Katie, 7th grade
Math: Saxon Algebra 1
This is the math curriculum I grew up with. She and I have the same frenetic brain zoomy all over the place learning style, so I knew Saxon with its spiraly spiraling would work for her. And it makes her feel fancy to have a hardback text book that she can't write in. Don't ask me. I don't make the rules. Well, yes, I do make the rules. And the rule is "if it makes you like school work more, sign me up."
History: The Old World and America
Last year we went with the Angelicum history suggestions, which included All Ye Lands for 6th grade. We loved, and still love, that book. The 7th grade suggestion, on the other hand, got not-so-glowing reviews from people who felt the same way we did about the 6th grade book. They recommended we save it for high school. So instead I found this great little book and so far (I think she's....6 lessons into it? She got tired of not doing school over the summer. I know. Weirdo.) we like it. I like the faith tie-ins and the not-dumbed-down language. She loves the variety of questions at the end of each lesson.
Grammar: Advanced Winston Grammar
I can't remember how I stumbled across this while preparing for last year, but I went ahead and got the basic and advanced levels and we're using it for the second year in a row. One worksheet per week for the entire year could get you through both levels in 2 years. I think we'll end up drawing it out to last all of middle school, though. I'm in no hurry. The practice is straightforward and the little cards that the parts of speech are written on seem juvenile, but for visual and tactile learners both, they are really useful. The workbook has easy tear-out pages and you can photocopy for use as many times as you need to within your family. Cha-ching.
Lizzy, 6th grade
Math: MCP Math Level F
Lizzy loves hating math. It's her favorite hobby. She won't try Saxon ("Anything that Katie likes I'm going to hate!"), we tried Singapore last year, and now we're trying MCP. Sighs and grouchiness all around. She understands it. She just doesn't enjoy it. And whatever temperament it is that insists all things be enjoyable? She has that. Whatever. Learn what an exponent is. Do some percentages. Don't mess up your order of operations. Stop rolling your eyes. This is all I ask.
History: Story of the World
This was kind of a last-minute decision. We were going to do All Ye Lands but then a few weeks before school started she saw the Story of the World book and started reading it just for fun. I scoped out the teacher's manual and even though I had bought it for Paul (first grade) I realized that it was designed for multiple grade levels at a time. And I could tell right away that there was stuff she (and I!) doesn't already know. So why not? I asked her if she'd like to do this instead and save All Ye Lands for next year and she hopped on board. I think it's going to be a lot of fun, honest.
Grammar: Basic Winston Grammar
She is halfway through this book already (we started it last year) and so we're just picking up where we left off. I think in total we'll shoot for a minimum of 15 lessons this year to finish this level but if we end up having time for more, we'll just keep on trucking and start in on the advanced level. Again, perforated pages and permission to copy all the worksheets for use in your own family
Combined Middle School Subjects
Latin: Prima Latina
This course is going to be so simple and fun and usable by every age group. Now if you went to UD with us, you are probably sobbing a little that the children of Tommy Borobia, knower of all languages and major-er in Latin and Greek, are barely picking up Latin in middle school. Travesty to be sure. Anyway, it is what it is. The generous Rebekah (do you read her blog? She is on my list of "women I need to meet." Will it make her feel old if I say that she just seems to ooze wisdom? I don't care. She does. And she's funny and lovely and good and lots of other positive adjectives. Also: incredible hair) sent me oodles of homeschooling materials near the end of last year and this was in the box. Sign from the heavens! So obvi we're doing it.
Language Arts: um....wordly things?
Here's what I mean. They read. A lot. Lots and lots of reading. Should I do a book or reading list someday? Maybe. Some people mentioned that. Anyway, I don't want to suck the fun out of reading by making them constantly analyze things and prove to me their reading comprehension skills. I don't need to. I know them and their comprehension is stellar. Anyway, just like last year we're doing poetry from The Harp and the Laurel Wreath.
I love this book because you can use it for all grade levels forever. One book, a hundred purposes. What I do is assign a poem per week (more or less depending on length).
-Day one: they copy the poem out of the book into their notebook using their best handwriting.
-Day two: they write down any new-to-them words and look up the definition in the dictionary (alternate option: research historical event that the poem is referring to)
-Days three thru five: memorization of poem with recitation on Friday or sometime during the weekend
They are also going to be participating in a writing workshop during our weekly co-op where they'll have the opportunity to learn and practice peer editing et al. Good stuff.
Geography/additional history: Complete National Geographic DVD roms
The other day I mentioned this set of cd-roms. It is so incredible and you can find it used for a fraction of the new cost. We've got the syllabus from Angelicum but this is another one that I'm being flexible with. If it takes three years to get through it, that's cool. The articles are excellent for them to stretch their reading skills, particularly the articles written in the 20s and 30s and the photographs are, of course, wonderful. We're shooting for one "assignment" per week, but I've given myself permission to skip around or entirely skip certain articles based on interest level in the topic. So freeing!
I should probably have this more mapped out, but honestly I just don't. The vague notion I have is for each one of them to pick a saint, research where the saint was from, family history, country history, cultural devotions, details about their canonization, what was going on in the world during their lives, and then give a speech with a visual presentation at the end of each month. That would mean eight projects through the course of the school year. We'll see if I add or adjust that as time goes on
Science: Behold and See 6
I am S-T-O-K-E-D that our co-op this year is doing an experiment based science class for middle schoolers. We're happy to read words 'round here, but I kinda suck at having the supplies for experiments handy up in this here casa. All the middle-schoolers will be doing this class together and then they'll be participating in a science fair at the end of the semester/year. That slash means "I can't remember if they're doing one or two and that just shows you how bad I am at planning in advance"
Paul: 1st grade
Math: MCP Level A
A lot of what is in the very beginning of this book is too easy for him. So guess what? We just skip it! So magical. Yay being in charge. Overall though, I like the unhurried pace and sufficient practice in this book. I'd rather have too much practice that I can skip past than not enough which requires that I print extra practice sheets or something, know what I'm sayin'?
Reading: Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
Ooooh, if you missed Paul's kindergarten post, you can read it here. I talked about and use this book last year, too, but stopped about half-way through. So we're picking up again where we left off and moving forward. Little dude is a very young first grader what with his birthday being at the end of August and all. If he was going to public school, we wouldn't have sent him at all last year, so at least for these beginning years he'll hover a little "ahead" or a little "behind" on certain things, depending on how you look it at it
Science: Behold and See 1
We'll see how much of this we use. Probably I should have thought a little harder about whether this book was necessary seeing as it is set on a farm and talks about things like how gardens grow and animals and stuff. Hmmmm. Yes. Probably could just, like, go outside. Which we might do. But the book is very cute and age appropriate and not annoying. So there's that for anyone who has a different set-up from ours.
Spelling doesn't really make sense until you can read, so there's no formal spelling program going on over here. We read a poem out of The Harp and The Laurel Wreath and talk about what it means. Then one day a week we practice handwriting by using words out of that poem and then on another day he picks a line to copy straight out of the book.
For two years he's done Cathechesis of the Good Shepherd at our parish. This year we're taking a break because he'd be in the same classroom for the third year in a row. Instead we're going to read out of the many saint books for kids and children's gospels that Tommy's sister has sent us over the years (nun sister in law for the win!). That combined with celebrating feast days and listening to his big sisters' presentations (and Mass, of course. Did I even need to write that?) should be sufficient.
History: Story of the World
Paul's gonna be doing this along with Lizzy. Different and fewer activities but overall same time period. We'll see how it goes!
Spanish and Art
These two are classes being taught at our co-op this year for the lower elementary grades. Fun!
And here's the link to Paul's kinder post again because we're still using the calendar and letter and number charts for Cecilia. And don't forget out loud reading time and all the other things that families normally do. Do I need to include that kind of stuff? I didn't think so.
Holy. Moly. That seems like a lot. It doesn't feel like a lot when we're doing it, I swear! I mean, here it is 10:23 on a Monday morning and we still haven't started school. Heck, we're all still in our pajamas. What? It was a tiring weekend (for some reason). And it was raining. Who can get out of bed early when it's raining? No, this is totally reasonable. Really.
Please, feel free to ask questions and I'll do my best to respond directly or write a post filled with all the questions and answers. Remember, this is only our third year though. But I was homeschooled-in-someone-else's home for most of my childhood. So I don't know where my helpfulness lands on the Useful Scale. I'll let you decide.
Edit! I totally forgot about art and "p.e." for the big girls. Mea culpa.
For art, they're taking a class on Wednesday mornings called Mosaic Fused Glass with our local homeschool partnership. And p.e. is horseback riding lessons on Thursday afternoons.
Okay, for real this time I think I'm finished. Is it nap time?