Ready for a tour of curriculum and basic homeschooling plan for the year? This year is a bit strange for our family. We just sold our house near Salt Lake City and are in the process of building a new one on acreage we just bought in North Idaho.
This project involves everything from clearing the land and building a road to plumbing, electrical work, painting, and much more. We are doing much of the actual building ourselves, so our entire year will be monopolized with this huge undertaking. It’s an exciting and awesome time in our lives, but it’s not without its difficulties, especially when you’re already a full-time homeschool mama. Besides being incredibly busy, we also have most of our stuff in storage for a year. I got to bring along 2 boxes of homeschool goodies, and the rest resides in a storage unit, buried until our house gets built. I’m used to having access to my entire room full of supplies and books, and this move is definitely forcing me to think in a more simplified way.
Packing those two small boxes really got me thinking about the most important school supplies I have, the things I just couldn’t do without. In the end, this is what I’ve decided on using for this year:
- Layers of Learning Year One Curriculum – This will be the backbone for our history, geography, science and arts. Sadly, we won’t be doing the timelines because I don’t have a schoolroom wall to hang them on. This is the hardest part for me I think, because I LOVE the timelines and using them to refer to as we discuss each civilization and where it fits in. I think we’ll do notebook timelines instead. I also don’t have many science or art supplies (or room to keep them for now), so we’ll select simple experiments and projects and do lots of reading from library books.
- Usborne World History and a few favorites from our ancient history shelf – We always read the history spread from Usborne that goes with our Layers of Learning topic. We read it together and then we choose projects from Layers of Learning that the kids are interested in. It’s a great discussion starter. We talk about the facts and stories of each civilization while we work, then the kids write narrations in their history notebooks.
- Geography studies will rely heavily on our library this year, but I did sneak in 2 of our favorite atlases along with Geography From A to Z, which my kids love to hear over and over again even though it’s a non-fiction book about land forms. (;
- DK Science and Kingfisher Science Encyclopedias, along with a few favorites from our science shelf – I have my big kids read from Kingfisher (a little more advanced) while I read the DK version of our science topic to the little ones. Then we all get together for experiments and explorations; we finish it off with write-ups about what we learned and our observations.
- I couldn’t live without my binder of Writer’s Workshop ideas. This is something I’ve been adding to since my college education classes. It’s full of writing ideas, lists of story starters, grammar worksheets, spelling lists, and all kinds of things I’ve found over many, many years. I also put in Glencoe Grammar and Composition to give me a backbone for mini-lessons when I need it.
- Saxon Math – This has been our tried and true math curriculum throughout our homeschool years. My kids love it and do it incredibly independently. I also brought our math facts flashcards and plan to let them practice math facts using some computer games as well.
- Instruments – we brought our violins, a guitar, and have a piano (ours is in storage, but we have grandma’s). We won’t have formal music lessons this year because our schedules won’t allow it, but we will play! I think we’re all looking forward to playing just for fun, no assignments.
- I have one preschooler (Jason), so I brought along some preschool workbooks (including his all-time favorite book of mazes) and several of our preschool busy bags. I’m working on making some more of these so he can stay a little more “busy” and engaged in learning while we have other lessons going on. My goal is to make 20-30 activities for him this year. He’s a very hands-on little guy, so I’m going that route for him.
- Finally, I brought one little supply box with flashcards, some math toys (dice, rulers, clocks, an abacus, a protractor, linking cubes), an inflatable globe, and our flags.
I still need to buy binders for their history and geography maps and narrations. I also need spiral notebooks for their science journals and writer’s notebooks. I also plan to purchase them each a new sketchbook for art, along with all our basic school supplies – you know, millions of crayons and things. And I’m making them each a memorization book, a little booklet that we keep poems, scriptures, and other things we memorize in. It’s something we do every year. Finally, I’ll be putting their planners in their backpacks along with their other notebooks. Phew! That last paragraph ended up being my list of to-do’s before school starts, and I’m getting a little tired just looking it over! Guess it’s time to hit the school supply sales and get going on my list since school starts in a few weeks.
Truly though, my homeschooling plan this year will be massively simplified in our lives due to necessity. I’ll be perusing the library each week to see what we can add to our studies. All of our literature studies and free reads will be library or Kindle books. I also hope to spend a lot of time reading aloud to my kids. I’m also looking forward to them learning more about carpentry, building, cooperation, and service as we build our home together. Next year we’ll be moving into it, complete with a beautiful schoolroom, but for this year, we’ll be keeping it simple and streamlined, and that’s not such a bad thing in the end.