Homeschool Plans for 2019-2020

I am closer to figuring out what our homeschool will look like this upcoming year. I want our days {and our overall goals} to include more structure than previously {i.e., more pre-planning on my part, less winging it}. While I am sure we will need to make some adjustments as we go, I like the idea of knowing what we intend to cover long term and how to get there.

 We will continue to Read All The Books per our usual, but this time I am starting with book lists for each subject rather than simply recording what we finish after the fact. {Our Goodreads Want to Read list is at just over 200 right now.} I am working on ordering sufficient written materials {math, language arts, Spanish, etc.} to carry us through the entire year, so we can plan our pacing accordingly. 

Three children--two girls and a boy--sitting on a bench and smiling

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Details remain fuzzy. I have not reached the month-to-month or week-to-week calendar how stage yet, but I have narrowed down what I think we will do for most subjects. The goal {as usual} is to have all three students {grades 8, 6, and 3} exploring the same topics within each major area {and using the same books} while completing grade-level appropriate written work. This is not an exhaustive list and subject to change. It only discusses our at-home “book” studies; it does not address field trips or documentaries or other educational supplements.

{Note: Each of the headings below is a link to our Goodreads list for that subject, except for Spanish, which will take you to the Radio Lingua website instead.}

Math 
I really want to make more of an effort to focus on particular math topics each week, as opposed to hey here’s a math workbook for your grade, do something. Even though the Agents work at different levels, we can all look at perimeter one week, graphing the next, fractions another, etc. With the exception of some of the things Agent E will be doing as we delve into algebra, most math can be adjusted accordingly for age.

Language Arts 
As with math I would like to have themes be more consistent across my three students. We will begin by reviewing basic grammar and sentence/paragraph structure, and then focus on creative writing. Many of our books in this category are re-reads, because they are simple and funny yet effective. 

Spanish 
Finally breaking down and ordering the premium version of Coffee Break Spanish halfway through last year made the difference between giving up {again} and powering through. The video lessons and translation guides help immensely. We will start the year with a review of the information in the first 20 lessons. Our goal is to complete lessons 21-40 before Christmas. All three Agents will be doing more written Spanish vocabulary and grammar as well. In addition, we have a trip scheduled for October where we hope to surprise a Spanish-speaking acquaintance by upping our conversation game. 

Geography 
Our focus will be on human geography and countries of the world. We spent a good deal of time in previous years working on physical geography and map skills, so this is a nice change. After an overview of the continent, we will review each country individually for at least a lesson or two, depending on the resources we have available. Ideally this would include also learning about noteworthy individuals as well as a few words or phrases in the native language. This may possibly evolve into a two-year study.

American and World History
History tends to be an area where we struggle to find good spine texts, become inundated with too much information, and essentially give up before the end of the year. In an effort not to have that happen again, we have decided to use the Big Fat Notebook series as read alouds. These books give a brief overview of American and world history for middle schoolers. They are simplified and decidedly not overwhelming, which is exactly what we need to build interest without burning out. In addition we will spend some time looking at Native American and African American history specifically.

Myths/Tales/Fables 
So many good choices here! We spent most of last year on Greek mythology, with a few rabbit holes along the way. This year I just want to read as many stories as we can get our hands—from as many unique sources as we have time for—without necessarily concentrating on a particular culture. I have added a few repeat favorites—such as The Iliad and The Odyssey—but  I am not positive we will get to them.

World Religions 
While we will likely revisit favorite stories from our most-studied faiths—Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Sikhism—we would also like to take more time getting to know Taoism, Confucianism, Paganism, Shinto, Jainism, and others. I feel like we have done a lot with the “core six” that most texts tend to include, and we would like to expand. The problem is, many otherwise excellent resources rarely address these less-prominent faiths in detail. We plan to try a few new sources as well as read biographies of several prominent religious figures. 

{Note: For my non-religious students, making a distinction between what constitutes a religion and what constitutes a mythology can be unclear. Is mythology simply a religion no {or very few} people currently practice? Since myths can be just another word for stories, you could say that all religions have mythology, but not all mythologies are religions. I make the distinction between the study of the two only to emphasis which ones the Agents are likely to know real live practitioners of and which ones they are not.}

Science 
Our chosen primary text will be DK Publishing’s Science Year by Year, as we consider the history of scientific discoveries and advancement in more or less chronological fashion. Per Agent E’s request, a secondary focus will be chemistry. Science has always been a favorite around here, so despite our best intentions we will end up going off path here, I am sure.

Health and Physical Education 
For health we will be completing a detailed study of the human body. Last year we spent a good deal of time working on self-care, what to expect during puberty, and sex education. While we will likely review a lot of that as well, we plan to get back to a more academic study of body systems and disease prevention and anatomy. Yoga was a big hit this year, so we will continue to try new poses and attempt to incorporate it into our daily routine {perhaps starting each school day with a 10-15 minute session}.

Art and Music 
After some internal debate, I have decided to consider art and music half-year courses going forward. Truthfully this will probably play out more as three-quarters art and one-quarter music. Only one Agent maintains any interest in playing musical instruments, and we can only cover famous composers and the orchestra so many times. They have no desire to learn to read music or to study modern musicians. Art history and art techniques, however, they find way more compelling. Our intention is to use the 13 Artists series {first up: 13 Women Artists Children Should Know} and aim for one artist {and creative art project based on said artist} per week.

Have you outlined your 2019-2020 homeschool year? What is on your agenda?

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  1. Wow, you are so far ahead of the game! I’m still trying to recover from this last homeschool year. We participated in Science Olympiad for the first time through our co-op and all the studying wiped us out! Reading through your list, I’m inspired to block off some time to start thinking about our 2019-2020 homeschool year planning now!

    1. We go year round, so our “new” year is starting very soon. The kids will be ready to start up again before I am. Thank you so much for stopping by. Best wishes with your own homeschool plans!

  2. I love “agents”! So unique!
    I haven’t started planning yet but can’t wait to check out some of these book suggestions!

    1. Re: Agents . . . They were huge Phineas and Ferb fans when they were little, LOL! Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I’ve written our educational plan, but we keep things vague usually. This coming year I’ll be more direct in my approach because our life has shifted a lot recently.

    Art is a daily thing here. I sometimes limit their Art time hahaha math is usually prodigy with some other math games thrown in, plus of course life.

    I mean we’re unschoolers so any plan I have can easily go out the window haha I mean LA this week has been learning to spell while playing minecraft on creative mode 😉

    1. I fully expect this “plan” to be altered significantly after the first few weeks. I enjoy planning so much, though, that I do it anyway. My kids actually enjoy it, too. Not so much in terms of “oh my goodness we need to do this thing at this time or we’ll be behind” but more because we like routine and are creatures of habit. I think that’s why they don’t ever want to take much of a summer break.

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