Elementary Age Homeschool Planning 2020-2021

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For the past couple of months I have been in deep planning mode. While I typically begin planning in the spring, the shelter in place orders have left me with additional time to dwell on and research alllll of our options.

I thought it might be helpful, particularly to friends that may reach out in advance of schools re-opening, to share what we are planning for next year.

We have tried a LOT of different curriculum and approaches over the past 8 years, and I think we have finally figured out what works best for us (you may note that it varies from child to child). Additionally, it is sometimes the case that after I order something and it arrives, I may be able to see immediately that it’s not going to work as I anticipated. Sometimes, it won’t be until a week or so has passed that I see something will not work for a particular kid. We have the flexibility to abandon the best made plans, and move onto something that will likely be a better fit.

This will be my second year of having 4 school aged kids. This fall, however, I will also have to come up with some things for my preschooler! She is deep into the wanting to color, cut, and glue everything phase! So, here’s what I’m thinking we’ll do for next year!

Preschooler:

Early Education K-2 Activities Stickers  Educational Stickers image 0

I ordered this sticker sheet off of etsy. The seller has a corresponding board on Pinterest that links to the 21 activities pictured, as well as about 100 more (the last time I checked).

In my ideal world, I will prep as many of these activities as practicable, and then set them aside in a bin where I can pull them out on the relevant day.

I am looking for prepared materials for her to complete as well, and may order some Kiwi crates at some point. (I will likely order the age equivalent for each of my kids as well).

First Grade

This guy has been working through Bookshark’s Kindergarten curriculum this year, and it has been a great fit! It is a bit rigorous, so we have just taken it slow, and I have scaffolded as necessary. I have learned a lot about what topics he is interested in, and I have a good sense of what he will be the most excited about continuing into next year.

Science:

Bookshark Science B– Animals, Astronomy & Physics

I did this curriculum with my big kids a few years ago, and it was excellent. We were particularly interested in the long segment about animals on the 7 continents. I am sure my guy will love that portion of things as well as the Space unit that comes at the very end.

UPDATE 7/10/2020:

I FOUND SOMETHING AMAAAAAAZING! And I bought it for him and he’s going to freak out!

What is it?

Y’all.

Here’s what it covers (from Blossom & Root website):

  • Precambrian Life
  • Cambrian and Ordovician Life
  • Silurian and Devonian Life
  • Carboniferous and Permian Life
  • What is a Dinosaur?
  • Triassic Life
  • Jurassic Life
  • Cretaceous Life
  • Pterosaurs and Mesozoic Mammals
  • The Marine World of the Mesozoic
  • Paleogene and Neogene Life
  • The Last Ice Age
  • The Rise of Humankind

And it utilizes colorful dinosaur encyclopedias for all of the lessons. HEART EYES. I found it when I was scrolling through my instagram (@ddchomeschool) and the Kristina (the author/creator/owner) share a picture of a child drawn dinosaur within the notebook for the curriculum. And that was it. It was just too perfect.

If you have a dinosaur loving kid who has to know all the things about dinosaurs & enjoys learning from pictorial encyclopedias, then this is for you!

Technically it’s designed for 3rd grade, but there is a ridiculous amount of scaling up or down in and out activities in this curriculum. I have never SEEN so many different options or suggestions for any given lesson. It’s truly wonderful. Of course I will check back in once we’re able to get some lessons under our belt!!!

I also ordered another piece from her, which I will be using for my middle schooler, so I will update that post as well!

History

This year I am making a larger effort to incorporate more multicultural books, versus the standard American/Euro centric that is typically offered by most curriculum publishers.

Beautiful Feet– Around the World With Picture Books

Part I:

“Travel the world through delightful children’s picture books! Introduce your K-3rd children to world geography and culture with award-winning literature. Part One covers Asia, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica. In Asia we explore China, Japan, Thailand, and India. In Africa we visit Morocco, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, and Ghana. This course includes nature study, folktales, fables, music, art, poetry, and history.”

