Monday, April 2, 2012

From Dreaming of Books to a Homeschool Curriculum Plan

A favorite reading corner.
'Tis a favorite time of year for this book-loving gal who also enjoys being inspired by others. Homeschool curriculum fair season is here! Books and speakers galore!

I've been dreaming about new books and supplies that I get to buy...soon and very soon. New books in our hands to read. For. A. Reason. We just have to buy new books for school. An excuse to buy books can nearly put me in a state of delirium.

And to think that what I once thought that which I never would be able to do is one of my favorite parts of homeschooling -- choosing books for each subject rather than selecting a pre-packaged, already tied together curriculum. It sounds so much easier to buy a grade! But...ahh...I haven't been characterized by picking by the easy way in my life. I enjoy challenges.

Besides, as you may have guessed, books are one of my very favorite things in the whole wide world. I've added a page on the top of my blog listing the books we're reading this year . And my books, books, and more books post is one of my top read posts. So book dreaming is a lovely component of homeschooling for me. (It is not necessary, though, to love this part to be called to homeschool. Just sharing one of my favs.)

A need for school books, plus money in the budget, combined with permission to buy said needed books, is simply a set-up to over spend on drool-inspiring books and yet not end-up with what we truly need for school, like...say... math books. They are not nearly as intrinsically interesting to buy as a good read aloud, or new art supplies, or a learning game.

But in the end, we still need to do math.

We are a family of book-worms. my efforts to navigate curriculum fairs, I created a form. This has helped me to plan my school year. My sister-in-law, who also homeschools, makes me feel like the greatest home-schooler ever because she oohs and ahhs over my forms. So, because at least one person in my life ohhs and ahhs, I decided to post it here since it might help someone in addition to her. Either use the chart as is or to do what creative types do best, see an idea and tweak it for themselves. Click HERE to look at or print a blank Curriculum Decision Chart.

This is a picture of an old chart in use.

It has a place for each child, their grade and a column for each subject. I have four children so  you would need to modify the form based upon how many children you have.

I also have a space for family to note items that we'll use together as a group and one for me, the teacher,

 so that I can note teacher's guides or supplies that I need for that subject or our school in general, such as measuring tapes and rulers for math or our the record-keeping notebook that I buy each year. (Click HERE for the link to the record keeper that I use called A Record of the Learning Lifestyle by the Notgrass company. I only use one for our whole family, even though the vendor recommends one for each child.)

The Curriculum Decision Chart also has a place to write down a theme for the year. This helps me decide whether or not to purchase discoveries that I happen upon at the fairs. Such as the year that we were studying early American history, I found a neat book that was Christopher Columbus' log of his journey to America. I purchased that and not Hillyer's A Child's History of the World, even though I had pined after that book for years and hadn't seen it before. (It had just come back in print.) Instead, I waited until the year we studied Ancient History to buy the longed for book and bought the timely one instead. 

The theme for the year can even help decide on which extra-curriculars to make a priority during a school year. That same year a replica of the Nina came sailing two hours near us. We made it a priority to see that. And it's still a treasured family memory.

Some years the focus or the priority has been to teach a certain child to read or teaching the children how to do chores. The theme is not always fancy or frilly or academic (such as the chore year). It is not the only thing we do but it helps me to know where to focus my energy even beyond the curriculum fair.

I have found that I can be a frugal homeschooler and navigate hectic curriculum fairs with the use of this form. It also helps me keep track of my ideas that I think of as we go in our school day in the spring as my thoughts turn toward the fall and the next school year.

What are some of your tools that you use to navigate curriculum fairs? Or something that you do to keep a crazy love of yours from getting out of hand?


Linking up with the Hip Homeschool Hop. Hop on over for some more encouragement HERE. Hip Homeschool Hop Button

1 comment:

  1. I'm freshly starting and I just attended my first conference. I was like a deer in the headlights but by the end of the weekend I wanted to buy it all! I have gotten away from curriculum in a box and started to pick and choose. I can't wait to print your form! Keep the help coming, veteran you.


Thanks for being part of the conversation...I love hearing from you. Kathleen

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...