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Mon, June 24

A New Year, New Adventures

Geocaching Symbol (Photo: Public Domain)

Geocaching Symbol (Photo: Public Domain)

This is a banner school year for us at our house. It's the first year that both of our kids will be school age. This means more work for me, since we homeschool our kids, but I've been looking forward to it!

I look forward to learning more about my son in a new way, as a student. I have a suspicion that he and my daughter learn in very different ways, and kindergarten is a great year to discover the best ways to teach him. He already knows how to read almost as well as my eight year old daughter, and he can do basic math, so we'll work a lot on handwriting and speech therapy.

My daughter will start third grade this year. When I was in third grade, I remember doing a lot of creative writing, so I intend to work that in to our schedule this year. Plus we'll do all the usual subjects that we've been doing, such as math, history, science, vocabulary, grammar, spelling, etc. etc. But we're also going to include some new subjects this year, things which usually don't come up at public elementary schools.

The subject I am most excited to introduce this year is formal geography. I have found some books that teach secular geography as a stand-alone topic and are quite fun and interesting. My daughter will draw maps, learn about cultures, and know rivers and mountain ranges.

The subject my daughter is most excited about is nature study. We'll be taking nature walks on a regular basis, probably geocaching along the way (another new introduction), and she'll keep a nature notebook recording observations and drawing things she finds. I believe Wednesdays are still free parking days at the local parks, so I hope Wednesday will be our nature day, at least once a month.

We're both quite excited about introducing crafts into the curriculum. We'll do hand sewing, machine sewing, crochet, knitting, and embroidery. I haven't ever done much embroidery, so we'll be learning that one together.

I will also start teaching the basic concepts for computer programming. There are a number of languages out there that are fairly easy for children to grasp, if introduced properly. Some that I have found include Logo, Ruby, Karel, Scratch, and others. I've got a decent background in computer programming, so I look forward to stretching those particular mental muscles again.

I see one of my biggest jobs as a homeschool teacher is to teach my children how to think critically and to come to their own conclusions based on information presented. So this year I'm also going to start teaching logic more formally. This involves a lot of fun puzzles at this point, but will later include various things from history, science, and other sources. My kids are very good at this kind of thing, so I'm hoping they'll have a lot of fun with it.

In future years, I'll add some things and drop others. I am looking forward to including things like world/city building, research projects, and Latin.

Even if you send your kids to school, what kinds of things do you learn at home together?

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