Friday, March 5, 2010

Reassessing Josh's 9th Grade

I'm trying to figure out why 9th grade for J has gone so poorly this year. This is my 3rd time doing 9th grade; you'd think it would be old hat, but no, not. at. all.

With H, since she was my oldest and first homeschooling high schooler, I think I was just so overly focused on it, so anxious to get it right and to prove to myself we could do this thing, that I had lots of energy and drive. And W being the easy-going guy he is, just went along with everything H did, practically, until he discovered music and then he took off on his own. I've had to do very little directly to get him through high school. Very little planning, I mean.

With J, who truly is more academic than the older two, in that he loves to read and enjoys math more than they ever did. And he enjoys learning Latin. But he's been going through this adolescent slump where all his interests have narrowed and eating and sleeping are paramount as well as spending lots of time alone. So all the former enthusiasm that he had for learning before has gotten swallowed up. I am expecting it to resurface at some point, but it has been a major drag on this year's progress. Combine that with my tendency to unschoolish ideas, it is really hard to stand over him with a whip and force him to finish stuff. I can't bear to seem him unhappy in his learning so I don't push.

So here's the assessment:

Religion - CLC is a good thing, both Religion and socialization - so that's a positive there!

Math - he's been going so slowly through Alg II, but now we have a tutor and we know we'll be going most of the summer to try to finish up the book.

Science - we've been pretty steadily watching our Teaching Co. lectures and he did sign up for the Intro the Science class which because of his operation he missed at least two of the six meetings. Fortunately the snow canceled at least one meeting so he's not so very far behind as he could be. I think if he reads a couple of science based books, I'll say he's got enough credit for 1 year. So he might be able to wrap that up in June sometime.

Literature - well, my huge schemes for doing an intensive Greek/Roman year have vanished in the dust! However, he has read: The Book of Job, The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Iliad, The Odyssey and now we are about to start the Aeneid. I'd also like to read a couple of Greek plays and watch them on netflix dvds. And I'd like him to read a retelling of Caesar's Gallic Wars by Olivia Coolidge. He is motivated to read the Aeneid (he's read the children's retelling before) because for some reason he really, really wants to read Dante's Inferno (videogame that just came out inspired this perhaps?) and he knows he'll get a lot more out of it if he reads the Aeneid first. So say it takes us March, April and into May to read the Aeneid (at the rate we've been going it will take this long!), we can squeeze in a couple of plays somehow as well. He can read the Coolidge book in June. This can be a Dante summer for him! H will be home, maybe they can watch the Teaching Co. videos on Dante together (with me of course!).

History - this has really fallen by the wayside. How did I let this happen??? I'd like to pick up where we left off on the SWB's History of the Ancient World and finish reading this. Also, instead of doing Trisms which J really dragged about, maybe we'll just sit down and watch Foundations of Western Civilization.

Writing - J hates to write. There is no getting around it. He used to like it somewhat. He enjoyed things like Freewrites and one year he wanted to do the November National Writing Month, and he did start his novel but that petered out before Nov ended. So now my approach is this: he likes doing dictation because it gives him handwriting practice, spelling, grammar, etc. It gets him warmed up so to speak. But he hates these formatted programs like Learn to Write the Novel Way or Writeshop. He dreads them. So I was thinking that what we'd do is continue with the video school approach in hopes this will inspire him. Last night we started watching Teaching the Classics. I think we should work through that program and then continue on perhaps with the Teaching Co. lectures on Sentences. That will probably continue through the summer. Perhaps next year, he'll be ready to focus on his writing skills.

So summer school looks like this:

  • CLC continues through the summer
  • Math tutoring continues through the summer
  • History - read HAW and watch videos
  • Writing - watch videos on writing
  • Literature - read Dante and watch videos
Hopefully we wind all this stuff up by mid-August before our beach trip. He'll have a couple of weeks off before we start up studies again.

NB: I can't believe I forgot Latin and Logic!

  • J will have a credit for Latin
  • J started taking the online logic course from LPH and it continues through the summer. That'll be .5 credit.


Our Westmoreland School said...

It seems like the first year of high school is always the hardest, ps or hs.


Sometimes it just takes a while to warm up to whole thing. I hated 9th, but 10th grade was an all A's year for me, could be the same for your ds.

Des said...

Faith, I honestly think you both have done an excellent job.

Daisy said...

I love Dante's Inferno. Morose, but it is one of my favorites. LOL.

I'm terrified of high school homeschooling, so I'm glad to hear 2 out of 3 were easy. ;-)

Moonbeam said...

Your level of accomplishment with unschooling is very impressive. Give yourself a break on the things not yet done.

Moonbeam said...

Your level of accomplishment with unschooling is very impressive. Give yourself a break on the things not yet done.

WildIris said...

Faith I appreciate your candor about home schooling the teen. It is one very tough job. Please don't let his dislike of writing prevent him from working on this important skill. A long time ago I came across a line by the writer Joan Didion about why she writes. The gist of the quote is that she writes in order to understand what she thinks.I could write more about this, but I think it is important for a teen to articulate what they think and why. Stepping down from my soapbox now.