Skip to content

Working Family Learning Plan for 2010-2011

“Homeschool” Schedule

  • 1st Trimester (September 7, 2010 – November 24, 2010)
  • WINTER BREAK — Celebrate Winter Holidays
  • 2nd Trimester (January 3, – March 25)
  • SPRING BREAK — Celebrate Spring Holidays
  • 3rd Trimester (April 25 – July 15)

Educational Philosophy: Rather than “homeschooling” it should be called “community schooling” — our learning takes place with friends, in libraries, at museums, with tutors or coaches, in classrooms and — occasionally — even at home. 🙂 But I’ll settle for the term “family learning.”

Our family learning style is somewhat structured, collaborative, and largely child-led. And learning is, of course, not limited to what’s on this “curriculum.” It happens every waking hour as kids follow their interests, interact with family and friends, and figure out the world around them. As parents, we try to provide a level of structure and direction that meets the individual needs of each child while strewing interesting things in each kid’s path.


I. Math/Problem Solving — Trisha is 6-1/2, and so far she has learned math through games and other everyday activities. I don’t believe formal academics are necessary at this age; unless she feels a burning desire for a more structured curriculum, we’ll continue what we’re doing. Here are some examples of ways she learns math:

A. Card & Board Games

  1. Rat-a-Tat-CatA friend sent her this for her birthday several years ago, and as a direct result, she taught herself to add, because she was tired of waiting for someone else to tally her score. She made the discovery, on her own, that she could add by “counting on” (e.g. — 2 + 3 … 2,3,4,5!) Later she taught herself to add by doubling numbers and other methods she devised. Rat-a-Tat-Cat also reinforces basic strategy skills, comparing numbers, and developing an intuitive sense of probability.
  2. Number Chase — This was a recent purchase, and Trisha and I have had a lot of fun with it. It reinforces ordering numbers, identifying numbers in a certain range, and basic deductive logic. While playing this game, Trisha also discovered how to distinguish even and odd numbers.
  3. Mastermind — This is a great game — pure deductive logic.
  4. Battleship
  5. 10 Days In … Games — These games are awesome, especially since Trisha loves maps. They reinforce sequencing, strategy, and map skills.
  6. Dice games like Pig or Greed — We practice addition through sums of 12 and explore strategy and probability.

B. Living Math Books — We really enjoy picture books that explore math concepts. Among our favorites are Greg Tang‘s books, like Math for All Seasons and Math Fables. There is a wealth of titles to choose from at on the Living Math site. We’ll delve into a few of these each week.

C. Hands-On Geometry — Various things are available for her to play with, including Wedgits,  pattern blocks, tangrams, and geoboards.

C. Video Games — She enjoys video games, including Sim City and fantasy role-playing games, which reinforce problem-solving skills.

D. Cooking & Other Life Skills — She LOVES to cook, and this gives her an opportunity to practice  fractions and measurements. She gets $6 per week allowance, which allows her to practice money skills. I’d also like to explore money skills through playing store and board games like Monopoly.
II. Language Arts She builds her emerging literacy skills through read-alouds, dictating stories, exploring books, watching television programs with subtitles, and playing phonics games. We build sentences with magentic words and sort the words by function (nouns, verbs, etc.) , so she is learning basic grammar, including sentence structure and parts of speech.

III. Science/Social Studies

A. Participate in local Roots and Shoots program.

B. Family Around the World Studies

C. We’d like to do unit studies and lapbooks on topics of interest.

  1. Dogs
  2. Foxes
  3. Coyotes
  4. Wolves
  5. Lizards
  6. Deer
  7. Ballet
  8. African Wildlife
  9. Making Cool Stuff (Bionicles, etc.)

IV. Arts

A. Continue weekly family art activities

B. She is interesting in taking singing and dance lessons.


I. Math/Problem Solving

A. Legos Mindstorms (Robotics, Computer Programming) — We’re considering this investment; hat tip to Tara and Owen for this marvelous idea.

B. Role-playing video games including cooperative games online and making modules with Neverwinter Nights: Diamond (Strategic Thinking; Collaborative Problem Solving; Video Game Development; Creative Writing)

C. Make a Go-Kart with Dad, including calculating costs. (Problem Solving; Geometry & Measurements; Money Skills)

D. Math and problem solving in daily life e.g. managing his allowance and cooking (Problem Solving; Money Skills; Measurement; Life Skills)

E. Constructive Play (Legos, Bionicles, etc.)

F. Board & card games

  • Chess (Strategic Thinking)
  • YuGiOh! (Computation; Money Skills; Strategic Thinking)
  • Monopoly (Computation; Money Skills; Strategic Thinking)
  • Pig/Greed (Computation; Probability)
  • Risk, Axis & Allies and other strategy board games (Strategic Thinking)

