If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. ~ Adlai Stevenson

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursday Thoughts... Looking Down the Road...

UPDATED 3/16/2012

Next fall will be the start of sixth grade for Bug. I'm not sure how it is possible that it got here so darn quickly, but there it is... middle school staring me in the face. With that in mind, I know there is a body of knowledge I would like him to have by the time he reaches ninth grade, because at that point, he can, and wants to, start concurrent enrollment at the local community/junior college. Of course, he wants to start out with not-so-academic classes, like art and computer animation, which is fine - that's how I started too (well, the art part anyhow). In the meantime though, while I still want very much to support his explorations of his own interests, I feel responsible for making sure he has a good background knowledge.
I've narrowed down or decided on definite options for most subjects, but could really use some helpful feedback on others!

Line-up for 6th grade:
Language Arts:
I will simply allow him to continue writing as per the Brave Writer Lifestyle. He journals, writes stories, does occasional copywork, etc. I think I will start actually having him write a paper a month, and perhaps written narrations for science and/or history (they can be short!). I also plan to read Grammar Land to both kids over the next year. And he already reads like crazy, so I have no concerns there. I generally let him read what he wants, but occasionally I suggest a few books, some of which he loved, some he never got into.

Life of Fred Fractions and Decimals & Percents. With both books in a single year, it will still work out to about 2 lessons a week, so I
will have him continue in Math Mammoth (Blue Series), which he really likes, and we play math games too. I also read mathy books out loud to both kids.

Line-up for 4th grade:
Language Arts:
Cricket will continue working on phonics through Explode the Code and readers. She'll also follow along in the Brave Writer Lifestyle (with the exception of the papers), and Grammar Land.

Math will be Life of Fred's Elementary books, B (Butterflies) through at least E (Edgewood). We'll get to the rest of the elementary series the next year. We'll supplement with Math Mammoth, and she'll play math games, and listen in on mathy books.

Both kids:

I have thought long and hard about this.
Story of the World is good, but might be getting on the young side for Beetle. I love A Little History of the World, but it misses out on a few things. I looked at vintage books, but many contain so many outdated ideas and phrases that I would then have to explain.

I wanted something I could simply read aloud from once or twice a week, leaving the kids plenty of time to follow their own interests, or to explore rabbit trails inspired by history readings.

and I now I am down to three very good-looking options:
Option 1. k12's Human Odyssey
Option 2.

/World in Medieval & Early Modern Times.
Option 3. Stick with Story of the World.
Opinions please?

I chose Oxford University Press' World in Ancient Times. We're reading the prehistory one now, and will follow up with probably 4 volumes over the next year (Near Eastern, Egyptian, South Asian, and Chinese)

We love narrative science, and hands-on.
so again two options though of course, we'll also continue exploring the kids' specific science interests!):
Option 1. Hakim's Story of Science set, and this science kit to make science set-up easier for myself.
Option 2:

We're going to use books like The Way We Work, The Way Things Work, and a variety of other titles as "spine" texts to explore different scientific areas, such as anatomy, earth science, physics, etc. Basically science unit studies. I might still read The Story of Science aloud, just to read.

We will keep reading good books together, including The Dangerous Book for Boys (and Daring Book for Girls), and doing projects from our Spiral Scout Handbooks, plus both kids have a lot of their own interests. I am considering adding in Spanish as a foreign language. I'm going to try harder to work in Outdoor Hour Challenges, as I do want the kids to be familiar with and understand their local environment. We'll continue listening to a wide variety of music, and we already do a lot of art-related projects.

Erin brought up a good point - geography. We'll probably continue with Richard Halliburton's books for a while, then see what happens!
Am I missing anything?


  1. History - I'm using SOTW with my 'middle schooler's' and it is a great overview, particulary SOTW 4 but... they way my boys use it is I feel not deep enough, I'm trying to get them to flesh it out with extra readings, but that is perhaps my boys not the book's fault.

    Geography - You haven't anything there I would like to suggest for when C is older Brenda Runkle's Geo. from Geo Matters.

    Mostly writing is the most important, and to read and discuss, the aim is to think!

    You're doing a great job.

  2. Looks good! We went through Story of the World and it was good, but by the end we were so sick of it!

    The Macaulay books are a great idea for science spines. We used those a lot!


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