For the past two years, I taught at a school with multiage classrooms and small class sizes. This prepared me fully for the “teaching position” I am taking on this year – homeschooling my own children, ages 3, 7 and 10. For the last few years, my sons have been attending school in French and Arabic in Morocco, so we are homeschooling to help them maintain their languages, even though we have returned to the US to full time RV.
When I tell people that we are going to homeschool, the first question is generally – what curriculum are you using? Due to our unique circumstances, I have created a curriculum specifically for my children, with a mixture of my own resources and resources that I purchased when we were in Morocco.
Each week, we will follow a distinct routine, with the kids doing independent learning using a to-do list and me filling in where I see they need help. Here’s a look at what my 5th grader’s to-do list will look like:
Listening: He will complete 6 “listening” activities a week for the first 3 weeks of the month, and then on the 4th week, he will choose his favorite from each language and revise, edit and publish that listening summary to his blog – Traveling From a Kid’s Point of View. The listening activities are educational videos on a topic of his choice – 2 in each language. After watching the video, he summarizes what he learned and makes connections in a two to three paragraph write up. This activity helps him to “immerse” himself into the languages regularly. It also gives him a chance to work on note taking, summarizing and all of our writing skills, including staying on topic, giving enough details and using good grammar.
Reading: In addition to 40 minutes of reading in each language (logged on his Weekly Reading Logs), he will complete novel studies in English and Arabic using my Generic Novel Study packet. In French, he will complete pages in his French “basal type” reading book. I want him to combine pleasure reading with a more structured approach to reading. Also, each week he will record himself reading for a one minute “fluency check” – each week in a different language.
Typing: By this age, his handwriting is pretty much what it’s going to be, so instead of handwriting, he will be practicing his typing – on both an English and Arabic keyboard – using websites that you can find in my Teaching Typing blog post. My second grader will do handwriting in French and Arabic, but work on typing in English this year.
Grammar: While we will be doing a lot of applied grammar in our listening summaries and writing, there are still some grammar rules that need to be introduced in case they don’t come up naturally. We will be using Daily Language to do this in English and specific grammar books to work on this in French and Arabic.
Writing: We will be doing writing in two week blocks, with two weeks dedicated to brainstorming, drafting, revising and editing a writing pieces in a specific genre from my Writing Journals. Each two weeks we will change languages, but stick with one genre for a trimester. We are starting out with fiction writing and my oldest is excited to write a fantasy story with dragons and elfs!
Math: In math, we will be introducing new concepts in English with Interactive Notebook pages, and then complete assigned work pages on these topics in all three of their languages.
Memorization: In Morocco, the boys spent A LOT of time memorizing – poems, articles, Koran passages etc. etc. etc. While I am not in favor of the amount of memorizing they were doing, I do still think the skill is important, so each week they will choose their own poem or passage to memorize, rotating through the three languages.
Science & Social Studies: Instead of working on separate science and social studies topics, we have decided to devote ourselves to a year long country study which will cover all of our topics. My 2nd grader has chosen Russia to study and my 5th grader has chosen China. Each month, we will have a different focus as we study our countries:
September – Maps & Landforms (Geography)
October – Plants & Animals (Life Science & Ecology)
November – Folk Stories, Religion, Art & Music (Culture)
January – Archeological History (Earth Science/Fossils)
February – Ancient History (History)
March – Modern History (History & Government)
May – Structures & Inventors (Physical Science)
June – Government & Political Relations (Government)
July – Holidays & Food (Culture & Physical Science)
In addition to our “book learning”, we will be going on lots of field trips – near and far – and exploring the natural world around us. Recently, we have been watching the growth of a group of ducklings that lives near our current campsite.