Another year, another lineup of programs to use with the kids. So far this school year has been a doozy because on top of the planning I had to do for my two older children I also have a 10 month old on the verge of walking who I have to chase and a husband who's incapacitated and out of work until sometime in the new year due to a shoulder injury. I am busier then I've ever been at any other point in my marriage but despite that, or more probably because of that, I'm more focused and productive then ever. So on to the show...
Catherine is in Grade 9 this year and we've simplified English a great deal to cope with the increasing workload (hers and mine). Instead of the multi-year writing program she was doing last year, Writing With Skill, she'll be going through The Lively Art of Writing. After that her writing will simply be the reports and essays she'll have to produce for other subjects. Later in the year she'll also complete Jensen's Grammar to put the finishing touches on her grammar skills and any practice after that will come from editing her work and possibly her brother's. She's still doing Jensen's Vocabulary and the MCT 4 Practice book but those are ten minute a day things that will have to fit in around the more fundamental work. She's reading ancient literature as well (just finished Gilgamesh) a la The Well Trained Mind.
For math we're working with Foerster's Algebra 1. In Canada, as with most of the world, our math is integrated and not portioned out into sections like pre-algebra and geometry, but Foerster's fit so well with the no-nosense, clear, sidebarless texts that Catherine likes that I choose to use it and follow the American math sequence. There will be no fun add-ons, no supplementation. Foester's is it and it seems to be working well so for.
History will consist of Catherine reading The History of the Ancient World by Susan Wise Bauer. She will learn to take proper notes and finally keep an honest-to-goodness timeline. We've tried them before but never found a method that really worked. Either we were dealing with a Book of Centuries that would get put up and forgotten or something along the wall that was hard to access and inevitably fell down. I've got a new method now that works like a charm and I'll give details in a further post. She'll likely also be listening to Teaching Company lectures, I haven't got the details around those sorted out quite yet.
Science will be Hewitt's Conceptual Physical Science. It's a college level texts that should provide a good introduction to some of the science she will be studying in later grades. I decided to keep it as simple as possible, have her read a chapter and take notes, discuss it and go over the review questions. I could do all sorts of neat labs and supplementary activities but science is one of those subjects that always seems to slip away on me to I've reverted to a Keep It Simple Stupid strategy for this year.
Latin is Lingua Latina which I've owned for awhile now and has turned out to be perfect for Catherine. It's a program which, aside from the College Companion book, is written completely in Latin. The goal is to have her be able to read Latin as if it's her first language rather then to have her translate as she goes
That's the core of her year. Beyond that she'll have her violin practice and lessons and she wants to continue learning how to program in Python but beyond scheduling a bit of time for violin I'm not going to be pressuring her on those two subjects. With those, she can start to learn to set aside some of her leisure time to pursue those interests.
Simple and straightforward work best with Catherine. She doesn't appreciate too many rabbit trails in a program (in discussion afterwards is another matter) and all of my picks this year seem to match with that preference and provide her with a good fit. I am really hoping that this will be the year that we end with everything we started with.
Tommorrow...Harry's Grade 5 line up.