Friday, August 19, 2011

Homeschooling All The Way

DeeDee is having a homeschool curriculum round up. I can say I've been homeschooling for over a decade. I'm not sure what I've done to deserve this punishment but...I'm going to be obedient and keep pressing on. With 10th grade starting up for the older 2 - what's a few more years?

If you've homeschooled more than a year than you have learned to be flexible with the whole curriculum thing. Some stuff worked great for a couple years but not for all subjects etc. I've been getting a ton of emails regarding homeschool through high school lately and thought I would give a few thoughts.

My husband is really book smart. He says stuff that makes my head spin, but lack of some other skills, I think, is what kept him locked in construction rather than moving forward. While that will be changing shortly, it's made for some hard years. And with all his smarts dude can.not keep a checkbook balanced.

I, however, with all my goofballness can balance a checkbook, thank you very much!

I've tried to approach homeschooling to not only cover the basics but also what skills would they need to survive on their own. Like balancing a checkbook.

If I can do the high school years, than so can you. Yes, it is intimidating but from the books that I've read, the sheer amount of prayer, and God still not letting me off the hook - it can be done, it just takes extra planning.

First off the bat, go to HSLDA and find out what your state requires. I'm not going to lie - it is overwhelming! Have chocolate on hand as well as a box of Kleenex because if you are like me, then you will bawl your eyes out and tell God, yet again, you can't do this. If you are also like me, chances are you were told to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get to planning. You may, or may not, have muttered dagnabbit several times. But you do need to have a 4 year game plan as it really does help stay the course so to speak.

I got the book
High School @ Home by Diana Johnson. It came with a CD to help with all the transcripts and different forms. It has been a HUGE help. It walks you through a lot of stuff and helps with the planning department. I got it at a homeschool bookstore but I've also seen it on

Also know your kid. While that is a big duh - there is a reason for it. Rules without relationship breeds rebellion. There is a lot to tackle for high school and the more you can get them on board and to see the goal, they'll, hopefully, help verses digging in their heels because all they see is a mountain of work. And you on the floor in a fetal position praying for the rapture. If your kid knows where they want to go for college, go check out their website and see what their requirements are and if there is any additional information for homeschoolers. Some will want both SAT scores plus ACT scores or whatever the state tests are. That will help you plan as well.

I can't stress it enough - it has helped to plan out the 4 years. For example, I had the guys hit math and science hard for 9th grade. They did algebra (Teaching Textbooks) and biology (A Beka). Since we did hard stuff with that, I went soft on English and history. I've found with them, they can do the hard stuff but they do get overwhelmed real quick so I've tried to keep it balanced.

For Jared - Switched On Schoolhouse is working for this grade. Nicholas and Michael loved it until about 7th grade and then we had all kinds of problems with them acing the work but failing the tests and had to jump ship. So for this year, J is all set. It just hit me he'll be 7th grade next year.

Hold me.

BIBLE: I think studying the bible is important but I did not want to turn bible time into just another subject to be graded and tested on. I honestly haven't been that impressed with a lot of bible curriculum out there. I've found taking the pressure off of having to make a grade did wonders with their understanding rather than parroting the information. They have to read 1 chapter a day and that's it. Plus we do a family bible study once a week.

A few years back they had to write 1 verse out of that chapter in cursive. I was able to cover 2 subjects with one stone. Bye-bye birdie! Because I am all about those 2 for 1! My darling angels grew horns and fought me on various subjects. And you know what? That is to be expected because not everyone can master every skill. My uptight homeschooling self needs to be reminded of that often.

MATH: I've heard a lot of people say that geometry should may be held off till 11th grade. Some kids frontal lobes are still developing and some of this stuff doesn't stick. We got through the evilness of algebra (Teaching Textbooks) and felt like they needed a bit of a break. I really like the Teaching Textbooks. There were a few times Hubs said the guy made it too hard and showed the guys short cuts. My eyes glazed over and I may have blacked out but they got through it.

This year is a smoosh of personal finances, early accounting, and economics. SOS has a new personal fiance that came out and it's a one semester study. I'm not sure what all is in the study pack but I will make sure they can balance a checkbook and handle money. Dave Ramsey's books will be added as well. I also picked up
What Ever Happened To Penny Candy? by Richard J. Maybury. I've read lots of reviews and said this is a must read regarding economics.

Wonder if I can send a copy to Washington D.C.? Just saying.

We're also going to use the second part of the semester doing timed tests. These guys have never had to deal with that and the state we might be moving to requires state testing every year. So I got a book on preparing for taking the ACT and we'll work our way up to them getting used to being timed. I don't know if I've mentioned it a time or 500 but N and M have 2 speeds, slow and extra slow as they are perfectionist. But given enough time, they will almost ace it. J on the other hand will fly through something and can careless what the grade is.

ENGLISH: I did Painless Grammar a while ago and the guys really liked it. I picked up Painless Writing. Literature did not go well as I've stated in earlier posts. I also got Wordly Wise for vocabulary. We'll still do a few book reports or I'll beat Nicholas over the head with the book and see if osmosis works. Michael is a huge reader and so long as it's something he wants to read, he'll do the report. They better enjoy it because next year will be hard core writing - everything from essays to research papers. I have a feeling it may get ugly.

HISTORY: By this time I was whimpering in the corner of 1 more subject to fight over. I wasn't finding anything I felt was right. Everything was early American History which we have covered from day 1. There were threats of tossing oneself out the window if we covered early American History again.

And that was just from me.

