I was perusing another friends blog today, where she had written about the upcoming year, and her goals / plans for her children regarding homeschooling. I have to admit that I really have not thought all that much about it yet, but after getting a little inspiration from her I sat down and started to think through what we would like to fit into the next 12 months...And, just as I love reading other people's blogs, I also love catching a glimpse of how other families are approaching learning. I decided to share my own thoughts in appreciation of others who do the same.
Generally speaking, we as a family do very little 'table time' work as I call it. By 'table time' work I mean the workbooks, packaged curriculum, pre-arranged lessons, mandatory page-type of thing. The vast majority of our time is spent exploring together, following what the kids are interested in, lots of reading, and going to new and interesting places and events. Still, homeschooling your kids has a very interesting way of shedding light on a parent's 'issues'. Mine in particular, are math (which I am not particularly fond of and downright intimidated by at higher levels) and reading and writing (because I love it so much and want my kids to have that skill available to them as soon as possible). So it is not surprising that it its those areas in particular where I like to follow some sort of 'program' to feel reassured that we are headed in the right direction, not missing anything key, and making progress, at whatever rate.
Anyway, here is a little snippet of what we are hoping to explore in the next year:
Reading: We have been using Explode The Code as a framework for helping William learn to read. It is well laid out, easy to follow, William can often figure out the lessons himself with little interference from me, and he is very proud of himself for the way his reading has started to take off. We will continue to work through this series, although at a rather slow pace, so as not to overwhelm any of us with work book pages. We will, of course, keep up with our regular trips to the library, taking out both books that William can read in his own and the ones that he needs to be read to him but are much more interesting!! As a family, we have been enjoying many of Rohal Dalh books, and are planning to start reading the Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis this year as well. (Growing up, the Narnia books were a favourite in our family. Mom would read through the whole series to my sister and I, and as soon as we finished the last book we would be begging to start right back at the beginning!) I have also been trying to introduce a bit of poetry, whether as part of a special project, something relevant to an event or observation in our lives, or just because it is beautiful and/or fun.
Writing: Most of our work on writing will be informal still, as William is not all that fond of it - way too fine-motor (with no LEGO involvement) for his tastes. Writing happens in a day-to-day way for us - writing birthday cards and thank-you notes, helping Mom write up a grocery list, "No little brothers allowed" signs for the door...you get the picture. Writing plays a part in the other projects that we take on, too - copying out a poem that he wants to include in a project, the postcard exchange we are starting.....
Math: The other math 'curriculum' we are using is Math-U-See. I really like how it is laid out, uses manipulatives that are close enough to LEGO to be appealing, and spends lots of time on the basics. We are hoping to complete the Primer Level by the spring.
Science: Most of our science work is just about exploring. Going for a hike and seeing what we can find, watching an amazing thunder storm, peering at the stars and trying to identify the constellations, visiting Science North whenever we possible can. The boys were interested in doing a project on butterflies this summer, so we will be continuing that as our main science 'project', and I would like to also do a bit on the human body. We will wait and see.
History: When William was about 2 years old, I bought the first book in the Story of the World Series by Susan Wise Bauer. It is a read-aloud, chronologically based history book with an activity book filled with craft and other ideas to go along with the reading. We are really excited about starting this , partly for the history benefit, and partly to get us back into the habit of reading together in the afternoons, which we have fallen out of a little bit once the summer weather has been calling us outside to explore.
Geography: I wasn't planning to really tackle geography in any formal way yet, but when I started to think about it, there is quite a bit going on. Last year we took part in our homeschool group's World Expo, and the boys loved it. We will certainly be doing that again. I have also gotten the idea in my head to start a postcard exchange, so we will be sending and hopefully receiving postcards from around the world, plotting them on a map, maybe learning a bit about each country if the mood strikes us. We may also so a little bit about the Olympics as well.....
Physical Education: It seems ridiculous to me to delineate what we are doing in this area...I have 2 boys!!! What we will mostly be doing is running, jumping, wrestling, hiding, hiking, building forts, etc. As for formal activities, William and Charlie have been in soccer over the summer, and will be back at gymnastics in the fall. We are also do a lot of swimming, and are going to give ice skating another try this year as well.
Arts: As well as always have the supplies handy, I want to get more into the habit of sketching with the guys, and also to find someone more musical than I am to spend time with. We are also tossing around the idea of volunteering at the Hillside Festival this year.
Social Studies: doesn't fall into the category of academics, we are also going to continue to find ways throughout the year to volunteer, raise money for a 'cause' of interest to the boys, and in general help out people who need it. Most of this just happens, of course, but William is really excited about getting a volunteer job, so we are going to try to arrange that.
OK. Well. Yeah. So...it looks like we will be a little busy this year. Right. I am still excited, but somewhat overwhelmed, already. I guess what we are really going to be doing, it living, and if any of this stuff fits into that, great.