The new school year is just starting to come into view, and as we savor the last drops of summer vacation, I’m also starting to pull school into focus with a few new goals in mind. Brayan and Luana are growing in maturity and independence, and the most important thing about this coming school year (6th grade for Brayan, 7th for Luana) is to build their self-confidence, self-motivation and self-directed learning ability. I guess I’m trying to work myself out of a job.
In an effort to help grow passionate self-directed learners, we’re building in lots of student choices about topics, projects and personal time management in an effort to boost motivation through the roof. I want my loves to love learning and be excited about looking for solutions to problems that really matter.
So, here’s (loosely) what I think our school might look like this year:
1. Math-Keeping it simple and working through Time4learning.com again. Brayan will do 6th grade math and Luana is embarking upon Pre-Algebra (with the help of the Cartoon Guide to Algebra). Lu has challenged herself to finish the course early so she can get ahead a grade. OK by me!
2. Language Arts / Writing / Social Studies / Science / Literature-All these important “subjects” are going to be rolled into one multidisciplinary, project-based unit study at a time. We’re starting out with a civics-themed study so we can keep intelligent tabs on the presidential election as it approaches and unfolds. But we are also going to weave in some literature of each student’s choice by focusing character analysis (also helpful when deciding to vote for, no?). I’ve found some amazing resources and lessons on iCivics.org which will form the basis of lots of our activities, but I want them to do some creative thinking as well, so we’re going to aim to create a project by the end that will answer the guiding question: How does an individual and a nation choose a new leader? They’ll choose how, but I’m going to suggest developing a fictional/ideal presidential character and creating an advertising poster, website or commercial for their invented candidate. Final projects will be posted here and I’m excited to see how it all turns out.
This first unit looks mostly like Social Studies, but future ones could take on a more Science-focus and I’m starting to think that a CT Watersheds unit with some outdoor exploration and water-quality testing (and more testing) might be a good place to start. Plenty of hefty questions and problems to solve there, I imagine.
3. Bible-This is an important subject for us, not because I want our children to learn as much as they can about God or about the Bible, but because I want to steep our days in the deep and real experience of the God of the Bible and help them form strong habits of Biblical study, meditation, prayer and community. This year we’re going to start with Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ (The student edition for Luana, the Kids’ edition for Brayan, and the original for me.) We’ll also include some simple daily devotions and a prayer journal for each of us.
And that’s it. Going for simplicity this year, so we can all be successful and not stressed out, making it easier to achieve our big, main goal of homeschooling: Time Connecting Together!