Saturday, August 11, 2012

2012-2013 Curriculum plans for 8th grade

I still can't believe that our high school years, once so far off, are just around the corner now.  With Josh being in 8th grade, I feel the need to up our game play a bit in preparation for not only high school and college but the "real world".

Here is what I have on tap for this school year.  Things may change once we get into our routine but, for now, this is the plan.


Curriculum spine:

 Mystery of History, Vol. II
Josh completed Vol. 1 for 7th grade and we enjoyed it so much that we will keep this as our primary focus and build around it (similar to what Paths of Exploration does).

Before we begin that, though, we will be exploring WWI, WWII and possibly the Cold War era, via unit studies that I'm piecing together through some wonderful resources online.  My son has BEGGED me to learn about these two wars for several months now.  I minored in History in college (actually I'm a semester away from a second degree in it), so I'm linear and chronological when it comes to tackling history.  Because it tells a story (and you can't put the cart before the horse), I don't like to jump around too much nor do I like to skip ahead.

I've had to get over this, though.  Paths of Exploration for my 5th grader, is not chronological and it just seems silly to stomp out the love of learning about the World Wars in my eldest while we WAIT to get to that part of History (we are just beginning the Middle Ages this year, remember; He'd have awhile to wait!). So, I bring in the lovely beauty of unit studies and delight-directed learning!  He's so excited to begin the school year learning about something that he really desires to understand more... and I'm excited that he's excited!

Math: Undecided.  We will begin with refreshers in fractions with Keys to Fractions, however, after that...  I'm looking at Teaching Textbooks - Pre-Algebra or PLATO pre-algebra course.


 Both boys will be working together through a new curriculum from LearnChrist called "The Disciple curriculum".  Learn more about it here.

To help gain a better knowledge of the books of the Bible, Josh will also be reading "The Barebones Bible Handbook for Teens: Getting to Know Every Book of the Bible"

For his personal quiet time, Josh will be continuing his work through this highly recommended study. It is curriculum from Positive Action and you can learn more about it here

Language Arts:
We are switching gears this year from Shurley English to some other resources that will better fit our family, I believe.
For an well-structured writing program, we've chosen WriteShop I.  For formal grammar, we are switching over to Easy Grammar.  It's the same material as Shurley English but presented in a less convoluted manner, I feel.  Then, we are adding a gem that I found over at Rainbow Resource - Daybook of Critical Reading and Writing!  Once I got this in my hand, I KNEW this was an excellent resource!  Short, daily assignments in learning to critically read,write and think.

Both of my boys will work through English from the Roots Up together as well as well as be required to produce monthly research reports, write their own poem and short story.  My eldest will be working through The Grammar of Poetry one day per week. This will be an exciting course!

My 8th grader is a VORACIOUS reader, so to keep him challenged as well as tie his literary devourings to History, I've come up with a list of History readers he'll be working through this year. This is large but completely within his capabilities.  If he doesn't finish one or two, I'm fine with it but I must be prepared for his need to read!

* The Eagle of the Ninth (he can read the rest of the trilogy in his free time)
* Attila the Hun - A Wicked History book
* Black Horses for the King
* Beowulf
* Son of Charlemagne
* The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow
* A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver
 * King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
* Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
* If All the Swords in England
* Robin Hood
* St. George and the Dragon
* Canterbury Tales
* A Single Shard
* Joan of Arc
* Otto of the Silverhand
* Castle
* The Great and Terrible Quest

In addition to this list of historical fiction, he'll add these to his literature line-up:

Science: First semester - Forensic Science.  We will be using a variety of resources for this that I've pieced together.  Detective Science book, Crime Scene Investigation kit from HomeScience Tools, and a unit study from CurrClick will be our materials.  Several years ago, my son read the entire Sherlock Holmes series for fun.  Like his mother, he has an interest in crime sleuthing and so we'll chase this interest during the first semester.  Consider it "Career exploring"!

Second Semester - Botany (along with my 5th grader).  Typically, 8th graders are knee-deep in a General Science, Physical Science, or Biology course at this point but I wanted to incorporate some interest-led learning here.  This is our last year to homeschool before all of it "counts" (In California, you don't have to record anything you do for school until High School).  So, I figure, we have 4 years to cover Biology, Chemistry, General Science and the like.  California only requires two years of Science but we'll do it all 4 years of High School, so that gives us the opportunity to explore now!


* The Art of Argument - We'll be working through this with a group of friends in our home each week.  I'm excited for this topic and group of kids!

* Piano lessons - we are still considering whether we will include this again this year or not.

* Various unit studies throughout the year

* Homeschool Computer Programming course that the boys will work through with their Dad

*Art - We are fortunate enough to have an artist in our family, so "Nana" leads the boys through various art lessons one time per week.

That's how our 8th grade year is shaping up around here!  Join me at the Not-Back-To-School Blog hop with!

Friday, August 10, 2012

2012-2013 Curriculum plans for 5th grade

We are entering into our 5th year of homeschooling and I can't believe it!  What once was never, ever on our radar has become a fixture in our life.  My husband, ever-so supportive, has been a huge cheerleader and champion of our homeschooling journey, despite being the biggest skeptic of them all in the beginning!

