Monday, June 1, 2015

Planning for the Homeschool Year 2015-2016

I am so excited about our upcoming homeschool year.  That's really nothing new, though.  Each summer, as I look back over the completed school year, it's nice to think back about what worked and what didn't and begin researching what needs to happen next.

One big change we're making is not returning to Classical Conversations.  This school year was a trial year, and it was fine.  I have no deep regrets about doing it at all.  For our family, I just didn't feel it was worth the investment.  There were aspects I liked and some I didn't.  One big issue is the learning of skip counting, which ultimately caused Amelia to turn to that for her multiplication work in math - thus leaving her memorized multiplication tables in the dust.  So, we're working on recovering that this summer.

My children liked knowing they would be with their friends that one scheduled day per week, but play days can fill that need.  (I'm thinking of starting a new support group in our area, which could also facilitate that.)

So, with that out of the way, we're returning to My Father's World - a curriculum I love and that has worked well for our family.  I'll be doing the Exploring Countries and Cultures with Matthew and Amelia.  I learned through Classical Conversations that my children are ready to learn together in some subjects, and I'm excited about being able to do that.  I did this same subject (ECC) with Madison and Cari when they were around this age, and without a doubt, that was one of the best years we've had.  I hope to document our journey through this curriculum in the coming school year, which I feel will also hold me accountable to do the extra suggested activities that will go a long way in increasing their understanding and knowledge of the various countries we'll be exploring.

ECC covers history/geography, Bible, science, art and music.

For Amelia (5th grade), I'll add Teaching Textbooks for math and continue with her First Language Lessons for Well-Trained Mind for grammar.  I'm also adding a little Switched on Schoolhouse for extra grammar practice.  We'll be sticking with IEW for writing.

For Matthew (1st/2nd grade), I'll add Rod & Staff 2nd grade math.  He's still not quite reading - getting close - so we'll continue with his Phonics Pathways.  I'm also starting him on First Language Lessons for WTM, and for handwriting, he'll use A Reason for Handwriting.

Cari will be starting with her 11th grade work, and she wanted to return to the co-op this year for some of her classes, and we're fine with that.  For her classes there, she will be doing math and U.S. history.  It's a good atmosphere, and she's looking forward to seeing some of her old friends from two years ago.  They also have prom and other extra-curricular activities, and she's excited about that.  

In addition, for grammar/lit, she'll do Easy Grammar 11 and American Literature (from MFW), which should work well as she's studying U.S. history.  I'll probably use IEW for her writing as well.

She did not care too much for her Spanish program this year, so we're switching to Latin to meet her two-year requirement of a foreign language.  I'm going to use Visual Latin for her as I've seen lots of good reviews on that program.

Her science class this year will be Anatomy & Physiology.  We'll use Precepts of Anatomy & Physiology (we used this program for Biology in 9th grade and were pleased).  She'll also watch the Body of Evidence DVDs and use the corresponding curriculum. 

It is so nice to already have a plan in place.  Now it's time to celebrate the previous school year by enjoying our summer break!

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