Thursday, October 13, 2011

Switching Gears: Homeschooling with Public Library Resources

We've used Rod & Staff, Schoolaid, and a bit of Christian Light Education(Learning to Read) as our core curriculum since Kindergarten. They are very close in content to early to mid-20th century school books, and that appealed to us. They are also bargain priced and efficient(basics) without any frills. We've filled in learning with some great online resources, using free helps and public domain books and texts. In the eighth and last year of Rod & Staff schooling, my son is more than ready(antsy, really) to spread his wings and learn less formally. We are already looking ahead to the next school year, and this year we dropped the Rod & Staff eighth grade reading curriculum in favor of independent reading(with summaries and a vocabulary list) this year.

Next school year, we will be using only one prepared curriculum, and that will be Christian Light Education Math(Rod & Staff ends at grade eight); the rest we'll get from free online resources and the library. There are stacks and stacks of history and science books* at the library, more than enough to choose from for reading, books reports, and vocabulary lists. We go to the library every week, and I already have a section and titles in mind.

Rod and Staff English is advanced, so my son will be well versed in the formal rules of English at the end of this school year. He will be ready to focus on reading and writing. I remember reading only classics for ninth grade English, and writing report after report on them. I really learned to write and comprehend well that year, and the best part was that I was able to choose which classics to read. I chose mostly romantic classics written by Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, E. M. Forester, and Edith Wharton. We did nothing else but read, write, and keep vocabulary lists. It was a small overseas private school, so the teacher was able to get away with this. It is my best remembered and was my most enjoyable year of schooling. I'm planning to open up this possibility to my son as well - the ability to choose favorite classics or quality literature to spend the year with.

I'll be sharing these teen resources and our books here on my blog. Finishing up eighth grade will feel a bit like finishing up second grade, where you move from learning to read to reading to learn. It's like taking the training wheels off, and moving into the adult realm. How fast they grow, and what precious time we've spent learning together as a family. I love homeschooling!

*We'll begin Apologia science in the tenth grade.


Eva said...

I'll look forward to hearing about your new endeavors!

Bonnie said...

I also look forward to your posts as we are on a similar journey w/ my now 8th grade daughter. We are going to miss R&S simplicity :( However we have begun Tapestry of Grace for their discussion outlines for parents, and are enjoying it!

Elizabeth said...

What are you doing for Math for your eighth grader? How much time does he spend schooling? My son is an eight grader, too. We do online public school, but I was just wondering how much time your son spends doing school work every day.

Alexandra said...

Eva - Yours as well! :)

Bonnie - interesting! I've heard of that curriculum. I'll have to have a look at it again.

Elizabeth - We are doing Christian Light Education math(9) and the rest is Rod & Staff(8) minus the reading, which is independent reading. He spends a few hours in the early morning(early riser at 6 a.m.), and then does self corrections in the afternoon. The Bible part takes him quite a bit of time.

Rod & Staff 8th:

Christian Light Education:

Independent Reading
Next year - ninth grade:

Christian Light Education math (10)

Independent resources for remaining subjects.

Tenth grade:

Christian Light Education math(11)
Apologia Science(Biology)
Remaining subjects will be independent resources.

Alexandra said...

Elizabeth - Just to clarify, we had already finished Rod & Staff math grade 8, so we are doing Christian Light math, grade 9 this year. Christian Light is very similar to Rod & Staff; however, continues through grade twelve, where Rod & Staff(the full curriculum) stops at grade eight.

Christian Light Education(CLE) is an excellent full curriculum(K through 12), but my son wants to try another avenue of learning. If it doesn't work out for some reason, we'll begin CLE full-time.

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