Learning Plan: Grade 3 & 1 (2010/11)

Cinder and Flora’s Learning Plan for 2010/2011–Cinder’s Grade 3 and Flora’s Grade 1 year.


Key Objectives: To continue to foster Cinder and Flora’s love of learning and exploration; to foster co-operation between and empathy in both children

Evaluation and assessment: Project, Portfolio and Progress-based, Qualitative

Focus for Cinder: Hands-on experiments and experience in natural and physical science, physical activity and health, exposure to wide variety of books, events and people; Mathematics

Focus for Flora: Plenty of opportunities for art, music and dramatic play, physical activity and health, exposure to wide variety of books, events and people; Literature and storytelling

Cinder’s big goal for the year: To learn how to run up a wall and flip over and come back down (Parkour)

Flora’s big goal for the year: To jump over the baby gate.

Note: Our overall approach to Cinder and Flora’s learning is holistic and integrated. The breakdown below into subjects is for the purposes of the learning plan only. Both children participate in most events and activities together (unless their interests are strongly divergent), although each “takes away” from the activities different things, as per their developmental level, interest and personality.

Note 2: For me (Jane), this year is very much about paring down resources, and focusing in on a few that really resonate with the children—a less is more type of approach.

Expected highlights for 2010/11
Glenbow Museum Homeschool Days
Gymnastics classes and regular swimming (Fall/Winter 2010/11)
Calgary Rock, Fossil & Gem Show (May 2011)
Regular visits to the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology and Reptile World in Drumheller
Y Stage Cookie Cabaret, Calgary Young People’s Theatre, Loose Moose Theatre for Kids, Calgary International Children’s Festival (May 2011)
Various programmes at the Calgary Public Library

Key resources
Our extensive in-house library of books, games, puzzles and toys
The treasure-trove at the Calgary Public Library
Variety of on-line resources and research databases, as needed
Interesting places, interesting events, interesting people, and other community resources


Objective: To explore and experience the natural world, to gain through experience an understanding of its underlying laws, to continue to perceive science as a fascinating, useful and real part of life

Cinder: This continues to be Cinder’s passion and forte and entry point into most other areas of inquiry. He continues to explore avidly in the areas of physics and chemistry. He’s been immersed in the Horrible Science oeuvre for the last year, and now he wants to go back towards more hands-on experiments. We’ve identified several books of chemistry and physics experiments, and will be working through them throughout the year.

Flora: Flora loves nature and bugs, dinosaurs and all animals. She gets a lot of secondary exposure to “hard-core” science via her brother, but her forte is empathetic relations with animals. She plans to continue to learn about animals, collect specimens for her museum, and practice being a vet.

Key Resources, Cinder: Horrible Science series, Ask, Click, YES Mag and KNOW Mag, New Alberta Science Foundation Crates, The Periodic Table: Elements with Style, Rasher/Adrian Dingle

Key Resources, Flora: Horrible Science Series, Magic School Bus Series

Supplemental classes/activities: Mad Science workshops at Calgary Homeschool Association, Mad Science Workshops with CalgaryAPHS, Humane Society Seminars, Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation Open Houses, etc.


Objective: To continue to foster love of books and reading, and to provide plenty of opportunities for developing communication skills with a variety of media

Cinder: Cinder will continue to be read to from a wide variety of children’s and adult literature, from old favourite board books and picture books through to chapters books and relevant reference books. We will continue to play word games and rhyming games, and to highlight phonemic patterns in words through play, and to ensure he has plenty of time to spend “privately” with books, cracking the literacy code in his own way and at his own time. We will work through the list of 100 words he compiled last year, and expand on it. We will continue to encourage him to write cards, thank you notes, and lists.

Flora: As science is Cinder’s forte and entry point, language is Flora’s. She’s been practicing reading and writing for the past two years. She works a lot with her LeapFrog Pad and alphabet/word wipe-off work books. She can read most three-four letter words, and, when she focuses, longer words and full sentences. We look forward to watching her literacy flourish.

Both: A key part of both children’s language arts education will continue to be conversations and story exchanges with peers, younger children and intelligent, interested adults.

Key resources, Cinder: Horrible Science books and magazines, Calvin & Hobbes, self-initiated cartooning and writing

Key resources, Flora: Mo Willems books, BOB books, letter and word workbooks

Key literature project: We spent the summer reading, re-reading, listening to and re-listening to the James and Deborah Howe Bunnicula series: Bunnicula, Howliday Inn and The Celery Stalks at Midnight, then talking about the stories, acting them out, and making up additional sequels to them. It was marvelous. We will try to re-create that atmosphere with other excellent children’s books through the year.

External activities: Drama, see Arts section


Key Objective, Flora: To foster comfort and familiarity with numbers and number games

Key Objective, Cinder: To continue to develop Cinder’s intuitive understanding and enjoyment of mathematics

Cinder: Cinder has a strong intuitive understanding of mathematics, and applies “real life” math readily (especially if it involves money, speeding, and keeping track of time/kilometres on trips). This year, we will widen the focus by introducing some mathematical theory via the Murderous Maths series. It is unlikely we will do any “paper math” this year (i.e. workbook/exercise/drill work), but we will probably introduce the calculator.

