Yesterday we started up the 2017-2018 school year. I wasn’t planning on doing so because my middle kid was supposed to be at sleep away camp, however on Friday we got a call that she was sick and needed to come home. And home she came. Due to the nature of her illness (not serious, just annoying) she won’t be able to go back. Rather than wait until next week I figured we might as well start up this week!
We are *very* much in the finding our groove portion of the year. We didn’t do a whole lot school-wise over the summer so adjusting may prove to be a little bit of a challenge this year!
On our agenda for this year:
For language arts we are using the books from JacKris Publishing both Growing with Grammar and Winning with Writing. We have Brave Writer too and I like the idea of it but I just don’t know that my mind is capable of wrapping around it! Maybe someday, but as of right now it’s on the back burner.
The bulk of our curriculum, as for the last few years, is Build Your Library. This year is grade 6 which is the second part of US history, starting with the Civil War. It seems all too timely to be REALLY studying this time period. As of right now I am reading history and the literature selection to them aloud. They are doing dictation and and reading the reader to themselves.
The first literature selection is The Slave Dancer. So far it has been a decent book BUT it does have language that makes me extremely uncomfortable (n-word). I know it is language that was used in the time period but it makes my skin crawl to read it aloud. We are three chapters in and so far it has been said twice. I read it the first time, explained as best as I could to the kids WHY it was such a horrible word, and then I only used “n-word” after that point. It brought up a good discussion and I have since been doing more research into how to get them to grasp what it really means. Google is my friend. All that said, it’s worth being more prepared for than I was!
The reader for the first few weeks is Amos Fortune, Free Man. They seem to be enjoying it though I haven’t read it with them as of yet, I hope to soon so we can discuss any content that needs discussing.
Science was a stumbling block for me this year. BYL suggests Elemental Science. It is marketed as “secular” but really it’s neutral, at best. The topic for the year, though, is earth science so I was HOPING it wouldn’t be too obnoxious to alter as needed. So far it looks like the only thing I really need to work with is The Big Bang Theory. The program offers it up as optional. It also defines things incorrectly stating that the BBT is a “theory” and not a “fact” which in reality, of course, a scientific theory is just a way of explaining observable facts. I had to carefully keep track of definitions and explain to the kids not only what the difference is by WHY it is omitted in so many homeschool books.
The set of Elemental Science is actually pretty user friendly, which I like so I am going to try to make due with it. Our experiment this week (one per week) was calculating the speed of light with a chocolate bar and a microwave, which of course was a hit…because chocolate.
In all, it’s been a good first few days back and hopefully we can find our rhythm pretty soon!