Homeschool Convention always puts me in a reflective mood. I guess because it’s because you really can’t DO Convention well if you don’t know what you’re keep/let go/ add on in next year’s homeschool plan!
So, as I’ve been working on prepping these articles for this Spring, I’m already trying to mentally trying to make that annual Homeschool plan, so I could share with you my annual curriculum planning! I thought this would be a good time to share with you my own “steps” through this – perhaps it will help you or give you some ideas!
Step 1: Define Your Situation for Next Year
Before I make any decisions, I find it very helpful to look ahead and make a note of any particular “situations” I already know are coming up in the next year. (Perhaps for you it might be a new baby, transition, or already scheduled trips in the works.) I think it is very helpful to keep these in mind as you plan for the upcoming year.
For us, I know that next year will be our last year in our current location, and we will probably move as soon as the summer begins. God has not told us where we will be after that quite yet, and where we go after that year is mentally affecting me in what we do NEXT year. As in, if we’re going overseas – should I spend next year doing American History (ya know, while we are in the US?) Wouldn’t that make sense?
Several “programs” I had mentally put on my checklist really are “multi-year cycle” (history) programs, and I am very hesitant to commit to several years when I don’t even know where we will be. So, what was my plan before really is currently tabled, if not scrapped altogether.
Of course, God has me at the point now where I am making decisions without knowing the future, and it’s probably on purpose! (Proof God has a sense of humor!) I’m not a huge fan of that, but I am still trying to take deep breaths and just trust and muddle through somehow, but also knowing I am making these plans with a pencil at this point and not with a pen. As in, I’m trying to go with the flow and be flexible. (You have to know me, I guess to find the real humor in this!)
So, in thinking about this next year in our current location, I realized that it’s a Presidential election year. What a perfect topic to focus on for the fall! And what fun we can really have with that topic now that the girls are a bit older! So, I really want to take advantage of it.
Step 2: What worked this year? What stays?
I’m a huge fan of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and with that in mind, there are several things I want to keep on doing next year. These decisions are made after chats with both kids, both together and individually, and also with the hubby.
MATH — We’ll be sticking with Teaching Textbooks for our core math. I already have everything I need for this next year, so that is great news! We also use several math games on their tablets and math songs and math keys to reinforce their math facts. And we have had a blast over the past year playing all the math-based board games we got a HEAV exhibit hall last year! My youngest has become quite the Monopoly and PayDay expert!
CONVENTION PLAN– I won’t need to worry about purchasing anything for math, unless something just catches my eye, or if I find the miracle math cure!
GRAMMAR AND WRITING — This past year we’ve been using Growing with Grammar and Winning with Writing. It’s workbook-based, and I thought it would be a little too dry for my girls, but surprisingly they really like it. It is a very straight-up traditional, in-depth and methodical approach to both, which I really appreciate. Plus, it’s self propelled so my girls can now do it on their own, with only a bit of assistance if they don’t understand the directions. So, we’ll stick with that this year as well.
CONVENTION PLAN– Unfortunately last year I couldn’t find this at HEAV. So unless I find a magical replacement, I’ll have to order it during the summer.
HANDWRITING — My youngest will be finishing up Handwriting Without Tears‘s cursive program this year, and my oldest will “graduate” a full year of cursive copywork practice. I’ve already warned her that starting next year all of her assignments must be done in cursive, so she will no longer need to do separate handwriting assignments. My youngest will, though, so I will use random free copywork projects for her.
CONVENTION PLAN– Maybe keep an eye out for “Presidential Quotes” copywork, or something similar?
SPELLING — The girls really want to continue using SpellingCity.com. As I have already added in a daily writing worksheet to this, I’m happy to let them. (The worksheet is very simple – look up one word in the dictionary and define it, write sentences with three words, and copy 3 words five times each. I let them choose which words they want to do each day).
AMERICAN HERITAGE GIRLS — My girls LOVE American Heritage Girls. LOVE it. I LOVE it. Hubby LOVES it. And it has become a “required” part of our homeschool curriculum. Several of those badge ideas have given us ideas for unit studies!
DANCE — The girls take dance once a week, this year being hip-hop and jazz. (Sigh, I know. I let them choose. It’s cute, and the teacher really works hard to use “clean” music.) This counts as our PE for homeschool. Very lucky for me, their classes happen at the exact same time, and their dance school is attached to my gym. So, I have a built-in weekly time to work out at the gym!
SCIENCE — We’ve been doing science as unit studies this year, and that has worked out well, so far. Over the past few years, I’ve collected way too many science “kits”, so we’re still working through that huge pile!
CONVENTION PLAN — I do have a running idea list the girls have expressed interest in. Unless I find a kit that will help them earn a badge for AHG, or something that will help them learn about one of those topics on that list, I am not planning on purchasing science stuff. We probably have two-three years worth of items sitting here already!
Step 3: What didn’t work? What needs to change? What needs to go?
The eclectic, delight-led, unit-based studies are working for us, but we’ll be wrapping up our World Geography – World Literature (Girl Power!) plan that we’ve been working on for two years. It’s time for us to move on to something new – and that is my current issue. Move on to what?
Since we know we have at least next year in the US and it’s the election year, I currently have this crazy idea to have next year be a “civics”-themed year. I think this will be an especially good idea if we do end up overseas the following year – I really want my girls to have a good grasp on what makes us American and how that will most likely differ from somewhere else.
The fall will be fully immersed in the Elections – both presidential, state, and local. I think we will be using Homeschool in the Woods‘s lapbook for this, but there are so many really cool resources out there to choose from!
CONVENTION PLAN — Check out the great HEAV vendors. Is this really the program I want to use? Review reading list and see what I can pick up at the Exhibit Hall and the Used Curriculum Sale!
Once election season is over, I’m still not sure what to cover in our “civics” theme for the second semester. I have had both “government” and “economics” suggested to me, so I’m still mulling that over at this point. Both topics might be too much to cover in one semester. Would one or the other be more age appropriate for and advanced 3rd and 5th grader?
CONVENTION PLAN — This will probably be the topic I spend my time researching and buying for this year. I noticed the HSLDA has a ton of resources on their site, I might stop by their booth and chat with them about it. Plus, many of the other exhibitors will be great to check out as well.
Next post – my plan for taking full advantage of the HEAV Convention Weekend!
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HEAV- Home Educators Association of Virginia – website