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What worked and What didn't work this year?

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State ages of your children, and whatever else you want.


2 kids, ages 14 and 15. Both were in ninth grade


What worked

Math tutor for son (go Jann)

Latin 200 through Lone Pine Classical School (Go Karen) for both kids

Lightning Literature (American Lit) for daughter with teacher from LL (go Elizabeth)

Outside American history class (it was once a week and good discussions were held).

Chamber music (This was great for my son)

Apologia Science (for my daughter)

Having Kolbe do transcript



Wordly Wise


What didn't work

Trying to do 2 English classes (grammar and literature)

Writing for my son.

Teaching the Classics (I started the year with this, instead of watching it during the summer). We started off behind.

Junior high Kolbe literature for my son. Not a good fit.

Religion - used lesson plans which basically had kids answer questions rather than discuss things.. and I realize that we should have been discussing the text and I should have had them write essays

Apologia Science for my son - I even got this on tape for him so he could follow along, but it seemed like he missed a lot.

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What worked for 11th grade dd:


Sonlight core 300

Religion course - Didache

Apologia Chemistry

Analytical Grammar

The Well Educated Mind

MUS Geometry

Kolbe transcript here, too


What didn't


IEW US History vol.2

Spanish at the public school - they called us 2 days before and canceled



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10th grade DS (16yo)



- Abeka Consumer Math

- Worldviews in Sci-Fi & Gothic Literature (made our own lit course)

- Elective: The Great Books (REALLY enjoyed 4 of the 8 works we covered)

- Youth & Government (extracurricular)

- tennis team (with local high school)

- Worldview Academy Summer Leadership Camp (done in summer before 10th gr.)


Neutral (got the job done, but without fanfare):

- Logic = Practical Logic with DH

- Writing = wrote some papers and did weekly timed essays from SAT prompts -- should have done more

- Grammar = Winston Advanced (review); The Chortling Bard (grammar mechanics practice)

- Spelling/Vocab = made our own -- didn't do as much as we should have

- History = made our own (combo of Spielvolgel's Human Odyssey; additional books; research papers; timeline entries; historical fiction)

- Science =

1. Apologia Biology (2nd half of book)

2. Prentice Hall Biology (anatomy chapters to fill in for Apologia's lack)



- Total Health -- just never could seem to make time to GET to this; maybe next year...?




9th grade DS (14/15yo)



- Elective: The Great Books (REALLY enjoyed 4 of the 8 works we covered)

- tennis team (with local high school)


Neutral (got the job done, but without fanfare):

(same as 10th gr. brother)



- Algebra -- pretty much anything was going to be ugly; tried to do a combo of MUS AND Jacobs; dropped MUS at lesson 6 or 7 -- it had problems not covered in the DVD lesson and he got very frustrated; went to just Jacobs -- melted down in two chapters when the problems got long -- overall, he did "get" most of the algebra concepts with Jacobs; we'll be doing a lot of algebra review next year while he does Geometry...

- Elective -- he vetoed everything, finally expressed marginal interest in Garage Band software, tried to get him a little piano keyboard instruction for him to help increase his ability with the software, but it all fizzled out after about 2 months... :( So, no elective this year.

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11th grade son:



- TT Pre-Calc

- Apologia Chem

- Notgrass Exploring America

- Wordly Wise

- using Nutrition Action (magazine) as a basis for health writings (did a health course last year)



- Rosetta Stone Spanish

- Accent on the Composers


Not doing again:

- Hiring someone to oversee their English


9th grade son:



- TT Alg 2

- Apologia Bio

- Notgrass Exploring America

- Wordly Wise

- using Nutrition Action (magazine) as a basis for health writings (did a health course last year)



- Rosetta Stone Spanish

- Accent on the Composers



Not doing again:

- Hiring someone to oversee their English



7th grade son:



- TT Pre-Alg

- Apologia General Science

- Keystones 2 (PA History)

