reference book which will last for the full 4 years you can use this curriculum as well. It’s full of information on grammar, writing, and spelling for students as they work their way through this course.

I’m actually curious how much further courses will cost if you will only need the booklets and new literature, in the mean time though I can’t wait to dig into this curriculum on Monday! 

Week In Review 2019: Week 2

Here we are, in week 2 of our school year. We’re still not up to full speed yet, which is all part of the plan. It’s funny because we do start this way every year, but most years I have this nagging voice in the back of my head telling me how I need to do more even though I know the slow start is right for our home. That voice isn’t there this year and I’m grateful not to have to peat it down with a sharpened #2 pencil! Our objective was to add in our history & art this week
We’re using Heart Of Dakota’s World History for both our Fine Arts elective and our history, & I have to be honest I’m rather gushy about the fact that both my kids are combined again. It’s been a long long time since we’ve schooled this way, but after much prayer and discussion this is the choice we made. I’ll also be honest, whether I’ve homeschooled for 2 years of 12 years the new year jitters are always there, but this year’s jitters were the least I’ve felt in a long time as well. I spent a lot of time over our summer holidays in prayer about our new year from curriculum to schedules and back again & the peace that I feel about all of it this year is something I’m so grateful for. There is much to be said about not just planning our your year academically but spiritually too.
Last week I mentioned that we had started off with a plan to read the Bible through in 180 days, but that I’d forgotten about my origional plan for Bible. Isn’t it crazy that I would forget my origional plan? Yet, I did, until I walked over to the book case holding this years books and there was my plan, all neatly organised and awaiting us! That plan was to use the World Cultures And Religions Study from Heart of Dakota’s World Geography.

We already owned it and my eldest hadn’t completed the course, while my youngest hadn’t started it at all.  Pulling it out and using it made sense on many levels so that’s just what we did. We’re using one set of notebooking pages for two kids and typing on them. Interestingly enough, my kids saw this quote twice this week in school, the first time they were shocked that it was something Napoleon said, the second time they just exchanged “the look” and copied it down.

We dug into our history this week with much anticipation of what it would hold, and for the most part we were not dissapointed. We are using the Living Library book set along with the required history books. We had readings from all 4 books above, with our longest readings being in The Cat Of Bubastes, which we are listening to via an audio copy.

It’s a delightful way to start our day with the audio going while we all enjoy our smoothies, for the one amongst us who wakes up latest and needs a good hour to be awake before he’s engaged in discussions this has been a huge help as the chapters are over 30 minutes each and are scheduled out at a pace of 1.5 chapters for our first week.

We read only a small selection from Kings Of Israel and were a little taken aback with some leeway the author took wth the Bible. He makes a rather bold, and disturbing, claim that Sarai would have preferred life in a harem compared to life in a tent. This struck us as absolutely bizarre especially as the reasonings were that she would have had maidservants and not had to attend to marital duties. I reminded the boys of Sarai’s maidservant named Hagar and the results of allow Hagar to fulfil marital duties.. There were a few other claims that really shocked us, but opened up some delightful conversations in our home.

The PAC booklet was one I was a wee bit worried about as my kids haven’t really used textbooks in their school careers, but I admit we’ve actually really enjoyed it. There’s a lot of information shoved into a few short pages and some of it is information we’ve never heard before. Admittedly the quality of the booklet leaves much to be desired, but that doesn’t affect the content.

Finally we read a few pages from Short Lessons From World History. I’m not sure about this book, it seems to be written considerably below the level of the rest of this lovely programme. It is laced with very simplistic sentences, but then will have the occasional complex one thrown in. It will be interesting to see how the book progresses through the year as there are critical thinking questions smattered throughout that are needed for your notebooking pages.

The notebooking page shared above is the same one split in half to make it fit in the collage of photos. My kids are also typing on the history notebooking pages and sharing one set between them for now. This method is working well for us and we discuss the assignment aloud and then work through it. This week’s Written Narration was a little difficult for the boys as the topic covered was based completely on a YE view point, which is not something we are sold on despite our 100% belief in creation. ‘nough said. I do think the boys did a great job pointing on the assignment and following the instructions laid out for them.

