I spent some time this weekend looking at the Sonlight catalogue. Especially the Core packages related to my son's age and what I envision us doing. I had just about decided that I would go ahead and do it but... the language is a problem. He needs more French, and the sheer amount of books that come as part of the program means far more reading in English than I would like him to do at this point.
But I noticed that part of the approach is similar to Charlotte Mason with an enjoyment of literature and things like copywork, which I think I will tackle a bit for the next month: Have him do some copywork in French from different things so he learns, mainly, how to spell words. Keep requiring him to read each day in French (today, he read 5 or 6 volumes of the French Tintin; I told him that was fantastic and to remember that he also needs to read things other than comics :P ). He already knows he will keep working on the Fractions Life of Fred, even into summer, until it's done. Those are the plans for right away with him.
For the fall, I told him while we were setting the table that I wanted him to pick some options next year.
He said okay. I asked him if he knew what it meant. He said it meant he could
choose things. I said yes, but what kinds of things? He didn’t
know. I told him that some
options are computers (be it learning to use different programs or focusing on a
single program or learning to program or making websites), art (which could be
just cartooning if he wanted), music and I couldn’t remember what else at that
point (home ec. would be one). And he wants to do computer stuff. He thinks it sounds like a lot of fun. "Which part?" A little bit
of everything. I'm now on the hunt for some good resources (be it printed text or online stuff) for that. Have some options available and do it Montessori-style where we work out together which order he will do it in and set some expected deadlines. We do have a book on how to program iPod/iPhone apps. It's a little complicated... I will really need to see what I can find that is suitable for a boy who will be 13 and completely new to this kind of thing.
As for the social studies dilemma, I've decided to do one of two things:
1) Either follow similar outcomes for the first year of the Sonlight world history package
2) or do a one-year overview of world history and create a Canadian history (or perhaps North American; that actually interests me more) history program on my own for the following year.
In both cases, my aim is to have at least half of the reading be in French. This will take some serious searching on my part and perhaps placing some of the onus on him, while moving through topics, to research and find stuff online in French. It sounds funny, but the Magic Treehouse books (La cabane magique in French) could be superb readers to have on hand in French. Yes, they are way below grade level (he'll be grade 8), but the French translation actually makes them a grade or two harder to read, placing them at about a grade 4 level, which is a nice gentle starting point for serious French reading and can be fairly quickly read. And tied in with French language arts assignments :P .
I think I'll be rather busy this summer trying to prepare for fall!