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Chasing Babies... Growing in Grace: the 2011-2012 School Year

Thursday, September 15, 2011

the 2011-2012 School Year

(Scroll down to see the list and skip all the blah blah blah) 

Plans.  I make them.  And I make them.  And I make them.  (Keep in mind that each time I make them they look different than before.  Completely different.)  It's following through with my plans that I'm not so good at.

I've found over time (Time?  How?  My oldest is four.  Whatever, that's not the point.) that I'm not a big fan of curriculum.  Perhaps it's because it's too structured.  Perhaps it's because I'm not disciplined enough.  Perhaps these two reasons are very good reasons why I should be using a completely pre-planned curriculum.  But I'm not.

I did have big plans to follow the "Well Trained Mind" way of doing things this year.  I got the book again and started making clear notes as to what parts of it I'd implement this year.  I really love the classical approach... especially in history study.  I was so excited.

Then when the Lyme's hit and I spent hour upon hour on the couch with my husband's iPhone, I stumbled on an approach I'd never heard of.  I started to get as excited as I could with the little energy I had.  I read and read and read and read.  Then I read about a book I knew I wanted to read.  But the new and expanded version wouldn't be out till later that month.  Ugh!  "I have time to read now!"  But I waited.  And though I still have a tiny bit left, I absolutely loved the book!

Still do in fact!  And it is this book and what it teaches that I'm implementing as our home school method.  (Husband approved!)  The Whole-Hearted method.  I'm not going to go into to much detail about the method here, but when it comes to homeschooling, they breakdown things into five categories (for lack of a better word).  Discipleship (the foundation), disciplined studies, discussion studies, and discovery studies (these three represent the body of the "house" of their method), and discretionary studies (the roof over the top).

Have I lost you?

Ok... I'll give you a little more information on these five.

Discipleship studies are all the things I would like my children to learn that help to "make disciples" of them.

Disciplined studies are the basics... the "three Rs"... for the most part anyway. 

Discussion studies... basiclly literature, history and fine arts.

Discovery studies... nature, science, creative arts, and other interests.

Discretionary studies are anything else we (the parents) think should be included.  You'll see below what we've decided to include for this year.

There... does that clear things up a bit better? 

So what does this look like for us?  Ah... I thought you'd never ask.  But I was going to tell you anyway.  Don't worry.

At first I wasn't sure.  The thought of turning all those concepts into some sort of weekly schedule was daunting.  And what first trimester pregnant woman with 3 kids 4 and under has the energy or time to deal with something so huge.  I was beginning to think we were never going to start the "school year" simply because I didn't know what or how to plan it out.

Then the idea came (from someone else I'm sure).  No lesson plans and curriculum... goals!  And not weekly ones either.  Goals for the year.  What would I like to say we did when we arrive at next summer.  Or at least what would I like to say we worked on doing. :)  Low expectations are my friend!

That said... let me introduce you to my insane looking list of goals for the 2011-2012 "school year" for my 4 year old (five in December).

Discipleship Studies
  1. memorize at least 25 verses/passages of Scripture (one down!)
  2. work on memorizing the catechism
  3. daily Bible reading
  4. learn at least 10 new hymns (1-2 verses of each)
  5. learn about the Bible (how we got it, names of books, etc.)

Disciplined Studies
  1. practice reading aloud most days (he does this without me asking him)
  2. read good literature together
  3. learn vocabulary from reading, pause to learn and practice using during the week
  4. handwrite personal notes and stories (he asks how to spell and I tell him... letters are how he does them)
  5. begin practicing handwriting skills (focusing on letter formation) sometime
  6. introduce copy work???
  7. dictate letters, stories and summaries to mom (focus on sentence formation) - at his level
  8. learn to tell time
  9. learn money
  10. learn to add and subtract numbers up to 10, with manipulatives

Discussion Studies
  1. read good literature together
  2. read about and discuss ancient civilizations and the Old Testament
  3. read missionary biographies
  4. explore geography through history and other reading and life
  5. explore 4 different artists and their work
  6. explore 4 different musicians and their work
  7. read and enjoy poetry together
  8. memorize 3-4 poems

Discovery Studies
  1. allow time to explore drawing with different mediums
  2. basic art introduction
  3. build with "Wooden Logs", Legos, wooden blocks, etc.
  4. provide opportunites for creative play
  5. observe and read about seasons/weather
  6. make a scrapbook of a dozen common wildflowers with leaves (naming them, describing, etc) - in the spring
  7. do the same for leaves and flowers of 6 forest trees (fall and spring)
  8. observe birds around us... know 6 birds by song, color and shape 
  9. go on nature walks and keep a journal of observations (dictated to mommy) and drawn himself

Discretionary Studies (the extra things we want to work on)
  1. care for own hygiene (teeth, bath, hands, etc.)
  2. sweeping with a broom
  3. spreading with a knife
  4. peeling vegetables (supervised, of course)
  5. cutting with a knife (supervised, of course)
  6. grating cheese (supervised, of course)
  7. stirring without making a mess
  8. cleaning bathroom sink/counter/mirror
  9. planting own garden - in the spring
  10. piano lessons???

Looks a little crazy for a four year old, doesn't it???  Keep in mind that we're not going to do all of these every day.  Or even every week.  For example... we grabbed a leaf from a tree at church the other day.  One of these days we'll look it up.  :)  And then one day we'll put it on a piece of paper.

Also remember... this is looking back from the end of the year.  And if we don't do it all, I don't really care.  If he doesn't want to learn to write correctly yet... we'll wait.  Mostly, we're going to read.  And read.  And read!  Together.

I'd love to hear if you have questions about any of this.  I'll be more than happy to share specifics in a future post.  And if not... I'll just talk about what I want when I want to.  :)  Either way, our school year has "officially" begun, without grandeur, without ceremony.  We're just learning together... some days.  Other days we just play and clean.  :)  We really need to clean!



At September 16, 2011 at 6:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is very interesting and helpful. I am glad you also are not going to be hard on yourself and not be upset itf it doesn't all get done! Sounds like a good start! I am homeschooling my 5 1/2 year old and have a 2 1/2 and am due late winter with #3. I love the idea of actually writing my goals down. Easier to remember!

At September 16, 2011 at 11:51 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this!!! Sounds more like fun than "school".......which is perfect! Wish I was one of your students!!!!! Mom

At September 23, 2011 at 7:13 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

While reading this, I was thinking the same thing (about wishing I could be one of your students). Very cool! I think this is inspired by our Lord. Awesome.


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