Curriculum 2013-2014

This isn't what I turn into the state. Oh, its the same materials, but I put it in an outline form and include a couple of more professional sounding sentences for each intended course of study.

But on my blog I can be my own unconventional self.


Once again, Sweetling loves learning so much, that its a challenge to trim down her list to manageable portions.

Literature and Language Arts

American Literature, part two.
Because her coursework was so intense last year, we didn't finish up American literature. We'll knock it out this year.

One Year Adventure Novel, part two.
Same thing. Sweetling would spend a good two to three hours on this each day we had a lesson, so having three to four lessons a week just wasn't feasible. We finished the first semester work last year, which was all the story mapping and prewriting. My goal for this year is to really focus on this course between now (mid-July) and the start of co-op (mid-September), so that she can have nearly three months without distractions to write her novel.

Sentence Diagramming
Sweetling isn't lacking in the grammar department. Let me give you a bit of back story here to illustrate that statement. No, there is too much. I made a separate post about it. For now, let me just say that I'm hoping to talk Sweetling into diagramming one sentence a week with me "just for fun." Sweetling gets to pick the sentence from any source she would like.

Prophets of the Old Testament
This is actually Toa of Boy's choice. Each year we pick out a portion of the Bible to read and learn about together. Three years ago we read Genesis and Exodus. Two years ago we skimmed through the rest of the books of history and the books of poetry, but realized when we got to some of the messianic prophecies in Psalms that Toa wasn't very familiar with the gospel events they were predicting. So, last year we read the four Gospels. Now Toa wants to return to the Old Testament and 'finish it up.'

Foreign Languages

Hebrew 1
Sweetling found a program called Biblemesh. They offer a "reading-oriented, inductive approach [which] teaches vocabulary, grammar, and reading fluency directly from the biblical text." She got to try out the first online lesson at the homeschool convention this year. She's pumped about it. You go girl.

Spanish 4
Sweetling will be taking this at our co-op.

Latin 1
Another co-op class. They will be using Memoria Press First Form Latin.

Again, co-op.

For those of you counting, that's 4 full year courses of foreign languages that my girl is going to knock out of the park.

Mathematics and Critical Thinking

Formal Logic 2
Memoria Press to the rescue again. For those of you unfamiliar with how logic lessons work in our house, Sweetling and I sit on the couch together and read the logic text. Then Sweetling explains it to me using unicorns, fairies, and bunnies in her illustrations. (And for those of you really unfamiliar with our family, the explanations and the unicorns are totally for my benefit, not Sweetling's. Sweetling understands logic immediately. Those of us who live in singing-bunny-la-la-land are confused by logic and require further examples.)


A World at War
This is through co-op. I'm just going to copy and paste the teacher's description because I love it so much.
Beginning 1 September 1939, the world embarked on an unprecedented era of agony and brutality that embraced unparalleled massacres and ended with the unleashing of nature’s most primal forces.  We’ll start with the rise of Fascism in the 1920’s and finish with American efforts to rebuild the free world before the Soviets can absorb it.  In between, we’ll study the strategy and the tactics, the blunders and the successes, the heroism and the cowardice that distinguished the greatest of all conflicts.  Classes will focus on military operations, technological advances, social change and political upheaval during WW2.

This will be a real history class.  If you don’t know what that means, go talk to [students' names deleted] or another one of the happy few who have survived the experience.  You can’t expect an easy high school credit any more than you can expect to find me guzzling Diet Pepsi and listening to Justin Bieber songs.  What you can expect are the finest history lessons cookies can buy; I’m talkin‘ video clips and slides plus periodic visits from Mr. N’s hundreds of little plastic tanks.  I’ve also heard rumors that the song of the week will return.  (I hope you like Vera Lynn and the Andrews Sisters.)  Each class we’ll have a quiz and homework with three tests per semester.

We will probably use A World at Arms by Gerhard Weinberg as a text.  It is available used on Amazon.


Biology 1
More co-op. This is why I love our co-op. Sweetling is taking 5 classes there this year that I could never begin to teach her. And again, I copy and paste the course description.

PLEASE NOTE:  THIS IS A HIGHSCHOOL GRADUATION REQUIRED CLASS. I will expect the students to take this class seriously and will expect completed homework to be turned in ON TIME unless PREVIOUSLY ARRANGED (think family complications, vacation, etc.)  If your student is ill I will expect them to complete the work at home in a timely fashion.

Biology is the study of life. In this course, students will be learning about various types of life on our planet and how they grow and thrive. Classroom instruction will be from the Apologia text.  We will be doing dissection, microscope work and writing lab reports.  Some experiments may need to be completed at home. Each student will keep a notebook of his/her work which they may use as part of a portfolio (if required) for college admission.

There will be DAILY reading assignments, study guides and On Your Own questions to be completed at home.  Tests will be given at co - op. We will cover 1 module every two weeks.  Some material will be challenging.  Parents will need to supervise their students to make sure they are completing assignments.  All assignments will be included in a syllabus handed out at the beginning of each semester.

A Fin....Fine Arts

Color and Composition

Book Two of the Artistic Pursuits High School course. Sweetling took a Basic Drawing class last year at co-op. This year her co-op schedule is too packed to squeeze an art class in, but since art is one thing I CAN teach, we'll do art at home. Sweetling wanted to move on from basic drawing into slightly more advanced art techniques. Sweetling and I both agreed that this seemed like a good fit.


I'm still so undecided on this one. I need to get Toa of Boy's input. Might as well start with the most difficult category first.

 Language Arts

 Bible Truths: Old Testament Prophets

This is the family Bible study that Toa of Boy picked out, so we are definitely doing this.We have two old out-of-print editions of BJU Press 6th grade workbook that was a survey of the Old Testament that will be using.


