My oldest, LD, will be in 9th Grade in the fall.
SCIENCE: The first big decision for us (for me and LD) was to look at science in the coming years. We want to follow a more traditional model through high school… covering the basic subjects biology, chemistry and physics. But we also wanted to do it in a way that made sense with the science background he’s coming in with (and with the science we’ll still cover together as a family).
Why Physics in 9th Grade?! We decided to do conceptual physics this year. This is a physics class that is based on algebra (rather than being based on calculus and higher math). In my research, I was really persuaded by an article I read about the “Physics First” model of high school classes. That argues that the traditional order (biology, chemistry, physics) should be updated to reflect the modern understanding of chemistry and biology. I was persuaded by the thought of teaching “concepts before computation” in physics. I myself found my 12th grade physics class to be one of the hardest classes I took. I don’t want LD to be scared of physics!
Another reason that swayed me was the material we have covered in the past few years. We have done a number of strong units on biology in the past couple of years (while LD was in Middle School): A Study of Cells, Human Body Systems, the Skeletal System, Muscular System, Circulatory System, and Digestive Systems. We also did an in-depth Biology Unit on biomes, habitats, ecosystems, as well as biological interactions (amensalism, mutualism, commensalism, and so forth). We also covered those biological relationships in our Ocean Unit. Similarly, I felt we had done a couple of strong units in chemistry the past couple of years on the Periodic Table (and Bohr Diagrams) as well as one of the Physical and Chemical Properties of Matter.
Anyway, knowing all this I felt that doing a physics class made sense. From there he’ll do biology and chemistry, but might do those on a higher level. Plus, that allows him to choose whether to do a rigorous physics class (perhaps at a community college?) in 12th grade or to do a higher level biology or chemistry class (AP? community college?)
What Physics books did we choose? I decided on Conceptual Physics by Paul Hewitt. (affiliate link) This was based on reviews and articles I researched. I’ve spent the last month reading through the first 5 chapters of this physics book and I think it will be a good match for LD. I also liked the fact that Mr. Hewitt says that this text “is my life’s work. My aim is to share my passion for physics, to guide the reader to see physics as the rules of the physical world, and to teach how the equations of physics reveal the connections in nature.” He clearly wants to make physics accessible for students. 🙂 As you can see, we bought an earlier edition of the textbook because it was considerably cheaper.
We also bought the other resources to go along with it (affiliate links):
What do I think so far? As I said, I’ve only read through 5 chapters, but I find that this book is really readable. I like the diagrams – they are extremely helpful and are fun. I think LD will relate to them. 🙂 And, I think the Reading and Study Notebook (affiliate link) is a perfect tool for LD. It is an awesome resource for a 9th grader as he continues to learn to take better notes, read for understanding, and work more and more on his own!! ((Note: I’m going to have to adjust the syllabus because some of the chapters were re-arranged with the older textbook I got and this newer Reading and Study Workbook. The content is the same, but the order is slightly different.)) In fact, I got one for myself and started back at the beginning taking notes and jotting things down so I have a better handle on this material as LD works through it next year. I also bought the other resources (the Teacher’s Edition, Concept Development Practice Book, Problem Solving Exercises in Physics and Laboratory Manual). I’m not a physics expert so I really wanted all the tools. (Actually, I accidentally bought 2 copies of the teacher’s edition. Sigh… need to sell that at some point! I guess I wasn’t paying close enough attention, but you know how it is as you plan in your spare moments!)
Physics FB Group?? If you plan to use this curriculum with your student next year, let me know! Maybe we could form a closed FB group to talk/discuss physics, share and idea and chat about how it’s going? It’s just a thought. Of course, you are welcome to join all of us in the Free Homeschool Den Chat FB group and we can “talk” there as well. 🙂
I’ll update all this as we go through the class, but those are our plans at this point. I put together a tentative syllabus for LD. (If you would like a copy, leave a comment or send me a quick email I’ll take the time to upload this pdf and will share it with you.)
This is probably not the norm, but I thought long and hard about the way we work together as a homeschooling family. I think we will continue to do some science units together. My younger girls need to go into some Earth Science topics again — and LD should probably go over some of these in more depth. We’ll do that and on LD’s transcript I will include this as a half-credit. We’ll cover topics like meteorology, weather and climate, plate tectonics and some other geology topics again. (We last covered this a couple of years ago.)
We are going to continue along with our history studies. As many of you know we did big units on the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation. We are now covering the Age of Absolutism and will move on to the Age of Enlightenment and the French Revolution.
From there, I think we’re going to jump into 20th Century history (both world history and American history).
Civics and Government: We will probably dive into the types of governments and society again next year. (I’ll expand on the packet we worked through this year. It’s currently free to download.) We touched on that for the first time this year, but like with Civics and Government, it’s a topic I think we need to cover yearly.
As for a transcript, I will probably include topics/units covered and reading lists on his transcript.
Algebra and then on to Geometry
LD has not finished his Algebra (affiliate link) book (and won’t before we stop for this year). We used an older edition because it was cheaper and because I could find the teacher’s edition (with answers) at a reasonable price. He will continue with that when we start back up again.
Then he’ll move into Geometry. I settled on Jacob’s Geometry and we’ll give that a try. I wound up purchasing the geometry package from My Father’s World. I also bought another textbook (Pearson or something) used from Amazon and will look through those in more detail once we get to that point.
Once you get to the high school level, you tend to call language arts English 1, 2, 3, 4.
Literature: He’ll be reading various novels. Plus, he’ll short stories/poetry/plays through a traditional literature textbook. He’ll be using Language of Literature, (affiliate link) which has selections by Amy Tan, D. H. Lawrence, Mark Twain, O. Henry, Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen Crane, E.E. Cummings, Leo Tolstoy, Shakespeare, Heinrich Boll and many others.
Writing: We will be finishing up Cover Story and purchased their new program called Byline. We have really enjoyed the DVD lessons, though I have to admit, much of the time the kids still do their own writing in our Writing Workshop. We’ve only done some of the assignments suggested in Cover Story. I also purchased a program from IEW and we may or may not use some of that. As I said in the history area above, we’ll be doing a lot of writing in conjunction with history.
GERMAN: We have been learning German in our homeschool. This year we’ll continue to work on vocabulary building and speaking, reading, listening and grammar. The kids are probably about a high level 2 or low level 3 in German now. We just hope to make steady progress.
SPANISH? My kids have really enjoyed learning a foreign language and have expressed interest in learning Spanish as well. Since I’ve become good friends this year with Sra. Morato over at Homeschool Spanish Curriculum, we are thinking that we might take her course. 🙂 My middle daughter is really excited about foreign languages… I just need to make sure this doesn’t topple us over the academic edge (ie. doing too much!!). I don’t know Spanish, so this would be a good option (with the video instruction).
LD is taking saxophone lessons. He will be moving up to Advanced Band. He might also play with another homeschool winds group on a different day of the week.
This is Hubby’s domain. This year, LD did Scratch and some basic computer programming. He’ll continue to work on that (with Hubby overseeing that piece of our homeschool).
PE: LD does CrossFit, so that works for PE.
I feel like I’ve forgotten something, but better wrap this up for now! 🙂 Feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email if you have any questions! 🙂 ~Liesl
FREE Homeschool Planner: Oh, and if you’re interested I finally got around to sharing our Homeschool Planning pages this year. I like to jot things down on paper. This is more of a Homeschool Vision Planner (it is not a daily planner with attendance sheets and stuff). You’ll find that FREE to download at this post:
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