Junior Year Reflections || Homeschooling || 2017

So…I’m closing out another school year, and I wanted to write a blogpost about how my Junior Year went. (Yes, I know, I’m gonna be a senior next year. I can’t believe it either). I hope this post is helpful for anyone who’s looking to homeschool in high school, or wondering what classes to take, or stuff like that. Although my family and I have been blessed by a lot of guidance through our homeschool group, there were still SO MANY things that I just wish I’d known, or that I could’ve done better on.

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I’m giving you permission to not read this post at all if you’re interested! This post is mainly for my own records, and a link for me to give to others when they ask ‘Oh, so what exactly did you do in high school?”

Again, like last year, I’m going to divide this into classes, tests, and extracurricular activities.

I took AP Lang and AP Calc BC this year, both online. As I’ve stated before, I don’t do particularly well with online classes, and this year, honestly, just proved that again. Both the courses were asynchronous, which meant that there was no lecture, and you just worked through the course subject on your own at your own pace, every week for AP Lang and every day for AP Calc.

AP Lang wasn’t too bad. I took it through Bluetent Online with Mrs. Brigid Thompson, and let me just say, Mrs. Thompson is AN AWESOME teacher. She was very encouraging, and was incredibly supportive throughout. I felt like the asynchronous course worked out really well for AP Lang: I learned just through forum discussions with classmates and readings, and I didn’t really miss the lectures at all. At some parts of the school year, I felt like there was a *bit* too much discussion, but overall, the courseload felt about right for an AP level course. I highly, HIGHLY recommend Mrs. Thompson’s English courses, and I’m taking AP Literature with her next year. Overall, I felt about 80% confident about the AP exam itself, and I’m *hoping* for a 5. It was the first actual AP test that I actually felt confident about, so there’s that. (I’ll talk about the test later on). We had to write a final paper about technology and reading (lowkey turned mine in two months late, oops).

AP Calculus, on the other hand, was another story. I took AP Calc through Pennsylvania Homeschoolers with Mrs. Gilleran. I feel sure that the course was a really good course, but I just wasn’t expecting the coursework to be so heavy. I was behind by the third day of class. Unlike AP Lang, I feel like this course would really benefit from a live/video lecture. Without that, I was basically learning by myself. In addition, there was very little practice. Every day, we would read a section of the textbook and do some online exercises. Having been taught with Saxon math for most of my advanced math (ie, after algebra), I need a lot of practice problems to completely understand the concept, and this had none of that. This course mainly relied on good problem solving skills (which I don’t really have), and you were supposed to ‘master’ a topic after doing 5 or so practice problems, after which you wouldn’t see that topic again until the chapter test. I struggled a lot there too. If I were to have done *all* the work assigned every day, I would have spent an easy 5 or 6 hours a day just doing math. (and um, ew, no?)

On top of all that, in December, Mrs. Gilleran went and got cataract surgery. While she DID do it over Christmas break, she hadn’t been able to see very well before it, and so couldn’t do a bunch of the administrative type tasks, which was annoying. AND THEN, in March, which is the start of AP Test prep, she had a heart attack and had to have open heart surgery. Although I understand that was inevitable, we didn’t have a substitute teacher, we just had to plow through the rest of the coursework on our own.  By the time she had recuperated enough to give us instruction, it was April and we all had to take practice test after practice test. Overall, this class was just. . .unnecessarily difficult and poorly structured. I *did* get some of the basics, but I’m incredibly uncertain of myself in calculus, and I’m planning to take essentially the same course again next year, although definitely not THIS exactly class.

For sciences, I took physics at a local homeschool co-op like thing. There’s nothing much to say about it…the teacher was AWESOME: he was lighthearted and fun, while teaching you and making sure you understand the concepts. There was very little homework, despite mastery of the concepts, which was AWESOME, and I really appreciated that, because if there’d been a lot of time involved in that, I’d have been sunk. For our final project, we had to build bridges with popsicle sticks and glue. That was fun, although it consumed my entire life for a week XD

I took world history at home this year, using Abeka’s World History book in conjunction to some Sonlight reading. I took notes on the vocabulary, the outline, the timeline, and answered the questions in the back. Honestly, at this point in the school year, I just want to get it over with, and wish that I hadn’t given myself so much busy work (I could easily have just read the chapters and answered the discussion questions…but NOOOO, I had to write down ALL the bolded words, and ALL the dates, and ALL the topics they covered, and then EXPLAIN all of them). As usual, Abeka was a bit extra in defending Christianity…always portraying Christians as the only people worth mentioning throughout history. If I’d learned and accepted world history as they presented, it would go something like this: “The people who didn’t accept God all killed each other and died, but the Christian civilizations had the upper hand because God helped them, so that’s why America exists, one nation under God, hallelujah, praise the Lord.” Obviously, they did teach history, but their bias was a bit much.

