HISTORY: This year is Ancient History. Like some of the other courses, here’s where previous year’s work pays off. Everything you did in 7th History makes this year’s material OLD HAT. The kid can just focus on writing, wading through the difficult language patterns, and all that. Where was all that Henry V memory work? I can’t remember, but it totally dovetails with Polybius later in the year.
I personally LOVE this course, but remember, I ALWAYS hire a school grader person for high school papers and Latin. We did NOT learn this stuff in school unless you were Classically Educated yourself. This course might be REALLY hard on Mom if you don’t hire a helper.
Even with a helper, it’s been TOO HARD for my kids to do ALL the reading. That’s my only complaint. I LOVE the books and the writing assignments. The Founding of Christendom by Warren Carroll was WAY out of reach for us. Just FYI. DANG. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, there’s no need to read 700 pages when 50 would do and you can really dig in. (This is something you might recognize from previous years, overwhelming the child with reading 1000 pages when you need 20 for the paper and the kid has no memory of those 20 because he was drowning the whole time.)
I’ve had to really pare down some of the supplemental reading to the sections that MATTER. (I’ll have to make a cheat sheet.)
*Here’s a goody no one seems to mention (in my experience),most of what you’re reading this year is what the Founding Fathers were raised on and/or were reading when they made the country. Polybius. Once you read him, Founding Fathers seem less magic. They built onto something already proven.
*Also, this was the first year all the VIRTUE talk made any sense to me. Ancient people had figured out that certain habits make life go well even though they were totally pagan. They analyzed all their battles and history through that lens, even if the “bad” guy was the one displaying great virtue (patience, prudence etc.) in a particular battle. Again, ALL the Founding Father talk and speeches make more sense once you get used to this way of analyzing stuff. They were raised on it.
LATIN: Starting in 9th, I have to get a Latin grader-person from the school. It’s just beyond me. We use Cambridge in High School. The school likes people to be farther along than we are in Latin, but that’s not my life. My Latin hater is doing Cambridge 1 in 11th. My others did it in 9th. Either way, that’s FAR behind where the school wants you, but we’re not going to a Latin-loving college; we’re just doing it for the brain training, clarity of grammar compared to English, usefulness of the content, and mostly FOREIGN LANGUAGE CREDIT. The level of “advancement” in Latin isn’t going to add much for us. If you’re going somewhere fancy for college, maybe that advanced Latin looks good.
RELIGION: The first half of the year is Mass and the Sacraments (another Father Laux book) and Catholic Apologetics, both again by Father Laux. Again the books’ organization makes me crazy, but that’s been going on for me since Pioneers and Patriots. This next year will be the first time I TEACH this myself. I’ve done LS before. I’ll let you know how it goes.
*Again, if you did your Catechism in the earlier years (and all those Friendly Defender’s Cards that I failed to do), this course is SO EASY in content. They already know it all and can just focus on the outlining, paper writing, and wading through Laux’s language patterns and seemingly over-the-top fire and brimstone talk.
**I have ANXIOUS child and the consultant was worried that Laux’s seemingly “judginess” was going to be upsetting. We haven’t noticed at all.
SCIENCE: Natural Science is so cute and EASY compared to last year. Omigosh. It’s a VACATION. The first half of the year is reading some really cool old science “living books” and answering questions. Oh, and drawing. (This is where all that McIntyre stuff pays off, btw.) The second half of the year is an “experiment.” It’s like that weather experiment last year that take five minutes a day, but without the accompanying hundred-million essays. It’s just the experiment. Ahhhh.
*Note: Many of us science nerds try to skip this full year of Nat Sci and do it in the summer. The summer version is much less delicious in the reading department. Maybe use the summers to get ahead on biology or something instead. It’s really GREAT. Though, if you wanted to get ahead, you could start your biology text 2nd semester while you’re wallowing around in all that free time checking on animals and finish up bio that summer. I’m just saying, don’t skip it.
MATH: Math is math. Do we really have to talk about this? I love Teaching Textbooks for most of my kids. Saxon is best for one of them but I’m so bad at the supervision that I need the TT auto-grading to stay on her. Just remember, if you are a math nerd family, stay at least a semester ahead in TT to match Saxon and/or blow the pants off the standardized tests. Wait, does Saxon even do Geometry? I don’t know….
FINE, we’ll do some math. I just remembered that I TAUGHT Jacob’s Geometry to some other kids years ago and I have THOUGHTS. As an incredible nerd, I ADORE it, just like the first bit of Euclid’s Geometry. If your kid can self-teach, God Bless. But if there is ANY struggle there and you’re going to need to explain something, it’s ROUGH. Both of the kids I tutored years ago needed lots of examples and repetition. Jacob’s had few of either (at least the version I used). Like Euclid, I’m not even sure it’s appropriate for 10th. It’s like reading Crime and Punishment before you’re ready to appreciate how cool it is and then you hate it for life. /rant
*Oh! I should go back and put this on the rest if I forget, as of June 2020, the TT online MoDG “assessments” were a cut/paste of the Saxon tests, which is TERRIBLE. Saxon 3 is TT 4. The whole reason to stay ahead in TT is because the progression is so far behind Saxon. The kids found that very discouraging to try to pass semester tests that were a year ahead of them. I have no idea about the high school versions. Does the Geometry assessment match the Jacob’s progression? Does Saxon even have Geometry? No idea.
*Side note: I love the “living book” String Straight-Edge, and Shadow: The Story of Geometry by Diggins. It’s OP, but sometimes pops into print. I’ll have to post some pictures. I force all my kids to read it the summer before Geometry. It’s at a sixth grade reading level, which is about right for a 10th grader who CANNOT care about it, Mom, UGH!