Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Our 2022-2023 Curriculum {And How We Homeschool High School}


We are wrapping up our first semester of this school year! At the beginning of the year I promised that I would share our curriculum this year and I'm finally getting a chance to finish up this post... This year we have a 12th grader, 9th grader, 7th grader, 5th grader, Kindergartner and Pre-schooler! 

Pictured above:  Rose Floral Clipboard, Homemade Checklists, outdated Teacher Lesson Planner (I didn't use it much last year so I'm re-dating some of the weeks to use this year instead), and a beautiful 2023 Catholic Planner 

(I was given the planner as a review copy and love how beautifully it coordinates with my other planning tools. I haven't started using it yet! This past year - with my right hand in a cast like brace for a few months and still not fully recovered - I've found myself opting for my phone calendar instead of having to write... Looking forward to using actual planners again!) 

Here's how we homeschool high school...

Before I start with the specifics I want to share a little more about how we have been homeschooling for high school. That seems to be what I've been getting the most questions about! It's always nice to have someone share what's worked for their family to help inspire you with your own... As the oldest of twelve, I was able to watch how my mom homeschooled all of my siblings (over many years with different styles/curriculums) and I have a dear friend with young adults a little older than mine who has been a huge inspiration to me. Maybe hearing what we've done will help you figure out what is best for your family! 

Like my youngest two brothers (who are now 26 and 28 - our oldest son is four years younger than my youngest brother!) I've enrolled our first four children with Kolbe Academy for high school. It was mainly for the paperwork/transcript side of things in case our teens decided to pursue college sports like my brothers. I have loved the flexibility offered by Kolbe and that we can continue tailoring our curriculum to our family's preferences and our students' needs. I submit graded samples twice a year and they keep all the necessary records for the transcripts. So far we have had three Kolbe Academy graduates and will have a fourth this upcoming spring! 

We actually decided not to enroll our new high schooler this year due to the extra cost... With the cost of everything going up (and our grocery and gas bills skyrocketing) I opted to put our limited homeschooling funds towards a few live high-school classes and some dual-enrollment college courses instead of the enrollment fees. (Thankfully we live in a state that gives parents total freedom over home educating, and doesn't have a set curriculum that must be followed, so I don't need enrollment for any of those reasons.) My hope is that our current freshman will actually graduate with (or very close to) an Associate's degree by the end of his four years of high school so I'm not as worried about having that official high school diploma this time around. 

Kolbe no longer has it on their website, but our first four high schoolers all worked towards Kolbe's old Magna Cum Laude Diploma.  The courses I've chosen to complete the requirements prepared them all well for college. 

*Kolbe's current options are a little different, it looks like they are no longer requiring that extra year of English/Literature (my kids all completed at least 10 semesters) and Foreign Language (now it's two years instead of three). Here is their current college preparatory recommended track

NOTE: Any one semester college course counts as a full YEAR of high school credit. For example this school year our daughter is taking 4 college classes in the fall and 4 in the spring. This will equal 8 high school credits on her high school transcript (as well as 24 college credits).  The college classes are taught at a much faster pace than a typical high school course. 

Here's an overview to give you an idea of how I plan high school courses for our students and minimum graduation requirements for each subject:

Theology - 4 credits
Our current senior completed the first three and then took Christian Moral Principles from FUS. 
She is actually planning to get an AA in Theology from Franciscan and will be taking more Theology this upcoming semester and next school year. 

Our current "freshman" has already completed Understanding the Scripture and Intro to Catholicism so this year he is taking Apologetics as you'll see below.  


English & Literature - 5 credits (including at least 2 credits of Literature)
Pretty sure our kids have all exceeded this requirement, taking both English and Literature courses most years. We use Institute for Excellence in Writing for English and a few Homeschool Connections and/or Lukeion live courses for Literature. My current college students have told me that IEW's The Elegant Essay was especially helpful for college. You can find my IEW page here!   


History - 3 credits (World History, US History, History Elective)
Our students have typically completed the three years of history and followed it with Government and Economics their senior year. Our current senior is the first to take history as a dual-enrollment class and has really enjoyed the course! 


Mathematics - 3 credits (Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra II or higher)
Our second son completed Advanced Math his senior year. The girls opted to finish with Algebra II. One daughter finished with Foundations in Personal Finance her senior year. Our current Freshman is already working through Algebra II and I plan to put him in dual-credit Pre-Calc/Calc classes etc as soon as he is old enough. One son got his Geometry credit by working through Saxon Algebra I, II and Advanced Math.  Another son and one daughter completed Teaching Textbooks Geometry on top of Saxon Algebra I and II, and one daughter completed Jacob's Geometry in addition to Saxon Algebra I and II. As you can see it has varied depending on the student. 

