Checking In

Oh how excited I am when I think of this coming “school” year with my kids!  I’ve been reading, searching online, sketching out plans on scraps of paper, and purchasing a few things.  At this point I can share what I’ve been reading in preparation as well as a very few “mostly certain” selections for what I’m using:

What I’m reading: At this point, I have at least a dozen books I hope to read.  Alas, three small children do not allow for voracious consumption of professional literature.  So I’m slowing trucking away at reading those I think are the most crucial to prepare for this coming school year.  I’ve currently limited myself to reading these two completely before beginning other books on my list:

Apprenticeship in Literacy: Transitions Across Reading and Writing by Linda J. Dorn, Cathy French, and Tammy Jones – This is from a set of books that the last school I taught in used as a basis for developing literacy practices in the school.  I plan to eventually read the remaining three books from this series (Shaping Literate Minds; Teaching for Deep Comprehension; Scaffolding Young Writers).  It’s a whole language approach that emphasizes “apprenticeship” with a teacher and student working together.  The approach takes into account a child’s strengths and needs in determining what specific ways a teacher guides the student toward literacy expertise.  I love it.  I’ve learned so much rereading this book after years of teaching, then going back to earn my doctorate, and then consulting.  It fits so well with key educational best practices.  It also adapts well to a homeschool setting.  Of course I’ll have to make some adaptations, but the hours spent reading and studying this book have been well-worth the effort and time.  I’ll review this book in a later book after I’ve finished.

Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8, 3rd ed., editors: Carol Copple and Sue Bredekamp – This is a slog to read…  It’s more of a college text book really, but I wanted something that would give me just that.  A college course overview of the needs and suggested approaches to addressing those needs.  Early childhood is a blindspot for me, I’m a generalist educational consultant, but I have primarily focused on elementary/middle school.  I really wanted to have a quick, broad foundation as I plan for the year.  Understanding developmental stages and corresponding needs is really insightful since I have three children under the age of six.  Having a broad understanding of how people seek to meet those developmental needs can help me plan intentionally.  Worth the time reading, but not the most enthralling writing I’ve ever read ; )

Rough Sketch of My School Plans:

I’m still likely going to go through several iterations of our school plans; however, so far this is what I’m leaning towards including:

  • Morning Time: song, memorization, reading and discussion
  • Nature Study: modified Exploring Nature with Children
  • Math: modified Everyday Mathematics for kindergarten
  • Reading: guided reading, shared reading, and familiar reading
  • Writing: a modified writers workshop approach with journaling, assisted writing, handwriting, and word study
  • Social Science: emphasizing culture in all its various facets (e.g. geography, art, music, etc), rotating through each facet in focused 4-8 week studies

I’ll break down each element in later posts.  Basically, all literacy approaches are from the series of books I mentioned above, the nature study is something I feel will really help our kids begin to develop the skills and habits of minds of actual scientists, and understanding your place in the world is an essential understanding for little people and will be the focus of our social sciences exploration.

Preparing and planning this out has been arduous, often requiring a sacrifice of my time, but I love what I’m learning and am excited for how it will shape my practices as a homeschool instructor.




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