The other class I took at home was Chinese (because, heck, I specialise in weird things). The warning that Chinese was hard wasn’t a joke, y’all. I can speak the best, then read, than write. (Also like brush strokes? Like I couldn’t write already and now I also need to remember the order to write the darn words in?) The pinyin (chinese in english) thing was really helpful, because I could more easily connect spoken words to written words. I’m still not done with that yet either (again, self-assigned busywork), but, hey.

I also took an extracurricular course, called “Study Skills and Time Management” at the same place I took physics. Aside from the fact that the class was meant for middle schoolers going into high school and taught stuff that I’d already had to implement into my life to keep from failing high school, and life in general, this class was decent. The teacher was really nice, and it was a nice easy class, although so completely unnecessary. I might recommend it for a middle-schooler looking for an easy-ish class to take, but not for a high schooler. We had to make about 8 weekly charts of 24 hour logs, so literally EVERY. SINGLE. THING. we did throughout the day, to see where our time went, and that was pretty interesting.

As for hour-logging classes (it’s legal for me to log 120 hours of a ‘thing,’ and count it as a credit), I did Bible, PE, and music.

Bible was pretty straightforward: I logged the time I spent doing Bible stuff, like doing devotions, or going to youth group, or going to church. There’s just that. I need it to graduate XD

PE: Again, a plethora of PE-like things I did, like swimming, golfing, or hiking. There’s not really a need for me to do more PE, because, like, I’m the most unphysically active person ever, and I’ve already gotten my credits, but apparently colleges like seeing PE credits, so I’m including it XD

Music was a big part of my life, as expected. I took private lessons in flute and piano, and also played flute and bassoon in band. I had new teachers in both flute AND piano, and they are both great, although my flute teacher is moving away, so I’m going to have to look for a new one again. Piano, again, wasn’t one of my focuses. I did increase my repertoire by a bit, and that was nice, but I didn’t really spend a tonne of time practicing. I also increased my flute repertoire because of private lessons, and also worked on tone and stuff like that. I was also first flute in band, and that was lots of fun, because I got to play some solo-y stuff, and that was cool. I also got to play flute for a few sections in jazz band, and that was super cool. (As a sidenote, if you’re playing flute in jazz band, please don’t forget to bring your flute on stage during the concert and have to sight read the bassoon part during the concert? Thanks. Sincerely, Learned That The Hard Way). As for bassoon, I played it during jazz band, and nowhere else XD Honestly I’m not sure where to go for bassoon, and was contemplating giving it up completely. However, our bassoonist in band graduated this year, so I *might* be called upon to play it? I don’t know yet.

That’s it for my classes. Now for tests.

As I mentioned earlier, I took the AP Lang and AP Calc BC tests, and also took the PSAT, 3 SAT tests, and 2 ACT tests.

The PSAT was the first test I took this year, mainly because juniors just need to take it. I scored 10 points below last year’s (boo) but it was still decent. It really wasn’t good for much though because I didn’t make the NMSQT thingie.

I took an ACT 6-week course, but that honestly didn’t help too much? It was fine for reviewing test taking strategies etc but it wasn’t like “ooh now I can easily score 5-10 points higher!” kind of thing. We were supposed to take one before the course started (December) then another one after (June, because I couldn’t make the April one), so I took both of those and we’ll see how that goes. The December went pretty darn well so I hope I could at least match that on the June one!

The SATs are a similar story, except that I just didn’t take a prep course. I did do some prep via Khan Academy, so there’s that, but aside from that, it was pretty self-taught. I got a decent (but not good enough yet) score in December with a terrible essay score, and an okay (10 points lower) March score, and I’m hoping that the June one is my last one!

The AP Lang test, as I mentioned earlier, was the first AP test I’d taken that I actually felt prepared for ever, thanks to the practice tests and essays that I got in my course. I was up too late the night before, though, so I may or may not have fallen asleep for the last fifteen minutes of multiple choice? The essays were okay though, even though I had so much to write and felt like I ran out of time a little towards the end, but overall, I feel pretty good about it.

