Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Fall homeschooling plans
It's August (and the Not Back-to-School Blog Hop), so that means I should probably spend some time thinking about what we will be doing this year. I have a pile of books and resources stacked in my bedroom which I have been collecting all summer, and I suppose I should get them all out and see what I have.
Since we do a lot of learning as a group and because we tend to use a literature-based unit study approach, I find it easiest to talk about our curriculum by topic rather than individuals or specific subjects. I'll start with what everyone will be working on together.
Our history co-op, having had a year's hiatus to allow the mothers a break, will be heading back to ancient Egypt this year, so that is what will focus on at home as well. This being my third round of teaching ancient Egypt, I have decided to do things a little differently this year. I will be combining outlines and reading lists from three sources and making our own reading and learning schedule. Those three books are: The Greenleaf Guide to Ancient Egypt; TruthQuest History Guide: Ancient Egypt; and Genesis through Deuteronomy & Ancient Egypt (A Simply Charlotte Mason book by Sonya Shafer). I know already that will be reading (either my older children on their own, or me to the younger ones, or some combination of the two) the Herein is Love commentary for children on Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers; Boy of the Pyramids: A Mystery of Ancient Egypt; Tirzah; The Golden Goblet; The Cat of Bubastes; Unwrapping the Pharaohs; The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt; and The Ra Expeditions (because you know how much we loved Kon-Tiki).
As far as other unit studies... I think we will for sure do a unit on the California gold rush and I'm toying with the idea of doing either a unit on the deserts of the world or one on lighthouses, or both. It depends on how much time we end up with. (I'm realizing what a large reading list that is up there.) I have some ideas for books we will use, but haven't really done any research on these topics yet. That will also be happening this month along with hashing out our reading and study schedule.
We will also be studying the artists Velazquez and Giotto this year. My biggest problem with studying artists or doing pictures studies (as Charlotte Mason describes) is finding prints of the paintings to use. I am always unhappy with anything found and printed off the computer. They are often not nice enough or big enough to really look at and study. I was thrilled when I found Picture Study Portfolios at the homeschooling conference I went to last spring. They are done by Emily Cottrill and published by Simply Charlotte Mason. Each portfolio contains 9 high quality prints on heavy card stock and a booklet with a brief biography and information on each painting. I'm excited to use them, but I'm sure I will also supplement with books from the library about the artists.
Math and English are worked on independently by each child. They younger ones work out of Rod and Staff text books for both, while the 8th grader and high school junior use VideoText for math and more writing on their own. I think B., my H.S. junior will be reading/working through Study is Hard Work and Clean, Well-lighted Sentences. They younger children also work through Italic handwriting books on their own.
(And it just seems wrong not to include M. in that list of older children, but since she is going to be off at college and I'm not responsible for choosing her curriculum, I suppose I have to. Sniff.)
For science, I figure that the younger children have science covered with all we do with our unit studies, but my older children do more in-depth studies. B. started chemistry last year, but we ended up not liking the way we were doing and so have switched to Apologia chemistry. It started to fizzle right about the time the bee hive arrived and needed to be built... and then the bees arrived... Let's just say that B. finds apian science (which turned into B.'s lab science credit last year) far more interesting than chemistry. He will continue to work on chemistry while I search for a college level botany text for him to start. (Any suggestions would be highly appreciated!) A. wants to spend some time really studying weather and meteorology this year. That's another subject I need to do some research on in the coming weeks.
Other random things... I will probably assign my older children (P. on up) literature to read (the actual texts are still to be decided); A. will be finishing the logic books, The Fallacy Detective and The Thinking Toolbox; P. will probably have some science that she does on her own; and B. has expressed an interest in learning Italian, though I'm not quite sure how that will work out. B. will also be doing economics.
The three preschoolers will play and join in when they can and do preschool boxes. I have a bunch of stuff for H. when she comes home at some point this year, but I have no idea if it will be appropriate. I'm happy not to do any formal academics with her for a while, but I have also watched my friends bring home older children and they really want to do school like everyone else. So we'll see. I have everything from preschool level materials all the way up to third grade work which is the grade she would be in based on her age.
Of course there is always drama with Thin Ice Theater. And playing with friends. And riding bikes and running around outside. And playing games. And reading for fun. Always reading.