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Rough sketch of our family learning plan:

This year I want to focus on Greek and Latin roots, family reading, journaling, and maybe setting up some type of a "math lab" in my home. I blogged about a "math lab" earlier right here and mused about it sounding pretty close to "meth lab."

Our family study of roots is very laid back. For my 7 year old it is more of a glorified coloring activity. We combine all ages for root study.

We use 'English from the Roots up' so our study of Greek and Latin roots will include lessons on random topics related to each root. These lessons will touch on government, history, Astronomy, and other sciences if you can imagine all the words in the English language that are derived from Greek or Latin. Imagine the potential for related lessons! Read more about Greek and Latin root binders here. This year might start out looking just as it did years ago when I posted that entry!

Reading in this house is another fun activity like watching T.V. My husband and I read often and for fun so I hope we are being good role models when it comes to the importance of reading. I'll read out loud to my children and share poems that I enjoy or research that I stumble across. I have history and science readers that I use for family reading time. If I can combine subjects I feel more productive.

Journaling is important to me. By journaling I mean that I want my children to be in the habit of writing something every day. I don't care what it is. If it's "Today, I sat around the house and watched Sponge Bob..." I will be happy. However, I'll ask that the child summarize the episode. Just this morning my son asked, "Is the FBI the richest people in the world?" and then went on to explain the impetus behind the question. I love this! I feel that verbal explanations are important to writing.

I don't like to "grade" journal entries. Just like over-correcting a child's speech may cause a child to fear expressing themselves, verbally, I feel that over-correcting a child's writing will cause a type of writer's block. I want to avoid writer's block at all cost. You will be amazed at a child's progress when they do not fear making mistakes or being wrong. I don't think grading serves much of a purpose in the home or while we are still learning.

Of course, I will be watching for a journal entry that we can use to edit and perfect. During this process grammar, punctuation, and mechanics will be focused on. But for the most part journaling is free-writing.

This year I don't want to approach math like we have in the past. I want to treat more like we treat science and include more hands-on experiments and write more about math in our journals. I always enjoy combining subjects! My youngest can draw pictures of what we learn if he wants. That will be easy when we study fractions, for example. Our journals can include our math...

I want to add onto this raw family educational plan the study of great works of art. I think reading about and viewing art helps with vocabulary and something greater that I can't articulate: Taking something abstract and translating it into the concrete. If a child can describe in a few sentences a Kandinsky then describing something more literal should be a cinch! Does that make sense? A recreation or thumbnail sketch and a description of each piece would be a great journaling activity!

I don't think we will do all of these activities every day. I would rather spend more time on each subject so I might set up some type of weekly schedule that looks more like my schedule when I was in college. We might take the MW, T TH pattern or a MWF..

Of course, anyone who knows me knows that I will tweak throughout the year until we find a comfortable groove or until a topic or subject emerges that captures someone's curiosity and needs more research. I don't mind stopping everything to explore when this happens.

Actually, going off on these learning tangents is when I feel that we are the most successful educationally.

That's my plan and rough draft for the new school year. Of course, it will change as we find a groove or dive into other learning adventures as the year goes by.

P.S. It doesn't include our outside activities.

Happy new school year! Whatever that means to you and your family. =D