Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Transcript Grade 9 -mid 11th

This was done in table form, with a separate table for each semester. The table, which made it look organized, &, I hope, easy to read, disappeared when I pasted it in here. I hope this makes sense in this format. For course descriptions, see the "catalog" entry.

Year Course School Outcome Credit

General English

General English
SAT II: 780

2005, fall
English Composition I
M Community College

2005, fall
Children’s Literature
M Community College

2006, spring
Honors English Comp II
M Community College

Year Course School Outcome Credit
Algebra 2 & Geometry, Physics

Algebra 2, Geometry, & Physics

2005, fall
M Community College

2006, spring
M Commmunity College

Year Course School Outcome Credit

2004, sum.

2004, fall
State and Local Government
M Community College,

2004, fall
U.S. History
SAT II: 720

2006, spring
Intro. to World Civilization

2005 spring

2005 sum.

2003 sum.
JHU-CTY, JHU, Baltimore

2003 fall
Topics in Physics
Small Private College

Computer Literacy

Biology Topics – part 1

2005 spring
General Chemistry & Lab
M Community College

2005 fall
College Physics I & Lab
M Community College

2006 spring
[Honors] College Physics II & Lab
M Community College

2006 spring
Biology Topics – part 2

French Foundation

2004 spring
Koine Greek
All Saints’ Episcopal Church

2004 fall
Beginning French 1
M Community College

2004 -05
Koine Greek
All Saints’ Episcopal Church

2005 spring
Beginning French 2
M Community College

2005 fall
Intermediate French I
M Community College

Koine Greek [This was no longer available -- reported on mid-term, being replaced by an upgrade to Honors Physics. And?]
All Saints’ Episcopal Church

2006 spring
Intermediate French II
M Community College

Visual & Performing Arts

Visual & Performing Arts

Visual & Performing Arts

Practical Living Arts

Practical Living Arts

Practical Living Arts

December 2005 ACT (unofficial – writing score was not available)[reported mid-term -- it was 8]
Composite: 34
English: 32
Mathematics: 34
Reading: 34
Science: 35

CREDIT: Courses at home receive 1 credit for the equivalent of 1 year of a high school course. Courses taken at MCC receive credit for 3 or 4 college credit hours. CTY courses are equivalent to at least 1 semester of a high school course.


Beginning of the end of our homeschool days

Tonight I received a post reminding me that our annual membership in the Family Resource Center, which serves "New England homeschooling families by identifying and accessing creative and challenging museum and community resources that enrich children's lives and support their educational interests." They arrange wonderful field trips in all sorts of places and subjects, and we've had a wonderful time at the ones we were able to squeeze into our crazy schedule. (Check them out at http://www.frc.info/ )

But this year we aren't renewing our membership, and I'm a little sad. Partly because they have such great activities & I'll miss doing them. But also because we aren't renewing because my sons will both be enrolled in college as full-time students. DS2 was accepted to skip his "senior" year of high school, and in less than 4 months, will be studying on the other side of the country and living in a dorm. So this is the beginning of saying good-bye to the pleasures & family togetherness of homeschooling, and to my boys as children. It's sad and scary and exciting all at the same time.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Monday, May 01, 2006
Catalog, grades 9, 10, 11 -- DS#2

Some of this has been posted in bits before, but I'm hoping to get it all in one piece here.

Description of Dear Son #2's high school program

We believe that, for the cultivated mind, learning can -- and should -- take place anytime and anyplace. Because we find that the most natural and useful learning is “interdisciplinary,” it is difficult to tease out into the shape of traditional courses. By and large, our home school courses involve providing access to relevant books, magazines, videos, Web sites, and software; going on numerous “field trips” (some of which were several weeks long); and reflecting by discussing, quietly pondering, sharing photos and reactions, and writing. Some of them are cumulative and spread over several years. We also used what would have been "extracurricular activities" for public school students as part of our education plans. The emphasis is on understanding rather than memorization, and discussions emphasize relating material to what is already known or believed and questioning how it might illuminate current knowledge and invite new insights.

