2012-2013 School Year Planning

It’s a little early for this, isn’t it?  Sure does feel like it to me, but guess what I’ll be doing during my usual yearly planning time…….taking care of a NEWBORN. 🙂  So I guess it isn’t early, it’s just in time.

After reading and rereading parts of The Well Trained Mind, I’ve decided that is THE route we need to take for much of our curriculum.  I fell in love with the WTM years ago, and the book is one of my favorites.  BUT I’ve never really implemented much. I’ve always found things I thought I’d like better (some that I actually do like better but it isn’t getting done) but I’ve always gone back to that book when I realized something isn’t working.  I feel that the WTM way for most of our curriculum is exactly what we need to make more AND better qualitly progress. 

The focus of our 2012-2012 school year is books, books and more books. We haven’t read near as many books this year I had planned.  It wasn’t necessarily a bad year but not one of the good ones either. Although our spring semester is going much better than the fall, I’m looking forward to starting fresh with a brand new school year and a different plan in place.

Here is what we’ll be using:

Nathan 9th grade (HIGH SCHOOL!!!)
  • Saxon Algebra and Life of Fred
  • R&S English
  • Elements of Style (LA)
  • Either Wordly Wise OR Megawords OR Vocabulary From the Classical Roots series
  • Great Books for lit and history
  • History spine is undecided at this point
  • Apologia Physical Science
  • Spanish (haven’t settled on a curriculum yet but Rosetta Stone is the front-runner)
  • Computer Science (the name of the program escapes me but he is super excited about it….he wants to be just like his oldest (adult) brother who graduated from college this past December!)

Kaleb 3rd grade
  • Spelling Workuot
  • Continuing cursive with A Reason for Handwriting
  • R&S English
  • WTM writing suggestion
  • Math Mammoth with CSPM supplements
  • Story of the World & WTM reading list
  • WTM science suggestion
  • Spanish (pretty light…mostly using Usborne materials)

Gabriel 1st grade
  • WTM writing suggestion
  • Spelling Workout A
  • First Language Lessons
  • A Reason for Handwriting
  • Math Mammoth with CSPM supplements
  • WTM science suggestion (with Kaleb)
  • Story of the World & WTM reading list (with Kaleb)
  • Spanish (with Kaleb)

Drake preschool
  • Letter of the Week
  • WTM Reading, Writing, & Math suggestions
  • history, Spanish, & science with K and G as interested
  • LeapFrog videos

Together-Not including our bible study, Nathan’s level of participation will not be to the same extent as the littles.  He needs a little geography, but he probably won’t participate in the activities. I have a few other materials for him to use in Art/Music Appreciation. He won’t be asked to join in morning calendar time or arts and crafts which I’m sure he will appreciate. 🙂
  • Apologia What We Believe series as well as individual bible time.
  • Art Appreciation (probably also from Confessions of a Homeschooler)
  • Music Appreciation (from Confessions of a Homeschooler)
  • Galloping the Globe (we’ve pretty much abandoned this but Kaleb REALLY wants to do it so I just need to make it happen. Ha!)
  • State Study (again from Confessions of a Homeschooler)
  • Morning calendar time
  • Seasonal/holiday/history/literature/science arts and crafts
  • Many, many hours per week spent with our noses in BOOKS!  Nathan and Kaleb will have plenty of history and lit books to keep them occupied (mostly I’ll read the lit books to Kaleb and Gabriel).  Everyone will have plenty of *fun* books to read every week, and I will be reading many history, science etc books to whomever will listen, mostly the three littles (well I guess by then it will be the FOUR littles!!!), throughout the day.

I still have a few more decisions to make as far as logic and a couple other smaller issues, and I feel like I’m forgetting something.  However for the most part, this is what our new school year will look like!

I am MOST excited about the WTM history and science. I think this is the PERFECT fit for our family.  I do hate to give up on Apologia’s elementary science series but to be honest, we just don’t get it done.  I think the little boys will enjoy all of the books and experiements that will come from the WTM suggestions.

