High School, Take Two (2011 Curriculum Fair)

Written by contributor Sarah Small of SmallWorld at Home

Ages of my children: 14, 10 (and college sophomore, 18)
Educational Philosophy Influences: Literature-based, Eclectic, College-Bound

In August our daughter will begin high school at home. This is our second time homeschooling a high schooler; our older son just finished his freshman year of college. As we enter high school again, we naturally consider what we’ll do the same and what we’ll do differently.

Our son’s input was tremendously helpful. At the end of the year, I asked him what boiled down to: how did we do? I’ve been relieved at his answers. He didn’t have a list of “Things I Missed Because I Was Homeschooled.” He basically had two items on his “wish list.”

  1. That we had talked more about literary elements like symbolism, imagery, etc. and that we’d analyzed more poetry. (You might have guessed that he is an English major.)
  2. That he had taken a language through dual enrollment at the community college rather than using Rosetta Stone at home.

I can definitely correct those two issues! But there are other places that we’ll tweak according to the differences in the two kids themselves and a few things I wish I’d done differently.

One major difference is that we will have more time with our daughter. Our son wanted to finish high school in three years, so we packed a lot into those years. She’ll take four years, allowing for a more leisurely pace.

For our kids, high school consists of a combination of home, co-op, and community college. Why this mixture?
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Middle School Resources and Materials (2011 Curriculum Fair)

Written by contributor Heather Bruggeman of Beauty That Moves

My Child’s Age: 13
Educational Philosophy Influences: Montessori, Classical, Relaxed

Our family is in its first full year of homeschooling. My girl is an academic who enjoys lessons, grades, and TESTS. As for me? I would call myself a relaxed homeschooler. Somewhere in the middle is where we meet and spend our days.

In the interest of this month’s Curriculum Fair, I’ll focus this post on what we have used this year for our formal curriculum. This includes pre-packaged curriculum as well as various resources that are of high quality and see regular use in our homeschool.

A brief background: My daughter spent her elementary years attending a private Montessori school where learning was celebrated and the idea of school was very positive. Each child felt successful and confident as a contributing member of the classroom community. We did not decide to homeschool because school didn’t work out. We chose it because after graduating from that special school, nothing else could possibly compare.

So, we decided to homeschool.
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Choosing Curricula for Multiple Students (2011 Curriculum Fair)

Written by contributor Jessica Fisher of Life as Mom

Ages of my children: 13, 10, 8, 6, 4, and 2
Educational Philosophies I Pull From: Classical, Charlotte Mason, Literature-Based

I don’t know if it’s my academic background, my penchant for planning and dreaming, or my love of learning, but exploring curriculum choices makes me happy. Like a kid in a candy store, I eagerly look forward to this time of year when our current books and resources fade in excitement and freshness, and I start thinking toward next year and all the wonderful, new things we’ll be studying.

I admit it; I am a planning geek.

Back in the early days of our homeschool when I “just” had three kids, I mapped out the rest of their school lives, calculating what grade each of my sons would be and what curriculum we’d be using. I wanted to be able to build our school library over time, as finances were tight, and I was, of course, dreaming big dreams.

Over the years our family has grown. Now as I approach “formally” schooling five children in grades K, 2, 4, 6, and 9, I find that my plans crafted many years ago have changed. Big surprise, eh?

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Changing Curriculum Mid-Year: Knowing When It’s Time

Written by contributor Heather Bruggeman of Beauty That Moves

Of the many gifts that come with homeschooling, the one I am truly loving right now is the freedom to make changes as needed. Doesn’t it seem rather impossible to sit down over the summer and plan an entire school year, sight unseen, knowing how the whole thing will unfold?

Despite careful research and planning, the science curriculum we chose was all wrong for our daughter.

And it wasn’t for lack of trying. Several approaches, on our part and hers were put forth in an effort to find a workable place with this text. We very carefully considered the idea of switching before doing so. Sure, we invested good money in the book; but more importantly, we value commitment and dedication, and do our best to instill those same values in our daughter. We didn’t want to send the wrong message.

You can’t walk away from everything in life that isn’t super fun.

I don’t expect her to feel warm and fuzzy about every single part of our school day. As humans we need to grow and stretch ourselves in new directions. It’s okay to be bored sometimes, to persevere at other times, be diligent, work hard. As a family, we value all of that.

However, it is also important to know when your child isn’t persevering, they’re enduring. There is a difference. 

The writing on the wall says it’s time to make a change.

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