Science - 3 credits (Biology +Lab, Chemistry +Lab, and a Physical Science)
We have used Taylor Science  for high school biology and chemistry for our older students. I prefer having two siblings take it together when possible so they can work through the experiments at the same time. It was nice having the older boys go through high school science together and then the older two girls. It's harder now that we have bigger age gaps with the younger ones. 


Foreign Language - 3 credits (2 credits must be in the same language) 
We now start with a Grammar Intensive in 8th grade, followed by Latin online with The Lukeion Project. We've had four students take Latin from Dr. Sue Fisher and we love her so much! Charlotte was the one to introduce us to Lukeion and the live classes my high schoolers have taken have all been excellent. 

For anyone with auditory processing challenges/dyslexia, ASL is an excellent foreign language option.  
Our first completed 1 year Latin, followed by 2 years ASL. 
Our second completed 4 years of Latin 
Our third LOVES ASL so she also choose to take it on top of Latin. 
Our fourth completed 2 years Latin + 2 years college Spanish (6 high school credits all together since each semester of college counts as a year of high school credit)
Our fifth is taking his first year of Latin now. 

To quote Lukeion: "There are many programs now available for younger students. In our experience, however, these programs demand a lot of busy work but deliver very little in the way of learning the functional nuts-and-bolts of Classical languages. Students are not generally prepared to master these languages until they have reached the logic stage. You will accomplish much more in a fraction of the time if you wait until your student is 12 to 15 before you start formal instruction in Latin and Greek. Better still, waiting to start these logic based languages may mean your student will enjoy them more."

I've found this to be true and no longer attempt to teach Foreign Language to my younger students. It's just not worth the effort, time and frustration. 


Academic Electives - 2 credits (we have always exceeded this requirement) 
This is usually additional Math, English, Literature, Philosophy, and Government/Economics - lots of options! Academic areas only.


Visual/Performing Arts - 2 credits (Kolbe would allow them 1/2 credit each year) 
Choir, drama, art, music lessons, etc


Physical Education - 2 credits (Kolbe would allow them 1/2 credit each year) 
Our high schoolers have all participated in our local public school(s) sports. 
  • Captain- Varsity Hockey (2 years), Varsity Golf (4 years), Varsity Soccer (2 years), Ski Lessons
  • Ranger - Varisty Hockey (2 years), Varsity Golf (4 years), Junior Varsity Basketball (1 year), Varsity Soccer (2 years), Ski Lessons
  • Twinkle Toes - Varsity Golf (4 years), Varisty Soccer (1 year), Ski Lessons
  • Chiquita - Varsity Golf (1 year), Ski Lessons (both girls were in Irish Dance for awhile too)
  • Scout - Junior Varsity Golf (just completed his first year), Hockey, Ski Lessons
We've been grateful that we live in areas (both in Southern Oregon and North Idaho) that allow homeschoolers to take advantage of the public school sports programs.  It's usually right around $100 for the season (when else can you golf nearly daily for a 2-3 months for so affordably?!) and thankfully the hockey and ski options here are fairly affordable too. 


Home School Help!

Homeschool Connections 
We're still paying the monthly fee for access to all of their recorded classes which the kids can take at their own pace. Middle School favorites have included science classes with MacBeth Derham and history classes with Philip Campbell. For high school we have loved Joseph Pearce, Gregory Pyne (Screwtape Letters), and Eleanor Bourg Nicholson's literature classes, as well as American Sign Language. 

My high schoolers can't get the "Kolbe designation" on the non-Kolbe courses, but they still qualify for high school credit (the high school level courses do anyway, with pre-approval from Kolbe) and they have worked well for us! 

This is our very first year using LIVE classes from Homeschool Connections! Our 15 year old is very excited to be taking America History from Philip Campbell and his older sisters are a bit envious that he gets to take literature live from Elenor Nicholson (they loved her recorded classes).

I wish our oldest children would have had access to these dual-enrollment online courses! We could never make it work for them, since we didn't like the idea of community college classes, plus they never worked with their sports schedules anyway. Our current high school senior will have completed at least her first three semesters of college (with great content/courses!) for so much less than what we are paying for our other college kids. Spring registration will open on December 15th for dual-enrollment students so her course plans for spring aren't confirmed yet. 

