Sunday, August 4, 2013

Learning Goals ~ 2013-2014

Our family has been homeschooling for the last 15 years! Wow, that number amazes me. We have evolved from a unit study approach ~ to Charlotte Mason ~ then Charlotte Mason/Unit Study ~ a few years using the Classical approach with unit studies ~ and a year of way too many workbooks and drudgery. This year, we are going full circle back to relaxed unit study literature approach with an emphasis on the 3 R's. Our children being schooled this year are 9, 11 and 12. We also will be doing learning time differently for our 9 year old and 11 year old children than for the 12 year old. In addition, we have a grown son who is disabled and lives at home with us. He was our first homeschool student and has graduated.

Goldilocks (12) ~ I will talk about her learning goals first. Our dd who is 12 prefers to work alone in her room and do workbooks, listen to books on tape, and learn without any instruction from me. This is partly because of her personality and partly because she has attachment and adoption issues and is struggling right now with being a member of our family. It seems best to give her a bit of space so that the moments she is with us can be more nurturing. This is a huge leap of faith for me, since she also has Fetal Alcohol Effect and is very behind in grade level. However, I need to try something different with her and this is it for the first quarter, at least.

Math ~ 
  • Tutoring one to two times a week
  • Her Special Ed teacher/tutor will be sending her home with a few math projects for the week.
  • Using
  • Practice "real world" math -- shopping, cooking, measuring, gardening

Language Arts ~ 
  • Writing a book report every week ~ draft and final
  • Lots of workbook pages from spelling, grammar, and vocabulary workbooks
  • Lap books for different mini-unit studies
  • Written reports of any education videos she watches
  • She is going to read one to two Magic Tree House books every week.
  • She will be having a reading tutor to begin in the fall.
Fortunately, she likes to write a great deal. I just need to keep giving her the resources that will guide her to improve her spelling, grammar, and writing.

Literature ~ 
  • Listen to high quality books on tape picked out by me
  • She is starting with the Narnia series.
  • She is going to watch worthwhile literature-based movies, using the curriculum To Kill A Mockingbird and 24 Other Movies.
Art/Music ~ 
  • Doing crafts at the Arts for Life table that we visit once a week when her brother is getting physical therapy at the hospital
  • Squilt Lessons with siblings
  • Crafts with our American Girl Doll Club that I am organizing this year
  • I will keep my eye out for other opportunities.
Physical Education ~ 
  • Gymnastics with the Special Olympics
  • If we have time, she will also be doing Special Olympic cheer leading and/or a running club for girls.

History/Science ~ 
  • She will be learning science and history through field trips, easy readers, books on tape and lap books. We are focusing on the 1900's this year for both history and science. I know my plans for her seem weak, but she really is not interested in learning in general. Academic learning is not the most critical goal for her this year.

Tom Sawyer (11) and Little Red Riding Hood (9) ~ These two are often two peas in a pod. They both love science and math. They love hands-on activities and lots of field trips. Tom Sawyer is a strong reader, but doesn't adore reading. Little Red Riding Hood needs to become a stronger reader. They both dislike writing and need to become better at expressing themselves through the written word. We will be focusing heavily on language arts this year because they need it and on science/math because they love it.

Math ~ 
  • Teaching Textbooks 4 and 5
  • Using
  • Life of Fred ~ We are on Edgewood and plan to do as many books as we can this year.
  • Lots of living books and hands-on activities
Language Arts ~ 
  • All About Spelling levels 2 and 3
  • Explode the Code a new level each quarter for Little Red Riding Hood
  • Beyond Explode the Code for Tom Sawyer
  • Lots of book reports
  • They will read at least one chapter book a week.
  • Vocabulary workbooks
  • Many writing projects
  • A research paper with presentation to friends and family

Literature ~ 
  • Unit Studies with Beyond Five In A Row (FIAR)
  • Thomas Edison Young Inventor Beyond FIAR
  • Helen Keller Beyond FIAR
  • Marie Curie Beyond FIAR
  • The Saturdays Beyond FIAR
  • Cricket In Times Square Beyond FIAR
  • Homer Price Beyond FIAR
  • Number the Stars
  • Snow Treasures
  • Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes
  • Neil Armstrong
  • The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963
  • Great books on tape found at the library
Art ~ I love art all the time, but the kids go through phases of loving art and then getting tired of it. This is my plan if they enjoy art this year. If they are not enjoying it this year, we will do fewer artists.
  • Unit study on Architecture
  • Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Harlem Rennaissance
  • Jacob Lawrence (Meet The Masters)
  • Dorothea Lange
  • Jackson Pollock
  • Georgia O'Keefe (Meet the Masters)
  • Frida Kahlo (Meet the Masters)
  • Joan Miro (Meet The Masters)
  • Alexander Calder (Meet the Masters)

