March 2, 2010

Spring Planning

It is now March, which means it should be Spring.  At least that makes sense in my head.  In reality, we live in NH which means we can have snow until May if the Lord so chooses.  Actually... if the Lord chooses - we could have snow in August, but that is another matter altogether. :-)
Anyway, back to Spring.
For me, part of my Spring planning that happens in March is thinking about our next school year.  This is the time of year when many - not all, but lots - start to get itchy about what didn't work this year, what we want to do differently/better/again or NEVER AGAIN!  We re-evaluate our kids strengths/weaknesses (though this is often an ongoing process and not a formal list sort of thing), and start to think about what our needs/wants are for our school materials for next year.
Spring is a great time to clean out the bookshelves and start posting things for sale on the various websites that allow such things for home schoolers.  Used curriculum is such a blessing!  Since so many of us are living on one income, being good stewards of what the Lord provides is absolutely imperative.  Being that we live so close to the distribution warehouse for Christian Book Distributors means another blessing for us - the CBD Warehouse Sale!  This is a really fun road trip that I take with a few of my friends at least twice a year.  They have an amazing mark-down sale with things that are bumped, dented or returned and you can find some amazing bargains on some otherwise very expensive curriculum.  It also allows us to actually put our hands on some things that we might be considering using, but want to flip through the book to be sure before we part with any of our husband's hard-earned money.
The next sale is on March 20th, so I am starting the process of figuring out what we need for next year.  I am blessed in that over the years I've managed to collect a lot of curriculum... some people would say that I have a "problem" when it comes to buying books.  I am of the firm mind set that there is no such thing as too many books - only that there are too few bookshelves.
There will not need to be too many big purchases for next year - at least I think that at this point, I never know what I may find on the tables at CBD.  ;-)
A few years ago I started using Rod & Staff for English for the kids - which we all love.  The big plus here is that they are hard-cover text books and re-usable for other children.  So I already have our English for next year on the shelf.  All I will need to get are the workbooks/test books and those are very affordable.
We will continue with our current history curriculum and use the third volume of Mystery of History.  That one I do need to buy as I don't own it yet.  I am praying that God allows it to be found on the bargain tables as it is a fairly pricey set.
Math is all set, both kids will use materials from Bob Jones University Press for next year.  B will use 6th grade (that we will buy or borrow from a friend) and J will be doing Pre-Algebra that I already found on the tables last year at CBD.
We will not be quite finished with our Latin curriculum from this year by the end of our official school year, so we may continue through the summer or we may just leave off and start again in the fall.  I will start looking for year 2 of the same program Latina Christiana on the 'For Sale' boards.  I want the DVDs again and those are expensive, but well worth the money.
Science is also all set from prior purchases, both kids will use materials from Apologia.  B will do a year of elementary Astronomy and J will be tackling their General Science course.
The miscellaneous pieces still need to be filled in for them both.  Spelling, Vocabulary, Logic (though I may start the formal Logic curriculum that I already bought on clearance earlier this year), and probably some sort of formal Literature programs.
This year J used Lightning Literature from Hewitt and has enjoyed it, so I may hunt down their 8th grade program for her.  B has used the 5th grade Pathway Reader with the workbook this year and liked that as well, so that might be an easy choice for him again.  They both read voraciously, so that is not really a huge concern for me.  Keeping them in good quality books is a challenge, but thankfully the Lord provides and Steve doesn't ever complain about my spending money on books for the kids.
One new addition for next year, that will be an expense but worth it I hope, is that I'm going to utilize an on-line writing tutor for both of the kids.  I love to write, but teaching it consistently is a huge weakness for me.  I found this program that looks like it will suit our needs from Write Guide.  They will allow the kids to share a tutor each week, that will be a big savings on the total cost.
So... I am making progress in my planning.  I am praying that God puts in front of me what I need or really, what He wants me to find.  I know His plans are better than mine and I'm open to any changes He reveals to me.  This whole journey isn't about me anyway and having that knowledge going forward makes the changes less traumatic. I am praying for wisdom and guidance for me and for the kids - my goal is to make sure they are equipped (as best I can) for whatever the Lord has planned for them in the future.