What We Are Doing This Semester

Greetings,

One of the tricky parts of homeschooling is adjusting our curriculum to remain student-centered.  If the work is too easy, too challenging, or not in the best format for the child, we have to go back to the drawing board.  Otherwise, we may be giving assignments that are not engaging or not being retained.

Last semester, we used Time4Learning for our core classes (Math, ELA, Science, etc…), Kamali Academy’s curriculum for Africana History ideas, and a mix-mash of other resources.  We belonged to a homeschool collective in Houston where my son was also able to learn Gardening, Sewing, Yoga, and Martial Arts.

hotep

Having fun down by the Mopan River.

In September, we moved to San Ignacio, Belize.  For the first 5 weeks or so, we continued to use Time4Learning, also spending a lot of time outdoors, going on low-cost excursions, cooking, playing chess, watching movies, and just bonding.  We have also had some fun day trips; for example, we caught a bus to Chetumal, Mexico a few weeks ago for around $25USD.  I am also in graduate school online with the University of Houston, assisting with Instructional Design for Kamali Academy, and working on some new books, but it is a lot easier to manage my time here.  I always seem to have more time than tasks.

My 12-year-old son, Hotep, loves to create video games in Scratch (scratch.mit.edu), so he has been spending at least 2 hours a day just programming games, alone or with friends.  There are two other boys about his age on our street that he hangs out with every day.  He is also working on writing his first fiction book, a chapter book about a boy with unique shapeshifting powers.

Since we live in the rainforest, the internet connection is sometimes unreliable.  In hindsight, it would have been a good idea to buy textbooks and workbooks for the year and bring them rather than to depend on daily internet service.  For the past few weeks, I meditated on how to solve this issue.  At least 2 days of each week, Hotep is either unable to access Time4Learning or it runs terribly slow, resulting in him spending twice as long to complete his assignments.  Today, I cancelled our Time4Learning subscription and designed a new curriculum for the rest of the school year that involves downloaded books that can be accessed offline, active time outdoors daily, and fun educational activities.

nika

Taking a walk by the river.  The river was high this day because there was recent flooding.

I would like to share our curriculum outline with you to get your feedback and maybe also help you through your process.

  • Math – downloaded 7th grade math textbook from ck12.org
  • Grammar/Vocabulary/Language Arts – downloaded Middle School Grammar textbook/workbook from vanlueschool.org
  • Writing/Publishing – downloaded composition textbook from ck12.org for; also working on fiction book and self-publishing completed book of poetry
  • Typing – freetypinggame.net
  • Ourstory/US History – Classical Africa by Dr. Molefi Asante (e-book)/A Young Peoples History of the United States by Howard Zinn (e-book)
  • Science- learning about Belizean ecology outdoors (helper site: http://www.ourbelizevacation.com/ecology-in-belize.html); also downloaded Life Science textbook from ck12.org
  • Technology – Video Game Programming and Animation using Scratch (scratch.mit.edu)
  • Physical Education – 30 min together per day outdoor exercise/play
  • Spanish 15 – 30 minutes together per day using Berlitz Essential Spanish (print) and Pimsleur Spanish (audio)
  • Weekly Field Trips Friday – i.e. nature walks, bus rides to other cities, Cahal Pech, Belize Zoo, Jaguar Reserve, etc…

The structure of our courses will be a combination of guided and independent work.  Ourstory and US History will be on alternating days, Monday through Thursday.  On Wednesdays, we will work on book publishing rather than Science and Technology.  I had gotten away from spelling tests, so I will be resuming giving him spelling words on Monday and spelling tests on Fridays.  If we have a short field trip some Fridays, we will also do some fun learning activities and watch a movie or a documentary.

We have about a month and a half left in this semester, so I will work out the kinks of our new program during that time.  What are you using for your children’s curriculum this semester?  Do you have any ideas of what we might add?  Have you ever had to adjust your curriculum mid-semester?  Please comment with feedback and questions.

Love and Light,

Nikala Asante

 

6 Responses

  1. Greetings, I’m an African American living in South Africa. I started homeschooling in July 2015. I was wondering do you follow the standards (Core Curriculum) for the US or do you follow the standards for Belize, Does Belize require you to register that you are homeschooling your son? Did you register in Texas that you are homeschooling? Do you have to register in your former state of residency? Please elaborate as much as possible, Thank you so much for sharing. I look forward to your response.

    1. Greetings,

      I moved here from Texas where there is no obligation to follow a core curriculum outside of being sure to include Citizenship, Texas history, and a few other minor specifics in your plan. Other than that, parents have flexibility to choose their curriculum. What I shared in this post is what we are doing this semester. Belize does not require those on a tourist visa to register for anything related to education. The immigration office knows that I am homeschooling my son and it is considered normal. If I decide to stay here longer than one year, I will look more into whether I need to register here. There are many other home schoolers here; American and Belizean. In Texas, I just had to submit a letter of withdrawal to the school that my son was zoned to at the time letting them know that I would be homeschooling. You can check specifics for your home state on the HSLDA website. Best of luck!

      Nikala

  2. Where did you find the Classical Africa ebook? I’ve been trying to find a “reasonably-priced” hardcover or paperback copy of it for a couple of years now, but I’ve not seen an ebook option. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Peace,

      I will email you!

      Nikala

  3. Caramel World Traveler | Reply

    My littles are two years old and one year old so we are just starting our worldschooling journey. Blogs like this encourage me that it can be done. Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. I used to homeschool my 2 children (ages 6 and 10), but last year we moved from Texas to Colorado. I chose to enroll them in a charter school (focused on gifted curriculum). It’s a good school, but a far commute, and it lacks diversity. They’ve also done nothing to educate the kids on African history. My kids are mixed and trying to find African American or African books that teach the truth is very challenging. I’ll still have to supplement their African history and Biblical studies, so I’ll keep those books on mind. Thanks for your post, as I will look into the books you mentioned to see how it fits for my kids ages.

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