2016-2017 Homeschool Plans

A new baby will be joining our family at any moment. In fact, for a few hours today I thought she might be on her way already.  But contractions have stopped for now, and I’m hoping she’ll hang on for one more week.  The next few days are pretty full, but after that we’re wide open and ready to be in full-on Newborn Mode.  I’m crossing my fingers that the little one will adhere to my timeline. 🙂
Because of that pending major life change, our homeschool plans are very simple this year.  No big hairy projects or intense outside classes on our docket.  Only Ellie will be attending our beloved co-op, while I stay home with the younger three.  As I’ve been researching and planning over the summer, I realized that one thing will remain the same: lots and lots of reading.  I’ve created an extensive list of read-alouds for both our history curriculum (this year we’re studying the middle ages) and our science curriculum.  The majority of these books are picture books that can be finished in one sitting.
Our homeschool days are divided into two parts: Morning Time and Independent work.  

Morning Time Subjects:

Memory Work: We rotate in new memory work during each 6 week term.  I pick a hymn, a poem for each child (and myself) to memorize, a passage of scripture, and we are currently working on helping Ethan memorize the Articles of Faith.  We go through each of those things every morning, which generally takes 10 minutes or so. We also review one item from the previous terms each day (so we’ll sing one hymn or recite one scripture or poem in addition to our current work).
History: Every day I read aloud from one of the books on our history reading list for the year. This year is all about Medieval History. (full list coming soon.  I’ll link here when it’s ready).
Map Work: We’re working our way through this amazing series.  This year we’ll do Asia, Europe, and Africa.  We’ll just cycle through the books as many times as we can during the year.  We’ve already worked through the first Asia volume once this year and will move onto volume two next week. The big kids take turns using the book and drawing their maps while I read our history book for the day.
Loop Topics: We rotate through these topics on a loop schedule, meaning that we rotate through each subject in order but don’t have assigned days of the week for the topics.  That way if we have a really busy/hectic/grumpy day, there is no guilt about skipping one of these subjects, but if our day is more relaxed we can get to multiple lessons at once.  
This year we’re looping the following:
Science: Exploring Nature with Children  (I’ll link to our science read-aloud list here when it’s ready), Fine Art: SQUILT Music Appreciation, Drawing with Children, and Gift-Making.  We’ll work our way through each curriculum until it’s complete.  We’re currently using SQUILT, and will finish it in its entirety before we move on to Drawing.  During our late November-December term we’ll focus on crafts and making gifts for neighbors, family and each other.

Independent Work:

While we don’t really pay much attention to grade levels, I’ll include them here so you have a general idea of what age/ability level our kids fall into.

6th Grade

Math: Teaching Textbooks
Language Arts:  
    20 minutes assigned reading daily (books that Mama chooses)
    One Year Adventure Novel through our homeschool co-op
One day per week at co-op
Swim Team
One-on-One Read Aloud with a parent each evening

2nd Grade

Math: Mathseeds
Language Arts: 
     15 minutes read-aloud to Mom (he chooses the books from a collection I’ve put together)
   Ethan and I do a “project” together every day.  This boy requires uninterrupted time with parents on   a regular basis so we try to make that happen with each parent daily. He and I usually to a simple         art/craft project or a science experiment and he usually plays frisbee or practices soccer with Jason.
Soccer and Jump Rope 
One-on-One Read Aloud with a parent each evening

2 Year Old

” ‘Lijah School” consists of lots and lots of books and some creative time every day.  Building with Legos, painting, “helping” in the kitchen, preschool-type games and crafts, etc. Basically anything we can do to keep him from destroying the house.
This list looks more intense than it actually is.  We generally spend about 2 hours per day on school.  One hour for morning time and one hour for independent time.  For the first few weeks after Baby arrives, we’ll probably scale back even more.  But this simple, living-books based curriculum is flexible and easy to complete each day. I am hopeful that our school time will go smoothly despite the major changes heading our way.