Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Y is for... Year #16

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Yes, I am in my sixteenth year of homeschooling. You'd think I'd know what I'm doing by now, but I am still figuring some of this stuff out. Things are different every year. This year I have only two students. I've had at least three students for the past nine years. And here's a funny thing - my students get older every year, so now I have a 7th grader and a 9th grader.
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Trying to avoid getting their pictures taken. Surprise - I got Landon in the picture this time!
I'm a lot more relaxed about homeschooling my high school student this time around. Probably because I've already done the high school thing with the older two boys, and as far as I can tell they have turned out okay. In other words, it's not as hard to do high school at home than I used to think. In many ways, it's not all that different from K-8. What's different is that we are fussier about keeping track of how much time we spend per subject (some of the credits are based on credit hours), and more of the responsibility for doing the research and managing time is being shifted to the student.
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So in Landon's first year of high school, he is working on the following courses:
  • Algebra  - he is partway through No-Nonsense Algebra, but is now working with VideoText Online and we are really liking it. We are planning to finish the entire course over two years, and will translate that into an Algebra I credit this year and an Algebra II credit next year.
  • History of the Americas - I'm not entirely certain about the course title yet, but this will be a history and geography study covering North, Central, and South America. 
  • Biology - Landon already has earned one of his two minimum required science credits (Classical Astronomy in his Grade 8 year), and we require Biology as one of those two science credits. So despite not being particularly interested in Biology, that's what he is studying this year. He is using High School Biology In Your Home  and supplementing with Supercharged Science  It looks like we'll do most of the microscope work in the labs, but not all the dissections.
  • English (Composition) - So far we are finding Institute for Excellence in Writing to be a great approach to cover composition this year, and some grammar study is incorporated into that. I'm considering adding an additional grammar course - possibly Fix-It from IEW? - to round this out, and maybe a literature unit as well.
  • Programming - he hasn't started this yet, and I don't expect him to start until we get back from vacation, but we have TeenCoder's Windows and Game Programming
  • Phys.Ed. - I'm planning on Landon earning a half credit for Phys.Ed. this year, between the co-op gym classes we participate in and the other sports activities that he does from time to time.
  • Aerospace Education and Leadership - this is the working title for the credit Landon will earn each year for his participation in Civil Air Patrol. The cadets put in a lot of hours over the course of year, and it covers a wide range of topics, including aeronautics, emergency and survival type training, leadership skills, community service, military history, and pilot training.
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I'm having both kids log their own hours spent on educational pursuits during the school days. We need to keep track of hours/days that they work on things like music lessons and Phys.Ed. for the sake of record-keeping, and in Landon's case, the number of hours he spends in gym class and playing sports will determine whether it will be a half credit or more or less on the transcript for this year. Also? I've found that a combination of due dates for assignments and minimum time spent "in school" usually works best to get my kids to manage their time. "These assignments in these subject areas are due by Friday, and you need to put in five hours each school day working on something educational." This heads off some favorite excuses like: "I already finished reading the chapter, so I don't have to do any more science this week"; "I worked on all my subjects today" (for 10 minutes each); and "I'm caught up in everything so I can watch TV all afternoon". And actually writing down the time they start working on math to the time they finish the lesson lets us all see just where their time is being spent instead of guess-timating that it was "about a half hour or so" and might tip us off to possible problems. If a student is logging an hour on one subject but has only read two pages or done a couple of problems, that could mean they are either daydreaming or are really struggling with the work. Either way, looking at their student log book with that information will give me a clue that I might need to ask some questions about how they are doing.
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What Landon REALLY thinks about having his picture taken.
So far our school year has been going quite well. We certainly have our share of disruptions and interruptions that we need to work around; and pretty soon we'll be upsetting our apple cart by going on vacation for a couple of weeks, which will mean settling in all over again when we get back. I do hope that getting some good habits developed before vacation will make it just a bit easier to get back to routine afterwards. (I previously posted the we were "Under Way" with our school year, and there's more info about the resources we're using there.)

What year is it for your homeschool? Are there any big changes this year? Leave a comment and let me know! This post is linked at the "Let's Homeschool High School September Blog Hop"  and at Ben and Me: Z is for Zealous for Blogging Through the Alphabet.
Blogging Through the Alphabet

LetsHSHS.com High School Homeschool Blog Hop


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1 comments:

Jackie P said...

Sounds like you guys have it all under control.

No really big changes for us this year, but we are using the new Time4Learning high school courses and a little less unschooling for our second year of high school.

I also wanted to personally thank you for linking up with Let's Homeschool High School's September Blog Hop. I look forward to you linking up again next month.

Joyfully,
Jackie
Let's Homeschool High School Team Member

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