August 6, 2008

Our 2008-2009 School Year

We have put much time, thought, prayer and conversation into deciding what would be best for the children and for our family this upcoming school year. Trying to take into consideration each child's abilities and needs and yet wanting to keep focused on the values our family holds dear.

One blog post significantly impacted our decisions and helped to shape how we wanted to include each subject into living life. Our homeschool journey is about academics, yes...but also much more about life :: relationships, growing together as a family, and the like. Our family includes Dad, Mom, Jackie (college freshman living at home & helping out), Janelle (5th), Jordyn (K), Josiah (pre-preschooler, age 2.5)

So, in the spirit of the post mentioned, with titles borrowed by permission from the gifted writer Ann, our school year will include:

Listening ~ a way of the Spirit
daily :: reading aloud to all children-the New Testament using the Narrated Bible, continue with catechism for boys and girls, scripture memorization, praise, worship, prayer...listening to His Spirit

Blessings Every Day :: Josiah's favorite! One of the best devotionals for young children we've used.

often :: excerpts from Trial & Triumph for understanding of our Christian heritage, Kay Arthur Bible studies for kids--book of John (Janelle, 5th grade)

Love ~ a way of sacrificing
the foundation of everyday family life, learning to love one another :: extending grace, mercy, forgiveness. encouragement will be towards finding ways to demonstrate that love to siblings, parents, spouse to spouse, parents to children

Labor ~ a way of serving
the ability to work is a gift and we do not shirk away from household chores. the children each have a list of responsibilities; summer time & early in the school year is usually a time for training on new chores. this year the older children will train the younger as each is taking on a bit more & moving 'up' in their ability to work. we do manual work in small chunks & responsibilities are separated into morning and then evening chores.

as a family we will also seek to serve others :: making meals, volunteering, etc. as needs arise in our community circles

Loveliness ~ a way of seeing (poetry, nature, music, art) ~ training eyes and ears to take in the beauty of the created & to be in awe of the Creator and Giver

Poetry Patterns for the 5th grader; much reading aloud of quality poetry for all children

Nature backpacks! Mama is working at a bag for each child to include items for our walks: small sketchbook, colored pencils, binoculars, paper bags for collecting, tweezers, field guides, bug houses for the preschooler & kindergartner, magnifying lenses, small nets, flower press for the 5th grader, cameras

Music education :: Mama will teach recorder and piano to Jordyn (K) and violin to Janelle (5th) who will also continue with piano lessons 2x a month each. Though this could happen at home, it's been helpful for Janelle to experience lessons from others. All children will continue to be exposed to a wide variety of music, study the lives of composers and attend concerts when available

New art idea this year. We currently have on loan 'Picturing France' from the National Gallery of Art--it's free! Slides, large full-color prints, curriculum for art appreciation, which we will touch on here & there through the year. Also the Come Look With Me series and Discovering Great Artists will be used periodically as we check them out of the library. Some of our art appreciation will be incorporated into tea time. There will also be some focus on handcrafts (primarily knitting and embroidery) and other arts/crafts projects for all children as they fit or arise in our days.

Literature ~ a way of seeking, discovery through great books, resources
American history for the 5th grader will include reading significantly! We'll peruse through early American history by way of many books. We'll use A History of US as a skeleton of sorts to keep us on track with topics, though the text won't be used as much. Also, A Blessed Heritage is incorporated as wanted to add African-American perspective. Blessed Heritage is very literature-based, so again, many good books will be read! Continue a bit of ancient studies with A Mystery of History Vol. I

For Jordyn & Josiah (age 5 and 2) we'll continue to read aloud to them for 2 hrs a day. This can be accomplished in our family because everyone else can also assist Mom in this goal!

Language ~ a way of speaking & writing
narrations & copywork to be done weekly for both K and 5th {both links have many ideas on each topic, keep scrolling!}

our 5th grader is taking a Latin course 2 mornings a week, includes vocabulary, grammar and critical thinking studies

Foundations & Frameworks (F & F) reading comprehension program for K and 5th :: this is a curriculum written by a wonderful friend of ours for the school setting. Last summer he trained us on how to incorporate it into our homeschool & we did for 4th; not much info online, the link has basics and materials are only available to those trained--but, we plan to post more about it throughout the school yr. To say it's excellent is an understatement.

F & F will also be used for phonics, grade K, supplemented with readers

French level I for everyone! Mama speaks the language, so this helps.

Logic ~ a way of scaffolding ideas
Saxon 76 Math for the 5th grader
ACSI Math for Jordyn (K)

Science will be taught some by Dad this year for Janelle, who is thrilled! Using our state standards, he'll put together curriculum with an emphasis on many hands-on experiments {he taught 5th grade many years ago and has been waiting for this opportunity!}. Mom will continue to oversee Health (including physical education)/Nutrition

A Child's Geography

For Jordyn & Josiah, Exploring God's World of Wonder. does feel good to have it all written down, even for our own sakes. Our approach will be to tackle the more weighty subjects such as math in the morning hours and after lunch will be available for nature study, art, music, etc. But we remain flexible and open to the need to occasionally change it all up.
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