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Homeschool Evolution

I'm thinking about and planning our next school year right now.

(Between this, the photoshop class, spring cleaning, planning our vacation, the gorgeous weather, and a couple of projects I've been working on, I have been busy lately! Thus the lack of blogging. Sorry.)

I was just kind of giggling about the plans for next year, and how many changes there have been through the years.

We started out with Gabbi in Pre-K. The only option I would consider at the time was a big box curriculum. We started with Abeka, and I'm sure I paid a ton for the whole set. For Pre-K. Because I didn't want her to miss a thing, that's why. So this big box came in the mail, and darn it, I paid for it, and we were going to do every page, even if it took us from 8 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon. For Pre-K. And it was TOUGH. We had a very high needs toddler at the time, but no way was the education of the first born going to be put on the back burner. So I kind of drove myself crazy. And her too. For Pre-K.

Then kindergarten rolled around. It occurred to me that perhaps she didn't need to do every single workbook that abeka printed with the word K on it. I still didn't want her to miss a thing, but thought maybe she would still do okay if we just did most of the workbooks. Madelyn was probably even more needy at this time, so school kind of got pushed to her naptime. Seriously - I would put the child in her crib and whip out the school stuff and we'd cram as much as possible into the two hour nap. It was kind of an "I don't care if you learn or not, I want these workbook pages DONE!" She did learn to read that year, which was the big goal of the year, but I don't think she enjoyed a minute of it. :(

Then first grade. We stuck with abeka, but realized rather quickly that abeka math wasn't working so well for her. I fretted over it for days, but we switched math curricula from abeka to math u see. Then I was proud of myself for being a "pick and choose what works for us" homeschooler. This could have been a better year, however, there were several "life issues" going on at the same time. 2005, anyone? Enter the birth of Brendan, and three weeks later, Hurricane Rita. We did some schoolwork over the summer, which was good, because from his birth through December, there was not much schoolin' going on. Thankfully, Madelyn was going to MDO (which we called PRE-K for her) and Gabbi was kind of breezing through.

Second grade, and K for Madelyn. We started second grade with Gabbi and realized very quickly that what had worked previously was not working any longer. A friend mentioned how much she was liking Bob Jones curriculum, and I considered switching. If y'all know me well enough, you might know the stress that came with the very thought of switching mid-year. Not only that, in looking at the scope and sequence, we decided to change grades as well. We did continue with math u see, but changed everything else; moving her from second to third grade, and changing from phonics to English. It was a major change for me. We loved Bob Jones though. Madelyn was using the abeka K stuff, and bless her little middle child heart, she got the short end of the stick because I was stressed making all of the changes with Gabbi. Plus, I had figured out that it's just kindergarten, and what's tough to learn at five is often learned instantly at six. (Yep, a life motto. haha)

Fourth grade for Gabbi, first for Madelyn. The year of the homesat! Bob Jones had a home satellite program that we loved. We still used math u see for math for both girls, but we used Bob Jones for everything else. Kind of. We still mainly just did the three r's and let science and history be part of co-op. This was a smooth, easy year, other than learning how to use the satellite and making all of those dvd's. Mrs. Walker from BJU taught Madelyn how to read via recorded DVD's and it was a great year!

Then fifth grade for Gabbi, second for Madelyn. This year started out with some issues. #1 - Toddler. 'Nuff said about that. #2 - we got the message at the beginning of the year that this was the last year for homesat. #3 - 2008. Ike, anyone? We hit a pretty major math stumbling block with Gabbi, but we had learned that it was okay to take a break and change things if we needed. We persevered through it, but it was another tough year. I was going crazy taping homesat classes and keeping up with the toddler and trying to keep all of the plates spinning. Oh, and Jim joined the National Guard this year too.

This year ... sixth grade for Gabbi, third for Madelyn. (Yes, Brendan is officially old enough for pre-K, but ... um ... no.) We decided to switch math for Gabbi, and liked it so much, we decided to switch for Madelyn too. We use Teaching Textbooks now. Other than that, we've pretty much stayed the course with Bob Jones, knowing that I only taped through sixth grade, so SOMETHING is going to have to change for next year. This was also a weird year because Jim has been gone through all of it.

Junior High!

It's time to step up the science and history for Gabbi, plus we don't have homesat DVD's for some of the classes she needs. Plus, it'll be time to add Brendan in, at least some. Thankfully, this should be an easy year for Madelyn. We've decided to kind of jump out of the box and completely change things up for Gabbi. I've found a curriculum that makes me nervous that I think she is going to love. For the first time, I'm actually looking at a curriculum and thinking about what she will enjoy about it more than what makes me nervous about it. (Just nervous because it's so different from what I'm used to.) Here are our plans for next year:

Gabbi: Bob Jones English 7, Heart of Dakota Creation to Christ for history, science, and reading, although we might add a literature to this, and if we do, it will be Bob Jones. We'll continue with Teaching Textbooks for math.

Madelyn: She'll do Bob Jones English, reading, and spelling, and teaching textbooks for math. I'm planning to add her in on some of Gabbi's history and science.

Brendan: Bob Jones pre-K plus MDO. I've been really surprised by him lately, so we might go through pre-K pretty quickly and move on into K. He's my baby, so I'm not really interested in rushing him, however, I don't want him to be bored either. We'll just see what works for him.

I have to say - as a homeschool mom, this is my favorite time of the year. Nothing like planning for the next year. This year is especially sweet because we'll actually be finished with everything by May. First time that's ever happened. We realized the girls will both finish their reading classes in the next couple of weeks! I'm very excited to be able to do a couple of longer book studies with them this year! :)

Wow, long post. I just find it interesting to see how it's okay to make changes and to find what works for both mom and child, and to run with it. :)

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