We have always homeschooled our children.  We have many reasons for homeschooling, some of which include:  its efficiency (the entire days work can be done in a matter of hours), the relationships it nurtures (I know my children and my children know each other far better than if they were separated at school each day), the freedom to learn in the way that works best (for instance, one of my daughters announced that she only likes to do school work standing up), the lack of age-segregation (my children are comfortable with socializing with a wide group of ages and do not feel as though playing with someone younger is beneath them), and positive socialization.

Currently, we have 2 first graders, 1 second/third grader, 1 child who is really impossible to slot into a grade because of global delays, 2 seventh graders, and 1 sophomore.  (With our oldest on her own, having graduated from college, plus a college junior and college freshman. both off at school.)  We mostly use a literature-based unit study approach, though I've also been known to throw in a more classical style as well as some (shhh!) unschooling methods.  We're a bit hard to pin down.

We also have two new daughters as of January. We won't be doing formal academics with them for some time now, but that doesn't mean we aren't doing things. I have preschool boxes out for them to work in, both to fill in gaps and to allow me assess what their abilities include. They watch the Leap Frog Letter Factory video a lot. (This is the video that taught H. all of her letters and their sounds in just a few months.) They also play a lot with the phonics firefly. But most of all, it is learning to be comfortable in their new family.

Because I always find it useful to see what other families do, here is an outline of what our children are studying this year.  My sophomore does her work independently with me checking in every week.

P (15 - 10th grade) - Finishing Algebra 1 & 2 (VideoText); Starting Points (a world view curriculum); Biology (Apologia); Dutch and Japanese; Humanities (Renaissance history and literature, she will be reading Dante's Inferno, The Prince, and Utopia among other things.)

The 7th graders do some work on their own, but we do many other subjects together.

TM (almost 13 - 7th grade): Saxon math 7/6; Cursive handwriting; a unit study on Ancient Egypt (his choice); beginning Arabic (also his choice). The main focus of his school year will be working with me on solidifying his reading skills. I am concerned about fluency and want to secure that before we go any farther.

D (12 - 7th grade): Math (8th grade Rod and Staff); Grammar (Rod and Staff); Cursive handwriting; Physical science (Apologia); French

I spend the bulk of the morning working with the emerging readers. I work with H. (almost 13); K. (9 - 2nd/3rd grade); G. and L. (6 - 1st grade) individually. In general, for this age I use Explode the Code for phonics and Rod and Staff for math. I also use Hands-On Thinking Skills (grade K-1) with H. and K. Until a child is really reading fluently, I do small amounts of written work focusing on basic phonics and arithmetic.

Together the younger six will work with me on two unit studies: Renaissance history and a study of the arctic and antarctic, including Alaska and the Yukon. When we do this, I do a lot of reading and we do activities together. Some of these projects are activities or experiments or crafts, other times, we add dates to the running timeline notebooks each child has, map work, or various oral and written narrations. We will also watch movies and documentaries on these subjects as well.

Instead of rewriting our reading list, I will copy the books we will be using below. Because this was created for my records, it includes my library's book numbers. Just ignore this. Beware... it's long!

