phd mama

from diapers to deconstruction


Leave a comment

How to Organize a Homeschool Year

For me, organizing our homeschooling year is one of the most interesting parts of the progress. My background includes a doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction, so you could say this sort of thing is my jam. I teach English at the collegiate level, and I always enjoy making the syllabi for my courses and thinking about how to break down the big-picture goals of the course into the weekly and daily practices. Charting a homeschool curriculum is a similar process.

I begin with the New York state regulations and break them down into the requirements for my children’s ages and grade levels.

Then, I look at the year month-by-month. Here is our rough topical schedule for 2017-2018:

First Quarter Second Quarter Third Quarter Fourth Quarter
July 2017

Geography

  • Hello Kitty, Hello USA!
  • 50 States Puzzle
  • Wee Sing America

U.S. History

  • (See Above)

Science

August 2017

Geography

  • Story of the World, 1-6

U.S. History

  • American Revolution

Science

  • Ocean Preview

September 2017

Geography

  • Story of the World, 7-12

U.S. History

  • American Revolution

Science

  • Ocean
October 2017

Geography

  • Judaism/Israel

U.S. History

Science

  • Farms/Farm Animals

November 2017

Geography

  • Story of the World, 13-18

U.S. History

Science

  • Inventions

December 2017

Geography

  • Story of the World, 19-24

U.S. History

  • Civil Rights

Science

  • Space Preview

 

January 2018

Geography

  • Story of the World, 25-30

U.S. History

Science

February 2018

Geography

  • Puerto Rico

U.S. History

Science

March 2018

Geography

  • Story of the World, 31-36

U.S. History

  • Pioneer Preview

Science

  • Trees

 

April 2018

Geography

  • Story of the World, 37-42

U.S. History

Science

May 2018

Geography

  • Explorers

U.S. History

Science

June 2018

Geography

  • Finish Story of the World

U.S. History

  • Field Trips T.B.D.

Science

  • Field Trips T.B.D.

 

 

 I do not include arithmetic, English language arts, health education, music, visual arts, or physical education on here because those are daily topics for us. This chart represents the big unit studies that I do and record on my website: phdmama—though I am woefully behind in posting what we’ve covered already!

I use the following chart to track their monthly progress, inserting brief notes and dates for my family’s usage. Since we school year-round, I review three months of these in order to write my quarterly reports. So, for instance, for our first month, I would write “September 30” and the appropriate year for the Quarterly Report due date. For the month, I would write “July,” and then in submitting the first quarterly at the end of September, I would look at the months July, August, and September. I store all of these files in a binder, one for each child. A typical entry in the chart below might look like this: “7/12—Tour of Kingston Senate House” for “United States History,” or “7/2, 7/9, 7/16, 7/23/7/30—Swimming” for “Physical Education.”

Quarterly Report Due:

Grades 1-6: 225 hours per quarter

Month:

Arithmetic  

 

 

 

 

English Language Instruction

(Reading/Spelling/Writing)

 

 

 

 

Geography  

 

 

 

United States History  

 

 

 

Science  

 

 

 

Health Education  

 

 

Music  

 

 

Visual Arts  

 

 

Physical Education  

 

 

Finally, I use a whiteboard on the refrigerator to cover the daily work expected of my children. That way, I can easily update their workload when they complete a book or we need to shake things up. Since we work year-round, I do build in breaks around holidays, visits from grandparents, and vacations, as well as the occasional day off when my kids just need it. Sometimes, though, the curriculum gets stale and the whiteboard flexibility allows me to accommodate my children’s choices and needs.

The whiteboard currently looks like this:

Kid 1 Kid 2
Monday Piano Practice, Science Experiment and Journal, 3 pages Math Workbook, Times Tables Flashcards, French Piano Practice, Science Experiment, Sight Words, 2 pages Math Workbook
Tuesday Piano Practice, Dance Class, 3 pages Math Workbook, Times Tables Flashcards, French, Handwriting Piano Practice, Dance Class, 4 pages Big Workbook, Sight Words, Handwriting
Wednesday Reading, Puzzles, Games, Crafts Reading, Puzzles, Games, Crafts
Thursday Piano Practice, Times Tables Flashcards, Magazine, 50 States Workbook or Flashcards, French Piano Practice, Sight Words, Magazine, 2 pages of Mazes, 2 pages of Number Dot-to-Dot
Friday Piano Practice, 3 pages Math Workbook, Times Tables Flashcards, French, Handwriting Piano Practice, 4 pages Big Workbook, Sight Words, Handwriting

The unit studies listed above are in addition to the daily activities and field trips. Both of my kids are bookworms who love to read and write, so at this stage, I don’t list it on most days because they do it without thinking of it as “school.” For workbooks, I like the Kumon Math Workbooks and buy the whole series for each child’s grade level. For Big Workbooks, I like the variety and coverage of the Brain Quest series. Each child uses the Bastien piano book appropriate for her abilities. The magazines are either Highlights or Ranger Rick.

All of these charts are posted in my kitchen, so the entire family knows what’s scheduled for when. We’re currently working on the final quarter of our third year of homeschooling, and, so far, this is a system that supports the structure and flexibility my family needs.