Hearts have been changed (praise God), knuckles have re-gained their pinkish color and no longer white, and relationships have been strengthened.  With each passing year, God reminds us that our job isn't academic so much as spiritual.  This is not to say we don't have high goals in the area of academics but they are not the end result that we are focused on when we wrap up our homeschooling journey!

Curriculum choosing and lesson planning always bring a mixture of excitement and information overload for me!  This year was no different but we've settled on our plan for this upcoming school year.

5th Grade

Curriculum spine:  Trail Guide to Learning's Path of Exploration complete curriculum -

We are very excited to be using this curriculum this year!  Having flipped through the lesson plans, we can't wait to get started!  Check back for more posts, updating as we go along and move into the curriculum!

 (please note: the supplemental items below are of MY choosing; not because I felt POE was lacking but because they meet the needs of my own child and our schedule best).

Math:  Math Mammoth  -
Easy. Well-laid out. Helpful to both parents and students!

Learn Christ curriculum.   After attending our state homeschool conference and listening to the creators of this curriculum, I knew I had to implement this!

We are also still working through this curriculum from last year - a chronological study of the books and people of the Bible.  If it is too much, we will put this on the backburner to work on Learn Christ curriculum first.

Science supplements: 
Truth in Science -
We'll be finishing up this curriculum from last year as we work through the nature studies POE provides.  I highly recommend this little known, excellent curriculum!

The Story Book of Science read-aloud  -

Additional Language Arts resources:

Just Write workbooks to introduce the formal writing process in bite sized chunks.   We will be working through Books 1 and 2 this school year.

English from the Roots Up is something we started a few years ago and let fall due to illness, crazy schedule.. well, just life!  The boys enjoyed it and retained the roots well and because I'll have an 8th grader this year, I knew I needed to insert this gem back into our school days.

Thanks to  Cynce's Place - - all the planning and prep has been done for me!  I printed out her schedule, tests and games and we are ready to go!

We are BIG readers around here! My 5th grader... not as much, so I want to add some fun tales to peak his interest more.  In addition to the wonderful historical fiction my 5th grader will be reading through POE, I'll be adding these classics to the line-up:

We'll be doing some delight-directed unit studies here and there throughout the year as well but this is it in a nutshell!  As always, things can change as we get into the meat of this plan!

Stay tuned for my post on our curriculum plan for our 8th grader!

Join me in seeing what others are doing for their curriculum this year over at

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Where the intolerance lies...

I'm sorry.  I can't do it.  I've zipped my lips, bit my tongue and buttoned up for far too long but all of this bruhaha... well, I find I can no longer keep silent.

Here are the facts as I've read them:

* Chic fil a donates money to various organizations that promote the Biblical definition of marriage (one man, one woman for life)

* Dan Cathy, upon being asked by a Christian reporter his views of marriage, states plainly that he believes in the "biblical definition of marriage".  He further states that he feels that society should be careful in trying to redefine marriage in a differing way then God, implying that we know better than He does.

* Various LGBT groups call for a boycott of Chic fil a upon the discovery of donations being made to support the definition of Biblical marriage

* Several actors and politicians proclaim their disdain for Chic fil a and vow to not eat nor allow them into their cities (which the latter is illegal, discriminatory and INTOLERANT)

* Mike Huckabee calls for an appreciation day on August 1st to support Chic fil a for all those who support Dan Cathy and his bravery in speaking openly about his opinion.  For those who believe that marriage, as Christ proclaimed it, a religious ceremony between one man and one woman, a call to show our thanks and support and counteract any negative boycott affects

* LGBT groups called for "infiltration" of Chic fil a to "make them (LGBT) hangouts"; protest outside their buildings; become a nuisance to Chic fil a until they stop giving money to opposing organizations.  Further, they've called for the LGBT community to stage a "Kiss in" on Friday (tomorrow), calling for kissing and making out in and outside Chic fil a establishments, as a way to counteract Wednesday's "Appreciation Day"

Here are my thoughts:

1)  Believing that marriage should be only between a man and a woman DOES NOT CONSTITUTE HATRED OR BIGOTRY!!!  Just because I  hold a differing opinion, does NOT mean that I am a "hater".  Nor does it mean I'm ignorant, bigoted, or any other name you want to call me.  It simply means that I hold a DIFFERING OPINION from you.

I found Dan Cathy's statement to be respectful and positive.  Not once did he say anything that was "anti-gay".  Only the LGBT community labeled it so -
 "Anti-gay philosophy"?  Try - an opinion that doesn't agree with yours.  Or, Pro-traditional family?  It's all on how you spin it.  He believes marriage is not for anyone other than one man and one woman.

