Monday, April 27, 2015

Homeschooling update

The homeschooling schedule need not have any clear-cut beginnings or endings. Every once in a while, however, a bunch of things conclude at more or less the same time, and a bunch of new things begin. And then it's time for a homeschooling update.

In Literature, we recently moved on from Arthur Lang's King Arthur to Bullfinch's The Age of Fable; from assorted works of Washington Irving (Tale of Old New York, Rip Van Winkle, Sleepy Hollow) and Poe (The Cask of Amontillado; The Masque of the Red Death; the Black Cat) to To Kill a Mockingbird and Animal Farm; from Little Women to Good Wives; from The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Strange Tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Macbeth to Frankenstein; and from Kings to Chronicles.

In history she recently finished Gombrich's A little History of the World and is now reading Outlines of European History.

In science we recently finished a McGraw Hill earth science text and The Way Life Works and are now working our way through our various science experiment kits.

In French she recently moved on from Level II to Level III in A-LM French, and from Astérix le Gaulois to Astérix et la serpe d'or.

Sadly, the three after-school art classes she takes at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts are about to conclude this coming week.

Finally, in what is her biggest academic accomplishment this year, she just finished Wentworth's New School Algebra (which has made numerous appearances on this blog), doing nearly every problem in the book (skipping some of the really messy problems at the end), and is about to embark on an alternation of Weeks & Adkins Geometry (my husband's high school text) and A Second Course in Algebra (my mother's high school text), which includes some trig and pre-calc.

Not everything is new: I have her scanning the New York Times every morning, reading a poem once a week, working her way through a long American History text (Glencoe), Wheelock’s Latin, and music theory. Music lessons and ensembles continue, and this summer she looks forward to doing the six-week piano program at the Interlochen Center for the Arts.


GoogleMaster said...

Ha! I have my mother's copy of the Heath First Year Algebra, also by Hart/Schult/Swain, but copyright 1957.
One small difference besides second year/first year: my mom taught, not studied, out of this book.

Hainish said...

Sounds like a delightful assortment!

Have you looked into online courses? The University of Virginia has a couple of short history courses on Coursera right now (one on Jefferson and one on the "Kennedy Half-Century"), and UPenn has a course on Greek and Roman mythology. The first two are probably a little more accessible. (Also, a very basic course on dinosaurs features pretty regularly.)

Katharine Beals said...

Thanks, Hainish, I'll wasn't aware of those courses, but will check them out.

GoogleMaster, have you had occasion to use the Heath book yourself?

Auntie Ann said...

If anyone knows of a good online geography class, we are in need of one. Our kid's 7th grade social studies curriculum was non-existent, and we need to play catch-up.

Everything I've found are of the memorize-the-countries variety, and I'm looking for both an overview of what is where and how geography has effected the development of the world and human society.

C T said...

Auntie Ann, would this high school geography course suit your needs?

GoogleMaster said...


I read the Heath book and taught myself algebra from it when I was a kid (somewhere in the 10-12 age range). There were all sorts of interesting educational books on our family's living room shelves, and I took advantage of them when I had read all of my own books.

In addition to the World Book Encyclopedia, we also had the WB companion Childcraft set, which had a volume for geography, a volume for science, a volume for people of various countries, etc.

Then there were my parents' college textbooks for math, chemistry, and engineering; novels written for adults (adventure and mystery mostly); language books and flash cards from my parents' trip to Europe; miscellaneous nonfiction such as etiquette books and my brother's Cub Scout handbooks...

I read it all. I didn't understand it all, but if it was on the shelf and looked vaguely interesting, then I tried to read it.

Anonymous said...

"I read it all. I didn't understand it all, but if it was on the shelf and looked vaguely interesting, then I tried to read it. "

That's excellent.

I hate the mentality that children (or anyone) shouldn't read anything they're not "ready" for. I think it was Mortimer Adler who pointed out that if you understand a book on first reading you've learned nothing.

I remember spending a lot of time trying to read my dad's old college calculus book when I was about 6-7. I probably understood 2% of it. But I knew more when I finished than when I started. And aced calculus many years later.

Auntie Ann said...

CT: That looks pretty good. I looked at some of the demos and they seemed quite well done.

Have you used that site before?

Hainish said...

Katharine, for a very good, clear online physics resources, see It's a linear, step-by-step set of tutorials with built-in assessments. The content is accessible to anyone with a basic understanding of algebra.

Katharine Beals said...

Thanks, Hainish! I'm going to bookmark this.

C T said...

Auntie Ann,
I haven't used it yet. My kids are a little young to do independent courses still.