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Everything posted by txhomemom

  1. For anyone that has used Tablet Class math for Algebra 2, does anyone have any suggestions for ways in which the material can be compacted down a little. Are there any topics in Algebra 2 that maybe don't need to be covered as in depth? My dd wants to finish the course in a few months (2 to 3 months). I know that seems short, but this is her last course for high school and she is not taking anything else right now. She has already started and completed the first 2 chapters and we are about to start chapter 3, but looking over the material some of it seems a bit repetitive. Just want to see if anyone has any suggestions. Thanks!
  2. You definitely can find lots of algebra practice sheets. My problem is I don't have the time to go looking for extra things. I prefer programs that have everything included. I am trying to work while homeschooling, so leaves me with little time for planning. I think in the past they had a soft-cover version of the book, not sure why they changed it. I am starting to like ebook options more, so wish more math programs offered that, kind of like Math Mammoth.
  3. We are using Fresh Approach Algebra this year. We just started chapter 1 and are about halfway through. I cannot give a complete review since we are only starting the book, but I can give a general overview. Last year, we used Derek Owens prealgebra and the only reason I did not continue with his Algebra course is it was too costly for us this year. I already owned the Fresh Approach Algebra book so we decided to go with that. My dd hates math and prefers a math program that has a workbook format. That format is really difficult to find in high school algebra programs. She completed half of the Key to Algebra books last year, but they only go so far so I needed to find something else that would carry her through Algebra 1, 2, and geometry. From browsing through the Fresh Approach Algebra book it does seem to cover algebra pretty thoroughly. There are quite a few chapters that have numerous word problems. There is plenty of review in chapter 1 covering fractions, decimals, negative numbers, etc. Each section in the book has an explanation of the topics that will be covered which I find to be really clear and easy to understand with good examples. I like the font in the book which seems to be easy on the eyes, not too small. There are not an enormous amount of problems in each exercise, but just enough to get good practice. One negative I can see is that if more practice is needed on one of the sections then you would have to look elsewhere for practice sheets. For example, MUS has numerous practice sheets, so if your dd or ds needs a lot of practice before solidifying a topic, then this program may not be a good fit. Also, I think this is a very basic straight to the point algebra program. If your child likes to think outside of the box and might be a future math major then this program probably won't be as challenging or interesting. That being said, this is a solid algebra program, maybe does not have all the bells and whistles, but depends on what your needs are. One thing I don't like about the book itself, is that it is a hardback book. I wish it came in a softback or spiral or even an ebook format. It is kind of hard to open the pages in the book because the binding is so tight. I am seriously thinking about cutting off the binding and putting it into a notebook. Also, we briefly tried out Jacobs Algebra last year and hated it. I know a lot of people like that algebra program but it was a terrible fit for my dd. There is absolutely no explanation in the Jacobs textbook before completing problems and there are a lot of different types of problems that require a lot of out of the box thinking. Not a great fit for my non-math dd. She also struggled with writing out all of the problems on paper, etc. So, I guess I would say that Fresh Approach Algebra is the complete opposite of Jacobs Algebra. The way we are using Fresh Approach Algebra is a little different as well. I am having my dd pre-read the explanations for a particular section, then the following day we work the problems on a white board together and then she writes the answers in the book. So, for now we are using a white board to work the problems rather than writing out the steps in the book. This may change as we go along. Anyway, that is all I can say about Fresh Approach for now, but will update later in the year when we have used the book a little longer.
  4. We are in Texas, but my oldest dd is enrolled in Kolbe Academy which is in Napa. We just enrolled for 10th grade a week ago. I also placed a book order that will probably be taking a long time to get to me. They have pictures of some of the damage on facebook: Kolbe Academy Facebook
  5. These are the ones I have been eyeballing: Introduction to Literature and Composition The Hero’s Journey http://oakmeadow.com/courses/intro-to-lit/ World History http://oakmeadow.com/courses/world-history/ (I already have the text so this would be a no brainer) The Study of Music http://oakmeadow.com/courses/the-study-of-music/ I originally thought we would go with an art course, but my dd (who happens to be really great at art and drawing), does not want to take art courses for high school credit!!! We need a fine arts credit for Kolbe so this music course looks pretty good. Integrated Health and Fitness http://oakmeadow.com/courses/integrated-health-and-fitness/ I would like dd to take at least one health course and this one looks like it has a few interesting books.
