Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Changing Things Up

Every year around this time I get the urge to change up our homeschool a bit ~ keeping what's working and tweaking what's not. I spent a whole day recently reworking our homeschool routine in the hopes of streamlining it and making it more engaging (and perhaps a bit more Charlotte Mason - like). We have been doing a few separate BookShark levels for years in our home, and really, it has worked well. But lately, I have been feeling the call to do more things together, both because it's more fun, and to save some time.

To make things clearer, Grace is my tenth grader, Christopher my eighth grader, James my sixth grader, and Rose my third grader - and when I say "daily" I mean Monday through Thursday. Friday is our art and catch-up day.

*My tweaked homeschool plan for all four kids*

~ Grammar ~

~ Spelling & Vocabulary ~

~ Writing ~

Everyone: Work daily on a Writing Strands assignment, with a one week break between assignments. If a given assignment isn't to their liking, they have the option of writing a history or science summary instead, and I always let them tweak the assignments if the given one doesn't interest them. We are currently using levels 3, 4, and 5 of Writing Strands in our home.

James & Christopher: Work on Typing Instructor daily (for 10-15 minutes)
Rose & James: Do 1/2 to 1 page of Zaner-Bloser handwriting daily

~ Math ~

Everyone: Complete one Teaching Textbooks lesson daily. We are currently using Algebra II, Pre-Algebra, Level 6, and Level 3 of this program.

Rose: practice facts with Flashmaster  daily (2 rounds); watch Mathtacular for about 30 minutes weekly.

~ Poetry ~

Everyone: Work on memorizing a poem of their choice daily; listen to 2-3 poems read aloud daily. We are going to do this all together, focusing on one poet at a time, beginning with E.E. Cummings.

~ History ~

This is where things get interesting. Grace and Christopher each have a few weeks left of their BookShark levels (100 and 7), and we have decided not to continue with Sonlight or BookShark for them (I'll tell you why some other time).

Since they are both reading about the early 1900's now, I decided to pull everyone (mostly) into a study of modern history, while continuing with some of their independent BookShark readings on the side. So...

Everyone: Listen daily to a double-page spread of The History of the Modern World. Discuss, then choose an event or two to add to their timeline book.

Then, to supplement this reading:
Rose and I will keep to our current routine of BookShark reading, but she listens in on the combined history/lit most days as well.

~ Literature ~

This will be very loosely matched up with our modern history timeline. We are combining for a read-aloud, then having everyone read their own book on the side.

Our current titles are:

I will try to share my planned list of read-alouds and independent history and literature reading soon.

~ Science ~ 

Everyone: weekly nature study (in nicer weather months; first I plan to do a Shakespeare study starting after Christmas ~ more details on that after the holidays)

Grace: She was finding her chemistry text a bit dull, so we are going to switch it up with Life of Fred Chemistry, living books, plus the labs from her current chemistry textbook (Discovering Design with Chemistry)

Christopher: Continue with BookShark Science 6 readings, but skip the worksheets; we will discuss the reading instead. He'll supplement this with Janice Van Cleave's Chemistry for Every Kid, since the BKSK experiments haven't been that great

James & Rose: Read living science books with me once weekly and do an experiment from Home Science Adventures once weekly

~ Art ~

  • Everyone: weekly picture study (six weeks on the same artist, currently Norman Rockwell)
  • Grace: 1 art project weekly from Artistic Pursuits Senior High Book One
  • Christopher & James: 1 art project weekly from Drawing Lab
  • Rose: 1 art project weekly from Artistic Pursuits K-3 Book Two

~ Music ~

I plan to bring along music when we head out, since we spend so much time in the car. Music is one subject I have not found easy to fit in. I plan to start with The Nutcracker, with a nod to the season, and I plan to just mention what we are listening to and leave it at that!

We have been following this plan for a couple of weeks now, and it is working well. Of course, now that it is nearly December, some of our best laid plans are left undone pretty much daily! My next post will be all about our Advent plans this year...and hopefully I will be able to get it together far sooner than I did this one!

Till next time!

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