I read this thread on WTM/forums and said WOW! That's how we need to do science! Click the linky and read all of Ruth's responses. Again, wow:) After reading The Global Achievement Gap I realized this is how it's done. And so, the planning begins...
Z has an interest in DNA and genetic creations (you know, with the eventual hope of creating people with wings or a unicorn/pegasus). So I'll take her down that trail. I have a few books that we can pull in: My Name Is Gene (book) and Fun with Gene(workbook and Teacher's Guide). I really just want to use it as a spine for information and asking questions. What do we need to know about genes? What do genes do? What can we do with this information? There are some activities in the book, such as creating a playdo cell, playdo DNA strand, and extracting real DNA from an onion (and store it in your freezer, yum!) But what I really hope to accomplish out of this study is our own Question that we can dive in and explore. Maybe we'll even aim for a science fair. But my goal is to seek out our own experiment, and own explanation.
A has an interest in shooting soda pop from a bottle. So we might explore that one and see if we can come up with some questions, lol. My hope is to veer this into a specific scientific study (air pressure???) with a science project at the end.
So science sounds pretty open-ended, right? But my goal is to narrow it down, do some exploration, and end with a project.
Exploring American History as our spine (Christian Liberty Press). I'm working on building a list of literature to go along with this. We've already read Sign of the Beaver, Where Do You Think You're Going Christopher Columbus, and Sarah Morton's Day. I'd like to add Witch of Blackbird Pond (Puritan New England), Johnny Tremain (Revol.), one book from Civil War period (Across Five Aprils or Shades of Gray), and then I hope to launch into late 1800's-mid-1900s.
For English studies, my goal is to 1.) memorize 40 prepositions, 2.) be able to identify all preps & prep phrases in a sentence, 3.) be able to identify each word in a sentence (noun, verb, adj, article, adverb, prep, direct obj, etc.) I also hope to get the kids doing well with Capitalization and Punctuation. I've decided that the usual textbook style of learning is not for us. Although I am tempted to pull in some Daily Language Review for test style practice. By this time next year, I'd like the kids to be able to label 1 sentence per day and correct capitalization/punctuation sentences with ease. I'd like to spend 15mins or less per day on English by year's end and just maintain what we know for the next few years.
For Spelling...well, I'm sort of waffling back and forth on this one. Once again, I'm tempted to pick up my copy of Spell to Write and Read, and have the kids learn phonograms and spelling rules. OTOH, I also think that a Sequential Spelling approach would be helpful, because root words + prefixes/suffixes tend to trip them up. The other part of me says that if we are doing a lot more Writing and a lot more Editing, we'll get those spelling skills in.
Writing - science project will develop one style of writing. I also want to incorporate History summary writing (this works out well). Z is a creative writing sort of gal. She's thinking about taking the writing class at co-op. If she does, I will just have that as most of her writing, and then assist her with editing. A is my practical writing gal. All of her writing needs to have practical application (like the 4 page Persuasive Essay she wrote during my naptime yesterday in order to convince me that she needs to watch movies during naptime...this was entirely her doing, lol!) So, maybe I'll have her do Persuasive Essay writing next year!
Math - we're getting into tougher subjects now (see me sweating?) It seems that we need the workbook less and written/co-operative Whiteboard Math much more frequently. I think I will approach this as part Exploration (here are some blocks, let's see if we can demonstrate how to do something. Or, here's a tough problem, let's see if we can come up with solutions for solving it). I've learned a lot from the GAP book - if I want my kids to be critical thinking problem solvers, I really need to direct them in that path (versus just handing them the answers). So I think we'll do a lot less math problems, but a whole lot more thinking about math. I'm using Horizons as my spine, although I already desperately miss BJU and am concocting harebrained schemes to bring it back into our day. It is only $18 per workbook, so I'm tempted to pick up the 4th gr & 5th gr. I'd be missing the TM for 5th gr though, and I'm loaning out my 4th gr TM this year. Ah well...we'll see! I DO need days when I can just hand the kids a workbook and say "Here, do this!" I'd also like to pull in some Math Mammoth for story problem solving (love the bar models for solving!)
So those are my crazy ideas for next year. How far will I get with a clingy, whiney 2yo? Not sure...