Tag Archives: high school

Easter With Older Children

Easter often means cute dresses, egg hunts, and bunny crafts. But when your children get older, that changes. It also looks different when you celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ all the time, not just at what the world has named Easter. Christ’s church celebrates Christ all the time, not just for this one week of the year, and that is what makes Easter so different for us. We spend this time in a special convention with other believers the world over celebrating the work our children have done all year long serving the Lord. This weekend is the Lads to Leaders Annual Convention!

Lads to Leaders is an organization that started some 50 years ago and is dedicated to helping the young men and women of the Lord’s church become his servants, his hands and feet, here on earth. It helps the young men and women find their areas of interest, talent, and growth. Whether it be service, leading songs, reading scripture, teaching, helping, media, or any number of other areas, or all of the areas, the students grow in their abilities to serve. This year, our girls have grown through teaching, serving others, leading songs, reading scripture, studying the Bible for Bible Bowl (Hebrews), studying for the Pearls test (topic: Better Than, actually that’s the whole year’s topic), making power points to be used by teachers, writing blog posts, working on puppet scripts, studying the debate topic (baptism), creating artwork and photos, and so much more. I am certain I have missed some things the girls have worked on. And it is all dedicated to growing in God, knowing God and His will better, and being more dedicated to serving Him.

Here are two of the things the girls did this year – Blog post 1 and Blog post 2. Since I don’t know if they have been finalized in the judging yet, I am not attaching any names to them still. 🙂

Here is post I wrote a while back about what Lads to Leaders is and what the girls worked on that year.

As everyone remembers, last year (2020), Easter looked quite different. Here’s what I wrote about our quarantine Easter.

And here is a recap of our Easter from 2019, complete with Lads to Leaders convention and our own Easter celebration after that.

This weekend, while many are doing egg hunts or have spent the week making palm fronds, we have been and will be focusing on Bible, songs, debate, art work, media presentations, and so much more that directly impacts the Lord’s church. We are blessed to have such a strong church to be a part of and to spend the weekend with so many others who are dedicated to Christ.

Our prayer this week is that you are able to spend your time in something strong and meaningful that strengthens your faith and leads you into a closer relationship with God, through Jesus.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Linking up at the Homeschool Review Crew for the weekly challenge.

Indoor Games for middle and high school

Now that our girls are getting older, our games have changed. We still really like games but what the girls like to play has shifted to some more complicated and/or differently challenging activities. This past two weeks has really given us the opportunity to engage in some fun indoor games, as we were unable to leave our house for 12 days. (Thanking the winter storm and central Texas’ ability to handle it. 🙂 )

One of our newest favorites is from Finders Seekers. This is a subscription company with at-home, escape room style boxes each month. We received a 3 month subscription as a gift at Christmas and I just renewed it on a month to month basis. I don’t know if we’ll keep it very long but we’ll do at least one more. We have explored Toronto, looked into the fabled life of Anastasia Romanov, and dallied in the National Parks. Next one to come is supposed to Machu Pichu. Looking forward to it.

Forbidden Island is a cooperative game that we enjoy playing. It doesn’t take too long and it is fun working together to do gather the four statues and get off the island before we get stranded. It isn’t difficult and we enjoy it.

Haunted Mansion is one that Miss J loves to play but she has to get her dad to play with her because I don’t enjoy it at all. It is based on a choose your own adventure book and follows much the same format, choosing different actions from the cards and going where that choice takes you. It is a cooperative game, also.

Prime Climb is a math game that Miss J likes to get out. It works on math facts and prime numbers up through 101. You can use addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division in all sorts of combinations to make your way to 101. We have a good time and I do feel like she is learning a lot each time we play. The strategy combined with working the equations to get the most out of each move can be a lot of fun.

Maestro Mastery is a new one that we have played a couple of times. It is a fun one and the full review is coming up soon.

Mancala is a fun marble game that we were told originated somewhere in Africa. A friend had her dad make us this game board when we got married and it has had a whole lot of use and laughter over the years.

Guess Who – this one came from a fast food restaurant years ago but we have kept them around and the girls enjoy playing with them. They are small and my “getting older” eyes definitely struggle with it sometimes but we still enjoy it.

Another strange one Miss J and I enjoy is a curling game. It’s little stones are plastic with a marble and they glide over a smooth plastic alley. Fun and simple.

We keep a lot of games around and we play them often. Other favorites include Go Fish, War, Slap Jack, Uno, puzzles of all sizes, Dixit, Connect Four Launchers, Scrabble, and Boggle. Miss J also loves to play her Bird Bingo game. There are tons of others, I am sure, but these are the ones that come to mind and we play most often. What are some of your favorite games for middle school and high school? We could always add to our collection. . .

