Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Curriculum Planning

We're in a bit of a lull in the garden, or maybe I'm just taking a little break, so I have time to start looking at the coming school year.

Here's the thing for those of you who have never done it, it completely fries your brain. It's sort of like braiding, except what I'm trying to combine into something beautiful is concepts and schedules and needs and extras. I really would like the children to do a poem every day, but I've realized my follow through on this is good maybe once or twice a week. Instead, I'm going to just share a poem I like daily and then assign them their own to work with once a week. I have now written out twelve each for Ezra and Phaedra. Sylvie will not be writing out whole poems, and I want to model writing, so I'll write things for her to copy each day.

Ezra wants to study Latin and Phaedra wants to study French. I feel pretty comfortable presenting Latin, as not too many people will notice how poorly Ezra pronounces things. The French is daunting. I might just mention here that I am pretty fluent in German and we're making some progress in that department, but Phaedra feels adamant about French. Now, I have to figure out how to cover three foreign languages and find a language program for one I cannot parse. I'm thinking we'll do German the first term, Latin all the way through, and French the second term. What we figured out last year is that the third term is the wrong time to do foreign language; we all just don't care by then.

I also still like to work a few Waldorf lessons into each term, so I want Ezra to do physics and Phaedra to do Norse myths and Sylvie to do form drawing. These are lessons that require my soul energy to be interesting and that gets pretty intense when I want the three kids to have at least one good, deep lesson along these lines each week. I get antsy trying to imagine what it will look like.

Then, there's all the reading they do for the Charlotte Mason thread that winds its way through our school day. That part is great for all of us, but I feel like I let follow through slide too often. I see pretty clearly with Ezra when he has grasped a topic, but Phaedra is more like I was and just reads to check it off her list. She really does not bother trying to understand unless I ask a few questions that engage her; she is all about finishing. For Sylvie, I'll have to do all the reading for her, as well as present her other lessons.

Let's not forget math. We use a program that I feel very good about, but sometimes, a page might require a great deal of help and guidance. I feel certain I'll figure something out, but my skin itches as I imagine all three kids standing at my elbows demanding help RIGHT NOW with their math. Probably the first order of business will be to work on taking turns and not interrupting.

I've decided to do twelve weeks the first term, and ten weeks each of the other two terms. This works pretty well with the weather and garden and vacations and a nice long break at the end the first term. The year is stretching before me, and I'm not yet chomping at the bit. Still, despite my anxieties, I feel that thrill of the school year unfolding.

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