16 May 2017

Planning for the 2017-2018 School Year {Part Three}

Today I’m sharing a final planning post for the upcoming school year. Last week I shared Part One {math, language arts, Spanish, and mythology} and Part Two {geography, science, world and American history, world religions, and health}. Part Three will focus on the remaining topics we cover on a regular basis—art, music, philosophy, and critical thinking—as well as introduce a few ideas for “extras” we might pursue this year or in the near future.


We spent the last two years going through The Children’s Book of Art as well as reading several selections from the 13 Things Children Should Know series {artists, painters, sculptures, photos, art mysteries, etc.}. We also try to do as much creative art play time {drawing, painting, chalk pastels, collage, etc.} as we can, just because it’s fun and the Agents love it. Going forward we intend to use two different spine books for art: A Child’s Introduction to Art and 13 Women Artists Children Should Know. {The second book necessitated by the fact that the first book—while I love the style and presented biographies and suggested projects—mentions only one female out of 35 total artists.} I expect this to be another two-year cycle. We will also read Lives of the Artists: Masterpieces, Messes {and What the Neighbors Thought}. We've read several titles from this series and they're always a hit. 

For music we just wrapped up a similar book—The Children’s Book of Music—also after two years. {Apparently taking two school years to get through one book is A Thing with us, as this has happened numerous times with our other subjects, too.} Next year we plan to read The Story of the Orchestra. I like the set-up of the book; it comes with a CD, which is nice, and it will work well as a spine. However, it’s not particularly detailed, so I envision us utilizing lots of supplemental books. As with art, we will read {or in this case, re-read} Lives of the Musicians as well. Unfortunately both of these texts are lacking in female names, and I haven’t found any ways to address that as of yet. {So if you know of a book that includes a decent number of women composers and musicians, please pass it on.}

I actually wasn’t planning on covering philosophy as a separate topic this coming year. Then I came across The Children’s Book of Philosophy and pretty much had to own it. Sigh. The Agents will love it, though, as just flipping through the table of contents I can tell it is right up their alley. In addition, we will likely re-read some of the critical thinking books we discovered last year {Maybe Right, Maybe Wrong and Maybe Yes, Maybe No come to mind immediately} as well as investigate a few new ones.

As far as “extras” we’ve considered, I think Agent E {6th} would benefit from a structured typing program. She has also expressed an interest in studying Latin, although I’m not sure that is something we will find the time for this year. Agent E already practices three instruments on a regular basis {recorder, keyboard, and guitar} and has mentioned wanting to try another {flute or trumpet are the current top contenders}. So far the younger two Agents {who will be starting 4th and 2nd} have not shown a desire to start music lessons of any kind. {And by “lessons” I mean the self-taught method that Agent E uses.} I would definitely like to incorporate more independent writing—whether short stories or poetry or even simply regular journal writing—into both girls’ days as well. {Agent A is not quite there yet.}

I’m sure that by the time I hit publish on this I will think of something critical I forgot, or come up with the next latest greatest idea. And this was supposed to be the year we were getting back to a simpler routine, ha! Oh, well . . . at least I won’t have so much pesky paperwork to keep up. 

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