Welcome to my 2015 homeschool curriculum choices for my colonial infatuated, mermaid-loving, DIY homesteader, oceanographer, worship singer, high school sophomore BusyGirl!
From my opening, you can see why we homeschool! There was never a one-size-fits-all kind of curriculum that was a perfect match for any of our eight kids. And our last child (all the rest of our children are grown), BusyGirl is no exception! BusyGirl is now a sophomore in high school.
Before I plan for the next school year, I jot down in my journal a few areas that I need to consider before I make my curriculum choices.
Assessing BusyGirl’s Learning Needs
Learning Style- My young lady is kinesthetic all the way. She is also an auditory learner. (Example: She will silently read a question and then ask for my help. I ask her to read the question out loud and lo and behold she can answer the question.)
Learning Strengths- BusyGirl researches everything. I love that she loves to learn. She often will persuade her 21 year-old brother to take her to the library when I can’t. She is constantly on YouTube finding out how to make everything homemade, and frequently bunny-trails looking for more information when studying. Her “learning adventures” often slow down her assignment completion. I mean really, what are you going to say to a kid who asks, “Mom, is it okay to look up some more videos about Charles’s Law and do some more practice problems?” My no-brainer response, “Of course!”
Learning Weakness- BusyGirl struggles with dyslexia. She is a wonderful creative writer and speaker but struggles with spelling. She continues to work hard (as most dyslexic kids do) creating new pathways to compensate. But sometimes, it’s discouraging for her.
Character Strengths- Last year, she took on a lot of added responsibilities. Example: She cooks dinner for the family at least five times a week, began raising hogs for profit, and joined the worship team at her youth group. She makes her own beauty products and also is designing mermaid tails to sell. (You would not believe the market that’s out there for mermaid tails!) You can see why we call her BusyGirl!
New Opportunities for Growth- I don’t like to call to call anything a weakness, just an opportunity to grow. Memorizing facts and test taking has always been a struggle for her. She is planning to follow in her sister’s foot steps utilizing College Plus as a path for college. I don’t want anything to prevent her from realizing her dreams and utilizing her God given talents. I will make sure I continue to help her expand her study and test taking skills. I plan to have her take at least one CLEP Test this year.
New Skills I want to Pass on to Her- As a mom, there are skills that I know she will need for her future. I spend some time thinking about what those skills are and include them in her curriculum. This year, I want her to become even more tech savvy than she already is. I would like her to learn simple HTML coding and WordPress. I also can see her entrepreneurial skills developing, so I want her to begin learning a little bit about marketing.
Family Constraints – Before I choose curriculum for the year, I assess our family’s schedule. Many times what I want to do and what I can do are two different things. As part of the Here to Help Learning Team, BusyGirl often must go on film shoots, attend conventions (she is great little sales lady!) , or travel with me when I speak at co-ops or women events. Our curriculum must be mobile and easy to implement without the internet.
So after assessing BusyGirl learning needs for the 2015 educational season, here are my curriculum choices: (You’ll notice, I combine core curriculum and assign individual projects for each subject to meet her kinesthetic learning needs. She gives me a lot of input on the project assignments.)
Bible/Old Testament Survey: Alpha Omega (SOS) Grade 10
PROJECT: Assistant Bible Teacher/Drama for Children’s Church
PROJECT: Worship Team for Youth Group
Math: Teaching Textbooks Algebra 2 with automatic grading
BusyGirl loves how this program gives her hints to help her with the math problems and detailed explanations when she gets the problem incorrect. I LOVE the automatic grading
PROJECT: CLEP test preparation for College Algebra.
World History: Alpha Omega (SOS) Grade 10
PROJECT: Create and present a timeline with the new information she learns. In her own words,“I love timelines!” I can assure you her exclamation point is heartfelt!
PROJECT: CLEP test preparation for Western Civilizations I and II tests.
Language Arts/ English II: Alpha Omega (SOS) Grade 10
Writing: I modify many of the Alpha-Omega assignments to make her writing assignments meaningful.
Reading (30 min/day): BusyGirl gets to choose the books! I am a big fan of cultivating the joy of reading for pleasure. I give her a reading chart for the year with 180 spaces. She logs in the title of book and pages read.
Spelling Strategies: I work with BusyGirl for 15 minutes a day helping her master her spelling by employing effective strategies to help students with dyslexia. It’s been a long struggle for her, but I am so proud that she plows through even when it’s tough.
Science/ Biology: Alpha Omega (SOS) Grade 10
PROJECTS: Weekly Dissection Labs
BusyGirl and her BFF will be teaming up for HS biology labs this year. Her BFF mom doesn’t care for dissection labs. And that’s okay. I personally can’t fathom learning science, especially biology, without a sharp knife, oozing guts, and the smell of preserved specimens.(Can you tell I have a nursing background?) I’m grateful BusyGirl whole heartily agrees! We all learn and teach differently! As long as our family isn’t on the road, the girls will team up and complete the first task, drawing and labeling the specimen’s outside and inside features. Second, they will perform the dissection and prepare slides for microscope viewing.
List of Dissections: We get many of our dissection specimens from NASCO Science. She has done all of these dissections in her early elementary school years, and this year she will repeat the labs with greater depth
Plant Biology: plant, leaves, flowers
Animal Biology: perch, bird, shark, worms, frog, fetal pig, clams, snails, insects
Human Biology: Organs (Remember BusyGirl raises hogs, so we get these specimens from the butcher who prepares the hogs. Example: heart, lungs, bones, kidney, brain, eye, etc.)
Spanish 2: I added Alpha Omega (SOS) Spanish Level 1, and Rosetta Stone Spanish Level 2.
Last year, BusyGirl did Rosetta Stone Spanish Level 1. Rosetta Stone is stellar when it comes to teaching Spanish words with a beautiful accent. However, I found it lacked in explanations of verb conjugations and other mechanics of the language. So this year I am combining the two curriculums.
PROJECT: Prepare two meals from a region that speaks Spanish and a give a presentation about its culture.
PROJECT: Memorize/Recite/Sing one poem or song in Spanish. (Last year’s Spanish project: BusyGirl sang Let it Go in Spanish-complete with costume!)
PROJECT: Daily watch 15 minutes of Adventures In Odyssey in Spanish. (BusyGirl is a member of the Odyssey Adventure Club, so she has access to the broadcast in Spanish, and she has all the English versions practically memorized)
PROJECT: Take over and post daily on Here to Help Learning’s Captain Knucklehead’s Facebook Page (posting study skill videos, learning videos, and funny memes)
PROJECT: Start a personal blog.
Monday: Hill Training 1 mile
Tuesday: Run 2 Miles
Wednesday: Bike 5 miles
Thursday: Swim Fit Class with her BFF
Friday: Run 2 miles
(Trip to the donut shop if we complete the whole week of PE. Check out my post on Homeschool PE)
PROJECT: Participate in 2-3 Community 5k or mini-triathlon events
Art Elective: Weekly private vocal lessons.
You might wonder why I chose a lot of Alpha-Omega Products?
Alpha Omega (SOS) get’s my vote for BusyGirl’s core curriculum for a couple of reasons:
*Christian Curriculum– This is very important to our family.
*Automatic grading on most assignments.
*The Switched-On Schoolhouse version does not require internet. We learned just how spotty internet was across the US when we traveled last year. (And another reason why we put HTHL’s Writing Program in a DVD/Workbook format)
*Pre-programed scheduling helps BusyGirl stay on track.
*There are lots of learning helps. One of the most important features for BusyGirl is she can highlight any text and the software will pronounce the words for her. Awesome for learning new vocabulary!
*I love the spelling and vocabulary testing games. This helps BusyGirl to hear and practice her spelling skills with new vocabulary words.
*It gives BusyGirl a lot of opportunity to take tests that are similar to CLEP tests.
*It covers all the core topics quickly without adding a lot of busy work. This leaves BusyGirl with extra time to pursue her interests.
I love homeschooling! As a homeschool mom, I get to choose homeschool curriculum that suits my BusyGirl perfectly! Thanks for letting me share our homeschool curriculum choices. Next week, I invite you to our “schoolroom” and find out what school supplies are must-haves for us.
Keep on hopping through iHomeschool Network’s “NOT” Back to School’s Blog Hop!
From Our Home to Yours,