8/10/15

2015 Curriculum Plan

   
                   


            

As we soak every moment out of summer, I am simultaneously planning and purchasing for our upcoming school year. This year I will officially have five students, although my oldest student is only in my school this year, because I discovered through trial and error that trying to get scholarship funds to a Christian college is much easier if you are applying as a freshman than as a transfer student. For this reason, my oldest son will do one more year of high school to better prepare him to transfer as a freshman, and hopefully get some financial help with his schooling. I will update next year, with the results of this experiment



I will also be sending my other high school student to community college with the oldest three. This is another experiment. Only time will tell if it is a good one. He took an online class at the community college last year and scored well, so I feel it is worth a try to let him take two days a week of classes with his older siblings. Although I am presently not willing to send my children to public school (aside from my spiritual objections, I feel that high school wastes a lot of time) I do believe that older boys especially might benefit from the instruction of someone other than their mother as they grow. Especially this mother. I love teaching the younger years, but because I tend towards being a little better at relationships than consequences, having the experience of a classroom with a teacher who doesn't love them, might benefit my kids as they grow. So far, it has worked well for my students, and we will see how this one does.

Without further explanations, here is the plan.

                              


1st Grade Boy



Spell To Write and Read/All About Spelling

Explode The Code Book 2

    


Rod and Staff Reading, Grade One, readers only

Mystery of History, Ancient Times

    



Apologia Flying Creatures
    




4th Grade Girl


Bible Copywork



Spell To Write and Read

    

Memoria Cursive

Ancient History Reading List

Mystery Of History Ancient History

Apologia Flying Creatures


8th Grade Boy

Life of Fred Algebra


                                             


Bible Copywork

Jr Analytical Grammar
 (I will do this as a class with the younger sister,
 followed by Jr. Analytical Grammar Mechanics or R&S Grammar)

Theme Essays with Co-op

I.E.W. Ancient History Writing Lessons

Ancient History Reading List

Apologia General Science

Studies in World History-Stobaugh

                                             



  

10th Grade Boy
Algebra-Community College

Theme Analysis with Co-op

Ancient History Reading List

Beginning Painting-Community College

Philosophy 1 (audit Community College class with older siblings)

English 1A (semester 2)

Studies in World History-Stobaugh

Spanish 2-BJU


12th Grade Boy

Study hard for SAT

Chemistry- Community College

Geometry- Community College

U.S. History


The children also do martial arts and ballet for physical education, as well as music lessons, for, well, music.

For science and history, we will focus more on notebook pages with illustrated and written narration than on using tests or worksheets to assess their progress. We will do experiments and hands on work in our co-op.

For Bible, I am using Long Story Short and The 18 Inch Journey as my curriculum. We will also be reading through the Old Testament and copying Bible verses. 


                                            



    

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8/6/15

Homeschool Planning




I have been busy over the last few days feverishly sipping iced coffee and working on plans for our upcoming school year. Although a few of my students were still finishing up stuff from last year as I worked, that small fact won't deter me from getting started on our plans for a new year. I will have five students in the coming year, and although I will be sending a few of my students to community college for some of their classes, it is still a tremendous amount of planning.

The very first step for me when planning our homeschool year, is to evaluate what went well in the year we just (nearly) finished. If a curriculum was causing a lot of frustration, then it it will probably not be used again. Same thing with classes and activities; because there are so many of us, I have to carefully evaluate what we spend our time and money on.


The homeschool planner by Alicia Hutchinson has been a great resource for me this year, as I work on this process. I usually pull together calendars and lesson plans from various sources on the internet, but when I saw that Alicia had put together a planner that was sold as a download so I could easily fit the pages into my existing binder system, I was really excited to try it.



One of the first pages that I used was the, "More Of This, and Less of This" page. Tools like this, really help me to nail down my thoughts so that my planning makes sense.

Once I had jotted down some thoughts there, I printed one of the lesson plan pages which I used to jot down ideas of which curriculum I would use for each child. This provided a helpful grid for remembering which subjects I needed to cover as I hashed out what resources I would need. As I filled in the squares with book and curriculum ideas, I then made notes at the bottom of the page about which subjects I would need to purchase. As a long time homeschooler, I am blessed to be able to pull from a stash of books that I have collected through the years. This is one of many ways that I am able to homeschool on a budget



I also started a comprehensive list of what books we would be reading in the coming school year. I don't want our schooling to be just about getting through a textbook, but I want my children to interact with real ideas from living books, the kind of books that bring history to life. The planner from Alicia also included a helpful resource for book lists. 


If only the work ended there, but unfortunately, the next task usually takes the longest. Before I can get my students baskets filled with their new books, I have to weed through the pictures and pencil stumps and (mostly) finished workbooks to decide what to keep and what to get rid of. I used to keep nearly every bit of work, until a helpful friend recommended just keeping a few samples. You could check with your state, but this article from HSLDA suggests keeping samples of work, attendance records and records of what curriculum you used, among other things, but doesn't say that I have to keep every single workbook page. Sweet relief.

I did find that since we moved away from using so many workbooks, and more towards integrating written and oral narration, our keepers are much more fun. I ended up stapling some of the best ones into a booklet that we could flip through later to remember our happy homeschool year. This amazing post by Jodi Mockabee gives some more clever ideas for saving your children's best work.


Once I had gone through and cleaned out the baskets, they were ready to fill with our new curriculum, which I am slowly compiling. As I filed last years school work, I also averaged out test scores to give grades to my high school and junior high students, and filled in simple report cards for all of them. We don't make a big deal about grades in our house, everyone is expected to give their best effort, but I do start coaching them on the importance of grades as they enter the junior high and high school years. That is when grades start adding up to money for college, if that is the path they choose.

Once all the grades have been logged and last years school work filed, I am left with empty baskets and a happy list of what we will be studying in the coming year. There is plenty more to do, before I officially start school, but I am super happy to have the most difficult jobs behind me so I can get back to reading aloud to my kids.



I was blessed with a review copy of the planner, which is well worth its bargain price tag. It had tons of options for planner pages, and is a great tool for getting your homeschool organized.