Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Are You Looking Ahead to the Next Year?

About this time, many a homeschooling parent's mind turns to plans for the next school year. I know mine does. If you use a boxed curriculum, attend a virtual school, or just plan to keep on keepin' on with what you've already got going, then planning's a breeze. Or, if you're more like me, you start with a basic framework, add some elements, subtract others, touch it up here and there with some embellishments -- all in accordance with your vision for your children's education, your family's beliefs and values, and your children's learning styles/preferences.

For example, (I LOVE examples! I'm that kind of person.) folks with a literary bent may select a Charlotte Mason-style curriculum and then add in notebooking. Another family with a more classical emphasis (a la The Well-Trained Mind) may opt for extra hands-on activities or visual elements to their studies, such as videos or movies. And then the eclectically-minded choose from the entire smorgasboard.

So many choices! So much responsibility. It can be enough to make a mama lose some sleep at night.

I'm one who has a firm foundation, and that's Ambleside Online. I start there, and I mostly stay there. But I must admit, I'm one who likes to look over the smorgasboard. If you do, too, let me point you to Curriculum Choice, an excellent curriculum review website. (Let me hastily point out that I am in no way swayed because I'm a reviewer there -- I'm only a newbie!) It helps me tremendously to read what other homeschooling parents think about curricula and resources and what their experiences have been like.

Tip: If you're considering a specific curriculum or resources that hasn't yet been reviewed on Curriculum Choice, just Google the name of the product along with the word review. Bingo! A wealth of information at your fingertips.

Another idea: you've probably hung onto many of your homeschooling help books. I know lots of us re-read our favorites to inspire and refresh us anew. I flip through mine for highlightings, things I noted in the past and now we've reached the point to use. I see where I can add those items to our year's plan.

I'm an avid blog reader. Seriously, there's not enough time in my life to read all the blogs I want to with the level of commitment I wish I could devote. And I learn so much! I'm forever bookmarking blogs and websites on my Favorites bar.

Think of the blogs you most like to peruse for practical information and how-tos. (Aside: I know I "should" write how-to's for the sake of clarity, but I cannot STAND to put an apostrophe where it does not belong. An apostrophe shows possession; it does not indicate a plural. I beg your forbearance.) Then set aside some time to peruse those blogs. You may want to rise earlier than the children one day (or a few days) to give yourself this luxury. Read archived posts; click on links. I am almost always rewarded with gems when I take time to research my favorite blogs.

I have highlighted links to helpful homeschooling websites on my blog's sidebars. If there's one (or a few) that you haven't checked out, the planning stage is a great time to do it.

But the very first thing I do before I begin to plan is pray. I ask for guidance, wisdom in decisions, and rejuvenation on this journey. After that, I don't feel like the full responsibility of my children's education weighs on my shoulders alone. And that is a lovely, freeing feeling.


  1. I'm actually not a curriculum junkie. I diverge from AO only enough to make it fit my Aussie daughter.

    That said, your review site sounds interesting. I'm off for a bit of a guddle. Thanks!

  2. Hi Jeanne! I wouldn't count me as a curriculum junkie, either, but I do like to seek out additional books for the girls that pertain to the historical period we're studying (as well as other literature selections). And I diverge from AO (and CM, I suppose) in the areas of logic/thinking skills, spelling, and grammar. I'm eclectically CM. :-)

  3. Very practical tips! And I am so thankful you are writing for The Curriculum Choice sharing your favorites. Like you, I also reread and flip through those favorite homeschool books, turn to blogs I love.

    I love this blog redesign as well. It's happy and friendly :)

  4. This provides some wonderful ideas and encouragement as I start thinking about next year. I forgot about Curriculum Choice; I'll have to take a look.

    BTW, I'm so glad you left off the apostrophe; I need consistency!


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