Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2014-2015

Blog, She Wrote: Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2014-2015

We are gearing up for another homeschool year here at Blog, She Wrote. This post comes just in time to write out the Individualized Home Instruction Plan I’m required to write for all my students for New York State. Here’s a look at our Homeschool Curriculum Choices for 2014-2015:

11th Grade Curriculum

Blog, She Wrote: Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2014-2015

This is the big junior year for our oldest, Ethan. He has a heavy academic schedule in addition to preparing for college bound tests. For the first time, he is enrolled in an online class. We’ve chosen to outsource one class for the sole purpose of having someone else give a grade. I know it will challenge him to meet deadline not given to him by us and a good grade in an online class will give validity to the ones we give him on his transcript. College admissions officers like this!

  • Modern US History- We are using All American History from Bright Ideas Press for a look at modern history in the US.
  • Geography- NorthStar Geography from Bright Ideas Press
  • Worlds of Imagination Fantasy Literature- First semester he will take a Potter’s School class on Fantasy Literature.
  • Worlds of Imagination Science Fiction Literature- Second semester is focused on the world of science fiction.
  • Other Worlds- The science fiction & fantasy module of One Year Adventure Novel. Ethan has been writing his dystopian novel since the spring. It’s coming along well and so far, his writing far surpasses that of his adventure novel.
  • Trigonometry & Calculus- He is in the last quarter of Life of Fred Trigonometry and will begin Life of Fred Calculus this year.
  • Earth Science- We are using CK-12 Earth Science for High School. He is completing credits in chemistry and biology now and will do earth science before he takes physics in his senior year.
  • Spanish- With Rosetta Stone. He is working on 3 credits of a foreign language as required by one of the universities he wants to apply to.
  • Phys Ed- Ethan does a half credit of PE each year and it is mainly comprised of large group games at our homeschool co-op and at youth group. He also mows grass and does yard work for others.
  • Fine Art- He must have one credit of fine art for high school and he does one quarter credit each year by doing computer graphics and other projects for his content area work.
  • Homeschool Co-op- We participate in a ten week, two hour co-op in the spring and fall. This fall he is taking dystopian literature class along with an outdoor games class.
  • Test Prep- We’ll be working with Ethan to study for the PSAT in the fall and the SAT/ACT in the spring. It is time!
  • FLL Mentor- Having aged out of FIRST LEGO League, Ethan is transitioning to team mentor. He’s pretty excited about helping the teams this year as a mentor.
  • Part Time Job- Ethan took on his first part time job last April at a local grocery store. He works as a cashier anywhere from 12-17 hours a week.

This is a heavy academic load fairly typical of a college bound high school junior. Over the last year his energies have focused on writing. Ethan loves to write and would like to explore the possibilities in technical writing and editing. He’s excited to have narrowed his interests down and to have an answer for all those well-meaning inquiries that come his way!

9th Grade Curriculum

Blog, She Wrote: Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2014-2015

Rebecca is our new high schooler! Her four year plan has been laid out with the basics plus a strong emphasis in her areas of interest.

  • Earth Science- She’ll be working with her brother through CK-12 Earth Science for High Schoolers
  • Geography- NorthStar Geography from Bright Ideas Press
  • Cover Story- Finish up this program
  • US History- All American History Volume II, modern history
  • One Year Adventure Novel- She is excited to start her own novel. This curriculum has been a part of our homeschool for over three years now.
  • Pre-Algebra & Beginning Algebra- With Life of Fred. She will continue to work through Algebra skills this year
  • Spanish- Rosetta Stone
  • Art- Rebecca will have a yearly art course with goals listed and a framework laid out. She’s already started with a Craftsy class in pen, ink, and watercolor
  • Sewing & Design II- More design elements and coursework for her pattern drafting and sewing with an emphasis on portfolio work.
  • Health- one quarter credit is required and is accomplished through family discussion and focus on current issues.
  • Homeschool Co-op- Usually sewing and craft classes when they are available.
  • Phys Ed- a half credit per year which is done through regular weekly activities such as large group games and seasonal activities.