- Lightning Lit 7

- Wordly Wise

- using Nutrition Action (magazine) as a basis for health writings (did a health course last year)



- Rosetta Stone Spanish

- Accent on the Composers


Not doing again:

- Hiring someone to oversee their English

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America:The Last Best Hope

Teacing Company, various lectures

Debate Club

Calculus at Community College



IEW preparing for the SAT essay-

Latin-Henle and Lingua Latina-may have been better with a tutor



Not Work

Apologia Phsyics 2- he's done other Apologia books. This one needed more instruction and he feels lost. Part of the problem was due to time. He was busy doing debate and since he has already done Physics One, I didn't push him on it..

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14 yos (9th grade)


Videotext Algebra, supplemental software (Skiquations)

Learnables (German 1)



Trisms history (Ancients)

So You Really Want to Learn Latin (I need to be more accountable...)



Trisms IEW writing (just never got it going; not the program's problem--mine)

Abeka Biology (finished it, but gave up on the videos--eiiii)

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and I am just so disappointed I can barely breathe...What DIDN"T work was signing my son up for online classes and somehow thinking it would be better for him and easier for me...neither was the case.


The teacher feedback was like pulling teeth. If I did not log onto his class sites...i had no idea how he was doing. I didn't know until MARCH that he was only averaging about a 72 in Geometry...and I only found that out because I insisted I see his work. No one contacted me...the teacher said he was doing fine...well NOT IN MY BOOK!!! I spent weeks going over every homework..correcting and cramming so he could do well on the one test and final that was left. He brought his average up to a 89. I am not happy.


His history/ theology/ lit class...welll...had almost no writing!!!!!

I did not know that until November....so, I had to shell out almost 200 to sign him up for Write@Home (which I do love...even if it is online...also no teacher feedback, NONE!!! to me...GRRRRRR ...only to my son who is a hormonal mess and can't remember to feed his rabbit whom he loves or tie his shoes right now...grrrr) I looked at the mid term from this class which ds proudly told me he had a 95 on and I COULD NOT BELEIVE MY EYESW!!! Yest they covered tons of material...yes...he read great books and the class time really was great. The discussion time was great...the lectures were great...but the level of work my ds ws required to submit ...welll...it stunk! I called the teacher...whom I have the utmost respect for...and voiced my concerns about the lack of writing and the poor quality of the mid-term my son handed in and i was assured that that was the level 9th graders work on. UMMMMMM...not mine ok?? So , I had to have him re-do the mid-term for me...and use proper grammar, full sentences, and write coherent essays...sigh....



I learned a very important lesson...that I thought I had learned completely with my older kids....A job unchecked is a job undone.


Also...online classes gave him way too much access to unchecked internet time...UGH! He made some friends in his classes...who spent way too much time e-mailing and im'ing and not enough time studying...bad focus!!!


OH....he figured out ways to skip classes...missed his final in one class, which the teacher was gracious enough to let him make up....had opportunities to re-do homeworks which he passed up...and so his average was awful.


This was just a terrible experience for us. We have never been so head to head before...and I am not new at this. I have been homeschooling for 14 years and he is my 4th kid!


Live and learn.

We managed to finish up...he did so-so on his Biology SAT...and next year, i am going back to paper and pencil mom-planned lessons and keeping my own records of tests and homework.


This was not a fun year for the 2 of us....


On the other hand, I found CLE for my youngers and they love it...and so do I.


MY year is now officially over...my final reports in an envelope on my desk...and it is sealed and ready to go...


New slate!!!




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What worked:

Foerster Algebra II with MWB


ALEKS (once I emailed them and we and worked out the glitches)


History of the Ancient World -loved, loved, loved it-can't wait for volume 2.


Creative Writing class at CC. Ds enjoyed the instructor (good for ds to have a male prof.) who has published in the past. Several in the class have agreed to take the Advanced class next year.


