Sunday, July 17, 2011

History and Literature 2011-2012, first term

With all of the stressing out I've been doing recently, I decided to try something new with our coming school year and my planning. I'm not sure if it's a sound idea or if I should be ashamed of myself, but I am trying to strike a balance between stepping out in faith and trust, and controlling my fear (which a dear friend reminded me is NOT from God). I'm only going to be planning the first term. I will only buy the books that are required for the first term, and plan out our first term, and do the very best to make that work. And if I get to the end of the first term and it seems like it has been a complete disaster, then I can regroup and make adjustments. But I won't know if the books are too hard, or if the schedule is too overwhelming, until we give it a try. And since I have felt for a long time that God has lead us to find CM (and Ambleside) then I will put my trust that He will also help us through it, or show me once and for all that it's not working (even with the modifications) so I can try to work out a new plan.

One of the reasons (and I hope I'm not repeating myself here but I don't have time to go back and re-read my recent posts so if this is a repeat, please ignore it) that we didn't go with ancients is that I was looking at the different books for ancient history and they all seemed completely overwhelming. I had planned to use Susan Wise Bauer's History of the Ancient World (first book in her new series for adults) but was discouraged from using it with a less than advanced 9th grader by folks who have used it with their high schoolers. And works written in ancient times are very, very complex and hard to understand. I had looked at the suggested ancient history texts for AO Year 6, but those looked too easy to count for high school credit. So I felt stuck between a rock and a hard place. I considered using My Father's World Ancient History for high school but it was simply too expensive considering we are paying for a science class for Austin this year.

That left me looking at HEO (upper years for Ambleside) again, but I was determined that we should get through modern history by 12th grade, which means something had to go. And that something would have to be ancient history. But then I looked at the texts for Year 8 (which would be our starting place if I wanted to finish through modern history - Year 11 - by 12th grade) and that is Winston Churchill's history series, which may just be more difficult than anything written by Susan Wise Bauer. The only difference is 400 fewer pages in Churchill. So there we go.

Basically, I have been feeling like either way, it's going to be overwhelming. But Austin is determined to finish high school in the next 4 years and to try to go to the local tech college (basically the equivalent of community college here). So he's going to have to be willing to step up to the plate and take a big swing at some fast pitches, if you'll excuse the baseball metaphor.

In light of all of that rambling, here is Austin's history and literature book list for Term 1 of his 9th grade year:

The New World by Sir Winston Churchill (History)
Martin Luther's Defense before the Diet of Worms (History)
A Man for All Seasons (Biography)
A History of English Literature for Boys and Girls (Literature)
Everyman: a Morality play (Lit- play)
Westward Ho! (Literature)
Johannes Kepler (Biography)
Fierce Wars & Faithful Loves (Lit- Poetry)

Riley's decision-making was a little easier because I know she is capable of a challenging, college-prep, curriculum. She just doesn't really WANT to do the work, and she battles me when I attempt to make her do it. I decided that I did want her to get a high school level look at ancient history, since she has done a cursory look twice before. So I bumped her up to Year 7 (Year 6 would have been next, but I was planning to stretch it out because she had finished moderns last year, and I was going to add a term in ancient Egypt). I decided that it was more important for her to get another go at Ancients in 12th grade, assuming that she does well with this year. I am most concerned with the Churchill history book as I heard that the first one is the hardest to get through. I purchased both books from so they can each follow along and listen to their history if that will be helpful.

Here is Riley's history and literature for the 1st term of 7th grade:

The Birth of Britain by Sir Winston Churchill (History)
Joan of Arc (Biography)
King Arthur (Literature)
Ivanhoe (Literature)
History of English Literature for Boys and Girls (Literature)
Life of King Alfred (Biography)
Idylls of the King (Lit- Poetry)

Reece's was a little easier, though I still have doubts about whether or not I should take her through all of the Story of the World series by Susan Wise Bauer. But I know she will enjoy the stories in Our Island Story and Child's History of the World. Again, I'm just going to step out in faith and see how it goes. For trivia purposes, this is the AO Year that I used when I started AO way back with Austin and Riley! :) I think she will be able to read a couple of these books on her own this term, but I will have to figure out a way to ease her into that! LOL

Reece's history and literature list for the 1st term of 4th grade:
Our Island Story (History)
Child's History of the World (History)
This Country of Ours (History)
The Heroes (Literature)
The Princess and the Goblin (Literature)
Starry Messenger (Biography)
American Tall Tales (Literature)

So, at last, there are the history and literature lists. It seems very overwhelming to type it all out, but I'm hoping that the slow CM style readings will make it all much easier to manage. Regardless, the Black Pearl Academy will be taking a step up for all of its students this coming year!


poohder said...

It all sounds so interesting. I know you know this, but many High Schools are not doing anything near this rich, so don't be afraid to back it down if you need to. BTW, I am very interested in the Martin Luther book, being a Lutheran and all, this sounds like an awesome read.

Chef Penny said...

Amazing how hard we can be on ourselves about our children's education even when they are getting a far superior one than others in the area. I know the feeling though as the Rogers Academy attempts to step it up this year too.

Niffercoo said...

Rhonda, the Martin Luther thing isn't a book. It is a translation of an excerpt from the real thing - it will be his first "primary source document" (sort of). Would you like me to email it to you?

Niffercoo said...

And I have already started thinking about which subjects we can 'let go' if it seems to be overwhelming. :) That's one of the reasons that I want to just start with Term 1 and see how it goes!