It's that time of year in Pennsylvania. Yes, it's Spring, buth that's not it. No, it's the end of the school year, and time for planning the beginning of another year! In PA, we have to be evaluated by a state licensed teacher. We also have to give a portfolio showing the student's progress to our school district along with the report from our evaluation. This marks the end of our school year.
It is also time for the curriculum fair which, in our little home, marks a time to plan for the coming school year. So right now, instead of trying to find an evaluator (yes, I'm late) and pulling together our portfolio, I'm excitedly planning for next year. I thought that this year, I would go to our curriculum fair with all my plans intact. So, I sat down and talked with my two guys about what to study in 2006-2007.
Several weeks ago, as I was looking at our accomplishments over the year, I realized that I didn't give the boys anything to love this year. Maybe that's not totally true. We read the Chronicles of Narnia, which they loved. They've made costumes and many, many swords to use while they re-enact the books. But we didn't focus in on one time period in our history study, or one subject in our science study. I didn't feel as though I gave them a subject or a study to really love and grab for their own. This lead me to think that I needed to focus on one time period for our history study, and one area of science.
When I approached my 7 and 9 year old boys about picking a subject for history and science study for next year, they quickly agreed on what they wanted to study. For history, we will study the Middle Ages. For Science, we are spending the year on astronomy.
With these two subjects in mind, I spent a few afternoons sifting through the books in my book room. I filled a large paper box full of books collected at used book stores, yard sales, and discounters. My box overflowed with Midieval Times and Astronomy.
Last night I made a sheet with three columns for each study. I listed the book titles in the first column. In the second column, I listed the subjects that book would cover, like art, science, history, english, etc... The third column was for notes and page numbers. Some of the history books cover many time periods and I listed just the page numbers pertaining to the Middle Ages.
From my time spent charting our books I determined which books could be used for the spine of our studies. These books will guide the rest of the study and the others will be used to support the spine.
So, now, there is a box of books in the corner of the living room. For two little boys that box may as well be alive! They are ready to dive right in and study Robin Hood, King Arthur, constellations, knights and castles, and the solar system. They eagerly watched me sort through the books yesterday and this morning started asking, "When can we start reading Robin Hood, Mommy?"
Every little homeschool should have a box of books in the corner if it makes their students so eager to study something new! Who knew that it didn't take a fancy electronic gadget, or even a piece of furniture like a bookshelf. All you need is a cardboard box full of books to ignite a new fire for next year.