Great Books (ancients)- I wanted to skip The Aeneid, but ds said he had to read it since he had read The Iliad and The Odyssey. Peter Leithart's Heroes of the City of Man was a great resource. Oh, we really liked Til We Have Faces, too



Apologia Anatomy and Physiology (advanced biology) Ds would spend about 20 minutes per day and then CRAM for the test and still make and A. He also scored well on the quarterly tests, but I'm not sure how much he will retain. Of course, this is how I made it through school, but I want more for dc,



New Oxford Guide to Writing and Rulebook for Arguments- got the job done.



Didn't work at all:

ABeka Government- too dry and too preachy. We finished the semester with The Idiots Guide to American Government which wasn't bad.


2nd year Latin- I'm a failure. We quit. It's done, over, checked off the list, and probably forgotten. I love studying grammar, but I strongly dislike studying foreign languages. (Will I get thrown off the boards??)

I had to study two languages when we lived overseas, but it is different when you are studying so you can survive :)



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HEO year 7 Medieval. I have tweaked it but Ivanhoe and The Brendan Voyage have been great successes so far, and Watership Down and Sword and Once and Future King are going well (we are only halfway through our year....)


K12's History Odyssey- Medieval chapters, is going well.


IEW Medieval Writing Lessons- going well, just expecting much better quality from my older and she is rising to the challenge. Learning a 5 paragraph structure is unheard of here in Australia, but I am finding both kids are doing well with it and it gives them something to fall back on. I am glad we are doing it.


Dd15 has been doing a Cert3 in General Adult Education- basically Maths and English - and it has been good for her to be accountable to someone else. She got great feedback for her writing. It is finished now, but its been a good 6 months for her.


Winston Grammar Basic for ds13. He has done lots of grammar before, various programs, but this was a great consolidation for him.


Science classes in Physics and Chemistry are going well.


Artists and Their Lives has been great for Dd.


Neutral: Tiner's World of Chemistry (ds13) and World of Mathematics (dd15) seem to be going well. Not hits, but my kids seem to do well with Tiner, and come out with interesting pieces of info at times. Just good brain food.


Latin Prep. I love it, they enjoy it enough...but we are slow at it.



Most of the extras of the CM lifestyle have dropped by the wayside. Plutarch, picture and composer study. I just find them tedious. Maybe I will get back to them.

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High School Curricula 2009



TOG - History & Lit

Apologia Biology and Advanced Chemistry

Visual Link Spanish

ALEKS - Pre-Calc - this is for dd who will not need Calculus in her desired college major. I won't do this with my hopeful engineer ds.

Logic - Memoria Press

Health - our own self directed research plan.



Writing Aids -good assignments and rubrics, not enough instruction to improve writing. We are moving to The Lost Tools of Writing next year.



Jacob's Geometry - my son was unhappy with the explanations and even though he finished the book he is voluntarily going through another geometry book so he is sure he "gets it".




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Successes: Lial's trig and precalculus. He's mostly self-teaching now and is, amazingly, doing OK with that.

Anatomy and Physiology-at home-we used Elaine Marieb's text and lab

Spanish Luna online tutor. Not an academic class with tests-he's just advancing ds toward fluency

Chinese-at local Chinese school with an adult class.

Violin: after a 5 month break, he "made it his own" and took up more frequent and effective practicing-may pursue more seriously in the future


Neutral: Literary Lessons from LOTR-too many fill in the blanks-I did not spend enough time doing the unit studies with him

Writing-I tried to do too many things (some rhetoric, SAT prep, online class) and none of them in enough depth. I gave up on CW forever after second try using online class-it's just not the curriculum for us.


Won't try again:


AP US history-not enough prior exposure, I knew too little, he wasn't motivated=disaster

CC chemistry class-was WAAYY too simplistic-one semester only, a handful of multiple choice tests, he barely opened the book-sigh. Live and learn.

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What worked --


Ds2 (9th grade)

Regina Coeli Henle Latin 2

Dolciani Algebra 2 -- hurrah!

Regina Coeli Latin 2 -- hurrah!

