So, homeschool curriculum. As Jessie wants to graduate from 8th grade with her Waldorf class, this is our last year of homeschooling, and I approaching it in a more organized, methodical way than I did last year. We kind of winged last year and focused on teaching to how J learns and tailoring our teaching methodology to fit her style and interests. Her biggest problems before last year were a complete lack of confidence in herself, a lack of interest in the majority of the subject material and the way it was presented, and no study skills or or habits what-so-ever. With one-on-one attention and an adjustment of the subject matter we were able to build her confidence in her abilities and engage her interest in the materials. At the end of the year, we finished up with the Iowa Basics standardized tests for math, languages arts, social studies, science, map reading, etc.
In hindsight, we should've administered the test at first the summer preceding homeschooling and tailored our core curriculum a bit to focus on areas where she was struggling, but we'll address them more intensely this year. And J is invested in putting in the work and succeeding at the tasks presented to her as she knows going back to Waldorf for 8th grade hinges on her performance. She has got to demonstrate the ability to manage her time and schedule, work independently on tasks, and pay attention and focus even when the material is not necessarily interesting to her.
Based on our upcoming family fieldtrip of a Mediterannean cruise this fall, her interests, and national core competency guidelines for her grade, here is a list of her courses for the year:
|Special Unit: The Mediterranean Region|
|Areas of Study|
|Ethics of Science|
We will evaluate and adjust as we go, and she may end up taking additional or substitute classes at LEAD or elsewhere starting in January, but I'm pretty happy with what we have, and finding the materials to support this curriculum has not been difficult.
I love the Internet! It is a bountiful mine of information and resources. My first find was a free (in my situation) app called Common Curriculum Planner (Cc). It is the perfect tool to break a mass of information into the manageable chunks of units and lessons and then plug them into a schedule. There's also a web interface for the students (in this case just one) to get the lessons, homework, etc. each week as we do them. It can be set-up for self-paced study with all the lessons available from the beginning, but Jessie wanted to work in a more traditional approach in regards to both her daily class schedule and her work so that's the way I did it.
After Cc, I found Teachers Pay Teachers "A open marketplace where educators buys, sell & share teaching resources". There are some great materials there for all the subjects I want to cover. I especially love the resources (1, 2, 3, and 4) I found for teaching biological taxonomy. Instead of having to commit to a book with way more material than I could use for more than I wanted to spend, I was able to buy materials from real teachers (subsidizing the teachers directly), that had been peer-reviewed, and were very inexpensive. Win-win-win!
Other sources for materials were the History Channel (videos on Ravensbrük and Buchenwald, and the Navajo code talkers) for our WWII unit, an on-line game site for Grammar Ninja, and Amazon.com for Grammar for Middle School: A Sentence-Composing Approach--A Student Worktext.
I'm not done yet, but I have two more weeks to plan and tweak and prepare for a great year. It WILL be a great year.
*NOTE* I wrote this post uesterday morning and forgot to put it up. Then this morning I realized school for us starts one week from today--not in two weeks. Ack! I'm a bit more rushed now, but I'll make it.