Mid-Semester Evaluation, Fall 2018

We headed back to homeschool the first week in August. Has it really been two months? This week we are wrapping up our first quarter.

Has your child ever started the year with the “perfect homeschool curriculum” only to discover it was completely wrong for them? That is exactly what happened with my older daughter’s literature and geography. But we are loving some of the other courses we started. The end of the first quarter is a great time to tweak a few things as I plan for the next nine weeks.

Our Favorites So Far

SchoolhouseTeachers Geology

Geology was an easy sell to my gem-loving twins. These twelve-year-olds are absolutely loving the Geology class on SchoolhouseTeachers.com. What a great find! They enjoy watching a weekly video and sorting rocks and minerals we collected at a gem mine. The print-and-go lesson plan includes short weekly research opportunities that challenge them.

Forensic Faith for Kids book

The twins and I took a couple of weeks to read an awesome kids’ apologetics book by police detective and apologist, J Warner Wallace. Together, we explored the question of whether Jesus claimed to be God. The girls appreciated the supplemental material on the Case Makers Academy website. Look for our review next week!

Khan Academy Math

I love free, adaptable online curriculum. Khan Academy is an incredible resource. It can supplement a math curriculum or take the place of it. The website includes many helpful tools for parents and teachers. I can assign my girls specific math skills to work on. Evaluation is easy with automatically-graded quizzes and tests.

Our goal was to review pre-algebra in August and move onto Algebra by the beginning of September. I misjudged how much practice they needed. The girls finally mastered pre-algebra last week. With that solid foundation, they are now studying Algebra.

Code for Teens

One of the twins is still plugging along with JavaScript coding. Code for Teens is one of her favorite crew review items!

Apologia Health and Nutrition

As I wrote in last month’s review, my tenth-grade daughter is enjoying learning about Health and Nutrition. She hit a few snags while attempting projects in Module 4, but she still loves it. She’s determined to complete the course since it is teaching her so much. I am so glad we had the opportunity to review it.

Community Bible Study

Every Friday morning we drive half an hour to attend Community Bible Study. This year we are studying the book of Genesis. My girls meet with kids in their age groups. I enjoy spending time with other ladies as we study the Word together.

God’s World News

WorldTeen online helps us keep up with the world around us. The twins look forward to exploring Trending News and reading feature articles together. I have printed outline maps of the world for each girl to help them learn geography along the way.

Mystery of History Volume III

We are wrapping up our study of the early church this week and will begin learning about the Middle Ages next month. Studying history alongside the twins is fun. I am learning at least as much as they are. During several lessons, we have looked through pictures from the trip my husband and I took to Israel. I had no idea how relevant they would be to my daughters’ history curriculum this year.

Minor changes we made

Apologia Physical Science

My high school daughter wants to learn physics but is not ready for the advanced math. I let her skip ahead to module 9 in her Physical Science book to start learning about physics concepts.

SchoolhouseTeachers Exploring Literature

During August, all three girls read a series of classic short stories and poems. They wrote a few details about each one as they read. We studied plot, setting, characters, and point of view. My fourteen-year-old is not a fan of the Exploring Literature course, but the twins have been enjoying it. They have taken a few weeks off to explore other English topics but may begin reading Gulliver’s Travels in the second quarter.

Khan Academy Grammar

Two weeks ago I decided to add in some practical grammar review. So far, the twins are finding Khan Academy Grammar simple and refreshing. Since it is computer-based, my fourteen-year-old does not prefer it.

What we sidelined

Grammar Planet

We wrote a crew review on Grammar Planet a few weeks ago. Although I am sure it is a great fit for many families, we prefer a different approach.

Bob Jones Cultural Geography

This is the second time we have tried this geography course and dropped it. Several years ago my oldest daughter started working through it but did not enjoy it either.

Homeschool Navigator Language Arts

Homeschool Navigator offers complete online English curriculum geared toward elementary students. We set it aside in favor of a more advanced literature course all three girls could do together.

What’s coming up

Family vacation

We will be heading to a cabin at the beach soon. The family is looking forward to relaxing and exploring.

As we drive, we will listen to some of our upcoming review items. We are already enjoying Season Six of Brinkman Adventures. We can’t wait to begin listening to Bartholomew’s Eve, a new audio drama from Heirloom Audio.


My fourteen-year-old daughter’s geography curriculum bored her stiff. The literature curriculum she started in August was equally problematic.

A couple of weeks ago, she and I sat down at the computer looking at options for history and literature. We ended up at Sonlight’s website. When she read the description and reading list for the 20th Century History course (which also includes Literature), her eyes lit up. It took a bit of creativity to make the course fit our budget, but we are taking the plunge and starting this week!

The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps.

Proverbs 16:9

It is always frustrating when my homeschool plans do not work out. Instead of enslaving myself and my kids to a curriculum that does not work for us, I prayerfully tweak it or dump it. Including my students in some of the big curriculum decisions helps ensure that the next option we try might be right for them.

As we enter my favorite season of the year, I am excited to see what the second quarter of our homeschool year holds. How many times will their eyes light up with excitement at what they are learning? I love all the moments I share on the sofa with my twins as we read and explore together. It thrills me to see my fourteen-year-old getting excited about learning on her own.

Lord, continue to guide our homeschool in the direction you want it to go. Amen.