All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.” – Isaiah 54:13

We started official homeschool (is that an oxymoron?) a month late this year, for several reasons:

  1. We didn’t finish up all we hoped to accomplish in the summer, because… well… we just didn’t;
  2. My little guy started a new school, and wanted to see what classes he would take at public school, and which things he would keep at home;
  3. I had some surgery and recovery that ate up most of September;
  4. We had an out-of-town guest (my mom – see #3), whose presence trumped everything else (Grandmas rate kind of high, you know…).
Tie dye and other summer fun pushed our summer homeschool back… (c) 2012, Kim M. Bennett

The Game Plan…

Little Man is enjoying the school technology (SMART Board presentations and PowerPoints with animations), playing the trombone, singing in the chorus, and playing soccer, and spends a lot of time teaching his classmates all the stuff he has learned in homeschool for the past four years.

LM: Mami, a kid at school said that you don’t learn anything at homeschool.

Mom: Oh? What did you say back?

LM: I just started listing ALL the things we have studied: Vikings, castles, Richard the Fearless, sea turtles, pond life, mushrooms, Pearl Harbor…

[Mom beams…]

He is taking a series of tests because he is performing way above his classmates in spelling, reading and writing (did someone say that homeschoolers don’t know how to teach language arts?), and he proclaimed that school math is way easier than what I was teaching him! Once we get those results, we will tailor his day to provide things that are hard for us at home (primarily, being with other kids, since he is alone with us, and we live in a rather remote area as far as homeschool co-ops). He wants to continue with our homeschool studies outside of school hours (since I work outside the home, our “school day” was often the evening, anyway) – of course, we will be more flexible, because we want to enrich and not totally bore him! More fun stuff for us at home…

Our Week:

I love Nadene’s overview homeschool planner — I keep a copy in front of my weekly lesson plans, to remind me how to prioritize the day, and what kind of “assessment” to do with each subject area. Check it out on Practical Pages. This is the format I’m using for planning, below —

Discipleship Studies: We are using Genesis through Deuteronomy and Ancient Egypt (Simply Charlotte Mason). We recommend it: the planning is done for you, even down to “Order Book x this week.” Plus, it is a family program: parts of the lesson are for family discussion (LOVE this).

  • Monday: “The Creation” (Gen 2:4-25) and narration
  • Tuesday: “The Fall” (Gen 3); Summary of Genesis in Eight Key Words, and narration
  • Wednesday: “Cain Kills Abel” (Gen 4) and narration
  • Thursday: “Noah and the Ark” (Gen 6) and narration
  • Friday: “The Flood” (Gen 7) and narration. Read The True Story of Noah’s Ark  (we downloaded the e-book for our NOOK Color)
  • Saturday: Work on Child Training Bible (“Complaining”) (one of the things we didn’t finish in the summer — oh, well…)
  • Sunday: Worship Service

Disciplined Studies: Since (at present), our son is getting most of these subjects during his public school hours, at home we are focusing on review and focused areas, or independent work – no organized lessons:

  • Math: We used (tried to use, rather) Math Mammoth 3A-3B last year. We found it to be very thorough, but a little too challenging for our son to use independently. Since I had to do a lot of teaching through it, we didn’t get through the entire year. Since he’s taking 4th grade math in school, we are re-doing Grade 3 of Math Mammoth as a review and to fill in the gaps. This week, we’ll be reviewing addition strategies and terminology, ordinal numbers and Roman numerals (2 pages a day, on days he doesn’t have math homework from school).
  • Reading/Writing/Handwriting: Brief attention to anything that came up during the past week. This week we’ll make sure the reading log is becoming a routine, and will work on the use of commas in writing. I’ll use verses from the Bible study for copywork (my son’s handwriting is sketchy :(). Independent reading is always on the schedule. Not sure what he’ll pick this week. He’s currently writing a war saga”
  • Spanish: This is a language that some members of my family speak, and which my husband wishes to speak. So I will be conducting short Spanish lessons for Dear Old Dad and the youngest child. This week: Greeting People

Discussion Studies: This is our main core. I’ve learned from my son that this is where we have to have options, the number one option of which is to spend lots more time in an area that is “prime learning territory” – which we never know until we get into it. My son loves history and classical literature, and we have really enjoyed the amazing curriculum at Ambleside Online. I will make a checklist, and we will pick from the list as we go through the week. Here are the Year 4, Week 1 Readings we will try to do (there is a website which lists all the Ambleside readings, by year, and links to online versions, either text or audio [these are bolded])

  • “The Founding of Connecticut and War with the Indians” (This Country of Ours, Ch 29)
  • “America Gets Rid of Her King” and “Upside Down” (A Child’s History of the World, Ch 71-72) [NOTE: We bought this set from Calvert’s School] – plus workbook pages
  • “The Six” (The Storybook of Science, Ch 1)
  • “The Fairy Tale and the True Story” (The Storybook of Science, Ch 2)
  • “The Glen” (Madame How and Lady Why, Ch 1)
  • Cymbeline” (Tales from Shakespeare)
  • The Man Who Made Athens Beautiful (Pericles)” (Tales of the Greeks: The Children’s Plutarch)
  • Poems of Alfred Lord Tennyson
  • The Age of Fable (preface)
  • Art Study: Renoir’s “La Grenouillere
  • Composer Study: Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of the Faun
  • Robinson Crusoe (Ch 1-2) [I downloaded a collection of childrens’ classics from Barnes & Noble for $2.99]

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Nadene keeps a rotating schedule, to help manage this main “chunk” of the day – it’s very “Five in a Row” to me, and I like it (I’ve tweaked them only a little, to fit our needs):

  1. MondayMain Study (whatever it is) -research, reading, lapbooks or projects
  2. Tuesday – Timelines and Maps – Book of Centuries, map work, geography lesson, notebooking
  3. WednesdayScience and Nature StudyExploring Creation,nature study
  4. ThursdayTea Party and Shakespeare (or other read-aloud)
  5. Friday – Fine Arts – Composer study, artist study, art activity, music activity or music recital

I’ll let you know how it works out for us (we have such a hard time keeping to a schedule in our main core, because we both love to learn about so many things!).

Discovery Studies: As above, I have several ideas, but we’ll see which order and how much time my son chooses on each one. I’m guessing right now that the video project will be his top choice!
  • We are working on a video project to chronicle our wildflower and seed study from last month. It is awesome!
  • We have two apple experiments to follow up a botany study last week. I printed out my Apple a Day notebooking pages to document out learning.
  • Exploring Creation through Zoology, 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day (Bird Project for Lesson 4) This week, we are setting up our feeding station to begin the week’s study on bird migration. [NOTE: We bought this set (text plus journal) from]
An Apple a Day” – September Botany Journaling, 2012
20 pages, $1.95

Discretionary Skills: I am going to be undergoing radiation therapy in a couple of weeks, and I will be in the hospital for three days, then unable to prepare family meals or be within 6 feet of people for another week or so after I come home. So my little guy is going to have to take more responsibility for getting his routines done, independently. I will make a home routines checklist for him to practice with this week, to help him with this. It’s good for him, anyway!

And on to the week…

Look for a summary of our week in this week’s Collage Friday blog carnival, hosted by Homegrown Learners.