July 09, 2009

School Planning for 2009

Well, it's THAT time of year again. I'm itching to fire up the pencil sharpener and stretch out on the King-sized bed with the kids to read a good book. Sure, they have been reading on their own during the time off we took (our summer started early out of necessity - maternity leave). Because friends don't let friends homeschool on hormone overload. We're starting school back up next week after about 3 months off (minus a few weeks of school that were strung out haphazardly from April through June). That's what I call a 'fizzled out' year. Hopefully THIS year will start and end with a BANG. Being more specific, in case God has a lightning storm in mind, what I mean by BANG is FUN and SUCCESS... because I'd rather keep my 8 years-worth of photos backed up on an external hard-drive. Bang could mean a lot of things that are very educational and yet completely contrary to our desires as homeschool parents, ya-know?

You laugh at me for being specific, but there was that one year I prayed to get out of debt and get rid of our car note... and God sent. a. flood. That's one way to get out of a car note, for sure! I wouldn't recommend it to the faint of heart. God is more creative than you give Him credit for. I was instantly cured of obscure and generic prayers. For good, people.

To get ready for school, there are projects that needed to be done FIRST:

School closet organized (check)

Bookcases straightened (check)

Book lists and reading goals made (check)

Portfolios finished (we have only one year's worth of school left to binderize)

Last year's paperwork finalized

Read through 'The Organized Homeschooler' again (started...)

Report cards printed

School boxes cleaned out (check)

Schedule written out (check)

Generic monthly menu plan created - to keep us out of the drive-thru lanes! (check)

Planning for the year (In progress...)

Evaluations and goals/heart-to-heart discussion (check)

Notebooks, workboxes and supplies in order

Curriculum list made out to show what we want to cover

Annual back to school breakfast (check)

We've been working away at our list up there and are hoping to come to a close and get started on school this coming Monday. It will be interesting to see how God works things out with a baby in the mix. You notice that I said "GOD works things out" (heavy on the capital G) - because I know that with Him, 'all things are possible'. With me, I assume at some point there will be a meltdown and I'll be crying in the closet like a sniveling ninny. So I'm planning to wear my knees out this school year (like I should have been doing last year). Hello?! You'd think a girl would learn.

Have I ever mentioned that I'm HARD-HEADED? I give great advice, and yet can't follow it. Story of my life.

Truthfully, last year was our worst school year ever. E.V.E.R. If it weren't for reading Clay and Sally Clarkson's "Educating the WholeHearted Child" and starting Robin Sampson's "Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach", I might not have a homeschooling blog to speak about any more. I'm sure that there were prayers from friends and family that were answered as well. My mom helped me out some when I was in nervous-breakdown mode, also. She's a keeper. We had a few of those "I'm going to set you on the curb for the school-bus" talks. Or rather, yells. It wasn't pretty. And with pregnancy hormones and the desperate need for naps... mom was a walking time-bomb. Sadly, I was pregnant the entire school year. What a learning experience for the kids, eh? They now have "How Not To Homeschool 101" covered.

The past few months have been detox. Lots of fun with friends, free reading and drawing, time to play and learn on the computer... and - as the kids would tell you - unfortunately, CHORES. We've been working on finding a household groove - a routine - that fits baby in to our life without allowing him to take up our entire day with leaking poopy daipers and nursing sessions. The kid has to learn that there are other priorities around here. Up until now he's been calling all of the shots.

It wasn't until very recently (he'll be 4 months old on the 17th) that he started to show some sign of a nap and sleep schedule. PRAISE GOD. I'm weeping for joy.

So now the fun begins... a new year... a new schedule... a new baby... even MOM is getting a homeschooled edu-ma-cation!

I feel like God has been giving me little gifts along the way as I struggled to keep my heart in the whole homeschooling movement. I know that He is in the driver's seat. There have been sweet comments made about my kids, homeschool book fair conference pep-sessions I needed to hear, friends that have shared with me about public school issues they have had - kids that are behind grade level and forced to be on meds, and much support from family (especially my husband and mom). The day I decided to start school planning again and start the school year early - I won the TOS Schoolhouse Planner on a blog contest! Now I have a stack of shiny new planner forms, recipes, charts and goodies on my desk to make my planning easier. A few of my friends have offered to do some co-oping with me on certain units this year. Seems like all green lights and rights.

Just like a kid with a stack of brand new supplies - sharpened pencils and un-opened books - I'm thrilling at the prospect of 2009-10 unfolding before us. That's the sign of God restoring my homeschool passion... which is a very, very good thing. I've survived the first half of my children's home-education! Survived a nervous breakdown and the birth of a 9.4 lb. baby coming out with his arm beside his head (sorry for the visual). And it wasn't all that bad after all. OK, maybe the labor and delivery were.

