We’ve been home educating for well over a decade now, we were drawn to home education from the beginning. Initially we were strongly influenced by John Holt (unschooling/Natural Learning) Raymond Moore and Maria Montessori, later Ruth Beechick and Valerie Bendt (unit studies) were added to the mix and then we met Charlotte Mason. All these, combined with our love of literature and our Catholic Faith created an eclectic concoction. We enjoy designing our own curriculum, with direct input from the children that considers teaching and learning styles, is tailored to meet individual needs, and supports our family culture. Much of our plans are spring boarded from discussions at 4Real and the plans at Mater Amabilis.
Over the years as our family size has grown and our children have matured, our approach has evolved to suit our changing needs. In the last several years we have added more ‘textbooks’ to our plans, albeit living style textbooks. We have, I feel, managed to source some of the ‘cream of the crop’. Our days have evolved into a more structured rhythm and I plan more, a need I didn’t have with less, and younger children. We miss our more Natural Learning days, but we’re confident where we are now is a good fit. However our plans remain a tool only, and I’m always open to being fluid if needed, there is always more than one way to achieve a goal.
Obviously the following plans/resources are not the full picture, they can not show the ‘side trails’ we will take, nor the many ‘extra’ resources the children will read of their own volition, nor the documentaries and you-tubes that will be viewed, nor the new plans that could spring up if old ones are ditched. They do not document the many supporting books that will be read, the computer sites used, the games played, discussions, life skills, building skills and real living. I decided to take pity on you and spare you, besides many of these belong to the yet, unknown, I have to allow some spontaneity for my creativity:) Plans for 6+ students makes for alot of reading, if you manage to read to the end of the post accolades to you!
*For ease of your reading I’ll use eduspeak; Pre-school/Infants (K-2)/Primary(Grades 3-5)/Highschool (Grades 7-12 in NSW)
Whilst the ‘3Rs’ resources remain the same throughout the year the other subjects may change per term.
- Phonics/Beginning Reading
- Independent Reading
Each term every independent reader is encouraged to read at least one novel of a high literature standard, one Faith and at least one additional history, geography, nature and science book independently.
Of course they read many more than one literature novel, they all read voraciously. 4Real and Mater Amabilis are most useful when gathering books suggestions.
- Family Read Alouds
We daily read together a novel for pleasure, managing to complete about 2 to 3 novels a term. Our novels are chosen via what we have on our shelves and recommendations. Currently our read alouds are;
Infants/Primary – All of a Kind Family – Sydney Taylor
Lower Highschool – Lord Brocktree – Brian Jacques
- Picture Books
Pre-school/Infants – We plan to read at least two daily, which adds up.
We have a large collection of books to choose from.
All – We endeavour to read at least two daily. We have a wide collection of poetry book.
I encourage the children to memorise at least two per term.
- Studied Dictation
Primary/Highschool – Spelling Wisdom
All – All About Spelling
Primary – Intermediate Language Lessons
Highschool –The Fallacy Detective
- Literary Analysis
Upper Highschool- Windows to the World
Preschool/Infants (K) – New Catholic Picture Bible
Infants (Gr 2)/Primary – Term 1 – Life of Our Lord for Children
Highschool (Gr7)- God’s Design for Science; Inventions and Technology
To read his way through the whole series.
Highschool (Gr9) –John Hudson Tiner Exploring Series
Our son is currently reading his way through this series.
Highschool (Gr 11) Term 1- Astronomy Unit
Using reference and living books from branch library and our own.
Also including various internet resources such as Barb’s.
Our son is planning his own science program focusing on a different discipline each term, to also include; Physics, Chemistry & Biology. Currently for Astronomy he is reading many of Dava Sobel’s books. He is notebooking his research.
Infants – Story of the World 1 Ancient History
Primary – American History
Living books from our library, notebooking findings.
Studies directed and planned by our daughter.
Highschool – Story of the World 3 Middle Ages
To supplement with Catholic world-view we have added;
The Story of the Church
How the Catholic Church built Western Civilization
Infants/Primary/Lower Highschool – Trail Guide to World Geographyv
Infants/Primary – To take a nature walk, observe and record at least once weekly.
Some years we are strong here, other years well, it’s on the plans at least;)
Wonderland of Nature, Insect Adventures and many more resources are available.
We endeavour to add art appreciation, music appreciation, art and craft.
Note endeavour, some years it happens and many years the creative arts only spasmodically occur.
There are a plethora of resources on the internet for inspiration and guidance.
However materials are readily available and someone is always creating, drawing and music is playing. The children are all involved in swimming, gymnastics and soccer.
PC & I (mostly PC) email our children various current news and discuss
(Grs 7 & 9) – Live Mocha
(Gr 9) Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?
Last year our teens salvaged and rebuilt computers, this year the focus is more on software and ensuring they are comfortable with technology such as; webcams, power point, Word, excel etc.
The library has resources but often the best teacher is to just ‘dive in’ and use.
Did you make it all the way?!