Gearing Up For Grade 5/6

It's planning time here at the Living Oak Academy.  This year we aren't going to use any Waldorf or Enki resources (although we will still use some of their methods!) so I've been doing research, gathering materials, and making an outline for the year.  I'll be honest ~ I love the planning!  I love homeschooling and teaching and in a perfect world I'd probably open a small private school in my home.

This past year I learned a lot about my boys and myself.  T-Guy thrives on schedules, likes for me to plan what he is learning, and loves the output portion of learning.  J-Baby needs rhythm but fights against it, likes to follow his own interests, and wants nothing to do with output.  So this year the challenge is to find a middle ground where both of their needs are being met and I'm not going insane!

Things we have planned:

Literature:  Our plan is to read one Newberry Medal or Honor book each month/block, beginning with The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (which we did not manage to read over the summer, it having been abandoned for science fiction).  As always, I'll read this first book of the year to them (or we will listen on audio).  My hope is to be able to have some friends read the same books as us this year and have a book club for the children.

Language Arts:  We'll be using Daily Grammar and Spelling City (a computer website) and we will continue with expository and creative writing.

History/Social Studies: We've had a great time with A History of US so there is no need to change that.  This year our goal is to complete books 4 and 5.  If we finish those early we'll spend some time with Oh, California.  I'll also be looking for field trips and A/V materials to support our learning, and the boys are planning to listen to The Story of the World Volumes 1, 2, and 3 again.

Science:  We've loved A History of US so much that we are going to use Joy Hakim's The Story of Science: Aristotle Leads the Way as our science spine this year.  Add to that plenty of hands-on science led by Papa, science and nature-based field trips, numerous science books from the library, online science resources, and of course science videos such as Nature and NOVA.

Mathematics:  We will review and expand our knowledge of fractions with Life of Fred: Fractions and then we will study Life of Fred: Decimals and Percents.  The plan is to complete both of these in preparation for pre-algebra 1&2 next year.

Foreign Language:  We will be studying French in preparation for a trip to Belgium and France next year.  We can use a free online language program for French through the library, but we might choose to purchase the Rosetta Stone French language program.

Health:  In addition to the natural learning of health principles through family living we plan to tackle the subject of puberty using It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health.

Visual and Performing Arts:  I had thought we might use the Draw Write Now series since we already own books 1 - 8, but then I remembered how very long it took us to do even one lesson last year.  Instead I've borrowed Discovering Great Artists from the library and we're going to give it a try.  If we like the projects I'll purchase a copy.

Physical Education:  The boys will receive continuing instruction in mountain biking, baseball, basketball, yoga, and general physical fitness.


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