I am putting the final touches on our school year plan. Actually, most of it has been planned since February or March! (I was a little excited to get started) I spent some time evaluating what worked well last year, what I hoped for this coming year, and from a practical standpoint, what I could actually be consistent in implementing.
Things I learned last year:
One thing that worked very well last year was to start gradually. Unfortunately we started school in September so starting things gradually left us with more to do in the spring. This year, we will be starting our school studies in August so by the time CC rolls around, nearly every subject will be up and running. I also learned that I don't have a ton of time to plan during the school year, and so it really needs to be done in full prior to starting (history projects planned ahead, science experiments, field trips, books to borrow and when, etc.). The last thing I learned that worked well was to have one subject that was electronic in format. Our family tries to limit the use of media, especially in education since I think it detracts from their overall learning process sometimes. However, our phonics program last year (which we loved – Discover Intensive Phonics) was on the computer. It only took 15 minutes for a lesson, but since the student was coached through it, it gave me 15 minutes to teach an alternating subject to a different student. Then they would switch! This certainly made our school day flow better. I do think you need to be careful that whatever product you are using for this is not a game, but truly educational. The kids will also enjoy the change in format from the table to the computer, to the piano, and back to the table again, etc.
Things that did not work so well last year:
My planner essentially became a place where I recorded what we did, rather than what we were going to do. While this didn't make us failures, we certainly could have had a richer school experience if I did a little more planning in advance. This year, I will be scheduling everything out using My School Year online planner. Watch the demo videos to get an idea of what the program can do. I love that I can print out a report by student of what is to be done that week – it's like having the layout of a pre-prepackaged curriculum, but the flexibility to pick all of the resources and set up your schedule however you want. I can schedule days off, or skip a day if we need to catch up. Plus, getting everything loaded into the program forces me to have everything planned ahead of time. TIP: The website doesn't mention this, but I would suggest that you add one student as "Family" and record everything you study together. Not only does it give you a better idea of what you will need to have organized as the teacher, but it also means you only have to go to one place to record that it was completed, rather than recording it for multiple students.
So here is a list of our subjects and the resources we will be using:
|Becca (8)||Robby (6)||Ryan (3+)||Whole Family||Comments|
|Bible Reading||A Child's Story Bible|
|Scripture Memorization & Bible Study||Memorize Westminster Shorter Catechism Songs (from Veritas Press) and We Choose Virtues||
Correlates to the Ten Commandments
(See CC PLAN)
|Leading Little One's to God (nighttime)||Loved it so much last year, we are doing it again!|
|Character Studies||We Choose Virtues||Can't wait to use this resource over and over and over again!|
|Phonics & Spelling||All About Spelling Level 2 & 3||Discover Intensive Phonics||
Discover Intensive Phonics is a program that we use on the computer. It is very in-depth. The student marks the word on the screen with all of the sound symbols and knows why the word makes that sound, not just how to read.
We love All About Spelling. Simple lessons with lots of repetition!
|Copywork||Classically Cursive Book II;||Also, during the second 12 weeks of CC A Child's Geography has a copywork component.|
|Creative Writing & Grammar||
|Draw & Write Through History||We will be using D&W prior to the start of the CC year.|
|Math||Math-U-See Beta||Math-U-See Alpha|
|Memory Work||Classical Conversations Foundations Program and My Memory Work Lapbooks|
|History||We will also be meeting with a group twice a month for larger, more advanced history projects (with someone more crafty than I am!) I will also have Becca narrate our history study to me, and then she will re-write it. She will combine that with her coloring page into a binder covering this year's history studies! This will also help reinforce punctuation usage and basic grammar!|
|Science||A Child's Geography (see CC PLAN science)||This resource is PHENOMENAL! All written from a Christian worldview about studying the world we live in that brings us back to Him!|
|Foreign Language||Mango Spanish||Mango Spanish||This online program is absolutely free, made available by our library system! We log-in, and go! It keeps track of where the student ended, and clarifies the pronunciation of words through audio reinforcement.|
|Piano||Music for Little Mozarts, Level 2 & 3||Music for Little Mozarts, Level 1 & 2|
|Geography||A Child's Geography (See CC PLAN)||This is absolutely WONDERFUL for this year! It also coincides PERFECTLY with the second 12 weeks of CC science!!! See CC PLAN|
My Orchestra Lapbook & Study Guide (this is last year's version – a version covering the CC Cycle 1 composers will be released in a few months!)
Also See CC PLAN
|I am currently working on the new orchestra resource for this year, available to communities and individuals again. More to follow at a later date!|
|Extra Projects||My Memory Work Lapbooks||This will be the main way we review our memory work! So excited to use these!|
|Read-Alouds||Lamplighter Books & Also See CC PLAN||Hubby gets 2 books a month via monthly subscription. We just try to keep up!|
See CC PLAN
Becca reads fanatically, so she will be reading many, many, many, many chapter books like the Betsy-Tacy series, A Year of Miss Agnes, Homer Price, The Ralph Mouse series, poetry, and many others!
I am soooo excited to get started! (Good thing – we start on the first few subjects next week!). I am printing off my semester plan from My School Year this weekend. I will begin training the 7 year old how to look at her binder for her assignments and complete them without as much direction. I think this will pay off down the road….
What about you? What is the one resource you are looking forward to using the most this upcoming school year?