Monday, August 1, 2011

Next Year's Curriculum and A New Teaching Strategy

After home educating my children for over a decade, I sense a change in my approach to teaching.

I fear that I have made two mistakes with my two older children, and I want to correct that for the younger two.

Mistake #1 - I educated at the cost of learning.
Mistake #2 - When my children became frustrated or didn't understand a lesson, I simply repeated the instruction (more times than I care to admit), rather than find a new teaching strategy.  I forgot that each child has a different learning style.

So, I am slowly planning the new year.  I am not rushing into it, and I am allowing an evolution in teaching style to take place in me.

My oldest daughter is a senior in high school this year.  She is currently flipping through the pages of the Rainbow Resource Catalogue, she will determine her year for herself.  I am hoping that, this year of self discovery will correct all the teaching mistakes I've made with her.  I realize this is impossible, and a fantasy, but I do get some comfort out of this notion.  So, please...let a girl dream!

I want to follow my children's learning desires a lot more this year.  Children have a naturally curious nature, and my hope is that if I surround them with learning opportunities they will indulge this urge.

So, our days are going to be broken into two parts.  We will start with the core subjects.  During this time, all three of us will work at the table together and cover math, memory work, and language lessons.  Then each child will sit with me for 30 minutes while I read to them. This will be the time that I direct the learning, and I am hoping that we will have it completed in 2.5 hours.

For my ten year old who is entering the 5th Grade:

Core Subjects

Math Mammoth 
Michael Clay Thompson Language Lessons
Memory Work
Reading Time with Mom

For my 5 year old who is entering Kindergarten:

Core Subjects:

The Writing Road to Reading
Explode the Code
Memory Work
Reading time with Mom
Note - At this time I do not have a math curriculum picked out for her.

When these core subjects are complete the children can choose which of the following they would like to do.  This is their time to direct their learning.  I am dedicating three hours to this kind of learning.

           Hands-On Bible 
Documentary from Netflix
Spelling - Spelling City, Spelling Games, Mom's Skittle Game
Board Games - Scrabble/Chess/Carcassonne/Alphabet Bingo
Online learning websites for spelling, typing, and math.  I will offer these links in a new post.

Television (outside of pre-chosen documentaries) and computer/video games are activities that are earned, and can only be enjoyed on the weekends.

I am not sure how this year will play out.  I may lose my mind by October, return to a tight schedule, and right this off as a bad experiment.  I'll post how it is working out in the weeks to come.

Not Back to School Blog Hop


Modern Mia said...

Thanks for this post today. I needed it. We're slowly finishing up K for my 5 year old and starting preschool for my 3 year old. I keep feeling rushed to finish K and start on 1st but in reality, I need to patiently finish K to make sure my little guy has a good foundation. Your post today gives me confidence to be patient and not rush his learning. Thanks!

Savannah McQueen said...

So glad to hear that, Mia. I keep repeating in my head, "Education at the cost of learning is useless."

Julie Boutwell-Peterson said...

Hey there - I just read over your post and had to write you. This is actually exactly how I plan to do my year with the girls. I was just making a list of what we'd do together in the morning and what activities they could choose from after lunch. Eli and I have been doing that for a year and it's worked really great, I think, - although you know with him, we've moved more and more into a very unschooling set-up where the only things I really do with him is read aloud, listen to "Story of the World" and, this year, we're going to try "Life of Fred" math. ...

I just picked up a copy of The Read Aloud Handbook and was reminded of how the Finnish don't even start school until the age of 7 and then only half-days. The students, therefore, don't start reading until that age. And then, by age 9, they are ahead of the world! : ) ...

I do think we have a tendency to want to push things and start things too early. I say that more to myself than to anyone else! : ) ...

Hope you're new schedule works out great. We'll have to compare notes!

MissMOE said...

I've become a follower via email to see how your new method plays out. I'm also interested to see what your senior picked out for the year.

Savannah McQueen said...

Julie, That is so funny. Oddly enough I told Sherri, today on the phone, that I found I was suddenly channeling Julie Peterson. So, there you have it! I love the Read Aloud Handbook. I read it when Walter was a baby. I need to order another copy and reread it. Thanks for your encouragement.

Tristan said...

Yay for you! It is hard to take that step of faith that our children's interests can be their learning, isn't it? We've got some mom directed work and then they have total control over science at my house right now (my six are age 10 and younger). As they grow I see giving over more and more control, as they show they are ready to handle it. Enjoy the year!

Julie Boutwell-Peterson said...

Now you'll just have to try "yes" day! : )

Sparklee said...

Don't beat yourself up over "mistakes!" None of us are perfect, and I'm sure you are doing your best and that's what matters!

I think it's really cool that your senior is planning her own path this year...what a great idea! (And I love to drool over the RR catalog, too!)

Have a great year of learning at home!

Savannah McQueen said...

Thanks Sparklee!

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