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

This is being linked up at the Homeschool Review Crew as part of the weekly blogging and social media challenge. Head over to read about other families’ favorite indoor games. Find a new favorite!

Visit the Homeschool Review Crew Round Up for more great posts to read.

Schedule Options (MS & HS) – a day in the life Crew challenge

How many different ways are there to schedule schooling options? As many as there are subject variations, I imagine. I thought I would share a couple that are working well for us. I have three children and each of them is working on a different schedule.

High School – 11th grade with dual credit for two classes a semester

This student is a slow-starter but a hard worker. She is forcing herself to get up to an alarm and get moving every weekday, even when she doesn’t have to. Last semester, she worked on a fairly traditional schedule. But this semester, she came to me and asked if she could work hard on one subject a day, planning to complete at least a week’s worth of work on the subject. She had a sound reasoning as to why she thought it would work for her. So, she scheduled math one day, biology one day, and literature one day. She is doing history and sign language through dual credit and so is working on those more than one day a week. She does her physical education daily (dance), also. But the beauty of this schedule is that it is what she sees as being a strong way to work on it for her and so she will work hard at it.

Block schedules are not a new thing. I remember as an elementary school teach using block schedules for math and language arts. The high schools have done this before also. Their schedule is not typically one subject a day but they block it into larger chunks of time, maybe 3 subjects a day, so that the students can get on a roll with an idea or concept and not have it cut off just as they start to understand. So, after listening to her reasons, I was thrilled to see her taking the time to consider, come up with a sound argument for her idea, and present it to me logically. Her ideas was granted permission so long as we see sound progress.

High School – 9th grade working with a boxed curriculum

This student is a go-getter to the max! She is one who embraces everything being done as well as possible. (I work really hard not use the word perfectionist with her!) She is working on a combo of daily work with a looping schedule. With a looping schedule, she is working for a set amount of time completing one lesson after another down the page of the curriculum guide. When she hits the end of the day, say Monday, she jumps to the top of Tuesday’s column and starts there, whether or not it is Tuesday. These are subjects like her history, writing, reading/literature, Bible, and science. Her math, Bible, physical education (dance), foreign language, and violin are daily work. She does each of these and then starts in on her loop for the day.

This has worked well for her. She makes continuous progress without getting overwhelmed at the sheer volume of materials. She will earn 11, yes 11, high school credits when she completes these courses. No wonder she felt overwhelmed trying to hit every subject every day and was spending hours and hours on it. She is not moving at one the pace of the curriculum guide – 1 calendar week = 1 curriculum guide week – but she is making strong and happy progress. It’ll take a bit longer than one year to get through the curriculum but that is okay. She’ll earn more than one year of credits for it.

I do probably need to address Bible for her since it is both in her loop and her daily schedule. For the loop schedule, it is whatever is assigned in the curriculum. They have several Bible items for the student to work on, earning a Bible credit with this curriculum. She also works on several projects and studies for church, as well as teaching one of the Sunday classes for preschool. So she works on Bible Bowl, Pearls (book study), debate, memorizing scripture, other Lads to Leaders materials, or Sunday school prep on a daily basis for a large part of the school year.

Middle School – 6th grader

This is one smart cookie who gets easily distracted. She finds things really interesting but can then get just as interested in something else. She is working on an eclectic curriculum. She is doing well with it. She works 4 days a week, doing each subject every day. She has a daily checklist in a spiral that she uses to help keep her on track. She has math (online), history (includes literature, vocabulary, and writing), science, Bible, sign language, and physical education (dance). She spends a good bit of time each day on her curriculum, often because she gets distracted or doesn’t concentrate. Hers is a “check everything off each day” schedule.

We also spend a good bit of time finding fun, short videos on things she is interested in to watch. She helps me cook and do laundry (sometimes on the laundry) and she loves to read (finally!!). She enjoys spending time with people and helping out. She has started spending quite a bit of time drawing for fun. All of these are learning opportunities, too. So, when I feel like this child isn’t spending enough time on “learning,” I remind myself of all these other things that she does that are also learning, just not out of a book.

Final Thoughts

My purpose in sharing this is to remind each of us that we are different. Even our children are different. As they get older, they can have more say in what works for them. Yes, I am still responsible in making sure that what needs to get done is getting done. I can, however, allow them the freedom to help decide how to tackle it. Just the other night (at 11:20 PM!), the two older girls were working together, evaluating each other’s Powerpoint presentations and teaching each other how to do some background work, edit and transition work, and copyright notifications for images used. I don’t have to worry about whether they are learning as I can see it, day in and day out. Or night in and night out as the case may be! 🙂

Go with your gut and find non-traditional ways of schedule so that your students are successful. After all, isn’t that what it is about?

