I have lots going on right now that I want you to know about. I don’t know exactly when we are moving overseas as I’m still packing. One thing for sure is that I will continue to blog as I can and keep you posted.
You know I normally like to step back and just enjoy being with my family for a nice long break at this time of the year, but then again nothing has been normal this year.
Plodding along, we have started out next unit study which is the French Revolution. Mr. Awesome needs to cover some more European history during his high school years and so this a great topic to cover for older kids.
Too, sickness has hit our family early and everybody has had a touch of the crud this whole week. Crazy that we all get sick at the same time.
So knowing that the French Revolution is not a topic exactly easy to explain to younger children and because all of us are still recovering from the coughing junk, I made a board game about the French Revolution that they both could play. This way they both have an introduction to this time period.
I can’t pry them away from the fireplace when they play games either. I guess they think the ultimate luxury for at home learning is sitting by the fireplace because that is their go to place (even in the summer). I give up and let them play where they want to now.
Just to let you know I made the game really big, BUT you can print it out on regular size paper or print it poster size (4 separate pages under your print settings). We printed it on regular size paper because I can’t store anything now that we are preparing to move.
But, by making it large I could print it off on 4 pages when we decided to play again.
Normally, I like to start our unit studies with a real aloud from books written about that time period like A Tale of Two Cities or Les Miserables. But again, my time has been short lately, so I have found a nice abridged audio reading of A Tale of Two Cities that the boys could listen to.
The boys can’t miss hearing the popular phrase: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, . . .” I love the whole opening paragraph of that book.
But, that is not all I have been trying to get ready before the year ends. I have been working on my new blog planner for months and months. You know that I know not everybody blogs, and I always have something special for you too. It will be coming soon!
And, I have some new pretties for the curriculum planner too.
Pant, pant..because I want all these thing done before we move. I think I can, I think I can.
Hugs, love ya and hope you plod along with us as I try to squeeze in one more unit study before we get interrupted by the move,
Day 5. Remembering the Day is About Your Graduate. 10 days of Planning A Homeschool High School Graduation
By this time in the stage of planning, I am feeling better because we have hired a baker for the cake, a caterer for our chicken and prime rib dinner, had invitations ordered and a place to hold our graduation. Now came the nitty-gritty details of planning for the big day and for the fun part – decorations.
Here were some of the ideas going through my mind for the events of the big day.
Surprisingly, my son wanted it pretty simple for the day. He wanted a dinner, give a short but gracious speech, have lots of pictures taken and reflect back by looking at pictures from previous field trips and events.
The Mr. gets emotional only on a few occasions, but wanted to give my son his diploma in private so the could tell him how he felt. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.
A lot of our friends are homeschooled too and have been with us from the beginning, so they know his achievements.
Would my son feel differently or want something more elaborate if we had started homeschooling in high school? I don’t know. I do know that I learned that my son was not affected by the things of this world like I am because I went to public school. He didn’t have any preconceived ideas of what a graduation was suppose to look like.
Was I still trying to do things the public school way, even on his graduation?
Remembering that the day is more about what our family wanted, I started planning to keep it simple, but fun for the night.
Understanding that my son wanted pictures at the party more than a slideshow focused on him, I started preparing a photo collage.
I started at one small corner by making letters of his name. Of course, you know my love affair with washi tape, so it has to go on anything I make. It can’t hurt.
After slowly adding more pictures I think I had something that Mr. Senior 2013 would allow at the party. Boys! They have to be sure everything is not too girly looking or too big. ME? I wanted a whole wall of pictures, but restrained myself to a smaller display.
Fast forwarding you to the day of the party. What do you think? The photo collage turned out to be just enough of his accomplishments, but focused on friendships we built through the years.
But oh no, I couldn’t stop there with decorations. I had way more ideas. I will show you another project or two we did with the help of hubby and some more ideas for THE day.
Every family and teen is different too. It’s not like I didn’t already know that, it just became more of a reality check when planning the graduation. As I stopped trying to follow what I think our special day should look like or be according to everyone else and started planning for an occasion unique to my family, things started to fall in place.
Hugs and love ya,
If you missed the other posts in this series, you can catch up below:
Spending hours poring over catalogs and websites to find the perfect best curriculum resources for your children only to find out mid-year that some are more time wasters than teaching helps is a huge disappointment.
The truth of it is that I could have saved myself hundreds of dollars through the years if I had stopped switching curriculum and switched my course of study, my approach or even my mind-set.
Are You Doing these Mistakes on Planning A Course of Study?
Now, I spend more time focusing on objectives and a course of study for my children. Finding a curriculum or tool that matches my goals is secondary to the plans I have laid out.
Who decides that? In public school the system is different for each school, but they all have one common thread and that is the almighty textbook. This is not a blog post about dissing the textbooks, but it is about deciding who determines what is best for your family.
I have learned that using a preset curriculum and doing every assignment in the textbook is still not a guarantee that your children will learn and remember it. Not once have my sons said oh yes I remember that textbook or worksheet, but they have remembered moments or projects that I created following their desire to learn.
Fear of thinking that we have to plan all our lesson plans or not knowing what to cover next may keep us magnetically drawn to textbooks. It did for me for several years. It wasn’t until my 5th year of homeschooling that I did the big switch over to thinking more about my course of study and less on curriculum.