 7th Grade Curriculum

Blog, She Wrote: Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2014-2015

Our 7th grader, is a huge fan of planes, rockets, and anything flight. Using Adventures in the Sea & Sky from WinterPromise seemed like a great fit for him and a nice transition from unit studies to more traditional approaches to learning.

  • Adventures in the Sea & Sky- This is a fantastic look at the history of sailing and flight throughout time- explorers, scientists, sailors, inventors, pilots. Anyone and anything that shaped the way we live today by their pioneering in these areas.
  • Cover Story- He will be finishing his magazine with Cover Story by the creator of One Year Adventure Novel.
  • Physics & PreAlgebra- with Life of Fred Physics and Pre-Algebra texts.
  • Earth Science- Primarily within the studies of sea and sky which will include oceanography & space sciences.
  • Phys Ed- Large group games weekly, bike riding
  • Homeschool Co-op- Which includes FLL and games this fall
  • FLL- He will be on a FIRST LEGO League team for the first time this year.

4th Grade Curriculum

We have one last elementary school student and he is sharp. Here are our plans for him:

  • Adventures in the Sea & Sky- He will be working with Isaac on this study and it will be interesting to see how they work together and how they will follow their interests.
  • Math with Life of Fred- He will begin the intermediate series and we’ll shore up skills in preparation for Fractions in 5th grade.
  • Language Arts- Focus on paragraph writing and short reports on our own and with WriteShop Junior D.
  • Homeschool Co-op- He loves to take whatever science classes are offered and this year will be in the FLL class as well.
  • FLL- He is a new member of our FLL team this year!
  • Engineering- Always an elective for him, he will have project time. It might be building or exploring or computer programming or solving a problem/making something better. But, he cannot be stopped!

Work Together with Multiple Ages

I always like to include time when all four of our children will learn together. Having been a unit study family only for a long time, our kids come from a homeschool background of working together and learning alongside one another. Though, we prefer to let each of our students work in their niche, we like to come together on some things. This year it’ll happen in a few areas.

  • Reading Aloud- I like to begin our day with this or use it as a tool to refocus on the work at hand.
  • Earth Science- The high schoolers will be working on the CK-12 course while the younger two boys will be doing oceanography and space science (both considered pieces of earth science) as part of Sea & Sky.
  • Geography- Once again, the high schoolers will be studying NorthStar Geography and the younger boys will tag along. I want to see how the course pans out for younger students- particularly late elementary.
  • Art- We do lots of art projects together which I love to use to adorn our walls!
  • Discussion/Collaboration- One of the things we are good at in our homeschool is collaborating with each other even now that our kids are not all working on the same level or curriculum. Asking for opinions and advice, starting discussions and review, and seeking expertise from others is something we encourage our kids to do daily.

How to Enhance Any Curriculum

Blog, She Wrote: How to Homeschool with a KindleWe have had huge success with using a Kindle in our homeschool. Both the eReader and the Fire have been assets to our learning for over a year, but especially after our three youngest kids all got Kindle Fires for Christmas last year. Learn all the ways we use Kindles in our homeschool.

We are looking forward to a new start. It’s exciting to think about what a new year brings!

Other bloggers from the iHN are sharing their curriculum choices for this year. Have a look around and be encouraged!

nbtsbloghopcalendar2014Don’t forget to drop in and enter the Geography Learning Tools Basket Giveaway through August 7, 2014.

