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If you have been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know that we pulled our daughter out of public school and started homeschooling her for the last 4 weeks of school this spring. If you want to read more about the whys and hows, check out this post.
So this year my daughter will be in 8th grade, and it will be our first full year of homeschooling. So as our friends are busying buying backpacks and new shoes, back-to-school looks a bit different at our house this year.
First of all, since we dual-enroll through the public school they provide all of our curriculum and won’t be dropping it off until the third week of August, so I am not able to do any lesson planning ahead of time. I am, however, able to get a lot of organization done that will make starting our year a lot smoother when her books do get here!
I love printables. And I love planners. I purchased an eBook bundle this spring, and was pleasantly surprised that a couple of printable homeschool planners were included. The HANDS DOWN winner was the Simple Homeschool Planner from The Art of Simple. It is simple, clean, and USEFUL. A lot of other planners I have looked at aren’t relevant to an 8th grade education, or are more style than substance. I can’t say enough good things about this planner. If I made one myself, it would look exactly like this.
What I love about using a planner is that not only do I have sufficient records for what we did throughout the school year, I can plan ahead for the pages and lessons that should be covered for the week. That way if I have to work and my husband is handling school for the day, its all laid out for him. This is my most necessary tool for homeschooling.
The curriculum the public school provides covers the core subjects of math, reading, language arts, science, and civics, but subjects like art or technology are not mandatory. My daughter is interested in learning photography and editing, so this year we will be utilizing several different avenues of technology as curriculum, in addition to what I can teach her myself. Lynda.com is a cool web site with almost 3,000 videos on topics ranging from Photoshop to design to business. Memberships start at $25 a month, and provide unlimited viewing.
After we finish out photography and editing module, my husband will be taking the reigns. He holds a bachelor’s degree in digital media, and sound recording is his passion. He will be teaching her the basics of recording, and they plan to record a song together. Now that is definitely something she would not have access to in public school!
Back to School Shopping
Back to school shopping also looks a bit different in our homeschooled household. There is no need to purchase a new wardrobe because she will be sitting at the kitchen table almost every morning. She will still be participating in orchestra at the public school, which is 2-3 times a week, so she has requested a couple of new outfits (you HAVE to have a new outfit to show your friends, you know) but we will see a significant savings on what we normally spend for back-to-school clothes.
As far as school supplies, a few notebooks and pencils are the core of what we use, and we still have things like note cards and post-its left over from last year. Without the pressure of a school supply list, I won’t have to purchase $3 folders because its the only orange one left in the store. We will see a significant savings in this area as well.
We will be purchasing a filing system and some specific essential oils for back to school – and I will elaborate on those in an upcoming post.
Without advance access to the curriculum, its a little hard to lesson plan. But something I discovered in the month we homeschooled this spring was that it makes more sense to lesson plan a week at a time. With only 1 student it really isn’t that hard to stay organized, and sometimes we end up spending more or less time on a section than I anticipated. Planning a week at a time makes it easy to re-adjust when necessary.
I do try to plan core subject by semester, like doing photography and editing one semester, and audio recording the next. That way I can purchase the curriculum or supplies I need to ahead of time!
We aren’t starting school until August 18 this year, which is almost a week after the public school, so maybe I will be more frantic as it gets closer. But so far I am pretty relaxed and confident about our school year.
We are going to reevaluate at the end of 8th grade whether we want to continue homeschooling in high school. So I am very excited to do the absolute best we can in 8th grade, as it may be our first and last year of homeschooling.
What does back to school look like in your home?