Have I mentioned just how much I love having both my kids in the same level yet in this post? Ha, can you tell I’m a little giddy about it or the peace it’s brought us so far this year? I didn’t buy another set of the Book Of Century that HOD offers as we already owned one and I wasn’t sure my eldest was going to want to continue with it, but I knew that the Timeline was something my youngest really loves. However, this year instead of drawing your own as in the younger years you add clips from a specific HSITW cd and then write other dates on the lines. One child prefers to colour so he offered to colour in the figures, while the other was more than delighted to write down the information on the line. 
We had math for both boys this week too, which didn’t REALLY involve cookies, but somehow they ended up on the table while a child was doing a math lesson. I snapped a photo of the cookies instead of the child shouting at the computer. Ha! Both kids have mapped out their current math levels so they’ll finish in June, a couple of weeks apart. For one this is incentive enough to not need reminding to get the lessons done, for the other he’s still not feeling the love. It’s not that he doesn’t love his curriculum, he just doesn’t like math which is kinda crazy because he’s very very good at it and can catch on to new concepts without batting an eye.

In leu of full disclosure my kids aren’t doing ALL the problems in their Teaching Textbook lessons which have on average 25 problems. Rather we are doing only x amount, & that amount depends on what the lesson was about, how many problems were scheduled, and how quickly the child caught on to the concept. I was having them do all the problems, and decided to have the eldest work on only odd or evens {if there are 19 he does odds, if there are 20 or 22 he does evens as the last problem is always a word problem!} and I’m finding that some of the struggles he was having aren’t there. While we are loving the aspects of TT the yellow/orange combo is really rough on his irlen. I’ve no clue if that’s some of the reason for the excess stress or not, but either way doing less has boosted his confidence levels and I’m seeing little to no simple mistakes in his work. Win-win!

We dug into our art courses in full this week. We started the God & The History Of Art last week with the first lesson, and enjoyed watching more this week. We are really enjoying Mr Stebbing’s insight on art, but we did have a minor issue with one lesson this week discussing nudity. There was nothing wrong with the lesson itself, but we heavily disagreed with Mr Stebbing’s statement that, “nudity is our shame.” He used Genesis 3:10 as an example, but Adam & Eve were not ashamed due to their nudity, they were afraid due to their nudity due to the shame of their sin. A mighty difference, and in a world where body image problems abound we paused the video and discussed this in depth before moving on.

We purchased the entire Fine Arts package which included the Art Projects Dvd{s} which are scheduled out. This week Morgan began the Tiffany Window project which walked him through his composition after giving a rather interesting history lesson on Mr Tiffany. I can’t wait to see his finished project! Jayden is sitting this portion of the Fine Arts credit out, although he fully enjoyed watching the artist at work and the history lesson she shared.

Lastly this week we started our lovely science curriculum, Friendly Chemistry. After speaking with Dr Hajda about what we specifically needed, which is a bit different than your needs for Biology, and getting set up with our video lessons, we were ready to roll. The guys have all been looking forward to this for a while and there were no grumbles when I said they needed to grab paper for note taking before we put on the first lecture.

For lesson one’s test the objective is to memorise the first 36, at least, elements. There’s a flashcard “method” both in your manipulative book and on the Friendly Chemistry website, and the boys had a spin at the website version. Then I suggested they make some flash cards similiar to their vocabulary cards, basically adding small pictures/sketches that would help them remember, the above index cards were the result for the first 12. I specifically like the one for boron in which the poor fellow is “bored”, and the magnesium card. The stick figure on the magnesium card is rubbing magnesium cream on his knees, can you tell what this Mamma does after a hard workout? We will continue making more cards on Friday and then the final 12 on Monday giving them a bit more time to review them before they take the test. We still have a lab to do, but that will likely be done next week too.

We also worked on our Total Health programme this week, although you’ll have to take our word for that as I have 0 photos to share. All up we had a really lovely week, and it may be a miracle that the home library, where we also do our learning, was found clean one afternoon. No books askew, quilts {mostly} away, globes back in their places, pillows {mostly} away, etc. I snapped a photo, even if we had dirty dishes to clear out.

