This homeschooling adventure has been just that: an adventure. When Lane began kindergarten I had a 3-year old and a 15-month old as well. At the same time Lane was taking some local classes 3 days a week for 2 hours a day, and about half of that time overlapped with nap time. I didn’t have any time to do any planning for the year, so I felt like I just kind of winged it the whole year. This year I was determined to do things differently.
Back in April I took 3 days for planning when my husband could watch the kids. I read, planned, actually looked at the curriculums I had already chosen. I spent time online researching what else we would need to supplement what I had already purchased and figuring out how to get those to our side of the world. I got my feet under me, so to speak. Now, there is something that I have learned about myself over the last year or so, and that is that I don’t do specific plans. I have a general plan, and that is what I spent those 3 days coming up with.
For example, I planned out which read-alouds we would do this year. I planned the order we would read them in and in which month. This allowed me to put some of the harder, longer-chaptered ones during this past summer (we school year-round). I looked at our calendar and made December and January very light as far as the “plan” goes, because those are very busy months for us, and this year we’ll be traveling, too. So I divided them up and planned them out, but I did not plan out how many chapters we have to read and which days we’d read them on. That just stresses me out thinking about it.
So that’s kind of how I did all of my planning. A yearly plan, and even monthly plans, but no specific day-to-day plans. Our lives are pretty crazy most of the time and things fluctuate a lot, so for me it is good to know what I need to do that month. Anything more specific than that is too stressful for me.
Now to the fun part. Our rough plan for the year. Here’s what we’re doing:
Lane and Noel go to local kindergarten each day from 8:30-1. They are fully submerged in another language all day, so when they get home I try to keep “real” school to around an hour. Each day we do phonics (Noel does a preschool workbook page or three) and then math all together. Then we have a snack and I read aloud to them while they do something quiet (legos, puzzles, Hidden Pictures, coloring, etc.). After that they are free to do a “fun” subject: Mondays I read them a chapter of Story of the World. Tuesdays are science day, so I either read to them or they watch a science DVD. I’m hoping to do some experiments later this year when this is more routine for us. Wednesdays they can watch an episode of What’s in the Bible? Thursdays is Draw, Write, Now or another art project. And on Fridays they can watch The Magic School Bus. I am fully taking advantage of things that they think are fun that are also educational while I have a 2-year old in the house who usually wakes up from her nap cranky.
Curriculum we’re using:
Language Arts/Phonics: GoPhonics. We’re currently on level 3 of the 5 levels, so maybe about 2/3 of the way through the 1st grade stuff. We’ll start on 2nd grade phonics in December. I’m trying to get her to journal a sentence or two each day in a journal, just to get her started in putting ideas on paper. I’m not critical of spelling or anything at this point…I want her comfortable writing, even if she’s not sure how to spell it!
Math: Math-U-See. Last year we did Singapore math (Earlybird) and Lane really did not enjoy it. So we’re trying Math-U-See this year. So far there are no real complaints, other than that it’s not very challenging for her yet. I guess that’s a good thing since we don’t have much time for math each day!
Read-Alouds: I’m reading to them from Sonlight’s read aloud list for 1st grade. I have quite a few other books that I’m hoping to read to them as well but we’ll work on those during December/January (when I only planned for one read-aloud from Sonlight’s list) or when we finish a month’s books early.
History: Story of the World. We’re just doing this as a read-aloud this year. I’m hoping to eventually get to do more of the projects and activities to go with it, but for now a read-aloud will suffice.
Science: I’m relying on the Magic School Bus, some Usborne science and nature books (What Makes You Ill? and others like it), and a great Bernstein Bears book for this. Noel is getting a science experiment kit for Christmas this year so that will be fun to add in, as well as some documentaries if I can find a few.
Art: Lane loves art, so while this is not necessary, I’m trying to plan a craft for her or to let her do a page from Draw, Write, Now each week. I also have a few art books that I plan on looking at with her: Come Look With Me and a book on Edgar Degas, I believe.
Bible: We’re memorizing a verse a week and they are watching What’s in the Bible? I’m hoping to add in some catechism songs as we find our groove.
So there you have it. My (very) rough plan for the year. September was a crazy month for us so I feel like we are just now starting to find our groove, the kids are getting used to the routine, and so on. It’s kind of nice. And I’m looking forward to seeing what the year holds.