The price for the Take Credit! Program unfortunately went up this school year... It was more affordable last year, but it's still worth it and I just enrolled her for two more courses this upcoming spring. (Still need to pay the bill though...) I'm grateful to have dual enrollment options from faithful Catholic colleges! As I mentioned above our daughter highly recommends Rhetoric with Patrick Reilly! 

Math Tutor - I really miss having a math tutor.  If we could afford to add anything right now (we've had way too many medical expenses and college expenses the past couple years) another math tutor would be at the top of my list.  I loved having someone (from outside our home) come once a week to review all completed lessons, the weekly test, and go over any questions and mistakes. It really helps keep my kids on track having them accountable to someone other than mom! We are managing without the help, but the middle/elementary kids are slipping a bit behind where I'd like them to be and they will most likely be finishing up in the summer (again) this next year to make up for weeks of sickness, ski days, etc... 

English Editor - I also love having someone edit IEW papers for me when I can get the extra help... Right now our 9th grader emails his papers to our oldest son who is off at college and once it's edited I send him a little payment through Venmo... I get help and he gets a little spending money at college. Win win! 


Moving on!  Here is a closer took at what we are working through this school year...


.: High School :. 

I asked Chiquita to take a few pictures for me to include in the post!

Chiquita :: 12th Grade 
She had the option of graduating a year early, but we decided to take advantage of dual-credit courses for her senior year to offset some of the expense of college. She's currently enrolled in classes at Franciscan University and Holy Apostles for this school year and is on track to graduate with 45 credits, basically just one semester away from completing her AA through Catholic colleges! This girl has been so busy, working hard, and doing amazing. So proud of her!

Theology: (Dual Credit: 2 High School Credits + 6 College Credits) 
Foundations of Catholicism (THE 101) Franciscan University, Online - Spring 2023
Sacred Scripture (SAS 101) – Holy Apostles College, Online - Spring 2023  
  • Faith and Revelation ‎
  • Catechism on Scripture CCC §§ 101-141 (onlne link provided)
  • Dei Verbum (onlne link provided)
  • Interpreting the Bible in the Catholic Church (onlne link provided)
  • Verbum Domini (onlne link provided)
*This may end up changing... She is also considering Logic and Intro to Sociology. 

Philosophy: (Dual Credit: 2 High School Credits + 6 College Credits)
Philosophy of the Human Person (PHL113) - Franciscan University Online - Summer 2022
Foundations of Ethics (PHL 212) - Franciscan University, Online - Fall 2022

English/Literature: (Dual Credit: 2 High School Credit + 6 College Credits)
Epic and the Person (ENG 210) Franciscan University, Online - Summer 2022

History: (Dual Credit: 1 High School Credit + 3 College Credits)
American History (HIS 100) – Holy Apostles College, Online - Fall 2022

Math/Economics: (Dual Credit: 1 High School Credit + 3 College Credits)
Economics (SOC 275) – Holy Apostles College, Online - Spring 23

Foreign Language: (Dual Credit: 2 High School Credits - 6 College Credits)
Intermediate Spanish I (SPN 201) - Franciscan University, Online - Fall 2022
Intermediate Spanish II (SPN 202) - Franciscan University, Online - Spring 2023

Fine Arts: (1/2 High School Credit)
Gregorian Chant Choir

Physical Education: (1/2 High School Credit)
High School Golf (Varsity Team)
Alpine Skiing 

* I haven't shared our curriculum from last year yet... The other college classes she completed last year included:  Human Biology, Elementary Spanish I, Elementary Spanish II and Catholic Moral Principles from Franciscan University. She also took Rhetoric from Patrick Reilly (founder of the Neumann Guide) over at Holy Apostles which has been her favorite college class to date! 



Scout :: 9th Grade

Theology: (1 Credit - Apologetics / Recorded Classes with Homeschool Connections)
Confirmation Classes at our parish
Introduction to Catholic Apologetics for High School Students with Gary Michuta 
Theistic Apologetics - Other Evidence for God (Miracles and Other Phenomenon) with Gary Michuta

English: (1 Credit - Introduction to English Composition I) 

Literature: (1 Credit - Victorian Literature / Live Classes with Homeschool Connections)  
The Nineteenth-Century Novel (Victorian Classics) - Fall 2022
The Victorian Detective (Modern, Victorian Mysteries) - Spring 2023
We've used the recorded courses many times in the past and we're excited to try live courses this year!


