Disclosure- this post is just me rambling on about
how smart I am how my classes and stuff this year went in long rambly run-on sentences that aren’t run-on because I use semicolons and stuff (case in point). Feel free to totally skip this post. Kudos to you if you finish this post!
As I’m closing out my sophomore year, I want to take a little time to reflect on this school year and things I’ve learned this year.
First, my classes.
This year, I’ve taken 4 classes outside, 2 in-home classes, 1 through Rosetta Stone, and 3 hour-log courses. I took 3 of my outside classes, biology, worldview, and literature, through a place locally where we have classes for homeschoolers. The 4th class, history, was through Landry Academy with Mrs. Julie Horton. It is legal for me to log hours for ‘extra’ classes to count as credit, such as fine arts, technology, and physical education, so for Music, PE, and Programming, I logged hours. I took Spanish through Rosetta Stone (that is, at home).
Math, as usual, is a pain, in, well, the entire body! I took Saxon’s PreCalculus/Advanced Math at home, since I’m kinda scared to take math classes outside (math and time don’t agree well with me). I’m currently almost 3/4 of the way through, and plan on finishing it within the next month. I completed the majority of the work earlier in the year, when I woke up really early (read: 6:30 am) to complete my math work. I’m really glad I did that this year; otherwise, I’d be much more behind than I am now.
It’s not as though I dislike math. Nor am I bad at it, although I’m not necessarily careful when doing math, causing many errors (and much frustration as well!). I do actually enjoy doing math (well, at least, as much as you can enjoy doing math…wait, I actually do like doing math and would solve problems for a hobby), but it takes more time than I have if I don’t get up early to do it. Next year though, I plan to take math outside, so that I can’t get behind.
This year, I took American Literature at a local place with classes for homeschoolers. It was an awesome class with lots of great literature, such as The Scarlet Letter, The Great Gatsby, and Our Town. I learned how to, as well as refined, my thesis statements and 5 paragraph essays. I now consider myself to be a fairly strong 5 paragraph essay writer, as well as a strong builder of thesis statements. I’ve gotten multiple mentions of my strong thesis statements this year by multiple teachers (a fact I’m rather proud of).
I appreciated the fact that the workload for the class was never too heavy; I never had any trouble completing assignments, except for the thesis paper (which was during the couple crazy weeks before States anyways). I especially enjoyed weeks where we didn’t have any written work, but had to read books. I’ve always loved reading, and I absolutely loved that all I had to do was read books for my assignments. I did my thesis paper on Julie by Catherine Marshall. (I’ll post a review of that sometime).
This year, I took American History through Landry Academy, the first time I’ve taken an actual live online course. Previously, I’d done Virtual Homeschool Group (a site with free homeschool classes, such as math and science) as well as Thinkwell, for AP classes. However, both VHSG and Thinkwell are mostly at-your-own pace and you don’t get points taken off for late homework, so I didn’t work as hard. This year, I got the true test of online courses…and I’ve decided that I don’t mesh particularly well with online courses. I’ve forgotten that I had homework due multiple times because I didn’t have to go to a live physical class, as well as zoned out during class (as in, gone on YouTube or other non-schooly sites) wayyyyy too many times.
The reason I survived this course (with a crazy high grade, too!) was because the homework was way way easy. The course itself was crazy easy; I knew about 80% of the material before I even took the class. I opened the textbook <15 times all year. During class, the teacher did cover several topics that I hadn’t done before, and we watched Der Furher’s face, which was AWESOME! We had quizzes every week…with about 10 questions max, short answer and multiple choice/truefalse/matching questions. They were easy, and I DIDN’T get a perfect score about 3 times, one of which she threw out.
In addition to the quizzes, we had WikiProjects (where we did assignments to share with the whole class), and sometimes did mini projects, like a simulation Depression Era day, which was really fun. I did my final project/paper on the Importance of Music in WWII
on which I got a 98% and which got thrown out because it was the lowest score I apparently got.
An awesome thing about my classes this year was that in both American Literature and American History, I was essentially learning about American History. Therefore, the time periods were mainly matched up and overlapped quite a bit, reinforcing my knowledge of topics. Several times, the history class required reading of sections of books I was reading in literature class, which was AWESOME!!
I took biology through the same place I took literature. The class itself was great for high school biology, and I learned a lot of cool stuff I didn’t know before. However, it was definitely not SciOly par. I also didn’t enjoy the busy work that was involved in the class–vocabulary and assessment questions essentially every single week. Together, the vocabulary/assessment took about 2 hours for me, and, although it made me skim through the chapter (which I wouldn’t have done otherwise), I don’t think I learned especially much through doing that, at least not enough that I could have learned from 2 hours of work otherwise, which was annoying.
The labs were fun, mainly because they were easy, after AP Chem last year where I literally had to write out EVERYTHING. It was great getting to filling in worksheet for a change. The experiments themselves were meta, not particularly stellar nor memorable. The honors part of the class (not everyone had to do the honors) seemed also like busy work for me–usually it was writing up a couple more paragraphs on a subject relating to the topic of the week, which was essentially googling, copying answers, and learning interesting things that I don’t particularly remember. I did my final project on vesicles (due to procrastination; I grabbed the nearest SciOly paper and turned it in)
I took worldview (from the same place as American Literature and Biology) for my required ‘Bible credit’. It was a really really fun class, without too heavy a workload, which was pleasant. I learned about the components of what I believe and what others believe. It was pretty awesome. The teacher was truly awesome, as a person and as a teacher. The workload wasn’t heavy, and was never unnecessary-I only had to do work IF I legitimately HAD to do it. Towards the end of the school year, I started slacking on the work (because all week, I’d think that I had less work than I actually had, then not be able to finish it in time. A fun project we did was to each get a presidential candidate (back in October when there were still like 15 candidates), research on that candidate, present to the class, then hold a mock election. It was fun. I did my final project on the Worldview of Mormons.
