Monday, August 5, 2013

Julia's Ninth Grade Curriculum

Homeschool will start for us on August 26. I have teacher friends who are already back in the classroom. Oh, August! You are my least favorite month, but still I would not sacrifice you thus! We still have kids visiting, an anniversary trip to make, family coming to see us, and college kids to send off. I do not favor these early school starts.

Anywho. Julia will be studying the ancient period this year, from 5000 BC to about 400 AD. This covers (generally) ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, with the history and literature of this time. In science she'll study biology. She'll do alternating chapters of vocabulary and grammar. For math we're planning to do Algebra I with Khan Academy online, but that's open to revision if it doesn't go well. I've heard good things about Math-U-See. Here are the books I have so far:
a new planning book

my homeschooling "bible," well-loved and -marked
 This next book is very exciting! Susan Bauer recommends it for the rhetoric stage (high school). A massive tome, it tracks history from 5000 BC to the present, showing what happens each year in a range of categories. It ties things together, which is what classical education is all about.
 Here's a sample page. Across the top line are categories: history/politics, literature/theater, religion/philosophy/learning, visual arts, music, science/technology/growth, daily life. The first set of boxes across the top reveals what occurred in 1616. I chose this because Shakespeare died that year. However, these things also occurred: Sir Walter Raleigh was released from the Tower of London, the Tartars invaded China, Cervantes also died, Catholics were oppressed in Bohemia, Rubens was painting, the Notre Dame Cathedral in Antwerp was completed, the organist Froberger was born, Baffin Bay was discovered, Cape Horn was first rounded, Galileo was prohibited from his scientific work, and many other interesting things. This book cost me only $6 at Gullion's, a fabulous used homeschool curriculum store in Statesville.
 This book will likely be the backbone of our history study, showing us what items we wish to investigate further. In addition, these old stand-bys remain, an atlas and two history encyclopedias.
 I found this gem at Gullion's too, for $8. It will be our go-to book on Egypt, with beautiful photos, drawings, maps and charts. It's huge -- over 500 pages. Julia is enthusiastic about Egypt this year!
 A few other books on Egypt. They will be references if we desire to dig into some topic more deeply.
 Here's a nice book on Rome, plus a fun "action pack," i.e. a put-together kit for building miniature Roman buildings. This will de-stress Julia when math is more than she can bear. I'll also have her draw/color a large map of the Mediterranean to accompany our study of Homer's Odyssey. She'll track Odysseus's travels on it.
 This brand new vocabulary set was only $8.
 We'll alternate the vocabulary with this grammar book. She finished the Fourth Course last year. This will be her last year of organized grammar study from a book.
 I think I went overboard on science books, and I'm not done ordering yet! I bought Apologia biology, 2nd ed. with the accompanying tests, etc. That will probably take all our time. I've heard good things from students about this text. I have the handy ole science encyclopedia, a small book on bones (something Julia particularly loves), a cool interactive book on the human body, and a few other Dorling Kindersley books. I still want the DK Eyewitness books on the skeleton, tree, ponds/rivers, and the cell.
 And last but not ever least ... her literature. These books drift over into history, which is as it should be. The first, Child of the Morning is a modern fiction about ancient Egypt. The remaining books are familiar if you enjoy classical education or ancient reading. Will we do every book in its entirety? Probably not. Some of Plato, a good bit of Ovid, two of Sophocles's plays. (I adore Oedipus Rex and Antigone.)
 I'm planning to read all of the Odyssey, and we'll read large portions of the Iliad aloud. That set on top was mine in graduate school.
If we only do what I've shown here, she'll have a fabulous year. I post this information for many reasons -- to help other homeschoolers, to inform family and friends of our year, to remind myself later of what her schooling was. But it's also posted for those few stubborn people out there who still think that homeschooling is lame and damaging to children. Homeschool kids generally get at least a good education and usually a rich one.  I am not a superstar homeschool mom. I am a pretty ordinary homeschool mom who has the advantage of teaching only one child now, and who's had some education and teaching experience, but only in literature and a little history. This means that you could probably do this too, if you wanted to. If you're dissatisfied with your child's education in the classroom, at least open your mind to the possibility of homeschooling. I'm told there are a few parents who really just can't do it. I'm sure there are some kids who wouldn't do it either. But most families could, if they tried. No one should feel trapped in a classroom education, without options.


  1. Your studies sound captivating. We really enjoyed homeschooling and I know that I learned every bit as much as the children I taught. Have a great year!

  2. So many famiiar books! Memories! I loved homeschooling my three kids who are now 31,29 and 22. I'm excited for you and your daughter as you learn from these great books.

    I used to have a copy of The Timetables of History. Wish I'd hung onto it!

    Have a great year!


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