This year, Sweetie will be in 2nd grade and Buddy will be in kindergarten. I didn’t do as much formal schooling as I would have liked last year. I was a little too Unschoolish for my comfort level so I vow to hold myself more accountable. I’ve created a perfect planner book to help me achieve this goal.
Our Homeschool Plans
I’ve also decided to give Sue Patrick’s Workbox System a try. Here’s a picture of our workboxes – I opted to go with eight per child (mostly due to space constraints). I found the perfect shelving system at Costco… I bought two (just $18.99 each) and stacked one atop the other. Previously, the boxes were just sitting on the floor and the disarray/chaos really annoyed me.
Sweetie and I put labels on her boxes (History, Math, Writing, Reading, Mandarin, Geography, Science, and Art & Music). I plan to put picture labels on Buddy’s boxes but we were out of color ink so that will come later.
We also use a notebook system as described in The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer. I’ve modified it slightly to better suit us, however. Essentially, the binders are color coded – red for Sweetie and blue for Buddy. I bought binders for each year through fourth grade because I wanted them to all match and I was concerned that Avery may discontinue the style. I’m excessively orderly that way.
Here is a breakdown of the binders we use:
Preschool / Kinder – 1 binder for all work
Sciences (Life, Earth, Physical & Chemical) – 4 binders
History (Ancients, Medieval Times, Early Modern & Modern) – 4 binders
Book of Centuries
50 States / Geography
Mandarin (Sweetie only)
My goals for the year and the tools I will use to achieve them are very similar to last year. For the most part, I really like the curriculum I chose – I just need to hold myself more accountable. In other words, I need to plan each week in advance and then stick to it… rather than do lessons randomly.
- Reading: Starting with 30 min – we’ll work up to 60 min of independent reading daily by January.
- Grammar & Writing: Integrated through science and history … copywork, letters to family and friends, creative writing activities, etc. Our goal this year is to write more regularly (a little everyday, in fact). I’ve also decided to use Learning Language Arts Through Literature to help assure I do not omit anything.
- Handwriting: She’ll continue to practice cursive letters with a Practice Power book that has a write on-wipe off surface. Most of her daily work will be done in manuscript but as she becomes comfortable with cursive, I’ll request that she apply her skill.
- Spelling: I didn’t even open the program I had intended to use last year so I’ve opted not to bother with it this year. My plan instead is to have her write 5x each the words she misspells in her daily writing (max. 5 words).
- Math: Sweetie continues to excel in math. She has very few lessons left in Singapore 2B; my hope is to begin 3A within a month or so. Throughout the week, I will also incorporate more games and manipulatives. She’ll also continue to do math lessons (at least once a week) in Mandarin.
- Physical Education: She’ll continue with her study of Taekwondo. She’ll be testing for her brown belt in November (vacations and schedule conflicts pushed testing out a little farther than I had anticipated). We’ll also continue to incorporate running, swimming and cycling throughout the year. She has expressed interest in doing a triathlon and running in more races. Our goal is to do a 5K together in December.
- Mandarin Chinese: Last year, I had planned to rely solely on Mango Languages but soon after the school year was underway, we came across a Mandarin Immersion class. Sweetie will be continuing with this class (twice a week for 3 hrs) as well as working with a tutor (when she returns from China). I’d also like to use Live Mocha and/or Mango Languages more regularly to practice.
- Handwriting: He loves copywork! We’ll thereby continue to integrate lessons at least 3x a week.
- Reading: He can recognize all his letters and knows the sounds of most. We’ll thereby begin using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. Upon completing the lessons, we’ll thereafter use the Now I’m Reading! series by Nora Gaydos.
- Math: We’ll continue to practice simple addition and subtraction with manipulatives (his plastic animals, Hot Wheels, etc.). I also want to introduce him to the Singapore style and will potentially begin with 1A in the fall.
- Music: Buddy will continue to take piano lessons with Janellybean.
- Physical Education: He is also studying Taekwondo. He is doing quite well and is a presently a Tiny Tiger green belt.
Art & Music History
We’ll be using Harmony Art Mom’s Art & Music Appreciation :: Grade Two curriculum. We’ll also continue to use Themes to Remember.
Originally, we followed the 4-year rotation of science outlined in The Well-Trained Mind. However, in the midst of the year the kids expressed their interest to learn about the earth rather than continue with life sciences. Therefore, our science units this year will be: Space, Dinosaurs, and the Human Body. Last year we covered: Plants, Animals (vertebrates & invertebrates), Ecology (particularly marine & forest ecosystems), and Geology.
We will continue weekly incorporating Letterboxing / Geocaching when possible.
We are continuing with the 4-year rotation outlined in The Well-Trained Mind. We haven’t quite finished the first volume, The Ancients but should within a few weeks. We’ll then proceed on with Medieval Times. We will also incorporate more copywork from History Scribe and/or Smooth Stones Academy.
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 is also a quiet study area that we’ll take advantage of between extracurricular activities so that we can avoid going home and going back out again.