Friday, July 12, 2013

Writing a Curriculum Plan

*Series Intro*

*For the past 6 months or so I have been exploring the ins and outs of Relaxed Homeschooling (RHS) and Unschooling (UnS).  In that time I have come to see that my daughter NEEDS this type of learning and education if she is to be who she is meant to be.  Anything else will not support her full development.  My reason for coming up with any kind of plan at all is twofold. This school year we will be moving to a state in which we will be joining an umbrella school.  So, my task here is to come up with a relaxed plan that will meet the requirements of the umbrella school.  Secondly, a dear friend of mine in state that only requires an attendance record for homeschool statute compliance, was accused of educational neglect.  Having never tested her children, and not done much record keeping, it was difficult for her to prove that her children were in deed growing and learning as they should. So now I am a bit paranoid about the remote possibility of this happening to us. If it ever does, by some fluke chance, I will have this plan to back up our efforts.

I've decided to put our plan into a series of posts. Both as a reference for me in the future and with the hope that it might be of help to other homeschool moms! ;)

See all the entries in the series by clicking HERE*

Writing a Curriculum Plan - Part 2

Just when I get used to not thinking in terms school subjects, we are moving to a state were I must list subjects, have a plan for each subject and report grades and attendance twice a year.  (Grades? More on that in a later post).  If you are reading a biography about an Egyptian Pharaoh is that literature, history, science, or art? Guess what? It's all of them!  Life is not compartmentalized into subject boxes and learning isn't either.

The key here is to think in general terms of what you might do in each subject area. The best example I have seen of this is the Acme Academy Course of Study on Sandra Dodd's Website.  Go read it, I'll wait...

I adapted this and wrote one for us.  I was even sneaker and changed "will include" to "may include". That way I am not committing us to doing anything in particular.  Here is a link to the one I came up with. Feel free to download it and change it as you wish. 

Ok, so that was a really detailed plan that anyone would have a hard time challenging as a solid curriculum plan.  But I needed something much more practical. Something that I could go to that was more specific. So I came up with this.

Course Descriptions for 2013-2014

Student will review lower-level math fundamentals and gain skill in subjects such as geometry and pre-algebra corresponding to her ability.

Language Arts:
Student will gain skill in the areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening.  Methods used include: student and teacher chosen literature, writing within context of study topics and creative pursuits, discussing literature, and family read alouds.
Resources: The Library! ;), Don't Forget to Write for writing ideas, lot's of other ideas on my Writing Pinterest Board, this awesome blog series on Becoming a Writing Mentor to Your Child

Science will be addressed within the context of student interest.  Inquiry, reading, videos, fieldtrips, time in nature will all be employed in this area.
Resources: Lots of Youtube & other videos, hiking, maybe nature journaling, we also have a lot of science resource books around the house.  

Social Studies:
Social studies, history and geography will be addressed within the context of student interest.  Research, time-lines, biography, historical fiction, various texts, videos, and fieldtrips will all be employed in this area.
Resources: The Library again, All Through the Ages - A History through Literature Guide (Awesome!), The Mystery of History (MOH) - I use this as a read aloud a couple times a week and skip around, we usually don't do the activities.

Health & Physical Education:
Health and physical education is fully integrated as a part of daily living skills and participation in the wider community with an emphasis upon the physical activities that may be conducive to health and vigor of body and mind. Activities will include skiing, hiking and ice-skating
Resources: Our own 2 feet, a couple books on puberty

Fine Arts:
Student will develop her knowledge of art, music and drama through informal and structured methods in a variety of ways, including: attending concerts and plays, possible art classes, choral singing, listening to various styles of music, and studying fashion and design.
Resources: This will focus mainly on fashion. Her one big passion right now. Lots of Pinterest & Youtube! Sketch book & drawing utensils, we are looking for a choir/chorus to join and will go to concerts and plays.

Below is a basic plan for implementing the above:
  • We begin each day with me reading aloud. We have done this ever since La showed an interest in books. We usually pick these books together. We cover lots of classics this way.
  • After read aloud, we have what I call "sharing time" in my head, but never give it a label out load (I can just hear her complaining how "preschool" it sounds, LOL!). It really is a big kid version of preschool circle time. I just transition into it naturally. This is where I share something that I think is really cool. It could be a second read-aloud, a video, a game, anything really. These things may or may not have to do with her current interests, but it is something that I am genuinely interested in. She may or may not find it interesting, but many of her interests have been sparked this way in the past. I keep this pretty short, too. No longer than 20 minutes.  It's the one treachery thing I do and I don't do it everyday, but most days.
  • Strewing - This is basically providing resources that enhance current interests. No strings attached!  Please read this blog post series, The Art of Strewing or buy her ebook Here.  You can get it for $1.61! Totally worth it! 
  • We will do Life of Fred together 3 times a week. This is her idea and she asked me to hold her to it.  I can't say that she is really interested in math, but feels as though she needs to learn it.  She also said she wants a little more structure, so some what formal math 3x a week it is. 
  • After this she will work on whatever interests her. I made a list of "Things to do When You Can’t Think of Anything to Do"  (☜ click to view and download it) which she said is too long.  But it will be there if she just can't think of anything she wants to do. 
  • Each week La will write something, anything. She doesn't like to write.  If her pursuits don't naturally involve writing, I am going to require she writes something for me to review each week. (OK, so this is the second teachery thing I am doing) Right now she is agreeing to this. I am adding this requirement because she never writes and I am worried about her not gaining sufficient writing skill.  So, we'll see how this goes ...
  • I made a Weekly Summary Report (☜ click to view and download it) for her to fill out each week. It's pretty simple and I want her to start keeping her own records so she can take it over in the High School years. 

So that's the basics of our plan this year.  Right now it's as unschoolish as I am comfortable with.  I may loosen up even more as the year goes on.  We will see...  My next post will be about my plans for record keeping.  The left side of my brain really likes that topic! ;)

I added this post to iHomeschool Network's Not Back to School Blog Hop.  There you can check out how many other homeschoolers are approaching their own unique education!


  1. I really like the idea of having your child keep her own records. And I think your relaxed plan is great! Stopping by from the NBTS blog hop. Hope you have a great year!

  2. Carrie, thanks so much for linking to my blog series here! I love how you've come up with a plan to satisfy the powers that be, yet is centered on your daughter and her preferences. I particularly like your notion of sharing time--sharing something that interests you, which your daughter can pursue, or not. We parents often do that sort of sharing anyway, but having a regular time for it seems like it would keep you looking for cool possibilities. My best to you!

    1. Thanks Patricia! Your Writing Mentor Series is awesome. I will refer to it often as the years go by. You should consider expanding it and writing a book!