Although we have been doing learning activities all summer long, in small bursts and spurts, we will "officially" start "school" next week, along with everyone else. This week is getting back into routine and making sure our books, work areas, desks, etc. are tidied up and ready to go. Books are being pulled out and worksheets prepared. I've spent the last couple weeks making lesson plans, then totally rewriting them. Finding one program or curriculum and then changing it. It's nice to be able to do that.
There are certain topics we must cover, says NY state and the district. So, those are in the plans for the year. Then, a lot of what Kian wants to cover-Nature studies (bugs, animals, etc.) which also are called for in NYS. There's freedom of what you want to cover and when. As long as I cover 80% of what I said we would, and he shows progress over the year, we're set.
The internet and facebook groups have been a treasure trove of free and cheap materials. So many worksheets online for free. I've gone through a lot of ink in 3 weeks. I also purchased a laminater too so that some things will be able to be used several times, instead of printing them often. Ebay has been my best friend as well. Those homeschoolers looking to get rid of material and make some change, have listed endless books and resources on the site. I have gotten a bunch of stuff for a few bucks. It's great.
We're using library and free, printed worksheets from MacGraw-Hill for grammar/English curriculum. Science-we have a ton of non-fiction/reference books on every subject and animal, along with library and also using Answers In Genesis books about Nature and the planet Earth. Social Studies and geography, I am still working on but am waiting for my final bid on ebay on "Story of the World". SOtW is as it says, story form, for elementary kids, of history from beginning of time until now. I prefer the chronological coverage of history vs one time period, then another, or this person, then that country, etc. And what's best if that you can use the volumes (probably 1 per year) and cycle them, adding more in depth information and projects as the kids get older. So, Karter can jump in when he's ready and they will all get all the information at some point. Math-whatever I find. We have multiple workbooks from kindergarten until 4th grade, on all topics from adding/subtracting, multiply/divide, time, money, measure, etc. Art, Music, Health will be added into relevant unit studies. And yes, Karter has some preschool objectives and curriculum as well. (We discussed preschool for him in the area, but....that was it.)
I submitted my IHIP (intention for homeschool instruction plan-or something similar) with a list of things in each area that we will be covering. True to form, by the time I wrote it and received the OK back, Kian demonstrated to me, that he already knew about 70% of these concepts--especially in Math and Science. Good, then I'm off the hook a bit with a new born baby to take care of and recover from delivering, knowing I can honestly turn in the reports that he knows all this stuff. Then we can focus on other stuff like handwriting--for him will be cursive. (This, because he struggles with printing and being left handed, I did some research, turns out cursive writing-aka penmanship-was usually taught first way back when, and studies have shown it's easier for the hand and brain to figure out at early ages. So, we will attempt some and see if that helps or works.)
So, we are almost set to begin "officially". We need a few more things, I want a world map, a pencil sharpener that works-like oh an electric one? and little things like that. And realized we need more pens, and glue sticks...we'll be hitting up the 'back to school/after sales" soon. We rearranged some rooms (still have more to rearrange!) and it's more of a schoolroom/office with a play closet. The closet is about 6x8 deep and holds all their toys(minus the ones in their rooms) and art supplies and a bunch of books. The room itself holds Kevin's large desk, their 2 desks and more books and my craft/yarn armoire.
I'm not going to lie, I'm a bit nervous that it will all go well, since we have to actually report this year. Last year, we did our thing and it was great and there was no pressure. I think it will be fine. I scheduled in breaks around baby time, and the worst that happens is that we take more breaks and end up having a longer year. So, here goes nothing!