Thursday, January 8, 2015
Planning for Next Year
When do you start planning for the next school year? I have a general long-term plan to get the kids through, at least, the next 4 years or so. I have a general outline going at all times.
But I do start to seriously plan for the next year by about January. The biggest reason why I do this is so that I can start looking for interesting and inexpensive resources to go along with our studies.
This year we have thrown ourselves into Prairie Primer by Cadron Creek. We have immersed ourselves in the times of the late 1800's and prairie living. The study has been so good for us. Although it is, primarily, a literature unit study, it also covers a lot of science topics. It also leads us down several historical rabbit holes and guides us through many character lessons.
We do math, grammar, writing and reading separately. We pretty much have the curricula that we like and just continue to move through the different levels.
After 5 years of homeschooling I have learned that the best learning environment for us is a literature unit study. These then lead us to to different eras in history to study. Science has always been a weak area for us, but Prairie Primer has provided us with as much as I think we need at this time.
I started looking for literature unit studies similar to Prairie Primer's style and learned that Cadron Creek has two other studies based on The Chronicles of Narnia and Anne of Green Gables. My kids have watched the first Narnia movie, but we have never read the books. They are of an age that they will love it!
The problem I thought I was going to encounter, however, was that Narnia is a fictional world, not really taking place in a real time in history, so actual history lessons were going to be sparse. But if you know the backdrop of the Narnia story, when the children are not in Narnia they are living right smack dab in the middle of World War II.
And there is where I found our history focus. We can easily spread the time frame of WWII out throughout the entire year and our study of the entire Narnia series. There is so much to cover!! In fact, there is a lot! After I got over the original feeling of being overwhelmed with how to plan the history portion of the study, I really started to get excited.
When I homeschooled Dawson, we stopped learning history after the 1920's (and Eli and Brynne will do that same study in the future). I know so very little about the 1930's and 40's. I can't wait to learn all about it! I have found some great outlines of material to cover and now I am starting to plan. I will definitely have my eye out for neat resources!
** If you have any WWII resources you think we would enjoy, please pass those ideas along. Keep in mind that we mostly love to read, watch and do when it comes to activities, and I am planning for 5th/6th grade.
Here is where starting to plan early comes in very handy. Rick has a class he is taking in New Orleans next week and I am tagging along with him since it's a free vacation for the two of us. While he is in class during the day, I will have the day to myself. One of those days will be spent lounging in the hotel room, you can be sure about that. But on the other day I am going to go to the National World War II Museum that is in New Orleans. Well, didn't that work out nicely? I plan to spend the entire day there soaking in absolutely everything I can. There is a special hands-on program that I get to attend while there. In order for the teacher to teach, she has to learn, right?
So, to wrap-up, our spine will be Further Up and Further In (a literature study on the The Chronicles of Narnia). Our science will primarily come from that unit study. For history we will learn all about WWII, before, during and after. I will build those lessons myself.
For math we will continue with Math-U-See, continuing with fractions and then moving onto decimals and percents, while throwing in some Life of Fred books, as well. We will do more Fix-It Grammar from IEW, moving onto the next book after The Nose Tree. Our writing will be with Write Shop for another year. We will throw in more formal spelling, mostly because they just like to do Soaring with Spelling activities. The kids will continue to do a lot of personal reading.
And that should pretty much do it. We won't be changing much from this year, really just adding a couple of small things. The only big change is that I will not be reviewing products for the Schoolhouse Review Crew next year. I found that reviewing all of the products was interfering with the learning we really wanted to do, and it had us spread too thin. I truly appreciated the three years I served on the Crew, but it was time to move on.
We have hit a groove that works well for us.
I love homeschooling.