Monday, June 29, 2009

WHERE have you BEEN?

Planning, my friends, planning.

Does anyone else struggle with this as badly as I do?

Every year during the summer I start the long process over, pulling out syllabi, going over each and every subject, deciding if that is the direction I want to take or not.

If not, then I have to pull out every book that I have on that subject here in our home library and make up a gameplan.

Multiply that by five children that I am currently teaching... add in the (almost) impossible task of figuring out how to make history and science something that we can "do together" (from first grade to sixth) and you've got the makings of the headache that has been my last two weeks.

I know that part of my problem is I tend to be WAY too much of a perfectionist. If we're studying George Washington, for example, I want my kids to memorize poems about him... couple that with read-alouds for everyone (on their level) about him... combine that with some sort of craft... and figure out a way to tie that into a monumental nature study that will revolutionize the way moms the world over will do homeschooling.

Yeah, right.

And yet I drive myself bonkers every year, trying so hard to plan this all out.


I am TRYING to make it easier for myself this year... REALLY, I am... but I'm still stuck on history and science.

Seeing as I got such a wonderful response for the chair (and believe me, the second I decide to paint it, I will let you know!), I post yet more questions to you:

(1) If you are teaching many children at a time, how do you do science and history?

(2) If you had been bogged down... ahem... studying American history for 3 years (and still hadn't gotten to the Civil War!), would you continue for another year, hoping against hope to catch everyone up to modern times, or would you just chuck it and start over with Egypt?

Bear in mind that

(a) We've never even made it to the Civil War. My kids are woefully behind in knowing about the history of their own country. I can't bear the thought of not even covering the last 150 years of American history.

(b) I bought many, many books for American history last year that we never got to, from saint books (St. Elizabeth Seton, St. John Bosco, St. Frances Cabrini), read alouds (Caddie Woodlawn, the Little House series, etc) to biographies of the great men of history (Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Lincoln). I also bought the Pioneer Sampler, and had grand ideas of doing so many fun things associated with the 1800s. This would be perfect for Sean (11), who LOVES history. This makes me want to stay with American history.

(c) my in-laws have BUILT a log cabin, out in the woods, with no running water and no electricity, up in the mountains. (They are honestly going to retire there, but that's a different story). This is a PERFECT opportunity for going up there for a week, reading Little House by lamplight, and living out what it was like. (you're jealous, aren't you? yeah, I figured.... *grin)


(c) this time period of history is soooooooooooooooooooooo boring for little ones (like Thomas and Christopher) who would thrive on a study of Egypt and mummies, pyramids, etc. This makes me want to start over.

(d) MODG syllabus for 6th grade has WONDERFUL ideas for Egyptian history. I wouldn't have to kill myself planning something new for Sean (or Reilly and Kathryn).

(e) Reilly and Kathryn HATE history, and if they have to study American history one more year, they are going to throw up.

(f) I bought ALL YE LANDS last year and am so excited about starting it with the kids.

I think I've already made my decision after writing this out, but I still want to hear from you... What advice can you give a frazzled mom?


Clair Bannerman (alias) said...

This may or may not be helpful, but I don't remember trying to covering all of history in the lower grades. I would say mix it up, to keep everyone engaged in learning. When we hit high school we did specific focuses. 9th grade was US history and we happened to do the AP test prep; 10th grade was European history; 11th grade was Ancient history; and 12th was Modern history. I can't imagine planning for this many kids, so I give you boat loads of credit!! I hope that you're all having a wonderful summer!!

Beth said...

Oh my goodness. This is why I'm too scared to homeschool.

Ouiz said...

Clair, I was hoping you'd respond! I know you went through all this yourself, so it helps to see what others have done before.

Beth, remember, we don't have the Nashville Dominicans! *grin*

Seriously, it's a ton of work, but it's also a whole lot of fun. Totally worth it in the end.

Suburban Cowgirl said...

Hey, Ouiz, I'd comment, but I forgot the great words of wisdom I gave you over the phone, or I'd share them again here.

Suffice it to say, that WHATEVER you decide to do - I am confident that you will do it to your utmost and your kids will thrive!

(I say go back to Egypt and Bible History - yep, I'm plugging RC History Volume I again! and let the older ones read the saints stories that you already possess. It won't 'kill' them if they read history out of order - although it might drive you nuts! :) )