Thursday, August 26, 2010

This years' home school plan

April 2010
I have spent the past month making a homeschooling plan for the year. It started with receiving a catalog from a well known homeschool curriculum in a box type publisher. Oooohhh Shiny! Me want! I am a sucker. Keep me away from sales presentations. Seriously.

So reading and investigating further, I realized that I would change just about every aspect of what they sent which kind of kills the whole "you don't have to do any planning" part of the sales pitch. I sulked for a bit because I had my reasons for wanting an easier way out. Pregnant and about to have my fourth child pretty much topped the list. But eventually I got over it and in less than twenty minutes had laid an outline of things I'd like to do in homeschooling this year. Then I slowly worked on expanding that outline as time allowed. I'm pretty excited about the things I have planned to try with the kids.

Of course, it is just a plan, and not a set in stone structure. I told Dinoguy we were studying ancient native Americans soon and he replied that he wanted to study Norse mythology! So that's being added in as soon as we get back to the library. As a guide to help me figure out what was age appropriate and sequencing for topics other than mathematics, (because I've got that one covered), I used the book Home Learning Year by Year by Rebecca Rupp. which I was able to get on Paperback Swap. (I LOVE Paperback swap by the way!)

It is an overwhelming book if tried to take all at once. If I was reorganizing it, I'd do it by topic instead of grade level, with suggested grade levels along the way. But anyway, it gave me ideas of what topics kids usually hear at each grade level. Overall it just reassured that we are doing great, but in some things it helped me out a lot. Besides outlining what usually comes in a grade and topic, it gives many suggestions for resources and curricula, varying from free websites, to books and curricula to buy and how to get them. Since it is ten years old, some of the links weren't working. But it was a good starting point.

Two excellent quotes from the book:

"Homeschoolers can design their own curricula, assembling resources and using approaches that best suit their own children's needs. You child is enthralled by marine biology? Invent a curriculum that builds upon this interest... When it comes to curricula, kids should always come first.  It's not what teachers teach that's important; it's what children learn - and what children learn best is what interests them, what they want and need to know." (emphasis added)

June 2010
"Our long experience in homeschooling has shown, time and again, that an intense interest in anything inevitably leads everywhere... Kids are natural learners, and each will find his or her own best way to learn. There are many roads to an educational Rome."

So here is my monthly plan outline. I have broken it down further into weeks and resources, but I'll spare you that. Anyway, it might all change. The beauty of homeschooling is that we can (and will) immediately change anything that isn't working.

History General Topics by Month
September Ancient Native Americans, American Indians, (Scandinavia and Norse mythology!)
October Mayas, Aztecs, Incas
November Columbus, Conquistadors
December Early American Settlers
January American Revolution
February American West Expansion
March World Geography
April Asia - China, Japan, India
May Medieval Times Survey

Create a big time line on office wall! Read interesting books related to topics 3X a week as selected at library. Investigate in other media (movies, computers) as well.

Science General topics by month
September Magnets
October Human Body systems/ 5 senses
November Life cycles of animals and plants, needs
December Sounds - waves, light and shadow
January Water cycle, basic composition of earth
February Season changes for animals, living vs non living
March Weather
April Simple machines, basic physical characteristics of objects
May Physics- motion, force, friction

Do simple experiments and investigations related to topics 2X a week. Discuss scientific method.

Mathematics Games Themes
September Numbers & place value, even/odd, rounding, estimation
October Fractions
November Graphing/patterns
December Addition/Subtraction
January Multiplication
February Money
March Measurement
April Time/calendar
May Geometry

Art Investigations
September Pencils
October Tempera
November Collage/mosaic
December Printmaking
January Watercolor
February Weaving/crochet/fibers
March Pastels
April Modeling clay/pottery
May Chalks

Visit Art museum monthly or every other month. Use great works of art from historical period as inspiration for creating projects. Also use project idea books have on hand. Discuss color wheel and other topics as appropriate, checking out how to type guides at library.

Language Arts Plan
Handwriting with out tears
Penpal - write every two weeks to HS penpal, write grandparents as well.
Memorize a poem every month and present to audience

Phonics 3X a week - word study games from Words Their Way
Vocabulary 2X a week - discuss words from books we are reading, do word games (word search, crosswords, Scrabble, etc)
Reading - Read aloud 30 min. a day from list of related reading books to history topics. Have books related to history topics from list available for reading. (I created lists of 30-40 books each for reading related to topics and also for reading aloud.)
Grammar and other topics I have a weekly list of ideas that will be presented.
Short story writing sometimes, try out journaling as well.

Music Plan
Continue Violin lessons and daily practice. Continue piano investigations as desired. Listen to great classics in car for musical exposure. Add musicians into history studies.

We will continue ASL probably at the co-op and Dinoguy might add Spanish there. Any other language needs will be met thru our libary, which offers online language lesson access as well as CD's and DVD's. 

March 2010

So there is the plan for this year. I know that tons will be added to it by the boys interests. But having a plan helps me immensely feel more organized and ready for our new addition in two months.

How can I have a plan and still say I follow my kids interests? They have asked for more structure. They have asked for help learning to write and everything else. Learning is still the reward. There are no external motivations or bribes. History topics I view as presenting possibilities (or strewing as some call it.) Dinoguy says history is his favorite subject and he loves all the history books I bring home.We are using interesting texts and books by people passionate about the topics. Mathematics, science and music and art are things they ask to do and enjoy.

Again, I am just hoping the plan will help me be a better mom at providing options to them. I am not tied to the plan as what we have to do, but it gives me a starting point each week and each day. Last year I did weekly planning based on what interests I was seeing and it was tiring and overwhelming, and easily led to burnout. I will still be doing some planning each week to prepare and modify, but with the overarching yearly plan, I hope to save myself some of the burnout, tiredness and worry if I am providing enough.
March 2010


Miranda said...

Wow! Great plan! Totally overwhelming for me! Maybe I'll just go ahead and put my kids in school. :P

I'm wondering, do you plan mostly for Dinoguy, and Trainboy follows his lead? So far I just plan for my oldest. Of course, my youngest is still a toddler anyway, but it's fun when we have activities that she can join in and have fun with :D

Chrispy said...

Fantastic plan! I think I might borrow from it, if you don't mind. :) It helps so much sometimes to have a game plan, even if you don't end up following it to the letter. Awesome!

Malina said...

Feel free to borrow from it. :)

I did my own mix of what is generally covered in K & grade 2 stuff in science. In some things I think specifically about both of them and in others, more for my oldest.

Trainboy is in kindergarten which IMHO is supposed to be filled with playing. He asks to do school-y stuff though, so I include him as he wants.

Bridget said...

Looks like you will be busy. There is children's book called The Pot That Juan Built. It is about Juan Quezada for Mata Ortiz (I don't know if you have heard of him or the town, I would not know it if we had not come across the book). Anyway it combines the topics of art (particularly clay that I noticed you had on your list) and history of the americas (and in my mind science if you wanted to explorer the what make some soil that you can make clay vs dirt clods, as well as the changes that undergo during the firing and the use of the pigments). In way in case your are interested here is a quick internet bio of the guy

Norah said...

Wow your way more planned then I am it seems. Looking forward to reading about all your adventures.


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