Monday, March 26, 2018

2018 Curriculum Choices {Again}


Isn’t it funny how you think you know what you’re doing & something comes along to show you, that despite doing this gig for 12 years you have absolutely 0 clues as to what you’re really doing? That’s what happened this year. So despite having already written one of these posts & having settled on previously chosen curriculum I’m actually writing another because we’ve changed our plans so drastically.

Learning to adapt to the situations we are in is a life skill of great importance, & sometimes that also means knowing that we have to change our plans. I’m not one for throwing our plans askew because of a hiccup here or there, but when the boat is about to capsize it’s time to change our plans & head for safer waters.

By the way, how about our school planner? I totally love that photo I had printed on the cover. It makes me smile each & every time I see it! Also, the photo below is just a place holder until I have time to line up curriculum & actually snap a photo of what Jayde is doing, it's actually a previous photo from Morga's 8th grade year.. Morgan's photo is also his planner cover..


So, here’s what we’re really using in 2018:



8th Grade:

Sonlight Core H World History Pt 2: We’re choosing to use an older 2008 guide pre-major changes. The biggest reason for this is that I know my child will prefer the older spines & we own them. There are 2-3 books we will swap in/out because he’s already read those ones, but we’ll talk about that when it happens. Yes we were set to use the next level of HOD, but it just really felt below our boy, & instead of becoming more independent as he was with SL he was becoming more dependent which felt like a backward move for us, so here we are.

Teaching Textbook Pre-Algebra 3.0: For the past 7 years we’ve enjoyed using MUS, it was a wonderful transition into the world of math curriculum & we really loved Mr Demme’s approach. However, knowing that Algebra 1 will be via TT, we decided to move the youngest over with Pre-Algebra now to give him time to adjust to the difference in curriculum. Oddly enough, much of what he’s encountered thus far is pure review, & we may have him take quizzes to see where he really needs to be, but there’s nothing like integrating into a new curriculum & finding that it’s not nearly as hard or awful as you thought it would be. This student doesn’t like change.

BookShark Science 7: The reality is that the Exploration Education science was a TOTAL bust. Not only was our child learning nothing, it was very choppy & despite having purchased our kit in December it was 3 versions out of date which is crazy considering the price I paid. I had a few different options on our plate including Monarch General Science II, Apologia General Science, and Dr Wile’s Science in the Industrial Age, but, at least for now, we’ve decided to take BkSk’s Science 7 for a spin. It’s called Robots, Technology, & Conservation. Ironically, SL has this same product coming out as an alternative science for Core H. We’re opting to use the BkSk version because we can purchase a digital guide after we’re done with the 3 week sample. And yes, I said 3 week sample which we haven’t officially started yet because we are still awaiting our first book {Robots} to arrive. It’s been that kinda year so far…

IEW Fix-It Grammar: This should seem like a no brainer considering it’s what we’ve been using for the past 2 years, but somehow I was going to drop this. I think it was more the time constraint due to the level of HOD my boy was suppose to be using. In the end we decided to start back at the beginning of Bk 2 {Robin Hood} because we’d left off mid book & I felt the kids needed some review work on clauses. We’re working at a faster pace {two days work in one} for a little while until we hit the point where the material needs to be taken at normal pace.

IEW SWI-B:  We also left off with this last year around the midway point, or so & I was totally unsure of what I was going to do this year. While I think I wrote this down on our origional post, the reality was that it wasn’t happening because of the lack of being independent with his HOD. HOD also schedules in a fair some of writing that we did & he applied all his previous IEW knowledge towards that. Anyway, we’ve picked right back up where we left off last year. We spent last week rewatching the very long {90 minute actually..} lecture for this unit spread out over the week.

Abraham Bible Study: Bible study is something we’ve often done as part of our morning routine as a family. The Hebrew study, while delightful wasn’t very meaty for our boy & so I grabbed him a copy of the study Morgan & I were working through. We hadn’t gotten very far into it when the choice was made so I we opted to review what we’d done with Jayde while he caught up. Chances are pretty high that we should finish this & grab another, I have two more on the shelf {not from this series} that we may use as well.

Marie’s Words: We are continuing using Marie’s Words for vocabulary particle outside of our literature reading. We keep it pretty simple selecting 12 cards at random & slipping them into a baseball card sleeve. We review them each day until the kids know what they are & then we grab a new set. We had a bit of a chuckle the other day when one of the kids used three of the words in one sentence much to the shock of a visitor.

Our plans for our boy remain the same, continue encouraging him along the path to independence as he matures & grows both in Christ & academically. He’s always been the “tag along” sibling in our little homeschool & it’s been an interesting experience for him to learn to spread his own wings & find what he likes & dislikes for himself.

Word of warning though, this boy is stubborn, I lovingly refer to him as my SWC. Let’s just say I’ve overheard some interesting debates between him & his older sibling of late on stances they both have on a variety of topics from horse racing {yep, for reals} to politicians {we had state election a few weeks ago..} 

My favourite comment from their debacle was, “Listen, I’ve already told you how I feel about this & why, I don’t see why you keep bringing it up. It’s not like I changed my mind between here & the lunch table!” 


10th Grade:

Sonlight Core 300 Modern World History: Yep, we were all set up to use Core 200, & then we made this crazy last minute change & then 4 weeks into that I realised how wrong it was to take what my son had requested & chuck it out the window.. So while my son spent 2 weeks watching every hockey match he could during the winter olympics I spent some time in prayer, & purchased Core 300 for him.

