Friday, April 6, 2012

Planning (part 2)

So when you have that whole nesting thing going on and can't actually do anything about it?

Plan the next school year.

Seriously- plans are made and books ordered.

I've done as much in Baby Girl's room as I can do without moving, lifting or bending in ways I shouldn't. Everything that can be washed or cleaned or prepared for her arrival has been, well... washed, cleaned or prepared.

So in the evenings when I have that urge to work on just about anything I've been focused in on finishing up school plans for this next school year. I had always intended to at least have plans written out before Baby came so that I wouldn't have to scramble to figure things out in May/June in order to start the year in July, but I didn't think I'd have everything done down to the week.

And trust me- these plans will change to some degree as we start to live them in July. But this next year is planned as a continuation of last year, not as a separate entity, so many of the things we began this year will flow into next year. It is so nice to know what is working and to be able to stick with it!

New This Year:

1. Adding Ezra as an official student. It's really just a formality with a little more work for me (since I have to actually track his hours and keep a portfolio for him this year) because his work will be remarkably the same as it was this past year. His main job is to go about the business of being a 5-year-old boy, but he is also very different than his brother and has been begging for his own handwriting book and to learn to read and to "PLEASE have a math journal!"
Who am I to say no to a request like that?

2. Focusing a little more on science and history for Ender. Our primary concern for first grade has been fostering mastery in handwriting, reading and math. Without those three things it's really difficult to move forward in other subjects, so that has really been the focus of the year. We do also read about people and within history and science topics, but it's been very informal and the first item marked off the list if time ran short on a school day.

I'm changing that this year, planning a few weeks to introduce and explore new topics in history and science followed by "time off" to allow us to follow whatever topics Ender finds particularly interesting,

3. And of course- Baby Girl. That's going to be a new one on all of us, and I'm looking forward to it!

4. A change in math program. We switched in January from Singapore to Saxon and Ender has been one happy math student since then. I *never* thought I'd use Saxon, mostly because I used it as a student all the way through school and as a seriously non-mathy gal just the cover of the book gives me shivers. For my very mathy son? Love at first sight. It makes sense to him with very little instruction from me and the workbook pages get right to the point.

Same as Always:

1. Sticking with the narration and copywork suggestions from Writing With Ease. We don't use the workbook because I like to use whatever literature, history topic or science topic we are currently using, but I'm easily able to keep up with choosing copywork for Ender. I plan to add some dictation in the second semester as long as Ender shows he is ready.

2. Using our own book lists for science and history topics and literature. I've looked at many many book lists and packaged curriculums and I just can't find precisely what I want. I don't like to be told what to read or do each day (and in fact I'll probably NOT do it just because I was "supposed" to...) and I truly do enjoy building the plans myself. I know many families love to be able to "open and go" with a program, and I do something similar- I just happen to build those daily plans myself.

3. Keeping our daily rhythm. Our morning includes time together and time working alongside each other on our individual projects. It works well for us so why change?


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