(For those who don't know, Year 10 focuses on the 1800s and Year 7 focuses on Medieval times. The AO Years thread through the ages of Western civilization with detours into other cultures.)
We're adding Plutarch again after almost two years of neglect. I wanted to do Scott and couldn't fit them both in, but with AO Year 12 focusing on current times instead of ancients, I realized I need to fit in Plutarch every year. There are other important reasons for reading Plutarch every year, but sadly, those did not motivate me like the thought that the girls wouldn't get an in-depth introduction to ancient times.
We are going to read Coriolanus and Demosthenes. I wanted to read Cicero too, but couldn't fit it in. These look fun to me because Anne White has made new study guides for them (scroll through link above to find those).
We are continuing Sir Walter Scott. We didn't finish reading Waverley together last year, so we are carrying it over. Then I think we will read Quentin Durward. I heard it contains archery, and it fits into Cornflower's medieval time period. She will also be reading Ivanhoe on her own.
I want to add in The Everything American Government Book for both girls this year. I will probably purchase it around Thanksgiving and add it at the beginning of second term. This is a new book recommended by AO for Years 9-11. Cornflower is only in Year 7, but we did Hillsdale's Constitution 101 last year, and she is chomping at the bit to attend Patriot Academy, so I think she can handle this book.
(Btw, if you decide to purchase any of the AO books mentioned, please go to AO and use their affiliate links to get to Amazon, etc. This helps the Advisory pay website/forum expenses.)
We will continue the new edition of Be Ready to Answer, a departure from AO's devotional and worldview selections. This book is by Michael Gowens, a Primitive Baptist elder. He does an excellent job dealing with the different religions and isms of our time. I found that I need to proceed very slowly with the younger two on this book if we want to apprehend the ideas, so we are setting a time-not-a-number-of-pages for each week and reading even more slowly than normal. We are in the middle of Chapter 8 (of 20 chapters), so I hope to finish the book this year.
One day of the week I hope to focus especially on homemaking and ladylike pursuits. ;) I'm not sure how this will go, but we have gotten away from the art of housekeeping in the last few years. Not surprising when it falls far down the list of things to learn, as it has lately. The Warrior Poet doesn't feel this is a big loss, but I am increasingly aware of a lack in this area, so here we are. A friend lent us The New Christian Charm Course last year and we haven't gotten to it yet. We are also reading Home Comforts, an AO recommendation.
In addition, I'm thinking about us reading French Women Don't Get Fat. I don't like the author's focus on weight loss, but I do like her focus on enjoyment and finding the best fresh foods every few days. I want us to rejoice in our meals. Our eating habits must change. I had a really good thing a year or two ago with the Clean program, but I couldn't rope anyone else into joining me for long. So I'm thinking about this book. We should probably start with mindful enjoyment and move on to things like gluten free.
Also, our timeline, current event and quote notebooks have been too much business and not enough joy. We just check them off the list. We don't enjoy them, and often they are neglected. Especially the timeline books. I'm setting aside time and laying out fun materials to hopefully inspire all of us to relax and get into our notebooks.
That is the extent of our group work. You will notice Bible reading is not on the list. The girls are doing that on their own this year so we can take a thirty minute walk every morning. It's time for them to do their daily devotions on their own. I will be reading devotional and worldview books with them, and we attend church together and discuss the sermons and Bible studies. I scheduled out their daily Bible reading and loaded it into the Homeschool Tracker so no one forgets.
I've changed up Mariel's devotional and worldview books too. We aren't doing How Should We Then Live? (We ARE doing the Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde study-- The Deadliest Monster-- which is on the AO Year 10 list.) Schaeffer was pretty discouraging for us last year, so we are taking a break from him and reading Paul Copan instead. Copan's up-to-the-minute apologetics seem pretty important to Mariel's life right now. Together we are reading When God Goes to Starbucks, and she is reading Is God a Moral Monster? on her own. For devotional books, I have her finishing The Jesus I Never Knew (started last year) and then Seeking the Face of God. Along with her Bible reading. I don't know if she will get through all of these. The monsters, Copan books and Bible reading are a definite. The others are negotiable.
Cornflower is following the devotional recommendations at AO Year 7, except I substituted Stepping Heavenward for The Pursuit of Holiness.
