Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Planning for Next Year

Yeah, I've been doing that ... planning for next year. There are going to be some significant changes in our homeschool next year, so I am trying to figure some things out.

We have decided to bring Eli home from public school to begin homeschooling next year. We feel like he has probably gained everything he can from public school and is now ready for our kind of learning. I am also talking with a good friend of mine (who happens to be Eli's speech pathologist at his school) about a partnership whereby I will help in the schooling of her 15 year old son while she helps with speech needs for Eli. Her dad is also a science and math whiz who loves to teach, which would come in very handy!

Generally speaking, I am thinking of going to schooling SIX days a week, with five of those days being what we do now and adding time on either Saturday or Sunday for in depth science study. This would allow us to take some big breaks in the year. I am thinking of starting the first Monday in August, taking a week off in September, taking two weeks off in October, taking off from the day before Thanksgiving until the Monday following the New Year, taking off two weeks in March, and then ending about the time the public school kids end in May, giving us all of June and July for summer break.

Have I been thinking about curriculum? Yes.

Eli and Brynne would be taught at the same grade level, approximately 3rd grade. I will likely do school much the way I do now, although I am very interested in doing Five in a Row with them. I have found, over the past two years, that Literature-based learning is the way to go for us.

We'll stick to Easy Grammar, Copywork for Little Girls/Little Boys, Handwriting Without Tears, Math Enhancement Programme, and Usborne for art.

I am also looking for a good spelling curriculum, although I may just do spelling from lots of reading and by using words from the book we are Rowing with Five in a Row. I feel like spelling and grammar are built primarily from reading.

They are both very interested in Space and Astronomy, so that will likely be our year-long science study. Any recommendations for curriculum? WE DO NOT LIKE APOLOGIA. I am looking for something a little more hands on, with lots of reading and exploring. I would like a basic spine that I can build off of. This will also be where my husband and the 6th day of school come in.

Dawson will be a sophomore next year, and so will the young man we are thinking of supervising in his studies. His name is also Eli, so I hope that won't be too confusing!

I am thinking of just continuing Dawson with Algebra, moving onto Life of Fred Advanced Algebra, and then maybe going back to do Teaching Textbooks after he's done.

He will continue to do Easy Grammar, IEW, and Critical Thinking. I would also like to get a good Spanish dvd curriculum for him. He already has a good understanding of Spanish, so I would like for him to continue that into more of an advanced study.

I will also continue to purchase good books of literature and have Dawson read them with literary guides. So far I have A Wrinkle in Time, Johnny Tremain, and Journey to the Center of the Earth. I purchased these each for 50 cents on the sale cart at our library. I browse through that cart every time I go in. I will keep my eye out for other books to add to our list.

The two biggies, as far as planning, are in Science and History.

For Science, I am thinking of moving onto Chemistry. So far I am looking at the following combination of curriculum:
  • Chemistry 101 dvd series by Wes Olson
  • The Elements and then Carbon Chemistry by Ellen McHenry
  • The Periodic Table of Videos
  • The Elements: Visual Periodic Table
My friend's dad (Big Eli's grandfather) is a science whiz, so I am looking at him teaching the boys on the 6th day, on the weekend, for a couple of hours, expanding on what we are learning during the week.

For History, we are going to be doing a semester of Current Events and then a semester of U.S. and Oklahoma Government.

For Current Events, I purchased an Amanda Bennett Download N Go unit study. We will daily read the Tulsa World and then weekly read Time Magazine to prepare a Current Events journal and for discussion. We will use Are you Liberal? Conservative? or Confused? by Richard J. Maybury and A Bluestocking Guide: Political Philosophies.

For Government, I also purchased an Amanda Bennett Download N Go unit study. We will use What Ever Happened to Justice? by Richard J. Maybury and A Bluestocking Guide: Justice, as well. There will be other lessons here, but I just haven't thought that far ahead yet.

So, that's what I am looking at so far. Big changes ahead. But, good changes, I think. Exciting changes, for sure.

If you have comments or suggestions, please share!

How about you? Mapping out next year's plans yet?

6 comments:

  1. Wow! I am impressed that you have thought it through so well! I'll give you my input- since you asked. :) -

    I love FIAR. I would never say that is the only way to go, but I would say that it could never be a *wrong* way to go. We have not done it this year, and did just a few "rows" last year. Previous to that (about 5+ years), it was the mainstay of our homeschool (for my boys).

    As for spelling, I would highly recommend All About Spelling if you decide to use a program. I know there are many wonderful choices out there, but after years and years of reading about and implementing various methods to teach my oldest son to read, this was seriously a magic bullet. I can't tell you how life changing it has been. Just to note- I did not try the other methods in a haphazard way, I gave each of them at least one full school year. Sometimes it seemed like we were making progress and I'd go with it longer. The main difference is that if we miss a few weeks of school (for vacation), I am not always back at square one with my son. Everything he learns sticks! I also use it with my younger two boys who are "normal" learners and it works exceptionally well for them too!

    I wish I had good suggestions for Space and Astronomy. Our best resources are the local junior colleges. One offers planetarium field trips and the other offers star viewing evenings. We also have a local astronomy club that meets one night a month at a local park and shares their telescopes and information with anyone who cares to visit.

    It looks like you are going to have a wonderful and just plain full year next year.

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  2. You have some really neat ideas! I know you didn't enjoy the upper level Apoologia books, but have you seen the Elementary series? It is very hands on, with lots of activities, projects and experiments. The other one you may want to look into is Real Science Odyessy. Their website is www.pandiapress.com and they have an Earth and Space curriculum.

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  3. Forgot to say we love the Bluestocking Guides - the whole Uncle Eric series is awesome!

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  4. Second All About Spelling - we have seen huge improvements in M's spelling this year with the program.

    Also, for science (Space etc), you might want to take a look at Intellego unit studies. We've done a few now and they are excellent - I know they have some on Space as well as some other great ones. They are our favourites of all the ones we've tried so far.

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  5. We love all about spelling as well!

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  6. Your year for next year looks great. I think I'll let you plan mine your's looks so good, LOL.
    I saw where you guys made friendship bread, we love that stuff. We have so many recipe combinations we like. As a matter of fact, I think I'll take out a starter kit & bake us some, mmm.

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We all know that in this crazy world of homeschooling, we need all the (adult) support we can get. Please leave a comment if you so wish!