Ages of my kids at home: 15 and 11 1/2
Educational Philosophy Influences: Literature-based, Eclectic, College-Bound
I am so excited about this upcoming year! I have always maintained that educational flexibility is the highlight of home education, and 2012-13 will be one of those years that embraces flexibility.
For me, part of the joy in homeschooling my kids comes with the designing, the knowing that my kids get an individualized education plan that suits them perfectly.
So here is what I have planned for my two at-home kids:
Student #1: All Things America
The upcoming year is an election year, and my daughter will be a sophomore. What a perfect year for all things America! I had already planned to teach American Literature at our co-op, and I knew U.S. history would also be offered there as well. That leaves government, and what better year to study government than an election year?
I remembered that a father in our support group teaches government at a local high school, so I contacted him to see if he’d consider teaching for our co-op. He was enthusiastic and immediately began planning. He put together a class description, which includes watching debates and election returns together, and reached his class maximum in just a couple of days. I am excited about my daughter having the opportunity to really be immersed in government during an election year.
So you’ve noticed that all her classes so far will be through our co-op? The rest of them—ecology, geometry, ACT Prep, and performing arts— are as well. In an area where public education is a strange mix of mediocrity and fierce competition, we are blessed to have a phenomenal high school program through our support group. We all agree that our life is richer within the network of the homeschooling community.
High School Resources
- American Literature: I’ll be teaching this course, and I create my own course materials drawing on various resources. My three favorites are: Glencoe Literature Library, Shmoop, and Signet Classics Teachers’ Guides. We’ll be reading a variety of novels, plays, short stories, and poetry, as well as seeing plays, watching movie version of novels, and of course writing!
- U.S. History and U.S. Government will both be teacher-created courses, not relying on one particular textbook.
- Geometry will meet twice weekly, using Geometry by Harold Jacobs
- Ecology: My husband, a biology professor, will be teaching this class for our co-op using Elements of Ecology by Thomas Smith and Robert Smith. Besides the weekly class, they’ll be doing lots of field work in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Can you imagine a more memorable science class?
- ACT Prep: I am team-teaching this with two other moms. Students will be using The Real ACT Prep Guide.
Photo by justinday
Student #2: War
My youngest will be straddling 6th and 7th grades. We move him rather fluidly between levels, based on his needs rather than his age. (See my post Stepping Outside the Grade Level Box.) One day I remarked to my husband that, “I wish we could just spend a whole year studying World War II.” He looked at me with a look that was a combination of “Ummm, why can’t we?” and “Duh, isn’t that why we homeschool?”
Ah, yes. That is precisely why we homeschool. Why let this perfect timing slip away because the typical scope and sequence calls for a vague “global and regional studies”? We have a nearly 12-year-old son who is fascinated by this period in history. My father is World War II veteran, as well as an historian. What ideal ingredients for intense, delight-driven learning: an eager student, a primary source (my father), a library, the internet, and a facilitator (me).
So what will be doing? Lots of reading. My father is putting together an outline of events, from the start of the war to the fall of Japan. I have only just begun a reading list, but some of our possibilities include:
- World War II for Kids by Richard Panchyk
- The Good Fight: How World War II Was Won by Stephen Ambrose
- Jimmy’s Stars by Mary Ann Rodman
- Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
- Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
- When Hitler Stole the Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr
- The Tuskegee Airmen by Lynn Homan
- When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park
- Year of Impossible Goodbyes by Sook Nyui Choi
- I Am David by Anne Holm
- Hitler’s Canary by Sandi Toksvig
- Journey to Topaz by Yoshiko Uchida
- A Boy at War by Harry Mazer
- The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
- The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolan
- Survivors: True Stories of Children in the Holocaust by Alan Zullo
Our World War II study will include reading, writing, and history, but we’ll continue on with our regular math (finishing Teaching Textbooks pre-algebra and then beginning algebra) and grammar (Easy Grammar). I am excited to begin a new classical science program, Elemental Science, which “focuses on the science being studied instead of a person’s religious viewpoint.” My son and I will be doing Biology for the Logic Stage.
This year our trip to New York City greatly enhanced our homeschooling year. Next spring we plan to visit Washington D.C., a perfect trip for our daughter’s year in America studies and our son’s study of World War II.
Although we are just winding down 2011-12, I am already so excited about our upcoming school year! I have all summer to enjoy relaxing—and planning!
I’d love help in planning our World War II study! What are some of your favorite books, movies, field trips and other resources from this time period?