Thursday, July 10, 2014

Planning For A New School Year

I’ve learned a lot about my two younger kids in their first year of homeschooling.

This makes PLANNING our new HOMESCHOOL YEAR so much easier.

Both are Audio, Visual learners that need to write-it-out.


LIST OF NEEDS. If you didn’t know, both my husband and I work full-time outside the home. This hasn’t changed this school year. However, our overlapping childcare provided by our older two kids is now gone.

So we had to list out all our needs for this school year, things we may or may not had needed last year.

1)      Childcare (2-3) days a week. $40 a day as needed is our budget

2)      Coverage of more subjects for new High Schooler

3)      After School Activities will consume 3-4 days out of our weekdays.

4)      Curriculum that is 80% self teaching with resources

5)      Tutor for Algebra 2 and Chemistry

6)      Tutor or Reviewer of Writing


There was a lot of different curriculum that we tried out. Some were failures and others were lifesavers.


A+ Interactive – Not fun (my 4th grader thought)

Switched On Schoolhouse – my kids didn’t like doing all the reading and when turned on the read out loud feature they said it sounded horrible. The support was great and the potential and subject matter well covered.

Time4Learning – could only be used as a supplement and required more time than mom had to coordinate lessons

Ask Dr. Callahan Geometry – this was a disaster because it required a lot of my time to organize. The book was nice enough, but the videos were not in an ordered fashion to the books, lessons and such. My daughter also found it frustrating.

Thinkwell Geometry – The lectures were great. However, the cohesiveness of test, quizzes and practice problems were seriously off and caused my daughter to have to research other resources to be successful on these test and quizzes.

Thinkwell Biology - The lectures were great. However, the cohesiveness of test, quizzes and practice problems were seriously off and caused my daughter to have to research other resources to be successful on these test and quizzes.


Abeka DVD Based Curriculum – This spoiled mom because everything was laid out. It comes with Tutor support on the phone. My kids are used to the traditional school setting and this just provided it to them on DVDs we could take every where. I kept quizzes, test and projects for easy show to our Umbrella Organization for proof of work. It made it easy for my husband and older children to administer school and the kids never missed a beat. I don’t think I would’ve been able to pull this year off without this.

Analytical Grammar – Another win. This helped my daughter really focus on Grammar in a few short weeks. Came with a DVD teacher. Didn’t take much time and I allowed her to check her own work. We saw improvement. – This allowed my daughter to submit her writing to an actual teacher. This was great for me and her and ran 9 weeks only costing $99.

Sequential Spelling – I used this with my older daughter since the Abeka program had so many words and it took her more time in memorizing than I wanted to spend. This was quick and effective teaching of spelling by the method called word ‘chunking’. I will be using this for my younger student this year.

Teaching Textbooks – Although I wouldn’t use this as our core math curriculum because the math problems provided aren’t as challenging as the Abeka program, it is serving as a great Supplement/Math Lab. – Great resource for fun kid friendly video learning. Had to make the kids take notes since this doesn’t come with test or quizzes to the extent that I would give. So I had to make my own but the kids enjoyed them.


For us we will need 5 days a week to get through our curriculum in 1 year. Also, we will be running from the end of July to the beginning a June.

A long school year since my high schooler will be going through a lot of subjects to prepare her for taking DUAL CREDIT Community College classes in her 10th grade school year.


Now after all of this, I have a template for the days of school, draft of ‘must do’ curriculum from the previous year while I search out new curriculum to add.

1 comment:

  1. We had the exact same thoughts on Thinkwell Biology--great lectures, not-so-great quizzes. We're using the lectures for note-taking practice this year, and we may just skip the quizzes because the material is good but the follow-up activities are a waste of time. I looked at Analytical Grammar a while back and can't remember much about it--may have to give it a second look. We use a combination of Teaching Textbooks and practice worksheets. I've noticed that TT runs about a year behind what the kids in our school district are doing, so we "size up" so to speak. Have a great school year!