Most of what follows has been limited to 9th (the 2003-2004 academic year), 10th (2004-2005) and 11th (2005-2006) grades. DS2 did much work on his own that was above grade level before that (such as reading Heaney's Beowulf translation in fourth grade, and part of The Communist Manifesto in fifth), which would be tedious to record or to read. To give a better picture of DS2's high-school level academics, however, here is a list of formal high-school and college work he did before entering ninth grade:

Chesapeake Bay Ecology, Chestertown, MD JHU-CTY
The Writing Process JHU-CTY/DL
Archaeology of Ancient Ireland*, Dublin, Ireland Center for Talented Youth - Ireland
Writing for an Audience JHU-CTY/DL
Astronomy*, Baltimore, MD JHU-CTY
Geopolitics*, Saratoga Springs, NY JHU-CTY
Qunatum World and Relativity*, Easton, MA Stonehill College (Talent Search

JHU-CTY = Johns' Hopkins University's Center for Talented Youth
JHU-CTY/DL = Johns' Hopkins University's Center for Talented Youth Distance Learning course

In addition, a trip to Ireland and Britain in 2002 (we traveled as a family before and after the CTY-I course) and a camping trip in California in 2001, were the basis for a great deal of reading and exploration in all seven curriculum areas.


English Language Arts primarily emphasizes an appreciation of various genres of literature, along with some grammar and composition. Developing reference skills prepares the student for work on research papers.

Among the books read were:
A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess
Towers of Trebizon, Rose Macaulay
Keep the Aspidistra Flying, George Orwell
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl and Sir Orfeo, J.R.R. Tolkien
Sophie's World
Mother Tongue, Bill Bryson

Some of the plays attended:
As You Like It (two different productions)
The Birthday Party
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
The Miser
Sophocles Oedipus
The Syringa Tree
Field trips such as:
Higgins Armory, "the culture of warfare, politics and power in Shakespeare's MacBeth"
The Old Manse, Concord, MA, "The World of Henry Thoreau"

Hands-on work includes:
Research for library patrons and the Open Space Committee

Students should be aware of the practical applications of math (e.g., buying paint to cover the walls of a room, interest payments on a mortgage) as well as its historic development and use. They should have the opportunity to explore a variety of problems and approaches to solving them. General math provides the opportunity to study the concepts of math and its relationship to other subjects, discover its entertainment value and everyday uses, prepare for standardized math tests, and strengthen areas of weakness. In addition, DS2 will work on the math needed to continue his study of physics.

Saxon Algebra II, along with some work on more advanced math in his astronomy and physics classes.
Saxon Physics * (to supplement other physics courses)

Readings in books such as:
Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk, Peter L. Bernstein
Measuring Eternity: The Search for the Beginning of Time, Martin Gorst
The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure, Hans Magnus


DS2 will continue to expand his knowledge of history, politics, economics, geography and world religions and his understanding of how they affect our lives and decisions today as he continues to pursue his fascination with this area of study. He will also continue to learn about civics and the responsibilities of citizenship.

His work has included extensive reading about social studies and current events in magazines such as Smithsonian, National Geographic, Newsweek and The Economist.

International Politics / Economics/ Geography/ World Religions
Formal course:
Geopolitics* course through Johns Hopkins' Center for Talented Youth.

Reading included books such as:
The Lexus and the Olive Tree
Past Worlds Atlas of Archaeology
1895 Sears Catalog (reprint)

History/ Archaeology
Formal course:
Ancient Irish Archaeology*, Center for Talented Youth - Ireland (2002 - entering 8th grade)

Books such as:
A Short History of the World by J.M. Roberts (Oxford University Press) [selections]
A Cartoon History of the Universe, II, III, Larry Gonick
Rage of the Nations

Computer & Web resources such as:
National Geographic on CD-ROM

Field trips such as:
Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community, Maine (religious history in England and U.S.).
Robbins Museum of Archaeology, Middleboro, MA
MA State Archives
Crystal River Archaeological State Park, FL

Civics / Local Government
Formal course:
"State and Local Government*," Massasoit Community College

Hands-on experience includes:
Member of the East Bridgewater Open Space Committee (2003-present)
(has updated and rewritten sections of old plan)
Volunteer for local state representative's reelection campaign
Participation in Friends of the EB Rail Trail's work

Field trips include:
a variety of meetings relevant to local government and citizenship
Representative Teahan's swearing in at the State House



Biology Topics
Online lessons and exercises, a variety of scientific readings and discussion, as well as field trips, observations and studies, serve to prepare students to take honors biology and to understand the current issues, including ethics, involving biology in the news.
Major topics: genetics, watersheds, ecology

Reading selections from books such as:
The Seaside Naturalist
College biology text

On-line resources include:
Online Biology Book

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory sites, including:
“DNA from the Beginning”
“Image Archive on the American Eugenics Movement”

Field trips such as:
Harvard drosophilia research lab
Snorkeling with manatees, Homosassa, FL
MIT DNA lab for homeschoolers

