I spent months researching, scouring blogs, seeking out any wisdom I could glean to help me wrap my head around what it is we will be doing when we homeschool. I've researched philosophies behind homeschooling, visited homeschooling families, subscribed to the local homeschooling Google group, determined organizational plans, and researched the many curriculum choices. In addition to the research, I laminated, labeled, reorganized closets, moved the scrapping stuff (is this what happens?), printed out reading lists, and borrowed 4-5 Sonlight curriculum to try out for the summer (Thanks Leah). I've modified the Instructor Guides that come with the curriculum, not because I'm a control freak (although I am) but because we are not doing the curriculum straight through, but only as a way to see if this system and materials are a good fit for our family. Here is a look at our first week's plans. The original organizational method I wrote about in my first post on planning, didn't work, once I had decided to give Sonlight a solid try.
You may be happy to know we are officially into week 3 of school. And if it weren't for the workboxes I use to organize it all, my son Caleb might not even know we have started school. We are doing much of the same things we've always done, only I'm pre-planning what we do, and coordinating so we get a wide variety of subjects each week. Below is week 3's lesson.
You'll notice that I've stopped being so particular with what stories are read. Logistically its just easier for us to know that we need to read 2 out of this one, 3 out of this one, etc. Then I just keep a piece of card stock as a bookmark, that the adult reading the story records the date and what has been read. That seems to be working much better. I love the anthology books with the classics in them. These are book I remember reading as a kid, but wouldn't have necessarily searched them out in a library. This is exactly what I needed. I've discussed my lack of confidence in picking out quality books, as I talked about in my post, Chosing and Reading Children's Books. Sonlight curriculum helps me with this. (We still check out 10 library books every 2 weeks!)
I'm not a full-time stay-at-home mom, as I work two days a week at the local university and also volunteer two mornings a week as a science lab teacher. So the homeschooling responsibilities are not solely on my shoulders. I make the schedule for the week, and whoever is home with the kids can follow the lesson plans, be it me, my husband, or our college-student baby sitter, who also happens to be an elementary education major!
I'm a sucker for having things in containers (I had a severe addiction to Longaburger baskets in the 90's) so its no surprise that I liked the idea of workboxes. I found some great resources like Sue Patrick's Workbox System, 1+1=1, Just Laine (just found Laine....love, love, love her site) and No Reimer Reason. And finally decided to do it.
Here is a collage of our workbox drawers here in the early stages in our homeschooling "career."