Friday, August 23, 2019

2019 - 2020 (12th Grade) Curricula

I've not really been updating here often but felt the need to post Amber's final year of high school curricula for the sense of completion.

She technically could have graduated last December, so everything here out is extra in some sense. A few of the items, while not strictly necessary, will be beneficial for her to have taken during high school. Other courses are preferred by some of the colleges, but not required.

Because she does not actually NEED any of these subjects, her year is a little more relaxed. She is setting her own weekly schedule and I'm basically her mentor in the majority of the subjects. In physics, she still requires more of an instructor, however so do all of the other students.


(1 Credit)
Life of Fred - Financial Choices
Just getting a little more practical math experience.

Language Arts:

(1 Credit)
Writing: IEW Advanced Communication Series
We are doing this course at home with a couple of friends instead of at co-op this year. 
Grammar: IEW Fix It! Grammar - Moving to the next level and beyond if she finishes during the school year. It will be incorporated in her writing class credits throughout high school until she finishes the series. 

(1 credit for Literature)
Literature: Using Excellence in Literature for everything except Shakespeare, which is still Lightning Literature. (A few of the items are leftover from 11th grade. We did unplanned literature items and pushed part of the planned list to 12th grade.)

The tentative 12th grade reading list is:
  • Romeo and Juliet - William Shakespeare (Memoria Press)
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream - William Shakespeare (Lightning Literature)
  • King Lear - William Shakespeare (Lightning Literature)
  • Walden - Henry David Thoreau (Excellence in Literature)
  • Screwtape Letters - C.S. Lewis (Excellence in Literature)
  • Paradise Lost - John Milton (Excellence in Literature)
  • Great Expectations - Charles Dickens (Excellence in Literature)
  • Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte (Excellence in Literature)
  • The Odyssey - Homer (Excellence in Literature)
  • Antigone - Sophocles (Excellence in Literature)
  • The Aeneid - Virgil (Excellence in Literature)
  • Don Quixote - Miguel de Cervantes (Excellence in Literature)
  • Russian Works (TBD) (Excellence in Literature)
  • Faust - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Excellence in Literature)
  • Democracy in America - Alexis de Tocqueville (Excellence in Literature)

(1 Credit Creative Writing Elective) 
Creative Writing: Other Worlds - Amber's goal is to become a writer, so naturally one of her electives is creative writing. This year she is moving into writing fantasy fiction.

Foreign Language

(? credits) 
ASL: Taking it at our co-op just for the fun of it.

History / Social Studies

(1/2 Credit Psychology)
Holt Psychology - Taking this class at our homeschool co-op. And I'm not teaching it. 
(1/2 Credit Economics)
Economics: Exploring Economics by Ray Notgrass
She started this last year, but really didn't have time for it and everything else. She finished maybe half of it. So, this year she is completing it.

Science - 

(1 Credit Physics with lab)
Physics: Exploring Creation with Physics - Apologia
We are holding science class with a few friends at our house again this year. Obviously, Amber does not need physics to graduate or even for college. Yet the exposure is good for her, it helps her push past her fear of math and science to see that she can understand the concepts, and I finally get to teach physics!

Electives and Non-Core Subjects

(School Publications)
Amber was inducted into Quill and Scroll last year for her years of work on both our yearbook and literary magazine. She continues with them this year:
Yearbook: This is structured more like a club, but Amber has been on the yearbook of our co-ops since the beginning. This will be her last year on yearbook, since she graduates in may. 
Literary Magazine: Last year the co-op schedule was switched up second semester, and Amber was able to move into the literary magazine class that I teach and took an editor position on the magazine. She is doing the same this year, which is also her final eligible year. 

(Fine Arts Credit) 
Amber already has more than enough Fine Arts credits. The remaining are electives that she enjoys.

Music: Continue weekly private flute lessons and practice. We only count her 45 minute lessons and performances as school hours. So between 1/4 and 1/2 credit of music too. She will also be participating in an instrumental ensemble.