Observer/reporter for the following local studies:
Matfield River Shoreline Survey
Stream Crossing Survey
Macroinvertebrate Survey, Trout Brook & Salisbury Plain River

Physics (see Math)
Formal courses (see pre-ninth grade courses)
“Astronomy*” course, Johns Hopkins University CTY program, Johns Hopkins Campus, summer, 2003
"Topics in Physics," Stonehill College

Online mini-course
"Quirky Physics" module, Virtual School for the Gifted

Books included:
The Universe in a Nutshell, Stephen Hawking
How to Dunk a Doughnut, Len Fisher (winner of the Ignoble Prize in Physics)
The Elegant Universe, Brian Greene
Einstein's Unfinished Symphony, Marcia Bartusiak

Field trips included:
Bates Linear Accelerator, Middleton, MA
Facility tour and instruction.

Computer Literacy
Proficient in MS Word, Word Perfect, Adobe Photoshop; uses AOL and gmail routinely for e-mail, maintains a blog. Able to scan in both photographs and text documents, transfer music from records to CD to MP3 player, perform basic information searches. Has some knowledge of HTML.

Science studies are supplemented by extensive reading in science magazines such as Scientific American, Discover, Invention & Technology, New Scientist and American Scientist.


World Language and Cultures studies are intended to develop an awareness and appreciation of different cultures and their languages, and to begin developing competence in at least one language other than English. Awareness and appreciation are developed by discovering other languages in our environment (e.g., signs in Spanish on the T), speaking with individuals from other cultures (e.g., Aunt Ai Ping, Uncle Helmut, or members of the International Touch Club), exploring mini-environments (e.g., the Cafe Algiers or the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City with its Flamenco dancers), or visiting areas where different languages are spoken (e.g., Llanberis or Quebec.). Computer programs, games, children’s books and tapes, and magazines create a foundational level for language study, and formal courses help to develop competence.

Includes visits to Wales (2002) (Welsh, Celtic culture), Ireland (2002) (Irish Gaelic, Celtic culture), Quebec (French, French Canadian), Ybor City, FL (Spanish, Cuban), North End, Boston (Italian).

The Rape of the Fair Country, Alexander Cordell (novel from Wales about Welsh mining village)

Foundation for French: Introduction to French studies, using Power-Glide, supplemented by children's books, magazines, music, computer programs in French, and a trip to Quebec.

Formal courses:
Beginning French I & II*, Massasoit Community College
Intermediate French I & II*, Massasoit Community College

Koine (New Testament) Greek
Weekly class at All Saints' Episcopal Church in W, taught by the Rev. D H, M.Div.

Text: The Elements of New Testament Greek (1991 edition)
J. W. Wenham
Cambridge University Press

This course has a two-fold emphasis: performance and appreciation. Students are expected to learn basic skills of performance for theater/public speaking and music, and to become literate in the arts. Methods of instruction include individual music lessons; group acting class, directed reading and exercises; attendance at live performances, films and exhibits; observation of architecture and sculpture; visits to art museums and exhibits; discussions and attendance at lectures, workshops and presentations; games and hands-on activities; reading or performing in public.

Among the performances attended are (see English Language Arts):
Christmas Revels
Tanglewood concerts
American Voices, Colin Cox (a one-person play)
Benjamin Sears & Bradford Conner concerts
Canadian Brass concert

Among the plays read are:
Look Back in Anger, John Osborne

Among books used are:
What to Listen for in Music
Theater Through the Ages (a fine arts activity book)

Individual and group instruction:
Acting class, Capachione School of Performing Arts
Guitar lessons, Capachione School of Performing Arts

Public reading or performance:
Accompanied choir piece
Performed in selections from The Boys Next Door
Scripture reading in church

(Phys Ed, Health, Community Service, Public speaking, Faith exploration and Scripture, House/Garden/Car care, Typing/Voice Dictation, skills for living alone and with others, etc.)

This subject area includes topics which would be taught in home economics/consumer science, shop, health, phys ed, community service, keyboarding, faith exploration and other areas which deal with the practical rather than primarily academic areas of learning. Each student is expected to find ways to serve the community, whether through projects, volunteer positions, or simply doing things as they are needed. When possible, this service is related to more academic topics, such as Taunton River Watershed activities and studies of ecology.

Some areas of involvement:
Basic and dessert cooking
Venture Crew 29
Helping start Venture Crew 353
Christian Ed Class
AHA Heartsaver First Aid

Phys ed activities included:
YMCA swimming lessons

Main community service activities:
Volunteer, East Bridgewater Public Library
Member E.B. Open Space Committee (this is an official town committee)
Project Bread Walk for Hunger
Watershed assessment and advocacy
Friends of the E. B. Rail Trail.

