Wednesday, October 30, 2013

2013-14 School Plans

I started this post months ago...for prosperity's sake I'm going to finish it up and hit publish.

The goal is to write up weekly "look what we did" posts. It's a work in progress.

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It's that time of year again! I was talking to my cousin this morning which brought me down reality that this fall is going to be quite a marathon in logistics. But I thought I'd join in the online sharing this year's curriculum plans.

I just read Jessica's post and like how she introduced her kid's ages before telling about their school choices so I'll take a page from her book and introduce my little students...

#1 is 12 and will be in public school again this year as a 7th grader.
#2 is 9, turning 10 this October, and would be in 4th grade in public school but will be doing 5th grade work at home.
#3 is 7, not 8 until February, and would be in 2nd grade in public school and in our homeschool.
#4 is 5, turning 6 in October. He is in Kindergarten, both in home and public school.
#5 is 3. We'll be doing some preschool stuff.
#6 is 1, almost 18 months - my favorite age!

I will be "teaching" three while keeping the little two happy and engaged and loved.

So let's start with the little ones...{affiliate links are coming your way}
I'll be doing some preschool with #5. I got God's Little Explorers. I've downloaded and printed out (I purchased the program so I could have everything at once and since it was inexpensive and went to a great cause) and bound myself a great little book of the plans and ideas for all year. It shouldn't be too much but just enough of a sweet time with my boy...something I think I was missing last year.

Morning Meeting :: years ago we called this circle time like everyone else but when #1 was still at homeschool she thought she was too old for "circle time" so we changed the name and it stuck. We do calendar, counting, corporate alphabet reciting, and Latin. We will also use our Kid Life (our churches version of Awanas) materials to work on memory verses, journaling and devotionals.  We started with some SQUILT lessons last year and I would like to continue them once a week this year. I love this simple way of bringing music education into our school.

History :: We are finishing up The Story of the World Vol 3 then we'll be going right into Volume 4 . I have loved SOTW and the activity book . I am especially excited that #2 will have a complete cycle of history when we finish this year. I have gone through the books we will be using and have cut chapters so that we stay focused and finish the year with the end of the book. I've also given us the month of November to do History Pockets :: The American Civil War . We did the American Revolution pockets last year and when I've brought it up this year the boys remember that project fondly and are looking forward to the Civil War ones.

Science :: I am determined to do science this year. At the beginning that will be "easy" since our nanny is doing it for me... she is here on Tuesdays and covers school that day with the kids. I tried to separate topics so that the kids weren't having two different people trying to understand what needed covered or having different expectations. So H gets science. We are using the book I didn't stick with last year, Adventures With Atoms and Molecules . I think everyone is enjoying the experiments and I've enjoyed looking through their work and seeing that they are doing a good job with it.

Independent Work :: The idea is we do the above parts of school before lunch, then break for lunch and a little bit of running around. After that while I lay #5 and #6 down for their afternoon nap the boys can come down to the school room and work through their independent work. For #2 that is SOAP journaling, handwriting , logic and math drill (if there is one that day). #3 also has handwriting and a possible math drill. He is also writing a journal entry in a spiral notebook. #4 does a page of handwriting too. For handwriting I'm trying Getty-Dubay this year. I've always used Handwriting Without Tears and I thought it was fine but I'd seen a few blogs around who were using GD and their handwriting was so nice so I thought I'd give it a try. Already I can see some of the letter shaping from GD carry over into other handwriting and I like what I see.

RRSK :: #4 is doing Raising Rock Stars Kindergarten from 1plus1plus1equals1. I am doing the alphabetical order that God's Little Explorers follows so that #5 and #4 are working on the same letter. It is nice to have the memory verses each week and so far I'm happy we went with this program. #4 is also still working through Rod and Staff's ABC series. We picked up books G and I when were getting math books this summer. He has a love/hate relationship to these...I think they are nice books and they give him a good base of doing tidy work and concentrating and some basic skills practice. I like them...I'll use them again for #5 and #6.

FIAR :: Volume 2 :: I bought the manual and the literature set last year but it just didn't fit in. So far we have rowed two or three books and I think the way I have them laid out through the year will be nice. It will definitely work better to do two or so books a month with weeks off when we don't have anything extra.

Grammar :: #2 and #3 work on grammar everyday. #3 is finishing First Language Lessons Level 1 and will move right into Level 2 . I love how this program has built in copy work and memorization work and covers all the parts of speech so throughly. #2 did through level 3 of FLL and last year we used Rod and Staff's English program. He hated the text book style of R&S so I went on a search of something new. I found Grow with Grammar from Jessica's blog. After looking at the sample lessons and checking with what #2 thought I went with it. So far so good. Just the right balance between text book and work book.

Math :: This is our second year using Rod and Staff for math. #2 does fine with the textbook style of math. We don't do every problem...but when/if he needs more work we keep working through the problems until he is doing well with the concept. #3 got his own R&S math this year. For the younger grades it is all in workbook format which is good for him...maybe a little too much repetition, my boys really get math and the whole page of problems really gets to them. I'm working on hands-on math stuff with #4, I've got a whole lot of ideas on my Pinterest board.

Extras :: I took a lot of time with our schedule this year. I tried really hard to work through it all in my mind. We moved last spring to a larger home, something our family needed desperately. Unfortunately, I am not the best housekeeper. I knew I would need to really think through our days so the house didn't take over. Once I got our basic school day down on paper I realized if I moved everything down some and utilized the afternoon nap time I would have an easier time at school (no crayon eater, #6, or destroyer of all that is good and evil, #5) and I could use the morning hours before school to get chores done around the house. But, what to do with the kids while I'm getting my stuff done? Other than their morning chores? Then I read an article about talent building. And I downloaded the free ebook (I think I had to subscribe to get it). I'm still reading through the ebook...but, the idea that I could encourage a talent in my kids that they could develop and use later in life? I started to think on that a bit more and tried to process how that could be incorporated into our morning.

#2 has always had an interest in computers and games and all of that. Last year I had tried to find a way to work with that interest. With this new talent idea I went back to the internet to find a way to develop #2's interest in computers in a way that, if he continued, could lead him into something more in the future. I found Homeschool Programming. We have started with the Web Page design. It is right on target as far as abilities go. He gets a little "lost" or hits a bump and tries to back off of it for awhile but we talk about problem solving and keeping at it.

#3 is all about work. Real work. Work that he preferably can do alone and actually matters. And he loves animals. I really think he is going to own a large working farm sometime. So,with that in mind, I gave him the responsibility of the animals. Feeding and watering the chickens each morning and the cats too.

The idea is they work on these two areas in the morning between getting ready for the day and the start of school. I also have a selection of activities in the school room that are open for everyone but #6 to work with. Playdough, ABC Find It!, Sensory tubs, alphabet projects, cutting practice, painting, blocks, puzzles, etc. So far, so good. Except a little incident with rice being outside the rice bin and possibly a raised voice or two the mornings are running pretty smoothly.

Ugh. If you made it through that post you deserve a cookie.

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