2017-2018 Preview (I am SO Looking Forward to This!!)

As much as summer break is going to be awesome and refreshing and relaxing and exciting and well-earned and needed…

… I am so looking forward to what I’ve got planned for next year.

I’ve mentioned before that I have signed my children up for a program that requires us to take an engineering/entrepreneurship/technology class each year. I’m not super into any of that stuff, but the program helps fund my entire homeschool. So I can handle a few robots here and there, or selling cupcakes or dog walks or whatever, if that (and a little oversight) is all it takes for me to be able to afford some really fun learning activities and experiences we would not have had without the extra funds. (If I can figure out how to get my spreadsheets up here, I will get a post on with all my budgeting, for those parties interested in seeing how I manage all the money.)

One of the minimal requirements is a written description (500 characters or less) outlining each course for each child with specifics as to what material we will need reimbursed. (They don’t reimburse religious material and a few other things.)

Anyway, without further blah blah blah, here are the course descriptions I submitted and had approved for next year (and in parenthesis a little added detail for those who want to know what our class is REALLY going to look like – you can only fit so much into 500 characters!)

5th grader –

Math Saxon Math 7/6 Student will learn and practice “functions and coordinate graphing, integers, exponential expressions, and prime factorization. Student will specifically learn about the order of operations, number lines, decimal place value, how to find the percent of a number, how to round decimal numbers, attributes of geometric solids, and more. Lessons contain a warm-up (with facts practice, mental math, & problem-solving exercises); introduction to the new concept, lesson practice exercises where the new skill is practiced, and mixed practice exercises, which includes 25-30 old and new problems. In-depth “Investigations” are provided every 10 lessons, and have their own set of questions.” Also tests every 5 to 10 lessons, and supplemental facts practice. (I copied some of that verbatim from the Saxon website. Actually, pretty much all of that is from their website. We do math every day as our first “core” subject. Generally it takes us about 1 hour per kid, depending on resistance level of the children, which of course varies from day to day.) 🙂

Language Arts – Student’s primary textbooks/workbooks will be Latin for Children Primer C, Writing and Rhetoric semesters 3 and 4, Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Level 5, and lots of library free reading books. Fine art pages from Enrichmentstudies.com will be used weekly as writing prompts. Grammar will be added as needed. (I’m going to buy a Grammar/Language Arts book(s) from The Good and The Beautiful this year for my 5th grader. It’s religious in nature so I didn’t bother to add it to my course description. We alternate grammar with handwriting during the week, usually Grammar on MWF and Handwriting on TTH. This is another morning subjects. We also do the Writing and rhetoric books only 2 or 3 days a week – depending how long it takes my son to get through the chapter/lesson. We will also have spelling practice every day and a quiz on Fridays.  I use the Mcguffey’s Eclectic Spelling Book to come up with the spelling lists and, if I am feeling up to it – read “less lazy than this year” – I will pull out the phonogram cards again to work on those, just once through a few times a week. I already have the spelling book and cards so I didn’t add them to my course description. Latin is actually an afternoon class – right after lunch. We finish a chapter each week. I don’t do anything for reading specifically except let the kids read a ton. They are above grade level so I’m not too worried about it.)

(Also, I need to add, because it isn’t anywhere else, we have an extra “class” every morning, first thing, for 20 minutes. This is symposium – and I will have a longer blog post about our experience this year up in a week or so. Next year for symposium we will be listening to music from a certain composer for a month or so. I’ll pick about 10 minutes worth of music and we listen to it twice. While we are listing to the music, the kids can draw, do some creative writing, or just listen. Also, during the music symposium week I will have the fine art pieces from enrichment studies posted strategically around the house – read as “in the bathroom and on the fridge door.” Maybe 5 or 6 pieces at a time. The second week of symposium we will repeat our first weeks songs, but add a little of THIS!!! I have wanted to do this for years and I’ve decided that I’m actually going to take the plunge and just do it. The idea is it will only take 20 minutes every morning, just like we’ve been doing with the music, but we’ll be able to add a little something extra. Week three we will be back to music and I will hang up different fine art pieces for the kids to look at around the house. Wish me luck, I want this to work so bad!)

