Friday, March 7, 2014

Planning Ahead: Homeschooling 2014

It's that time of year again- February is over, but spring isn't here yet. One spreadsheet is everywhere in our house, printed fresh every few days (after a gazillion changes) so I can pour over it in spare minutes.

It's all about school for the upcoming year.

The thing is, we're still in the thick of this year, and now up to the part of the year where I start to feel like we'll never "be done", which is a little silly. See, we school essentially year round with breaks taken as needed through the year. We're never "done", but it's nice to move through material and end up with a stack at some point that shouts, "You've completed something big!"

So, I'm refreshing my schooling brain so that I can think good thoughts and finish out this year strong, while getting ready for next year.

The two books I come back to every single year are The Well-Trained Mind and Real Learning. Combined they provide the backbone for education in our home.

If you only take one thing from Elizabeth Foss's book Real Learning, let it be the literature lists. We use her lists for audio book selections when possible, and read-aloud if they aren't available on CD. They are rich and lovely book lists, utilizing picture books into later years- which I have not seen on other lists. Picture books are so very valuable in the later years and we shouldn't confine them to the 2nd grade and under crowd.

The Well-Trained Mind is my reminder text to keep the main thing the main thing. It is so easy to get into a "buy the best curriculum" scurry instead of recognizing that education is best when it is direct and uncluttered. The Well-Trained Mind forums can be an extremely helpful source of information. I'm currently researching elementary French options for next year, and there are dozens of threads to search through on that one topic that have provided almost as many options as there are posts. These forums are the first place I go to when I need to get started on researching a school area we want to pursue. I also appreciate that many posters there are considerate of budget and will mention costs associated with programs.

So for now, I'm trying to refocus the rest of our year, March- May. I picked up the Astronomy book from Memoria Press at my local curriculum store last night and we're going to focus heavy on science for a few weeks, as well as spelling. We will still study our other subjects as well, but we're going to put some focused work into spelling and science since those two subjects have gone a bit lax over the last 2 months.


  1. Being prepared is always a good thing. It really is a funky time of year. I find March a little long and can't wait for April.

  2. I usually start planning in May. We do not school year round and usually take a few months off for summer. After this year there will only be two years left and then my homeschooling days will come to an end. I've loved it all, well, except for algebra and Chemistry. :)

    1. Tracey, if we take more than a few days off of math we end up with problems- I imagine that will change as the boys get older, but for now math is an every day event. :)


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