Our Beginning-of-the-Year Homeschool Plan for Elementary and Middle School

Homeschool Plan for Elementary and Middle School Ages

I can’t believe it. Our new homeschool year begins next week already. Wow, this past six weeks went quickly!

As I was gathering books at the library for our first unit study the other day, I realized that some of you might like to see how I’m planning for our homeschool days to unfold, especially in regard to our unit study. I’m fairly certain that, even though I address unit studies quite often, they can be a bit of a mystery to those who are unfamiliar with them.

As you might be aware, for years I’ve been breaking my children into groups for their learning, simply because I have so many of them. 😉 (This year I’m homeschooling 8 again.)

However, now that my second youngest is ready to move up to the middles group, I’ve got a bit of a dilemma – that leaves my youngest alone in the littles group. She’s not too happy about that.

So….I’m going to attempt to homeschool my 6 elementary and middle school age kids in one group so that my youngest can be with everyone else. Wish me luck. (It’s at times like this that I really cherish the flexibility of homeschooling. If it doesn’t work, we can go back to the way things were.)

Anywho, here’s what I’m hoping to do…

Our Beginning-of-the-Year Homeschool Plan

Elementary and middle school homeschool plan

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Since we are starting off the year with a unit study on Explorers/Navigation/Stars/Sailing (from Konos Volume 2), other than math, language arts, and devotions, everything will be focused on this topic. What this means is that besides the devotional, math, spelling, and grammar books listed, every single book will be connected to the unit study.

As relaxed homeschoolers, our day is broken down into three basic sections:

  • Soft Start (aka, Bible/read-aloud)
  • Together Time (unit study time)
  • Table Time (time for individual 3 Rs)

Soft Start

Each morning we will do a Bible devotion together, followed by reading a section of the Bible aloud together. Afterwards, I’ll read a chapter or two from our read-aloud, and my kids will take turns narrating.

Resources:

One Minute Bible for Students

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch

Together Time

During this time, we will typically work on unit study activities, although one day a week we will do an art lesson or handicrafts, instead. (On that one day, there will be no table time.)

Some of the activities I have planned so far are:

  • painting the night sky
  • history of sailing
  • learning the song “Fire Down Below”
  • navigation vocabulary
  • watching a video about navigation
  • Bible copywork related to the theme
  • lighthouses
  • identifying constellations
  • celestial navigation
  • star motion
  • moon phases
  • baking cookies shaped like moons and stars
  • making an astrolabe and solar stone
  • drawing a circle with a compass
  • measuring angles
  • making a fictional island journal
  • charcoal constellation drawings
  • old world maps
  • exploring the woods near our house
  • Norse myths
  • Vikings and Leif Erikson (We will learn about other explorers in later weeks.)

I’m expecting this unit study to last a few months, unless my kids grow bored with it, so the resources I’m sharing today are not a complete list. These are simply the activities and resources I’ve collected for our first four weeks.

As I mentioned earlier, Konos is my main source for the unit study. All other books listed here are library books which will be used for notebooking, references for various activities, and, possibly, supplemental read-alouds.

Resources:

Konos Volume 2 (Explorers/Navigation/Stars/Sailing unit)

The Stars

Find the Constellations

Where Am I? The Story of Maps and Navigation

The Wonderful World of Mathematics

Explorers of the Americas Before Columbus

Who Discovered America?

Leif the Lucky

Early Exploration of North America

D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths

Table Time (which doesn’t happen at a table at all…)

At this point in our day, all of our main activities have been completed, and the kids are ready to finish up with their individual learning – spelling, grammar, silent reading, and math. Each child gets one-on-one time with me during this block of time. I tend to do this from oldest to youngest.

My kids can be very motivated to get done early, so most of them usually complete much of this before our homeschool day has even started, and they just save the things they need my help with.

Resources:

Natural Speller

Daily Grams

ctcmath.com (for 4th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade)

Abeka Arithmetic (for 1st and 3rd grade)

Silent Reading Selections:

The Vikings

We the People: Leif Ericson

Before Columbus: The Leif Eriksson Expedition

Viking Ships at Sunrise

Magic Tree House Fact Tracker: Vikings

And that’s it!

Hopefully, this gives those of you who don’t quite understand the cross-curricular nature of unit studies a clearer picture. As you can tell from the books and activities I’ve listed here, virtually every single subject will be covered via this unit study – even music and art.

This, my friends, is why I love this style of homeschooling so much: there is so much beauty and efficacy in simplicity.

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Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

11 thoughts on “Our Beginning-of-the-Year Homeschool Plan for Elementary and Middle School”

  1. Sounds great! When you work on I Konos units do your children work on the Animal notebooks they create, or just notebook pages to go along with u it study?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How do you find all of your books? Do you use your own library or a whole library system? It seems that books from a recommended list are often hard to find at our library. Just wondering if you go by a list or search what your library/library system has on the shelves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We usually use just our library, but if our library doesn’t have a book I really wanted, I’ll check the whole system. Other times I’ll try to find something similar. The book lists with Konos are pretty extensive, so I’m usually able to find at least half. 🙂

      Like

  3. This is so exciting! We are starting our school year next week also, but a bit more gradually. We are starting back with math and LA for the first couple weeks, then will be at our full course load the first week of August.
    Our break went so fast, but I’m ready to get back into the routine. (Not sure my kids are as excited as I am 😂)

    Could you share how you have the kids narrate during read aloud time? Do you ask them questions while you’re reading or read a section and then have them summarize?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sure! It really depends on how long the chapter is. If the chapter is shorter, I will read the entire thing, and the kids each have to take turns telling me one thing they remember. If the chapter is longer, I will usually stop after two or three pages and ask one of my kids to tell back what I read, or everything they remember. I keep doing that until the whole chapter is done and each child has narrated. For example, if the chapter is 15 pages long and 5 kids are listening, I’ll stop after every 3rd page so that they all get a turn to narrate. 🙂

      Like

  4. Love this. I envy your ability to have together time. I’ve about given up on that dream. My kids have vastly different interests, and little tolerance for learning about something they find “boring”. Therefore I am currently hunting down resources for colonial times/state history for the oldest, snakes and reptiles for the middle, and steam trains for the youngest! Still, our super relaxed homeschool looks very similar. But instead of together time we have interest led learning time in the mornings where they each pursue whatever topic they are currently obsessed with. Then we finish our day with each of them getting one on one time with me for the three Rs.
    Found your blog recently and love it! Here’s to a great year!

    Liked by 1 person

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