Thursday, March 11, 2010

The plan for our family school next year

How do you like my new term,family school?LoL! It just seems right to me when I say it. School, family,life it all sort of goes together for us!AnyWho,I have been in the process of planning our next year of family school. I knew that a lot of changes were coming to our school. I am pretty good with change. Being an Army wife kinda gets you used to that! Life for us changes A LOT! So I wasn't really worried or scared about the changes. I just felt a very strong need to pin down “the plan”.

Let me start by telling you  about some of those changes we will be having. First off and the one I knew was coming ahead of time is that my second son with be officially starting school this next year =0) Its an exciting exciting time for him and for me!

Another change was in our math curriculum. We have been using Saxon math since my oldest started school. He does well with it and picks things up fairly easily. The thing that  we are having an issue with is how fast saxon goes. You can be teaching 5 new concepts in two weeks.Then reviewing all the old stuff every lesson. The lessons are LONG! Like half an hour or more  if you do all the review. I knew what I wanted to change about math in our house.But I wasn't sure what curriculum would fit.

Science has always been unit studies for our family. I have never used a curriculum or anything like that. I am all about earth science and can put together a unit study for that no problem! My son however is showing a strong interest in, ok let me just say it, an OBSESSION with everything electronic and robotic. This is an area I have NO knowledge in! So I knew that we would be finding a new approach for science as well!

The other change thats come along is that  I have been learning about and am going to be implementing Charlotte Masons philosophys into our schooling.

So after researching,reviewing,praying and planning we have finally come up with “The plan”!

The new Charlotte Mason things we will be implementing are Artist and composer studies. With the whole family. Those will be kept fairly simple with music and books from the library as well as attempting the styles and art mediums used by the artist we are currently studying.

History will be starting a “family”  book of centuries and  starting a chronological study of history.If you are unfamiliar with Charlotte Mason or the concept of a book of centuries you can read about both HERE I had originally planned to study the basics of government next year. After some thought and discussion with the kids we all decided that going chronologically would be best. We will be using Susan Wise Bauer's Story of the world Volume 1(Ancient Times). I really like the story approach that Susan uses in her book. If you’d like to see her full series check them out HERE.

After looking at SEVERAL math curriculums I finally decided to go with Math-U-See. I’m happy with  the short lessons. I like that this curriculum works for mastery of a concept before moving on instead of introducing 5 concepts and expecting you to work on all five at once! I also LOVE that it comes with DVD’s for the teacher and student to watch for each lesson. I look forward to diving in to the primer level with Justin(5) and alpha with Isaiah(8).

I’ve found two wonderful things for science this year. One to use as a family and one specifically for Isaiah to use independently. The first is Noeo science :physics level 1. It sounds like a great science program that is very Charlotte Mason friendly. Here is what they have to say about their program:

“Noeo Homeschool Science is variety-filled, with a structure that is best described as a balance between the classical method and the Charlotte Mason approach.   We emphasize narration and summarization, vocabulary development, observation, and the scientific method.  We do not promote rote memorization or the worksheet and test methodology, as we think that
this approach is less valuable for long-term retention.”

I found another program that I knew would be perfect for Isaiah and decided it would be worth the cost to get especially for him.It is the Lego WeDo robotics kit.This is what Lego has to say about their product:

“Students will get their first introduction to robotics with the LEGO® Education WeDo™ Robotics Construction Set and Software Combo. They have the ability to build LEGO models with working motors and sensors with the WeDo Construction Set and learn how to program the models, use software media to acquire information, and use feedback to adjust a programming system output with the easy-to-use, drag-and-drop software interface.”

This is 100% Isaiah and 100% out of my realm of things! LoL!He will love it though I know because all he has talked about for months is learning how to build “Real working” robots! Buying two science programs this year, both of which are a bit pricey was at first a concern. But after lots of discussion with hubby and prayer we both came to the same conclusion. If we give Isaiah the tools to follow his interests he will learn SO much!When ever I prayed about it I just get this  feeling that he will learn  amazing amounts if we will just  give him what he needs to follow his interests.That is so exciting to me and totally worth the price tag.

For reading,language and writing we keep it simple. We read lots of great books.We will be using oral narration as a tool this year as well as a little (very little) written narration beginning for our oldest =0)

For what I call “religious studies” we don't buy anything at all. We simply read scriptures daily, discuss them, memorize verses with special meaning to our family and sing hymns together on a daily basis.

This is our plan so far for next year. I don’t think I could emphasized enough  that whenever we are planning and scheduling and looking at what to do in our family school we always start with prayer, pray clear through the process and end with prayer. God is the leader of our family and we try to find out what He has for  us and its truly amazing to see Him leading and directing us as we seek out his will for our family.


Tristan said...

Sounds like a great plan. I'll pray the robotics goes well for you. Ya know, if he gets into it then the next step up in Lego Robotics is Mindstorms, and there are competition groups and a league (muwahaha!).

Jennifer said...

If you haven't bought the MathuSee yet, hold off until you talk me. We bought the primer and Alpha for the girls at the beginning of the year and while Alexis thrived with Alpha (it was exactly what she needed to get a firmer grasp on remembering her math facts), Emily did not do well with the Primer. She was bored, (for little ones, it can be a bit dry), and when I looked at both books, it was my opinion you could jump right into Alpha and be fine once you are mature enough for sequential math lessons. They seemed to cover same stuff. For Emily we continue to do a hodgepodge of math activities and loosely follow the Singapore Kindergarten Math program, which is good for PreK as well as Kindergarten. If you still are interested in Primer set, you can feel free to look at the one I bought and even use it, if you want. (Although the first few pages of the workbook have been done, I think you could easily redo those on your own.) Let me know. :)

All American x5 said...

Sounds like you have got a great year planned so far.

I am trying to incorporate the classical and Charlotte Mason approach this coming year as well. It is rather exciting.

I am glad to know someone else is also attempting these things as well.

I hope to have fine tuned our plan for next year soon and will post it when i am done.

Let me know how you like Math U See. My boys do great with Saxon but my daughter gets so confused! It is frustrating for both of us. I need to find something different.

Have a great day!