Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Planning for 2010-11 :: History and Science

I have been planning for next school year for the last few weeks. I like reading other homeschool moms plans, so I thought I would share ours. This might take a couple of posts.

We are taking 1 month off, July, and will be starting our school year in August. I find that taking 2 full months off is too long for us. I talked to each one of my children about this and it was agreed to take one month off in the summer,  and take extra breaks during the school year. We take a few weeks off in December, and some long weekends too.

This coming year, I will have 3 school-age children. Celeste is 6, so she would be entering grade 1 in the regular school system. Andre is 11, grade 6. Adrienne will be 13 in a couple of weeks, so grade 8. Because we homeschool, I don't follow these grades too close. I tend to pay more attention to their abilities and knowledge, so some subjects might be higher than their actual grade level, others right on, and some a little lower than grade level if some catch up work needs to be done. That is one of the advantages of homeschooling, tailoring to each child. We also like to do some subjects together, and we do this for history, science, world geography, nature study, and art & music appreciation.

This little notebook (a present from one of my quilting swap buddies!) is where I keep all my notes for the upcoming school year. I like to write things out, always have...even though I could use the computer, I still prefer the old paper and pencil way. We are eclectic homeschoolers and I like to use a variety of curriculum. I use a few ideas from the Well Trained Mind classical education style, mostly for history and science. The chronological way of studying history has always made sense to me, so we are continuing on with it. We are almost finished Medieval times, and will be studying the Renaissance/Early Modern times. We will continue using History Odyssey level 2 from Pandia Press as a guideline.

Here is a small chart that I did to figure out which rotation of time period for history would work best for all of us. I wanted to make sure that no child would end up with a time period missing. This might have become an issue for Adrienne, since she only has a few years left. Following the Well Trained Mind way, there are 4 time periods for history:
Ancients (5000BC-400AD), Medieval (4001600), Renaissance/Early Modern (1600-1850), Modern (1850-present).

Using the History Odyssey as a guideline, we can study the same time period together. Celeste will be doing a light introduction, using the Usborne History Encyclopedia as a spine, while Adrienne and Andre will be using the level 2 guide with the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia as the main spine. We have really enjoyed learning history together using History Odyssey this past year. It includes writing assignments, along with lots of map work, time line work, and a lot of literature.

For science this coming year, we will not be using an actual curriculum. I am putting it together. I am following the cycle suggested in the Well Trained Mind again. We covered Chemistry using Noeo Homeschool Science this past year and while we were pleased with it, we knew we wanted to do something different this year.
The classical science rotation covers four main science fields, one per year, and repeats over the three stages of classical education (grammar, logic, rhetoric). Those four fields are biology, earth science and astronomy, chemistry, physics.
This coming year, we will be learning about physics. I am following the Well Trained Mind and keeping our study experiment-focused. We will still be keeping a notebook for lab notes on our experiments and definitions. We will start our year with the Physics Workshop from Thames & Kosmos. I have had a chance to look through the guide that came with the box and it has so much information, not just instructions on how to do the experiments. We will also be looking up corresponding pages in our Usborne Science Encyclopedia and using the suggested internet links from it.
Celeste will be participating with us, and I will be using the First Encyclopedia of Science as her spine.
We will be using a few smaller experiments kits later on the year, but this should keep us busy for a while!

For both subjects, history and science, we will be using our local library to supplement with reading. 
I enjoy planning out our year, and it is necessary. Trying to pull things out only that day or a couple days before just doesn't work for us. While we will be taking a break in july, I will be figuring out a daily schedule for us. I also have started going through the science and art & music appreciation topics and matching up library books or internet links. It might sound like a lot of work, but it has never felt like work to me because I love it!


  1. Nice planning! It always feels nice to sit down and figure it all out.

  2. Alex,

    Thanks for sharing your plans. We did Early Modern Level II this year and I thought it went pretty well. One of the areas I struggle with is the use of Kingfisher. Sometimes it just doesn't seem very clear, or give enough information. In that case I try to get some books from the library. But, sometimes even that fails. This year I ended up buying a World History textbook, just to have something if we couldn't find it at the library (The Enlightenment was a problem). I do like Pandia Press and we'll be doing Modern Level II this year (I have 2 boys 11 and 13). never seems to go as well as I have planned. But that doesn't stop me from planning! This year we are going to start with Chemistry using Ellen McHenry's Elements. I also want to do the Human Body which I had intended to do this spring. I'll be watching your blog to see how Physics goes.

    Thanks again for sharing.

  3. Even though I do not home school my kids I enjoy reading about your adventures in home schooling. You make it sound so easy!

    Enjoy your month off.



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