and there is no going back or changing of minds allowed!!! I have really struggled with deciding what to do this year - not because I didn't find something I liked but because I have become a book junkie - lovin' me some yard sales and thrift stores!! I have WAY TOO MANY books on WAY TOO MANY subjects!! At convention a friend helped me to decide that I should just use what I already have, do my own planning and then next year start back with a bought curriculum. I was all gung ho for that and a little bit excited but then I could never sit down and figure out HOW to plan it. It has been a month - if not longer - and I have been in limbo because I didnt know what to do to get started planning! Finally - a friend sent me a blog that uses some of ambleside online but she has tweaked it a little bit and she has it on her blog for anyone to use. So - I got all excited again becuase this gave me some guidelines to follow and I had a lot of the books and I was sure I could find replacements or use the library for the ones I don't have. I got everything in order - made some planning sheets and sat up till all hours of the night and for 3 days did nothing but work on this. By the time I had finished going thru each week, writing it in my planner and rearranging books and stuff I knew there was no way this would work for us!! 3 days - gone!! But.....By going thru each week all the way to the end it really helped me make decisions and know things that I would not have figured out until we had already started! I have a tendency to judge a book by it's cover and the cover of this looked real good and it probably is real good for lots of you but I knew I would not stick with it! It also didn't have enough american history in it for the boys interests at this point! So - I was very frustrated but had a quick solution - I went back to the curriculum that I had gone to convention thinking I was going to use!!!
I also got to know a little bit about myself - there is no way that I will ever, ever again try to attempt to do any planning on my own - NOT FOR ME!!! It also made me realize that every year I AM going to look at everything available to me and make a new choice each year instead of sticking with one company forever. I also was very convicted to get rid of all of the extra books that are just laying around tempting me and making me feel like I need to use them just because they are here. Well - why are they here? Because I was at a yard sale or a thrift store and saw it for a cheap price and thought that someday we might use that or we are studying this topic - maybe I need 1 more book about columbus - it is only 25 cents!!!! TROUBLE I tell you - TROUBLE!!! I have decided that this desire to find something cheap is a serious addiction and I am prayerful that God has broken that in me and that I can now move on to more important things!!!
Now - with all that said - this is what we are going to use this year..........
Stephen - 3rd Grade, Ben - 1st Grade and Thomas - PreSchool
Pre-School with Thomas will be very informal. Totally Tots has some great ideas and we may also follow what my friend over at Homeschool Creations did last year in her Preschool Corner. He will be doing a letter a week at co-op so we will follow along with that in regards to learning his letters.
Heart of Dakota - Bigger Hearts for his Glory
I love the way this is set up and laid out. I have not been able to get my hands on it so when it comes next week I am sure I will spend days devouring it and getting to know it a little better. It seems very easy to use so that all I have to do is get everything we will need together for each day, open the TM and go! I am all over that - I need someone to tell me what to do and how to do it so I can just skip that step altogether in my life! The boys will devour the history and I am excited about the other things that are included - The books for storytime are from nine different genres, Bible is focusing on character traits, Science uses these fabulous books called One Small Square, in Music we are going to learn about the history behind some of our beloved Hymns and we will touch on a little bit of geography each week. Can you tell I am excited????
Horizons Math - we didn't finish our books last year because we spent some time focusing on our addition and subtraction facts and playing games so we will work through our books some and add in some more games!
The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading - I learned about this at convention and listened to her speak and then was able to chat with her a little bit. I will use the same book for all 3 boys they just will be at different spots in the book. It seems like a great program so I will keep you updated as we work thru it!
Spanish - I found a beginner spanish kit by Hooked on Phonics at Ollie's for dirt cheap and so we will be starting with that this year. It is just the basics and seems like a good a place as any to get started!
Spelling - I am going to start using All about Spelling with Stephen after we establish where he is with his reading. My friend has written up a fantastic review of this spelling program.
Art - we will study an artist or two this year but I don't know who yet. I am gonna check out ambleside online when I get home to make that decision!
We will be doing the workbox system this year to keep our day on track! I have everything all set up and ready to go for that....just need school to get started!!!!
We will be doing co-op on Fridays that will fill in all the gaps(I hope) and provide a little bit more to our week!
I am really excited about our year and looking forward to hearing what others are using and reading reviews and updates from your year!!!