"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Monday, August 26, 2013

School Year Brainstorm

Its school planning time at our house! First Day is fast approaching and although we haven't yet starting thinking about fall, pumpkins or leaf-jumping....I am thinking about study topics, ways to make reading fresh, exciting field trips and anything else that might prime the mental pumps for the boys and I.

I'm a Charlotte Mason/Unschooler. I lean heavily on exciting, well-written books to spring board learning and makes topics come alive....we read-aloud until our eyes fall out. Lots of the time when A is gone we linger at the lunch table, nibbling at our food and reading a few extra chapters of whatever book we are reading at the moment.

We try to spend a lot of time outside and I believe in free-flowing, real-time exploration in the natural world. Skinning knees, digging up beetles and popping seed pods are all legitimate learning activities at our house. Lots of the boys time outdoors is just random and unsupervised, self-directed fooling around that results in lots of interesting questions later on. "Mom...what is that little bug that rolls up when you touch it?" or "Mommy, we were ripping leaves up and saw some of them had white juice inside. Why does it get black on your hands?"

I am doing what I can to include warm familiarity with visual art, this last year we started doing artist study work to learn some of the "greats" and their techniques. I am also really happy to get the paints, yarn or glue out and set the kids to work making something beautiful of their own. I am a little bit of a stickler about "real" crafts and work really hard to make sure that the kids are introduced to the process of making beautiful things that aren't just crappy throw-away Styrofoam stickers and random construction paper cut-outs. A little bit of that kind of thing in a playgroup or Sunday School class doesn't poison the waters but I want to be sure that they really understand and expect to create genuine beauty and utility not just throw-away Oriental Trading Company crafty-garbage.

We are starting to work on useful life-skills....money-education, chore instruction, shopping lessons, navigation, memorization, etc. Lots of excitement ahead in that category this year.

Here's what I am trying to work into my curriculum planning and schedule arranging this year....

20 Homeschooling Brainstorms For 2013

  1.  Ru has started learning sleight of hand and wants to perform a magic show for outsiders with rehearsal period, costumes and real admission fees!
  2. I want the three big boys to take ice-skating lessons this winter...maybe I'll even join them.
  3. We will have a much awaited field trip to The Mashantucket Pequot Museum during October, Native Heritage Month. 
  4. We have started a new allowance/chore system and I am planning to do some workshops about budgeting, financial goals and exciting ideas for boy-friendly charity.
  5. Ru did the summer reading program at the library and I told him as a reward he could get his own library card and a special appointment with one of the children's librarians to talk about all the rights and privileges thereof.
  6. The boys have requested that we go to a real, old-fashioned cider mill where they can watch their cider being pressed before we buy a jug.
  7. Ru and now Nib (desperately eager!) will be enrolling in Fall Ball, our local Little League's autumn session.
  8. I found and am burning this wonderful collection of classic poems, arranged for children and read aloud by Librivox readers.
  9. Dee has started learning to read and this year he'll keep working through 100 Easy Lessons and then tackle real books for the first time.
  10. I am magpie-ing the idea of unit themes for each month of the school year.
  11. We're going to join our friends in the homeschool group for Field Trip Friday adventures.
  12. I am introducing Latin to the house. I have ordered two systems (1 and 2) and we'll try them out and see what works for us.
  13. Nib will learn to write his name this year and solidify his alphabet.
  14. I'm on the look-out for a Spanish playgroup.
  15. I am hunting for music lessons and starting a beginning music theory workbook for the three biggest boys. 

Its gonna be an exciting year! I'm geeked for book buying and activity scheduling.

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