Are you taking a holiday break or playing catch up? We are trying to catch up and I am trying to keep reminding myself that we aren’t on anybody else’s schedule. With Kaylee’s health issues at the beginning of our school year and everyone in the house catching the plague earlier in the month, I feel like we’ve been trying to catch up all year long. But we’re giving ourselves grace and going at our own pace….
As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, we will be homeschooling year round. Our “year” is just about to end and then after a weeklong break, we will start up again. I’m not a monster though so our summer schedule will be more relaxed and more of the fun stuff.
Here’s what I’m planning and why…
Science: workbook twice weekly, experiment once a week.
*I picked out a Kindergarten workbook because it is between the levels of my 2 girls. There are 47 “lessons” listed in the workbook but each is a single page and many of them go together easily so I think it will be closer to 20 lessons for us. During the school year, we do our science at our co-op but that has a very small focus for the year. We will be doing this brief overview workbook to introduce the girls to more varied science concepts.
Art: twice weekly
*Art is something that I have a hard time organizing or teaching. The girls have a free range art space where they are welcome to go and create anytime and they use it often. We also do pinterest crafts fairly regularly but I don’t consider myself very artistic so I haven’t really done any “teaching” as far as technique goes. We are going to be participating in An Art Habit which is a twice weekly online course put on by Rachelle of Tinkerlab.
Math & Geography: Once a week
First Language Lessons: Twice weekly
*These will just be once and twice a week to keep us on track throughout the rest of the year and so that we have more freedom to take breaks when we want them. I’ll be most flexible with these because I am really just looking to do enough over the summer to give us a head start and keep us from getting rusty.
Jot It Down: daily
*This is going to be our gateway into Brave Writer! I am so excited to start and I was going over the project ideas with Avery and she is also excited. I say “daily” but some of those days might just be reading relevant stories or poetry teatime or a quick 5 minute free write.
So what are YOUR summer plans? School wise or vacation??
Do you homeschool year-round or take a summer break?
I think we are going to be year-round homeschoolers. First of all, our summers are routinely 115- 120° so we don’t spend a ton of time outside. If we’re going to be stuck inside, we might as well get some work done, right? Also, we’ve taken week long breaks several times throughout the year for vacations and we’d like to be able to continue to do so.
I am planning to wind down as Avery finishes each subject and then do a week break & celebration before moving her up to the next grade. She is the type of person who needs or wants that clear definition of when she is done and moving up. She has already finished her geography book for the year and has about 3-4 weeks left of math and writing. As she finishes each subject, I’m planning that she will just have less to do each day and focus more on any subjects that remain (we’ve apparently taken several extra weeks off of spelling because she has about 8-10 weeks left of that). We should be done around the end of May when traditional schools are also letting out.
We’ll take a week off, bake a special year-end cake, and maybe visit an amusement park. Then we’ll head right into our next year!
So, how do you do it? Year-round? And if so, do you always just keep rollin’ or do you make a definition between the grades?
Where we live in Southern AZ, we’re blessed with spring temperatures already. It has become a daily thing for my girls to request “outside school”. We set up a blanket and all of our work for that day right outside our front door. The girls take turns doing their work on the blanket with me and playing in the driveway. We take out our bikes, scooters, chalk, etc.
We get so much more work done when we do outside school! Even though they are continuously playing, they are more motivated to focus on their work when its their turn and BECAUSE they are continuously playing, they don’t get restless and fidgety.
I love outside school too because it gives us a rare opportunity for 1 on 1 learning time. Neither of my girls nap anymore so we usually all 3 sit at the table and work together. It works fine but I know that 1 on 1 time is important too. Outside school keeps one happy and playing and not interrupting while I get to focus on the other. And then we switch!!
These girls would probably do a week worth of school in one day, as long as we did it outside!
We started our official homeschool journey in the fall for A’s 4 year old PreK year.
Philosophically, I think 2-3 days a week is more than enough for a PreK program. Because A was always asking for school work, I planned 4 days of actual school and then we often ended up doing science experiments or art projects on the off days.
We were very lucky to find a homeschool co-op for A to join as well. It was once a week and the moms rotated who would teach that week. Unfortunately, it petered out halfway through the year and the co-op won’t exist next year. I think co-ops are a great way for homeschoolers to enrich their school year. For the students, it gives them the great opportunity to interact and learn from adults who aren’t mom or dad. A made some great friends in that class and while she struggled with the weeks that mom wasn’t in the classroom, she talked about co-op all week. The naysayers will be so glad to hear our homeschool kids DO actual socialize (woohoo!). A huge bonus for me was that mom got to talk to other adults during the day!!
Our days at home were broken into the following sections: Character, Letters/Literacy, Theme, Physical/Play, Math/Science, and Craft. It was about 2 hours per day and we did not do it straight. We did some in the morning, some when K was napping, and some before bed.
For our character curriculum, we used Little Lads & Ladies of Virtue by Kathie Morrissey. She focuses on one character trait per week and gives activities for each day. It is Christian/bible based but very easy to adapt if that isn’t your thing. I think she covers about 25 character traits.
I tried to relate the rest of our sections all back to that weeks theme. For the fall theme, we did the letter “L” for leaf, collected leafs (a challenge since we live in the desert!), talked about why they change colors, etc. I did very well with our weekly theme and planning our week ahead of time….for the first few months. Actually, it was probably a whole ‘semester’. After Christmas and the holidays, we kind of slowed down. I wasn’t really doing themes anymore nor were we doing as much school work. It was around January that we started talking about putting A in school in the fall so I think that was kind of a blow to me and caused my slowdown. We did still do several days of school work but it was more workbook type stuff or just whatever we thought of that day (instead of preplanned, prepared).
It is difficult for me to determine what A learned this year because she knew quite a bit before we started too (I have records but that would require me getting up and digging them out). She knows and can write all of her letters and knows their beginning sounds. She can write her name, her sisters name, mom, and dad. She knows numbers and can do single digit adding/subtracting. She isn’t reading yet but I think she is very close….I’m just waiting for a sign from her and then we will jump into that!
(I started this blog on another forum and am transitioning to wordpress. Post was originally published on June 16, 2015.)