Eclectic? Absolutely! Academic? Of Course! Innovative? You Know It!
It’s Organic, Too! (I am a chemist, after all! ;-))
History: American government & politics with writing
History and the upcoming election will be the main focus this year.
- The Homeschool History Project – This is a name I came up with. Sean is designing a website to go with it. I posted about the Homeschool History Project in a separate blog piece, https://blairleeblog.wordpress.com/2015/05/25/the-homeschool-history-project-handcrafting-high-school-year-2-american-government/
- If James, Sean’s 30 year old brother, gets his campaign finance reform NGO started, volunteer once a week for him.
- Big History with online group – https://www.bighistoryproject.com/home – Sean will be doing a lot of history this year. I probably wouldn’t have him also do this, but both of us think he will enjoy and get a lot out of working with a group of homeschooled kids. So it is just a year with a lot of history!
- Work for Thoughtstem, http://www.thoughtstem.com/home
- I let Sean choose between designing a website by himself that will be live by the end of the school year, 2016, or take a series of three courses at UCSD Extension focusing on learning to program in HTML and CSS. He chose designing a website. He already has put in some time on The Homeschool History Project website, and he is enjoying the project. It was getting to be too much to do everything and something had to give. He wants to focus on politics and crew this year, and I can’t blame him. I do to, at least the politics part.
These will be in addition to the book club books. These are not in the order that they will be read. Before I tell you what the list is, I thought you might be interested in the process I use to decide what books are going to read over the course of a year. I look for books with content that is relevant to what we are studying. I narrow these down based on the quality of the writing, and how likely someone of Sean’s age is to get through the material.
- Beloved, Toni Morrison – http://www.amazon.com/Beloved-Toni-Morrison-ebook/dp/B000TWUTYG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1432508313&sr=1-1&keywords=beloved Yeah, we’re going there, and Sean is never going to think slavery isn’t as unbelievably terrible an institution as it is.
- Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy – http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Meridian-Evening-Redness-International-ebook/dp/B003XT60E0/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1432508385&sr=1-1&keywords=blood+meridian – We are also going to look at how badly Native Americans were treated. I understand that some of the themes running through Beloved and Blood Meridian are for a mature audience. I decided with the first two books on this list that we would deal with the disturbing content when it comes up. They are a part of our history. One of the things we will study while we are reading these books is how government policies enacted at the beginning of our democracy and throughout the subsequent years that were designed to be discriminatory have continued to have negative impacts to the affected people and our country as a whole.
- The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck – http://www.amazon.com/Grapes-Wrath-John-Steinbeck-ebook/dp/B001BKTEZA/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1432508428&sr=1-1&keywords=the+grapes+of+wrath – This will be read when we are working on the environment unit of Earth science.
- The Book of Unknown Americans, Cristina Henriquez – http://www.amazon.com/Book-Americans-novel-Vintage-Contemporaries-ebook/dp/B00H6JFIGO/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1432508471&sr=1-1&keywords=the+book+of+unknown+americans – This book does an excellent job of showing how people are marginalized when we look at them as other, and the real problems with stereotyping people and treating them as if they are all the same because of similarities of skin color, race, or nationality. We will couple this by watching El Norte. A powerful movie that I still remember watching when I was in college. Here is a link to a review of it, http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-el-norte-1983.
- Words Will Break Cement, The Passions of Pussy Riot, Masha Gessen – http://www.amazon.com/Words-Will-Break-Cement-Passion-ebook/dp/B00DMCW1SM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1432508529&sr=1-1&keywords=words+will+break – We will read this book early in the year. I think it’s important for Sean to understand you don’t just stand up for what you believe in when you can win. Sometimes you do it because of the strength of your convictions.
- Self-Evident Truth series, Michael Clay Thompson – http://www.rfwp.com/series/self-evident-truths-series-statements-of-equality – The four booklets in this series examine how language has been used to change the way we look at the world.
- Book 1: Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence
- Book 2: Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address
- Book 3: Martin Luther King Jr’s, I Have a Dream speech
- Book 4: Barack Obama’s speech about race, An Issue This Nation Cannot Ignore
- Outlaw Platoon, by Sean Parnell – http://www.amazon.com/Outlaw-Platoon-Renegades-Brotherhood-Afghanistan/dp/0062066404/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432508637&sr=8-1&keywords=outlaw+platoon – Here are my thoughts after reading this book. “There are so many layers to Outlaw Platoon. It is a book about war, a book about what it means to be a leader and a hero, and a book about what it means to be an idealist in a terribly real place and time. Every American should read this book so they have some idea what we are asking soldiers to do in these far off places so far removed from home.”
- How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Thomas C Foster, http://www.amazon.com/How-Read-Literature-Like-Professor/dp/0062301675/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1435938339&sr=1-1&keywords=how+to+read+literature+like+a+professor. Early in the year we will read this book so that Sean can benefit from it as we read the other books. I think this book should be essential reading for teens who might take the SAT or ACT. I do not think that is the only reason to read it though. It is in interesting insight into the techniques and tropes used in literature.
Write a weekly blog post for Sean’s blog WiseBread, https://wisestbread.wordpress.com/2015/05/, about the following topics
- Once a month – the election and volunteering
- Once a month – homeschooling
- Twice a month – Sean will choose the topic
It is the first year on the varsity team! http://www.sdrcjrs.com/
There are several components to this.
- We will be using my text along with a text I found that uses data analysis for situations in geology. The book has students work through and interpret the data. This logical analysis of science data will be a great compliment to what we are doing in politics.
- Sean will be scripting, producing, and directing 10 min. videos of me going over the more difficult topics from each chapter.
- Sean will be editing my final draft of Astronomy and Earth Science 2 as he works through it.
There are four academic pursuits that will be woven throughout all of the above
- Analyzing written material and pulling meaning from it
- Tight writing
- Being able to formulate an opinion and state that opinion clearly while using supporting statements
- Work on the skill of logically analyzing written and oral arguments where someone is trying to convince you of something. Try to ferret out when someone states an opinion as if it is a fact. Pay attention to the logical process used to form the opinion and how well the facts support the opinion. Study the quality of the sources used to support the argument.
I am not sure exactly what, but something with Thom Jones at Crime Scene Camps, http://www.crimescenecamps.com/onlineclasses.html. I promise you, I am not getting free classes or materials from Thom. His classes are that good!