Ok, I know...I am nuts, right? I am already thinking about our core curriculum for next year (10th grade). I cannot help it, I just love curriculum and planning and I THINK about it all the time. I am never satisfied, never completely at peace with our choices and decisions, and I am always 'tweaking, tweaking, tweaking' our program. The good news is that I am settled on a CM-education for my only child and am happily anticipating the next (or should I say our last) three years of home schooling. My son is set to graduate from high school in 2011 - yikes! I still can remember that tear-filled day when I took him to the local public school for kindergarten. He loved it, of course; I was the one with the tears and whines. Oh, how the days pass by so quickly! God has been ever so gracious to me and has allowed me the privilege and opportunity to home school for the past 4 years. In all, we will have home schooled for 7 of our son's 12 years in school.
So here I am, with the winter blahs and am contemplating next year's curriculum options. We are supporters of the Ambleside Online curriculum, a free Charlotte Mason inspired booklist, and will no doubt continue to use many of their book reading suggestions along the way. We will not follow the course schedules as proposed online, simply because I have found them to be a bit "too scholarly" for my "science/math/computer" loving child. We use their rotation, which cycles through every 6 years, and will pick up Y9 or American Colonial History for our 10th grade focus. As a Humanities major in college, I prefer to teach history, literature, government, art and music as a unit or block. It just makes sense to do it this way and helps cement the period into memory. I plan on following Charlotte Mason's guidelines for subjects and have put together a CM-Styled course planner to help me figure out our book choices.
I created this planner after studying several of the P.N.E.U. Programmes posted on the Ambleside Online website. While not an exact duplicate of the House of Education booklists, it is a low-key or lighter version than what is posted on their website. I think this planner is more "doable" for my son and will also give us some "flex room" to include Apologia Chemistry and Thinkwell's College Algebra courses. I plan on including plenty of good reading, but the focus will be on a more streamlined and "lightened" program than any of the HEO 9-11 booklists.
This is my tentative outline for Y10 (our 10th grade):
Period focus: American Colonial History, approx. 1600-1800
CM had her students read from the Old Testament and New Testament on alternate days. We will do this and will read from the KJV Bible. We will also include one devotional book per term, read aloud and discussed each Friday. Included in our Bible time will be some singing of hymns/Psalms, copywork and memory recitation (Psalms and verses). We will use our Oxford Bible Atlas to look up place names and to become more familiar with the geography of the Holy Land.
For our CM-styled language arts program we will include copywork, memory work, recitations and dictation (overlapped with Bible); weekly essays on readings and current events; specific instruction using Jensen's Grammar and Jensen's Format Writing; and lastly, reading about the History of American Literature along with 2-3 novels per term (one book from each: World, American, and English Literature). Additionally, we will read 3 Shakespeare plays and memorize 2-3 poems.
Our history choices will center around the providential founding of the American colonies. We will continue to read from Winston Churchill's 4-volume series entitled, "The History of the English Speaking Peoples" one day a week. Right now, my books choices are leaning towards: Steven McDowell's, America's Providential History; The Story of Liberty and Sweet Land of Liberty by Charles Coffin; Peter Marshall's, The Light and the Glory; as well as biographies of William Wilberforce, Patrick Henry, and short sketches on the Signers of the Declaration of Independence. We will also create a history time chart for this period and will endeavor to keep our Book of Centuries going (hopeful). We will use a supplemental book that includes all the major American documents and will spend some time going over the US Constitution in detail.
We will probably work through our A Beka World Geography textbook and supplement with weekly readings from popular travel literature of the period.
We have been very hit or miss on citizenship the past couple of years, mostly due to my distaste of Plutarch and Ms. Mason's own book entitled, Ourselves. Note: there is nothing wrong with the Lives and I do understand it is one of the most foundational books in all of world literature -- but it is a chore to read so we may skip it again or may read a children's version (ouch!) instead.
Science and Natural History
We will use Apologia Chemistry for science this year and will follow Donna Young's course pacing, experiments and notebook suggestions. Supplemental reading will be minimal as this course requires a significant amount of time to complete each week.
Thinkwell's College Algebra will be our program for Algebra 2 this year.
We are currently shopping for a good foreign language program (not Rosetta Stone) to complete our study of the German language. An immersion type program is key and a visual component is nice, but not required. Due to the cost of such programs, one that offers multiple levels or at least beginning and intermediate study would be perfect. Possible options: Tell me More Intelligent Solution: German or Transparent Language's Complete German Learning Suite.
Art, Music and Miscellaneous
TBD - as I think more on it.
Well, that covers the basics, at least for now. Thankfully, I have until August to get all my ducks in a row and I am sure that my book list will change quite a bit between now and then. It is fun to plan out the purchases though and to dream a little bit about what we will be doing each day. Nice, happy thoughts!