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What's new in curriculum?????


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Hi,

 

My daughter is starting high school, but she is somewhat behind academically, not because she has a learning issue, but because, well, we have been relaxed, and I do let her do a lot of what would be considered "unschool" activities, like planting a huge garden, taking care of neighbors' pets, etc.

 

Anyway, she will be my only one left at home, and although we've been homeschooling for 12 years in our family, I need a "boost" new inspiration, whatever one would call it? I want to make these next four years really rich for her, instead of it being the nagging mom, ya know!?!?!

 

Yall probably know what I mean.

 

So, I don't know if we will be attending a curriculum fair or conference, and I was wondering if there is any new material in ANY subject that has gotten attention. Old material recommendations are welcome, for that matter!

 

Thanks in advance!

 

~Robin in Alabama

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Well, I'm not sure where you're at in terms of your different subjects, or where she wants to go, but here are some basics:

 

I really like The Well Educated Mind as a guide to a great books sort of study, which would encompass both history and literature. Writing about and discussing the works being read would fill out the study. If you can devote the time to do that along with her, I think it would be great for both of you. You can probably obtain all the books from most any library.

 

For language arts, if she still needs work in spelling, I've always like Spelling Workout. Perhaps the last two levels of that would work for her and they are like a root word study, too. These are levels G and/or H. If she's a great, natural speller and doesn't need that, then you might want to work on some other word study program to help get her ready for ACT/SAT testing (if she's interested in college). I've used Vocab from Classical Roots in past, but am not convinced that it did the best job for my older son, so I would suggest that you illicit other options for a vocab study. If she's not strong in writing, but you think she has some talent in that direction, then I'd use Writing Strands and begin with level 3 or slightly up from there (you can easily go through two books per year). Does she need to work on grammar skills? I've always liked and used Abeka for that. Their Grammar and Comp series, levels I - IV, covers junior high level work and up. Perhaps they have some sort of assessment tool you could obtain in order to tell what book to start her in if you were interested in that..... Others can suggest other good grammar programs, as well.

 

Do you want to do Latin or any foreign language? What type of math are you looking to do and what are your capabilities insofar as facilitating/teaching that math? Likewise, are you able to teach science, or would you prefer a program that frees you up from much of that sort of instruction? There are numerous online options for high school, such as Indiana University, Oak Meadow, etc. that you could check out for at least some classes. Most of these are pretty pricey.

 

What sort of other basics are required for high school graduation in your state that you might want to include on your transcript? PE? Civics or Government? Humanities? How many credits of math and science must she have to graduate? These things vary some by state.

 

Cafi Cohen has written several books on how to homeschool high school and how to create your transcript, keep track of work accomplished, etc. I think these are all great and any of them can help you out with tons of great ideas!

 

Good luck to you,

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For history look at Notgrass. They have courses for World History, American HIstory and Government. We used their American history this year and really liked it. My dd will probably use their government course for 12th grade. Their history courses also include a bible and English component, but you would probably want to add in more for these 2 subjects.

 

Hope that helps,

 

Veronica

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I realized I didn't give you much information on what I am looking for. Sorry about that.

 

I actually don't know that we will do college prep or a fully classical curriculum. I did that with my son, he had high enough scores on his ACT to get some scholarships, and I really appreciate the curriculum in Latin and Gileskirk history that we used for him.

 

My daughter, OTOH, is a totally different learner, and will probably gravitate more toward sciences like botany and marine biology. She actually likes history just fine, but I don't see Gileskirk as a good fit for her.

 

I guess I say I want "inspiration" because in a way, yes, we do more relaxed homeschooling and I would love her to spend a lot of time with music, home ec (especially cooking) and other domestic arts. I don't rule out college for her, but I see her more as going into something like culinary school or maybe even working with plants and flowers.

 

By the time they get to high school there aren't many Charlotte Mason-ish things to do like the lovely things they have for the younger ones such as Prairie Primer.

 

She loves the Narnia series. Wonder if there is a study on them?