The Homeschool Review Crew bloggers are writing about their take on a day in the life of a homeschooler. Head over to the post to find the links for the other bloggers additions. Linky is at the bottom of the post.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Economics Class by Boundary Stone ~ a Crew review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Economics is something that is beneficial for everyone to know. Understanding the process by which goods and services are created and traded/received is a fundamental part of our society and world. Boundary Stone has created an online course paired with an in-print book for a high school economics class.

Economics Online Course Bundle has several components – an online portal with videos, daily check lists, quizzes, reviews; a digital PDF teacher’s guide; a hardback textbook. The course also asks for two additional books. Access is for 12 months but the course is designed to be completed in one semesters with daily lessons.

The main text is Basic Economics, A Natural Law Approach to Economics. It is a hardback text written by Clarence Carson and Paul Cleveland. It is over 370 pages and contains the main information for the course. There are three sections to the course: The Framework of Economics, The Production and Distribution of Goods, and the Politico-Economic Systems.

The Framework of Economics discusses basic economics, natural laws and the impact on economics, government and some of the history, society and morality, and property. These ideas and concepts are all placed in a historical framework and this part of the text reads like a history book. Section II gets into goods and how we make or receive goods, the market and how it reflects society, money, inflation, pricing, and much more. Titles of chapters in Section III include Manorial-Feudal System, Mercantilism, Free Enterprise, Corporatism, Welfarism, and Communism.

The online coursework has a checklist for daily work to help keep the student on track and moving forward. It is a numbered list of what is to be read, videos from Paul Cleveland, some linked YouTube videos, some linked articles to read, questions to be answered, quizzes to be taken, or unit tests to complete. There are also activities that are added in sometimes.

The online dashboard has a lot of information to help students stay on track. The left hand side has drop down menus that allow you to click on your next lesson and head directly there or something you have previously completed if you need to do a review. The top section has a percentage complete for the course so you can see at a glance how far you have come. It also has arrows to simply move forward or backward one lesson. With a linked PDF of the text, online review questions, and a place to mark complete when you have done each of the numbered parts of the lesson.

I have found the text to be an interesting read, though I disagree with the general tone of a large part of the discussion. It has challenged me to consider what I have been taught, to do my own research and reading, and to think about some of the concepts and ideas presented. I would recommend a parent or teacher take a look at the text before handing it to the student so that they are well aware of the outlook of this program. I have learned a lot and will continue on through the book, though my students will not be using it at this time.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read more reviews on the program from Boundary Stone.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Learning Math Online ~ a Crew review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Math learning can be challenging. Math teaching can be challenging. MathandAlgebra.com is an online subscription that can take the challenge out of it all.

Presented in a combo online/offline format, the goal of MathandAlgebra.com is to help student learns math in a fun and accessible way. This increases not only skill but also confidence. The instructor is Rick Fisher, a math teacher with over 30 years of experience. He has been able to help many students increase their math skills by using his classes for 20 minutes a day.

MathandAlgebra.com has four available classes – Basic Math, Advanced Math, Pre-algebra, and Algebra. A subscription provides access to all four of these courses to work through at your pace.

Each lesson is composed of just a couple of steps. First, Miss L would watch the video. Each video is fairly short; most of the videos we watched were less than 5 minutes. These videos have Mr. Fisher’s voice teaching the concept while you see him writing on the white board. Students are encouraged to copy the exercises as he teaches. Miss L wrote them in her notebook with each page dates and the lesson number included.

showing work complete on left and the video for the current concept
at the bottom of the page you have access to the worksheet and answer key, as well as the place to mark your lesson complete

Next, access the worksheet. It can be viewed online or printed. We did some of both. Work through each of the questions. Again, Miss L wrote them into her notebook.

Once the student has answered all of the questions, the answer key can be accessed. Grade the worksheet at this point. Miss L had to correct any missed questions. Unfortunately, if a question is not understood, there is not an annotated explanation of the answer. Hopefully, the parent assisting can figure out what was missed. So far, in the algebra class, we did not hit any that I could not understand.

Miss L worked through the first few weeks of the algebra course. It came along right after she finished her pre-algebra work. There was not a placement test of any sort, so she had to begin at the start of the course. If you know your student well, you could probably have them skip over parts at the beginning of the class, especially if they are just coming off a course that covered those exact same concepts.

