Monday, July 13, 2015

2015 - 2016 Curricula

This year Amber is hoping to earn a few high school credits ahead of her actual high school years.  We are still working to maximize learning in her available functional time, all while sticking as close as possible to our chosen classical education method.

Amber's 8th Grade Curricula:

Life of Fred Beginning Algebra and Advanced Algebra with CTC Math
We really wanted to stick with Saxon math all the way through, however the lessons were so long they actually precipitated exhaustion and anxiety. We had to choose between math lessons or three other subjects each day. We have switched to a math curriculum that fits her time and physical needs better. 

Even though Amber was halfway done with Saxon Algebra 1, she started over with LOF Beginning Algebra towards the end of seventh grade and is nearly finished with it now. She will then move right into Advanced Algebra. We are supplementing with the online math program, CTC Math and so far this combination has been fantastic.

Language Arts: 
Grammar - Analytical Grammar (Season 2)
We absolutely loved Analytical Grammar last year even though we did not follow through as well as we should have with the review lessons after completing Season 1. This year we tackle Season 2 during first semester over the course of the entire school year. Our plan is still to finish Season three in 9th grade as part of high school English 1.

Literature - 
Amber asked to return to the Memoria Press books for literature this year, so that's exactly what we are doing through their American Literature set. We are also trying a brand new high school level literature program from Writing with Sharon Watson. The current plans are to alternate Memoria Press with Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide selections.  We do like to tie literature to our history and thus will add in a few items that may not get the full literature treatment, but will still be read.

Because of a review, we substituted Progeny Press' Intro to Poetry: Forms and Elements in place of the Memoria Press literature and loved it! We still may get to the Memoria Press, or it may wait for 9th grade.

Writing -  IEW (level B)
After floundering for quite a while with writing, we've finally found a curriculum that works for us both. I suspected for years it would be a good fit, but feared the parent TWSS. Amber has been growing greatly in her writing since we started in May of 7th grade. We plan to finish the Student Writing Intensive B in 8th grade and then move on with IEW through high school too.

Creative Writing - Cover Story
We will be finishing Cover Story by Clear Water Press, which Amber started towards the end of 7th grade. We still aren't using the optional grammar portions, however Amber adored the rest of the product and can't wait to finish it up this fall. 

Vocabulary - Latin Morphemes Lessons (Latin and Loving it)
Amber loved the Greek morphemes lessons from this same author and asked to include it second
semester this year. She actually requested more lessons in vocabulary. Who says no to that?

Journalism / Yearbook -
Amber is an editor on our homeschool yearbook committee and takes the yearbook class at our co-op. It includes regular weekly homework, so I'm giving her course credit for it.

We were extraordinarily pleased how our school lessons in 7th grade came together by putting an emphasis on history and this year will continue in a similar fashion. Our time period for the year is Early Modern - basically the late 1500's to 1800. After converting to Tapestry of Grace last year and loving it, we are picking up with the second half of the Year 2 Plan for 8th grade. We included many additional resources and projects in 7th grade, which turned the Year 2 Plan into a two-year course.

I am still utilizing the Heritage History books for our readings within Tapestry of Grace. Some of the TOG recommended books can easily be replaced with books from Heritage History, while other books in the year plan are actually found at Heritage History. 

Amber prefers the timelines from Home School in the Woods along with their writing and projects, so we will continue with the Time Travelers sets that correlate with our current TOG lessons.

Missouri History:
As a last minute addition to our curriculum in 7th grade, we decided to add Switched on Schoolhouse Missouri History.   This is a topic we are continuing to complete over a several year period. It is entirely computer based and gives us something that Amber can do on days when she is having a hard time concentrating on more intensive subjects.  We do not have any time or days specifically set aside for Missouri history.  It is just as we desire to complete some lessons. 

The Fallacy Detective
We've decided to add logic back into our schedule this school year.  Amber quite enjoys logic, but I'm not sure she's ready for high school level logic courses yet. We will start with The Fallacy Detective and maybe even continue to the next book, The Thinking Toolbox. I don't expect this to be an every day type of course, but maybe twice a week.

Apologia Physical Science
We are moving into high school credit science this year with Apologia's Physical Science. This will be the first time since 5th grade Amber has used a textbook type science curriculum.  She's not particularly looking forward to that aspect of science, but is happy to be studying physical science. 

Foreign Language - German
prima from Houghton Mifflin
After 2.5 years of Latin, Amber started German last year in 7th grade. I originally selected two different sets of curricula for use at home, while only using the prima in the homeschool co-op classes I teach. As life goes, it turned out to be too much work to prepare different curriculum for co-op and for home, so Amber only worked with the prima books. We were very pleased with it overall and Amber completed the entire first level. She will continue into the next book this year along with my class at co-op.


Answers for Teens from Answers in Genesis I've enjoyed reading The New Answers books and offered Amber the chance to go over the book series designed for teens along with the three DVDs.  We started this set over the summer as soon as it came!

Fine Arts
Amber takes weekly private flute lessons and practices daily. Amber did take 5+ years of piano, but enjoys the flute more.  She plays piano well enough to pick it back up on her own if she chooses. For right now this is it in the music department.

First semester - mixed media art at a local studio. Second semester - Advanced art at our homeschool co-op.

Second semester - Improv drama at our homeschool co-op.

Practical Arts
This semester our homeschool group is offering a middle school level economics class.  It's not worthy of high school credit, but will be a good introduction to economics. (Completed)

Thread / Yarn Work 
Where do I put this?  Amber took both embroidery and needle knitting classes at our homeschool co-op first semester, and is continuing embroidery second semester.  These are enrichment only style classes, so again it's not anything we really need to track in regards to credits.

Physical Education
We did not previously set aside time during our regular school day specifically for physical education. Amber had been a ballet dancer until January of 6th grade when her physical condition did not allow for it anymore. She is having a lot of trouble with activity still and does not tolerate any amount of heat.  

Medically prescribed exercise routine along with weekly physical therapy sessions for her Ehlers Danlos. She has to be extremely careful in any physical exertion due to dysautonomia (heart and temperature regulation problems) and Ehlers Danlos (easily dislocated and injured joints).


  1. You have such great thought process. Your choices look great and I am sure that Amber will do well with it.
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. Wow, that's a massive variety of subjects and curricula. I wish you the very best for the next coming year. I think Amber's in for a great year!