Monday, February 1, 2016

Week Ending 31 January 2016 (This Year's Plan)

Miss 15 had another week of trampoline camp. While she was training all day I put the finishing touches on her homeschool plan for the year. What's interesting to me is what a loose plan it is. I seem to have returned to my homeschooling roots. I used to only plan loosely if at all,  but as I had more kids to factor into the equation I relied more on planning and purchased curricula - the only way I could keep on track of four very different sets of needs! Now that I'm down to only homeschooling one it seems that I feel confident going with the flow once again.

This year Miss 15 will be doing 3 full year courses and two half year courses, which doesn't sound like a lot. However, I felt last year we did too many courses and this year I want to go deep rather than wide. Plus I looked at what she had done for the past couple of years and for fun tried to put it into a typical US transcript. Turns out she'd have 13 credits already - and that's not even including PE. With all her trampolining hours she could earn several credits every year except  that would be excessive and I keep trampoline under the extra-curricular banner.

Anyway this year she'll be studying -

1. Algebra 2. We'll stick with Saxon, not because she loves it but because we haven't found anything else that she likes. This is the last level of maths that we require so she is looking forward to being done.
2. Ornithology - This is a buffet style course. I've amassed a wide variety of resources from a range of  places. She'll get to pick and choose from what's on offer. Most of what she can pick from (as well as some fun, crafty stuff) is on my Pinterest board .
3. Written Communication. - This is basically an essay writing course. She's starting with an online course from Fortuigence. Then we'll probably move to Bravewriter's Help for High School. After that it is up in the air but another online course is a possibility.
4. Applied Ecology and Conservation - This is a third year (gulp) university course that she has been invited to participate in. I'm a bit concerned it will be too much (a first year paper would be fine but third year?) but she is keen.
5. Child Labour in Victorian Britain - She'll do this in the second half of the year after the university course is finished. It'll probably be independent research and interdisciplinary in nature. It may well end up with a comparative focus as well perhaps looking at child labour today or in the United States in the 1920s. We'll probably incorporate this Problem-Based Learning unit from Royal Fireworks Press.

It was interesting to run this plan (plus all the non-academic plans that will be a crucial part of the year) through Julie Bogart's  "enchanted education for teens" lens.  Is there a B-HAG? (Sure is - it's trampoline related) Is there room for experimentation? Is there room for risky thinking? Plenty of leaving the house? A range of mentors/teachers? A range of delivery methods?  Are we preparing for university if she wants to go? Are we moving at her pace not some pre-determined pace which says since she is 15 she should be doing x, y and z? Is there risk and adventure? (Lots of that mainly outside of academics with possibly  four week long trips away from home  for birding and trampolining - including one overseas jaunt.) Are we supporting her as she takes on challenges of her choice? Have we got a routine which leaves room to follow inspiration as it strikes? Overall I thought our plans covered all the bases. I've just made a note to encourage her risky thinking . A couple of the courses are ripe for "Big Juicy Conversations". I just have to make sure they happen!

Only a couple of other things of note during the week.

* We had another earthquake. The first for a while and even though it was only of a moderate magnitude it's location meant we felt it reasonably strongly and it came as such a surprise. Scientists had warned that there would be aftershocks for years to come but it is easy to forget. My adrenaline was rushing for several hours afterwards! Mind you I'm not good with earthquakes.

* Mr 18 and Miss 21 have both been educating themselves on retirement savings plans - making sure they are happy with with where their money is going  in terms of risk, rate of return, ethics etc

* We ended up with a bonus week with this guy.

His family have finally moved into their rebuilt home and he was meant to go too. But a couple of issues came up so he is with us for one more week. We'll be sure to make the most of him. After nearly two years we are going to miss him.

ETA. Linking up to the 8th Annual Back to Homeschool Blog Hop: Curriculum Week


  1. Earthquakes are so scary! {{hugs}} Love hearing the homeschooling plans!

  2. Your new year sounds awesome. Keilee didn't like Saxon either but she realizes she isn't going to like any Math. Ever. I am about to go watch Julie's scopes!!! Thank you for posting the links. :)