This is the fifth post in a series about planning for the new school year. Here are the previous posts in this series:
- Here are the questions I consider.
- This post looks a back at our school year. I talk about what went well and what could use some improvement.
- I talked about how I assess our homeschooling philosophy: Am I happy with *how* we are homeschooling? I talked a lot about the books I’ve read that helped us find the homeschool style that works for us.
- I went into quite some detail about our long-term goals for homeschooling yesterday.
And now to address the next question: What are out short term goals? What do we need to do in the short-term to meet those long term goals.
I am constantly thinking about what units will come next. I do this in the context of our long-term goals. Now just so you know, I’ve only just started the planning process for this next year. This may change, but I’m sharing the thoughts as they roll around in my head!!
As we were progressing through time, I had planned to do a unit on the Mayans, Aztecs and Incas. (Now about a year and a half ago.) We covered the Mayans, but for some reason we never got to the Aztecs/Incas. This year I planned to put that in with our study of the rainforest (We were doing habitats with ED for preschool), but didn’t get to the rain forest unit either! LD was really excited to do the unit (especially because he knew we were going to study the history of chocolate along with that). So, the past couple of weeks we’ve been doing that.
I had also planned to do a big study of Native Americans, but we didn’t do that either. I’m going to put that off for a while.
I’ve thought long and hard about where and when we want to study next. I think I mentioned yesterday that LD really wants to do modern history. I told him I was happy to get him lots of books to study on his own, but I don’t want to delve into the Progressive Era, WWI, WWII or even the Civil Rights movement with my four year old (or even my six year old). So, for that reason I’m putting it off. I guess I’m straying from the classical (Well Trained Mind) model to make things work with the ages of my kids.
I have a couple thoughts about history for this year:
- We’re going to study World Cultures (mainly Africa, the Middle East, and Asia). This leaves me open to study both ancient and modern bits. I think the girls will have a lot of fun with the study of Ancient Egypt (as it’s been about four years since we covered it). But I’d also like to cover the modern life as I know there are a lot of good children’s books.
- Biographies: I’d like to do a study of biographies — hitting famous men and women in history. As a broad topic this gives me a LOT of flexibility! This year we happened to do a lot of informal study of Henry VIII, Mary and Elizabeth. The kids have been really fascinated by them! I would like to do a study of Queen Elizabeth and am thinking we’ll read a biography (or historical fiction) about her. I also do a big unit on famous artists. We’ll tackle it in the context of biographies, but I plan to bring in art masterpieces to color. This will be during collection while I’m doing our read alouds.
- Geography — We’ll focus on Africa (and the Middle East and Asia?) this year.
- I haven’t yet really gone into much thought about this, but I plan to do Chemistry (Real Science 4 Kids Pre-Level 1)
- I might cover Biology (Real Science 4 Kids Level 1).
- I will probably pull in couple of a big units on science for preschool but haven’t yet started going through our Montessori curriculum materials for that yet.
- I’ve been putting together a list of children’s books for World Cultures. Books such as Seeker of Knowledge: The Man Who Deciphered Egyptian Hieroglyphs; Beatrice’s Goat: Sitti’s Secrets I’ve only just started making out my list, but if you have any good suggestions on children’s books dealing with modern (or ancient) Africa, the Middle East or Asia I’m ALL ears!
- We’ll read some biographies of famous people. I’ve got a number of Royal Diaries on hand (Cleopatra, Nzingha: Warrior Queen of Matamba, Angola, Africa 1595; Elizabeth I, Marie Antoinoiette) I need to read those this summer to see if they are appropriate for the kids.
- We’ll read some well known children’s literature (fiction) — I hope to read the Chronicles of Narnia and the Hobbit to the kids. Fun!!
- We’ll continue with lots of lessons from Art Projects for Kids. I absolutely love her projects and drawing lessons. The kids have done lots and lots of those this year!
- As I mentioned above I hope to bring in coloring pages from Art Masterpieces to Color and Start Exploring Masterpieces: A Fact-Filled Coloring Book.
- A number of years ago I got the first two volumes of Artistic Pursuits. I think the kids might be old enough to get more out of these so we might add these into our homeschool this year.
- We’ve been doing a world music class with friends. I hope to do a unit on African music this year. I’ll bring in African geography (and perhaps African art) into this class. I have a lot of planning to do to see if I can make this work!
- The kids will continue with their individual instruments.
- I really haven’t started planning this yet. We’ll continue to work with the Bob books and I’ve done a packet to go along with that. I’ll share that sometime soon. I’ll probably use a lot of Erica’s materials from Confessions of a Homeschooler. She’s enjoying mazes and I hope to add in a lot more dot-to-dots.
- I really need to plan out more arts-and-crafts for ED as well.