  6. I was just browsing the Oak Meadow website for high school course options and realized they redesigned their website and it looks like they redesigned some of the course syllabi as well. There is also a new English course called Introduction to Literature and Composition The Hero's Journey. Just thought I would throw this info out there for anybody looking for curriculum for the upcoming year. http://oakmeadow.com/ Here are their curriculum samples: Oak Meadow Curriculum Samples
  7. Kolbe also has syllabi for Henle and Wheelock Latin. Kolbe Wheelock Latin 1 Kolbe Henle Latin 1 If you decide to use Latin Alive there is an awesome Yahoo group where they have worksheets, quizzes, tests, and more under the files section: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/LatinAlive/info I have also been eyeballing Cambridge Latin. I like the interactive website they have with the online activities, etc: Cambridge Latin 1 Some of the resources are free, some of it only available with a subscription, but it is reasonable. I tried to sign up for it a few days ago, but have not received an email yet, so until I get that worked out I cannot really comment much more on the website.
  8. We were enrolled with Kolbe this past year and I purchased the physical science online workbook/answer key. Basically, the online access gives you everything online. You can print out the workbook, have access to answers, there are extra activities that go with the textbook. I picked up a used copy of the biology textbook to use for this next year so I am going to buy the online access again, I think it is $25 at Kolbe. I think it is the best deal. It looks like buying the hard copy of the workbook and workbook answer key through Kolbe is pricey (at least for the answer key anyway). I guess you could also look for it used if you wanted to save money. So, you don't need all those items you listed. You definitely need the textbook. I suggest looking for a used copy on Amazon or Ebay. You would need the virtual labs. The workbook is optional. I don't think the course plans even schedule anything in the workbook. There are questions, quizzes, tests in the course plans so you really don't need the workbook. If you decide you want the workbook or extras that go with the text then I would purchase the online access. For the religion component, those books would be optional. You may or may not even need the lab report writing guide, but it looks fairly inexpensive so I guess it would not hurt to have as a reference.
  9. The math lesson plans do not have answers to the textbook, just what exercises to complete and exams for which there are answer keys provided. Jacobs Algebra was used last year, not sure if they are still using it or not since it went out of print this past year. I had purchased a complete set used which included the answer key to the text, however, we ended up going a different direction with math anyway, just did not like Jacobs at all. It is really hard to convey how much extra work it is to keep paperwork for high school whether through Kolbe or for your own records. For junior high we just completed the next lesson in the book and if my dd did not understand something I would have her work extra problems. I never really graded anything or kept records. I just gave her extra work or had her spend more time on a topic if she was missing too many problems. Now, I am practically designing and implementing courses from start to finish. It is extremely time consuming. First you have to research what curriculum/books/videos etc to use (not as easy as earlier years because everything is beefed up in high school). Then, if you are assigning grades you have to decide what percentage each part of the course will be for the final grade. For example, for math the final grade might be based on homework assignments, quizzes, and tests. For other subjects it can get more complicated. Maybe you have writing assignments/essays, projects, etc. Some assignments are easy to grade (math), others are more subjective (writing). Then even once you have figured out what curriculum you are using and how you will be assigning grades/credit, then you have to keep up with your student every week to make sure they are on track and completing assignments, understanding material, recording their grades, etc. Kolbe also wants you to keep an attendance record so that is one more thing on the list. If your student is not that great at being self taught or creating their own schedule then you will have to sit down and make a schedule for them each week (this possibly could be done once a month, but things change, sometimes they get behind in math because they don't understand something). For Kolbe you will be sending in copies of work they have completed, assignments, essays, tests, etc. So, as you are going through the year, you are always thinking about have we completed something on paper that we can send to Kolbe (you will need at least 1 item for each quarter per subject and I think you might have to send other tests/essays as well if you are on a different track or trying to get Kolbe designation on the transcript). I had to convince my dd to please write neatly so the staff at Kolbe could actually read her handwriting (some things she can type of