Thursday, May 27, 2010

Preparing for the new school year

Today is our last official day of school. We'll have some items to review during the summer, so we'll still have some schoolwork going on. We also have lots of gardening, 4H projects and paperwork to complete, which is definitely a learning experience! Summer reading program is underway ... so though the textbooks are getting put away, life learning continues!

I have started looking at our needs for next school year. Most of my kids are in the middle of a grade of math at the moment, so no need for new math books yet. I also own the next level for each child (other than J's workbooks to go along with my teacher manual) so there won't be a rush to buy the next level, either.

The older 3 girls are each in the middle of their grammar levels, and I'm not going to start J in grammar next year yet. He needs to continue developing his reading, his writing confidence, and his spelling before we tackle formal grammar lessons.

My spelling curriculum is not consumable, and it's multi-level, so that is set. I do need to order new handwriting workbooks for C, J, and M. I'm going to use A Reason For Writing with them, and will use cheapie little preschool workbooks with L. I probably have several amongst our coloring books already.

The kids are each working their way through a science text, as well -- yes, I know it's odd that we often finish texts mid-school year instead of at the end. Sometime next year, I'll need to decide whether to use Friendly Chemistry (which I own) for 14 yo A, or whether to buy another chemistry course. I have another science text for R and C to each move up into, so they are doing fine, too. J is reading the Christian Liberty Nature Readers for science, and M will start those next Fall, too.

I already own my Tapestry of Grace classic Year 1 manual, but I don't own many books for that year plan. That was our first year of TOG, and we relied heavily on the large library system we lived near. This time we have a small library, so I've begun collecting history spines and other books to use with TOG. I entered many of the books into my PaperBackSwap wish list, and some have started rolling in already. Thankfully, I've also found 2 people selling books I can use (either exact matches, or good substitutes) next year, and am waiting for those books to arrive.  I'll continue to watch for ways to buy books we can use with TOG next year, without paying full price.  We'll still use our library system, even the Inter-Library Loan system, but it will be helpful to own some of the books ... especially those used for long periods of time.

Next year we will have 6 students and a 2 year old:
  • 10th grader ( A will be 15 then)
  • 8th grader (13 yo R)
  • 6th grader (C will be 11)
  • 4th grader (9 yo J)
  • 1st grader (6 yo M)
  • Preschooler (4 yo L)
  • 2 yo G making messes

Shortly after the school year starts, the new baby will arrive.  We may start school 4-6  weeks early to allow for time off after the baby is born.  That is usually what we do.    Sometimes we opt to start 3 weeks early and go 3 weeks longer ... but that is a drag at the end of the school year.  Of course, being on the Crew this time, I can't completely set school aside.  We will have to cover our review materials, at least.

I need to spend time in the next week assessing the children's progress this year and beginning A's high school transcript.  I have bought (or gained via Paperbackswap) several resources on teaching high school that I need to consult.

I also want to look at each child's math, to see if they need some special help over the summer on any specific areas.  I can see the wisdom of those who continue school (especially math) through the summer, but it has not been our family's practice and my husband prefers the children have the summer off.  Since they are each mid-text, they won't be starting off with built-in review.  We'll have to do our own review in the first week.

The 2009-2010 Crew year is also over for me.  I have a few weeks lull before the next Crew starts to try to get our school records wrapped up, catch up on housework, and maybe make some progress on preparing for baby and the new school year.  Or maybe we'll just focus on planting the rest of our garden and relaxing for a few weeks.

I hope everyone else enjoys their summer, as well!



  1. I don't think it had occurred to me that my family matches your middle kids... 8th, 6th, 4th, 1st and a 4 year old...

    I'm so excited that you are finding some of the TOG stuff at less than full price!

    As for math, did you get a Mathletics subscription? I tell mine that even on break they need to get on enough to earn a certificate each week... That doesn't take terribly long, and it keeps them thinking mathematically at least a little bit.

  2. No, we didn't do the mathletics subscription. Our satellite internet doesn't make online subscriptions for multiple children very practical.

  3. I didn't realize until now that my oldest 3 match up with yours (10th, 8th, 1st for next year). My youngest just turned 3.

    We are on TOG Year 2 U3/4 at the D/R levels.

  4. We used Friendly Chemistry this year but not exclusively. We did it along with other resources... you can find them all here,, if you are interested. I still have to work out my plans for 2010-2011. Your plans look great. I am glad to be done TOS for this year... and look forward to what next year will hold as I will be a group leader of the Older kids group.

  5. Hi! We are going to be doing TOG Yr 1 for the first time this fall. I already got the full curriculum (used) and am in process of figuring out which books I can get from the library (as we have a small library system as well) and which I will need to purchase. Therefore, I also have starting getting as many used as possible. Sounds like we are on the same path...since this will only be my second year homeschooling...sounds like I'm doing ok since I'm on the same path as you!

    I also will be part of the TOS Crew for this coming year...never been and unsure of what to expect exactly...but excited to get started!

    Good luck with the new lil one and it sounds like I'll be "seein' y'round"!

  6. What are you using with your 1st grader, if not LG in TOG?

  7. Thanks! I will look at your resources. We reviewed it our first year on the Crew, and I was blessed to receive it free ... but my daughter wasn't really ready for it math-wise, so we set it aside until later.

  8. I can't wait to get to know you better on the Crew! We've been homeschooling since my oldest was in preschool, but we started out using Five In A Row. We didn't switch to TOG until my oldest was entering 6th grade. Now we're starting our second rotation of it. :-) I've found myself having to learn to be okay with substituting books since we move to a more rural area ... but they're still getting a more interesting education than they would from textbooks.


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