Sunday, April 24, 2005

Okay, I'm getting excited again. I did a lot of thinking about a lot of things and I think I've had an epiphany (thanks to a couple of unschoolers who laid things out for me). The bottom line is that J needs to deschool - probably for several more months. I know J made a list, but I made a list as well and wrote about 15 general things on it. All of these things are truly what J wants to do - with me. I am not going to worry about what she's learning, because learning will happen regardless. Arts and crafts are number 1 on the list. J wants this every day. She also wants to do science experiments and cooking with me every day (hey, those 2 can even be combined sometimes. Then again, my cooking usually ends up being a science experiment anyway!). Reading aloud to J is important to both of us and I will make a greater effort to do that daily. Other things on the list are: gardening, nature walks, field trips, regular errand-outings, biking/skating, playground, picnics, cultural trips, washing the car, and popcorn and movie. Of course I will also be an available resource/facilitator with J's current interests (like the solar system) if she needs me.

I was up at 3am to 6am at the computer doing more research on unschooling. I am mentally at a much better place with it and feel it is possible for us now to jump into unschooling with both feet. I even revised J's IHIP for 4th grade to allow us more academic freedom by using words like "may include". Here's the new IHIP which includes everything required for the sup't. The suptopics were copied and pasted from the "typical course of study" for her grade. It's better than coming up with all this myself and it satifies the powers that be. Plus it's all on only one page! What do you think? :


SCHOOL YEAR: 2005-06

DATES FOR SUBMITTAL OF QUARTERLY REPORTS: 9/15/05, 12/15/05, 3/15/05, 6/15/05

J will be using various methods/tools for 4th-grade instruction in all the subjects specified in Section 100.10 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. The corresponding subtopics may include and are not limited to:

Arithmetic: Reading and writing numbers, Roman numerals to C, Prime numbers less than 100, Prime factoring, Numeration systems, Subsets, Decimal and fraction equivalents, Addition and subtraction, Facts to 7 places, Multiplication and division facts to 144, 1-, 2-, and 3-digit multiplication problems, 2- and 3-digit dividend, 1-digit divisor problems, Meaning of mixed numbers, Finding simple averages, Geometric concepts, Customary and metric measurement, Time to the second, Problem-solving methods, Charts and graphs
The English Language: Silent and oral reading, Choral reading, Listening skills, Telephone skills, Making and accepting simple social introductions, Summarizing simple information, Listening to literature, Critical reading, Short stories, chapter books, poetry, plays, Spelling, Increasing dictionary skills, Cursive handwriting, Simple outlining, Writing letters and informal notes, Written and oral book reports, Creative writing, Developing skills in locating information, Increasing indexing skills, Developing encyclopedia skills, Utilizing parts of a newspaper
Social Studies: Types of community life, History and development of the local state, Relation of the state to its region, nation, and the world, World cultures, Reasons for our laws, Regions of the world, Continents, Time zones, Earth's resources, Climatic regions of the world, Map skills: longitude, latitude, scale, Using a globe
Science: Environment of the local region, Biological organization, Classification systems, The insect world, The reptilian world, Plants and animals of the past, Structure of plants, Seeds, Ecosystems, Balance of nature, Human body, Weather's influences, Weather instruments, Climate, Cause of seasons, Earth and its history, Oceans and the hydrosphere, Air and water pollution, Magnets and electricity, Light and color, Solar system and the universe, Living in space, Scientific method and scientific inquiry
Health/Safety: Personal and mental hygiene, Dental health, The body and its functions, Skeletal and muscular systems, Care and proper use of the body, Principles of digestion, Basic food groups, Good nutrition habits, Diseases, Safety, Substance abuse
Music/Visual Arts/Physical Education: Wide exposure to all forms of music, Piano keyboard, Music appreciation (composer and piece study), Art appreciation (artist and picture study), Daily arts and crafts, Structured group dance lessons (tap, jazz, lyrical) 3+ hrs. per week, Free play indoors and outdoors

Instruction methods/tools may include but shall not be limited to: reference materials (atlas, dictionaries, globe, maps, encyclopedias, various non-fiction books, videos, the world wide web), workbooks, worksheets, hands-on activities, experiments, projects, library visits, frequent field trips, group activities, classical/contemporary literature, research, journal/narrative/essay/poetry writing, games, creative thinking, predicting/forecasting, gathering facts, written peer correspondence (pen pals), music CDs, CD ROMs, piano keyboard, art supplies (clay, paint, crayons, pencils, felt, sketchpads, chalk, etc.), structured group dance classes, free play, conversations, and real life.

Primary instruction to J will be provided by XXXX and XXXX, her parents. Supplemental instruction will be provided by others, as necessary.

I also changed the quarterly reports to be as minimal as possible. I copied this format from another unschooler who lives in NY and she says it's always accepted. Here is the main part of the 4th quarterly which is due mid June:

J is progressing at a satisfactory level or above in all subject matter.

We have had instruction in all of the following areas:
Reading, Writing, Spelling, Language, Math, U.S. History, Geography,
Science, Health, Physical education, Music and Visual Arts.

We have covered at least 90% of the planned material for this quarter.

J had no absences from instruction this quarter, and has exceeded the required hours of instruction (225).

Knowing me I will probably revise it 20 more times before I mail it. LOL! Did I mention I'm a perfectionist?

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