World History: (1 Credit - American History / Live Classes with Homeschool Connections) 
Early American History (1492 to 1763) with Philip Campbell 
U.S. History: Revolution, Republic, and Union (1763-1865) with Philip Campbell 

Mathematics: (1 Credit - Algebra 2)

Science: (1 Credit)
Introduction to Computer Science 
*He's already completed his High School Physical Science and Biology... taking a break this year to focus on Computer Science before moving on to Chemistry. 

Foreign Language: (1 Credit)
Last year he took and loved Witty Wordsmith and Barbarian Diagrammarian: Visual Grammar for the Bold and Daring in preparation for Latin I. 

Physical Education: (1 Credit)
High School Golf 
Cristeros Hockey
Alpine Skiing  



.: Middle School :. 

Rose :: 7th Grade

Religion:
St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism (with Dad on Sundays & Class at SJA)
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (Highway to Heaven Series Book 7/8)
Supplemental Religion Books and Saint Stories from Our Monthly Book Baskets

Language Arts:
*Find my IEW page here!

Literature: (recorded classes with Homeschool Connections)
Anne of Green Gables, Part 1 with Emily Henry 
Anne of Green Gables, Part 2 with Emily Henry 

History & Geography: (recorded classes with Homeschool Connections)
Middle School U.S. History: Part 1 (1492-1847) with Phillip Campbell
Middle School U.S. History Part 2 (1847-1990) with Phillip Campbell  
(My kids like listening to the audible text while looking at the textbook and working on their journals.) 

Physical Education:
Alpine Ski Lessons



.: Elementary School:. 

Bud :: 5th Grade

Religion:
Before Christ Came (Highway to Heaven Series Book 4)
Supplemental Religion Books and Saint Stories from Our Monthly Book Baskets

Language Arts:
Structure and Style for Students: Year 2 Level A
Supplemental Readers and Additional Literature

Literature: 
The Best of Children's Literature with Kevin O'Brien - Fall 2022

Here is what he has been reading this semester. 
Some were read online, linking favorite editions we own: 
Still not positive for spring semester... Considering:
A Mastery of Mysteries for Middle School with Kevin O'Brien 
or maybe some American Historical Fiction 


History & Geography:
Mathematics:
Saxon 6/5 with Solutions Manual and Tests/Worksheets
Saxon Math 6/5 Homeschool: Saxon Teacher CD ROM

Science:
(My kids like listening to the audible text while looking at the textbook and working on their journals.) 
*Might move on to TAN's new Science books next!

Physical Education:
Cristeros Hockey
Alpine Ski Lessons



Grace & Joy :: Ages 5 & 3 (Kindergarten/Pre-school)
One of the things I love about homeschooling is that we really don't need to assign grade levels, at least not until we hit high school sports. Our five year old (who turned 5 over the summer) may end up spending two years in Kindergarten. I suspect she may have some auditory processing challenges/dyslexia but we'll see how it goes! 

Seasonal Picture Books
Lots of fun learning Toys and Puzzles
Occasional Crafts and Baking with Older Siblings

Primary Arts of Language:Reading & Writing
They each have their own Phonetic Farm.

I tried starting Math Mammoth's Little Blue Series (I really love this for 1-3 before switching to Saxon in 4th grade), but I don't think my current 5 year old is quite ready for it yet. 

Little Saints: A Catholic Pre-School Program 
I'm just choosing a couple themes each month as time allows... In September we completed I Belong to God and Alphabet Fun! During October we moved on to Colors/Guardian Angels and Fall is Here! For November it was Number Fun and Thanksgiving.  This month I'm taking a break from Little Saints and we are focusing on Advent - reading books, bible stories to go along with the Jesse Tree, and celebrating all our favorite feast days. I've used parts of this curriculum enough times to know that'll I'll most likely never complete it in full, but I enjoy using some of the themes as inspiration and a starting point for themes for my little ones! 



“Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery– the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the “material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones.” Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them.”
(The Catechism of the Catholic Church #2223) 

13 comments:

  1. It's really floored me how non-standard high school transcripts can be. I looked online for what many of our local public high schools do as far as credits and grading and couldn't even find two which were alike. I also asked at the college my son does dual credit with about how that would be shown on his high school transcript and was told I get to decide if I'd like to give a semester or full high school credit for each college course! We actually opted to give him only a semester credit and then grade it on a 5.0 scale (like an honors class) since the GPA boost seems to be more advantageous than having more overall credits. I'm happy for the freedom, but I'd hate to be the college admissions departments that have to sort it all out. : )

    I've been reading your blog for probably a decade now and you've been the inspiration for likely about half of my curriculum choices, so thank you for doing what you do!

