Thursday, July 3, 2008

Ending our school year, and planning our next year

Due to our rather long moving break last Fall, we are still finishing up this school year.  We would have finished it next week, but our oldest 3 girls went with their aunt to a family reunion at my parents home this week.  It was a last minute decision, so we still have 2 more weeks of school when they return this weekend.

I had originally thought we'd have more of July off (that's what you get for planning without consulting a calendar) and that we could resume school at the start of August to get 6 weeks under our belt before the baby is due.  But, when I actually looked at a calendar yesterday, I realized that with the extra week we just added on, that would only give us a 2 week summer break.  Steve and I decided that wasn't enough.  So we're going to aim for starting school again on August 18 or 25, and getting 3-4 weeks of school completed before the baby arrives.  Then we'll be able to take a 4-6 week break, and only have to extend our school year a few weeks longer next Spring.  We may still finish later than most schools, but we're used to that.

Of course, all that is subject to change.  There have been past pregnancies where I was just not mentally up to continuing school in the final weeks.  We were using a different curriculum then, though, so we'll see how it goes.

In addition to planning when to start again, and working around the baby's arrival, I've been trying to acquire our curriculum needs for next year.  I've been able to acquire several of the books we'll use in Tapestry of Grace from Paperbackswap.com, although we will still rely on the library each week.  I also have requested, and will be receiving soon, some early handwriting workbooks for the boys from paperbackswap.com

A friend loaned us the Apologia's Exploring Creation with General Science that we needed for 12 yo A (who will soon be 13, and will be in 8th grade next year).  She also gave us a copy of Saxon Algebra 1, although we won't be using that yet.  I am supposed to be receiving Saxon 87 for 12 yo A, which we found on the FreeHomeschoolTools yahoo group, but media mail can be so slow.

We are actually using a copy of Tapestry of Grace, year 3, that someone gave me a few years ago.  It's not complete, but it has the parts we use most of the time.  When we return to this in 4 years, with high school students, we will need to purchase a new set that's complete.  We will need those missing parts at that point.

At the moment, each of our children is in the middle of their current math book.  We'll have to order math workbooks for 9 yo C and 7 yo J late next Fall, when they move up a level in their Horizons Math.  We have the teacher's manuals already, and we have the Saxon texts that the older girls will need when they each move up.  I bought Ray's Arithmetic set from a friend last year, and have intended to use it for occasional group oral lessons in mental math.  But I haven't yet.

My four students are each working on handwriting copywork we downloaded free from Currclick.com during their free weekly offers over the past couple years.  12 yo A and 11 yo R have graduated out of  the italics workbooks we usually use, so they are just using the copywork to learn about traditional cursive handwriting.  They are trying to decide which method of cursive they prefer.  In the end, their writing may be a blend of the two styles. 

A & R are both still in the middle of their Easy Grammar workbooks.  We'll replace those when they are closer to finishing them.  I'd like to add in Daily Grams, at some point, but will wait until we order the math and grammar workbooks, most likely.  Although earlier this week, I was considering supplementing with Simply Grammar again. 

I also bought Primary Language Lessons and  Intermediate Language Lessons from a friend last month.  They are great language arts books with Charlotte Mason style lessons.  I need to figure out how to incorporate them into our lessons.  The girls are still using Spelling Power for their occasional spelling lessons.  We need to be more diligent with that, although the oldest two girls are progressing nicely each year.   We also need to work on our writing more this year, as well as the spelling.

The oldest two girls are each still completing their logic workbooks.  I'd prefer to replace their Building Thinking Skills books with The Fallacy Detective when the time comes.  We'll have to consider that before we make a curriculum order in the fall.

11 yo R is reading the final Christian Liberty Nature Reader.  When she finishes it, she'll work her way through the creation science book, It Couldn't Just Happen, as 12 yo A did this past year.  She'll probably make that transition this fall.  9 yo C is also working through the Nature Readers.  7 yo J isn't reading well enough for them yet, but will hopefully begin them this next school year.  I need to use my Handbook of Nature Study with them more, as we observe the nature around us on our property.

Next year, we will have 8th grade A (13 yo), 6th grade R (11.5 yo), 4th grade C (9 yo), 2nd grade J (7.5 yo), preschool M (4.5 yo), busybody distraction L (2.5 yo), and snuggly baby ? (newborn).  Wow!  It hardly seems possible that they are all that old. 

I still have work to do in planning our year.  I need to figure out how to add in the new things we've bought, how to schedule our lesson subjects into each week, and how to develop certain weak areas  in each child.  But, we're making progress, and we have what we need to begin the year.

Trusting in Him,
April

2 comments:

  1. Just stopping by to say Hi. Hope all goes well with your new year.

    Layla

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  2. I would love to hear if and how you accomplished these goals while reviewing the dozens of free curricula!! I'm a sucker for "Our Year in Review" stories!! :D


    Laura Lee

    http://wastedtextbooks.blogspot.com/

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