Monday, August 5, 2013

A New Homeschool Year!

Welome to any new visitors! Ready for a new homeschool year? Well, I'm not quite there yet, but I'll talk curriculum any day, so let's get started, shall we?

Please Note: 
This post contains some affiliate links. The total cost is the same, but you might contribute a few pennies to support our book addiction if you purchase materials through one of these links. ;-)


This year I'll be homeschooling my 14 year-old son who was diagnosed with autism at age 2. He has been homeschooled since the middle of 1st grade. Although he's starting 8th grade this year, his skills vary.

I also have two daughters (10th and 5th grades) who will attend a classical Christian school three days a week. On Tuesdays and Thursdays my responsibilities will include working with my 5th grader. The 10th grader rarely needs my help anymore, but I sometimes proof papers for her or help her come up with silly mnemonics to memorize dates for her history finals. : )



Memory work from the Heidelberg Catechism and weekly catechism classes at church

This will be something new for us. I've read good reviews before and I like that it is similar to the Bible Study Fellowship model of study. It includes Bible memory work.
Review of previous Bible memory work

History and Geography

Veritas Press history cards

Classical Conversations style of geography instruction
If Ryne were to chose his own plan of study it would probably include just history and geography. It's what makes him happy, which also makes mom happy! So a lot of work went into our history plans. You can see those detailed plans here.


This was a tough decision! I was tempted to start General Science, but after discussing it with Anna who used it in 7th grade at her school, we decided Ryne should wait another year. So I decided to go with the latest in the Apologia elementary series. Last year we enjoyed the Anatomy and Physiology book (in conjunction with Christian Kid's Explore Biology), so hopefully this year will go well too. I'm a little nervous since the book hasn't been released yet. Word is that it should be released this week, but it's hard to know what to expect when you don't have the book in hand. 

Math and Logic

Math U See Zeta (and possibly begin Pre-Algebra)
BHA is a loyal fan of MUS. It works well for us, so I plan to stick with it for the long haul. Zeta is the volume that focuses on decimals. Since it is basically the same concepts they learn with fractions in Epsilon, we found with Anna several years ago that Zeta does not take nearly as long to finish as other volumes. If that holds true for Ryne, we could end up starting Pre-Algebra this year.
Various math games for review

Language Arts

All About Spelling, Levels 6 and (hopefully) 7
Not sure how quickly Level 6 will go, but usually we can finish a couple levels in a year. Although I discovered AAS pretty late, I love this program and plan to see it to the end as well. Nevertheless, I'm ready to be done with spelling, so I really hope we can finish up by next fall. We'll see...
Lot's of literature selections incorporated with history

We've settled into a nice groove with most of our curriculum, but writing is the one we've bounced around with the most. Part of the problem is that this is Ryne's most challenging subject and it is the one I have the biggest mental block when it comes to teaching. So I'm going to give Susan Wise Bauer the benefit of the doubt. We've had great success with other Peace Hill Press curriculum, so I'm praying this will be a good fit. Based on comments from SWB I'm confident if we finished WWS by the time Ryne graduates high school, he'll be in good shape for whatever God has planned for him. Therefore, I'm planning on taking this as slow as he needs.
After struggling for a couple of years to find a follow-up to First Language Lessons, I was thrilled to find a winner in AG. What a relief! 
These short exercises were helpful in rounding out our language arts curriculum last year.
Oral Reading from The Story of Inventions
It may seem very elementary to still have oral reading exercises, but I find it helpful to practice this skill even with older children.

Foreign Language

Another BHA longtime favorite.

Computer Science

Lessons on using various Microsoft Office products, using a program that is no longer for sale
Computer science was an area I was really excited about last year, but we just weren't able to devote much time for it. Now that I'm just homeschooling one kid this year, it will be a bigger priority.

Fine Arts

To be determined
Last year all three of my kids enjoyed an online homeschool art class offered by my good friend, Melanie, who is a former homeschool mom and has a masters degree in art education. She plans to offer the class again this year, so if you would like more information visit her website. We may do a follow-up class with her, or use Drawing Basics with Thomas Kinkade (which has been sitting on my shelf for years) since Ryne likes videos about drawing, or maybe we'll do both!
At least two musical events, such as the symphony or a musical -- a BHA tradition!

Artist and composer studies included in history

Physical Education

Cross Country and Track
Last spring we coaxed Ryne into running track with his oldest sister and it went surprisingly well. I can't say he loves running, but he does it and he enjoys being part of the team. The coaches and other kids have been great with him. I figured we were asking a lot just to get him to run track, but his sister even convinced him to go to cross country practices this summer and now he's excited about the meets this fall. Sometimes it's okay to make your kid do something they aren't excited about because they won't know if they like it until they try it.


Various autism resources I have on hand
We've never really spent a lot of time discussing autism with Ryne. We did finally tell him last year he has autism, because we were going to speech therapy and I figured during the evaluation they would mention it and I didn't want him to be confused, but other than that he knows very little about autism. I think he's old enough now to understand how it affects him, so we'll be reading and discussing it quite a bit this year with the hope that it might help him to be more aware of things he can control and things he can't. I've been looking everywhere for a book written to teenagers with autism that might be helpful, but have found nothing. If you know of any resources please leave me a note. I told my husband I just might have to write the book myself -- in my free time, of course. ;-)

There you have it, our plan for the new school year! I'm excited just thinking about it, but I still have much to do before we start in two weeks. 

Happy Homeschooling!!!


  1. Thank you for your comment on my blog! I love your thoughts on being "done" with spelling, I laughed out loud when I read it.

    Love your blog banner, it's so elegant. Enjoy your school year!

  2. Looks like you have a busy but great year ahead! I'm afraid to click some of those links because I don't dare add anything else to our plate. The computer science is tempting me, though. ;) I will have to file that away for another year.

    The links on my blog don't work. It wasn't your computer. I don't know what's up with that but I doubt I'll ever get around to fixing it. lol!

    Have a great year! And I hope you write that book one day.

  3. Thanks for your comments on my blog. Handwriting has always been her struggle. Thanks for sharing your experience with cursive. Your trip sounded awesome BTW. I hope you all have a wonderful school year. Good Luck!

  4. After being in Special Education in the public school system now for three years, I am absolutely amazed at what you have been doing with Ryne and all that he as accomplished. You are such a blessing to him. I am constantly referring to all he is able to do because of your diligence and high expectations....and the many other things you do to help him be successful! I have no doubt that one day, you can write a book about his education. : )