When I started to think about this school year, I kept coming back to monthly themes. I like to have a sense of where we are going throughout the year, and I think themes are a great way to do that. When I got the Erin Condren Teacher Planner and saw that they included a calendar page listing all the holidays throughout the year, major and obscure, I thought this would help in my deciding on themes.
What is the purpose of a monthly theme?
I see the monthly theme as a way to broaden the kids’ school using projects.
I love project based learning, and want to continue to incorporate it within our homeschool every year. By taking a monthly theme, Independence Day in July, it allows the kids to go deeper within a subject.
What I want the kids to do is take an aspect of the theme and make it a project. I want them to be able to learn how to research, learn how to put together some sort of report or presentation, and delve deeper into the learning process.
How will the kids use the monthly theme?
My kids are still quite young, so I am not entirely sure how this theme idea is going to work out.
I plan to go over the theme at the beginning of the month, and then use that theme to go deeper with the kids. I want them to decide on an aspect of the theme that interests them, and give them direction on how they can use the theme to work on a project.
My kids absolutely love to write and illustrate stories, and I thought having the blank books, one for each monthly project, would allow them to use a medium they enjoy currently for further learning.
What themes am I thinking about using?
Some of the themes I have been considering are pretty straight forward, The First Thanksgiving for November, Advent and Christmas for December. I thought apples for September, and perhaps an entire month of Dr. Seuss in March, since that is when his birthday is. Space is another one I thought of, because the kids absolutely love to learn about the stars and planets.
Using these themes will help us to work towards a longer range project, and I think that the kids will be excited to take some ownership in their projects.
My concern is that perhaps one month is too short a time span to work on a project, so I definitely reserve the right to change my mind as we go along. But, for the time being, I think that the projects are going to work out nicely.
Our first theme month will be August, and it will be a “back to school/all about me” theme. This will be a way to ease into the school year, and our use of themes each month. I am really excited about seeing what the kids come up with, as well as encouraging them to delve deeper into the different topics we will be focusing on.
Do you use themes in your homeschooling? Do your kids enjoy working on a large project over a longer period of time?