We’re going into our second year of homeschooling. By January 27th Beekee and Sander will have been home for an entire year. That’s super exciting for me. True, I’ve been homeschooling Luca right along, but it feels like we’re really making a statement working as a family like this. It’s definitely a lot of fun.
So what’s our plan for 2018? I suppose I really should go over that, if for no one else, then for me. It’ll be good to have a record of a plan here because this is kind of becoming my record of things we’ve done. It’s also fun to share it with the world.
The first thing I plan to do, once tax money comes in, is purchase the next level of Math U See. I’m really loving the way they teach subjects. Thankfully, I only need to pick up the workbook for Luca, given he’ll be moving into the same level that Sander’s already in. I’ve got to pick up the “level up” kit for Sander, given I’ll want the teacher’s guide to go with it. I don’t really use the teacher’s guide, so I suppose I could get by without it, but it’s good to refer back to if I’ve got any questions. The same goes with the lesson DVD. Sometimes the kids get it better when they can see the lesson explained in a way I can’t do it, because I’m just figuring it out with them. Then I’ve got to get the kit for Beekee with the fractions stuff. I’m a little intimidated to do fractions with him, because I always hated fractions, but it’s good that he’ll be learning by Math U See. I really like the way they teach math.
We’re also going to continue with our phonics lessons. Luca and Sander are both cruising through Primary Phonics. All three of them are working with Explode the Code. It’s been working well for them. As much as I would like to say they’ll learn to read when they learn to read, I think this really works for us for now. We may reassess the plan as we get further into it, but we’re going to stick with it.
I know those two aren’t particularly related to unschooling, which is where I wanted to get back to this year, but we’re definitely working towards unschooling. I’m thinking we’re going to transition to just doing those two books by the start of summer, when I give up on the other books for the year anyway. I think instead we’re going to start working on making sure we’ve got plenty of science stuff in the house. For geography I think I’m going to start looking into fun projects we can do for each state. I would love to be able to do something global, and maybe we’ll look into something more global (anyone have any good ideas for that?) but for now we’re going to stick with the country we’re a part of. Once they’ve got a good understanding of the place we live in, we’ll expand from there. Besides, it might be fun for the kids to figure out which states they want to visit when they get older. You never know, we may even be able to set money aside in a year or two to take a family trip somewhere, and knowing the states would definitely help us plan what we wanted to see.
We’re going to stick with Story of the World for history, if for no other reason than the kids actually like it. We’re planning to back it up with some other reading about the time period. We’re getting into the middle ages, which is always fun for kids. There’s nothing as exciting as learning about knights and castles. Maybe we’ll map out our own castle grounds or something like that. I bet that would be fun. Story of the World is a great way to introduce more topics, even if it is heavily Christian. We’re not a Christian family, so that makes it a little more challenging, but I don’t want to exclude anything. Since history is so seriously wrapped up with Christianity, it may not hurt at this point to have Christian history thrown in. It helps understand what the world was really like. And since we’re outside of the realm of the Bible, it’s not like I have to explain Bible stories that the kids don’t actually know about. Still, it’s a great place to start.
What I really need to do is start looking into books with science experiments for kids. I’m sure there are plenty out there. Anything we can do at home would be a lot of fun, but stuff we can do outside will be great for the warmer weather. Besides, I really love science, and even if I can’t explain why something happens, it’s definitely fun to see what does. You can always look up the why later.
For physical fitness we’re starting to use Just Dance on the Wii U. It’s not a super complex workout or anything, but it’s a lot of fun and it gets the kids moving when it’s really too cold to be out in the winter. And by too cold I mean it’s 16°F (-9°C), feels like 1°F (-17°C), and that’s the warmest it’s been all week. Actually, in comparison to how cold it’s been over the past week, this is positively tropical!
We’re also planning to do some more physical fitness type stuff when we can fit it in. We want to go ice skating when we can. It’s not super cheap to take the whole family, so we may not get to go often this year, but we’ll definitely try to go when we can. In the spring I’m going to start running. I think I’m going to invite the kids to come with me. We’re not going to go very fast or for very long, but running is a good lifestyle. Plus, there are some 5k runs that have spots available for kids. I think it would be really fun to do a 5k as a family one of these days. I think it would be great for all of us. On top of all that, I’m going to start looking for places we can go on nature walks. There may not be many options easy to get to from here, but we’ll do what we can. And then there’s the plan for swimming in the summer. We’re planning to get beach passes, and to make the most out of them. We’ll have to get the kids new swimsuits for this year, but we’ll worry about that as the weather starts to turn warmer. We’ve got a lot of physical stuff we can do, so I’m not too worried about that.
If we can manage, we’re also going to try and swing a membership to the Museum of Science, which means we’ll be spending a lot of time at the museum too. We’ll be there at least once a month when the weather is warm enough to hop the train. That’s going to provide tons of learning opportunities, which the kids will definitely love.
So that’s our plan for 2018. I’m feeling pretty good about it. We’re definitely going into the new year on a much better track than we were last year. I’ve got a bit more of an idea of what works and what doesn’t work. I think things are just going to keep getting better from here on in!