project life | week 31

homeschool begins | sons of thunder academy update

Homeschool has begun for another year here at the Sons of Thunder Academy.  We began our little school of two + one really cool mom at the beginning of the month for a couple of reasons: 1) we wanted to ease into studies before our homeschool co-op begins in a couple weeks and we have to add four more classes of coursework to the mix, 2) beginning early means we can end in May since the boys plan on being camp counselors at Boy Scout camp next summer followed by a trip to San Antonio for a month with their sister, brother-in-law, and nephews, and 3) I was chomping at the bit to get started.

For the first couple of weeks our academia looks like this:

Bible + Memory Verses - I found a one-year Bible reading plan online which I printed out for them to use. Their memory verses begin in the book of James.

Spanish III - Their Spanish I & II teacher at homeschool co-op will only be teaching Spanish I this year and John and Jarrod are in Spanish III. Their teacher found a new curriculum that she'll be using for her first year students and highly recommended the curriculum for John and Jarrod if they wanted to continue on into Spanish III. Yes! Visual Link Spanish was extremely cheap (they offer a huge homeschool discount), yet high quality, and highly esteemed curriculum, originally designed for missionaries going onto the international mission field. The boys LOVE this curriculum.

Algebra II - From the beginning of homeschooling we have used Saxon Math with a DIVE DVD. The boys love the curriculum and after the results of their 9th grade Stanford exams came back with exceptional scores in Math, I am pleased at their learning level with Saxon.

Money Matters for Teens - This is a gently exposed curriculum, maybe once a week worth of work, written by the brilliant financial wizard Larry Burkett, it teaches practical application money matters such as budgeting, check writing, saving, investing, etc.. We have been teaching the boys money matters for years, slowly adding more elements of finances into the mix and with them 'running' their part time small business they've already learned alot about overhead, budgeting, saving, paying employees, and most importantly tithing.

World Geography (2nd half) - Last year we completed our studies on Africa, Australia, and the amazing Antarctica. This year we'll study Asia, South America, Europe, and North America.

American Literature - Through Notgrass' Exploring American Literature we'll read a quality list of works such as The Scarlet Letter, Calico Bush, A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett, Co. Aytch, A Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass, The Giver, To Kill a Mockingbird, Christy, Little Women, In His Steps, Carry On Mr. Bowditch, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Mama's Bank Account, Humorous Stories and Sketches (Mark Twain), Up From Slavery, Across Five Aprils, and a James Fenimore Cooper novel (probably the Deerslayer).

The entire selection will be read-a-louds. We adore our reading time when I read aloud and they listen intently. Plus, I get the benefit of asking them questions while we're reading. If they didn't read on their own I might not do this but they both have no problem picking up books and reading away an afternoon. Almost all of the selections will have an associated assignment such as a study guide, or written assignment.

Beginning the week before August 23rd we'll add the following courses into our schedule:

Biology - Through our co-op we always have enough science teachers, amazingly, for a wide range of science courses. We have utilized our homeschool co-op from the beginning and have felt relieved and grateful for all the moms willing to teach a science. When high school is said and done they'll have completed Physical Science with a Lab, Biology with Lab, Meteorology with Lab, and either Chemistry with Lab or Advanced Biology/Anatomy with Lab, depending on which class is offered their senior year.

Art 3D - This elective serves to fulfill an elective requirement and fulfill their creative tendencies.

Bible - They are taking a Bible class in homeschool co-op this year (mostly because I adore the teacher, having sat under her myself in study and I wanted my sons to benefit also, and I love the topics she'll be covering: David, Paul, John, and James). And they'll be memorizing the book of James.

American History - The boys are taking American History through our co-op but I am 'supplimenting'. Their curriculum is Notgrass' Exploring America, which on its own is a wonderful curriculum but I wanted to add side learning at home through copywork from the book, The Signers, lessons on Spotlight on America series, studies on the presidents through Encyclopedia of the Presidents, Drive thru American History, and Adventures in Odyssey America series, plus a large stack of American historical fiction read-a-louds.

Super excited about this year. The boys have begun with a bang too. While they might not have been completely thrilled about beginning school early they have been great about staying on task and accomplishing their assignments, while preparing dinner 4 nights a week, and running/working their small lawn moving business.