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2016-2017 Out-of-the-Box Planning Thread (Dare I say...with a hint of unschooling?)

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I've always thought if I was hs'd wish I wished for I'd love to have been given control, but of course I think of my older years (I have to remind myself of my oldest daughter who is my mini-me but still just newly 9).  SWB said in one of her talks that when you are in control it is exciting to just pick whatever to do but if your not in control (ie the kid) it can be scary and not exciting at all. That really resonated w/ me. 

 

Anyway, I'm trying to stay out of hs chatter and focus on my priorities for our school, the kids I have in front of me, our strengths and weaknesses. There is no one ideal way to school. Too much idealization from the US crowd and watching JB's "55 Things I Didn't Do" actually broke the spell for me. I realized I'm not ok w/ not doing some things, it doesn't mean we can't enjoy ourselves, there are more than 1 way to skin a cat :)

 

I totally agree with this. That part of SWB's talk was like a lightbulb going off when I heard it for the first time.

 

I watched the 55 Things video this afternoon. LOVE Brave Writer and JB, but that made me squirm! Some of them were no big deal, but others were...wow! I much preferred the 61 Things video follow-up. LOL So, agreeing with you and with Runningmom80 below...

 

I agree with you about the 55 things scope. It was that scope that helped me realize that *I* am not an unschooler. I love BW and Julie Bogart but I would not be ok not doing math. Also my son is not a self starter, he'd be the kid playing on the iPad aaaaaallllll day, and never get to anything academic. I do want him to have choices though, and it's a fine line. He wants to do science so I talked him into a GHF class. However he's now decided he just wants to read science books and I'm having a hard time figuring out if I should push him, or wait another year.

 

It's all about balance, and it's hard for me to find.

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I totally agree with this. That part of SWB's talk was like a lightbulb going off when I heard it for the first time.

 

I watched the 55 Things video this afternoon. LOVE Brave Writer and JB, but that made me squirm! Some of them were no big deal, but others were...wow! I much preferred the 61 Things video follow-up. LOL So, agreeing with you and with Runningmom80 below...

 

I preferred the 61 things scope too.

 

The scope I really loved is the one where she reminisces about a Shakespeare detour they took after watching Much Ado About Nothing, and how it lead to so many wonderful things in her homeschool like vintage dance.  She mentions some other things and just how we as the parent/teacher being interested in something is contagious. 

 

I love how her whole philosophy is the relationship you have with your kid is the most important thing.  I know that most HSing gurus have a similar belief, but JB makes it front and center.  I think that's what I'm learning through this whole HS identity crisis.  I do have my kids and the people they are as the priority, but part of that is knowing when I need to step in and require things that may be uncomfortable, and be ready to help them through.

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OH I definitely see both sides of this -- my Middle son (currently 10th grade) could in NO WAY handle getting that level of 'control'... I would not be okay without math or science.... but I can relax a little about the math and science we ARE doing. KWIM? Her kids seem to have done okay without any, so my kid will be okay if I breathe a little LOL

 

I WANT to be more exploratory. I want to have more fun. I want to be less RIGID. I feel like I'm way too rigid... We're doing fun and interesting topics for Social Studies and Science this year... I wanted them to be fun... and I was just dipping my toes into the super rigid dark side without realizing it.  So, we're going on this big trip in October. We're counting many of the places we're going as school but I'm not planning on really taking much formal schoolwork with us. (I've settled on a small amount of math and maintaining a travel journal with specific guidelines) ... because of this I was worried about getting through the writing and math curricula my boys are working on. I sat down and broke out a calendar. I sorted each of these items day by day planned around holidays and stuff so we would finish the year AND not stop in weird awkward places (like midchapter for Christmas break). Then I started to do that with other subjects. Which seemed logical... and suddenly became super oppressive. I was stressing over figuring out writing assignments and blah blah... I don't want everything we do to be that rigid! Watching these two videos made me breathe a little and decide NOT to do that! I was making myself too crazy!!!

 

 

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She mentions some other things and just how we as the parent/teacher being interested in something is contagious. 

 

I love how her whole philosophy is the relationship you have with your kid is the most important thing.  I know that most HSing gurus have a similar belief, but JB makes it front and center.  I think that's what I'm learning through this whole HS identity crisis.  I do have my kids and the people they are as the priority, but part of that is knowing when I need to step in and require things that may be uncomfortable, and be ready to help them through.

