Following along behind Jessica and Sarah, I'm going to put down here what worked and what didn't so that I can remind myself of it in a couple of years.
|School goes better with coffee!|
High SchoolFirst off, the biggest miss... Kolbe Academy High School. You know, I love what they offer and I love that they are classical curriculum, but two epic poems and one greek tragedy into his freshman literature and The Professor was ready to move on from the greeks. We won't even talk about the reading material from Herodotus that would have totally scandalized and grossed out my very innocent young man. Mind you, he really enjoyed studying The Iliad and The Odyssey! I had him read Antigone, because this drama major mama can pull rank like that if she feels like it and he even enjoyed that! But when presented with the option to move on to The Aeneid or read Richard III, he opted for the Shakepeare, which he loved so much, it kind of scares me. It might have been because this whole mystery was unfolding before his eyes as he read it. He finished up the year with reading Murder in the Cathedral because it kind of seemed to fit with our theme for the year. Anyway, all of this is to say that Kolbe is a wonderful, classical education, but it's just not for us. I know that my son prefers to have more flexibility and variety and I'm OK with that.
And speaking of high school...this year's biggest hit... Lukeion Latin I! He has taken some Lukeion grammar classes before and some of their workshops. They are pricey (about the same as most online classes) but incredibly worth it! The couple who runs it are amazing teachers and encouragers. He took the National Latin Exam and earned a gold medal which is proudly displayed in his room. When he said he wanted to study Latin, I thought maybe it was a passing fancy, but if it was, this year has helped incite his passion for it and cement that in her heart. He loves picking out Latin words or Latin roots from things he reads and looks forward to
|Cleaning off the school shelves makes them neat and tidy but everything else... not so much!|
Hits and misses for the middle school setFor my girls, we decided to do some practical grammar this year. They've done more intensive grammar in the past and needed a little break this year. We used two different resources Great Editing Adventure and Hot Fudge Monday: Tasty Ways to Teach Parts of Speech to Students Who Have a Hard Time Swallowing Anything to Do With Grammar. Doesn't that title alone sound like fun? My girls had a lot of fun with that last one. It was filled with so many fun writing prompts that we counted it as writing too! That's right... a two for one curriculum! Woot!
Definite Miss: Apologia Science
We started with Exploring Creation With Botany a few years ago and the girls enjoyed it. They really loved using the notebooks with all the mini-books and stuff. They did it mostly on their own with very little help from me. But the one thing they didn't like was the Young Earth Creationist approach. As Catholics, we aren't afraid that science is going to prove our faith wrong. In the Botany book, it was easy to skip over. But then we moved on to the Zoology books and it became harder to stomach. This year, we used the Astronomy book and just couldn't take it anymore. The YEC agenda was really heavy handed and sprinkled throughout, not just in neat little sections that were easily skipped. We plowed through it and ended up using many, many supplements. I'm thinking I might save the Botany book for BigBoy, maybe the Swimming Creatures, because he loves the ocean, but really, I'm hoping to find something better. The best option I've found so far is Behold and See from CHC. They are up-to-date, visually engaging and totally Catholic. The 6th grade book even lists a UD professor as one of the contributing scientists! Woot! And even though it's a grade level behind my girls, we need an easy science year next year because we are making the switch to a more intensive math program, which leads me to...
The Biggest Miss... Teaching Textbooks. Sigh. I am so disappointed! But I guess, as the saying goes, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. My younger three averaged 93, 96 and 99 at the end of this year but then bombed several different end of year tests and placement tests in other programs. And it seems to get worse the longer they use the program. Sadly, this was not the first time we'd heard of this phenomenon. A friend of mine didn't make this discovery until her oldest bombed the PSAT. Now, is it a program that can be beneficial to some? I'm sure it is, especially in a survival year whether that's due to illness of babies or job difficulties but I have a philosophical problem with a program where children get wonderfully high grades with very little effort but then that doesn't translate to other math programs. Huh? So, we are switching to Saxon for everyone. The Professor has already using it this past year and with the Saxon Teacher CD's, I think it's very doable. We ended up using them much more than the DIVE CD's. And to anyone who is sticking with TT, I highly recommend you get your kids at least 2 years ahead of grade level if you want them to be doing comparable work to other math programs.
Last Hit... The Phonetic Zoo. We've actually been using this with our girls for year now. They were not natural spellers and needed lots of reinforcement. They made it all the way up to Level C which is technically for high school so I gave them a break. BigBoy started using the Phonetic Zoo formula with lists of words that I made for him based on the recommendations in The Natural Speller and he's ready to move on to Level A next year. He actually told me that spelling was his favorite subject this year! Seriously! I know!
|My poor JPII roses are being consumed by thrips. Ugly brown petals! I've sprayed them before, but I wish I had a non-chemical solution. Any ideas?|