Monday, June 8, 2015

Hello Again! A Review of This Past Year

I've been working recently on a project to find homeschooling blogs, and it has sparked a renewed desire to begin writing again. I quit blogging in November after my last homeschool product review because I had become so busy editing that I didn't have time to write on a weekly basis, which is what was required to continue receiving the review products. I had burned out, so to speak.

Without that obligation looming over me, I will attempt to return to the world of blogging. Since I've missed nearly an entire school year, I will review what we used this year and what new things we experienced.

My oldest was a junior this year. That means he only has one year left. Excuse me while I wipe the tears off my keyboard. Seriously, I am not looking forward to graduation day. I'm excited for him, but I will miss him. He's probably sick of me saying that. Anyhow, J dual enrolled at the local state college. In Florida, students are able to take up to ten credits during the fall semester and ten during the spring semester during their junior year. So, J took Spanish 1, English Composition 101, and College Algebra. He received A's in all three classes. During the spring, he took Statistics, US History 1877 to the Present, and Spanish II. He received A's in all of those classes, too. Two of those spring semester classes started out pretty rocky, so we are extremely proud of his ability to bring those grades up.

Students who dual enroll can potentially earn an associate degree upon graduation if they take enough classes, including summer classes. J was not thrilled at the prospect of having to take classes throughout the summer, so he opted to not go for his AA. I had to swallow some pride and lower my expectations and let him make those decisions.

Besides the college classes, J took a history class and a speech class at our co-op. At home, he has been working through Apologia's Advanced Biology: Human Anatomy course. Since J has also been working part time, I have allowed him to take more time to finish this. Now, I just need him to finish it up. He has recently dissected a cow eyeball and a cow heart. His last dissection will be a fetal pig. Yep, right here on my dining room table. My youngest, P, has decided she never wants to dissect anything!

My middle child, N, has finished up his freshman year of high school. That was a big change for both of us. I learned I'll need to put my foot down a bit more when it comes to school vs. computer next year, though. For math, we used Mr. D Math. When we were at the FPEA Convention in Orlando last year, I was looking for a good math program for N. He didn't like Teaching Textbooks. As I searched the vendor hall, I saw Mr. D's booth. As I began talking to him, some of his former students ran up to him, shouting, "Mr. D!" At that point, I was sold. I think it speaks volumes when kids are that excited about one of their teachers. When N met him later, he was sold as well. He liked some of the features that weren't present with Teaching Textbooks. So, N worked through Algebra II this year. Mr. D Math is an online math curriculum. We chose to use the class that included a once-a-week, live, online seminar. 

He also studied Biology through Apologia, Writing through WriteShop, a Compare/Contrast writing course through, 3D Animation with Youth Digital, speech at co-op, and personal finance at co-op as well. He also studied geography and literature through what I put together on my own.

P finished seventh grade ahead of schedule. She was so anxious to get it done that she did two, sometimes three, days' worth of school each day during the last few weeks. I think her favorite class was drama at our co-op. She also took geography at our co-op, taught by yours truly using Eating Your Way Around the World. The students in my class ate things they would have never tried otherwise, like Groundnut Stew, and loved much of it. They also learned about the history, culture, traditions, government, and more of each of the countries we studied. P also studied general science using Apologia. She and N have both realized they don't like Apologia's high school books that much. They are too wordy for kinesthetic learners. I have loved Apologia, and it still works for J, but next year we'll have to do something else for P and N.

We used The Complete Writer: Writing with Skill for P's writing course and Mr. D Math's PreAlgebra course for math, and I let her choose which books she read for literature. She read 33 books throughout the year. P also dances two days a week, including teaching classes to 2- through 5-year-olds.

Our year was full. The kids learned more than what is written here. There were bits and pieces pulled in from a variety of resources to enhance learning. 

J took three SATs this year. J and N both took the PSAT, N for practice, J to try to place as a National Merit Scholar. J's SAT scores have qualified him for a scholarship. He'll take at least one more during his senior year to try to obtain more. That will be our focus next year for him—scholarships and getting accepted to colleges. 

I will do my best to keep up with this blog as this next year progresses. I will share what I learn, knowing that someone might come along and read this who can use the information next year or the year after. It always helps to learn from those who have gone before us.