For sure agree with all of that, really agree on the bolded, I do like her message of self-empowerment and part of the fun of this is following my passions. HS identity crisis,ha :) I've always been one who liked something from everything, eventually I'll learn not to latch on to any particular philosophy too hard because I just can't commit that much to one ideology. 

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Ok ok ok ok.  I think we are back out of the box. :driving:

 

I had yet another heart to heart with DS.  His heart is in music.  Yes he's interested in science but that doesn't mean I'm supposed to grab that and run with it and sign him up for a class he isn't interested in. (and frankly is probably not at his level anyways.)

 

He's decided to add piano lessons, in addition to the double bass Suzuki program he's doing.  He is not passionate about the Bass, so I think we will probably only have one year of doing both.  I'm approaching this year as kind of a music conservatory year.  He also wants to do some coding, and all the other stuff he told me that I tried to PUT INTO A BOX in order to look like traditional academics. :lol: :lol: :lol:

 

Plan number 5? I've lost track at this point.  I mainly just post to talk it out.  My husband is sick of me. ;)

 

Music: Piano & double bass

Math: Jousting Armadillos, Counting Coconuts, hands on equations and LoF as a fun supplement

History: US history cobbled together with a Hamilton focus. (also a trip to DC!)

Science: Astronomy through books and MOOCs Chemistry with MEL science, and Nat Geo magazine as a jumping off point to other topics, also classes at the History museum

Computer Science: Scratch workshop through G3 online

Spanish: Homeschool Spanish Academy online & Duolingo

Writing: He's going to start a blog to showcase the music he makes in garage band, and Bravewriter lifestyle free writes and edits as we feel like it.

Literature: A combo of AO, Great books academy and the Mensa list

Art: Cartooning at our local art institute

PE: swim lessons

 

Other fun stuff: He wants to learn to cook and skateboard.  (He also still needs to learn to ride a bike!)

 

considering: MCT grammar and vocab. 

 

We are at least approaching hat box status. :hurray:

 

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We're as out of the box as we started, but my daughter keeps choosing some boxy things. Our general setup is that we always have math, English, and Spanish, with materials chosen to match her preferences. Then she chooses two other topics at a time, with no boundaries put in the topics, usually in six(ish) week long sessions.

 

However, sheesh, her picks feel so much more boring and boxy than anything I would pick! For July, she wants U.S. Geography. Specifically, learning where the sates are, their capitals, location of rivers and mountains and such. Really? I remember geography being about the most boring class I had in all my life and that's what she chooses when she can choose anything?

 

For the fall, she wants an online Literature class. It's not super-structured/intense or anything (after all, she's an elementary student), but it's probably more structured than anything I've ever had her do.

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We're as out of the box as we started, but my daughter keeps choosing some boxy things. Our general setup is that we always have math, English, and Spanish, with materials chosen to match her preferences. Then she chooses two other topics at a time, with no boundaries put in the topics, usually in six(ish) week long sessions.

 

However, sheesh, her picks feel so much more boring and boxy than anything I would pick! For July, she wants U.S. Geography. Specifically, learning where the sates are, their capitals, location of rivers and mountains and such. Really? I remember geography being about the most boring class I had in all my life and that's what she chooses when she can choose anything?

 

For the fall, she wants an online Literature class. It's not super-structured/intense or anything (after all, she's an elementary student), but it's probably more structured than anything I've ever had her do.

Oh my gosh, US geography can be so much fun! We love geography here, and one of the most fun things we ever did was a geography study where my kids pretended to run a travel agency. I was their customer, and they would plan trips for me. They used loads of travel guides from the library, ordered travel brochures from different states/countries, searched the internet, planned travel itineraries, hotels, restaurants, museum, sights, etc. They would sell me these vacations as travel packages. :D Fun, fun, fun!

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Oh my gosh, US geography can be so much fun! We love geography here, and one of the most fun things we ever did was a geography study where my kids pretended to run a travel agency. I was their customer, and they would plan trips for me. They used loads of travel guides from the library, ordered travel brochures from different states/countries, searched the internet, planned travel itineraries, hotels, restaurants, museum, sights, etc. They would sell me these vacations as travel packages. :D Fun, fun, fun!

See, this sounds like fun.

