Homeschoolers love to mess around with their schedules and routines. At least, most every homeschooler I know does. The typical school year of September through June isn't necessarily meaningful to everyone.
We start our academic year on July 1. This allows us a full year to document 180 days of educational activities by June 30. I try to get 90 days in by the end of December so I have flexibility with our time all year long.
It can be hard to document learning experiences. Today my Boy Scout spent a few hours helping build a fence for someone's Eagle Scout project. I am not sure exactly what he did but he worked hard. The fence was to keep deer out of a garden at a nature center so I suppose it would count as community service. Of course there was the magic "S word" involved too - socialization. Though he said they were working too hard to talk much. Anyway, I didn't count the day, even though he also did some math, some typing practice, a little programming, piano practice, and some reading. Hm, maybe I should count it after all. My girl did a lot of reading, played piano and did and some art and craft work. But no math. Usually I count a day only if some math is accomplished; for some reason it seems more "official" that way. Really, it's a silly thing to have to do. But, that's the law.
So a few people have asked about my plans for this year. Besides running from July through June, I try to accomplish certain goals during each calendar quarter. For the 2008/2009 year, I had planned:
- Continue with our math curriculum, Math-U-See.
- Continue World History with Story of the World (this incorporates geography). We are on track to finish this 4-year plan soon though it's taken us a little over 5 years. We keep getting stuck. Right now we're in World War II. Do you have any idea how much there is for kids to read about World War II? Anyway, when we finish that up, finally, I'm going to read aloud A Little History of the World for a review, and then have the kids do a history project of their choice. Then, we'll start the chronological history all over again!
- Science - "living books" study on insects for Q1 and Q2, then a somewhat more structured biology study for Q3 and Q4. (More on that another time.)
- Art - study an artist each quarter, and "do" art and crafts.
- Music - continue piano lessons, study a composer each quarter..
- Participate in a homeschool writing group to improve composition skills. (This includes spelling, grammar, punctuation.)
- Participate in a homeschool reading group to encourage reading (as if that's necessary) and develop oral presentation skills.
- Finish reading the "Little House" series using The Prairie Primer as a study guide. My boy is so done with that now, so my girl will press on alone. He will be reading other books more appropriate for him using study guides I either buy or make. His current book is The Winged Watchman, a story of Nazi-occupied Holland. Next up will be Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers. And so on. I am working on a list now. When my girl is done with the "Little House" books, I want them both to go through The Phantom Tollbooth, The Chronicles of Narnia, and then The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Ah, but I am getting way ahead of myself. Both kids will also read other books: fiction, biographies, science, history books of interest; no study guides or book reports required.
- Read aloud one "big" classic per quarter. In Q1 it was Robinson Crusoe and in Q2 it was A Christmas Carol, which I normally would not count as we read it every Christmas, but...
This was the summer of the learning disability testing and diagnosis (cue ominous music here) so we didn't do nearly all we wanted to do. The summer and fall are a blur of tests and appointments and therapies.
Now, we are in the beginning of Q3 and our plans are pretty much the same. We are still dealing with the LD appointments but have a good routine going now so it's not so disruptive. Also, the therapies are helping so we are able to get more done when we are home. We're out of the house for 9 hours a week for these appointments, which is a big chunk of time out of the homeschool week. Audio books are helping. Treasure Island, which is to be our classic this quarter, can be read by someone else and listened to in the car (though right now we are enjoying Around the World in 80 Days). "Music Masters" and other cds about classical music can fill in on composer study.
So, that's the basic plan, so far!