Saturday, January 20, 2018

High School Syllabus!

Welcome to the 2018 Virtual Homeschool Curriculum Fair!  This weeks topic is homeschool Curriculum.
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We have been using Classical Conversations Challenge program for the past 3 years. Each year we get a guide, purchase resources and get to work. One of the major criticisms that I've heard of Challenge is that it is so prescribed, and there is no room for creativity. In all honesty, the curriculum picks are not far off from what I would have chosen on my own with the added benefit of amazing group projects, weekly accountability and very cool classical tools used in the context of group discussion.
Down to brass tacks. At least one of my youngest two have now gone through Challenge A, B, 1, II and III.
The curriculum choices follow 6 Strands: Logic, Grammar, Research, Rhetoric, Debate, Expo & Comp.
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While CC recommends Saxon for Math (the Logic stage) every student is free to use whatever works best for them. My son uses Math U See, while my daughter is committed to Saxon. Weekly Math "discussions" at Community Day include a Math "Exordium" (using pictures from the book, "100 diagrams that changed the World, Perploxors, Critical Thinking, etc), presentation of a math concept, and then students sharing their own math problems, using the 5 Common Topics. We also enjoy games like Agricola, Risk Legacy, Ticket to Ride, etc. Definitely in the Critical Thinking, Strategic development camp.
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Grammar is all about Henle I and II. We also use Memoria Press' guides to Henle. Before Henle, we used First Form from MP. How to succeed with Henle? Memorize and power through. There is no substitute for memorizing. I recommend the MP Latin Form posters and doing them daily with your kids. We also do Latin National Exam and I highly recommend Memoria Press' LNE guide and on-line prep class.
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Expo and Comp is just that. Reading lots of great books and then writing essays, using Circe's Lost Tools of Writing. The kids are also delving into Shakespeare and writing and doing Recitations from Shakespeare plays. Great stuff. My son, especially, does a great amount of reading on his own, usually going through a book every week or two, outside of CC required reading. Of late, he's been reading Karac Tor and the Endor's Game series. He is also big into history, weaponry and Theology, and is often checking out reference books and reading Artifax and Biblical Archeology Review.
My daughter is a much slower reader but really puzzles over issues. For instance, her current read is To Kill a Mockingbird puzzling greatly over the times and situation of the book.
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Research is Science and CC uses Apologia- which has been our high school Science go-to for over 15 years. We do experiments during class day and the kids do Lab Report write-ups and reading, tests at home. The focus is on the Scientific Method and Lab Reports. This year, we have Physical Science and Chemistry going on 'round here;  my dd will be writing a formal research paper as well and last year she participated in a Science Fair (which she won, btw).
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Rhetoric is the art and science of speaking and writing well and has included Current Events, World View, Philosophy, Socratic Dialog and Music Theory. This is a rich, rewarding and at times difficult strand, but worth struggling through. What we have loved is that with community we have the courage to go beyond what we would do on our own. Additionally, the discussions that ensue from the reading and studying are always thought-provoking and at times, amazing!
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Debate- this strand has covered Physical Geography (drawing the world by heart), to Formal Logic, LD and Policy Debate, Mock Trial as well as History from the perspective of original source documents and recitations.Again, challenging, great stuff.
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Additionally, while it's not considered a "strand" per se, CC has Rhetorical events for the kids, including, essays, recitations, debates, stock market analysis, COLA analysis, Science Fairs and more! This year, in Challenge 3, the kids had 14 events first semester and 19 second. It's a rich, varied and very full curriculum. Parents are still the homeschooling parent and encouraged to scale as needed, both up and down.

CC recommends an hour a day per strand. Sometimes we hit that, sometimes we don't. We often do homework on the week-ends, especially when rhetorical events are due.

We host an in-depth Bible study in our home every week. Additionally, we've used Memoria Press's Christian Studies I -IV and High School studies. An excellent overview of Bible basics and church history that will give your students a firm foundation.
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Additionally, both kids spend hours drawing and creating; my dd is has been into clay creation for a couple of years and ds crafts weaponry and costumes. Both participate in Karate for a couple of hours two to three times a week and both take music lessons, piano and violin. and watch movies- often related to the history or composition that we are currently studying.
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Theater has been a big part of our curriculum for a long time and our kids have participated in a yearly One Act Play competition, Spring Drama Camp, and in the past a Shakespeare camp, where they perform a Shakespeare play in it's entirety. The Tantara program coming up soon will by my Senior's 15th performance, many delivered at a college campus theater or at a park.

We've also spent countless hours participating in TeenPact (state class as well as Alumni events). Three of my kids have interned at the State capital and we've all campaigned for various people and causes.

The Challenge program has allowed us to accomplish more than we ever could have on our own, especially some of the group events, such as Mock Trial, Science Fair and Debates.

Check out what my amazing VCF buddies have written this week:

Looking for more curriculum ideas? Visit my fellow homeschool bloggers! 

Note: all posts will be live after 8 am EST on Monday, Jan. 22nd.
Our Homeschool Plan for 3rd, 6th, 8th, & 12th Grades by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Our 10th Grade Plans by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Planning Out Our Unschooling Studies by Jen @ A Helping Hand Homeschool
The Details of Curriculum by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Reflections of a Curriculum Junkie by Brittney @ Mom's Heart
Freedom through nature journaling. by Kim @ Good Sweet Love
How I pull together a homeschool curriculum without packaged curriculum by Dana @ Life Led Homeschool
Our Favorite Curriculum and Resources - An Annotated Bibliography by Sabrina @ Kids, Crunch, and Christ
Our 2018 Homeschool Curriculum Choices by Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool
Top Home Educating Resources by Sarah @ DeliveringGrace
Homeschooling Curriculum We Are Using This Year by Laura O @ Day by Day in Our World
Use the Force and Complete the Course by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Choices, choices - how to choose your curriculum wisely by Lizzy @ Peaches@Home
Our Curriculum Needs - grade seven by Annette @ A Net in Time
The Heart of Our School by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
What I Use with 7th and 9th Grader - Virtual Homeschool Fair -Week 3 by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
How to Avoid Gaps in Education by Kristen H. @ Sunrise to Sunset
Tricky Subjects and Starting the Decision Making Process by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens
High School Syllabus by TrueNorthHomeschoolAcademy @ GoldenGrasses @Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

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