I LOVE that Phoenix sets out their themes for the year… it makes planning my homeschool year SO much easier! I like to connect what my kid learns at Phoenix with some at home resources, so I thought I would share some of the things that I do to prepare for a Phoenix theme and some of the tools that I use in my planning. As soon as Phoenix announces their themes for the year I start hunting for resources! Of course I
stalk wait patiently for the program guide to be out so we can choose our classes and I use Google calendar of course so that dates and times are updated automatically on our calendar!
Once I know the theme, Dinosaurs for example, I will look for books of course! I like to have a book basket at home that is theme related that we can pour over when we are at home. I include picture books even if my kid is reading already, as well as stories, novels and reference books – all of these give us inspiration in our learning! I also include ebooks and audio books depending on the type of learner and how busy we are – sometimes we are doing more “on the road schooling” than home schooling if you know what I mean!
Of course I use the public library as my main source for books as that is a homeschoolers best value for their money, however I like to really plan ahead and as I find stuff throughout the year (knowing the themes ahead) I can “collect” a book list/shelf on Goodreads www.goodreads.org I also use Goodreads to record the books my kid reads throughout the year so that I have a record of that for the portfolio. A few other things that I like about Goodreads is I can make a note/comment as to whether it’s available through the library or if I would need to purchase it. I like that this list is accessible to me via my phone so that if I come across a book I can quickly check my list to see if it’s worth purchasing or if I can get it through my library. Goodreads will also recommend books for you based on what you read, so new treasures to enjoy!
Another resource I go to for planning is Pinterest www.pinterest.com – I know some people don’t “get it” but for me it is a way to visually bookmark some ideas for a theme and the bonus … I can show them to my kid and he gets excited about choosing what he wants to do. No we don’t do them all, of course not, there are only so many hours in the day and well we have to eat and sleep too! When I’m collecting resources I try to find some writing, not too much, but it may include a fun lap book about the theme, maybe an art or science activity because those happen to be his favorite subjects or maybe some fun games! To give you an idea of what I have collected so far here is my Pinterest board that I’ve started for Dinosaurs http://www.pinterest.com/lorides/phoenix-dinosaurs-2014/ the first theme of the year.
For us IPAD Resources not only include apps but usually videos from the You Tube Education Channel https://www.youtube.com/t/education or Ted-Ed talks. Movies we get from the library or Netflix, and again all of these can be queued up and ready to go for when the inspiration strikes or on the road when we are on the way home from a Phoenix class! Some themes lend themselves to field trips and some not as much – although I would LOVE to go to Mexico rather than the dinosaur museum in Drumheller, hmmm maybe I should check our airmiles points!!!
Of course no one does food and feasts like Phoenix so I leave that (and the cooking) to the experts but I do try to have a couple of themed recipes on hand as usually a request is made to cook up something at home as a treat to enjoy while pouring over our other themed resources! I hope some of these resources help you in planning your Phoenix themes this year. I would love to hear of any other resources you use to extend the learning you do at Phoenix at home.
Home Educating Parent & Guest Blogger