Thursday, August 04, 2011

Homeschool Curriculum Prep: Some Awesome Ideas

Okay, if you are just not interested in hearing all about my brilliant/fun curriculum (term used very loosely) ideas for the next school year, just clicky here on this cute button...
and read all about how my hubby and I met (our entire engagement story) instead.  Rach will be putting it up as part of her weekly series.  She's such a sweet girl and lives in the fabulous Lone Star State, so please give her lots o' lovin', okey dokey?

But I should warn you, the following post is SUPREMELY ENTERTAINING AND INFORMATIVE and you will wonder what everyone is talking about if you don't read it.  Or possibly not.  Either way, you're welcome!

Not Back to School Blog Hop

My mind is spinning.  There is just TOO MUCH information out there.  So many great ideas.  So much interesting stuff to read.  So many smart parents with accomplished kids who are willing to give me the wonderful advice I so desperately need, but I am basically doing the brand-new-homeschooler-information equivalent of a keg stand, and that can be a lot to process.  Not that I've ever done a keg stand...of course.  I mean, I probably don't really even know what one is.  Jeez, quit interrogating me.  I was just there to pick up a friend!  Gaw.


Because my counter tops and my brain are overflowing with information, we did what any clever girls would do: we baked a loaf of bread.  And then we made a list.  We brainstormed a huge list of interesting, enjoyable things that we can do together, and after meditating on the list I've decided that we are probably going to be doing some loony unit studies/ Charlotte Mason/ unschooling approach....if that even makes sense.  And probably it doesn't.  Remember the keg stand?

Here are some of the things we're most excited about finding a way to work into our (as yet non-existent) schedule:

-Artist of the Month-
We'll choose a famous artist at the beginning of each month and spend that entire month learning about him or her during our art segment of the day or week.  We'll cover the time period in which the bulk of their work (history), the city and country in which they were born and lived (geography), and of course we'll study their most famous pieces (art).  Each child will have an art journal where they'll take notes about what they observe as common threads through every item of that particular artist, culminating in a painting or drawing that they do themselves in the style of that artist.

-Saint of the Day-
Almost every day on the calendar is set aside by the Church to honor and celebrate the life of one of our beloved saints.  We are blessed to own a box of large saint cards that was given to me years ago before this whole adventure was even a twinkle behind an inkling of a shadow of an idea, and we have spent the afternoon sorting them by feast date.  

During the school year we'll take time to research the life of each saint on his or her feast day, reading about their faith journey (religion), the time period in which they lived (history), and the country in which they were born (geography).  We'll find out what music was being composed during their time and try and listen to a sample of it (music).  If they are the patron saint of something pertinent to our schooling day, we'll do a project to celebrate their gift to the world (eg. the patron saint of science might inspire us to do a new elaborate experiment or the patron saint of cooking might inspire us to plan a special dinner making something we've never prepared before).

-Personal Blogs-
Well, yeah...duh!  I mean, what else can I really teach them?  Besides that freaky shoulder trick and my ability to walk straight into stationary objects when fully awake, I have no real skills or talents.  The idea is to allow each of them to create her own private by invitation only blog so that she can share her projects and writing with family and friends in other states.  If one of them does a painting or a sculpture that she'd like grandma to see, we can photograph it and put it up on her blog.  If she writes a story that she is particularly proud of, she can transcribe or copy/paste it (depending on the original media used) to the blog to share with her loved ones.

Doing this will allow both of the girls to practice their typing skills, become more comfortable navigating standard programs and applications, and share their work with others.  Eventually I hope they'll learn to edit html and do slightly more complex procedures so that they become comfortably computer savvy and possibly learn to take and edit good photographs as well.

