Saturday, August 20, 2011

Homeschooling Books for the Year

It's that time of year:  a homeschool post about our upcoming studies! Yippee! (I can hear the thunderous excitement around here ....)

So, here's the layout for the 7th grader. Standard Saxon math textbook with test forms, etc. These books are brand-spankin' new; I've had them ever since Philip was supposed to be homeschooled in 7th grade, but wasn't. I knew they'd come in handy one day :) The science book is just a resource that goes with a MASSIVE chemistry kit I found recently at an education store. I'll have to get a photo of it some time. It's the one recommended by Susan Bauer, that is no longer available -- except in wonderful stores that have older stuff that's never been opened!
Grammar/language stuff -- I don't usually do vocabulary with Julia, because she really doesn't need to work on that area. However, this book caught my attention, since she loves Latin. I think she'll enjoy it. The English Workshop text is one I've had for years, unmarked. It's published by Harcourt, I think. I really, really ended up disliking the Easy Grammar workbook last year. Ugh. A smattering of this and that, each day. If you want to find a rule for a particular exercise, good luck in that book! Very poorly organized, IMO. This book, and its sequel, will probably last her 3 years, and after that she won't need any more grammar help. The spelling book by Rod and Staff is also a new approach. Last year we used an old Christian Liberty spelling book, with daily exercises and weekly tests. Boring. This one digs more into the words and will be interesting for her.
On to the fun stuff. History:  Julia is doing the Early Modern Period this year, 1600-1850. She's already declared that she hates American history, and for the same reason that many children in our nation do:  they've studied it, ad nauseum, almost every year throughout elementary school. If you're in public school, it's heavy on the Indians, and if you're in Christian school, it's heavy on the Pilgrims, but either way, it's kind of endless. That's one reason I adore the Classical method, and it has been a joy for 2 years. This year, as we look at some American history, we'll also focus a lot on British, French, and other nations. Julia is looking forward to studying Africa, her favorite continent.
And literature. This is an assortment, and doesn't include young adult fiction that she'll be checking out of the library to read. We'll do excerpts of Don Quixote, but all of Robinson Crusoe. Swift's "Lilliput" and "Brobdingnag," but not the others, and all of Candide. I might substitute Tom Sawyer for Huck Finn. That short story book, by the Stegners, is excellent. If you ever want a short story anthology that would serve well for teaching American literature, that's it. Same for the Major American Poets by Mentor. Both excellent texts. Almost anything not in there, is free online.
Since Julia is my only child left to homeschool, this year I'll be able to dedicate myself entirely to her work. More than before, I plan to read along with her as we study the history and literature. Before, if it was a classic, I'd read it already, but I didn't necessarily read it again, fresh, when she studied it.  One of the little secrets of many (but not all!) homeschool parents is that they don't actually read the material they're teaching their kids. That's a huge drawback. We call it 'allowing our kids to be self-directed,' or 'self-educating,' but honestly -- would you want a school teacher in the classroom to be teaching your kids something she had never read herself?  What could she possibly have to say about it? I strongly advise homeschooling parents to read the material. Discuss it with your child. If you don't, then you're simply keeping them out of another educational system, but you're not really educating them. You're not teaching them a thing. You're handing them a book and hoping something happens in their brain.

I haven't decided what to do for her Bible class this year. She did lots of memorization last year, and I think I'll give her a break from that, and have her do poetry memorization instead. We might do a simple devotional study together each morning. I think that would be refreshing.  Perhaps twenty minutes, right before painting time?


  1. Looks like you guys have a fun learning year in store! I love all the books!

  2. I hope I can still be your friend if I hand my kids a book and hope something happens in their brain...

  3. Haha - yes, BA, friendship does not depend on my schooling opinions :) And I think you know I'm not adverse to giving our kids books to enjoy. Julia will read many that I won't -- from the library, as supplements. It's really the primary books that I'm referring to.


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