Homeschooling: It's not what we do, it's how we live.

Lesson Planning: Summer 2011

 If you’re a long-time reader at This Adventure Life, you may have noticed that I am not doing lesson planning posts for each mod the way that I did last year. One of the reasons that I haven’t been doing them is because we’re not switching materials with the same frequency that we did last year.

2010 was our first year homeschooling with school-age kids (we’d gotten in a couple of years of home-pre-school before LBB started K), and as a newbie, I was experimenting with different styles, different methods, different schedules – basically trying out as much as we could to find what works and what doesn’t. I’m glad we did it that way; we got a look at a ton of different materials and tried on quite a few ‘homeschooling hats’ and got a feel for what we liked and didn’t, what worked and what we should change. If you’re new to homeschooling, I’d definitely recommend approaching your first year in that manner – as an experiment of sorts, to find your groove. The benefit was that going into this, our second year, I felt like a I had a much better grasp on the mechanics of homeschooling, and a better idea of the kinds of materials and lesson styles suited my kids best. For the most part, we’ve stayed pretty consistent with our materials and methods – we’re still using what we started with in January (though we’re finished with some of it already) and our 4 weeks on/1 week off schedule works well.

If you want ‘categorization’, I’m really not sure where we fall in the homeschool styles spectrum (though I did find this nifty teaching style quiz. I’m a 56 – combined parent/child directed. I think that’s pretty accurate, though I see a lot of what’s described as ‘traditional’ in my style as well). I see us as fairly easy-going, but by no means do we fall into the ‘relaxed’ homeschooler category. We’re also not ‘rigorous’, though we do have a lovely schedule and manage to stick to it a goodly portion of the time – at least for the months that fall within the traditional school year. For the summer months though, since we school year-round, we’re making some adjustments to the schedule to accommodate the goings-on in our community.

I have divided our school year into ‘sessions’ to accommodate what feels like a good pattern for us. The Winter Session is January – May. Summer Session is May-August, and the Fall Session is September – December. Our heaviest session, work-wise is the Winter Session. It’s the longest (5 months), and is the beginning of the new school year, so everything is all shiny and new. During the summer, my niece Fred (y’all remember Fred, don’t you?) spends a significant amount of time with us, so it’s somewhat impossible to hold a ‘regular’ school day with a sometimes-guest. This year we’ll be coordinating her visits with our activity days, so we’ll have a bit of a better routine this year, I hope.

We’re fortunate to live in an area where there are many summer offerings to take advantage of in the community, on both a city-wide and state-wide level. With gas prices being so high, that will curb our comings and goings on longer trips, but around town, there is still plenty to keep us occupied.

Our local libraries (in our county and two neighboring ones) all offer a summer reading club. In addition to the book/reading part, each of them host different kids’ events for several weeks; puppet shows, magic shows, local Parks & Wildlife and Rangers give presentations, our local art museum has a mobile program, the Houston Zoo’s Mobile Zoo comes, Gator Country does presentations… it’s a pretty extensive list of ‘things to do’ that offers plenty of material for a homeschooling family to use as a jumping-off point for unit studies and lessons – and that’s just from the library.

Texas Nature Challenge 2011We also have the Texas Nature Challenge, with missions from all over the bayou region (all over the state, really), we have the chance to explore state parks and other educational attractions with an eye towards education and conservation. This year’s missions include destinations such as Matagorda Bay Nature Park and Natural Science Center, Sheldon Lake State Park & Environmental Learning Center, Sea Center Texas and Habitat March at Nature Discovery Center’s Russ Pitman Park, among others.

And then there are the museum programs, visits to friends’ homes and Spindletop Rollergirls games, community service projects, 4H, and whatever else piques our interest. We like to stay busy!

HomeschoolShare.com‘s extensive list of unit studies and lapbooks will come in handy, I’m sure. We’ll cater more to the boys’ interests (ages 8 and 9; in 3rd and 4th grade-ish) this summer and focus less on ‘curriculum’, though we will continue with some basics, just not as rigorously. I did buy a couple of workbooks for the summer, Math Minutes and Summer Activities for the Gifted Student (just to clarify on that one; no, I don’t think my children are ‘gifted’ – well, they’re both exceedingly bright, but we’re not talking savant-level genius or anything. That’s just the name of the workbook. Don’t get your panties in a twist over it. {wink}).

We’ve used the Math Minutes workbook before; it’s 100 lessons with 10 problems on each page, designed to be done in 1 minute. LBB took more like 10, and often did 2 pages at a time, but then we used that as a bridge between ‘OMG, we’re homeschooling!!’ and ‘proper math curriculum for properly homeschooled child’. We’re >thisclose< to being done with this ‘grade’, so the two new books will be used here and there where needed to supplement our more regular, though considerably lighter than during the Winter Session. (On a side note, when I was looking for the Amazon link to the Math Minutes workbooks, I came across this: Math Minutes by Sadlier-Oxford Publishing. It’s a website that you can use to practice math concepts. You choose the category and set the time and then go. We haven’t used it yet, but it looks interesting. Just thought I’d share…)

In addition to the already full summer plan, two of our local movie theaters also do a kids’ program; one previously-released kids movie each week for $1 per ticket. You can’t beat that and since we don’t often go to the movies, we’re planning on taking advantage of that this summer as well.

I can’t wait to get started! What’s on your calendar for the summer?

Warmly,

~h

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2 responses

  1. Katie

    I had to take your quiz and got a shocking result. I got a 45 Unschooling or Child-Directed.

    May 23, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    • LOL… if by ‘shocking’ you mean ‘completely expected and in no way surprising’ then yes… totally shocking 😉
      ~h

      May 23, 2011 at 6:48 pm

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