Flora: Flora will continue to explore mathematical literacy through a variety of every day activities, which will include baking, shopping, allowance administration and saving, money counting and sorting, measuring things, building models, etc., as well as more contrived but still hands-on activities with manipulatives and geometric shapes. Flora plays with numbers through song, and we anticipate many more repeat airings of The Googols’ Addition Celebration, Multiplication Vacation, Math Jam, and other musical-math resources. She also has started working through “paper math” problems in workbooks, and will likely continue to work on that throughout the year.

Key Resources, Cinder: Murderous Maths series, calculator, manipulatives, Lego, board games

Key Resources, Flora: Simple addition, subtraction, fraction workbooks, manipulatives, board games


Key Objectives: To provide Cinder with as much physical activity and time outdoors as he needs to be a healthy and happy child; to ensure Flora gets as much exercise and outdoor time as she likes; and to continue to foster both children’s awareness of what they need to be healthy, balanced, and grounded.

Cinder: Our recognition that Cinder needs an immense amount of exercise and physical activity is one of the critical reasons behind our decision to homeschool. Cinder will participate in a new Extreme Kids gymnastics/parkour program this year, and we will continue our twice weekly family swims. He and his Dad will also continue rock climbing.  Additionally, we will continue to ensure that he is outside running, biking, playing on playgrounds, chasing butterflies, throwing snowballs etc. as much as he needs to be. (Most days, the minimum amount of intense physical activity seems to be four hours.)

Flora: Because she is Cinder’s sister, Flora tends to get too much exercise. She is happy to be progressing into the 5-8 year old class in her gymnastics program. She will also be continuing swimming. She thinks that next spring she will learn to ride her two-wheel bike.

Both: Cooking, baking, meal-planning and discussions about nutrition and healthful life practices will continue to be part of their daily routine, as will baby-toddler care and development.

Key resources: The Great Outdoors, City of Calgary swimming pools and leisure centres, Parks and playgrounds, Gymnastics class, Stronghold Climbing Centre

External classes: Gym at CHSA Tuesdays, gymnastics at Flip Factory


Objective: To expose Cinder and Flora to the diversity and complexity of the social and cultural world of the present and the past.
This remains an “incidental” area that we explore with both children through quality reading, discussion, participation in local multicultural events and travel, as well as our selection of DVDs.

Key Resources: Horrible Histories, Horrible Geographies and Dead Famous series, Canadian Geographic Kids DVDs, National Geographic and Discovery Channel DVDs at the library, multicultural festivals in the city


Objective: Exposure and enjoyment

Art, Both: We plan to continue attending a variety of plays, shows, concerts and festivals to allow Cinder and Flora to experience and enjoy the arts in a variety of forms. On the practical side, both children are given time to draw, paint, construct or model with clay whenever they like. Cinder likes clay work and model construction, Flora prefers drawing and painting. As we took a great many art classes last year, we will likely take a break from formal art classes this year, and instead play with art at the Glenbow Discovery Room and at home.

Drama, Both: We plan to continue to explore drama, both as appreciative audiences of Loose Moose, Children’s Festival, Y Stage and other appropriate plays, and as participants in self-created play.

Music, Flora: Flora is a musical child who has had the bad fortune to be born into an unmusical family. She will continue taking her Orff Music classes, attending CPO Sundays at the Symphony, and listening to a variety of music, children’s classical and modern, as recommended to us by more musically inclined people. She has also started taking guitar lessons last January, and plans to resume these in October.

Key Resources: Glenbow Museum, especially the Discovery Room, local children’s theatre, library
Formal classes: None planned for this year

Fall 2010—Cinder Lindsay & Flora, Working Schedule

Monday: 10-12 Swimming; Flex Afternoon

Tuesday: Calgary Homeschool Association: 9:30 Science, 10:30 Gym.

Wednesday: 10:45 Orff Music for Flora, Home afternoon, 5:45-7 p.m. Extreme Kids for Cinder

Thursday: 10-12 Swimming; Home afternoon, 5:45-7 p.m. Flip Sampler for Flora

Friday: Field trip / playdate / extra workshop day

Saturday: Home Day / occasional library programmes

Sunday: Family Day / theatre day / festival day

Winter 2010—Cinder Lindsay & Flora, Working Schedule
We are in Mexico Jan-Feb, not taking any formal classes winter session
Monday: 10-12 Swimming; Flex Afternoon
Tuesday: Calgary Homeschool Association: just hanging out (no planned classes)
Wednesday: 10:45 Orff Music for Flora, Home afternoon
Thursday: 10-12 Swimming; Home afternoon
Friday: Field trip / playdate / extra workshop day
Saturday: Home Day / occasional library programmes
Sunday: Family Day / theatre day

Spring 2010—Cinder Lindsay & Flora, Working Schedule
as above
+ Family Art class at one of the art centres
+ One week drama camp for Flora
+ One week bike or diving camp for Cinder

English: An Allosaurus vanquishes Camptosaurus...
English: An Allosaurus vanquishes Camptosaurus, Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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