I have three pieces of advice for 9GRD:
- Puberty changes everything. Until your kid jumps a foot in height (especially boys) expect the work to be at least 60% parent-leaning for religion and science. Math is just pulling teeth until then. You can’t “scaffold” the work in Algebra like you can other subjects. (Scaffold = parents slowly transferring responsibilities as the child is able.) It’s just going to be ugly. They just can’t do it until that next level of mental connection hooks up.
- Embrace the textbook assignments. “Living books” are great, but that’s just not the real world of education. During this year, kids learn to approach a textbook properly. They learn to outline the chapter. They cite page numbers. This is the best preparation for REAL college I’ve seen.
- Use the school-provided graders (if you can afford them) for Science and History. The MoDG grader we have is EXCELLENT. She flat out won’t give the child a grade until the paper is an A. It’s the best writing boot camp I’ve ever seen. I’m a professional writer, for crying out loud, but she’s amazing.
ENGLISH: Warriners and Holt are really the same thing. Holt just doesn’t have vocabulary and spelling in the book. Our family uses the Warriner’s vocab and spelling assignments with the Holt grammar assignments. The Holt book is basically the same, but it’s more inviting for some reason. Other families use Holt with Wordly Wise. Here’s the diff: the Warriner’s syllabus allows the kids to “pretest” of out of their spelling and vocab. Wordly Wise doesn’t. Up to you. If you go our way, you don’t need two books. The vocab and spelling are on Quizlet.
HISTORY: This year is American History. Christ Comes to the Americas is overwhelming at the beginning of the year, but totally no big deal later. (See the puberty remark above.) The textbook work is just citing page numbers. I LOVE this syllabus. There is a lot of reading, but if you choose your books well, it’s not overwhelming at all. We chose to repeat the “greatest hits” books from earlier years where possible. The discussions are GREAT and the kids feel like they’re visiting old friends.
LATIN: Latin is wherever you are in the cycle. We’re on Fundamentals II. (Week 16 update: This is the first year I’ve lost track of Latin. I’ll let you know how it goes.)
RELIGION: The first half of the year is Chief Truths of the Faith. Second half is Catholic Morality. I was totally overwhelmed by this syllabus at first, but it’s not that bad at all once you get the structure. (See the Do-Aheads.) Near the end of the year, the religion papers interweave with Language Arts.
SCIENCE: Earth Science is also LANGUAGE ARTS! There are a lot of essays. 42! It’s “boot camp.”
MATH: Saxon Alg 1 is like the rest. However, I have the same advice as I do on science: Puberty changes everything. Physical changes signal mental changes in this case. Until you hit it, expect a lot of pushing rope uphill.