(Practical Arts Credit)
Driver's Education: Amber is still working on this again this year and continues to practice driving with her permit. We will be intentionally making time to instruct her in safe driving. 

(1 Physical Education Credit)
Phys. Ed:  Amber no longer goes to physical therapy, and instead has graduated to home exercise. She is diligent in keeping up with her cardio and strength training. I still give her credit for the time she spends each week, since it is intentional exercise and must be done in order to keep her body in the highly functional state she has achieved.

Friday, May 31, 2019

She's a Senior Now

Wow! Time has definitely been cruising along at a good clip. I had no idea it has been this long since my last post here.

While we enjoyed being on the Homeschool Review Crew, the need to blog regularly began to weigh heavily on me. It was no longer a joy, but a requirement that I had come to resent. When we decided to not return to the Review Crew, I felt such relief at not needing to blog regularly. I honestly didn't even want to deal with blogging at all.

So, what is going on around here?

I kept plenty busy this school year not only homeschooling Amber but also teaching co-op classes, which included the chemistry I taught for Amber's friends at our house.

Amber enjoyed her junior year of high school. She was a fairly independent learner this year, or even more so than in previous years. I worked out the lesson plans and she executed those plans.

Today was the last day of 11th grade for Amber, and as of now, she is a high school senior! Just one more year before she starts the next chapter in her story.  This is fairly unbelievable to us all, yet also feeling like she is right where she belongs. It's a path we have all taken together.

After much thought and reflection, we made some updates to Amber's senior year plans. We are fairly certain we know where she will start college and she could have already graduated at the end of December. Instead, she chose to enjoy being a teenager and in high school. While she will work on completing a few things her senior year, we came to the realization that she does not have to do it all. She does not need excessive credits as a high school student.

Instead, she simply needs to be prepared for her chosen college major and not for every possible major. What she does need is to learn to balance her life. To learn to care for herself while keeping up with her commitments and ensuring she able to find enjoyment in life.

We are excited about what senior year will bring. The learning experiences. The social events. The unexpected.

Monday, October 15, 2018

{Review} St. Bartholomew's Eve - Heirloom Audio Productions

Heirloom Audio Productions has released yet another wonderful audio drama of a G.A. Henty adventure. This time we have been privileged to review St. Bartholomew's Eve, a story that takes place during the Huguenots’ struggles in France. My eleventh grade daughter, Amber, has looked forward to the release of each new audio drama since our first review of one back in seventh grade, and they never disappoint.

Heirloom Audio Productions:

Heirloom Audio Productions has transformed numerous G.A. Henty adventures into their active listening format. These are not simply audio books with a story being read, nor are they quite the same as audio dramas that you may have heard on the radio or as recordings. Instead, active listening audio adventures take quick paced adventures and bring you into the story through sound only. The effects encourage you to create images in your mind, to where you do not even realize there is not a video component. The experience is unlike any other listening format.

We received St. Bartholomew's Eve as a two CD set, however Heirloom Audio Productions also publishes these adventures as MP3s on their website where you can download or listen online. In addition to digital files, Live the Adventure Club provides bonus content for each story in the form of study guides, e-book versions of the G.A. Henty novel, sound tracks, and more. We have been more than pleased in the past with our access to Live the Adventure Club.

G.A. Henty

G.A. Henty was a late 19th century English novelist who mostly wrote historical adventure novels for children. Being well traveled and having spent time in the British army gave Henty some of the perspective needed to write such detailed stories. He also was known to do extensive research prior to writing his historical novels and all use history to teach moral values. That research is the key which has allowed Henty's stories to remain relevant today as vivid, historically accurate (for the most part) tales for all ages.

Unexpected Homeschool: Review of St. Bartholomew's Eve from Heirloom Audio Productions

St. Bartholomew's Eve

The entire 2-CD set is roughly two and one half hours long and can easily be completed in one session, although our schedule meant Amber needed two different days to complete her listening. The summary of the story below is my synopsis based on the notes Amber took while listening. A common theme in Henty's books is perseverance and staying true to one's beliefs. This retelling is no different.

