Thursday, December 25, 2014

high school homeschool curriculum

Chana is preparing to take the scholar's exam for the high school she is applying to.  I have absolutely no idea what this exam will entail.  Chana has almost no experience at all taking tests.  I used to test Sarah every year; according to NY state law, students need to be tested every other year beginning 4th grade.  Chana tested in 1st grade, 5th grade and in 7th grade.

To prepare, we just went through fractions and decimals.  We'll review percents tomorrow.  I had been thinking about preparing her to take the Hebrew regents and working on reading Hebrew paragraphs and answering Hebrew multiple choice questions, but we didn't get to that.  We didn't get to review Hebrew grammar.  Plus, Chana is slow at taking tests.  I wonder why we are asking her to sit for the test.  I suppose on the off chance that she'll breeze through it and do well on it.  It's very possible she won't know a lot of the answers or she will not get to finish it, since our idea of education is vastly different than standard education, and learning how to take tests is not a high priority at this time.

As we were reviewing fractions (it made my heart sing to see how easily Chana zipped through them, remembering how difficult they were for her 4 years ago and how wonderful it was to unschool Math and how smoothly she understands it now and can do it), I started thinking about her curriculum for next year, if she decides to homeschool, and we started writing down a basic plan.

I said that I was thinking that she might want to take a break from math next year (she can always take remedial math in college, and I'm sure it will be very easy for her and she can go further after that if she enjoys it), but she might want to try geometry.  She asked what geometry entails, and I described it vaguely, and she said, sure, she'll try that.  So we wrote it down.

I asked her if she wanted to study biology or chemistry next year.  She asked what they both were.  I said biology is the study of the body and the classification of animals.  And chemistry is the study of molecules and atoms.  She chose chemistry.

I asked her about history, and she said she wasn't very interested in that.  But she decided she would study WWI and WWII.

I said for Literature she should read 3 books.  She mentioned Hamlet.  I said I would get her a reading list to choose the others from.  She said that she wanted to read How to Win Friends and Influence People.  She asked if that counts.  I said okay.  She said she'd like to read that now, though, and not wait for next year.  (I'd better go see if we have it on a shelf somewhere or if I gave it away.)

I said for writing, she can either hold off a year and we can sign her up for an online writing course next year, or I can do it with her next year.  She asked what writing is--is it handwriting?  I said no, grammar, structure, essays, papers, etc.  She asked how it would work, and I said I would give her assignments, she would do them, and I would correct them.  She said she'd like to do that.  I asked her how frequently she would like assignments, once a week, once a month, once every 2 weeks.. She chose once every two weeks.  She said she'd like to improve her vocabulary.  I remembered that Sarah had a box of words from her SAT course so I gave them to her.

For Limudei Kodesh, we said we'd have to talk about it.  We'll see what she wants to do once we finish Devarim.  I asked her about Nach and she doesn't know much about it.  I asked her to choose a month to devote to Torah Sheba'al Peh.  I have my sourcebooks from high school and I think we can go through a whole year's worth in a month, since homeschool is efficient like that.  She chose March.

I am going to discuss options with the principal of the high school she is applying to and see what they are open to.

If Chana stays home, I still have to figure out 1) how to teach chemistry.  2) how to teach geometry.  3) how to stay on top of writing assignments.  and limudei kodesh.

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