The interface is fairly easy to use. You can see what lessons have been completed in working on the course by the green checked circles. Also, if you have completed the lesson, than the “mark complete” at the bottom is grayed out. The student can easily know where to start each day by remembering to click that “mark complete” when they finish checking each worksheet.

The simplicity of this course is appealing. It doesn’t have lots of bells and whistles and jumps straight into what is needed to be learned for that lesson. Watch the video, do the worksheet. After completing the unit, take the quiz. Move on to the next one. Straight-forward.

The teacher/parent does have access to a simple report listing what quiz the student took on what dates and the grade received. The daily work is not graded online. That is graded by the student or the parent/teacher. If you want to include it in the overall grade, you will do that on your own.

If you are looking for a straight-forward, online math program with a video component, this might be a good fit for you. It is just that. Math taught without bells and whistles to confuse things.

Want to see what other families thought? Visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read additional reviews.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Learning Tech and Coding Skills with Simply Coding ~ a Crew review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Simply Coding is a company that has created a huge number of classes over topics related to learning to write code for computers and learning technology skills that will benefit everyone. Coding for Kids Annual Membership gives access to everything on the website for one year. They have a 10 day free trial to find out more. But let me tell you about the company, what they offer, and our experience.

Simply Coding is a company that was born out of the understanding from the founders that everyone needs to have a background in technology and some basic code writing skills. Computer science is growing and changing before our eyes and these guys recognized it. Setting up a “summer camp” for their nieces and nephews, they tested their idea and curriculum. Thus, Simply Coding was born and it continues to grow and thrive through summer camps, in school and after school programs, and with online pathways.

The mission of Simply Coding is this: to prepare youth with the core principles of how all software is created so they can feel confident and able to contribute to technology of the future.” – on the About page from the website

In order to fulfill the mission, Simply Coding has over 40 courses that members can access. The site says it is for ages 11 – 18 but there is a lot on there that adults could benefit from, also. There are four areas these courses fit under:

1 – Simply Coding – how to work with various code languages, building websites, using Java, creating games and apps, and more.

2 – Simply Media – classes on photography, videography, different Adobe programs, and more.

3 – Simply Tech Essentials – different application programs, particularly Microsoft but also Google applications and Prezi, plus some general introductions to computers

4 – Simply Tech4Kids has a number of options that will help younger students get into some different technology areas that might be more interesting than the programming websites and such. This includes electronics, blogging, photography, and keyboarding skills, in addition to creating a YouTube channel. Lots of interesting things that I wish we had found earlier! This seems to be materials directed more towards the younger end of the age range for the Simply Coding site.

With the variety of materials on here, it seems there would be something for everyone. The classes run in different formats, depending on what you are learning. I started the photography course and it is simple. An instruction video runs (a few minutes up to 10 minutes per video) and then there is a short quiz to see if you were paying attention. After a few videos, it was time to upload some projects. I was disappointed that I couldn’t go further without uploading projects because I was wanting to learn more about photography but I don’t have a DSL camera. Since I couldn’t upload the projects, I could not continue. Maybe sometime soon. . .

Miss J is 11 and thought that learning to code a simple website would be fun. She started the Intro To Websites course. It us a fairly straight-forward navigation but you must be on a computer that you can download and save to. Which means this is not a portable program for us but we knew that ahead of time. 🙂

Each section of the lesson lists what it is at the top and you can navigate there through a sidebar to get to where you were working. You read the instructions and the work in the box on the right to complete the task being asked for and see what it does. This clear example is very helpful. If you need a video to teach you what is on the screen, the green button top center will do that for you. This was helpful for Miss J several times as she worked with the program because she just had a difficult time following the instructions. They just didn’t make sense to her. These video reviews really helped.

While this is a great skill to have, it quickly became obvious that Miss J was just not going to enjoy learning to code. This was not a good fit for her. I also struggled with using this program but it had more to do with my time at home on a computer that could work with their coding program.

Simply Coding is a strong company and the way they handle instruction is very good. The variations in styles of instruction varies with instructor and course, which is good. Different courses need different styles of instruction. The video based instruction runs from a video of the actual instructor (photography), to a video of animated instructors (Blogging For Kids), to an audio over a video of the computer screen showing what actions need to be taken for that programming/coding step (Intro to Coding). This variety does a good job of fitting the type of audience the course is aimed at and the type of instruction actually being given/what is needed.

Many students will benefit from Simply Coding and the courses they offer. There is much to be gained from this site and we are going to continue to explore some of the other course options that are not programming. Perhaps one of the girls will want to use the Blogging For Kids course, which is only 5 modules. Or maybe the photography or keyboarding classes.

