This year Benjamin will be in 1st grade and Joanna will be starting kindergarten. We're continuing to keep things really simple and relaxed, although I'm adding just a bit more structure to what we did last year.
Here's my plan:
We'll be continuing with our "morning time", which consists of doing our calendar, reading stories, working on a bit of memorizing, songs, reading poems, and the like. As we discovered last year, it works for us to do it right before lunch, after our morning clean-up.
We will also continue to read lots of books. We read stories before bed, and I read chapter books at lunch time.
Both Benjamin and Joanna will be doing reading this year. Last year I worked with Benjamin on reading for 5-10 minutes a day during rest time. Since I'll have two reading this year, I've decided to do it after rest time, so that I can enjoy rest time, too! Joanna will be learning to read, and we'll be using Alphaphonics again. Benjamin knows how to read now, so his goal will just be to practice. We'll be getting easy readers at the library and I'll spend 10 or so minutes a day with him, working on fluency and comprehension.
In addition, I'm adding what I'll be calling "project time" to the afternoons. After snack time, we'll stay at the table for 20 or so minutes and work on different things each day. This is really for Benjamin, but my plan is to have everyone there, and the younger kids can either participate in what we're doing, or they can color or do other table activities. One or two days a week we'll be working on writing, either by writing in a journal, our learning notebooks, or writing letters. Seth is going to do art with the kids one day each week. We'll also do math one day and history one day.
I've chosen Life of Fred for our math curriculum this year. I've heard nothing but good things about these books, so I purchased the first one. We received it and I've looked through it a bit, and it seems perfect for us! The whole point of the curriculum is to apply math to everyday life, and to teach it through story form, which fits my unschooling and learn-through-life tendencies perfectly, and I'm really excited about it!
For History, we're using Story of the World. Again, I hear nothing but good things about this, so we're trying it out. I purchased the audio version, so we're planning on listening during our history time each week, but we can also use it in the car, or I can play it during snack or lunch time if I need to move our schedule around. I'm excited to see how I like this, and I'm hoping I'll learn some new things, too!
We'll be doing some Bible learning, too, going through our What's in the Bible dvds again. This is an excellent series, and our whole family enjoys it. We'll probably be watching one episode a week. I plan on having us rewatch this series every year, for, I guess, forever. =)
Since we have a zoo membership now, we're planning one going there frequently, we also go to our local kids museum often, and we usually go to the library once a week. I'm hoping to plan a few other field trips this year, as well, such as the fire station, salmon hatchery, etc.
We're also planning on experimenting with "learning notebooks". Our thought with these is to have the kids choose something they want to learn about each week, find a few books at the library about their chosen subject, and read them. Then, during our writing time, they can write, draw a picture, or dictate something they learned. We'll give it a try and see how it goes.
We recently discovered Magic School Bus DVDs at the library, and have been watching through those. I never really watched these as a kid, but I've been enjoying them, too! They are fantastic, and are great for learning science in a fun way!
This sounds like a lot when I write it all out, but most of it is just woven into life and becomes just "what we do", so hopefully it will continue to feel like that! I've consciously chosen to not "do school" in the morning, which is really the kids' main play time, and my work time, so for us the afternoons are more open to other activities.
I'm excited to see how this year goes!