We finished our second day of school, and I’m feeling a bit lame for not having taken any “first day of school” pictures. But it is what it is! It’s not as if my boys were sitting in new classrooms or wearing new clothes. Frankly, I consider it a successful fashion day if they change out of their pajamas before we start. And if they don’t? Well, that’s part of the beauty of learning at home. :)
In the beginning of this journey, I would feel a sense of panic as a new school year approached. I can remember sitting down to plan and feeling totally overwhelmed even though I had experience teaching in a regular classroom. But a few years under my belt have given me more confidence, and I’ve figured out some ways to streamline the planning process.
I started this school year feeling more prepared and organized than ever before, mostly because I was very intentional in August about doing everything I could to plan out our year ahead of time. My temperament is such that the more my ducks are in a row to start, the more comfortable I am being flexible and changing things up a bit as we go. Can anyone else relate to that?
This is the second time I have created detailed lesson plans for the whole year before the start of school. It’s also the second year I’ve made copies I know I’ll need (strictly legal ones!) ahead of time. This year I actually filed them within monthly hanging file folders by week, with an extra folder each month for seasonal stuff. This is going to make things so much easier on Sunday nights when I pull all our books and papers for the week.
I keep the majority of our materials in two standing cabinets from Shopko, mostly organized by subject. On the lower left, you’ll see that the boys each have a stack of three 3-drawer organizers that hold one subject/activity per drawer. It’s a perfect set-up for when I’m working individually with one of them (or tending to the littles), because the other one can always start on something else.
On the outside of the upper cabinets are dry-erase blocks where I briefly sketch out what each of the boys will be doing individually as well as what we’ll do together. It’s a great visual for them, and I appreciate not having to constantly check my binder for each subject.
Here’s what we’re doing this year:
- Big Truths for Young Hearts; Lord, Teach Me to Pray (for Kids)
- Veritas Press History: New Testament, Greece & Rome
- Real Science-4-Kids: Pre-Level 1 Chemistry, Biology & Physics
- SmallWorld’s Wordsmithery Creative Writing
- Hymns for a Kid’s Heart (learning the hymns as well as the history behind their writing)
- Classical Kids (Beethoven Lives Upstairs, Mr. Bach Comes to Call, Tchaikovsky Discovers America, Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery, Song of the Unicorn, Hallelujah Handel!)
- Mark Kistler’s Online Art Lessons (discount available through Homeschool Buyers Co-op–$39.60 for a three-year family subscription)
Ian (5th grade)
Caden (3rd grade)
- Saxon Math 54
- Primary Language Lessons
- All About Spelling
- A Reason for Handwriting Level C (first part of book)
(And, of course, various other fun and seasonal things as they come along throughout the year.)
I’m pretty excited about what’s on the menu!
I was also inspired last week when I saw the sewing corner that Lindsey of The Pleated Poppy has in their playroom/schoolroom. I already had a table in ours for sewing (since I enjoy it much more where there’s decent natural light), but so many of my supplies were still in my basement craft area. I decided to bring up my fabric and as many of the basics as I could without overwhelming the space. Now I have most everything I need in one spot and can putz around here and there, pulling and grouping fabrics and planning for my next project while the boys are working independently. And when I sew in the evening or on the weekend, I won’t have to be running up and down the stairs for what I need!
Remember when I shared that John the nice carpenter had cut something else for me? Well, it was dividers for my fabric organizer. I found this chippy piece for $8 at a yard sale and was told that it had been used for storage at a stained glass business. It had six long compartments which resulted in my fabric being rather piled. But there were six more sets of slots, so I slipped in the newly cut pieces of hardboard and now have 12 compartments. That, of course, called for a reorganization of my fabric. (I’ll use anything as an excuse.) I used to do it by designer & line, but now it’s kinda/sorta/for the most part by color.
I’m hoping the convenience of this setup will help me be more productive so that I can add some new things to my shop!