We’ve been homeschooling for more than a year now. It is not our favorite boat activity. Sure, it’s great to really be involved in your kids’ learning and be able to adapt the lessons to their level because they’re going to come out so far ahead and blah blah blah blah, but being both parent and teacher is really, really hard with tweens who are always trying to push their boundaries. When they declare that something is “sooooo boring,” that means you tell them either to suck it up and learn how to pay attention to boring things (a valuable life lesson) or you spend hours online trying to find worksheets or lesson plans to teach in a creative, fun, Supermom kind of way. When the kids were in public school, Mel felt obligated to do the former. With the kids now in homeschool, Mel feels obligated to do the latter.
It sucks. She has invented a service in her head in which a drone delivers a trained teacher to the boat for a few days to give us a break from the drama and then picks her up after she fixes everything. Mel will call it the, “Elite Mary Poppins Boat Governess Service.” You should be able to order it on Amazon. One-Click.
Anyway, for Allie in Grade 5 and Tommy in Grade 7 we decided to do the next levels in basically the same curriculum for the second year. This means Singapore Math (Levels 4 and New Elementary Math), Michael Clay Thompson’s Language Arts (Level 2 and Level 4), Harcourt Horizons US History (Grade 5) and Holt McDougal US History (Grade 7), and Science Fusion for Grade 5 and Science Fusion Middle School Modules (basically Biology, Chemistry, Physics) for Tommy.
We are very happy with Singapore Math, although sometimes the answer key is wrong and the geometric shapes and angles are all wonky. This is very surprising given how good the rest of it is.
We are not happy at all with the Science Fusion for Grade 5 because it’s really light on the details (unlike Science Fusion Grade 4, oddly enough), but at least by now Mel knows how to supplement it. If Mel remembers, before science we warm up with a few mysteries from 65 Short Mysteries You Solve with Science.
We are not doing US history while we are in the Med. Instead, we are making our own social studies curriculum using books like Tools of the Ancient Greeks. The kids also have a required travel journal now. Mel idealistically wanted them to list three facts and one opinion about what they learned in each museum we visited, but she considers herself lucky if she gets one fact and one obnoxious cartoon. It’s a start. We also have been using Ancient History Reader’s Theater, which includes small plays that the kids have to act out. Of course, the Antony and Cleopatra one with brother and sister playing the roles got a little weird…
Here is a list of books the kids read for school last year (this does not include their self-selected books, which are legion, but Mel refuses to count Garfield’s Greatest Hits as appropriate language arts reading. Admittedly, a lot of the Rick Riordan stuff, not included here and which both kids love, is pertinent to our travels):
Tommy (Grade 6 last year): Treasure Island, The Call of the Wild, The Invisible Man (The MCT Search trilogy), The Time Machine, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, A Christmas Carol (MCT Time trilogy), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Lord of the Flies, Unbroken (full version, not YA version), Julius Caesar (Shakespeare Made Easy version–awesome), Poetry for Young Readers: Emily Dickinson, Poetry for Young Readers: Langston Hughes. Next Up: Frankenstein (1818 version)
Allie (Grade 4 last year): MCT’s Mud Trilogy, Bunnicula, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Chasing Vermeer, Because of Winn-Dixie, Inside Out & Back Again, Dear Mr. Henshaw, The Great Gilly Hopkins, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, The Wind in the Willows (MCT trilogy), The Princess and the Goblin, Bloomability, Poetry for Young People: Emily Dickinson, Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes, The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, The Wee Free Men. Next Up: Number the Stars.
The MCT (Michael Clay Thompson) trilogies come with great teacher guides for discussion and essays. There is a ton of free discussion topics on the web for any of these books – gotta love book clubs! We also do a variety of writing projects.
For bonus stuff, Allie is learning typing with some typing software, and the kids are doing some coding with classes from Youth Digital. These courses are expensive, but around holidays they have massive sales — like 60% off — only way to go. We also try to occasionally get in some Philosophy for Kids.