"School" officially started a few weeks back. And I did take those obligatory first day photos. (Poor munchkins...rarely a day goes by when I'm not taking their pictures.)
Annie officially started the school year on the 8th. Off to MCC she headed for her Children's Lit class. Um yeah, she's loving it! Hardly a surprise. :D
The Teaching Company. Though I've bought a few of their courses, this is the first one we've used. (Will hopefully use a couple more next year.) And we are absolutely loving it...I can definitely see why people recommend these courses so highly.
And for science this year, we're delving deeply into the world of environmental science. We're actually using the same textbook, Environment: The Science Behind the Stories, that Rich uses in teaching it at the community college. But we're just using it as a jumping off point. Since we're devoting the entire year to it, we've got lots of time to explore in all kinds of ways. Added bonus: Annie's Children's Lit class is on the same day as Rich's environmental science lab, so since she's already on campus that day, she's doing some of the labs with his class.
For U.S. history, we're exploring the 20th century. No textbook or anything. Just using a myriad of resources. Including continuing with our "history through literature" explorations. Annie just finished The Jungle by Upton Sinclair...and YAY!...she liked it. Here's her review. (I'd hate picking out a book she despised, but luckily that hasn't happened yet.) We're still deep into the turn-of-the century period, and will be for a few more weeks.
This first quarter of the school year, we're focusing on HIV/AIDS for health. We've been over the basic biology and whatnot in the past, so this year we're focusing on the history of the epidemic/pandemic and on personal stories. Among other things, we've watched movie And the Band Played On and read the graphic novel Pedro and Me by Judd Winick. (Annie's review.)
(As usual, PBS's Ed.Online has provided a wealth of resources! We've already watched videos for both history and health this year. Anyone homeschooling in NY is able to set up an account and have access to a wealth of free resources. I'm guessing that other states have similar programs through their PBS affiliates as well.)
the National Gallery of Art's loan program. They have a variety of materials that they loan out for free. The length of time one can keep the packets varies. (We're using their Art Since 1950 packet, and are allowed to keep it for 9 months.) While we're adding many additional activities and resources to our unit, it is a wonderful base. This particular packet contains a book, both with history and art appreciation information, but also with suggested activities for various age groups, a collection of slides, and several prints. We're currently exploring abstract expressionism, and have watched two different videos about Jackson Pollock (one biographical, one dealing more with his oeuvre), read a short book on Willem de Kooning, and completed an action painting project.
Music will be much as it was last year. Annie's continuing with her flute lessons. Oh how I love listening to her play. :D She already loves an extremely wide variety of music, so we feel no need to push her in that regard. As usual, we plan on attending at least a couple of live concerts each quarter, as well as watching several specials on Ovation TV. We watched one already about Lang Lang, the Chinese pianist.
For the most part, her phys ed requirements are going to be met through her everyday life. Bike-riding, soccer, tag, swimming, ice skating, hiking, jogging, etc. She will, of course, be playing organized soccer in the spring as well. She has a "time sheet" she fills in each week recording her activities.
And for library skills, the final required subject, Annie is doing a series of four independent projects. Each quarter she is choosing a different religion to research, and then is completing a project. She's chosen Wicca for her first project, a 10-ish page report written in MLA style.
She hopes to take another language course from MCC during the spring semester, either continue with Spanish, or ideally, if it will fit in everyone's schedule, Arabic. As Arabic is what she really wants to learn, I hope we can find a way to make it work for her.
Annie has also become quite involved with the local library...but I'll save that for another post.