I spent a little time planning our upcoming school year. Honestly, I try not to plan too much. I find over-planning makes me feel like I get behind, rather than helping me feel accomplished. So, I put the big rocks down and leave space for other things to fit in as we have time and curiosity.
My philosophy for schooling is mainly Charlotte Mason-ish, with Classical Conversations thrown in and a bit of Forest School. In other words, I like really hands-on schooling with a heavy literature base and CC in case I missed anything. I love to try new things so my style ebbs and flows a bit each year.
This year, I have a 3rd Grader , 1st Grader , TK [almost 5], and a 2-year-old. Although, to be honest, they don’t really fit into all those grades because they are homeschooled and we all learn together. You’ll see what I mean as I get into the details below.
— Studying Together —
I try to combine as many subjects as we can together. We love to learn collectively and share the learning experience.
* Morning Time *
This year we will be doing a few patriotic songs to go along with our American History studies, and I pick a few silly kid songs for a the littles.
We read 2 or 3 poems each morning. The kids like to pick them out and then my readers read them to us, and I read to the littles. We especially like Robert Louis Stevenson and William Wordsworth poems right now.
I have compiled a little book of fun poetry I’ve picked up here and there. This year I put our poetry into a little photo album to use as a flip book.
I like to let my littles each pick a library picture book that they enjoy for me to read aloud to them; then while they go play I read our current chapter book to the bigger kids.
* History * Science * Geography * Language Arts *
I wanted to combine a few subjects this year and save myself a little prep time, so I’m trying out Paths of Exploration by GeoMatters, although I’m putting a more Charlotte Mason spin on it. I can’t really say much about this program yet since we haven’t used it before. So far, I love the books included and the projects and geography look good too. I don’t care for the workbook portion and don’t intend to use it. Rather, I’m taking the ideas they suggest and having the kids put them in more of a Main Lesson book style notebook. I decided to use the main curriculum and simply adapt it to fit my younger students as needed.
These are the read-alouds included in the program:
- Christopher Columbus by Bennie Rhodes
- A Lion to Guard Us by Clyde Robert Bulla
- Surviving Jamestown by Gail Karwoski
- Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims by Clyde Robert Bulla
- Stories of the Pilgrims by Margaret Pumphrey
- Daniel Boone, Frontiersman by Janet & Geoff Benge
- Daniel Boone, Young Hunter and Tracker by Augusta Stevenson
- Munford Meets Lewis and Clark
- Trouble for Lucy by Carla Stevens
- Johnny Appleseed
We plan to read these along with quite a few others as we go along. We love to read around here and make plenty of trips to the library for books.
* Classical Conversations *
We will be participating in Classical Conversations Foundations Year 3 this year. I just love their memory work and we get so much out of it. Much of our extra reading material will be based around the history we are currently studying that week with CC.
* Latin *
Along with our CC weekly latin memorization we will be using Song School Latin.
* P.E. *
My favorite part of the day! As soon as the kids have their breakfast and morning chores done, we like to go out for a walk or play a game in the yard.
3 days a week my big kids have gymnastics, so that is their workout for the day and I take the littles to the park to play. On days when the afternoons are not too hot, we love to hike, play by the river, or go for a bike ride together. Loving the fact that my 3 bigs can go for a pretty decent length of bike ride these days. Only one left to teach to ride a bike.
— Independent Studies —
My oldest currently takes weekly piano lesson; the others will follow her lead as they show interest.
* Math *
We are using Teaching Textbooks math for my 3rd grader who loves to wok independently.
My 1st grader adores math and will be working through Math for a Living Education book 2.
My TK little lady will be continuing to work through Horizons Math K, which she just loves. Workbooks make her so happy.
* Reading *
My 3rd grader reads chapter books voraciously. Paths to Settlement incorporates a daily passage that she will read aloud to me.
My 1st grader is reading basic BOB books. I am teaching him reading this year with a combination of Ruth Beechick’s, A Home Start in Reading and All About Spelling, Level 1, and the McGuffy’s readers just because I love them.
For TK, I will be helping her create a Main Lesson Book of the alphabet.
That’s about it. Keeping it pretty simple and straightforward with plenty of reading aloud and free time to explore their interests.
As you can see we do a lot of our work together, which brings the little ones up pretty quickly without any prodding. Subjects and concepts that I struggled with when my oldest was little, I find that my younger kiddos have a much easier time grasping. I think it’s so much about the exposure they have had to education and good literature that helps them pick things up more quickly and easily.
The above list is simply my groundwork along with many other subjects and topics that we will cover. I keep our lessons short and sweet and this allows us to move through a good amount of material with relative ease. I keep the second hour of our schooling open for special interests, composer & great artist study, art, nature study, handwork, cooking, and whatever else we might want to do that day. I like to have a good framework of the basics and from there we go after learning everything else we are curious about and interests us.
Oh, and I can’t forget our Thursday co-op with our sweet homeschool friends; however, a full explanation of that will have to wait for another post.