August 6, 2009

School Plans

Well, summer is almost over (you would hardly think it so since it is supposed to top 111 here today!). I have been working on our school plans for 11th grade since June. After a series of revisions, I have finally settled on the old standby, using AO/HEO for this year. I have always liked this free curriculum ( I find it difficult to schedule and plan, but that is just me, and not a failure of the curriculum in any way. My son has enjoyed this program, but has struggled at times to comprehend some of the heavier books. Again, not a fault of the curriculum, but rather my inexperience to see ahead and realize that a book might not be a good fit. Overall, we have given it the good ol' college try and done our best. My son is doing well academically and is ready for 11th grade. AO/HEO has provided a rich and challenging reading-based curriculum, and since it is free, it has been a real blessing to us.

Our program is loosely-based on Y10, American Civil War era. We will make some book changes, but for the most part, we will read it fairly as designed.


In the past, we have read through the Bible using a one-year reading plan or a Daily Walk type book. We will continue to do this, but will follow a prepared schedule. We will also read the devotional books suggested by AO/HEO: J.I. Packer's "Knowing God", A.W. Pink's "The Attributes of God," and John Bunyan's "The Pilgrim's Progress."


Our plan was to use Thinkwell Math's Precalculus course this year. However, due to some financial constraints, we might have to use something else. Right now, that looks like Saxon Advanced Math. If I can find it used along with the Saxon Teachers CDs that would work great.


We are planning on studying Earth and Space Science this year. I have a used college text and would like to use video instruction through the Annenberg Project (free online at However, we may have to use another book/course. I am thinking we might use Apologia Physical Science, again, if I can find this book used (cheap!)

Language Arts

The bulk of our language arts study comes from AO/HEO. We will be focusing on Expository Writing and will review and finish Jensen's Format Writing this year. For literature, we are reading Novels (not AO). I chose novels that I thought my son would enjoy. I have downloaded several good study guides (free from Penguin USA at We will read: Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde (Y10), Uncle Tom's Cabin (Y10), Lord Jim (Y10 free reading), The Prairie (my choice), Hard Times (my choice), and The Great Gatsby (my choice). In addition, we will read three Shakespeare plays (Hamlet, Othello, and Much Ado About Nothing) using the Penguin Guides for Shakepeare as well. For Poetry, we are reading select poems from Coleridge, Browning, and Walt Whitman. We will also use some essays for writing practice (from Y10).

Social Studies

Social studies will be almost all AO/HEO, with some slight modifications. Our spine is Churchill's fourth volume in his series, The Great Democracies. For US History, we will continue reading vols. 3-4 of Carson's Basic History series. Our supplemental books will be from the Y10 book list: Arguing About Slavery, The Killer Angels, and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. Biographies will be on Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglas, and Hazlit's Spirit of the Age (collective bios). We will also read Up From Slavery (with study guide). Geography, grouped under this topic, will be two novels: The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain and The Oregon Trail by Francis Parkman (Y10). Government/Economics is also grouped under this heading and will include readings in: de Toqueville's Democracy in America, The Law by Bastiat, and several groups of essays (Stowell, John Stuart Mill, etc.).

Foreign Language

We will hope to finish Tell Me More's language series in French this year. This is a free resource through our public library, so we are happy to be able to use it and save some really big expenses.

Art and Music

Our Music program is the same as previous years. We use an outside music studio for lessons and instruction includes: theory, composition, performance, ear training, sight singing, applied music, and ensemble experience.


If we can fit in any electives, it will be more computer programming (son's choice). I would like to cover some practical housekeeping skill as well. He has been learning how to grill, so I think we will bake and cook more this year. Additionally, he will begin doing laundry (good for college) as well as clean the bathrooms (oh, am I a good Mom or what?!)

That is about it -- three months of planning, sweating, and tears, and there you have it. Not rocket-science, but it sure hurts each year to do it. I only have this year and next, then my boy will be heading off to college. I am not a good planner or scheduler, but have found great success using Home School Tracker software ( Each new revision is getting better and better. I am liking it more, especially the LP feature, and find that it does save substantial time in getting organized. Now if I could just get the rest of my life inputted and I would be really GOOD!


Mama Squirrel said...

Thank you so much for your pre-year 7 checklist! I think that's exactly what we need for this year.

ShilohMom said...

You are welcome! Glad it will help you with your school planning.