Thursday, June 4, 2015

Wrap up for 2014-2015

I didn't really mean to take a month off. It just happened. My end of the year insanity seemed especially pressing this time. Last week we had the boys' evaluations. After I breathed a sigh of relief, I immediately dove into major classroom cleanup mode. I decided to surface tonight and share the wrap up for our year.

JT's first year of high school went well. PHAA's graduation requirements are:

Four credits of English
Three credits of math
Three credits of science
Three credits of social studies
Two credits of arts and humanities

He earned seven of his fifteen this year. One credit each for English, algebra, biology, American government, German 1, music (drums), and creative game design. This was the first year I had to grade all of his work. Usually I only graded spelling tests and the occasional worksheet. He ended up with all As. I was surprised to find he cared as much as he did about his grades. When he looked through the portfolio of his work and saw that he had some lower grades on a few activities in the Rosetta Stone he seemed to want to go back and do it again to improve his score. After so many years of not worrying about grades, he seems happy to see some measure of his work. 
I think the most interesting thing we did this year was his creative game design credit. I put together a very basic rubric that he had to meet to consider the class finished.
1. Learn about aspects of game design via books, blogs, and other online sources.

2. Design and develop a playable prototype of a card game, create a rough draft rule book, and alpha version of cards.

3. Playtest the game with a variety of players multiple times. Do extensive self testing. Request feedback from players and incorporate suggestions into the game.

4. Complete a 2500 word essay about aspects of game design and how you applied what you learned through your research to your own game.

It was good to be able to use the PHAA framework to customize his education to fit his interests and career aspirations. Next year I hope to do more of the same with art classes and a programming class.

EM did a great job this year. We spent a lot of time working on sentence diagramming to help him with his understanding of grammar and writing. He read a lot of books, completed a 6th grade spelling workbook, and studied analogies. He flew through Singapore math 6A and B. He studied a few units of a 6th grade science textbook, but spent the bulk of his year learning about electronics using the Great Courses Understanding Modern Electronics DVDs and doing projects with his dad. We continued our time line study of American history by reading presidential biographies starting with Grover Cleveland and finishing with Franklin Delano Roosevelt this year. His geography unit focused on the countries of Asia and he wrote a report on Mongolia and a poster presentation on India. He learned about the writing of the Constitution in his civics unit and made great progress in his first year of piano lessons.

for sale pile
I think we have all worked hard and deserve to enjoy a fantastic summer. But before I can start my time to relax I will finish my cleaning and planning for next year. I have an outline of all of their subjects nearly finished and I have already placed orders with two book companies with one more sitting on my desk. I have a HUGE stack of things to sell on the Gifted Homeschoolers' email list.

too many choices
The hardest part for my planning next year will probably be coming up with a good framework to help EM improve his writing skills. After watching JT spend far too much time trying to write his long essay (2500 words) for the PHAA English requirement, I want to make sure EM is ready when he reaches 9th grade. I have a ton of writing workbooks and activity books. I just need to see which ones I want to use and which ones I can put aside or sell.

I will put together one more post before I take my planned break for the summer. Once I have the final outline this week for next year, I will share my plans and then it's off to the pool!

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