If we get through that quickly, we will also do

Part II:

“Continue your journey around the world in this brand-new course covering South America and Europe! In Europe you and your children will travel through France, Spain, Italy, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, and Great Britain. In South America: Ecuador, Chile, Peru, and Brazil. Along with award-winning literature, this course includes nature study, folktales, fables, music, art, poetry, and history.”

I will likely skip over the European books and jump straight to South America, as the Kindergarten books we read we largely focused on Western Europe (my largest critique).

Language Arts:

I have big plans to use Jot it Down from Brave Writer, as well as Explode the Code 2 and Handwriting without Tears. Brave Writer has been teasing the announcement of a new option for younger kids this Thursday, so that may also become a part of our plan!

We have ordered many picture books suggested by Here Wee Read, a diversity & inclusion expert. She and her work are ahmazing. Seriously, check her out!

Math:

We will stick with Singapore 1 & Khan Academy, as well as Math Seeds and Starfall (linked in my educational resources post).

Other:

Songschool Latin book 1. Very easy & approachable Latin. It comes with a song CD, and this kid has been exposed to the Latin for Children since before he was born.

He will also be doing as many sports as possible once that becomes an option again.

We will also be completely Studies Weeklies in both Social Studies and Science, in order to meed state requirements.

Fourth Grade

Science:

Bookshark Level E– Electricity, Magnetism & Astronomy

“Students explore electricity, magnetism, light, color, microscopes, astronomy and space, inventions, chemistry, modern technology, and mechanical technology in early American life.”

I decided to hold off on this one until next year, because it’s pretty intensive, and I think it might be too overwhelming for my guy.

SO, I am having him do the elementary versions of the science topics that my oldest is doing. REAL Science 4 Kids Geology & Astronomy. (available from Rainbow Resource & Gravitas& Home Science Tools & Amazon). I contacted Gravitas and purchased the notebook pages for them both. They’re super cute yet rigorous, and I think it’s going to work out well for him!

I will be supplementing this with survivalist type books (e.g.) and California field guides.

History:

Beautiful Feet:

AROUND CALIFORNIA WITH CHILDREN’S BOOKS PACK: A HISTORY OF THE GOLDEN STATE

I’m not completely satisfied with this set, so I will likely tweak it and add in some additional resources we have about Native Americans, as well as including additional books about Latinx/Chicanos, etc. See my California History Post for my solution.

We will also be integrating an additional set of books from Beautiful Feet called the Early American Enrichment Pack:

“We have brought together a selection of books that honor the legacy of some African Americans and American Indians at the time when America was young. Learn about the Choctaw and Cherokee tribes, Harriet Tubman, Phillis Wheatley, Benjamin Banneker, and others who stories aren’t often told. Designed for the intermediate grade level, these books and the accompanying downloadable teacher guide are a wonderful addition to any study of American history.”

I have also ordered several books about baseball and other topics relating to social studies for free reading, as well as most of the books on the Bookshark Level E reading through history program. (I cancelled the bookshark order for him completely. Will order next year as needed!)

Language Arts:

We will continue to work through the Brave Writer Arrows, hopefully more in depth this year. We also have Partnership Writing that I may incorporate when I can (I LOVE it).

In addition to Handwriting without Tears, I have also purchased Spelling Workout & Grammar Usage & Mechanics, for additional daily practice.

Math:

We will continue with Singapore & Khan Academy.

Other:

Songschool Latin 2– it took this guy forevver to complete book 1, but he picked up more momentum lately, which I hope will carry into next year.

Studies Weeklies in Science & Social Studies, in order to meet state requirements.

I had initially planned to share our choices for all of the kids into one post, but as it apt to happen, I am short on time. Additionally, my two middle schoolers take up a disproportionate amount of resources to tell about– so, I will write that up when I have time again.

Until then, I hope this helps some of you out there starting to plan, or thinking about making the jump into homeschooling, whether it’s just until things go back to normal or a more permanent change. Pretty sure that’s a dangling modifier but I’m too tired to fix it right now. Until next time!

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