Music ~ 
  • Squilt lessons Baroque Period
  • Jazz unit study ~ Duke Ellington, Josephine Baker, Bessie Smith, Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong
  • Rodger and Hammerstein Musicals unit study
  • Rock and Roll unit study ~ Elvis and The Beatles
  • Folk Music ~ Simon and Garfunkel, Peter Paul and Mary
History ~ I am not going to list everything here. However, we are doing the time period of 1900 to the 1960's (I hope). There will be tons of hands-on activities and field trips. Here is a list of our resources.
  • Living picture books
  • The Story of Us DVD series
  • The Century book on tape by Peter Jennings and Todd Brewster
  • The Century for Kids by Peter Jennings and Todd Brewster
  • Chapter books from our literature unit studies
  • American Girl Doll Club ~ We will be using Rebecca 1914, Kit 1934, Molly 1944 and Julie 1974 as study guides.
  • Tom Sawyer will be learning about a famous man for each of the same general time periods as the dolls we'll be studying in the American Girl Doll club ~ Teddy Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, Neil Armstrong, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Science ~ 
  • Thomas Edison
  • Marie Curie
  • Snap Circuits
  • Robotics ~ We are buying the next generation of Lego Mindstorm when it is released this fall. This will be our first Mindstorm set. Tom Sawyer is so excited, he is ready to burst.
  • Astronomy Real Science 4 Kids middle school
  • If we need more ~ Einstein and Physics with Toys

Out of the Home Classes ~
  • Little Red Riding Hood has been accepted into Tween Company at our dance studio. This is a big step for her. She loves to dance and would like to do something with dance as a career. She will be in dance classes 4 hours a week and at least two different theater performances with multiple shows.
  • Tom Sawyer will be taking a class in boy theater and dance again this year. He will also be in two theater performances with multiple shows.
  • Tom Sawyer has a few more months of physical therapy.
  • Both will be taking classes in gymnastics.

Home Economics ~ We will be doing lots of cooking for everyone this year. I am planning on letting them plan the menu and prepare the meals several times a month.

Wow! Thanks for hanging in there. We may not get to all of this, but these are our goals.

Blessings, Dawn


  1. Wow!! What an impressive and ambitious year! I especially love your art and music lists. My kids take instrument lessons, but I need to be more intentional about studying music. Thanks for the ideas!
    Sarah at

  2. I love that you are flexible and working with each child's individual strengths, weaknesses, and needs for the year! I'm praying for each of your children's school year!

  3. Dawn! We found each other again! :o) Your kiddos have grown so much, too. What a blessing we have to homeschool them!

  4. Sounds like a wonderful year!! I love how your incorporating Goldilock's needs right now. Your children are very blessed! Have a wonderful year. We are starting today, but only reading, spelling, and math each day.

  5. Great plans! I love all the art and music. I wish we could be more purposeful with art, it just never happens.

    I will have to look here for ideas when the mood strikes us for art.

    Have a great year!

  6. Looks like the makings of a great year!!

  7. I'm so glad I read this! Today, I was straightening up, and I found the round red piece that's shown in the picture of Tom Sawyer doing the Snap Circuits. I was going to toss it because I didn't know what it was. I'm so glad I didn't!

    Sounds like you have a great year coming up. I really love the way you work to tailor the lesson plans to each child.


  8. I put my hands on a Life of Fred book at the homeschool conference this year! I almost bought it. It looks like so much fun. Have a great year Dawn.

  9. Looks like a solid year. I know how it goes to have academics not be the most important goal for the year; we were often in that boat with my now 17YO. Thanks for stopping by - I love meeting other Life of Fred lovers!

  10. Love your plans! Looks pretty complete and very CM!

  11. These sound like great plans! Inspirational!

  12. I am praying for Goldilocks to have a good year and work through those non academic goals.

  13. Oh,'ve got so many great books lined up for your school year! It sounds like we have similar approaches to homeschooling. I enjoyed reading you plans. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Sounds like such a well-rounded year ahead! I've never stepped into the "music" realm apart from piano lessons, but you've inspired me! Thanks for sharing.

  15. Thanks for your comments on my post as well. Looks like you have a good year planned. I guess it must feel good to see the end results of all your hardwork , with one already done. Hoping your kiddos learn to ENJOY learning. Have a good year!

  16. What a great year Dawn!! You have everything so well planned out. I hope this is just an amazing year for your kids and the changes work out so wonderfully!