course). The other wrench I had to deal with was that we did not end up using most of the lesson plans! I know it seems strange, but we started with the math lesson plans, then ditched that because Jacobs was not working. Switched over to a combination of Key to Algebra and Derek Owens. Derek Owens has been a lifesaver for us, finally a math my dd can do on her own and no arguing with mom. English comp and rhetoric was another one that we started off using the lesson plans, but now we are doing our own thing. I just did not like the Sadlier Vocab workshop books (just were not effective for my dd) and the writing workshop books were okay, but nothing spectacular. For science my dd is completing Introduction to Physics and Chem, however, my dd read the entire Prentice Hall book in a week that is recommended by Kolbe so I have added on PAC Integrated Chem and Physics workbooks. She is also working on a half credit in earth science with another book that we have. For lit, we ordered the junior high lit course plans which is fine to use for high school. There are a lot of good books in there that we had not read yet. Other than picking books from the course plan, we have not been following them either, but the lit plans are really nice. My dd is not completing latin or religion this year, so we went ahead and ordered those plans, but have not even looked at them, probably save them for next year. We are also doing world geography this year instead of the world history (greece) that Kolbe recommends. As far as rubrics for grading provided by Kolbe, they have something in the course plans, but it is not very helpful to me since we have changed everything so much and I don't think their grading rubrics are as thorough as they could be. Honestly, the grading is not always black and white, some subjects are just easier to grade than others. You can always call Kolbe and talk to them if you have questions, so that is another option if you cannot get a hang of grading and record keeping. I guess we chose Kolbe for the freedom to change curriculum if needed and to have a little bit of say in how we design the courses, while at the same time receiving a diploma from a recognized school. Overall, I am happy with what they provide, but it has just been a tremendous learning curve this year. I would not suggest going down this path where the parent has to be so involved with every step of the process if you are really busy with other things in life, like working a lot of hours, sick family members, etc. In that situation, I would highly suggest signing up for courses where there is a teacher to do the grading, give feedback, and of course offer instruction in topics the student might struggle with. Next year, my goal is to get my dd as independent as possible so that she has to take responsibility for her future and mom can just be a sounding board/counselor, etc every now and then.
  10. I currently have my dd 9th grader enrolled in Kolbe. If you just use the course plans from Kolbe as written then everything is spelled out for you, however, you still need to make sure your student gets the work done and keeps somewhat of a schedule so you don't get behind. The parent is the grader which I find challenging. We never really assigned formal grades for anything before this point, so I am finding it time consuming. Really, all the paperwork, grading, etc with Kolbe I find a bit too much. Some days I think about just designing our own transcript without Kolbe. Another thing to consider is if you choose to use different curriculum then you won't have the nice lesson plans and you might have to make a schedule for your student's work. At first I thought I could just hand off books to my dd to figure out what to do next and how to pace her work, but it did not work out very well. I have had to sit down and type up a schedule every week of how many lessons, what pages, worksheets, etc, everything and that is another time zapper for me. Maybe next year she will be more motivated, but this year not so much and I am determined to keep her on track, no excuses. I like the freedom that Kolbe offers, but I hate having to do paperwork and honestly it probably would have been a lot easier for me to just sign up my dd for classes from a place like Keystone where she would have to send in homework to an actual teacher other than me. Then they would be responsible for keeping paperwork and grading. I know I sound a bit negative, but I would not suggest Kolbe to anyone that knows that they don't have a lot of time on their hands. It probably works better for students that are more self motivated. So, if you have a self motivated student and don't mind doing the paperwork/grading then Kolbe is perfect. They do offer a lot more freedom to design your own courses/transcript than a lot of other schools. I do like the new options for online classes at Kolbe. I think that may be a better option for my dd to keep her on schedule a little better. Next year, we might do a combination of using some of their lesson plans and some online classes through either Kolbe or Keystone. Anyway, hoping next year will go a little smoother. I think 9th grade is a learning curve for most homeschooling moms in general. If anyone has any other questions about Kolbe let me know!
