In mid to late August we all go through this denial process, "Summer can't be over yet." "I didn't accomplish all the things I had hoped." Most of what I had hoped to accomplish was a great deal of school planning AND preparation. The planning you can do on a hammock somewhere with a calendar, a stack of blank lesson plans and the table of contents from your curriculum. I did accomplish that as far out as Thanksgiving.
The preparation is the thing that takes time: finding pages to use, picking projects, gathering supplies, designing the process for the whole shape of the day, etc.
But then I read Holt's book and when I combine his ideas with echoes of some Charlotte Mason philosophy I read two summers ago I decided to let go. This makes preparation somewhat of a struggle. Which projects will they want to do? What if I spend 20 hours designing some cool incentive process that they hate? What if I'm convinced we should do more art but they hate glue and paint? When we study Nate Saint, what if they don't want to spend a week on the Amazon and would rather learn about short wave radios?
I have some things sketched out. I know what B needs to hit in math and language arts and I have some of his reading books (old Ginn readers that I read). I also have his math curriculum and a critical thinking series to do with him. I have curriculm for J to follow in Math, Latin, Typing, Penmanship, and Writing -- three of them are media based. We'll do more reading aloud, less Bible ("Mom's lecture"), but more study of specific verses/passages. This is an even year so we're skipping formal spelling and vocab, but we're going to try notebooking.
But as far as the actual social studies and science lessons, projects, points and details -- I'm leaving that up to them to take us where they want to go. I have suggestions at the ready but I'm forcing myself to keep them suggestions and not turn them into assignments for this whole first four weeks. Giving them more freedom to learn what they want to learn will hopefully provide them with knowledge and applications that will put them on the path toward transformation.
It feels unsettling and chaotic but I'm excited to see what we all end up learning.