Every year without fail around December or January I begin to pray about what we want and need our curriculum to look like for the next school year. I like to have our curriculum picked out and bought before spring. This allows me to go through the teacher book and write down what odds and ends we will need for the fall. This way I feel more relaxed during the summer knowing I have a game plan in place for the new school year.
We usually have the same goals every year we know we need to cover math, reading, English, and writing. We also wanted and needed to bring in history, science, and geography. We have phy Ed. covered with ballet, ice skating, golfing, and soccer. Along with the normal learning subjects Mark and I have a deep desire to help our kids develop an appreciation for the arts.
The line up for Maddie’s curriculum who is in second grade looks like this:
*My Father’s world for science, history, and geography
*Mathusee for math
*Areasonfor for spelling
*Language Lessons for today for english and Grammer
Our schooling is made up of classical, Montessori, Thomas Jefferson Education, and traditional education methods. Some days and months we spend more time in one than the other depending on what we are learning and what my kids are showing interest in. For example it has been one of the coldest winters Minnesota has ever had and with cold temperatures we haven’t really had anything else to do but school work. This being said Madeline has finished her sit down work that was suppose to take us through until the end of March. Since her sit down work is finished this leaves extra time for hands on science, reading out loud, reading quietly to herself, listening to Peter and the Wolf and identifying instruments. This morning they decided to put on a play about the four seasons. When it begins to warm up more I will start sending them outside for chunks of the day. There is no greater place to learn than in one owns backyard!
When I first sat down to plan the twins curriculum I had decided I was going to do two years of kindergarten, but then I decided I was concerned I would end up pushing them past what they are emotionally ready to handle. Then I decided I would do a 4 year old preschool curriculum through Horizons. Then I began to chew on the Thomas Jefferson Education approach. The twins are doing really well with their letter sounds, letter recognition, and other skills I would expect them to be able to handle at four years old. So, this year, I am giving them a year to experiment and absorb what they have learned already. To give them a firm foundation for Kindergarten. I want to give them the gift of this year with some mentor ship guiding. Giving them learning tools such as games, books, hands on “toys” to aide in building upon what they have already learned but need to master before moving on to the next step. I am going to give each twin a binder and I’m going to fill it with things they need to work on, such as tracing their letters which when they are ready will lead up to them writing their letters on their own when they are ready. I have already seen this in Titus as he gets a blank piece of paper and because he thinks it’s fun he writes the letters he knows how to write. We are going to do a lot of read aloud books, it’s amazing what they can absorb and comprehend simply because they have been read to and because we have talked about the words and the story line.
Each new year of home schooling is allowing me to relax a little more as I watch carefully for the ways my children learn. Watching for the right moment they have mastered something and are ready for the next step. I always want to hear, “Mommy, this is too easy” before we move on to the next level. Watching and being aware at what level my kiddo’s are at. For example, Titus has an easy time doing anything, he can see something and usually he can do it in one or two tries. Naomi on the other hand is not going to have as easy of a time, she needs repetition and study time to master her learning. Maddie is a combination, she learns fairly easy, but it requires quite a bit of one on one time with me or Mark.
Home schooling has been such an amazing journey and it continues to be an amazing journey. There is no greater feeling than when the light bulb moment happens and it’s even more amazing when the child for the first time understands that they have mastered something.