 

But I had to work a bit to convince her to let me put *anything* into this class other than straight maps and memorization. She very specifically wants to know locations, and that's about it. I've managed to work some history in.

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I am going to start thinking about next yr on Tuesday. I am so far behind. I am usually almost finished planning for next yr by now. But I have been totally consumed with my 12th grader and her college search. (Finding a match school for foreign languages is nothing like looking for STEM schools.)

 

My creativity needs to pick it up a notch. I'm thinking about a geography course designed around Ticket to Ride games, but beyond that......Ill think it about it on Tuesday!

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I am going to start thinking about next yr on Tuesday. I am so far behind. I am usually almost finished planning for next yr by now. But I have been totally consumed with my 12th grader and her college search. (Finding a match school for foreign languages is nothing like looking for STEM schools.)

 

My creativity needs to pick it up a notch. I'm thinking about a geography course designed around Ticket to Ride games, but beyond that......Ill think it about it on Tuesday!

Ooh, what age/ability would you say is the minimum for Ticket to Ride? I've only played the app version myself. But this might be something I can work in!

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I'm not sure. One of my dd's has been playing since she was 9. My 6 yr isn't quite ready. (Or maybe it's more of we aren't ready for her. We are pretty diehard gamers in thus house!)

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My creativity needs to pick it up a notch. I'm thinking about a geography course designed around Ticket to Ride games, but beyond that......Ill think it about it on Tuesday!

 

I can't wait until you flesh this out! I have been talking about developing a geography year around the 10 days games forever. We have Ticket to Ride but have never played it. I am intrigued!

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We took a break last month from Chinese tutoring. Yesterday the kids asked when they can start again--they'd been complaining before the break but I guess they miss the lessons now.

 

That is encouraging :)

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We took a break last month from Chinese tutoring. Yesterday the kids asked when they can start again--they'd been complaining before the break but I guess they miss the lessons now.

 

That is encouraging :)

Very encouraging!

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This thread popped up in my search and made me smile. 

 

How did this turn out for everyone? 

 

I read the new edition of TWTM one week before school started.  Things got interesting around here. :lol:

 

 

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We're still going with our original plan. Math, English, and Spanish are daily, using materials DD requested or had a hand in choosing. Then she chooses any other two topics/classes (usually in six week sessions), helps guide material selection and the scope of the topic.

 

So far this fall, she has chosen to do a semester-long online Literature class, six weeks on simple machines using Lego Education and a hydraulic catapult kit, and then 6-8 weeks on writing centered around NaNoWriMo.

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DH is retiring from the Army. We are moving (AGAIN!!) this summer. He is starting a new job. I am planning 8th, 6th, and 5th for kids who are diverging from our previous effective strategy of shared content, separate skills. I am planning separate everything. I am running out of free spots in my weekly schedule grid. This is a problem for me, sanity wise.

 

Sooooo, I find myself grasping for order anywhere I can. I think I am putting DS13 in AoPS online classes for the first time ever, in addition to basically outsourcing his computer science class to code.org.

 

On the bright side, I am regaining a backyard pool and a FANTASTIC library system when we move.

 

I will be back to update this thread when I have had slightly less margarita. :lol:

I am working on next year's plans this week, mainly because I need to separate those resources from all of our other household goods. It is very frustrating to me that because of the move, I have not yet ordered many of the supplemental books I need for each kid's personalized course work. Books are heavy and our move will be a squeaker, weight-wise.

 

I will report back. :lol:

 

Glad this was bumped! I'm back to report. I have had zero margarita today. ;)

 

We have moved and settled. DH has started his new job. We started school the day after Labor Day. I did not put DS13 in online AoPS classes, but he is still doing the code.org AP Computer Science Principles (which I facilitate).

 

I am LOVING having my wonderful library back. I so love being able to run in quickly and self-check holds. Love how they have most of the books I want and free ILL for what they don't. A good library... :001_wub:

 

Oh, and the weight allowance squeaker! We were 24 pounds under our very generous weight allowance. Gave myself a big pat on the back for that one! LOL

 

I did some more planning over the summer and decided to move everyone to a kinda sorta block schedule. They each have an hour of math and an hour of language each day, but other subjects are either MWF or T/Th now. I think everyone will benefit from longer periods to sink into content. 

 

And we are having so much fun discussing current events thanks to the very entertaining political season. 

