Friday, July 1, 2011

books books, and more books

Some people may not like the way I approach selecting homeschooling curriculum. I make a decision after hours and weeks of steady thought (which is quite energy draining but I do it anyways). Then I may change my mind a few days later. Or, decide to add something to it. Partway into the school year, I may change the way I use the books and do something differently with them. I am not so much of a curriculum "hopper" but rather I enjoy all the information I find out there. I like to be eclectic, and pull ideas from a variety of resources. It's fun for me (extremely addicting, too), and makes my job as a homeschooling mom more interesting.

This year I have a main curriculum for reading, spelling, geography, art and history. I am adding to that more art, reading and spelling, and then of course math and language arts in general. I want to have a literature based homeschool year for both of my "students." In fact, I have had multiple book deliveries the past week or so and a few more to come. I want each book on hand. So I can look at our shelves and be ready to go if I want to change our direction one week or the next.

I don't like to plan more than a few weeks, in detail. I change routes. A LOT. That may diminish as I homeschool more years, but...umm...maybe not. Ideas are always popping into my mind, of things to do or try. I see many positive elements in a variety of ways to teach, for instance, writing. At this time, I have dozens of different PDFs on my iPad to look at, the BraveWriter handbook (which I will discuss at a future date because it is truly inspiring for moms that homeschool), and another way to approach writing on its way.

I see Ella's third grade year as a big step up. I want to improve her critical thinking skills, how she thinks on her own about science, reading, writing....I want to take as many baby steps as I need to show her all the wonderfulness of writing and reading, and learning. I want Philip to enjoy being a first grader and explore different things he likes, such as experiments, and contraptions, physics, and seeing how much he knows already. Both children are so intelligent and I am so THANKFUl and BLESSED to be able to be the one to guide them along this educational journey.

It's a fascinating process. It's hard. Terrifying. Rewarding. All at once. I'm always striving to be the best for them, and I know I can never be "perfect" at homeschooling them. I never said I am, and don't expect it. However, I am learning probably more than they are at times.

As I am beginning to plan our first nine weeks in detail, I want to keep that "go back to school" energy the whole way through. The ideas I have come across have prompted me to go back to something I love- writing and reading. I see these as keys to a wonderful homeschool in general. As I read, I've begun to write. As I've written, I've begun to read more.

Overwhelming myself is common, but inspiring myself with an overwhelming number of ideas is how I am encouraged, and how I thrive. Right now, figuring out a way to organize my thoughts is a focus, also. I have a few little notebooks so far. One is for language arts ideas/activities/words of wisdom. Another, for any changes to our main history curriculum I may want to do. Another little notebook will be for art, and so on. I am printing out small tables of weekly planners to paste in these little notebooks. I do not want to use a computer program- I'd waste so much time changing plans, I'd rather quickly jot it down. Last year, my lesson planning (organizing) system didn't work. This year's system is different. Maybe it will actually be efficient.

A few little projects I am working on for our homeschool:
*I am creating a language arts unit using a book called Hattie's Faraway Family, for Ella. We will use this for the first few weeks. I have half of it done. It includes over 150 spelling words/vocabulary words to cover, crossword puzzles for half those words, writing prompts, Bible study guide, comprehension questions, and more. I have the Pages app on my iPad, and it is working wonders with the set up for this. I can send it as a PDF to my email, even. Very cool.
*I am establishing my main ideas for a small homeschool group to start late September. It includes science, art, archaeology, and creative writing.
*I have found free art lessons and resources that are exceptional this year. One idea, creating ATC (artist trading cards) of artists is really intriguing. I know we will do that probably in the homeschool group. It combines art appreciation with collage making. Also, creating a sculpture using found items (a great way to get rid of those mismatched earrings or barrettes) and then spray painting it one color- the affect is brilliant. Ella really enjoyed looking at those examples.

Hopefully, I can be more diligent with posting about our homeschooling. I'd like to use this blog as a record keeping of sorts, and let others use whatever lesson plans and activities I come up with.

May you have a blessed 4th of July weekend!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a process...both tiring and invigorating...