Now comes the part I LOVE about planning……..the purchasing, printing and organizing!  The GOAL is to have it all done before the baby arrives so we can just kick back, and enjoy him and the summer before starting back in August.  I’m in the process of getting my plan written out so I don’t forget anything.  Eeeek! I’m excited!!!

Tell me what you think about our plan.  If you see any holes, let me know.  I still have the feeling I’m forgetting something….. 🙂

Arts/crafts, history, and geography WILL get done this year!

Yes, that’s right.  We WILL do at least one craft a week, including the cool crafts in history and holiday/seasonal crafts, this year.  We WILL stay on top of our history and geography programs this year.  We WILL be prepared.  We WILL have a fun year {or at least more fun than last year}. You know how I know?  It’s all right here…planned, printed, and ready to go….waiting on us. 
All of the printables, book lists, and material lists needed for history and geography, all of the craft details, AND all of the paper materials needed for every craft in a nice, pretty weekly schedule. I LOVE it.
BUT.  It doesn’t stop there.  I also have all of the other printables, book lists, and material lists for other subjects in their appropriate binder placed in the appropriate drawer of their workboxes.  Everything printed and ready…waiting on us {instead of the other way around}.
Now I just have to get started gathering the materials.  I have a storage tub just waiting to be filled with ziplock bags full of materials needed for each week’s science experiments, crafts, history projects, and more.
My mid-school year self is really going to appreciate my summer self.  I’m excited.  Bring on the school year!!!

Summer planning and printing PROGRESS!

I am SO excited that I am getting EVERYTHING planned and printed for the new school year.  Here’s what I have so far:

Kaleb’s Math

The first 8 weeks of GtG and several chapters in SOTW.  Also I have printed lapbook/notebook materials for science section in GtG, as well as the Draw Write Now animal pages for each animal we’ll study.

The Famous Artist curriculum (so excited about this!), an 8 week character study, and the first half of Gabriel’s math.

I don’t know why this is sideways.  No matter what I did, it stayed this way.  These are the poems from FLL1 that Kaleb will memorize this year.

Not pictured {because I just realized I forgot to take a picture} are some number handwriting pages that I plan to laminate for Gabriel. 

I have so much more to print before I’m finished but I’m sure I’ll get it all done.  I’m taking the maths to be spiral-bound with a hard backing and a see-through hard cover.  Everything else will go into a binder or the hanging files in the 2nd picture.  I am almost finished with the book and materials lists.  Super excited about that!

Hopefully all of this summer organizing will help make our school year run a lot smoother AND we’ll actually get a lot more accomplished.  No more dropping art/crafts and all the other fun extras just because I don’t have time to find materials and print pages!!

Tomorrow….I’m finishing up Gabriel’s math, and working on history and GtG.

Cool local curriculum finds!

I love buying new curriculum books and supplies….so much so that I start looking forward to the next year’s shopping as soon as I’m done with the current year’s shopping. 

I usually find all of our curriculum online, but this year has been a bit different.  Two ladies in our area pulled together the first annual homeschool curriculum consignment sale.  I didn’t have much to sell and actually didn’t even get my things ready in time for the sale, thanks to a head cold, but I wasn’t looking forward to selling.  I was looking forward to buying. 

I had a mental list of items we need for the 2011-2012 school year, and then I had the mental list of items I want and items we would need in the future.  I had decided I would only purchase wants and future needs if they were a steal.  I researched online all of the items on my list to have an idea of prices.
I am SO excited with the deals I made!! 
My greatest find which was actually several finds to make the set was the Saxon Math Algebra 1/2.  I was a little overwhelmed with all the *stuff* included in the set.  I was so thankful that a good friend helped me sort it all out, and I came away with everything Nathan needs for less than $30!!
I also found this Rod & Staff English 3 student/teacher set for $6!!  My long term *plan* is to start the littles on R&S English after they each finish First Language Lessons 1/2. 

