Brandy asked for a post about our plans for school next year, and what Brandy asks for, she gets. 🙂
Of course I’m already waist deep in planning because a, that’s what I do to keep my sanity, and b, we’ll be moving right at the beginning of the school year, so I need to have everything in place. So here’s what we’ve got.
Math: We’re sticking with Math U See because it works really well for the girls. Both girls will finish the books that they’re on by the end of the month, so we will begin new books in September.
Spelling: I’m really not sure what we’re going to do with spelling. We used Spell U See this year, and I’m really not sure how much the girls have gotten out of it. We may go back to Spelling Workout, even though Z complained daily about it. I’m still thinking on that one.
Reading: We will have a dedicated reading time for the girls to each read out of an assigned book (on each of their reading levels). Then they’ll tell me what they read, and we’ll go over literary structures like plot, conflict, things like that.
History/Social Studies: Z will be starting 4th grade, which is the year when you’re supposed to do state history. Since we’ll have just moved to Texas, it will be a great opportunity for us to get to know our new state. I found a curriculum from Splash Publications (www.splashpublications.com) that we’ll be using called Do Texas! that covers the geography, animal life, history, and government of Texas. It’s got all of the lessons and worksheets and project instructions, which is awesome. Their customer service was also excellent.
Art: We’re focusing on women and minority artists this coming year. Most of them struggled through an illness of some kind, which adds an interesting through line to the year. We’ll be covering Mary Cassatt, Dorothea Lange, Faith Ringgold, Jacob Lawrence, Horace Pippin, Paul Klee, Frida Kahlo, Grandma Moses, and Andy Warhol. We’ll do a month on each- 2 times a week.
Music: The focus for this coming year will be on classical composers, in preparation for a focus on jazz the following year. We did a little jazz this year, which the girls loved, but B and I both think that they will be able to have a greater appreciation for what jazz does if they have a foundation in the classical music that it subverts. So we’re doing Bach, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Gershwin, and then we’ll end with John Williams, which the girls will love. Each composer gets a month, 2 times a week. As I was picking the songs that we would use, I got so excited about the girls hearing this gorgeous music. I do need to find a way to introduce them to some female composers- when I told Z we were doing classical she said, “That’s when they didn’t let women write music, isn’t it?”. I reminded her that they have tons of music written by women on their ipod, but more never hurts.
Poetry: Instead of doing Shakespeare, we’re going to focus on a different poet each month. As with the composers and artists, we’ll look at the individual’s work while also learning about general poetry vocabulary like alliteration, rhythm, symbolism, personification, metaphor, etc. We’ll study Mary Ann Hoberman, Ogden Nash, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Robert Louis Stevenson, Carl Sandburg, Ella Wheeler Wilcox, Eloise Greenfield, and Valerie Worth. My goal is to introduce them to the fun of poetry, how the words play on your tongue and capture so many things in such a little space.
Science: Science is all about experiments next year. I bought 5 books (Janice VanCleave’s Physics for Every Kid: 101 Easy Experiments in Motion, Heat, Light, Machines, and Sound (Science for Every Kid Series), The Science Chef, The Everything Kid’s Easy Science Experiments Book, Gardening Lab for Kids, Kitchen Science Lab For Kids) and sorted all of the experiments in them into categories so that we have units covering biology, earth science, the human body, chemistry, food science, and then a remaining 10 in different facets of physics, including rocket science and electricity, which Z is most excited about. We’ll do a different experiment every day. It should be very exciting.
There will also be lots of writing, which will get complained about. 🙂
Texas is really low key about homeschooling- you don’t report to anyone and you get no money from the state. There are only three requirements: 1. The instruction must be bona fide (ie. not a sham) 2. The instruction must be in visual form (ie. books, workbooks, video monitor), 3. The curriculum must include the five basic subjects of reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics, and good citizenship. I love that first one, which, incidentally, is copied and pasted straight from the state website. No sham homeschooling!
We’re also planning to get the girls into some active activities; there’s a homeschool fitness class at one of the local gyms, and the girls really want to ride horses. Hopefully there will be other homeschooling families that we can do things with- the girls are so excited to be around kids they can actually talk to. They keep coming up with clubs that they want to have, sewing, cupcake making, science- so we’ll see what comes of that. We’ll be looking into 4H as well. So many wonderful options.
We only have 3 weeks left of school for this year, and the year has gone well. The binders worked like a dream, and I’ll definitely do the same for next year. It’s so lovely to just pull out the binder and know what we’re doing for the day.
The one big question is whether we will keep the Flying Butler Academy name or pick a new one. That’s a pretty good question to have.