Gearing up for 2009-2010

When I wrote my previous posts about Educational Buzzwords, I was starting to think about how our year had gone so far, and planning the rest of the year. It’s now time (well, past time really) to plan for our next school year, so I’ve been thinking about these words again.

It has occurred to me that these teaching tools can be used in a logical way to plan any homeschooling style. Now, since curriculum is the big picture of a school, we’ll skip that for now. The next word I examined was courses. The courses are really what it’s all about.

I see it this way. Our spine is what we holds the pieces of our body together. Yet the spine is made up of vertebrae, among other things. Without the individual pieces, the spine is nothing. So it is with curriculum. The curriculum is the big picture. The courses are the smaller pieces that make up the curriculum.

The first thing I’ll do is decide what I’m going to call the subjects. In colleges, they have departments for the major areas of study: English, Foreign Language, Science, Mathematics, etc. I’m going to use the subject categories that are required by my state, for simplicity’s sake.

  • Language Arts
  • Reading (grades K-6)
  • Literature (grades 7-12)
  • Science
  • Math
  • Social Studies
  • Composition (7-12)

Now, to simplify things even further, I’m going to narrow things down a little bit. Reading and Composition are really part of Language Arts, so I will be sure to include those in my list of courses. Also, when I get to planning the individual courses, I will further define Reading as an instructional course. Literature will have courses for all grades.

I will admit that I have leanings towards the classical style of education as outlined in The Well-Trained Mind, by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer. If I were to continue to break the subjects into courses, this is what I might do:

  • Language Arts – Reading (K-3), Composition (3-12), Handwriting (K-3), Spelling (1-8), Grammar (3-8), Journalism, Foreign Language (Latin, French, German, Greek, etc.)
  • Literature – Ancient Literature, Medieval Literature, Renaissance/Early Modern Literature, Modern Literature (these courses to be repeated in chronological order through all grades)
  • Science – Biology, Earth Science, Astronomy, Chemistry, Physics (to be repeated in this order through all grades), Nature Study
  • Math – Primary Math (1-2), Intellectual Math (3-4), Practical Math (5-6), Higher Math (7-8), Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Trigonometry, Calculus, Navigation & Surveying, Mathematical Astronomy (these courses are named after the books we’ve chosen for Math)
  • Social Studies – Ancient History, Medieval History, Renaissance/Early Modern History, Modern History (all to be repeated in chronological order through all grades), World Geography, Current Events, Psychology, Sociology, Economics, Anthropology

Please keep in mind that this is simply a brainstorming exercise for courses I may want to include. Organizing the courses comes later, so keep adding to your lists of courses.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about this step with other methods of homeschooling.

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