Monday, September 5, 2011

School for 2011-2012

Eventually I'll do a more philosophical/pedagogical/parablahblahblah post (I know, I've been saying that for some time now), but today is all about what we are going to do this year for schooling, rather than why.  Because that is easier and I am short on brain cells. (Hmm, if I'm waiting for more brain cells to write the other post, it could be a long long wait.)
Ava will be 5 in December, and while not really old enough for traditional kindergarten, she definitely is ready for more structured learning.  We have been doing a few things here and there over the past year, but now I'm moving into a more formalized approach.  Aiming for consistency, or something in the ball park of consistency at least.
Seeing as how this is all new to Wyatt, we started last week with just one little section of our routine: read aloud and bible memory practice.  Then this week, I added in literacy time.  I actually set the timer, to remind myself to keep it short.  We are about establishing routines right now, not rapid knowledge gain.  Next week, I'll add in math and perhaps something else if things are going smoothly.  The wonderful part about this is that Ava is way ahead of where she needs to be according to the state of Oregon, so I can take my time and ease into everything.  Wyatt, we will just drag him along for the ride.  Poor middle child.

Here are the main points for Ava:
My approach for educating Ava is based on the classical model with a heavy shot of Charlotte Mason thrown in there.  Ask me about it directly if you are curious to know more, but the links above will give you an idea of what I'm talking about.
Spiritual Growth: Reading in The One Year Bible for Children.  Memorize verses.  Reading and discussion in Right Choices.  Right Choices is a really cute book where the children think about different situations and practice making decisions about their behavior.  And it has little ladybugs on each page, so there's that.  We are also working through the first year of Telling God's Story, which is awesome.

Literacy: The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Reading.  We are about halfway through this.

Math: Singapore 1A for homeschoolers.  This is the first grade level, so we'll just play our way through it and see how far we get.

Classical Conversations:  Ava is enrolled in the Foundations program of Classical Conversations.  For three hours once a week, she and I (and Charlotte, poor third child) will meet with other kids her age and their parents for focused instruction and memory work.  This meeting sets up work we will do at home during the rest of the week.  My friend Heidi has done a few great posts on Classical Conversations, so I'll point you over to her site for an overview.  Look in her sidebar for more detailed posts.  I visited this program last spring and was very impressed.  My main reasons for choosing this for Ava include getting her some classroom time with other kids, and exposing her to other teaching styles.  I don't think kids need to be "socialized" with a group of 27 other 5 year olds in order to function in society, but they do need to learn how to operate in a group.  I also think there is incredible value in learning how to learn from different teachers.  Life skills, people.  Oh, during this time, there is a little class/daycare for Wyatt.  As he gets older, he can join us in Ava's class as it works out.

As part of Classical Conversations, Ava will work with content in geography, math, science, literature, Latin, history, geography, and fine arts.  Yes, I did just copy that from the website.  We will be working with those subjects at home to varying degrees, depending on skill level and just how life comes together.  I also expect we'll do a lot of nature study, since it's such a great way to integrate skills and get outside in God's creation.  Very Charlotte Mason.

Wyatt:  I have goals for Wyatt, specific skills to work on, and I plan to have different "preschool" type activities for him as it fits.  I can share more about that later, but I really don't know what it will look like yet.  It will depend on his interest level, since he's not even three yet, and how much I can handle right now with the new baby.  (I've been wondering how long I can excuse things with the "well I have a new baby" comment.  I'm definitely out of the period where people feel bad asking you for things because they think you're really busy with the new baby.)

And that brings us to my goals for Charlotte.  Know what?  This kid occasionally sleeps 9 hours at night, so I'll just keep my mouth shut and tiptoe to bed.

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