Spanish 3 was simple; I probably finished by December. I did huge chunks of Spanish in the beginning of the year, and truth be told, I don’t remember much about what I learned. (ehe). Rosetta Stone allows me to get a A+ really easily, since I’m not required to take the tests.
Health was intended to be a one-semester course, but I didn’t finish it in the first semester, and am currently trying to finish it this semester. I used Total Health. It was a great course, and prepared me well. However, I didn’t like the amount of writing it required (20 paragraph/multiple sentence answers per chapter), but maybe it’s because I’m doing 3 week’s worth of work a day. Ehe. I also didn’t like how the text had such a stereotypical view of teenagers-drinking, drugs, pregnancy, etcetc. The questions were often along the lines of ‘Why do teenagers choose to drink alcohol although they may know that it damages their body?’ which was really annoying. NOT ALL TEENAGERS DO THAT. Sometimes, I felt that it was too Christian-y and stressed too much about spiritual/mental health instead of physical health. I realize that all facts of health are important, but they literally did 1/4 book on physical health and 3/4 book on mental/spiritual/emotional health, which drove me INSANE.
Music….mmm. The main thing that happened this year was that I started playing bassoon. I also played (and had lessons) in piano, flute, and bassoon. I played bassoon and flute in band. I really like playing bassoon, but am not sure of future progress/direction regarding continuing playing. Flute I’ve made pretty awesome progress this year, because I have an AWESOME teacher. ☺ I’m also able to play WAY more stuff, and I’m no longer (as) intimidated by high notes and long runs of notes. Piano was more of a formality this year, but I did make quite a bit of progress in piano, my magnus opus being Chopin’s Minute Waltz (yes, that is me playing).
For my 1/2 technology credit that I still needed to do, I ‘learned’ to program through Coursera. I hate programming, so eh. Coursera is great because there’s free classes. ^^
PE, the last of my required core subjects, was covered by logging hours in a multiple plethora of ‘sports.’ I had 1/2 credit remaining, and I completed it by the end of the first semester. I played golf for both the fall and spring seasons. (No, I’m not good at golfing, but I’m kinda getting good at it #not). I’m glad I finished that in the summer/fall, so I wouldn’t be stressing it in the winter/spring.
Next, the topic of testing.
I took the PSAT in October, and was pleasantly surprised to see that I scored really well. 😀 I didn’t prep for it, and I hope I hope I’ll be able to do as well next year, when it actually counts!
I also took the APUSH test. I did no prep for it (apart from the crappy Landry History class), other than A LOT of practice multiple choice questions, through Learnerator. The test seemed fairly easy, so we’ll see how that went.
Along with APUSH, I also took the SAT Subject History test. That was hard. Really hard. I can’t imagine that I even did well on that one.
The other AP exam I took was the Bio one. I didn’t prep for this one as much as I did for the history exam. I had a Thinkwell subscription, but I didn’t do very much on it (I finished <1/7 of the course). Not too sure how I did on this one, especially since I didn’t finish 2 FRQs.
The Bio SATII test (which I also took) was iffy. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t hard either. I took the Bio E, since we’d just covered that in bio class.
I also took the Math I SATII exam. That was so much easier than I thought it was going to be, and I’m hoping for a perfect score on that. It was a fun test to take since it was easy. ^^
I did band, and played bassoon and flute, as aforementioned. It was a really fun year; I got to play flute in wind ensemble.
I also played golf (for PE), mentioned that already.
I also went to a friend’s house once a week for study hall while my siblings went to our local co-op classes. We played our instruments together (she does band too), and we had lunch together, which was fun.
I also did 4H. I’m currently the president of our homeschool 4H group. I didn’t really spend too much time doing 4H this school year, mainly because I was too busy. I did go out telling multiple times with our storytelling group, although I didn’t learn a new story.
I also babysat for a parenting class for our church in the winter, as well as a couple times solo. This was the first time I’d gotten paid for something that I’d worked for, which was cool.
The greatest extracurricular was SciOly. I spent many, many hours at our coach’s house. My events Chem Lab, Cell Bio, Experimental Design, and for States, Anatomy. My first year on the high school team, with all new events, and all new partners. We got 1st at Regionals, but 2nd at States, so we aren’t going to Nationals (happening tomorrow!).
I believe it turned out to be better that we didn’t make Nationals, because that was I could study more for my AP s. Next year, though we’ll make it to Nationals! ☺ Rocks and Minerals is coming back, too, next year; beyond hyped for that (hee then I can actually talk about rocks and minerals on this blog ehehe). It was a great, great season, and although I didn’t study much for Chem Lab nor Cell Bio, my partner carried the events. ExD and Anatomy were AMAZING.
Overall, it was a great sophomore year-it felt really really short, but I learned so much this year, I and I can see God’s hand so clearly in it. It was a year of many many firsts, and I’m looking forward to next year!
Firsts this school year:
- First year playing bassoon
- First year on high school SciOly team
- First year taking official online class
- First year in Wind Ensemble
- First year taking multiple SAT subject tests
Kudos to you if you finished this post. I realize that it’s horrendously boring, but I like to read it over in the future (hi, future me!) to see how much different I’ve grown.