Homeschool Wrap-Up: Week 1

Friday marked the end of week 1 of our 2010-2011 school year.

I know…we started on July 19.  It sounds crazy, but I have good reasons; good reasons which all add up to we needed something to do.

First, the kids finished the summer swim team season.  Without three hours spent in the water every day, I needed something for us to do.  Second, stepping outside is like stepping into a furnace; the temperatures have been near or over 100 degrees.  The kids can only play outside early in the morning or as the sun is setting.  I need the option of  sending my kids outside to play during the day, but the weather has made that nearly impossible.  All five of us being inside almost all day means that we need something to do.  Third, starting early helps me.  An early start gives me plenty of time for needed breaks and to get our 175 days completed.

So we started.

I think the kids must have been ready to start, too, because they didn’t complain at all.  One child provided one little episode, but that was dealt with quickly and we didn’t have a repeat.

If you’re a regular reader, then you may be interested to know that all of those things I was using to stay organized last year didn’t work in the long run.  By the time January rolled around, those tools and helps only caused me more stress.  For this year I’ve decided to go back to what I did the first two years I home schooled: a simple notebook with everything I need.  A more seasoned home schooler gave me a great tip: make copies of each book’s Table of Contents pages and note the date we complete each lesson.  This is so much easier than writing everything down!  I wish I had thought of it years ago.

I didn’t make many changes in our curriculum this year. I was tempted to switch from Sonlight to Tapestry of Grace for history and reading, but decided that I didn’t want to learn a new system.  Plus, Karl noticed that many of the teacher study notes come straight out of an encyclopedia.  Why pay for something that I already own?

Shurley English has worked well for everyone for grammar, vocab, and writing.  I’m not about to change now.

Saxon Math is still my favorite.  Choosing Saxon may be the one decision I have never doubted.

Spelling Workout for spelling.  This is a change.  But that shouldn’t surprise anyone as I change spelling curriculum almost every year.  SW is one that I used in the very beginning with Hannah.  She liked it then, and I never should have switched.  My children enjoy the word puzzles and writing assignments, and I like not having to make up my own.

AOP Horizons Health — this is one that the kids seem most excited about.  They are also really happy about what I chose for PE this year: each day they can choose between jogging on the treadmill, jumping on the trampoline, or the 30-Minute Shred.  Hannah is on the volleyball team this year, so we have also started enjoying bumping the volleyball in the backyard, too.

Another homeschooling friend of mine told me about LifePacs.  We are going to try one of those for Science this year.  Plus, we have dozens of resource books and field guides.

MCP Maps workbooks and Geography Songs are for map-reading and globe-trotting.

Rosetta Stone — EVERYONE is enjoying Spanish!

I’ll try to take some pictures of the kids doing their work this week and share them in the next recap.

9 Comments on “Homeschool Wrap-Up: Week 1

  1. I enjoyed reading this. I am so in the mode of preparing for next year. Rethinking many things. Revisiting the WTM and going to back to where we got started. This last year was a mess school wise due to life. Do you remember those posts about the yellow school bus LOL!

    I am waiting on planning too much for my 2nd grader. We finally received a correct diagnosis of Aspergers for him and will be starting some new therapy so I have no clue what my school day will look like yet.
    With my 5th grader I am hoping to help her like homeschooling again :o) Math has been a struggle this last year and I am struggling with if I should buy a formal writing curr. or not. I might give her one more year. We hope to use Rosetta Stone this year too…French. Does it come with any writing material? My only reservation (besides price) is that it seems to all be on the screen and verbal. Do they learn grammar etc?

    Done rambling. Glad your first week went well.


    • We’re just doing Spanish 1. So far, everything is on screen and verbal. I’ve heard that Level 2, however, brings in more grammar study.


  2. We’re starting next week too. We need to get our 180 days in before we do a 7 week road trip to see the country next spring.

    I just sold my TOG curriculum on ebay this week. It was overwhelming to learn how to use it. I know some people love it, but it wasn’t worth it for me. I wish I hadn’t spent the money! (Just my 2 cents)

    Copying the table of contents page is brilliant! I just spent hours writing out how many pages we are going to do each week for each subject. But at least I know on paper, we can finish April 25th our target end date for 2011.


    • A 7-week road trip to the country sounds amazing!! Lord willing, we’re going to finish in April, too. I love starting the school year with the end in sight.


  3. We started today—because of many of the same reasons! The heat is oppressive. I’m actually considering a 4 week on, 1 week off schedule for this year. On the week off we may do field trips, fun stuff, or just relax. Or maybe go to grandma’s beach house.

    I’ve yet to find the math program I love. We did Saxon way back when, but I hated the K meeting book and found it boring. I know saxon is repetitive….but…maybe that is what we need. What Saxon do you recommend for a 4th grader who is doing 5th grade math?


    • We didn’t enjoy Saxon K, either. I switched Hannah to Saxon 1 for kindergarten after a few weeks in K because she was so bored. She’s in Saxon 7/6 this year.

      For a 4th grader doing 5th grade math, I might start Saxon 6/5. It’s for advanced 5th graders and average 6th graders. (I think!) If you think that might be too advanced, take a look at Saxon 5/4 — for average 5th graders and advanced 4th graders. I’m pretty sure Saxon’s website has some assessments you can download in order to find out for sure. Though I’m not sure why you’re asking me — you’re the math teacher!! 🙂


  4. Wow am I glad to see so many hschoolers besides us starting a little bit early!! 🙂
    We are using much of the same curriculum also (and although I really disliked SGrammar for a while I have been encouraged by my wonderful husband to continue with it and finish up level 2 ALONG with supplementing BJU English). So we’ll see. Which level Shurley Grammar are you guys using?
    We also considered the Tapestry of Grace and Sonlight…I like the “living books” approach–maybe we’ll go for it next year.


    • I’m using 3 levels of SG — 6, 4, 1, and about midway through the year will use 2. 🙂


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