Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Radical Changes

*Alternately titled...Barefoot Hippie HomeSchool Year 2013-2014

Welcome back to our Tuesday Home School Help series. The way this works is that there is a pre-determined topic that 5 or more home school moms write about from their own perspectives. Then at the bottom of the post, we each include links to all the other posts so you can read the other's posts if you so desire.

It has been a great summer, and now it is (sort of) time to start thinking about school again. After my school planning day out and my back to (home) school post, I have resolved to mostly put the idea of school on the back burner for another few weeks. I still have a month of freedom to live up. Don't rush me! So, excepting for our weekly posts, this area is going to be a school free zone.

School in the Barefoot Hippie is going to be radically different this year. No, we aren't going to be wearing shoes...

As far as the "R's" go, we are sticking to BJU's curriculum. It is meeting our needs, and why mess with a good thing? My kids are young enough that they still need a formal grammar, spelling, and math program. (Well, we will always do a formal math program...) The radically different approach comes from the fact that I am switching to a unit study approach from here on out.

This may not be exactly what some people think of when they think of unit studies. It is actually more of a hybrid of unit studies and classical education. Hybrids are very hippie-ish. This hybrid is very Barefoot Hippie-ish.

I love history, and I have divided world history into periods that we are going to hit over the next 7-8 years. BMV will cover all of them before he graduates, and then we will just start recycling them until Meres is finished with all of them.

The period of history that we are covering this year is 1600-1800 AD. We are looking at it from religious, historical, geographical, fine arts, and scientific viewpoints. I purchased a series of lectures on US History and world from Great Courses, that will form the historical foundation of our studies. We will make 4 simultaneous timelines covering the United States, Britain, Asia, and Europe. There are lots of things that happened globally, and I am looking forward to delving in to them. Each history lecture has a workbook page to go with it that includes essay ideas.

On the religious front, there was the KJV ordered and published and the Great Awakening. Two critical things for Christianity then and now. Something that bridges religion and fine arts is our singing of hymns every morning. 1600-1800 AD was a very key time in sacred music history. We will be singing hymns exclusively from this time. Hymns by Cowper, the Wesley brothers, Isaac Watts and more.

I am calling art, music and poetry a lump "fine arts" this year. We will cover one of these topics every week. We are studying famous baroque and classical composers from this era, and we will spend time listening to their music. I may even take the kids to an applicable symphony concert. For poetry I have listed over a dozen famous poets from this period. We will learn about their lives, and read and interpret some of their poems. Some weeks I will have the kids memorize a famous poem. Some weeks I won't.

We also will cover some great artists and art forms from this period. And we will practice doing still life's and scenery and portraits. I may wrangle some of my artist friends to teach a class occasionally.

Scientifically, I have made a syllabus of scientists and their discoveries in this period. We will do experiments that tie in with what was learned. And we all love experiments. I have not planned the experiments yet, but I will plan a few weeks up to a month in advance so I can gather supplies.

I have put together reading lists for all 3 kids encompassing authors, classics, biographies, and historical fiction or fact based in this period. This will be key to the understanding of this period-especially on a global level.

Whenever the boys have a writing assignment in grammar, they will base it on what we are learning this year. This will incorporate the unit study idea even more into our schooling. We are going to draw maps and measure things. We are going to study hard, but it will be fun.

Anyway, to say I am excited about this up and coming year would be an understatement. The really cool thing is that the kids are excited as I am. I always have been geeked about big picture concepts and the idea of connecting the dots. So much happens during a historical period and a whole lot of it is connected. This year we are connecting the dots of the 200 years from 1600-1800 AD.

What's new in your curriculum this year? Are you excited for changes or are you looking forward to keeping a good status quo?

Now, head over to the other girls' posts to see what each one is doing differently this year...
Nicole, Chareen, Julie, Savannah, and Lucinda.