A Teacher’s Summer

We finished school Friday, June 15th, just before Stephanie and Hannah came to visit. I use the word finish loosely. We got enough done to call it quits and not have too many regrets.

Last year was our most challenging year ever. To name a few major challenges:

The combined effect of that left us behind in a few subjects which we decided we’d just cover the following year. We have that flexibility!!  (For the record, homeschooling the 2nd grader didn’t make it on the challenge-list probably because that’s my wheelhouse. My degree is in elementary education so we were rocking it!!)

So when we closed out the 2017-2018 year we were all happy to say farewell to it.

It didn’t hurt that just a weekend passed before our guests arrived and we spent a lovely two-weeks not thinking about school.

However, the very day they headed home I began an intense month of packing-up last year and preparing-for the next. I began by gathering all the Teaching Textbooks disks that were not in their cases so I could purchase replacements for those we’ve lost. (I have since ordered the replacements and, of course, found the originals.)

I then used my gathering skills to find as much of the boys’ work as I could and organized it into bundles. I’m a minimalist when it comes to saving work: each child gets a single tote to contain all of their completed work from Kindergarten to 12th grade.

After a few days of packing away past work I finally got to dig into my favorite part: new stuff! Ask any homeschool mom and they’ll probably tell you that there is nothing more fun than sorting through fresh, new books for the upcoming school year!

I began by going through The Elegant Essay lesson by lesson. It is not set up in a way that works for my brain or my students’ learning styles so I had to create PowerPoint slideshows for every lesson. {We have currently finished a week of our new school year and I’m very happy to state that these slides are helping us move through the material very smoothly!!}

IMG_3121 (1)IMG_3122 (1)

This process took literally two weeks. I don’t know how many total hours I put in, but any time I had that was not being used for my real job (mom) I put into adapting this curriculum to suit my needs. The content is profoundly helpful; the format is not… and so, I felt that every minute I spent on it would be well worth it in the end.

Screenshot 2018-08-12 16.56.40

After I finished that job I turned to opening up all the other stuff we had, including Hayden’s Sonlight box, new science stuff, and researching the new format Teaching Textbooks has released. (Hayden is doing Pre-Calculus online this year rather than using the disk format.)

I put in the up-front work to get the lesson plans for Hayden’s Sonlight Core 500 inserted into Homeschool Planet – when we get to that core for subsequent students I can just “apply” the lesson to their schedule and it populates the lesson plans automatically! With that one completed, I had all of our Sonlight cores inserted into the Homeschool Planet! I should be able to simply assign lesson plans that I’ve already inserted each year from here on out!

The last major task I had for the summer was to create a Fine Arts curriculum in Film Analysis. I have one high-schooler very interested in this kind of course and I couldn’t easily find one I was happy with that didn’t cost over $200. I found a few fantastic resources that, when combined, met all the criteria I was looking for. I was happy to find a basically-free curriculum that is the spine of what we’re doing (it creates the scope and sequence of the course) and I am supplementing with other mostly-free resources to fill out the rest of the curriculum.

We’ll be analyzing real movies throughout the year, and though we are only five days into the course, they’re already pointing out certain elements in shows they’re watching!  We haven’t even gotten to the good stuff!

Eventually I got all the boys’ school work prepared and organized and I did my best to enjoy the last few weeks of summer as a mom, setting my “teacher” hat aside.

Stay tuned. I’ll share how our school year is going… eventually!

About Jennifer

"Yes, they're all mine." The answer to the question I hear most often.
This entry was posted in family, germany, homeschooling. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A Teacher’s Summer

  1. jmbcc says:

    I miss homeschooling so much! You are a Rockstar Jennifer. You are doing such a great job with your family.

  2. Beth Tarcza says:

    I homeschooled Anna in 3rd grade and loved Sonlight!!! We still talk about “Carry on Mr. Bowditch” and “sailing by an ash breeze!”

    Love to all of you!

    Beth and Ken Tarcza

  3. Pingback: Potty training: Part 5 | thehamricks

  4. Pingback: School year, 2018-2019 | thehamricks

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