AP Calc? As expected, it was the mirror opposite of AP Lang. The multiple choice was actually comparatively more easy than I’d expected, but the free response made  up for that. It. Was. Hard. Again,I’m taking calculus next year again since I can’t imagine that I did well on it.

Overall, I had lots of testing and it wasn’t fun waking up early (ha! #homeschooler) but they themselves were fine. I also had two stints (December and June) of taking the SAT and ACT on consecutive weeks, so that was interesting…

As for extracurricular activities, I basically did the same things as last year: 4H, Science Olympiad, and band.

I only really did 4H for the first semester, then had to stop because of a conflict. Well technically I’m still in 4H, but I’m no longer as active in it as I was. I finished my Diamond Clover Level 5 this year, which was fun.

As for band, as I’ve mentioned, I was first flute (mainly because the first flute last year graduated lol) and also played bassoon (as a bari sax) in jazz band. There’s not much to say…band’s always fun and I love every single moment of it.

And then…Science Olympiad. I did all repeat events this year: Experimental Design, Anatomy (nervous, endocrine, and sense organs, of which I did the latter two mostly), Helicopters, and *restrains self from using all caps* Rocks and Minerals. It was lots of fun because I already had most of what I was supposed to do ready, such as knowing how to build helicopters or having a rocks and minerals binder, or knowing how to make aan anatomy  notesheet, or knowing what I was supposed to do for experimental design. This year we also went to my first invitational, which was fun (despite the fact that it was a week before regionals, and that made it a bit nervewracking). Like last year, we got first at Regionals and second at States, so it’s yet another year of no nationals.

Aside from extracurriculars for me, I was also an AWANA Cubbies leader for my second year. I had three kids in my group, one from last year, and two new ones. One of them, I’d known since before she was born, so that was fun.

I also babysat a couple times, and I also started teaching piano. I started out the year a little unsure of myself (who wouldn’t? It’s determining whether a kid will love music?) but overall, I felt like either I was at least a little competent in teaching, or else the kids managed to learn stuff out of my blundering. One or the other. XD

That about wraps up my Junior year…it felt very long and tedious, but then also really not at the same time. Soli Deo Gloria. 😊😊

 

 

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Currently: October 2016

Eyyyy it’s another Currently post! This month’s linkup is with Anne and Jacqui!

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Cheers-ing: cheersing

I’m currently cheering for fall break! I have fall break next week for a couple classes, and I’m super excited because I get to work on stuff I actually like, such as knitting or practicing music (as if I would have the time, haha!). I’ll probably knitting or practicing done, but instead I’ll be stuck at home doing math, aagh! I’m also cheering for fall in general, because big sweaters and warm drinks (potentially including coffee) and yummi apples and pumpkin spiced freaking everything.

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Organizing: bullet-journal

I just finished organizing my room and my desk! I’ve also gotten out some of my fall clothes, and I’m super excited for that! I’ve also recently started using a bullet journal to stay organized, and I’m really loving it so far!

I really like how when I use a bullet journal, I don’t have to make everything perfect and I can use as much space as I need to for my everlasting todo list! Also I can make it as pretty as I want to!

Dreaming:

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🎶🎶I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…🎶🎶 No, I’m totally not cheesy at all.

No, but seriously. I’ve been dreaming about Christmas for months, and now it’s finally gotten closer. (or maybe I just haven’t gotten off the Christmas high from last year?) I’m so excited for Christmas–making/buying presents, baking cookies, Christmas concerts, and snow…(????)!! And cold weather, and boots, and mint flavored everything I’M SO EXCITED.

 

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Buying:

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I haven’t really been buying much. The last haul I did was my back-to-school haul, and ever since then, I haven’t actually bought anything.

 

Listening: coffeetea

I’ve been listening a bunch of random music, including a bunch of Meghan Trainor, piano hymns, and Irish fiddling.

I’ve also been listening to a bunch of Fiddler on the Roof soundtracks, because we’re currently playing an arrangement of several Fiddler on the Roof pieces in band!

 

Linking up at:

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Currently by Anne in Residence

School Year Goals 2016-2017 ||Back to School 2016

Wowwwwww. How am I a junior already? I started this blog my freshman year, and it’s been 2 1/2 years, and I’m staring down the barrel of the PSAT and SAT….AAGH!! I literally cannot imagine why I’m a junior already. EESH.

