We are in the last few lessons of our Europe unit from Gather ‘Round Homeschool. (We have also completed Africa and Earth Science.) Whenever we are approaching the end of a unit, I print out what I need for our next unit and begin fleshing out how I feel the unit will work best for us.
I always love seeing how other mother’s plan for their homeschool, so I thought I would share and maybe encourage or help another GRH Mama!
(Check out my last post if you want to know why we love Gather ‘Round Homeschool and how, in general, I make it work for our family.)
Step One: Gather Topics
After printing the Teacher’s Guide and the two notebook levels for the children (both are on Early Elementary for Oceans), I have a good look through all the lessons. There are so many topics that are covered in the unit, and I like to have a good idea about what we are diving into.
When planning, you need to look at both the lesson in the Teacher’s Guide as well as the Student notebook. Topics from the Teacher’s Guide are fleshed out in the notebooks but extra topics can be added the Student notebook.
For example, in the Teacher’s Guide for Lesson #1: Creatures of the Deep, we cover general ocean facts, hydrothermal vents, and six deep sea fish (like the Fangtooth Fish and the Stargazer Fish). But, also in the Student notebook, we look at ocean water pressure (with an experiment) and ocean pollution.
When I have gone through all twenty lessons and have compared all the topics, I create a Word document to have a clear visual plan for the unit. I used to just plan week-by-week, but now I prefer to have the whole unit ready to just open up on a Sunday evening to see what is coming up in the next week.
In the Word document, I make a table with three columns: Lesson, Topics, Read/Watch. With the topics I have gathered, I write them in the middle column for easy reference.
Step Two: Gather Resources
After that, I like to gather living books and videos to watch for the different lessons. I write these in the third column of my Word document.
I shop our shelves for books that are relevent for us, and then I go on our local library and find books to put on hold the week before we start that topic. This is probably my favourite part of the planning process! I just love books, and so do the children, and this is such a beautiful way to richen and diversify what we are learning.
Once books are done, I then puruse YouTube for interesting videos to watch. For Oceans, there are a lot of Wild Kratt videos, as well as National Geographic. You can find my Gather ‘Round playlist here.
If we have anything else on hand, such as puzzles or games, I add those in too. And, if there are any real life experiences that we can do that are cost-efficient, then I plan that in, also.
Step Three: Gather the Kids
Once the plans are ready to go, the last part is to work the plan!
Finding Gather ‘Round Homeschool and making that investment for Year 1 has been such a blessing. My son, who has always been so resistent to ‘school’ said to me today, “I am loving school at the moment, Mum.” Are there any other better words to hear for a homeschool mama?
Don’t get me wrong – our days are hard! Attitudes can be poor, tears shed, patience lost, but God has gifted our family with a curriculum that the children love, that mama loves, and which gives life to our learning days. Even on hard mornings, by the end of our learning time, we’re buzzing from the things we have learned, the connections we’ve made, and ideas that have entered our hearts and changed us.
As I said in my last post, a curriculum is what you make of it. Yet, Gather ‘Round is amazing because it only gets better with how I make it work for our family.