I remember sitting in college and having no clue what notes to take and how to take it. 2 for 1 - last year we went with DVDs and the boys had to learn to take notes from listening. It's a lot harder than it sounds! The guys really did like it and they retained the information and could tell me what was discussed. Just for extra, I got Study Skills for teens by Lesa Siebert on DVD which is probably going to be our fist week.

This year we are doing the Civil War first semester and the rest of American History the second semester. It'll again be DVDs with them taking notes. Vision Forum has Warriors of Honor DVD and Ken Burns did a whole series for PBS on the Civil War. The only down side is the one for PBS is not from a Christian point of view. We did David Barton's series on the founding fathers and one of the things he said is that a lot of books on history are being re-written leaving information out.

So not knowing what Mr. Burns point of view is, I'm tossing in a bit of logic and we shall see what we come up with. I was going to order a DVD on logic but it didn't get good reviews as the example they used wasn't shown due to copyright laws. So I ordered the book
The Thinking Toolbox which got tons of great reviews.

I've already heard grumbling about yet another book but I find if I stick my fingers in my ears I can't hear it.

SCIENCE: I liked A Beka for biology. It was hard but very thorough. Normally biology is set for 10th grade but I got this back when they were in 8th grade. It was a huge challenge but they got through it - in 2 years. I got them Physical Science and is a lot less stressful than biology so it better not take them that long.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE: I was sweating this one because we tried doing Latin a few years ago and it didn't go so hot. I would like to point out that when considering this subject how is your kid wired? Neither N or M can roll their tongues. J on the other hand takes every opportunity to roll his tongue just to annoy his brothers.

Truly is a wonder I'm not medicated.

Upon discussing this with Hubby he suggested that everything from Spanish to French would be beyond frustrating for them and suggested we pick one that didn't require the tongue to roll. I hadn't thought of that, but then again, my brain can only handle sarcasm.

So they picked German and the reason behind it is they play a lot of World War 2 video games and want to know what the Nazis were saying.

Crickets chirping

Whatever it takes.

I'll leave off I tried to get them to take Chinese so they could order me an egg roll but I was told I'm not funny. I'm not sure why they thought I was kidding. China owns most of our debt anyway so I'm just trying to think of the future.

Instant Immersion is compared to Rosetta stone. It's both CD and DVD and I got it for $30.00 at Sam's Club! Rosetta stone is around $500. Booyah!

MUSIC: The twins are naturally talented in this department and will keep on going with that. They get a kick out of "having to play" as part of their school. Really wish we can get them lessons - we'll have to see how money goes. And after the paint by numbers fiasco with Jared, we're not going to worry about extras.

They guys all hate art so no point in forcing them to do it when there are so many other things to cover. But they have to do their laundry, they can cook, and I'm going to make them tackle their own ironing. I may chew off a button and then have them sew it back on. Jared needs to learn some of these skills because he still believes that's why women are around.

Feel free to smack him.

The older 2 having been doing some hiking with Hubs. In the Spring they did a 5 mile hike with full packs and I know once the weather cools off more they'll hit that again. Jared and I will miss them. I'm not even that cruel to force them to take Sir Whines-a-lot, who happens to be more afraid of bugs than I am.

It never feels like I got enough but there is going to be so much there to cover it'll be by the grace of God to get through it all.

Research and plan. It can be done.

Or you could join me in my prayers that Jesus comes back real quick before Jared learns how to drive. I've seen him on the Wii and it's not pretty.


WendyDarling said...

LOVE your post. Thank you so much for sharing. I recently got the book "High School @ Home" as well. I attended a seminar Diana Johnson did in Tyler, TX a few weeks ago. Helped a lot. I don't feel so overwhelmed about beginning high school now. :-)

AnnG said...

Great post...yes, homeschooling through high school CAN be done. It takes more effort from the kids and lots of PRAYER from you but it can be done! Thanks for stopping by my post and leaving a comment.

As for how to handle the kids leaving the nest when I can stop hyper-ventilating maybe I will be able to offer some advice!

Dianne said...

We are voting for the rapture here as well...

Joanna said...

Wendy - aww thanks! Her book helps you make a game plan which I need all the help I can get. Goodness knows my game plan involves a bag of chocolate. Not the best coping skills. :)

AnnG - At least I now know it's normal to hyper-ventilate so I won't feel so alone.

Dianne - you know it!

Kelley said...

This was great! I am not a homeschooler but know many people who do homeschool. I know it can be a tough road full of lots of challenges but is well worth it. Reading your blog makes that obvious!

Joanna said...

Thanks Kelley!

Fiddledeedee said...

You are an inspiration to me. But still, likely I will curled in a fetal position on your doorstep begging for help when we hit high school. Just sayin'. :)

Joanna said...

DeeDee - I'll have the Chocovine chilled and a fresh bag of Oreos waiting for ya. :)

A Complete Thought said...

A. You're hilarious! B. I'm so thankful for this curriculum round up b/c now you're in my reader & I can commune with a fellow inmate who teaches high school to boys. C. Hallelujah!

Looking forward to reading more and thanks for what you already wrote. I don't feel so alone.

Joanna said...

Elle - that cracked me up! Inmate indeed.

Welcome to the party - I'm the one in the corner with the crazy eye twitch. ;)

jubilee said...

I'll be bookmarking this post, thank you. I am not sure homeschooling is in our future, but it seems that the subject never really gets crossed off either.

Joanna said...

Jubilee - I hear there are GREAT schools in Texas. Up here? Noooo.