*Course descriptions of formal courses

Archaeology of Ancient Ireland
“Ireland possesses a remarkably rich array of sites of archaeological interest. Among these are the Neolithic passage graves of Newgrange and Knowth, the construction of which pre-dates the pyramids of Egypt by centuries.
“The course will detail the fascinating sequence of Irish prehistory from circa 8000 BC through to the introduction and establishment of Christianity in the fifth century AD. The aim is to give students a sound understanding of our archaeological heritage placing it in its wider context by highlighting the successive waves of prehistoric peoples from mainland Europe who colonised Ireland.
“Students will also be introduced to the techniques of excavation, dating, discovery of sites and finds retrieval. The contributions of a range of specialist studies to archaeology including human and animal bone analysis will be examined. Activities will include lectures, discussions, and field trips.”
http://www.dcu.ie/ctyi/summer/academic/c_desc04.htm#Archaeology A

"In this course, students are exposed to the physics and mathematical concepts which are part of the science of astronomy, including such topics as planetary science; solar physics; stellar evolution; general relativity; and exotic objects such as quasars, pulsars, and black holes. Students also investigate the history of this ancient discipline, from Stonehenge to the Hubble Space Telescope.
"Students tackle many hands-on activities and labs: analyzing emission spectra, examining telescopic optics, plotting sunspots, determining Hubble’s constant, and calculating the distance and magnitude of stars. They have opportunities to work at local observatories, planetariums, or science centers. In class discussions, students use their new foundation in astronomy to consider its role in our lives on Earth, cosmology, and the search for extraterrestrial life." http://cty.jhu.edu/summer/catalogs/osscience.html#astr

Calculus I
This course, required of mathematics/science majors, includes limits, continuity, differentiation, and applications of algebraic and trigonometric functions.

Children's Literature
Children's Literature examines the reading interests of children from pre-school years through the elementary grades with emphasis on the contribution that reading can make toward the process of growth. Topics include the history of literature for children, illustrators, folk tales, myths, modern fanciful tales, fiction, poetry, and books in special fields. This course requires extensive reading and writing.

English Composition I
English Composition I is a course designed to help students develop and organize extended pieces of writing. Students will focus on the correct and appropriate use of language and the organization and development of paragraphs and essays. Research techniques and documentation of sources will be included. Constant reading and frequent writing will be required.
Honors English Composition II
English Composition II is a course designed to strengthen students' skills as writers and to focus on analysis and argument. Assignments include critical examination of literature and an essay using research and documentation utilizing the MLA style sheet. Emphasis is on writing as part of the processes of thinking and learning.

Beginning French I
"This course initiates the development of the ability to speak, understand, read and write French. Students learn the fundamentals of grammar, basic vocabulary, and correct pronunciation. Various aspects of French speaking cultures are discussed."
http://www.massasoit.mass.edu/acad/crse_desc_ser.cfm [same for all Massasoit courses]
Beginning French II
"Beginning French II is a continuation of Beginning French I."
Intermediate French I
Grammar and syntax are reviewed and expanded upon with greater emphasis on oral work. Students engage in class discussion and conversation as well as reading assignments and compositions.
Intermediate French II
Intermediate French II is a continuation of Intermediate French I .

General Chemistry I
"This course is designed for students who plan to continue in a science or related area. The major topics covered include atomic structure, stoichiometry, modern chemical bonding and the gaseous state of matter. The laboratory is both preparative and analytical using classical and spectroscopic techniques. Lecture: 3 hours Laboratory: 2 hours "

College Physics I Credits: 4
This is the first semester of a one-year introduction to the principles and applications of physics. Emphasis is placed on understanding through problem solving. Topics are vectors, force systems, kinematics, dynamics and Newton's Laws, work, conservation of energy and momentum, and rotational kinematics and dynamics. Lecture: 3 hours Laboratory: 2 hours
College Physics II Credits: 4
This is a continuation of College Physics I (PHYS151). Problem solving ability is further developed. Topics include properties of solids and fluids, heat and thermodynamics, wave motion, sound, electrostatics, electric current, electromagnetism, light, and optics. Lecture: 3 hours Laboratory: 2 hours

"What are these organizations, and what can they tell us about our changing world? What is the role of the nation state, the traditional power center of the international system, in a world increasingly affected by globalization? How does the transnational flow of goods and ideas shape some of the most immediate issues of today (e.g., state security and sovereignty)?
"Students address these and other questions as they are introduced to various geopolitical theories and to the existing approaches and methodologies used to understand and analyze world events. In a course that combines the study of international relations with geography, students learn how different populations, regions, and global organizations relate to and affect one another. In addition, students examine issues such as culture, religion, and technology alongside traditional topics such as history, government, and economics. By exploring the interaction of these variables, students begin to think critically about the complex forces that shape our world."

