Thursday, August 13, 2009

Coming out of my hole...

For the better part of this week I have been immersed in planning for the upcoming school year. We've had a good idea about what we'd like to do for a while now, but for some reason I'd been putting off the "how." Recently I realized that it is already August (GASP!) and I was thinking that the Fly by the Seat of Your Pants method that we used last year should probably be replaced. I mean, it worked for kindergarten, but I'm not so sure it could take us through the next few years.

So I've been poring over our Classical curriculum, reading lists, scopes, sequences, and sample schedules. Then, of course, I had to find the best deals on everything we needed. Thankfully, I have been able to keep an eye on Ebay while knowing that I do have some Amazon gift cards that I cashed in my Swagbucks for just in case there are no deals to be had.

I know our schedule will probably change a bazillion times, but I thought I'd share what we plan to work on this year just in case anyone is interested. It's been extremely helpful for me to see what other families are doing.

- We are basically following the recommendations for Language in The Well Trained Mind. We'll be working on handwriting (a lot). We'll be starting with Spelling Workout A from Modern Curriculum Press to make sure we continue on with basic phonics even though Jonathan is reading so well.

For reading, we plan to use real books. I have a whole list of books that will coordinate with our history, and I was excited to see that our library probably has over 1/3 of them. This is the main place where we will deviate from the plan in TWTM since we're not doing history chronogically. We'll be doing some read-alouds as well as independent reading and narration. We'll also be using First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind for grammar instruction, memorization and dictation.

Math - We'll be continuing with Math-U-See, and I will probably add in some related activities to round out the practice.

History - Like I said before, we will be coordinating a lot of our reading with the history facts that Jonathan will be memorizing. We'll use that as a jumping off point for other activities. We're studying major civilizations from the world this year including ancient Egypt, the Mayans, Incas, and Aztecs, and even Canadian exploration. I really think it will be fun for me to learn about some of the Asian history that I definitely don't remember studying as a student.

We'll also be using the books from the Story of the World series by Susan Wise Bauer and the Usborne Internet Linked Encyclopedia of World History. I'm stalking the SOTW books, and I'm so happy our library has the Usborne book we can use until we actually get one of our own.

He will also be keeping a geography notebook working with various maps that are tied to the CC history memory work. Eventually, the goal is for him to be able to draw the entire world map, although we'll just begin becoming familiar with all the continents this year. Isn't that amazing?

- We do weekly labs in our CC group, and we will be doing additional reading and activities related to those at home each week. Our work this year involves plants, animals, geology, and weather.

Fine Arts
- We'll also be doing additional work at home related to the labs we do at CC. That will be in the form of practice or reading or possibly projects depending on where we are in the year. Our art work is divided into quarters covering elements of art, music theory and the tin whistle, famous artist and their major works, and orchestra. He'll also be working on piano.

Memory Work - We are building everything around our curriculum from Classical Conversations. I have been very impressed with how much Jonathan has been able to learn through the memory work over the last two years. It's exciting to think about how that will be multiplied by tieing our other subjects in with the memory work. He will continue to memorize the history timeline that uses cards from Veritas Press and history facts that build on that timeline as well as English, math, science, and geography, and Latin facts.

If it all seems a bit overwhelming, believe me, it is. When I look at it all listed out here I have to take a deep breath. Then I remember that it will be covered one step at a time over a whole year. When I think that we could actually cover all of this information by the end of the year, I get excited. I know it will be a lot of work, but I also know that the end result will be totally worth it!


  1. I mean science seems a little neglected.... j/k! You know it's just my strong suit! I just want to say that I use to be quite against home school- being a public school teacher- but as I have watched lil' J flourish and grow I love it. Keep that little guy exploring and keep doing the great job you have been... maybe homeschool isn't so bad afterall!

  2. That all sounds great Crystal. I am impressed! We are homeschooling this year for the first time (2nd grade) and have chosen some of the same curriculum as you have... First language lessons and spelling workout. We are also using TWTM as a guide. I will be praying for you and I ask that you will pray for me too. Maybe we can get together some.

  3. Even though I'm not homeschooling at the moment, I enjoyed this post! My girls currently attend a Christian school, but especially as a former teacher, I re-evaluate each year as to whether or not I will homeschool. Should we go that route in the future, I am a huge fan of The Well-Trained Mind and classical education. I'll have to check out some of your other resources as well!


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