It’s that time of the year; last day of school for most students in the America. For our family, it’s time to decide what we are using for next year. We are year-round homeschoolers which means we will not be taking the traditional 3 month summer break. Oh the horror of it all!! I am not giving the kids a summer vacation? What type of a mother am I anyway? BAHA!
Why Choose Year-Round Schooling? My answer: Why not! The 9 months in school/3 months out of school is the result of early American agriculture where the kids were needed on the farm during prime growing months. We are no longer an agricultural society, so why do we hang on to the 9/3 school year? One thing I’ve learned about schooling is that my children enjoy frequent breaks when burnt-out. Also, if we don’t use certain skills (such as writing and math) frequently they are often forgotten and we have to review. It seems to me that our society would be better served by changing to a year-round school (thus having SHORTER days of school, more retention of skills, and natural vacation periods). At least that’s what works for OUR FAMILY!
“School” Starts July 5th. We will take a break the first week that everyone is going back to school. We will probably take a break for the holidays. (Note: we will still be doing math & reading & writing). We will go from January to Late March and take a couple weeks break. Then we will go April to Mid June and take another couple weeks break for planning the next year!
I have tried a lot of different things our first year (2010-11) trying to figure out what works for my children. I have not pushed them very hard because I wanted to take them through the process of deschooling while maintaining their previously acquired skills. They recommended 1 month for each year of formal schooling. For the Boy that would be 7 months. Basically, the kids completed an entire 12 months (if you count vacations) from the last day of formal school. It’s time to start learning. I think they are ready…now am I ready? We shall see
Our Homeschool Mission: To provide an environment of learning wherein the children learn to walk in their individual paths created by their Creator; to understand the basic beliefs of a follower of Christ; to appreciate the beauty of Creation and learn to become good stewards of the Earth and environment; to understand the role America plays in the global environment; to develop an appreciation for the classics of art and music; to explore science as an explanation of how God’s Creation works; to develop character traits and integrity; to learn the importance of history as a tool of understanding current events and future events; and to acknowledge the rights of individuals to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”. Although we are followers of Christ, we do not intend our schooling to embrace our faith as a focus.
Our Learning Style: Our children have a tendency to be hands-on or kinesthetic learners. This is becoming more challenging with the Boy entering the “8th grade”.
Our Philosophy: We are unit study, Charlotte Mason, Relaxed Leaning Homeschoolers, AKA “Eclectic”.
So, What Curriculum will you use?
You mean textbooks? We don’t use textbooks…except for the core subjects. The rest we will use books, internet, encyclopedias, people we know, experiences, and REAL LIFE!
You mean resources…ah that we have plenty!
MATH: Each kid will be using Teaching Textbooks. This is one area that I need the kids to be able to be independently learning and all three asked to use this program. To save money, I’ve purchased them from eBay after I sold some of our curriculum we did not use last year.
LANGUAGE ARTS: There is no one “LA” curriculum. We are going to use Daily 6-Traits Writing, Sequential Spelling and Write Source. Most of the learning of grammar, writing, composition and communication will come from our daily readings of Bible, History, Science and Current Events. The Bear will continue learning Getty-Dubay Italics. Missy is improving her cursive skills. All three children need extensive guidance in writing and spelling. My goal is to get Bear to write one essay a month, Missy 2 a month and The Boy 4 a month.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE: The Boy will be using Rosetta Stone Spanish. The girls will have a basic Spanish introduction using a workbook I purchased from Goodwill. We will also learn basic words in each language of the civilizations we study this year (Hebrew, Egyptian, Greece, Italian).
SCIENCE: The Boy will be finishing up Real Science 4 Kids Chemistry II this summer. In the fall he will begin a Physical Science course. I’m still researching this as I cannot find one that I feel is not too secular or too religious for our objectives. The girls will be learning Botany, Zoology, Human Anatomy, Chemistry and Earth Science in unit studies that coordinate with our ancient history studies. We will incorporate “The Nature Connection” (affiliate link) by Clare Walker Leslie. We will observe the life cycle of meal worms, ants, butterflies and fish. We will have a garden. Missy will be learning about horses as a unit study. We will continue astronomy observations with our telescope. Our goal with science is to make it as hands-on as possible and use living books to learn the facts.
HISTORY: I decided that I was going to start at the beginning. We are going to learn about dinosaurs, the difference between old and new earth creationism vs theistic evolution, adaptation vs made-from-nothing evolution theories, and just when time is supposed to have begun. Ancient World History will be paralleled with the history in the King James Version Bible. Again, our plan is to be as hands-on as possible.
I have combined the scopes from Tapestry of Grace, Heart of Dakota, and Story of the World to create our yearly outline. We also considered My Father’s World (we used ECC this year) CTG but decided that we wanted to be able to choose our own history and science resources without the religious bents. It means more planning for me, but allows for greater flexibility. As the year goes on I will share the resources we have chosen to use.
HEALTH: We will be finishing a unit on health, hygiene and nutrtion with the girls. The Boy will be completing a Life Skills class.
ART: We will be completing a pastels how-to book, most of our projects are artistic in nature. We also have always encouraged the kids to draw, paint, sculpt and create for free time.
MUSIC: Each kid will be learning an instrument. We are still finalizing this. History of music will be taught along with civilizations.
PERSONAL FINANCE: We will be using Money Matters for Kids by Larry Burkett to teach the kids stewardship of money.
ELECTIVES: Missy has opted to take a sewing class. The Boy will be learning computer language. Also, all 3 want a cooking class. I will be creating those as we have time.
BIBLE/FAITH: Each day the kids pray at meals and read a devotional. We attend weekly bible studies in our home. We listen to praise and worship music. We pray for needs of others as they are brought to our attention. We use the King James Version Bible for our bible studies. However, all three children have individual children’s version that they can read on their own. Furthermore, we have several versions in our home. We will begin to incorporate all versions to help the kids learn how to read the Bible and figure out the meanings of the word. We will memorize the books of the Bible. The Boy will learn to use a Concordance, Bible Dictionary and Bible Gateway.com. The history of the Hebrew or Israelites will be explored as we study Gentile World History. We will be memorizing scriptures weekly. We hope to finish a study of the Beatitudes, The Ten Commandments and Philippians 4:8 (things to think on).
COMMUNITY SERVICE: We have joined a homeschool volunteer co-op. Every other month we will be volunteering at the food bank.
SOCIALIZATION: We are always socializing, with all ages. Not an issue. Never has been.
Well, that’s our plans so far. This is WAY more than I had planned at the beginning of last year. I feel more confident than I did 12 months ago. I’m excited to continue learning with my children and look forward to watching them grow into the people they were born to be!
Linked to the 2011 Curriculum Fair by Simple Homeschooling!