Now that we have a month of 9th grade under our belts, I thought it worthwhile to reflect back on how things have been going in homeschool.
Zoology - going very well. We are in the middle of chapter 3. Each day I prepare worksheets for that day's readings as well as track down some explanatory videos. Pretty interesting material. Once we get to chapter 5, we'll be starting on speific animal species and at that point, I'll need to research lab supplies to go along with the course. I feel really good about this because the Zoology textbook is a college freshman text and so it can be a challenge for Junior to read, but we are getting through it.
Math - going pretty well. We are using the pre-algebra Teaching Textbook program which we started last year. Junior seems to be getting into a rhythm with the program. He still hates math but seems comfortable using the program. He is up to 30 minutes a day of math and I help him about 40% of the time. Each chapter has 25 problems and about half are review problems - Junior really needs this reinforcement. We are at dividing decimals with remainders this week - chapter 22.
NAS - Junior finished Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. A great read and Junior has really enjoyed it. The audio book (read by the author) adds to the experience immensely. After our introductory unit on contemporary Indian cultures, in which, among other things, we watched the movie Smoke Signals and had great discussions as well as a lot of laughs. We then turned to a unit on New England Indians and the Pilgrams. [no laughs here] We watched episode 1 of We Shall Remain (the PBS website includes great worksheets for each episode and we filled out the owrksheets) and did some reading on King Phillips War. We just finished a short unit on the Spanish incursion into Pueblo country and the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. An interesting contrast to the New England/English historical narrative. Today we had a super-quick review of early California Indian history in preparation for attending the California Indian Conference on Thursday and Friday.
Spanish - Junior is on episode 14 of Mi Vida Loca (the BBC program) and is doing very well. He watches an episode a day and then does the review exercises. He is very comfortable with this program. The program only has 22 episodes, so we'll need a new program next month. We also started vocabulary cards - we are up to 30 cards. I cut out pictures from magazines (cars, flowers, cats, dogs, doors etc). and Junior has to look up the spanish word and write it on the card. I'm going to track down a Spanish bingo game once we have a big enough pile of vocab cards. I also ordered a Spanish workbook which we will start working on next week.
Writing - This is probably the biggest disappointment of the last month. I enrolled Junior in an online writing course offered by Write at Home ($199). On the plus side, the weekly deadlines have gotten Junior writing. On the con side, the program is not nearly rigourous enough and I really think he needs to write seriously everyday. We also need to find a good grammar program. We were using Giggly Grammar but I think the words on the page on too off-putting (despite the cartoons). Junior has requested a program for grammar like the Teaching Textbooks for math - I am on a quest for such a program! I am also on a quest for a challenging writing program.
Reading - We finished Monument 14 (left over from last year). Junior read the Vanishing Vampire (on his own). He started Hatchet but abandoned it after 3 chapters (too depressing). He is now on World War Z (using the excellent audiobook). He loves this book - which is pretty gory. We watched the movie this week [not as part of homeschool] and are waiting to see some resemblence between the book and the movie. I'm really encouraged by his reading - I'd like him to read more everyday - but baby steps!
In the next month we will be traveling a lot and having a lot of fun homeschool exercursions. While I am looking forward to the trips, I worry that we'll lose focus and having a hard time getting into a routine when we're back home.