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Astronaut Adventures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We keep returning to different variations and offshoots from our original space unit, “Our Place in Space.” We’ve also done “Earth, Moon, and Stars,” but this time we focused on the folks who make space travel possible. There’s science and biography here as well as some science fiction—all with a focus on astronauts and spaceships. The image above shows the LEGO set my elder daughter got for Christmas: Women of NASA. It’s incredibly inspiring to read about the work required to make these characters’ dreams of space possible, and I have a feeling we’ll be looking to the stars in another list soon.

  1. ABC’s from Space by Adam Voiland
  2. Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon by Torben Kuhlmann
  3. Astronaut Handbook Meghan McCarthy
  4. Astronaut Scott Kelly: My Journey to the Stars by Scott Kelly and André Ceolin
  5. The Best Book of Spaceships by Ian Graham
  6. Black Stars in Orbit: NASA’s African American Astronauts by Khephra Burns and William Miles
  7. Buzz Aldrin: Reaching for the Moon by Buzz Aldrin and Wendell Minor
  8. Catstronauts: Mission Moon by Drew Brockington
  9. Eight Days Gone by Linda McReynolds and Ryan O’Rourke
  10. Footprints on the Moon by Alexandra Siy
  11. Hidden Figures Young Readers’ Edition by Margot Lee Shetterly
  12. National Geographic Little Kids’ First Big Book of Space by Catherine Hughes and David Aguilar
  13. Look to the Stars by Buzz Aldrin and Wendell Minor
  14. Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed and Stasia Burrington
  15. Mousetronaut by Astronaut Mark Kelly and C.F. Payne
  16. Mousetronaut Goes to Mars by Astronaut Mark Kelly and C.F. Payne
  17. My First Book of Space, Developed in Conjunction with NASA by Rosanna Hansen and Robert Bell
  18. Sally Ride: Life on a Mission by Sue Macy
  19. This Is the Way to the Moon by M. Sasek
  20. To the Stars! The First American Woman to Walk in Space by Carmella Van Vleet, Dr. Kathy Sullivan, and Nicole Wong
  21. Who Was Sally Ride? by Megan Stine
  22. Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Adventures by Chris Barton and Don Tate


Leave a comment

The Bear and the Tiger: Korean Olympic Legends

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although I am clearly delayed in posting this list, we read these stories while watching the 2018 Winter Olympics. We used the stuffies pictured above to represent the mascots for the Olympics and Paralympics. The Opening Ceremonies and events took place in and around Pyeongchang, South Korea, and these stories gave us a little bit of context for the Games. As always when we study a place, I tried to balance past and present, so some stories are myth, folklore, history, and legend, while others discuss the more contemporary elements of Korean culture. We even got to try a lot of Korean food at our Girl Scout Service Unit’s World Thinking Day event; the cookies we made for the event, and the stories we read at home, were gold-medal worthy.

  1. All about Korea: Stories, Songs, Crafts, and More by Ann Martin Bowler and Soosoonam Barg
  2. Color Crayola’s South Korean Flag
  3. Watch Families of Korea
  4. The Firekeeper’s Son by Linda Sue Park and Julie Downing
  5. The Green Frogs: A Korean Folktale retold by Yumi Heo
  6. The Korean Cinderella by Shirley Climo and Ruth Heller
  7. The Land of the Dragon King and Other Korean Stories by Gillian McClure
  8. New Clothes for New Year’s Day by Hyun-Ju Bae
  9. Peach Heaven by Yangsook Choi
  10. The Royal Bee by Frances Park, Ginger Park, and Christopher Zhong-Yuan Zhang
  11. South Korea” by Activity Village
  12. South Korea by CIA World Factbook
  13. South Korea by Jessica Rudolph
  14. Winter Olympics” by Activity Village


Leave a comment

Easy as 1, 2, 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re returning to these resources with my 5-year-old. The books, films, and games listed here help develop number recognition, counting skills, and an understanding of basic mathematical operations. We use these stories in conjunction with coins, clocks, and small objects so early numeracy lessons are a balance between books and more tactile experiences. All of these skills build on years of counting and clapping songs to work toward a lifetime of mathematical literacy!

  1. Watch Sesame Street’s 1 2 3 Count with Me
  2. 1-2-3 Peas by Keith Baker
  3. 12 Ways to Get to 11 by Eve Merriam and Bernie Karlin
  4. 100 Snowmen by Jen Arena and Stephen Gilpin
  5. 101 Dalmatians: A Counting Book by Fran Manushkin and Russell Hicks
  6. Anno’s Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno
  7. Anno’s Magic Seeds by Mitsumasa Anno
  8. Watch Scholastic’s Chicka Chicka 1, 2, 3 and More Stories about Counting
  9. CountaBlock by Christopher Franceschelli and Peskimo
  10. Counting on Community by Innosanto Nagara
  11. Watch Sesame Street’s Counting with Elmo
  12. The Crayons’ Book of Numbers by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers
  13. Play Learning Resources’ Dino Math Tracks
  14. Hello Kitty Hello Numbers! by Higashi Glaser
  15. How Much Is a Million? by David Schwartz and Steven Kellogg
  16. I Spy Numbers by Jean Marzollo and Walter Wick
  17. Mother Goose Numbers on the Loose by Leo and Diane Dillon
  18. One Moose, Twenty Mice by Clare Beaton
  19. Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews
  20. The Three Little Pigs Count to 100 by Grace Maccarone and Pistacchio
  21. Play Mattel’s UNO