Saturday, May 14, 2011

Making Plans

What are we going to Study Next?

This month I am working on getting ready for our upcoming new school year. I have several resources that we will continue to use, and also some new that I am slowly getting ordered. This is the EXCITING part.  I like researching everything that is out there. It can be overwhelming and I think sometimes I get a little obsessed with finding everything. This year I have made a GOAL to be MORE organized. We had a lot going on this past year and I am sure I can predict many things that will be happening in this next year, so I want to make sure that I have all my ducks lined up as much as possible. When it comes right down to it I am a pretty relaxed Homeschooler. As long as the three R's are getting accomplished everyday, I don't freak out when life interrupts the other plans we have.  My Kiddos are all Elementary aged right now, and many of the other studies will be touched on over and over again throughout the rest of their education. Fortunately for us, our State is one of the most relaxed and the only subjects required (but not monitored or tested) are: Math, Spelling, Grammar, and Good Citizenship. My Kiddos are very natural learners and are discover their world everyday through hands-on experiences. We are mostly using a CM (Charlotte Mason) approach to learning, with a few twists to fit our needs.

Here is an outline of our Subjects so far:

We are going to start using the Memory System from Simply Charlotte Mason. Sonja Shaffer lays out a really do-able plan for memorization. You can check it out here.

We belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and are active in our church programs, which I believe directs us all to be better citizens.
Who could teach us better about Good Citizenship than Christ?
 Aside from this, I have found a book: "Teaching Christ-Like Virtues in the Home" written by Lily Stainback. It goes through 52 Virtues and has a suggested Hymn (mostly Primary Songs), Scripture references, and story from the Scriptures, along with activity ideas or journaling prompts. I bought my version from Barnes & Noble for my Nook, but you can also find it at Deseret Book. I plan on Teaching one Virtue each week, having my oldest search her scriptures for the references, and doing activities to enrich the lessons, such as writing in our journals. I am also going to be using the song suggestions as our Hymn study each week. I could probably just use this as our Scripture study as well, but I do want to work on some memorization still. I a may add some of the Scripture references to our Scripture Memory System. 
I also plan on having us do a few service project throughout the year, such as cleaning up trash around our neighborhood and at our favorite parks.

We are using Math-U-See for all grades.
My 5th grader will be starting the Delta book (division).
My 2nd grader will be starting the Beta Book (Multi-digit addition/subtraction)
My 1st grader will be starting the Alpha Book (Single-digit addition/subtraction)
My Preschoolers will have fun learning colors, shapes, and numbers.

This is an area where I have been researching something new for us. We tried out a few different things the past two years and nothing has stuck yet. My oldest is a GREAT speller and the normal programs with lists and tests are just too boring and easy for her. At the end of our studies this year I downloaded Spelling Wisdom from Simply Charlotte Mason to try out for her. Which is a Dictation not a list program. She seemed to like it, so we may just stick with that for her.
My soon to be 8 year old, struggles with spelling. He will know the list we study that week but then will forget it as we move on. I think I have found a good program for him called Sequential Spelling. I will let you know more after I get a chance to look through the book.
My 6 year old will first be moving through the Happy Phonics program and then if it works out later in the year she will move on to the Sequential Spelling as well.

All of my Kiddos will be keeping a journal for daily writing. This is also where we learn the Months, days, and year. We will also have some copywork during our notebooking or lapbooking.

My 5th grader will be continuing a program from last year called: Writing-Tales. It is a Grammar and Composition consumable that we have enjoyed so far. She has written some really fantastic stories.
My 2nd grader will be learning basic Grammar through his journal writing and other compositions as needed. Maybe a work book  here and there.
My 1st grader will only be learning basic sentence structure as she learns to read and write. She will also have some Explode the Code workbooks.

