Never say never.
All last week, I felt comfortable saying that I was going to be embarking on homeschooling my youngest three children. Granted, one of them is in 8th grade and taking Geometry, the other in sixth and taking pre-Algebra and the last in first grade, but I thought that I could handle it. At least, I kept saying, I’m not homeschooling our high schooler.
And then suddenly, I was.
Our son is in 11th grade. Junior year. And, I just feel so horrible for him. Junior year is the one where you really hit your stride. The year where all that college pressure starts to really focus and you feel like it is do or die time.
I guess for him, the pressure may be off a little. Maybe for the rest of the juniors around the country as well?
The one thing that he had been adamant about wanting to take this coming year had been AP Physics. I took physics in high school and even honors Physics in college and I knew that I was not up to the task. Mark, my husband, felt more up to the task, but like me, it had been a couple of decades since he had cracked the spine on a physics book. Thankfully, we found www.aphomeschoolers.com and were able to sign him up for what promises to be a very vigorous physics class taught by someone who has indeed opened a physics book in the last decade. Probably in the last day or two.
With the giant AP Physics monster dealt with, we turned to his other classes. Here’s what we’re doing.
He had been signed up for AP Calc through his school. Actually College Calc, but I wasn’t able to find out from the guidance counselor or my child what the difference was. (besides not taking the AP test) We decided not to register him for the AP Calc on aphomeschoolers.com for two reasons. First, the AP Physics class is meant to be very rigorous, 10-12 hours a week. Second, that AP Physics class is very expensive.
Thinkwell Math AP Calc AB to the rescue. That’s what we’re using. That, and having him take the AP Exam. That link is a referral code. You get 15% off and I get $10.
Here’s what we chose to do instead. Dr. Robert Ghrist of UPenn has an open source Calc Class on his website (and youtube). It is the Calculus Blue Project. He will be using the online course as his lectures. And we have purchased Vector Calculus, Linear Algebra, and Differential Forms: A Unified Approach by Hubbard and Hubbard for him to be able to have a book to practice with. (I purchased the book and the student answer workbook)
I found this wonderful syllabus by Kate Laird who wrote the Homeschool Teacher. (winging its way to my house as we speak) She based her curriculum around the Great Courses “History of the Ancient World: A Global Perspective,” Course No. 3850 by Professor Gregory S. Aldrete. I have taken her syllabus and modified it a little bit. But, on the whole that is what we are using for Ancient History.
This wasn’t on his school schedule, but it is now his elective. He’s been working through CodeAcademy to learn Python, but now that it’s official my husband will have to lay out an actual syllabus and curriculum for him. (Mark is a computer programmer, professor, teacher, do all, be all, computer genius and for our purposes homeschool comp sci teacher)
We’re buying Rosetta Stone for this.
This is the only course where I don’t have an inkling of what to do. I have a couple of books that I’m going to read from the library on how to teach advanced English. I do plan to write about what I do, because it really would have been helpful to find someone else trying to do something rigorous, but without a set curriculum.
I have been pretty unhappy with the amount of literature they have read at his public school. I remember reading scads of books, but he literally reads one a marking period. Anything, I feel, would be better than the exposure he’s had thus far. This is not to say he’s not a reader. He inhales books, but I want to give him the ability to look at a book critically as well.
He has also been very interested in writing fiction. NaNoWriMo looms on the horizon and by November we should be settling into something of a routine.
Homeschooling high school is going to be a lot of work. Both for him and for us. Throw in some general teenage obstinance and I think we might be in for a bit of a ride.