Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Back to Normal Blogging Next Week (I think)

Right now we're dealing with family photos, chicken pox and lots of expected visitors in preparation for my parents' 50th anniversary on Friday. After that I'll be getting back to more normal blogging and especially curriculum plans.

Our big news this summer is that Ria is jumping from 7th grade to 9th grade. This came about since Ria's friend Gilbertgirl (who's a year older) has a lot of common educational interests with her (like G.K. Chesterton) and her mom and I (very much wanting to foster those interests as well as provide a solid high school education) decided to do some of our lesson planning together. The girls are ecstatic. It turns out that others in our co-op (which includes a whole bunch of going-into-9th grade girls) are also interested and so we came up with the idea of using co-op, in addition to our long-running Latin classes, to provide enrichment learning to support the classes being studied individually by each family - particularly in the areas of science, history, literature and religion. That was difficult to express, so probably even more difficult to understand, so I'll give some examples.

Two of the Moms are going to put some real effort into science. Most of the girls will be studying biology next year - some through their formal homeschool programs, some not. We'll do science experiments every other week in co-op and use the alternate weeks to learn how to do lab reports and discuss results.

My friend Mary Z. (she's my homeschool conference assistant) and I will be coordinating literature and writing (her expertise) and history and religion (definitely my cup of tea) and have group discussions and work on writing together. So these won't be complete classes in themselves, but opportunities for the girls to study some good books together (perhaps only a handful per year) and work on important skills together.

We'll see how it goes. We're pretty excited about it. (I'm calling it a frame curriculum.) Our meetings so far have been amazing. I'll never forget sitting across the table from our two science moms and being grateful to the point of tears to have some support in the science dept. (one of the moms has a degree in nursing, the other in science education) while they felt the exact same way about me working on history and religion (which to me seems completely fun and delightful to start planning). It sure seemed like the Holy Spirit was there with us at the table.

Perhaps sharing our plans here will be helpful to others. I will be posting specifics of the more complete curriculum Ria will be studying with Gilbertgirl this year (which will be, for the most part, the "frame curriculum" filled in with a lot of living books- heavy on history, literature and religion, but substantial in the science and math departments too) as well as details of what we come up with for the frame curriculum. This is very much in the planning stage and is somewhat experimental, so I'll also let you know how it turns out. :)

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