Monday September 2, 2013:  We’re about to embark on a new school year. Draco is a Senior this year, Bit is in 5th grade. I have their curriculum laid out, the first week’s lessons put together, and a year’s plan in my head for each. But as always, that’s malleable. Some things will change, resources will be added, and others will be discarded if they don’t work for the child they’re intended for. Each child has his or her own challenges. Draco has High Functioning Autism, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and ADHD. Bit has low vision issues (that can’t be corrected with glasses), and Dyscalculia. She also has a bit of a reading delay due to the vision issues. We've been reading blogs and DKOS diaries all summer though, and her fluency has improved, so long as the font is high enough and the paragraphs small enough for her to be able to see and track. Reading online is much easier for her than physical books because we can highlight the sentence she is reading, making it easier for her to track and we can bump up the font to a usable level. Most of her offline reading she does on CD or on the Kindle.

Draco this year is working on Geometry (using Khan Academy, some other online resources and library books). I barely passed Geometry way back in 1986, so I have my own Khan Academy account and work through the lessons in advance. If we run into too much trouble we may purchase an online course with a forum or white board sessions with a teacher. But he likes Khan Academy and we think it can work. I don’t really have the money right now to purchase a course, and he didn't really like any of the ones we looked at anyway, so this is a good beginning at least for us.

Bit is working on 5th grade math. First we’re going to review some of the more complex concepts; borrowing, carrying, multiple digit multiplication and long division as well as fractions. Part of Dyscalculia is an inability to recall math concepts, so review with her is very very important. One of the good things about home school: I can repeat and review as much or as little as needed.  Another is, one of her two teachers has Dyscalculia as well (me), and can pass on strategies and compensation techniques I've learned and figured out over the years.

History is a subject they both enjoy. Draco is beginning with the roaring 20’s this year, as we left off with Prohibition last year. Our system since we finished the Civil war has been to focus on one Presidential term per week unless there are some really major happenings during that term; we’re starting with Calvin Coolidge because that’s where we left off last year. I have several diaries bookmarked from DKOS to include in this year’s history lessons. I’m hoping to get into WWII by mid October, as we’ll focus a bit longer on the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. We’ll spend several months on the war, and then move on by President again. I’m hoping to get at least through JFK this year with him. We also cover current events as a separate unit, and he’s very interested in politics, so frequently we have side tracks into other time periods there as well, as pertinent.

Bit is doing ancient civilizations this year. We did Rome last year as she got interested through Science (Vesuvius). So we’re going to start this year with Egypt, then the plan is to go to Israel, An undecided Muslim country, Greece, India, China, and Great Britain (Celts/Saxons/Normans). Of course, one region may lead into another that isn't on list yet. We’re going to try new recipes, study religions, and find out what life was like for the common citizen in various countries in various time periods. The goal is to lead up to cover the medieval ages and renaissance next year, then get into British Colonization and the Revolutionary War in 7th grade.

I’ll give you all an update in the next diary on how we are doing in these subjects and tell you about the other many subjects we are covering this year. No, this is not a comprehensive list. That would make a novel instead of a diary ;).  Many of our subjects also overlap. There will be literature from different countries and time periods. There will be spelling lists with words relating to science and history subjects. There will be a lot of hands on projects ranging from science experiments to life skills (like cooking), to art and music, to math manipulatives and concept projects.

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