Big Book of Homeschooling

Summer Vacation Fun with Chalk Pastels

Blog, She Wrote: Summer Vacation Fun with Chalk Pastels

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

Reasons to Take Chalk Pastels on Vacation

With everything else you need to prepare for vacationing not to mention you’ll be on vacation doing all sorts of fun things, why take the time and space to pack chalk pastels (or any other art supply) for Summer Vacation Fun with Chalk Pastels? Here are a few of our reasons:

  • Makes a great rainy day activity- Sometimes you get a wash out on vacation and bringing art supplies changes things up and keeps kids engaged when you can’t run around outdoors.
  • Feeds the creative soul in your midst- Rebecca hadn’t sat and created anything in a few days but was delighted to sit for an afternoon and paint. It was a balm to her vacation weary soul!
  • Provides a quiet activity when everyone needs some down time- At about the midway point in any vacation, tired kids begin to wilt. An art activity can slow the busiest person down so there is rest even for a little bit. My other go to for this is reading aloud- which we always bring on vacation!
  • Ensures a low cost way to enjoy your vacation environment- Some of us vacation on a tight budget leaving behind the attractions for something simpler. Make a memory by drawing your favorite spot while on vacation.
  • Add to Your Vacation Journal- Make a journal for your kids to have fun recording their favorite parts of vacation. Rebecca has one going for this trip to Maine and it’s been a lot of fun. You can include your memory making art in the journal and add some collages of brochure pictures.

Blog, She Wrote: Summer Vacation Fun with Chalk Pastels

Materials to Pack for Art Fun on Vacation

Whether you are flying or driving, save room for some art essentials. Our list includes:

  • Chalks- Since we flew to Maine, we packed a new package that was still nice and flat rather than our box with the smaller pieces.
  • Chalk Tutorials- We’ve been taking our Hodgepodge tutorials with us for years and whether we are camping or staying in a vacation house, they always come in handy.
  • Tablet- In our case our Kindle Fires so we can easily follow along with the pdf tutorials no matter where you are. This inexpensive tablet has been invaluable to us in our homeschool this year. If you don’t already have a tablet, this is a great investment without being too costly!
  • Drawing Paper- Rebecca likes to cut them into quarters making it easier to travel with and easy to fill space on when she draws.
  • Watercolor Paper-We like to travel with several media and watercolors are also easy to travel lightly with.
  • Watercolor Pencils- Much easier to be on the go with, watercolor pencils are fun to use on nature hikes and excursions. Then you can add the color later.
  • Drawing Pencils- Easy to carry on vacation if you have a sketcher in your family.
  • Sketch Pad- You can use any of these media in a sketch pad. Especially if you have one one meant for wet and dry media.

Blog, She Wrote: Summer Vacation Fun with Chalk Pastels

Rather than a sandy beach, Rebecca modified her beach to match the rocky shoreline here in Maine. That’s the beauty of chalk pastel tutorials, you can make them your own along the way.

I think one of her favorite parts of this painting was to outline the clouds in pink to indicate sunset. We always learn something new with each tutorial!

Blog, She Wrote: Summer Vacation Fun with Chalk Pastels

Just in time for summer traveling, Hodgepodge has released a new chalk pastel ebook! I downloaded it specifically for our trip to Maine and it has not disappointed. Rebecca spent an entire afternoon reading the book and making some chalk paintings.

Fill Your Sand Bucket with Art for All Ages!

If you are new to Southern Hodgepodge’s Chalk Pastels, you might be interested in a full bundle of books. These will provide you with a year of art curriculum which is guaranteed to be enjoyable even by your kids who don’t enjoy art. My 15yo loves to work with chalks and he finds art to be very effortful. It’s a forgiving medium and very pleasing to use.

From now through June 10, 2014 you can get $10 off. Just use the code: TCC614.

A Year of Art CurriculumSo, what are your vacation plans this summer? Be sure to put your art supplies, especially chalk pastels, on your packing list!

5 Favorite Resources for Spring Fun

Bright Ideas Press: 5 Favorite Resources for Spring Fun5 Favorite Resources for Spring Fun

Perhaps spring is halfway to summer where you are, but in upstate New York, we are slow to burst into spring, especially this year. Enjoy a little spring inspiration with these resources even if you are well into the season.

Click on over to Bright Ideas Press for 5 Favorite Resources for Spring Fun- you’ll find ideas for nature study, art, and science along with our favorite websites, books, and art products.

Many thanks to Bright Ideas Press for the opportunity to contribute!