Sunday, July 31, 2011

Planning the School Year

As I sit here, organizing the coming year for my 2nd grader and the Kindergartener to be, I thought I'd kind of write down the thought process that helps me pull everything together, and maybe attach a document here and there over the next few weeks.

So because we did 2 years of Kindergarten, having started Ian a bit early, we are now entering our fourth year of homeschooling. We initially started out using My Father's World (MFW) Kindergarten, which I very much enjoyed. Then we went on to Sonlight Kindergarten, which I thought was more advanced than MFW, but also more expensive.

Some things worked better than others, so I began to look for other things to supplement or replace what didn't work for us. That led me to begin using some materials from Susan Wise Bauer such as The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading, First Language Lessons, The Complete Writer: Writing With Ease and The Story of the World. Most of these things we borrowed from the library or from friends, and we liked them so much we bought them for ourselves just to have in our hot little hands. :)

So now as we approach the second grade year, I find myself once again tweaking the system, which kind of puts me into strange territory. For the first year ever I am starting out on my own, without someone having done the lesson planning for me. It's tempting to go out and purchase a Sonlight Instructor's Guide, but I already know what I want to do. I just need to organize the HOW of it.

So here's the process I've been going through for the last few weeks, in case you're interested.
  1. Since I really love Sonlight's selection of books. I go to their website, and see what books they are using for their 2nd graders (Level C). Once you are on the core curriculum page, you can click on the "Included Items" tab and see all the books you get if you purchase the core package. I copy the list and create a Word document listing of the books for my reference. I can get most of these books from the local library or request an inter-library loan if I decide to use them. The exception to this is usually the "Christian" books like "Missionary Stories with the Millers". These are books that I am willing to order either from Sonlight, Amazon or if the library doesn't have them.
  2. I also like My Father's World's selection of books, so I add some of their book recommendations to my book list. This year, I discovered the art program "I Can Do All Things" by Barry Stebbing. I want it so bad, and I want the DVD that I found out about too, but I'm trying to find it on eBay, because it's a bit pricey at this point.
  3. Finally, I check out the core curriculum at Timberdoodle, which I just discovered this year. I like their website, but I LOVVVVE their catalog!! They have some great resources, from toys to manipulatives to books. I pretty much want everything they have. :)
Now, of course, this is just the jumping off point for me, as I begin to weed through what I think we can reasonably accomplish in a year.

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