We operate with an interest led approach, but that doesn’t mean we wake up with a completely open schedule every morning. Making our schedule for the year / semester is a collaborative process. As classes and opportunities open up we decide together if we think they will be worth our time. Sometimes I see an opportunity and ask about interest. Sometimes the boys ask for resources to study a particular topic and still other times they ask me to set up classes with a tutor or mentor. Since the boys are close in age and have similar interests they usually select the same activities.
This summer I found a groupon for pottery classes. Sculpting with clay has always been a favorite activity at our house so we thought giving pottery a spin would be fun. The groupon class was great! The boys asked if I would contact the instructor to make pottery part of our fall schedule. They had so much fun during their class that all of three of us are taking a class in the fall.
After reading the Chronicles of Prydain and the Eragon series, as well as studying ancient and medieval warfare, the boys were super interested in archery. This summer they went to archery camp. It was right on target for their age and interests, so we added archery to our fall schedule. The timing of the class is great, because it should hit as we are finishing up soccer and before ski season starts.
Zoo classes have been part of our schedule for the last two years and the boys still enjoy them. When we started homeschooling five years ago one of our objectives was to “learn more about animals.” This year for the first time we actually got into the classes we wanted at the Natural History Museum. They just had their first class and seemed to enjoy the classroom part of it. They learned about lungs in different animals. I had no idea how different bird respiration is. My favorite part of these classes is how engaged the instructors are in their topics.
C’s writing project is making up his own book of mythological creatures. So far he has created a map and some creatures. I’m thrilled that he’s engaged with a writing project. He has a friend who’s made her own Book of Dragons from the How to Train Your Dragon series and I think he was inspired by her.
C is using Singapore Math 5A this semester and E is working through Challenge Math. Challenge Math is intended as enrichment math so it covers a broad grade range. E finds it engaging most of the time and it has so far been a great review with a focus on the thought processes of math.
We will also be working with Growing with Grammar. The boys typically do the review at the end of the chapter and then cover lessons as needed and do some of the review activities in the chapter.
We will study avalanches and glaciers as well as cells and biology. Typically we check out books from the library and use online resources for our desired science topics.
Our FIRST LEGO League (FLL) project topic this year is Trash Trek. We will be learning a ton about trash, recycling, and pollution. We have a field trip to the Goodwill Processing Center coming up next week. This summer we visited a homestead dedicated to sustainable living, where they had a greenhouse made from 2 liter bottles. You can follow our Pinterest board of Trash Trek research. I’m super excited, as well as a bit trepidatious. As we learn more I will be obligated to make changes in our daily life – more recycling, more reusing, more reducing. I’m ready to be pushed out of my comfort zone, but it might be …uncomfortable. Of course FLL also involves a robot aspect, so that is on the agenda as well.
Egypt and Egyptian mythology are currently topics of interest as we are reading the Kane Chronicles. The boys are also giving a presentation on Greek Mythology next month for Geography Club. Geography Club serves as a monthly public speaking opportunity.
One of the frequent comments we get from parents who don’t homeschool is that they would have a hard time getting their kids to do their schoolwork. I assure them it’s nothing like doing the homework battle every day. I have “buy in” from my kids, because they are helping create the schedule. Even when we use a workbook, they have input. The way we do school is like having an adventure where we get to learn more about the world.