Any family can gain much with the many different options available on Simply Coding for learning any number of technology-based things.

Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about other families experiences with Simply Coding because a lot of them have had great success with this company and it was a terrific fit for their tech interested students.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

High School Curriculum – 9th Grade

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.

Miss L has started her high school work as a 9th grader for the 2020-2021 school year. She actually started it back in June because we were working on the review for My Father’s World, which is the curriculum we have settled into for 9th grade. It is working well.

My Father’s World is a Christian based core curriculum for history, Bible, and literature. They had other subjects you can add on to make it a full boxed set curriculum with math, science, and electives. You can read a full review of the program and what we thought about it from our previous review. Today, I just want to talk a bit about how it is working.

We are not following the lesson plans exactly as written. It doesn’t allow for additional interests and passions but the plans are well written and thorough. We have created two sets of curriculum from My Father’s World and the other subjects: a daily set and a looping set.

The daily subjects that Miss L does include math, violin, dance, and foreign language (French). For math, she is using CTCMath (read the review) and working on Algebra I. She finished up her pre-algebra work with CTCMath, also. We are working on finding a violin teach that will do in-person classes but that has proven difficult at this time. She is working in one of her Suzuki books for the time being. She is taking a number of dance classes locally and working as a student assistant, also. She takes ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, and is part of the company group. She is working with Duolingo for her French class. These are what she does every day and she will likely add debate in a month or so.

The classes that she loops include Ancient History, literature, writing, logic, science, and Bible. Because of the way the lesson plans for My Father’s World are written, she actually does Bible in several ways and places, so she does work on Bible every day. The lesson plans have a place to check off when an assignment is done so she just loops through the work with the assistance of the check boxes.

She is using Notgrass World History, though the plans do not go straight through it; rather they pick and choose the topics that align with their designed schedule. She is using the Ancient History Literature Supplement that goes with the MFW lesson plans for her writing and literature. Logic is a set of books by The Critical Thinking Co and she is loving these. She actually worked ahead a lot during the recent break we took in August. She is using the Apologia Exploring Creation with Physical Science. Bible includes reading through the Old Testament and using several books to go along with it. 

This has given her a lot of independence and she has done well with it. The lesson plans are a big help for her and help show a lot of progress. The lesson plans have the student “checking in” with the teacher in several different ways so I can stay up with her in her learning without being fully involved in each step. Additionally, we have chosen for her to do a discussion of questions for some of her Bible lessons, which has been a good and helpful way to approach the topic and ensure that she is getting truth in the discussion.

This program is definitely a huge benefit for her and we are well pleased with MFW. It is as rigid as you need it to be and we have been able to make it even more flexible to work with our schedule. That’s a win-win for sure.

You can read about the 11th grade curriculum and, soon, the 6th grade curriculum choices for the 2020-2021 school year.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

If you are looking for more options and want an afforadable option for the entire family, check out SchoolhouseTeachers.com. This is a full curriculum with over 400 classes for all levels. The Mama Bear Sale is currently going on.
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High School Curriculum – 11th Grade

(Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links for SchoolhouseTeachers.com. If you visit the site through these links and choose to purchase, I will receive a commission.)

I realized the other day that I haven’t yet shared our curriculum for the current 2020-2021 school year, even though we are in week 7 of it. We actually started it back in July, took a chunk of August off, and restarted the day after Labor Day. So, I will fill you in. This post is for 11th grade. 9th grade and 6th grade will come in separate posts.

Miss E is 11th grade this year and busy as ever. I enjoy seeing her grow and mature. She worked hard to get herself set up for Dual Credit classes at our local community college and she is working as a student assistant at the dance studio. These are two very large amounts of time and commitment she has added to her curriculum and she is handling it all really well. Her organization is strong and her determination is even stronger.

Dual Credit – US History – This is the first part of US history and is an online class with a tough text by Eric Foner. She is finding it super interesting and enjoying it but the text is a high level of writing and comprehending.

Dual Credit – Music Appreciation – This music appreciation class is a joy for her and she is thriving with it. She is have a great time, love the discussion boards and getting to listen to music. It is also an online class.

Math – CTCMath – Miss E is finishing up Algebra II with this program. She had started in geometry last year but switched to Algebra II after about 6 weeks. So she should finish Algebra II up here in the next couple of weeks and move back to Geometry, also with CTCMath. You can read our review of it here. We may head over to a geometry class on SchoolhouseTeachers.com if she struggles again with it because there is a pretty highly recommended geometry class on there.

