Thursday, August 9, 2012

New School Year Right Around the Corner!

Well, we literally just wrapped up our 2011-2012 school year!  
Since we had to spend so much time going back and forth to the Mayo Clinic during the Winter and Spring, we extended our school year into July. But once again, the time is coming to get ready to start back up for the Fall, as Fall is right around the corner!

Have created a spreadsheet based on the materials we have for the boys for this coming 2012-2013 school year, as well as how the materials correlate with Common Core, Sunshine Standards, and Virginia SOLs. What it really comes right down to though is what the boys find most interesting. We try to follow their lead, so to speak, and so each year, I ask them to share what they want to know about for the upcoming year. We also try to reflect upon what we have learned and whether or not they still want to pursue any of these particular topics too...
I try to base our family's Essential Questions on a combination of what the boys want to learn and we feel are central themes and pertinant topics for our sons.

As I have done every year, asked the boys for their thoughts on their school year and the upcoming year...they dictated their thoughts to me...I typed verbatim what they had to say but then, have made some of it into bullet points

Here is the list of their thoughts:

Big Bro:
Well, for a while, we have been learning about The Presidents, the Future, Inventions, Simple Machines, Native Americans, Animal Homes, and Chemistry.

For this year, I Want to Know:
  • More about these topics…want to keep learning about these topics, as they are still interesting to me.
  • More Complex Machines and Inventions, especially ones that greatly changed the world that we live in today.
  • Who decided that both South Dakota and Florida are referred to as The Sunshine State? Would like to figure out which state actually deserves that name or if it is a tie.
  • How time and space are interrelated…that’s a pretty big topic and should take up most of my time!
  • More about people: Want to learn about About Yo Yo Ma and Louis Armstrong. 
  • Want to read more biographies, because we have learned about so many people by reading about them. Really liked learning about Jim Henson and the Muppets. More about puppets, making shows, and writing scripts. 
  • I also like to send people letters and to hear back from them.  
  • Why some fish with bristle teeth actually eat coral and shells and then, it comes as sand in their poop and yet, it is clean enough for us to play with the sand???
  • I liked learning how different fish and sea life hunt and want to learn about other predators in the oceans and in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • I want to do more with chemistry. 
  • More about Andrew Jackson and U. Grant, even though we have read about the Civil War.
  • The Cold War and John F. Kennedy's role. 
  • World War I and II and why the wars happened.
  • I would like to figure out how we can prevent wars and how there can be more peace.
  • What are the rules about ads?
  • We have read some folktales from Japan and China and I would like to read more and to learn more about Asia.
  • We have read and learned about Exodus. I want to go back and re-read the stories and find more about where things took place and why they happened.
  • Are there any phrases from Arabic that we use day to day? How about French, Spanish, and Mandarin? How about Greek?
  • As far as other new topics, I want to learn about electric eels and other sea life. I liked learning how they (electric eels) hunt and want to learn about other predators in the oceans and in the Gulf of Mexico.
    I also want to make more Lego creations.

    Big Bro's Ideas for Field Trips:
    (Some of these are more in the dreaming about category rather than what we will actually do, but it never hurts to dream! Who knows...might just get to do all of these filed trips!!! )
    Different Beaches
    The White House to see The White House Garden
    Back to D.C.
    Back to Williamsburg, VA
    A relaxing spa with a hot tub 
    A cruise
    Magic Kingdom and also Blizzard Beach and other water parks. Would like to learn about how they design and operate water parks.
I want to learn how to play cricket and more about the history of cricket. I wonder if any of our pen pals play cricket. I wonder if they like to swim like we like to swim.

Little Bro:
I liked what we learned already!
Want to learn about crabs, dogs, and bananas.
  • How do they get the bananas and bring them to us?
  • What does a banana tree look like? I want to see a banana tree!
  • What can you make with bananas?
  • When did bananas come to America and who brought them here?
  • How do you catch some crabs and shrimp? I want to go on a boat and get some...I want to go with the Grands.
  • How did they make Hawaii a state? I want to go there!
  • How can you cause an avalanche?
  • How did the Titanic crash? How did they make it so that won’t happen again?
  • How do they design and build roller coasters and water slides? We’ve been working on designing roller coasters and so I want to do more of this to figure out the best design.
  • How did they first make computers?  How do they make them now and in the future and more about Steve Jobs and the others...
  • How did Ben Franklin work near lightning and did not get struck when he did that work?
  • How many different types of crabs are there?
  • How do crabs walk that way they walk?
  • What are their (crab) bodies like on the inside?
  • How do volcanoes erupt? I want to see one in Hawaii.
  • I want to know how to play football and baseball and the rules of football and baseball and go see some games.
  • I want to learn about the animals in Europe. I also want to know more about which countries get the most snow in Europe and which countries get to be the coldest. I want to see which ones are the closest to the Arctic Circle and find out how they  stay warm there. 
  • I want to know more about reindeer and the people who take care of reindeer.
  • I want to know more about Noah's ark and about all of the animals.
  • I love board games and want to make some of my own! Monopoly and Electronic Monopoly are my favorites!
  • What was the first Lego set and how many sets have been created so far? How do you get them to let you make Lego sets for them? 
  • What kinds of dogs do best in the snow? 
  • Since our dog is a Maltese / Shih Tzu, I want to know more about the countries those dogs came from.
  • I want to know about snow! How could we make it so that it snows here in Florida?
  • Did they have snow fights in The Cold War? Is that how The Cold War got its name?
  • I want to learn French this year...
  • I want to read about Pablo Picasso, Martin Luther King Jr., and Anne Frank.
Here is the start of our tentative homeschool curriculum map and a list of the materials that we will use for 2012-2013. It does not contain our Essential Questions, as I am going to go through what the boys wish to learn and see how they tie in with Common Core, Sunshine Standards, and Virginia SOLs first. Then, I will create our family list of Essential Questions that we will use as a reference point for this year...
Also, wanted to mention that a wonderful friend & homeschool mama, Susan, has lent us her family's Moving Beyond the Page Kit with all of the materials for the year! She is letting us peruse her family's kit to get a feel for the program and so far, I have been very impressed with the content of the program. There are many hands-on activities and they all tie in with Essential Questions.
Much of the kit fits right in with our family's Essential Questions for this coming year. Am very excited to get the opportunity to review these materials and to hopefully use them to some degree as a resource. 

