Every now and then someone will ask me which school year group Tiger is in. Since Tiger has always learned at home and we work at his pace in different areas to cater to his asynchronous development, it always takes me a while to answer this question. To those who follow the traditional school approach, a mother who can't rattle off the school year that her child is supposed to be in instantaneously looks slightly lame. To make life easier for myself (so that I don't have to go into a discourse of how my son is all over the place in terms of what he is learning), I found the Grade Equivalents table which will no doubt be of enormous help to the next person who asks me this question. So, for the academic year of September 2013 - July 2014, in the conventional school system, Tiger would be in the equivalent of:
- Year 4 (in UK); or
- Grade 3 (in USA); or
- Primary 4 (in Asia)
To sum up what I foresee as the way forward for our homeschool in three words: integration, relevance, engagement.
If I saw the previous academic year as a year of change from a structured learning environment to an autonomous environment, the coming academic year will be one of an increased application of the living principle whereby we strive to make more connections among different subject areas. That also means that we will be slowing down and going into deep learning, rather than skimming over the surface of many areas and ticking boxes to show "achievements".
We shall enjoy the process of learning rather than rushing through anything just to 'get it done'. Therefore, we may not have a lot to show in the coming year in terms of output -- which is going to be hard for this results-oriented mum -- but that's only because we are switching our focus to the joy of discovery and to obtain a real understanding of whatever we are going to learn. I don't think learning through discovery can be rushed, certainly not in the same way as spoon-feeding the student with answers or the right formulae can.
A large part of my own growth from the previous year has been to recognise and honour the interconnectedness of various aspects of what we were learning as parts to a whole picture of life, rather than disjointed, artifically-separate "subjects". As such, I am putting forth a broad scope of what Tiger and I will be covering from September 2013 to July 2014 in themes rather than specific curricula materials. If our Marco Polo study is an indication of the scope that we can achieve for a topic/theme, then it makes more sense for me to plan in terms of broad themes.
- The Wind in the Willows (finishing up from the summer)
- Marco Polo (carry on from where we have left off before the summer)
- Magic (we'll take time out around Halloween to do this)
- Explorers (if and when we complete Marco Polo)
- Mystery (postponed to next summer)
Now for the specifics for 2013-2014, where applicable:
1) Language Arts
- Spelling: All About Spelling Level 3
- Literature, Vocabulary, Writing, Poetry
- Friday Freewrite
- Poetry Teatime
- Nature Journaling
- Partnership Writing
- fortnightly drama class*
- monthly literature and creative writing club*
2) Other Languages
- Chinese: Details in Planning: Foreign Language.
3) History, Geography, Maths, Craft, Science, and Nature Study
- theme-based study using various resources
- weekly general science class*
- weekly chess club*
- monthly Young Archaeologists Club*
Details in Planning: Art.
Details in Planning: Music.
- weekly tennis club*
- monthly swimming
7) Life SkillsDetails in Planning: Life Skills - Cooking.
* external classes
This post is linked up to the iHomeschool Network Not-Back-to-School Blog Hop: Curriculum Week 2013.
**Update in January 2014: Our plans have altered a fair bit at the half-year mark. Please refer to the termly plans for the changes.