For those readers who are not familiar with our planning process, please do not be intimidated or confused by the organized, schoolish, subject-by-subject nature of this plan as written. What actually happens is that we go out for lunch and I ask Fiona to talk about how she would like to prioritize energy, time and money this year to support her learning. I listen to and jot down whatever she says. Whatever she says. If she runs out of things to talk about I might remind her of goals or ambitions she's expressed in the recent past, and activities and areas of learning that she has enjoyed and/or deemed important in the past. I jot down everything she comes up with, and then we briefly talk about various ways to facilitate those things and how they might be implemented, and what kind of resources and support she wants, if any.
This particular kid likes organized, sequential, school-like resources and loves to be busy with things that are tangibly about learning. It hasn't always been that way, and her siblings certainly haven't always chosen such routes. But in her case, at this age, she really likes curriculum materials! She was using only a math program 8 months ago, but last spring added a science program and is now keen to add programs for history and geography. On the surface the plan that follows sure doesn't look like it's for an unschooler, but it is: the choice to adopt structured materials is all hers.
After our preliminary meeting I go through all my notes and organize things in a subject-oriented way that makes sense to our supervising teachers and makes it easy to document. I do some research, often with her help, into the particular way we might realize her goals, and we revise the plan as appropriate. Eventually we take this draft in to our DL program teachers and explain it, asking them to order the resources we'd like to procure (within the learning allowance budget we're allocated) and talking about how we'll document what she's doing. This latter issue is easy Fiona's case: she loves creating projects and worksheets and bringing them in to show off to her DL teacher, and she is also happy to talk about the things that have been interesting to her recently. Compared to my reserved elder children she is a dream as a DL student.
Here is our first draft of her Learning Plan for this year:
Will continue with Challenge Math, alternating with Singapore 6A/6B as desired. Consider Singapore New Syllabus Math (workbook-based!) if 6B is completed this year.
Really enjoyed the level 6 school science textbook she used last spring. Would like to continue this program and will order BC Science 7 textbook and workbook. Wants to do more astronomy. Resources: "365 Starry Nights" by Chet Raymo, Starwalk for iPad, "Nightwatch" by Terence Dickinson, Chuck's Dobsonian telescope. May explore RealScience4Kids Chemistry Level 1. Would enjoy hands-on chemistry like soap-making, bath bombs. Will continue to explore kitchen science with Harold McGee's "On Food and Cooking."
Donna Ward workbooks: "Courage and Conquest," "Canadian Geography, Province by Province." Visit to Montreal in November. Three-day field trip / camp at Fort Steele historical site with various workshops: end of September. DVD series: "Canada: A People's History." "The Story of Canada" and "The Kids History of Canada" reference texts.
Sufferfest Kids' Race. Hiking, kayaking, geocaching. School downhill ski program (February) and recreational skiing. Community soccer. Would like swim classes but barring that would go for a few private lessons if possible, plus recreational swimming. Goal of swimming to Bigelow Bay dock on her own (note: already accomplished!). Meal planning -- will help making siblings' school lunches, occasional preparation on her own of a complete family dinner.
Continue work on cursive, signature, etc.. Reading... Novels, Muse magazine. Would like to participate in the school's Arts and Writers festival again this year. Will continue blogging, particularly by contributing to a school district wordpress blog which will comprise our homeschooling documentation for the year.
Would like to read and discuss "Nibbling on Einstein's Brain" and " The Philosophy Files."
Possibly interested in French... Has access to Rosetta Stone. May be able to use / learn some French phrases during Montreal visit. Some continuing interest in Japanese.
Will continue with violin lessons and group classes. Would love the opportunity to participate in a string quartet or chamber music if possible. Will be part of the Community ABC Homeschoolers' Art Project if it happens. Would love more drama experience -- depending on availability in the community. Wants to take pottery classes once they start in October or November. Will continue to explore fibre crafts. Would like to learn to use the sewing machine.