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Glad this was bumped! I'm back to report. I have had zero margarita today. ;)

 

We have moved and settled. DH has started his new job. We started school the day after Labor Day. I did not put DS13 in online AoPS classes, but he is still doing the code.org AP Computer Science Principles (which I facilitate).

 

I am LOVING having my wonderful library back. I so love being able to run in quickly and self-check holds. Love how they have most of the books I want and free ILL for what they don't. A good library... :001_wub:

 

Oh, and the weight allowance squeaker! We were 24 pounds under our very generous weight allowance. Gave myself a big pat on the back for that one! LOL

 

I did some more planning over the summer and decided to move everyone to a kinda sorta block schedule. They each have an hour of math and an hour of language each day, but other subjects are either MWF or T/Th now. I think everyone will benefit from longer periods to sink into content. 

 

And we are having so much fun discussing current events thanks to the very entertaining political season. 

 

Glad to hear the move went well!  Good job on coming in under the weight limit, I can't imagine moving all of our books, the though gives me chills. :lol:

 

We kind of do block schedules too.  My youngers don't have blocks but we only do a few subjects daily and everything else is on a MWF or TTH schedule. Acutally my older only has morning block and afternoon block, but that's working pretty well at this point.

 

I'm still back and forth on where we dwell in regards to the box.  I read TWTM and wanted to set up a permanent home in the box.  I'm sure you can imagine how that went. :glare:   It's really hard with asynchronous learners. 

 

I'm starting to learn that it doesn't matter how much planning and fretting I do in the summer, by November, we end up in the same place we always do, interest-led with lots of guidelines. 

 

I also had to learn the hard way that not every subject can be rigorous and accelerated here.  EF is still a struggle, and so it just sets us up for a bad day.  My boy who is intellectually ready for high school material is not emotionally mature enough for it.  I'm totally ok with it.  I had a brief freak out over what he's going to read for Lit this year until I remembered he's only in 5th grade.  Then I combed through all my book lists and picked out the elementary books we haven't gotten to yet that I don't want him to skip. This year will be a "fill your bucket with wonderful children's literature" year.  He's really excited about it, and that's really all I could ask for.

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I did get rid of lots of elementary level non-fiction books. DH and I agreed that we would not get rid of anything we loved because it wasn't worth the potential cost savings. So glad not to owe the Army anything!

 

I hear you about ending up in the same place every year. We do always find our way back to ourselves, don't we? And I've also got a 5th grader who is not ready for tough emotional stuff. He's always been very good at keeping up with DD's and older DS's content and positively rocks at literature comprehension, but now that they are doing more serious stuff, especially with geography and current events, I just can't do it to him. He's sensitive, and I'm not going to expose him to things I wouldn't have exposed the older to at the same age. DS13 and DD12 are studying environmental science and there's lots of doom and gloom that I don't want him to hear...and that's even though I'm even purposefully keeping DS13's study focused on what we can do to fix things. He heard on a documentary a few years ago about how the sun will eventually die and he still brings that up, even though we have assured him that is so far in the future we can't even imagine. 

 

I think the bucket o' lit is a great idea. You are never too old for great kids' lit! I'm rereading The Secret Garden to all three of mine right now as a precursor to a discussion of The Nature Principle/Last Child in the Woods and a John Muir biography. DS10 is studying animals and their environments this year, which goes hand in hand with ES, so we can focus on the positive there. The Secret Garden is positively magical, makes you want to go out and plant!

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Um...I'm pretty sure I belong in this thread...  I don't seem to belong anywhere else.   :glare:

 

This happens every. single. year.  I follow our curriculum for about 3 weeks and then we just start wandering off onto rabbit trails.  Before we know it, our homeschool looks completely different from what I planned.  So, I've decided to never plan again.  I need to just embrace our Non-Plan-Following selves.

 

My 9th grader and 8th grader are doing:

 

Daily:

 

Latin

German

Math

Reading Literature/Read-alouds

One subject at a time (and letting them pick the subject).  We are finishing up American Government next week.  We are going to do Astronomy next.

 

6th Grader:

 

Living Math (I'm just not going to use a math curriculum for anyone under pre algebra anymore.  After 8 years, I know how to teach grade school math by now. *sigh*)

Reading/Read-alouds

Rip the Page Creative Writing, dictation, copywork

Apologia Anatomy and Physiology

Whatever books she wants to read, projects, etc.

