I’m on a roll with my curriculum planning now. The first subject is always the trickiest. Getting that moss-covered boulder moving is a challenge but once it’s going it’s so much easier.
Today I whipped up Brayden’s language section in a quarter of the time it took me to do Math.
I used a very similar approach to my Math planning approach except that I tossed out all of the syllabus stuff I printed on Language. If you want to see some great examples of overly wordy, to the point of being virtually meaningless goals, check out any (new or old) of the school syllabus documents. I deemed them totally worthless and carted them straight out to the recycling bin.
I used the Core Knowledge Sequence document almost exclusively this time. I liked the clear, to the point goals that they listed so I used a mixture of these and my own goals. Yes I do write my own goals sometimes but I like to have someone else’s list as a jumping point. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our new national curriculum used clear and direct goals that we could just pick and choose from, instead of their ambiguous eduspoken statements that only the inner circle can decipher with any certainty. Sigh. A homeschool mumma can dream.
To stay on task, and to make sure I didn’t miss anything vital, I made a list of the key Language features: reading, literature, writing, handwriting, spelling, punctuation, grammar, speaking and listed my goals for Brayden next year. In my final document I grouped these goals under slightly broader headings: reading, comprehension, writing, language arts and speaking. I always find headings help the HEU and myself find things more easily. It also quickly shows me if I’m missing or have neglected anything.
Since language is such a multifaceted subject I find it easy (too easy for verbose me) to write about what we do. I start with our main focus – you see I don’t believe we should bother teaching writing to beginning readers so I state that – and explain what we do to teach reading and how often we read aloud to the boys. I include things like visits to the library, bedtime stories, audio stories and if anyone else reads to the children regularly. For writing, while I don’t expect Brayden to do as much as his peers, I have to include something. The HEU, while verbally saying ‘Oh I can see your point of view’, are school-thinking folk and ‘need’ to see something that looks like writing. To help them over this hump I share the obvious things like providing lots of writing materials, creating real life writing opportunities, acting as a scribe for Brayden’s ‘writing’ as well as our phonics, grammar and handwriting activities. Don’t forget to add something for the ‘speaking and listening’ strand. It’s often forgotten.
Listing our resources is always the easiest part. Sometimes I opt to start with the resource list to get the ball rolling. If you use textbooks or workbooks make sure you include their titles. Some people find it helpful to copy out or summarise the Table of Contents. I also like to list any subscriptions or websites I use. This is mostly for my own use so I don’t forget to use them.
Okay, I know you’re just itching to see Brayden’s Language document. So wait no more. Here it is. Enjoy.