As I’ve mentioned before, we are really excited to begin a year of My Father’s World: Exploring Countries and Cultures pretty soon here. I have been looking forward to this for years and had planned on putting it off for one more year, but I am not putting things off any longer. So last night I pulled out all of my manuals and began piecing it together. Here’s the general line-up we have planned…
MFW:ECC: Bible, Read Alouds, History, Geography, Science, Nature Studies (MFW leans heavily towards Charlotte Mason style learning), Art, Music, and Home Economics (lots of baking “around the world”). To fill in the gaps for the younger two we are using Little Hearts For His Glory and to complete the year for Big Bird we have Rod and Staff Health.
Math: Teaching Textbooks 4(Big Bird); and Primary Math (Standards Edition) 1A and 1B (H-man and Little Bird)
Spelling/Phonics: Explode the Code for H & J; Spelling by Sound and Structure for Big Bird
Language Arts/Grammar: Growing With Grammar for Big Bird and Sonlight LA1 for H & J
Writing: Copywork for H & J and Winning With Writing for Big Bird
Reading: Rod and Staff Reading for Big Bird and Sonlight 1 for H & J
I have a ton of supplements in the Language Arts department, with my favorites being Language Lessons for Little Ones, Primary/Intermediate Language Lessons, and Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind. I once had a friend come over for advice on what to use when homeschooling her daughter. She was pulling her out of school and wanted an out-of-the-box language arts because what the schools were using was not working for her daughter. She (the mama) fell in love with the gentle and unique Intermediate Language Lessons and decided on that immediately. Awesome! The thing is, it is only a piece of the puzzle. This specific language arts book (written in the early 1900’s) will only provide a complete language arts education if used along with a literature rich, Charlotte Mason style education. I’ve used these books for two years now and if we didn’t use them in conjunction with a literature based unit study, they would be boring, but more importantly, there would be major gaps in their language arts education. I sometimes wonder how the book worked for her, since she dismissed most of what I was trying to tell her about the language arts book and how it’s meant to be used. The book needs to be used with extra copywork, lots of read alouds, and time spend discussing the beautiful artwork in the book. Homeschooling is not meant to be super disjointed, which means something for everyone. Usually, when a family uses a worktext or workbook-textbooks for most subjects, throwing a completely Charlotte Mason style subject in the mix would not make sense or fit. It’s been that way in our home. We can be eclectic, but still have a good flow by making sure i”t” all works together towards a complete education.
Because My Father’s World Science is a bit advanced for my younger two I am using Heart of Dakota’s LHFHG’s Science and some of their History and Read Alouds too. Last night I began setting up a mom binder to keep all the plans in one place. I have about 8 manuals and I don’t shuffle through them each day. I like to keep one general guide and go from there. Last year I used The Well Planned Day, but it didn’t have the room for everything I needed to keep track of. It would be the perfect size if I had one for each kid, but being how pricey they are, it’s out of the question. Instead I am using The Homeschool Planner, by Joy Griffin Dent. I keep it in a binder and added extra pages for when we have extra projects or I need to give myself extra reminders. In the back of the binder is the general family calendar with dr appointments, lessons, and classes (the manual doesn’t come with one, I added that myself).
It takes a lot of time each year, when beginning the year, to put together our plans and to make sure each child is getting full academic exposure. I know that by the end of the year I will have rearranged and re-rearranged our plans over and over. Sometimes I spend so much time planning and putting together our curriculum that I wish I could sell it as a unit study when we’re done, only what we do it so tailor-made for us that I don’t think it would be as perfect for any other family. Last night began the beginning of the “mom’s completely busy in planning mode” season for my kids. They barely see me come out of my office at night and on weekends until I’m done. It usually takes me about two weeks to plan the year. I come out for the occasional cup of coffee or to eat dinner, but I am in my office in a sea of papers, binders, and books and in all my glory! I wear my jammies all day, shower quick, put sweats on and get back into the office. I’m just a flash in the hallway to my family during this time! I know some of you have no idea what I’m talking about, but some of you do. It’s a really special time of year for me and I love tailor making the year’s educational plan for my kids.
While this post has been about curriculum and what we are using, there’s one important lesson I’ve learned in the last several years… it’s great spending all this time planning and even better that I enjoy it so much, but if I’m spending more time planning that actually learning with the kids, I’ve got it all wrong. There were times in the beginning when I would spend hours and hours piecing together a fun school week only to be completely “over it” by the time it came to carry out my plans. Time with the kids is what the planning is about. Planning means jack squat should I not spend enough time with my kids during the day. I get that now and while I love, love, love to plan, I have loved each moment with my boys more.
Today is an important dr appointment for me so I need to sign off and begin getting ready. Have a wonderful day guys… I’ll talk to you tomorrow!