Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Our curriculum plans for 2010-2011 (8th grade)

When I saw that  the Not Back to School Blog Hop was having Curriculum Week this week, I knew it was just the nudge I needed to finalize and post our curriculum plans for 2010-2011.

I can't believe how quickly fall is approaching.  I feel like I have a pretty good plan for this school year, at least as far as the materials we are using. Creating a schedule is an entirely different issue!

My oldest is entering 8th grade.  She takes a few classes online.  I love the accountability and the opportunity for dd13 to work with other teachers. It is a good system for both of us, as she's a very independent learner.  This year I wanted to add in more in-person classes, since she doesn't  have many academic group learning experiences in that format.  Dd isn't a typical 8th grader, so this task is a bit harder than it may seem. I think I have some great opportunities lined up, though. The end result is a nice mix of work online, in-person, and at home this year.

Language Arts
  • One Year Adventure Novel 
  • Compare Contrast Writing w/Mark Twain Literature  (in-person)
  • Creative Writing Group (in-person)
  • Sonlight 100 (in-person) 
  • A.Word.A.Day                            
I've been eyeballing the One Year Adventure Novel for a couple of years and finally just broke down and bought it at the Midwest Convention in Cincinnati.  I had been hesitant because creative writing isn't really something that dd needs to work on.  However, I knew that she'd love this program and decided to just let her enjoy her creative writing this year, especially since some of her other subjects will be a bit more time consuming.  In the fall, she is also taking a 10-week compare/contrast writing course, being taught by a dear friend and professional writer that has served as a writing mentor for dd, and a year-long American Literature course being taught by a friend of a friend to a small group. The American lit class will have vocabulary study and written assignments, so she'll be doing plenty of writing.

This summer, she has started attending a local Creative Writing Group that has really turned into a great blessing. Each group member will read the work of the others in attendance and give constructive feedback. Dd has been looking for this sort of group for a few years and even tried to create one, but nothing panned out. This particular group is intended as an adult group -dd is the youngest by at least 20 years- but she loves it and we plan to continue during the school year. The group seems to enjoy having her there as well.

I've rounded out this area with a daily word study with A.Word.A.Day (AWAD), which is delivered daily via email as a free service.

Math lags a bit behind her other subjects, though fine for her actual grade level.  I hope to have her finish up Videotext's Module C before fall starts.  The goal is to be done with Algebra this year and then move on to Geometry the following year.  Whenever she doesn't understand a concept, I always have her watch a lecture covering the same material on a MathTutor DVD. Mathletics and Math Score will be used to practice and improve upon basic skills.

  • Apologia's Exploring Creation with Chemistry (online)
For the last three years, dd has taken science online with the same instructor (Red Wagon Tutorials)*, and we'll continue with that format for one more year.  She started with General Science and took Biology the following year.  Rather than take Chemistry after Biology, she took Marine Biology last year in order to wait for her math knowledge to catch up a bit.  This year, she has nowhere to go but tackle that Chemistry.  I think she'll do fine, but I'm glad I had her take the extra year to make the calculations in this course less painful.

* Unfortunately, I can no longer recommend this online resource. Feel free to contact me via email (listed in my profile) if you need further explanation in order to make a decision that is right for your family.

  • American History, Sonlight 100 (in-person class)
This course is in combination with the American literature course mentioned above.  After deciding against my original plans last-minute and not sure what I was going to do for history, I was thrilled when a friend presented me the opportunity to join a private class with a two others families. The mom teaching it has a very well-thought out plan, using Sonlight 100 as a spine, and plans to really challenge the kids.

Foreign Language
  • Latin 300 (online)
This will be her third year studying Latin with Karen at Lone Pine Classical. Karen has been a real gem of a find and was very willing to let dd try her classes younger than most.  The challenge has been great for dd. This year will be different from the last two years in that there will be no new grammar (dd is excited about that) and the focus will be on poetry.  If you contact Karen about her Latin classes, tell her Heidi sent you!

Both Grapevine and Lightbearers were on the schedule for last year.  While I loved both programs, we sadly didn't finish them as planned.  I hope to do better this year.

Fine Arts
  • Voice lessons
  • Piano lessons
  • Theater production (spring)
After 6 years of piano lessons, finances forced us to stop for the last 18 months.  Things are a little more stable and dd started up voice lessons, something she has been asking to do for about 6 months, just a couple of weeks ago.  I'm still trying to find the right piano teacher.  When I do, I don't know if we'll be able to afford both voice and piano.  For the rest of the summer, she'll take voice and we'll reevaluate from there.

For the last two years, our school schedule has revolved around theater productions.  This fall, however, we have no theater!  While the opportunities have been wonderful, theater is very time-consuming.  We'll continue to do our annual spring play, which is less intense than the fall productions we've been doing.

Physical Education
  • karate

This will be dd's fifth year of Shotokan karate.  She usually has at least one tournament opportunity in the year and will probably have belt testing again before the year is over.

  • First Lego League
Last year was the first year our family participated in FLL.  Though it became a time sink, it was a great experience and much was learned.  It was definitely worth repeating this year.

Things that I'm either unsure about or  want to do but not sure how to fit in:
  • The Fallacy Detective 
  • Money Matters for Teens 
  • Various Teaching Co courses 
  • Verbal Advantage 
  • IEW Advanced Communication Series 
  • Public speaking and debate course
The above are all things that I'd like to work into our schedule somehow.  I just don't know how and where. Some of these I'll be able to fit in after our busy fall, but I need to be realistic and come to terms that some of them we won't do at all. In that case, they'll be waiting on my shelves for another year.

Before the week is out, I'll share the plan, so far,  for my 6th grade son. In the meantime, visit Heart of the Matter to read the curriculum plans of other homeschoolers.

Not Back to School Blog Hop


Jessica S. said...

Awesome Heidi!! Have a wonderful SY this year! I am definitely exciting for our 2nd year. :)

Jenilee said...

I can't quite believe how fast fall is coming either! :) thanks for stopping by my blog this am. you'll have to come back by... I have my curriculum post done now! :) lol

Loretta said...

Stopping by from the TOS Crew Blog Walk. Have a great year. Looks like you've chosen some terrific resources.

Martha said...

Enjoyed reading this post as my oldest is just a year away from 8th grade. Your plan gives me additional ideas to think about in planning her pre high school program.