I've added poetry and scripture memorization back to their assignment lists too. For some reason this is always a beating. I don't know how it will go, but I've schedule six memorization assignments for each girl. At the end of each memorization period, I want to serve a nice dinner and ask them to recite for the Warrior Poet. Again, reaching for joy. And grace. I want them to be diligent, and I also want to respect their honest efforts. And fun, relaxing family time would be nice too. Ah, Utopia. But surely we can achieve some sort of balance?
For narration and composition, Cornflower will attend a Lost Tools of Writing I course that I am teaching in my home. Mariel has gone through that curriculum twice, so I hope to get LTW II by the first of the year. I don't know. She is going to be rewriting classic essays as well as practicing the dreaded SAT/ACT essay prompts, so I think perhaps we could do that all year and put off LTW II until 11th grade.
Once again, our math journey has taken a turn. Last year the girls used ALEKS online, but they begged me for textbooks and a human being to help them understand concepts. They are getting the University of Chicago math books and me for a teacher. Lord help us. Algebra every day and me trying to explain it. We can get through it if the Lord redeems our efforts. This is another area in which we are naming time-not-pages in the assignment list. The most important thing is that they understand the math they have worked through. If they don't, it doesn't matter if they have Algebra, Geometry Algebra II, Trig, etc., on their transcripts. They won't know them. So my hope is to get through as much math with understanding as we can this year.
And I'm saying another special prayer over science. Cornflower will have Apologia General Science. Mariel will finish up Apologia Biology and move into a new curriculum-- Paradigm Accelerated Science-- which I hope will be a good fit for her creative mind. My plan is for her to do Anatomy and Physiology after she finishes the last few modules of Biology. Next year I hope for her to do the Integrated Physics and Chemistry course, and then her senior year to finish with either Chemistry of Physics. We'll see. I felt encouraged when I found this curriculum at the Rainbow Resource booth at the homeschool book fair this spring. Hope, hope, hope.
We need to take a year off from formal foreign language, which is sad to me, but I don't think it will hurt either of the girls. We plan to explore ASL as best we can on our own, and then take it up next year with a teacher. Mariel studied Spanish last year, but it wasn't a good fit. It took me awhile to accept this as a solution, but I'm feeling pretty good about it now. Mariel still has two more years for foreign language after this year. (Sadly, Latin has been a nonentity at our house, lo, these many years. Cornflower may take it up in high school, but we are leaving that to her discretion.)
Mariel's geography focus will be the Middle East and Rome. That strange combination is the result of me letting her choose one book while I chose the other. Cornflower is focused on Europe this year. They will do map drills at Seterra.
History and Literature are pretty much what is recommended in AO Years 10 and 7. :) Okay, they won't read ALL the additional reading. I generally keep a list of the additional readings for each student, and check off things as they read them. So they will read some additional books from previous years as well as the current year, and put off others.
Their arts needs are being addressed by co-ops and extracurricular groups. I'm teaching Shakespeare again this year at our co-op. We will read Taming of the Shrew. I love the other moms in our co-op and appreciate so much their careful preparation each year. I especially appreciate that all I have to prepare is Shakespeare!
The girls will not have violin lessons this year, and while that makes me sad, it was the right decision for several reasons. For one, they will have more time to devote to their other pursuits. Violin practice takes up a lot of time. Thankfully, they will still participate in orchestra, so violin won't be tossed completely to the wayside.
As far as life skills, in addition to the homemaking stuff, we are using the Dave Ramsey high school money management course. Mariel has an outside job and Cornflower will be working on music readiness with young children at intervals. There is so much that needs to be done in this house, I hope we will be able to do some home improvement projects this year. Mariel is also learning to drive.
All in all, I hope this will be a quiet, profitable year for the girls and all of us. I want to do the unseen things that reap future benefits. My major hope is that we live in liberty and grace and joyfully help each other and others around us. I'm going to post the following as a reminder. (Some of this is paraphrased from our pastor's sermons and emails.)
Our theme this year is Liberty, Grace, and Jubilee.
Stand fast in the liberty of Christ, and by love serve one another. (Gal. 5:1 paraphrased)
Instead of working harder to do good, work harder to rest in Christ.
Work at not being works-minded, even as you do your work.
Trust GOD for ALL your righteousness
(NOT your self-improvement efforts, character, or due diligence)
Spend time every day concentrating on the glory of our completed salvation
in Christ Jesus.