2019 Curriculum Choices

It’s that time of year again where curriculum choices are narrowed down, items are bought, and slowly the packages start making their way to our front door. I’m a little late on getting things in so no fancy photos here of all our goodies, maybe I’ll update that when it all arrives maybe not.

Last year was riddled with bumps and hiccups along the way, like brambles snatching at our sleeves, as we made our way to the finish line. I think all of our curriculum deserves a hardy review to share some of the pitfalls we had as we as the triumphs, but that will have to wait for another day. Today let’s talk about what we’ll be using in the year ahead.

For the first time in years our boys will be working together in several main areas now that the youngest is also at the official US high school level. There are credits he wants, and ones the other need that just make sense to line up this year to allow them a last hurrah together before their lives diverge on the paths God has chosen for them. I’m both excited and nervous about a year with both of them together.

We have had many wonderful years combined in which we still laugh and joke about the memories and chaos that ensued, but at the same time there was a good reason for separating them and they each thrived during that time. So, while we truely believe this is the path that we are meant to take with our children, there is that small part of me that keeps looking over her shoulder saying, “You sure about this Jesus? Super sure?”

2018 Curriculum Choices:
  • Heart Of Dakota’s World History — We are specifically using the history aspect of this curriculum with both boys. It’s a small leap for our youngest who will not have done World Geography, and will eventually loop back to it as odd as that sounds. However, he’s more then capable and really excited about it. Both needed the World History credit which this will accomplish. We are also using the Living Library component that accompanies this level.
  • The Good And The Beautiful High School Language Arts 1 — This is one subject I really debated about. I spent a lot of time in prayer and research and thought I was totally set on purchasing something else when I was led to TGATB’s LA 1. I am actually really excited about this, compared to slightly nervous as I’d felt with my former selection. I really appreciate that the book choices are not only clean but limited with the option to challenge my students to read more if desired, this was a huge huge plus for my Freshman, where as the reading challenges were a huge draw to my Junior. This curriculum actually weaves in geography {my kids love this} and art {have I mentioned my artistic is in love with how heavy the art in his year will be?} The other aspect I was really drawn to about this was that the work is written to the student, and broken down into 10 booklets. Now, okay so to most that’s probably no biggie, but I have a student who needs to see tangible proof that he’s making progress and can say, “Right so all I need to do to be done is finish …” We’ll see how the curriculum goes once it arrives.
  • HOD’s Art History  — A big focus for us in the final years with our eldest is to really hit on the aspects he’s considering for a career down the road, this is art and writing. Hod’s WH has an Art History component that is not cheap, so I was pretty concerned about spending the money on it, but once my Junior heard about it he was gushing. He was making long lists of artists he hoped it covered, he was anxiously stalking the postman each day until the box arrived, and it was all I could do to keep him from popping in the videos and pouring over the curriculum immediately. Both boys will be earning a credit in this, although I am not 100% sure that our Freshman will enjoy this as much, but he’s unsure of what he wants to do for electives at this stage and he does need a Fine Arts so this will suffice.
  • Health — This dread subject cannot be avoided due to the need to comply with our home state {US, not AU} graduation rules. So, as much as we’d like to totally ignore this we’re not. I debated a lot about what to use for this topic mostly because I think there’s a lot more to health than what the average curriculum covers. Having said that, I also accept that my time is limited and so I just grabbed what HOD offered in their WH package, Total Health. They’ll both earn their credit and be done with it, and considering I have one who just wants to tick the box on this I’m okay with that.
  • Teaching Textbooks — Both boys will continue, or so goes the plan, with Teaching Textbooks. I have one who is really flourishing with it which is a true delight to see. The other isn’t a huge fan for a variety of reasons, most of which have little to do with TT. Each will simply pick up where he left off and continue forward until we break for the summer. I am grateful for 3.0 which allows them to just jump on a computer and get to work, although it’d be nice if 3.0 was ipad compatible, but sadly it’s not.
  • ByLine — My Junior will also be indulging in Byline this year, which he’s super excited about. It’s another one of those curriculums we are desperately waiting on it’s arrival. He will not do the writing in TG&TB unless he wishes, and will likely not bother with the notebooking from HOD, but instead use ByLine. We’ll see as the school year unfolds in January how it will all come together.
  • Foreign Language — My Junior has met all his requirements but wishes to continue with French III which is 100% his choice. The Freshman needs to get rolling and while I’ve tried to encourage him down the line of Spanish {considering our move} or French {so he can practice with his brother} he’s pretty intent to try his hand at Japanese, and my response was, “Excellent, I’m so happy you picked something that appeals to you!” He will likely be using DuoLingo to meet his requirements.
  • Bible — I did not end up purchasing the HOD Bible components to go with their WH, I have nothing at all against the HOD Bible which we have done previously, and I may still make the purchase as I can obtain the books within Australia. I just hadn’t felt a firm calling in which direction to go with this topic yet other than to use the Pilgrim’s Progress All-In-One Curriculum that HOD also uses, although do note it’s not their core Bible for this level. For those of you in Australia, I purchased our copy through Book D which was a huge savings due to the new GST laws {HOD was not affected}, and low AUD right now.
We still have some fine tuning to do, as our Freshman figures out what electives he’d like to focus on in his coming high school carer. They may affect his year and what, if anything more, is added to it. The Junior may take a photography course at some point this year to also go towards his electives, although I really don’t think he’s lacking but I’m not going to stop him either.