This Wordly Wise workbook was only a buck fifty.  I’m not sure if I’ll use it for Kaleb this year or next but I do want to give it a try.  As much as Nathan and I detest WW, I honestly think its a good program.  If it doesn’t work for Kaleb, I’m only out $1.50. 
There was also a FREE table.  YES!  I found a devotional for Nathan, and Kaleb and Gabriel each found a little book they wanted.   I don’t know why this picture is turned sideways….it isn’t in my photo album! This is the devotional for Nathan and the other book is a homeschool book that I picked up for about $2.
So I only found one need for the new school year but it was a HUGE need, and I think I scored a great deal!  Now to scour the internet for the rest of our school needs!

Closing out the 2009-2010 school year! And the new line-up…

We like schooling year around with a lot of nice breaks in the mix.  When we complete a level, we just move to the next.  Sometimes we’ll take a small break from the subject, sometimes not.  Just depends on how things are going.  Nathan finished up his math last month and asked to take off the month of May from math.  After such a challenging year for him and some major successes, I thought he deserved just that and he is enjoying his time off.

We’re pretty much in the middle of everything else but science.  Between co-op and sports, we just never could get it started.  We WILL get started next week!!  (that’s the plan anyway)

So our official school year will end this Thursday with Kaleb’s kindergarten graduation.  He is SO excited!!  Our homeschool group usually has one every year and this year I am heading it up.  There are only three prek’ners and k’ners participating so we’re making it easy and fun.  A trip to the park, pictures with a graduation cap and balloons, homemade personalized cookie cakes, and lots of playtime!

Then I will officially have a 7th grader, 1st grader, preschooler, and toddler.  🙂

We’re going to concentrate this summer on getting finished with SOTW 1, getting started with Apologia Botany, math, and reading.

The 2010-2011 curriculum line-up looks like this:

Saxon 76 and 87/supp with some MM 5 and 6
R&S English 5 and 6
(still considering Lightening Lit)
(still working on a writing program to supplement R&S English…maybe Writing Strands?)
Vocab notebook from literature, history, and science
French (independently)
Apologia General Science (SO looking forward to this!)
Apologia Botany (finish up with the littles)
Dig Deep and then I’m not sure where we’ll go from there.

MM 1 and 2
A Reason for Handwriting
Apologia Botany
Galloping the Globe (which will cover most of his art and science after Botany)

OPGTR (very slowly….)
ETC primers
LeapFrog videos and games
Apologia Botany (when he wants to participate)
Galloping the Globe

Keys for Kids
AO composer study, artist study, nature study, hymns, folksongs, etc.
The Learnables Spanish
Thinking seriously about doing 1+1+1=1’s Raising Rock Stars bible study with the younger three.  If not, I’ll have to find something else for them.

Is that all?  I think so.

I’m most excited about Nathan’s science, Spanish, and Galloping the Globe!!  I am working hard at putting together books lists for each of the boys and getting the year all planned.  The best piece of advice I read (on a blog but I forget where….) on preparing for the next school year was to do all of the copying, organizing, and planning for the whole year during the summer.  Get it all done so there is no last minute scrambling and searching…or much anyway. I already got a head start!!  Every weekend I do a little more so that come July and our first day of the new school year, we’ll be all ready to go!  I’ve also been working on getting our school room re-organized to make it work better for us.  Labeling, labeling, labeling everything!!

Our workboxes made it through the year with us although we went from file folders to these.  We will definitely be keeping them!  The fact is……we get SO much more work done when we are using our tweaked workbox system!!  Gabriel will soon have his own set of workboxes and I might even get some for Drake to keep his little tot tray activities better organized.

YAY!!  Our 2nd year of homeschooling is coming to an end.  Very excited to get our 3rd year planned and ready!

Week 22-24: Jan 25-Feb 12

We have spent the last three weeks working hard, and I haven’t taken many pictures. 

The boys have been working hard.  Nathan and Kaleb both are doing very well in math.  MM was the perfect addition to Nathan’s math program.  He has been so much better with Saxon since we added MM.  Those two math programs really compliment each other!  Kaleb has been flying through Saxon 1.  I am thinking about adding MM 1 for him just because he is going so fast through Saxon.  I want to make sure he is retaining.  He has the majority of addition facts memorized already.  Seriously, he is blowing me away with his math ability!

