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Our Plan for 2011 in The Parnell Home School

23 January, 2011

As I usually give a summary of our planned course of study I thought I’d include our plans for 2011.  For anyone who is interested, this formed part of our documentation that we showed to the Authorised Person from the Board of Studies.

We plan to begin 2011 with a long unit study about food.  We anticipate that this will probably take about four to six months to complete, although we may take breaks in the middle to complete other unit studies and come back to our study of food.  Over the course of the six months we anticipate that we will cover: nutrition, percentages (through investigating nutrition panels and nutritional claims), food safety and hygiene, food preparation, kitchen chemistry, growing foods, plants and the parts of plants, manufacturing foods, processing foods, farming, food from colonial Australia, food from colonial America, food from other cultures, the food chain, food in art, people who prepare food, celebrations and a myriad of other related topics.

We plan to study animals, specifically those in our environment (backyard and local area) as well as other areas close by (beach, national parks etc).  We anticipate that this will likely take eight to ten weeks, although they may not be consecutive weeks.  This study will focus on nature journalling and drawing and investigation of what we find.

We will also cover sex education (one to two weeks), geography and map skills (approximately four to six weeks), some Australian history focusing on Sydney landmarks (two to three weeks), a unit on Australia Post with materials provided by them (one week), a study of Christmas (late in the year) and possibly other units of study to be determined by available time, interest and possibly community resources (such as a festival or an exhibition at a museum or gallery).

These units of study will cover the requirements for study in HSIE, PDHPE, Science and Arts as well as contributing to our studies in Mathematics and English.

For English we will be reading and studying several chapter books.  This will likely include (but not necessarily be limited to) Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Chocolate Touch by Patrick S Catling, The Borrowers by Mary Norton, The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes, and The Paddington series by Michael Bond.  Other possible titles include The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Heidi, Five Children and It, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, The Phantom Tollbooth and Anne of Green Gables.  We will likely read these books at a chapter a day, four days per week.  On the fifth day we will read a book called Grammarland, which is a nineteenth century story of a court case in which the participants determine which words form each part of the grammatical structure of English (nouns, articles, verbs etc).  This will also, obviously, teach grammar.

We will also be completing some writing each day, covering copywork, dictation, handwriting and, on occasions, creative writing.  Zoe will complete some spelling work, focusing on newly-learnt words, high frequency words and words she has misspelt in her work.

We are also working through a series of readers called the McGuffey Readers.  These were published in the 1800s in America and have proved useful so far.  Depending on how Reuben progresses with the McGuffey Readers we may also use How To Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons with him.

For mathematics we will continue our work through Ray’s Arithmetic.  Ray’s is a program written for schools in the 1800s and is mostly completed verbally.  It applies basic arithmetic skills to real life situations and has proved an excellent exercise in listening skills as well as basic arithmetic.  While both Zoe and Reuben can easily complete basic addition and subtraction we will continue to work on their arithmetic to increase their speed and “agility” at this work, to assist with their further mathematical studies.  Over the course of the past few years we have covered all the other areas of mathematics to at least a year two level in an informal way or through textbooks.  We will predominantly reinforce these other areas of mathematics through real life examples, games and literature.  We are also going to complete activities from the book Family Math which provides informal opportunities to discover mathematical concepts.  If this does not prove sufficient we will incorporate worksheets or, if necessary, further text book work.  Reuben has been working through the Year One Signpost Mathematics book and will likely continue to do so, as he quite enjoys mathematics.

In other areas, we will be learning Christian songs and traditional hymns on a regular basis. We will incorporate memory work through the memorisation of Bible verses and short poems.  We will incorporate exercise as a family on a daily basis, including bike and scooter riding, swimming, ball games and skills, agility exercises and cardio-exercise such as walking.  We will develop our own Spanish-English picture dictionaries to further our Spanish language learning.

It would be impossible to write down everything we do as a family that is incorporated into our children’s education.  Other opportunities would include: making gifts, writing letters and cards to others, serving others through practical help, praying for others, reading letters from our sponsored children in five different countries (Peru, Colombia, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, India), watching educational TV programs, regular cooking, needlework and sewing, crafts, dramatic play and a plethora of other activities.

Shortly I’ll fill you in on how that is shaping up, as we’re already started back for the year. 🙂

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