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2015/2016 School Plans

August 19, 2015

We’ve been working on a new jigsaw puzzle.  In the end, one piece is still missing and another one has been eaten by Little A.  Well, she sucked on it.  When it dried out we were able to figure out where it fit in, although one tab is gone.  So the puzzle is kind of, sort of finished.

Kind of like our school year plans.  I feel like I’m working on a puzzle where I don’t even have all the pieces yet; the ones I do have aren’t quite fitting together, and I’m still not sure what the end product will look like.

Each year just seems to get a little more complicated.  This year A is in 9th grade which means he goes to seminary for the first time.  We’re also juggling 7th grade, 5th grade, kindergarten, and a child who will turn two in January.  As I’ve heard it described having a toddler is kind of like running the blender without a lid.

So . . .

For the past eight (!) years now, we’ve followed The Well-Trained Mind recommendations for chronological history.  We’ve been through two complete cycles of world history and would normally go back to Ancients this year, but we’re kind of throwing that to the wind and doing something completely different.  A and C will both take history classes through Liahona Academy‘s distance education program and A will also be doing chemistry with them.

Liahona is an LDS private school down in Pleasant Grove that was started by Brent DeGraff.  I heard Bro. DeGraff speak some years ago at a homeschool conference and have been looking forward to having the boys learn from him eventually.  Finances worked out this year so we’re trying it out.  DH and I feel that Liahona’s mission statement is very close to what we’ve always been striving for in our homeschool:

The mission of Liahona Preparatory Academy is to assist parents in educating their children in the fundamentals of the arts, letters and sciences while integrating the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We strive to provide a challenging academic education by infusing secular knowledge with LDS doctrine and values in order that students might understand all knowledge in the context of the eternal. 

A will do the accredited option where he turns in all of his work and gets an official grade; C chose to do non-accredited where I am in charge of assignments and grades, just to see how it works.  I’ve been listening to another workshop by Susan Wise Bauer on preparing for high school and beyond and realized we should have done some more outside classes or online learning before it actually counts for high school credit for A, but it’s a little late for that, so wish us luck!

So here’s where the juggling comes in:  Despite all our efforts, our house still hasn’t sold, so I finally resigned myself to enrolling A for seminary up at East High.  We’re technically in the boundaries for Highland High, but East High is so much closer (a 4 ½ minute drive–we timed it!) so that’s where he’s going.  At some point our house has to sell and we’ll have to move and re-enroll him . . . wherever we end up.  Chemistry is online at 8:30 a.m., A’s history is at 12:25 p.m. four days a week.  Seminary will be second period every other day (A/B day schedule) from 9:12 to 10:54, so twice a week he’ll miss out on the end of chemistry and have to catch it online later.  Thank goodness the classes are archived.  Then C has his history class to watch at 11:25.

Three subjects down, so many more to go!

Chemistry looks pretty tough and I’m not sure what kind of workload the history class will involve, so although A and I had quite the list of electives for this year, we’re not going to tackle them all at once or even this year.  Of course he’ll have math, which we’re a little behind with.  He’s still doing Dolciani algebra with me, and then will move into geometry, probably using the Jurgensen text with some online self-paced something or other I haven’t decided on yet, hoping to finish up by next fall.

For English he’ll use the last year of MCT Magic Lens and 4Practice grammar books, plus Jensen Punctuation exercises and Writing with Skill 2, with reviewing some of the different writing exercises from level 1.  While we’re not exactly doing ancient history, I still want to follow the 4-year chronological literature cycle as we’ve done in the past so A, C, and I are going to read The Iliad, The Odyssey, and some of the Greek dramas using Roman Roads Media dvd courses.

For electives, A will do German I independent study through Rolling Acres School, and is already working on the KidCoder Web Design programming course.  Once a week with everybody we’ll work on geography with Mapping the World with Art.  A will also finish Second Form Latin at a leisurely pace, then we’ll decide if he wants to continue with Henle next year which is more of a high school-level course or stick with German.  That adds up to 7ish credits plus seminary.

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Moving on . . .

C (age 12, 7th grade):

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D (age 10, 5th grade):

Even though A and C are going with Liahona for history, I had planned on going back to ancient history with D, but ultimately decided to wait until next year when E will be in first grade and ready for Story of the World 1.  So I let D decide what to do this year as far as social studies.  He chose to do a year of world geography.  So we’re using the Trail Guide to World Geography which also includes a literature study for Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne, which we’ve read before but will be a fun review at the end of the year.  We’ve never focused on geography independent of history before, so I think this will be an interesting change.

For science, we’re using Science in the Beginning which approaches science topics as they tie into the days of creation.  It’s for grades K-6 so it will work for D and E, and I’m sure C will listen in.  (I’m really just trying to see how many different pairings of students and subjects I can work with this year!)  D also loves tigers so he’s going to do a short unit on tigers from Amanda Bennett Unit Studies.

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E (age 5, Kindergarten):

With a new baby sister and trying to get the house ready for sale, E didn’t get a whole lot of my time last year for school, and he preferred playing anyway.  But lately he’s really starting to get interested in letters and numbers so working with him is going to be a priority this year.

  • Kumon Numbers and Letters books for handwriting practice
  • Singapore Math 1A/B: I’ll do the writing for him, but I think he already has a pretty good head for numbers
  • Explode the Code primers
  • Then when he’s ready, The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading
  • Five in a Row weekly literature units–we started homeschooling with these books and I’ve always loved them for preschool/kindergarten.
  • Science with D
  • Kindermusik Young Child I class

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I feel like we’re going in a lot of different directions this year and there isn’t much that will include everyone, but we’re still in the planning stages for a book club with some other families.  While A has seminary, we are going to be following along at home with a study of the Old Testament, and we’ll continue memory work together.  I also want to use Gospel Principles as part of our morning devotional.  We did that using the old GP manual with some online plans (that have up and vanished, how sad!) that had us reading just a section each day and singing a Primary song the year A was in kindergarten and it was such a good experience.  I think it’s time to do it again.

Other than that, the boys will continue piano lessons with Poppa and we need to add some physical activity but I can’t handle another structured anything until we move.  I am dreading having to start another year of homeschool still in this house with most of our stuff in storage and trying to keep the house clean and showable while still living in it, especially with the aforementioned toddler, but here we are.  Seminary begins on Monday, and everything else will commence August 31!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 22, 2015 9:33 pm

    It’s so interesting to see you (and others) working on high school aged kiddo’s work. For whatever reason, Hero starting 4th grade this year made me realize that he’s getting big, and it’s really not that long until I have to figure that stuff out, too! Thanks for sharing A’s plans. That Roman Roads stuff looks really interesting. I may have to find a way to remember how interesting it looks, since I don’t have time to work on it right now. Maybe you’ll have time to blog about it when you get into it? That and the geography look like a lot of fun.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing what you’re up to!

  2. August 29, 2015 2:48 pm

    We know a lot of kids that use Liahona Academy and they love it. The kids have all graduated and gone onto BYU with high ACT scores so it should be great. Financially it has never worked out for us to do it 😦 but Sophie is doing Williamsburg Academy for some of her High School classes and others we are doing all from home and some from other sources. I love being able to create her schedule “a la carte” from where ever I feel works best. Early Morning Seminary is hard for me! I only have to drive two mornings out of the five (we are carpooling with neighbors) but it is proving to be quite an adjustment to actually get up that early in the AM and then come home and get going on School with everyone!

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