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New School Year and Focus!

I love this time of the year, the smell of new curriculum and school supplies is wonderful, but how do you decide on the perfect curriculum when there are so many to choose from? Better yet how do you home school and not go broke trying to do it.

This year I decided to use the same curriculum publishers I used last year and just add a few supplements. Brillant  right? BYE BYE STRESS!! Who am I kidding I don’t want to get into the habit of curriculum hopping now that we have found what works. No curriculum is 100% perfect you must be ready for those imperfections and adjust.

While planning this school year I decided to do some more research on Charlotte Mason and to include more literature based learning and nature studies. Doesn’t that sound poetic? We shall see how well this goes over with my child. I am a unit study homeschooler so I think we will be fine with this new change. I don’t claim to be a home school guru or a veteran, I just know what works for us.

As a homeschooling family you buy curriculum and may feel pressured to use it all, but this is one thing I have had to make my peace with and move on. The goal for us is not about completion it’s about learning, mastery and having fun. So how do you start the process? First thing first is make a plan, that also includes budget and research your curriculum choices yourself. Try as hard as you can to stick to your plan. We all been there and don’t beat yourself up if you detour from your plan.

Buying curriculum second-hand and the digital versions can help save on your budget (HP Instant ink is your best friend). Using your local library can save on books or renting certain textbooks from Amazon also helps. Take a month or two before you restart your new year and check your inventory and decide if you can stretch materials this includes school supplies. Sell some of your gently used items or check out a local curriculum sale. Facebook is also a good way to locate curriculum, I belong to several buy and sell groups and have saved a ton.

Another thing is don’t buy everything at once so you don’t feel overwhelmed. For example I bought my sons language arts curriculum in March and then his math curriculum used in May.  Ebay is also a homeschooling families BFF but be careful that you’re not over paying in shipping, I have seen some sellers offer a book for $6 and the shipping is more than the purchase price. Pick curriculum that is within your budget and is realistic for your child, I am the first to admit I have gotten caught up in all the pretty and cool curriculums with all the frills. Let’s not forget the Dollar Tree but self-control is a must in that place because those $1 add up fast.

Beware of the Target dollar spot! Oh, how I looooove the Target dollar spot. Pay attention to inside of the workbooks and cards. They may be duplicates from the previous year, that you know you have already purchased. Now I do love all the cute little decorations and classroom tools they offer, but exercise caution. Make a rule to get rid of old before buying new cuts back on clutter. I started purging my office and classroom in January. Purging doesn’t mean you have to buy anything it just gives you some clarity and it just feels good! Get what you need and set your splurge budget to a $10 limit.

Another area I went crazy on last year was school supplies🤦🏾‍♀️…this year I wised up and went through my school supplies inventory and realized I had enough items to carry us through and I walked out of Wal-Mart only spending $13 vs $50 last year.

I learned to have some self control when home school shopping this year!

Another area I did some reflecting on was how much I was spending on having books spiraled or comb bind. Last year I spent $72 on this expense, Yikes! So every month from February – July I set aside $20 and purchased my own Marigold 19-hole Letter Size Comb Ring Binding Machine! Problem solved and the one I picked came with a set of binder combs and I bought Fellowes 52326 Plastic Comb Bindings, 1/2″ Diameter and Fellowes 52383 Plastic Comb Bindings, 1″. No more trips to Office Depot, money saved!!!

Now lets jump into it….

There are two resources I always keep in my arsenal since we started our homeschooling journey when my son was a preschooler. The first being the What Your Child Needs To Know Series and secondly The World Book Typical Course of Study. Each of these resources are grade specific and cover everything.

The Curriculum choices 2018-2019

We decided to continue to use The Good and Beautiful Language Arts curriculum this year he is moving into level 1 check my most recent blog on why we choose it here. We started using the Harcourt 1st grade Reading Skills book over the summer so we will be finishing the 1st grade book and moving into the 2nd grade book soon. I have also invested in the 1st grade Spectrum Language Arts that we will move into once we have finish the kindergarten book.

We will be doing spelling work more often this year so I decided to use All About Spelling Level 1 as a supplement. My son has moved away from sight words and so I decided to use Mrs Wordsmith HE LOVES IT ….click link to save 10% !!!

We are also using The Good and Beautiful Science curriculum and we have chosen Safety, Water, Introduction to Energy and Meteorology. We are also using Sassafras Science Botany and Earth Science a literature based science curriculum. We finished Sassafras Zoology this past school year and really enjoyed it. I decided to keep the Amazon Stem Club so we will be using our monthly boxes to help with Stem. My son is a coder and we have Dash from Wonder Workshop, Sphero 2.0 , Osmos   and he likes Code Sparks and Scratch Jr. My son loves science and I wanted make sure I was feeding that love, so a supplement I have Real Science-4-Kids Focus On  Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geology and Astronomy. We wont be working through all the books to completion but we will pull from different areas to study.

For math we have decided to stick with Math U See Alpha (Mastery) as our spine and Horizon grade 1 book 1 and 2 (Spiral) as our supplement. We are also using additional resources from The Moffat Girls Math Made Fun 1st grade and using the Lakeshore Learning Math Journal.

Moving on to handwriting we are continuing with Learning Without Tears 1st grade and The Good and Beautiful Level 2 . For our second term we will start WriteShop A We are also doing copy work, journals and writing letters to family and friends.

Critical thinking and logic skills are a daily routine for us and I have chosen to use Lollipop Logic,  Can You Find Me, Building Thinking Skills and Mind Benders from the Critical Thinking Company. We also have a variety of Thinkfun, Smart Games and MiniLuk products. I also have a few crossword puzzles and Sudoku books.

Geography this year I have decided to use Evan Moore Daily Geography and DK Geography. Additionally included literature based learning in this area as well, we will be reading My Weird School Geography and the Horrible Geography series. I also have some Montessori Inspired activities planned.

I decided this year to introduce history and we are using Beautiful Feet Around the World literature based curriculum. We will also continue our African Studies throughout the school year picking influential African-Americans and countries in Africa to study.

For Spanish this year we are using various materials. Again keeping with my goal of creating more of a literature based focus, I have complied a library list of bilingual books for us. I am also going to make more of an effort of speaking to him in Spanish more often, as well as reading and writing in Spanish.

I hope I created a learning environment that is inviting, hands-on, fun and didn’t break the bank!! I let go of some of our monthly box subscriptions because a lot of them we hadn’t had a chance do them. Gave away tons of classroom resources to friends and learned to say NO to the latest classroom frill.

It may seem like a lot but we rotate our electives and concentrate on the main areas of study math, writing, reading and interest led studies. If you are interested in seeing a complete list of our 2018-2019 Curriculum choices please click here for a compiled list.

Are there any new school year adjustments you have made to your homeschool ?

Until Next Time!

Mom

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