thoughts on next year

>> Monday, April 25, 2011

I've been giving more thought to my blog lately, and I'd really like to get back to updating on a regular basis.  I don't know if that will actually happen, but it's a goal.  :)

We're wrapping up our current school year, and I've been giving a lot of thought to next year.  A couple weeks ago we visited my parents in Arizona, and somehow during that week the topic of next year's schooling came up.  I'm not sure what all we talked about, but I got to thinking about the possibility of trying something new next year.  We've been using Sonlight for the past 5 years, and we've really enjoyed it!  But I think we're ready to try something new.  Sonlight has a lot of reading (which we love), but not much of anything else.  I think we'd all really enjoy some hands on activities.

The past two weeks have been crazy with researching different curriculum options!  When I began  I didn't really know what I was looking for, although there were a few things that were important...

  • I want a Christian curriculum.  Something that gives a lot of focus on the Bible would be terrific.
  • I'd prefer a lesson plan that has everything planned out for me.  I'm not comfortable in my ability to put everything together.  It's too stressful (I tried that in preschool and it didn't go so well) and I'm not confident I'd include everything my girls need to learn.
  • Combining lessons would be terrific.  My girls have had separate lessons in everything up to this point.  It would be great if some subjects could be combined.
  • Hands on activities are fun, but I'm not at all creative... if we're going to do these kinds of things, it needs to be planned out for me, and scheduled in.  Otherwise it's not going to get done.
 As I searched online for various curricula, I found a few that interested me.  At first I was drawn to Tapestry of Grace, but the cost of that one held me back from putting too much research into it.  So right now the top contender for me is My Father's World.  It has everything I'm looking for, and the cost is about half of what I'd pay for another year of Sonlight.  And the way they save money is by using the library for most of the readers.  One thing we loved about Sonlight is the wonderful library we have built up over the past 5 years!  But the cost of continuing to build our own library is just not possible right now.  We do have a wonderful library system in our state, so I'll be able to make use of  that.  We can look online to find the books we'll need, and have them sent to our local library for pickup.  And through the course of the year if there are any books we find we just love, we can keep our eye out for a used copy somewhere.

During my research I've read about some fun activities that are planned during the year's study of Exploring Countries and Cultures (the program we'd start with My Father's World), and it looks like a really fun program!  I've shared my findings with my girls, and they are both really excited about the prospect.  In fact recently as I was looking online for other curriculum choices my oldest asked what I was doing.  When I told her she said, "No, Mommy!  Don't look at any more!  You might find something that's not as fun!"

Although I haven't decided 100% on our choice for next year, at this point it looks like we'll be going with My Father's World.  I'm excited to go to our Homeschool convention in June so I can see the books in person.  This will be our first time at a homeschooling convention, and my husband and I are really looking forward to it.  We won't be going to all the different workshops, as this year our focus is just to see the exhibit hall.  While we're there I'll also be looking into a new math program, but that's a post for another time.  :)

I'm excited to see what the coming year has in store for us!


Tesa April 25, 2011 at 5:45 PM  

I'd love to hear what you think of the homeschool convention...even if just the exhibit hall. I've never been to one and always wondered if it is worth the time and effort.
We are switching math curriculum this year. I think the change will be good. (ABEKA to Saxon)
What have you used for spelling? Any good recommendations?

Emily April 25, 2011 at 7:16 PM  

Hi Tesa, I'll be sure to write my thoughts on the convention. :) I'm looking forward to going, but have no idea what to expect. I've not used ABEKA or Saxon for math. It's one of my weaker subjects - I think that's what makes it so hard. And we haven't used anything for spelling up to this point. My oldest does so much reading she seems to pick up spelling pretty easily, but we will try something new this coming year for my younger daughter. I think we'll try Spelling by Sound and Structure.

Luke April 26, 2011 at 5:23 AM  

May My Father's World be exactly what you're looking for in the coming year, Emily. Naturally, as a Sonlight guy, I'm biased toward "my" curriculum [smile]. So, if you don't end up absolutely loving MFW, be sure to come back. But please go with what works for your family and continues to inspire the love of learning and a desire to follow as the Lord leads. All the best in the coming year!


Emily April 26, 2011 at 9:55 AM  

Thank you, Luke. We really have loved Sonlight and wouldn't trade the last five years (or our wonderful library!) for anything. And I'd wholeheartedly recommend it to someone looking for a Christian curriculum. It's just time to try something new. Homeschooling is such a wonderful adventure! :)

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