Literature/Writing – When Worlds Collide by Sharon Watson – We have used a course from Sharon Watson before and it included a lot of excellent literature, good writing, and interesting discussions and projects. That led us to purchase the other high school literature program from her. It has been enjoyable for Miss E so far and she just finished Pudd’nhead Wilson today, with just the project to go with the book to complete for that unit.

Science: Biology – Experience Biology from Journey Homeschool Academy is the course she is using for this class. Experience Biology does include labs so it is a bit more intense than previous science classes. In addition, she is having labs and some of the work checked by the company and they are requiring a different style of work from Miss E. It is good challenge for her.

World History – Before she chose to do a dual credit history class, Miss E had started the world history course from Notgrass. She thoroughly enjoys it so even though she is doing another history class right now, she didn’t want to give this one up. That is the mark of a truly interesting class, isn’t it? Because she is enjoying it so much, it isn’t a trial for her to complete both classes.

Spanish – Spanish 1 on SchoolhouseTeachers.com is the course she is using for this foreign language credit. She is still highly proficient with ASL but since some colleges will not accept that as a foreign language, she decided she would enjoy learning Spanish. She is working through this class at a decent pace to date.

PE – Dance – She is studying several styles of dance at JSOD, where the girls have danced for 10 years now. She enjoys dance a lot and was able to begin pointe class this year, which is very exciting.

So, that is a high school class run down for 11th grade. Quite a bit but she is working hard and responsibly at it all.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

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My Father’s World – a complete high school (9th) curriculum ~ a Crew review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Ancient History and Literature - a 9th grade_high school curriculum

We have been blessed by the opportunity to use My Father’s World and their complete homeschool curriculum for 9th Grade – Ancient History and Literature. This includes the core of history, Bible, and language arts. We were also given math, science, and the elective logic. Let me start at the beginning, though.

The Consultation:

The My Father’s World curriculum for 9th grade/high school starts with a consultation with the high school curriculum coordinator. David called on a Thursday to chat. He caught me early in the morning, which is a good time for me to have a few minutes uninterrupted. He talked to me about what was included in the core of the curriculum and that we would also be deciding about which math and science to include. He also made me very happy telling me that the recommended elective for 9th grade is logic and asked if we would be interested in that. I had a resounding yes for that as Miss L is quite a  debater and really enjoys logical thinking and consideration.

David talked to me about math and let me know that in 9th grade they recommend Saxon math. Since we have not been using that program, we needed to find out where to place Miss L. He directed me to the math placement tests on the My Father’s Word website so I could print them off. He encouraged me to let her work at a comfortable pace on them so she would concentrate and be placed correctly. I planned to call him back at the number he left with me after she finished the tests.

We next discussed science. The recommended company is Apologia and he listed off the options we had. Since we have been doing a less rigorous science, he gave me the option to choose a non-lab science that would still be strong enough for a high school credit. This was encouraging to me because it would be very easy to get overwhelmed for Miss L. So, we chose Apologia Exploring Creation with Physical Science.

After the quick discussion about the logic books, David and I finished the conversation. I got the placement math tests printed off and Miss L started them. She took the better part of 2 days to complete them with a final placement in Algebra I. We will likely have a bit of reteaching to do on some things that she doesn’t remember a completely but overall, I think it is a great fit for her. Before I could call David back and let him know our math choice, he called to check on how the placement tests were going. When I told him that she needed the Algebra I level, he remembered that I had guessed that might be where she ended up. He had the rest of her box of materials ready to go and let me know it would be shipped by UPS on Monday. This was Friday afternoon, only a day and a half after our initial consultation. They are good, y’all!

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The Curriculum:

The base package includes all you need for the ancients time period of history with Bible and literature. As a base, it works through the Old Testament of the Bible and the Notgrass World History program. The literature and reading work with those two bases. There is a large number of books that go with these and it would be really helpful for you to visit MFWBooks.com to read up on those individually. Here is the list of titles, though:

  • Ancient History and Literature curriculum guide and lesson plans
  • Old Testament
  • The Baker Illustrated Guide To The Bible
  • The New Answers Book 1
  • Taking the Old Testament Challenge
  • The Student Bible Atlas
  • Daniel Inductive Bible Study
  • The Tabernacle
  • Eric Liddell
  • What On Earth Am I Here For?
  • Notgrass World History (package)
  • Unwrapping the Pharoahs
  • Ancient History Timeline and figures
  • Encyclopedia of the Ancient World
  • Ancient Literature Supplement
  • The Illiad
  • The Odyssey
  • Bulfinch’s Greek & Roman Mythology: The Age of Fable
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh
  • The Cat of Bubastes

To complete the curriculum, we included math, science, and logic. A foreign language is recommended but they don’t offer the languages. (They do have a foreign language guide if you need some direction or lesson plans for a language program from another provider.) We did received their recommended titles. These titles include:

  • Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Physical Science (text, tests, answer key, and daily lesson plans)
  • Saxon Math Algebra I (text, Dive CD, solutions, and daily lesson plans)
  • Introduction to Logic package (two texts)

You can view the unboxing video over on Instagram.