We are finishing up Apologia Astronomy and have Botany waiting on us.  I bought the Botany Notebooking Journal to go with the book.  I don’t like Apologia’s free notebooking printables.  They are too plain.  Nathan needs a little bit of guidance to his notebooking/lapbooking.  For Astronomy, I printed the free lapbook pieces from a yahoo group, but  there isn’t a free Botany lapbook.  After looking at the samples on the Apologia’s website, I just decided to go with the journal.  I can’t wait to see it!  We are all really excited to get started with Botany, and what perfect timing!!  Spring is just around the corner.

R&S English is still just as boring as always, but still working so well for us!  I see all these posts on forum boards about fun, exciting, easy English programs, but I just can’t take R&S away!  It is working so well.  I don’t think Nathan will ever develop my love of grammar, but at least I know he will understand it.  My only complaint is that I don’t think there is enough diagramming instruction.  I think I may just get a diagramming book for over the summer to cement what he has learned already before moving on.

OPGTR is amazing as always.  Kaleb is doing so well.  We are covering long vowel sounds so this is pretty easy for him since he has the LeapFrog videos.  When the lessons are short, we do two a day.  It is just about time to pull our my own kindergarten reading books for him to read.  I have been patiently waiting until he make it through long vowel sounds before getting them out.  I LOVE having these old books for my boys.  I can still actually remember reading them myself.

Kaleb moved into ETC 2 a while back and is about finished with it.  I decided to get the 1/2 books for him.  He does so well with ETC, and I heard that the 1/2 books weren’t just about having extra practice but had some fun activities that the whole books don’t.  We’ll see how it goes.

I have spent quite a bit of time collecting materials and planning for my spring co-op class and next school year.   I am so excited about the class and next year’s schedule!!  It seems every year we homeschool gets better and better. 

For our spring co-op that starts on the first Friday of March, I am teaching a K-2 geography class.  I hadn’t planned on teaching a class since I’m also co-director, but we were in need of another K-2 class.  I’ve had a lot of fun planning it and can’t wait for co-op to start!!  I looked and looked for a program that would fit the class requirements.  I love Galloping the Globe, and purchased it for my homeschool next school year.  However I don’t think it will work with my class.  After a bit  more searching, I decided to make my own curriculum for the class and it is working out wonderfully.  I am making the children’s books and my teacher’s manual myself, and they are looking great!  I can’t wait to have it all printed!!

I also have next school year just about planned.   We are keeping everything except WW, R&S Spelling, MEP and MOH.  Nathan and I are both bored out of our minds with WW.  I am currently looking for a new vocab program.  I may just skip it this year since I’m supplementing our history with the Famous Men series.  I noticed last night that each chapter includes a vocab list!  R&S Spelling wasn’t getting done.  Plus I plan to use vocab words as spelling.  We dropped MEP earlier this school year and added Math Mammoth.  We just recently dropped MOH in favor of using SOTW as our main history spine now.  I added SOTW AG’s and will add GtG and foreign language for next year.  As per Nathan’s request, we are going to add an art/drawing class.  Also I would love to {finally} add the CM composer/artist schedule to our homeschool.  I tried earlier this school year but gave up due to our out of the home schedule.  This time around I would like to get it established before that busy fall/sports season.

I know I’m forgetting something, but this is long enough for now.  If you’ve hung with me this far, please take a look at our snowy pictures below.  We don’t usually get snow like this around here so we have had a fun couple of weeks!  I have to say though I am ready for Spring and warmer weather.  There is a reason I live in the south….I’m a hot weather fan!

Progressive Phonics

I ran across this website months ago.  I registered, but never went any further than looking.  I don’t know how many times I have gone back to the website, thinking I should be utilizing it somehow.  I mean, after all….FREE phonics lessons!!  Surely I could find a way to use it!!!!

Today I was searching the www looking for some free printables on Th digraphs because Kaleb is having some trouble with the voiced and unvoiced difference.  Then we added in THR and NGTH…and the child actually GROWLED at me!!!    Time for a lapbook or file folder game……or Progressive Phonics.  (Ok, well I still plan on finding a lapbook or file folder game, but during my search I remembered PP.)