Everyone is at different skill levels here. I give freedom to my oldest in this area because SHE LOVES to read. She mostly chooses good books, on occasion I give suggestions to challenge her more, and have here give a Book Report. I think I will have her read a few Biographies this year.
 My almost 8 year old is happy to be able to read now, and just needs to keep up the practice so I will be encouraging him to read EVERYTHING.
 My 6 year old will be just beginning to read, and we will be using the Happy Phonics program mentioned in the spelling section above (where you can find the link).

Still working out some of the details, but we will be studying the Ancient Civilizations time period. I have a CM guide that we may follow some. I am checking into maybe using "The Story of the World", and we will probably build a time-line using resources from Timelines Etc. We study this subject as a family reading lots of books and doing some Notebooking or lapbooking.

We are going to combine this subject with History and any others that come up with locations to study. We will be doing a map drill every week and reading about the areas of study. We also are going to learn the Continents and Oceans through singing Geography Songs. We used this CD to learn some of our States this past year and it worked great. We LOVED it.

This is another subject we study together as a family. This year we are going to study Earth Science. I plan on studying the Earths layers, Water, and Air with them using a variety of resources, mostly Library books. I hope to do a lot of hands on activities and projects. My Kiddos LOVE science!
We will also be doing a Nature Study, and keeping a Notebook of our findings as we explore our world. Possibly even stopping to some more in depth studies as interest peak.

This is one subject that is really easy to accomplish everyday (mostly). I am not going to plan out ahead of time the books we will read. Some of them will go along with other areas of study, some of them will be favorite classics and some of them will be just for fun! I like to read to my Kiddos at night to get them settled for bed. Back when I had only three Kiddos, I would let them each pick a story that I would read. Now that would take all night so I stole a memory from Hubby. His Mother would read to her (10) kids from the hallway. So that is what I do. I have them get in their beds, leave the door open and sit in the hallway to read. I like this because they are in their beds an they have to imagine the scenes instead of look at the pictures. Generally there aren't many pictures in the bedtime books I choose to read, but when there are  I will sometimes show them one as I go around and tuck them in after reading.

This is another very easy subject of study. My Kiddos are always creating art. I mostly like to just let them create on their own, but I do plan on doing a little structured learning in this area this year. We will learn about the color wheel with paint and I think I will have them draw Objects. 
We are also going to do a Picture Study this year. I am still researching that topic and finding books.

My 9 almost 10 year old has been teaching herself piano this year. I feel a little guilty for not putting her in lessons, but we had a lot of other things going on. She has done really well to follow the books with little guidance from me. I have been trying to learn myself. I played the Trumpet and then the Baritone when I was in school, so I know how to read music, but that's as far as it goes. I may get her into lessons this year. We shall see.

We will however, be doing a Composer Study this year. I am still working on our list and resources. 

Physical Education
We have a trampoline, pool, bicycles, skates, jump ropes etc. All of which will be (are) utilized. My Kiddos (the three oldest) took Gymnastics this past year, but we will not continue in the next ($$).  They will however probably play some sports through either the Boys and Girls Club or other Community centers.

Of course there is the on-going lessons of CLEANING UP AFTER OURSELVES!
I have been using a new technique that is working well that I will share in a blog sometime..........

My almost 10 year old will be learning:
Computer Keyboarding (as soon as I find a good program)
How to do the Laundry
Basic Cooking skills (by helping me in the kitchen)
How to sew
 (We are excited about this one and will be doing some projects in the very near future.)

My almost 8 year old will be learning:
How to set up a tent (He got a Junior one last Christmas)
How to ride and fix his Motorcycle (ahhhhh!)
Many other skills by working with Dad.

My 6 year old will be learning:
How to follow directions
How to swim
Any other skills needed a long the way

My Preschoolers will be learning:
Lots and Lots just by watching her siblings!

** As I get a better plan formed I will add the books and resources that we will be using. So check back for updates! This post will be under the "Happy Days" tab on my blog.  Feel free to ask me questions about what we are doing, I also welcome comments and suggestions!

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