A Plan - Homeschool Plans for 2016/2017

When my husband and I were first married, discussions of child rearing often lead to the topic of hobby farms and homeschooling. At the time, living in a third floor tiny apartment in Saint Paul, I was very uninterested. My mother in law was homeschooling her youngest two, and while I supported and admired her for doing so, that 'so wasn't us.' 1

So then we started homeschooling last year (insert cry-laughing emoji). As a public school teacher for a hot minute before I kept getting pregnant, I had a different plan. Then, as my jobs allowed for me to be a mom at home, I grew more and more in love with watching the kids learn and grow. The homeschool bug bit me, and now I'm all in. One hundred percent sold for many reasons.

The following is our plan for the year for any and all whom are interested. I'm so excited for the year to come!

I've taken a classical meets Charlotte Mason approach, ditching through the year what we don't like or what isn't working. Of course I'm constantly being inspired in the moment to add other things (and the year hasn't even started yet!). I started structuring the year around Sonlight Curriculum packages. The younger four are all in various stages of pre-K to K. I like that there is a day by day, detailed plan that allows for flexibility and options. We're doing a four day week, with one day set aside for Co-op and handicrafts, which I'll get to in a minute.

Sonlight can be expensive if you buy the whole grade packages. Since we have six kids and we're frugal, we didn't do this. Instead, I looked at the book and supplies lists for each package and either found the books at the library or replaced them with similar books. Honestly, some books aren't at all interesting to the kids anyway - a literature rich environment is what we strive for.

We're doing Math-u-See for the younger four, and Teaching Textbooks for our oldest.

I found these beautiful art study packages, and we're doing three this year as a family activity. They include an artist biography and prints of their works. We'll use these pictures (one a week or so) to guide some projects in our art journal throughout the week. I'm placing high value on these art journals this year, and we'll be doing nature journals as well.

I plan to have the kids dictate or write and illustrate elements of each day. For example, if we're reading the boxcar children we'll illustrate a picture from the story and save these pictures, via lamination, in our art journals (which are cardboard recycled three ring binders. Idea from Jodi Mockabee whose blog is a dream).

I'm an avid gardener and have this deep growing thing in me that wants to learn our land and pay attention to the natural world around us.

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I've found a slew of books with gorgeous illustrations that we'll use as teaching tools to loosely base our nature art illustrations around. I really desire for my kids to appreciate what the ground can give them.

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Handicrafts: I decided that three projects for the year felt rich but not too heavy for us to accomplish. The first project we'll do together is make a quilt. From start to finish we'll agree on a design, collect fabric, cut, sew, bind, etc. The parallels of stitching something together as we grow together as a family warm my heart, of course. The second project will be woodworking, TBD. The third will be the garden in the spring, starting with seedlings, to ground cultivation, to planting.

I drank too much coffee and was a creeper was searching homeschool hashtags on instagram, and found this brilliant movement called the Nature Pal Exchange. The kids and I were chewing on the idea of pen-pals this year, in a way that would be engaging to a three year old and twelve year old. Tricky. This is the perfect solution: it engages all of us AND encourages family quality time AND gets us outside in nature. I can't wait to meet our pals!

I value being aware of more than just what happens in our own home. We live in a hurting, vibrant world that needs our attention and prayer. I'll have our oldest report orally on current events each week, and we'll talk about it over dinner as a family.

Lastly (I think): piano. I'll teach beginner lessons until they outgrow my ability, then I'm sure we'll outsource. Or rather, with six kids, we'll probably beg someone to come teach in our home!

So, there you have it. Our rough plan for the year. Did I mention how excited I am for Monday to come?

*How is your homeschool year shaping up, fellow homeschoolers? I'd love to hear of any great resources you've found!