This School Year Goals and Lesson Planning

When planning this year’s school schedule, I kept in mind it wasn’t going to be a hard and fast schedule.  It is a living, breathing schedule of which I give myself permission to deviate from.  Every year I set a goal for myself when tackling the school year. This year resembles last year but let me show you how it has progressed.

1st year – NO clue what I was doing.  My goal was simple: Teach my kid the basics and survive.
PRO’s: We both survived.  Whew!  CON’s:  I was terrified of homeschooling.

2nd year – 1st grade:  Join a group.  I heard that socialization was a BIG thing the world around me was concerned about.
PRO’s: Hooked up with some great moms with great advice. CONS:  Too social. I scrambled to finish curriculum.

3rd year –  2nd grade and Kinder – My youngest joined our schooling in ernest.  Goal: Organize, stay on track and forget homeschool groups.

PRO’s: I was focused on curriculum and I had a close homeschooling mom that we “socialized” with frequently. CON’S: See PRO’s

4th year – 3rd grade and 1st – Be Organized and stick with it.  Devote special time to my 1st grader and reach out and find Mom’s with boys.
PRO’s:  I’ll let you know, as were heading that way in two weeks.

SO! Part of my organizing goals I am lesson planning. I almost had myself convinced to buy a $65 program.  It was going to plan my LIFE.  Then  I found a free one.  After entering about nine weeks of lessons, just for the 3rd grader, I decided to print the report.  WHA??? Horrible, jumbled weeks, and screwed up columns made it hard for me to follow along.  Sure, I should have printed a sample before 9 WEEKS but I didn’t.

I searched my Pinterest Homeschooling Resource board for pins and found something I had explored last year.  It was an editable Cute Lesson Plan created by Living Laughing and Loving (I wish there was an IOS form).  It was simple, colorful (it had to be pretty. I love eye candy) and FREE!  I am so happy how this is working for me.

Again, a lesson plan is like the back bone for my schooling but I may need to run a child to a doctor’s appoint.  I can pick up where we left off or push it back another day.  Having a lesson plan brings me comfort and helps me stay on task for those days when I lack the desire to teach.  If there is a plan and lessons are pulled it makes it easier to press on.

Do you plan lessons?  What method or planning works for you.

First Day Traditions

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Candes and I homeschool my two sons, Baseball Shews (8 years old) and Cowboy (6 years old).

I thought it fitting to begin my new blog with our homeschool,  “First Day of School” tradition.  I have been educating my boys for about four years now and each year I like to make the first day special.

When I first started teaching my oldest I felt bad that he wouldn’t know the joy of walking to school with his brand new backpack.  I worried he wouldn’t know the excitement in seeing the rush of new faces eager to start the great adventure (or the crying faces of those who would have rather stayed home).   So, I vowed I would make his day exciting!

The night before school starts I stay up late creating, “Welcome Back to School” signs out of construction paper and bright, fun name plates.  I hang up my store bought posters of the alphabet on the shelving in our dinning room, aka school room.

The first year was the traditional red apples with their names on it.  The next year was a paper chalkboard with their names written in chalk. Over the years I have perfected my decoration themes.   Last year’s theme was Star Wars with hand crafted light sabers name plates  (complete with starburst action effects)   for each boy and coinciding, handmade, Star Wars book marks.

I thought I was being silly, doing it mostly for myself but last year my youngest, Cowboy, asked if I was going to decorate the room.  His face lit up and smiled as wide as his six year old cheeks would allow him when I replied, “Of course!”  I was so excited to learn he actually noticed, not to mention LOVED it.  He wants to be surprised and I can’t wait to plan it out.

Unbeknownst to Cowboy, it’s going to be Wii Mario for him and Nerf guns for my oldest, Baseball Shews.

Besides the tradition of decorating the room, another of our traditions is dressing nice for the first day, getting the backpacks on and going outside to stand in front of our American flag and say the pledge.  I usually take photos while Daddy leads them before heading off to work.  It’s a proud moment for us all.

New traditions I would like to start:

First Day is Picture Day – I’ve taken pictures but not pose-at-the-fake-desk pictures.  I’m kind of ashamed I hadn’t done it and my oldest is in 3rd grade already!

A Special Breakfast – I want to make their favorite meal. Pancakes, bacon (lots), milk and juice.  Not too hard but in the past I hadn’t given it much thought.

What are your plans to start the year off right?