Over the past few weeks, I have found myself thinking back to our first homeschooling year. I had a 5 year old, 2.5 year-old and was pregnant. I knew I wanted to homeschool my children but had no real idea what I was doing, and was extremely overwhelmed. Some how we managed to make it through that first year unscathed and now here we are in our fifth year. I do feel a bit wiser, but each year is different and my children's needs are always changing.
There is a lot new this year, for one we are starting a purposeful year-round homeschool schedule, which will consisting of six 6 week terms, each followed with flex week. There will be extra time off at Christmas, and in Spring while we work in the garden, and then we plan to take all of June off before starting again in July. Each Term will have a different intensity based on my children, my hope is to follow their interest and dive deep when sparks fly.
I recently heard this amazing term: Tidal Homeschooling, from Melissa Wiley.
"there is a rhythm to the way learning happens here; there are upbeats and downbeats; there is an ebb and flow." - Melissa Wiley
This is exactly how I feel our homeschooling has been in the past is... ebb & flow. So while we all do better with a little structure, there are definitely times where a relaxed routine in best. So using six 6 week terms this will allow some structure, flexible enough take breaks, and room in our days to explore one topic for as long as we want. Sort of unschooly or interest led, mashed with charlotte mason, and topped off with a few unit studies. We are very eclectic.
I have based most of homeschool structure on the Charlotte Mason Method, which I started implementing last winter. It is a literature rich approach, with living books, not books full of dry facts. It is also made up of short lessons on a wide range of subjects. The way I have set our days up is using a loop schedules, this way I never feel like we are behind, and I can easily keep track of subjects we do every day or less frequently.
We are now in our third week of our new school year. I have been following a slow start which means I introduce a new subject every few days, or each week. It has been such a great way to get back into routine and find our new rhythm. This slow start has allow for some tweaking each week, which has helped me finalize our learning plan for the year.
This year the majority of our learning will be done together each morning in our Morning Loop. We have a morning basket and each day I fill it with books based on what we are learning that day. In September we will be starting an Afternoon Loop, mainly for language arts.
Here is a list of what we will be learning together:
This is one area that has had a lot of tweaking. In years past we have done an assortment of workbooks for our language arts study. But I really want this year to be about fun and enchanted learning so I am going with a new approach.
This year our main resources will be using Jot It Down, WriteShop and various Arrows.
There will still be time set aside for workbooks in our Afternoon Loop, because my girls do enjoy them, and about once a month we will have a breakfast outing where we will bring our workbooks. The ones that we like best are Explode the Code, Handwriting Without Tears, Daily Grams & Copywork.
Poetry Tea Time is another bit of enchantment that we added into our homeschool last year. It involves poetry, tea and yummy treats. It was an instant favourite of ours and will be a fixed addition to our homeschool.
Other things we will be including will be daily vocabulary & memory work, free write Fridays, learning about idioms, playing mad libs, and various games.
While each girl will be doing their separate math curriculum, we will be doing some math together in our morning loop.
We have been using Bedtime Math now for 3 years. They are word problems that are fun and have 3 different levels so both my girls can do them. They have a few different books, and an app, as well as you can sign up for daily math problems sent to your email.
We are also going to be a lot of fun math books and games this year.
We have been slowly working our way through the Middle Ages. We are using History Odyssey as our core, but will be pulling various book lists for this time period. We finished up last year working on the Vikings. So we will be starting right back up where we left off, learning about the Saxons.
This summer I started reading A Little History of the World to the girls. It is such a wonderful living book, with short, interesting chapters and with wonderful pictures. This book easily captures all of our attention.
Closer to the end of the year we will be studying Canadian History, First Peoples of Canada & European Exploration.
Near the end of History Odyssey there is a lesson on William Shakespeare. This is when we are going to study our first Shakespeare play, A Midsummer Night's Dream, using How To Teach Your Children Shakespeare & Leon Garfrield's Shakespeare Stories.
While we do a lot of geography in history, we will also be reading stories from Around the Word in 80 Tales & Stories from Around the World. The best thing we have done for learning geography has been to hang a huge map of the world above our kitchen table. I am pretty sure we reference it daily. We also use MAPS a lot, my children all love this book!
SCIENCE + NATURAL HISTORY
Science is a favourite of everyones in our house and takes up a lot of our learning plan.
We are going to be using Mystery Science this year and seeing what sparks interests. I really like how they have set their program up, it is very much open and go. There are various topics, with different mysteries to explore. They include videos, discussions, actives & experiments. We have done one mystery so far, and it was meet with a lot of praise (and hugs) from my kids. Hopefully we fall down some rabbit holes.
This year we are going to be working our way through Nature Anatomy. We have had this book for awhile, but recently came across this simple schedule from Calli at Sparrow & Lilies. I love how simple she has set it up. We have started with the August schedule, learning about Water Bodies, but we will most likely jump around the schedule. I also plan to pull from Exploring Nature with Children, but want to keep each topic simple unless they want to learn more.
One of the biggest highlights of this year is going to be our ocean trip in October. We are going to be spending 11 days staying on a boat and exploring Vancouver Island. The weeks leading up to our trip are going to be filled with learning about the ocean, various fish, aquatic and marine mammals. Once we are on our trip it is going to be hands on learning at its best. Tidal pools here we come!
We started Learning About Birds study guide at the end of last year and we have already started back up last week. The girls love the story from The Burgess Bird Book and we use the 50 Favourite Birds colouring book along side it.
In the new year we will be starting a short unity study on Darwin and Evolution, full of great books and fun activities.
We also plan to continue participating in the Nature Pal Exchange, and thinking about signing up for the Wild Explorers Club.
This will be a big part of our year, both girls are incredibly creative and I hope to pull art through out most of our subjects. I have signed the girls us up for Studying Under the Masters which starts next month, as well they each have Draw, Paint, Print book that we will be working through together.
We will also be using this Picture Study, starting with Giotto. Other resources we will be using are 13 Art Mysteries Children Should Know & Usborne Intro to Art.
We will be studying about 1-2 different composers this year. I haven yet to narrow them down but we will be using Music Study with the Masters.
The girls (and myself) want to learn the Ukulele, so our winter months are going to be spend learning using Ukulele Course of Kids.
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