2015 – 2016 Book List

1.      Gold Rush Fever: A Story of the Klondike, 1898 – Barbara Greenwood
a.       Library (#31192011711098)
b.      Need Sept. 9
2.      Truth Quest History : Renaissance, Reformation & Exploration
a.       Own
b.      Whole year
3.      The Cremation of Sam McGee – Robert W. Service (illustrated by Ted Harrison)
a.       Own
b.      Sept. 11
4.      Famous Men of the Renaissance & Reformation – Robert G. Shearer
a.       Own
b.      Whole year
5.      The Klondike Quest: A Photographic Essay/ 1897-1899 – Pierre Berton
a.       Library (#31192004857288)
b.      Sept. 11
6.      Fourteenth Century Towns – John D. Clare, ed.
a.       Library – interlibrary loan
b.      Sept. 15
7.      Alaska – Shelley Gill
a.       Library – interlibrary loan
b.      Sept. 16
8.      Alaska’s Dog Heroes: True Stories of Remarkable Canines – Shelley Gill
a.       Library – interlibrary loan
b.      Sept. 16
9.      Sister Wendy’s Story of Painting
a.       Own
b.      All year
10.  Dogteam – Gary Paulson
a.       Library (#31192007035858)
b.      Sept. 21
11.  Xtreme Races: Iditarod – S. L. Hamilton
a.       Library (#31192020399638)
b.      Sept. 21
12.  Amazing Arctic & Antarctic Projects You Can Build Yourself – Carmella van Vleet
a.       Own
b.      Fall
13.  The North Pole Was Here: Puzzles and Perils at the Top of the World – Andrew C. Revkin
a.       Library (#31192013224173)
b.      Sept. 23 – 30
14.  Fillopo’s Dome – Anna Rockwell
a.       Library (#31192000497253)
b.      Sept 24 – 59
15.  Henry the Navigator – Claude Hurwicz
a.       Library (#31192011070289)
b.      Oct. 6
16.  Spice Ho! A Story of Discovery – Agnes Danforth Hewes
a.       Own
b.      Oct. 8 – 19
17.  Icebergs and Glaciers – Seymour Simon
a.       Library (#31192005434087)
b.      Oct. 12
18.  Arctic Tundra and Polar Deserts – Chris Woodford
a.       Library (#31192012308894)
b.      Oct. 14 – 26
19.  Lorenzo de’ Medici: Florence’s Great Leader and Patron of the Arts – Lee Hancock
a.       Library – interlibrary loan
b.      Oct. 27
20.  Great Ice Bear: The Polar Bear and the Eskimo – Dorothy Hinshaw Patent
a.       Library (#31192011038500)
b.      Nov. 4
21.  A Florentine Merchant – Giovanni Caselli
a.       Library (#31192005426315)
b.      Nov. 5
22.  Polar Explorers for Kids: Historic Expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic with 21 Activities – Maxine Snowden
a.       Own
b.      Fall
23.  Breaking into Print: Before and After the Invention of the Printing Press – Stephen Krensky
a.       Own
b.      Nov. 11
24.  Igloos – June Preszler
a.       Library (#31192012818219)
b.      Nov. 11
25.  The Inuit Thought of It: Amazing Arctic Innovations – Alootook Ipellie
a.       Library – Interlibrary loan
b.      Nov. 11
26.  Great Tales from English History – Robert Lacey
a.       Library (#31192013024490)
b.      Nov. 12, Feb. 10, Feb. 24, Feb. 29
27.  Leonardo da Vinci – Diane Stanley
a.       Own
b.      Dec. 1
28.  Leonardo – Mina Bacci (Art prints)
a.       Own
b.      Dec. 1
29.  The Second Mrs. Giaconda – E. L. Konigsburg
a.       Own
b.      Dec. 8 – 16
30.  Michelangelo: An Introduction to the Artist’s Life and Work – Jen Green
a.       Own
b.      Jan. 12
31.  Michelangelo – Simonetta Rasponi (Art prints)
a.       Own
b.      Jan. 12
32.  The Antarctic Book of Cooking and Cleaning: A Polar Journey – Wendy Trusler and Carol Devine
a.       Own
b.      Fall/winter
33.  Antarctic Antics: A Book of Penguin Poems
a.       Own
b.      Jan. 13
34.  Isabel, Ferdinand, and Fifteenth Century Spain – Kenny Mann
a.       Library (#31192011782802)
b.      Jan. 14 – 19
35.  Columbus – Ingri & Edgar Parin d’Aulaire
a.       Own
b.      Jan. 21
36.  Land Ho!: Fifty Glorious Years in the Age of Exploration – Nancy Winslow Parker
a.       Own
b.      Jan. 26
37.  Around the World in a Hundred Years: from Henry the Navigator to Magellan – Jean Fritz
a.       Own
b.      Jan. 26 – Feb. 1
38.  A German Printer – Giovanni Caselli
a.       Library (#31192010163580)
b.      Feb. 4
39.  Vienna – R. Conrad Stein
a.       Library – interlibrary loan
b.      Feb. 8
40.  Magellan: A Voyage Around the World – Fiona MacDonald
a.       Library (#31192010342178)
b.      Feb. 9
41.  The Hawk that Dare not Hunt by Day – Scott O’Dell
a.       Own
b.      Feb. 11 – 18
42.  Nicholaus Copernicus: The Earth is a Planet
a.       Library (#31192012479547)
b.      Feb. 22
43.  Sir Francis Drake His Daring Deeds – Roy Gerrard
a.       Own
b.      Feb. 25
44.  You Wouldn’t Want to Explore with Sir Francis Drake – David Stewart
a.       Library – interlibrary loan
b.      Feb. 25
45.  Shakespeare for Kids: His Life and Times – Colleen Aagesen and Margie Blumberg
a.       Own
b.      Mar. 1 and on
46.  Shakespeare with Children: Six Scripts for Young Players – Elizabeth Weinstein
a.       Own
b.      Mar. 1 and on
47.  Shakespeare Stories – Leon Garfield
a.       Own
b.      Mar. 1 and on
Books for Lunchtime Read Alouds
1.      Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod – Gary Paulsen
a.       Library (#31192012955173)
2.      The Emporer’s Winding Sheet – Jill Paton Walsh
a.       Library (#31192000565265)
3.      The Impossible Rescue: The True Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure – Martin W. Sandler
a.       Own
4.      The Lark and the Laurel – Barbara Willard
a.       Library (#31192002415097)
b.      Has a sequel: The Sprig of Broom
5.      The Shakespeare Stealer – Gary Blackwood
a.       Own
b.      Two sequels: Shakespeare’s Scribe and Shakespeare’s Spy

Boys’ Independent Reading
1.      The Call of the Wild – Jack London
a.       Both
2.      The Making of the Social Network: An Interactive Modern History Adventure – Michael Burgan
a.       TM

Other resources
1.      Fluent Forever – Gabriel Wyner
2.      Fraction Finders – Mindware Publishers
3.      Division Designs – Mindware Publishers
4.      Picture Study Portfolio: da Vinci
5.      Picture Study Portfolio: Michelangelo
a.       Both by Emily Kiser for Simply Charlotte Mason
6.      Dover Coloring Books
a.       Arctic and Antarctic Life
b.      Sistine Chapel
c.       Renaissance Fashions
7.      Bellerophon Coloring Books
a.       A Shakespeare Coloring Book

8.      Recipes for Writing – Karen Skidmore Rackliffe

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