Now that we’ve got our curriculum, calendar, and lesson plan in place; it may feel like we’re done, however a crucial part is to plan labs, projects and field trips now.
I’m one of those people that really needs to see the big picture to feel at ease. On day seven of this series we talked about making a side note of anything that might require extra time and planning. Now it’s time to prepare for those days.
Last year, my daughter’s best friend joined us for biology labs all year. This sort of co-op approach helped with the cost of lab supplies and kept both girls motivated to get the project done. Based on the original lesson completion plan I scheduled lab days, made a supply list, and a plan to meet her friend at a specific location. One experiment required them to collect samples of pond or lake water, so we met at a local park and had a makeshift lab in the back of our SUV.
Keep in mind most curriculum already has a list of the supplies required for each experiment. In our list however I only list things we either need to buy, or make sure to pack if we were meeting somewhere outside of the house. We usually take science labs out to the park, it gives us more opportunities to play afterwards.
We use the same approach for projects, research or field trips.
I urge you to back and take a closer look at those lessons where a hands on experience might be more engaging. This year we will be learning about the World Wars, and in unit 8 of our history plan we will focus on World War II; so I’ve planned a trip to Battleship USS Iowa next May. I know that’s a long way away, but since I have all the necessary information now, I’m aware of the type of tours they offer, days of the week they are open and the cost per person. This allows me to ask for a day off work if necessary, and I can add this expense to our homeschool budget for the year.
Also allow more time if you plan to study something your kids are passionate or curious about. My youngest has an obsession with sharks. Last year per our science plan, we should have spent just a couple of weeks, however she spent close to six weeks learning all sorts of details, building models and even recording a video presentation (sort of a unit study approach).
You will not always be able to keep up with all the scheduled days, and don’t let this restrict the learning experience. Simply having a plan in place will make your days more manageable as you get closer to the due dates.