Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2010 School Plans - History

It has been a few days since I posted in this series, mostly out of avoidance. I have history, science, language arts, and misc left. Most of these areas are either a bit incomplete or too complicated, but I figure I can at least share even if it isn't quite to my liking yet.

History is a subject that I often don't have a plan to follow. It isn't my favorite subject, at least not approached with structure, and one in which I am the most ignorant. In the past, I mostly used historical fiction, in no particular order, to address this subject. Well, it was sort of in order, mostly because of a failed Sonlight attempt that ended up in a free-for-all with the titles in each core. I love Sonlight, but I had a terrible time keeping up with the schedule. Did I mention I have four complete Sonlight cores that I can't part with because the titles are so awesome? I direct my kids to our Sonlight shelf whenever they are looking for something to read. So, all is not lost...perhaps with the exception of those Instructor Guides!

With my oldest in 7th grade, I decided it was time to get a bit more systematic, but not be overwhelmed, in our history studies. My original plans were to use Early American History:Native Americans through the Forty-Niners by The Teaching Company. It started out ok, but then our schedule in the fall became hectic and this was the first thing lopped off. Then, I received All American History, Volume 2 by Bright Ideas Press for review through the TOS Crew. I originally started my younger with this and realized it was a bit much. Instead, I ordered Volume 1, more appropriate for the younger but a little light for the older. Oldest's schedule is still hectic trying to catch up from a busy fall (FLL and major theater production), so light and structured is just about right. I'll have her finish up Volume 1 and move on to Volume 2 next year. Eventually, I'd love to get back to Truthquest that I reviewed last year, but thought a structured textbook might be a good idea for this year.

My younger, 5th grade, is a bit more tricky. This is the area where I'm lacking. I recently purchased some Drive-Thru History DVDs, which he enjoyed. I'm not sure how much he learned, but something must be soaking in. I'm still considering having him just read the All American History, Volume 1. The writing in the student pages bogs him down a bit, but I'm hesitant to leave them because the notebooking really adds to the text. If he could keep up with big sis' schedule, I'd have them do them together.

The real issue is not the writing for the notebook pages, but writing in general. I am spending a lot of time this year getting him up to speed in the language arts area. Honestly, it is consuming our schedule and there is little time for regular history. I know omitting history studies may break the hearts of some homeschoolers, but I feel the 3Rs must come first. For now, I'm having him pick among Sonlight titles to read, watch a DVD or the History Channel here or there, and will have to be satisfied with that. We may eventually add in All American History Volume 1 again, using it for two years instead of one. He won't be ready for Volume 2 for a few years and a slower schedule will let us focus on other areas for now.

It isn't exactly a concrete plan, but more of a plan than I've had in the past. We aren't lacking for history resources on our shelves, they just aren't pulled together as well as I'd like.

Next up will be science, a subject with a plan!


Luke said...

I'm sorry Sonlight's IGs proved to be less than helpful for you!

Sonlight has done many things to make the IGs flexible (like offering a 4 or 5 day option and not labeling the days in the schedule so you can do them as you get to them). But, yes: Sometimes it just doesn't work.

If you're ever interested in trying to make Sonlight work for your family again, I suggest you chat with a Sonlight Advisor. These ladies are Sonlight moms who may be able to offer you insights and tips and help you figure out a plan that will work for you.

May this year--however your plans shape up--be your best year of homeschooling yet [smile].


Heidi said...

Thanks, Luke. I actually love Sonlight and recommend it often. The issue is more with me than the IGs (which I haven't *really* lost). I will likely revisit it again sometime and appreciate your mentioning the Sonlight advisors.

Oh, and great idea about not labeling the days! It always bothered me to be reminded that I was doing Tues stuff on Wed!