In reality any curriculum is just a tool and that includes textbooks. Instead of switching curriculum, I have learned that adding better resources to my home library is the key to building my own course of study for my children.
4 Shortcuts to Curriculum Planning
Look at some of these things I have done over the years as I switched from changing curriculum constantly to planning my course of study.
1.) Limit my number of workbooks each year. Everybody is different on which subjects they decide to use workbooks for. I don’t want to print out math worksheets all the time, so a consumable math workbook is just fine for us.
Too, this year I’ve been using the books by Sharon Watson for teaching high school writing, The Power In Your Hands and I love them so much that Tiny is using the lower grade writing program too. But, they are both consumable. That is the extent of my consumables for this year.
2.). Choose Topical Helps. What I spend the most on each year are topical helps whether they are printed books, e-books or magazines. Investing in topical books like the Eyewitness Books gives you information to choose from through the years and it is an investment where you add to your collection and not get rid of them.
3.) Choose Reference Helps. The longer I homeschool, the more I also prefer reference books. Whether it is ideas on what to teach next or understanding curriculum, I’ve used these books below when I have needed them. They serve as a reference source through several years and it makes switching curriculum choices minimal when I use them.
4. Use Textbooks as Reference only. If you have budgeted your curriculum for the year, sometimes you don’t have the luxury of changing. But, you can change how you use it. When I made the switch to choosing more reference helps, I went through all my older text books and I tore out pages that I wanted to keep.
It was pretty liberating to tear the binding off and rip out sheets that I felt were worth keeping and pitch the rest of it in the trash.
I pick textbooks more carefully now.
Early this year, I purchased a textbook about teaching geography to use a reference. Too, I am not sure what type of library access I will have when we move to South America. Even if I have access to a library, sometimes I prefer to build our home library and so I may use textbooks for topical references.
Textbooks are good for putting a lot of different ideas into one small space. Those ideas serve as launching pads for our unit studies.
As homeschool teachers our job should be to think of what topics or concepts we are teaching and to view any type of curriculum as supplements to that study, not the other way around.
Time is in short supply when you are homeschooling, use it planning what YOU want to study by using topical references and helps and not switching curriculum all the time.
You won’t regret any of the purchases you make cost wise because you get several years worth of use out of each book.
Also, look at some of the links below to help you gauge some topics to study each year.
Scholastic has a site on what to know for each age.
Ambleside Online I have used several times to find good reading books for my sons. Too, it provides an outline for a rigorous curriculum through all the grade levels.
Are you thinking about adding any new reference books soon to help you plan instead of switching curriculum?
Hugs and love ya,
I wanted to be sure you know how much Kelley and I appreciate you. So our Cyber Monday sale is for $15.00 off a minimum purchase of $15.00.
This means if you were wanting to buy a workshop, it basically is free for you! Our way of saying Thank You for the year.
But, too not just the workshop, but my unit study planner, covers and lesson planning pages are included in this sale. I have updated the planner covers for the next school year (2014 – 2015). So if you are eyeing a premium plus curriculum cover for next year, grab it now.
This is a one day only sale!! So grab when it’s time either midnight tonight or tomorrow.
Here is the coupon code: CyberLuv2013
Apply it in the cart before checkout.
Also, this is our first time using this store for Cyber Monday because you know I have been working on updating/creating our store.
So if you experience problems, please know that we will make it right. Everybody has to have their first and we are being crazy brave for having it on Cyber Monday.
If you have a friend that is thinking about homeschooling or you just have one of the workshops you have been wanting, we hope you tell them and grab one for yourself too.
Click below to go to the store.
Watch the clock, tell your friends and let the fun begin!
Hugs and love ya,
I have been enjoying my week visiting with some friends from out of town that are traveling ministers. But, knowing that we want to move sooner than later to South America, there is no rest for me. I probably won’t settle down until we actually land in South America.
It has not been easy keeping that secret until all of our friends know because my house looks like one big giant flea market right now.
I don’t know exactly when we will move because I can only move so fast with the Mr.
What I do know is that for sure I will keep you posted as we get closer to the date. I know it’s probably a bad time of the year to be packing/moving, but focusing on how good the move will be for the Mr.’s health, I am excited at the same time.
Talking about keeping you posted, I do want to give you the heads up on a deal with Family Time Fitness because their Black Friday Sale ends today. Yikes, I wanted to give this to you earlier, but with all the company and packing, I’m just now getting this to you.Today, I have the year around homeschool schedule for 2014. Many of you homeschool in other countries that start their school year with the beginning of the physical year, you may pulling your kids out of school just now or you want a new look for your planner, so I went ahead and put together a 2014 year around homeschooling schedule.
Remember, I updated this form earlier this year and added the comprehensive key at the bottom. If you don’t remember how to utilize that area, go here to Step 5: Choose Unique Forms because I explain how to use it on that page.
I am going to try to school as best we can with packing too. Sounds like an adventure to me. Do you think I can do it? I hope to stay sane when we arrive in South America so for sure I will go slow.
Now you know why I spent so long on our South America Unit Study. I will share our next unit study soon.
Hugs and love ya,