Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Back to School Part 2: The New Stuff

Each year, evaluate what worked this year and what didn't and I try to give myself the liberty to get rid of the stuff that ends up in the "didn't" category. Sometimes I hang on to stuff because I suspect it could work for us at another time but other times, I just let it go. Then, I go on a research kick to find what will fill the need that might be left by letting something else go. There are times when I have to consider whether something I'm letting go of was something that fell into the "good" category or the "best" category. If it isn't a "best" item, I consider just not filling the gap, because saying yes to one thing is also saying no to something else. That process takes time…but here are our "new " results:

Spelling Workout –I mentioned here that I used a combined method but I stayed behind in getting words keyed into the site for the children. So, this is an effort to simplify.
Primary Language Lessons (2nd grade)—This is a child-specific choice. This child did not seem to retain much of what was presented in the workbook that we used last year.
Not focusing on History—just based on the observation that my children needed a better basis for history studies, so we are focusing on world geography with only the occasional history topic.
Going it without much of anything for Kindergarten—I am thinking that the most important things I have accomplished (academically) in the first year of our children's educations are learning to read, write the alphabet/words, counting/sorting/adding…I can do that without formal curriculum. Starfall has been a huge help in this area, and other simple resources, such as the library.

My new "method" for assignments for the children. I just laminated different colors of cardstock and made up their weekly expectations. There is a section at the top for things we do together, individual assignments for each day of the week and other "extras" at the bottom that are nice to accomplish but not necessary. I can put Post-it notes/tabs on there or write with dry erase pens to make any notes. That fixes them up for a week and I am done planning for them for the week, too!! When we have a day that has things to do away from home, they are to take the items with them that are reasonable for them to complete either in the car or at the location and the next day, just move on. Carry-over type projects just keep going until we're done. I will have a simple spiral notebook for my personal notes, but I don't have that many.

Even the Kindergartener has one :

With the framework from Expedition Earth already given, as well as the outlines from , I don't have a lot of planning to do. I will try to match up a few of the readings, but that can be done as I go along. I hope this year will be somewhat light in terms of my personal planning load. We'll just keep swimming…swimming…..

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