Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Planning for 2016-17

   Where is 2016 going?  I can't believe we are already 4 months in.  Our public school friends are getting ready for the end of the school year.  The ice cream man has already started making his rounds.  Curriculum fairs and displays are popping up everywhere.  By the time we start back to school in the fall, the year will be more than halfway over.  I'm a planner so in my head, I'm already in June and July.  This year we will be schooling into June and possibly July as well.  This is the first time we've ever gone into the summer like that with our current year.  We've schooled in the summer with the following year a few times, though the last two summers we have not.

   We are very eclectic homeschoolers by nature but we lead a very busy life so in an effort to insure we are getting everything in, last year we went to a boxed curriculum.  I wasn't sure how it was going to go over with the boys and in the beginning it was a bit shaky.  We stuck with it though and ended up loving it.  We decided on Abeka, which is very rigorous and thorough.  We continued our ShillerMath along with the Abeka math, added Beautiful Feet history and Apologia Astronomy.  The added subjects are programs that fit with our style a little better and since Abeka doesn't completely fit our style, the added programs have slid in perfectly to keep us excited about school.  This year we had a 4th grader, 1st grader, and 2 preschoolers.  We also have a toddler and a newborn.  I'm not sure how I've kept my sanity or if it really is gone and I just haven't realized that I need to be committed somewhere.  I won't say it's been easy, with moving and a new baby, as well as a crazy schedule for foster care visits and therapy.  It has been fun though.

   This time of the year also brings about many questions from friends that are considering homeschooling or that are looking at making changes to their homeschool for the following year.  I find myself getting excited as I help them to decide what may be right for them.  I love answering their questions and getting to know their teaching styles and their kids' learning styles.  I love looking at curricula that doesn't fit our style but might fit theirs.  I love learning about new hurdles others are facing and helping them to find a way to jump over those hurdles.  I love to help others have success homeschooling, just as we have.

  Each year at this time I ask my kids 2 questions.  1.  Do you want to go to public school next year or continue homeschooling?  So far each year they have wanted to continue homeschooling.  I don't know what I'm going to do when one decides he wants to go to school.  2.  Do you like how we did school this year?  For the first time in 5 years of homeschooling, they've wanted nothing to be different.  That means that finally, after 5 years we have found something that works well for us.  Well, for my oldest 2, I have 4 more coming up so we will see once they get started really well.  I take my kids' answers very seriously and I try to find curricula or programs that will better suit us the following year.  My kids thought this year was good, and it was for my oldest.  My 1st grader is my artist and he needs a little something more creative for next year.  My preschoolers also need more for next year than just a work book and Mommy finding them work throughout the morning.  So taking this information, I set out on a journey through the world wide web to find what we need.  This year I ended up digging in my closet and finding just what I need.  We will add 1 other thing that brings us back to our Montessori style and goes perfectly with what I found in the closet.

   So what are we using for everyone this year?

Elijah/Levi:  Complete grade level kits from Abeka, ShillerMath Kit I and ShillerMath Kit II,                                  Beautiful Feet Books history, Apologia Botany.  We will do several units from Hands of
                     a Child and Five in a Row as well.  These will be geared for the younger kids but using                        the FIAR Notebook Pages, we will adapt each of their level.  They enjoy reading along                        with us and participating in those activities so I plan to assign them work to go with                              those.  

Malachi/Ladybug:  Complete grade level kits from Abeka, beginnng Montessori lessons for math,                            Hands of a Child and Five in a Row units, and Brainy Kits to go along with the units                            that we are studying.

   I am looking forward to next school year.  My number one thing I want to do different is have a morning Bible time.  For some reason we just never get around to it and I want to make it a priority next year.  I also want to do a daily calendar time and use more music throughout the day.  We had planned to do calendar time this year, then life hit us hard and we went into survival mode after only a few days.  We bought an ipad last year specifically to put all of our music on for morning group, Bible study, and math.  I haven't yet made time to get the music on the ipad.  That is my main goal for the summer!

   If you have already started planning for next year, share with us your plans.

 

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