Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Preparing for the 2014/2015 Homeschool Year


I'm a homeschooling mom.  As a homeschooling mom, summer brings thoughts of a new school year, new books, new lessons......and I'm in charge of it all.  LOL  It can be overwhelming.  When I was homeschooling Lee and Greg, every June I would empty all my homeschooling "stuff" out of my homeschooling "closet" and decide what our focus for the year would be, what we would be using that we already had and what would need to be purchased.  I would organize the closet again according to those decisions and purchase what was needed.  We frequently started the year up in July.  Hopefully that will be the case this year as well.

The problem with this plan is that as the years went on all the "homeschooling stuff" aka BOOKS didn't fit in the homeschooling "closet". So I used bookshelves, then rubbermaid totes to contain our "learning materials"  aka BOOKS.  When we moved to town I was in heaven because there were built-in bookshelves in 2 of the downstairs rooms.  All of our "stuff" (aka BOOKS) had a home and I organized according to category (history, children's, science, art, etc).  It was wonderful.

Here, there are no built-in bookshelves.  Anywhere.  There isn't really room to put bookshelves except in a hallway upstairs outside of  Lee's bedroom.  Currently, that is where the boxes, and boxes, and boxes of school "stuff" aka BOOKS reside....also there are some in the upstairs linen closet, upstairs landing and one shelf of Abby's bookshelves and 2 shelves (and some creative stacking) of a downstairs bookcase I snuck into a dining room corner and on 2 shelves of the dining room hutch and a small stack of current stuff on the air conditioner.....there are also children's books in Abby's room, Bear's room and on the living room coffee table.  (((sigh)))  Did I mention that I have a stack (ok, 3 stacks) of books on the floor beside my bed?  And antique books in the china cabinet?  And cookbooks in the kitchen?  If there is a 12 step program for book hoarders, I don't want to know about it.  I. Just. Don't.

I went to a homeschooling convention in Cincinnati Ohio with a friend in April.  If you've never been to a homeschool convention, the seminars are wonderful but the reason everyone goes is for the vendor hall.  Think, shopping mall for book lovers.  Yep.  So I go and on the first pass through the vendor hall the first day I picked up all the free magazines and catalogs.  I went with very little shopping money and managed to come home with my free stuff and a very nice planner.  Hooray!

I also hashed out multiple ideas for how our upcoming school year would go.  I think I ended up with 3 different plans before the weekend was over.  I've since made up 2 more plans and then reverted back to one of the ones I made in Cincinnati.

Here is an overview of the plans:
Plan 1:  My Father's World.....1st grade stuff for Bear (would just need to buy worksheets from MFW, handwriting and Singapore 1) and then some cheap workbooky things for Abby.  Relatively in-expensive. (I haven't figured up exact cost of that yet, probably around $150.) Would require me to dig for the necessary books in the boxes upstairs.

Plan 2:  Sonlight.....I'm looking at P4/5 for both, adding in LA 1, Singapore 1 and handwriting for Bear.  Using as is with Abby.  Approximately $600.  Like I have that kind of money laying around (maybe I'll look under the chickens).

Plan 3: A compilation of various things including language arts from Queens homeschool, Singapore 1, unit studies/lapbooks for history and science, handwriting and workbooky stuff for Abby.  Cost around $100 but I would have to do all the legwork.

Plan 4: I briefly looked at Heart of Dakota.  I don't really think it is in the running.

I've been back to Sonlight twice.  I love Sonlight.  I used it some with Lee and Greg (core 3 and 4 - now labeled C and D spread over 3 years).  I think if we started with P4/5 that I would be able to keep the kids together, spreading each core over 1.5 years or so supplementing with free lapbooks to really dig in to the material.  The cost would be substantial over the next 3 years or so but then I would be using something that I already have.  I just don't have $600 and honestly, I don't have the bookcase space that Sonlight requires.

I like My Father's World.  I've used MFW Grade 1 and Adventures (2nd).  It is similar to Sonlight.  I like the Language arts.  The cost would be very small this year and next year.  I could roll Abby in with Bear whenever I want.  I already have MFW K (that is what Bear used over 2 years, when he was almost 5 and 6 - he has a late birthday).  I would need to dig for the books but the teacher's manual is right here next to me.  I don't know why I don't like it as much.  There is no logical reason as the programs are very, very similar.  We can supplement units with free lapbooks or could even buy lapbook kits because honestly I would have very little output of money.

I'm not very good at putting my own stuff together.  It never ends well.  I know that is a weakness I have so even though it might save a little money and it would be fun, I know that I just won't get it done.  And then there we are.  lol

Ok.  So, now that I've hashed that all out (wasn't it fun???) I think that we are looking at My Father's World first grade for Bear.  I will get Singapore math 1 and handwriting (either a Reason for Handwriting or Handwriting without Tears.....comments???).  I already have All About Spelling Level 1 and we will finish working through our Alphaphonics book.  Abby will continue doing the preschool workbooks that I already have her working through and I will get tot packs to supplement as she gets bored.  Maybe mid-year I will evaluate her and possibly begin MFW K with her....we will see how it is going.

I've written out plans to get us started in July working on some life skills.  We will start the actual curriculum in August.  Probably around the time the boys start public school.  We will see how the harvesting/preserving of the garden is going.

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