In true eclectic style, I've put together an a' la carte curriculum for the 2015-2016 school year. I hope it will be nine months marked by passion-directed learning and lots of rabbit trails.
I'll have four learners and one little guy doing some very gentle Pre-K, so it's sure to be a busy year.
Here's what I have pulled together for our group learning. Since we adhere to a four-day-schedule, you can assume that each of these items will be completed four days a week unless otherwise indicated.(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for full details.)
Morning "Circle Time" - every dayThis year, in an effort to keep our mornings a bit more flexible and to ensure that I utilize books for my two tweens AND my two middle boys, I'll be putting most of our "circle time" resources in a loop schedule. I have several books I wish to cover, but like the idea of variety. So instead of working our way through one entire book before moving on to the next one, as we have often done in the past, we will do little bits of each book every week.
Will be done at every "circle time"
- Manners Made Easy for Families
- Children's Bible Learning Cards
- a homemade song book that contains all our favorite praise and worship songs
- a hymnal-Like last year, I plan to introduce a new hymn each month. We will practice that hymn and revisit at least one previously learned hymn each day.
Will be placed in a loop
Each week, I will rotate the following faith themes: a general Bible story, a Jewish culture lesson, an excerpt from church history, and a missionary biography. I have selected resources for each theme and will place these on a loop during our morning time.
- The Children's Illustrated Bible
- Daily Life at the time of Jesus
- Peril and Peace followed by another in the series, Trial and Triumph-These should pair nicely with our medieval history unit.
- God's Adventurer followed by a couple of the books in the Christian Heroes Then and Now series
Science - 2x a week
As is my habit, I polled my children at the end of last year to determine which science themes to focus on in the upcoming school year. Since I have a wide span of learners and found it nearly impossible to procure a pre-packaged curriculum to suit our needs, I will create our own made-to-order units using books, videos, our science nature journal, projects, and field trips for the following two topics:
- Human Anatomy
While we will do much of our learning together, my middle school-aged daughter will have some additional, more challenging reading to do on her own. These delight-directed units will each be one semester long.
History/Geography - 2x a week
Last year, when Tapestry of Grace went sour on us, I ended up creating my own Roman history unit. It ended up being exactly what we needed. So, I am in the process of doing the same thing for the 2015-2016 school year. We will focus on medieval history using resources from Truth Quest Middle Ages, the library, and our own book shelves.
We will also use the following:
Art - 1x a week
While I am very consistent in HAVING art once a week, I prefer not to be that consistent with having a project picked out ahead of time. Art works best with inspiration. So, I plan which resources I will glean from, create a nice stock pile of art supplies and mediums, and then just select a particular project the day before based on my mood, the time we have available, or the current interests of my kids. These are the resources I hope to use, but have no objections to tossing in an art project idea that I happen to come across in a book at the library or on social media.
Creative Writing - 1x a week
- Creative Thinking Journal Topics- We will use these as story starters.
- continue using our homemade creative writing journals
Field trips - 1x a month
I hope to plan intentional field trips once a month this year. We live in a teeny-tiny, Mayberry-esque town, but one that could provide an ample number of outside-of-the-box educational trips. I will use The A to Z Guide to Field Trips to help organize many right-in-our-own-backyard kind of visits. Each mini-unit has a few pages of info regarding that location, some questions to ask your tour guide, activities for pre and post field trip learning, vocabulary words, as well as Scripture passages that would go along with that particular location/vocation.
In order to provide more time and space in our schedule for passion-directed learning activities, we have chosen not to participate in a formal co-op this year. We will continue to meet with these and many other families for social activities, but feel that the twice a month commitment was beginning to steal time from our individual interests.
Additional curriculum by grade level