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    1. They really are all over the place!

      In our situation Kolbe needs to be sent a transcript from each college before her classes are added to her transcript each semester (or year - last year I sent them all at once). Her grade for each class on her transcript matches the one the college(s) assigned. This year she is taking four college courses each semester and I don't think she could handle the work load of any more, at least not with the types of classes she has been taking.

      I'm really happy to hear that the blog has been helpful over the years! :)

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  2. I too love all the info you give about curricula! I am still confused on how dual enrollment works. One of my high schoolers is enrolled in Seton Home Study, but I am wondering if we can substitute classes now to fulfill the dual enrollment. Will have to contact Seton now!

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    1. Kolbe has been really flexible when it comes to substituting classes with dual enrollment college classes. From what I have heard Seton will also accept some dual enrollment, but not all courses qualify. I'm pretty sure they require students to take some of their courses.

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    2. I just found this on their website:
      https://www.setonhome.org/academics/dual-enrollment/

      "Not all courses or activities will qualify. For example, once enrolled, diploma-seeking Seton students are required to take Seton’s English, Theology, Biology, and Social Studies courses. However, many math, science, and foreign language courses can be done in this way. Electives and fine arts can also be done as a dual enrollment courses."

      Our oldest two really wished they could have at least earned their Foreign Language credits during high school. Of course, it all also depends on what college they hope to attend and what that college is willing to accept from other colleges as well! Some colleges (Thomas Aquinas College comes to mind) won't accept any transfer credits.

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  3. Jessica, you may really like “My Math Assistant” for instant grading for Saxon Math!! It saves me so much time and energy!!! And students get the opportunity to fix mistakes right away this way. He also has video lessons, but we only pay for the online grading.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the suggestion! I will check it out. I really need help with math grading!

      Delete
  4. When you say for your 9th grader that he already finished physical science and biology, how do you count high school classes before they are in high school? Also what curriculum are you using for computer science? Thanks for your help!

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    1. Homeschoolers are allowed to earn high school credit in middle school, very much like a high schooler can earn credit for college. It's limited to certain academic areas: Science, Foreign Language, Math.

      With Kolbe Academy (and with the home based Charter School we used for a little while in Oregon before that) our 8th graders could earn high school credit for specific classes: Foreign Language, Science (Physical Science+LAB, Biology+LAB, etc), and Math (if it was Algebra 1 or above).

      When I list his Algebra 1 and Biology+LAB on his transcript I'll include a little note saying that it was completed in 8th grade. I'll most likely have him take the Chemistry+LAB from Holy Apostles for dual credit once he is old enough for the program.

      However with Theology, for example, or English/Literature, they couldn't earn credit for those subjects until they were actually taken in high school. So even though our 15 year old has already completed both Understanding the Scripture and Intro to Catholicism (both high school text books) those courses won't count towards his four high school credits of Theology. I'm not worried about that though, since I plan to have him take a couple Theology college courses during high school. (Same with English and Literature.)

      For Computer Science we started with a Introduction to Computer Programming 101 course at Homeschool Connections this semester which he is still working on and then Introduction to Computer Science next semester. I don't have any knowledge in this area and haven't really researched curriculum for it so we are giving this a try since Homeschool Connections has worked well in other areas (and I already have the membership for access).

      Delete
  5. May I ask where you got the timeline notebook for Bud? Love that!!!

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    1. It's from Homeschool in the Woods, but they no longer publish the one we have. (All my older kids have one of their own.) This is the current option that have - Click here

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  6. I have always loved your blog and seeing the curriculums your family used! Have you tried Nicole the Math Lady for Saxon math? We found her video lessons and online grading extremely helpful!

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  7. Thank you so much for sharing your choices. It is overwhelming sometimes with all the choices we have.
    Our oldest is doing 4 live Kolbe classes and it is heavy sometimes (along with decreased flexibility). If I read this correctly, your children have not done the live Kolbe classes. I don’t think they will work for our next child, so you have inspired me to look around more, especially at Homeschool Connections. I do like the transcript service from Kolbe. And I do feel our oldest will be more than ready for college after Kolbe live classes.
    Happy Advent!

    ReplyDelete

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