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The Plan May 22, 2009

Filed under: homeschool — 6kids1me @ 12:38 pm
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Ok here’s “The Plan.” This is what we plan to be using/doing for the kids who will be homeschooling.

BIBLE – We will start the day with prayer and Bible time. Each morning we will have a reading from the Bible, discussion about what we’ve read and work on our memorization selection.

MATH – We’ll be using Spectrum Math (and supplementing with worksheets from various sources) for their grade years that they are in (4th and 6th). We will also be providing them with “tutoring” since Mommy sucks at Math.

GRAMMAR – We’re not using a regular textbook for this, but rather will rely on copywork and narration to reinforce what Mommy teaches. Grammar happens to be one of Mommy’s favorite things on the planet (though that’s hard to tell on this blog LOL) and I’m looking forward to teaching it to my children. We will also be using worksheets from various sources to reinforce the grammatical rules they will be learning. And of course, the grammar rules they will be learning will be appropriate for their individual grade levels.

HISTORY – We will be using This Country of Ours by HE Marshall as our main text. We will also be reading Poor Richard by James Daughty. This is the biography of Benjamin Franklin and I’m really looking forward to reading it with them!

GEOGRAPHY – We will be using Minn of the Mississippi by Holling C. Holling as our main text.

FINE ARTS – We will be studying the life and works of one artist and one composer. The first artist will be Michelangelo and the first composer will be Vivaldi.

LATIN – We will learn 6 new Latin words each day and at the end of each week we will translate a small passage using the words we have been learning.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE – the kids have chosen Spanish as the first language they wish to learn. I’m still looking for a good course we can afford. Not easy. I hear all sorts of good things about Rosetta Stone but SHEESH! Have you priced Rosetta Stone??!?!!

NATURAL HISTORY – This one is requires a bit more explanation. First, we will be taking nature walks frequently. During these walks, the kids will be discovering the world around them and drawing pictures of their unique findings in their very own nature journals. From those journals we will look up and learn more about the things they’ve found by using The Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock. We will also be using Madam How and Lady Why as a major text.

SCIENCE – We will be using It Couldn’t Just Happen by Lawrence Richards and Physics Lab in the Home by Robert Friedhoffer.

VOCABULARY – Much of what they are reading is so rich in vocabulary that it will be a lesson in itself. However, I will supplement this with vocabulary lessons I will assemble myself using their texts.

NARRATION – Much of our work will consist of narration. This simply means that they tell me in their own words what they have read. This will be done both orally and written. Narration will force them to really think about what they’ve read, process it through their minds and then assemble it into their own words for retelling. This process will help cement the lessons taught.

COPYWORK – aka penmanship – Each day they will be given a selection to copy. It could be anything from a Bible verse to a famous quote. They will be required to copy it perfectly using their best penmanship. Yes, I do expect perfection on this one.

SHAKESPEARE – We will begin with A Comedy of Errors. We will be reading a modern translation of it, then watch the play (still searching for it) and then we will delve into the original work by Mr. Shakespeare. Fun!

PLUTARCH – We will be studying one of Plutarch’s Lives every couple of weeks. Of course, it may take a while to get through some, so there’s no real schedule on this.

EXTRA READING – We will always have extra reading going on. This is just for fun, but it also enriches their lives and deepens their love for reading. We are beginning with The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis.

HANDIWORKS – These are useful skills…things that will help themselves or others, or improve the world around them. Examples include cooking, repairing a bike, basket weaving, etc.

You may be wondering how we plan to fit all that in a single day. The answer is that we will be doing short lessons. We may only spend 15 minutes in the history text before moving on to 15 minutes of Plutarch. Short lessons allow for a couple of important things to happen…..1) it leaves the kids hanging….WANTING more information….BEGGING for it **yay learning!!!** 2) it allows them time to process the information they’ve been given, ensuring that they retain it.

We plan for our school day to last through lunch. Then their afternoons are free for handiworks and all-important free play. I believe that children process what they’ve learned through free play. Therefore I believe in allowing time for that.

And now to address the common myth about homeschoolers – lack of socialization. Why do people think that public school is the ONLY place kids can be socialized? I’ve never understood that. Between church, community and friends, our kids are on socialization overload. But we’re going to take it a step further and also include them in a homeschool association. This way they can attend special classes, field trips, etc. with other homeschoolers. I think this issue is a bit ridiculous and really don’t have much more to say about it.

Okay so I think that about covers everything. That’s our plan. We’ll see how it works in practice. I’m sure it will take some tweaking, but we’re going to take it slow and see how it goes.

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Starting a New Adventure

Filed under: homeschool,keeping it real,Personal Life — 6kids1me @ 11:42 am
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We’re starting a new adventure with the kids….well, okay it’s an old adventure we’re restarting and it’s only with a couple of the kids. Gee, myabe I could have worked on that intro a little more.

We’re going to homeschool again! Yay! We homeschooled while we lived in Oklahoma and loved every minute of it. And now the time has come for us to do that again. We’re not doing it for religious reasons (though the benefits are certainly there), but rather for academic reasons. One of our boys has OCD to the point that it makes attending school incredibly difficult for him. We allowed him to remain in school for as long as we did because we truly felt that he needed to be placed in social situations to learn to deal with his OCD. In some ways it was helping, but when his grades started suffering because of it, we knew it was time to step in and make a major change.

Now, as I said, we are not homeschooling all of the kids. Oldest boy is already out of school, oldest girll is in a special needs program that she is thriving in, middle young boy is doing exceptionally well in his school (though we’ll keep a close eye on that) and youngest boy is going to pre-k next year (more on that later).

Ok so the youngest girl we really debated over. She’s neither thriving nor failing in her school. She’s been attending a really super school that uses the Montessori method, but she’s just been kind of lumbering along there. Naturally we would prefer to see her thrive, but weren’t sure if homeschooling were the right choice for her. But after serious thought, we decided that since she’s not thriving in her current school, this might be the opportunity for her to shine academicly. We’ll see.

**note** We felt that this decision needed to be made on an individual basis per child, obviously. Every child is different and every child has different needs, learns differently, etc. If one of our children would be better served in a school setting, then that’s exactly what we’re going to do for that child.

I learned through my homeschooling experience in Oklahoma that I cannot teach my own child to read. There are numerous reasons for this, but the facts remain the same. Now y’all can tell me all day long that I should just keep trying different methods or whatever, but I’m just not willing to put another of my children through that process. Therefore, the youngest son will be attending school until he learns to read. At that point, we will re-evaluate and see if school remains the best choice for him or if we should pull him out and homeschool him.

Now we had to determine which curriculum to use. Having homeschooled before, we are familiar with several types of curriculum. But this time, we were searching for more than just facts and basics. We wanted something that would excite our children and foster in them a genuine LOVE of learning. This is why we have settled on the Charlotte Mason “method.” We truly feel that it most closely matches what we believe about educating children.

There’s just too much to be said about this method for me to go into here, but one of the things that excites me about it is the literature used. The so called “living books” that draw a child in and make them WANT to read more. Some of my all-time favorite books are part of our curriculum this year! Yay!

My next post will give a little more detail about what we’ll be teaching. I really wanted this post to share the WHY of what we’re doing. Of course, this doesn’t cover all the thinking that went into our decision. It’s more of a broad overview. But there it is. 🙂