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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Plans Plans Plans

When making plans for our homeschool each year, I always took into account each child’s needs, goals, interests, personality, and learning style. My oldest was an independent learner and my youngest a self-starter. One was overcoming dyslexia and the other was average to above average in everything. The goal was always to challenge my children to move up a notch academically without discouraging their joy and love of learning. It was a delicate balance.

I would create detailed plans and meticulously outline them in an excel file for the kids to follow on their own. As homeschool dad Jay Ryan said in one of his blogs, “Our goal is to teach our children to be autodidacts (self learners).” I didn't realize there was such a highbrow word for how I taught. Once the plans were laid out, I simply facilitated the process and made sure my children were reading and completing their assignments by asking for narrations and looking over their work.

Of course, there were some subjects I had to teach—and some subjects I loved to teach—but as a general rule, my children read to learn most of their material, then taught me what they learned through narration. I included narration in their weekly schedules and required they check it off after they checked off their reading. It became an automatic habit to orate what they had read. Narration was a permanent fixture in the Fulbright homeschool plan!

Here are examples of three of my children’s homeschool plans:

1st Grader Plan

Monday:
Go to Master's Academy of Fine Arts for Art, Music, and Drama centered around an Ancient World theme.

Tuesday through Friday:
1. Saxon Phonics 1st grade -
 A great intensive phonics curriculum
2. Math U See Beta
3. English for the Thoughtful Child -
 I alternated days with copywork/dictation
4.
 Copywork - I created a copywork book just for her based on Scriptures I wanted her to know.
5. Dictation -
 Using the same copywork book
6. Mystery of History and several assigned historical fiction books to read and notebook

At this age my daughter loved to cut and paste, so I purchased materials for her to create
minibooks and lapbooks of her learning in addition to notebooking. This kept her occupied as the other kids worked later into the afternoon.



6th Grader Plan

Monday:
Go to Master's Academy of Fine Arts for Art, Music, and Drama centered around an Ancient World theme.

Tuesday through Friday:
1. Saxon Phonics Intervention -
 This included reading/spelling/grammar and writing.
2. Teaching Textbooks 6
 - TT for the younger grades is very well done.
3.
 Copywork/Dictation - A vitally important component for overcoming dyslexia.
4. Lively Latin -
 Very straightforward.
5. Young Explorer Series science - Robotics and computer technology added in
6.
IEW - The second half of the year after making progress with reading and spelling through the Saxon Phonics Intervention.
7.
Diana Waring's wonderful and highly recommended History CD's - Along with some sprinklings of Mystery of History and a ton of assigned reading on Ancient History. 
8. Human anatomy art class out of the home

My three younger children did the core of history together (Waring and Mystery) but all had different novels to read each day based on their reading level and interests.

9th Grader Plan

Everyday, she trained for ballet 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours at night, except Mondays when she attended
 Artios (Master's Academy's art program for high schoolers).

1.
 Cambridge Latin 
2.
 Writeathome.com Essay and Research Paper Workshops
3.
 Analytical Grammar - She did the full course in one year.
4.
 Cursive Copywork - Because she preferred print, I created a cursive book just for her using Scriptures that are important to know.
5.
 Sonlight Core 100 Literature and History - The American History focus helped prepare her for the US History I and US History II CLEP exams. She read Uncle Tom's Cabin and other resources, including Rea's to prepare.
6.
 Video Text for Algebra I - Because she was such an auditory learner and benefitted from hearing someone teach the course.
7. Apologia Physical Science - An 8th grade course but we counted it as a high school credit.

I hope these thoughts and sample plans provide some valuable insight as you prepare for the new homeschool year.