Every year so far in high school, I’ve done a post about my School Year Goals, because I’m such a goal-oriented person. If you haven’t seen these before, I go over last year’s goals and see how well I did on them, then add my goals for this year.

(Also, as I’m writing this, I’m listening to Meghan Trainer, and I’m just realizing how awesome and upbeat and inspiring her music is–and it’s so awesome!!)

So…without further ado…I bring you…

back to school

First, last year’s goals.

  1. Honor God more in what I do Well…this is one of those really ambiguous, hard to measure types of goals. I mean…I did a year-round Bible reading plan? Oh, and I also did a Worldview class, in which I learned how to defend my faith and about how other faiths work, so that i’m better able to witness to them. I also *tried* to be more humble and stuffs…so I guess it counts? Success
  2. Get a 5 in at least one AP course (which is really important, because if I don’t get a 5, then I’ll have to go to school next year. :/) …still no 5 *sigh* I did better than I did last year, though! Although I didn’t take any AP courses, I took 2 AP tests and got 4’s on them. So I’ve improved! Yay!! (And also, my parents switched the conditions to ‘if I passed’ so, I get to stay homeschooled!) Fail
  3. Get a 800 in a SAT subject test. This was sad. I took Math I, and it was really fun and easy…the only error I made was that I took it at the end of 2 other tests (SAT subject tests work that way)…so although I could do all the problems, I ended up messing up a lot, and so…yeah…no. XD Fail
  4. Take the SAT. Yeah, no, this didn’t happen. I did take the PSAT, though, and did decently well on it, so that counts for something? Maybe…hehe. And also I took subject tests, so that took down one more SAT date. Fail
  5. Get at least A’s in all my courses- Um. Yeah?! I ended the year with A’s (no A-‘s, yay!). If you want a taste of what I took last year, read my Sophomore Year Reflections, which has what I took and how I liked the classes and all that stuffs. The stuff about my tests are also on there too. Success.
  6. Play more music, including starting a flute choir. Um. Well…OH WAIT I STARTED PLAYING BASSOON!! yup, more music. Check. XD But anyways, this year was legitimately music-filled. I had private lessons in flute, piano, AND bassoon; played flute and bassoon in band; and played flute with friends! So I guess that kinda counts as flute choir? I mean, it’s only happened twice so far, but still, it counts and we’re planning on doing more in the future! Success
  7. Volunteer at least 100 hours (I’m homeschooled; what can you do? XD) Okay, Imma be honest. I didn’t log volunteer hours this year. 😦 (and yes, I’m really bad, and colleges want to see it, and all that crap, and I’ll have to get to it someday *spouts more excuses that you don’t want to listen to*). I volunteered in the church Sunday School for 4 year olds, as well as in the nursury a few times, and I also volunteered in AWANA all year. I also did some in the county fair, and also since apparently going to nursing homes and playing music counts, I did that too. So although I don’t know the exact number of hours, I’m going to count that I did it, because I don’t know if I could have volunteered more than I already did. Success.
  8. Take at least 5 standardized (as in big, important, life/career changing) tests PSAT, AP US History, AP Biology, SAT US History, SAT Biology, SAT Math I. YUSHHH, or rather, Success.

I got 6/10, 1 better than last year! Yay!!

Okay…so now on to this year’s goals!

  1. Rely more on God and give Him the glory.
  2. Score within 8% of last year’s PSAT score.
  3. Get my first 5 on an AP test
  4. Get at least A’s in all my other classes (physics and world history)
  5. Make SciOly nationals (we didn’t make it last year; I didn’t make it part of my goals, but we SHALL this year. ;P)
  6. Play lots of music, improve my musical ear (aka don’t be yelled at for being out of tune every week at band), and learn more piano pieces.
  7. Try doing something different
  8. Learn how to take cute and pretty notes
  9. Take the SAT and 5 other tests and don’t fail
  10. Have fun and don’t die (ideas: listen to more music, get outside more often, disconnect from the internet more often, live life, don’t die)

So these are the goals I’m setting for myself this year! What are some of the things you want to achieve this year?

Currently: September 2016

This is another of those “what have I been doing” posts, but I think I’ll do it. Why?

Well, this blog is mainly for me to track my high school years, and for it to reflect my personality. And I love this sort of posts; I love writing these posts, and I love reading these posts…so…let’s go!

