As I wrote about last week, I had two whole days to myself to plan out Ella's kindergarten year of homeschooling. After spending over a year slowly researching different curriculum options, teaching methods, etc...I finally put it all together into a cohesive plan for our first year.
Well...cohesive to me, that is.
First, I prayed about my attitude and heart as I prepared for the school year. That the Lord would will in me to honor him in my effort. Then I looked at all the end of year kindergarten standards of learning, just to give me an idea of what we needed to cover. Then I asked Ella what she would like to learn about this year. And, of course, I always have two crazy little three year old boys to keep in mind...so the idea of teaching themed units where I could incorporate them as well was a big part of my planning process.
I did not buy any specific curriculum for this year. Instead I have bought a few work books, borrowed a lot of Montessori math manipulative's (thanks Kristen!), art and craft supplies, and will take advantage of the local library and all the resources I already have. Oh yeah, and the tiny little thing called the internet might help out just a bit too.
I laid out my unit ideas through the end of the year, then planned specific themes for each week of school. As we study each theme we will incorporate science, Bible, reading, math, and of course (my favorite) art into each theme. I also have at least one field trip planned into each month: apple orchard, pumpkin patch, bakery, fire department, etc.
For example, our first week of school we will be studying apples. We will take a field trip to the apple orchard (in our front yard, ha!), use apple seeds to count with, add and subtract, learn about the cycles of an apple tree, read books about apples, make apple prints, write a story incorporating apples and of course...bake an apple pie. For the boys we will learn to identify the letter A and its sounds.
It was wonderful to get everything laid out and to feel prepared. For this list-maker...a whole two days to make lists = heaven on earth! Oh yeah, and my buddy Tasha was able to be with me for one day of planning. And no, we didn't have any fun together. Stuck strictly to the books. Ahem...yeah.
I want to put out here that I do not feel that I am choosing the only "right" way to homeschool. I have several friends who homeschool and they all choose a variety of different methods, books, ideas, and curriculum than me. That is the beauty of teaching your own children...you can allow yourself to change as you see something working or not working. I was able to take into account the three distinct learning levels of my kids as well as personalities and giftings the Lord has built into them.
So. Ready or not. Here we go.