 

Well, I'm rambling, but you ladies are so nice to take the time with me. Inspire me!

 

Thanks again!

 

~Robin in Alabama

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Hi Robin, I'm actually in Alabama too and am doing a middle school/high school class on Narnia this coming fall. I'm on the Gulf Coast, in case you live nearby. There is a Narnia study, Further Up and Further In, but it's for grades 4-8. I'm basing my class on Veritas Press Omnibus which uses Narnia as it's secondary readings. There's also an online class at The Potter's School that covers Narnia.

If she likes Narnia, she might like The Lord of the Rings Series. There's a curriculum based on this called Literary Lessons through Lord of the Rings (I think that's the title).

If she "hands on" she may like KONO's high school program.

If she likes to focus on specific areas of interest and likes research, she might enjoy Trisms.

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with my daughter since I've concentrated so much on getting my son ready for college and concerned about his test scores. My daughter has sort of been on her own, and now I'm ready to take charge of her high school years and really desire to do a much better job than I've done with the middle school years! ha!

 

Anyway, I think I would like a unit study and I went to the Konos page and Trisms page.

 

What is the feeling on Tapestry of Grace? Any other unit studies that are popular.

 

I haven't been to a curriculum conference (on a large scale) in a long time. What is Omnibus like? Does it go to the higher grades?

 

Thanks, Michelle, I'm on the Gulf Coast, too. You must live me because I'm in an artsy area!

 

~Robin

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Robin,

 

There is another curriculum written for high school girls called Where the Brook and River Meet. It is based on Anne of Green Gables. The website is http://www.cadroncreek.com It is doesn't include math or science, though I think botany/biology would fit in wonderfully with the unit study. They also recommend latin.

 

It has some projects for home ec and art, so it might be a nice fit.

 

Veronica

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I did the two week training with my then 13 yr old dd and her then 10 yr old friend last summer. We did the exercises in the morning, then spent the afternoon at nature centers and parks, exploring and doing the sketching/journal pages. We listened to the tapes while in the car going and coming. 13 yr old learned the most, but 10 year old said it was the best summer of her life. (she had a harder time with the drawing). Both learned so much about observing.

 

It was the introduction of a lifetime for me. Although we live in an area with a lot of naturalists and park programs, Kamana really showed me how to learn stuff for myself--not just be a tourist needing a tour guide.

 

A lot of the "meditations" center around Native American wisdom. We found it helpful and mind expanding, but very conservative Christians might have to edit that part. However, the nature exercises would be excellent for anyone. Really teaches you how to use field guides, also.

 

We loved it so much that both dd and I will be beginning level 2 this summer, moving into level three during the school year. I talked to the chair of our local high school science department, and she said she thought it covered way more useful stuff than their intro biology class. So that is what we will go with for 9th grade. I think it will also make for an interesting description of future college applications. I first heard about the program through David Albert's books--his oldest daughter did it.

 

The Kamana one teaches you to identify and study some common backyard birds, dangerous spiders vs. harmless ones, learn about dandelions, distinguish tracks and qualities of foxes, coyotes and wolves, identify some trees, find out what reptiles and amphibians are common to your area (I conquered completely my hitherto lifelong fear of snakes), etc. I now have the Kamana two in hand and it goes into much more depth on the same general areas. Kamana three requires a college biology book, and either three or four gets into building shelters, fires, and other survival skills.

 

This program worked very well for my academic daughter (lots of fun, meaningful research), her nearly non-reader friend (her powers of observation were greatly rewarded in this non-schooly context) and for the first time in my 54 years, I loved the outdoors. It seemed so interesting to me, and so complicated. For example, what I formerly saw as LBBs (little brown birds) I know now as five kinds of sparrows, some invasive, some beneficial, etc. I can't wait to start the next level, and have spent much of the winter reading field guides and nature essays, a real first for this very urban girl!

