Monday, May 29, 2017

2017-2018 Curriculum Picks - 10th Grade

This has been the hardest year to pick curriculum for.   I've waffled back and forth on a few things and then finally just had to order and hope for the best.   That's probably not the encouragement you're looking for, but I'm just being real with you.    After skipping 8th grade, Olivia will be 10th grade this year, and I've got grand plans for 11th and 12th, but we had to get through this year to get there.

Below are the topics, products and credits that will be assigned per class.   Most of the links shared take you to the Rainbow Resource website/description of the products.   This is not because I'm an affiliate, or will reap any benefit, but truly it's because it was easier to link it from my shopping cart there than to go to every single vendor's page.

American Literature:   We have used Learning Language Arts Through Literature for years, and will continue to do so this year.  Olivia will be working through the Gold-American Literature set.   This will allow us to tie literature and history together this year.    1 Credit

American History:  I asked Olivia for input about how she wanted to study history this year.  Surprisingly, she wanted to memorize dates, places and people, and I wanted her to understand the causes of certain events.   I've looked high and low and couldn't really find a high school class that met both her criteria and I'm improvising.    We'll be using The Story of the Thirteen Colonies and the Great Republic200 Questions About American History, and America's History (Explorers to 21st Century AD) timeline products from Home School in the Woods.   She'll also be doing a 6 week study of WWII using the American In World War II, Time Traveler's package.  We'll be adding lots of literature and field trips to enhance our study.  1 Credit

Math:  This subject caused me the most angst.   Since Horizons doesn't go past Algebra I, I had to switch vendors and also decide whether to go with Algebra II or Geometry this year.   I finally decided we'd go with  Fresh Approach Algebra II. 1 Credit

Biology: I wanted to give Olivia a strong understanding of biology, as her career path will most likely be animal science/veterinarian endeavors.   We really liked the flow/layout of this year's Life Science, so we decided to stay with the same vendor and use Science Shepherd Biology, the lab DVD's and the lab notebook/manual .  We'll also be using the dissection kit, which has more dissection labs than the other leading biology program.    1 Credit

CivicsLand of Fair Play, including the student workbook and tests.   We'll also be supplementing this with some current even studies.   1/2 Credit

Economics:    This will be a one semester study.   We'll be using Economics for Everyone to make this typically dull topic as painless as possible.  1/2 Credit

Art:  Olivia has really started to blossom as an artist this year, and asked if she could add an art class to her course load for the year.   This year she'll be focusing on learning to used charcoal as she works through  Artistic Pursuits High School Book 1.    1 Credit

Co-op classes:

Botany:   Our new co-op will be offering a high school level botany class.   I'm hoping I don't live to regret having two sciences this year, but she's really does enjoy learning about the how's and whys of science, so we're going for it.   1 Credit

Creative Writing (IEW):  Olivia does really well with the IEW style of teaching writing.   This class will focus more on essay's and longer writing assignments.   I also like for her to have someone other than me checking her writing assignments, since it gives a different perspective.   1 Credit

She is still on the fence about the third co-op class, Advanced Sign Language.   She truly doesn't want to do the class, and I'm hoping another class is offered that is more suitable to her.   We'll see if that happens.  However, at the moment the whole co-op thing may not happen simply because we can't get teachers and students, so this may be dropped all together.

This plan of study will give her 8 credit classes in the upcoming year.   By the end of her sophomore year she will have a total of  18 credits (the typical 4 year high school only requires 22 for graduation) so I feel like she's way ahead of the game at this point.
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Friday, May 26, 2017

Weekly Wrap Up - The End!

We finished up our school year this week!  Let the angelic choir sing!!!    Ok, it really wasn't that bad, but is sure was nice to put the books away and have some breathing room!   All of our extra curricular activities and midweek church activities are also finished for the summer!     Now I just need to do our end of year testing.

