Friday, July 28, 2017

A Few Changes

As of tomorrow, the boys will have two weeks of schooling under their belts for their 9th and 12th grade year. EM has completed some work in every subject  with the exception of music. Both his gym and music will be only a half credit course, so he is starting the year working on completing 60 days in gym and will switch to music when he has finished. JT is a little more complicated.

While JT needs to complete the 180 days of instruction required by the Pennsylvania homeschool regulations, his summer schooling days are not as involved as the ones he will experience during the fall and spring semesters of the community college. I posted last week about how he will be doing most of his instruction through outside sources. One thing has changed since that post; he will now be completing his required English credit from home. PHAA's diploma program requires four credits in English to graduate. There are two ways to complete that requirement; the student can do the work at home by reading 25 books, three classics, writing one 2500 word paper and three smaller ones, giving a five minute speech, and completing 45 lessons in grammar; or the student can take two college level English courses. Last year JT chose the college option. This year he was planning to do the same. Then we really started to look at the pros and cons of that decision. The classes he took last year filled both the PHAA requirement and fulfilled some of the gen eds he needed for his degree. The courses this year would only meet the PHAA needs, but have no use for his degree. And of course, going to class at the college would cost money. So, we decided to have him drop the courses and meet the requirements through work at home.

Until those classes start, he is working on a few things at home. He continues to do his private music theory instruction and his piano lessons. He's also doing volunteer work, as a staff member for a week at Susquehanna University Kids' College and weekly at the library. This week he started working on his English requirements by reading Dante's Inferno. He is also doing some research for our hiking trip next summer.

I've been doing some planning this week. We are going to the Smoky Mountains to view the solar eclipse on August 21st. I picked up our eclipse glasses from our local library. I also dug through our supply of maps and brochures from previous trips and found a large collection of Smoky Mountains information. Less than a month to go! 

Friday, July 21, 2017

In the Limelight

EM has started his 9th grade year of schooling. He will be getting much more of my attention this year than he has in the past few now that JT is more independent in his studies. Our first day was Monday. Even though this seems like an early start, we are actually one week behind from last year's starting day. JT will be mostly on his own this year, taking four community college classes in the fall, three in the spring, and continuing his music and fencing lessons. The only thing he will learn from me will be American history and driver's education.

EM's plan is one of the most involved I have made for him in the last few years. Even though we haven't decided yet if he's going to register with PHAA's diploma program, we will work as if he will, and see how it goes. If you are curious what PHAA's program involves, I blogged about it back in 2015, here. EM will be working towards earning seven credits for his freshmen year; English, algebra 2, Earth science, world geography, Spanish 1, health, 1/2 credit in music, and 1/2 credit in physical education. The only subject I am not teaching him this year is the algebra 2. He will be using Thinkwell for his math credit. For music, we are using the Great Courses dvds and some other activities. His PE credit will involve using the couch to 5k program to work towards running in a 5k this fall. Everything else will be text book based instruction, with me guiding his work.

The last few years, EM has been left to do quite a bit of his work independently. This year we are going to be working more closely together since my instruction time with JT will be much less. For our first week, EM began his Thinkwell course, started taking walks and logging the time and distance, and we started our Spanish 1 instruction. We are using the text Mosaicos. EM did learn a small amount of Spanish a few years ago. He used Mango through our library's website. I was happy to see that he does remember a few things, like his numbers and greetings. We will be alternating the number of days he has Spanish work to do, four some weeks, three the next, until we reach 120 days of instruction. Next week we'll add in some science and English work slowly working up to a full schedule.

I know I have made promises in the past that I will regularly post, so you might not believe me when I say I plan to keep up with this much better this year. We'll have to see if I keep my promises. In my next post, I'm going to tell you about our exciting plans for the solar eclipse coming on August 21st.