Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Plans Plans Plans

Well, I'm not finished with my plans for the year yet. So far, I've gotten my 13 year old's plan, and my 11 year old's as well. My 13 year old is beginning high school work, while my 11 year old is going to have another victorious year overcoming dyslexia. My six year old self-starter was the easiest, so that's done too. It's my nine year old that I still need to figure. He's average to above average on everything and I have to find just the right literature for him and figure out how to challenge him to move up a notch, without discouraging his joy and love for reading, history and science. It's a delicate balance.

I've been putting detailed plans into an excel file for the kids to follow on their own. As Jay Ryan says in his fabulous blog post, our goal is to teach our children to be...oh! what was that word again?... hold on, I'll go check.

...I'm back. The word is autodidacts (self learners). I didn't realize there was such a highbrow word for how I teach. Anyway, I compile the plan and meticulously outline it in excel for them to follow on their own. Once it's all outlined for them, I simply facilitate the process and make sure they are reading and doing by asking for narrations and looking over their work.

Of course, there are some subjects I have to teach - and some subjects I love to teach - but as a general rule, my readers will read to learn most of their subjects and then teach me what they learned by narration (That way I still get to learn what they learned, but I learn through their narrations).

This will also be the first year that the boys will read from several different history resources in one day. This is because their reading has just now blossomed. Narration will be the most valuable and necessary part of each day. Narration has finally become a habit! This habit was acquired because I actually put it in their schedule as something they had to check off after they checked off their reading. So, after reading from science or history, they would check off the work; then they would come, narrate their reading, and check that off too. Now it's an automatic habit to orate what they have read.

I begin every day with devotions, prayer and worship. I haven't picked our devotional book this year. Last year we read through and studied A Purpose Driven Life and A Life God Rewards for Teens. This year, I would like to do something by Henry Blackaby, such as Experiencing God.

I'll begin with my plan for the youngest (6), the 11 year old and then the oldest (13). I hope to have my 4th grader figured out soon.

1st Grade Plans

Monday she will go to Master's Academy of Fine Arts to do Art, Music and Drama centered around an Ancient World theme.

The rest of the week:
1. Saxon Phonics 1st grade (A great intensive phonics curriculum)
2. Math U See Beta
3. English for the Thoughtful Child (This will alternate days with copywork/dictation)
4. Copywork (I'm creating a copywork book just for her based on Scriptures I want her to know)
5. Dictation (Using same copywork book)
6. Mystery of History and several assigned historical fiction books to read and notebook.

She loves to cut and paste, so I may get some materials for her to make minibooks, lapbooks or something out of her learning in addition to notebooking. This will keep her occupied as the other kids work later into the afternoon.

6th grader

We are doing a great job of overcoming dyslexia. I believe this will be a landmark year. I think we're going to finally say, "We got it!" when this year is up. We've made a lot of progress, and now that he can "see" the words correctly, it's time to go back and relearn phonics again. So, we'll be doing Saxon Phonics Intervention - which will reteach all that he missed when he was seeing the words upside down, inside out and backwards and driving me bananas because I thought he was just lazy.

On Monday he will attend Master's Academy of Fine Arts to do Art, Music and Drama centered around an Ancient World theme. He will also take a human anatomy art class on another day.

The rest of the week:

1. Saxon Phonics Intervention - this includes 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. Latin - Lively Latin - I'm so excited about this! It looks so straightforward!
5. Science - we'll do another year of my science, Robotics and Computer Technology
6. The second half of the year, I plan to begin IEW with him if we have made the progress I hope with reading and spelling through Phonics Intervention.
7. History - Diana Waring's wonderful and highly recommended CD's along with some sprinklings of Mystery of History and a ton of assigned reading on Ancient History. He'll especially love any books that have war, battles and weaponry - I've got quite a few picked out. I'll list them if you want.

My three younger children will do the core of history together (Waring and Mystery), but they will all have different novels to read each day based on their reading level and interests. My oldest is entering high school and will be working to prepare for the CLEP tests. So her curriculum will center around the various CLEP, AP and DANTES tests we plan to take to get her a college degree early (so that she can be the only young professional ballerina with a college degree. LOL). She's technically supposed to be in 8th grade, but she's ready for high school in most every subject. So, we're counting it as the 9th grade year.

9th Grader

Everyday, she will be train for ballet 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours at night, except Monday when she will attend Artios (Master's Academy's art program for high schoolers).

1. Cambridge Latin (Plans to take the AP Latin exams as a 12th grader and this program is highly rated for preparing them to do well on these exams. I prefer Latin over Spanish because I don't speak Spanish.)
2. Essay and Research Paper Workshops
3. Analytical Grammar (She'll do the full course in one year)
4. Cursive Copywork (She still prefers print, so I'm trying to intervene with this. I'm creating a cursive book just for her using Scriptures that are important to know.)
5. Literature and History - Sonlight Core 100 (This American History focus will help prepare her for the US History I and US History II CLEP exams this summer. I added Uncle Tom's Cabin to the list of books she'll read and we'll study other resources, including Rea's to prepare).
6. Algebra I - either using A Fresh Approach or Video Text. I'm leaning towards A Fresh Approach because it is SO well written and explains algebra better than anything I've seen. I am vacillating, though, because she is such an auditory learner and I know she would benefit from hearing someone teach the course. We'll begin with A Fresh Approach and if it works well, we'll stick with it. I'll report back on this.
7. Apologia Physical Science (She's not very interested in science except as it relates to the anatomy of ballet. Though in every other area she is working a year ahead, she'll do Apologia's 8th grade course and we'll probably count it as a high school credit. One day, she'll take the Natural Sciences CLEP & Biology CLEP. However, I will make her take Chemistry anyway because I think every kid must have chemistry in high school.

Okay, that's it! Now I need to figure out who the next Rockin' Girl Bloggers are!

Rockin Girl Blogger

Well, I've been pressured into posting another blog by my friend JayfromCleveland, who gave me a rockingirlblogger award. Jay, by the way, authored an incredible Astronomy Curriculum that I highly recommend (for middle school and above) students. I've had it on my to-do list to review this amazing piece of work which truly gives students a thorough understanding of classical astronomy. They'll never look at the sky the same way again. I promise to review it soon. In the meantime, since I've completed Zoology 3, I've been doing experiments to make sure they work, cleaning the neglected house (months of neglect certainly shows and sometimes stinks - literally, as in the case of my boy's bathroom), and talking to my daughter six times a day on the phone; she had the honor of being selected to dance at the Washington Ballet for five weeks this summer (part of training to become a professional ballerina).

Additionally, I've been having a total blast planning for next year's homeschool adventure. No matter how long I've homeschooled, choosing books, resources, videos, curricula, making schedules on excel, discussing options with the kids and finalizing their educational plans for the year never ceases to thrill me to the very bones. I'm a homeschool nerd, I admit it.

So, what are the plans for next year? I'll tell you as soon as I get back from the pool; the kids are standing around me in bathing suits with towels in hand, flip flops on, looking forlorn. I can't concentrate with their big eyes staring at me so.

When I return, I'll also give my five rockin girl blogger picks as well.