We went on a super fast little field trip this week.   It was fast because 1) it's been raining all week and we ran out for this between heavy rains, and 2) it was very crowded and 3) it wasn't real (there's a shock) which meant "lame" to the girls.   Yes, the 13,000 pound Idaho potato came to our area.
Lindsey completed her last 1,000 piece puzzle....and guess what?   She was not amused.

Like I said, it's rained ALL week here.  This created a small issue for us.  My husband's car broke down, again, and because it's over 20 years old parts are hard to come by.  (Ok, they've stopped making them, there I said it.)  We were able to find what we needed at a salvage yard (yes, seriously) but the part can't be retrieved until the monsoons end.    I'm trying to decide if we can survive as a one car family, or if we have to try to replace his car completely.

This week on the blog, I shared our 7th grade curriculum picks for the upcoming year.  Be sure to check it out and see what we have in the works.

Linking up with the Weekly Wrap Up.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Typing Coach Online Typing Course (Review)

Today I'm sharing my review of  The Typing Coach from The Typing Coach Online Typing Course.  This is an online typing program with audio, video, and written instruction along with a typing speed and online assessment center that contains objectives, timed tests, and scored proficiency tests. The program is geared towards the beginning typer, but can be used by any level of typer.   This program is especially good for students who have developed some bad typing habits that they need to break (like looking at the screen or keyboard).

There are only seven (7) lessons in the program, and the lessons can be completed at each students own pace.   The "goal" is for the student to be able to type 10 words per minute with no errors by the end of the program.  At just $17 per year for one student, your average student should well get their money's worth out of this program.

I decided to use this product with my 11 year old since she has no formal typing background.  Typically, she worked 3-4 days a week on the the website.   Some days she was more motivated than  others and worked longer that other days.  She enjoyed the lessons, and liked that she could go back over it as many times as necessary without getting her score lowered.   There are tests that the student must log on to take, but you can practice like crazy before taking the tests.

Lindsey used this program pretty consistently throughout our review period of roughly 6 weeks.  The site is easy to navigate and once I showed her where to find things on the site, she was good to go on her own.  She went from a non-typing student to being able to type between 10 and 15 words per minute without error.   Now keep in mind, she's using a lot of the same practice pages more than once, so the word count may be skewed a bit just by memorization.   However, we plan to continue using the program (we received a one year subscription for the review) over the summer and upcoming school year.

One thing that Lindsey found annoying was some of the childish talk at the end of  the videos.   The lessons themselves were fine, but the endings were always kind of goofy and really just didn't quite seem to fit well, so she quit listening to the ends of the lessons.

One of the things that I especially liked is that there aren't a lot of distractions in the program.   The student listens to the lesson and does there work without a lot of cartoons and things to distract (sans the goofy ending).   I also liked that there are printable progress charts to help both student and parent keep track of where they are.   There's also learning packets you can print that have additional work.

This would also make a great remedial typing course for my older student who learned to type using another program.  She hasn't really worked with/used her typing a great deal since she learned, and this would make a great refresher to help strengthen typing skills.   With the easy layout of the lessons and the practice schedule, even a slow typer could improve pretty quickly.

To read other Crew member reviews of this product, click here.

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Monday, May 22, 2017

2017-2018 Curriculum Choices - 7th Grade

It's hard to believe that my "baby" is heading into 7th grade.  It's funny how some milestones seem so much bigger than others, and 7th grade compared to 6th grade, is like that for me where she is concerned.

Lindsey has always been my accelerated learner.  When I've taught a subject with both girls, I've taught at the older one's level, and Lindsey has just learned along with her.   One thing I've noticed, especially this year, is that while she has amazing verbal skills, her written language skills just aren't what I feel they need to be.   This is very noticeable with her writing assignments.   This year, my goal is to strengthen that weak spot, because I want her to be successful in higher education, and I want her to be able to write a letter that isn't horribly drab.

