Every summer it is time to plan. In the past, I purchased all new curriculum, planned out assignments and wrote out the daily schedule with a slot for each subject for each child. A couple of years ago, I realized that school at home didn’t work for us. I realized that life is school was much better for us.
Instead of structuring out each assignment and each day’s list of activities to be completed like I did in school as a child, I structure our time. By this I mean we have a minimum amount of time where we come together and learn. What we learn each day differs. Some days we get so involved in learning that we are still working on projects until late in the afternoon only to be interrupted by evening activities. Other days we work until mid-afternoon and then run outside to play. Still others are a little earlier with lots of reading in the afternoon. Every day is a little different but there is some continuity.
We structure our time with family work first and then devotional and group learning and then individual learning. During our group learning, I tend to focus on either science or history. This year we will continue with Story of the World and supplement with other materials, especially with the Revolutionary war portion of our studies. I am thinking about using the Once a Week study on the Revolution from Homeschool Legacy. For science, we are continuing to use E-Science. Individual learning time is structured with a set amount of time depending on how involved we got in our group time. I consult with the children and we discuss what goals they have, what they need to learn and work on, and they make a plan. If I see they haven’t been working on an area that might need some attention, I counsel them to work on that area a bit. Between books, games, and other materials, all subjects are worked through during the year.
While I will be continuing our devotional time, (reading scriptures, sing hymn, prayer, scripture memory and maybe a poem or thought), it won’t be first thing before anyone does any learning time. This year that time is going to be a bit different. First, we have decided to enroll Tiger in Williamsburg Intermediate for the bulk of his learning time. He will still do co-op with us and join us for devotional, but he will no longer be doing our core subjects with everyone. He was already pulling away into a scholar phase, and he needs some peers his age to work hard and challenge him to new heights. He also needs a bit of motivation to stretch a little further than he thought he could. WI will help him with learning more about structuring his time, taking ownership of his projects, and also stretch him to read some more great books in relation to all classes he takes. I am really excited with the flexibility of their program as well as the caliber of projects and readings he will be doing.
So what else do I plan on?
Butterfly will be starting piano lessons this fall. She is also going to do the Samantha books for History club. She has been moving through time with a friend and her mom for the past couple of years and will do it again this year. She is enjoying ALEKS math and I think will continue with that. She is also working on improving her math facts using MathRider. The other day she realized she was judging books by their cover and committed to trying more books that I suggest and spending more time in non-American girl books. She started with The Rats of Nihm and loved it. One of her co-op classes will also challenge her to explore ancient empires a little more deeply on her own to gain stature and privileges in class. (The first day of class all students will be labeled slaves and sit on the floor. They have to earn the privilege of becoming laborers and progressing to finally getting a chair through out of class work like reading suggested readings, reports, and projects, etc.)
Pumpkin Pie is also working through ALEKS. She is also working really hard at improving her reading and is trying to read anything she can find. She will be doing some classes at co-op as well.
I have printed out a bunch of requirements related to various badges for Frontier Girls for both Butterfly and Pumpkin Pie. Some are academic and others are home ec and a few are just for fun. They will continue to work on their badges. I also want to do more audiobooks and also read-alouds too.
Strawberry will be playing with letters and other appropriate materials to keep her out of the markers. She will probably be joining us for some of our history or science explorations since she likes to do that. Strawberry will start karate officially (sometimes the Little Dragons teacher will invite her to participate in class even though she is still only 3 and has no gi yet).
All this is coming… but first 1 week of homeschool camp! Well, Tiger already started school but our official first day of school is coming the week of September 9th!