Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thinking about the new school year

We have decided we are starting our new school year on August 22. Have you looked at your calendar? Yes, that is on a Saturday! We are just weird like that. :)

Jody works weekends, so weekends are normal school days for us. We like to take off and do stuff with daddy when he is off work on Tuesday. EVEN if it is just sit around and veg all day watching movie or TV. It's his ONE day off so we follow his lead. If he wants to head out to the movies, go fishing or just rest, we do whatever he feels like doing. We also like to take off from school when the weather is nice.

Okay don't let me fool you. We don't have a set schedule of when we do school and when we don't. We kind of school year round and take off anytime we want to for any reason we can think of. I feel if we do 15 days a month year round we've made our 180 days. I'm really sure we do more than 180 days because as a family we do so much educational stuff even when we are not calling it a school day.

So on to thinking about the new school year. Dakota is a senior this year! How did this happen, wasn't he just in 4 th grade? The saying "They grow up fast" doesn't mean anything until you blink and your baby is a senior and taller than you.

When I think about my last year to homeschool Dakota I get a little sad, but yet, I'm excited for him. I want to make the most of the year. I want him to have a great senior year!

Dakota and I sat down and went over his high school years, laid out all the classes he has taken and decided on what classes he will take this year.
At home he will take:
English IV
World Geography
At co-op he will take:
Business Applications (the class is called Real Life, but for our transcript we will call it Business Applications)
Journalism (this will be part of his English)
Oil Painting (he doesn't need another art credit so we most likely won't count it)
He is also teaching a computer class at co-op. This will be his second year to teach this class.
I also want him working on bringing up his ACT score. His math score is the lowest and brings down his overall score. His score is still good enough to get in college, but we really need TOPS and the better the score the more TOPS will provide. So he has some ACT prep books and I got him the Life Of Fred Algebra books to work through in hopes that a better understanding of Algebra will do the trick.
Dakota is also in our homeschool choir.
How does that sound for a senior year? Can I just fail him for the year and keep him another year?

Now Elijah. If you dig around on here you will find a post about him starting 3rd grade last year.
I changed my mind. Actually I really felt the Lord leading me to hold him back. I don't really know why, he is pretty good at math, he is now reading very well and he knows tons of information that most adults don't know, so why hold him back? I've struggled with this feeling all year, I feel lead to do this, but yet I just wasn't sure why I felt this way all of a sudden. Could it be that Elijah is sick a lot and just deals with a lot of pain and medical stuff that most kids don't have to deal with. He has spent a lot of time in hospitals and even times when he needed to be in the hospital but we were able to nurse him at home on the couch. We have really done some school and he could go on up to the 4th grade, but I really feel Jesus is speaking to me to do this and it may not have anything to do with right now, but more to do with later in life. So I finally said "Okay he is now starting 3rd grade" and I feel so much peace about that.

3rd/4th grade is where I start to bump up the academic learning. Before now it's been mostly about character training. I feel character training is VERY important. I want my kids to know how to act in pubic and how to respect others and us as parents. I am very please how Elijah (and Dakota) act in public, they are very respectful to others. They have good self control, they always sit quietly and wait. They know I do not allow them to beg or ask the same question over and over or interrupt me when I'm talking to someone, saying "let's go". We did have a spell this past year where Elijah started to pick up some bad habits of some of his friends. I put a stop to this right away and he now understands he is not allowed to disrespect me even if his friends are allowed to disrespect their moms. So anyway I feel like I have done my job in character training so it is time to focus on academics. I will continue with character training as I see needed and I'm sure it will be needed in the future!

Now it's time to focus on 3rd grade and academics. I haven't sat down and made any plans, but I know we will notebook and do some lapbooking. Elijah has way too many notebooks that he likes to work in at different times. These notebooks are not meant to be completed in a years time. I want them to last him all of his elementary years. When he hits middle school he will start new notebooks.

I plan for Elijah and I to work on calendar stuff, math and spelling/reading everyday that we do school. Then we divided out his notebooks into weeks and we plan to rotate the weeks. When we finish week 4 he'll start week 1 no matter where in the month we are, so this not by the weeks in a month. If we take off a week, he'll just start the next week when we start back.
Here is a list of his notebook rotation:
Week 1
Copy Work
World History
Stamp Collecting
Week 2
American History
Week 3
50 States
Earth and Space
Language Arts
Week 4
Nature Journal

I know that looks like a lot, but really it's not. He can work in these notebooks a little or as much as he wants to. If he doesn't get to a notebook that week, it's fine he can get to it when that week rolls around again. Like I said above, these notebooks are to last until middle school so he has 3 or 4 years to work on them. We are really laid back relaxed homeschoolers.

We have a list of some fun units we want to do this year. Some of them are left over from the summer since he was sick a lot and we didn't get to work on them.

Human Body
Many FIAR books
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
Dr. Seuss (okay this one is for me, Elijah will think he is too old for this!)
Ice Age
Natural History
I'm sure many more units will creep up as we follow bunny trails and enjoy learning at a relaxed speed.

We will also still be using our workbox system and adding some fun games or projects into our days. Over the summer I have collected some great hands on activities for the boxes.

My main goal for Elijah this year is to just bump up what I expect form him. Work on writing and adding to stories to stretch his writing abilities. Keep him reading so he is reading more fluently and hopefully start to enjoy reading. He does not enjoy it so it is such a chore for him to read. It's almost like punishment. (Very different from Dakota who I have to take books from so he will do something else. LOL) I also plan to do activities that promote living math using games and hands on activities, that use thinking skills. If these three things are accomplished I will be a happy homeschool mom.

At co-op Elijah will take:
50 States
Considering God's Creation
FIAR Vol 4
Endangered Animals
Arts N Crafts

I think Elijah and I will have a great 3rd grade year! Like I said, I haven't wrote out lesson plans, because that's not my style, we will follow his lead and enjoy the adventure.

I'm looking forward to school this year. I plan for Elijah, Dakota and I to start at the dinning table each morning with Table Time. (I'll post again and share my Table Time plans.) Then move to the school room or other rooms of the house to work carry on with our school day.

Do you blog and have you posted plans for your new school year? Leave me a comment with a link, I'd love to check out your blog.


Musings of a Homeschooling Mom said...

I loved reading your plans! I don't have a blog post up about my plans. I need to sit down and write a few things out. I flew by the seat of my pants last year. It worked somewhat. Michael and Annalee scored really well on testing, but I feel like I need a little more written down approach.


Sugga Mama said...

HEY flying by the seat of my pants has worked for Dakota and he's now a senior.

I don't write out lesson plans, but I like to have a list of goals and a list of topics my kids want to learn about. I create units around their interest.

Mama Teaching 2 said...

I am very excited about your year! And yes, fail that handsome young man Dakota, and keep him another year. LOL! He is going to be an awesome man!!!!

Elijah's year looks great, and good for you for listening to what the Lord is telling you. :)

It is now time for us to start working more often in our week...the summer is coming to a close. But I do so love the fall and schooling during it. :)