Sunday, August 25, 2013

Finding our Rhythm

It's Back to School time!!! One of my favorite times of the year! Store shelves lined with school supplies on sale, freshly sharpened colored pencils, clean new binders - I love it! But.... I'm not going back to school this year. I am completely secure in my decision to not go back to school and to stay home with my daughter, but it is just a little bittersweet at this time of year. As a planner, this was my favorite time as a teacher - the new blank lesson plan book, seating charts, stacks of colored papers to send home with new students, the only time my classroom would ever look organized for the rest of the year....

It's this time of year when I usually get myself back into a schedule, but this year, we were still on vacation in Florida with absolutely no schedule at all. The lack of schedule didn't both me all summer, but for some reason all of those Back to School posts on Facebook left me feeling very disorganized and scattered.

One of the huge benefits of staying home and homeschooling is that I can be flexible, so I know I don't want to set some rigid schedule for us to follow. Several good blogs - An Everyday Story, Creekside Learning, Simple Homeschool - have good posts about finding a rhythm for homeschooling. The idea of a "rhythm" really appeals to me - it doesn't sound rigid, but it sets enough structure that you kind of know what to expect. It allows room for flexibility, but there's a jumping off point, a plan.

I bought the Homeschool eBook Omnibus that is featured on Confessions of a Homeschooler (quick! Today - 8/25/13 - is the last day to download it!). It has tons of great eBooks on lot of different subjects, but I was really excited about the planning materials. Tina from New Bee Homeschooler has an amazing collection of printables to make a custom Unit Study Planner. I love that the pages have flow charts to help plan out ideas for units, and then tables to narrow down subtopics, list activities, materials, books and websites related to the unit. The pdf is editable, so you can type right onto the page and print, or print blank copies (like I did) to fill in by hand. (I use pencil - like I always did in my lesson planners as a teacher - so I can go back and edit whenever I need to.) The pages are so cute too! I swear I'm not getting some kind of kickback from this, I'm just really excited!

Last night I printed off calendar sheets for September through December, along with several sets of the unit planning sheets. I started by adding in holidays and planned trips, then filled in some ideas for units I think would be interesting to M and would make sense for the fall season (vegetable gardening, farms, birds, construction, family, nutrition, weather, transportation, Christmas).

I'll be back to update when I have made some more progress. For now, I'm just excited to be on the path to finding our rhythm!

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