Friday, December 19, 2014

Pre-2015 Planning

My brain is already moving ahead to school resuming in January. Perhaps if I get some of the ideas out now in a safe place (yes, my blogs are safe places for me to find things; much better than notebooks that I misplace), I will be able to fully enjoy at least a week of my Christmas vacation without any thoughts of school. Not that school isn't enjoyable. It's just good for the brain to take a break.

My thoughts are centered around, at least for my son (*snort* in re-reading, I discovered that I had initially typed "at least for me son"; I've grown up in western and northern Canada where only British immigrants and perhaps Newfies say such things, lol), a progressive plan, where for the first week we start with basics we've been doing, and each week add in one or two other things. This will be written down, maybe posted on the wall in his bedroom so he sees ahead of time what's coming; it'll make the changes easier, I think. Right now, he does math almost every day, reading on his own (but the book is taking him forever, oy), a few times a week, I read to him from a French novel, and then here and there, social studies or science gets added in. While I've been saying it for ages that I need to get him writing, and I can't guarantee that this time will be any different, I will be doing something different to try to get a different result: a written plan of what he needs to do each week for writing and/or the writing workshop-style sessions we will do. I just think a laid-out plan needs to be written down for both of us, something we can refer to, check off, etc. It would also save me trying to fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to things like science and social studies.

But not all of my thoughts are specifically focused on subjects. I've been thinking, too, about things like having both kids prepare supper at least once a week, getting them more involved in planning breakfasts and snacks and lunches (they have had free reign, pretty much, for ages, within certain limits, naturally), getting household daily and weekly duties better organized and followed through on. Oh, and my daughter still doesn't have her driver's license but has been driving more recently. The driver's ed courses are ridiculously expensive here and, to be honest, from word of mouth, not terribly good, so we're not pushing a driver's ed course and she's not really interested in it, but there are definitely things I need to make sure to cover with her. I've taken this book out of the library before and think I should just finally buy it since I'll probably use it with her brother, too, if he ever decides to learn to drive:

He gives very specific lessons to cover with your teen and great activities to get them to do.

Since I'm in thinking/brainstorming mode, why don't I just go back to my son's school plan?

*Weekly plan. I know some Montessori schools start having the kids make written plans in elementary; other Montessori schools eschew that and go, no, they should just be writing down what they are working on. But my son is junior high age (high school age in the US). He had the experience recently of making his own guitar practice schedule. (Oh boy, as I think of all of this tying together, I can feel my insides getting all excited about this idea! I just have to spit it out!) I can use the same principle with him to have him plan each of his subjects. For example, I would like him to do at least an hour of Lua training each week, plus at least 40 minutes of math each day, 30 minutes of silent reading each day, social studies for at least 30 minutes twice a week, at least one Khan video for science (taking notes) and so on. One thing about homeschooling is that very often, some outside influence or input is needed to get the child to accept something. Because his guitar teacher has already asked something similar of him, he accepted it, wanted to make sure to keep his guitar teacher happy with him and did it. So, now he's done it and can keep applying that skill.

*Writing: My mind keeps going back to I must take a writer's workshop approach with him. But I need a plan. We had started looking at essay writing, and I've pointed out to him recently how something he was sharing with me and defending was just like saying an essay out loud, that to write an essay, he has to just write down the kinds of arguments and defenses and bits of info like he just said. Of course, this kid hasn't written a paragraph in ages, so it'll have to be broken down very well to get to the point of a first real essay. Another part of my mind is saying I need to get myself some resources to help me with this, either find some books to borrow/buy or find some websites.

Have you ever had moments where you felt like your brain completely shut off for a particular topic? That is what it feels like my brain has done just now. I guess I will leave the school-thinking for now!

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