I can't believe we are starting our fifth year of homeschooling this year.It has been a wild, crazy, fun, blessed time and I'm excited for what is still to come. I share our yearly plans, programs, and curriculum on this blog for a couple reasons. The first is for my own records, believe it or not! Documenting everything here helps me stay focused and keeps a good photographic record of what we plan to study throughout the year. The second is to encourage and inspire (hopefully!) other home educators. I pray that as I humbly share my thoughts and plans, your heart might be stirred by even some small tidbit found here! I also know how tough it can be to find quality resources and curriculums, so I pray this might bless other families with some ideas!
We don't really follow 'grades' in our home, but for information sake, our children are, Simon (age 9), Audrey (age 7), and Alex (turns 6 September 5th).
So, in light of those thoughts, let's get started.
This year, we're doing something quite different in our homeschool. We are following much more closely a Charlotte Mason schedule with short lessons on a variety of interesting topics. This gives that wonderful 'smorgasbord' of information and inspiration that Mason spoke of so often.
Each child has their own large binder with dividers for individual subjects: Social Studies, History (this will also be in a separate binder for Mystery of History), Geography, Art and Art History, Music Studies, Poetry, and French. The children also have their Math books as well as separate Language Arts binders, which I talk about later in this post.
This is different from our typical unit study based set-up that we have followed in previous years.
The binders for the kids' core subjects.
For my planning, I use a large binder of my own with several dividers and sections. These include: Year at a Glance, Weekly Plans and Schedule, Canada Studies, Reading and Book Lists, Lesson Plans and Ideas, Co-op and Field Trip Plans, Charlotte Mason, and Five in a Row.
Our Weekly Schedule is a double page layout that I created, because, well... I'm the type of person who likes laminating and making spread sheets and writing in little printed boxes with a really sharp new pencil. *wink*
In all honesty though, I've never found a purchased 'schedule' or teacher's planner that worked for me. After using Sonlight last year, I created our own layout that works with Charlotte Mason-style learning. The left sheet gives an individual schedule for each child. It includes their Language Arts, Copywork, Phonics, Reading, Spelling, Dictation and Math and is split up daily. These are all considered "individual work" in the Charlotte Mason method.
The right sheet has our Family/Group Work. Across the top are the days of the week and in each box is a different subject of "class". The subjects change depending on what day it is, making it easy to fill in as I plan. I can look at the schedule and know that every day we have all our individual courses, our Bible and devotionals and Literature. Then on Monday we will have Science, Social Studies, and Poetry, on Tuesday we will have Geography, Art and Picture Study, and French, etc.
Individual plans for one week.
A snap of the Group Work page for one week.
This year, I am really excited to have found some wonderful Language Arts programs for Audrey and Alex. They are both using the Language Lessons series from Queen Homeschool. These are beautiful, Charlotte Mason-inspired language books. They include language development (phonics, grammar), poetry memorization, narration, comprehension, dictation, as well as picture study and journaling. Love these books!
Alex is learning to read using the simple but proven Alpha-Phonics along with his language lessons, reading with Mom and working through the I Can Read It books from Sonlight's Language Arts program.
I really love the All About Spelling program. We are working through Volume 1 and 2 this year. The books, the lessons, the manipulatives, they're all great. Not only is it a spelling program, it also really helps children improve their reading and writing skills. It's also pretty fun and engaging.
The program comes with the Teacher's Manual, the magnetic letters, blends, and vowel teams, as well as the work cards.
The All About Spelling magnetic letters are fantastic. We bought a simple magnetic white board to use for lessons, which is recommended by the program.
Language Arts Binders
The children have Language Arts binders with these dividers. It works well at keeping them organized.
Additional Language Arts curriculum we've used and continue to use. We really enjoy the First Language Lessons series and will continue to use them as a resource. This year, I plan to work through Simply Grammar with Audrey as well.
Our Science curriculum this year is Apologia's Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day and Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day. We are continuing with Zoology 1 from last year, as we started in the Spring. This is the whole reason we hatched chicks. And a duckling. And I spent 4 months of my life losing sleep while tending to tiny birds of various shapes, sizes, colors and personalities. Oh, homeschooling...
This program truly makes the children think and they have learned so much. I almost didn't give it a chance - it is, after all a text book. (Insert scary music...) And for me 'text book' is like a bad word. The nice things about *this* text, however, is that it is written in a wonderful, conversation, living-book tone. We've really enjoyed the learning and the projects, experiments, and the notebooks have been invaluable as learning tools!
Completely creation-based, young-earth, biblically sound Science curriculum. Love it.
We are using Donna Ward's Canada, My Country along with a myriad of other Canada-related resources this year. Our goal is to study Canadian geography, basic Canadian History, and Canada themed activities and lots of great Canada-inspired living books.
Bible, Prayer, Scripture Memory and Devotionals
Prayer- This year we hope to read from Window on the World, as well as work through "We Ask for India". 'Even Donkeys Speak' is a book about how God is moving in Asia from Gospel for Asia, this can be used as an inspiring tool for prayer as well.
We got the idea for our Scripture Memory Verse Box from Simply Charlotte Mason. It took some time to put together, but it is a wonderful tool and a great way to keep learning and memorizing new scripture. Details on how to create one are here.
This year we are working through Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography, which is available free online through Ambleside Online.
Art, Art History and Music Studies
This is our first year working through Artistic Pursuits. We are starting, naturally, with book 1. I'm excited to do an actual art program, and this one is highly recommended by homeschoolers.
As part of our Art studies, we also do Picture Study (through our Language Arts as well) along with studying famous paintings, artists, and art history. These three books by Usborne will be used as resources for these topics
Literary Unit Studies - Five in a Row Volume 4
We absolutely love Five in a Row, and although a completely unit study based schedule was becoming challenging for us, I couldn't resist continuing with the FIAR curriculum. It is just so rich in living books and wonderful learning. To read my review of FIAR, click here.
So, there it is... our year at a glance... Lord willing, it should be a wonderful, exciting, BUSY year!
Be blessed, friends!