I'm in the beginning stages of planning for our next homeschooling year. I have a lot of learn from last year... I think the biggest lesson for me is that we can do whatever we want. Within reason, of course, but seriously. They're still little. I have worked Beth hard and I've let her be a kid, and she is happiest when she's busy being a little girl. I am figuring out subjects and books and lesson plans and all that stuff, just like last year, but just like last year I am going to let them play. If it's a nice morning, they're going to get to play outside until their hearts are content. I will feed them a diet of rich, beautiful, meaningful lessons, but in small pieces and after they have been allowed to play.
Luke will not be starting kindergarten officially this year, since he will be 5 in October. I will plan out things for him to do if he's willing and ready, but once again I am not going to make him do anything official for school.
A big success last year was doing lessons that didn't look like lessons. For awhile we were really good about doing a virtue study at the table during afternoon snack- I'd read from a book and we'd talk about it. Easy and simple, so important to their formation, but since it was casual and "unofficial" it was received well by everyone. So I will try to do more of this.
I want to be better about planning field trips that are related to the topics we're studying. I've always been drawn to unit studies but I am not going to plan traditional unit studies, just try to stick with the liturgical calendar and topics in our books.
Right now I have a million ideas swirling around in my head... My first step to planning is just sort of sitting and pondering, haha. It looks like I'm not doing anything but I really am. ;-) I've also been cruising some of my favorite blogs (Real Learning, Wildflowers and Marbles, Sanctus Simplicitus, and a few others) for inspiration and ideas that might work for us better this year. Just today I sat down with a calendar and planned out our year- we will be doing 6 weeks on and 1 week off for both semesters, with a 4-week break mostly after Christmas for us to adjust to being a family of 6. :-) We have a co-op every Thursday, we should be taking a 2-week break to travel to North Carolina, and I've planned two spring breaks in early March and late April, closing out our school year on June 6, 2014. We'll see if that actually happens!
Beth will be involved in her girl's club again, art lessons, piano lessons, and soccer. Luke will be doing soccer and I'm debating putting him back in gymnastics again with Jack (shhh this is a secret- don't mention it to him!). We all have co-op together on Thursdays (Luke will be in preschool and Jack will either be with Luke or in the nursery for part of the time), and Fridays will be reserved for park days, field trips, and nature walks. We also have a once-a-month nature day on first Tuesdays.
This year I am adding in something new- plans for me. I really missed my women's weekly bible study I attended the year before Beth started kindergarten, so I want to make sure I have something positive in there for me to add to my formation and adult time. I also want to schedule in time for sewing and handicrafts, exercise (prenatal yoga, most likely), and more baking. And of course, getting ready for baby to arrive!
We will be mostly following Mater Amabilis again this year, year 1B. Of course I'll be changing around some things, because that's just me. ;-P I will be forming some of our schedule around the co-op, like probably history (Early American again), and the co-op will be providing us with a few subjects (like art and geography) that I won't really have to do at home. And mass once a week! I am really looking forward to it!
So that's all I have right now. I feel like it's a good start, given that it's early July. I definitely have lots more to do, but that will come with time.