Bring on the 6th and 7th Grades, baby! Hopefully by Monday, we'll be ready!

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KarenW said...

I've given the "I'm going to send you to public school" lecture too. I guess we've all had those days. I'm really looking forward to the coming school year, even though it's my last for my oldest two. Just when I'm getting it all figured out.

I love your idea of a back to school breakfast. I might have to steal that one.

Love 2B Homeschoolers said...

What an awesome photograph of your baby.

Nikowa@KHA said...

I've gotta read through that book again too! I feel like I've "fallen off the wagon".

Crystal said...

The photo of your baby is too cute!! I love your blog. I guess it's time for me to get on the ball and plan our school year. I love to plan, it's the follow-thru that I'm not so good at ;-)

dianne - bunny trails said...

Thanks for the reminder about Vicki's book! I need to pull mine out, too. I'm in the "get planning" mode, but haven't quite begun. I also need to locate the book. There are still some books in boxes (believe it or not) from our move. Oy!

Reading your post is motivating for me, so thank you for that as well. Time to get crackalackin'!! :D

beth @ the brew*crew said...

I feel like our year ended with a fizzle too, and am now getting used to the reality that having a toddler in the mix is probably not going to be much easier than having a new baby was- just different. I'm looking forward to this next year being better for us too.
I'm hoping to get most of our hs planning done these next few days, but will have to wait until after our move to get us really organized- and that's bugging me, but I will NOT let it drive me crazy! I won't! LOL I'm just praying that we can be settled into a new home of our own by Sept., even if it's a month-to-month rental.
I noticed you mentioned "workboxes". Did you mean as in Sue Patrick's "workbox system"? I'm curious about it myself, so was just wondering if you are utilizing it? Seems like it may be helpful, depending upon what kind of space we end up with.
Alright, I'll quit rambling on your blog now... ;-) Will be praying for you mama! Believe me, I had that same feeling of failing miserable the year after Savannah was born... Just remember, time is on our side.

Michelle said...

That homeschool passion is a wonderful thing! Praying for you to be overflowing with it! How wonderful to read your enthusiasm - hoping that rubs on on me a little! Buying school supplies helps, cleaning my desk would be great - maybe I should make a list of what I need to accomplish. Thanks for the inspiration. :-)

Tracy said...

Yeah! We are starting on the same day!!! I am finishing up our list and checking it twice...engines are revvvvving!

Tracy said...

P.S. LOVE the shot of Baby Bee!

The Frazzled Mama said...

Hi, I just came across your blog a few days ago. I am curious about your menu planning. Have you done that before? Is it successful? On another blog I was following she would do a monthly menu plan. I'm not sure if I could swing it!

Oh, and I loved the pic of baby too!

Cindy said...

Hey there! I've been planning, too. We're taking the month of August off and I'm going to declutter - again. Then, might try some version of the workbox system. I really like the idea.

Talk to you soon!


Jeanne said...

Argh - If only we were as diligent about the schooling as we are with the planning...

Miss Jocelyn said...

That is such a cute photo of K!!! LOL

Karen said...

I have to tell ya - I can certainly appreciate where you're at. We have a 17 month old and last year was our first year of homeschooling with a baby. I struggled a good while with trying to find some sort of routine. Our little one just didn't seem to want to stay on a steady routine for awhile. Thankfully, with the Lord's help, we wrapped up our school year in May. We had to. We were making a major move to a totally different state. I knew I didn't need to have school on top of moving. So we've had the summer pretty much off although my older daughter has done some school work here and there along the way with pretty steady reading for the most part. I am now trying to get us back into the swing of finding a routine that will work with our little one now being a toddler. Thankfully, our little one does seem to have some routine going on with some days here and there that are "off" in regards to her sleeping. I think we can try to make a plan. I look forward to mapping out the lesson plans as we already have all of our material in.

One thing I learned from last year trying to homeschool with a baby - I couldn't get too wrapped up in a routine. I had to learn to go with the flow. Any given day could be different and school happened at different times. It was reality. I stressed out for awhile because I couldn't seem to maintain any routine. Then I realized it wasn't worth stressing over. We were able to work my older daughter's school around the baby's schedule.

May you have a wonderful school year!

Kelly said...

I hear ya. I was so bad last year that I am thinking about repeating those grades. Bad mommy. :(

Toni said...

I love your fighting spirit! Go, go, go! :) You're such an inspiration.

and that picture of your baby at the end is soooo adorable!



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