Saturday, 30 January 2010

Planning For Next School Year :: History and Science

I like to plan ahead and I also enjoy some time off during the summer instead of pouring over homeschooling manuals, books or catalogues! So, even though it's only the end of January, I am planning a little bit already for next school year.

Over the past four years, our approach to homeschooling has become eclectic.  I take a little bit from classical education, some from Charlotte Mason, and even some from unschooling! Mostly, I follow our interests while making sure we cover the main subjects. Math and Language Arts. My children could probably tell you that I am not flexible when it comes to these. They need to be done at least four days per week. I make sure that whatever curriculum we choose for math and LA is working for each child, but those subjects are mandatory.

Celeste will be starting grade 1 this coming September, she is fortunate to have a more relaxed and "experienced" homeschool mom than Andre had when he started his grade 1 four years ago!

Even though I know that my approach is more relaxed now, the fact that she is turning 6 does make me want to plan a little more for her, to be ready and organized. This year, she has been learning how to read, how to write, and a bit of early math with games and picture books, and she is also taking part in our Canadian Geography study. She joins us sometimes for art or science experiments. Mostly I follow her interests and her readiness. This year has been a very gentle approach to school for her, and so far it has worked, she has consistently been enthousiastic about learning. Most days she is the one asking to do her "school"! I have rarely had to ask her.

A couple of weeks ago, I picked up the third edition of the Well Trained Mind at our library, and have been writing a few notes to help me plan for next school year.

I have always found the Well Trained Mind to be a valuable reference. I started our homeschool adventure using the WTM almost to the letter...and burned out shortly after!

I have heard this comment before in homeschooling circles and also have learned over the years to take what I like from it and adapt it to our family.

One part that I appreciate is the approach to history, teaching it an a chronological manner has always made a lot of sense to me. I also like that science follows a 4 year rotation, just like history.
I have been making charts to try to figure out the progression for history and how to teach all 3 children at the same time. Adrienne and Andre are both working on medieval times this year, and for science we are doing chemistry.
I found this article to be very helpful: "Multiple Children" from the Well Trained Mind site. A shorter article about the same topic can be found here: Classical Pattern. It explains how to go about teaching all of them, and even gives examples.
For our family, next year we will cover Late Renaissance and Early Modern times. They will both be using the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia as a spine.  Celeste will start learning about history as well, with the Usborne History Encyclopedia. I will be reading to her at first, and then to all 3 a mixture of picture books and novels.  For suggestions, I can use the book lists sections of the Well Trained Mind book, and also online here and here. The links take you to living books lists. Living books are recommended by Charlotte Mason, they are insteresting books, books that engage you and make you want to read more. They are the opposite of "twaddle" books or "dumbed down" books. In our house we call twaddle books "junk books", just like we try to limit junk food and instead feed our bodies healthy, nutritious, and delicious foods; we also try to read books that are exciting, interesting, and engaging.

For science, next year we will be studying Physics. I will write another post about the resources I found shortly..This post is already long enough!

UPDATED : I will be adding a new section to my left sidebar for usefull links concerning teaching late renaissance/early modern history.
Here is one I found this morning that would be quite helpful:
weekly planning pages: sorted by historical time periods.

1 comment:

  1. I simply adore the way "The Well-Trained Mind" organizes the 4-year rotations of history, science, and literature. That is how we organize our homeschooling.

    We are also looking ahead to the next school year; as soon as we come to our next week-long break, I intend to sit down and get to work on planning. But I have been taking notes on a many things (books, curricula, etc.) as I read blogs and more.

    Planning for the next year seems to be the trend right now!


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