30 August 2013

The Start of a New Year

The start of a new year....the excitement of new books, a new grade, harder classes...these are all things we look forward to in our school. Sweet Pea is super excited about school this year. She'll be studying the 20th century and has been looking forward to that for a couple of years.  Rosie Jane being in high school is going to be a change but so far, she's doing well. She's staying up with her work and doing well in everything we've started, except math.

Right now Sweet Pea is in France. What a way to start off the school year! My mom is with her, they're on a tour that includes Paris, the Normandy beaches, and the Loire valley castles. They'll be gone 10 days, including traveling to France. So far, from the pictures I've seen in Instagram, they're seeing lots of sights in Paris and having great weather. Of course, this trip will count as a massive field trip for history, art, and yes, French. In one email she sent me, she said that she'd had some opportunity to speak French, but not much. I can't wait to hear about her trip when she gets back. She's really looking forward to the Normandy beaches. Before she left she and her dad watched The Longest Day and also the beginning of Saving Private Ryan so she had a better understanding about where she was going.

Not to be outdone in the fun department, Rosie Jane is getting in a lot of cousin time before school starts for them. We had to babysit one niece overnight and they had a great time together. My sister picked up one and dropped off the other. Now Rosie and her other cousin are having a movie marathon to end the summer; I think they're watching The Lord of the Rings trilogy. On Tuesday, it will be back to school for her so she's enjoying a few days off while her cousins spend the night. Her biology labs start on Friday which will be so good for her. She knows a lot of the kids that are in the class and she'll enjoy the social interaction (hopefully not too much!). German is still TBD as is Spanish, although I think I know what we're doing there.

This is the first year that I've felt so unorganized so late in the year. Usually I know exactly what we're doing and have it all lined up. This year, not so much. I still need to order the syllabus and teacher's book for biology, figure out German and Spanish, and actually, that may be it. I know Sweet Pea's chemistry stuff came in; her friend she's doing the labs with has it (her mom ordered it). I know this will all come together very soon.

Here's to a good year!

20 August 2013

The Junior

So hard to believe that we've only got two years left at home with Sweet Pea. We've been talking about colleges, what she wants to study, where she wants to go, all that sort of stuff. I think as homeschoolers we kind of need to start really thinking of these things a bit earlier than most families do. Getting into college as a homeschooler isn't generally a problem, there's plenty of schools out there that welcome homeschoolers with open arms. There's a few that have some extra hoops that homeschoolers need to jump through but really aren't a huge problem. Then there's others that aren't quite as friendly to homeschool applicants.

So what is Sweet Pea studying this year? Lots of fun stuff, things she's been looking forward to for a while as well as things she loved last year and will be continuing.

English, or more properly called Literature - she's also going to be using the Bravewriter Help for High School writing program. This will help them both learn how to better craft essays and the more analytical writing needed in high school and college. Kind of wish I had found this earlier in her high school career. She's also going to be using Sonlight's 20th Century Literature; this will give her more writing practice and lots of lit written in the 20th century.

History - she'll be studying the 20th century (using Sonlight). She has really been looking forward to this year and the chance to study more recent history. She is particularly fascinated with World War II and Russian history.

Science - finally finished with the "evil" physics and moving on to chemistry. She'll be using Spectrum chemistry and doing the labs with a friend. Hopefully they won't blow up our house!

Math - she loves Life of Fred math and insists that she's going to work through Calculus at home so she can find out how Fred became a math professor at the age of 4. This year she'll be finishing up geometry and moving on to trig.

French and Russian - she has loved learning both of these languages. She's moving into her third year of French and second year of Russian. French she really enjoys, Russian pushes her brain to work hard. She's continuing with Mr. G over at CurrClick.

Imperial Russia - this is another online class, done by Professor Carol. I've heard her speak twice at our homeschool convention. She has a love of Russia and music that can be contagious. She's also really funny and interesting. I think Sweet Pea will really enjoy this class since she likes everything Russian.

And finally, Art History - for this I've got two books for her to use as texts and she's going to be doing a lot of looking online at pictures. I'm also going to try to get to the art galleries in DC for field trips a few times this year so we can see some of the art she's studying.

We also need to get in some SAT prep since she'll be taking those later this year. I need to look up the dates and get that on the calendar.

I think she's looking forward to everything except maybe chemistry. She did say that last time she had some chem she found it interesting, hopefully she will again this year. I know she's happy to be doing the labs with her friend.

She's got lots of extra curricular stuff going on this year, just like her sister. They'll keep me running, but at least this year Sweet Pea can drive herself where she needs to go.

18 August 2013

My Freshman

This year should be interesting, both girls are in high school, with one we're starting to seriously think about colleges and all the entrance requirements and for the other I have to worry about NCAA requirements. Talk about crazy stuff!

