Tag Archives: homework

Curriculum: WTF?

Does anyone actually just buy a curriculum or download one and actually stick to it all year?

My friend’s college-aged older brother (who is somehow better at lesson planning than her parents) was the one who introduced my family to the idea of homeschooling. He went to all this painstaking effort to pick and choose random stuff from across the internet. Part of that was because of income – they couldn’t afford to just buy the BYU package or whatever. A bigger part of it was just because he thought that he could give her a better “genuine high school experience” than most of those publishers.

My family didn’t think too hard about that. Back when I stopped going to regular school, my family’s expectation was “oh, okay, we’ll find some complete all-in-one set of curriculum-ish things and then we’ll just work through them.”

Here’s about how that went.

Day 1: Oh, here’s something. Wait, it’s $500 for one class? Screw that.

Day 2: Oh, here’s something. Wait, it’s $50 a month and I don’t even get to preview it to make sure it’s good? Screw that!

Day 3: Okay, let’s just mix and match. That’ll work.

Day 4: EVERYTHING I PICKED IS TERRIBLE.

All the syllabuses we tried writing have been scrapped. Nothing has stuck for more than a few weeks. If I had to clump English so far into “units,” here’s what I’d have:

Unit 1: A “Lore” class from Grey School of Wizardry. I know GSW doesn’t really want to be seen as a “curriculum provider” and it isn’t, but the “lore” assignments actually took me through some common core requirements. The first assignment had me studying general themes and literary archetypes. The second one had me comparing myths and legends to each other while learning to apply themes and archetypes to literary analysis. The third assignment involved reading and writing about a myth local to my geographic region. The fourth assignment (which I’m still working on periodically) involved choosing a book that relates somehow to an ancient myth and explaining how they’re similar. I read a young-adult book called Janie: Face to Face for that. I go back to this curriculum every now and then – namely for the short story I’m working on.

Unit 2: Some John Milton from Saylor.org. Mostly all I read about was his life. I didn’t get to read much of his writing before that site started bugging out on me.

Unit 3: A TON of grammar study using a grammar book from Barnes and Noble, plus some review on Purdue Owl about proper citation style. I ended up helping other people revise their essays to familiarize myself with structure. When I was done with that, I took a giant test over grammar and usage.

Unit 4: I read The Giver for free online. Then, I watched the movie. My big “assignment” on the subject was basically a blog response.

Unit 5: A Separate Peace. I’m using a free curriculum from Curriki for that, which contains study guides and such.

Does anyone else actually just make a plan and stick to it 100%?

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Making a list.

This is a list of things I need to do for the near-ish future.

English: Finish reading “Winter Months” for Saylor course.

Social Studies: Re-watch video on Cortes and take quiz.

Algebra: Go over problems I missed on the last test.

Science: Continue work on the general science module (alison.com).

Spanish: Review activities 1-10 on Fluencia.

Art History: Probably another quiz soon.

Herbology: Take exam once my last assignment is graded.

An introduction to my favorite resources.

Later on in this blogging series I plan to cover some of these resources more in-depth but for now I just want to list a few and say some things about them. I should specify that I am only in the first half of my semester and will probably use other things as time goes on, these are just what I’m using right now. 

Math:

Khan Academy – A great place to learn anything from 3rd grade math through Calculus. It tests you at the beginning to see which skills you already have and helps you to expand upon them. Currently I’m doing the Algebra modules. 

Alison.com – Has a few interactive math courses. I’m working on an Algebra one now.

Google.com – Search for final exams from math classes like whichever one you are taking. Try doing all the different problems and see which ones you absolutely don’t know how to do. You can come up with some good lesson plans just off of that, honest.

English:

Grey School of Wizardry – This school cannot be seen as a substitute for accredited high school programs and I’m not suggesting you use it as that. However, the “lore” program has a lot of courses that teach skills similar to those taught in conventional schools. “Wizardly Writing” teaches basic composition, and the course I am currently taking called “Blessings of Braggi” teaches about recognizing archetypes and themes. I am not seeing this as “English for this year” so much as a unit in my English education.

Kindle – There are a lot of free books available if what you want is to read classics, and you should considering that the essay prompts on the AP English Literature exam require you have read certain books.

Science:

Khan Academy – Not quite as good as their math program. Currently there are no tests or activities available, only videos. Their program starts with Biology, which I won’t be taking until next semester, so I haven’t looked at it yet.

Alison.com – Offers an interactive General Science course as well as courses in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and so forth.

Social Studies:

Education Portal – Has a section on high school courses, one of which is GED social studies. I am doing this now because it has a kind of sweeping overview of social sciences feel versus the AP ones that are more specific high school classes. 

Spanish

Fluencia.com – It starts off free and apparently charges later on. I hear that it is supposed to take you through one year of college-level Spanish. It’s the best online program I’ve found so far.

Herbs

Grey School of Wizardry – This is one of my electives. I am studying herbs as sort of a substitute for a regular home economics or cooking class. It is still going to get me into the kitchen, making things (once I get past the safety lessons).