Monday, August 18, 2014

Another day...Another Post...

A new school year is upon us...

I can't believe it.  It truly seems as if 2014 just began and here it is August already.  Time has certainly sprouted wings lately.  

The boys and I schooled through June and July and about half of August.  Then after a very, very stressful couple of weeks, I decided we all needed a break and time to regroup and plan for another school year.  

So, our "summer break didn't actually begin until August 13th.  The boys were so excited when the discovered the days "plans" on the whiteboard!  :) But, truthfully, I am ready for the structure of a regular routine.  Even if our routine is crazy, it's still routine!  

I see all the posts of Facebook about "first days" and think, Oh I want that joy again.  So, I have spent the last couple of days planning for the new school year.

Being the super frugal person that I am, I have most all of the curriculum that I will need for the next several years already in my curriculum boxes.  So, I simply went out and grabbed the next books and got my "plan" on.  I bought a subscription to the Homeschool Planet Planner back in May and let me tell you it is so worth every penny!  I can enter all my plans in the planner and move them around as needed.  No scratching out, no white out, no redoing it, no going crazy because it doesn't look "pretty".  I can move stuff easily if it doesn't get done on a specific day, keep records, add family stuff, etc.  It's phenomenal!  If you want to check it out - click here - there is a one month free trial you can use.  Let me tell you now though that once you try it, you will be hooked!  

Our curriculum hasn't changed much in the past year...we are going to simply keep going with what works for the boys.

Bug is turning 11 next month - oh my!  I tell him when people ask to say "I'm going into 5th grade".   This is simply for all the people out there who go by "grade level".  I find that the number on the front of the book doesn't really matter, the beauty of homeschooling is that he can work at his pace.

Bug is going to keep using Teaching Textbooks and xtramath for Math.  He is currently working on multiplication in xtramath and doing really, really well.  Well, I might have messed that up with this whole "summer break thing", but I can't stress over that.  He's sharp, I'm sure he'll get back on track fast!  I picked up a book called Test Tutor a while back.  I think I am going to incorporate this in throughout the year to "test" his math skills.  Although I don't believe "tests" are a really good way to access someones' skills, I do believe it's important to learn "how to test".  

Language Arts is pretty much the same stuff.  He will continue using Building Spelling Skills and Growing with Grammar.  He will also continue working through the Explode the Code series, he is currently about half-way through book 6, as he finishes one he just moves to the next.  I need to look into the Beyond the Code set, I suppose.  He still has a bit of the Handwriting without Tears cursive book to finish.  I think once this is done, I am just going to have him practice his cursive in everyday stuff instead of using an actual curriculum.  He's doing really well with his cursive...much better than I ever did probably.  I sort of fell off the wagon with the poetry and writing curriculum I started with him last year.  We made it about 3/4 of the way through the poetry book.  I plan to finish that up with him.  The Just Write book - well, he hates writing, so, I am just going to have to get that one done.  I know he needs it, I just gotta do it.  I think I can...I think I can..I think I can...

We will continue reading with the Pathway readers, they are so awesome!  The boys enjoy the stories, so it's a great fit for our family!  Bug started the 5th grade reader a while back, so I plan to have him finish that and work right into book 6.  I love the books and the workbooks that go with them because not only are they good wholesome reading, but the boys really enjoy them!  We will also continue with "free reading" time - at least 30 minutes of reading any book you choose.  I have a word study book that Bug is going to work with this year.  Just once a week to help build vocabulary.

Bible and History we study together.  I am going to dive into the Picture Smart Bible this year.  I have heard good things and my hope is that it will keep their interest and encourage a love of bible learning.  History is still "Our Nation Under God".  We have been slowly working our way though this curriculum.  I like it, it's pretty gentle and I can add in my own resources as we go.

Science is also a family subject.  I signed the boys up for the Skrafty Skool, Apologia Zoology 3 Land Animals of the 6th day, class.  I think that will be a great one to participate in.  They enjoyed the other skrafty classes they have taken and it's a great way to get them excited about learning.  :)  We will also be reading through the Christian Liberty Press Nature Reader book 3.  I love these books, they are such easy reading and great discussion starters.  Bug will also continue working on the lifepac science curriculum I picked up last spring.  I like these books and he is doing well with them.  

Red is 8 1/2 now and he too is working at his own pace.  Technically speaking, he's going to be a 3rd grader.  :)

Red will continue using Teaching Textbooks for Math and xtramath.  He too is working on Multiplication in xtramath.  I have a math skills workbook that I use with him just to give him a little extra practice.  

Language arts is changing a bit for him this year.  I am going to move him to the Growing with Grammar curriculum.  I think he, like Bug, will do well with this one.  He will also continue with explode the code, building spelling skills and his penmanship book.  I am also going to have him work on his "writing" using a set of story starters.

Red will continue with the pathway readers as well and free reading.

History and Bible are together, I mentioned them above.  

Science too, except for the lifepac science.  I did pick up a single copy of a lifepac workbook, probably at a thrift store or something a few months back.  It's an older copy, but I am going to try it out with Red.  I am not sure yet if he will like that style of learning.  But, if so, I think I might buy him the lifepac set, too.  

So, that is our plans...the planner is all set.  Next step is to get our supplies ready, copies made and such.  I still have a few weeks before we start, so I am not stressed. The planning is done and that is the big part!

Now...just to get them as excited as I am....

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