  11. I have barely finished planning this year, we keep changing things! After discovering that we did not like using textbooks so much this year, next year will be completely different. For 10th grade next year (dd): Algebra 2 - Videotext Algebra - we will complete the entire thing Science - Cannot decide between biology and chemistry, if we go with bio we will use PAC Biology, if we go with chemistry will probably use Friendly Chemistry History - World History, not sure what we will use, maybe PAC World History, we are mainly focusing on medieval and modern history since we have covered the ancients a few too many times English - Medieval Literature, using either Kolbe's literature plans or Lightning Lit, no idea what we will use for writing Latin - Latin 1 - will most likely use the Latin Alive series which I already own, also looking at Cambridge Latin or Latin for the New Millenium Religion - World Religion - I will create this course from several sources since my dd needs religion credits for Kolbe Electives - We will probably decide at the last minute, most likely photography, advanced computer courses, maybe psychology
  12. A couple of ideas: You could use Key to Algebra to review everything again at a pretty quick pace. The Key to books are good for practicing math calculation. Then, when finished with those choose another program for algebra 2 since Key to does not go that high in level. The books are pretty much as good as getting to the point as you can get. Another option, start up with Videotext Algebra which technically starts at prealgebra, but then quickly moves into algebra and even moves into algebra 2 so you could finish all of algebra with this program. The first few modules would be review and then you could slow down when you get to new material. I like how the author of the program suggests doing less problems and motivating the child to work carefully so they don't have to do as many problems. They only do all of the problems on the page if they get some wrong or don't understand the concept. It is also suggested to have the child review their own answers that are incorrect to figure out what they did wrong (mostly so they understand what they got wrong, but also to give mom a little break). My other suggestion is Chalkdust Algebra because Dana has such an easy style in explaining the concepts in his videos. You could work through the text doing a few problems or even just the chapter reviews so see where there are weaknesses. I am one of those moms that likes to use whatever works for math at that moment. I don't tend to get completely attached to a math curriculum. This year my dd is in 9th grade, but I felt she was kind of weak on Algebra skills at the beginning of the year. We had started with Jacobs Algebra, but had to toss it because the style was just too difficult for both of us. I needed something I could teach from easily and something my dd would not have a meltdown with. The first thing I did was put her in Horizons Prealgebra book. We worked through the first part of the book for a little review. Next we started Key to Algebra books and she is understanding everything really well, doing amazing, getting 100s on almost everything, and it just plain makes sense now for some reason. We are about halfway through the series. Next, I am going to start Videotext which we are going to do simultaneously with the Key to Algebra books. We will probably just get through the prealgebra portion of Videotext this year, but then once we finish the Videotext next year she will have completed algebra 1 and 2. Hope this was not too confusing. You don't have to use 5 million math programs like me, but sometimes you just have to try something different to see what will work.
  13. My dd is currently enrolled in 9th grade with Kolbe, feel free to ask me any questions. For the magna diploma there are a total of 50 credits or 5 years of english/literature required with 2 of those 5 years in literature. For example, you could complete english rhetoric/writing for 9th, 10th, and 11th grade and then complete 2 years of literature maybe starting in 11th grade going through 12th grade. We are not following the Kolbe plans as closely as this, so will probably end up aiming for the standard diploma, but it is still early for us to decide. For 9th this year, I went ahead and ordered all the plans from Kolbe even if I was not going to use them, just in case. So, I have the plans for the english 9 and ancient greek literature, but I also ordered the junior high lit plans as well (no extra charge if you just add one or two more plans I think). We are using the junior high lit plans instead along with the english 9 plans, although we also added in Easy Grammar Plus for grammar review and have been doing some spelling review from Spelling Power. I have not been super excited with the vocabulary and writing books that Kolbe uses, so will probably use something else next year. If I end up giving my dd credit for literature this year, it will probably be something like Intro to Literature and just be a half credit. Although I like most of their lesson plans, we ended up switching out of Jacobs Algebra because it was just not a good fit, so I have those plans unused as well. I don't mind the money spent on unused lesson plans though because Kolbe allows so much flexibility and is so darn inexpensive for everything they offer. I don't know if colleges see a transcript from Kolbe with all the extra literature, etc as padded or not, but lots of their graduates get into really amazing colleges and with scholarships too! I am attaching the PDF that shows the Kolbe Class of 2013 acceptances. KolbeGraduatesClassof2013.pdf
