Saturday, June 17, 2017

Kylen's 3rd Year of Highschool Evaluation

High school is nearly 3/4 done!  Overall, this was a good year.  I think the biggest disappointment was Life of Fred Chemistry and the biggest surprise was how much Kylen enjoyed acting.  I had to do a lot more supplementing in some subjects than planned, particularly chemistry and health.  We made progress on the 1 credit of occupational education required in our state, but I won't post details about that class until next year when it is finished.  As in previous eval posts, the text below alternates between plans at the beginning of the year and the corresponding end of year eval.

Eval for 9th Grade
Eval for 10th Grade

Math ~ Precalculus ~ 1 credit
Teaching Textbooks worked fine, so we are keeping them.  This time, I purchased the complete set, including videos.  He worked independently last year, and I didn't keep up.  It will be nice having video solutions to all the problems instead of me needing to scramble to refresh my memory banks whenever he has a question.

I'm glad we bought the videos so that he could work independently.  Much easier on my brain!  He completed more than 2/3 of the book, but he didn't finish it like Algebra II last year.  It was 100 pages longer.  We also counted time spent studying for the math portion of the SAT.

Honors English III ~ 1 credit
Depending on how the year goes, there are several options I'm considering.  I know for sure he will go through another book in the Excellence in Literature series by Janice Campbell: British Literature.  Like last year, I won't require the writing assignments, but he will read introductions for each module.  He will be allowed to skip any books he doesn't enjoy, and if we run out of options, he will move on to World Literature.  I am planning American Literature his senior year with government.

He will continue to make progress on his first novel, which is now over 150 typed pages.

I'm considering having him watch videos on college writing, public speaking, and/or essay writing at this site.

Kylen did go through British Literature by Campbell, reading module introductions and some context resources, skipping books that weren't enjoyable.  AND . . . He finished his novel!!  I bragged . . . er, blogged about it here.

For writing, we tried something new: an online composition course called WriteAtHome.  Since writing is one of Kylen's strengths, I felt it was time someone else evaluated him.  Unfortunately, his coach thought everything he wrote was so wonderful, I don't know that he learned much (especially considering the cost).  The good part was that we'd never required second or third drafts unless he did a truly lousy job, and he was required to do second and third drafts for almost every paper.  That stretched him a bit, especially if he was struggling with enough content.

"Extras" included a field trip to see the play The Importance of Being Earnest (one of his favorite novels last year), attending a Christian teen writer's workshop, and a seminar by the Christian author Bryan Davis (which he really, REALLY enjoyed!!!).  As always, he read extra books for recreational purposes.

Science ~ Chemistry ~ 1 credit
We will again do a lighter load for science.  His main textbook will be Life of Fred Chemistry.  I will supplement heavily as we did last year for biology.  He'll be watching Chemistry 101 videos.  There are several books I may have him read depending on time.  I'm considering Elements and Exploring the World of Chemistry.  We will look up labs online.

This is the subject that never ends . . . It goes on and on, my friend . . .  Lol.  Everything I gave Kylen for this subject was finished quickly, and I had to add and add in order for him to fulfill his credit hours.  He finished Life of Fred very early despite doing other reading in tandem.  He watched the 101 videos THREE times through, read the 101 "book" and took all the quizzes, read through Exploring the World of Chemistry and took all the quizzes, read Elements twice, and worked on memorizing the periodic table until he could fill in a blank sheet with names, abbreviations, numbers, and use markers to name and separate the sections.  He watched youtube videos on chemistry topics and even memorized and sang a song with all the elements.

We were not impressed with Life of Fred.  I think the author is one of those brilliant people who understands concepts too easily.  Brilliant people don't always make good teachers, because they can't relate when something is hard.  This book was supposed to be a good choice for those who struggle with science.  The biggest problem was a lack of consistency with significant figures.  Throughout the book, it seemed almost random whether or not significant figures would be handled correctly.  That's not good when they are popping up a LOT.  I emailed the company, and they told me to contact the author directly.  I emailed the author but never received a reply.

I also required 15 hours of lab videos on youtube and other sites and 15 hours of live labs.  He has not completed the live labs.

History/Social Studies ~ World Views ~ 1 credit
I purchased the full curriculum just before it became digital.  We'll be watching the videos together in the evenings, and Kylen will read the textbook.  In addition, he will be taking the class at co-op where he will experience group discussions with other teachers and students.  To make sure he doesn't miss anything important, we are also purchasing the digital version of the curriculum.

