It seems everyone is planning out the upcoming school year. I actually enjoy the process and get excited about all the activities I hope to incorporate over the year. This year, Sweetie will technically be in 1st grade and Buddy will be an official preschooler.
We have been using a blend of approaches but mostly Classical and Charlotte Mason. As a teacher, I am comfortable creating my own materials and pulling things together from a variety of sources. Other than an idea of what topics we want to cover over the course of the year – where I want each of my children to be academically – I don’t follow a specific plan.
The teacher within me has developed a weekly plan (shown above) of what subjects I teach on Monday, what subjects we do on Tuesday, etc. It gives me an idea of what to accomplish each week, however, I have discovered that I rarely follow this schedule. In this way, we are Unschoolers – taking it day by day. We do what we feel like doing. We study what is of interest at the moment. We go with the flow.
- Reading: We’ll continue to use Teaching Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. It finally clicked this summer. She can read most 3-letter words now and is beginning to sound out longer words. We are also using the Now I’m Reading! series by Nora Gaydos. She is motivated to read all of the mini-books on her own and has nearly finished Level 1.
- Poetry: New this year is also a new poem each week. My hope is to begin with copywork and then progress to memorizing the poem by weeks end.
- Grammar & Writing: Integrated through science and history … copywork, letters to family and friends, creative writing activities, etc. We really enjoy the Draw Write Now! series of books – we have all 8 – and I select pages that relate to our studies in science and history. I work in grammar skills as she does these assignments. We also play MadLibs frequently and she is able to define verb, adverb, noun and adjective.
Handwriting: She’ll continue to practice cursive letters with a Practice Power book that has a write on-wipe off surface. Continued practice with alphabet sheets from LearningPage.com and copywork printed out at Zaner-Bloser online. Most of her daily work is done in block script. Once she is comfortable with cursive, I’ll request that she apply her skill.
- Spelling: We didn’t do spelling last year. I thought I would give the Spelling Workout program a try this year. We’ll also take words from our reading to incorporate science and social studies.
- Math: Math is her strong area. She can do multiple digit addition with carrying. She also can do multiple digit subtraction but can not yet borrow. She can tell time and does well adding/subtracting money. She is beginning multiplication and division. She has very few lessons left in Singapore 1B, then we’ll work through 2A and 2B. We didn’t use the workbooks with 1A and 1B but we plan to with level 2. Between each text, we’ll take a week or two to practice skills and before we advance to the next level. Throughout the week, I also try to incorporate as many games and manipulatives as possible.
- Physical Education: She’ll continue with her study of Taekwondo. She may also continue with Ballet and/or Tap – depending on her interest later in the year. We’ll also continue to incorporate running, swimming and cycling throughout the year.
- Chinese: We’ll pick up where we left off on Mango Languages and do a lesson a week (we’ve mastered only the first 2 lessons). Ideally, I’d like to do the online lesson on Monday so we can have the week to practice the vocabulary. I can then make up little activities to enhance the lesson (bingo, matching sheets, etc.).
- Sign Language: When Sweetie was little, we did a lot of signing. We love the Signing Time DVDs which we borrow from the library. Another homeschool mom is teaching an American Sign Language class this fall and Sweetie has expressed interest, so we’ll give that a try.
He has been saying, “I want to do schoolwork, too.” So he’ll be focusing on learning the alphabet, using letteroftheweek.com and occasionally alphabet pages from First-School. We will also introduce computer skills (use of the mouse) on occasion. One of my favorite learning sites is Starfall.
- Handwriting: He’ll begin to practice block letters with a Practice Power book that has a write on-wipe off surface. Continued practice with alphabet sheets from LearningPage.com
- Math: We’ll continue to practice simple addition and subtraction with manipulatives (his plastic animals, Hot Wheels, etc.).
- Physical Education: He has expressed interest in also studying Taekwondo. He has participated in one class (for fun) and did well. As a result, we will register him in September when the Dojo begins offering classes for 4 year olds. Though he isn’t yet 4, he will be allowed to participate since he has watched his sister for 2 years and understands what is expected. We’ll also continue to incorporate running, swimming and cycling throughout the year.
- Art: It was nice last year to have artist of the month to focus on, so I randomly picked 9 more artists to study. We discovered last year that we are most likely to do art when it ties into another subject so I did my best to also incorporate the art of ancient cultures.
- Music: I really want to incorporate music into our curriculum. I have thereby randomly picked 9 composers to study, using materials from Classical Magic and Classics for Kids, among other resources. I also play to buy a few instruments and begin introducing them to reading music. I played clarinet 5th – 12th grade so I am familiar with the basics. As they progress and express interest, I’ll seek out other avenues, as this is the area I am least comfortable.
- Science: Science is a natural part of life around here. This year, we will begin to follow the 4-year rotation of science outlined in The Well-Trained Mind. This year is life science. We spent much of the summer focused on plants, fall will be devoted to animals, winter on the human body, and spring will be on ecology. As I am a former elementary science teacher, I have a significant library of activities and materials. I will thereby pull things together as we go along. One of my favorite resources is Ranger Rick Nature Scope activity books. We’ll also continue with our Outdoor Hour Challenges each week.
- History: We are continuing with the 4-year rotation outlined in The Well-Trained Mind. I recently purchased all 4 volumes of The Story of the World along with the accompanying activity guides. This years focus is on The Ancients. We will also use History Pockets Ancient Civilizations and copywork from History Scribe and/or Smooth Stones Academy.
- Library: We go to the library once a week to check out books related to our current studies in science and history. The kids also check out a few books ‘just for fun’. There are comfy giant bears to cuddle upon to read. There is also a quiet study area that we’ll take advantage of between activities so that we can avoid going home and going back out again.