We have changed up the plan a bit again this year, not in terms of our Core/Spine, but in our approach to everything else in our school day. We have taken on a fairly CM style to our schooling, and it suits us quite well. Our Core remains with Rod & Staff...using their math and English curriculum, and occasionally other subjects blend in.
Where we have departed from traditional textbook curriculum is in everything else in our daily routine. We read for every subject, we add in lap books and note booking components where the interest is, we do projects every few weeks, or plan a longer range project, to coincide with our area of study, and nature plays a big role in our school planning. Having 20 acres of timber, a varied homestead of animals, and plenty of places within a day trip distance is a big plus.
Yes, I have multiple 'grade levels' here, ranging from beginning levels to high school. We work together in our studies for most areas, with some adjustments, of course. While everyone is on the same 'chapter' in terms of open study...this year we enter into the Colonies and the American Revolution...we maintain different levels of our core (math, English) and free reading varies according to the level of understanding.
I don't actually label my children with a "you are in grade X" and if you asked them, they'd probably look at you like you're talking Greek, LOL. We strive for a complete understanding of each concept being learned, a high level of mastery. Of course not each child is an 'A' student as understood by traditional grade scale tags, but they are an 'A' student in terms of their working to their best ability on each area. We work a math and English concept until it is fully understood, and can properly be applied in a variety of work examples. Science, American, and World History...these areas are repeated every few years, and with an increasing reference base and reading cycle, so these areas will also have a deeper understanding. If a child has a particularly strong interest in an area, we seek out additional resources for them. I'm not stifling the next Madame Curie :-)
This term, much like our adventures into the Middle Ages, will revolve around living books, lapbooks and notebooking components, arts, and crafts focusing on the Colonial and American Revolutionary War era. The resources available are wonderful. It was hard to choose the 'need to buy' list this year! (Another plus to homeschooling and a living books curriculum is the building of a great home library!)
I did try to schedule the coming terms on our calendar. Whether or not I stick to that exact time frame will be decided as we go along, but in general, it's a plan I believe works well. Each Term is 8 weeks long, and there is a 'free' week as a project week, a field trip week, a week of completing any assignments still open, etc.
Term 1....August 5th - September 27th
Break September 30th - October 4th
Term 2....October 7th - November 22, and December 3rd - December 13th
Break after first part for Thanksgiving, November 25 - November 29th
Break for winter holiday following the 2nd part, December 16th - January 3rd
Term 3....January 6th - February 28th
Break March 3rd - March 7th
Term 4....March 10th - May 2nd
Break May 5th - May 9th
Term 5....May 12th - July 4th
End of this cycle, summer break July 7th thru beginning of August
**if I tallied right, we have 41 weeks of 'formal schooling' and 7 weeks thru the cycle for breaks, as well as most of July for a summer break.
Like I said, that's the plan ahead...but life is what is is at times, and I'm not chained to paper schedule here. It's a goal to aim for, but we are very flexible. Our breaks will hardly be idle times without learning...life is what it is...you simply can't shut off learning just because the books are closed!
If anyone is still lurking about here, despite my hit and miss posting, I'd love to hear about your coming school cycle, your plans and schedules. Please do share your blog links in the comments!