We only got in around 135 days of homeschool a year.  For the 2016-2017 school year, Tommy was in Grade 7 and Allie was in Grade 5.  A full day was four 45-minute classes: Math, Social Studies, English, and Science.  If we had to do a short day, we would always do Math at a minimum.

Math: Singapore Math.  Allie did 4A&4B and Tommy was working on New Elementary Mathematics Syllabus D, which looks like a combination of prealgebra and algebra.  Allie needed some more rote practice sometimes, so Greg made extra worksheets for her (for example: multiplying fractions).  Singapore math still had an occasional error in the answer book, and sometimes the word problems were not worded clearly.  However, we loved this curriculum.  The explanations in the textbooks were clear, methodical, and brief, and a number of examples were provided.

Science: Tommy did two Science Fusion modules, Matter & Energy and Cells & Heredity, and he read a bit from the book Thinking Physics, which was a little advanced for him, but he enjoyed the challenge.  Allie did Science Fusion Grade 5, and I still remain underwhelmed by the level of detail in it.  On Fridays we would attempt some sort of science experiment or watch a science video, and Teach with Movies was handy for this.  The kids especially enjoyed the engineering movie Spare Parts, with a syllabus found on the Teach with Movies site.

Social Studies: Once we got out of the Med (where we focused on world history), we turned our attention to US History, as that was what the kids were supposed to be doing at their grade levels.  Besides their history textbooks, one day a week we would watch an installment of America: The Story of Us for social studies instead of hitting the textbooks. There are study guides on the website for the show.  Actually, Tommy’s Holt US History textbook was pretty good, especially once Mel figured out how to download the worksheets, which are fascinating biographies, political cartoons, and critical thinking exercises.  There is also a lot of cool multimedia available, but we did not have enough data to fully take advantage of it.  Mel considered switching Allie to Tommy’s textbook for the rest of the summer, as Allie’s Harcourt Horizons was just sooooo boring, but that never happened. 

And, of course, the kids experienced tons of museums, guided tours, languages, and cultures while we sailed the Med.  These kids have run on the field where the Olympics started, toured the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican, the Parthenon, the Acropolis, the Pantheon, and consulted the Oracle at Delphi, among other things.  So there’s that.

English:  Since September 2016, the kids read (for school; they still have books of their own choosing for fun):

Allie (age 10, grade 5): A Hat Full of Sky, Selected short stories of Edgar Allan Poe (read with Tommy), The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, When You Reach Me, A Wrinkle in Time, Little Women, The Princess Academy, Number the Stars, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, One Crazy Summer, Inkheart (stopped because too boring), I Am Malala, Poetry from Songs of the Open Road (travel poetry collection), Sea of the Dead, Music of the Dolphins, Little House on the Prairie (below her level at this point), Chains/Forge/Ashes series, I Lived on Butterfly Hill,  Poetry for Young People: Carl Sandburg

Tommy (age 12, grade 7): Frankenstein, Selected short stories of Edgar Allan Poe (read with Allie), The Hound of the Baskervilles, Haroun & the Sea of Stories, The Three Musketeers (stopped early because it was torture to get him to read it—Mel probably overshot with that one), The Island of Dr. Moreau, Alas, Babylon!, Poetry from Songs of the Open Road (travel poetry collection), Submarine! (nonfiction), 1984 (stopped early after Mel read ahead to some, er, adult scenes—Ooops!), Poetry for Young People: Carl Sandburg.  Tommy had some concentration difficulties this year that slowed down his reading.

Sometimes we would just discuss the book, sometimes we would go through Schmoop on the book, and sometimes they would do a book report or essay.  We probably didn’t do enough Venn diagrams of the characters or build a model of the setting or whatever they do when they read books in school.  We would do a writing assignment one day a week, and we always we did Michael Clay Thompson, focusing on the Grammar, Practice, and Writing textbooks.  We didn’t concentrate on vocabulary and spelling as much as I would have liked, but Tommy absorbs that easily from books, and Allie absorbs that from Tommy.

I had these great plans to do a legal unit over the summer with both kids using 12 Angry Men, but that didn’t happen

Other stuff: We would occasionally do Philosophy for Kids, and the kids learned a little Spanish when we were in Spain.

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