Saturday, September 29, 2012

AP History/Government Update...

I am so happy to say that Grace enjoyed her first day of class!  Her AP history class met for the first hour, followed by her government class.  She preferred the government class but decided to keep the books for both classes and agreed to the assigned work.  

I am excited for her.  She went into the class knowing just one other person and was eager to share with me that she sat at a table filled with other 12 year old children.   They have more background knowledge than she does to bring to this class.  Our focus has been on Story of the World, beginning at history should, at the beginning.  My plan was to offer 4 years of US History in high school, most likely with Joy Karem’s The Story of Us, but honestly I did not begin to research curriculum’s for US History because I thought I had one more year.
When this class was advertised over our homeschooling Yahoo group, it satisfied three of our goals: 1) it is geared for children 12+, which is a hard demographic to fill in our area.  2) it is being taught by a passionate person and 3) she will learn something new in a classroom setting, which Grace enjoys.  
In order to feel success in this class, we have to devote significant time to the study of the material.  Lilah enjoys learning along with us, so for the time being, we are suspending our study of Story of the World and we are working on US history together.
Liberty’s Kids.  These videos are being watched daily to provide background knowledge prior to reading the textbooks.
Notebooking.  Grace has homework to complete.  It is not graded, but she realizes that the more effort she puts in, the greater her experience will be.  We are not getting fancy, just getting the work done in a slightly creative way! 

Extra resources.  Jean Fritz is our new best friend!  So is this book I came across at a local bookstore in Kent, CT.  
This week we delved into the Constitution.  We read it.  We dissected it.  We learned about the upcoming election and how there is one open slot in the Congress because Joseph Lieberman is retiring.  We know who our two candidates are.  The girls know which one I am voting for and why.   We learned that one of the 40 signatures on the Constitution resided in our town!  His home is a historical landmark and run by the historical society.  Even though Grace visited this home on a 4th grade field trip, I am going to call and see if we can pop in now that we have additional knowledge to connect it to.

This opportunity almost did not happen for Grace.  She was given the option to opt out of this class.  The AP History text is very challenging.  However, the Government text is wonderful.  It is a collection of first person accounts to major historical events.  When I read it to the girls, the pages of the author’s journals came alive.  We read half a chapter in just one sitting!  

This is going to be an interesting experience for Grace.  Whether or not she takes the AP test in the spring is irrelevant to me.  She has many years to take a test.  This is about more.  About learning more.  About striving to try harder.  About being in the presence of an inspirational person.  This is also the teacher’s first experience with homeschoolers.  Recently retired, he is now teaching for the fun of teaching.  No tests.  No essays.  Good conversation.  Vibrant discussion.  Personal challenge.  It is all good.

Favorite Resource This Week
Homegrown Learners

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