Sunday, June 29, 2008

And the planning begins...

Yesterday, my wonderful husband took the children down to visit his mother, thus providing me with 8 hours of "alone time" in my newly repainted (and still clean) home! I decided it was time for planning for 2008-2009 to begin! Our first day of school at the BPA will be Wednesday, August 6th. Public school resumes on August 11th, which will be our 7th annual "Not Going Back to School" party at Chuck E Cheese!

I began with history. I took out the IG for Sonlight Core 6, and looked at the 24 weeks of schedule that we're going to complete this coming year. I compared the schedule to the number/length of chapters in the books assigned. For the first semester we will only need to drop one reader, and for the second semester we will need to move one reader to a read-aloud. That is MUCH better than I assumed it would be when I first glanced at the materials! I was certain we would have to drop much more to enable us to keep an acceptable pace. We will be listening to Story of the World on Audio CD, and I will be reading the Read-Alouds outloud (which seems obvious lol). The kids will be reading the Genevieve Foster history books, and the historical fiction readers themselves. Reece will get her history through listening to SOTW and I'll be reading some age-appropriate historical fiction out loud to her.

I moved on to scheduling math, which is fairly straight-forward. Austin will be using Math U See Epsilon (focus on fractions), and that's sort of difficult to schedule since I don't know how quickly he'll master a lesson. Riley will continue with Singapore Primary Math, which is pretty easy to schedule. Reece will sort of be using Math U See Alpha, but I'm also going to add some other things in with it, because I think it's a little boring for a 6 year old to do nothing but work on memorizing math facts.

Next I worked on grammar. Riley will finish First Language Lessons 3. We didn't finish last year because I kept going back and forth on whether or not she "needed" it. In the end, I decided she it won't hurt anything to finish it, before we take a couple of years off from grammar. FLL is very gentle, and takes a short time. Austin will finish Junior Analytical Grammar this year. Reece won't start grammar until next year when I begin First Language Lessons 1/2 with her. She is a first grader in name/social activities only. Academically I consider her to be doing "Transition" or "K6" this year. It's a little confusing!

I moved on to spelling. Riley has requested to go back to a traditional spelling program this year, so she will be using Rod & Staff spelling again. Austin will continue to use studied dictation via Spelling Wisdom. Reece won't do spelling, per se. She will be using the Explode the Code phonics workbooks that were so successful with Austin and Riley.

From there I tackled composition. I have purchased Writing Strands 3 for Austin as a gentle formal introduction to writing sentences and paragraphs. There aren't very many lessons in the book, so I believe we'll be able to cover the book gently over the course of the year. I also want to begin the process of written narrations. I am considering using "50 Famous Stories Retold" for this purpose. This is an Ambleside Year 1 book, and the stories are very short. I thought they would be easy to orally narrate, and thus make it easy to start writing those down. This will be a work in progress, as next year for 7th grade is the year I'm going to devote to proceed into written narration (since we won't be doing formal grammar). Riley won't do formal composition/
written narration this year, aside from the foundations we're laying through oral narration.

I began working on our foreign language plans, and quickly realized that French is going to have wait until Riley can work on it more independently, maybe in middle school. It is important for us to learn Spanish as a family, as the majority of our neighbors speak only Spanish, and our area is quickly becoming quite hispanic. I would like for us to be able to communicate, even if it's very basic. I was not able to start planning Latin yet, so that remains on the "to do" list!

I was able to nail down our hymn, composer, artists, nature, and poet study topics, which is a good start. I think we're going to skip Shakespeare and Plutarch this year, as I adjust to having to include Reece daily (and we all readjust our focus more towards academics, while still balancing our therapy goals). I was able to get the Free Reading lists typed out for Austin and Riley, using Ambleside as a starting point!

There are still a few things that remain to be planned:
  1. Science: I have Sonlight Science 4, and I need to decide if I want to use it over one school year or 18 months. Reece's science will focus on nature study, and whatever she gets out of what the big kids are learning.
  2. Latin: Still have to plan out how we're going to study Minimus Latin. Latin is only a moderate priority for Austin and Reece, and while I would love Riley to follow a rigorous Latin curriculum I just don't think this is the year I'll be able to accomplish that. Minimus should be fun and hopefully it will be more like a living book than Latina Christiana.
  3. Scripture memory work - Sonlight has scripture passages scheduled, which would be simple enough to follow. Also, Simply Charlotte Mason has Bible verse packs for the scripture memory box. I'll probably start with Sonlight and see how it goes.
I'm sure there is more, but I just can't recall it right now! As you can see, I managed to accomplish quite a bit yesterday! I am getting very excited about beginning our new school year, but I'm also nervous. The weight of Austin being a "middle schooler" is heavy on my shoulders. And now Reece is a formal homeschooler in the eyes of the state of Georgia, which is a little overwhelming to me! LOL And there is my 4th grader, Riley, who I want to ensure gets a solid education as well! Whew, that sure feels like a lot. We just have to take it one day at a time!


Lisa Quing said...

Lots of planning accomplished! Bet that feels good! I am always taken aback by how early school starts down there.

Prince Andrew and the Queen Mum said...

i can not read this post LOL!!! I'm still trying to figure out what we are doing! how far out do you schedule...the whole year??

Niffercoo said...

Queen Mum, I am using the Planning Your Charlotte Mason Education book from Simply Charlotte It is a simple step-by-step guide, and it's helping me to figure out how to shift from a Well-Trained Mind type of plan (very very busy and fast-paced) to a more CM pace, since we're not using straight AO this year (which is already paced nicely).

Here is the webpage for the planning book, though I don't know how to make it a clickable link:

The Glasers said...

On Latin, we really like the Cambridge Latin Course, North American Edition because it is very Charlotte Mason-like. With the first lesson, you are READING stories in Latin. The writers give you background information about the culture. Each Unit (book) focuses on a topic. In the first one, the stories are all based on an actual banker who lived when Vesuvius erupted.

I know that's way down the road for you . . . you can always keep an eye out for a good sale.

poohder said...

You're so on top of things, if I had 8 hours to myself...home school planning would probably not be on top of the list, LOL!