Today I have a post up at The Homeschool Classroom about eclectic planning:
While it's on my mind, I figured this was a good time to start thinking about my own plans for next school year. (Like I haven't already, right?) I've noticed I'm getting a little twitchy about plans and purchases, so I really need to get my priorities straight before I end up with a bunch of junk I don't need or take a direction I really don't want to take simply because I haven't thought it through.
Following along with the steps I listed in that article, here are my main goals for each kid:
Ella, 3rd/4th grade - continue chronological study of history (Am. settlers & pioneers) & tie in with science (housebuilding, farming, & sustainable living) & literature (Little House on the Prairie series); math - more multiplication & division, working with fractions & decimals; lots of art, knitting, and hand sewing
Harper (pre-k) - stories & simple fairy tales, writing/drawing letters and numbers (she's always asking for writing "work"); counting real objects to twenty; painting, drawing, and lots of play.
So, that's my focus My core. My filter. Now I can think about how I want to address each goal. Anything extra is . . . extra. Next, I move on to methods and materials:
I'm still working on my plans for Ella. What I do know is that we're going to follow the Waldorf third grade focus of housebuilding & farming, but I'm tying that in with a pioneers study instead of an Old Testament block. I do understand why they do that block (it's tied in with the 9 yr change, which I can already feel coming), so I'll be keeping an eye out for appropriate substitute stories. We may still do a few, but they won't be the focus for our year. Mostly I'll pull all of this together myself with library and internet sources. There will be lots of gardening, preserving, sewing, nature studies, and a little woodworking with dad.
We'll also continue with Waldorf type art and handwork, maybe investing in a book on modeling, because neither of us are having much luck with the modeling beeswax.
I'm at a loss with math this year. We'll get a lot of real world math with the other things I'm planning, and we're going to continue with the Life of Fred elementary series. I still feel like we need something else, but this year was too much. I'm struggling with balance again. Honestly, I'd love to pull a year of math together on my own like I do with other subjects, but I don't know if I trust myself enough in this subject.
We'll pick back up with Charlotte Mason style copywork again, now that she knows how to form the individual cursive letters. We're continuing with it simply because she loves it. As a bonus, I've never before seen such beautiful handwriting from her. It was an easy answer to the cursive debate for us.
We'll do a little grammar and continue with spelling on SpellingCity.com, but since neither of those are in my main goals list, I'm not stressing about them. We do tons of writing of all styles and subjects, so that one generally takes care of itself around here.
For Harper, it's easy. In theory. I don't want to push anything academic, but she so wants to do work like her sister. So she copies letter worksheets at the table when she asks for it, but mostly I want to develop some weekly rhythms for her with stories and art and lots of hands-on stuff, maybe more Montessori activities if she's interested again. I do need a better plan for her next year, because she tends to always want to do more, and it's difficult to come up with things on the fly when I'm in the middle of something with her sister. Overall, I need to develop some kind of routine for spending time with each of them individually in the mornings, in preparation for doing more work with Harper in years to come.