Tuesday, June 24, 2014

End-of-year update for home school

I’ve just turned in my daughter’s homeschooling portfolio to the city of Philadelphia, and so now seems a good time to share what we’ve done this year.

Her language Arts readings included Ms. Peregrin’s Home for Peculiar Children, The Umbrella Man and Other Stories, If You Come Softly, A Wish After Midnight, The Book Thief (all these books were for the monthly Tween Book Club she belongs to); The Diary of Anne Frank, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, Peter Pan; D’aulaire’s Greek Myths, selections from the Old Testament; Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Golden Book and Tanglewood Tales; selected poetry, including T.S. Eliott’s Cats poems and parts of The Song of Hiawatha; Romeo and Juliet (which we read out loud and later saw performed by the Philadelphia Shakespeare Company); and, finally, selections from the last volumes of My Bookhouse series, including pieces on Robert the Bruce, Punch and Judy, P.T. Barnum, Daniel Boone, retellings of Nordic and Germanic myths and of Robin Hood and Beowulf, tales from the Arabian Nights, excerpts from Don Quixote, and, lastly but (as it were) not least, Gulliver’s Travels to Lilliput.

You’ll notice that these readings span a range of levels; we went through the hard stuff quite slowly and she created flashcards for the words she had to look up.

For writing, she wrote daily reading summaries, as well as short stories and poetry for a creative writing group.

In history she completed the final volume of The Story of the World series, first outlining each chapter, then taking the chapter tests, and finally, choosing a particular country (she chose Russia) and synthesizing all the information on it into a multi-page essay.

For science, she did a combination of earth/physical science, basic electricity, and animal taxonomy. She continued through McDougal Littell’s Earth Science, worked through an instructional video series (which I blogged about here), and did a few at-home chemistry experiments. She also a series of electricity kit projects. And she used some great Internet-based resources on animal taxonomy kindly provided by one of commenters on this very blog.

For math, she continued to work through Wentworth’s New School Algebra. This year she’s covered polynomial long division, factoring of polynomials, rational expressions and equations, simultaneous linear equations, graphs of linear equations, and word problems involving linear rates, with boats and currents; one vehicle overtaking another vehicle; pipes filling pools; and painters working separately vs. simultaneously (i.e., word problems of the sort that used to abound and now, under Reform Math, are practically extinct).

For French, she’s continued with French in Action video tapes (created by the brilliant Pierre Capretz, who died on April 1st), the ALM textbook series, and various story books written for French children, including some fairy tales, several volumes from the Lu Lu series and Tin Tin.

Her music training includes classical music CDs, ear training, and piano, organ, and violin lessons, as well as ensemble activities with her peers. Musical highlights include Bach’s Little Fugue in G-minor, Bach’s French Suite in G, and Bach’s violin concerto in A minor and double concerto in D minor; Mozart’s piano concerto in F major; Beethoven sonatas from Opus 10; and the Passepied from Debussy’s Suite Bergamesque. She also took a drawing class and a pottery class at the neighborhood after-school art center and had field trips to the Art Museum. Finally, for “gym”, in addition to regular hikes and bike rides, she had horseback riding lessons, and, most recently, tennis lessons with her oldest brother.

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