Human Odyssey as a spine for history



Dd2 (7th grade) --

Regina Coeli Henle Latin 1

home2teach writing classes

BJU Earth Science

Lots of reading aloud

Art of Argument & Fallacy Detective

Rod & Staff 7 for grammar



What didn't work --



home2teach writing classes (go figure -- I guess it depends on the kid!)

Writing at home (maybe he doesn't like writing!)

BIOLOGY -- Holt at home. Complete unmitigated disaster. Hate the text.

The Potters School C++ class


Dd2 --

Algebra. We'll try again next year. My second attempt to do algebra 1 in 7th grade and it was as unsuccessul as the other!


I though that my oldest was the guinea pig and that I would have homeschooling all figured out by the time #4 approached high school. Well, each kid is different and I'm stubborn, so I haven't got it all figured out yet! :tongue_smilie:

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>>>>though that my oldest was the guinea pig and that I would have homeschooling all figured out by the time #4 approached high school. Well, each kid is different and I'm stubborn, so I haven't got it all figured out yet! >>>>





Oh boy oh boy!!! 14 years...3 graduated...and I still don't have it down....parenting either....UGH!

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What worked:


Older one:


College application!!!! Yeah!!!! So that part of my plan worked. It remains to be seen whether he can do the work and stay there. Education-wise I consider this son a smashing success so even if the college part hadn't worked out, I wouldn't have considered that I had failed.



Younger one:


Peacewalking!!! This was a surprise. We didn't think the youngest was going to do this. He came back much more thoughtful and independent, refusing to agree with things he doesn't understand. His French improved, too.






Trip around the country visiting national parks. We learned tons.



Great books with TWEM for both


TWTM US History and Government. Youngest will read a spine and Idiot's later in high school. Foundation documents, which I feared, went well.


Almost didn't work:


French tutor - too far away, made it through half a year


CC Chemistry - Older one took intro chem. The intro part just meant that they started farther back, not that they didn't go as far, at least as far as I can tell. They finished all of Timberlake's General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry. This required lots of time, as I would expect. What I didn't expect was the amount of memorizing involved, considering it was an intro course. My son isn't good at memorizing and he had to memorize TONS, especially the second half, which was all organic. He managed to get a B- the first semester and a C+ the second and we are very relieved. To my surprise, any math was a non-issue. I attribute this to Singapore. He liked the class, though, and it did exactly what I wanted it to: taught him a lot about how the natural world works and gave him a taste of what a college science class can be with good prof. If I had known beforehand what was involved (intro sounded easy LOL), I would have had him just take one semester, but I'm glad I didn't. This class rounded out the natural history he did in 9th grade for bio.


Conceptual Chemistry - Meanwhile, the youngest and I struggled through the first half of Conceptual Chemistry. I lost the disk pretty early on so we didn't have that to help us. I really needed to read ahead with this but chemistry is one of those things that I don't retain. Our struggles were my fault. We made it through half the book and he can look at the other half while he is doing natural history next year (it fits in well). As an introduction, it worked well, I guess. We would have gotten more out of it if I had taken the time to figure it out properly (hard when some of it was glossed over to make it "conceptual") and we'd done the questions orally together. It probably was enough to let him take the general chemistry at CC. Maybe. Our CC has lots of nursing and an engineering transfer program, so their sciences are ok. I think he would have learned more turned loose with that scary chemistry-in-your-back-yard book.



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12th grade and 10th graders:


What worked - getting into college (for the 12th grader)!! Taking Spanish at the community college(12th grader); Having Dh teach Economics and government (for both 12th and 10th graders); taking an outside Latin class with both 10th and 8th graders. We all learned a lot. Math tutor for 10th grader.



My own designed American history and literature course. We enjoyed the American Identity Teach Co. lectures and we loved the lit we read; had many good discussions, but I overplanned and we didn't cover nearly as much as I thought we would history wise and we didn't do enough writing this year at all.

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