2016-2017 homeschool plans

October is an atypical month to discuss homeschool planning. Typical is at the end of April, when the end of a year is near completion, and a homeschool conference is around the corner. Or at the beginning of August when the start of the next year is just around the corner. But October? Aren’t we in the thick of the year?

At the point where we’ve spent a few weeks working on our plans, and we’ve ironed out the multitasking wrinkles, then we can take stock of how our plans are working. What I’m learning is…

Change it up every day. Writing projects can vary from pre-purchased curriculums teaching essays and research papers to spending time free writing stories or poetry writing exercises. Really there are endless possibilities here. And when those get ordinary, we can change those up too.

Focus on math mastery. Not just getting the workbook done. Time will be spent incorporating manipulatives, with or without the math program, perhaps Khan Academy videos, or Pinterest activities. Whatever gets the ideas of multiplying and dividing fractions firmly into the minds of my kiddos. Or the concept of area. Or multiplication facts. And this year, I’ll find the book “Explore Math Art” by C. Ford Brunetto. A creative way to engage fractions.

Don’t spend endless hours doing each subject. Quick changing intervals between subject areas can quell boredom…a concept utilized by Charlotte Mason. But when the kids are in a groove, let them flow with that too.

Second language study. Reinforce Latin concepts that were learned last year. Latin is a challenging language. The third year in and I’m finally coming to understand what declining a noun means. Since it’s not a spoken language, like our French study, no worries on getting pronunciation right. Whereas French, spoken in France, Quebec or the local French school, requires a certain savoir faire in pronunciation. At home we’ll keep exposing ourselves to French through the Ecoutez Parlez program.

Project Time. Reading through Lori McWilliams Pickert’s “Project Based Homeschooling” reminds me of many books on unschooling. But with a schedule. (Confused face inserted here). Let the kids plan activities around their interests, but pursue them on a regular basis. This is an impetus for completing the kids scheduled studies, as they can then do project time. Research on lemurs, DIY their study space, write their resumes or cooking blogs, write their stories and plan for Thanksgiving dinner. There are certain things I want my children to be exposed to, but it is in the pursuing of their own interests that they learn to problem solve and develop the quickest learning.

Teach Notetaking. During our collective history or science reading, we read together. Notetaking encourages listening. And they are guaranteed to need this skill in post secondary school all the way to marriage. It helps that we incorporate the things we’ve learned into a Jeopardy game each Friday. They win skittles instead of cash, so they’re motivated.

Daily current events discussion. We’ll open Twitter or the Globe and Mail app or give the kids a stack of news magazines: Macleans, The Economist, and Newsweek. Ask them to highlight the who, what, where, when and why and discuss the main thrust of the article. Might be one of the best ways to increase vocabulary too.

Obstetrics…at the request of two kiddos. We will delve deep in this area of physiology.  I’m not talking birds and bees discussion. We seem to routinely have those discussions, and in the oddest of locations, like a parking meter at the main street of our town. I’m talking 1st to 4th degree tears, prenatal development and footling breach rescues. Their dad has delivered enough babies to stir enough curiosity.

Explore Forces & Motion by Tom Derosa and Kooky Kitchen discovery box. One of my kiddos loves mixing stuff. Cleaning products are for more than cleaning in this house. We already own and have used the National Geographic Chemistry box set. Time to try something new.

We have more than a blog’s worth of learning possibilities. Knowing that books are the minimum to a rounded education, I’ll remember not to let the books get in the way of learning.