Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Central Command

I have been getting an astonishing amount of school prep done for this fall.  Astonishing compared to last summer, when I got virtually nothing done ahead of time (extenuating circumstances).  So thankful for the time this summer to get ready!  It makes such a difference in my outlook and anticipation of the year.  This is my "central command" for school prepping.  I have been focusing on our history/geography studies, as that provides the backbone for everything else we do.

On the chair you can see a tall stack of books with green dots on the spines.  Those are our new books for this go round through Year 3 of Tapestry of Grace (19th century).  Last time we went through Year 3 we did not have a high schooler, so this time we needed the high school level books.  I was able to purchase a good portion of them used.  Woot!  The green dots signify that these are Year 3 books, and on the dot is written what learning level the book is for, and which unit during the year it is used.  The large green binder is my Tapestry Unit 1 teacher book, and as I "dotted" all the new books, I went through the binder and marked the books that we own (many!) and the books that I will have to get from the library.

Under my reading glasses is a weekly planning book that I made myself.  It is not a planner in the sense that we could use it to write in all our assignments for every subject, it is simply a tool to help me plan out each Tapestry week.  What books will each of my children be reading for literature that week?  The ones Tapestry recommends, or a substitution?  What will each child's writing assignment be?  What hands on activities will we do, or movies will we watch that coincide with our history studies?  Is there a president to add to our Presidents Books that week?  New states added to the union?  Are there any "extra" things that we already own that would be fun to fit in that week?  I printed off 36 copies of this single sheet planner and took them to FedEx/Kinko's to be spiral bound.  I have been happily filling in things for all 36 weeks, but focusing on the first 9 weeks of the year (unit 1).

We belong to a Tapestry virtual co-op,  and as it happens this year our very-end-of-summer vacation will cause us to miss the first three weeks of class.  I had to think through how to handle that ~ whether or not to require reading/schoolwork while on vacation (no), how to get the children up to speed on the flow of history up to the point where we will jump in (Story of the World audio cd's while driving), and how to handle our first week of school, which will be week 5 of unit 1.  By God's grace I have a plan in place that I think is doable for us, given the fact that we'll be getting home and jumping right in at full speed with tired, travel-weary bodies and minds.

Long time readers will know that we love, love, love Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) and have used it for our writing curriculum for many years.  For the first time this year we are not using a new IEW product as the spine to our writing, but I am creating my own writing assignments for each child the IEW "way", using topics from our history studies as the content for each assignment.  We will be writing on topics that we read about and discussed the week before, allowing us to follow the read-discuss-write sequence that Tapestry so strongly recommends.  I am so excited about this!!  It has been really fun for me to go through each child's books and ponder the best writing assignment at their level that will bring everything together in their minds (Lord willing!), and help develop the way they think about key ideas. 


At least at this moment. ;-)

I love making plans, and I love even more seeing them bear fruit in my children's minds and hearts.  To disciple one's children, and see first hand the character development as it is happening, is such an incredible privilege.

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