Toa's main goal for himself is to read The Hobbit this year.

Beyond that, I hate reading curriculums by and large. They are major joy suckers. And yet, I am forced to admit that maybe Toa of Boy needs a little more structure and formal education in the reading department. I'm considering Teach Your Children Well by Michael Maloney. Toa of Boy took the placement test (which he really enjoyed doing) and I downloaded the free copy of the first 10 lessons of level 3. We'll try those lessons and then make a decision.

Another possibility is Lesson Pathways. The cool thing about Lesson Pathways is that Toa can pick which books he reads and which enrichment activities he would like and he can build his own reading curriculum. 

The Jedi says, just let him read what he is interested in. Regular practice with material he finds engaging will make the biggest difference in the long run. The fabulous Tia agrees. Anytime the Jedi and my sister agree on an issue, it's like one of the seven signs of a coming apocalypse. I should heed the signs and just let Toa read.

Writing Strands

Once again, something I'm considering. Something the Jedi and the Fabulous Tia think should just be allowed to progress naturally. I think this will be something I put on hold for at least a year.

Vocabulary and Spelling

Toa wanted to learn vocabulary words, so that we could have a weekly competition to use new vocabulary words in sentences. I got some sample cards of  Marie's Words given to me at the homeschool convention and brought them home for Toa to look at. They got the Toa stamp of approval. A good friend recommended the website SpellingCity. We can use that with Marie's Words.

Grammar Revolution
You say you want a revolution, well you know, we all want to change the world....

This is an awesome program. I think Toa will dig it. We are so doing it. We'll do one lesson one day a week and then on each subsequent days diagram one sentence. I'm looking into some software or some apps where Toa can drag and drop the sentence words onto a frame he constructs so that there isn't so much writing. I know that writing out the sentence on its frame will be the only part he would hate.

Math and Critical Thinking


Toa of Boy wants to learn Algebra and do "fun math". I came across a link to an article about DragonBox. This looks awesome. I've already downloaded a copy to my tablet. It won't take all year, but we'll still need to translate the learning games in DragonBox to paper and pencil computations. We might also do puzzles from Math for Smarty Pants. And maybe once a week a fraction game or some fraction practice. Fractions are the bane of Toa's mathematical existence.

This is a co-op class that Toa picked out. I think he'll love it. Here's the class description:

"Where am I? Why am I in this math class? What are those balloons for? Where are my math drill worksheets?"

"Lemme 'splain... No, there is too much. Lemme sum up. Math is more than just memorizin' facts and pluggin' in numbers. So all we have to do is map ellipsoids, explore fractal mountain ranges, grow Menger sponges, ride never-ending camel trains that diminish proportionally without calculations, and make our escape by flying on a one-sided Mobius plane to all the points of the compass and protractor before landing on non-Platonian solid ground... before we eat lunch."

"That doesn't leave much time for dilly-dallying."

No, it doesn't. This enrichment class will explore math concepts not covered in standard curricula using non-standard methods. Map projections need oranges and mirrors. Series call out for pins and yarn. Geometric solids require paper plates and pumpkins, or at least potatoes and a slicer. Square and cubic measurement fairly scream, "Cranberry sauce!" (At least they do to me.) And snakes, knots, and balloon animals should be thrown in there somewhere for learning about polyhedra. Because math is so exciting when it's math you do.

LEGO Creation
For the third year in a row, Toa is taking Lego Creation at co-op.

Building life skills one block at a time. The LEGO Creation class activities are designed to engage students' creativity while building skills in the areas of problem solving, listening and following directions, communication, and cooperative work.  Weekly journal entries will be completed to produce a year-end portfolio.


Another category that is still undecided. Either we'll be doing...

America the Beautiful, 1867-Present

We used the first half of this curriculum last year to read about the first half of America's history before we did our East Coast trip. I had intended to do the second half of the course this year. It was a good fit for us, we liked it, and it worked well. And we already have it.

But, maybe we should consider....(edit: I'm making an executive decision and going with Mystery of History. We'll come back to America the Beautiful sometime between now and 9th grade.)

Mystery of History, Creation to the Resurrection
The benefit here would be that Mystery of History Vol 1 would tie in nicely to our Bible Truth curriculum BECAUSE it weaves in each of the Old Testament prophets and events with world history events. We could also get cool timeline figures from Homeschool in the Woods.


Anatomy and Physiology

Last year, we made it about a third of the way through Apologia's Exploring Creation through the Human Body. This is still a subject that Toa is very interested in, and we love all the "Try It!" sections in every chapter. We'll be reading and doing more of this this year. (edit: Toa axed this. He doesn't love science enough to do two science classes. "Besides," he said, "I think the co-op class has homework.")

Young Inventors
Another co-op class that Toa really wanted to take.
We will look at past and present inventors and incorporate some of their ideas. We will do several fun challenges such as "The great paper airplane race" and the " the game challenge".  The students will do one book report that will be due at the beginning of second semester.  We will have a lot of fun doing different brainstorming activities.

A fin....Fine Arts

While we were going to get an Artistic Pursuits curriculum for Toa as well, Toa has since decided that he wants to take Drawing with Mrs. K at co-op. I don't think he wants to do two drawing courses, so I think we'll shelf the Artistic Pursuits, but I will definitely ask him first and see.

(edit: I asked Toa. Toa definitely wants to do the Artistic Pursuits curriculum. He mentioned something about those poor unfortunate families who only had their children do art at co-op and didn't have them do any art at home ALL WEEK. How could I even think about depriving him in such a way?)

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