So here is what I have been doing for this year:
Last year I tried an electronic planner, half way into the year, because I wouldn't keep up with my written planner and it was tedious when I had to do massive amounts at once. My friend, A, uses a handwritten planner and it looks amazing. I tried to mimic her but I just couldn't handle it not looking picture perfect. OCD?? So in July, I subscribed to the Well Planned Day Digital Planner. I ended up not like it and have since cancelled, and received my refund. This planner is beautiful and seems user friendly and would be great for someone that would like to organize the whole household online. I don't want to organize my whole life online and it felt congested with all the other options and I felt obligated to use them since I paid for this digital planner. I have since went with the FREE VERSION of Homeschool Tracker that my friend, and experienced hs mom suggested. I am very pleased, but I feel the program would be frustrating if you don't know how to use generic computer programs. I do wish it had an app that I could update on my phone because we often go places to learn and then I could document immediately instead of 8 months later when I can't even remember where we went. The online version can be easily accessed but I want to try to document for free. It's not the end of the world... I know. I used Sked-Trak last year but it was even a little too dinosaur tech to me.
Curriculum Organization Changes I've Made
I've been working on getting rid of the last of the old curriculum and organizing the current curriculum. I tend to want to hoard it, so I'd better get rid of it while I'm in the mood. LOL! I sold some on ebay. The rest I am going to just give away or take to the thrift store. I purchased a label maker this spring and it has made organizing more enjoyable. ha ha! I even labeled it. (i have arrived, huh) I've gone a little overboard, but, whatever! Last year, our 1st full year, it was almost like I was in survival mode. I didn't give the kids as much responsibility as I should have. Because of the lack of responsibility, the school room/office was always disorganized. That disorganization cause frustration and confusion and I honestly feel that if I repeat that behavior I am setting us up for failure. So, I have put labels (cha ching) on the bookshelf and I will allow the kids to properly manage their workbooks. I also used binder clips on consumable workbooks by terms. Last year we did 2 semesters. That was a bad idea. It made any goal we had unattainable and non existent! Rather that looking at a workbook and seeing that we only have 5 pages each week, it was more like seeing that we had 157 lessons left. It was SO discouraging. :( To correct this behavior we are going to have 4- 9 week terms. It was quite encouraging to see the curriculum in more bite size pieces. Plus it took off the pressure to have "every lesson ever" already typed into my planner. OCD again. I did the 1st 9 weeks. Once we have completed those assignment, hopefully by the planned date, then I will take a FREE day and do the next 9 weeks.
Reality... the good with the bad
This is the time of year that I always want to give up on homeschooling.(obviously years 1-3 I did since they attended pub school) It starts the last few weeks of July and last... well, I can't remember how long it lasts. I feel really good today so maybe it lasts until today. LOL! I see everybody else signing up their kids for public school and I want to bail on mine, too. I am just being real here. My job (I'm a registered nurse and I work in a doctor's office) is rewarding. Who doesn't like short term gratification? Instantly helping 200 appreciative people a day is a lot different than your child challenging you when you sacrifice everything for them. It seems like it would be just so much easier to let someone else educate my kids and then I can do what I want and I can make a bunch of money and buy whatever I want. (I hope that sounds to you as selfish and disgusting as it does to me). Honestly, experience and devotion are the only things that get me through this time. I am a believer in Jesus and only though blessings from Him does it come easy. During depression cycles I just pray and wait on the Lord to deliver me. He always does! (when I speak about depression cycle this is what i am referring to-- I am super social and used to working so when it is school time, I have a hard time adjusting to being home alone all the time. Through lots of prayer and analyzing I came to the realization that the reason I get this way is because when I am home there isn't a routine and preset expectations so basically... I'M BORED. This totally clicked to me last Sunday during the pastor's sermon when he was taking about how his dad retired but after 6 months he got a job because he needed something to do. It totally paralleled. I just need something to look forward to... goals basically.)
It is imperative for your spouse to be 100% on board. Proceed with caution if this is not the case. I have the most supportive husband in the world and I still have the throw in the towel days. Also, start the year with a great attitude. If you are excited then they will be excited. If you aren't feeling it then really really really seek out God. He is sufficient :) and He loves you and is not going to leave you in the cold. If he is delaying then ask Him to show you why. Refocus and think for eternity and not for this short life. And finally, have firm in your mind the reasons you want to homeschool. When you know WHY you are doing it then it makes the job that much easier! God will supply everything you need. :) He promises :) What you need isn't necessarily material. Let God give you wisdom. Find it in His Word <3
20 Out in the open wisdom calls aloud,
she raises her voice in the public square;
21 on top of the wall she cries out,
at the city gate she makes her speech:
22 “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways?
How long will mockers delight in mockery
and fools hate knowledge?
23 Repent at my rebuke!
Then I will pour out my thoughts to you,
I will make known to you my teachings.
24 But since you refuse to listen when I call
and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand,
25 since you disregard all my advice
and do not accept my rebuke,
26 I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you;
I will mock when calamity overtakes you --
27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind,
when distress and trouble overwhelm you.
28 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer;
they will look for me but will not find me,
29 since they hated knowledge
and did not choose to fear the Lord.
30 Since they would not accept my advice
and spurned my rebuke,
31 they will eat the fruit of their ways
and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.
32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety
and be at ease, without fear of harm.”