Monday, August 7, 2017

Year 7 and 8 Planning....

I've been working on planning our 2017-2018 academic year. In planning, I always start with the big picture, moving next to the year, term, week, and finally day. This year, I will have kids in grades 8, 7, and kindergarten. This post will primarily address 7th and 8th grade and not kindergarten since that is still an informal year in our homeschool.

In 2017-2018, I know I want to cover Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation for history, as well as a variety of science topics, including chemistry, physics, and astronomy. It is for these reasons, I'm looking closely at combining AO Year 7 & Year 8 for my two older kids.

In looking at my goals and the AO suggestions, I created an at-a-glance table of Ambleside Online's Year 7 & 8. This is not my original book list and is in no way meant to be copied or used as an exclusive AO book list or lesson plan. I'm simply sharing how I plan my school year based on a variety of resources. You must go directly to the AO website for full use and understanding of their wonderful FREE program. I'm greatly indebted to the ladies who make this all possible. To learn more, I am linking to their website regularly throughout this post. 

The first table lists the subjects covered in each AO Year, along with books broken down by term. You will notice a few books are color coded when they are also used in curricula, such as Beautiful Feet, Sonlight, and Veritas Press, which are book lists I also consult regularly in planning. In addition, you may notice The Fallacy Detectives crossed out because Riley has already read that book. At that end of the first chart is suggested AO Free Reads for each year.

The second table, on page four, shows books used in AO Year 7/8 combined. It is the first year in a two year plan to cover Years 7, 8, and 9 for families looking to use AO at the upper levels and who yearn to complete six years in five. I've chosen this as a base for our family simply based on the history and science coverage.

Next, I created a chart showing the subjects I wish to cover along with some books and resources I'm contemplating.

From there, I've been working on narrowing books and plugging the final selections into a 12-week term chart. Finally, the readings will be broke down by day. You can see last year's term and daily charts here. They are purposefully not dated as I don't want to be a slave to the plan when life happens. You know, kid wakes up puking, family drama takes over, or a dear friend calls and says, "Hey, let's play!" I want to be able to pick up and go without the guilt associated with a date specific plan.

To some, my planning may sound like an overwhelming process. However, it happens to be something I enjoy. Also, I've found if I'm thorough in my planning, then I don't second guess as much throughout the year. That's not to say there's no flexibility. Last year, when the plan became drudgery and there was no Science of Relations, I ended up scrapping much of Ruben's plan part way through the year and winging the end, which turned out to be a great decision for both of us.

Over the past ten years, I haven't found any one plan that fits the needs of my family. In home educating, there is no one size fits all. What works for one family will most likely not work for another. Even in my own home, what works for one child does not necessarily work for another. It is for this reason every year I create an individualized education plan for each of my kids. Because I'm meeting the needs of each individual child, I tend to be very eclectic or individual in my approach. With that said, here are links to some resources I'm pulling from this year:

Ambleside Online Year 7

Ambleside Online Year 8

Ambleside Online Year 7/8 combined

Beautiful Feet Intermediate Medieval History

IEW Medieval Writing 

Simply Charlotte Mason

Sonlight Level G

Sonlight Level H

Veritas Press Omnibus 

Whether you're a chart maker or an on the fly kind of gal, the most important thing to remember is that each and every one of our Children are born persons. We are not dumping books and facts into them. A chart or plan simply gives you the ability to do what comes next on those low energy or hard days when life is kicking your butt. Ultimately, because we're not educating machines, some days may not be well oiled or run smoothly. Having a plan is helpful to me when life takes over.

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