2015-16 School Plans for the 2E Boy – A Work In Progress

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I have always loved to spend the summer planning out our fall schedule. I would spend my days scouring the internet, looking at reviews, reading forums, and drooling over curriculum sites. It was always so much fun to try to get the perfect school year planned out.

Then my kids got older. The twins’ school is almost completely online, so there is not much for me to do there (although I am putting together a physics course for the coming year that has been a blast to plan). All that remains is my youngest who is a wildly creative, gifted student who is also twice exceptional. I have to take this into consideration when planning his school year.

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I have a few subjects planned that I am almost positive they will work for the year. For language arts he will be using Brave Writer primarily. We have been working with Brave Writer for years now, and it is the one curriculum I can count on to work with my youngest. The lessons are short, creative, and often open-ended. He learns copywork, dictation, writing skills, grammar skills, and vocabulary all while reading great books and working on creative writing projects. For my son it works, and because not much else does, we will stay with it. I also love the Brave Writer lifestyle which is a nice benefit since I am sure the boy will be using it right through high school.

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For math I have a few plans as he needs to be able to switch between programs when he gets stuck in one. And he will get stuck, or more likely bored, with a few throughout the year. Right now the boy is working through Prodigy which is an online adventure game with plenty of math built in. The boy has been working through it for a few weeks now, and it does not seem that his interest is waning yet. I will let him stay with it as long as he wants, but I also have plans for when he burns out. Right now that includes the next level of MathWorks which we used last year somewhat successfully. I also have some generic math workbooks for him to use when we need a change.

History and science are a little more tricky to plan for. The boy is not very fond of history, and I have had trouble finding him a curriculum or class that interests him. In the past we seem to have had the most luck with learning history through movies or documentaries or with online sources. For the coming year I actually have nothing planned as of yet. I am scourging online sites, bookstores, videos, and reviews. I am just not seeing anything he will be able to work with. For now I am leaving this blank and am hoping that before we start up for the year I have something.

For science what I need is short, interesting, and interactive lessons on a topic he enjoys. He would like to study animals  or birds or astronomy. I would like him to work through a complete middle school course from beginning to end if possible. Unfortunately we have not found anything that meets all of our needs yet. Hopefully I will have some sort of plan before our year starts.

He will also be starting German next year in an online class. His siblings have had the same teacher for the last two years, and the boy had one short class with him last winter. The teacher is very funny and the work is fun and low-key. Perfect for a kid who is somewhat shy and unsure of online classes. It will be nice for him to have a first experience with a teacher he is familiar with.

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One of the boy’s digital drawings. Drawing is a new passion of his.

Other subjects the boy will be working on next year include programming, animation, drawing, creative writing, voice acting, and composing. Most of this will be explored through self-study using online resources. For voice acting we are hoping to find a class in Los Angeles that would be fun for him. We may start back up with piano to help his composing skills.

In all honesty most of his time will probably be spent working on his passions, followed by his language arts and German. My goal is we will hit math everyday, although sometimes that is very hard for him. And I am hoping that we spend a couple days a week on science and history. We will see how it works out.

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If I have learned anything over the last few years it is never to expect any schedule to go smoothly with my 2E kid. I don’t mind though, actually I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Looking Ahead to the Next School Year

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To be honest this last school year did not quite go how I envisioned it. My time was taken up by several health issues and therefore I was unable to be as involved in homeschooling as I would have liked. Even though the kids are older and are very independent homeschoolers they do need some structure and someone leading them along through their days. This is especially true for the girl who craves interaction and feedback from me while doing school work.

Looking back though I do realize that we finished all the work we set out to even though it didn’t feel like we did. The twins had several online classes and those went great, and they learned that they love online, live classes. Tru finished all his math early and had time to go down several rabbit trails on his own. Their first year of high school English went great as did science. They fulfilled all the credits we set out to at the beginning of the year, and their love of learning is still there. I worried that the pressure of doing high school right might have taken away from the joy, but it didn’t.

The younger boy worked through Bravewriter’s Arrow again this year. I cannot say enough about this program. For an advanced child in writing it has been a perfect match. He enjoys the books and feels like the instruction does not talk down to him. There has been a few times that we needed to skip sections because he already knew what was being discussed, but for the most part he was happy to read the weekly notes and to work on the passage. Because he is a writer, this program speaks to him. It is the highlight of his day.

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The boy worked on math here and there, but this was a real struggle this year. I feel that his very low processing speed had something to do with this and I am debating whether we should seek out further testing. History went great towards the end of the school year. He discovered The Kane Chronicles and then moved on to the Percy Jackson books. Along the way we studied ancient history and myths to go along with it. Overall I was very excited about his sudden interest in history.

Next year I am buying very little curriculum, and I feel so good about that. The twins are enrolled in an online private school that is free. They are in five classes each, and I couldn’t be happier. In addition to these classes they need to keep up with math, and they need to take chemistry. I am still looking for a chemistry class for them, but I feel good about their upcoming school year. My goal is to be more involved in the oversight of their learning and to have daily feedback for them. I know this will be appreciated by them both.

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For the boy we are going to go through the Arrow one more time (this will be his third year) and then we will move on to the Boomerang the following year. He also will be working through Thinkwell math at the recommendation of his older brother. This is all the formal school he will be doing. One aspect of him that I had re-affirmed this year is that he fills up his days quite nicely. He works on Scratch, he writes, he reads, he listens to audio books, he draws, and along the way he learns quite a bit. I don’t want to get in the way of his self-learning as he goes through the middle school years.