Lately I have been reflecting a great deal on where we have come from in our Home Education journey and the direction our ‘express train’ is hurtling towards. Hurtling is the word, with Koala turning 14 this month I am all too aware of time running short, of skills untaught, words unsaid. I am only too aware of the rest of ‘The Seven’ following in close footsteps behind.
When Kim at Starry Sky Ranch offered to Host another Living Lives of Loveliness Fair I thought it may be beneficial for some of my loyal and much appreciated readers 🙂 if I shared my notes and plans here. This post is a humble, honest sharing, please be kind. Don’t forget to head back to Kim’s Ranch to enjoy the enthusiasm shared by members of the 4 Real community .
Many days I feel like a juggler throwing balls in the air trying desperately to create a smooth performance and coming away feeling that the polish is just not there, nor is my enthusiasm. To this end we are trying something different in this season of lull. Rather than delving deep into areas of interest, immersing ourselves for weeks at at time we are having short little forays into the world of knowledge. First though we are taking a good, hard, long look at our shortcomings and going back and spending time consolidating the basics.
So areas needing intensive focus?
Writing- A disciplined approach is needed here. A regular “I expect it” with direction and trying of different styles particularly for the olders. Half an hour per day. Using research essays, and resources such as Stories With a View, Story Starters, Write Stuff Adventure. Variety and regularity is the key.
Encourage Princess and Michaelangelo to write little stories and illustrate with pictures.
Spelling- Whilst the dc have improved using Schonell’s book and dictation (I need to increase the length expected) I have decided to use LEM Phonics to give them a solid understanding of the why of spelling, to minimise the guesswork and memorisation. Thrice weekly.
Phonics -Drill daily for all the dc.
Reading- Michaelangelo and Princess to read daily. Very important.
Dictation- Increase the standard and quantity. Using current literature that the dc choose. In the past we have used poetry, pslams, and the catechism. Thrice Weekly.
Handwriting- The dc have lasped into sloppy habits we have started using the whiteboard and writing as a group, it is working well. We will continue using this method until problem areas are corrected. Once we have mastered printing we will progress to running writing. (Koala’s writing is beautiful, she doesn’t need to join in but chooses to) Twice Weekly.
Lingua Mater – Koala is to do LM’s recommended week IN ONE WEEK. This is not happening, but it needs to be.
Emma Serl- Boys and Princess to continue using Primary Language Lessons and Interemediate Language Lessonstwice weekly, by the end of the year they are to be writing these lessons as well as doing them orally.
Literature- Koala directs herself, she is a voracious reader, on average reading ten books a week. Boys to read from their assigned books list. I may have to assign daily reading time as they are have not been reading their books.
I REALLY want to read picture books to the girls daily, to this end I have set up a book basket that they can reach; they are very keen. I am planning on doing little rabbit trails with their picture books (I haven’t yet planned for this I will visit Homeschool Share for ideas)
Also have a read aloud chapter book alternating between children’s attention spans and interest.
Maths- Continue using Singapore Maths We have been very consistent in maths over the years, the dc are doing very well here, except Carpenter needs emotional support;)
Drill Tables daily – very important.
Science- Koala really needs a regular study approach, we are going to use the method described in the The Well Trained Mind using the books suggested, How Science Works and How Things Work. Carpenter will do this with her as they will enjoy company. I intend on this being independent work for them.
Day1- 90 min reading the assigned pages, do experiment and record results
Day 2- 90 min preparing the science report, use the science encyclopedias as resources, record dates (not too worried about this) complete a sketch.
History- Next Term we will use RC History, I am very excited about this and for once determined that we do it despite any groaning from the children. We need a cohesive approach and I am tired.
For this term we will do Native Americans, we will read books we have (and borrow) and aim for some hands on activities, Koala particularly has a desire for hands on activities. I am determined that narrations, notebooking, sketches and writings are to be done as well as the readings.
History will be done only two days a week on Thursday and Fridays. A different approach for us as we have previously followed an intensive three week approach on a unit but I think this shorter focus may help pick up my low enthusiasm.
Geography- Despite having purchased The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide we have hardly made any progress:( I find the guide too ‘mum’ intensive for where I am at present.)
Koala is particularly interested in doing geography and I am unsure of what to use.
For now I am planning on using an old book ‘Atlas Fun’ that has fun mapping activities with Koala and Carpenter, they will also read Exploring the World Around You and do the questions at the end of the chapter.
Younger dc to ‘read’ our way around the world, using picture books on our shelf and looking up reference books for further information; also follow up with filling in blank maps. Maybe some quick notebooking/narrations.
Religion- Division of three abilities/ interest here with some crossing over.
Firstly, Carpenter’s Confirmation prep. is to take precedence for the next three weeks. Currently using The First Sacraments, reading, discussing and taking notes.
Finish St Patrick’s Summer K and boys are listening to this.
Be more diligent in following the liturgical year (enthusiasm has affected this area:( )
Koala- To start reading and taking notes of the book she choose “Manual of Church History by Rev T Martin Vol. 1 “. As she hasn’t done something like this before she will need support and guidance.
Michaelangelo and Princess- Leading Little Ones to Mary
Creative Arts- Piano, Cooking and Craft.
Piano- Lessons weekly.
Cooking- as they feel like it;)
Craft- Craft of the Week Club
Although I would love to do more I am realistic that this is not my season to be too ambitious.
Montessori- A work in progress, at this stage focusing on the 3-6 stage. Also reading and digesting Moira Farrell’s Home Catechesis’ Ideas bubbling and brewing.
*Note to Self for clarity – Koala’s work
Lingua Mater- Achieve recommended LM week in one week.(may take an hr)
Science- TWTM schedule, (hr to hr and half )
History- Approximately hr and half. Native Americans, notebooking, reading, research essay and making village.
Geography- Approximately hr and half. Atlas Fun and Exploring the World Around Us.
Typing- approx 10 min daily. Type Tutor.
Religion- Daily- half an hr plus, read and take notes
Craft- Koala loves craft, I think she really needs an art or handicraft activity. Need to think on this.
I am hopeful this time that I have a plan that is achievable. I am feeling inspired anyway:)