I thought I would share some of what I am planning for our homeschooling year which will look very different from our other years.
Today I will just give an overview of our year and then over the next few days, break down each segment a little further, ending with a post on what our new daily rhythm will look like.
This year I am trying something new. I am combining my main lesson to include all five children at once. As they get older, I struggle with doing independent main lessons for each child. Often times the littlest ones would not get my fullest attention because I would spend so much time working with the older ones. And then if I started the day with the younger ones, I just didn’t have enough time with the older children in the morning which seems like the best time of the day for everyone with respect to learning and being motivated.
I am breaking up the year into terms as opposed to monthly lesson blocks:
Sept – Nov: Head
Dec – Mar: Heart
Apr – June: Hands
From September to November, we will travel around the world from our home. We will begin with world religion and creation stories and then move to different parts of the world beginning with Asia. Next, we will go to Africa, South America, Australia and the South Pacific, and then Europe.
For example, one of the first countries we will visit will be India. I will tell an ancient myth to all and then each child will have a few books to use for their own assignments. Each child will have time to go deeper into a different aspect of India while either hearing the myth for the first time or revisiting again.
Gr 12: Gandhi and Modern India today; feminist perspective, politics; east vs west myths
Gr 7: Gandhi and Buddha biographies; philosophy/religion/art
Gr 5: Ancient India Mythologies; festivals
Gr 3: Textiles and Shelters; Day in the Life
K: Animals and Buddha Stories/Jataka Tales
From December to March, we will be dealing with matters of the heart – the feeling through poetry, literature, and the arts. We will be finishing up with Europe by December and will be studying Greece. We will spend some time reading The Odyssey and The Iliad and exploring Greek myths, philosophy, architecture, and science. Then we will briefly touch on the Middle Ages, focusing on the Crusades and what was happening in the East with Islam and science, and then explore the Renaissance. Through biography, we will look at the great thinkers and artists of the time and spend our time creating art and looking at Humanism. The kids will be keeping their own Book of Hours through this period and reflecting on any ideas that we discuss.
From April to June, we will be exploring nature and our surroundings. We will look at our own continent and tell Native American and First Nation stories together. We will begin by looking up to the heavens and doing some astronomy, recapping some Greek Myths by looking at the stars. Some will be documenting the weather while some will be doing some Physics experiments. Next we will feel the earth. While the little ones garden and have a farming block, the older ones will dive into botany and geology. We will also look at the healing aspects of both plants and crystals.
On the first week of school, I will read aloud The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho to the children (possibly filtering some of it). I re-read it this summer and after being inspired by a few friends who have either read it to their children or let their kids listen to the audio book, I thought it would be a nice introduction/foreshadowing for our year.
Our family theme: Journey to the Light.
I am writing a story to preface our journey for this year. A journey to find the light. We are travellers looking for the beauty and the good in the world. I have touched on darker subjects with the older children. I want them to always find the light. We are seekers. We are looking for Truth with a capital T. When we travel, we find that what we know for sure isn’t so sure anymore. This is why we are starting our year with World Religion. Every religion talks about Light and turning towards it.
We will read from ancient spiritual texts from all over the world: The Vedas, The Upanishads, the Mahabharata, the Ramayana, the Bhagavad Gita, the Torah, the Bible, the Koran, Buddhist Sutras, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, The Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Tao-Te Ching, and the Zend-Avesta. (And we will also read more modern teachings from the Dalai Lama, Pope John Paul II, Khalil Gibran, Pema Chodron, etc.)
We will study biographies this year of men and women who shone a light into darkness. We will visit two time periods when humanity was radiant and bright – full of possibility and discovery – and we will draw upon the brilliance of Classical Antiquity and Renaissance, feeling it through story and art. At the end of the year, we will observe light and its properties, observe it in the night sky, observe its effect on plant life, and go deep in the earth where it does not go.
For my older children, they will receive a question at the beginning of each week to think about. They don’t have to answer them but they can use it as a starting point of reflection as they learn. (These are taken from The Big History Project Curriculum which I will be doing with my eldest daughter. I will also be using National Geographic magazines and Ted Talks with her as supplemental learning.)
- Was farming an improvement over foraging?
- What makes human societies similar and different?
- Why do societies collapse?
- Why do we look at things from far away and close up?
- How and why do individuals change their minds?
- How and why did human understanding of the universe change?
And I will ask one question to all before and after each lesson:
Where is the Light?
Tomorrow, I will discuss some resources I will be using for each term for each child. If you have any questions, please leave it below in the comments.
100 scribbles…hurriedly writing the here and now.