Please click on the spreadsheet to zoom in to better read it.
Sunrise Learning Lab Curriculum Map for 2012-2013, Page 1, Minus Our Essential Questions. You are most welcome to create something similar like this for your homeschooling or classroom needs...just if you do, hope that you will please mention that you got the idea from Sunrise Learning Lab...

Please click on the spreadsheet to be able to zoom in to better read it. 
 Sunrise Learning Lab Curriculum Map for 2012-2013, Page 2, Minus our Essential Questions...You are most welcome to create something similar like this for your homeschooling or classroom needs...just if you do, hope that you will please mention that you got the idea from Sunrise Learning Lab...

I also have created many specific Pinterest boards, so please be sure to check them out as well:

Well, hope that all of this is helpful to you, whether you have been homeschooling for a while or are new to homeschooling. Hope that some classroom teachers and outdoor educators might also find some useful ideas from the links to my Pinterest boards.

Not Back to School Blog Hop


Anonymous said...

Good Morning! Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment.

I really enjoyed reading how well thought out all your decisions are in regards to curriculum.

Many Blessings for a year filled with learning fun.

Mary said...

Awesome list! Thanks for stopping by my blog :)

Jennifer said...

I love your boys' ideas for their school year. I can't wait to see your Pinterest boards. I'm headed over to follow you now!

Sandie said...

Thanks so much for visiting me at! I'm really glad you came by. And I LOVE that you listed out all the things your kids recommended and showed interest in. that's not only incredibly helpful for the year, but a priceless memory! :)

Ticia said...

What an interesting way to plan out your school year. I"m trying to decide if I could follow through on a plan like that or not.

Joesette said...

It looks like a great year in the making for you and your kids! I'll be stealing some of those ideas!

Thanks for stopping by Learning Curve!


6intow said...

Love your approach with digging into what your kids like. I'm sure it keeps learning fun and active.

Have a great school year,

Jamie Erickson said...

I love the lists your kids made. Asking questions are such a great way to learn. Thanks for swinging by my place.

Emmalee I. Hoggatt said...

Thanks for hoping over to visit the Hoggatt homeschool. I like how you allow the boys to have input about what they want to study. Just one more if the many benefits to home learning!

Jenny said...

You are very organized! I'm an excel spreadsheet gal also. LOL! I make one for everything.

Great list! I hope you have a wonderful year!

Laurie said...

Thanks for visiting and commenting!

I LOVE how you ask your children what they'd like to learn! And what neat answers you received!

I did not know that both FL and SD are called The Sunshine State!

We moved from SW FL here to TN 8 years ago. I miss it sometimes...but love the rural life we have here.

Headed to your Pinterest boards now! :)

Leslie Kleppe said...

Great lists! I honestly never thought about asking my girls what they'd like to learn about. Perhaps we'll do a sit down tomorrow ;)
Thanks for the idea! said...

Ideas: for your older child, if you really care about the design of the water parks could do a course / workshop on models, or a course / workshop on architectural design (I can not recommend any because I'm on the other side of the world, but safe someone gives your location). They are usually very funny;) My English is very poor, so I hope you can understand me. May God bless your family.

We are happy to announce our gifted pilot program starting Fall of 2014!

We are happy to announce our gifted pilot program starting Fall of 2014!
***This program is for residents of Florida only...

More Gifted Program Details!

More Gifted Program Details!
Sunrise Learning Lab™ and its Gifted Pilot Program belong to Colleen Murray Bowers. © 2014 Colleen Murray Bowers.

  © Sunrise Learning Lab™ Updated-Copyrighted-Owned-Trademarked by ©Colleen Murray Bowers Sunrise Learning Lab™ Note: Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates orignally assisted with original blog template but has NO RIGHTS WHATSOEVER to this blog.

Back to TOP