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Classical education lesson plans for homeschool high schooler

mason plan the great books 9th grade curriculum high school lesson plans

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#1 Angelhar

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Posted 29 June 2010 - 11:41 PM

My wife homeschools our 2 kids (12 and 14) following TWTM philosophy and curriculum plan. Now that our oldest is entering 9th grade, it seems that compiling the curriculum is the hardest ever and the time commitment required by my wife the most she's ever had to give. She is immersed in it and her understanding is light years ahead of mine, but I'm trying to support her more than ever.

My primary concern is -- with most other curriculum packages, the homeschooling teacher receives lesson plans that outline "use this book and these pages on this day" and it's all very organized. But, with the classical TWTM approach, my wife has to create her own lesson plans and it's a tremendous amount of work. I see no other homeschooling mother in our church putting this much work into preparing the school year.

I've asked her, "Why is it that so many people are involved in TWTM approach, but no one has created lesson plans for each grade that specifies exactly what to do each day, using which books and resources?" I understand that each teacher has options for texts and resources, but there are thousands of homeschoolers who have been doing this for years.

#2 sunnyca

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 12:36 AM

Good question and I don't know that I have the answer for you but here is my perspective as I come to the end of the journey with one child (a senior next year) and prepare to start HS with our second child.

Classical education is a huge philosophical umbrella which covers many different methodologies (for lack of a better word.) Classical educators have the same end in mind but we can get there so many different ways. Just this weekend, someone asked me why I don't sell my plans so that others can do what I have done. Some people have done that (Classical Conversations is one system where the guru being followed has marketed her approach and many are applying it exactly as she directs.)

The difficulty with many of us who take the time to investigate what we are doing and why we are doing it, is that we are thinkers. We know what we want and it is unique to our children, our situation, our worldview, and our philosophy in general. Taking a packaged curriculum is anathema to our intended purpose :) Most of us love the process even if it is a tremendous amount of work. I love this time of year because I love the planning and preparing.

Nevertheless, I have come to the conclusion that there is more to life than planning the perfect classical coursework. I do wish I had stopped to "smell the roses" a bit more and spent less time "sacrificing" for the sake of my child's education. He is leaving soon with a very well educated mind but I know that I have missed some precious moments with him because I was planning ---as noble as the planning may have been.

I have no regrets on the whole but I will do it differently with the second child. It is easier, no doubt, because I have done so much work already for the first one. My goal this year, however, is to be more Mom who happens to be a teacher and less teacher who happens to be Mom. That would be my advice to anyone at any stage of the homeschooling road.

No help...just musings.

Blessings to you and your wife as you prayerfully continue to do what you have been called to do.

#3 battlemaiden

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 02:06 AM

My wife homeschools our 2 kids (12 and 14) following TWTM philosophy and curriculum plan. Now that our oldest is entering 9th grade, it seems that compiling the curriculum is the hardest ever and the time commitment required by my wife the most she's ever had to give. She is immersed in it and her understanding is light years ahead of mine, but I'm trying to support her more than ever.

My primary concern is -- with most other curriculum packages, the homeschooling teacher receives lesson plans that outline "use this book and these pages on this day" and it's all very organized. But, with the classical TWTM approach, my wife has to create her own lesson plans and it's a tremendous amount of work. I see no other homeschooling mother in our church putting this much work into preparing the school year.

I've asked her, "Why is it that so many people are involved in TWTM approach, but no one has created lesson plans for each grade that specifies exactly what to do each day, using which books and resources?" I understand that each teacher has options for texts and resources, but there are thousands of homeschoolers who have been doing this for years.


Two thoughts:

Your oldest is just beginning the rhetoric stage, as is mine. It is taking me a tremendous amount of time to wrap my brain around all that I need have done in the high school years. I'm sure this year will be the hardest, and the following children will coast on the coat-tails of this summer's hard work. At least I hope. :D I hope to progressively unload the lesson planning onto my oldest through his sophomore year, so that by mid 10th grade he will be responsible for completing his work on a "deadline" system.

