Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Homeschool Planning

I have been busy in my spare time (ha!) planning and getting ready to homeschool.  I think we are going to end up being an eclectic bunch.  What I really love most about the idea of homeschooling is that we will really be able to cater to the kids' individual interests and needs.  Because of my experience teaching and owning The Teacher Store, I am pretty familiar with a lot of curriculum.  However, there are still several things out there to learn about and I'm having a great time reading and exploring.
Jackson is a good student and on target academically, so there isn't really anything to worry about at this point.  That makes life easier.  When I asked him what he wanted to learn about, he told me oceans and Spanish.  So, we'll be starting in the fall with thematic unit on oceans.  We'll incorporate our reading, writing, math and science, of course,  into the ocean theme.  I'm going to use Jeanie Fulbright's Young Explorer Series: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day for the backbone in our science discussions and activities.  We'll supplement with books from the library and other things as well. 
I'm going to try to take him to The Summit for Spanish classes each day, if they are available.  I taught at The Summit this year and they have a great K-4 Spanish program that Jackson loves.  Hopefully, we can take advantage of their expertise in that area! 
We've got Sequential Spelling, Horizons Math and Shurley English to cover the rest of language arts and math.  For social studies, we are going to focus on American history and symbols.  Of course, we won't be glued to any of these sets of curriculum.   I'll change it up and add lots of stuff along the way.  I think we are going to have a great time!  I'm excited to have the opportunity to do what I love most with the kids I love most in the world.  It's a great feeling as a teacher when you know you have done your job and your students "get it".  I'm really looking forward to having those experiences with my own boys.
We will also study one artist and composer at a time.  I'm thinking we'll stick with the same ones for six weeks or so, but we'll see how that goes.  We'll do these activities as a family whenever possible, so that the younger ones get lots of great exposure.  Actually, Carter and Harrison will be able to participate with any or all of our activities as much as they can and as they are interested.  I can't imagine what they'll learn just from being with their older brother.  I'm excited to see what progress we'll make!
I've been doing quite a bit of reading about Charlotte Mason, who was an educator in England at the turn of the 20th century.  One of her primary focal points was spending a large amount of time outside studying and observing nature.  We are going to try to incorporate this as well.  Hopefully, our time outside exploring will encourage the boys' natural curiosity and help foster their scientific minds.  I think they'll enjoy it.  I need to gather up some field guides to keep handy.
I think it's a good plan to start with.  And, of course, another benefit of homeschooling is that if it doesn't work or if we're not happy - we'll change it!  Some of you may be wondering about our social interaction, but that's too much for one post.  Tomorrow, I'll tell you about what we'll be doing when we're not at home. 

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