Well! It’s been over a month since the homeschool convention and yesterday I finally got all the new materials unpacked and put away. In the process I discovered that I had already forgotten about some of the things I had purchased!
No big surprise there- the convention was two very full days of input and I knew I was buying somethings based on my gut and would figure out exactly how they fit in later. Also the rest of the month of June was CRAZY busy so I haven’t really thought about school plans since then.
One of the things I’m planning to do (and have most of the materials for) is to teach two units of history to F and Su (and perhaps some others too?). One unit will be about the Age of Exploration as I feel like that’s a good place to jump into history. Children in the the lower elementary grades are fascinated by maps and learning about a dozen or so explorers should give us LOTS of opportunities to draw maps, color maps, see how the map of the world developed and so on…
The other unit will follow from that and will focus on the first two settlements in the English colonies (Roanoke and Jamestown). We’ll take a field trip (or maybe more than one)to Jamestown as that’s close by and do some model building and map making as well as discuss the differences between the two settlements and why one succeeded eventually while the other one failed.
I found some really neat materials at the convention with lots of hands-on activities: rope tying, cooking, science experiments … and of course materials for a timeline.
I’m planning to make one on the dining room wall (where the US map is now for our summer geography study) and add to it as we study the various periods. I find timelines to be a helpful visual for me and I’m learning that putting things like that up in the dining room means that we do a great deal of casual learning when we gather for meals!
In addition to the history units I’m planning on two units of science for each child. F and Su have different interests and at this point I’m mostly focused on helping them identify their interests and passions so I’ll end up doing different things with the two of them although I’m sure we’ll do a lot of the experiments together. F is going to do one on weather (I found a really neat book at the library with projects for building an amateur weather station!) and one on simple machines. Su will do one on plants and one on nerves and organs of the human body (building on her skeleton study from last year). Again I don’t want to overwhelm them but I do want to give them the chance to try things that relate to what we already know they are interested in in order to expand their understanding or their world and themselves. I try to make sure that the facts they learn are accurate and accessible but I also teach them some things that I know they will understand better in a few years.
I don’t have to do a lot of planning for their core curricula- we just work through the books for the grade they are in and then move on to the next grade- but I do try to map out when I expect us to reach certain places in the book. That is mostly for my benefit, I need to know about when they will be able to do certain things as I plan the non-core units.
All of this adds up to a great deal of planning, so that’s what I’m up to these days during nap-time. Me and the schoolbooks, a glass of water and a calender, figuring out what we’re going to do in two months!