Sunday, June 8, 2008

Looking Ahead

**Adding that I've been working on this post since 6/8, and it may not be looking very far ahead by the time I finish!** Since the homeschool conference, I've been looking ahead at next years goals. We finished our state required testing just before I left, and we plan on filling in any gaps over the summer before officially starting the new year in late August/early September.

I'm using Home Learning Year by Year by Rupp as my guide, and went through it for each current grade level and found some things that we hadn't covered. So, that's my summer lesson plan. I, of course, true to my nature..completly nerded it up! I created a spreadsheet, broken down by subject area. You know, a list of what needs to be completed for Language Arts and Reading, Math, Science, etc. THEN in my further nerdom, I highlighted the things that are covered in our Core Knowldege books, or other text books that I know we have around the house. Therefore, I know what things I need to find stuff for on the internet or at the library.

This should really make covering the things that I need to get through over the summer much easier.

I'm one of "those" people, you know the kind who need to check things off a list to make myself feel like I've accomplished things. I also do this with housework btw, it's not solely a homeschooling thing!

Now, I just wanted to list some of the things we're looking forward to using next year!

We'll be using the Core Knowledge books. I'm torn with my youngest DD. She is very excited about being in "4th grade" (Don't ask me where this sort of thing comes from!), but in all reality she would only be in 3rd grade if she were in public school. So, I think I may slow her down a tad, and do the entire CK book for 3rd grade. Now, if she really wants to, we could push through it faster. Or maybe I'll combine some things....CK builds pretty methodically. So, for each subject we could start in the 3rd grade book, then move on to the same subject matter in the 4th grade book if she seems ready. That sounds good. See, you just read my thought process. As I typed that it became clear that that is a good plan for us. We'll move as quickly or as slowly as she needs/wants, and if we cover all of 4th grade by next summer, great. If not, great. I just have to sell her on the deal. :-)

My oldest DD will continue working in her 4th grade book over the summer, and then move into 5th grade in the fall. She's doing the Core Knowledge series.

Now, we'll be starting a Spanish curriculum called Learn Spanish in 10 Minutes a Day. It's a nice book, and is set up to cover as much or as little as you can comfortably do in 10 minutes. I like that it's short and sweet, so it won't be overwhelming. It came with a CD so you can hear the correct pronunciations of things, which is my favorite part I think. I have a French ancestry, and as such French comes much easier for me (I've had several years, and while I'm not fluent, I get by). So, some of you are asking...why then didn't I buy Learn French in 10 Minutes a Day? While, I wanted to, I really did. I would LOVE my girls to speak french! BUT, we live in the south, and while I don't know how it is everywhere else, but we have a large population of Spanish speaking citizens in our area. It is a HUGE plus on your resume if you can speak Spanish. So, I'm thinking of their lives down the road, and the fact that while French would be fun for me, it wouldnt' be as useful as learning Spanish (for them, or me). I know, we could learn French now and work on Spanish later, but I just feel like it would be great to start now and continue on through middle and high school levels, giving them a lot of competency as they enter college.

Currently, DD#2 uses Math Advantage which is a public school math text book. It is full of color pictures and I find it pretty thorough, with just enough repetition for her. So, I recently purchased the next level book for her. She is almost finished (will be before the end of summer) with her current book. I have recieved the new one in the mail, and it looks just as wonderful as the first one! It's a great book for visual and hands on kids, as it has a lot of color and pictures, but also uses a lot of maniupulatives. DD#1 is using Miquon Math, and will use the Key To series in the fall. Maybe. She really struggles with math (simple things like addition are difficult for her). So, we are going at a slow pace. Introducing concepts with Miquon, and then practice, practice, practice. So, if I feel like she's ready we'll start the Key To books, or if she shows more interest in decimals and fractions. Right now, I just want her to be able to add 3 digit numbers without it taking 10 minutes a problem, and her banging her head against the wall.

We'll continue using Story of the World. I love this book. The girls like the stories, and the activities are pretty good too. My goal for next year is to do MORE of the projects. Of course, with two babies (no, I'm not pregnant, but we do plan on trying for another baby soon), I can HOPE to do more projects. The girls really have liked the projects we've managed to do, but I haven't been super about planning for the projects or we could have done many more. It just always seems I forget and then I don't have time to get the supplies (which usually aren't that hard to come by) together in time, and I feel like we need to keep moving forward. One of my goals for the entire year (in every subject) is to do more hands on learning and more artistic things (as I have a kinesthetic child and an artistic/visual child) to go along with the material we are covering at any given time, so maybe that will help me be more motivated.

For writing, we need some real help. My kids aren't writers. That's entirely my fault. Now, they like to write in their journals (just nonsense sort of stuff), but the mechanics of writing and the varied types of writing, I've failed them on. So, after reading at Little Acorns Treehouse (you should all be jealous that I know Jenny in real life!!) I decided to order Just Write. I recieved it and have briefly looked it over, it looks very good. I would expect nothing less though from a recommendation from Jenny. I've now had a chance to look it over more in depth, and I think it's going to work well for us. I've already started using it with my oldest, as she didn't like the idea of working from the same book as her sister (she's older, wiser, smarter, more mature, etc...) so I let her start earlier than I had anticipated starting, I was going to start them both together in Book 1 in the fall. But, now I'm hoping to move through Book 1 very quickly with DD#1, and maybe start Book 2 in late fall with her and Book 1 with her sister in the early fall.

For art, we'll be using a great book I found at the conference called Discovering Great Artists. It struck me as a great book because not only does it give good information about the artists, but it gives good info about technique and style. It also invites you to "copy" the style and tecniques used by each artists (something suggested by Heather in the past, and something my kids really enjoyed). I must admit, I'll be learning a lot from this curriculum as well!

For music, I picked up a CD-Rom called Music Games (from Rainbow Resource). The girls are excited to start this one (I'll be using it too, as I know NOTHING about music), and it really looks like A WHOLE LOT OF FUN!

You might have noticed that I'll be learning a lot WITH the children this year. The beauty of homeschooling, and a position that I have long held is that I don't need to know everything to adequately educate my children. I love learning alongside them.

I also want to note that my laptop is the ONLY reason I have finished the post, almost a month after it's inception (today is July 7, even though it posts to June 8). As I type this, I am sitting on my back step watching my children play in their pools. Ahhh, technology.

Summer fun pictures to follow.
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