Saturday, August 25, 2012

2012-2013 Homeschooling Plans and Brave Writer Classes


I don't know where August went. I think it mostly was swallowed up in watching the Olympics and in finding my groove as I adjust to non-teaching work between classes at Brave Writer. And yes, some homeschooling plans....

On Tuesday we'll be starting Year #16 of home education. We've been with Heritage Christian School since we started Elizabeth in kindergarten. Heritage provides accountability with quarterly grades and progress reports due, plus they do the high school transcripts, keep the kids' cum files, deal with paperwork for the state, and provide annual academic testing for grades 4-11.

In addition, Heritage offers twice-monthly Class Days at several sites around the county. At East County II, we meet the second and fourth Thursdays at a large church facility for homeroom (elementary kids in one; junior high and high school in another). Then we have two 50-minute classes, a half-hour lunch break, then a final class that's an hour long, leaving us with an extra ten minutes to tidy our classrooms.

Class Days are set up like a co-op: one parent needs to be on a teaching team for two class periods, or they need to help set up, clean up, work at the lunch table, etc. This year I'll be teaching a combination class of Intermediate (college prep) and Advanced (honors) Writing, and my class is full at 15 students with a waiting list. Because I'm a one-woman team and need to spend so much time grading essays, I only have to teach one class to fulfill my co-op requirement.

The boys are looking forward to their classes which begin on September 13. Benjamin, now in 7th grade, will be taking PE (one semester volleyball, one semester basketball), Chess, and Boys' Adventure Class II which involves learning all kinds of boy-type activities. Jonathan, a high school sophomore, is taking double Biology Lab and my Intermediate Writing course. Timothy, a senior this year, has it easy at our Class Day, taking PE and Chess with Benjamin, and PE again. But Timothy will also be a drop-off student at East County I for a double-period Physics Lab class with his former Biology teacher.

The boys will also be meeting with our wonderful tutor who has known them all their lives: "Auntie Jo" who will be helping Timothy with ACT prep, Jonathan with Geometry, and Benjamin with Pre-Algebra. Jo, a ten-year veteran of teaching high school English at a private school, is a God-send; when I was too ill to teach the kids many years ago when I was first diagnosed with several autoimmune diseases, she drove up the mountain 2-3 days per week to home school the kids for me. Now she's my sounding board regarding curriculum choices, Timothy's writing struggles, etc. I couldn't educate the kids without her.

We always have Family Devotions, usually Morning Prayer or Family Prayers with Scripture readings from the Lectionary of the Book of Common Prayer 2011 as part of our "Opening" each day, and have done Church History, Art History, Poetry, and other courses as part of Opening. This year, however, I think we'll study the Bible with Know Why You Believe: Connecting Faith and Reason by Little plus Family Devotions only.

Our plans for Benjamin (7th grade) are these:

Math: Saxon Algebra 1/2 with Auntie Jo
Reading: Bob Jones 7th grade reader
Grammar: Daily Grams for 7th Grade
Spelling: Tricks of the Trade and Any Child Can Spell
Writing: Various Brave Writer classes and freewrites
Science: ABeka 7th Grade Science
History: Sonlight 100 (American History over two years)
Typing/Keyboarding: Writing Skills: Keyboarding
PE: @Class Day & PV Park
Electives: Chess and Boys' Adventure @Class Day

Jonathan (10th grade) will be doing:
Math: Geometry--Saxon Algebra I and II with Auntie Jo
Literature: Bob Jones 10th grade reader & Brave Writer Shakespeare
Writing: My Intermediate Writing course @Class Day
Science: Apologia Biology and Biology Lab @Class Day
History: ABeka World History
PE: @Park with brothers
Electives: Free Teen Guitar Class in Alpine with Father Acker

Timothy (12th grade) will be finishing up with:
Math: Bob Jones Consumer Math with Auntie Jo
Literature: Sonlight British Literature & Brave Writer Shakespeare
Writing: Brave Writer MLA Research Essay; ACT Prep
Science: Apologia Physics and Physics Lab @Class Day (EC1)
History: ABeka Economics and American Government
PE: Double PE @Class Day & PV Park
Electives: Chess @Class Day; Art Class @Grossmont or Cuyamaca
In addition to teaching Intermediate/Advanced Writing at Class Day, I'll be teaching various classes at Brave Writer this school year as well. I taught a Fan Fiction class over the summer, and in September I'll be leading the Boomerang Book Club in a discussion of Jane Eyre, one of my favorite novels. In November and early December I'll be teaching the MLA Research Essay, plus in November I'll be leading the Boomerang Book Club's discussion of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

Then in the winter term, I'll be teaching the Groovy Grammar Workshop and the Playing with Poetry Workshop, followed by a Literary Analysis Class on Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, my favorite play. In the spring, all thoughts will turn to Shakespeare as I teach my favorite Shakespearean comedy, Much Ado About Nothing followed by the Shakespeare Family Workshop.

Whenever I'm not teaching, I'll be helping to edit and update older monthly subscriptions, expand some online classes into e-books, and other similar sorts of jobs for Brave Writer in my new position as Senior Teacher, Staff Writer, and Curriculum Developer.

And in between all of this, I'm still offering my essay grading service for homeschoolers through my website, SusanneBarrett.com. I'll make corrections and offer encouragement and ideas for improvement for $5 per double-spaced page (or part page) in 12 point font. It's a good deal; after all, it's not every day that a former university instructor grades essays for homeschoolers.

Obviously, with all this going on, it's not easy for me to find time to write myself, whether it be journaling, blogging, composing poetry, publishing fan fiction chapters online, etc. But I do try to write something each week to keep me honest and active as a writer. My doctor insists that we all need creative outlets, after all, and writing is definitely mine.

Have a lovely school year, everyone!!

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