Homeschool 7 - 12 | Tanya Wadhwani

AN (un)Typical Day 

Parents often ask me what my homeschool program looks like. What do the kids do? What do they learn? How does it work? 

I wish there was one way to answer that question; every year is different. Every new year the student group determines the way we learn and the way I teach. All I can share is what stays constant- my role is to offer an educational opportunity in which students feel at the center of their education. I want to encourage their passions, strengthen individual skills, solidify grade appropriate content level while enabling students to be critical thinkers. 

Academics

Student well-being is at the heart of my program but academics is vital. My main academic focus is on math and language arts. We spend a minimum of an hour on each subject. 

Math. Students engage with math at the level they enter my program. Math is a rigorous course with daily guided instruction, practice problems and an assigned problem set. I consecutively teach all levels, using a second teacher as support when needed. We use textbooks, pencil on paper and students take chapter assessments to assess learning. We use a combination of Go Math and the K12 math curriculum. Both series meet state and national standards. 

Language Arts. Reading is the foundation of learning; I incorporate reading into all areas of our curriculum. Students read a range of literature, articles, websites, poetry, and a play. In addition to reading, students review the elements of literature and nonfiction.

Language Arts goals include: 

1. Student will be able to read a piece of literature and be able to identify and discuss the themes as well as identify the basic elements of a novel including: theme, genre, perspective, character, and plot. Students will learn about human nature through discussing characters in works of fiction.

2. Students will write a number of revised writings including a persuasive paper, responses to documentaries, a persuasive letter, a poem, and responses to prompts. Students will learn how to incorporate research or evidence from an outside source into an essay, cite the source, and create a works cited.  

3. Students will practice grammar exercises to understand comma and other punctuation usage, subject/ verb agreement, sentence composition, and object/subject pronoun usage.

4. Students will complete vocabulary practice and integrate new vocabulary words into journaling and writing.

5. Students will respond to a daily prompt using proper conventions of writing as well as critical thinking skills. Students will incorporate similes, metaphors, personification and new vocabulary into their responses.

6.Students will engage in thoughtful conversations with their peers.

History & Science. History and science are organic. We use world events to guide our learning. Students are encouraged to understand how current events reflect history, and to draw parallels between the past, present and future. History does not have to be learned in chronological form, but in any way that students can connect it to their prior knowledge and see it as informative, rather than a set of facts to be memorized. Students are invited to choose what they learn; how they learn is at the heart of their studies. 

History & Science goals include: 

1. Students have an introductory understanding of the three branches of government and how they offer a system of checks and balances.

2. Students follow major news events as well as understand how crucial political policy changes affect different populations of Americans. Students have thoughtful discussions and use critical thinking skills to develop a personal understanding of the role of government in their lives, community, society, state and world.

3. Using The New York Times Learning Network and FanSchool League as platforms, students use critical thinking skills to follow the main global news events, locate countries on a map, and predict global news trends.

4. Students broaden their understanding of the ocean and it’s corals.

5. Students explore and self-direct their own learning. Students show personal growth in critical thinking and acquisition of new knowledge and/or skills. Students study science that is relevant to their lives. 

Everything Else.

As a group, students are encouraged to find a collective identity. This year's group loves to cook. Twice weekly, we cook together. We've made everything from fresh blueberry muffins to orange chicken. We learn from each other, laugh at the (often messy) process, and sit and enjoy together. It doesn't have to be cooking. We find something to do as a group.