Secondly, I believe Tapestry of Grace curriculum fits the description above. It isn't for everyone. It still requires a good deal of teacher/parent involvement, but it has chosen the books, the activities, and it covers several subjects. You might be interested in checking it out.

Having said the above, my husband has also been somewhat surprised at the time commitment involved in this year. It helped us to see that the local Christian Classical school would cost us over $8,000 dollars to enroll our oldest son. Your wife is worth a lot of money. It takes time to do it well. Please, for her sake (do you hear my pleading :tongue_smilie:) continue to support her and keep the end in mind. I respect you a great deal for coming here to inquire.

Jo

#4 2boysmom

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 05:04 AM

A think a gal named "Debbie Mason" did. "The Mason Plan" it's called.
She was a speaker at a NC Homeschool conference last summer.
I actually think it's a 5 year plan (starting from 8th grade), but it looks very good.

#5 Janie

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 05:21 AM

2boysmom: Is this plan available somewhere?

Thanks!

#6 Snowdrop

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 07:57 AM

I'll just throw this out there.

www.thegreatbooks.com has taken a load off me when it comes to high school planning. It's not a day-by-day lesson plan, but it's enough for me. I spend virtually no time planning Great Books/history/literature for high school now. We've used it for four years. It was put together by a couple of the staff from Worldview Academy, one of whom has heartily endorsed TWTM.

#7 Hoggirl

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 08:17 AM

I'll just throw this out there.

www.thegreatbooks.com has taken a load off me when it comes to high school planning. It's not a day-by-day lesson plan, but it's enough for me. I spend virtually no time planning Great Books/history/literature for high school now. We've used it for four years. It was put together by a couple of the staff from Worldview Academy, one of whom has heartily endorsed TWTM.


I am looking at this program with keen interest. My ds will only be in 8th grade next year, but high school looms ahead. Is there truly "history" in this program or do you add to it?

TIA.

Edited by Hoggirl, 30 June 2010 - 08:29 AM.
typo


#8 violinmom

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 08:21 AM

Whenever we get to a new stage with our oldest, there is always more planning. I think it's fun! Does she have a problem with it, or just you? My dh is always trying to fix things that aren't broken, lol! :)

#9 Snowdrop

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 09:12 AM

I am looking at this program with keen interest. My ds will only be in 8th grade next year, but high school looms ahead. Is there truly "history" in this program or do you add to it?

TIA.


We do the context papers for each great book as described in TWTM. If you do it that way, they get a lot of history. There are many primary sources and history readings (Roots of American Order, Turning Points, Johnson's History of the American People, etc.) on the schedule.

I have the dc take CLEP's when I get nervous about the dreaded "holes." That's probably overkill, but it works out nice for them when they get to college and have some credits from it.

#10 Hoggirl

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 09:40 AM

We do the context papers for each great book as described in TWTM. If you do it that way, they get a lot of history. There are many primary sources and history readings (Roots of American Order, Turning Points, Johnson's History of the American People, etc.) on the schedule.

I have the dc take CLEP's when I get nervous about the dreaded "holes." That's probably overkill, but it works out nice for them when they get to college and have some credits from it.


So, how do you list courses on transcripts? And, how much time per day. The WTM indicates only two hours per day on Great Books, which, when considering the context pages, history readings, etc. does not seem like enough time to me.

Edited by Hoggirl, 30 June 2010 - 09:49 AM.


#11 Melissa B

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 10:01 AM

2boysmom: Is this plan available somewhere?

Thanks!


I found Debbie Mason's email address and she kindly replied and gave me permission to post her email reply here. The five year plan is $30.00 plus $5.00 shipping. She also emailed me a sample page but I don't know how to link that. Here is her email address - debbiemason @ bellsouth .net
Her reply:

