Thursday, January 7, 2016

Winter Review of our School Year

September, October, November and December behind us. Final stretch: January to June. Thought this was a good time to review what we had planned, what worked, what didn't, and what we're using now.

In August my plans were:
Algebra 2: Bob Jones
Chemistry: Apologia
Literature: Tapestry of Grace and When Worlds Collide
Composition/Writing: Tapestry of Grace and When Worlds Collide
History: Tapestry of Grace (Finish Y2, Start Y3)
Spanish: Bob Jones
Phys Ed

Let's start with Bible.
Our normal plan throughout each year is reading three chapters a day five days a week. Were doing quite well. Some days we read more; some days we miss our reading. In general, tho (especially compared with last year), we're doing quite well.

Second subject in our daily planner is Algebra 2. We started the year with Bob Jones Algebra 2. We reached a point, fairly quickly, where it became very frustrating for my student, and we switched to CTC Math because we just weren't getting the BJU done. This became frustrating for me because, ahem..., there was a recurrence of student saying he had done math or was going to get it done that day, where he had either not done as much as he should have or actually didn't get to it at all. We discussed it, made a plan, got a tutor, and now we are back with BJU, albeit behind schedule.
Still finding it difficult to cover at the pace indicated by the curriculum guide. This course is daily a struggle. I haven't recalculated the lesson plans yet -- we will probably have to work some into the summer to finish 75% of the book. If so, we will do so. I consider adequate coverage of this course very important for his college readiness. He expressed an interest in studying engineering in college, and that's what I am trying to prepare him for.

For Chemistry, we started the year with Apologia Chemistry.
As with Algebra 2, we reached a point where we just weren't getting the assignments done. This time the roadblock started because the teacher (me) failed to find the proper fuel for the burner, and the experiments weren't working as they should because the burn temperature wasn't hot enough with the fuel we used to substitute.

We switched to having him work his way through Fascinating Chemistry. Once again, he hit a mental roadblock. He wasn't understanding or wasn't retaining well enough to pass tests to progress. He stopped using Fascinating Chemistry, and we are returning to Apologia. I now have the proper fuel for the experiments, thanks to my hubby.

Literature - I've been taking selections from all over. We worked through Puddn'head, by Mark Twain (part of When Worlds Collide). Student also worked on War of the Worlds (also part of When Worlds Collide).  

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, A Tale of Two Cities, and The Travels of Gulliver. These are selections from the end of Year 2 in Tapestry of Grace (Colonial America; constitution). Next week we will begin week 1 of Year 3 (the 1800's). I am using more of a Charlotte Mason method, so rather than reading one book in one to four weeks, we read multiple books, spreading a book out over about 12 weeks, depending on the book.

History: We've been working on Tapestry of Grace history as well, working our way through the Colonial period, touching on the French Revolution, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution. Looking forward to the 1800s.

Composition: we are not doing well in this area. Hoping we can manage to get improvement in this area soon.

Spanish: We started the year with plans to use Bob Jones Spanish I.
I bought textbook, teacher key, tests, answers, activity book, answer key, CD set, ...the whole "shebang". We crashed and burned. I told them I don't speak Spanish. Why would they sell me a curriculum that tells the teacher to stand before the student and say, in Spanish, "pen", "pencil", "blackboard", "table", "desk" etc. I don't know how to pronounce, even if they had given me the words in Spanish. What was that sales lady thinking? And they have a 30-day return policy. In Maryland our "convention" is at the end of April. That means that by the time I started trying to use the Spanish in September I already could not return it.

Over the summer I reviewed German I for Middlebury Interactive Languages. When I realized my delima, I contacted Middlebury and asked them, now that my review was done could I possibly change from German I to Spanish I. They very graciously allowed me to do that. I worked my way into the language, hoping that having this Spanish would enable me to teach the Bob Jones Spanish. After a number of weeks I realized I needed to abandon Bob Jones and just have my son do Middlebury Spanish I. He has been very happily studying and learning Spanish ever since. I will be posting a review of Middlebury Spanish very soon.

My student was going to work towards his Physical Education half-credit this year, but seems to have lost his initiative. He does get physical training (2 hours 1 time per month), but isn't clocking hours the rest of the time. Maybe we'll get that half-credit worked off in warmer weather.

Driving education has continued, but not too intensely. He will take a formal class maybe in the spring.

So that's our mid-year update. How is your home school year going?

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