 

This program deserves to be much more widely known. There are survival schools and camps, but it is unique in that it is something you can study in your own home about your own neighborhood. It's not a bunch of publishing slickers--just genuine people who are sharing their love for the outdoors with anyone else. At first it's a little hard to figure out the system, but if you just go through it day by day, it becomes really clear and easy. Start with level 1, I recommend, unless you have someone who is an experienced naturalist to guide you--then maybe you could begin at level 2. But I tried the much cheaper level one to make sure I could even do it.

 

I LOVE this program.

Danielle

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Danielle,

 

I did notice the pagan worship references:

 

A lot of the "meditations" center around Native American wisdom. We found it helpful and mind expanding, but very conservative Christians might have to edit that part
Is it throughout the course, or just in a few places? I'm a conservative Christian, however, I don't always believe in throwing the baby out with the bathwater, so it would depend on how much this factors in to the other discussions, i.e. identifying, etc. Most anything that includes the native American culture refers to their beliefs...........even Little House on the Prairie!

 

We live on the coast, have an estaurarium within 15 miles of us, gulf beaches and bays and rivers.

 

Again, Danielle, thanks for taking all the time to tell me about this!

 

~Robin

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Hmmm, Robin, that's a hard one for me to answer. If you take a look at the samples on the website, under "Songline" you will see a prayer/meditation that is thematic through at least the "nature awareness" part of the course. Throughout that part (12 daily readings in Kamana 1), the book does refer back--being thankful for birds, mammals, etc. I don't know if you would feel comfortable using it & discussing your differences, or perhaps rewriting it to be more in line with your own religious tradition. Also, Jon Young, the speaker on the tapes, is clearly an admirer of Native Americans and their relationship to the earth. I'm a Quaker, and we believe that there is something of the light of God in every spiritual tradition, so it wasn't hard for the girls or me to view a lot of this as another way of approaching God. But, YMMV.

 

The Resource trail segments, the other half of the program, are much more focused on practical science/observation. It would be feasible to do just that part, but you'd miss advice on observing with peripheral vision (Owl vision) and walking quietly in the woods (fox walking). Also, the tapes really add a lot of discussion on survival, bird sounds, etc.

 

Right now I'm reading Tom Brown's Guide to Nature for Children (he was Kamana's Jon Young's mentor), and he goes through some of the same material, but not as such an easily used curriculum. With Tom Brown, you'd have to figure out the course of study. With Kamana, it's just open up the book and do the day's activities.

 

But I don't use even "the best" program if it goes against my beliefs--there are certainly some science programs I wouldn't buy. I'd say, look at all the samples before you buy. I'm not sure what sort of guarantee they might offer, but it might be worth asking. If it would work for you, it would be a shame to miss it.

 

Good luck.

Danielle

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Danielle,

 

Thank you again for going into more detail. I will indeed print some of the information out from the samples and go from there. I actually looked into some Charlotte Mason nature things yesterday and found some books written by Clare Walker Leslie which looked nice, too.

 

I don't suppose you ever see the Kamana stuff on the used book sites, do you????;)

 

~Robin

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I haven't seen Kamana on used book sites--after level one it's a binder. After completing level two, they require you to have their support services. As I said, it's not cheap at the upper levels. I have Clare Walker Leslie's books on nature journaling and drawing nature. I like her stuff and it's fun to look at, but I find her windy and big on her thoughts, but less on practical skills. Tom Brown's books are usually available from the library (unlike Kamana, sigh)--might be worth a look. Some are autobiographical and some are skills oriented(the more practical for a class).

 

Phew! I should put together a bibliography on this stuff, I've bought so many recently. You might enjoy "A field guide to your own Backyard", altho the author is speaking about the northeast, not your area. It does give some thoughts on observing what is right around you.

 

The National Wildlife Federation puts out a book on developing a backyard wildlife habitat that's pretty good, and Sierra club also has a lot of stuff on their website about involving kids in the outdoors. My dd is thinking about trying to organize an effort for community habitats via the National Wildlife Federation, and that might be a project to look at on their website, also. Free is a good price, no?

 

Danielle

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