Hey hey, it’s homeschool time again.
You might be surprised to hear that, since one of my last homeschooling posts sounded a lot like someone falling down a very steep hill. Let’s just say that last February we were in the transition period and everyone was telling me that it was going to get easier but all I could think was OH MY SHIZ WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO MY LIFE and that panic noise drowned everything out.
The good news is that homeschooling is working again. The secret was that I needed to stop homeschooling.
After we crashed and burned in February, we took three weeks off from “school” to go on our Walt Disney World vacation. Then we had a few illnesses and another family trip and then a different trip and other random stuff and suddenly I realized I hadn’t touched our “official” homeschool binder in months. Instead, I was ripping worksheets out of the binders according to whatever we happened to be talking about and Eva had begun to ask to do some of the homeschool activities on her own.
Slowly but surely, we started to homeschool again. We emptied the homeschool-by-subject drawers, took all the pages out of our carefully prepped binders, and woke up every day not sure of what we would be doing beyond knowing that we’d do a little homeschool work together. And, thank the freaking heavens, we’ve come back to a place where we all look forward to school time.
I do think we needed transitional time where we could get used to how we work together. Eva stopped getting frustrated as often and I stopped pushing her to stick to this chokehold schedule I had made up in my head. Honestly, I had just waaaaay overdone it with the organizing and planning. My first tip to new homeschoolers would be to just sit back and chill for a bit to let your brain reset after being in the school system.
So, looking forward to this year:
Current Homeschool Organization
I still believe in organization, but everything is a lot more relaxed now that we’ve fallen into a rhythm. I have a stack of paper organizers that hold worksheets covering different subjects (letters, reading, science, math) and I grab a few every day depending on what Eva feels like doing. Having some of the worksheets in page protectors to use with dry erase markers didn’t pan out because Eva never really wanted to do them more than twice and ultimately it’s not like workbook pages are too expensive, so we just finish them and toss them these days.
I keep a shelf for my homeschooling books above the shelf with the worksheets, but I’ve thinned out my collection. Anything that made me feel like I wasn’t doing enough to prep my kids for Ivy league schools got the boot because those books were just stressing me out. Same goes for outdated education philosophies and really anything that I wasn’t flipping through at least once a month. I’ve also taken to reading e-books on my Kindle, so that’s cut down on some of the clutter.
Close to the table in the playroom where we do our homeschool work I have a big bin with all of the learning materials we use for random lessons. I used to have this stuff up in a closet so the kids wouldn’t mess with it…and then I realized I totally want them to mess with it and that’s why we have this stuff. It’s been great for Calvin to get a chance to get his hands on some of the things that are “too old” for his lessons since he’s still pretty much in the flashcard and color matching stage. Now he pulls things out and Eva goes over to give him a quick lesson about materials or addition so she can show off her mad skills and he acts all mature like he understands her.
I do have some homeschooling things that I keep away from the kids but they’re mainly craft materials or toys that I use for specific lessons (like cans of Play-Doh that haven’t been all mixed up and dried out). The nice thing about homeschooling is that it turns out you can use clothespins, cotton puffs, and glue to teach pretty much anything.
I’ll be sharing a few other things soon, including our new homeschool schedule system (yes, I still love schedules) and a booklist for each kid for the year, but today I’m just going to share our planned year of weekly preschool themes. These are going to be fairly light for us, but I do plan on threading together at least once activity per day so we can start working on continuing a solid lesson. I think it’s also going to keep me on my creative toes, since I want to try to include as many different themed outings and activities as I can.
Our plan is loosely based around holidays, family trips, and events happening around Salt Lake City. Obviously, this wouldn’t be a universal homeschool preschool plan but hopefully it gives you some idea of what a homeschool year could look like and I anticipate having hot links for each of these showing you how the year progressed:
Week one (Aug 31) – Helpers: Doctors
Week two (Sep 7) – Polynesian Culture
Week three (Sep 14) – Utah
Week four (Sep 21) – Butterflies
Week five (Sep 28) – Helpers: Firefighters
Week six (Oct 5) – Trees
Week seven (Oct 12) – Costumes/Theater
Week eight (Oct 19) – Pumpkins
Week nine (Oct 26) – Halloween
Week ten (Nov 2) – Ocean Life
Week eleven (Nov 9) – Helpers: American Military
Week twelve (Nov 16) – Dinosaurs
Week thirteen (Nov 23) – Thanksgiving
Week fourteen (Nov 30) – Outer Space
Week fifteen (Dec 7) – Hanukkah
Week sixteen (Dec 14) – Snow
Week seventeen (Dec 21) – Christmas and Winter Solstice
Week eighteen (Dec 28) – The New Year
Week nineteen (Jan 4) – Fairy Tales
Week twenty (Jan 11) – Helpers: Police
Week twenty-one (Jan 18) – Diversity
Week twenty-two (Jan 25) – Cooking
Week twenty-three (Feb 1) – Weather
Week twenty-four (Feb 8) – Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day
Week twenty-five (Feb 15) – Robots
Week twenty-six (Feb 22) – Keeping House
Week twenty-seven (Feb 29) – Dr. Seuss
Week twenty-eight (Mar 7) – Helpers: Scientists
Week twenty-nine (Mar 14) – St. Patrick’s Day
Week thirty (Mar 21) – Easter
Week thirty-one (Mar 28) – Puppets
Week thirty-two (Apr 4) – Spring
Week thirty-three (Apr 11) – Magnets
Week thirty-four (Apr 18) – Green living
Week thirty-five (Apr 25) – Trains
Week thirty-six (May 2) – Mexico
Week thirty-seven (May 9) – Ohio
Week thirty-eight (May 16) – Art
Week thirty-nine (May 23) – Castles
Week forty (May 30) – Books
Week forty-one (Jun 6) – Balloons
Week forty-two (Jun 13) – Bugs
Week forty-three (Jun 20) – Birds
Week forty-four (Jun 27) – America
Week forty-five (July 4) – Family
Week forty-six (July 11) – Beach
Pin this post for later: