Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Everything in One Spot--Our Plan for the 2014/15 Homeschool Year.

I've posted each child's plan separately, but I wanted to link up with Tristan at Our Busy Homeschool without signing up 7 different times. :)

In general we will start our day with chores, breakfast, and family devotional.  The older kids will meet with me briefly to go over what they need to do independently, then they will go and do.  I will spend the morning with the littles (the 3 kids under 8).

After lunch the littles are free to play while I spend time giving the older kids some one-on-one instruction in any areas they need help with and/or leading a group history lesson, poetry tea time, helping set up science experiments, or whatever the big kids need.

Once a week we have American Rhythm practices right after lunch, so our mornings will be slightly abbreviated in order to get us out the door on time.  We won't have formal school that day, but our practice will give us a little bit of PE (the dancing) and music training.

Twice a month in the mornings we have our science club meetings.  On those days we won't have any school at home at all (except E14 who has aged out of the club and will stay home to work on her own ambitions goals).  Instead those days will be outing/errand days once our science club meeting is over.

In the late winter/spring the oldest 3 girls will play competitive soccer.  This will wreak havoc with our schedule, but that's okay because Baby #8 is due in January, so we'll already be up to our eyeballs in schedule modifications.

Here are the links to the kids' plans (click on the letter/number combo under their pictures):

E14

M12

S12

J10



A7

H5


I2

The Plan--2014/14--I2

I2 will soon be 3.  He loves books.  He loves the alphabet.  He loves numbers.  He loves puzzles and games.  He loves to sit at the table and do crafts with his big sisters. 

But I still don't think it's time for him to start the pre-school ABC book project that his big sisters have done.

I don't know why, it just doesn't feel right.

So I'm going to honor that feeling and simply include him in our Kid School activities each day.  I'll be sure to continue to read stories to him at bedtime, hug and kiss him, make sure he gets to play outside and inside, and watch for that sense that he's ready to do some "school" of his own.

I just love toddlers.

The Plan--2014/15--H5

All I care about for H5 this year is that she gets some loving attention from me and gets to learn to read the way she so desperately wants to.  She misses the age cutoff for kindergarten for our state, so she's technically still not even school-age, but we began our version of kindergarten (a.k.a. reading lessons) last March.

Then I got pregnant and sick, so all lessons stopped.

She asks at least once a week when she gets to "do school again."

After our family devotional at breakfast she will participate with A7 in Kid School.  This is not because I think she needs the schooling, but because she needs the attention from me and to be included in fun activities.

Once the crafty/science-y/story-time/cooking fun is over it will be her turn for one-on-one attention for phonics.  We are going to keep working on Sonlight Language Arts K.  She loves it.  I love it.  It works for us.  We will grab a lap desk and snuggle close on the couch together so that she gets lots of touching time (because she needs it so badly) and learn to read and write.

That's it.  That's the end of her school day.  Of course at 5 she'll still be learning constantly as she sets the table for dinner, counts and sorts Legos with her brother, learns about human reproduction through my pregnancy, helps with the new baby when he comes, writes letters to her cousin on a mission, listens to stories, plays house, plays games, tries to keep up with her big sisters, and lives life as an active, curious 5-year-old.

The Plan--2014/15--A7

I've never had such an ambitions 2nd grade plan for any of my kids . . . well, actually I tried it with E14 when she was this age, but it was such a complete bust that I dropped formal schooling for all of us for quite some time.  It was good for us in those early years to relax and "unschool" and learn together.  However, I feel strongly that would not be the right plan for A7.  All of my prayers, all of my ponderings, all of my feelings lead me toward a semi-formal school day for this small girl.

I will be very gentle with her.

After breakfast and our family devotional, her school days will begin with a 15 minute violin lesson with M12 as her instructor.

Then we'll have Kid School.  I have scheduled about an hour and a half to work with my 3 littles ones as a group.  Most of the "work" will be geared toward A7's learning level with modifications for H5.  I2 will just have fun doing what he can and watching what he wants.

Kid School will include daily:
A church song
A story from Egermeier's Bible Story Book

Then we will do an activity or two from the following list:
Cooking
Art--ARTistic Pursuits Book 1
History--A Child's History of the World or On the Shores of the Great Sea
We own the first, the second has to be read via the computer--I'm leaning toward the "real" book even though I like the storytelling of the second.  I will read aloud while A7 and H5 listen/draw.  Then they will narrate what they heard.
Science--Hands of a Child lapbooking project kits
I took advantage of their $3 sale and bought a bunch of science ebooks for little ones.  I haven't had a whole lot of success with these kits when my bigger kids were small, but they feel right for A7 and H5.  We have 11 subjects to choose from.  I'll be happy if we cover 4-5 of them this year.  We're starting with Ocean Habitats because we just came back from the beaches of Southern California, and the ocean is fresh on the kids' minds.
Picture Study--Year .5 pictures from Milestones Academy
Storytime
Crafts
Character Training
    The Children's Book of Virtues
    The Children's Book of Heroes
    The Children's Book of Faith
    The Aesop for Children
    7 Habits of Happy Kids
    How to Behave and Why
    Fair Play

When Kid School is done A7 will do some independent work (so I can give H5 some one-on-one):
Handwriting--Learning to Write Cursive, and then Queen Pictures in Cursive A and B
Read the Book of Mormon (her goal is to finish before she turns 8)
Spelling--Rod and Staff grade 2
Read the Christian Liberty Nature Reader book 1
Read a"fun" book
Math--The Critical Thinking Company Mathematical Reasoning Level C
She will not do all of these every day except for read The Book of Mormon and probably math.  We will work out a schedule as we go and as we determine what is doable. I don't want her to be working alone at this time for more than half an hour.

Once H5's phonics lesson is done it will be A7's turn for some personal attention from me.  We may have some math instruction as we go over what she completed on her own and prepare for the next day.  We may do a lesson from First Language Lessons and/or Writing With Ease.  She may narrate what she read about on her own from the Book of Mormon or the Nature Reader or whatever "fun" book she's reading.  We'll probably work on reading a novel together.
I have 30-45 minutes scheduled for us to work together like this.

After lunch she's free to play.  I will have yarn available for her to work on her knitting or use the knitting loom.  She may choose to do her "fun" reading and read The Book of Mormon after lunch.  Once a week we're going to try to have a poetry tea time in the late afternoon, so she'll be helping with that.

In addition she'll continue to attend church and part way through this school year she'll turn 8 and be eligible to join J10 at Activity Days--church-sponsored fun activities for 8-11 year old girls scheduled twice a month in the evenings.  She'll also dance and sing with the family in American Rhythm.

Writing this all out seems so huge!  But we're going to just do a little each day.  We're not going to try to conquer the world.   What we do, we do.  What we don't, we'll save for another year.  We'll pace ourselves carefully, but I predict that my A7 will really take to this work. 

Kids are funny--they're so different . . . even within the same family.

Easing In--The First Day

We've had almost no schedule this summer.  This is really unusual for us.  Kids sleeping in until nearly noon.  Breakfast being catch-as-catch-can.  Dinner on time or late.  Lunch being a kid responsibility.  All of our summer learning plans gone.  A playdate here, long days at home there.  Shopping being a hit-or-miss operation depending on the condition of Mom's pregnancy cravings and nausea.  Bedtime getting later and later as the summer progressed.  Vacation schedule spilling over into at-home routines (or lack thereof).

E14 starts seminary in a week.  Class will start at 6:00 am for the first week and possibly jump to 5:45 am the second week.  We live 15 miles from the church building, so we will be out of the house by or before 5:30 am.

We also planned to start our home school the same day (by accident, not by design).

But as August arrived and we got home from our big trip out west I realized that we were going to need a bit of practice and preparation in order to survive the year ahead.  So this week is for learning how to get up on time, get chores done, have meals in a timely manner, and dive into morning devotionals.

Our entire "school" day lasted from 6-8:30 am yesterday.

By 8:30 we were all ready for a break!!!

The kids were faithful, diligent, and prepared.  So was I.

And the effort was exhausting. 

The older kids slumped around reading.  The little ones strapped on in-line skates and skated all around the garage.  I made menu plans, grocery lists, shopped, and finalized school plans for a couple more kids.

Then we made sure dinner was on time and bedtime routines were re-established. 

I crashed into bed, counting my blessings and offering thanks for the inspiration that led to this practice week.

We sure need it!!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Plan--2014/15--J10

Devotional/Character Training

Continue to read and journal The Book of Mormon

Participate in Family Devotionals (including memorizing Romans 12)--we've settled on following Armor Your Children along with singing a primary song to go with each topic and reviewing 1 Article of Faith song each day (just so we don't forget).



History
World--Read 1 “You Wouldn’t Want To . . .” book per week. 
Journal what you’ve learned.
American--Continue to participate in family readings from A Landmark history
Read and journal 1 biography per month.


Geography

Choose 1 country/region/state per month. 

Read a library book about it. 

Draw a map.

Create a project or write a report about chosen country. 
 

Science

Choose 1 science topic to study each month. 

Read and journal 1 library book about the topic each week.

Work with Mom to do 1 experiment/project about the subject each month.