Logic: Principles of Reasoning

Too often in today’s society, solid argumentation gives way to appeals to majority opinion and personal attacks. This course introduces students to logic as a tool for evaluating arguments in modern dicourse. The course encompasses informal logic—the process of analyzing language-based arguments—and, to a lesser extent, formal logic—the method of analyzing and validating arguments by means of symbolic notation.

Students learn to produce sound arguments and to differentiate valid from fallacious reasoning. They apply these skills to texts such as Plato’s Trial and Death of Socrates, presidential speeches, and newspaper editorials. Students participate in discussions, work problem sets, and construct arguments relevant to current topics in both philosophy and modern society, substantially strengthening their reasoning and critical thinking skills.

Introduction to Philosophy
"An introductory examination of the problems and scope of philosophical inquiry, this course introduces the student to major issues in philosophy, including theories of being, theories of knowledge, and theories of value, with attention to the historical development of philosophical thought."

This course continues the mathematics preparation for successful completion of Calculus. Topics include the operation and use of graphing utilities, the properties and graphs of rational functions, one-to-one and inverse functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, and trigonometric functions.

Quantum World and Relativity (Natural Scientific Inquiry)
"This course is an introduction to the mysteries of quantum physics and relativity for the general student. Despite nearly a century of confirmations, the basic rules of quantum physics and relativity are still strange, mysterious, and counter-intuitive, and fun to think about. This course examines these rules – their discovery, content, and experimental verifications – and the people who created them – Einstein, Bohr, DeBroglie, Heisenberg, etc. You do not need to be a science major to take this course"

State and Local Government
"This course investigates the structure and politics of American government at the state and local level. Types of legislatures, city councils, governors, mayors, city managers, county government, the development and operation of town meetings, and constitutional, judicial, and financial problems are discussed."

Saturday, April 22, 2006


Castle tower, Abergavenny

  Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Article on 2006 admissions

I'll post more about how we did our homeschooling, but thought this article on low acceptance rates might interest you. []

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

(Someone on a list I'm on asked about unschooling, relaxed schooling, starting out, a typical day, etc. It's one of the posts that led me to start posting on here. I started a reply, but didn't get very far. Here's what I've written so far:)

I'm not entirely sure what we are -- we have definite unschooling tendencies, but I also liked trying out different things, and my sons have taken classes at the Johns Hopkins summer programs, & at Stonehill & Wheaton, and now both take classes at Massasoit. They like taking classes that they pick, that don't have busy work but challenge them, and being with intellectual peers & diverse students. They also both took adaptive phys ed at the public school for awhile with a wonderful teacher -- actually, all 3 of us got to be in the class & had a lot of fun.

I think I had some grandiose plans when my 1st son started homeschooling about the projects he could do (he'd just finished 5th grade). They were based on things he wanted to or was interested in, but he really wasn't into projects. Somethings worked OK -- I remember we had a "Westward, Ho!" project -- my husband had been laid off, so we figured we could go camping for awhile. One math thing we did was to have him figure how much stuff the car trunk could hold (volume) by measuring it & doing the math. And we had him do distances on the map, & mileage & anything else that came along that was useful or involved thinking. And he & his brother (3 years younger), helped a lot with planning the trip (much influenced by the Oregon Trail computer game! It was neat when we we went to Fort Laramie & discovered the pictures of it in the game were actually modeled on it.)

Because my dh & I come from families that see everything as learning opportunities, we haven't done that much different than we would have -- we've just had more time for it. We learned about things they were interested in, & they learned about things we were interested in. I've gotten such a wonderful education over the last 8 years!!!!

After a little time passed, I realized that if I tried to teach him & set expectations, my elder son & I would just bang heads. A lot. But I remembered what one of the really good teachers had said to me at the public school: "If we just get out of his way, DS#1 will learn!" So I tried to do that & he pretty much taught himself.

Then, his little brother decided he wanted to be homeschooled, so we took him out part way through 4th grade. I discovered his learning style was very different from his brother's & he wanted more structure & attention.

Visual & Performing Arts, Media and Communication

Guitar -- 1 hour lesson/week.

