I thought I’d do a little update on how we like the new things we’re trying out this year.
IEW Structure and Style for Students Level C Year 1: This is going well. I love having interesting source texts already set up for my children to use. We followed this one as a 24 week course (the way it’s written) and won’t do that again. We did it that way to accomodate for a 10 week course of the essay intensive below. I feel like there are a few weeks/lessons that need more than 4-5 days to complete. For instance, right now my son is doing a “super essay” in only two weeks (8-10 days). This requires the student to write two full five paragraph essays, including finding and reading the sources, and then add the intro, conclusion, and linking paragraphs. In the other two levels I have adjusted them (IEW has suggestions to extend the course a few weeks), but I have made them 32 week courses and will do this for Level C the next time we use it.
IEW High School Essay Intensive: I found out they have discontinued this course but I don’t know why. We tried to do it as a 10 week course and I don’t think that was necessary. Next time we use it I’ll go back to doing it in four weeks, as I have done with my older child who already graduated. I do like the course and will continue to use it.
Berean Builder’s Discovering Design with Chemistry: I had purchased the audio files for this book so my student could listen while reading each chapter. After the first few chapters, my son stopped using the audio and read the text himself. He’s an auditory learner so this surprised me, but he said he found it wasn’t difficult to read and understand. And his review and test scores proved that! The website for this course has a download titled Scope and Sequence which explains the requirements to be met to count this as an Honors course, and my son is going to meet those requirements.
We purchased the workbook for this course and found it an unnecessary expense. The blank space for each question was excessive, though if you are having your student work out each calculation by hand it might be okay. I let my son use a calculator. Also, he ran out of pages in the Lab Notebook portion of the workbook. You can download the file for this book and print it yourself to save a little of the cost of the course. We decided that next year my kids will use a composition notebook and write their answers in that, as well as their lab writeups. That will be a lot less expensive.
The Fallacy Detective: We added the second book, The Thinking Toolbox, and will count this as a partial credit. The books have been enjoyable to read and easy to understand.
Norse and Greek Mythology: I made this course up from things I found on Teachers Pay Teachers, and added a couple of extra books to read. He’s really enjoyed this course, and even though he already knew a lot about Greek and Norse mythology, he’s learned new things. The Greek course I picked was formatted for use on Google Drive, and I put the pages and assignments in order in a PowerPoint/Google Slides file so he could complete the work in a specific order and know what was expected. The Norse course I picked is basically a study guide of a book and is printed.
I get much more thorough answers/paragraphs when he can type his work. In fact, he’s done many of his other courses through documents in the cloud that remain shared with me the entire year. We suspect our son has dysgraphia and moving his work to a computer has been beneficial for both him and me.
Drafting 1: Mechanical: I love this course! It was very easy to get AutoCAD free for our homeschool for the year. Mr. Murray is the teacher who made, monitors, and assists homeschool students taking his courses, and it’s been so nice to expand to another mentor. My son gets feedback on each assignment, questions answered whenever he needs, and personal help, all within a day usually! Mr. Murray grades just like a homeschool parent… help until the student gets 100%, every time. (I am so happy he does that!) The course is one of the most expensive that we’ve ever bought for our homeschool, but it is worth every dollar.
Fix It! Grammar 5: IEW announced that they updated their grammar books and we were really hoping to switch when they became available on Jan. 1. However, on that day we found out that level 5 and 6 would not be available until later in the year. Cue sad music. That means my daughter will finish the old Level 5 this year which we think is the worst level because of the story. Chanticleer is not fun to correct grammar for, so when this year is over we will gladly put this book aside forever and happily move on to the new levels of grammar.
Berean Builder’s Science in the Atomic Age: I had purchased the audio for this course and my daugher decided much the same thing my son did: that it was not necessary. The course was great; she has enjoyed doing science on her own and enjoyed using this course.
We purchased the workbook for this course and found it an unnecessary expense. The blank space for each question was of a more reasonable size. You can download the file for this book and print it yourself to save a little of the cost of the course. We decided that next year my kids will use a composition notebook and write their answers in that, as well as their lab writeups. That will be a lot less expensive.
THM Intermediate: Not thrilled. It was my daughter’s least favorite course this year. I felt it wasn’t as thorough as a school course should be.
Fix It! Grammar 2: This was the older edition of the book, and we like this one. But next fall she will move to level 3 of the new edition. She’s really excited for that. The only thing I don’t like about the new courses is that I will have to buy a student book each time we use each level; they no longer give you the PDF of the student book to print yourself.
These extras were so nice to have as we studied cytology! I’m glad we were able to have them on hand.