Friday, June 20, 2008

Is anyone out there?....Hello?....hello?....hello?....

Those are the seeking words my daughter leaves on voicemail when she calls from Iraq and we are not at home. Those are also the words that I found myself wondering as I came here to post after weeks of absence.

The month of May was a blurr of activity for me. Finishing content material, reviewing for exams, writing, giving, and grading exams, moving my classroom, painting and putting together the new room, and graduation.

Phew! I was exhausted. But six hours after graduation ended, the trek to the beach began. I slept for hours on the beach. It was wonderful. I managed to read a bit while my eyelids were open--a medical thriller and a political thriller.

My largest task this summer (not including organizing for next year) is writing the middle school spelling and vocabulary program. It simply dawned on me while showering one morning before school that if I can't find the spelling and vocabulary curriculum that suits me, that includes the things I have found most important, well, why not just bite the bullet and write my own. I am in the thick of it! I'm cobbling together word lists for spelling based on spelling rules and vocabulary words grouped together based on topic. The vocabulary words will be used in writing; history and literature vocab words will be added within their discipline.

The plan for the new school year is to begin 6th, 7th, and 8th grade by going through Study is Hard Work (Armstrong). This excellent and succinct little book will hopefully be the introductory book to begin each school year.

For English, we are all going to Rod & Staff. This is a major, major change. (Yeah!) We middle school teachers had decided to change to R & S, but the day of graduation, the head elementary teacher came to me and said she had decided to change from Abeka to R & S. She has been very reluctant to change anything, so this is a minor miracle. I am really looking forward to using Rod & Staff. I pulled from it throughout the year and found it very helpful and clear.

With the quiet transition to classical, the middle school grades will follow The Well-Trained Mind chronological year schedule. Sixth graders will study the Middle Ages using The Story of the Middle Ages (Guerber) and Mystery of History II. For church history during this period, we'll use Monks & Mystics (Withrow).

Part of our literature will be coordinated with history: The Adventures of Robin Hood (Green), The Adventures of King Arthur (Green), and Luther the Leader (Robinson). In addition, we will read The Hobbit (Tolkein), The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Lewis) and Prince Caspian (Lewis). I hope to also add one of Shakespeare's plays by reading a prose edition.

My future plan is to read The Chronicles of Narnia during 6th, 7th, and 8th grade doing The LWW and Prince Caspian in 6th grade; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Magician's Nephew in 7th; and The Silver Chair, The Horse and the Boy, and The Last Battle in 8th grade. But I want to grow them into it, so all three grades will read the first two this year as we add the other volumes in the following years.

Seventh graders will study the Renaissance & Reformation and Early Modern period with Mystery of History III, The Story of the Renaissance & Reformation (Guerber) and Hearts & Hands and Courage & Conviction (Withrow) for church history. We will read Johnny Tremain (Forbes), The World of Christopher Colombus and George Washington's World (Foster), Guns for General Washington (Reit), The Captain's Dog (Smith).

For literature, 7th graders will read The Pilgrim's Progress in Modern English, and Swiss Family Robinson (Wyss), in addition to the first two Narnia books.

Eighth graders will complete the chronological cycle with the Late Modern period using specific selections from World History and The American Republic (BJUP). We'll fill in with Abe Lincoln's World (Foster), Rifles for Watie (Keith), The Wright Brothers (Landmark), and The Hiding Place (ten Boom).

For literature, they will add Anne of Green Gables (Montgomery) and The Jungle Book (Kipling) , and the two Narnia books.

Lots to do next year. And lots to do to get ready for next year. Blog updates will be here and there.


Carrie K. said...

Nice to see a blog post from you, Janie! Sounds like you have quite a year planned. I hope you enjoy a restful summer break.

Donna Boucher said...

Sounds wonderful Janie. Really wonderful!!!

You are a huge blessing to your little school.

Katie is going to parochial school next year. She has been so lonely and we finally decided this will be best for her. She is delighted!!!

I will have a bigger adjustment than she will.

I have been wondering how Emily is doing!

Miss you.


Kathleen Hamilton said...

I've missed your posts, Janie! So good to hear from you again. It sounds like your summer will be very full with planning. It's obvious that you love what you are doing.

Kristine said...

Janie, thank you so much for sharing your link! This is so exciting for the school; how amazing to see God at work in your life. :)

I'm enjoying "catching up" and reading through your posts. I continue to look forward to meeting you in person--if not this week, sometime soon!

Mindy Withrow said...

Wow, thanks for selecting our church history books, Janie! I do hope they prove to be just the right thing for your students.

Blessings on all your prep!

Queen Bee said...

I'm here once in awhile, to visit you. I check to see if anyone visits me and I find no one ever visit's my site, except my mother when I ask her too. I know the feeling is anyone there? I want to share, It's okay if no one visits me, I'm not here to seek man's approval but God's approval of my life. But I want to share with you: You, have been an encouragement to me Seasonal Soundings!