Homeschool Curriculum Plans 2013 – 2014

When we began home schooling, we started very much “in-the-box” style learning.  Using more traditional textbook/workbook type studies and a traditional school year calendar.  After completing our 7th year, we are now very eclectic in our approach.  Because we’ve gotten away from a traditional school calendar year, our grade-level lines have turned a bit fuzzy.

The Author, is finishing up her Senior year and should really have all the traditional boxes ticked off by December 2013.  Because she is writing a novel and wanted to take a gap-year between high school and college, we have really stretched her “senior” year across September 2012 to December 2013.  Instead of a true gap-year, there will be some academic work to be done, and we will undoubtedly do at least a couple of classes at Community College along with an internship or part-time work and volunteering to fill out her schedule in the Winter/Spring terms.

The Astronomer, is entering 9th grade and is pretty much on a traditional schedule with the exception of Math.  We decided math is better done without long breaks for summer, and since we finished Pre-Algebra in April, we went ahead and started Algebra 1 in May and have been working through the summer.  Additionally, we are starting Astronomy now, since there is a significant portion of the class outdoors in the cool night air…..which will be really lovely in January in Michigan. 😦 We had planned to start the first of July, but the skies have been very overcast and cloudy this summer and it hasn’t worked out as well as we anticipated.


9th Grade English

 Literature & Reading:

Out of the Silent Planet, C.S. Lewis

MacBeth, William Shakespeare

Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain

The Old Man and the Sea, Earnest Hemingway

The Call of the Wild, Jack London

The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom

Johnny Tremain, Esther Forbes

The Lord of the FliesWilliam Golding

 Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde

For reference:   Teaching the Classics and Reading Roadmaps, The Center for Literary Education.  This will be The Astronomer’s first stab at literary analysis, so this list is in no particular order and we will start with simplest books first.   I may add more, once we get into it.  In addition, he will continue reading contemporary fiction on his own time.  Read…Read…Read…

Vocabulary:  Wordly Wise 3000, Online

Writing/Grammar:  Cover Story, new by the publishers of One Year Adventure Novel.  This is set to be shipped by the end of August so I haven’t seen it yet.  But it looks awesome and we love One Year Adventure Novel, so we’re going to give it a try.  In addition, he will write short author biographies and context paragraphs for the novels on his reading list.

Critical Thinking:  Building Thinking Skills, by The Critical Thinking Company

12th Grade:  Dual Enrollment

The Author has plenty of English credits to cover core “requirements” and a few electives.  So she will be dual-enrolling for college English Composition and Literature classes.

Senior Project:  Finish, edit and revise novel and submit to publishers/agents.  This is our first priority for The Author!

Various writing/publishing seminars online.  (If you have a writer, consider subscription to Writers’ Digest magazine for lots of helpful resources.)


9th Grade

Algebra 1, Teaching Textbooks (started in May and will proceed through summer, with a few breaks) and then proceed on to Algebra 2

12th Grade

Finish Geometry, using ALEKS,  and then move on to a Dual-Enrollment class in January


9th Grade (and possibly 12th Grade, for an additional science credit)

Classical Astronomy with Lab –  Because we want warm nights, we are starting this now.  Primary Source:  Signs & Seasons: Understanding the Elements of Classical Astronomy with Field Journal.  Supplement with biographies and other astronomy and space books from library.

Field Trips to various local planetariums and observatories.  Also visiting, weather permitting, Dark Skies locations in Scotland in September.


9th and 12th Grade

U.S. Government  – The 5000 Year Leap: Principles of Freedom 101 by the National Center for Constitutional Studies.  Supplemental reading, Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville and possibly some historical fiction, as needed.

Before beginning the U.S. Government course, we will do a brief survey of other forms of government around the world.

EconomicsBlue Stocking Guide to Economics by Jane A. Williams and Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? by Richard J. Maybury

Also looking at resources from Stossel In the Classroom to supplement here if needed.   (Strong opinion and great discussion questions.)


Foreign Language:

12th Grade:  Japanese 2 with tutor or dual-enrollment.  Haven’t decided which direction yet.  The Author really wants a native Japanese instructor.

9th Grade:  Survey of three foreign languages.  We will start by using Russian in 10 Minutes a Day by Bilingual Books.  Then we will probably proceed to French and Spanish.  Once we make a final decision, we will switch to Rosetta Stone and/or a language tutor.  The Astronomer really wants to learn Russian; I’m not sure why, but I suspect it has something to do with working on the International Space Station someday 🙂

P.E:  Archery, Junior Olympic Archery Development program at local Archery Club.  We may also throw in a little martial arts or tennis.

Computer/Technology:  The Astronomer is helping me review TeenCoder by Homeschool Programming.  If all goes well, we will continue this throughout the school year.   The first semester is Windows Programming with C#, the second semester is on Game Programming.  (Note: This review is due the between August 30th and September 5th.  Please keep an eye on Mindful Ramblings, if you’re curious about this product.)

Life Skills/Practical Arts:  This is a fuzzy, catch-all class to include credit for anything related to life skills.  This class includes, but is not limited to:  Bible Study/Devotions, Culinary Arts, Personal Finance, Driver Education, Organizational Skills, First Aid, Cleaning, Yard Maintenance, etc.  Thinking about using The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey and What Color is Your Parachute? For Teens by Carol Christen and Richard N. Bolles as part of this course.  Since we will be traveling, God willing, to Alaska in September, I may include some travel planning as part of this course 🙂

So, I think that’s about it for us.  What about you?

Disclaimer:  While this post includes mention of many specific products and links for more information, no compensation of any kind has been received for promoting these products.


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