2)  I, as the consumer, do not get to dictate how a company chooses to donate or use their money, once I've handed it over to them.  Period.  The only thing I can control is if I give it to them in the first place.  So, if you don't like where they use their money on the back-end, don't give your money to them on the front end.  Simple as that.  You don't get to bully, boycott or otherwise, tantrum for how they designate their money AFTER you've handed it over.  Period.
Yet, the LGBT community can "give thanks" to those who support their cause without expecting any sort of incident.  Notice the last line of the first paragraph - " an effort to give thanks to Starbucks for supporting marriage equality".  So, it's fine for  the LGBT community to stage Appreciation days, just not others.  Got it.

3) The maturity that has been displayed in this sandbox tantrum is truly eye-opening.  Much like dealing with a tantruming toddler who isn't getting their way, so acts those who would try to protest an "Appreciation day".   Come on.  Really?!  This Chic fil a employee below had more tact and respect and TOLERANCE than this guy had in his little pinky.  Grow up.  The biggest sign of immaturity is not being able to cope with a differing opinion.

UPDATE: This person was fired from his job yesterday for his poor behavior in this video.

4) Amazon donated $2.5 million dollars last week to help pass the same sex marriage law in Washington state.

Where are the "haters" and "intolerant", right-winged bigots?  Where are the protest signs?  Where is the boycott of Amazon?  Where is the Twitter and Facebook comments calling for the pressure to be put on Amazon (or Starbucks or Microsoft... to name a few) until they change their stance?

I guess there wasn't a huge bruhaha made because people with DIFFERING OPINIONS than Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates believe in the 1st amendent still and, disagree as we may, still have the right to hold an opinion that differs from mine.  And I don't have to launch a protest or boycott to make that known.

I'm getting pretty sick and tired of hearing those in support of same-sex marriage call me and fellow traditional marriage opinion holders "bigots", "ignorant", "haters" and... wait for it... "intolerant".  Really?  Shall we review the definition of "intolerant" because I'm seeing a whole lot of it against those who happen to believe the Biblical definition of marriage.  I'm seeing a whole lot of intolerance launched at Chic fil a, NOT because he made a negative comment against the LGBT community, (in fact, he never speaks of any group, organization or lifestyle),but that he stated his opinion, like mine, is that marriage, defined by God, is between a man and a woman.  THAT'S NOT HATE.  That's a DIFFERING OPINION.

I don't jump down your throat when you express your thoughts on same-sex marriage.  Nor do I look at you as though you've grown a third eye.  I don't shun you and I certainly don't call you names.  I happen to hold a differing opinion than yours.  Civilly.  Respectfully.  Humbly.  Many who've known me for years know that I rarely speak about political and cultural issues (unless you count pop culture, then I speak about that).

I simply believe that marriage is sacred.  Sure, I agree with those who scoff at this.  Has marriage been made a mockery over the past decades?  Yep.  By Christians and non-Christians alike?  Yep.  Yet, that doesn't change the position of marriage just because broken humans messed it up.  To God, it is still sacred.

Jesus described marriage between a man and woman as His relationship to the church.  It is a sacred unification. For those who take God's word and try to apply it to their life, it is very, very serious.
Just as a Ramadan is a sacred ceremony and tradition for the Muslim community, so too is (or should be for those entering it) marriage for a Christian couple.

Let's face reality... the rite of marriage is exclusionary. It always has been.  Laws prevent more than one person from being married to others at the same time.  Exclusion.  Laws further exclude marriage of certain ages, between certain ages.  Exclusion, right there. What about family members?  There are laws forbidding siblings, 1st cousins, etc. from entering into marriage as well.   It is because marriage was designed to be between ONE man and ONE woman. And if we add on a zinger that might make some squirm - marriage between that one woman and man is supposed to be FOR LIFE.  Those are Jesus' words.   That is not my rule. It's God's.  He set it up that way.

So, where are the Polygamists trampling down the door for equality in marriage??  Where are the old men wanting to marry that 13 year old??  Where are the two 12 year olds who are convinced they have found their soul mate??  They have been excluded from the ceremony of marriage also.  It is because marriage was created and set up with clear boundaries (found all throughout the Bible).  (I'm NOT talking a civil union, recognized by the state here either.  I'm talking about the sacred act of marriage). Because some don't agree with those boundaries, we then must do away with them.  I suppose because one community doesn't have a sacred tradition, none of us can.  I suppose to hold a differing opinion nowadays is considered hatred.  To hold to a belief that one believes to be true is cause for name calling, and a whole bunch of label slapping.   So, I hold a differing opinion than you.  Does that actually make me a "hater"?  Or intolerant?  Or a bigot?  Because I disagree with you?  That's sad.   And intolerant.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I made it...

Yes, sirree!  I survived a week without the boys.  Sure, I missed them. I wondered what they were doing, how they were behaving, what they were learning.  I even hoped they were having fun!  Knowing they were in capable hands, I enjoyed my time to refresh and clear my brain!  Sadly, I had two (yes, two!) dental appointments that week but all in all, a great week!

The boys came home a little sun-burned (ok, one, a lot burned) and bubbling over with stories and funny happenings to tell.  They deepened friendships, developed new ones and added a new layer of spiritual maturity to their demeanor.  The Biblical truths each walked away from camp with were awesome.

I missed my boys but enjoyed time with my beloved, time to myself and time to catch up!