I printed the books (for fresh stories…he isn’t thrilled with repeating the same few stories in Ordinary Parents Guide to Reading) and the handwriting pages.  During the printing I remembered that one of my two incredibly cool sils gave me a TON of phonics materials that they are finished with over Christmas break.  There were a couple more Th digraph books in the box too!!

You’ll notice if you download the books that there are two book pages on each paper.  I folded the paper in half and used a glue stick to keep it together.  Then I hold-pumched each folded sheet (not at the crease, but at the glued ends) and used book rings.  I actually have book 1 and 2 of the intermediate series on this set of rings and I plan on putting the rest of the books in this series with this set so they are all together.  I also printed the handwriting pages and a couple of the activities pages, but I will just 3-hole punch those and put them in his handwriting notebook.

I do recommend gluing the top, side, bottom, and crease to keep the page together.  I had to go back through some when I realized just gluing the sides together wouldn’t work.  I also recommend using a glue stick instead of school glue so you don’t get those wrinkles.

I skipped the beginner series since Kaleb is past that already, but I do plan on going back and making those books to have for Gabriel and Drake.

Kaleb is VERY excited to have all these new books to read!  I am excited to {finally} be using PP.  I can’t stand not having a reason to use a freebie!!

I don’t know how well this program would work independently.  I have seen it listed solo in other homeschool moms siggy lines on forum boards though so it might be great!  I love OPGTR, ETC, and BOB books too much to give those up though.  I think it will be a terrific addition to our current phonics plan!! 

(btw….just have to share because it excites me to no end all day, every day.  Kaleb is such a READER!!  ….and his MAMA is the one teaching him!!!  I just think that is SO very cool!  He finally agrees that he is a reader too!!  YAY me!!  YAY him!!)

Curriculum Week.


Darcy of Life With My 3 Boybarians is hosting a Not Back to School Blog Hop. Every Monday this month will feature a different topic. This week’s topic is curriculum.

I scored with history and science when I found Mystery of History and Apologia Astronomy earlier this year. I have been reading through both since February and I LOVE them!! I see us using both for a long, long time.

I struggled with math and still am really. I settled on Saxon for my oldest. Since he was in public school for K-4, he is used to this approach. Last year’s Rod & Staff was a huge bomb. I really hope Saxon works better for him. The struggle was with what to do for my k’ner. I went ahead and picked up Saxon K and 1 at a great used price so I could look through them. I like Saxon, but I love MEP math. With the way things come and go so fast online, I don’t know if I should start with MEP only to need a change later on down the road. I know he would THRIVE with MEP though. So my decision as of right now is to…do both! =) Actually we’re supplementing with MEP with both older boys. We are using two years below his grade level for my oldest and level 1 for my k’ner. We’ll see how it goes.

For language arts, my oldest is using R&S English 5. He had no *real* formal English instruction in public school and we did Seton English last year which I did not like at all. We will add Wordly Wise later on after we get going well with R&S. As for reading, Nathan is a reading champ so he will just read from a list I put together from the 1000 Good Books list and AO’s book list for 6th grade. These he will be expected to narrate. His free reading will be his decision and not narrated. I have a few Total Language Arts workbooks that we can add in later on if he needs a break from R&S.

After disliking Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Lessons and not enjoying Phonics Pathways, I decided to use SWB’s Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading. My k’ner and I have already been working hard with phonics. He is doing very well with cvc words and can read some cvcv/cvvc words with help. He gets the rules but sometimes forgets how to use them. We did our first lesson from OPGTR today and LOVED it!!! He enjoyed it and so did I! We actually did two lessons because we’re starting with cvc words for review and he wanted to keep going. We’re also using Explode the Code 1. He enjoyed A, B, and C. I’m sure he will continue to enjoy this series.

I have First Language Lessons 1/2 for my k’ner, but I think we’ll put this off until after the first half of the year. I want him to get a solid grasp on reading before adding anything else to his plate.

