My Plans for the 2016-17 School Year
Believe it or not, we’re getting ready to go back to school! When I was pregnant with Nico we started up after 4th of July to make sure we got in a good chunk of school before he arrived, and I liked the way that year worked out so much we’ve copied the schedule ever since. That means we’ve got a week for VBS, a holiday weekend, and then we’re back to school!
This year is going to look rather different for our family, the main change being that we are joining a Classical Conversations (CC) community on Monday mornings. We’ll also continue all our Friday music classes, which means only three full days at home to cover everything else (slightly scary).
Ian (8) is starting 3rd grade, and even though Elijah (6) is officially going into 1st, he works above grade level in most subjects, so I’m going to have him work with Ian on almost everything, though things like writing assignments may differ a bit. Arianna’s still not quite old enough to enter Kindergarten, so while I’ll encourage her to join us for read alouds and keep working on Reading Eggs and Math Seeds, I’m not requiring much from her yet.
Here’s what I’m planning to use this year:
This is the one subject where the boys will be doing something different from one another. Ian will be going through The God Puzzle by Valerie Ackermann, a workbook focused on how the Bible all fits together as one seamless story. Elijah will continue going through his Veritas Press Self-Paced Course on Genesis – Joshua, and when he finishes that I already have him signed up for Judges – Kings.
In addition to the history that’s part of CC, we’ll be continuing the history cycle I started when Ian entered 1st grade, moving into American history this year. (I don’t want to disrupt what we’ve been doing just in case we find that CC is not a good fit for our family. We’ll see how it goes, trying to do both!) I’ve scheduled 1-2 chapters a week from The Light and the Glory for Children: Discovering God’s Plan for America from Christopher Columbus to George Washington and its sequel, From Sea to Shining Sea: Discovering God’s Plan for America in Her First Half-Century of Independence, 1787-1837, by Peter Marshall and David Manual. (I have these older editions. They have been republished in newer editions (L&G, FStoS) that come with study questions for each chapter.) We’ll also be watching Liberty’s Kids episodes as they correspond with our reading.
I want to devote this year to reading inspirational biographies. Some I’ve scheduled to go along with our history or some of our CC memory work; others are just people with whom I want my children to be familiar. My plan is to focus on three people each month, mostly using books from YWAM Publishing’s “Heroes for Young Readers” series and Catherine Mackenzie’s “Little Lights” series, and supplementing with videos from the Torchlighters series. (Many of the animated stories are available streaming on Amazon Prime, but the DVDs include quality documentaries as well.)
I’d like the boys to continue practicing what they learned in their writing class this year, so we’ll be using sources connected to our other studies (especially our biographies) to write outlines and papers following the Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW)’s “Structure and Style.”
I also want to start teaching them English grammar, so we’ll be going through Fix It! Grammar: The Nose Tree (Book 1) from IEW, which has students hunt for errors in daily passages that cumulatively tell a story over the course of the year.
My plan right now to to have both boys go through Teaching Textbooks 4, possibly supplementing with CTCMath just because we were given a subscription to review it again. (TT4 has 119 Lessons, plus 17 Quizzes, which I’ve scheduled across the whole school year, which means we’ll have some time to fill.) Elijah dabbled in Teaching Textbooks 3 last year (Ian completed it), along with materials from other curricula, but I’m trying to simplify and foster more independence this year, so I’m going to see how he does just moving on this year. I’m open to doing something different with him if this isn’t a good fit.