Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Unveiling Our 2012-2013 School Year (Finally)

Since we got home from our extended trip to Maine (lots of related posts on that; check them out by clicking the Summer label on the list at the right!), I've been a busy girl. I spent a few days and nights making final plans and gathering all our materials for this, our sixth homeschooling year. Miss Priss is now in seventh grade, and Tiny Girl is in sixth. We are thoroughly entrenched in the middle school years. (Aside: When and how did that happen?? They keep growing, yet I'm still as youthful, dewy, and wittily charming as ever....)

Some background: we use Ambleside Online's fabulous and rigorous FREE curriculum as our foundation. Since I am a rebel, I amend AO's schedule, adding and subtracting to create a unique plan for my family, one that fits us best. This year, we are beginning AO Year 6. And we're trying our hand at notebooking in a few areas, which I think will be wonderful.

Spiritual Growth
The girls have begun a pre-inductive study of the Psalms called Young Hearts Longing for God, which I purchased during CurrClick's recent sale. This year, they prefer to work on this independently, which is a new thing, and one I'm not so sure about. But I'm willing to give it a try. If I notice any slap-dash work, I'll be back at the helm.

After much curriculum-switching, we decided to enroll Miss Priss at our neighborhood Mathnasium center for her math studies this year. She goes to the center Monday through Thursday for 1.5 hours each day. So far we've all been pleased, and we have high hopes for this year. Tiny Girl opted for a change as well, and we went with MasterMath, a free online middle school math website with video lessons. (For more info, read my review at Curriculum Choice.)

Miss Priss has begun a new course, Critical Thinking, by Anita Harnadek. Both girls will continue with the MindBenders series, which they love, and the BalanceBenders series. All of these are from the Critical Thinking Company.

English Mechanics
For spelling, we're staying with Spelling Power. Three days a week, we spend a bit of time on grammar with Daily Grammar. You can read my reviews of both here. Copywork continues as well. However, we are taking a more formal approach to composition this year and using Susan Wise Bauer's Writing With Skill, book 5 in her writing series.

AO's poet for Year 6 fall term is Robert Frost. To my great joy, Miss Priss is already entranced. We will be incorporating memory work and recitation this year, which we've done in the past but let slide the last two years.

Both girls are reading The Hobbit independently this term. We are STILL reading Oliver Twist as a family read-aloud. Now that we are home and on a more regular and predictable schedule, I'm hoping to move a little more quickly through this one. Tiny Girl and I enjoy it; Miss Priss does not and strongly voices her opinion every time I crack open the Kindle. Also, AO's list of Year 6 free reads is packed with some wonderful selections.

Now that my girls are older, we are returning to Bulfinch's Age of Fable, beginning with chapter 27, the Trojan War and the Iliad. This fits in well with our geography study (see below). I love serendipity!

As for Shakespeare, we will attend a few theatre productions this year. Macbeth is first -- in October, of course. Later, I have in mind Much Ado About Nothing; Julius Caesar; and Romeo and Juliet. Tiny Girl was much put out that A Midsummer Night's Dream is not on the theatre's schedule this year.

Foreign Languages
I had a hard time deciding on a French study. We're beginning with Child's Illustrated First Book in French, by J. G. Keetels (in the public domain; I found it on Google Books). This will be somewhat of a review. Miss Priss wants to continue her German studies via PowerSpeak on our library's website, and I have no intention of dissuading her. Tiny Girl will begin -- and Miss Priss continue -- Latin and Greek roots later in the year.

Readings: History, Geography, Science, Natural History, and Biography
Story of the World, volume 4, by Susan Wise Bauer
Exploring the Holy Land, by Ann Voskamp and Tonia Peckover
Secrets of the Universe (selections), by Paul Fleisher
It Couldn't Just Happen, by Lawrence Richards
School of the Woods, by William J. Long
Ordinary Genius: The Story of Albert Einstein, by Stephanie Sammartino McPherson
"Dion," from Plutarch's Lives
Queen Victoria, by Noel Streatfeild (a Tanglewood selection)

Artist and Composer Studies (Fall Term)
Renoir and Debussy

Outside Activities
Theatre, both girls this year
Riding, Tiny Girl
Piano, both girls
Mid-week small group Bible study at church, both girls
Girl Scout Cadettes, all of us

So there you have it! Our 2012-2013 year. Some titles will change as we finish them, of course, and new ones will be added. But this is the basic framework.

Let the learning begin!


  1. Hi Ellen, LOVE it! I love how you adapt AO's brilliant schedule to suit your family. Looks great, well done! :D

  2. Thank you, Sarah! My biggest trouble is that I'm always finding wonderful resources I'd love to squeeze in and have to be careful not to overload the schedule. THAT would really throw some water on the fire!

  3. You are so funny! You rebel, you. And "youthful, dewy, and wittily charming as ever...." at that!
    Will you be sharing your notebooking at some point? We've done some but not much. And thank you for the link to MasterMath (I've added it to my links page on my blog). Had never heard of it.
    And on a different post, thank you for sharing Frost's poem, along with such beautiful photography. Poetry has been such a difficult 'subject' for us to get into. Perhaps this year it will be more enjoyable.

  4. Blossom, if you have a chance, check out the post I wrote about poetry and teens (click the Poetry label). You might get some good ideas there. :-)

  5. Oh! You make me want to go back to school . . . your school. It sounds like a wonderful curriculum and one that will bless all of you. Robert Frost is one of my personal favorites, and I'm happy to hear the next generation is going to have some of his fans as well. Thank you for sharing and for linking up with NOBH! Smiles!


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