Media & Communication:
Informal examination and discussion of old magazines, movies, catalogs, radio and TV
shows, commercials and ads to look at what values were deemed important, impact of technological changes, etc.

Attendance at concerts (such as the Tanglewood Jazz Festival)
and plays (such as those at American Repertory Theater),
visits to museums (such as MFA and Gardner);
directed readings (such as The Medium is the Massage, What to Listen for in Music, and reviews of performances attended),
viewing classic films,
doing hands-on art/photography/craft projects
and activities to enhance knowledge of theory and appreciation.
Evaluation: discussion, Humanities CLEP.

Practical Living Skills
(Phys Ed, Health, Community Service, Public speaking, Faith exploration and Scripture, House/Garden/Car care, Typing/Voice Dictation, skills for living alone and with others, etc.)

Reading course (Integrated with biology, above)
Holt Health
Materials from UNL-ISHS course in health

Community service such as neighborhood clean-up, helping with Vacation Bible School, volunteering at library, (In 2003-2004, DS2 volunteered five hours a week at the public library, worked on our town's. Open Space Committee, participated in the Walk for Hunger, and was a member of the Shoreline Suevey Team for the Matfield River.)

Resources such as Venture Crew, Favorite Community College courses, Share the Fire, Family Y, family canoeing/hiking/whitewater rafting/camping trips, Camp Barbara Harris, our books on gardening, home repair, car maintenance, computer programs for typing and dictating, etc.


2 year plan -- part 2

In the first part, most of the plan was ideas about what we would do, I think. This part seems to be partly from a report on what he'd actually done.
World Languages and Culture
Exploring world languages and cultures

Reading books from other cultures, such as:
The Rape of the Fair Country, Alexander Cordell (novel from Wales about Welsh mining

"Foundation level" using Power-Glide
supplemented by children's books, magazines, music, computer programs in French,
and a trip to Quebec.
French Ia & b -- College level courses at FCC

Koine (New Testament) Greek
weekly class at All Saints' Episcopal Church in Whitman,
taught by the Rev. Douglas Hale, M.Div.
Has completed one semester.

I'm having trouble with the format & with losing parts of this. I'll just post this, then add the Arts & Practical Living sections separately.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Our proposed 9th & 10th "grade" for DS2

Most folks won't want to read this, but I'm putting it here for a couple people who have asked for ideas on lists I'm on. This is what we proposed for last year & this year for our younger son (Dear Son #2). Naturally, there have been a lot of changes!

Major goals

Goal #1: To continue becoming a life-long learner who is intrinsically motivated, displays intellectual curiosity, finds learning enjoyable, and will continue seeking knowledge outside of, and after the completion of, his formal instruction.

Goal #2: To have sufficient academic knowledge to enter any school system at or above grade level.

Goal #3: To continue learning skills which will enable him to be a wise, compassionate and contributing member of society, who is able both to stand up for what he believes and to enjoy life and other people.

Materials and Methods

Since we have nearly enough relevant books, videos, tapes, computer software, and other educational resources to start our own school, we will choose those that fit the topics below and DH2’s needs as we go through the year. We will also use Web resources and field trips, including those sponsored by Family Resource Center and Freelance Learners. We generally prefer John Holt’s “unschooling” model, and in that spirit find that we can use any situation and material to DH2’s educational advantage.

DH2 received scholarships to take courses at Somelocal College in eighth and ninth grade; he took a physics course each year and earned an A in both. This year he will take five courses at Favorite Community College.

In addition, a short course from the Virtual School for the Gifted,
field trips with the Family Resource Center
and other homeschool groups, and activities from Edventures.com supplement course-specific materials listed below.

Subjects to be taught
"Two year plan for DS2"

English Language Arts

DS2 will continue to develop his appreciation for and understanding of literature, as well as his proficiency in oral and written communication.

Reading course covering literature, grammar, vocabulary and composition using materials such as:

Dicey's Song, Farenheit 451, Romeo and Juliet, Under Milkwood, How Does a
Poem Mean?, JB, Night, Great Expectations, Catcher in the Rye, Slaughterhouse
Five, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, The Left Hand of Darkness, A Clockwork
Orange, Emma, Things Fall Apart, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Walden,
and selections from Journeys through Bookland.
Waiting for Godot,
Samuel Beckett

Harpers Magazine
(video and DVD) A Room with a View, Much Ado About Nothing

Composition (including grammar and vocabulary) will include readings and exercises from sources such as:
Mother Tongue, Woe Is I, Lapsing Into a Comma: A Curmudgeon's Guide to the Many Things That Can Go Wrong in Print -- and How to Avoid Them, The Elements of Style, Words Fail Me: What Everyone Who Writes Should Know About Writing, Writing Down the Bones, Vocabulary from Classical Roots, Wordly Wise 3000, local newspapers and biographies of writers.