-Miscellaneous Other Items-
Because the list is new and we don't start "school" for over a month still (yee haw!), our planning is still in the very beginning stages, but here are some other things we'd like to work in:
  • once weekly prepared informational speeches (ie. they plan and write a speech and then deliver it to the family)
  • critical thinking puzzles
  • piano (we'll plan a recital and they can design the programs, etc.)
  • Spanish
  • woodworking
  • nature walks (with journals)
  • sewing
And of course, we will be sure to do a bit of regular math and some science every day, tentatively using Saxon augmented by Singapore for Katy (5th grade) and Horizons for Lizzy (4th grade).  Plus lots of other things.  Lots and lots and lots and and lots and oh no, now my brain is boiling over and melting at the same time again and all I can say is PRAY FOR US PLEASE!  We are all just so new to this and I want to do the best I can for, or rather with, my sweet girls.  And eventually the boy too.

Oh, and while we're on the topic of ideas, please feel free to inundate me with yours.  I mean, once you're drowning, you can't drown more, right?  Good.  That means yes, inundate away!  And if you were going into 4th or 5th grade, what would you like to do more of and learn about?  Maybe your idea will make it onto our super duper master list of brainstorming ideas.  Which I like to call the SDMLBI, of course.

Speaking of sewing, here's your gratuitous shot of the baby insisting upon sitting in my lap while I sew
post signature


  1. Wow that's all so exciting and fun!! I love the blogging idea, LOVE.

    For science projects, I find that just doing normal activities such as baking, can be a lesson. Baking is after all just chemical reactions right? :)

  2. Sounds like you guys have all sorts of fun and awesome plans. Good luck with it all. Do you have something to distract the younger kids with while the older ones are doing schoolwork?

  3. Sounds wonderful!! If you are looking for a handwriting programme, Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting is amazing. It worked really well for us.

  4. You probably already do this, given where you live, Dwija, but I like the idea of making sure each child is outdoors at least an hour a day every day. (I picture y'all outside all the time)
    Here in suburbia, it has to be intentional sometimes to make that happen. I like the idea of sitting outside for learning, too, at a picnic table or whatever.

  5. FUN! You are so going to rock this!

    I've heard good things about Singapore math! I think some of our primary school teachers use it and really like it!

    Yay nature study! And artist study!

  6. Sounds like you're already off to a great start! I know you all will do great.

  7. Sounds like a great plan to me.:) Enjoy baking & sewing!

  8. One thing I would recommend as a teacher, is to visit your state's Department of Education website and download a copy of the state's standards for each grade you will be teaching. This way you know you are covering everything your state requires and your children will be prepared for standardized tests. It is also important to allocate time for physical education and social interaction. Some public schools allow you to enroll your children in their sports programs and extra curricular programs. There many also be some homeschool organizations (i.e., sports, science fairs, clubs) where your children can become involved with their peers. You certainly have the drive to do an excellent job. Keep fueling that fire and don't give up hope when things get rocky (trust me, even public school teachers want to run screaming out the door mid-year!). Good luck to you!

  9. Oh yes, we'll absolutely be keeping up with grade level standards with our area. I'm lucky enough that both my girls score in the top percentile every year and have exceeded all grade-level expectations up 'til now, so I know they have a good foundation and enjoy learning.

    Our school district has a homeschool cooperative program that allows students in the district to attend any of the "specials" (art, music, p.e., etc.) if we feel like it as well as going on a number of the field trips throughout the year. Additionally, there are no fewer than 5 homeschooling groups in this and the surrounding counties as Michigan is so supportive of homeschooling. Add to that all of our parish church activities (at least twice a week) and I'm not too worried that my kids will want for socialization :)

  10. Hi Dwija! This will be my first year of home schooling as well. My girls are younger than yours, 7 and 4. It sounds like you've got a great start. I love the blog idea and the saint of the day.

    We'll be studying the saints a little bit informally, although I do have a saint to focus on each month. I like Little Flowers, but we don't have a LF program in our area.

    I'm so glad you posted! I'm going to hop around your blog some more!

