This is going to be a fun and “interesting” year for us. Each year I feel more and more justified in saying we homeschool. It gets a little more intense and the education continues to increase which is so much fun. As I began planning out this year that looked normal and free from any schedule challenges I woke up at 3 AM on the 4th of July with round ligament pain… followed by a positive pregnancy test for #6 due in February! This is what I do love about homeschool because we just go with the flow. There will be another break in our schedule where my children get to learn again and experience again the joys of childbirth and welcoming home a new addition to the family and all the care, changes and even challenges that come with it. These are all incredible things for my children to learn from a young age that they would miss out on if we all went our separate ways and away from the family all day. That’s a very positive outlook : ) I also am challenged in how to homeschool my children with a 3 year old destroying the house, a 1 year old learning to walk, myself going through the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy and have a NB join in on this mess. God is trying to help me see the blessings in this challenge as well and the character growth He wants to do in my life. I am grateful for these challenges and pray that God keeps me here in this gratefulness in the midst of those days and moments where I feel like a crazy lady wondering what on earth God is doing in my life!
Back to the school planning:
- Amelia will be 8 in October and in 2nd Grade – Bigger Hearts for His Glory and 1 day a week in the Arts program at a Homeschool Academy
- Joshua will be 6 in October and in Kindergarten – Little Hearts for His Glory and 1 day a week in the STEM program at a Homeschool Academy
- Lydia will be 4 1/2 and in Pre-K – Little Hearts for His Glory combined with Joshua
- Joseph will be 3 in January and in “try not to destroy the house and whine too much while school is going on yet still feel included and loved” lessons
- Benjamin will be 1 in November and in “hopefully sleeping for most of school hours or playing quietly and not learning to walk or crawl up the stairs too quickly” lessons
- Baby #6 will be incubating hopefully gestational diabetes free style and due in February!
We started doing Logic of English last year after a lot of recommendations for a phonics program that taught how to read, how to spell, how to handwrite and grammar/phonics rules. It seemed all the different programs I tried was really good at one but was missing the others and I didn’t want to miss anything or require 3 different programs. LOE is all in one and it is so much fun! The kids actually really enjoy it so even though there is not a requirement to continue phonics in Bigger Hearts we are continuing to move through it to reinforce cursive handwriting as well as rules to phonogram sounds that are pretty advanced.
After a few weeks I am going to introduce some Spanish. I just picked up these Teach Them Spanish workbooks and we’ve got some other worksheets. I have a minor in Spanish (that is quickly fading) but I want the kiddos to know this language as it is so common today and I don’t know the best way to teach it but will start here. I think Rosetta Stone may be in our future but not this year.
And we are working through Piano Adventures for teaching piano as well. We started this last year and liked it so we will continue that as well.
Last year I printed all my planning sheets and spiral bound them. It worked pretty good, I liked the feel of it but just as I was afraid of we made some changes and then I couldn’t change the sheets since they were all printed. This year I am going back to my clipboard that will house the planning sheet for that week, my year long calendar sheet, my excel daily schedule plan, my daily school routine sheet and once I find a good homeschool prayer sheet or make one I will add that. I think I will like going back to this again too because I found a couple times last year I had some supplemental sheets I tucked into my spiral bound planner but they would fall out or the sides would get bent so this way I can add them to the clipboard and go with it.
Here is my planning sheet for Amelia for Bigger Hearts. I made this on Microsoft Word. I already revised it once from the first week. Tuesday is missing as she is at Homeschool Academy that day for an enrichment day. Wednesday is a little different as Joshua is at Homeschool Academy and Lydia will take the day off so it’ll just be me and Amelia doing school that day. So I’ve added in certain sections when I need to do two of a certain subject since it’s a 4 day week for a 5 day a week curriculum.
Here’s the planning sheet for Joshua & Lydia for Little Hearts. Same set up here although Wednesday is missing because of Joshua being gone and Tuesday is different since we host a bible study in our home Tuesday mornings so their school is condensed to 1 1/2 hrs in the afternoon before we have to leave to pick up Amelia. Again there are sections where I have added when to double up on sections to make up for these lost days.
This is sort of my brainstorm sheet for the 3 days we’re home all day. This was to help me actually decide what to do during their school time and some more details that may need to be remembered. I use this a lot at the beginning and once we get our routine and flow down then I don’t refer to it as much and mainly use the planning sheets above.
Here is my Excel planning sheet for the semester. I have made these for years and they are so helpful. I actually wrote a whole post on weekly scheduling. I was introduced to these in college and they were super helpful when planning my classes and extracurricular activities as well as scheduling in studying time and working out and getting a big picture of how my days/weeks will actually look like so I could rearrange as needed to make it realistic! My schedule here is a little confusing as I still work one night a week so I adjusted some school times based on if I was going to be sleeping one morning a week or one afternoon a week depending on my work shift.
And I’ve done this the past couple of years as well and have really liked a year long big picture but with room to brainstorm as well. Here I track how many days we complete school too. There are 4 months per sheet and it goes through next summer. I can plan holiday breaks, baby breaks, visitors breaks, etc.
I didn’t make too many changes to our school room this year except I added this board to the wall to display some of their work. My husband’s grandpa was big into woodworking and after he and my husband’s grandma passed away we took some of their leftover wood pieces. Neither of us are woodworkers but I had begun seeing all the neat natural wood wall displays and decorations all over pinterest and thought maybe some day I could use some… well, 2 years later I did! I pulled out these wooden slabs which are interlocking pieces and we glued them together and screwed in 3 stabilizing boards to the back. I ordered a vinyl sticker which I’ve added to wood pieces for wall decorations before (since we rent it was my solution as opposed to putting the vinyl stickers on the wall, that way when we move I can just take the boards with us and hang them on the next house). I love this verse for homeschooling and thought it would look really good put together. Then I put some screws, string and mini clips and there you go! It is really heavy and has fallen down onto the bookshelf below just once but we stabilized it pretty good and I think it’s there to stay! There is some of our work from the first week!