See also Visual & Performing Arts


Saxon Algebra II*
Saxon Physics
* (to supplement other physics courses)
Saxon Advanced Math* (possibly starting it)
Note: Saxon integrates geometry into the rest of its math curriculum. Although DS2 has already done most of the geometry covered in some basic texts, Algebra II and Advanced Math each incorporate a semester of geometry (with formal proofs in the latter). Thus they cover 3 years of math in two text-books, so there seems to be no need to rush through them.
Supplemented by reading and computer programs such as: Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk, A Cartoon Guide to Statistics, Knowledge Adventure's Geometry and Multimedia Spreadsheets and Graphs.

Science, Technology & Engineering

Will cover the following:
Cellular and Molecular Biology
Classical Genetics
Organismal Biology
Evolution and Diversity
using the Online Biology Text, http://www.emc.maricopa.edu/faculty/farabee/BIOBK/BioBookTOC.html, and readings from the text: Biology: The Unity and Diversity of Life (college level) and/or FCC course.
Evaluation: SAT II and/or FCC grades

Physics (see Math)
Has completed:
“Astronomy” course, Johns Hopkins University CTY program, Johns Hopkins Campus, June 29 - July 18, 2004.
"Quirky Physics" module, Virtual School for the Gifted.
"Topics in Physics," 3-credit course, Somelocal College
[completed "Quantum Physics and Relativity (General Science)" 3-credit course, Somelocal College, in 8th greade]

Technology & Engineering

This will be done informally, for the most part, and tied in with physics in particular. We may use hands-on activities such as computer exploration, K'Nex roller coaster building, and Lego Mindstorms.


chemistry course at FCC.

Science studies will be supplemented by extensive reading in science magazines such as
Scientific American, Discover, Invention & Technology, New Scientist and American Scientist; books and Web sites such as Genome, Demon in the Freezer: A True Story, Biography of a Germ, The Double Helix, Silent Spring, Lives of a Cell, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's Website, www.nasa.gov, www.wwf.org, http://regentsprep.org/Regents/;

and labs and field trips such as
Harvard's fruit fly research lab, MIT DNA lab for homeschoolers, Ecology Science lab, Smithsonian Frog Lab, Museum of Science labs, and visits to NSC and/or MCC chemistry labs. He will also continue his work in the Venturing program, including a study of tidewater muckets and a wetland meadow.

Social Studies

DS2 will continue to expand his knowledge of history, politics, economics, geography and world religions and his understanding of how they affect our lives and decisions today as he continues to pursue his fascination with this area of study.
Directed reading course in World History I (pre-historic to 1600 C.E.) and II (1600 to present)
A Short History of the World by J.M. Roberts (Oxford University Press)* [selections]
A Cartoon History of the Universe, II, III
Peoples [selections]
Continue research related to his patent medicine bottles, Our Townhistory and archaeology.
Geopolitics course through Johns Hopkins' Center for Talented Youth.

Supplemented by extensive reading about social studies and current events in magazines such as
Smithsonian, National Geographic, The News, Newsweek and The Economist, selections from books such as Rage of the Nations, the 1895 Sears Catalog , Sophie's World, The History of the Mongol Conquests, A Distant Mirror, Gandhi:Great Soul, Past Worlds Atlas of Archaeology, Atlas of World History,
video such as Cry Freedom, Triumph of the Spirit,
computer & Web resources such as www.nara.gov, the National History Day site, National Geographic on CD-ROM,
and by field trips such as: Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community (religious history in England and U.S.).

Evaluation: SAT II and/or FCC grades

Much of this will continue to be informal, but some formal reading and activities may also be assigned, or he may take a course at FCC, "State and Local Government."
Member of the Open Space Committee,
Attendance at a variety of other meetings relevant to government and citizenship.

To be continued.... (World Language, Visual & Performing Arts, & Practical Living Skills)

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Homeschooling: "Freed to Learn"

Homeschooling as a form of Intellectual Freedom

[Here is an unedited & unformatted page I created several years ago. I know some of the links are no longer available. As I have time, I will try to fix the links and formatting.]