Literature Wish List:


Shakespeare stories--Leon Garfield

Black Beauty—Anna Sewell

Incredible Journey—Sheila Burnford

The Wheel on the School by Meindert De Jong

National Velvet by Enid Bagnold


Matilda—Roald Dahl

The Phantom Tollbooth—Norton Juster

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe—CS Lewis


Heidi—Johanna Spyri

The Secret Garden—Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Door in the Wall by Marguerite D’Angeli

The Four Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsberg


Language Arts  
Spelling--Spelling Workout D
Handwriting—Rod and Staff grades 3 and 4 cursive review
English Grammar--Oraland Written English by Potter, Jeschke, and Gillet
Writing—J10 will be keeping a creative writing journal.  She will have a jar of "prompts" that we've collected from a variety of free sources all over the internet.  She will be free to write whatever is on her mind or to pull a prompt from the jar.

Math
Saxon math 5/4
J10 is refusing to go on with Life of Fred.  She states that she just wants to "learn stuff" instead of having to figure out how to do the problems before doing them.  I am sorry that she feels this way because she is terribly bright and is quite good at problem solving.  In addition I like the problem solving skills encouraged by Life of Fred.  I wish I could encourage her to go on, but I am unwilling to engage in a battle.  I've sold many of our Life of Fred books, but some are staying on our shelf in hopes that they will be opened and explored.  Our Saxon book is an older edition that we got in a box of freebies from a friend.

Music
Sing and dance with American Rhythm

Handicrafts
Embroidery

In General
What Your 5th Grader Needs to Know--read a bit each day.  Have fun with it.

In addition to the above J10 will continue to attend church on Sundays, participate in weekly church activities, and go on whatever field trips we can afford with our homeschool association.

The Plan--2014/15--S12



Devotional/Character Training

Continue to read and journal The Book of Mormon

Continue to work on Personal Progress
Participate in Family Devotionals (including memorizing Romans 12)--we've settled on following Armor Your Children along with singing a primary song to go with each topic and reviewing 1 Article of Faith song each day (just so we don't forget).



History
World--Read 1 “You Wouldn’t Want To . . .” book per week. 
Journal what you’ve learned.
American--Continue to participate in family readings from A Landmark history
Read and journal 1 biography per month.


Geography

Choose 1 country/region/state per month. 

Read a library book about it. 

Draw a map.

Create a project or write a report about chosen country. 
 

Science

Choose 1 science topic to study each month. 

Read and journal 1 library book about the topic each week.

Work with Mom to do 1 experiment/project about the subject each month.



Literature Wish List:

The Green or Lilac Fairy Book by Andrew Lang 
National Velvet by Enid Bagnold
The Jungle Book—Rudyard Kipling

The Wind in the Willows

5 Children and It—Edith Nesbit
A Wonder Book for Boys and Girls—Nathaniel Hawthorne

Otto of the Silver Hand—Howard Pyle

Frankenstein—Mary Shelley

Little Britches—Ralph Moody
The Story of Greece—Mary MacGregor
Calico Captive—Elizabeth George Speare

Regina Silsby’s Secret War—Thomas J Brodeur

Gods and Heroes  by Robert Edward Francillon


Language Arts  
Spelling--Spelling Workout E
Handwriting—Rod and Staff grades 3 and 4 cursive review
English GrammarMilestones Academy Level B 
WritingNaNoWriMo challenge

Math
Alpha Omega Lifepac Math, grade 3--starting with Lifepac #3
S12 has been doing Life of Fred math which is so completely different from traditional math programs in its scope and sequence that she needs to fill in some gaps.  She is fed up with Life of Fred and refuses to go on, stating that she's tired of "guessing" what she's supposed to do for each lesson instead of receiving instruction and then doing the work.  I am placing her as recommended by her score on the placement test offered by Alpha Omega.  I think she'll race through and probably complete both grades 3 and 4 before the end of the school year

Music
S12 likes to sing, and has joined our church choir in order to learn about good choral techniques.  In addition she will learn 3 folk songs:
*Amazing Grace
*Scarborough Fair
*Billy Boy
She will also learn to sing a new primary song or hymn of her choosing.  Our goal is to find a performance opportunity for any (or all) of these songs.

S12 will also participate in American Rhythm for singing and dancing performances along with her sisters (and maybe little brother?)

S12 also plans to continue to work at learning to play the piano.

Handicrafts
S12 believes she is incompetent at any hand work.  We have not set any particular goals at this point but plan to find an interesting kit or two this year that will build her self-confidence and inspire her to learn more.

In General
What your 6th Grader Needs to Know--Read a bit each day.  Have fun learning!


In addition to the above S12 will continue to attend church on Sundays, participate in weekly church activities, go on whatever field trips we can afford with our homeschool association, and play competitive soccer in the spring.