Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Good To Go...

This year I have really battled to get my school plans together for the girls. I've spent weeks putting something together, then pulling it apart again - so much turmoil in my heart.

Here's the thing, when first putting together plans for 2012/2013, I was looking at criteria that I thought needed to be filled. So there was no peace in my heart at all. But over the past few weeks God has been speaking to my heart - quietly, steadily. I was fussing so much about 'science', 'history', 'geography' etc... But not really fussing about how I was going to lead my children in their faith, what I should be planning to help strengthen them, grow character, teach them God's truths. Talk about  mixed up priorities! I was also fussing about 'what do kids in grade xyz learn? Is what I want to teach age appropriate? Can I really continue teaching around themes rather than subjects?' So many questions buzzing around - lots of questions based on 'the norm'.

Finally, after long walks through country lanes spent in conversation with God, we have a plan. The focus: God. We are living in the end times and their relationship with their Savior needs to be built on a strong foundation, they also need to be confident enough to share the gospel, to share Christ and to serve others. The plan is quite simple really - it always is with God. I had built up numerous booklists which would have meant that our days would have been filled up with academics, ticking boxes but not much of growing in character and faith.

What I love about this plan is that it focuses on character, but embraces a good, well-rounded education, without having the joy of learning sucked right out of it. I hate that! I simply will NOT have my home and family in a state of despair and friction because we have lost our perspective and gone all 'schoolified'. 

There are many, many different ways of learning - no way is 'the' way. We are all different, some children thrive on textbooks or lots of reading, some don't, some need a more hands-on approach. The way that we learn best does not suddenly stop when we reach a certain age. This realisation has given me confidence in my decision to carry on our learning in a way that suites us and has worked for the past 6 years. We will continue to learn based around themes and unit studies and life's seasons. We have textbooks for our Math and English Language -that's it.

Another thing I really wanted to consider while planning and sourcing resources, is that I wanted to be a good steward of what we have. Money as well as resources that are already on my shelves. I did not want to go out and spend a small fortune on curriculum. I am happy that I have achieved that goal without sacrificing on the quality of the material. 

So, here are our plans for 2012/2013...

Biblical and Character Studies - Whole Family
Foundations Bible Curriculum - year round (bought e-book version for a great price)
End Times Study - free from Christian Cottage - Unit Study
lots of Christian Biographies - Read Aloud together
Personal Quiet Times - this year I want to teach the girls how to have a personal quiet time and for them to establish the habit of spending this precious time each morning with God.  KK1 will use Elizabeth George's 'A Young Woman After God's Own Heart' and KK2 will use (initially we will do this together) Elizabeth George's 'A Girl After God's Own Heart'

KK1 - MEP (free)
KK2 - Mastering Mathematics (already had this complete program on my shelves)

Language Arts (had to buy both these in but managed to buy KK2's from a friend at a greatly reduced cost)
KK2 - Galore Park: So You Really Want To Learn English - KS3 course

KONOS - Both Girls. (My 14 year old will be set extra research assignments to supplement her studies)
This year is set to be a whole lotta fun with loads and loads of great learning to be had. I have joined the Volume 2 online co-op this year. You can pop on over here to see what we will be covering.

Nature Studies - We are upping this to 2X a week. Friday we will participate in the OHC, the other day I will follow a plan that I am putting together myself - I will share it once it is complete. My reason for increasing out nature study days is simply because it has provided us with such precious time together outdoors. Many great heart to hearts have happened here and it is important to me that we keep the communication channels open as we enter into these teen years. It is also an area we all get great personal satisfaction and growth from. 

Personal Nature Journals
Nature Detectives so many great ideas to add interest relevant to our part of the world
Nature Smart for great nature related crafts and activities

Life Skills
The Hope Chest - I am writing my own thing here. We are basing it on the Proverbs 31 Woman and will be learning new skills and practising old ones. Each of my daughters will receive a hope chest in the next few weeks. Over the next few years they will fill these chests with things that they make themselves through skills taught to them by me. They will also build up their own recipe binder which will be filled with lots of recipes {and memories} for them to take into their own homes one day. Yesterday we had our first 'lesson' - we made plum jam from a glut of plums gifted to us by a friend. I had loads of great photographs to show you but  somehow managed to delete them all off my camera! Arrrrgggg!

 I plan for our Hope Chest program to happen on a daily basis not as formal lessons, but part of purposeful living and mentoring. We will work on set handwork project which can be picked up during read aloud time for them to work on, for example, a crochet blanket, or knitting baby jersey's etc... We will learn together what it means to be a keeper of the home and train to be {one day} wives and woman after Gods heart. 

So that's it! I'm expecting to have odds and ends added throughout the year, but on a workshop basis. A friend and I put on a Shakespeare workshop over 4 weeks earlier on in the year and plan to do so again. There is also a trip planned to the Tate Gallery in Liverpool in September as they have a Monet/Turner exhibition on. We have studied Monet but not Turner - we will be looking at his works before our trip. I am also hoping to squeeze in a trip to the West End {London} at some point and catch a show. 'Phantom of the Opera' is top of the list but we will have to see what happens.

I am glad that the planning is now done and that there is peace in my  heart once again :o). We 'officially' start back in the last week of August as DH is on leave from Thursday, but we have been going on nature walks together and working on some Hope Chest skills already. All that's left to do is to enjoy the last of the summer days... ;o)

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