homeschool: organizing last year, planning this year

It’s that time of year.  (It took me two weeks longer than other years to think of homeschooling).

This is what I started with…

…a cup of tea… (& appropriately, a cup of courage)

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And piles and piles of papers, notebooks, sketches, math workbooks, writing stuff, whatever they did this year on paper.

I culled much. Kept plenty.

Tomorrow I will write a portfolio for each child, that includes…

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But this will take me a couple weeks of tomorrow mornings. I sort through everything they have written and read, and everything I’ve written in the daily and monthly daytimer.

Yup, I know. That’s a lot of work.

I do it for two reasons, the first the most important.

1: I see what we’ve been doing in the last year and I congratulate myself for an incredible effort. Who else is going to do it? Homeschooling is not an occupation that earns external awards, bursaries, scholarships, or renown. Built in self-congratulation (and the occasional jaw gaping are all I see for my efforts, oh and interesting, kind kids walking the path they were meant to live, and an internal awareness that I’ve lived a full, meaningful life helping them do that. There is THAT).

2: I’m getting into the practice of writing meaningful portfolios for my high school homeschoolers to plan for their potential post secondary years.


With all these portfolio efforts, I’m thinking about the next homeschool year. (Which for us, starts in a month).


What will our routine look like? What activities will we include? What educational pursuits would benefit each of the kids? What will we continue and what will we change?

Instead of looking at the latest, greatest curriculum options (I’ve spent other years poring over catalogues and perusing curriculum fairs), I first consider my kids’ natural interests. When I’m not looking, when I haven’t organized a day or mandated screen limitations, what are they doing? I want to build on that.

If my child defaults to reading the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, should I trade my prescribed reading list for her interests? Ohhh, tricky one. I buy those little graphic novels for my daughter’s Christmas amusement, but would not include them on an academic reading list. Since she reads and rereads this series, last year I found a Jeff Kinney unit study to incorporate writing stories.

I also want to do what has been working. Like Math U See curriculum. But tweak it to prevent monotony. Like creating games out of math concepts my kids struggle with. (Tried to do that with Pythagorean theorem last year, ha, that was funny…trying to invent the Pythagorean wheel, or triangle 🙂

Last year, my chess entranced son took fifteen minute morning breaks playing chess on line. He also has a fascination with Lego (what nine year old boy doesn’t). Sometimes he has Lego challenges to break up study days.

Try something new to keep it interesting. This year we’ll be incorporating book clubs from BraveWriter. Our thirteen year old will try another BraveWriter on-line class. Our fifteen year old will take a few BraveWriter classes on essay writing. Gotta get ready for SATs.

Our recent trip to the big city celebrating our newly minted thirteen year old included a trip to a make up professional. This kiddo could talk make up with the Sephora stylist like I can talk homeschool. (I had no idea!) A Chanel make up lady let her know she could take classes at a local college. Now how am I going to include make up application in my curriculum plans? Dunno yet. But you know I’m going to try.

I want to know what you think. Let me know.

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