All up it should be a full rich year and I’m excited to see where it takes us. We will likely end up with “the big move” during our year, but we’ll pack in the days prior and pick up on the other side when we are ready. It’s all an adventure, is it not?

Gearing Up For 2019

We wrapped up our 2018 School year in November, we’ll still be working on math on and off between now and forever, because.. math.

In the mean time we’re slowly working on getting things ready for the 2019 school year. Our planners arrived this week, which was very exciting. I put our school name on our planner this year, no idea why I’ve never done it before.

I picked it up in the Plum Paper Black Friday sale which was nice as the Aussie dollar is quite low making purchases for school crazy expensive compared to years gone by.

I made the mistake of not ordering a planner for school year, oh man what a mistake that was! I felt like I was limping all year and scrambling around trying to keep things in order, so I had my order ready to roll as soon as their sale went life. Yeah! We picked the eldest up his annual planner this year too, although both of us went with different school layouts. He has the student layout this year, and this is the Homeschool Layout.

The homeschool layout is exactly the same as the teacher, but there’s a “homeschool” section in the back. Not entirely sure I’ll make use of all of it, but I’m keen to have a play with certain portions of it and see how we can make it work for us.

 I mapped out our terms, I like to break them off with washi tape on the page edges, makes it soo easy to see how many weeks we have left in a term or when our breaks are. It took a bit of faith to deal with that this year because we have no clue when the move will officially happen, but we’re hopeful for June, right smack dap between term 2 & 3. Yep, really.

I like the summery feel of the tape on Term 1; we’ll be starting back in January which is our normal for us. A slow start-up to get us back into the groove after a lovely break. We, or at least I, am excited about new curriculum which i’m anxiously watching the tracking on hoping it makes it to our front door before the annual postal close down on our little island.

Term 2 falls just before the Easter Holidays for us, it seems to be that way every year, but that’s one reason we schedule 10 full weeks per term. It allows us 9 academic weeks with one to spare for sick days, holidays, unexpected emergencies, etc.

We may be slightly insane, but based on the time frame we were given for Mr S’ visa we’re aiming to be stateside again in June. We don’t have full control over that, so we have to be willing to roll with whatever God decides for us, but I officially put the tape for Term 3 in July, giving us 3 weeks off for travel, adjusting, etc. We’ll see what happens. If we haven’t moved our term would still start in July anyway, ha!

Dos that washi not make you think of all-sorts? I swear it’s all I can think of after I cut it down to fit. Ahh, anyway Term 4 will run October and end in December, a pinch later than we normally roll, but if we’re stateside we’ll be taking some time off in there for holidays, and the kids are hoping for a snow day or two. Ha, time will tell on that. This Mamma is just praying our bodies don’t become stressed out fighting of lots of germs we may not have been exposed to in the past 12 years.

Now, to get the curriculum in hand so we can plan a few things out! I’ll share what our plans for 2019 are in another post.