Homeschool Plans for 2016-2017: Adding Another Student To the Mix

This coming school year Agent E will be in 5th grade, Agent J in 3rd grade, and Agent A in 1st grade. This will be our first year of required reporting for Agent A—and our state has fairly specific subjects they expect to see on quarterly updates—so we will be doing more formal work with him than we have up until now.

Since we tend to keep things pretty relaxed for kindergarten, this will really be the first year where I’m doing significant planning and record keeping for three students. 

I recently wrote some preliminary brainstorming thoughts for our homeschool year {which will begin 1 July} in a post you can find here. Consider this an extension of that same thinking {writing} out loud. 

What will probably work

Having all three Agents do “morning school” together seems do-able. We typically work on math, language arts, and Spanish together at the kitchen table at around 10:00. It’s been just Agent E {4th} and Agent J {2nd} for most of this school year, but in the last week or so Agent A {K} has decided to join us and work on writing letters and numbers. Of course they are all at different levels, but it’s easy enough for me to be available to assist each of them as needed.

What will probably not work

For this year the girls followed the same “curriculum” and read mostly the same books. Sometimes this meant that our choices were a bit much for Agent J {2nd} or a bit “young” for Agent E {4th} , but for the most part we tried to use a variety of age-appropriate texts that would hold interest for the 2nd-4th grade range.

We would generally do “afternoon school” upstairs while Agent A watched an educational video or played a Kindle game or entertained himself in the playroom. We focused on geography, history, and science three days a week; and health, world religions, art, and music two days a week. I think we will continue this same system for Agents E and J for next year, but I don’t think it will work to throw Agent A into that mix.

Scratch that, I know it won’t work, because we attempted a trial run of it, and it was your basic disaster. I initially thought well, I’m going for exposure not mastery anyway, so maybe he could just follow along and absorb what he can. But, we tried it and the girls found it too distracting. He is just not ready to sit quietly and read about the same kinds of topics the girls want to study. 

What we will probably do

My intention is for Agent A to have his own “curriculum” for 1st grade, even though that means more planning on my part. I looked back at my notes to see what kinds of things we covered for his sisters at that age, and we’ll likely revisit the same topics. 

For example, in addition to math and language arts, in 1st grade the main topics Agent E studied included ocean life, dinosaurs, space, the human body, and the 50 states. This would cover geography, history, science, and health. We touched on art and music, but didn’t follow a particular plan, so that is one thing that will have to change. The current art and music spines we have would be a bit much for 1st grade, so I’m contemplating new ideas, and seriously considering a Little Einsteins tie-in.

What we might also try

Up until this point, most of our written work has been related to math or language arts, with the exception of the science and social studies sections Agent E completes in her Brain Quest workbook. I’d like to include more writing with our other subjects for both Agent E and Agent J going forward. 

This might be as simple as getting a grade level workbook that covers geography or science {perhaps one of these DK ones} for each of them. I’ve also considered adding a writing component that capitalizes on their love of biographies and historical fiction, although I’m not a fan of the traditional “book report” so it would be something we’d tailor individually.

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