Using The Curriculum

We have never used a complete boxed curriculum before so I had a lot of reading and looking to do when this box arrived. There were so many books and lesson plans included. It did take me a good while to figure out how everything was supposed to work together. The first thing I needed to look at – The Ancient History and Literature curriculum guide and daily lesson plans.

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The daily lesson plans are quite amazing. They are super detailed and written out day-by-day in one week chunks. The book title, page number, and assignment are clearly noted for each item in the daily plan. This is really helpful and since each item has a check box beside it to mark when completed, it is easy to keep up with where the student is working. Following this daily lesson plan chart, there are lesson plan notes for each of the items in the checklist. These give more specific ideas to pay attention to or more detailed instructions on which questions to answer or paragraphs to read.

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These daily plans are really important to this curriculum because it does not take the student straight through most of the titles being used to teach ancient history. For example, the student is not reading lesson 1 and then lesson 2 and so forth in the World History text. Nor is the student reading Question 1, Question 2, etc. in the New Answers Book. But with the structure of the lesson plans, the student can be independent with their learning and hit the required lessons and reading.

The lesson plans for math and science are more straightforward but still extremely helpful. The daily lesson with page numbers, questions to be answered, experiment to complete (for science), test to take, etc., just makes it a walk in the park to keep moving forward. There is a place to date each lesson, as well as pages to record tests and other grades that might impact the final grade in the class.

Our Modification

After a couple of weeks of trying to tackle these lessons exactly as written, which is absolutely needed the first time out of the box with a new curriculum, we realized that the number of hours required daily was just too much. Adding into the history, literature, writing, and Bible, we had math, science, logic, French (not through MFWBooks.com), violin, and dance. With the attention to detail that my 9th grader takes, she was easily spending 7 hours on the work and not completing it. It was quite challenging for her.

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It definitely got better the 3rd week as she got more familiar with working through the lesson plans, knowing where her books were, knowing which items she needed to write out and which we were doing orally, etc. The hours dropped considerably that week. But it was still too much with her dance schedule. So, we have adapted it to a daily schedule with a looping section. This seems to work really well, so far.

Daily, she tackles math, science, French, violin, and dance. She then loops with history, literature and writing, Bible, and logic. Some days, she is successfully getting through the entire workload in one day’s lesson plan. Other days, she does not and so just picks up there the next school day. With the detail in the daily lesson plans, this is super easy to do. She just dates things as she goes along so I not only know where she is currently working but I know when she did each lesson, also. This is working really well and she is spending about 4 -5 hours on classes a day, not including dance time (which is about 2-3 hours a day for summer).

Thoughts

Honestly, I never thought I would like a boxed curriculum. But, Ancient History and Literature is the perfect fit for my 9th grader. She thrives on checklists and knowing exactly what she has to do. With the high expectations set by the curriculum (stated in letters direct to the student), she is thriving.

My Father's World 9th grade curriculum guide

Reading the information written directly to the student about the curriculum and expectations

She adores the topics covered. I know this because during one of the days where she had spent about 8 hours on classes and still wasn’t done (early on before she knew the ins and outs of how the books and lesson plans worked), we talked about whether we needed to drop some of the topics or books. She was adamant that she did not want to because she found them all interesting. This is why the loop schedule came into effect for us. She is finding her groove with the lesson plans and books and really enjoying her lessons. She has talked a bit about getting the 10th grade curriculum next year, too. That is high praise from this young lady! When she likes something, she is fully on board with it and that is how she feels about My Father’s World.

For myself, I am also fully on board with this curriculum. It fits her to a tee now that she has gotten into the groove with it and she is absolutely loving the topics. I know this because she not only enjoys talking about them when she has to (in order to check something off on the lesson plans) but she has brought it up in other conversations, also. For example, we were talking about something about the Garden of Eden I read in a review of a Bible program the other day that I had never heard before. She mentioned that it was covered in one of her reading a couple of weeks ago and proceeded to tell us about what she read in the book and what she read in the Bible. She then talked about where she felt the truth lay after doing her reading. I was really impressed with that.