About the Plan

This plan integrates the subjects of history (world, American, church), art and music history/appreciation, literature, and philosophy into a study plan to be used by homeschooled students in grades eight through twelve. (The eighth grade year would not be counted as high school, but it is a good transition into doing high school work.) It divides the material chronologically over a five year period of study and organizes the reading into weekly assignments. Christian studies, government and economics are also added to the plan but are not necessarily related to the time period being studied. In year three, a language arts book is added because it is a classic, and I just couldn't resist. This plan was originally created for my daughter Mereda and her friends to study together and be enhanced by a homeschool co-op. A co-op is a great addition to the plan and was created for the co-op to meet once every other week. It is intended for fourteen weeks to be done before Christmas and eighteen weeks to be done after Christmas and allows for one week off at Thanksgiving, 2-3 weeks off for Christmas, and one week off for a spring break.
Each year is based on a historical time period as follows:
Year 1—Creation through the time of Christ
Year 2—The time of Christ through the 1600s
Year 3—1600s-1820s
Year 4—1820s-1920s
Year 5—1920s-2000

Because the program is intended to be used throughout the five years, many books are used over several years. Most of these books do not have to be read from the beginning, so the plan can be picked up at any of the years. However, Sophie's World is written as a story, and therefore, it needs to be read from the beginning.
Care has been taken to keep the reading assignments balanced from week to week. Slow readers may have to work hard and fast readers may want to supplement with some of the optional suggestions. The beginning years have more reading per week than the last couple of years with the thought that as students approach the end of high school, they will probably be taking more outside classes such as concurrent enrollment in a community college.
It is recommended that the pages be copied for the students to keep a copy of each year's assignments in there own notebook and use a highlighter to mark off the assignments as they complete them. Therefore, permission is given for copies to be made for the immediate family.
The plan should count as these credits for high school:
World and American History—4 credits, one each year
Philosophy—1/2 credit
Art History—1 credit
Music History—1/2-1 credit
Christian Studies—4 credits, 1 credit each year, (includes Christian studies, church history, Old Testament and reformation study)
Literature—4 credits, 1 credit given each year
Economics—1/2 credit
Government—1/2 credit

Debbie

#12 Carol in Cal.

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 10:17 AM

...is that there is no real need for one.

Basically, you establish a rhythm that suits your child's level -- grammar, logic, rhetoric. Then you run with that rhythm and approach through a few years of study, gradually increasing/changing the workload and the level of the work.

You're always responding to your own child. You're not trying to fit the child to a curriculum; rather, you're fitting an approach to a specific child.

Once the rhythm is established, all you have to do is keep it going; do the next thing. It's simple (though not always easy). It's customized, which is key.

#13 homeschoolally

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 12:23 PM

I found Debbie Mason's email address and she kindly replied and gave me permission to post her email reply here. The five year plan is $30.00 plus $5.00 shipping. She also emailed me a sample page but I don't know how to link that. Here is her email address - debbiemason @ bellsouth .net
Her reply:

About the Plan

This plan integrates the subjects of history (world, American, church), art and music history/appreciation, literature, and philosophy into a study plan to be used by homeschooled students in grades eight through twelve. (The eighth grade year would not be counted as high school, but it is a good transition into doing high school work.) It divides the material chronologically over a five year period of study and organizes the reading into weekly assignments. Christian studies, government and economics are also added to the plan but are not necessarily related to the time period being studied. In year three, a language arts book is added because it is a classic, and I just couldn't resist. This plan was originally created for my daughter Mereda and her friends to study together and be enhanced by a homeschool co-op. A co-op is a great addition to the plan and was created for the co-op to meet once every other week. It is intended for fourteen weeks to be done before Christmas and eighteen weeks to be done after Christmas and allows for one week off at Thanksgiving, 2-3 weeks off for Christmas, and one week off for a spring break.
Each year is based on a historical time period as follows:
Year 1—Creation through the time of Christ
Year 2—The time of Christ through the 1600s
Year 3—1600s-1820s
Year 4—1820s-1920s
Year 5—1920s-2000