  11. Hey D...Can I send my kid to your school??!! ~ LD

  12. Dwija - you're my hero!!

    I'll have to experience homeschool adventures vicariously thru you ...I work full time & my kid is going to be (sniff!) a freshman this year!

  13. I am so SO jealous!! I would love to home school, but I think I would stunt their emotional/social growth...but it sounds like you will do an amazing job!!!

  14. You guys sound like you have a full curriculum! I have a secret envy of homeschooling families and love reading about how each family tackles it. So cool. :)

  15. Love this Dwij!! So many valuable things, most that they would not have gotten in public school. Especially the blog thing. Ya'll are really going to have a great time doing this :)

  16. way to go! my 3 girls and I will be doing much of the same. Enjoying your blog!! I am trying to add more Catholic to our school day this year. Check out my blog for a saint report form we are going to use. My oldest is a little writing averse these days, so I thought a form would help organize her ideas! School year blessings!

  17. whenever I feel overwhelmed, I like to bake a loaf of bread. I love that you do too!

  18. Sounds great. We are enjoying our first week very much. It is so fun seeing what everyone is using.

  19. Genius, I say! I love ALL your ideas! Gosh, I can feel your excitement alllll the way from here. One thing that's worked nicely for us is putting a portfolio together for each school year. We got a three-ringed binder and dividers and organized her completed work into it. It's great for her to be able to page through what she's accomplished and it's great for when we have guests too! She loves to sit down with them as they ooh and aah over her work. :o) Keep sharing your ideas. I'm feeling inspired!!

  20. Love your ideas - I used to live in the UP myself as a kid. Adding you to my follow list!

  21. I love how you're using blogging in your curriculum. Brilliant and purposeful.

  22. Great idea, Dweej...I especially love the blog idea. I think this will be a great way to build their writing skills and their confidence as well!

  23. Hello! I'm stopping by from the Heart of the Matter "not" back to school curriculum blog hop. Love the artist of the month idea!

  24. I absolutely love the idea of letting them have their own personal blogs, Dweej. What a fantastic way to foster a love for the creative in them and to also solicit positive feedback and reinforcement from the other people in their lives.

    You are going to be a phenomenal teacher to them.

  25. Fantastic! Just love it all :)
    ~> We are planning on using Time4Learning for everything this year. Whats that ol'saying, if it ain't broke don't fix it LOL! ;-), but I still love to add things( I am not a curriculum snob lol! ) I love the idea of giving my children each thier own blog! I really think my oldest would love this and might make her seek out things to learn about to add to her very own blog.... Thanks again ;)

    Happy Homeschooling,
    Keri :)

  26. I'm so glad I came back and re-read this! (I had to kind of get in the groove of your August since it appears I skipped around a bit. All part of having you delivered to my inbox... and then letting my inbox become an overflowbox.)

    Dude. I am SO happy I re-read this! Oh yeah, you probably want to know why. ;) Well, I'll tell you. Because I love that quote you said! Which quote, you ask? Well, I'll tell you! :) The one where you said, "...once you're drowning, you can't drown more, right?" In fact, I loved what you said SO much that it inspired me enough for an entire post. Which I'm still writing. (Note the date: Sept 10th. Yeah, I'll get her done. :/ No really, I will!)

    Anyway, also wanted to say really quickly (do I ever say anything really quickly?) that I LOVE your ideas for curriculum and your girls are very, very blessed to have you for a mommy.

    Good grief girl you canNOT say your only talents are your shoulder trick (does your right shoulder blade click loudly against the back of your ribcage when you roll it around? Because if so, we have the same talent!!) and your ability to wall-walk (unbelievably, yet another talent we share.)

    Though the above two talents are, admittedly, very impressive (if I don't say so myself), you are a WRITER, woman. Par. De. Lux. An excellent, beautiful, stunning, knock-your-socks-off, make-you-laugh-until-you-cry, make-you-cry-until-you-laugh... writer. Just thought you needed reminding. :) xoxo


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...