Saturday, August 23, 2014

Keeping it Simple for Back-to-School

We're still enjoying the outdoors for a couple more weeks before our CC group starts, spending restful days in a nearby canyon with our friends.
Everywhere you "turn" online, there are posts and articles from excited homeschool moms gearing up for a fabulous year.  I have seen a myriad of great resources and ideas for the coming year. 
But for the most part, I'm tuning it out. 
Five years of homeschooling has taught me how limited my time really is.  The days go fast and the more "rabbit trails" I can go down with our studies, the less time we have to really master the core stuff.  So, I will jot down an idea here or there that might work for us, but I also continually remind myself that I have more than enough to keep busy with in Foundations and Essentials this year without adding more to my life. 
When I had a teacher's manual that contained lots of fun activities, crafts, recipes, and extras to add to the lessons, I couldn't say no to all of the suggestions.  I felt like I had to do it all to be doing a good job at homeschooling.  I grew frustrated wtih my enormous workload and longed for simplicity.  I tried to cut back, but then when I did, I felt guilty.  Thankfully, God brought Classical Conversations to our attention and a group started in our town that fall.  Now, with my Foundations guide, I am thrilled with the simplicity of each week's work.  I don't want to "re-create" the stress of feeling like I need to do several crafts and activities each week.
So, I share my plan for the year here in the hopes that it will inspire you to keep things simple as you gear up for another year.  Your family is unique; you are unique; your kids are unique.  You may enjoy handling a full day of crafts, worksheets, and projects.  Your homeschool schedule may look a lot more impressive than mine.  That's okay, because we all have to do what works best for our own families.  This is what works for ours! 
Alathia - 4th Grade
AWANA Bible Memory work
Foundations grammar (which covers geography, science, history, math, Latin, presentations, etc.)
Essentials (English grammar program, which covers writing, vocab, and spelling too)
ACE Math paces (3 pages per day)
Prescripts Cursive Handwriting (American History)
Reading the Bible, historical novels, free reads, and reading together as a family
Daily practice with math flashcards and map tracing
Extracurriculars:  Missoula Children's Theater, Drama Club at the Library, Homeschool Swimming Lessons, AWANA, helping Mom cook and sew for practice in those areas
Jeremiah - 2nd Grade
AWANA Bible Memory work
 Foundations grammar
ACE Math paces (3 pages per day)
Prescripts Cursive Handwriting (World History)
Explode the Code 2.5 (2 pages per day)
First Language Lessons (1 lesson per day)
Reading aloud to mom and by himself each day, read-alouds with the family
Daily practice with math flashcards and map tracing
Extracurriculars:  Lego Club at the Library, Homeschool Swimming Lessons, AWANA, CC Lapbooking group with friends while his sister does Essentials class.
Justus - Kindergarten
Bible memory work - verses about kindness
Foundations grammar
ACE Math paces (1-2 pages a day)
Prescripts Cursive Handwriting (World History)
Daily lesson from The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading
First Language Lessons (1 lesson per day, with his brother)
Daily practice with math flashcards and map tracing
Read-alouds with the family
Playing with playdough, tracing letters in salt or shaving cream, putting puzzles together, coloring
Extracurriculars:  Lego Club at the Library, Homeschool Swimming Lessons
Katrielle - Preschool
Bible Memory work at home (with Justus)
Foundations (abecedarian group)
School Games for Preschoolers (a dry-erase book for tracing letters and numbers and doing preschool activities)
Read-alouds with the family
Adventures in Odyssey Devotional (daily at breakfast)
Story of the World (correlating to our history work for the week)
Little House on the Prairie series
Fictional stories about American History
(I've been making a pile from our bookshelves and will no doubt look for more at the library)
Non-Fiction books about different states, or about American History
Imagination Station Adventure Books (The kids LOVE these!)
Song School Latin 1 (If we have extra time--a fun way to get some Latin learning in!)
Practicing Spanish a little bit at mealtimes (my brother's family is bilingual so the kids have picked up a lot from their cousin)
Nature Hikes (as many as we can squeeze in before it starts snowing)
Service Projects: Helping with our new church addition on workdays, filling backpacks for the school backpack program that provides food for needy kids, looking for ways to bless our neighbors, making Thanksgiving baskets, Operation Christmas Child, etc. etc. etc.
Biking - we love to bike as a family so we will be doing a lot of bike rides and going to the local skate park and dirt jump bike park to ride


  1. It has been nice to not be making major decisions about curric this year. We aren't doing CC, but have found stuff that works for us. I definitely am enjoying the break from agonizing over the right choices.

  2. That's great Thia! I'm glad you're settled in your choices. There's so much freedom in that! I hope you guys have a great school year.