Rosie Jane will be a freshman this year. With both girls, we've sort of left it up to them whether they went to public school or remained homeschooled for high school. Here, once you start high school at home, it's pretty difficult to re-enter the public schools later. I was really surprised when Rosie Jane said that she wanted to stay at home for high school. It kind of threw me for a loop for a bit since I had really thought she was going to want to go to school. After I regrouped and started planning for this year (and rough outlining for the next three), I decided it would work out well for her. Staying home will give her opportunities to do things that really interest her that she wouldn't be able to do otherwise. I'm working to find outside classes, be they in person classes or online, for her; she's my social butterfly and will do well in outside classes. Once she's old enough she can start taking some classes at the community college. Some outside accountability will be good for her.

We've had the discussion that school really matters now and she needs to buckle down and get it done. She's on board with that. Since she's a pretty good golfer, we're also looking to fulfill the NCAA requirements so she can play in college. Trying to follow the NCAA req's shouldn't be too hard, just a lot of paperwork. Hopefully in the end it will all be worth it and she can get a golf scholarship.

What's she studying this year? She's got some of the basics plus some fun things as well as plenty of outside activities.

English - she's going to be using a mix of the high school writing program from Bravewriter, some grammar work, vocabulary (BJU), and when she's done the Bravewriter program, she'll go back to the Sonlight language arts writing.

History - she did the first half of the world history program from Sonlight last year and will be doing the second half this year. She'll be picking up about 1600 and moving to the late 20th century. Last year she told me there was too much reading so I had planned to cut out about half the books this year for her. We'll see since she's already told me that she wants to read more than I had planned.

Biology - high school science is probably one of the hardest things to pick out. After a lot of looking around, I've decided to go with a typical high school text, Holt Biology and use the syllabus from Oak Meadow School. I still need to get this ordered, just a bit behind. She's going to be doing the labs with a local co-op. She'll have fun with her friends and I don't have to do the dissection with her.

Math - having some math issues but we're moving forward into algebra probably using Saxon. It seems to be a program that's either loved or hated and I think she falls into the "love" group. We'll see how it goes.

Photography - this is one of the fun classes. I got my husband the Great Courses photography class last year for Christmas to help him learn more about his fancy camera, how to use it and how to take better pictures. Rosie Jane has been taking a ton of pictures (thank goodness for digital cameras and their chips!!) so we talked about adding photography as a class and she's really excited about it. We'll be using the Great Courses as the base, then adding in some other things I've found.

Spanish - Rosie went to Guatemala this summer on a mission trip, came home and told me she wanted to learn Spanish. I was not surprised! I had signed her up for an online class, but it meets as a live class only three times during the fall semester. I wasn't crazy about that, I really feel for foreign languages that you need to get more feedback. I was talking to a friend of mine and she was looking for a fourth for a Spanish class, so Rosie Jane will be joining her son plus two other kids for Spanish. The teacher is a former public school French and Spanish teacher so I think it will go well.

German - yes, she still wants to continue with German even though she's adding Spanish. The unfortunate part is that Mr. G isn't continuing with German so I've been on the lookout for other options. I thought I had found a local teacher, but I think that her class is a year behind where Rosie Jane is right now. Now I'm on the hunt again. I'm either looking for a local teacher or tutor or if there's still room, I'll go with OSU's (Oklahoma State University) high school German class. I need to get this figured out in the next week or so!

PE - this is another fun one, that's also easy for me. Rosie Jane has been taking dance classes for years and is continuing this year. She's taking four hours of dance a week this year. Besides her dance classes, she's also got golfing, running, and biking that she's been doing that will count for PE this year.

I'll share her outside activities in another post.

11 August 2013

It's Getting Close!

We're almost to the first day of school here. Even though I don't have all the books we need yet, we'll be officially starting tomorrow but there won't be any classes. We're going on a field trip tomorrow to visit Bob at Camp Rainbow, a summer camp for teens and adults with mental disabilities. Actually, Rosie Jane is already there helping get things set up so just Sweet Pea and I will be heading down tomorrow. We'll all come back tomorrow night after the talent show.

There actually probably won't be much learning going on Tuesday either, maybe a bit. The girls have dentist appointments in the morning, then Sweet Pea has work and Rosie Jane has golf in the afternoon. I'm going to take some time with each of them going over more specifically what they're going to be studying this year and figuring out their schedules since both have online classes and Rosie Jane is taking her biology labs with a local co-op. We all need to know who has to be on the computer when for class and when someone needs to be taken somewhere for class. I especially need to spend some time with Sweet Pea going over her history and the expectations for it.

So I guess our "real" first day of school is going to be Wednesday. I need to remember to take first day of school pictures of my freshman and junior. Hopefully they'll put up with it.