It's January now. That means it's socially acceptable to start planning for the 2013-2014 school year, right?
I know some people school year-round, but we don't. We'll get done with this school year in early May, take two months off, and go back in early to mid-July. I had considered taking a longer vacation and having more of a traditional school year next year, but M2 nixed that idea pretty quickly by requesting the same schedule because "I like it," and M1 backed her up.
All righty then.
M1 will be in fifth grade next year, M2 in third. Technically they're ahead in a few subjects, but it's easier for me to keep track of things if I use their age-based grade levels, so that's what I tell them.
I am really, really looking forward to next year, primarily because of the fifth-grade component. This will be M1's second run through some of the material, but he'll get to delve more deeply, and I love that. I love that we have a microscope and slides. I love that he's old enough to research and write papers. I love that he'll get to ask the big questions like, "WHY did that happen?"
Mostly I love this with regard to history. I love that instead of just learning that the Greeks were renowned philosophers, he'll get to learn about the philosophers themselves. Instead of learning that the Visigoths sacked Rome, he'll get to learn that Alaric was a disgruntled former Roman army commander who came back with a vengeance. Yes, there's more work involved, because there's a lot more writing required, but the payoffs should be amazing. I think I'm more excited than the boy.
Part of the reason I'm excited about history is because for the first time, I'm making the curriculum. I've done a few things here and there, mostly with writing, but for the most part, I wing all that. For example, for the next two weeks we're doing a poetry unit, and I still have no idea exactly what we're doing (I'll be panicking tomorrow). I've never sat down and planned out an entire year's worth of assignments, from the reading selections to the writing assignments to everything else. So far, it's been fun. I've decided what topics to cover and in what order; next I have to find what to read and how it's going to be covered for each child at his/her age level. M1 needs to write independent outlines; M2 needs to fill in summary prompts. I'm hopeful that I can find some good videos, either at the library or through various web sites/streaming sites, to supplement as well.
And since M2 hasn't learned ANY of this stuff yet, I'm excited to teach it all to her, too. There's just so many fun things to teach about the ancient civilizations, and I love that I get to impart all this knowledge to her.
I know I'm still a bit premature in planning for the next school year. I realize that probably makes me a giant dork. But if I can make the kids half as excited about history as I am... well, I can handle being a dork for that.