Friday, April 30, 2010

'Tis the season...

for me to stress out about what we are going to do for school next year.

Unfortunately, I won't have the opportunity to visit a wonderful vendor hall to help me in making that decision, as I simply cannot allow my money to support our state homeschool organization.  So, vendor websites, catalogs, word of mouth... and prayer.

Oh, and begging for help from everyone who "knows" me online too.

Connor (who is still 12.  So there.  Though I did change his age on the SL forums, as I was thinking about it, and I won't again until July or something) is pretty easy.  He's finishing up Sonlight Core 6 and wants to move into Core 7.  He has really missed Sonlight.  He will also be doing Excellence in Literature's Introduction to Literature.  (The author is so sweet.  She gave me great information so I don't have to purchase yet just to figure out what books I'll need!)  So his history focus for 8th grade will be world history from somewhere around 1600 to the present.  He'll also be stuck using IEW's Medieval History theme program, because that is just the one that makes the most sense for his brothers, and there isn't one that clearly lines up with what he is studying.  (Well, I guess that depends on what I decide for those brothers, doesn't it?)

Richard (6, 1st grade) and Katrina (4, PreK) will be using Heart of Dakota's Little Hearts for His Glory, so they will also be doing world history, starting from creation.  Hopefully it won't spend too much time in areas we've been doing this year, but regardless, the resources are definitely more age-appropriate and I think it will be fun.  Little Hearts includes history, Bible, some great read-alouds, and science.

But what do I do with William (11, 6th grade) and Thomas (9, 4th grade)?

That is the question.

At the moment, I am seriously considering a couple possibilities:

  • Illuminations II.  We've really enjoyed Illuminations this year (here's my review), but I'm just not sure we can afford to do the next year.  ($165 for the lower level manual, plus we'd need a number of books.  And, to be honest, I'm not sure I'm comfortable with basically a single point of view on history at this age.)  
  • Further Up and Further In.  A literature based unit study based on the Chronicles of Narnia.  I'm sure my kids would absolutely love it, but I'm not sure if I'm comfortable with it by itself, or if I would need to seriously supplement history.  Okay, let's be honest.  I'm nearly certain I'd be doing separate history.  Either Mystery of History II (which is basically the early church through medieval times), or The Story of the Middle Ages, or... 
  • Figure out a Sonlight core that they could re-do.  Maybe do my own version of a 3/4 package.  That we could do without spending money, but yikes, I'm just not sure if I want to be doing modern world history, a broad sweep of world history, and US history.  And I would have to be creating my own program, based on the Core 3 and Core 4 IGs, time I could better use in teaching my kids.  Huh, but I think I get the upgrade discount price for a 3+4 IG, in which case... I have to look into that.
  • Heart of Dakota just came out with Hearts for Him Through Time: Resurrection to Reformation.  This would be world history too, and yet another time period.  This is the answer that is tugging at me right now, but it would be the most expensive.  It schedules the IEW materials, which I love.  I own, or the library has, quite a few of the books used.  It is mostly the cost of the book and student notebooking sets ($135), and Mystery of History 3 ($60) and What in the World Volume II ($25).  Plus another $60-70 in books.  I just don't think I can do this, especially when I can't see it first.  (I can get some of the above for slightly less, and I don't need MOH until 15 weeks into the program.)  This uses history "texts" from five different authors plus whatever the HoD folks include.

What do I do?  I see serious drawbacks to them all.  And they all sound fun too.



Heidi said...

Yikes! I am no help at all! I own Further Up and Further In and never even cracked it open! I'm not at all familiar with any of the other options. I have enough trouble deciding what to do with my own kids. LOL Good luck! I'm sure you'll pick what's just right!

Debra said...

Heidi -- So what good are you? LOL! As for Further Up, my fear is that I'd get it, look over the intro, and shelve it.

It's very tempting just to go for the cheap option, and assume either it is right, or something better will fall in place.

Tristan said...

Debra - wow! I see what I'll be juggling when my kiddos all reach school age, so figure this out for me...hehehe.

Here is my 2 cents:

For your 6th and 4th graders why not do a unit study year on state history or the same time periods as Connor with younger books? Each month alternate with a history focus, a science focus, and repeat. That gives you plenty of science times (we like using the Apologia books as a jumping off point for science units), and plenty of history times, without the stress of both at once. You know they'll pick up a ton from their own reading if you keep them supplied with some of those Sonlight books already in your house.

Another fun year for history could be a biographies year, where each month they learn about a person (and the time surrounding them). The person can be historical, related to music or the arts, a scientist, anything really.

I'm not sure I've been any help, but I'll pray that things will clear up in your mind so you know what to do. (((HUGS)))

Deb said...

Debra -

As you may remember, I am in the same state as you are. I was wondering if you might email me privately with your concerns about the homeschool organization we have here? Only for the reason that I'd like to have more information before I go up there and spend a bunch of money.

On a side note - I'm sure you get email from Sonlight, so remember that they are renting out a conference room near the curriculum fair that same weekend. Admission is free, you get a $15 coupon and I think Sarita will be there.

I'd really appreciate your input.

Kristenph said...

Wow. Your dilemma is what led me to Tapestry of Grace. BUT, it's not inexpensive or easy to pull together. It does keep us all on the same time period in history but at different levels.

Debra said...

I've procrastinated horribly on commenting here. I do appreciate the suggestions everyone made! And Deb, I am hoping to make it up to see Sonlight in a couple weeks. But I won't go to the convention.

I wanted to research it again, but I just haven't had the time. So I'm going to include a blog post from last April:

and while my viewpoint has shifted a bit, most of what I said there still fits. I'll email you too :)

Deb said...

I linked over to your other post and it was very interesting. Last year was my first year and I noticed that the list for this year has shrunk even further (although I know it's probably not accurate - Real Science 4 Kids was there last year, but they aren't on the list this year).

Yes, please email me - I was so worried that I offended you by asking!