Planning for a New School Year Part 3: The Nitty Gritty

I am currently in the process of planning out our 2012-2013 school year, so I thought I would take you along for the ride and show you a real life example of how “I” plan a year.

I can’t stress enough the importance of knowing your own personal goals for your kids. In this post, I’m going to focus on educational goals.  I personally believe it is best to come up with these goals from your own head and prayer time, and not rely on a scope and sequence of someone else.  That way your goals actually are your goals and not someone else’s.  If you are coming up completely blank though, the book What Your Child Needs to Know When by Robin Scarlata can be helpful.  Or a simple scope and sequence found online is at World Book.  Before you go there though, I highly recommend you read the article Curing Scope and Sequence Syndrome.

My goals for Taylor (my 11 year old daughter going into the 6th grade):

  • Work as independently as possible (We are having our 3rd baby in the fall, so this is a necessity.)
  • Begin managing her own time and planning out how she accomplishes the week’s assigned work
  • Schoolwork accomplished in 5 hours or less a day
  • Improve paragraph writing
  • Learn to write a 5 paragraph essay
  • Improve report writing and research skills
  • Learn outlining to the 2nd level
  • Continue to improve editing skills
  • Improve spelling abilities
  • Read from a variety of genres and provide written narration
  • Increase vocabulary and learn to use word roots
  • Get a firm grasp of decimals and fractions
  • Prepare for algebraic thinking
  • Have fun learning about the Middle Ages while developing creativity with projects
  • Improve scientific thinking and improve science vocabulary

As you can clearly see, my goals for Taylor next year have a strong focus on writing skills.  It’s something that I would like to see marked improvement in and my choice of curriculum will reflect that.  I need her to work independently as much as possible, so I am looking at things that will help meet both of those goals.  We will also have a strong use of notebooking in science and history, so she will have LOTS of opportunity for writing next year. 🙂

Now on to my goals for Isaac (7 years old, going into 2nd grade)

  • Gain more independence by alternating working with mom and working alone
  • School 2-2 1/2 hours a day
  • improve neatness and speed in handwriting
  • learn to write a couple of original sentences on topic
  • improve in the mechanics of writing (punctuation, capitalization)
  • improve phonetic spelling and spelling of sight words
  • increase reading level
  • begin to read silently for enjoyment
  • continue memorizing addition facts
  • become comfortable with renaming in addition and subtraction
  • tell time easily
  • learn skip counting
  • have fun learning about the Middle Ages
  • have fun learning science and scientific thinking

After I have my goals written down, I make a Course of Study for each child.  I file this along with my goals in my teacher binder.  The teacher binder will need it’s own entire post though!  I use the Course of Study forms found here.  I also color code my kiddos for ease of finding their forms.  Taylor’s paper is yellow; Isaac’s paper is blue.  A course of study is just a list of what subjects you plan to cover in a year, and what resources you will use to cover them.

Taylor’s Course of Study

Isaac’s Course of Study

  • Bible- Finding God’s Promises, Big Truths for Little Kids, Bible, Beginner’s Bible
  • Math- BJU Math 2
  • Phonics- MCP Plaid Phonics 2nd grade, Happy Phonics
  • Reading-list of books to be determined
  • Writing- Writing with Ease finish level one, begin level 2
  • Science- Zoology 3, Junior Notebook journal, co-op
  • History- SOTW 2, Activity Book, Audio CD’s, co-op

After I have the goals, set curriculum selected, and course of study written out it’s time to plan out the calendar.  We always start back to school in July.  I’m thinking that this year I’d like to try a six weeks on and one week off schedule with very light work in December.  You, of course, can choose whatever schedule works for your family. 🙂

Once your books arrive, you can start planning your lessons!

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