Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Home schooling update, January, 2016

Of all the even halfway decent high schools around us, it’s the closest one. But it’s far more than decent. Known for embracing quirky kids, including erstwhile homeschooled kids, its Quaker-inspired social tolerance appears to extend beyond the usual types of tolerance to... the idiosyncrasies of personality. Not only that; its algebra courses use Brown & Dolciani. And, as one former homeschooler told me, it’s the only school they found that was willing, without argument, to let their child skip ahead in math. It’s artsy rather than sporty, and, judging from its studios and student art work, its visual arts program is first-rate.

The perfect school for H, as it turns out, has been hiding from us in plain sight.

Of course, it’s easy to hide if you aren’t being sought, and it’s only been in the past year that we all, H included, felt ready to reconsider regular school and see if we could find something optimal.

We found out last week that H was admitted for 10th grade, and, in the thrill of it all, we’re focusing our remaining four months of homeschool on preparing for next year. This includes adopting some of the 9th grade curriculum.

So, in what will be one of our last homeschooling updates, here’s where we are now. In English, we’ve moved from Job to Psalms, from Little Women to Jane Ere, and from To Kill a Mocking Bird to the Scarlet Letter. We’re finishing up BulFinch’s The Age of Fable and an anthology of poetry, turning next to what the school’s 9th graders are reading: Beowulf and the Canterbury Tales. When we finish up Pride and Prejudice, we’ll move on to The Walking Drum—the school’s text for 9th grade history (The Medieval World).

In home school history, where we’ve been alternating between 17th-19th century European history and American history, we’ll soon be finishing up the latter (Outlines of European History), focusing our energies on World War II to 9/11. H will be revisiting some of this material next year and beyond, but revisiting is good for retention and (yes!) higher-level thinking.

In math, we'll continue through Weeks and Atkins Geometry, progressing from polygons to quadrilaterals. But, as soon as we heard about school’s algebra texts, we switched from my mother’s A Second Course in Algebra to Brown & Dolciani.

In science, we’ll continue with Biology (Campbell and Reece) even though the school’s sequence is chemistry in 9th grade and biology in 10th. H can take chemistry with the 9th graders and the other new 10th graders.

As for foreign language, since the school offers Latin but not French, we’re putting aside formal French instruction and focusing on Latin, hoping she can jump into Latin II or III. But we’ll continue French informally with conversations while in transit and the Lulu books she still very much enjoys reading on her own.

The after-school art program for high school students will be easy to continue next year: it’s located just five blocks from the school.

Then there’s art history (Gombrich), piano (Bach, Mozart, Schumann, Chopin and Debussy), piano-violin duo (Dvorak), organ (Bach, Brahms), violin (solo, trio, and orchestra), and theater, some of which will stay, but some of which will probably have to go.

For, as with so many transitions, this one will be bitter-sweet.


TerriW said...

Which Latin do they use? (We are using Henle.)

Katharine Beals said...

They use Latin for the New Millennium (Milena Minkova). I don't know much about it.

TerriW said...

I'd love to hear what you think of it.

I've been fairly happy with Henle. It has a quite restricted vocabulary in the first year (about 500 words) and is extremely noun-heavy in the outset -- just enough verbs (videt/vident, laudat/laudant, orat/orant, etc) to get you kickstarted while you nail all the declensions before moving on to adjectives, then verbs, etc.

But the real joy of Henle is that it was written in 1945 by a Jesuit priest -- and the example sentences are GLORIOUS. And I mean that about half-literally. A chunk of them are Christian content and the rest are very Roman, very martial. Very, very martial.

"on account of the slaughter of the soldiers"
"Who will praise our great leader Caesar after the slaughter of all the noble chiefs of Gaul?"
"Soldiers, lay waste to the fields of the barbarians. Burn their corps. Attack their towns. Kill their hostages. Seize their towns, hills, and bridges!"
"The leader being about to die, the soldiers fled."

Etc. Etc. Etc.

I could see how this might be considered a negative, but my daughter and I find it hilarious, and it's helping to motivate us quite nicely through the book.

TerriW said...

I found the first three chapters online of Latin for the New Millennium for preview, and it looks interesting. If she has a solid background in English grammar -- which I'm guessing she does based on, well, you -- those first chapters look totally comprehensible. A middle road between grammar and reading/immersion. And not a whole lot of rivers running red on account of the slaughter of the soldiers.

Auntie Ann said...

I like having Wheelock around as a reference manual. It's designed for people who want to teach themselves Latin, so everything is in there. When our kid with the Cambridge Latin text got stuck, I showed him Wheelock, and he figured it out.

treehousekeeper said...

Latin for the New Millennium is fabulous!

FedUpMom said...

Good luck to you and H! I'll be curious to follow your adventures. There was a time when I thought Quaker schools were the answer for my older daughter, but it didn't work out for us. I hope you and H. fare better than we did.