Saturday, May 23, 2009

Summer Homeschooling Plans

We're one of those freakish homeschooling families that does things our own way because, well, we can. No, actually, it just took us a long time to figure out what will work (from a curriculum stand point) and we're still working out the kinks. And because of fall birthdays (have I mentioned that all five of us have birthdays within six weeks of each other?) and other holidays in the fall, we figure we'll start our new schooling each January and wrap up around September... leaving us free to do a light schedule (probably holiday-type unit studies) for the fall and early winter.

So... while everyone else is winding down for summer break, we're just hitting our stride.

I know I have waxed poetic over my love of Ambleside Online... I think I'm over it. I do love the lesson plans and the literature selections, but it doesn't seem complete enough to me. So it's back to the beginning. We're taking what we liked from Ambleside, combining it with what we liked from The Well-Trained Mind, sprinkling in a few random things, and calling it a (school) day. So how do I celebrate? I bought a science curriculum! How cool is this?!?! Starting Monday, we'll be doing science, along with our regularly scheduled programming, three days a week. We're using R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey, level one. It looks really cool and pretty thorough. I can't wait. So our newly revised new schedule is below. I feel like I do a "new" schedule every week or two... I think I have a short attention span... wait, what was I saying... oh, schedules, right... here it is, more for my own benefit (seeing it in print makes it official, know what I mean?) than for anything else, though I hope it is at least a bit interesting to others.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday will continue to be school days, and days where we don't use the car. This is regardless of Owl Poppa's wacky work schedule (probably our biggest roadblock in developing any kind of homeschooling routine). Every school day, we'll cover the following:
  • Math for J and K: J is still in Saxon 1 and K is in Saxon K. I am thinking of bumping them to the next levels without finishing our books first... we're all a little bored. Waiting for the routine to kick in before making this decision. I am also thinking of mixing up the format a little, separating the math meeting and the math lesson. (One quirk of Saxon math is that the teaching is separated into two sections, a meeting that covers review, calendar skills, and some other stuff (<---how do you like that technical description) and then a lesson that introduces new topics and ends with a review sheet). Still pondering this, and will probably do a bit of trial and error to see what works.
  • Reading for J and K: Continue on with Teaching Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. Deferring the decision on what will follow until until we're actually done.
  • Copywork: Continue as we've been.
  • Poetry: We're giving up A Child's Garden of Verses. None of us are really enjoying it. We'll probably move on to Mother Goose and then A.A. Milne.
  • Story of the World (SOTW): We're working at an erratic pace. Lately, we've been listening to the CDs in the car. We might listen to 3 or 4 chapters at once, and repeat this every time we go somewhere. The kids are really enjoying history like this, since it seems like a story, and they are retaining what they are hearing. Our summer plan is to continue this way, following what's interesting. During school days, we'll go over review questions for the chapters we've listened to, and coloring pages, mapwork, and narrations for their notebooks. We'll also continue to read the literature tie-ins. I am reserving the right to limit hands-on artsy projects if the kids don't seem interested or it seems like it will be too much mess (c'mon, people... I need to be practical here).
  • Aesops Fables: Continue reading one or two fables per day. Once we finish our book, we'll probably move onto mythology (it should be about the right time in our history studies anyway)
  • Science: We'll start the REAL Science Odyssey book and work through one chapter every two or three days.
  • Composer Study and Artist Study: We'll continue to incorporate our literature-based composer and artist study. We're starting Bach and Degas, and will then cover Joplin (Scott not Janice) and Cassat (who's birthday was yesterday).
  • Nature Study: I am also commiting to doing the Outdoor Hour challenges laid out here. Not sure when we'll fit them in, but fit them in we will!!

Now that you are all bored to tears, assuming you've actually slogged through this far, I will leave you with a great quote (I'm not beyond bribery, lol):

“The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.”
---John W. Gardner

ETA: I went back and added the link for the Nature Study website. It's worth checking out since it's totally cool!


  1. you sound very 'together'! I am also wondering where to go from Teach Your Child to Read. My to be in 1st grader is currently 3/4 way through and I feel needs to cement some of what has been covered, mainly because I am an erratic homeschooler. I will probably have him plough through Phonics Pathways as I have it and will use it for some spelling/ copying too. I really hate Writing Road to Reading which is supposed to be a natural follow up book for 100 Easy Lessons. I would be interested with what you decide on.
    Love the quote but I must say that the Greeks have awful plumbing!

  2. If I sound together, it's just because it's all written out. I am erratic in real life :) which is why I am sort of uptight and compulsive about making lists and plans... follow through is a whole different animal LOL But I am actually feeling pretty hopeful about this summer. Keeping my fingers crossed!

  3. I'm interested in the SOTW - I remember you saying that you had an extra Activity book - yes? no? I'm going to order the main book - if you have an extra activity book you'd like to sell, let me know.

    Oh, and your schedule looks good! We're going to try doing some this summer also. It's just hard to get it started....

  4. Suzanne, no extra book... though you can thumb through mine if you want to see what's in it. If you are ordering from Peacehill Press, I wanted a book too if you want to split their shipping. LMK

  5. Looks good. And you know why I'm so proud that you're my friend? Cuz you used 'regardless' and not 'irregardless'. I shall follow you wherever you go.

  6. Yes - I'm going to order from them. Do you have the revised version? They have the old ones on sale and say that the only difference is the maps. I wonder if it would make much difference. Email me at suzanne . juan at gmail . com and let me know what you wanted to order.