I worked on planning this school year (the one that just started), way back in the spring. I made this massive list 2012-2013 Curriculum Planning and then I went on my merry way finishing out last year.
Well, wouldn’t you know it, now I am rethinking my plans. I know that I am not the only one this happens to. I am just so thankful that I have not purchased my materials yet. Wahoo!
We want this year to be fun, but productive. We have some new things up our sleeves, which I can’t share just yet. Oh how I wish I would share, but I need to make more progress on them, so you will just have to wait in suspense, while I finish them (or at least make more progress).
Growing Our Homeschool
This year we have 5 students and I am doing my best to plan our days and lessons to spread myself around, promote independence, and maximize productivity. We also need to factor in our growing home business (Honeycomb Design Studio).
Our students this year are:
Elisha in grade 7
Moses in grade 6
Malachi in grade 4
Zion in preschool
Hosanna in preschool
Rethinking Our Plans
I had chats with each of the big kids to see what things they wanted to learn this year. I wanted to see how I could weave their interests into our overall plans. The things they wanted to learn were creative and interesting. Architecture, puppetry, photography, art journaling, inventors and inventions, electronics, volcanoes, and blogging were just a few of the things the kids wanted me to develop courses for. In the interest of helping them pursue the things that they are passionate about, we will be making those subjects a priority.
Since we only have so many hours in our day, I need to re-evaluate our whole plan to see how we can fit everything in. We are not meeting with our support teacher until next weekend and our IEP planning meeting is two weeks after that, so I have a bit of time to get all my ducks in a row.
What do you do when you have to rethink your homeschool plans? Do you have your homeschool plans all in order?
Day 2: What Materials Should I Use & Where Can I Find Them?
What materials do you already have?
go through your house and gather all your materials (check the basement, cupboards, closets, and bookshelves)
declutter and purge materials you did not like and won’t use again
store things you are not using, but might need for another year
Where can you get free materials?
family and friends
Jennifer over at Teaching Boys created a price sheet for comparing homeschooling materials at various locations. I have seen this done for grocery shopping, but never for purchasing homeschooling materials. I seriously love this idea.
Ordering Used Curriculum
I wrote a list post last year about all the places that you can buy and sell your homeschool materials and it is loaded with resources for you. Including a place where you can borrow materials if you are in need and a place where you can rent materials. Seriously, go take a look.
We have been homeschooling as a family for going on seven years now. Every year has been different. Every year we have used different materials and I really feel that there has been no continutiy from year to year. We have been hopping from one shiny curriculum to the next.
You don’t need a shiny new pre-packaged curriculum every year to have a great homeschooling adventure. One of our favorite years was the year we studied Native North Americans and we pieced it together from a variety of sources. The kids loved it and we all still talk about it.
A Bit About Us
Elisha spent kindergarten at a local public school and I hung out at home with Moses (4) and Malachi (2), and the twins (Zion and Hosanna) would arrive about 3 years later.
Elisha had the most amazing kindergarten teacher who fell in love with him. In that first year of his public school life, we discovered that Elisha had ADHD and Autism/Aspergers. The decision to put Elisha in public school for that one year, was a very hard one. There were some life circumstances beyond my control and it was the very best thing for our family at the time.
I had always wanted to homeschool. We had even done some preschool at home. When we officially made the decision to come home to school, I had this “school” mentality stuck in my head. Even though I wanted so much more for our learning time at home, it was hard to truly trust my instincts (the nudging of the Holy Spirit). Trust your instincts.
Getting Ready For This Year
My hubby graciously brought a ton of boxes up from the basement for me to go through, this weekend, so that I could start purging six years worth of homeschool materials BEFORE I place my orders for this year.
The thrift store pile was pretty decent and my mom was gracious enough to drop it off this afternoon. I wish I could say the keep pile was smaller, but it’s not. I was able to create several empty boxes by merging materials together, thus giving the illusion that I was purging more than I really was. This was not intentional, but a nice result. We love our books.
This is just part of the keep pile, but in my own defence, we have five kids. It is my hope to move most of these books into my homeschool cupboards, so that they are more easily accessible. If something is not in front of my face, I tend to forget it exists. I am very visual.
I had some books that I was looking for and could not find them when my husband informed me that we still have more boxes to go through in the basement. Yippee, more books. (rolls eyes)
So, how do you decide what to teach?
Do you blog surf and read excellent reviews and think that everything is a perfect fit for your family? It’s okay. I have done that. There are so many things to think about when you are deciding what to teach your family. If you need some help getting started, I have gathered a list of important resources for you to start with. After you take some time to pray, of course.
Topical Course Of Study
The Topical Course Of Study from World Book is an amazing place to start. They have a list for each level from Pre K to Grade 12. The lists are very logical and concrete, which works well for my brain, but also leaves room for personal interpretation.
Home Learning Year By Year
The cover says, “How to Design a Homeschool Curriculum. What Your Child Needs to Know from Preschool to High School.” This book covers what to teach, how to teach it, and what resources to use. It is a fully loaded resource.
Design A Study
These books are very useful in helping you to plan a course of study for your children. I have owned various versions of these books over the years, but I am hoping to replenish them with the most recent versions when I place my orders for this coming year.
Core Knowledge has a series called, “What your ____ grader needs to know.” You can find most of the series available on Amazon. It is worth looking into.
Prescribed Learning Outcomes For British Columbia (or PLO’s)
The PLO’s for BC can be found on the BC Government’s website, Curriculum Packages by Grade. If you live in BC and participate in a DL school, you will need to be somewhat familiar with these. Everyone else can browse at their own leisure or disregard.
I did a quick search for a set of resources that would tell what the state standards were, but I came up empty. If anyone has a resource for this, please let me know.
Thinking More On The Subject
This article about What To Teach Your Children has some more food for thought, including how to write a mission statement for your family.
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Disclosure: None of the links in this post are affiliate links. They probably should be, but they aren’t yet. I just love sharing excellent resources.