Because the program is intended to be used throughout the five years, many books are used over several years. Most of these books do not have to be read from the beginning, so the plan can be picked up at any of the years. However, Sophie's World is written as a story, and therefore, it needs to be read from the beginning.
Care has been taken to keep the reading assignments balanced from week to week. Slow readers may have to work hard and fast readers may want to supplement with some of the optional suggestions. The beginning years have more reading per week than the last couple of years with the thought that as students approach the end of high school, they will probably be taking more outside classes such as concurrent enrollment in a community college.
It is recommended that the pages be copied for the students to keep a copy of each year's assignments in there own notebook and use a highlighter to mark off the assignments as they complete them. Therefore, permission is given for copies to be made for the immediate family.
The plan should count as these credits for high school:
World and American History—4 credits, one each year
Philosophy—1/2 credit
Art History—1 credit
Music History—1/2-1 credit
Christian Studies—4 credits, 1 credit each year, (includes Christian studies, church history, Old Testament and reformation study)
Literature—4 credits, 1 credit given each year
Economics—1/2 credit
Government—1/2 credit

Debbie

THANKS!!! I googled this without any luck. Look forward to checking into it.:001_smile:

#14 Julie in MN

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 01:01 PM

there are thousands of homeschoolers who have been doing this for years.


This has sort-of been said already, but I want to emphasize that even though there are thousands of folks on the WTM boards, and thousands of folks purchasing WTM books, that doesn't mean that there are thousands following the WTM philosophy exactly. Many people use it as one tool in their toolbox.

So as you have seen via the other posters, many places do have WTM materials scheduled out but not "exclusively WTM materials." For instance, we have used all of the Story of the World books, but we follow the scheduling provided by My Father's World, which uses WTM materials with a Charlotte Mason & a Christian bent.

Maybe I could hypothesize that "most" folks use only portions of the "WTM plan"? But there is always room for more homeschool publishers :)
Julie

#15 Rhondabee

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 03:16 PM

...is that there is no real need for one.

Basically, you establish a rhythm that suits your child's level -- grammar, logic, rhetoric. Then you run with that rhythm and approach through a few years of study, gradually increasing/changing the workload and the level of the work.

You're always responding to your own child. You're not trying to fit the child to a curriculum; rather, you're fitting an approach to a specific child.

Once the rhythm is established, all you have to do is keep it going; do the next thing. It's simple (though not always easy). It's customized, which is key.


:iagree: .

Edited by Rhondabee, 30 June 2010 - 03:23 PM.
Nevermind


#16 Snowdrop

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 04:19 PM

So, how do you list courses on transcripts? And, how much time per day. The WTM indicates only two hours per day on Great Books, which, when considering the context pages, history readings, etc. does not seem like enough time to me.


That schedule really does average about 2 hours a day with context papers and all. I have one dc (graduated and doing well in college now) who is a very slow reader. It took him longer. And some days take longer if we're into a discussion on the book.

I've done all sorts of things with the transcripts. I give them 2 full year credits per year for the great books since it takes at least 2 hours a day. One is usually a social studies and one is a literature. Where they've taken CLEP's I've listed the name of the CLEP (Western Civ I, American Gov, etc) they took and considered the great books part of that course. For the twins for the Modern year I called it "Modern Philosophies" and "Modern Literature". I've tried not to let the looming transcript hinder me from doing what I think is best for us. The section in TWTM on transcripts was very encouraging and helpful.

#17 Hoggirl

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 04:27 PM

That schedule really does average about 2 hours a day with context papers and all. I have one dc (graduated and doing well in college now) who is a very slow reader. It took him longer. And some days take longer if we're into a discussion on the book.

I've done all sorts of things with the transcripts. I give them 2 full year credits per year for the great books since it takes at least 2 hours a day. One is usually a social studies and one is a literature. Where they've taken CLEP's I've listed the name of the CLEP (Western Civ I, American Gov, etc) they took and considered the great books part of that course. For the twins for the Modern year I called it "Modern Philosophies" and "Modern Literature". I've tried not to let the looming transcript hinder me from doing what I think is best for us. The section in TWTM on transcripts was very encouraging and helpful.


Very good to know this really is doable. Seems quite expensive with all the separate guides, but I like the fact that not every book has one.

#18 Snowdrop

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 07:23 PM

Very good to know this really is doable. Seems quite expensive with all the separate guides, but I like the fact that not every book has one.


One benefit of separate guides is you can pick and choose which ones to do. You could even just do a couple to see if it's a good fit. If you find it's not, you haven't sunk a lot into a complete program.

