Homeschool Planning – Creating Monthly Themes

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
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?

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