Science – Life Sciences. Student will work primarily out of R.E.A.L Science Odyssey Biology Level 2 textbook/workbook. Scope of this course includes cells, genetics, organisms, evolution, ecology and population dynamics, and classification. Field trips (zoo, aquarium, biology based museums and attractions) and other labs or experiments that supplement learning in this course will occur as needed and as relevant. Equipment needed will include but not be limited to a microscope and accompanying supplies, dissection kits, plant and growing equipment (grow lights, trays, seeds). We will compile a science journal with notebooks, a camera, pens and pencils for botany/ecology units to record what we see and learn. (So I already bought a new fancy digital camera and I’m going to let me kids use my old one until it breaks… it’s kind of on its way out. I’m going to get a family membership to a semi-local children’s museum/attraction called Thanksgiving Point. They’ve got a dinosaur museum (relevant), a beautiful 55 acre garden (relevant), a little farm (relevant), and a curiosity museum (we can make it relevant.) Also, new this year, I’m going to get the pass to the zoo. It’s about an hour away so I’m not sure how often we will really make it up there, but even if we go just twice, I’ve saved money. We’re kind of a large family (7). Also, that first part about the scope of the course is lifted straight from the R.E.A.L Science Odyssey website. We do science every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon after lunch and Latin.)

Entrepreneurship – Student will spend the first half of the year working through the Biz Kids series on Amazon Prime to learn about personal finances and the basics of running a business. Additional assignments and projects will be added as needed. The second half of the year will focus primarily on creating a product or service to sell. The culmination of the year will be setting up a booth at the Kid’s Market in Provo. (Student will also probably be selling his product/service earlier in the year as well.) Supplies include whatever is needed to create his product, as well as perhaps field trip fees to businesses and other relevant events, and market booth rental fees. (He wants to make mini-crossbows. These are super cool but a little tricky to make, so we’ll see how this works. If not, my kindergartener is going to be selling plant starts – making use of that grow light, trays, and seeds from biology – so if all else fails, all the kids can just sell cookies and plant starts or cute little flower pots. Last year our engineering class was a bust – maybe because this is the forced on us class – but I am anticipating a really fun time with this particular entrepreneurship course. We generally do our “tech” class every Friday afternoon after lunch and Latin.)

Elective – Private piano lessons through Lauren Cybulski. Lessons are twice a month. Practice time required is 30 minutes per day, at least 5 days a week. Supplies needed are lesson and theory books as required by the music teacher. (I only do lessons twice a month because then I only pay half as much – but yes, we potentially progress slower, especially if the kids’ practice is lacking in sincerity. I actually pay for the entire year up front (in September) and then have the kids take lessons all through the summer as well.)

3rd grader  

MathSaxon 5/4 “covers concepts such as number sense, numeration, numerical operations, measurement and geometry, patterns, relationships, math functions, and data manipulation are introduced. Students will specifically learn to add three-digit numbers, subtract numbers with re-grouping, read time, write numbers, estimate arithmetic answers, divide with two-digit answers, multiply three or more factors, simplify fraction answers, use a decimal number line, etc. Lessons contain a warm-up (with facts practice, mental math, & problem-solving exercises); introduction to the new concept, lesson practice exercises where the new skill is practiced, and mixed practice exercises, which includes 25-30 old and new problems. In-depth “Investigations” are provided every 10 lessons, and have their own set of questions. Math 5/4 also includes 8 in-lesson activities and 5 investigation activities.” Tests are every 5 -10 lessons. (Again, this is pretty much just lifted from off the Saxon website. Same schedule as her older brother.)

Language Arts – The primary language arts texts for the student are Latin for Children Primer A, Zaner-Bloser handwriting level 3, and First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind level 3. Spelling tests will be given weekly. Also, lots and lots of reading through books from the library and other special books purchased throughout the year. Fine art pieces will be used weekly as writing prompts. Also, we will purchase writing materials as needed and not otherwise in our possession. (Same deal as her older brother, same learning schedule, just different leveled books and a different grammar book altogether. The 5th grader already worked through the entire First Language Lessons grammar series. BUT… this is her first year of Latin! And my first year of having two Latin students at a time. So that may be a little challenging.)

Science – The primary textbook/workbook for this course will be R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Life (life sciences). The scope of this course covers cells, the human body, classifying life, the animal kingdom, and the plant kingdom. We will utilize many field trip opportunities: The zoo, the aquarium, the aviary, Thanksgiving Point (gardens and dino museum specifically), working farms, and various accessible natural habitats. Other supplies needed may include a microscope, plant growing equipment (grow light, trays, seeds). We will compile a science journal with notebooks, a camera, pens and pencils for botany/ecology units to record what we see and learn. (I supposed I didn’t mention that the whole science journal is actually probably going to look like – hopefully a nature journal. This is another thing I have never successfully done – like the fine art stuff – but I figure we can just go out on hikes – natural habitats, right? – and do a little journaling. I hope this works.  Also, my lower level kids (3rd and 1st grader) will be working out of the level 1 Biology book whereas my 5th grader will be working out of the level 2 book. I haven’t figured out how I am going to teach biology twice at the same time with different books. I’m hoping I can get my 5th grader to work a little more independently. These are all a lot of big “ifs” and “hopes” but we will make it work, and what doesn’t work, we will just adapt.)