  14. This page has samples of the newer editions of the Holt high school science texts: Holt Science
  15. In case anyone wants to know more about the annotated book list for high school with Biblioplan, I just recently purchased the ancients family guide and as an example, in the first unit they list: The Book of Genesis, A Case for a Creator (Strobel), Paradise Lost (Milton), The Epic of Gilgamesh (Sandars), Greenleaf Guide to Ancient Literature, and Eye of the Oracle (Davis). There are also links on their website to the books used which take you to Amazon or Christianbook. Here is an example of what would be on the annotated book list for high school for the entire ancients year: Biblioplan Grades 8-12 So far, we have not started officially using Biblioplan yet (I have a 9th grader), just purchased the family guide so I could decide for sure if it was the right choice for us. With the free sample they give you and the family guide you can try it out for the first 3 weeks and see if it works or not. Some of the pluses I see so far with Biblioplan: nice booklists for all ages with great descriptive information about the books, suggestions for additional movies, books for projects, or audio recordings, the options of using several different spines, the companion guide which could be used as a spine by itself, and the inclusion of mapwork and questions that are already organized by weeks. I also love that they have ebook versions of everything and that you can click on their booklist links to get to amazon and order books. I did find a few minor mistakes in the family guide, I may find more when I begin using it, nothing to keep me from using it, but the perfectionist in me wants to go in and correct the mistakes. We probably won't use any of their writing ideas because they only give one topic to pick from and my dd usually likes to come up with her own ideas. As far as earning high school credit for world history, my dd will be doing the following to earn credit: reading 1-2 books from the annotated book list per unit, completing the maps each week and the cool history questions, reading the companion for each unit, and we will be adding in other reading and projects along the way (we have a lot of additional books on egypt, greece, etc). If this does not end up being enough to keep my dd busy, then I will readjust later, but for now this is the plan. I am short on time as well, so to get organized I bought plastic file folder type boxes from the container store and use a different box for each subject. Actually, I had to get two for history since there is so much to put in there. Here is a link to the bins: Container Store Multipurpose Bin I put in the bin everything needed for history, the Biblioplan guide, and any books, activity books, historical books, whatever went with the topic for the unit we were on. The first one I put together has books pertaining to egypt and mesopotamia. I also set up bins for english/language arts with books/workbooks pertaining to grammar, writing, and literature. I have another one for math, one for science, and one for electives. I decided to go with the bins over a cart with drawers because we typically homeschool in various rooms in the house and I needed something easy to transport. Whatever subject we are working on we just grab the bin and go.
  16. Just curious, what types of resources did you add for for the music, art, architecture, etc? Thinking of using the PAC geography course as well.
  17. Kolbe uses Sadlier Vocabulary in their curriculum and we signed up for Kolbe 9th this year and were going to use that vocab program, but after looking at it I don't like it very much. The words are just randomly thrown together. My dd was not learning anything. Kolbe does sell the answer keys for the Sadlier books, but I hate that is the only option for buying them and they are pricey. I also don't like the smaller size of the books and smaller fonts in general. I am used to more of the workbook style of vocabulary. Anyway, we decided to study latin and greek roots instead. We are going to use this: Vocabulary Bridges
  18. I am hoping someone can help me out. I signed up my dd for Kolbe Academy this year using their 9th grade plans. We decided to go with the Intro to Physics and Chemistry course that uses Prentice Hall Physical Science Concepts in Action. It is basically like a physical science course. She did not have physical science in junior high so we thought it would be good preparation for the more advanced science courses. I am trying to get ideas for activities, projects, etc that we can do to round out her credit for this course. In Kolbe's lesson plans they assign assessment questions from the text, but I want to come up with something that is a little more interesting and interactive. The experiment suggestions in the text are not helpful because so many items are needed to complete them that we don't have. Interestingly, we enrolled in Kolbe 2 weeks ago and my dd has already read the entire textbook for this course. She just sat down and read it cover to cover, when she is really interested in something she just cannot stop! Anyway, I am looking for any suggestions for science kits, projects, websites, videos, anything fun that would go with physical science. I have a very creative kid so I am looking for something more out of the box. Also, if anyone has any ideas for what I could assign her to receive credit for physical science. She has read the book, but I need her to do a little bit more work than that and Kolbe requires samples of work completed to receive credit.