(Based on Amber's notes)
The story of St. Bartholomew's Eve revolves around the French Wars of Religion and is set about 50 years after Martin Luther began the Reformation. The main character is a 16 year old boy from Canterbury who is visiting his French family. There he is learning to fight and ride along side his older cousin, Francois, and hopes to join the Huguenots (the French Protestants) in their fight for freedom of religion.

The two heroes, Philip and Francois, are involved in subterfuge to arm the tenants of Francois' family to defend their lands while the family travels for the Huguenot cause. The heroes arrive at the chateau of Admiral Coligny, where they learn of plans to capture the king of France and negotiate the dismissal of the anti-Huguenot council. This does not go as planned, and the king escapes.

Philip and Francois then join with another cousin of Francois, Count de la Noue, to take down the Catholic opposition in smaller town before meeting up outside of Paris with Admiral Coligny and Prince Conde, who had the original plan to capture the king. During the ensuing battle, our heroes must defend Prince Conde until the Catholic army is pushed back into Paris.

Unexpected Homeschool: Review of St. Bartholomew's Eve from Heirloom Audio Productions
Amber's notes
Philip, Francois, and Count de la Noue next travel south to inform another group of Huguenots of their reasoning for abandoning the attack on Paris. The journey is fraught with danger since there are many Catholic spies in the homes of those who support the Huguenots. The Count and Francois are captured on the way to meet with a potential supporter, while Philip and their remaining men are forced to hide. A young Huguenot boy helps Philip and his group to capture the Catholic leaders of the town and release their Huguenot captives, including the Count and Francois.

Eventually, our group must return to the home of Francois' family to defend it against the Catholic army. After several rounds the enemy retreats. However, our group of fighters then goes on to help in another battle and are injured. Their recovery takes over a year.

The situation in France grows more desperate for the Huguenots with the French Queen Mother and Duke of Guise plotting to eliminate all leaders of the Huguenots. The French king eventually acquiesces to the pressure. The Catholics carry out the massacre of 70,000 Huguenots, including Admiral Coligny. Our heroes manage to save some Huguenots, but in the end Francois also dies.

How we use audio dramas

After many years of enjoying the Henty stories brought to life by Heirloom Audio Productions, our method of use for these adventures has evolved. Once upon a time, Amber and I listened to them together while utilizing the study guides as discussion points. We then progressed to both of us listening, or me popping in and out, and Amber using the study guide as an outline to keep her focused.

Most recently, in high school, I rarely listen in, because Amber prefers to do her work more independently. The audio dramas now function as a unique history lesson and practice session for note taking. Amber has even moved away from taking notes on her iPad and chooses to listen through her computer while taking notes directly with word processing software. 

Unexpected Homeschool: Review of St. Bartholomew's Eve from Heirloom Audio Productions

Amber appreciates the change in lesson style that the audio drama provides, and the opportunity to work on tasks that can be difficult for a student who is not even remotely an auditory learner. She struggles with comprehension when there is only an auditory component, and we are always looking for ways to incorporate practice time of the tools taught in Amber's occupational therapy sessions. A definite plus to the Heirloom Audio active listening stories are their compelling action and feeling of complete submersion into the drama.

Amber was able to complete the entire audio drama in two sessions, each at the end of her regular school day, which made for a refreshing last subject. Amber no longer has a high school history course left to complete for which the Henty dramas can be included, however we were able to put the time toward her general practical arts credits for the practice of her OT goals.

We have thoroughly enjoyed every single audio drama from Heirloom Audio Productions, and are a little sad that this may have been our last one given Amber's grade and time commitments.

Take a look at the other Heirloom Audio Productions adventures we have reviewed:



Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew also reviewed St. Bartholomew's Eve. Please follow the link in the graphic below to read their thoughts.

St. Bartholomew's Eve {Heirloom Audio Reviews}