Homeschool Tip of The Day

Okay, this may be the most basic tip ever, and probably something so obvious that it shouldn’t have taken me two years to do it. But since it did, I figured I’d share and try to prevent anyone else from some of the same frustrating moments I had.

The tip is this: When you get your curriculum for the upcoming year, go through the books thoroughly, front to back, and make notes on what you’ll be covering with your student during each chapter/unit.

For instance:

Second grade social studies is an entirely different world than kindergarten and first grade S.S. were. Now, instead of a textbook and a workbook for practice exercises, we have a textbook, two workbooks and a ton of extra projects that have to be done to meet the California standards. There are 6 major units in the book, with each unit being broken down into lessons that all fall under the theme of the unit.

So I went through each chapter of the textbook and made a vocabulary words list for each lesson (which each chapter is broken down into for easier reference) and also picked one small project for each lesson (there are either 4 or 5 lessons in each chapter, so we’ll cover roughly one lesson each week. This means there’s plenty of time for a small project for each lesson.) Also, for each unit there is a special Focus Skills point, like Comparing and Contrasting, Main Ideas and Details, etc., so I made a note of this point for each unit so we can keep that main thought in mind as we learn. Finally, for each unit I came up with a supporting idea for a Big Project, as we call it. There are 6 of these Big Projects, one for each unit (of course) and all of them will be month-long undertakings that are interactive. Some of them consist of a bulletin board that we’ll add main thoughts to each week. Others of them include making a word web and adding to it each time we learn a new point, making a family story board and a collection of family stories, and other things. (I will try to post these projects on a monthly basis. There’s no promise though. You know me better than that.)

So that covers just one subject, Social Studies.

That doesn’t even touch reading or math.

For these books, there’s a lot more research involved. I have done the same thing with all of her subjects that I did with Social Studies – read each lesson, broken it down into a rough schedule to get us through the month, and recorded all new ideas and main points with supporting projects. For math this year we’ll be doing a lot of hands on experiments to try to better grasp the concept of fractions and decimals.

And of course, there’s Science. Second grade science covers a lot of fun stuff. My one complaint is that the plant unit isn’t scheduled to begin until about the same time that Winter will begin, so we’re not going to be doing as many hands-on things with seeds and plants. But now that I’ve read through the material and made my master list of subjects and ideas for the book, I know what to expect and have prepared for it by planning some summer learning. We’ll be taking pictures of the garden each week and examining seeds and basically covering the unit without doing the paperwork the first time around. Then, when it comes time to do it this winter, we’ll have lots of information, memories and photographs to help get us through the book.

So that’s my extensively long-winded tip today. The main point is, don’t let the books surprise you with what you’re supposed to be doing; be prepared by going through the material before the school year starts and keeping accurate notes on what you’ll be covering.

Oh, one more thought about why this is such an important thing to do…all through the year, you can find all kinds of books on sale and at thrift stores, or put the word out to the family to be watching for prisms if you know you have a science unit on that coming up soon, or plan for a special field trip or movie day that corresponds with a unit in one of your subjects. You can only do these things though if you’re really prepared, which you can only become by looking at the material…right?

Okay, that’s enough outta me this morning. Have fun!


About messymama
I'm a SAHM with a busy schedule and a love of too many things to count! I sew, I write, I draw, and I love to create. I'm always on the lookout for a new project idea. One other very important thing about me - my house is in a continual state of upheaval and mess. Slowly but surely I'm working through the piles and boxes, but I am still in the process, and some days it seems like it would be much easier to pack up and move!

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