Benefitting From the Homeschool Convention

I’m planning to attend the Virginia Homeschool Convention in a few weeks and have been trying to make appropriate plans in order to maximize my time there. I went to the convention a couple of times as a “mother’s helper” when I was a teenager so I know how much input there is in the whole weekend and I’m only going for one day.

Accordingly I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about school for next year as well as our schedule in order to figure out what I need to look at/look for at the convention.

Schedule wise I’ve decided to move to a six weeks of school, one week of break, year-round schedule. This gives a nice time-frame for unit studies, breaks up the winter months when students and teachers tend to get somewhat tired of lessons, and gives us something to do during the summer when it gets too hot to be outdoors in the middle of the day. I’ve used this schedule before when I was running a homeschool co-op for our old church and really liked the way it kept school fresh, and gave scheduled time to catch up on the household stuff that we all get behind on when school is the top priority.

After making that adjustment I’ve been looking at what the children will study next year, and what curriculum and supplies we’ll need:

F: Finishes Rod and Staff First Grade in August, and goes on to Second Grade for the 2011-2012 school year.

His base curriculum covers Reading, Phonics, and Arithmetic. He’ll continue with those subjects in Second Grade and add Spelling and Handwriting as separate subjects.

I have most of his books on hand, but need to make sure I have enough reading material on hand and have chosen and copied extra drill sheets and so on ahead of time.

Su: Finishes Preschool this summer and moves into Rod and Staff First Grade in the Fall. Again I have most of her books, since I just went through the program with F but I’ll need to see what extra drill and so on she will need.

I do want to look at Math Manipulatives for both of them, I’m hoping to find some Cuisenaire rods at the used curriculum sale.

Enrichment Subjects: (Science, History/Social Studies, Geography, Music and Art)

Since F and Su are so similar in abilities and age I’m going to teach these subjects together at least until they start to develop individual interests. Most of these will be six week unit studies.

Science: F loves David Macaulay’s The New Way Things Work, so I’m designing at least one unit on simple machines and another one on Wave Energy (Heat, Light, Sound etc.). I’d also like to do a unit on birds and one on insects.? I’ll need to look at science equipment and at workbooks on various topics. I know Christian Light Education (CLE) has a second grade unit on birds that I want to look at.

Social Studies/History: I’m planning to mostly cover this via biographies at this point. I want to look for used copies of “The Childhood of Famous Americans” series at the used curriculum sale.

Geography: Continue with the study of the various states that we started this past year. I need to get a second copy of the United States Coloring Book we’ve been using and see if there are any inexpensive reproducibles out there for state flags…

Foreign Language: Although I’d really like to teach French or German I’m going to look hard at Memoria Press’s Prima Latina since Latin is a good building block and I haven’t found a French or German program for 1st grade that I like. I’ll be looking at other Foreign Language resources too.

Art: I’m not going to look for much in the way of art since I have a friend who will be working with them over the summer and I feel like my plate is pretty full already…

Now that you know what I need to do at the convention, read tomorrow’s post to find out how I plan to get all of that accomplished with smoke coming out of my ears!

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