This subject didn't turn out how I imagined.  I thought most of the work would be the original curriculum while supplementing with the online version.  At first he did both, but as the year progressed, he switched completely over to the newer online version.  We didn't end up watching the videos together, and I changed it to a half credit class.  It felt like four hours a week was a bit much for the material, and I didn't require him to write all the Dear Doug letters since English is his primary writing subject.  Plus, he had a pretty good understanding of the material.  He probably did closer to 3/4 of a credit.  Being able to participate in classroom discussions was a wonderful bonus that really helped round out the curriculum.

Foreign Language ~ French II ~ 1 credit
Kylen is halfway through the five levels of Rosetta Stone.  He will finish the other half this year.  I will supplement with Easy French Step-by-Step to reinforce writing and grammar.

Kylen didn't get to the last level of Rosetta Stone after all, so we will carry that over to next year's class.  Easy French Step-by-Step was a perfect compliment.  It greatly increased his proficiency in writing and grammar.  Rosetta Stone helps with pronunciation, but it moves forward ridiculously slowly.  If I could do it over, I probably would have picked something else.

Extras included watching Chef's Table France on netflix, a docu-series about world-renowned culinary artists and reading and translating a few children's books in French as well as writing short summaries for them.  He also watched videos in French with French subtitles.

Bible ~ 1 credit
This will include church, youth group, personal Bible reading time, and possibly a book about church history.

Kylen didn't attend youth group very much this year, so most of this credit was his own Bible reading time, church, and family devotions in the evenings.  He also took a class at co-op called Trip Through Israel to learn about four regions in Palestine: Galilee, Samaria, the Negev/Jordon, and Jerusalem.  The class was put together by a parent who had visited the area.  She included geography and historical significance through lectures, photos, and artifacts.  It concluded with a Bedouin style lunch, which was a nice touch.  Finally, he read Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis and wrote a critique for it, pointing out positives and negatives in the book.

Health ~ 1/2 credit
He'll read Total Health: Choices for a Christian Lifestyle.  I plan to have him take a Red Cross class in First Aid.  If time, he'll read through Human Development or Psychology.

Since I only required oral quizzes and one activity from each chapter, Kylen finished the book long before his hours were filled.  He took a Red Cross Adult and Periatric First Aid/CPR/AED class that contributed three hours.  I found myself supplementing quite a bit.  He read through Human Development and Psychology from 7 Sisters and gave me short verbal summaries of each section in Psychology.  (Wish I'd thought to do that with Human Development!)  Also from Psychology, he did open book exams.  The cool thing about Psychology is that he found the material so interesting he's considering Christian counseling as a viable career option.

He watched the following documentaries from netflix: The Ultimate Guide to Penny Pinching, Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, Food, Inc., and King Corn.

He was overdue for a physical, so we took the opportunity to make a guess at his ideal weight before seeing the doctor.  He found out he was quite a bit more overweight than he thought, and we worked on making a few simple dietary changes to help him shed some of those excess pounds.  The doctor recommended vaccinations, so I decided to have him read pro and con articles and then write about his decision and how he came to it.

PE ~ 1/2 credit
Same as usual!  Mostly basketball at the KROC, co-op, and Tuesday evenings with Greg, my cousin, and a bunch of others.  Any kind of physical activity will be counted, from laser tag and swimming to 9-square and hiking.

This class was as expected, the only addition being that he went dancing about once a month, 2 1/2 to 3 hours each time.  He also got to play ultimate frisbee on occasion, which he really enjoys.

Music???  Nope!  Drama! ~ 1/2 credit???
The subject missing from our usual lineup is music.  It seemed like a good year for Kylen to try something new.  He chose a drama class through CYT (Christian Youth Theater).  It's 10 weeks, two hours per week.  If he continues, he could potentially get in 60 hours with two more classes and have a half credit elective.  I don't know if this will become his thing, but I can tell you that two different people have asked me this summer if he's in acting.  He is very expressive in group settings.  We'll see!

Drama did indeed become his thing!  :)  He participated in all three shows, crewing the first and cast in the other two.  He finished the core classes of drama, voice, and dance so that next year there will be more options open to him.  In May, he auditioned at our small local theater and got cast in the lead role!  All in all, he probably put in enough hours of drama to earn four credits, but I'm only counting it as one and putting the remaining time under outside activities.  He has really enjoyed acting and plans to keep it as a hobby.  It will be fun to see how God uses it in his future.

Going Forward
There have been a record number of graduation announcements in the mail this year, reminding me that it will soon be our turn.  I've been gathering ideas and making plans for celebrating the end of a long, amazing journey.  We are planning for Kylen to take his first online college coarse in the fall.  Most of his schooling will still be at home his senior year, but at least he'll get his feet wet.  I have finalized subjects and curriculum and will do a post about it.  Before school starts, I want to have his transcripts mostly finished and class descriptions done.  There are other plans in the works related to his senior year, but I'll cover those in future posts.  God is helping us along, one step at a time.  :)