- We got two packages in the mail last week which set my children to begging for “Just one lesson mom? Please?”
- I just spent two hours punching apart little cards with my daughter as she asked questions and sounded genuinely interested. In spelling!
- We have a stack of school supplies divided amongst four crates, our new organizational tool for this year. And the children can’t stop looking at them and through them and wondering what treasures they contain as they beg, “Just one lesson mom? Please?”
- And yet more stuff will continue to trickle in over the next few weeks as we near the magic start date marked on my imaginary calendar: August 23, 2010.
It’s all so exciting, and it’s all so perfect. Because my plans for the year always work on paper. The children always love the fruits of my labors and never quarrel and never storm off in the middle of lessons until we actually begin doing lessons.
And I need all the excitement I can get. Truth be told, I’ve had a little difficulty mustering enthusiasm for the coming school year because it represents a major shift in how we do things, one that sort of feels more like giving up than moving forward. Well, at least until some online friends and I decided to leap into this thing together, but more on that later.
See, up until now, I’ve always written my own curriculum for everything but math. The Internet, library and occasional Amazon purchases have been the staple of our homeschool diet, and I rather enjoyed the creativity, learning and control that gave our family over what we were learning, how and when. But then we moved. To five acres in the country. I have a growing flock of chickens to tend to. And geese. And now ducks even. I have a 3000 square foot garden. And I’m expecting number 6 in November.
Something had to give. And I decided it was planning. One of my favorite parts of homeschooling, to be sure, but also the most time consuming. So now we’re chaining ourselves to someone else’s plans, someone else’s goals, someone else’s ideas of which ideas in history are worth lingering over and just how long we should linger there. This year’s line up:
For Bible: Walking With Jesus. This has actually been sitting on my bookshelf for two years. It looks really good. I just have a lot of stuff that looks really good.
For Spelling: All About Spelling. Mostly because this program looked the most like what I was already trying to do with spelling but never quite got it pulled together as well as I would have liked.
For History, Geography, Literature and Science: TRISMS, History Makers. And the greatest part is that I’m not doing it all by myself which turned my general thoughts about handing over history to some book publisher from resignation to enthusiasm. I also liked the fact that the lesson plans aren’t too detailed so there is a lot of room to modify and adapt. I know you can do that with any curriculum, but you don’t know me. The last time I tried to follow a publisher’s plans, well, it ended badly as I tried to do every single little thing written and got way too overwhelmed. The only real problem I have with it is that it moves frighteningly fast, covering 8,000 years or so of human history in a year. Seriously, how much can you really learn about Ancient Greece in a week? So I’m glad we all agreed to slow it down and take two years.
For Math: Right Start. I’m yet to find a math program I actually like, so we’ll see how it goes with this one.
For a sort of science supplement extra curricular sort of thing: Chickens, chickens and more chickens! My daughter seems to be getting hooked on showmanship this summer as she prepares her little Ameraucana and nine little broilers for the county fair. I can’t believe the amount of time she is investing in those birds and in her spare time she is researching starting her own flock of salmon faverolles for next year. Anyway, she has decided to join the APA/ABA Youth Poultry Club and has a notebook to fill out and levels to test for and poultry shows to prepare for as she plans for and manages her little flock.
I’ll let you know what I think of it all later, once we actually start. But for the moment, my children really like packages in the mail that are then stored in a closet. Who knew you could build so much anticipation just by putting away boxes?
For more curriculum posts and to share your own, check out A Classic Housewife in a Modern World and Heart of the Matter. And don’t forget to let me know how you “do school.” Have you used any of these products? Or have you found something else that just really works for your family? I’m sort of new to this whole curriculum buying thing…