Currently is a linkup at Anne at Anne in Residence and a cohost, and it comes out every first Wednesday. This month’s cohost is Beth at the Beth Next Door

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Reading-

Where Hope Prevails.jpgI’m currently reading Where Hope Prevails by Janette Oke, which is the third book in her “Return to the Canadian West” series. It’s really good, and my review on the book will be coming out in a few weeks! Aside from that, I’m also reading Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool, as well as The Teacher’s Funeral by Richard Peck and Let the Circle by Unbroken by Mildred Taylor. Obviously, I’m not reading all these simultaneously, but I’m able to read a book a day, and these are the ones that I’ve read once and will have to read again before going back to the library.

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This month, I’m trying to take a Photo a Day. Although this was my New Year’s Resolution, I never actually did any Photo a Day thing, but this month, I found a challenge that looked fun on The Girl Upstairs blog by Grace, so I’m going to try that out! I have a few day’s worth so far, and I’m excited to take pictures for the rest of this month! Here I’m showing you what my Day 1, or September, picture is!

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Right now, I’m hoping (and trying) to be more organized and for a great school year! I’m legitimately doing online classes this year, and they’re harder than I expected them to be! I’m really excited for the activities I’ll be doing this year (GUYS. ROCKS AND MINERALS IS COMING BACK. I’M SO HAPPY!!!! If you have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s Science OlympiadI’m also hoping to be able to show God’s light and His grace towards others even more than I have this year! Here I have a picture of my AP Language assignment that I was supposed to annotate and that I thought looked pretty.

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I’m decorating my notes! This year, I want to try to make it a point of making my study notes look pretty. Usually, my study notes are really boring and black and white and all that, but this year, I got a pack of highlighters and I’m determined to make my notes look really pretty this year! I’ve always really loved pretty aesthetic handwriting samples, such as journaling, bullet journals, and study notes.Here’s a sneak peek:

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Weelll…..I could be really boring, and list my to do list, which is about <— that long, but I could also attempt to be interesting. On my To-Do list right now are to a. Catch up on my blogposts, which are severely lacking right now, to b. Find a way to make the bottoms of the knit boots that I’ve just knit waterproof so that I can wear them outdoors, and to c. practice bassoon, because apparently I have an audition coming up next Tuesday, and I haven’t practiced since May 10th…. D:

What do you think of Currently? Do you like them? Would you like to read more in the future?

Linking up at:

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What’s in My Backpack 2016 | Back to School

EYY Back to School blogposts!

Here’s my “What’s in My Backpack” for this year! I did this last year as well….it’s right here. wait actually on second thought don’t read it because the pictures are horrendous

I’m going to start out with my backpack. It’s a Costco High Sierra backpack that’s purple. I don’t actually really like it, but I’m too lazy to do anything with it.

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Okay, now we have that picture out of the way, all the rest of the pictures are very horribly taken and edited.

And….my pens.

This year, I actually have a pencil pouch! I actually like this pencil pouch…it’s actually big enough to hold all my pens and highlighters and colored pens and pencils and stapler and glue stick and post-its and scissors and you get the point.

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And…notebooks. This year, I actually put some effort in. These are DIY’ed notebooks (well, all except that last 3 subject one). Acrylic paint+tags/owl coloring pages/mandela printouts. I really like it.

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And obviously you can see how much I blasted the saturation between the first and second pictures.

This year, I got a bunch of stuff at Walmart. And this year, I tried to actually be put together! lookit.

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Seriously. So. Put. Together. 1 notebook, 1 binder, 1 3-subject, 1 paper folder, 1 pencil case, and tape. This is literally the first (and probably only) time I’ve done it in my entire life.

And also. I’m obsessed with planners and calendars and stuff…but I’m really bad at actually writing in them. So here’s a picture of what looks to be my planner.

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Also, I was inspired by a LaurDIY YouTube video (here) to make a To-Do List organizer! I put washi tape around the side and some Bible verse stickers at the top.

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hee you can see the light reflection in the background. I like this picture anyways.

This year, I’m a better blogger and don’t post 2 million pictures of stupid things that  I don’t actually need for school. Seriously. Water bottles, scrunchies, my phone, Bible cover, and a periodic table poster? Really, last-year me?

Okay, I hope you enjoyed that. I’m so boring.