Language Arts:  I want to really focus on Lindsey's understating and ability to identify the parts of speech and how they are used.  I decided to go back and revisit a product I used when she was probably in 2nd or 3rd grade, Jr. Analytical Grammar.   This is a really well done, easy to understand program, but like I said it was taught on a 5th grade level when she was in 2nd we're backing up to punt and give her time to gain the knowledge she needs.
Literature:  Lindsey has always been a strong reader, but I want to strengthen her comprehension and understanding, and challenge her more than she has been in the past.   We'll be using the Memoria Press 7th grade literature to work on this area.   This will consist of reading The Bronze Bow, Anne of Green Gables, The Hobbit and the Trojan War.  Truthfully, she's already read the Bronze Bow, but I want her to get a better understanding of the book, culture and time period.

Math:     Horizons Pre-Algebra including the tests and resource book (enter the world of the worksheet).   This program worked really well with Olivia and I'm hoping to have the same success with Lindsey.   She's already looking at it saying "well it doesn't look hard"...I hope she still thinks that come the new school year.

Spelling:  No big change up here, we'll continue with the same vendor, Christian Liberty Press Spelling 7.

History:  After finishing up our study of the Middle Ages, we've decided to move into the Renaissance.   We'll be using History Thru the Ages: Project Passport - Renaissance and Reformation to take us through the year.  Granted this is not a year long history program, but I want to take it slow and focus on the people and events of that time frame.   As I've mentioned before, Lindsey isn't a huge fan of history, so bite size portions of information, stretched out over time seem to work better for her.

Science:   We'll be using both Apologia Botany and the  Apologia botany notebooking journal to accompany what she'll be learning in co-op.

Sewing:  We will be using Simply Sewing to give my little seamstress some basic skills.   She's had a sewing machine for almost two years now and we've yet to do anything with it.  Time to make that a reality for her.

Co-op classes:   Botany,  Creative Writing/Language Arts, Advanced ASL.    As or right now, the co-op thing is up in the air due to lack of teachers & students (which sounds nicer than saying lack of interest in the community, ahem).

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Weekly Wrap Up - Mother's Day Silliness

Our churches youth group had a mother/daughter luncheon to celebrate Mother's Day.   Admittedly they had it the weekend before Mother's Day, but I didn't think to put the photos in last weeks wrap up post.   We had a lovely catered meal, and a few games, and a silly photo booth set up.   Aren't these the craziest?
Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing and hat
Image may contain: 1 person, sitting, table, child and indoor

Mother's Day itself was, as usual, a day of running from one place to the other to see the Moms.  My Momma lives about 90 minutes away from us, then my biological mother is 30 minutes from her.  My mother-in-law is then another 90 or so minutes in another direction and then the long drive home.  By the time we left church it was 12:30 and weren't home until almost 10pm.

We finished up a few more school subjects this week.  Both girls finished Bible. Lindsey finished math, and Olivia finished life science and vocabulary.    Lindsey has one more week of spelling and Olivia has one more week of Algebra.  (Although, we have a new review we're using to shore up the Algebra skills, and will be using that all summer...yes, really.)

Lindsey's volleyball team won the tournament!  Winners were announced at the banquet Saturday.  Here's a picture of the loan player, I wasn't able to get a team photo with their medals.  Speaking of volleyball, Olivia had her 2nd practice withe the private school team she'll be playing for this fall.  She seems to really enjoy it and so far the girls are all very nice (refreshing!).
In other news, I finally got the vegetable garden planted.  We'll have tomatoes, beets, radishes and lettuces.   Ok, so technically it's late for lettuce, but the weather hasn't been cooperative, and well today it was 93, so I figured worst case scenario I'm out of a $1's worth of seeds.   I still have a bit of room left, so I may go back and get some form of squash to plant.    Speaking of gardens, here's a few photos from my flower gardens this week.  Evening primrose (top photo), rose bush (middle), funky irises (bottom).

Lastly, Lindsey finished her latest 1000 piece puzzle.   We only have one more to go, I'm not sure what we'll do when she runs out! 
How was your week?  Anything exciting going on in your world?

Linking up with the Weekly Wrap Up.

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