E. Singapore Math curriculum (Academic Math)

  1. 1st Trimester:
    • Finish Primary Mathematics 3A
    • Primary Mathematics 3B (Geometry & Measurement; Fractions; Graphs; Time)
    • Primary Mathematics 4A (Computation; Fractions; Tables & Graphs; Geometry & Measurement)
  2. 2nd Trimester
    • Primary Mathematics 4B (Decimals; Geometry & Measurement)
  3. 3rd Trimester
    • Primary Mathematics 5A (Computation; Fractions; Ratio; Geometry & Measurement)

II. Language Arts

A. Writing, grammar & spelling

  1. 1st Trimester: Continue writing “The Black Future” — this book has zombies, it has werewolves, it has Uzis … it is BAD ASS. I will coach him through editing his work, one paragraph at a time, developing skills in writing mechanics. We will also do brief daily spelling lessons — he asked for “just enough for me to learn (to spell) a few new words every day. 🙂 (Narrative Writing; Grammar/Usage; Spelling)
  2. 2nd Trimester: TBA
  3. 3rd Trimester: TBA

B. Learn cursive (Penmanship)

C. Continue to read print books and listen to audio-books and read-alouds. (Literacy)

D. Introduce different types of poetry (limericks, haikus, sonnets, etc.)

E. Learn some German with Rosetta Stone.

III. Science/Social Studies

A. Participate in local Roots and Shoots program

B. Explore science and history with Potentially Catastrophic Science Experiments.

C. Learn about World War II through books and movies.

D. Increase general knowledge of history by reading history sections in the What Your __th Grader Needs to Know.

E. View The Teaching Company’s High School Level—World History: The Fertile Crescent to The American Revolution DVD along with relaxed discussion and constructing a timeline.

F. Family Around the World Studies

IV. Arts

A.Continue weekly family art activities

B. Continue piano lessons (Music)

C. Keep drawing

Sarah: — Approximately half her “schooling” will take place outside the home and/or in a group. Possibilities include (but are not limited to) taking classes at the local public high school, auditing college courses, tutoring and co-ops.

I. Math/Problem Solving

A. She wants to build a movie website using Expression Web 4 ; I bought her a copy of  Expression Web for Dummies.

B. Aleks Curriculum (Academic Math) — with coaching from Mom, and a tutor if needed.

  1. 1st Trimester — Finish Aleks High School Preparation for Algebra I; Start Algebra I (about 14 topics per week)
  2. 2nd Trimester — Finish Algebra I (about 14 topics per week)
  3. 3rd Trimester — High School Geometry (about 18 topics per week)

C. Math and problem solving in daily life e.g. managing her allowance, cooking, sewing (Money Skills; Measurement; Life Skills)

D. Board & card games

  • Pig/Greed (Computation; Probability)

II. Language Arts

A. First Trimester

  1. Continue watching movies and writing film reviews; she may audit a university film class fall semester.
  2. Practice persuasive essays and research papers.
  3. Read and discuss short stories with Mom.
  4. Continue learning Spanish with her tutor.

B. 2nd Trimester — TBA

C. 3rd Trimester — TBA

III. Science/Social Studies

A. View The Teaching Company’s High School Level—World History: The Fertile Crescent to The American Revolution DVD along with relaxed discussion and constructing a timeline.

B. Course on European History 1500-1900 with an emphasis on watching historical movies. This will include a discussion of biological classification and natural selection.

C. Explore science and history with Potentially Catastrophic Science Experiments.

D. Continue watching and discussing historical movies with Adesa.

E. Family Around the World Studies.

IV. Arts

A.Continue weekly family art activities

B. Look at Great Art and Music as part of our European History study.

C. Continue learning acting/drama with her tutor.

IV. Life Skills – Continue with cooking, sewing, shopping, etc. Plan for our trip to Spain next year!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 5, 2010 10:51 pm

    Sounds like fun! I like you Trimesters 🙂

  2. August 6, 2010 3:26 pm

    Trimesters are so wonderful! And your plan looks exciting.

    • August 6, 2010 3:51 pm

      I first heard of trimesters when my mom was a college English teacher. At first it made me laugh — aren’t those for pregnant women rather than students? 😛

  3. August 7, 2010 11:33 am

    Your plan looks like fun, especially the math games and science unit studies.

  4. August 9, 2010 1:05 pm

    We do trimesters too. It looks like you have an exciting year on tap.

  5. August 29, 2010 8:50 am

    I was wondering about the Family around the world studies.

    Happy 2010-2011!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: