What’s New for the 2016-2017 School Year

It’s so hard to believe we are about to begin our 7th year of homeschooling.  When I tell people that, I find myself re-counting the years just to be sure because I can’t believe it’s been that long already.  But yep, I have a sixth grader this year, so the math all adds up!  Seems like just yesterday he was approaching Kindergrten and we attended the registration at the local elementary school where we began the process of enrolling him. I remember telling Josh that life was about to change so much and that we’d be spending the next eight years with a child at that school. Just weeks later, the thought that maybe I should look into the idea of homeschooling seemed to come out of nowhere. Before I knew it I was un-enrolling him and buying books and researching curriculum.  Since then, neither of our kids have set foot in the school that I thought our lives were going to be revolving around. Instead, our life and our learning has all happened at home.

The years of Five in a Row, phonics workbooks, and readers are behind us now. To be honest, I’m excited to have two big kids who are ready to tackle more challenging and interesting stuff.

We’re sticking with the math, grammar, and spelling programs we’ve used for years. Both kids will have a generous amount of assigned reading throughout the year and will keep a reading response journal.  In addition we’ll be doing the following:

Elliot will be starting Susan Wise Bauer’s Writing with Skill.  Up until this year I’ve created my own writing instruction and assignments for him but I’m looking for a bit more structure this year for middle school.

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For History we’re going to continue with a not-so-traditional approach, using a variety of resources instead of the typical textbook/workbook.  We finished U.S. history last year so we’re starting World History again, beginning with Ancient History.  We’re going to listen to audio CDs from Diana Waring’s history series, read books and listen to audiobooks that take place in the ancient world, watch Khan Academy videos, have great conversations, and do plenty of map work. We’ll also use my Keynote slideshow timeline that will assist the kids in filling in their own timeline of events.

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For science, Elliot is going to work through John Tiner’s Biology book along with the comprehension questions that go with it from Memoria Press.  Additionally, both kids will be doing a short 10-week astronomy unit, also from Memoria Press.

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Typically for third and fourth grade, I let my kids choose what interests them from our stash of science books and magazines in addition to giving them a few selections I want them to read.  So this year, Caroline will often be doing her own choosing for science, but she’ll also be reading a few books I’ve chosen from the Super Smart Science series, as well as the first book in the Sassafras Science series.

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And these are a few on our list for reading aloud together this year (in addition to the books that fit with our history).

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Our school room also got a bit of a refresher for the new school year.  We’ve traded in their separate desks for one big table. I got two drawer units that each have ten drawers, more than enough to keep all their subjects nicely organized and separated with a few to spare for them to store their creative protects.

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And I’m super excited about this idea that I snagged from Sarah Mackenzie at the Read Aloud Revival.  No more writing the day’s assignments on a dry erase board (that would get accidentally eased too often).  I love that we’ll be able to look back on everything they accomplished each day of the entire school year.

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We’re looking forward another great year!

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