I would love to get some input from you wonderful experienced homeschoolers! I feel as though the more I research, the more confused I get. I know that no decisions are final and homeschooling will always be a work in progress, but the approach to high school is a bit overwhelming. (To be honest, I started worrying when I saw a recommended schedule of classes that had kids starting Algebra 1 in 7th grade.) I could really use some guidance and insight into how you make your decisions. And specific curriculum recommendations are always welcome! I've been reading these forums and Cathy Duffy's recommendations, but there's just so much information!
Background: This will be our second year of homeschooling. We have two daughters, entering 6th and 8th grade. They spent all of their elementary years at a private Montessori/Renzuli school that was a wonderful fit for both. There was a great deal of independence, fun, and projects, but it was not academically rigorous. We spent the last year focused on catching their math up to speed and trying to find our footing. Both girls were tested by their school and fall on the lower end of the gifted spectrum. They learn very quickly and require little "instruction" from me. They are voracious book readers and as of last year, were tested as reading at a college level. They are independent, but the similarities stop there!
DD13 is a complete self-starter and very driven. She's been talking about college for several years already. She's interested in astrophysics and engineering as future careers. She is extremely ordered, organized and a very linear, concrete thinker. I mean, this kid has written up a daily summer schedule and feels badly when she's not being productive - lol! And she has to do every problem in math, in order, no skipping around. We tried AoPS briefly and it didn't go well. She's completed Saxon 7/6 and 8/7 this year and it's been a great fit for the way she thinks. She enjoyed Story of the World, supported with some extra reading. I thought Michael Clay Thompson would be a great fit for language arts, but it was too abstract for her. We dabbled in Focus On Science which she disliked because of the busy work and distracting formatting. We began WriteShop 1 towards the end of the year and like it so far. So, here we are trying to make decisions for next year! Saxon Algebra 1 is our only decision so far. WriteShop - probably. Grammar - no idea! Is there a Grammar curriculum that gives them everything they need to learn succinctly? I'm very drawn to the classical education model, but I was an English major and love all things language. She sees no reason to study Latin, and is starting to teach herself Japanese. I read a review of the Veritas Omnibus class and it sounded perfect in many ways. She's already read some of the heavier literary works and loves to think deeply. Then I came across some negative reviews which led me to start looking for similar classes elsewhere. I'd love to find something that pulls together history and literature, and makes sense of geography and historical timelines. My husband likes Novare best of all the science options, but I've read that it's dry and difficult to teach at home. Of all the available online classical Christian classes, how do you decide which to go with? Do you stick with one company? Or take the classes that are the best fit? Which subject have you found to be the most beneficial in a live class setting? My greatest concern for this daughter is helping her be adequately prepared for college - she talks a lot about MIT.
DD10 (August birthday, so a very young 6th grader) is very bright, not terrribly motivated to do schoolwork, but loves to learn! She's an intuitive learner and understands concepts very easily. When she's supposed to be completing a math lesson, I'll frequently find her curled up with a book or coming up with a new Lego creation. She's very much a kid still and likes to play imaginatively. She's very kinesthetic and loves to be on the move. She thought Saxon 6/5 was boring torture (her words, not mine!), but enjoyed reading advanced books about math and doing logic puzzles. I may try AoPS pre-algebra. Other options? She enjoyed Story of the World, but it's hard to get her interested in reading books that aren't fantasy! Focus on Science was not fun for her either. She can handle meatier text, but still needs the concepts presented in a way that she can understand. And she wants to do projects and experiments. I know she's learning no matter what we do, but it's so much more challenging to quantify that learning when she dislikes plodding through traditional texts. I'd also like for her to have an online class of some kind. Both of my kiddos are introverted and if there is anything they struggle with, it's taking the big thoughts that are in their heads and sharing them with others.
So, that's a ton of information I've shared, but I would so appreciate any insights in helping us along in this journey! Every little bit helps. Many thanks!