You’d think it would be easier the second time around. It wasn’t.
Last year, all I had to do to draft an IHIP was to make a list of materials that I planned to use. That was easy enough.
I’d already accumulated lots of resources supplementing my older child’s education. And, I planned to implement a Classical approach, as described in The Well-Trained Mind, to shape our curriculum. Of course, I had a few other ideas up my sleeve as well.
It should’ve been a cinch to just update last year’s IHIP. Perhaps, it’s these “other ideas” that is at the root of my problem.
I’m always coming up with new ideas, subjects, technology, etc., that I want to share with my children. Our learning “plan” evolves as a new question or an idea sends us on completely unforeseen tangents.
For example, I planned to start this year with an author study and poetry unit where my son would read Jack Prelutsky’s poems and learn about the poet.
Well, Alex was having a fine time, ensconced on the comfy chair, reading these poems, when he spotted a copy of Fairytale News. This inspired him to create his own Supernatural News, and now we’re in the midst of brainstorming, writing, and figuring out how to use Microsoft Publisher to publish his newspaper.
As you can see, we embrace learning tangents.
Still, we have to conform to New York Home Instruction Regulations.
That means that there is a Core Curriculum in New York that I have to keep in mind. Not that I, or any NY teacher, is obligated to follow it to the letter. It’s fairly general, and open to wildly different interpretations. Still, I can’t completely ignore it either.
Even if New York allowed me to completely forget about rules and regulations, I don’t think that I could handle being completely unstructured. My family has high academic goals, and I want to ensure that our children have choices.
Personally, I want to see that my children are making steady progress in all key subject areas, even those that don’t interest them yet.
Alex is passionate about reading and science, but he would never write or work through math problems, if he didn’t have to. Of course, he has to practice writing for it to get easier. And, he needs to get through the “boring” math foundation before he can get to the more interesting theoretical material. Obviously, he also needs both math and writing skills for his science projects.
We want Alex to continue to make progress in all his subjects, but I still want to ensure that he loves learning and that he is enjoying life.
So, my challenge this year has been to craft an IHIP which fulfills New York rules, my family’s academic goals, and our most important objective of staying in the Deschooling End Zone.
Here is our 2008-2009 IHIP, in all it’s glory:
Individualized Home Instruction Plan – Grade 3
Grade Level: Third Grade
Dates for submittal of Quarterly Reports:
- September 30, 2008
- December 30, 2008
- March 31, 2009
- June 30, 2009
Individual providing instruction: Sandra Foyt
We are creating an integrated, interest-based curriculum using a hands-on, child-centered approach to learning. Materials and activities listed in one subject area may thus apply to other subject areas as well. In addition, we believe that one of the great strengths of homeschooling is the flexibility to individualize the child’s learning experience so that skills and knowledge are learned at the time that the child is most ready and motivated. Thus, the materials we will use may include, but shall not be limited to, those listed below. We provide a rich, varied educational environment at home for Alex, as well as taking advantage of the many library, community, and Internet resources available.
(Although this describes our intent perfectly, it is not my original writing. This was copied from a sample IHIP found on the New York Home Educators’ Network Yahoo Forum.)
Curriculum materials that will be used in each of the required subjects:
- New York State Education Department Curriculum and Instructional Support.
- The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home. (Wise Bauer, Susan and Jessie Wise. W.W. Norton & Co., NY, 2004)
- A Parent’s Guide To Grade 3 Curriculum (Montgomery County Public Schools, Maryland)
- Cub Scout Bear Handbook (Boy Scouts of America, 2006)
Additional Math Resources:
- The I Hate Mathematics! Book (Burns, Marilyn. Little, Brown & Co. 1975)
- Math Power: How to Help Your Child Love Math, Even If You Don’t (Clark Kenschaft, Patricia. Pearson Education, NY, 2006)
Reading: Alex has already surpassed the requirements of NY’s Grade 3 Reading Core Curriculum. Of course, he will continue to read a wide variety of material for recreation, information, and discussion. I’m sure that he will continue to go beyond NY’s expectation of reading a minimum of 25 books per year across all content areas.
- Some of My Best Friends Are Books – Guiding Gifted Readers from Preschool to High School (Halstead, Judith W. Great Potential Press, Inc., AZ, 2002.)
- Deconstructing Penguins – Parents, Kids, and the Bond of Reading (Goldstone, Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone. The Random House Publishing Group, NY, 2005)
- Guys Write For Guys Read (ed. Jon Scieszka. Penguin Group. NY, 2005)
- Mosaic of Thought: The Power of Comprehension Strategy Instruction (Keene, Ellin Oliver and Susan Zimmermann. Heinemann, 2007)
Spelling: We will be using targeted spelling practice to promote handwriting and keyboarding skills, while strengthening Spelling Skills.
- Weekly Word Sorts That Build Spelling Skills Grades 2-3 (Maher, Kristina A. Scholastic Inc., 2003)
- Spelling Secrets (Kellaher, Karen. Scholastic, 2003)
- The Spelling List and Word Study Resource Book Grades 1-6 (Fresch, Mary Jo and A. F. Wheaton. Scholastic Inc., 2004)
- Spelling and Vocabulary Grade 4 (Houghton Mifflin Co., 2004)
- English from the Roots Up (Lundquist, Joegil. Literacy Unlimited, 1989)
Writing: Alex will easily meet the expectation of writing an average of 1000 words per month across all content areas. He will be writing to enhance personal relationships (letters, Emails); for creative expression (poems, stories); and for academic development (short answers, essays.) He will also continue to use his blog, Alex and Leperdy’s Learning Adventures, to publish much of his writing.
