Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Now for something completely different: 2013-2014 curriculum planning

Our School Year Theme: Mastery and Love of Learning

It's going to be a great year!

I say that with a little bit of caution in my heart, because I have this hope at the start of every year, as I imagine everyone does. This is my 15th official year of homeschooling (starting back with kindergarten for Max), but really almost 21 years, as we homeschooled from birth. This is a reminder to myself that I am not an inexperienced newbie, I have some understanding of how this works, which I guess is the reason for caution. I also have understanding and experience of years that haven't worked: many years' plans not completed and not as enthusiastically received by all my children, or some have learning hurdles that can not be ignored, and hijack and detour a whole school year or another unplanned interruption like a baby or a move.

I also know if I try to follow someone else' philosophy, or plans,  I fail. I have the best years when I follow my gut and get in a groove with my kids, not worry about anyone peeking in the window and judging our progress. I have had early and very late progress with every subject with the kids. Comparison can bring a year to a halt, learning struggles can hurt a student's esteem and make everyone feel like failures. My goal is to fiercely protect while actively cheering them on, encouraging and giving mine who struggle opportunities for success.

This year I am boldly clearing my shelves, giving myself permission to start fresh in any or all subjects; to look at each subject with a fresh perspective, and begin anew, not continue where we didn't finish last year, review basics and prioritize rote learning in areas for mastery.

I have four school aged students this year plus an intellectual stimuli needy, very vocal three year old in the house. I will not be working on an outside job officially, just having outside responsibilities for volunteer positions for activities some of my children are already involved in. I have learned to budget time in my schedule for these activities as well.

I am limiting demanding outside activities, with the hopes of adding in spontaneous days when those arise. I want surprised joy filled days sprinkled in throughout the year and to be prepare so we won't say No to activities with friends.

So, looking at youngest to oldest,  this is my starting point. I may tweak and change as the years progresses.

Lilly - 3 years old
picture books, loosely using Five in a Row methods of favorite books. She joins in on most activities, including craft days and art projects. I'll renew the zoo membership, she will visit monthly while the older kids have science days.
Puzzles, games and toys. Lilly has developed an incredible imagination, and is quite social. I want her to spend time playing with her hands, beading,  building train tracks, blocks,  all size puzzles. She doesn't usually initiate this play on her own, but will spend hours with someone along side.
Learning prayers, working on adding some Catechesis type activities and prayer/atrium area in school room.

Cecilia - 8 years old
Getting past her reading challenge will be our focus, keeping it unstressed, building her confidence.
Cecilia will also listen to books with Lilly, and some that interest her and with the older kids. She has a stack of books she wants to listen to just for fun ( I call that school too).
Continue working on her book. She started narrating a book to me about three little girls and wants to illustrate it and have it bound.
Religion: Catechism and saints, sitting in with my First Communion class as a helper.
Math: MCP 3 & flash card challenges
CHC Spelling workbooks
CHC map workbook
CHC Language of God for English grammar - (not starting at first...)
Writing/ Narration notebook 
Handwriting/Copywork, of her own picks.
Texas History - books, activities & field trips with her siblings
CHC Artpak & craft projects with friends
Music appreciation: various classical, Music Masters and Beethoven's Wig
physical fitness: soccer, bike riding
homemaking skills: cooking, hand made gifts
Science: books & museum science days, participate with experiments with older kids.

Euly  -11 years old
Religion - Confirmation preparation, Catechism & Scripture studies
Math finish 6/5, start 7/6, BTS, speed multiplication and division facts
CHC Geography Map Skills
Memoria English grammar
CHC English phonics/Spelling
English vocabulary with Latin First Form
Writing - Lingua Mater
Handwriting & Calligraphy
Texas History  - books, activities & field trips with her siblings
CHC Artpak & craft projects with friends
Music appreciation:  various classical, Music Masters and Beethoven's Wig

Nicholas 14 years old
extra curricula for curricula: scouting. Nick will have a few eagle required badges to complete this year, including cooking. He will begin work on his eagle project, something at our new parish grounds, most likely having to do with fencing  the animals.
Religion: Serious discussions on the faith, his understanding of their faith, altar serving, teen evening apologetics with Father, seriously embrace what is assigned for Confirmation preparation, Catechism & Scripture studies
Math: finish Algebra 1/2, start Algebra I, speed multiplication and division facts
CHC Geography Map Skills
Memoria English grammar
English phonics
English vocabulary with Latin vocabulary
Writing CHC Poetry studies/ Memoria Composition
Handwriting & Calligraphy
Texas History books, activities & field trips
CHC Artpak <- he's not impressed, will add something else
Music appreciation
Violin lessons & orchestra

Molly senior year
Math College class
Sociology - College Class
Economics - various studies
Physics & lab work
Literature Study of Dante's Inferno with Teaching Company lectures
Violin lessons & Orchestra
Graduate in spring