Monday, July 24, 2006

Thinking Ahead

Okay, I couldn't help myself. I couldn't read my book or use the computer comfortably with my pupils dilated, and well, I wasn't going to spend 4 hours organizing and cleaning the pantry (although it is organized and clean now). I found that I could write, so I did a little planning for Enki 2nd grade.

I got my basic block outline from the old Enki teaching guide. I realize that not everyone has this, and I apologize in advance. It may even be that the blocks will be tweaked a bit for the new grade 2 guide, so this is very preliminary planning.

I hate cross-outs. So I photocopied the Monthly/Yearly Rhythm page, then made labels with my P-Touch Home and Hobby III (no longer made, but the Brother PT 1000 isn't that different) so I could change the months to fit our "school" year. Then I photcopied the whole thing again so I could have a master.

I looked at the calendar and figured out the dates for the blocks. Right now it is very rough, and there are no vacations scheduled in, other than a week off for 4th of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day. Each block except for the first and last has 4 weeks planned; we may not need 4 weeks for each block, but it will give us flexibility for illness or travel. We haven't planned any long vacations in the first half of the year, but may go for a week or more in the summer.

The Enki guides mention a 3 month break (12 weeks), but the sample schedules all have 10 months/10 blocks. I suppose it is because traditionally schools start somewhere in September and end somewhere in June (or August to May). Our plan is to take off 9/22/06-1/7/07, which is 15 weeks. We are technically on break during December, but I was planning to start easing into our more academic rhythm by adding seasonal stories, so we'll read Israeli Trickster Tales and Hebrew Sages in the weeks leading up to Hanukkah, Solstice, and Christmas. That will leave us with 9 academic blocks to complete, so we can start in January and finish at the autumnal equinox.

Every family will plan differently. For us, summer can be unbearably hot (in July we have had temperatures at or over 100 degrees for 21 out of 24 days), whereas fall is usually very pleasant. This year we decided to extend grade 1 through the summer and not start grade 2 until January, when J-Baby will be much closer to 7 (and T-Guy will be turning 8). It doesn't make much sense to start an academic year during the winter holidays, and we often travel around the New Year, hence putting off our start until January 8th. As for ending at the autumnal equinox (this year and next)? Well, this year we leave for a week at the beach on 9/23, so it just made sense to wrap up before that. It is such a celebratory time of year that it just feels like a great time to end.

I also listed all of the "festivals" of our year, major and minor. Altogether we have 21 over the course of 12 months. Wow, that's a lot! Of course, I am including our birthdays, anniversary, and days like Mother's Day and Father's Day. Most are rather low-key, such as Valentine's Day, but we do have big family gatherings at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I'm not doing much with this information yet, but I will need it when I plan crafts for the year.

Then I stopped. It's nice to have just the bare bones calendar ready to go, so I can fill things in when I plan in October.

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