  19. I have been using One Note forever to organize everything! I mostly was using it to save links to homeschool related websites or free online curriculum. Then I discovered I could use it for lesson planning so I am thinking about trying to it for that this year. The newest version of One Note has a cloud function where you can view your files/links anywhere, but I have not decided if I need that function yet. Here are a few links to blogs from homeschoolers using One Note: http://desertramblings.wordpress.com/2010/09/21/how-technology-helps-me-homeschool-while-working-full-time/ http://www.funschooling.net/2010/01/one-note-workbox-tweak-1.html Here are also some templates that Microsoft has for One Note: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/results.aspx?qu=onenote&av=zsc
  20. This next year will be the first time that I hang up my hat as far as serious planning goes. We have had a rough year since mom has returned to school and will be starting a whole new career in August. I finally decided to simplify. There is a lot of great stuff out there, but I just want someone else to grade my dd's work and I want her to be more accountable. We will probably go with Oak Meadow courses for at least language arts and history. Not sure yet about science and math. Not in love with the math text OM uses for algebra, so we might do that on our own.
  21. I have been trying to narrow down where I am going to have my dd take classes for 9th grade next year. I have a really busy work schedule coming up next year so I need her to be enrolled with some accountability with teachers. I have looked at Oak Meadow, Keystone, K12, Laurel Springs, and a few others. I don't see any samples on Laurel Springs website. For anyone that has enrolled in their correspondence courses for high school, can you give me an idea of what the course guides are like? Are they easy to follow? What kind of assignments are there and are they submitted online or through the mail? Just want to get a feel for how they compare to Oak Meadow which I am strongly leaning towards at this point.
  22. Maybe try Kinetic Books http://www.kineticbooks.com, we have not tried it, but I have heard good things about it. If you don't mind a program without videos and are looking for something that gets to the point quickly I would recommend this one: http://www.aplusses.com/zencart/textbooks-c-1.html (they do not have prealgebra though) For prealgebra, I also recommend the Key to Algebra books.
  23. I don't know anything about the Universal Classes, but today I got an email that they are offering through Groupon a Universal Class membership for $89 for unlimited classes.
  24. We are pretty much just doing Key to Algebra for now. I have other resources in case we need to pull out problems from another source. I own the Chalkdust Basic Math and Prealgebra texts and I have the Math Mammoth blue topic books. This year has been a learning experience with math. We started out trying Derek Owens prealgebra (still love this one), but my dd did not want a video based course. Then we tried MUS, not sure why I went that route since she did not want a video course, but I thought it would be easy to adapt without the video, but it just did not work for us. We had already completed Key to Decimals, Fractions, and Percents, so it was super easy to just come back to that method and start up Key to Algebra. I also have some of the Key to Geometry books, so we might start those at some point. Our plan is just to get as far as we can in the Key to books and then we will transition to a complete algebra course from another source. I am definitely a multiple resource kind of mom, I just intuitively pull out whatever text/workbook, etc that we have that fits a particular topic when we need it. I have never really worried about whether we are covering what would be in a typical Saxon textbook, etc. My goal for math is that my dd know how to do each math skill really really well. I would rather her stay longer on a topic and understand it and be able to work the problems in her sleep then worry about getting ahead to Algebra. I am not really in favor of the new track of doing Algebra in 7th or 8th grade or even earlier in some cases. There may be a few kids that are capable of this, but honestly I took Prealgebra my freshman year in high school! I did not take Algebra until 10th grade. What is really weird is that I am a complete math and science nerd now. I was kind of a late bloomer in math. I like the Fresh Approach Algebra course because it is intended for the book to be written in, so my dd does not have to recopy the problems like in other traditional texts. I already own the text and just glancing at it I like the simple presentation of each lesson and uncluttered pages. The only thing I noticed is that my dd may still need to work out the problems on another piece of paper, because there is not a lot of writing space in the book. I am thinking about just giving her a journal that has graph paper in it and letting her work any problems in there. I also seriously considered Jacobs Algebra for next year, but my only concern is sometimes my dd likes to get to the point quickly, and although I like the different way it presents problems, it may end up frustrating my dd.
  25. We are currently using the Key to Algebra books for prealgebra. Next year for Algebra I am considering Algebra Fresh Approach and I might combine that with the Discovering Algebra text for a different approach.
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