February 16, 2006

Jr. and Sr. High Books

As I plan out the next couple years, one of the issues I am concerned about is my ability to teach upper level courses such as history, literature, philosophy, apologetics, etc. I think my apprehension has more to do with my own feelings of inadequacy and less on the reality of my ability to teach my son.

Last evening, I spent quite a bit of time before the Lord in prayer to inquire as to His will for our homeschooling. I have several paths to choose from: stay with a literature-based program like Ambleside Online, choose a traditional textbook approach, create a unit study or use a prepared unit study, or do my own thing. I will admit that the doing my own thing scares me the most even despite the fact that it is probably closer to my heart's true desire.

I have looked over House of Education's booklists for Years 8-12 and think that the "salad bar" approach is a good way to go for the upper years. Some of the suggested books are new to me and I am hestitant to sign on and teach them without any prior knowledge.

I have also looked over Veritas Press' Junior High and High School program. This program is more familiar to me as I read most of the History/Literature selections in my college Humanitites courses. I also prefer the the way the books are scheduled with two reading periods per day, one in the morning and one in the am. Another plus is the integration of history, bible, literature, art and philosophy into the reading. Rather than studying these subjects separately, they are read as one unit.

Another program I have researched is Dr. Stobaugh's Literary Analysis Skills program for 7-12 grades. This is a literature based program that stresses the development of critical analysis and writing skills.

I took time last night and perused Tapestry of Grace's website and really like these unit studies. While I only have one student, I still like the fact that these studies include an integrated approach to learning.

Additionally, I have looked over the Bob Jone's University website and through their online catalog. I know that BJU's history and literature programs are very good and highly recommended.

I took notes as to costs, books and other recommended teacher resources and feel that I have a good start to analyze the different approaches and can now list pros and cons of each. I know that this sounds like over-kill to go through these steps but it is the way my mind works and this is how I make important decisions. I trust the Lord and know that he will guide me as I review each choice, look closely to determine if it will fit with our goals and my student's abilities. Once I have the information sorted, the final decision will be up to the Lord.

I am grateful that my Lord understands my brain and that he is patient as I try and use my skills to understand the complexities of our schooling method. I think sometimes that I make a "mountain out of a mole-hill" and that I should just "pick one" and stick with it. This may work for some people and I wish I were this way -- oh my, would my life be so much easier. But I believe that the Lord made me this way and for a reason. He has equipped me with a logical and orderly brain and given me analytical skills to help me make wise choices and good decisions. No, this is part of the process and I know that I must work the details out to feel fully satisfied and to have confidence in what I am doing and in the overall program and outcome.

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