I feel like I’m leaving something out, but that is the core of our curriculum. We are using various resources for bible study, art/music, and copywork. I had wanted to start Latin but I think we’ll put that off for a while.

I am looking forward to this year! I spent a great deal of time planning our schedule this year. We have many fun extras to go along with all of our core subjects. We are also using a loose version of the workbox system. I think this will fit nicely into our school.

I look forward to reading other’s curriculum posts!! Thank you for reading mine!! =)


I have finally made our curriculum choices!

I am really excited about the MEP math. I know Kaleb will love it!! We did a couple lessons already to see what he thought. I really think it will help Nathan with his math issues too…it is more hands-on.

I am MOST excited about our history!!! I have started working on getting it all planned out. Soon I will have everything printed and put in their binders.

After reading Preschoolers and Peace, I’ve decided to make binders for each child in each subject. Then use dividers to separate each week’s work. All we will have to do is pull the appropriate binder for each child and get to work! No running for copies or having to stop to organize. I am working hard this summer to make sure everything is planned and ready to go by August 3rd.

Still working on some fun *back to school* ideas. So far I have decided to get each of the three olders their own 2x3ft bulletin board to hang above their own workspace. We’ll take a trip to Mardels so they can pick out their own border and decorations for the boards. They’ll be able to put whatever they want on their boards. We’ll use them to show off prized works of art, special school pages, and anything else they want to put on their boards. I’ll also use the boards to leave little encouraging notes for each child…I’m really looking forward to *surprising* them with little notes throughout the school year. I am also going to put together little baskets of fun school goodies for each child to have sitting at their workspaces for the first day. I think we’ll have a very light day, a lunch treat, and some fun park playtime. Also I read about a fun idea of having them fill out a questionnaire of sorts…questions about all their favorites, their expectations, what they are most excited about in the new school year, and other fun stuff. Won’t that be so cool to look back on years down the road?

I have a lot to do before August!! I am just so excited for this new school year!

Kindergarten with Kaleb & 6th grade with Nathan

I have been working on next *year’s* schedule.

Nathan’s book list:
I always let him pick a series or author to read on his own. It can be whatever he wants, fluff or not.

On top of his own selections, I took most of this list from Ambleside Online.

Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
Jack and Jill by Louisa May Alcott
The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss
Call of the Wild by Jack London
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Penrod by Booth Tarkington
Little Brother of the Bear by William J. Long
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls 20th century-with TLP
My Side of the Mountain
The Wheel on the School-use with TLP
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch-with TLP
The Twenty-One Balloons-with TLP

Math-MEP 4 and 5

LA-TLP, finish up Seton 6, and then we will move into Christian Light Education 6. We will also work on diagramming this year. He has no public school experience so we will start from the beginning. This website looks promising. I am still undecided on writing.

Science-Exploring Creation with Astronomy. I have a series of lapbooks prepared to go along with this, as well as a few videos.


History-MOH 1 and SOTW 1. I worked out a schedule, combining both of these books and the bible, as well as some additional craftmaking plans to go along with the books. I have a small collection of living books as well as a list of books we will get from the library. I will have to list those later. Also I have a small list of videos.

Latin-Lively Latin.


Kaleb’s curriculum

Again, I will allow him to pick one book on his own a week whether it is one that he will be able to read himself or I will read to him. I have a large collection of beginning reader books that we will work through as his reading skills develop. Also we will read from the AO’s suggestions for Kindergarten books.

Phonics-Phonics Pathways and ETC 1 and possibly 2. I’m not sure yet of how this will go. He is currently flying through A, B, and C. He will probably start Book 1 before kindergarten formally begins.

Bible-ABC, I Believe

Math-MEP 1. We started this a few weeks ago.

History-same as Nathan

Science-same as Nathan

Latin-I’m seriously considering Song School Latin.

LA-I’m considering holding off any formal instruction until 1st grade. We will see how things progress as the year gets underway. We may add CLE 1 in later in the year if his phonics study is going well.

I need a writing program for both. I feel I’m leaving something out. I’ll have to look over my notes to be sure.