#19 Angelhar

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 10:23 PM

I appreciate everyone's feedback to my question. I think that different homeschool teachers approach classical education from different perspectives and with different inner motivations.

I still have two primary questions:

1) Why hasn't someone published their lesson plans and curriculum plan? It could really encourage a struggling homeschool parent or parent who wants to pursue the classical approach but is lost in how to get it all organized.

2) What is the end goal here? I believe it is to teach our children to think critically. But, will this approach somehow also give our kids a better chance at a scholarship or entrance into the school of their choice.

BTW, my wife is checking out the Great Books products, so thanks for the tip.

Matt

#20 newbie

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 11:02 PM

I dont have answers because we virtual academy it.

But, I want to say bravo for asking and supporting her, it is a tough road, and w/two on board it will make it much easier.

#21 JennW in SoCal

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 11:24 PM

About question #1:

We often post here or blog about our plans for the year, complete with book lists and extra-curricular activities. But my homeschool plans are so unique to the needs and interests of my kids that I can't believe the specifics of what I've done would be useful to anyone.

About question #2

This is the best question to tackle before planning high school. My goal was to produce thoughtful and moral young men who know their strengths and interests and have the tools to pursue their dreams. My goal was also not to inadverntly shut any doors by failing to meet basic requirements, so we followed the basic California college prep path and made decisions on courses and standardized tests after weighing our options.

A classical education does produce critical thinkers and articulate writers. If you balance it with opportunities to explore interests and develop skills, you'll have a very well rounded young adult to send out into the world. Spend some time on the college board -- there are many homeschool grads getting into colleges of their choice with wonderful scholarships.

And invite your wife to come hang out here!! We'll answer questions and calm her nerves!

#22 35dn

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 11:40 PM

..

#23 Carol in Cal.

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 11:42 PM

1. I just never seem to get around to this, as it is so ad hoc. The first year we did SOTW, I integrated Bible history with it chronologically. I have often wished subsequently that I had written down the sequence that we followed, but I did not do so. And that was because I didn't plan it all in advance. I had a general idea of how I wanted to do it, and I just did the next thing, week by week. Resources would pop up at the library or whatever, and I would add them in if they fit. It was one of the richest things we ever did, and I couldn't tell you the details.

The same with 7th grade literature. That was the year that DD ended up getting into an opera as a child actor, and it was "Carmen", so we read about gypsies, and about other marginalized people, and talked a lot about how art and literature contributes to marginalization by normalizing it. That was completely not planned--but it was an opportunity that I could jump on because I was not following a prescribed lit sequence. Similarly, opportunities to see "Antigone in the Oval Office" (an update of Antigone) and "Romeo and Juliet" also popped up. So we studied the themes of those plays, as well as quite a bit of the language of Romeo and Juliet. We talked a lot about wise and foolish love, and also about what principles are and are not worth dying for. We talked about what makes a hero a hero. Discussions were had, essays were written, and none of it was what I planned for the year. What I planned for the year was Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings. We have still not done that, and now we probably never will, but DD has a superb literary education nonetheless.

I would hate to take away the fun of doing something like that from another parent. I also do not like writing things down all that much, so there really is no point in telling me that I should document the stuff that we did.

2. The end goal is a well-educated young adult who has the option of attending any college they may want in any major they may choose.

Edited by Carol in Cal., 30 June 2010 - 11:59 PM.


#24 JennW in SoCal

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 12:40 AM

I would hate to take away the fun of doing something like that from another parent.


:iagree:

What Carol describes is what I believe is the beauty of homeschooling: taking advantage of opportunities, enjoying the serendipity of life while still learning. Prepackaged curricula and carefully detailed lesson plans are for recreating school at home. Homeschooling can and should be so much more.

#25 bizzymomof5

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 07:28 AM

Would History Odyssey be similar to what you are looking for? It seems like it takes Susan Wise Bauer's recommendations and puts them into a day-by-day schedule. Of course this only includes history, lit, and writing/outlining/summarizing. You would schedule in your own sciences, grammar, math, etc. which is easy enough to do.
Hope this helps,
tracy


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