August 2, 2011

A peek into the chaos of our upcoming school year

It’s that frantic time when most homeschooling parents are realizing that they actually need to PLAN the upcoming year.  And just so that I feel like a part of the craziness….here are our plans for the 2011-2012 year (subject to change!)

And just for reference, I have four boys, ages 11, 10, 7 and 5.  We also school year-round so we’re actually right in the middle of some studies, halfway through levels and other such confusing things.

Devotional – family, daily, 30 minutes

We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and will be reading the Book of Mormon and Old Testament as a family.  My two older boys will be doing a study from Discover the Scriptures

We will continue to work on our Scripture Memory Work using this system.
We are working our way through the hymn book and children’s songbook from our church (we sing the same hymn every day until we know it).  We also read the children’s magazine put out by our church called The Friend.  And we choose one “religious” book to read – right now it’s a history of our church.  Next will be a scripture hero book.

And this isn’t a part of “religion” but we also do the following during devotional time:
One idiom -  (I have the old version)

History – family, 4 x a week, 20 to 30 minutes
We are finishing up American History (we’ll stop right before WWI).  We’ve used a booklist I compiled.  We should be done in another month or two and will then move to the Ancient World again.
Because I like pain, we’re going to try to cram Egypt, Rome and Greece into one year.  I’ll use the Simply Charlotte Mason guide books and their suggested readings with a few books of my own choosing thrown in.

Science – family, daily, 20 to 30 minutes
We have a few weeks left of chemistry and will then move into an eclectic mix of biology, physics and earth science.  We’ll finish Flying Creatures (younger Apologia series - we did half the book last year), and work on Ocean Animals as well as Land Animals (from the same series).  For physics we’ll be using Real Science 4 Kids.  And for earth science I’m undecided.   We might do a week or two on botany as well (the boys vetoed anything longer).

We’ll also throw in some nature study books here and there (actually, on Fridays).  I have a ton downloaded on my Kindle or bookmarked around the web.

Piano – individually, daily, 20 minutes
Taught by dad.  Mom is not talented that way.

Foreign Language – family, daily, 10 minutes
Starting Hebrew and Portuguese.  My husband is a Hebrew speaker and I’m a Portuguese one so we’ll be teaching them ourselves, using our own small brains.  I’ll be trying to use the Sarah and David Hebrew books with them as well.

Math – daily, 30 minutes each (all taught separately)
Right Start for all of them.  Still love it almost 3 years later.

Spelling – individually, daily, 10 to 20 minutes
We use All About Spelling.  They are each in a different level.  Love, love, love it.

Literature/Read-Alouds – daily, 20 to 30 minutes
I use this list for the family.  I read one book to them during the day and their dad reads one at bedtime.  We’ll try to get through as many as we can.
The younger boys and I have “Circle Time” where we sing songs and read a few books from this list.  The older boys work on their workboxes or chores during that time. 
On Fridays we read Fairy Tales (currently an Andrew Lang Fairy book).

Geography - family, once a week, 30 minutes
Instead of history on Friday, we work on geography.  I use Galloping the Globe as a guide and grab whatever books I can from the library about a specific country.  It takes us several months per country.  China is next.  And we haven't voted on the one after that.

We also do a Map Drill on Friday with our geography.  Currently we're working on the United States.  All four boys participate (I write for the 5-year-old).

Artist Study – family, once a week, 10 minutes
I’m following this list I made.  We are on Botticelli.

Composer Study – family, once a week, 10 minutes then listen to pieces throughout the week
Following this list I made.  We just finished Mozart.

Poetry – family, once a week, 10 minutes
I just grab a poetry book and we read from it. 

Art – family, once a week, 10 minutes
A woman from our church unit comes and teaches them about art and does projects with them every Thursday afternoon.  I get to play with her baby girl. 

Older boys:
Each of them has a workbox (milk-type crate with file folders).  They will do the following subjects (daily) on their own:
  1.  Scriptures – read 10 minutes a day
  2. Discover the Scriptures Book of Mormon (as listed above)
  3.  Copywork
  4. Grammar – we use Growing With Grammar
  5. Explode the Code
  6.  Cursive – Handwriting Without Tears
  7. Math worksheet – a one page practice sheet
  8. Geography – Daily Geography Practice
  9. One boy is doing Star-Spangled States
  10. Switcheroo – every day I change what is in the folder – homophones, story prompts, crossword puzzle, etc.
  11. Exercise – 20 minutes, they choose the activity

Then 3 times a week they will do some independent reading in history or science.  They will work on transitioning from oral narrations to written narrations this year.  Yippee!

Once a week they will have a Logic class and we’ll be reading and discussing The Thinking Toolbox together.

One of my sons needs extra reading practice so he works with me an additional 30 minutes or so a day, using Happy Phonics for games.  The rest of the time is just spent reading outloud.

He joins his older brothers for devotional, history, science, read-alouds, foreign language, and the other family studies.  He works individually with me for math and reading/spelling.  We use Happy Phonics for reading games.

His workboxes contain:
  1. Scripture reading – 10 minutes with mom
  2. Math worksheet
  3. Explode the Code
  4. Handwriting – printing, Handwriting Without Tears

He will probably start copywork with year.

His job is to stay out of my hair and not jump all over our stuff.  He has a variety of games, activities, iPod apps, etc to keep him occupied.

He is working on his handwriting using Handwriting Without Tears.  He is also learning to read using a crazy and disorganized mix of Happy Phonics, Now I’m Reading series, Starfall and the Preschool Prep dvds.  He also sits in on all family subjects and on the 7-year-olds math and spelling lessons (his choice).


  1. I love reading your plans. I've considered having one day a week be "different" subjects than the day in day out similar to your geography focus. I was thinking a nature and fine arts day where we do picture study, composer study, nature study, and art.
    Stopping in from SCM Forum!

  2. My boys really enjoy having a "different" day. Somehow it ends up being a little shorter so we try to have a Game Afternoon or Library Day. I usually scatter our fine arts through the week. Monday is composer, Tuesday is artist, Wednesday is poetry, and Thursday is art with their teacher.

  3. I'm pretty sure you need a 2014 update for some of your stalkers, I mean fond followers :-D.