Would I recommend My Father’s World? Absolutely! My Father’s World is a great resource and I would definitely suggest you check them out. The Homeschool Review Crew also had a few other families using different levels of My Father’s World. You can read about the complete homeschool curriculum packages for preschool, Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd-8th grades by clicking over to the Crew blog and following the links at the bottom for the level you are interested in reading more about.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

My Fathers World Ancient History and Literature

Experience Biology with Journey Homeschool Academy ~ a Crew review

high school biology

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Upper level high school science courses are necessary if you are looking at pursing education beyond high school. They require more time management, study skills, comprehension, and, often, skills that have not been developed yet. In our case, things like lab writing, microscope use for a specific purpose, and quiz/test taking scored by someone other than mom. It has been a good journey so far with Journey Homeschool Academy and their upper level lab science course of Experience Biology.

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Experience Biology: Upper Level is a college prep level course that is extremely rigorous. Taught by a scientist and a teacher, Luke and Trish Gilkerson, the information coming from Journey Homeschool Academy is solid and challenging. Experience Biology includes the video lessons, a guidebook to complete and take notes in during lectures, quizzes to ensure understanding along the way, lab instruction videos and lab write-ups turned in online (but graded by parent), lab research questions, and quarterly exams. There is also a book for reading assignments; though this book was not included for this review, it is highly recommended by Journey Homeschool Academy. The course covers every topic you would expect in a high school level biology class.

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Experience Biology has sign up periods periodically through the year so that they can help guide students through the course and check off assignments that have been turned in. Once you sign up and begin on the chosen date, you have access to the course for one year. The class has 35 lessons, including the exam days. They are released to the student one lesson at a time. Once a student completes a lesson, the next one should be available shortly. This helps the student pace the class better and not get overwhelmed.

Experience Biology has a parent dashboard that is easy to navigate and find what you need. There is a parent curriculum guide for the course to help you understand your role in the learning process and the role the class will fill. The answer key to the student guidebook and research questions are here. There is also a sample lab report and answers needed for a few of the labs.

The list of lab supplies is included here, also. This list is great because there is a copy both of the overall list of supplies and another that is by lesson. This allows planning ahead to have needed supplies on hand at the right time. Since some of the items have a limited lifespan, this lesson by lesson list is really helpful.

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The student dashboard is also easy to navigate. It includes a welcome video from the instructors. There is a resources tab that has the guidebook to download or order, as well as the lab guidebook with step by step written instructions for each.

Click on a lesson from the list at the left. It brings up the page for it, which includes the checklist with boxes to mark for each item completed. The video lessons are right there on the page and are generally broken into two videos of instruction. The student uses the list on the left to access the quiz page, the research questions page, and the lab instruction, where applicable. Not every lesson has a lab but about half of them do.

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When there is a lab, the student will have additional instruction specific to this lab. There is a video with instructions, and as needed, step by step instruction on how to complete the lab.

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The lab guidebook has additional information to help the student be successful. There is an overview, materials needed, step-by-step instructions, and note taking space.

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It is expected that the student will write up and submit a lab report. This is done online, though the assignments tab in the list on the left of the page. The student can submit some things by typing in the box. They can also submit a link to a place like a Google doc or to a Dropbox. Miss E has done hand-written lab reports so she takes pictures of her report, inserts them into a doc, and turns in the link for that. The online submission is for completion of the course while the parent assigns the actual grade for the lab report. (Instructions for grading are found on the parent dashboard in the Parent Curriculum Guide.)

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Experience Biology has been an excellent challenge for Miss E. She has started getting into the groove of the program, after experiencing a couple of stumbles early on. The Parent Curriculum Guide will tell you that these first few weeks are often the toughest for students so I wasn’t surprised by this.

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As a parent/teacher, I am very pleased with the quality of instruction, the thoroughness of the presentation, and the materials available for my student to learn about biology. If you are looking for a biology course for your high school student, certainly check out Journey Homeschool Academy. There are actually 2 levels of this course that you can choose from – one that does not include the labs and so is not considered a full high school credit (according to their website) and one that includes the labs, videos, and support information and awards a certificate of completion for one high school credit for a lab science. The difference in cost is not significant and there are discounts for multiple students.

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In addition to Experience Biology: Upper Level, you can also purchase other courses from Journey Homeschool Academy. Courses reviewed by other Homeschool Review Crew families include Experience Biology: Elementary and Experience Astronomy: Elementary.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read some of these other reviews about the courses offered by Journey Homeschool Academy.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

JHA Experience Biology

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