- Awakening the Heart – Exploring Poetry in Elementary and Middle School (Heard, Georgia. Heineman, NH,1999)
- The Most Wonderful Writing Lessons Ever Grades 2-4 (Mariconda, Barbara. Scholastic Professional Books, 1999)
- Boy Writers: Reclaiming Their Voices (Fletcher, Ralph. Stenhouse Publishers, Ontario, Canada, 2006)
- Poetry Matters: Writing a Poem From The Inside Out (Fletcher, Ralph. HarperTrophy, NY, 2002)
- How to Write Your Life Story (Fletcher, Ralph. Harper Collins, NY, 2007)
The English Language: Mostly, Alex will work on developing English Language Skills through daily writing. He will also use the following workbooks:
- How to Write a Paragraph Grades 1-3 (Christopher Null, Kathleen. Teacher Created Resources, Westminster, CA, 2005)
- Scholastic Success With Writing Grade 3 (Molengraft, Lisa. Scholastic, 2002)
- Funny Fairy Tale Grammar. (McCory Martin, Justin. Scholastic, 2006)
- Grammar Cop (Storyworks Staff, Scholastic, 2004)
- No Boring Practice, Please! Vocabulary (Jarnicki, Harold. Scholastic, 2005)
- Thinking Through Analogies (Risby, Bonnie Lou. Prufrock Press, 2005)
Social Studies: NY’s Social Studies Core Curriculum for Third Grade recommends focusing on the five standards – social, political, geographic, economic, and historic characteristics – in a study of different world communities.
We will implement these standards; however, we will concentrate on one historical period, The Middle Ages, which will infuse all subjects areas this year. I’ve amassed an extensive collection of resources for this subject, but the primary text will be The Story of the World, Volume 2: The Middle Ages. (Wise Bauer, Susan. Peace Hill Press, 2003)
Science: In keeping with the objective of a hands-on and minds-on Elementary Science Core Curriculum, we will be pursuing various projects throughout the year that will encourage observation and analysis while promoting “understanding important relationships, processes, mechanisms, and applications of concepts.”
- Observing Mealworms & Earthworms – Through hands-on investigation and observations Alex will learn that the behaviors of off-spring are inherited from the parent organism.
- Crime Lab Chemistry – Using paper chromatography and fingerprinting, we will learn about classification systems while investigating forensic science.
- Sound – Investigate properties of sound and discover emerging science research field of Biomusic.
- Plant Growth and Development – We’ll grow seedlings, ex. Brassica Rapa, to observe impact of different variables.
- Worm Composting – We’ll learn about decomposers and soil health while producing compost for our gardens.
- Guide to Microlife (Rainis, Kenneth and Bruce J. Russell. Franklin Watts, 1996)
- The World of the Microscope (Oxlade, Chris and Corinne Stockley. Scholastic, 1995)
- Smithsonian Crime Lab – All-inclusive kit for basic forensic analysis.
- Subscription to Odyssey: Adventures in Science.
- Great Scientists. (Fortey, Jacqueline. DK Publishing, 2007)
- Let It Rot! The Gardener’s Guide to Composting (Campbell, Stu. Storey Books, VT, 1998)
Health Education: NY’s Health Education Guidance Document lists the following content areas: Self-Management, Relationship Management, Stress Management, Communication, Planning and Goal Setting, Decision Making, and Advocacy.
Mostly, we will cover these through day-to-day work and discussion. Some are fostered through play dates, and various out-of-the-home programs. Many are covered through participation in Cub Scouts.
Music: Alex has decided to take a break from piano lessons; instead, we’ll be concentrating on Music Appreciation. We will be immersing ourselves in a variety of musical genres, with a special focus on music from The Middle Ages.
- Understanding Music (Tatchell, Judy. Usborne, 1992)
- A Young Person’s Guide to Music (Ardley, Neil. Dorling Kindersley, 2004)
Visual Arts: Pottery class at Liz Vigoda Studio, Art Omi Homeschool class, museum visits, art projects at home, and digital photography are just a few of the items on our menu this year. Of course, we’ll include a special focus on the art of The Middle Ages.
Physical Education: Daily outdoor play, dog walks, seasonal activities (Tennis, Swimming, Hiking, Biking, Skiing, Ice Skating), and weekly lessons in Gymnastics and Fencing.
Spanish (Not required):
- Teach Them Spanish! Grade 3 (Waltzer-Hackett, Winnie. McGraw-Hill, MI, 1999)
Technology (Not required): The National Educational Technology Standards for Students in Grades 3-5, suggests a list of activities that relate to the following indicators: Creativity and Innovation; Communication and Collaboration; Research and Information Fluency; Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making; Digital Citizenship; and Technology Operations and Concepts.
We’ll be generating a variety of projects throughout the year, but we’ve already determined that, at a minimum, we’ll do the following:
- Blogging – Book and Game Reviews, Stories, Poems, Advocacy
- Ipod/Itunes – We’ll use this for audiobooks as well as for organizing Alex’s music collection.
- Digital Photography – Introduction to digital photography and photo editing.
- 80 Internet Mini-Scavenger Hunts (Robinette, Michelle. Scholastic, 2003)
- Language Arts Activities on the Computer (Reum, Debby. Evan-Moor, 1999)
- Climbing Your Family Tree: Online and Off-Line Genealogy for Kids (Wolfman, Ira. Workman Publishing, NY, 2002)
The following courses, required once in his academic career, will not be covered this year:
- Before 9th Grade: US history, NY State history, and the Constitutions of the United States and NY State.
- During K-12th Grade: Health Education regarding alcohol, drug and tobacco misuse.
- Some courses continue to be covered within Cub Scouts: Patriotism and citizenship; Highway safety and traffic regulation, including bicycle safety; and fire and arson preventions and safety.
As always, I’m open to any suggestions. If you have any other ideas for our learning plans this year, I’d love to hear them!
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