Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2010 School Plans -- History

Installment #3 of my 2010 curriculum planning.  This one is easy.  History.

First, I need to make a statement about my homeschooling philosophy.  I believe in reading aloud.  A lot.  And for me, it is easiest to frame those read-alouds around our history studies.  So "history" isn't just history.  It is a pretty big chunk of our schooling because it is the vehicle I use to spend an hour or two reading aloud to my kids.  Each day.  I'd recommend Jim Trelease's The Read-Aloud Handbook if you want to hear someone who can phrase a lot of what I believe in a better manner.

We read a lot of stuff -- historical fiction being a big part of it, but also biographies, modern "classics," fairy tales/folk tales from various parts of the world, classics either set in the time period we are studying or by authors of the time period we are studying, poetry, and a lot of "just fun" books too.

Okay, back to history:

I was totally, totally blessed back in September to receive Illuminations from Bright Ideas Press as part of the Review Crew.  My plan for this year had been for Connor to use Sonlight Core 6, Richard and Trina to use Sonlight Core P3/4, and to do something with William and Thomas.

We have totally loved Sonlight.  But up through August, we have been able to make one core work for everyone.  We started our new plan, with Connor moving off on his own... and it was really, really difficult.  It totally messed with family dynamics, and I felt overwhelmed.

And then came Illuminations.  So now Connor is doing the high school level, William and Thomas are doing the 3rd-8th grade level, and Richard and Trina are doing the Early Learners materials.  Everyone does the same basic history (Mystery of History Volume 1), and everyone is doing the same family read aloud.  Everyone does the same Humanities and Geography.  The three big guys are doing grammar together as well.  It's great, we love it.

However, even though I'm reading aloud a bunch (Mystery of History, the family read-aloud, the 3rd-8th read-alone, the Early Learners literature, the 3rd-8th grade optional readings), and Connor is doing the high school literature himself, it has not been enough.  And I think the history is a bit light for high school.

So Connor is also doing Core 6 (minus the titles included in Illuminations) at about half-pace.

What this looks like for next week -- just to give you an idea as to what we are up to -- is:

Mystery of History lessons 28-30 (Samson, Zhou Dynasty, Samuel)
The family read-aloud is the book of Ruth
We'll be reading Chinese Wonder Book (an ebook) and Why Snails Have Shells
Geography: we'll be working in South America
Humanities: has to do with the use of symbols
We're reading books like D is for Dancing Dragon for the Early Learners (everyone listens)
Connor is reading The Iliad
Connor is reading about Ancient Crete in his Sonlight history, and we'll all be reading D'Aulaire's Greek Myths (God King is also scheduled by SL now, but that is a read-aloud in Illuminations in another few weeks, so we're saving it for then)

So that is the plan at the moment.  Tomorrow I'm going to cover a bunch of miscellaneous subjects, including science and music.

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Kimberly @ RaisingOlives said...

Thanks for sharing this Debra. We're looking at moving into 2 Sonlight levels soon. (We have 12 more weeks to finish in Core 5, but are moving slower than normal because of review things.)

I was curious about Illuminations, because I love MOH. I was wondering how it compared to Sonlight. You're comment that it seemed light for high school is what I needed to know.

Debra said...

Oh, Core 5 was so wonderful! We absolutely loved it.

As for Illuminations, well... I think I'm going to be doing a multi-part review of it next week, uhh, the week after next actually. I've been trying to get a handle on how to do it, and I think I've settled on the idea of reviewing each level separately -- starting with the 3rd to 8th grade material, then high school, and finally the Early Learners. Though I've toyed with trying to review it in parts by major subject areas too. I don't know!!!

The point is: if I were in your shoes, I'd wait and read some of the reviews before deciding. I don't know if anyone besides me is using the high school level, but hopefully so.