Art project once a week

 

3rd Grader:

 

Living Math

All About Spelling

Whatever she wants to read, study, etc.

 

Our Living Math Plan (we do this every day):

 

1.  Play a math dice game - for mental math

2.  Do a page of math fact drills

3.  Read a math reader - work out any problems

4.  Teach a new concept from Kitchen Table Math - work problems together on dry erase board

 

This has been one of the best school years ever - so far.

 

I have NO idea what kind of homeschoolers we are, but I probably need to figure it out, so I can find my herd and join them.  We're Weirdschoolers, maybe?

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I did get rid of lots of elementary level non-fiction books. DH and I agreed that we would not get rid of anything we loved because it wasn't worth the potential cost savings. So glad not to owe the Army anything!

 

I hear you about ending up in the same place every year. We do always find our way back to ourselves, don't we? And I've also got a 5th grader who is not ready for tough emotional stuff. He's always been very good at keeping up with DD's and older DS's content and positively rocks at literature comprehension, but now that they are doing more serious stuff, especially with geography and current events, I just can't do it to him. He's sensitive, and I'm not going to expose him to things I wouldn't have exposed the older to at the same age. DS13 and DD12 are studying environmental science and there's lots of doom and gloom that I don't want him to hear...and that's even though I'm even purposefully keeping DS13's study focused on what we can do to fix things. He heard on a documentary a few years ago about how the sun will eventually die and he still brings that up, even though we have assured him that is so far in the future we can't even imagine. 

 

I think the bucket o' lit is a great idea. You are never too old for great kids' lit! I'm rereading The Secret Garden to all three of mine right now as a precursor to a discussion of The Nature Principle/Last Child in the Woods and a John Muir biography. DS10 is studying animals and their environments this year, which goes hand in hand with ES, so we can focus on the positive there. The Secret Garden is positively magical, makes you want to go out and plant!

 

We saw a local production of The Secret Garden last year, it was wonderful. Maybe we will read it this year.  My 5th grader is doing a bio year, so that could tie in well.

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Um...I'm pretty sure I belong in this thread...  I don't seem to belong anywhere else.   :glare:

 

This happens every. single. year.  I follow our curriculum for about 3 weeks and then we just start wandering off onto rabbit trails.  Before we know it, our homeschool looks completely different from what I planned.  So, I've decided to never plan again.  I need to just embrace our Non-Plan-Following selves.

 

My 9th grader and 8th grader are doing:

 

Daily:

 

Latin

German

Math

Reading Literature/Read-alouds

One subject at a time (and letting them pick the subject).  We are finishing up American Government next week.  We are going to do Astronomy next.

 

6th Grader:

 

Living Math (I'm just not going to use a math curriculum for anyone under pre algebra anymore.  After 8 years, I know how to teach grade school math by now. *sigh*)

Reading/Read-alouds

Rip the Page Creative Writing, dictation, copywork

Apologia Anatomy and Physiology

Whatever books she wants to read, projects, etc.

Art project once a week

 

3rd Grader:

 

Living Math

All About Spelling

Whatever she wants to read, study, etc.

 

Our Living Math Plan (we do this every day):

 

1.  Play a math dice game - for mental math

2.  Do a page of math fact drills

3.  Read a math reader - work out any problems

4.  Teach a new concept from Kitchen Table Math - work problems together on dry erase board

 

This has been one of the best school years ever - so far.

 

I have NO idea what kind of homeschoolers we are, but I probably need to figure it out, so I can find my herd and join them.  We're Weirdschoolers, maybe?

 

Weirdschoolers! Love that.  We definitely fall into that category ourselves. 

 

I love the idea of doing one "subject" at a time.  I'm having a hard time fitting both science and history in, maybe we should concentrate on 1 for now.

 

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I love the idea of doing one "subject" at a time.  I'm having a hard time fitting both science and history in, maybe we should concentrate on 1 for now.

 

 

Despite the dire warnings, it has been awesome so far!  We spent so much time on American Government that I was actually starting to have dreams about resources that we could use for our course.   :laugh:

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Despite the dire warnings, it has been awesome so far!  We spent so much time on American Government that I was actually starting to have dreams about resources that we could use for our course.   :laugh:

 

HAHA! That's where I draw the line. I can NOT be planning while I sleep. :lol:

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