 

Top 5 Websites for Studying

As the end of the school year ends (WHAT? ALREADY?!), people are preparing for finals…but they don’t feel like studying! Here are my top 5 resources that help me in studying.

  1. Quizlet– What can I say? Quizlet is just AWESOME! It’s a flashcard tool, and while its functionality as a flashcard tool is somewhat limited to flashcard-y information, its other functions as simply a learning tool are outstanding. There are six ways to learn total, which add up to mastering of information entirely, including two incredibly simple, yet extraordinarily fun and addictive. Sets of cards can also be shared between people in classes, and the progress of various members of a class are able to see and try to beat high scores on games, which makes it much, much more fun and competitive.
  2. Khan Academy– Khan Academy is fairly well known as a study site. The main purpose of Khan Academy is for math, and its math practice is extremely extensive. Recently, though, however, Khan Academey has become much more functional, adding SAT practice, sciences (the anatomy videos are superb), programming, and colinking to Crash Course. It has become a much more active online school (at least for me). The tutorials are especially good for notetaking, which I really appreciate, and they go more in-depth, which I also really appreciate. They do point/badge counting, which is really motivating for me (just 10 more practice questions until I get this badge!).
  3. Pandora– This isn’t a strictly study site, but it helps me a lot in my studying. Pandora is an online music radio. I love the functionality and the radio-like-ness of the site, unlike sites such as Spotify or (maybe) iTunes, where the music is organized into playlists, with set songs. Pandora is radio-like, which means that the songs that you listen to aren’t regulated to the ones you put on the play list, which I really enjoy. I especially love listening to all my stations on shuffle, which gives me a really wide variety of music to listen, ranging from Christmas to CCM to Irish to Classical to Movie scores.
  4. EasyBib– EasyBib is the perfect easy way to ace those bibliographies. Plug in all the spots in the bibliography generating site thing (which is really satisfying–to fill in forms), and EasyBib generates a perfectly formatted works cited page for you! This website is probably the website that has saved me THE most time while working on school papers and stuff by not having to cite all this stuff.
  5. TrelloTrello is a card-organizing device that allows me to keep track of all my assignments. I use Trello quite extensively, tracking my grades and assignments. Trello has a bunch of fun extensions, linking to Google Calendar, Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive, which makes it linkable to many platforms and extremely handy. I also use Trello to plan out my blogposts, knitting projects, and the birthdays of my friends. All in all, Trello is a versatile organizing platform that is both easy to use yet diverse. I believe it really helps me plan out and organize my life so much better than a pile of sticky notes would have done, although sticky notes are great too. 😀

Eh…by the time I got to here, I realized how lame some of these websites are. Literally everyone uses these sites. Whatever, I hope some of these sites are new to you and that they help you in your studying! Good luck on finals!

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Sophomore Year Reflections || Homeschooling || 2016

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)P1030865.JPG

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. ^^

Last, extracurriculars.

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.

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What’s in my Backpack 2015||Back to School 2015

Yes, yes, I’m well aware that this is WAYYYYY too late…seriously, school started almost 2 months ago!! However, this is the first time I’ve ever done this, and I really want to do it…and I already took the photos…so here goes!

My backpack-

backpack

Costco backpack; I love the colors and the patterns on it.

Folders-

folders

So…being homeschooled, I basically use folders for every single subject and the year’s worth of stuff just goes in binders, so I use lots of binders.

My paper folders-

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Folders to bring to class (so that I don’t have to cart around regular folders)(and yes, homeschoolers do actually have classes to go to), and a holder for regular lined paper.

Calendar/planner-

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The pink one’s from Dollar Tree (or some dollar store, at least), and the cake one is from Michael’s. Yes, I’m cheap. XD

Dividers-

dividers

I made these super cool and cute DIY dividers…tutorial for that coming up soon!

For my writing implements….(click on the pictures to show the captions)

(And yes, those are kid scissors….they go in my backpack and have saved my life literally hundreds of times…I promise I actually have adult scissors as well :D)

For my music stuff,

music

Here’s most of the stuff I have for music: Flute, Bassoon, Music, Flute Stand, and Music Stand….I’m missing the piano, but was too lazy to go and arrange it all on the piano….

Now for some random other stuff that I use for school- (click on the pictures to show the captions)

Closing off with more signs of my science freak….I have….

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THIS frightful thing tacked to….guess where…..the CEILING above my BED, so that it’s the first thing I see when I wake up. Yup, I warned you I was a science freak. 😛

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