I just realized that last week was number 11 for this homeschooling year which is roughly a quarter of the way through which means it’s time to take a look at this year’s goals.
1) Reading improvement. At his current pace I expect Brady to be reading at about a 3rd grade level by the end of this school year, we will be working to make sure his comprehension keeps pace with his technical skill.
At last check (which was about a month ago, I believe) Brady was reading somewhere between a high 2nd-low 3rd grade level so that part of the goal has already been met. We’re a little more than halfway through the 1st grade HOP reading comprehension and will also finish the 2nd grade this year and he is able to answer the comprehension questions at the end of our McGraw-Hill readers with no problem.
2) Spelling and handwriting. These are probably the only 2 areas in which he is actually working at or possibly slightly below age level. We’ve never covered spelling and he has a really hard time holding a pencil because of his trigger thumb but we will be working to get him up to a 1st grade level by the end of the year (part of that will be continuing to fight with our insurance to get them to cover his thumb surgery).
He is a little over halfway through his HOP 1st grade spelling book and will finish 2nd this year as well. His handwriting has improved by leaps and bounds just in the past few weeks and we’re now working on appropriate capitalization and proper spacing/sentence structure.
3) Math. My first goal is for Brady to move beyond the use of manipulatives in his arithmetic and we will just go from there.
He has moved on to using a number line and is just beginning to be able to answer addition and subtraction problems orally in the last week or so. We will continue to practice, but it seems to be starting to click.
4) History. This will be our first year with this subject and History was always one of my favorites so I’m really hoping to find a lot of fun projects and Historical Fiction to make it come alive for him.
This subject didn’t turn out at all like I had expected, but we are having so much fun with it. I have basically abandoned my original curriculum plans and instead we are checking out lots of interesting books and doing as many hands on projects as we can find. Brady is LOVING the History tables I put together for each unit and really enjoying the Magic Treehouse books as well.
5) Spanish and Latin. Like History this first year will be more about exposure than any actual expectation of fluency. I want it to be fun so he will be interested and once he is we will study these languages in more depth.
Brady is liking Latin so much that we haven’t actually started Spanish yet, but I figure that a solid Latin foundation will make it easier to pick up when we do.
6) Music and Art. This will be our first year studying these subjects in any formal way as well (although he has definitely been exposed to both his whole life) and I feel like this year it is time to give him some background. That seems to be the way homeschooling works best for us: informal exposure followed by more formal explanations of what he’s just heard/seen/experienced. I’d like him to be able to identify the work of a few composers/artists by the end of the year and have at least a basic understanding of how to read music, but mostly these are just for fun until he gets old enough to play an instrument.x
We are loving the Great Artists book and Brady is getting to try a bunch of artistic projects that I would not have thought of doing otherwise. We’ve covered sound waves, various types of instruments, and musical patterns and we’re just starting to get into how music is written down. He’s still interested/enjoying it and once he learns some basic music theory we will likely look into teaching him to play an instrument.
7) Science. All kids are born scientists and artists and Brady is no exception (in fact any fun thing we work on together is either a “science experiment” or an “art project” to him). This year will be full of as many experiments as I can find and probably a paleontology unit to tie in with our World History studies.
We did end up doing a couple weeks on dinosaurs and we’ve been doing at least one Science experiment weekly which he is absolutely loving.
8) Swimming. I believe this is important for every child, but where we live Brady is surrounded by water (and yet, for some reason, swimming lessons don’t start until kids are 4). I would really like for him to learn to swim before next Summer and we’ll be enrolling him in swim lessons to that end.
He’s almost through with his 2nd session of swimming lessons and can now do several bobs without a break in-between and has just learned to float.
9) Geography. This continues to be Brady’s favorite subject (or maybe 2nd, reading is probably 1st) and since we are studying countries other than our own now I’m going to try to incorporate more of the food and culture of the countries we study into our lesson plans.
We finished Canada and will be starting on Mexico this week. Geography has sort of taken a back burner to History, but now that we have a good grasp on our History curriculum I believe we’re ready to add it back in.
10) Social. Our playgroup is currently in the process of being relocated and we don’t know when it will begin again. That, coupled with the fact that Brady will age out of it in April, has prompted me to be more proactive about trying to find ways for him to spend time with other kids. I will be attempting to start a secular homeschool group in our area and we will be looking into 4H once he turns 5, but I’d love to hear how you guys make sure your homeschoolers get the interaction they need (especially those of you that live in areas without established homeschool groups, our town is TINY and there isn’t much to do with little guys).
We’re back up to having something to do 5 days a week with Swimming Tues/Thurs evenings, a co-op playgroup/preschool Mon/Weds mornings, and storytime Fri afternoons. Brady and I are both much happier when we get out of the house on a regular basis and, while I was resistant to the idea, the “preschool” we attend is much more like a playgroup and I am with him the whole time so although he doesn’t get anything out of it academically (they’re still working on the alphabet) he enjoys seeing other kids and likes doing crafts and singing songs and I am willing to take him.
And that’s where we are on our goals so far, looks like I’ll probably have to write some new ones at the half way point to keep up with him. 😉 How are things in your homeschool?