Friday, July 11, 2008

where i get a return on my law school investment

My goal is to have our fifth grade year mapped out in its entirety before school starts. That would be less than six short weeks from now, people. If you want to avoid a long-winded post about homeschooling, look away now. You have been warned. (This is another in a series of posts that serve as a note to myself and hopefully as a help to other homeschooling moms.)

Thanks to the good folks of the 13th Judicial Circuit of South Carolina, I had plenty of time during jury duty to work on language arts. We will use Scott Foresman Reading: Fantastic Voyage as a starting point for exploring themes in literature. Our grammar and some writing assignments will tie in as well, though Nolan does much better when writing for a purpose rather than as a "writing assignment." Of course, don't we all? We have a variety of novel studies planned but I will post about those separately. We will also do a family history unit that includes a lapbook based on an interview with my son's grandfather. (Oops -- I should probably ask him if that's OK.) We will also continue with Greek and Latin stems, introduce some of the works of Shakespeare and do a fairly extensive unit on poetry.

On to science, where I get that return on my law school investment... Fifth grade science standards include scientific inquiry and properties of matter. I have decided to explore both topics in great depth through a unit on forensic science. We are going to have a shameless amount of fun with this as we explore everything from chromatography and DNA comparison to entomology and blood splatter. In addition to learning about the specifics of forensic science, we will apply what we learn in solving at least two crimes (both age appropriate, of course).

As we move to force and motion, we will study auto racing and the science of NASCAR (there is a book series, I swear I am not making that up) and the application of the laws of motion to rollercoaster design.

I am still planning our additional science units on landforms and oceans and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

In math, we covered well beyond the standards in fourth grade so we have a list of topics to cover (division of fractions, etc.) early in the year. We will use Math Central for that. I plan to move Nolan into Teaching Textbooks 7 after the first nine-week period. (Feedback on Teaching Textbooks is welcomed. I feel like it is really more like an upper level grade six curriculum rather than grade seven, which is what I am shooting for this year.)

I haven't really begun planning for social studies yet, but we will pick up with the Civil War and go through present day. We will also do a civics unit on the upcoming presidential election. (Hey, I am getting a return on those majors in history and political science, too!) Nolan is really psyched about studying the World Wars and I am psyched about incorporating the Diary of Anne Frank.

Last year, I learned that Nolan really gets a kick out of lapbooks and he retains the information quite well because each unit becomes a full blown project, from research to presentation. I hope to fit in lapbooks on Labor Day, bees, the history of sports and artist Mary Cassatt. Nolan has asked to do a study of American presidents and I think we will do that in notebook form.

Geography is treated as a separate subject around here and that study is generally led by Nolan's interest, though I am planning a study of the Middle East.

Nolan will once again study art, music and Spanish (es muy bien) at co-op and my husband will be saved from date nights at plays and musicals since Nolan and I will attend as many daytime performances as we can. We are already planning for classes at the Greenville County Museum of Art, the Greenville Zoo and Paris Mountain State Park.

There's more, but I am confident everyone stopped reading about three paragraphs ago, so I will continue another day.


Leslie said...

Being a former 8th grade science teacher, I know your son will love the forensics units. We used to do something similar to that with our students. Anything that requires students to figure out things using scientific processes is so much fun. Then again teaching science using processes was always fun.

Chris Worthy said...

Thanks, Leslie. I should have noted that we have Scott Foresman Science as well, but as you know, it's more fun to use that as a starting point.