While I’m not at all opposed to 200, the problem was it wasn’t a required need for graduation & I just.. I dunno, it’s hard to put into words what the problem was there. However, we opted for Core 300 which classifies as World History & is a need. It’s also a more modern time period which he’s not spend a LOT of in-depth time in. We are currently borrowing a lovely friend’s Core while our’s is enroute from the USA {due this coming week!!!} Note, we are using an older version of this too {before the spine changes}

Sonlight Literature 320: This year’s literature is jam packed with books. Sometimes I tend to think that SL goes for quantity over quality at times, which is not to say that I think the books aren’t up to snuff but rather that the students race through. This means I often remove 2-4 books & lay them aside saving them for the “if then” pile. This means if he finishes all the books early & wishes he had more I can say, “Well actually..”

In the mean time he’s absolutely loving this literature. He finished his first & third book early. He’s excited by all the titles & story lines this year, & as I’m reading the books as well I have to admit I share most of his excitement. 


Teaching Textbook Algebra 1: This was a hard choice right here. Between a major ordering glitch, getting hung up on 2 lessons, & then a summer break I felt my boy was more than a little behind in math. The problem was for the first time in 7 years MUS wasn’t clicking & doing the same lessons over & over & over was wearing us all thin. In a moment of absolute desperation I contacted MUS & their suggestion was that I enrol him in a $350 co-op class that would require my kid doing math at 4am. Not exactly helpful.

As I sat pondering this & praying about it I was reminded that we had TT A1 on the shelf, so we pulled it out & I did something that will likely make my mother pass out. I started doing the lessons myself. I’m the girl who opted for business mathematics over algebra in high school, gladly I might add.

I decided that there was only way to help my boy & that was to know the information myself first. Guess what I did while he watched snowboarding? Ha! Then I got him going. It was more than a little frustrating for him at first because he felt it was so repetitive to information he’d already learned. There was also other differences he was getting more than a little too hung up on, & so we had that kinda talk. We took a few quizzes to see where he’d best settle in, & it’s been a forward march since.
We updated to version 3.0 as soon as we noticed it was released. It still has a few of the flaws the CDs have, but it does make for easier access— most of the time. Like many in our state we have NBN issues from time to time, but when your hubby works in Tech & the phone company is sick of the customer telling them how to fix the flaws..

Apologia Biology: This hasn’t changed! I almost feel the need to jump up & throw some confetti around. hehe No, seriously, our boy enjoys the method of Apologia with the ability to listen to the lectures while he takes copious notes & then refer to the book for the images/photos mentioned in the readings. This year he’s bold enough to do the OYO entirely himself. In previous years he liked to have me listen to his answers so that if he was wrong he could consider the question again.

He’s still doing the pre-tests & tests online vs the paper versions. He’s doing well in this subject despite not entirely loving it. We also discovered that using a microscope will be an instant Irlen trigger. Who knew!

We pulled out our friend’s microscope & loaded it up to look at the slide & both of us were in a spot of bother in a matter of seconds. Not enjoyable, & let’s just say he’s delighted that the experiments for his current module do not require the use of the microscope..

French II: He’s actually been dabbling with French since 8th grade, but really took off with his vocabulary with it late last year & continues his forward progress this year. He’s relying mostly on DuoLingo despite having access to Rosetta Stone. His long term objective is still to read Tintin in it’s origional language.

IEW Fix-It: This is one of the subjects my kids do together. I love that IEW provided this for kids K-12 so that families could use these as a whole without sacrificing on quality. When I mentioned starting from Lesson 1 again to review previous concepts he was a bit disgruntled, but then remembered a few snags we’d had before we laid aside our books last year & shrugged it off.

IEW SWI-B: Again, both kids are doing this level together. This was the level suggested by IEW, & so we’re finishing off the second half of our programme this year. I actually considered putting him in EIW this year, but once we got this rolling again I realised it’s just sane to stay put.

Marie’s Words: We are continuing using Marie’s Words for vocabulary particle outside of our literature reading. We keep it pretty simple selecting 12 cards at random & slipping them into a baseball card sleeve. We review them each day until the kids know what they are & then we grab a new set. We had a bit of a chuckle the other day when one of the kids used three of the words in one sentence much to the shock of a visitor.

Abraham Bible Study: We love our Inductive Bible Studies, & this was a delight to find. We purchased it through Book Depository who had it printed & then shipped it to us. We did not go with the Teacher Book because after comparing the samples on the Precept website we didn’t feel it was something we’d need in order to enjoy this study. When we finish this we will likely move into 2 other inductive studies on the shelf.

Walk@Home: He’s continuing with this for PE. He often joins me in the morning, it’s quick & simple. But in fairness we kinda love our walking buddies. We’re both looking forward to the time change so getting up to do this won’t be such a bleary eyed struggle.

3D Animation 1: Another elective that didn’t change. This course if through Youth Digital. He’s enjoying the course & written to the creators a few times about various things involving this programme. I’m excited to see what he creates when he’s done.

Logic: We’l continue with The Fallacy Detective & the Art of Argument. We’re looking forward to finally digging into AoA in Term 2, as we should have firmly rapped up TFD. We still need to print our Logic poster, have you seen this one?


For our eldest, really only the history & lit have changed for him significantly. It’s been a bit of a struggle though as we limped along at first. He’s VERY excited to be using his beloved Sonlight & he’s really enjoying exploring the 20th Century.

Due to our late start with this chances are very high it will trail into at least Term 1 of 2019, but that’s okay because his plan was to do government next year which is only a 2 term study.

While we won’t be using the Drive Thru videos for him, I’m flagging videos left & right that we’ll attempt to view this year that will tie into his history. I might need to make a list of them up to share..

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