I’ve written before about how we do homeschool here and here, but it’s been a while since I’ve updated that information. Each spring, I naturally find myself evaluating what we’re doing and how it serves to meet the goals we have for our boys’ education. This helps me to go into the summer with a fresh plan and get a little excited about what is to come for the new year.
I’ve decided I am comfortable with our overall plan and how we are working toward our goals. We will continue with much of what we’ve been doing, maybe tweaking things here and there. Benjamin will be in kindergarten this year, so I’ll be learning how to balance two children so far apart in age in our one-room schoolhouse as he does some formal learning.
Much of what I have to share will be similar to what I’ve written before, but some of our methods have evolved a bit since we first began this adventure.
The heart of our homeschool is the Classical Conversations program. This is a general overview of what we’ll be doing for cycle two. Jonathan is around fifth grade, so he is in the Foundations and Essentials programs while Benjamin is beginning his second year in Foundations.
Bible – We’re still working on basic Bible study skills and habits. What we do beyond this is Dad’s territory, and it’s constantly evolving.
Copywork – Both boys will be working through the CC Prescripts books at their own levels.
Math – Jonathan will be working through Saxon 6/5, and I’ve chosen not to use a formal math curriculum with Benjamin this year. I am considering supplementing with Life of Fred for both of them. Jonathan will continue drilling basic operations on his own and in his Essentials class each week.
English grammar – We’ll be working on our daily Essentials assignments: memorizing mastery charts, reviewing the weekly lesson, and analyzing sentences each day.
Geography – We’ll be working on memorizing the locations for the Foundations Cycle two geography memory work as well as working on our map drawing skills. This will help them to visualize the world rather than just memorizing lists of places and features.
Memory Work – I include this as its own section on our assignment plan because we try to spend some time daily reviewing the facts for mastery. There are MANY ways to do this, so we’re always changing it up. Foundations tutors are super helpful in giving you ideas.
Latin – We’ll be memorizing the first conjugation verb endings for cycle two and reviewing the declensions from last year. Jonathan will also be working through some exercises from the first year Henle Latin book to become familiar with the process. We’ll be drawing charts as we memorize.
Reading – Jonathan will continue to read independently from books that reinforce what we’re memorizing for history and science as well as books about our great artists and composers for cycle two. We’ll listen to read-alouds from some of these books along with Story of the World and Mystery of History. Benjamin will continue working through All About Reading Level One. For book ideas, I start with the CC Cycle Two Suggested Resource List. There are also great lists out there from sites such as Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood. We love to scour used bookstores for books to add to our collection.
Enrichment – Our homeschool is very book-heavy because that’s what works for us. We are readers, and so many new experiences are available through books. I do try to add in some fun and hands-on activities along the way, but I refuse to stress over planning these things. I’ve come up with an “enrichment” plan that seems to work for us, helps me to accomplish some things I always wanted to squeeze in, and allows me to focus on everything else most of the time. Some of the activities we do weekly while others are every other week.
Monday – presentation planning (for the CC meeting on Tuesday)
Tuesday – CC meeting
Wednesday – piano lesson
Thursday – science or history related activity/nature study
Friday – audio books/time line notebook
I basically keep a Pinterest board with ideas for each cycle, so I can look through and pick out a few activities or projects that I’d really like to do with the boys along the way. I don’t worry about matching them up with the specific week’s memory work. I just fit them in however it works out. There are also great activity ideas on sites such as Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood. Just keep in mind that you don’t HAVE to do these things. They should complement what you’re doing in your home. I also keep a Pinterest board for nature study ideas. There are lots of great resources for helping our children become great observers of the world around us.
Our time line notebooks are a multi-year project. Last year we began using the Wonders of Old time line book. It comes with a CD, so you can print the pages as many times as you’d like for use in your own home. I made each of the boys a binder, and we’re working on adding events from each cycle over three years. My goal was for Jonathan to have a completed time line notebook when he enters Challenge, then he can add his Challenge work into the notebook chronologically. By the end of his high school career this would give him quite a compilation. Because I see this as such a huge project, I invested in the History Through the Ages time line figure CD set. It contains printable pictures for over 1,200 time line events throughout history. Benjamin can work in his binder along with us, but I will make him a new one when he gets older.
Do you homeschool? Afterschool? Have you finished planning for the coming year?