Entrepreneurship – Student will spend the first half of the year working through the Biz Kids series on Amazon Prime to learn about personal finances and the basics of running a business. Additional assignments and projects will be added as needed. The second half of the year will focus primarily on creating a product or service to sell. The culmination of the year will be setting up a booth at the Kid’s Market in Provo. (Student will also probably be selling her product/service earlier in the year as well.) Supplies include whatever is needed to create her product, as well as perhaps field trip fees to businesses and other relevant events and market booth rental fees. (Same deal as the 5th grader, but she wants to make jewelry.)

Elective – Children’s Choir through Millennial Choir and Orchestra. From their mission statement: “MCO was founded for the purpose of teaching and encouraging excellence in quality sacred and classical music. Its primary purpose is to fulfill the need for more refined music performance education in our communities.” Rehearsals are weekly, concerts are at the end of each semester with optional summer tours (paid for by participants.) (I LOVE THIS CHOIR. But let me tell you, concert weeks are crazy busy and intense. Also, my daughter is still going to be taking private piano lessons, but for the sake of the funding, I pay for her piano lessons through our “extra tech” fund and not an actual class fund. I’ll post a spreadsheet in another blog post to show just how much this stuff costs and how I track our expenses and maybe there it will make sense.)

1st grader 

 MathSaxon Math 2 teaches young minds in an incremental manner, slowly building upon previously learned concepts and increasing retention. Math 2 covers working with larger numbers, geometric shapes, Venn diagrams, graphs, basic calculations, simple fractions and multi-step problems. Math manipulatives will also be purchased if needed.

Language Arts – Student’s primary workbook/textbooks will be First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind Level 1 and Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Level 1. Spelling quizzes will be administered weekly. Fine art pieces will be used weekly as writing prompts. Other resources will include a library membership to the Provo Library, writing supplies (paper, pencil, pens), and art supplies to supplement creative writing/poetry work as needed (markers, tape, glue, etc.).

Science – The primary textbook/workbook for this course will be R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Life (life sciences). The scope of this course covers cells, the human body, classifying life, the animal kingdom, and the plant kingdom. We will utilize many field trip opportunities: The zoo, the aquarium, the aviary, Thanksgiving Point (gardens and Dino museum specifically), working farms, and various accessible natural habitats. We will compile a science journal with notebooks, a camera, pens and pencils for botany/ecology units to record what we see and learn.

Entrepreneurship – Student will spend the first half of the year working through the Biz Kids series on Amazon Prime to learn about personal finances and the basics of running a business. Additional assignments and projects will be added as needed. The second half of the year will focus primarily on creating a product or service to sell. The culmination of the year will be setting up a booth at the Kid’s Market in Provo. (Student will also probably be selling his product/service earlier in the year as well.) Supplies include whatever is needed to create his product, as well as perhaps field trip fees to businesses and other relevant events and market booth rental fees.

Elective – Private piano lessons through Lauren Cybulski. Lessons are twice a month. Practice time required is 30 minutes per day, at least 5 days a week. Supplies needed are lesson and theory books as required by the music teacher.

(You’ve maybe noticed I am not teaching history this year. Actually, I am doing history this year, but I needed lots of money for our biology class and next to zero money for our history class so I didn’t bother to write up a course description for history. I only need about $15 to buy the Story of the World: volume 1 Ancient Times. The rest of the course will be library books, special projects, powerpoint reports, and other creative reports like writing a song, a poem, drawing a comic book, or a big piece of art, or whatever else sounds fun and engaging. We are going to study the ancients (again, we did it 4 years ago) but I think we will focus most of our time and projects on Ancient Egypt, Old Testament history, Ancient Greece, and Ancient Rome. One of the things I am most looking forward to is taking my kids to a Greek restaurant and wearing togas while watching the winter olympics! We do history every Monday and Wednesday afternoon after lunch and Latin.)

So that is that for now.  Hopefully this is helpful for those who also have to write course descriptions, or would just like to write their own course descriptions to give themselves a basic outline and some goals for the year. These are super general in a sense, but as far as curriculum goes they are pretty specific. We have lots of flexibility, but still a pretty good backbone as to what we want to accomplish.

And I think it is going to be so fun!

So stop for a minute.

Does this look completely overwhelming to you? Because even when I go back and read through it, it kind of sounds a little intimidating.

But we just take it a day at a time, a chunk here, a chunk there. After initial bumps, things seem to fall into a routine and the wrinkles start to smooth out – or we crash a burn a little – and tthen pick ourselves back up and try again.

So we may only make it to the zoo once? So our nature journals may turn out to be a big flop? So what? Yes, I will be a little disappointed, but overall most of this stuff (just one step in front of the other) is doable (as long as you take it one step in front of the other.)

But having a positive outlook is the first step.

And I can check that off my list already.

Happy Homeschool Planning!

 

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