Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ten Reasons I'm Excited for the New School Year!

1. Brand spankin' new built-in bookshelves my awesome, amazing, wonderful, fabulous husband built for me this summer.  We had a classroom, but working at the dining room table felt more natural to us and I want learning to be natural, you know?  Having all of our homeschool resources on bookshelves in the living room as opposed to in closets and our old classroom will be super helpful!

 2. I have decided on a "Less is More" philosophy.  I am simplifying.  We are not trying to do everything all year.  I have actually said "no" to activities and resisted the temptation to buy workbooks when we still have workbooks that are not complete.  I have decided that we won't try to do everything all year, but will focus on a few things intensely in the fall and give other things more attention in the spring.

2.  Not studying science and history at the same time.  At the end of last year, we finished science and not our history curriculum (even without consciously deciding this, we seemed to focus on one or the other and not both).  The girls and I completely lost ourselves reading chapter after chapter day after day of history.  The events coalesced and made more sense than when we did history a few days and then science right after or on alternate days.  The girls read biographies of historical figures and books set in the time period and the whole experience was really pretty amazing!

4.  I am gaining confidence.  When we started homeschooling two years ago, I thought we would unschool...but I lacked the confidence.  Then at the end of the first year, I thought of doing history in the fall and science in the spring...but I lacked the confidence.  Now I finally have the confidence to know what works for me, for my girls, for our learning styles and my teaching style and for our family and to actually implement those things.

5.  I know where to spend our money and I have a budget.  I spent the last two years buying so much curriculum just because it looked and sounded great.  I never considered if we actually had time for it.  Now I am.  I am prioritizing our time and spending our money on activities and supplies that suit my girls' interests rather than trying to do everything!  Saying no to some expenses will allow us more money to spend on activities or supplies for projects that really matter to us.

6.  Notebooking!  Just writing summaries was getting dry and dull and Bor-ing last year.  So, at the end of the year, we started notebooking...and these creative girls of mine fell in love!  Notebooking is almost like scrapbooking information.  My girls love the idea of creating beautiful notebooks of what we learn.  I have spent this summer reading Jimmie's book and am feeling very confident that we will build beautiful notebooks this year!

7.  Our Cleaning Schedule.  I will admit it, I am a bit of a neat freak.  I like a clean, tidy house with everything in its place.  I hate clutter.  I like things simple.  I have spent a lot of time lately taking everything out of a closet and only putting back what I want to keep and donating the rest to the Goodwill.  Our house is very tidy and neat now.  I created a cleaning schedule.  The girls are responsible for vacuuming (A), dusting (P), washing floors (P) and washing down cabinets (A) once a week, in addition to keeping their bedrooms neat.  I 'assign' these things along with certain school things.

8.  Allie and I are closer than we have been since she was a baby.  One of the reasons we spent two years trying to decide whether or not to homeschool was that everyone told me that my kids would hate me.  You know what?  Those people could not have been more wrong.  My girls and I are closer than ever.  Piper and I have always been close, but Allie had issues in school and I came down on her hard, as the school advised and we had grown apart.  Now we are as close as I could imagine being.  We have so much in common.  Sometimes she says something and I swear I could have said the same thing!

9.  Mother-Daughter Book Clubs.  Allie LOVES to read.  Last year she started a book club with 7 of her homeschool friends and their mothers.  We pick one book a month, read it and get together once a month to discuss the book.  I love that Allie started this.  I love that we have this time with friends.  I love the books we have read and the discussions we have had.  I have seen my girls GROW so much with this book club and I know they will continue to grow this year with the club.

10.  Beating winter blahs and working together toward a common goal.  Inspired by Jess at Teachable Moments and Cath at Wholeschoolers, we have decided to work toward a common goal this year with several of our homeschool friends.  We have not yet chosen a goal.   But we will be meeting sometime after Christmas to discuss this, choose a goal and then get together once a week during the dreary winter months to work toward a common goal, be it a goal of social conscious-ness, a Rube Goldberg invention, a weekly youtube video show or any number of other things that the kids come up with this year.  After Christmas, during the dreary snowy days of January, I always get a little cabin fever, so knowing I have this to look forward to will hopefully help stave off those winter blues!

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