Random musings from a Wife, Mom, Homeschooler, Student, and Friend

Yes, my friends, it is that time again. Time for lesson planning, books, pencils, erasers, reams of paper lined and unlined, glue, glitter, staples, binders, rainbow colored dividers, index cards, crayons, markers, colored pencils! Oh My!

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before that I have thing (obsession) for office/school supplies, right? Ahem.

This year, The Boy decided that he wanted to do his own thing. Now that he is entering the 7thish grade, I am happy that he wants his independence in learning. This year we need to focus on strengthening his writing skills, so many of our choices have a strong writing component. Here’s what he will be using:

Notgrass–Uncle Sam and You for history/civics. It also includes some great literature selections and writing assignments.

Apologia–Jump In as writing supplement. I want him writing something every day, and this program will help fill in gaps.

Easy Grammar PlusI love Easy Grammar! This program keeps grammar short , sweet, and effective!

Apologia–Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics for science. I am thrilled about this new Jeannie Fulbright book and journal! The Boy is also very excited about the experiments inside–make your own lava lamp? Yes, please!

Math-U-See Pre-Algebra I’ve already used this book with my nephew with success. Although I am not great at math, I understand pre-algebra thanks to this book.

For literature, I am combining some of the books from the Notgrass Uncle Sam and You literature package with books that the girls will be using from Trail Guide to Learning: Paths of Settlement. I’m also using some of the books listed in Trail Guide’s POS Middle School Supplement. The subject matter in the Notgrass and POS literature selections overlap quite a bit–combining and editing each list was a great way to save some money.

For Bible, we will be working through Apologia’s What We Believe series with all of the kids together. We started the first volume last year, but we went on to other things. This is such a great series that I want to finish them all. This year, I’m planning to restart the first volume and finish with the second book in the series. I love the pace and rhythm that Trail Guide offers to core subjects, so I’m hoping that a similar pace and rhythm will work for other subjects.  I took the first book in the Apologia series and broke each lesson down into 4 days of reading and assignments and a 5th day to finish any work. Here’s an example of the assignments:

Lesson One: Where Am I Building My Life?

  • Day 1 Hide it in my heart: (Verses to be memorized and recited on Day 5)

Deuteronomy 32:4–He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.

  • Day 2 Words to know: parable, foundation, The Rock of Truth, wisdom (The kids will write down the definitions from the book.)
  • Day 3 Seven Ways to Build on the Rock (Everyone will take turns looking up the scripture references, and all will write these points and add notes.)

1. Study and learn the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

2. Know truth, think truth, and follow truth (Romans 12:2, Colossians 2:8)

3. Care for your body and use it in the right way (Romans 6:13)

4. Worship God faithfully and joyfully (Psalm 100:2)

5. Pray to God always (I Thessalonians 5:17)

6. Stand against Satan and resist him (James 4:7)

7. Put God first, not things or money (Matthew 6:19-21)

  • Day 4 Praises and Prayers (The kids will keep a journal of praises and prayers and update them regularly.)

The girls are in 5thish and 3rdish grades this year, and as I’ve already mentioned and gooshed over, they will be doing Trail Guide to Learning: Paths of Settlement for their core subjects. It’s been ordered and should be here in just two more days!!!!

For math, we will continue using Math-U-See. Beanie will be in Epsilon and Lemony will finish Gamma and move on to Delta.

We are trying to move towards year-round schooling, and we’ve clocked in 14 days in July. Not a bad start! (And the kids haven’t even complained!)

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Comments on: "New School Year Planning" (2)

  1. Sheridan vaughn said:

    I’m starting my first year of homeschooling in 2 weeks. I have 4 children but will only be schooling my oldest 2 (2nd grade and 4th grade.) I found your blog through googling trail guide to learning reviews. I’ve stressed and gone back and forth on what curriculum to use. Can you give me your advice on trail guide for a newbie homeschoolers… Good idea or should I go with a non core route. I’ve actually already pieced together my curriculum but feeling nervous about it. I want my first year to be as smooth as possible (is that possible to have a smooth first year) which curriculum decisions have kept me up late so many nights! Thank you so much!

    • First of all, here’s a big hug. I’ve been there! Second, you really can’t go wrong with what you choose. We are so blessed to be homeschooling in these times–we have so many good, solid choices! You know your children best, so go where you feel led.

      That said, I love Trail Guide for new or seasoned homeschoolers for many reasons:
      * There is little prep work–usually I just have to print off a few sheets from the CD. I do this when the kids are doing copywork. This might be appealing to you because you also have 2 little ones as well.
      * I love the way Trail Guide integrates language arts. I’ve used other full curriculums, and I always supplemented the language arts with something else. You don’t have to do that with Trail Guide.
      * Everything but math is included. It doesn’t get much easier for parents than this, but it is not wimpy stuff that they just threw in there!
      * It doesn’t take long. The lessons are short and sweet. Great for keeping the younger ones on task, but they are still robust enough to challenge older kids.
      * There is a daily rhythm. This is so important to me! My kids know what is coming up, I know what is coming up, and it helps our days go smoothly. Still, this is not boring, drag your feet stuff.
      * Maybe most important, Trail Guide uses whole books. Great books! Our read-aloud times are some of our favorite moments in homeschooling. Even your little ones will probably want to hear the stories while they play on the floor or with blocks, etc. I’m a big believer in the whole/real books approach to education.

      I know I sound like a poster child for Trail Guide, but I am not affiliated or compensated by them in any way. I’m just a big fan! Whatever you choose, it…will…be…okay! 🙂 Remember that you are not a slave to that curriculum. Use it, tweak it, or feel free to dump it if it not working for you or your children. Your kids do not have to do every single assignment. Read to them out of real books–start with the ones you loved as a child. Read aloud a lot! Love your library card! And, have fun! 🙂

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