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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Best Laid Plans.... Part 1

The Lost Files
Prologue
What a Difference A Year Makes Part 1
Chapter 1: What a Difference A Year Makes Part 2
Chapter 2: Background Influences
Chapter 3: What Am I doing? Part 1
Chapter 3: What Am I doing? Part 2
Chapter 4: Best Laid Plans.... Part 1


Being a planner by nature, I decided to come up with a curriculum plan for the first year of homeschooling my children. I started by writing objectives for my daughter’s second grade year. As a starting point, I used the book; What Your Second Grader Needs to Know by E.D. Hirsch. This is a very popular book within both the home schooled and schooled communities and is a great gauge to help you know if your child’s knowledge in is line with their peers.

I also integrated the Kingfisher Illustrated History Encyclopedia (an illustrated history book for children that follows history from pre-historic times to middle Ages) as the basis for our historical knowledge from which unit studies will be taken. Unit studies included, spelling, reading, vocabulary, grammar, geography, religion- drawing parallels form the bible as we study ancient history, fine arts, and science, which would entail discovering science through the ages. Our Children.s Bible, KJV Bible, the Library and the Internet were also to be used as resources. For math, I searched for a good interactive online, or CD run program because math had to be visual for Jordan.

My son (entering "grade 4") also followed the same unit studies but at a more in depth level. I used the fourth grade Hirsh book to write his curriculum as well. He also wanted a computer program for math. We planned to find a Latin computer program as well. For phys Ed, they already took Tae Kwon Do and we have dogs we need to walk and run. In addition, we were looking into at least one more outside activity each.

For music, they both take piano, and the Hirsh books, have sections on music appreciation we will use. My son also plans to add Flute to his daily music practice.

Once I figured out these plans, I made checklists for each item we planed to cover, and allowed extra line items for impromptu additions so my year-end reports would pretty much do themselves. Now, we were ready to start homeschooling!

It is nice to have a plan, isn't it? My plans however, were apparently adaptable. Some of the ideas stuck, some have not. I purchased the entire Hirsch series of books from Kindergarten to 6th grade. My kids love them, but we are not using them to in our curriculums, though it was a good idea. That could change in the future though. I find these curriculum books in strange places throughout the house. I have found them
under the kid's beds, in bathrooms, and even in the basement. It seems they like to read them to check what they know, but in no particular order at all. My second grader may be caught curled up at anytime, anywhere, deeply involved in the 5th grade book, and my fourth grader may just decide to read a fable from the Kindergarten book. Since they are reading, I do my best to not tell them what they are reading is wrong.



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