Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hitting the books - eventually

All education has its traditions and homeschooling is no different. One of the best, in our house, is the "big book buy". That's in June or July when I start e-baying and used book-storing like mad to provide the spine of our curriculum for the year. That and I just really like shopping on e-bay and bookstores.

In case you've been wondering our homeschool style is what I am going to one day write a book on: Hybrid Homeschooling. (Seriously. I'm going to write a book about it. When I find the time. And when I have a few more years experience to flaunt tell about.) For us, this is mostly a mixture of Classical Method and Charlotte Mason. And, because of this inclination, we follow a book written by Susan Wise Bauer and her mother, Jessie Wise, called: The Well Trained Mind. We minimally follow their suggestions but we also do a fair bit of culling from every other homeschool idea I've ever had, read about, or heard mentioned, and they are legion.

Part of getting ready for a new "formal" school year, after the BBB (big book buy, remember?) is just piling up all the lovely new or new-to-us material. I make plans with these materials but my children are - this is important - not allowed to take these books and look at them. Absolutely no peeking. Maybe it's just my girls but this one simple rule gets them very excited to actually "start school". We've got some goodies lined up this year:

Polly is doing Saxon 2. Basically second grade work. She tore through Saxon 1, rarely hitting a snag. After careful study on my part I see no reason why this year will be different. We don't actually hit a "new" concept until after lesson 50.
This is our history for this year, also Second Grade work. We enjoyed last year, although we rarely any more than coloring or map work from all the suggested activities. This year we have a good plan and intend to really delve into the Middle Ages. We're both excited!
This is for reading aloud. Polly is reading really well now but in addition to other school things she will also read this to me so we can work on technique.
These two books are the spines for our science program. We're really looking forward to this part of school this year. Our science fell off towards the end last year and we don't want that to happen again. Again, I think with careful planning and then willingness to roll with "real life", we'll get a lot done.

In addition to these specific books we have lots of supplementals planned. And we're looking forward to Fine Art Fridays again. Polly's been asking when we can read another Shakespeare story. I'm not sure I was even aware that William Shakespeare existed when I was 6 1/2.

As a final note, and woeful instance of my own insanity, I will explain why we didn't start this week. I had tentatively planned to start last Monday. Then the opportunity for the two oldest girls to spend the night with one set of my grandparents came up. And - this is the beauty of homeschooling - Prince Charming and I were in complete agreement that they should go. Spending the night with great-grandparents is much more worthwhile than a few lessons.

All well and good but why not start school the next day? I can't. It has to be a Monday. It just has to. I know it's a sickness but I just can't understand starting on some random day of the week. Nope, Monday it is. Schedules will be altered, adapted and destroyed all year long. This one has to happen this way.

(Walter Cronkite voice) And that's the way it is. (end terrible Cronkite impression.)

Edited to add: forgot to mention that we are on year 2 of First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind. We're supplementing by adding more poems to be memorized and it's a bit too much writing for Polly (we skip some writing) but other than that we really like it.

Carry on.


Kelly said...

We start on a Tuesday, and it will absolutely ruin my week. Not because I'm back in school, but because I'll think Wednesday is Tuesday, Thursday is Wednesday, Friday is Thursday, and get up Saturday morning thinking I've got school. Believe me, I understand!

Anonymous said...

Start on Monday? Are you crazy? Just kidding. I know you're not. It's just that I always wanted to start school on a Tuesday, specifically the one following the last summer Monday holiday known as Labor Day. I like to make the summer last until I just can't eek any more time from it.

I was the same as a student. Some things never change.


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