For some of us, the decision to homeschool our children is related to our beliefs about intellectual freedom. We may believe that our community's public school blocks our children's access to information, discourages their freedom of expression, imposes some form of secular religion on them or prevents their free religious expression. For instance, in a landmark case in Massachusetts, "The Care and Protection of Charles," the parents chose to home school their children "[d]ue to religious convictions." (399 Mass. 324, 37 Ed. Law Rep. 934) The Supreme Judicial Court quotes a letter the parents had written to notify the school department of their decision to home school their children:

" 'As Christian parents, we are committed to introducing our children to and nurturing them in the truths of the Bible....Our decision to home-school is
based on the conviction that what [our children] need most is exposure to us,
their parents, and a family whose foundation is the Word of God."

While these parents, and many others who have been in the forefront of the United States homeschooling movement, are Christian, the opportunity to integrate a family's religious faith and practice into their children's education may be valued by members of any religion.

In our case, we felt that compulsory public education for our fifth grader, which took about nine and a half hours of his time each weekday (time at school, on the bus, and doing homework) was significantly decreasing his access to the information and experiences he needed to grow intellectually. Our middle school was not prepared to educate a child whom they described as the "most gifted and most disabled student" student they had had. Although he easily did eighth-grade math, he was only allowed to use a fifth-grade math book and had to be in a fifth-grade math class (and only a fifth-grade math class), simply because he was in fifth grade. Although he read on an adult level, learning disabilities made writing and organization painfully difficult, to say the least. Rather than work to accommodate him so that he could be in the advanced language arts class, the school assigned him to a slower class, one in which he would again study Sarah, Plain and Tall. It's a good book, but he had already studied it in both his second and fourth grade classes. By being home schooled, he was able to read the Odyssey the next year (his choice). He and his younger brother are exposed to a variety of information and points of view to which they would not have had access in our middle school, from Creationism to the Communist Manifesto, from Beowulf to A Brief History of Time. In addition, we are free to integrate our religious faith into our discussions of what they study, and we don't have to worry that they might say something about God in class. (Technically students are allowed to speak about their religious beliefs in school, as long as they aren't trying to convert others, but the regional environment suggests that we would have to educate people to that fact.)

In the Brunelle Decision, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court describes what is to me part of the great liberation in how we access, integrate and express knowledge as home schoolers:

"...[S]ome of the most effective curricular materials that the plaintiffs [homeschooling parents] may use may not be tangible. For example, travel, community service, visits to educationally enriching facilities and places, and meeting with various resource people can provide important learning experiences apart from the four corners of a text or workbook."

Some interesting links
"No place like home," David Gergen's editorial on homeschooling in US News & World Report. Referring in part to Jedediah Purdy, author of For Common Things: Irony, Trust, and Commitment in America Today, Harvard graduate and currently Yale Law School student, who was homeschooled until college, Gergen writes, " It is easiest to call them 'homeschoolers,' says Purdy. 'Really, though, our parents did something more radical. They freed us to learn.' […]The future," concludes Gergen, "will belong to those children who, like Jed Purdy, are 'freed to learn.'"
Home School Legal Defense Association We have learned, the hard way, that while some school systems are wonderfully supportive of home schooling and simply want the best education for each child, others resent it and the intellectual and personal freedom it allows. This group provides assistance to many in that situation.
Massachusetts Home Learning Association Guidance for new homeschool families, links to cases quoted above.
Homeschooling Kids With Disabilities Maaja maintains this Web site of online resources, and is listowner of an e-mail discussion group with same name.
Homeschooling About.com
John Holt's Unschooling
"Questions and Answers About Homeschooling" from the Growing Without Schooling Web site which keeps alive Holt's unschooling vision.
"What is Unschooling?
"Homeschooling: Creating Alternatives To Education" Speech presented at Penn. State University's Conference, "Education and Technology: Asking the Right Questions," Oct. 1997 by Patrick Farenga
"School is out" "Why I teach my kids at home" from SALON, Oct. 1, 1997. An article by novelist Denis Johnson on unschooling his two children.
Learn in Freedom! FAQs, numerous bibliographies, commentary, etc. related to homeschooling. By Karl M. Bunday, lawyer, parent and translator/missionary.
Learning Disabled and Gifted:A Homeschool Perspective In LD OnLine: First Person, a mother's account.
"Homeschooled College Applicants On the Rise" Observations on the increase, and tips for applying.


Getting started

Two things precipitated this blog: my old page about intellectual freedom & homeschooling bit the dust, and another homeschooling mother on a local list asked us all some questions about homeschooling. I decided I'd like to have a place to put resources, my thoughts on homeschooling, and other reflections so that I can share them with anyone who might be interested.

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